A Summer State of Mind

How is your summer going?  Are you taking the time to relax a little more, unwind, slow down, enjoy being outdoors, travel, see friends and family, read, listen to music and just BE?
I hope so!

When I run into people I haven’t seen in a while, they ask “How is your summer going?” I chuckle because I feel that we are blessed to live at the beach in Southern California.  Everyday in a way feels like summer.  And not just because of the weather.

Summer is a state of mind. It can be with you all year long.  Just because the calendar moves on, we don’t have to. Even if we are returning to more formal rhythms of school or work with an intensified schedule, we can still carry with us a summer vibe.

For me, being retired has the benefit of more time to enjoy life. I can spend my days doing activities, projects, hobbies and interests that allow me to Reflect, Renew and Refresh my spirit. I can be more mindful and not rush.  I can make sounder choices and decisions. Sure, there are responsibilities, appointments, deadlines, things that “Have” to get done – however there is a calm that I attempt to maintain underneath it all.  

As I run on the beach at this time of year, I see so much JOY with tourists and children enjoying themselves building sandcastles, digging in the sand, swimming, surfing, getting a suntan glow. The kids at their week Life Guard camp are having a blast.  Even though I have to dodge them, I am glad  they are experiencing a JOY filled adventure.  However I have to admit, I do prefer the beach when it is quieter!

As Labor Day approaches, and back to school is beginning,  the calendar may say that Fall has arrived and Summer has ended. That does not mean that your Summer State of Mind has to. Think of ways you can carry it with you all year long. Slow down a little. Balance your life with more “Want to”s” versus  “Have to’s”. Be adventurous, be carefree, be curious and playful.  Continue to spend time in nature even if you have to layer your clothing more.  Keep your Summer State of Mind!

With Light and Love,
Karen

Nourishment

Fueling up with nutritious food is an important part of health. I have for most of my life been a more plant based foodie, incorporating fish and occasionally eggs into my food selections. Food does make a difference. I find that without dairy, my sinuses are clearer. I get the jitters if I have chocolate – although it tastes so good – I react. If I endulge in too many carbs, especially late in the day or night, I feel sluggish and puffy. I can’t remember the last time I had a soda. A natural and plant based diet is for me  – mostly consisting of raw, steamed or grilled vegetables, fruit, nuts and fish. Sure I like my weekend coffee with some liqueur added! And an occasional craving for something like chocolate, carrot muffins, or ice cream (even though I know I may react to it!) This practice works for me.  However not everyone will agree.  Find your preferences.  See what works for you. And then stay the course.

Equally important is nourishment for our minds and spirit.  Like food for our bodies, we need to experiment with what works, what feels right, and what influences our behavior and actions. What thoughts are you thinking?  What are you reading?  What types of videos, movies are you watching? What podcasts, talks, broadcasts are you listening to? What activitites do you engage in? Are you a sports enthusiast? Do you hike, bike, surf, ski, run, play soccer? Do you spend time in nature, by the ocean, mountains, desert? Who are you hanging out with? And why? Do you feel and share love and compassion? All these can be considered some type of food intake for your mind and spirit. I find myself reading less and less from the “News” – I scroll through headlines so I am aware of what is happening, though I do not get too much into the detail.  Why? Because too much of the negativity, the grief, the “BS” that goes on, could bring me down.  Therefore I watch what I allow in; what I read, what I watch, what I participate in.  I daily spend time in nature, especially on the beach. I run, I practice yoga. I am grateful and thankful each and every day to share my Life with a loving, kind and very special husband. And to be alive and cancer free for 14.5 years!

Just like with nutrition for my body, I decide what goes into my mind and spirit. I carefully select those I want to be around.  I focus on uplifting and inspiring words, positive and meaningful communications, engaging activities.  I look to resolve issues – I find the solutions, I make recommendations, I put a “can do” spin on things.  I make time for me! Keeping myself nourished allows me to be stronger, healthier and better equipped to deal with all that Life has in store for me. And I intentionally find what is good.  I have my three words that guide my decisions – Faith, Dream, Believe.

We have a choice! Fuel yourself with the right nourishment and watch the healing take place. Feel more alive. Feel more you. Make a decision today to nourish yourself completely.  Thrive and Be Well.

With Love and Light,
Karen

 

 

Keeping my Balance

What is going on in this world?  How do I stay calm and balanced when so much is happening around me?  We are being bombarded with negativity and meaningless attacks on each other – anger, violence, chaos, crime, war, killings, destruction, climate changes, sadness, grief, hate, bullying. There seems to be more of it, more frequently and more severe. People feel frustrated, not in control. There is confusion, unfair practices, and inequality on so many levels. My grandfather use to say, “This world, she is upside down!” It sure is!!!

Where and how does it end? How do we protect ourselves? How can we eliminate it? How do we stabilize and find balance again? 

I attempt to live my life in a loving and kind manner.  I choose to be optimistic and see the possibilities.  I want to encourage, inspire and motivate others.  However, when so much is happening that is totally against my beliefs, I find it challenging and sometimes hard to stay centered and balanced.  I am sure you do too.

So what are we to do?  What steps can we take to make a difference, to help redirect the energy in a constructive, meaningful way?

The paths we choose will be different.  My way of impacting change will be different from yours. Whether it is through our community involvement, our work, our writings, our wallet, our music, our compassion, our voice – we must continue to send out meaningful communications and take the necessary actions.

First, take the time to find your inner strength to remain calm within the outer chaos.  Find your balance.  Continue to do what works for you to stay positive, optimistic and kind. Whether that is spending time outdoors in nature, listening to music, baking, sewing, painting, reading, meditating, exercising, creating your form of art expression – keep doing it. And probably more of it. Being in good health and practicing self care will give you confidence, power and resilience. It will help keep you in the right frame of mind to tackle what needs to get done.

Then you can decide how to best proceed.  We all matter.  We all make a difference.  The more we focus on helping, assisting, loving and doing the right thing, the better the outcome.  The shift in consciousness will happen.  It though will take time, attention and commitment.  But it is so worth it!! Together, we can make a difference.

With Light and Love and Balance,

Karen

Be Like a Parachute

Is your mind opened or closed? I find this quote an Interesting way to understand how the mind works – or doesn’t. I immediately went to my skydiving adventure years ago and how important it was for the chute to open! And at the right time.  WOW! What a flashback.  I remember being high for weeks every time I thought about it.  The anxiety before – signing the waiver saying if we died the company was not responsible! And then slowly climbing in our small plane to 12,000 feet – all in silence with my husband, the pilot and our 2 instructors. Then the moment to jump out of the plane and immediately arch to be horizontal with the earth and enjoy the ride! The thrill! Seeing my husband who had jumped first on his descent  – he was beaming.  I was too.  After landing, we were super stoked on accomplishing our mission and landing in one piece!

My husband and I had a tradition of doing something exciting on New Years Day.  The new day was more significant than celebrating on New Years Eve. Since we are not big party goers or drinkers, it was usually a quiet evening, dinner, a walk to view the floats being set up for the Rose Parade, and then getting sleep before our morning adventure. Some type of aerial experience was the norm.  From hot air ballooning to glider plane, to hang gliding and culminating in skydiving.  We considered it a great way to start the New Year.

As I reflect on it now, it was really setting the tone for what was to come in the New Year.  It propelled us out of our comfort zone, challenged us to try something new, and kept us open and receptive to Life. Too often we become creatures of habit; repeating the same things, hesitating to try something new.  However I continue to see the incredible value in exploring the unknown.  Venturing out to new cities, countries, restaurants, trying new sports or activities, changing up the routines.

I feel more alive, more creative and energized.  I encourage you to try something new – be open to the possibilities and all that Life offers. Being open, flexible, nonjudgmental and flowing allows you to think new thoughts, do new things and  It changes you.  It changes how people see you and interact with you. They sense something.  They feel something.  They want to be around your unique energy. 

So go ahead and open your parachute! Even if we have mellowed out a bit, we still seek new adventures, experiences and activities all around the world.  We want to keep our mind, body and soul working and thriving and being alive for many years to come.

With Light and Love,

Karen

 

 

From Dreams to Reality

Fifty years ago, the first astronauts landed and walked on the moon. WOW! What an event.  What appeared at first to be an impossible dream came true.

As quoted by Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, one of the astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission, “One truth I have discovered for sure: When you believe that all things are possible and you are willing to work hard to accomplish your goals, you can achieve the next ‘impossible’ dream. No dream is too high!”

What exactly are dreams? An article from Psychology Today states that dreams are the stories the brain tells during sleep—collections of clips, images, feelings, and memories that involuntarily occur during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of slumber. Dreams typically involve elements from waking lives—known people or familiar locations—but often take on a fantastical feel. Dreams are frequently interesting, and can allow people to act out certain scenarios that would never be possible in real life, (or they could be). People continue mining their nighttime reveries for clues to their inner lives, for creative insight, and even for premonitions and eventual real happenings. Dreams can and do come true!

So will your dreams. If you really want them to! When you think about it, everything that you have accomplished, done, are, and look forward to, came from some form of dream.They started in your dream state, as a desire, a thought, a wish, and sometimes an out of the blue idea. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you manifest your dreams.

  1. Affirm that dreams do come true.
  2. Stay committed to the outcome even when faced with challenges.
  3. Spend time visualizing and refining your dream.
  4. Identify what you need to do to succeed. Gather your resources.
  5. Remain positive when the dream feels like a nightmare – learn the lesson.
  6. Refine and be specific keeping the end result in mind the entire time.
  7. Write it down.  Don’t let an idea get away.
  8. Remember that things take time – be patient.
  9. Be careful who you share your dream with. Others could sabotage it.
  10. Continue having Faith and Believe that your Dream will come true.

I once had a dream of having a warm fur coat for the winters.  I wanted a silver fox.  Well, it came true – sort of! My silver fox materialized in the form of my future husband with his gray hair!.  During the years until meeting him, I had decided against wearing anymore fur.  I took a stand against animal cruelty.  I truly forgot about my silver fox dream.  However, my subconscious did not.  Years later, it came to fruition in a totally different way. A much better way and one that I am thankful for each and every day.

Lesson being that your dream may morph into a different manifestation – but it does come true.

So remember to be aware of your dreams, and refine them along the way. Happy Dreaming!

With Light and Love,

Karen

Awareness Acceptance Action

I recently read an interview with Dylan Lauren, the founder of Dylan’s Candy Bar (and daughter of fashion icon Ralph Lauren). Lauren runs what’s now the largest confectionery emporium in the world with over 20 locations worldwide, offering over 7,000 candies to choose from. Even sweeter is her hard-earned wisdom on how to stay organized, create boundaries with technology, and the lessons she’s learned from her father about succeeding as a business leader.  

She quoted “Awareness, Acceptance and Action” as 3 guiding principles that have greatly assisted her.  I too related to the 3 A’s.

Awareness. The critical 1st step.  We need to be aware of something before we can develop a strategy to deal with it.  Too often, we deny what really is.  We could be scared, fear the worst, not want to be bothered, or think we are above it. Not so. Build the courage to face whatever presents itself and move forward.  Just by becoming aware and recognizing it gives you strength and the ability to move to step 2.

Acceptance. I may not like whatever it is, however I accept the reality of it. Accepting does not mean agreeing with.  It does confirm your intention and commitment to dealing with it.  It also provides the ability to develop the course of action.

Action. The 3rd step.  Taking action will make the difference.  Depending on what actions you take will determine the outcome.  Take the time to develop your plan. Look at your options.  Consider “What if” scenarios. Get advice from trusted friends, family and or colleagues.  You do not have to do this alone if you do not want to. Do what works for you.

Once you decide on your action , commit to seeing it through.  It may involve some hard conversations, some changes in career, relationships, habits and patterns. However, you know inside what is best for you. 

Now go and do it!

With Light and Love,

Karen

Tending your garden

Yesterday I spent some time in the garden.  The weather had warmed up and it was time to refresh some of the previous plantings.  Spending time in nature for me is very therapeutic.  I learn so much as I dig in the dirt, make holes for new plants, enrich the soil, cut off dead flowers and leaves and trim back some of the growth.  I see what has worked and not worked – and why.  Has the sun pattern changed? Did I underestimate or overestimate the growth potential of the plant?  Have the rabbits been savoring the flavor of the flowers?  Is there not enough nutrient rich soil around the roots instead of the clay based ground? I get to observe the bees, wasps and hummingbirds feast on several vines and succulents.  I feel joy!  I feel happiness!  I feel sweet pain afterwards from digging, bending, stooping, squatting and shoveling.  I forgot how much physical labor is involved..however I am thankful that I can still do it.  Of course, I call out to my husband for his muscle and help too!

I realize that while working in the garden helps the plants survive and thrive, it also nourishes me.  My soul, my heart, my Spirit. I showed the garden Love and in return I felt loved.

Whether your garden is large, small, a potted plant or an entire backyard; spend time  tending to your garden.  Watch what happens. See the impact that you have.

I am a very visual person.  I strive to surround myself with beauty, nature, calming and peaceful environments.  However it takes a commitment to continually update, refresh and maintain.  But if it is as important to you as it is to me, you find the time and make it happen.

First, identify what matters to you and devote yourself to it.  Be it gardening, cooking, cleaning, painting, writing, exercising, volunteering, assisting others. It is more important that you choose something that speaks to you and commit to it versus not choosing at all.

Attend your garden and watch how it grows!

With Light and Love,

Karen

 

Compliment Yourself

We all seek acceptance, approval, respect and appreciation.  Whether we are aware of it or not, we do.  However, to only look for it outside of ourselves, expecting others to always see it and acknowledge it, could set one up for disappointment and a feeling of less than.

So what is one to do?  Compliment yourself!  Take the time to acknowledge yourself every day for what you have accomplished, done well.  Pat yourself on the back for staying true to yourself, your beliefs, your dreams and ambitions.  Write it down.  Keep a journal.  And on those days when you are not feeling self confident or stuck, when no one is acknowledging what you have done, read through a few and be aware of how you feel. Are you smiling? Are you feeling more alive and proud? Are you standing taller? Is your self esteem improving? Give yourself the thumbs up! You deserve it.

You are your biggest fan and at times worst critic. You can’t fool yourself.  You know  the truth and can see behind the outer appearance. Also, do not expect to always receive compliments, acknowledgement or approval from others. Reality is that it does not always happen.  That doesn’t mean you do not deserve it.  

During my career, I often had to coach trainees on how to deal with criticism and lack of approval from management.  They thought they had done a good job, however management never said a word,  or saw what still needed to get done and sometimes bluntly told them so.  Handling silence or constructive criticism was not easy for them.  I had some run and hide, outright cry, and even say they were going to quit. We cannot control the behaviour of others.  We can control though, how we react to it.

I coached them on how to best deal with silence or criticism and to shield themselves against it.  They needed to learn the lesson, and then commend themselves for doing the best they could at that time.  The most important component was acknowledging themselves.  Building their own confidence.  Giving themselves the pep talk that we all need.

Have you complimented yourself today?

With Love and Light,

Karen.

 

 

 

 

Magic Moments

The other day my husband sent me this incredibly inspiring story.  A 103 year old woman ran the 50 and 100 meter dashes at the Albuquerque Senior games and won two gold medals. Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins of Baton Rouge, Louisiana set a new record for the 100 plus age division. Julia didn’t start running until she was 101 and prepares for her races by simply working in her yard. She took up cycling in her 80’s and when she became the only competitor in her division her children suggested she take up running. Now she is the oldest woman to ever compete on an American track. Julia said that as you get older you need new challenges to stay alive and alert. When she turned 101 she found a new adventure in running and it has brought her joy and helped her find the “magic moments.”

Since then, many people have reposted the story online. Today Marie Osmond referenced the article and how moved she was by it. She felt so inspired by Julia stepping out of her comfort zone to have a new adventure and challenge, which led to her finding and experiencing the “magic moments.” Marie said that “It’s up to us whether we stay safe in the harbor or challenge ourselves, no matter what our age in life, to get out on the water and find ourselves signing up to live life to the fullest!”

As a runner, I so related to Julia.  I am 65.5 years of age, and usually run 6 days a week totalling around 36 miles.  I then walk the other day.  I give thanks everyday that I am healthy and can continue doing what I love.  Not only does running fulfill my exercise requirements along with yoga, weights and stretching, it helps me destress, keep active, meditate and be in the moment. The benefits for me are beyond any other activity. I find so many “Magic Moments” during my runs – hearing and seeing the waves crashing on the shore, the seagulls and pelicans flying overhead, the joy in children’s faces as they dig in the sand, the rock sculptures that stand on edge maintaining perfect balance, seeing friends and fellow runners and waving hello, and being out on some of the runs with my husband.  Very special indeed. So many magical moments.

 I do though wonder sometimes how much longer I will be able to do this.  And many people have asked me what my secret is!  No secret at all.  I just desire to do it, I am disciplined to do it, I make the time to do it, and I alternate between 2 pair of good running shoes that I replace after about 230 miles each.  So quarterly, I buy 2 new pairs.  Without fail. That would be my secret.  And I do not push myself to be the fastest – I go at my pace and finish my race!

I look forward to many more years of activity through my running and walking.  I am shooting to run till I am atleast 105!!!!!

To your good health! And to your Magic Moments!

With Light and Love,

Karen

Gone Fishing

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers in the world! Know that your love, support, guidance and encouragement has forever impacted others lives.

Parents  are role models for children to learn how to be and act. They help mold our thoughts and dreams, ambitions and desires.  Through their words and actions, we internalize and make decisions for our futures.  

My father loved to fish.  He would go out with his brother on the lake many times.  It was always interesting that when he returned, there were no fish!!!! When I asked where they were, he would say I tossed them back into the water.  I had a hard time understanding this practice.  It wasn’t until we went out together years later that I understood. Being out on the boat, on the water, was his “Happy Place.”  It was his “escape” from the world, from his business.  A time to truly be with himself.  The quiet, calmness, peacefulness of being one with nature was truly special.  It was his way of recharging his Spirit.  

I too find peace and comfort out in nature.  Now, I give thanks for living at the beach, enjoying running along the water’s edge, feeling the sand below, watching the seagulls, dolphins, surfers and others.  It is my “Happy Place.”  What is your “Happy Place?”

I give thanks to my Dad for showing me how important it is to take the time to refresh and recharge.  

With LIght and Love,

Karen