Time Out

Life is not a straight line or arrow. Throughout one’s Life, there are detours, u turns,  wrong turns, unexpected challenges and more. There are also wonder filled moments, experiences, surprises, adventures and Joy. We make choices. We make adjustments. We reroute. We stop and reassess. 

That is part of Life.
And so, at this time in my Life, I am taking a Time Out from my weekly Blog postings that I have done since January 2018. I am focused on my husbands recovery to a complete healing and committed to my personal self care to remain strong and healthy.

I will continue to share with you some insights from organizations I respect and follow to nourish my soul and keep me centered, balanced, uplifted, inspired, positive and enlivened.

With Light and Love,
Karen


 

Being Tested

Have you ever felt like the world is against you?
Things happen that come out of nowhere and totally challenge your faith?
Did you want to crawl under the covers and pray it would all go away? Or twitch your nose like Bewitched?
Did you have a breakdown, a meltdown, a total sobbing session?

Well I have this past week.
I usually am a very private person, I focus on the positive. I love life and give thanks for being alive and well. However this week I have been rattled, shaken, and challenged. I ask myself “Will I get through this? Will I get stronger? Or will it break me?  I choose to get stronger and get to the other side.

For that is how I deal with things. I look at the situation and ask questions to find answers, to find the solution, to look at options that are available. I probably want to control, however I realize that I cannot. But I can choose how I deal with it all. Will I give in, give up? Maybe for a little bit. Then I take a deep breath, regroup and shift into overdrive to resolve it, finding the best way to handle it. And during it all, I continue to give thanks for my life. For the good far outweighs the bad.

The details.
My husband we believe was bit by an insect on a run last Thursday. It was a pretty windy day and I even had sand get into my nose. That evening, there was a skin irritation under his right eye and a small spot by his nose. By Friday, it had swelled considerably and he only wanted to sleep. By Saturday morning, the inflamation was worse, so off to Urgent Care we go. After starting oral antibiotics that evening, we thought it would improve. Unfortunately, it did not. 
Monday morning, back to his doctor we go, who sent us to ER. After spending all day, (Who knew that Mondays are the busiest day of the week in ER!) he was given stronger IV antibiotics and admitted into the hospital. Dealing with an unknown infection, various antibiotics were administered until the right mix worked. His skin had become quite inflamed. The right side of his face was swollen, red and had blisters. He was in the hospital until Friday when I brought him home.
It will take a few weeks as his skin slowly heals as we continue on antibiotics. All he wants to do is sleep and make it go away. I wish I could grant his wish. I can though do everything in my power to make him comfortable as the healing continues.

Then to top it off, Friday evening, the day I brought him home, our hot water heater went out!  I YouTubed how to reset it, but when a flash and pop sound came out of the bottom, I turned off everything. Fortunately we were able to get a tech over Saturday, and a replacement tank is being installed.

Over this week, I have kept myself strong by devoting more time to my running, strength training, yoga, meditation, reading, praying and listening to music. I have been comforted and nourished by keeping my regime intact. Finding the calm within the storm around me.

However I am being flexible as my priority is to assist my husband in the healing process. He was there for me during my cancer 16 plus years ago. I want to be with him now when he needs all the love, prayers and wishes for a complete recovery. 

As we face challenges in Life, we have a choice on how to best deal with them. But deal with them we must for they will not magically go away. That’s what we do. We help each other. We are there for each other. I was so moved by friends who prayed with me this week after asking where he was while out running on the beach or in the neighborhood. So many have sent their wishes and prayers via text, call or email. We are grateful and thankful and feel the love.

It makes a world of difference! By sharing this, I wish to encourage us all to be kind, be compassionate, be loving. Help each other. For we really do not know what someone is going through. Let’s assist one another in finding their inner strength.

I give thanks.
With Light and Love and Strength.
Karen

 

Impatient or I’m Patient

Same letters! Totally opposite meaning! A small change – adding an apostrophe between the I and M and putting a space to make two words – and a less than positive approach transforms into the way to be.

I had this realization the other day and it has been on my mind since. How many other things are there that when you make an adjustment, a tweak here, a tweak there, the result is amazing! An aha moment.

Life is forever changing. Nothing stands still, although sometimes it feels like it is. Like when the coffee is brewing, the cross walk light is still red, a minute in the microwave seems so much longer, the line at the grocery store check out has not budged, the bougainvillea does not appear to be blooming, just to name a few.

Every minute is different from the one before and the one ahead. Sometimes we do not notice the subtle differences, but they are happening. 

Like the subtle difference made in the title and the impact it had. I believe lessons are all around us. If we stay open to receive them, we can learn what we need to learn. 

Although I think I am a patient person, I do find myself being impatient at times. Do you? However I am learning that by taking a deep breath and calming myself, centering myself, letting the noise go, I feel myself relaxing and accepting what is. I then can allow the process to unfold in its timing, not mine.

We definitely can use more patience now. As we are all finding our new normal way of living, we could use more compassion, tolerance and patience with each other. Everyone is dealing with their own unique situation and we should respect that. It may be different than how we are handling it, however my truth may not be your truth. As long as we respect each other and do no harm, let it be. Breathe, accept and go your own way. Be patient. You will feel better.

And taking care of ourselves is key to leading a more fulfilling life.  One of the silver linings of this past year has been the knowledge we have gained about our own priorities, values, and what makes us happy. We have taken the time to reflect and renew ourselves. What is really important? Top of my list continues to be good health and peace of mind. I have also noticed that discussions on well being, self care and immunotherapy have gained momentum. More people are focused on it. Companies are behind it also as they bring employees back under one roof and integrate both remote and office work spaces. We are all figuring it out. It takes time. It takes focus. It takes a tweak here and a tweak there. It takes patience.

And that will make a world of difference.

With Light and Love and being Patient,
Karen

 

Meals for the Mind

What are you having for breakfast, lunch and dinner today?
Do you prepare ahead of time and set a menu?
Do you see what is in the refrigerator, freezer, or cabinets and create something?
Do you have to make a run to the local grocery store or order via a food delivery service?
Do you order take out?
Or do you look forward to dining at a variety of different restaurants?

Think about it. When we are hungry, we eat. However, do we look at the food as fuel and nourishment for our bodies to stay healthy? Or do we eat what tastes good though may not be good for us? Or just because it is that time to eat?

If you have a car that requires fuel, you fill up the tank with the right type of gasoline or diesel in order for the vehicle to perform at it’s best.

Same with our body and mind! 
To maximize our performance and health, we need proper nourishment. 
Our mind needs the proper fuel to provide us with clear, accurate, positive and inspiring thoughts which will impact everything we do. 

Have you ever experienced a sugar high? What happens after? Yes, a dip to a low- sometimes with shakes, sometimes with a mood swing bordering on anxiety and depression.  What we eat impacts our ability to think, to stay healthy, to perform and to thrive.

Thoughts become things. I read a quote this morning that says:
Your mind will believe everything you tell it.
Feed it Hope.
Feed it Truth.
Feed it with Love.
(And I will add, feed it with proper nutrition!)

Right now, we are faced with re-adjusting to post-Covid life. How are you strengthening yourself to remain immune to illness, physically, mentally and spiritually? How are you building yourself up, protecting yourself against other people’s anxiety, nervousness and uneasiness with being around others?

It all starts with taking care of ourselves first. And food plays an integral part in that. In an article from Medical News Today, 12 foods are identified to boost brain function and the health of our body, mind and spirit.
Oily Fish
Dark Chocolate
Berries
Nuts and Seeds
Whole grains
Coffee
Avocados 
Peanuts
Eggs
Broccoli 
Kale 
Soy

The foods listed may help improve a person’s memory and concentration. Some may also reduce the risk of stroke and age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Some of the foods contain compounds such as healthful fatty acids, which can help improve the structure of brain cells called neurons. Other compounds, such as sugars and saturated fats, may damage brain cell structures.

This is a great list to start with. 
Outside of broccoli and soy, I incorporate all the above into my diet. In addition, other fruits and vegetables play a large part. Of course, an occasional alcoholic beverage on the weekend, and a dark chocolate mousse with cherries and I am set. I do not deviate much. However I have my boundaries. 

Happy Meal Prepping!

With Light and Love and Meals for your Mind,
Karen

 

Love your Brain

Did you know that June Is Alzheimer’s And Brain Awareness Month? It was declared in 2014 by the Alzheimer’s Association to help raise awareness about the disease, as well as show support for the millions of people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. It’s also a time to recognize caregivers for the support they provide to those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia, with nearly 50 million people currently living with the disease worldwide. Perhaps more alarmingly, that number is expected to reach 132 million by 2050.

I am all too familiar with the disease. My mother suffered from it and spent many years in a nursing home that could give her the support, attention and care that she needed. And even though she may not have been able to recognize us anymore, or carry on a conversation, she seemed to be at peace in her bubble, listening to music and smiling. She remains one of the sweetest and most loving human beings I will ever encounter. Her spirit continues to smile and radiate love every day.

Having had this close to home experience with Alzheimer’s, I pay extra attention to preventative measures. That is why I support the Alzheimer’s Association to encourage Americans to make brain health a priority. Especially as we return to living a normal life as we get to the other side of Covid-19. This past year has been extremely challenging. Stress, depression, frustration, anxiety, and mood swings have all increased and impacted our quality of life. And quality of life dramatically impacts our ability to stay healthy and maintain a strong immune system to ward off illnesses. 
So how do we flip the switch? Here are some suggestions from the Alzheimer’s Association to help us restore our mental well-being.
1. Recommit to brain-healthy basics
Evidence suggests that healthy behaviors took a back seat for many Americans during the pandemic. Gym memberships were put on hiatus, social engagement became more challenging and many Americans swapped out healthful eating for their favorite comfort foods, take-out meals and frequent snacking while working remotely. One study published recently found participants gained nearly 1.5 pounds per month over the past year, on average. The Alzheimer’s Association — through its U.S. POINTER Study — is examining the role lifestyle interventions, including diet, may play in protecting cognitive function. Right now, many experts agree that people can improve their brain health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline by adopting healthy lifestyle habits, preferably in combination, including:
Exercise regularly — Regular cardiovascular exercise helps increase blood flow to the body and brain, and there is strong evidence that regular physical activity is linked to better memory and thinking. Protect your brain by wearing a helmet when cycling or playing contact sports. Prevent injuries through strength training and being careful to avoid falls.
Maintain a healthy heart  — Stick to a meal schedule full of fruits and vegetables to ensure a well-balanced diet. Some evidence suggests a healthful diet is linked to cognitive performance. The Mediterranean and DASH diets are linked to better cognitive functioning and help reduce risk of heart disease as well. Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke — obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes — negatively impact your cognitive health. Take care of your heart, and your brain just might follow.
Get proper sleep — Maintaining a regular, uninterrupted sleep pattern benefits physical and psychological health, and helps clear waste from the brain. Adults should get at least seven hours of sleep each night and try to keep a routine bedtime.
Stay socially and mentally active — Meaningful social engagement may support cognitive health, so stay connected with friends and family. Engage your mind by doing activities that stump you, like completing a jigsaw puzzle or playing strategy games. Or challenge yourself further by learning a new language or musical instrument. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically. Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain.
Stop smoking – Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.
Show Gratitude – Be thankful and grateful to be alive, healthy, happy and safe. Life is short, there is uncertainty and constant change. Appreciate the little things for they are the most important.

2. Return to normal at your own pace
Many Americans are eager for a return to normal life following the pandemic, but others are anxious. In fact, one recent survey found that nearly half of adults (49%) report feeling uncomfortable about returning to in-person interactions when the pandemic ends. For those feeling anxious, the Alzheimer’s Association suggests taking small steps. It may also be important to set boundaries and communicate your preferences to others in your social circles.

3. Help others and be socially engaged
There is evidence to suggest that helping others during the pandemic may not only make you feel better, but it may be good for you as well. Research shows that helping others in a crisis can be an effective way to alleviate stress and anxiety. One study published during the pandemic found that adults over age 50 who volunteer for about two hours per week have a substantially reduced risk of dying, higher levels of physical activity and an improved sense of well-being. To help others and yourself during June and throughout the year, volunteer in your community, run errands or deliver meals to a home-bound senior or donate to a favorite cause, such as supporting participants in the Alzheimer’s Association’s The Longest Day event on June 20. Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your local community — if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. If you enjoy singing, join a local choir or help at an after-school program. Or, just share activities with friends and family.

4. Unplug and disconnect
Technology has dominated our daily lives during the pandemic like never before. While technology has kept us connected through COVID-19, it has also created fatigue for many Americans. Experts warn that excessive stimulation coming from our phones, computers, social media sources and news reports can add to our already heightened anxiety levels. To avoid technology overload, experts advise setting limits on your screen time, avoid carrying your phone everywhere, and disconnecting from digital devices at bedtime.

5. Control your stress before it controls you
In small doses, stress teaches the brain how to respond in healthy ways to the unexpected, inconvenient or unpleasant realities of daily life. Prolonged or repeated stress, however, can wear down and damage the brain, leading to serious health problems including depression, anxiety disorders, memory loss and increased risk for dementia. Reports indicate that Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are especially vulnerable to physical and emotional stress. The Alzheimer’s Association offers tips to help manage caregiver stress. Meditation, exercise, listening to music or returning to a favorite activity you have missed during the pandemic are just some ways to manage stress. Do what works best for you.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been an overwhelming time for all of us,” said Amelia Schafer, Executive Director of AA in Colorado. “It’s important for people to know there are steps we can take to lessen the stress and anxiety we might be feeling. It can be easy to take brain health for granted, but now more than ever, it’s a good idea to make it a priority.” Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. 

Learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association, available resources and how you can get involved to support the cause, visit alz.org.

With Light and Love especially for our Brain this month,
Karen
 

Petco’s Approach to Whole Health!

Have you seen the Petco commercial “It’s What We’d Want if We Were Pets? A New Approach to Whole Health!” The first time I saw it, I was a bit startled. It is truly revolutionary and gives one food for thought on not only our pet’s health, but our own. One line in the commercial really calls out to me. “Our physical, social and mental health all cared for in one place!” Another line states that Petco is now a Health and Wellness Company. The framework consists of five interconnected dimensions of pet health – physical health, mental health, social health, home health and accessible health – created with the focus to improve pet well-being. 

According to Petco, their philosophy is to help pet parents go beyond the basics to provide their pets with full, rewarding lives focusing on total pet wellbeing. The fresh, creative campaign is intended to educate and motivate pet parents to consider their pets’ whole health. According to Tariq Hassan, Petco Chief Marketing Officer, “The Whole Health philosophy is at the core of our journey from pet specialty retailer to a 360-degree health and wellness partner. We know pet parents want to do the best for their pets; they just need support to know how. This provides a clear framework for pet parents to act in the best interest of their pets, further defines our mission to improve lives for pets and pet parents, and sets a baseline for what’s to come from Petco in the health and wellness space.”

This strategy has application to our own health and wellbeing as well. By providing education and resources needed for our pet’s health, it causes one to reflect on how we are taking care of our own and our children’s lives. And we can always improve by learning new ways, new insights, new thinking, new habits – if we are open to them. For we all desire to live a healthy, long and fulfilled life. 

So, if you have not seen the commercial, I invite you to watch it or find it on You Tube. Let the message in. Hear what is being said. 

Take the time to assess how you are doing in the 5 key areas of:
Physical Health – Providing the nutrition, activity and preventive care that keeps you, your family and your pets fit inside and out. 
  
Mental Health – Ensuring you, your family and pets can lead joyful, enriching lives free from boredom and anxiety.
  
Social Health – Nurturing yourself, your family and pets to feel confident and comfortable around other animals and humans. 
  
Home Health – Creating safe, stimulating environments where you, your family and pets feel like they belong. 
  
Accessible Health – Getting affordable, convenient access to everything you, your family and your pets need to live their best lives.

Interesting that a pet commercial is creating so much buzz, in a positive, encouraging way, to improve not just our pets lives, but all of our lives. We only need to listen, learn, be accountable and take the necessary steps to ensure our total wellbeing. It is our choice. Choose wisely!

With Light and Love and Whole Health for All,
Karen

 

Ikigai (生き甲斐, “a reason for being”)

Ikigai diagram of Japanese concept of finding happiness. Vector illustration chart

I read an article this morning regarding this Japanese concept and loved it!
What’s your reason for being?
What do you live for?
What is the reason you want to get up in the morning?
Many things to reflect upon, but first let’s dissect the word:

Wikipedia states that the word consists of ‘Iki’ (“to live”) and ‘gai’ (“reason”). The term ‘ikigai’ compounds two Japanese words: ‘iki’ (生き, meaning “life;alive”) and ‘kai’ (甲斐, meaning “(an) effect; (a) result; (a) fruit; (a) worth; (a) use; (a) benefit; (no, little) avail”) (sequentially voiced as gai), to arrive at “a reason for living [being alive]; a meaning for life; what [something that] makes life worth living; a raison d’être”.

Ikigai can describe having a sense of purpose in life, as well as being motivated. Feeling ikigai usually means the feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment that follows when people pursue their passions. Activities that allow one to feel ikigai are not forced on an individual; they are perceived as being spontaneous and undertaken willingly, therefore they are personal and depend on a person’s inner self.

Ikigai is the union of four fundamental components of life: passion, vocation, profession, and mission. It roughly means the “thing that you live for” or “the reason for which you get up in the morning.” In a nutshell, it encompasses the idea that happiness in life is about more than money or a fancy job title.

On Japan’s Okinawa Island, nicknamed  the “island of longevity”, locals refuse to die. Residents have low levels of heart disease, cancer and dementia, and Okinawans’ robust social life and strong sense of ikigai (a unique purpose in life) often keeps them alive and healthy past the age of 100. Okinawa is one of the world’s five “Blue Zones” of longevity, and Ikigai plays a big role in keeping it that way. 

According to the book, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles, Okinawans eat a diet rich in vegetables and antioxidant foods, consume just a third of Japan’s average sugar intake and eat their meals on small plates. They regularly exert their bodies in low-intensity exercise and only eat until they feel 80% full, which aligns with ancient wisdom advising against overeating. Okinawa’s Kitanakagusuku village even holds a yearly pageant in celebration of women aged 80 and older. 
The key to Okinawans’ joy and good health is their ikigai, the core of one’s true nature that needs not be centered on a lofty, material or power-driven goal. Discovering and pursuing your ikigai every day, the authors write, will keep you busy doing the things that give your life meaning. But also, they say, it’s important to reconnect with nature, surround yourself with people who love you and stay active. 

As I reflect on my lifestyle, I have been practicing bits of Ikigai all along. However now, with this increased knowledge of it, I can be more purposeful and focused on it. I intend to live to 105 and my husband has set 95 as his goal. So look out world,  here we come.

An article in Forbes from Chris Myers in 2018 titled “How to Find your Ikigai and Transform Your Outlook on Life and Business,” states that Ikigai is about finding joy, fulfillment, and balance in the daily routine of life. It’s all too easy to fall victim to siloed thinking, that our job, family, passions, and desires are all separate and unrelated aspects of our lives. The fundamental truth of Ikigai is that nothing is siloed. Everything is connected. We are one.

Knowing these can improve your quality of life, and you’re longevity.
So, what’s your passion?
What’s your reason for waking up in the morning?
What do you live for?

With Light and Love and Ikigai,
Karen

Pandemic Re-entry Adventure

Yes, I changed the term Pandemic Re-entry Anxiety to Adventure on purpose!
Quite a few articles have been written lately discussing the high level of anxiety that people are feeling as they re-enter into post pandemic life. What we have been through over the last 15 months is quite shocking.. We have changed and made adjustments to almost every aspect of how we live, and now we are changing again. With that comes anxiety or I prefer to look at it as an adventure. For those of you that know me, you know that is how I am wired. Attitude is everything. It sets the tone, it shifts ones perspective, it enables us to thrive versus just survive. And it works for me.
However I do acknowledge that not everyone thinks, feels or behaves like me.
Change can be uncomfortable. 
Change can be scary. 
Change can be feared. 
Change can be risky.
However change can also be exciting. 
Change brings in fresh and new ideas. 
Change can improve our lives.
It is through change that we grow.

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher said, “Change is the only constant in life.”

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new” -Socrates

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” -Ralph Marston

As we venture out now and face a new “normal”, it will be different for each of us. What is key is to make the changes that are right for you. Not what is being told to you via the media, press and peers. You need to feel right about your decisions.
So if you still want to wear a mask, wear it. If you don’t, then don’t unless local enforcement is in place.
If you only want to socialize outdoors, then do that. Enjoy being in nature, feel the sunshine, feel the breeze, listen to the birds, hear the waves crash, feel the sand between your toes.
If you want to go to a restaurant and eat indoors with a large group and feel comfortable, then go ahead.
If you want to go shopping again in a mall, then have fun.
Do what works for you.

Some thoughts to help you not stress out as you begin your adventure.
Breathe. Take a few deep breaths before you set out on rediscovering the world.
Think about what you want to change and why. What have you missed? What is important? What makes you happy?
Think about what you want to continue doing that became part of your routines over the past 15 months. Have you upped your exercise routine? Have you improved your nutrition? Have you balanced your work life and personal life better? Have you enjoyed spending more time with your spouse or partner? Keep what is working for you and continue doing those things.

Slowly, as you feel comfortable, begin to add more things back into your life. See more friends and family. Hug someone. High five someone. Or just knuckle or elbow touch. 

As I review my life and how I will move forward, I intend to continue focused on health, happiness, peace, joy, love, kindness and compassion. I have throughout the past 15 months, continued with my running and hiking and strength training. I have increased my formal yoga practice to 4 days a week by subscribing to an online program. I stayed committed to a healthy diet and getting quality sleep. Those practices and disciplines will continue as well as spending as much time being with my husband. Since we are retired from the business world, that is easier for us to do. I give thanks for that.

I continue to informally interact with friends that I see on the beach and in the community. What I look forward to is traveling again. My husband and I usually take at least 2 incredible trips a year to far off places. That definitely went on hold last year. And I have not yet felt the desire to book our next adventure. However it is on the radar.

What’s on your radar?

With Light and Love and Adventure not Anxiety,
Karen

 

 

You are Not Alone

Since 1949, Mental Health America and affiliates across the country have observed May as Mental Health Month. Mental health affects everyone. Through readings, lectures, seminars, help lines, video presentations, podcasts, apps, and so many other venues, we can educate ourselves on how to identify, help, prevent, and treat ourselves and others. You are not alone! You are not the only one going through post Covid issues of not feeling your Best Self. If you are experiencing excessive or long lasting signs of panic, worry, anxiety, depression, irritability, extreme mood swings, social withdrawal, eating or sleeping changes, acknowledge that you may need help. Be honest. Be strong. Be brave. You deserve to live the life you want. You are valued. You are appreciated. You matter.

With everything we have been through for over a year now with Covid, racial injustices, violence, financial instability, unemployment, war, climate disasters…all this has contributed to a greater number of mental health conditions. Now, more than ever, it is critical to reduce the stigma around mental health struggles, which often prevents individuals from seeking help. One organization, NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will amplify the message of “You Are Not Alone.” by focusing on the healing value of connecting in safe ways, prioritizing mental health and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay.

For too long, mental health was not talked about. People did not feel comfortable to discuss what they were really feeling. Some may have felt weak, less than, not valued, and chose to remain silent. Unfortunately, that leads to continued issues and a spiraling down. 

Education is key to improving mental health for all. We often misunderstand what we do not fully comprehend. So let’s break down a few things:

Mental health relates to one’s social, emotional, and psychological well-being. It includes physical, intellectual, environmental, vocational, social, emotional and spiritual health. Mental health affects thoughts, feelings, moods, behaviors, and actions. When one has positive mental health, they are better equipped to handle stress, be more productive, and realize their full potential.

While we focus on our physical wellbeing, the food we eat, exercise, and getting regular check-ups for vision and dental care, we often forget to take stock of our emotional and spiritual needs. Everyday demands take their toll. Mental disorders can affect one’s ability to relate to others and to function each day.

Throughout my life, I have focused on my physical wellbeing and devoted time to my spiritual and emotional self. Some years better than others as Life got in the way! For It takes time and work and daily practice. However I have learned that the more I take care of myself, the better I am. It is my responsibility. It is my choice. It is my decision and practice. Maintaining a positive outlook, reducing stress and negative influences, and surrounding myself with love, harmony, peace, joy, kindness and compassion is what I am about. 

Together, we can realize a shared vision where anyone affected by mental illness can get the appropriate support and quality of care to live healthy, fulfilling lives. To be their Best Self.

With Light and Love and remembering that You are Not Alone,
Karen

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Mother’s Day

Happy Mothers Day Everyone! Every year, the second Sunday in May, is designated as International Mother’s Day worldwide. Celebrations vary, however we all can benefit from celebrating the meaning as we honor our own mother, motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers and women in society.

How it began:
The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. While dates and celebrations vary, Mother’s Day traditionally involves presenting moms with flowers, cards and other gifts.
Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”—the main church in the vicinity of their home—for a special service. 

Over time the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. This custom eventually faded in popularity before merging with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s.

Even though I am not a mother myself, I celebrate all the traits I learned from my mother and all the women in my Life: Love, Compassion, Caring, Empathy, Forgiveness, Determination, Strength, Positivity, Trust, Faith, Persistence, Resilience, Imagination, Ambition, Creativity, Individuality, and many more.

I have so many fond memories of all the women in my Life starting with my Mom, Grandmothers and Great Aunts. Then onto teachers, professors, ministers, doctors, mentors, business leaders, colleagues, coaches and friends. I learned so much of how I wanted to be. Their lives impacted me and helped me frame my world. And I still learn today from all of them and the new women I meet. I am grateful and thankful.

So today and everyday, I encourage you to give thanks for the lessons we all have learned from our mothers and women in our Life. As you go about your days, share those lessons to support and encourage other women to be their Best Selves. We all have something to say and to learn. We are powerful! We are strong! We are Love! We are kindness! We make a difference! 

With Light and Love and Heartfelt Thanks for you Mom,
Karen