Instead of Following Traditional New Year’s Customs, Celebrate Life

Being conscious and mindful means we live differently. It means we don’t follow the mainstream ways of life or “join the crowd”. We are the quiet leaders of a new and improved way of being. Why not choose a unique way to observe and honor “a new year” rather than drinking parties or boring television celebrations, why not celebrate our humanity and the beauty of the natural world?

It is western culture that created celebrating the New Year on December 31st with customs that are group/party focused. Did you know that the year 2000 bce in Mesopotamia was when the first celebration of the “new year” happened? It took place when there was a new moon and when the sun is exactly above the equator and day and night are of equal length in March. So, why not choose to celebrate in our own way, commemorating our connectedness to each other and nature? Instead of unobservable resolutions, why not create ways to be more in tune with nature and the Universe?

Humanity has only been around for about 200,000 years in a Universe that has been around for 13.8 billion years, so humans are really quite new. Did you know that every day around 100 tons of stardust falls to earth on everyone and all of nature? That is where our sameness comes from, a great way to acknowledge that is to celebrate it.

“We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out—and we have only just begun.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

If you were given an opportunity to make a global difference, what would you do? Create your own customs to celebrate life and raise a glass to more connectedness, new practices that benefit humanity and nature and to celebrating the joy of life on our unique and wondrous planet.

Free Online E-Book, Science of the Heart

A Personal Note

When we make decisions based on what we think we should do, we unknowingly compromise our values and ignore our feelings, an indicator that we’re not listening to our heart. Most challenging, we allow people in our lives who expect us to do things contrary to what we like and to be someone we aren’t. We feel powerless to take the steps necessary to be who we truly are because the other side of that is a big risk, but at what cost? HeartMath Institute has the tools to help us learn to rely on our heart intelligence which in turn frees us to live a healthy, happy life.

Several years ago I found the HeartMath Institute, I am very grateful that I did. They offer education focused on heart-mind resonance which helped me to pay attention to how I felt when I chose to follow a certain path and to be open to heart intelligence. I found that by always putting that first, I make more heart aligned choices so I have complete autonomy. Our intuition or our heart always guides us in the right direction, however, we have to be willing and open to take that uncomfortable step.

About the HeartMath Institute

“We are passionate and dedicated people, steadfast in our commitment to provide solutions for activating the heart of humanity. HeartMath Institute empowers individuals, families, groups and organizations to enhance their life experiences using tools that enable them to better recognize and access their intuitive insight and heart intelligence.” Heartmath Institute

They’re located in Boulder Creek California, owned by Doc Childre, HeartMath founder who is a global authority on reducing stress, building resilience and optimizing personal effectiveness. He is the originator of the HeartMath® System, which entails practical, heart-based tools and technologies that people of all ages and walks of life can use to enhance health, performance and well-being. The HeartMath System is widely used by Fortune 500 companies, the military, hospitals, clinics, schools and thousands of adults and children.

It’s an amazing place that has pioneered in discovering the power of the heart/mind connection. If you’d like a copy of this ebook for yourself, there is a download link below the embedded e-book. Along with on-site programs, they also offer online programs for those who aren’t able to visit their California location.

About the E-Book

This free ebook, Science of the Heart, is an information resource authored by Rollin McCraty, Ph.D. a member of the HeartMath Institute. The video below explains the basis for their business and the training program they offer at their educational sites.

Science of the Heart

Imagine World-Wide Peace – International Day of Peace 2022

In October of 1971, Imagine, written on this white Steinway piano by John Lennon was released. It is one of the most selected songs chosen in pursuit of peace.

“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.” Dalai Lama

A Fun Way to Peace – Happy Accident Inventions

Inner tranquility takes work and focus. I’m always interested in finding new ways to overcome some of the challenges of living especially in an era when chaos and difficulties are never-ending. A fun way I’ve recently found (thank you Gary McMahon) is to read stories like the ones below to remind me of the positive things that happen by accident, meaning happiness and inspiration can occur anytime or anywhere.

Every item listed has been a part of my life in one way or another, but not in the incredulous way that they should have been. Maybe if I’d had the internet then and read how or why each item came to be, I would have paid more attention. I hope you enjoy discovering the stories behind these happy accidents.

Beer

The ancient discovery of fermentation was almost certainly a happy accident – perhaps one of the happiest of all. No one knows who exactly invented the first beer. Humans first began domesticating wild grains around 10,000 years ago in Mesopotamia [source: Food Timeline]. The first breads were unleavened, meaning they were flat and tough. When grain gets wet, it becomes food for naturally occurring yeasts in the air, which produce alcohol as a byproduct.

At some point, ancient bakers must have noticed that this fermented grain rose into fluffier loaves of bread. A few adventurous/crazy folks also decided to take a sip of the stinky foam in the grain bin. And beer was born!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The creation of the chocolate chip cookie is extremely relatable. Ruth Graves Wakefield was making her signature cookies, but she ran out of baker’s chocolate. She improvised and broke up a Nestle chocolate bar instead, hoping it would melt. Instead, she accidentally invented chocolate chip cookies. Courtesy of Reader’s Digest

Popsicles

Frank Epperson was 11 years old when he invented the Popsicle. After playing with a mixture of water and powdered soda mix, Epperson left his concoction outside. It froze overnight with his wooden stir stick lodged inside. He tasted it and knew he had something amazing on his hands. Epperson sold his “Epsicles” around the neighborhood and eventually at amusement parks. As an adult, he patented his product. But his kids couldn’t get used to the name, calling them “Pop’sicles.” Unfortunately, Epperson couldn’t afford to keep the business, sold it, and later said he never reaped the financial reward of his creation. Courtesy of Reader’s Digest

Pink Lemonade

Plain lemonade dates back to the arrival of European immigrants in the 17th century. But pink lemonade has a more eclectic background. According to Smithsonian, the earliest mentions of pink lemonade also mention traveling circuses. One theory is that Henry E. Allot invented pink lemonade by accidentally dropping red-colored cinnamon candies into his mix sold at a circus. The other, gross theory is that Pete Conklin ran out of water for his lemonade stand—and used the dirty water that cleaned pink-colored tights as a stand-in.

Corn Flakes

In 1898, brothers W.K. Kellogg and Dr. John Harvey Kellogg were working in a sanitarium in Michigan. They were trying to find healthy food to serve to their patients and when they accidentally let some boiled wheat go stale, they decided to see what they could do with the product. When they tried rolling the hardened dough it cracked into flakes, which the brothers then toasted. The patients liked the toasted flakes so much that the brothers started experimenting with other grains. Corn was an instant success. Thus corn flakes came into being, changing breakfast forever.

POST-IT NOTES

A scientist named Dr. Spencer Silver was working to develop an incredibly strong adhesive in 1968. By accident, he created the exact opposite — an incredibly weak adhesive. Silver relentlessly shared his invention with colleagues, but he couldn’t get traction to make it into a product. One of his colleagues, Arthur Fry, came up with the idea of using the adhesive on bookmarks. Fed up with little papers falling out of his hymnal at church, he determined that Silver’s invention was the solution. They worked on developing a bookmark and, after notes on them, decided to make the product a new way to communicate. After a successful market test in Idaho, 3M began selling the Post-it Note in 1979, and it rapidly grew in popularity.

VELCRO

George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, examined the pesky burrs that stuck to his clothes when he was walking his dog. He found that the burrs had miniscule hooks that allowed them to easily stick to fabric and fur. God’s design for the burrs inspired de Mestral to develop a fastening system that utilized the same concept. The resulting product came to be known as Velcro.

PENICILLIN

Dr. Alexander Fleming was a famous Scottish bacteriologist. Returning from vacation, Fleming found cultures of Staphylococcus aureus in the lab, which he meant to throw away before he left. To his surprise, some of the cultures died. Further investigation led Fleming to discover that a fungus, which had grown in the culture, destroyed bacteria. The type of fungus he found was a mold called Penicillium notatum. Howard Walter Florey, an Australian pathologist, and Sir Ernst Boris Chain. A German-born British biochemist, isolated and purified the penicillin for general clinical use. First calling it “mold juice,” Fleming rebranded it as “penicillin.” It was the first antibiotic discovered and is a treatment that has helped save countless lives.

The Microwave Oven

Percy LeBaron Spencer was working on magnetrons—high-powered vacuum tubes that generate short radio waves called microwaves—when he accidentally discovered microwave cooking. The engineer was doing his job as usual when he noticed that the candy bar in his pocket had melted. Quickly Spencer realized that it was the magnetrons that were causing this phenomenon. By 1945, he had filed a patent for his metal cooking box powered by microwaves.

Super Glue

Back in 1942, Harry Coover was looking for materials he could use to build clear plastic gun sights for the war, but what he discovered instead was a chemical formulation that stuck to everything it touched. However, his discovery was rejected because researchers didn’t see a need for such a sticky formula, and it wasn’t until 1951 that the same formula was embraced and repurposed by Coover and fellow Eastman Kodak researcher Fred Joyner as “Alcohol-Catalyzed Cyanoacrylate Adhesive Compositions/Superglue,” as the patent reads.

Happy Accident – 2016, Plastic Eating Enzymes

In 2016, scientists in Japan discovered a bacteria that ate plastic. The organisms they found produced two enzymes that help them break down PET within weeks. Scientists called these enzymes PETase and MHETase, and by 2018, they had tweaked the PETase enzyme to speed up its abilities – by accident. 

“The international team then tweaked the enzyme to see how it had evolved, but tests showed they had inadvertently made the molecule even better at breaking down the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic used for soft drink bottles,” The Guardian reported. In 2020, they turned it into a super enzyme that destroys plastic six times faster. With the world in a plastic pollution crisis, this accidental discovery couldn’t be more urgent for the future of the planet. 

A Dying Woman’s Wish for Everyone

Sometimes we get caught up in or allow what’s going on around us to dominate our lives, then I read this message shared on Facebook reminding me of how sacred life is. Kerri, whom I do not know, crossed over in 2021 from brain cancer, her words touched my soul. I believe that the most soulful and authentic words come from the humbleness that comes with leaving our earthly life. Kerri spoke her truth and in turn inspires us to live whole heartedly and bravely. This is a very worthy read.

“If you’re reading this, this fu$king brain cancer probably got me.

But let me be crystal clear while I’m able: I did not ”lose a battle” against cancer. This is a ridiculous, steamy pile of horse shit that society has dumped on cancer patients. Western medicine, and Western culture, especially, is so uncomfortable talking about death that instead it created this “battle” analogy that basically shames people who die from cancer.

News flash: None of us gets out alive from this rodeo called life.

There is no shame in dying from cancer – or any serious illness. And it doesn’t need to be a battle. It’s a transition that each of us will go through. I was asked by a shaman, whom I spoke to after my second brain surgery, “Are you running towards life or running away from death?”

Whoa! That got my attention.

There’s a BIG difference. I got it wrong more often than not.

Don’t let fear fuel your choices. Live fearlessly. Run TOWARDS life. Don’t worry about what people will think. Trust me, it doesn’t matter.

Focus on you. Be true to yourself. Be your own best friend. People who tell you you’re selfish are not your people. If the voice in your head says these unkind things, get a new voice. Honor your mental health and seek out a good therapist with the same vigor you’d search for a romantic partner.

Speaking of, be intentional about cultivating friendships that lift you up. As those friendships grow and change, don’t overlook them while you search for that “great love of your life.” (No, I’m not suggesting you sleep with your bestie. But you do you!)

Another unhelpful message that we get from society is that we need a “love of our life,” as a romantic partner.

Single and childless when I was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, I looked around my life and came up sputtering and sobbing from the wave of grief washed over me. I thought I’d be doing this alone… no husband, no kids, no “great love.”

How wrong I was. At the first appointment with my neuro oncologists, one of the nurses diligently hauled in chair after chair for the great loves of my life who came with me that horrible day and many days after that.

I sat and listened while the doctor explained the 12-month treatment plan, focusing on my breathing, then looked around the room…. filled with great loves of my life: incredible women friends whom I had met at various stages of my life.

Surround yourself with people who contradict that unkind voice, people who see your light, and remind you who you are: an amazing soul.

Learn how to receive these reflections from your people. Because they are speaking the Truth.

Love yourself, no matter how weird and silly it might feel. Every morning, give yourself a hug before your feet hit the floor. Look deeply into your eyes in a mirror. Say to yourself, out loud, “I trust you.” That voice in your head might say you’re a dork. Ignore it.

As I prepare to leave this body and embark on this mysterious journey of my soul, I hope these observations from my deathbed are somehow useful.

What I know, deep in my bones, is that learning to love myself has led me to be able to say this: I’m so proud of how I lived.

May you, dear reader, feel the same when you head out on your soul journey, too. Until then, enjoy the ride. And always eat dessert first, especially if there’s pie!” Kerri Grote

What Your Body Needs – The Benefits of Healthy Feet

The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art. – Leonardo da Vinci

This post is rather long, but I found so much useful information that it grew from a few paragraphs.

For some reason I began paying attention to my feet decades ago, I guess having flat feet with sore arches made me take notice. After years of wearing heels and the abuse that most women do to their feet, I developed Achilles Tendonitis around my left heel and ankle, while it isn’t too painful, it compromises the strength around that area of my foot and my leg buckles at times.

With all of the daily lumps, bumps and movement our feet take, It’s important to set aside time to treat them with some loving attention each day. The tools to care for your feet are affordable, readily available and easy to use. All you need to give is about 20 minutes a day to maintain great foot health.

Did you know that the first part of your body to grow older is your feet? Your feet are where your kidney, liver, heart, brain and spleen nerves end. Poor foot care such as wearing the wrong shoes, wearing high-heels and ill-fitting footwear can cause thick, cracked nails and dried cracked skin. Did you know that not resting your feet when they’re tired can lead to serious heart problems and can result in a higher risk of disease such as heart disease, diabetes, reduced endurance and loss of muscle mass?

“Good foot health is essential for an active life. With 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons, your feet are incredibly complex. And they serve as the foundation for your entire body in terms of support, balance, posture, and overall well-being. You can experience pain in your knees, hips and lower back when you have ongoing foot problems. Foot issues can also cause imbalance, poor posture, and even problems with organ function.” Martin Foot and Ankle

Stock Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

Practices for Healthy Feet From Dr. Christine Schrammek Kosmetik.com

Footbath: Treat your feet with a relaxing footbath, either with a readily mixed addition or with an essential oil. Bathe your feet approx. 15 minutes. In summer, the water can be slightly cooler, this additionally refreshes.

Foot peeling: Apply the peeling with circular movement. Afterwards, wash off with water and dry thoroughly, especially between the toes. The first cornea scales are removed, a good preparation for the next step.

Remove cornea: Remove the cornea with a special cornea file, this one is larger and usually has two different grain sizes. Take the rough side for the grossly removal of the cornea at the heel, ball and other difficult cornified areas. Take the fine side for the final touch.

Foot Cornea – Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

Cut and file nails into shape: Cut your nails with nail scissors, nail clippers or a file. Who uses the scissors or the clipper, should additionally take the file to smooth the nails. What is important: Always cut the nails straight and round off the corners, otherwise there is a risk of nails growing in.

Remove cuticle and push it back gently: Push the cuticle back gently with the help of a so-called “hoof stick” or a rosewood skewer. Excess cuticle can be removed with a cuticle clippers.

Cream your feet: Treat your feet with a moisturizing foot cream. For dry skin and torn heels, use a skin cream specifically for extremely dry skin.

Polish your nails: If you want to polish your nails afterwards, remember to degrease the nails before applying the nail polish, otherwise it won’t stay on your nails. Use a few drops of alcohol from the pharmacy or nail polish remover on a cotton pad and lightly clean the nail. Furthermore, it is important to use a base coat under the nail polish. The base coat protects the nails from discolourations and forms an optimal basis. After that, apply the nail polish, usually in two layers for an even look. To extend the durability, apply a top coat at the end.

Yoga for your Feet

You can sit in a chair, on the bed, or the floor, cradling one foot in your lap, if possible.

  1. Pull each toe gently but firmly straight ahead several times.
  2. Bend the 5 toes as one toward the sole, gently but firmly, then back toward the top of the foot, holding each position for a few seconds
  3. Place the right hand on top of the right foot and interlace the fingers with the toes as best as you can. Then circle the wrist to take the toes in a circle clockwise a few times. Then counterclockwise.
  4. Place the left hand on the bottom of the right foot, interlace the toes as best you can, and again move them clockwise and counterclockwise several times. To unlace fingers, try to pull your fingers through the space between the toes, thus stretching that area, too. (reverse hands to massage toes of left foot)
  5. Practice extending the toes as far as you can, hold for 6 seconds then curl the toes under as far as you can and hold. Repeat several times.
  6. If you have time, a foot massage feels great. Press around the perimeter of each sole, paying special attention to the arches, the balls of the feet, and any place that feels tender. There are tools, little balls, or pencil-like implements with a rounded end, that make this easier if your hands are sore.

Reflexology

The definition of reflexology, a type of therapy that uses gentle pressure on specific points along your feet (and possibly on your hands or ears as well) to help you feel better. The theory is that this eases stress, and that helps your body work better. It’s also known as zone therapy.

The Benefits

#1 – Encourages Relaxation – Reflexology can flood the neural pathways with relaxation, inducing a state of peace and tranquility within the body and mind. This physiological change results in the reduction of stress.

Stress reduction through reflexology therapy is frequently associated with relieving sleep disorders. This is accomplished by helping your body return to a more relaxed and balanced state, simultaneously working to restore a healthy Circadian rhythm, which is needed for sufficient sleep.

#2 – Promotes Nervous System Stimulation – Open neural pathways benefit our central nervous system in a variety of ways. The brain is able to handle inputs more effectively, essentially speeding up cognitive strengths; thus, increasing the speed of physical reactions, which boosts your memory. Overall, the entire brain is able to work faster and more efficiently.

#3 – Relieves Migraines and Headaches – Reflexology is often sought after by people in pain, because reflexology can reduce the severity of migraines and headaches by increasing blood flow and relieving muscle tension. Since stress and psychological factors often manifest themselves as migraine symptoms, stress-induced headaches can also be eliminated.

#4 – Revitalizes Nerve Function – Nerve endings lose sensitivity in parts of our body as we age (more so in the extremities). Reflexology has been associated with the stimulation of more than 7,000 different nerve endings during a 1-hour session, naturally increasing nerve functioning and reactivity.

The opening and cleansing of neural pathways helps improve overall functionality and reduces toxicity within the body.

#5 – Improves Circulation – Probably the most well known and verified results of reflexology is an improvement in circulation throughout the entire body, which means blood and oxygen are being cycled throughout the body more effectively.

Due to this benefit, oxygen reaches vital organ systems, optimizing their function and increasing the metabolism.

#6 – Increases Energy Levels – By aligning functions of organ and muscle systems, reflexology has the potential to increase the metabolism and energy creation. In other words, reflexology sessions can help to re-energize your body and mind.

#7 – Relieves Plantar Fasciitis Pain – Reflexology can help ease the pain and discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis. Reflexology is beneficial as it uses pressure point techniques to release tension, relieving the heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis. A natural cure for plantar fasciitis is a professional foot massage. To learn more, read yourfootpalace.com/how-foot-massage-can-relieve-your-plantar-fasciitis-pain/

The Organ and Body Connections to Your Feet

1. Head and Brain

As shocking as it might sound, the tips of the toes, according to reflexology are directly connected to your head and brain. If you have a headache or you are stressed, massaging the toes and especially the tips and the bottom of the toes can help relieve the stress. It also helps relieve headaches and has a positive impact on the overall health of the brain

2. Small Intestines

The small intestines, according to reflexology are connected to the area between the heel and the ball of the foot. Massaging this place leads to a healthier intestinal tract and improved digestion. Massaging this place on the feet is highly beneficial to those people who suffer from severe indigestion and bloating.

3. The Heart

It’s one of the most crucial parts of the body, and it’s what keeps the body alive by pumping blood. The heart is one of the organs whose health should be taken seriously by everyone. On the left side on the ball of the foot is said to be the place connected to the heart. It might be a bit difficult to nail but its right below the bottom of the toes. Massaging this place improves blood flow in the body and is highly beneficial to the overall circulatory system and heart health.

If anyone experiences heart palpitations or chest pains, they should see a doctor right away.

4. The Lungs

Reflexology places the connection between the feet and the lungs at the middle of the balls of the feet. Focusing on this area improves the overall health of the lungs, and it’s also beneficial to people suffering from asthma.

5. The Neck

Neck aches and pains are some of the most common in the human body. The connection between the neck and the feet lies just below the big toe and massaging this point helps ease the neck pains and discomfort. Reflexology is great, and it’s well known to have health benefits. However, it’s not scientifically proven to have medicinal benefits. If you experience any pain or discomfort in your body, it’s good to see a doctor as fast as possible. The connection between the feet and the body can’t, however, be ignored.

Ouch! High Heels

On a lunch break years ago I walked to the park where there was a camera crew photographing a model that had just taken a break, the first thing the model did was remove her stilettos. As much as high heels that are higher than two inches look good and increase the curve of your leg keep in mind they can cause a variety of health problems such as hammertoes and bunions, and back pain. And they can cause:

1. Sore Calves 

2. Foot Pain 

3. Ankle Sprains 

4. Awkward Spinal Curve

5. Constricted Blood Vessels 

6. Crooked Feet 

7. Weakened Ligaments 

8. Knee Pain 

9. Hyperextension In Toes 

DISCLAIMER:
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained in this article are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Authenticity and Inner Peace, My story

“There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others.This, for me, is how we become.” Michelle Obama

I thought about this post for a while before writing it. Since I write about ways and ideas to achieve peace and tranquility to be who we uniquely are, I thought why not share my passage to authenticity.

When One Door Closes, Another Opens

I was unknowingly frustrated all of my adult life, I was unhappy with either myself or my life; my behavior always seemed to be off and I couldn’t figure out why. My frustration came out in a variety of ways, defensiveness, wanting to be alone, trusting too much and too much focus on what everyone else needed.

Every choice we make takes us on a journey that helps us to discover who we really are. In July of 2014 just a little over a year after my mother died, I decided to join a spiritual/consciousness group that a friend recommended. The members appeared to be kind and friendly just what I thought I needed. After several months with the group, I chose to volunteer to help the spiritual leader. I didn’t realize I was in emotional limbo and I was neglecting my needs, so that decision took me down a path of some pretty tough lessons. The woman I was helping took advantage of my need to help others, but rather than just quit, I pushed through. After nearly a year of constantly being surrounded by members of the group and over-working I was exhausted and my latent frustration started to surface. I began to treat the volunteer position like a paid job, I became too invested by becoming very business-like. The members of the group didn’t like or understand my behavior; they all complained about me to the spiritual leader. So in September of 2016 after the woman got wind of how the members felt, she was angry when she told me that I was no longer welcome to be in the group, I was actually quite relieved.

I know everything happens for me not to me, so afterward I decided to isolate myself and take my life into my hands. I put all of my energy into healing and becoming more aligned with my needs. Even though the situation I’d been through was difficult I had gained a lot over the time I was involved. But the way things transpired made me realize that It was time I practice what I’d been advising others to do, live authentically and be true to the life I was meant to live.

My Journey

In 1974 at the age of 22 I was rather naive about men and thoughtless of the consequences of intimacy. I met a guy at a bar (that sure does sound like a cliché) I went to with a friend. The guy bought me a drink, we chatted briefly and I went home. I’m fuzzy on the details of our relationship but I do remember our first encounter because it was my first time and it was very un-romantic. Several weeks later after I’d developed flu-like symptoms, I went to the doctor and found out that my big night of intimacy resulted in pregnancy. I was scared but kind of excited at the same time, not once did I consider terminating my chance at motherhood. Being pregnant meant that I would have to leave single life behind, not that I had much of one, to live with my parents. The baby’s father disappeared for a time, then resurfaced and asked me to marry him. I was gullible and said yes, we got married and divorced within one year. I knew I would be okay as a single mom, things were’nt going to be easy but I was determined to have my baby. I really had no idea how being a single mom would effect my life and my future, but I knew that I felt joy and contentment.

Becoming a mom was as natural for me as breathing when in December of 1974 my son, Scott, was born. He was a beautiful and joyous little boy who ignited a love I’d never known. I knew immediately that I wanted to devote my time to him for as long as I could but I just didn’t know how. We did some research and found a state run program to help single moms receive childcare financial aid. I didn’t know how long the aid would be available to me, but I chose to accept the unknown and just enjoy our time together.

We enjoyed a good, quiet life through Scott’s first year, it was soul satisfying to care for him as I began our adventure into family life. Then in 1975 my life changed abruptly when my 14 year old sister Carol was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a life-threatening cancer of the blood. I didn’t know anything about leukemia and I had no idea what we were going to be faced with. Sadly, family friends disappeared but my family was pretty close so we stood together beyond the circumstances. My mom went through all of the medical processes with Carol throughout her ordeal. My life changed as I took on my mom’s responsibilities along with mine and caring for Scott. Thank goodness Scott was just a baby, he kept me laughing and cheerful. When my sister came home after a long stay at the hospital, still very ill, my life was a constant state of uncertainty. Scott was very social and loved to be the center of attention, making him a light in Carol’s life giving her a break from her illness. Not much was known about Leukemia then; after a year long battle Carol lost remission and passed away on August 4th 1976. I was devastated but I had to maintain my focus on my son who was just about two. This is where I believe the Universe works its magic, because of Scott being just a toddler, he was a blessing for my grieving family. After that significant loss, along with gratitude and appreciation, I gained a different sense of the life going on around me, my heart opened up. As time passed and my son grew into a self-sufficient young man, I grew as a person becoming more resilient yet unsettled. I was blossoming into someone who wanted a more diverse life for myself and my son.

I’ve always looked forward to the changes that were necessary to improve my life. In 1987 the next opportunity for growth came when the state notified me that they were terminating the financial support for my son. Life was pushing me in a new direction, I was anxious but excited. Included with the letter was an outline of a state run back to work program schedule with the date and time of the introductory meeting I was expected to attend. My quiet life became hectic, I created ideals for myself and I knew that I didn’t want a job for someone with just a high school education anymore. I had a strong interest in the state-of-the-art technology, personal computers, I wanted to learn all about them. I had no money or knew what I could do to get the financial support I needed, but through my fear I believed that beyond the circumstances I was faced with that I was capable of achieving more.

I didn’t know it at the time, but an extraordinary event was about to happen. As I left the state mandated meeting for a job, a person walked toward me with a clipboard, stopped me and asked if I had any interest in learning how to use a computer. I got a little excited and added my name and contact information to the list without any idea of what was to come. Within days I got a call and a meeting was arranged to pursue the financial support I would need to attend their business college. My biggest fear was returning to school, but I didn’t let that stop me. By February, financing was secured to cover the first two quarters and I was now a student. I was completely out of my comfort zone, but I was determined to push past my fear and go. In the spring of 1988 I graduated as a certified Wordprocessor with a 3.9 GPA and within a couple of months of graduation I landed my first job, not as a Wordprocessor, as a receptionist for a small software development company. That first job redirected my career from a data entry specialist to an administrative professional for the next 28 years.

My career was never a passion for me, I chose what I did for a better life and a steady income. Over the nearly two and a quarter decades my positions increased in responsibility with higher skill requirements, the jobs were demanding with hundreds of challenges to work through. It was exhausting and strenuous; after 22 years I felt disconnected and dissatisfied with my career. I felt a strong urge to go in a new direction. In fact in December of 2008 I told my mom how I felt and that I had no idea how to change things. Then, In February of 2009 once again the Universe stepped in and my position was eliminated. Within two weeks I walked away from a career in Corporate America that had improved my life but wasn’t what I wanted or who I was anymore. This was going to be more then just a job change, it felt like a personal revolution.

From that point forward I was on a bumpy path of awakening and learning how to better follow my gut instincts. I was uncharacteristically uncertain, I stopped wearing a watch, looking for a job because of the income and I began thinking beyond the obvious. I wanted to make a difference, I was for all intense purposes lifting myself out of the fog of an unintentional life. When my first few attempts to do something different failed, I was unhappy, my son advised me to hold my head up, be strong, decisive and to keep pushing on. In the next six years, I created an online assistant business with a self-created website that lasted for two years. Then in 2011 I chose to volunteer then work for Public Broadcasting Service for a year, followed by working for a nonprofit medical clinic for a year. During that time I started to write and I began taking photos seriously.

The milestones in my life have always been big changes that turned my life around in ways that I never saw coming. In early 2013 my new daughter-in-law suddenly passed away and just a few days later my mom passed away after a year of harrowing medical problems. Along with the grief of two family losses, without any life insurance from my mom, I dealt with eviction. Over the next three and half years I moved into eight different places with people I didn’t know anything about. In 2014 after a contract job with a large business I chose to retire from corporate life to pursue a life of consciousness. That was when my life became more tumultuous and I became more determined to live my life my way. After the eighth move and complete exhaustion in late 2017 an opportunity arose to leave the east coast to move out west where I chose to live rather than moving somewhere to adapt to the circumstances of my life. Even though the people I knew warned me away from moving knowing I was fearful of driving a moving truck across country alone, I forced myself to say yes and grabbed the opportunity.

All of the heart-felt choices I’ve made, even though some seemed like the wrong thing to do, led me to where I am today. I am genuinely happy, surrounded by nature and connected to authentic, loving, kind people. For me, every choice has led me to a situation that instilled life lessons that helped develop my character. I now am more aware of the transitions and how I am effected, they’re not quite as dramatic as it has been in years gone by, none-the-less impactful, exquisite and meaningful.

Words fall short to accurately summarize how I feel about my journey to authenticity. The tough times I experienced will never be forgotten but the magical outcomes have left me speechless.

Update from the Homefront

As spring tries to make its way in, things have changed here at home. My son, Scott, left his long distance truck driving job for a job where he’ll be home every weekend. My 17 year old grandson Wyatt has moved to Mesa, just a couple of hours south of here to live with his aunt until he graduates. He came to spend last weekend and plans to come visit on as many weekends as he can, giving me the chance to cook for my family, what a joy and a way to introduce my grandson to international and varietal cooking, Once I chose my happiness and living authentically, the opportunities to grow into who I am have been many.

The Ultimate Serenity; Unconditional Self-Love

Self-love isn’t arrogant, selfish or egotistical, it is complete acceptance, caring about and believing in yourself. Laura Putman

Your Key to Joy

Beginning a life of authenticity is a journey to true happiness. Whether there are “others” in your life that expect conformity lovingly or unlovingly, no one’s opinion of you but yours matters. Unconditional love of self is about liberating your individuality with joy and acceptance from head to toe, inside to outside. Unconditional self-love is believing you’re worthy of love and accepting your uniqueness. There is no one like you, so it’s incumbent upon us to bravely and boldly peel away the false front to allow ourselves to be just as we are, that is unconditional self-love. That is the foundation for happy and healthy relationships with yourself and others and that truly transforms your life.

Oh, to love myself

I’m finally completely at peace with who I am, at long last I have confidence with my uniqueness. Even though feeling this way could have happened at any time in my life, I didn’t believe in myself enough to allow it to be. One example of a memorable life experience happened years ago when I took myself out to dinner one evening. I love Irish food and music, so one evening I decided to go to my favorite Irish pub. I was enjoying a delicious meal when things unexpectedly changed. The pub owner (who was from Ireland) pulled up a chair in a corner not far from where I was sitting to sing and entertain the diners with some of his favorite Irish tunes. For some reason he looked directly at me and asked across the room if was dining alone, I felt awkward but I answered yes. He said so you’re having dinner with your best friend. I should have been flattered, but the restaurant was full of diners and I was humiliated that my being alone was pointed out. I was so uncomfortable that as soon as I finished eating I left the restaurant. While that might not seem like much, to me it was devastating and a glaring example of a complete inability to love myself. That was one of the many experiences I had to bring me to where I am now.

Choosing to nurture your well-being

Did you know that when a caterpillar enters the chrysalis stage, their DNA completely transforms as they become a beautiful, amazing butterfly. Your DNA completely changes with self-love reversing the effects of stress, anxiety, self-deprecation and the lack of self-respect. Your brain and DNA are completely transformed with healthy thoughts, shifting from toxic/[prone to disease to healthy/prone to a life of well-being.

“You’re speaking to your genes with every thought you have. The fast growing field of epigenetics is showing that who you are is the product of the things that happen to you in your life, which change the way your genes operate. Genes are actually switched on or off depending on your life experiences, and your genes and lifestyle form a feedback loop. Your life doesn’t alter the genes you were born with. What changes is your genetic activity, meaning the hundreds of proteins, enzymes, and other chemicals that regulate your cells.” Huffpost

How your brain appears with toxic thoughts and with healthy thoughts.
How your DNA appears (LEFT) when you’re stressed and unhappy and when your DNA has recovered when you change your self-perception and ways of thinking (RIGHT).

Build your path to self-love (From Wanderlust.com)

1. Identify Your Why

If you want to make the shift from desiring self-love to embodying self-love, you must be emotionally connected to that journey. Why is self-love important to you? The answer to that question strengthens your ability to seeing it through.

2. Commit

Be 150 percent committed to your journey to self-love. No excuses. Make self-love a major priority in your life and treat it as such. Don’t let anything get in the way of you and your relationship with self.

3. Forgive

How can you expect to move forward in your life if you’re being weighed down by anger and resentment? It’s simple. You can’t. It’s time to forgive. Forgive yourself, and forgive others. You’re not condoning their behavior when you forgive other people for their wrongdoings, you’re simply giving yourself permission to let go and move on. This is a tough step, but a very mandatory one.

4. Take Back Your Power

Drop the victim mentality and take ownership of your life. No more pointing the finger at others or blaming your circumstances. It’s time to own up and take control. The moment you take ownership is the moment you gain back the power to create change.

5. Let go

Let go of anything that is not serving you in the highest good. This includes relationships, friendships, habits… Get rid of all that is holding you back. This step can ignite feelings of loneliness, but that will pass. Replace toxic people with good people; replace destructive habits with good habits.

6. Surround Yourself With Good

Immerse yourself within the company of uplifting people; people who serve you in the highest good. Surround yourself with people who truly love you, support you, and respect you. If you don’t have those people around you, find them. Seek them out and don’t stop until you do.

7. Practice Self-Compassion

Go easy on yourself. Instead of being your toughest critic, be your own best friend. Talk to yourself the way you want to be talked to. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated. And continue to forgive yourself along the way.

8. Take Care of Your Needs

Do what you need to do to take care of your needs yourself. No more waiting for others to fulfill those needs—you can do this. Honor your needs as they arise and don’t push them aside for any excuse.

9. Set Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries are incredibly good for you. They protect your needs and honor your worth. Never hesitate to set healthy boundaries. A tip to help you recognize when a boundary needs to be set is to listen to your intuition. If an interaction feels icky, a line has been crossed. Take that as a sign that you need to set a boundary.

10. Commit to Daily “LoveHabits”

Daily acts of self-love (“LoveHabits”) are a beautiful way to show yourself the love, respect, and level of care that you truly desire. Plus, they make you feel really good. Select LoveHabits that work well for you—habits that feel uplifting, regenerative, and/or energizing. The key is to unapologetically commit to daily LoveHabits.

Self-love is your divine responsibility. When you commit to a deep, loving relationship with self, your entire life will positively shift in the most incredible ways. Follow these 10 steps to cultivate self-love and live a life that truly honors your highest good.

Real life experience

Finally, most people don’t have the capacity to love themselves because they create their lives based on what someone else perceives them to be. This TedX talk is confirmation that self-love and living authentically are creating the best life ever for yourself.

On January 22nd of this year Thich Nhat Hahn left his earthly body, leaving a hole where his spiritual teachings filled many with love, joy and hope. These are his rules for life.

Powerful Deep Breathing, Au Revoir 2021

A great way to improve your health is to create an intention or lifestyle adjustment. An intention gives voice to a way of life enhancement that aligns with your current style of living.

Breathing is a perfect function to change. It is much more than inhaling and exhaling, there are a lot of things that happen within our body that react to the way we breathe. Just like the difference between living unconsciously or consciously, how we take a breath impacts our health. The first breath we take when we are born is diaphragmatic and that is how we should breathe our entire life, but as we become adults our breathing becomes shallow. Shallow breathing increases our heart rate, blood pressure and a variety of unhealthy lifestyle conditions. One dimensional breathing allows about two cups of air into your lungs, diaphragmatic breathing allows about two or three more liters or twice as much air into your system, reducing headaches, hypertension, insomnia and muscle tension.

Typical breathing patterns are reactive, quick and shallow. Modern day lifestyles that prompt shallow breathing puts the human body in a cyclical state of stress. If you make this small lifestyle change, you’ll feel more at peace and energetic and your overall health will improve. The best and most effective way to counteract short, fast breathing is to train yourself to draw deep breaths through your nose, from your belly. Deep breathing doesn’t eliminate challenges in your life, but it does naturally calm you so you can handle whatever you’re faced with.

How breathing works:

“The trachea, or windpipe, is like the trunk of the tree,” Hoyt said. “From there, the airways divide and divide, like branches of a tree. At the end of a tree’s branches are leaves; similarly, the ends of the bronchioles have alveoli also known as air sacs, where gas exchange takes place.”

In the air sacs, freshly inhaled oxygen is passed to the blood, which is then pumped through the body; the air sacs also absorb carbon dioxide, which is then removed from the body through exhalation.

The diaphragm, a thin muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities, tightens and pulls down as you breathe in, opening the chest cavity and allowing the lungs to expand. To breathe out, your diaphragm relaxes and moves upward, pushing air out. Dr. James Hoyt, Pulmonologist

A Deep Breathing Journey That Changed My Life

As the stress increased in my career, I developed a heart racing problem. As I became more anxious, it would trigger my heart and it would race throughout the day, at times it pounded so hard that it scared me. Then about 10 years ago I learned the difference between shallow and deep breathing. A group of entrepreneurs I was in learned how to breathe through our lungs and diaphragm, deep breaths in through our nose and how to force breathe the carbon dioxide out. This practice changed the way I breathe and has eliminated the heart racing, headaches, greatly reduced stress, brought mental clarity and its become a lifestyle routine that is a part of my better health regimen.

EBKids: Respiration inhale/ exhale jrespir021j4 390 by 300 pixels by Katherine D. Burgess 23rdof March 2006

The Teachers

Dr. Andrew Weil is a doctor who practices integrative medicine. I’ve learned him for years, he offers not only benefits but the simplicity of the deep breathing method for de-stressing and avoiding many health issues that come with shallow breathing. The deep breathing exercise that takes moments to learn is described at the end of the second video, the Tedx Talk by Max Strom.

Take a few moments to begin deeper breathing for your better health:

  • Choose a place to do your breathing exercise. It could be in your bed, on your living room floor, or in a comfortable chair
  • Don’t force it. This can make you feel more stressed
  • Try to do it at the same time once or twice a day
  • Wear comfortable clothes
  • Deep breathing will eventually become your way of breathing without thinking about it

The following benefits of diaphragmatic breathing have been medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — 

  • It helps you relax, lowering the harmful effects of the stress hormone cortisol on your body.
  • It lowers your heart rate Trusted Source.
  • It helps lower your blood pressure Trusted Source.
  • It helps you cope with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • It improves your core muscle stability.
  • It improves your body’s ability to tolerate intense exercise.
  • It lowers your chances of injuring or wearing out your muscles.
  • It slows your rate of breathing so that it expends less energy.

One of the biggest benefits of diaphragmatic breathing is reducing stress.

Deep breathing is a natural, no cost practice that takes minutes to learn for a lifetime of better health.

HEALTH DISCLAIMER

This blog provides general information that discusses health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

Happy New Year

Thanksgiving – Greetings from a Thankful American

American Thanksgiving has a sorted history, something most of us knew little of or did we understand the complexity of the events that transpired. I do not celebrate that Thanksgiving. Instead, I express appreciation for my family, friends, the wonderful life I am living and the freedom I have to share my thoughts and beliefs with such terrific people.

Thank you to followers and anyone who finds my blog of interest. I am sincerely appreciative of your comments or your taking time to read what I write about as well thanks to anyone following or acknowledging my photography blog,

So from me: