Gearing Up

The term “Gearing Up” usually refers to getting ready for something, especially an upcoming action or event, or preparing for something. It can be used for any number of things, small or large, minor or major, just about anything.  For me, it is a motivating term to psyche myself up to face what lies in front of me to tackle.  So much of gearing up, in addition to the right mental state, is about having the tools and items necessary to be successful in the endeavor. For instance:

  • To kick off each day, before I get out of bed, I say my affirmations, give thanks for another day, and declare that the day will be a grand and glorious one. 
  • For my daily runs I need running shoes in good condition.
  • To make nut butters, I need a strong enough blender (like a cuisinart).
  • To protect my face from the sun while outside I need a visor and sunscreen. 
  • For the bouganvillea to grow and blossom I need to fertilize and water.
  • To prevent the rabbits from getting through the walkway gates we need to attach wire mesh.
  • And to protect myself and others during the pandemic and into the foreseeable future, I need to wear a face mask to go to the grocery store and when social distancing is not possible.
  • To ensure a good nights sleep, I do not drink coffee after 3:30 pm, I refrain from being online after dinner, and as I settle in, I give thanks for another day, affirming peace, love, harmony, health and joy.
  • To maintain my health and calm within the current chaos, I need to continue my yoga, breathing, meditation, mindfulness, nutrition and self care programs.

All of the above are forms of “Gearing Up” “Psyching Up”  or “Showing Up” that work for me.  It all starts in our mind and with our attitude. What processes do you use to get yourself ready to face each new day? Even with challenges and detours and unexpected surprises, I commit to making my day special and worth living. I never want to take it for granted.

With Light and Love and to your Gearing Up, Psyching Up and Showing Up for your Life!
Karen

 

Finding your 2nd Wind

According to Wikipedia, a Second Wind is a phenomenon in distance running, such as marathons or road running (as well as other sports), whereby an athlete who is out of breath and too tired to continue suddenly finds the strength to press on at top performance with less exertion. Some scientists believe the second wind to be a result of the body finding the proper balance of oxygen to counteract the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. Others claim second winds are due to endorphin production.

Documented experiences of the second wind go back at least 100 years, when it was taken to be a commonly held fact of exercise. The phenomenon has come to be used as a metaphor for continuing on with renewed energy. 

Are you in need of Finding your Second Wind? I know I need mine now more than ever. Even more than when I was running half and full marathons. I am having to reach deep within to power up strength to deal with and handle all the pandemic fall out. Every day the impact continues to reach more, impact more, and disrupt what was our life.

Since yesterday when I usually begin to write my weekly post, I was having difficulty finding the inspiration on what to write about.  Upon reflecting more and discussing with my husband, we determined that with the pandemic overshadowing everything, it was more challenging to find the sources to be inspired and uplifted.  For example, we have enjoyed the Sunday paper for years.  Now, with all live cultural events such as plays, musicals, dance performances, book launches, fashion shows, concerts and other types of entertainment on pause, there is not much for a news outlet to report other than statistics and updates on the pandemic. We are all now watching individually on our mobile devices videos and streams of concerts, Broadway productions, museum tours, travel pics, podcasts and so much more.  True, it is not the same as live, however I am grateful to have these resources available. Though I have to admit, as the days roll from one into another, and the new reality of life takes hold through all the adaptations and adjustments we are making, I feel a sadness. 

And today seeing and speaking with familiar faces at Trader Joes, others are feeling it too. So what is one to do? For me, I will internally reset and find strength from my Second Wind to propel me forward and overcome to thrive. I make a commitment to myself to refuse to allow outer circumstances to negatively impact my life. Practicing self care is a key component of my being able to handle this and any challenge that comes my way. 

My husband and I will walk the beach today, giving thanks for living where we do and being able to appreciate the beauty around us and spending time in nature.

I will also look at my daily routines and see where I can inject bursts of positive reinforcement and inspiration. For we have unlimited potential and incredible opportunities just waiting for us to discover. We just need to make the choice and find those gold nuggets. Keep dreaming, keep believing, keep visualizing, and keep moving forward creating your life.

With Light and Love and finding your Second Wind,
Karen

Finding Solutions

When faced with a challenge (problem), how do you respond?  I for one, go into overdrive. My mind offers up sometimes crazy ideas and potential solutions that at first seem ridiculous. However, it only takes one of those ideas to solve the puzzle. Or several of them put together.

We all have different ways we deal with the problem at hand. Some of us thrive. Some of us freeze up and do not know how to proceed. Some of us rely on others to help guide us. The important thing is to seek out the help you need to find the solution. I also find that when we brainstorm together, we build on the ideas of one another and achieve our objective faster and usually with a better outcome. Another way to deal with whatever dilemna you are facing is to “sleep on it.” It is amazing how our minds continue to process events of the day and offer up solutions. Even if you do not set the intention of solving the problem before closing your eyes, it will usually surface. Here is an example:

Yesterday we noticed how the rabbits were totally destroying our backyard grass. It seemed like overnight the grass went from being healthy, green, full and damage  free, to being a mess. My husband and I looked at the options both short term for immediate help and then long term.

For Short Term:

  • We could ignore the problem and let it be. (not really an option as we enjoy the beauty and calm of our backyard)
  • We could attach wire mesh to the front and side walkway gates to keep the rabbits out. ( We would hire someone with the expertise and not try to DIY).

For Longer Term:

  • We are looking to replace the wrought iron open design gate entrances with combination wood and wrought iron to eliminate the need of wire mesh and to add a fresh new design feature.
  • We could replace the grass with artificial turf of which I had resisted. But enough is enough.

After reviewing, we decided on the first step of adhering wire mesh to the gates to keep the critters out. Until the handyman could come and install, we could temporarily adhere a lighter mesh to the gates ourselves. Although we were not sure how to do that, I had a realization in the middle of the night.  I woke up and said to myself “magnets”. Magnets? Yes!  I have a glass and metal dragonfly attached by a magnet to my bedroom full image mirror which has a wrought iron frame.  I then remembered seeing magnets attached to a file cabinet in my husband’s office. I couldn’t wait till morning to move forward on the project and see if it would work. We tested the magnets from his file cabinet on the gate and they stuck! So off to the hardware store we go. We buy the wire mesh for the handyman, the lighter mesh and additional magnets for us to use until he comes. And guess what? It worked perfectly!!!!! Amazing how it came together. Phase one of the solution solved. Next step is to call the handyman to professionally install the wire mesh.

Then we can take our time and find the perfect wood combination gates that would blend with a new garage door. And if we later decide to go with artificial turf we will.

Within 24 hours, we identified the challenge. We put a strategy together with options. We decided on a course of action. And we moved forward to resolve the problem. It has been challenging no doubt. And if you recall from a previous blog, we are also dealing with the pinhole pipe leak in our garage! We really did not need another challenge. After a few screams, swear words and tears, we faced it head on with a determined approach to succeed. Even though we were in the midst of a “Breakdown” yesterday, today we are making a “Breakthrough.”

And so will you. In whatever situation you find yourself in. Know that you can find the right solution for you. Ask for help, seek guidance and advise, use the tools available, and reflect on your options. If you need to, write it all down. And use the power of your mind and subconscious to sleep on it. You will be amazed at the ideas that surface. Stay open, be flexible and have the confidence that you will succeed. And know that Breakdowns precede Breakthroughs. You will get to the other side and find the solution.

With Light and Love
Karen

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sights, Sounds and Scents of Spring

As the weather turns warmer, and the days get longer, I am tuning into nature more and realizing how special it is and how enlivening it feels. A few of my favorite happenings recently:

  • Waking up to the birds singing
  • Having a ladybug fly onto my leg during my run
  • Seeing caterpillars inching their way across the sidewalk
  • Enjoying the Monarch butterflies fly around me
  • Seeing the bougainvillea reblooming in our backyard
  • Smelling and seeing the jasmine flourishing
  • Watching how bulbs and flowers are blossoming everywhere I look
  • Seeing the baby ducks in the golf course pond
  • Observing the hummingbirds feeding on our vines
  • Watching the doves mate and create their nests
  • Relishing the sunsets over the Pacific ocean

During these trying times of sheltering in place, protecting ourselves and others with face masks, social distancing, and limited outings mostly to the grocery store, I can redirect my focus to embracing Mother Nature and relish in Spring unfolding. It is a great way to rebalance and stay calm.

Feel how nourishing and comforting it truly is to be outdoors and enjoy the many aspects of Spring. I even spent some time yesterday after our run pulling weeds in our gardens and visualizing the changes I will be making.

For change is coming! In all shapes and sizes and colors and rhythms and scents. I do not have the crystal ball that shows exactly what will happen, however I do know that I have a say in it. We create our world. Yes, things outside of our control do happen. And we then choose to deal with them or become the victim. I choose to deal with them, influence them, visualize my desires, and create my world. For my world is my life which is composed of what I have thought and created and continue to think and create. I choose to thrive, not just survive.

Yes, I have many questions that are unanswered. However, it is my nature to figure it out.

And just like with the blessings of Spring, continual growth and blossoming is part of my DNA as it is yours.  Let’s not allow the current global conditions to take that away.  Imagine your new world, your better than ever life, your future. It is up to each and everyone of us to be an active participant, contributor and creator of our world. Be inspired by the beauty of Spring all around and begin to imagine and create your world.

With Light and Love,
Karen

 

Learning Life’s Lessons

Lessons are all around us. Not only in a classroom environment, an online course, a workshop, seminar or other structured formal setting. Lessons surround us all the time in our daily life. We learn from each other and from the world events. Everything that happens has meaning and purpose to it. We just need to understand what that is and why it is happening. Because some of it we really did not expect, want, or appreciate. However there is a reason and something to learn. That is the true value.
Over the last few days, 2 things happened of note in my Life.

  1. Our car would not start. Thankfully it was in the garage and AAA came and replaced the battery. It was also the same day that my husband felt tired and took a day off to just rest versus going together to grocery shop.
  2. We discovered a water leak on the garage ceiling. Was it the roof or the plumbing? At first we thought it was the roof since we have had heavy rains recently, although not for a week. So we believe it is the plumbing from the upstairs master bathroom. We are lining up the plumber to schedule the repairs.

In reflecting on what was happening on the outside, we gave thought to why and what this was teaching us.  What  was going on inside of us?  A dead car battery symbolizes  thoughts and feelings of being drained, overworked, stressed out, or involved in a draining relationship or life situation. Water is a metaphor for our emotions, so a leaky roof or a plumbing problem can mean that you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed.

I would say that the current global crisis has definitely affected us, leaving us feeling stressed, drained, and overwhelmed. It is impacting everyone. However I thought that we were handling it pretty good. These recent events suggest otherwise.

What do we do? We need to take action both on the issues in the real world and also the issues within us (the true real world). We will turn over the outer world plumbing issue to the experts. We can only speculate what the problem is which causes uncertainty, more questions and no answers. By having the experts handle it, we can then focus our energies on resolving our inner world’s needs. 

Some questions we posed to ourselves:
What do we need to do to offset all the negativity and chaos? 
What practices do we need to enhance our wellbeing and stay calm? 
How do we step it up to better protect and shield ourselves against what is happening? 

Given that we pride ourselves on doing what is best for us – proper nutrition, exercise, right thinking, adequate sleep, mindfulness, being compassionate, kind and loving, being grateful and thankful – I was somewhat surprised that we needed to reassess and do more. We needed to go into overdrive as these are not normal times. We may not be able to control the current outer world circumstances, but we can control how we allow them to impact us. 

I would recommend that we all revisit our self care practices and step them up a notch or two or three.  I would also look for the significance of things happening around us to better understand what is happening within us. What lessons are there to be learned? What realizations will you uncover?

We all need to take extra and better care of ourselves in order to care for each other and the planet. The current journey we are all on is filled with life changing events that hold many lessons to learn. I pray that we are mindful enough and receptive enough to realize them, heed them and then do the right thing.

With Light and Love and Lessons to Learn,
Karen

How Are You Really Feeling?

 

I consider myself an optimistic realist. I look for the brighter side, the silver lining, the rainbow, the possibilities, and the solutions to resolve whatever concerns and challenges I am facing. I know the importance of right self talk and thinking and the impact it has on my being. I focus on the things that uplift me, motivate me, inspire me and propel me forward. Healthy mind = Healthy body.

The Global Crisis that we are now experiencing is truly testing everyone’s ability to not just function but to thrive. Within a few weeks, our world has been turned upside down. Life, as we have known it with its rhythms and routines no longer exists. For too many, It now feels quite unsettling, uncomfortable, scary, unpredictable, and out of our control.

However, what is within our control is how we interpret what is happening, react to it, deal with it or for some, hide or run from it. The journey to get through it begins with asking ourselves “How are we really feeling?”

The usual responses in the past have been “great, good, okay.” Even when you were feeling “lonely, depressed, uncomfortable, sad, or angry”, most people would not respond with the real truth. Perhaps denial, fear or being numb were blocking out the ability to be in touch with one’s feelings.

But now – more than ever, we need to acknowledge and truly feel what we are feeling.  In order to move forward we must be honest with ourselves. Identifying how we are really feeling is the beginning. Once we are aware, we can deal with it and develop the best strategy to survive and thrive.

I for one, am grateful to be alive and well. Some of you are aware that I am a cancer survivor of 15 years. Every day I give thanks. I focus on staying healthy, being happy, finding joy. However, I am at a stage of life where I can devote time to me. Self care is a key component to it all. And because of its importance, regardless of how busy and stressed or overwhelmed you may be, it is critical for you too. For it is only when I take the time for me, that I can better help and serve others. How I go about taking care of me may be different than what you are or will do. That’s okay. I would though focus on nourishing and nurturing the following: Your spirit, your mind, your body. Eat right, think good thoughts, exercise, get proper sleep, find creative outlets and hobbies. Pamper yourself with an at home spa hour or two to soak, self massage, or give yourself a facial. Get dressed. Put on some makeup. Do your hair. Listen to music and dance. Do your nails. Do what works for you to feel alive and well.

And remember to frequently check in with yourself and ask how you are feeling. Be honest. Have a good cry if you need that. Let go. Scream a little. Laugh. Make funny faces. Accept what you are feeling without criticism.  Know you are not alone in this. Seek help if you feel you cannot do it by yourself. Talk to someone. And give yourself a great big Hug. Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Spend time every day acknowledging and thanking yourself for taking care of YOU!. It is your #1 responsibility. First and foremost. By so doing, you have the strength, energy, determination, desire and ability to do what needs to get done and to be there for others. 

Sending you a great big virtual Hug!
With Light and Love,

Karen

 

 

Rebirth, Renewal and Rejuvenation

Rebirth, Renewal and Rejuvenation.These 3 words for me depict the meaning of Passover and Easter. The two holidays have so much in common, though each with distinct differences. Regardless of your upbringing and your religious and spiritual preferences, we all can appreciate the learnings from both.

Rabbi Daniel F. Polish wrote in a 2018 article the following:
“Passover and Easter, beneath their manifest historical and theological content, can be seen as the human reaction to the liberation from the harsh confinement of winter to the verdant restoration of life and promise that all of us feel as we experience the bursting buds and radiant colors, the soft air and beautiful scents that mark the beginning of the new season. And more, both holidays are joined at their core in finding us rejoicing in the defeat of death and the gift of life restored.”  

I could not agree more.  However, I acknowledge that this year, the feelings of rejoicing have been harder to achieve. Traditions and “how we used to do things” are no longer. This is not just transitioning from winter to spring. This is a new reality. A new world. A new and different way of living. One in which we will adapt and adjust many times to eventually settle in.

How are you creating your new normal? Are you establishing new routines and schedules, being free flowing and flexible? Or are you resistant to change? Angry or resentful? Or perhaps a little of all. I am with you in having all those feelings too. However I set my intention and choose to be reborn, renewed and rejuvenated. You have the choice as well. Take the time to reflect how to move forward, what gets discarded, what stays, what gets added. Then you can make the best choices for you. And remember, we probably all will be revising our 2020 Vision Boards.

Having retired, I admit that my husband’s and my patterns and routines have not changed that much during this pandemic. We are home bodies. We have always focused on creating a peaceful, loving, calm space and will continue to do so every day with music playing and with candles or diffusers permeating calming scents throughout the house. We, along with everyone, are doing our part to reduce the spread of the virus. We are sheltering in place, keeping interactions with others at a minimum and maintaining social distancing while doing grocery shopping every 7-10 days, as well as on our daily walks and runs. Keeping up a daily exercise routine is paramount to our well being. I hope you do too. Thank goodness our beaches are still open and our community respects and adheres to proper social distancing. That is my sanctuary. I am grateful every day to be able to enjoy that space and be nourished by its energy and peace.

Of course we miss connecting with others, occasional get togethers, dinners out, live cultural events,  group yoga classes,  movie theatre outings. However I acknowledge that this is only a temporary state – it will change. And as the weather warms up, I can also devote time to gardening and planting.

Like most of us, my usage is up on mobile devices. However I am committed to limiting my exposure to all the news alerts. Not always easy to back off, but so important to keep my sanity. I am thoroughly enjoying tuning into musical shows, Broadway plays, concerts, Cirque du Soleil performances, meditation, yoga classes, or other activities that are being offered. In fact, we just tuned into Andrea Bocelli performing live from the Duomo di Milano. Beyond spectacular.
Remember, you are in control. Make the right choices for you.

I realize that your daily routines and rhythms may be drastically different than mine. You may be juggling schooling at home for your children, sharing office space in the dining room or den with your partner, caring for elderly or ill family, or out of work and beyond stressed. My heart goes out to you.

I am also sending my deepest thanks and gratitude to all the medical teams, doctors, nurses, first responders, scientists, researchers, grocery and pharmacy employees for going above and beyond. And every day, without exception, upon awakening and as I settle in for a good nights sleep, I say my affirmations and give thanks for another day being alive and well. 

Let the meaning of Passover and Easter remind us all that Spring has started, there is hope for new beginnings and joy to be found all around us. And although we are in a crisis today, being forced to shelter in place, limiting our social encounters, we have been able to reflect more and slow down. We have the time to re-establish our priorities, to appreciate and truly look around to find nature’s beauty. It is there for us all. Always. 

May you find the peace, joy, harmony and love that is in you and surrounds you.

With Light and Love,
Karen

 

 

 

Sleep

I love sleep! And I can usually drift off easily into what I call my cocoon. During these trying times I especially find sleeping a little longer helps to protect and keep me calm.  Like the other night. The winds had been blowing and the weather was a bit unstable. My allergies acted up so much that I went to bed at 7pm. However that night, I did not fall asleep right away as my nose kept itching. But at least I was horizontal! I was able to rest and sleep till 8 am the next day. My allergies subsided, I felt recharged.

I reflected on what had happened. I consider myself a sensitive person that can feel the energy around me – from people, places and objects. As much as I attempt to shield myself with my invisible bubble, sometimes I cannot. I allowed too many news alerts and information regarding the Covid-19 virus to impact me. I even had to ask a friend who I would see while on my run, keeping our respective social distance, to not talk about all the chaos, the statistics, the negative headlines when I saw him. My run/walk time is very special to me. I not only am exercising my body, I am calming my mind and affirming Peace, Love, Joy, Harmony and Health. I do not want anything or anyone to interfere with that time for me. It helps me keep my balance and calm.

Taking care of ourselves is key. Especially in today’s reality. We are all finding the new normal, or the new abnormal!  We are all handling the stress and anxiety differently. Feelings of anger, resentment, frustration, helplessness, loneliness, depression, and grief are common. Take the time to assess your feelings. Establish parameters to how much news you listen to or read, versus how much inspiring, nourishing, programs you absorb to stay balanced and committed to getting to the otherside. Practice being in the moment. Projecting into the future, with all the uncertainties, will not help your state of being. 

And when you feel somewhat overwhelmed, take a deep long breath. Or several. Listen to some calming music or podcast meditation. And when you feel calm you can drift into a healing sleep. Go into your cocoon and find comfort. Snuggle in for a good nights rest. You will nourish yourself to take on tomorrow and all the tomorrows after that.

For tomorrow will come and the sun will shine brightly.

With Light and Love and a good night’s sleep,
Karen

 

Get Ready to Transform

Transforming your Life involves going beyond the way you currently live, co-creating a better Life for yourself, and changing the way you live. You do this by using your thoughts, visualization, words, faith, actions, or a combination of them. (HuffPost 2015, Dr. Nella Ann Roberts)
If ever there was a time for transformation, it is definitely NOW. As I read headlines and articles to keep abreast of what is happening during the Covid-19 crisis, I continue to come across comments like:
* Our lives will be transformed
* Unprecedented Times
* We’re all in this together
* We will overcome and eventually thrive
* How we do things will change
* Priorities will be re-established
 
Though the how, when, where, and what are unanswered questions, we know for sure that Life as we know it, is being transformed. Not knowing the specifics and having so much in limbo, is not easy to navigate. Change is hard. Especially when it has been thrust upon us so quickly and unexpectedly. I did not ask for this! And although I cannot control what is happening, I can control how I react, respond and move forward.  I have learned to take deep breaths (lots of them throughout the day), remain calm, and stay as much as I can in the present moment.  I practice social distancing, staying healthy and shielding myself as best I can. When I try to think what the future reality will look like, I get somewhat unsettled, I feel anxious and more confused. So I return to being in the NOW.
 
I realize I do not have the answers.  What I do have is my resolve and determination to get to the other side. And primary for me is to stay healthy in mind, body and spirit. I am a preemie after all.
I focus on what I can do, like:
*Being compassionate, loving and kind to myself, my husband and to others
*Being grateful and appreciative for my life
*Taking my self care seriously which includes:
*Proper nutrition
*Daily activities like running, stretching, weights and yoga practice
*Right Thinking
*Proper Sleep

I encourage you to also focus on what you can control. Take each day as a brand new opportunity to improve and thrive.
Take the time to Reflect, Renew and Refresh. Set new guidelines that work for you for now. And stay open to adapt and adjust as needed.
 
Establish parameters for yourself and your loved ones to limit your exposure to the news alerts, not allowing them to run or ruin your well being. Focus on what is truly important. Find new activities, hobbies and projects to stimulate creativity, positivity and keep you inspired and motivated. Allow your thoughts to identify new opportunities, new ways of being and doing, better and more efficient and effective processes and procedures. 
And remember:
*We’re all in this together
*We will overcome and eventually thrive
*We will be transformed
 
With Light and Love,
Karen

My Hand Washing Mantra

Om Mani Padme Hum is a well-loved Buddhist mantra commonly translated as, “The jewel is in the lotus.” or “Praise to the jewel in the lotus.”
Reciting this mantra over and over again, with the right intention, is believed to get rid of the mud and muck until we are as sparkling, pure, compassionate and wise as the lotus flower itself. 

While washing my hands lately as highly recommended to protect myself from Covid-19 germs,  instead of singing Happy Birthday for 20 seconds, I find that reciting this mantra helps me recenter and calm myself while cleansing my hands. I am disinfecting physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I sing it slowly and twice to complete my 20 second cycle.

What song or mantra are you using when washing your hands? When the right one resonates with you, you will find yourself also reciting it at other times of the day and night to help you deal with the reality of the world today. And we certainly all can use more help, guidance and assistance there.

We all need methods in which to calm our minds and destress. I have found that musicians, singers, artists, yoga instructors, fitness trainers, motivational speakers, gurus, and so many others are using the social media platforms to help everyone deal with everything we are experiencing today. I applaud all their efforts and am grateful for their willingness to spread healing vibrations to everyone.

Being informed of the latest news is important, however it is coming at us from so many sources of which not all are reliable. So I suggest reducing your time watching, reading or listening to prevent being overwhelmed. Be selective with who you speak with to reduce being bombarded with negativity and despair. However do assist those that you can uplift with your kind, inspiring and calming words and deeds.

Spend time outdoors nourishing yourself. Take a walk, run, cycle, hike, or just sit and take in fresh air, sun, wind, nature’s beauty around you. Be mindful of others and keep your respective distance. Yesterday while out running with my husband along the beach we did just that. We enjoyed being outdoors, said hi to neighbors also out enjoying themselves, but respected everyone’s space. Today we will do the same on our Sunday walk.

I also found myself singing my mantra after saying my daily affirmations. It is important that we send out healing vibrations to ourselves, others and the planet. Be a carrier of health, wellbeing and calmness.

We will get through this. 

With Light and Love,
Om Mani Padme Hum,

Karen