Joy Hope Love Peace

Sending you Holiday greetings this year from No Place Like Home! And this shot was perfect to capture the moment. As we took our walk Sunday on the beach, we got to see someone’s artistic expression. How beautiful it was and it brought so much joy to everyone.

Usually, during this time of year we enjoy spending quiet time somewhere in the world experiencing new and different cultures, traditions and celebrating Life, Love, Peace and Joy. I love quiet time during the holidays, especially since during my retail career that was not an option till after the New Year. When we travel, I enjoy making an album of the best photos and usually share with family and friends via Shutterfly or Snapfish. In addition, we would select a few shots for our Christmas cards.
However this year, although no travel photos, lots of wishes coming your way.
I have used Paper Culture for many years for our photo cards. They are a wonderful company that uses post-consumer recycled paper and plants a tree for every order. Over 1 million trees planted and counting! They also do non-photo cards of which I ordered this year.

When not traveling during the holidays, I look forward to decorating our home. This week, on went the Christmas music, then out came the poinsettias and wreaths. Then our holiday ornaments, stuffed animals, lights, stockings, holiday scented candles and diffusers, reindeer, toy soldiers, nutcrackers, Santa’s and sleighs. Took a breather for a day and then this morning put up our 3 foot table top wrought iron Christmas tree filled with an incredible array of handmade, old and new ornaments. So many wonderful and cherished treasures. All bringing us joy and love. I do realize that some of you may not agree with our choice of trees. However we have done the real trees and after one that leaked on the white rug, that was it. I also like the uniqueness of the wrought iron with the spiral stems that truly showcase the decorations. Do what works for you and your family. 

So however you choose to celebrate the Holidays, do celebrate. Yes, they are different. Yes, one can feel sad and disconnected from loved ones. One may even think not to decorate or celebrate at all. For what? Why? 
I say Do it for you! Do it for the feeling of joy and happiness and Love. Do it because it will make you feel more alive and well. Because You are Worth it!

With Light and Love and Holiday Cheer,
Karen

 

Here’s to Travel Adventures Again

Keep believing! Keep visualizing! Keep dreaming! Keep your goals in mind!

If you have a passion for travel and adventure as I do, this year has not been easy. Most of us have been unable to pack up and explore the world. Am I antsy to go? Yes I am. And since I use services like Snapfish and Shuttefly to produce travel booklets, I have been receiving emails with our photos reminding me of our incredible explorations. However the time is not right yet for me. I do feel though that we are closer to the end of the tunnel and I see some light breaking through. This is the time we need to dig deep and bring forth our courage, strength, and determination to get to the other side. And we will get there!

At this time of year, my husband and I would be somewhere on holiday. From the Arctic, Bhutan, Argentina and Chile, to Singapore, Hong Kong and so many more places – we have experienced the Holiday season all around the world. I miss that. This year, our plans would have taken us to the Antarctic. As disappointed as we are not to go, we are grateful to live in a beach community that feels like being on vacation all year round!  Am I a bit disappointed by not traveling? Yes. However being safe and remaining healthy is our top priority. And it should be everyones. No exceptions. We are in this together. The way we behave and conduct ourselves, impacts everyone around us. 

So let’s be smart. Let’s be careful. Follow the protocols. Wear a mask when directed to do so, keep your distance, wash your hands and use hand sanitizers. Keep to yourself for your protection and for others. However, continue to socialize via Zoom, calls, texts, cards, and socially distanced conversations when out and about. Stay healthy by exercising outdoors. Go for a walk, a bicycle ride, a run, surf, practice yoga. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the beauty of nature all around. It is so healing and necessary for our mental state of being. And good for our immune system as well. Practice self care. Take your vitamins. Take a nap. Luxuriate in a bath. Have some tea. Get proper rest. Meditate. 

Nourish yourself with fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and other healthy foods. Of course, desserts can be enjoyed in moderation.  Mine would be liquers in my coffee on weekends, dark chocolate avocado mousse, nut butters,  and a few other indulgences. I savor every sip and bite!  I look forward to enjoying them.

I know that one day we will realize our Antarctic adventure. Until then I will continue to visualize it. Dream it. Believe it will come true and continue having the Faith. I will focus on what will be and what I will create. I will focus on what I can control, not what is happening around me.

I invite you to do the same. Keep imagining your future the way you want it to be. 

With Light and Love and New Travel Adventures. Looking forward to hearing all about yours!
Karen

 

 

 

Some Things Never Change! Or Do They?

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Black Friday.  Cyber Monday.  Giving Tuesday. The Holiday Season has kicked into full speed ahead. 

And even though some activities, promotions, festivals, boat parades, parties and celebrations have been cancelled, these 4 current events have remained. Although how the event takes place has dramatically changed.

Having been a retailer for so many years,  I remember it well. I would cherish the parade on Thanksgiving Day and enjoy the quiet calm of the day before the hustle, bustle, crowds, promotions, early and late hours, finding stock still in the warehouse and not on the floor, scheduling staff at peak hours, making early morning calls to the stores with the Chairman challenging them on their hiring of Holiday help (or lack of), working 6 day weeks to visit the stores, be in the field as well as still fulfilling my corporate office responsibilities. I loved seeing the decorations in store and in the malls, checking out the latest items and product offerings, hearing the carolers, wishing everyone a Happy Holiday Season. The list goes on and on.

Fast forward to todays landscape. Events are still happening, however they are modified, enhanced, tweeked, and adapted for the times. So much is on line. So much is done from the convenience and safety of our homes. Everything seems to be only a click away. Add in the virus and all the safety, social distancing, mask wearing and hand sanitizing protocols in place, and store’s limiting their customer capacity, one’s face to face encounters have significantly been reduced or eliminated. All one needs is their computer or laptop and they are connected, informed, productive and entertained.

Zoom, streaming services and more have provided platforms to bring it all to us on our screens. In some cases, we feel like we are there even though it is a virtual experience. The colors are brighter, our views are not blocked by someone taller, we are cozy in our homes. 

These events are perfect examples of how we as a society are adapting, innovating, creating new ways of doing business and living our lives. Safely. Healthy. And hopefully Joy filled. Are there challenges? Absolutely! Are there frustrations? Absolutely! Are you feeling depressed, angry, anxious or lethargic sometimes? Absolutely! Are you going to stop living or stop pursuing your dreams? Absolutely NOT!

For we all want to feel Happy. Be Happy. We want what is best for ourselves and for others. We want to be successful, accomplish our goals, achieve our desires and live a full and rewarding Life.

I invite you to imagine your new world. Think outside the box. In fact, throw out the box. Explore what can be. Decide what is important, what is worth saving, and what needs to be recreated. Think it. Visualize it. Create it.

You have the power, control and insight to make it happen. Go for it. Be flexible, be adaptable, be open to the endless possibilities. And remember to always be grateful and thankful, appreciating all that is.

With Light and Love and Changing ways,
Karen

 

Roadrunner Meaning and Messages

A few weeks ago, upon returning home from our run, my husband Charles and I noticed a roadrunner on our front walkway. We were surprised and delighted. We watched in awe as the bird strutted across and then flew up onto our roof. 
This was the second time we have seen one by our property in the seven plus years we have been here. We live by the coast, not in the desert, however we have had some dry, low humidity, very warm days. Seeing the roadrunner was truly very special.

Of course, I wanted to better understand the symbolism it signified for us. So off to Google I went!

Roadrunner spirit is a positive force that reminds people of happiness and joy. They are inquisitive, quick witted, intuitive, funny, serious, playful, caring and above all, fearless.

They symbolize intelligence and courage with an ability to face dangers and difficulties with a positive attitude. In some cases, Roadrunner symbolism is encouraging you to take quick action on your ideas, reminding you that you possess the knowledge, wisdom, and wits to see everything through to its finish. 

Roadrunners radiate optimism and good vibrations, helping us achieve our goals by listening to both our instincts and mind. Roadrunners also bring luck and fortune.

Seems like the roadrunner knew exactly what I needed to be reminded of and practice more of. I attempt to live my life from a healthy and positive state of mind. I am thankful to be alive, healthy and happy, however it can be challenging during these troubled times. And even though the chaos of the world can dampen one’s spirit, and cause one to pause and not take action, I prefer to remain optimistic and keep going. My resilience and drive to achieve what I set out to do propels me forward. I have always believed that being born premature instilled in me that desire to thrive against all and any odds. And later in life, when faced with cancer, I was determined to survive. And now, 15 and a half years later, I am so thankful to still be here, alive and well. 

My nature is to be compassionate, caring, and kind. I try to be diplomatic in dealing with others. I feel energy around me and am sensitive to the vibrations that we all give out. Therefore, I protect myself with my zipped up bubble when I encounter those that are negative, rude, or mindless. 

I am grateful and thankful to be in a loving and compassionate relationship with my husband for almost 39 years in Dec. I have had a successful career and am now enjoying more free, unstructured time at the beach and focusing on staying healthy, strong and happy. I love to travel, and although it has been curtailed this year, we look forward to resuming our passion to experience the world and all it offers. I do not take Life for granted. I am truly blessed. 

As we approach Thanksgiving, take a moment to reflect on your blessings. Clear out the rubbish and noise that distracts from seeing the real you and the beauty that does exist all around us. And like the roadrunner, radiate optimism, be joyful and happy, be caring, be playful and be fearless. Bring your positive energy everywhere you go, practicing loving kindness to yourself and then to others.

Allow the reminders of the roadrunner to enliven and inspire your spirit.

Happy Thanksgiving,
With Light and Love and Roadrunner Wisdom,
Karen

 

Lessons from a Caterpillar

The other day, while walking up the hill after a great run and hike, my husband and I saw a caterpillar on the side of the road. It was slowly edging along. I marveled at its shape, size, coloring and smooth texture of its body.
As soon as we got home, I looked up the significance of the encounter.  Because of course, there is one.

Ted Andrews in his book, Animal-Wise, writes:
“The caterpillar represents new birth and new foundation and is a symbol of good luck in the early phase of new actions.  
Caterpillars usually signify a need for gentle and quiet approaches to our activities and endeavors. 
They can also signal a surprise or gift about to be offered to us, or that can be beneficial to our future if we take advantage of it. 
Caterpillars herald a time of good news, new birth, and creative inspiration, signaling a time to get ready to start a new project or initiate a new endeavor.  
The appearance of the caterpillar reminds us to be cautious in starting our new endeavors.  We should protect and disguise them as much as possible as we pursue them. If we do so, we will see rapid growth and we will experience the birth of a new foundation. 
Caterpillars can also indicate obstacles within our path. They may even indicate that a person or persons are blocking our growth or serve as a reminder that we must look at things and people around us realistically at this time. Failure to do so will slow down our progress.   
Caterpillars also remind us that new growth cannot occur unless the old is shed. As the caterpillar grows quickly and must replace its skills with some caterpillars shedding their skins every few days to make room for a bigger body. A caterpillar showing up may indicate that we are refusing to shed the old that we have outgrown.”

Seeing and observing the caterpillar was a good reminder that lessons are all around us and we learn so much by staying open and receptive. During this year especially, we are all faced with so many challenges, obstacles and unknowns. At times, we do not know how to handle what is coming our way. We are tired, confused, frustrated and want to feel hope, feel optimistic, be strong and resilient to get to the other side. Seeing the caterpillar gave me hope, made me smile and realize that we are also transforming, evolving and moving forward. Slowly, however moving.
I ask you to be aware of your surroundings and choose to look at the characteristics of all forms of life – from insects, animals, birds, plants, the ocean, stars, clouds and more. Allow Life to speak to you and gift you with guidance and support. For it never stops offering wisdom. It is up to us to stay open and receptive to the learnings.

With Light and Love and staying Open to all of Life’s Learnings,
Karen

 

The Storm before the Calm

As the wind whips through the air, and the rain drops sideways, I think about the symbolism of it all. 
We have just come through a volatile, highly charged, emotional election. 
We are in the midst of a deadly pandemic which has created more economic, employment and health care challenges beyond our belief. 
We have had to totally disrupt, change, adjust and adapt to new ways of doing things. From grocery shopping, seeing friends and family, home schooling our children, being creative with activities and experiences to remain safe and healthy.

What a storm we are in. And this weekend with the first major rain storm of the season here in Southern California, it appears to mirror what has been happening. It certainly is giving me food for thought and contemplation.

Friday, as I ran along the beach, the winds howled, the sky was full of dark clouds, the waves crashed up onto the rocks with a vengeance. And then, the sun peaked out and shone brightly on the water.  A song popped into my mind and I immediately starting singing it. The song is “Put on a Happy Face” by Tony Bennett.  Here are a few of the lyrics:

Gray skies are gonna clear up
Put on a happy face

Brush off the clouds and cheer up
Put on a happy face
Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy
It’s not your style
You’ll look so good that you’ll be glad
You decided to smile
Pick out a pleasant outlook
Stick out that noble chin
Wipe off that full-of-doubt look
Slap on a happy grin
And spread sunshine all over the place
And put on a happy face
And if you’re feeling cross and bitterish
Don’t sit and whine
Just put on a happy face

As I sang and ran, I felt a calmness. I smiled. I gave thanks. I sensed that everything was working out. And today, after the winds and rain, blue skies are breaking through. True, weather predictions show more volatility, wind and rain. But clear and sunny skies are not far away. 

This storm feels like a deep cleansing, a purging of what no longer works.
We are washing off dirt, debris and dust, freshening up our spirit to heal and strengthen ourselves, our country, and our world.

It will not happen overnight. However it will happen. It is happening.

Have Faith. Continue to Dream and Believe.
And Put on a Happy Face!

With Light and Love and a Smile on my Face,
Karen

 

Welcome to November

Today November kicks off with a flurry of activity!

  • Full Moon (Blue Moon) last night
  • Fall crispness in the air
  • CA wildfires 
  • Day of the Dead celebration
  • Time change at 2am Sunday morning
  • New restrictions due to upticks in Covid 19
  • Election day hype
  • Black Friday everyday from major retailers
  • Thanksgiving

And it is not even noon yet!
Life is full of activities, experiences, and many lessons. Some are inherited traditions, some we choose, some are chosen for us. We though can always decide to go along with them, or not. We can initiate, be involved, and participate or decide to sit some of them out. We can choose how many and how often. Granted, during the pandemic, our options and scope of activities may have been altered, modified, and in some cases shut down. However being creative and resourceful beings, new and improved offerings have surfaced.

During this upcoming week especially, there seems to be a confluence of so many things happening at once that it can be overwhelming. How we handle the stress is different for each of us. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Take a step back and breathe
  • Listen to music
  • Practice yoga
  • Go on a run or hike
  • Do some gardening
  • Bake or cook
  • Make a list of all you are grateful for
  • Do not take things for granted
  • Love, be kind and compassionate
  • Practice self care
  • Focus on the positive – limit media time
  • Visualize what you want 
  • Have Faith, continue to Dream, Always Believe

So as we kick off November, make your list of how you will reduce the stresses of the outer world before they take a toll on your well being. 

With Light and Love,
Karen

 

 

My Hybrid Life

Yesterday, during afternoon coffee with my husband Charles, we were discussing how everyone’s life has been impacted with everything that is happening in the world today – Covid 19, racial injustice, inequality, financial stresses, politics and global warming, to name a few. The term that came to me was our new life is a Hybrid.

A Hybrid is a mixture of different elements, composed of a variety of parts and components. Like a hybrid car that runs on gas and electricity. A hybrid e bike that uses manpower and a battery assist. Hybrid education that involves limited face to face classroom attendance and online interactive sessions. Another example would be a new breed of rose grown from 2 different species, or a new apple variety. In most cases, a hybrid is an improvement to what was, a better way, a more effective, efficient, and productive way that satisfies a need.

We are all searching and seeking understanding of how our Life will be changed, improved, different, enhanced, adapted to the new reality. We start by reviewing pre pandemic behaviours and then identify what will need to change post pandemic. We have to accept the fact that we will not go back to how things were. Period. End of statement. It is time to move on and start creating, mixing and blending the best for ourselves and others.

We have said we are all in this together. And we are. Though everyone’s story is different, we are all trying to figure it out. And what will be can and will be different by person based on many factors: stage in life, health, financial security, attitude, desires and goals. There will be patterns, rituals, routines and processes from our past that remain, and there will be many that will need to be adapted for the new environment. Some things will totally go away. Many will be transformed – will be a hybrid of sorts –  taking the best of what was and merging it with what will be better.

In looking at myself I have seen how I am creating, modifiying, making adjustments for a better life. A few examples:

  • My former once a week yoga studio session has evolved into an online community where I now practice sometimes 5 times a week at home with so many asana options to choose from. No driving necessary.
  • Grocery shopping – has gone from several times a week to once every 7 days with more efficiency, less impulse buying, smarter choices and better meal planning.
  • Feeling more gratitude and appreciation for leading a simple, loving and calm lifestyle, limiting my exposure to media drama, negativity, outside influences and unnecessary splurges. Spending more time outdoors, running, hiking, and gardening.
  • Focusing more on the positive to reduce or eliminate the noise.  Reading inspiring and motivating stories, poems, quotes and phrases that recharge, rebalance and refresh my being. 

So let’s collectively focus on how we will adapt, adjust, be flexible and open to new ideas and ways of doing things. There are opportunities to be created and adventures to be taken. Sure there will be challenges and some obstacles. However we are resourceful and determined to overcome whatever gets in our way. For this is our Life. Don’t settle. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Acknowledge where we are and decide to make the changes necessary to be the best you can be.

With Light and Love and to a Life worth Living!
Karen

 

 

Better With Age

Yesterday (Saturday) I turned 67 years young! I don’t feel 67, I am told I do not look 67, and I probably do not act 67 – or what we used to believe it means to be that age. When I look in the mirror I see me. And every year as photos show, I change. However I am still the one and only me. We are all different. One size does not fit all. We are unique and special individuals living out our life and how we live it is our choice. And I intend to live to a healthy, happy, radiant and thriving 105! 

A favorite Birthday tradition for my husband and I is to run the number of minutes in our age. Yesterday we enjoyed and powered through a 67 minute run mostly on the beaches, sprinkled in some hiking on the trails, climbed 100 steps, and then walked home. What a wonderful 2 hour + outing. The day was picture perfect. Some fog, lots of sun and blue skies, waves crashing, birds singing, and fresh air all around. 

Birthdays for me are days to practice self care. My day started with giving thanks for another day to be Alive! A special card from my husband. Lots of well wishes from friends and family, close and far, on all social media platforms. And a few mailed cards, ecards and texts received. Then a run, hike, yoga, special Birthday coffee, and spending time just being and doing what I want to. And that always means a peaceful and loving day with my husband. No cake but delicious chocolate avocado mousse with fruit. (Again, my way may not be your way, but it is authentically me!)

I even ran into a friend and colleague that recently moved back to the neighborhood.  An unexpected delight to reconnect.

The night before my birthday, my husband asked during dinner what I would wish for my birthday. I said, without any hesitation, “Another day to be alive!” And that is a mantra I live by. Life is truly a gift. We are the director, producer, and actor. We create our world. We imagine the possibilities. We decide who, what, when, where and how. Even in times when things appear out of control, take a step back, reassess, and reimagine. Then take action and commit to make the changes and revisions necessary. You can rewrite how your story plays out. You have the power, strength and resources within you. Call upon them to propel you forward.

Choose Life. Choose Love. Choose Health. Choose Prosperity. Choose Happiness. Choose Peace. Choose Kindness. Find what brings you Joy. 

With Love and Light and Wishes for Getting Better with Age!
Karen

 

 

Resolve to Evolve

Years ago, the local Wild Oats Market in Pasadena, CA,  displayed a banner with this statement. It spoke to me everytime I went there. When they were closing the store, after it was acquired by Whole Foods, I asked if I could purchase the banner. At first, they said no. However the next time I was in there shopping, one of the managers said they reconsidered my request and gifted me with it! I was elated. My husband and I hung the banner above the steps leading downstairs in our home. It was a perfect reminder that continues to inspire us, even though we no longer have the banner. The message is definitely needed today as I observe how we as a society seem to be devolving instead of evolving.

What can one do? How do we shift the thinking? It all starts with ourselves and the decisions we make about the way we want to live our life. Let’s look at the two key words on the banner and their meaning.

Resolve
to find a solution to a problem, to decide firmly on a course of action.

Evolve
to undergo development, change, progress, grow.

Joyce Marter, Psychotherapist and Founder of Urban Balance, published an article in 2014 in the HuffPost: 10 Ways to Evolve and Be a Better Person

  1. Practice Gratitude – Find the good, be thankful. Count your blessings.
  2. Let go of Defensiveness – Be honest with yourself, seek help when needed.
  3. Practice Acceptance – Empower yourself to change what you can.
  4. Forgive and Let Go of Resentments – Learn the lessons and move on.
  5. Be Authentic – Have the courage and confidence to be your true self.
  6. Reflect Empathy – Refrain from judging, put yourself in other’s shoes.
  7. Be Direct – The truth will set you free.
  8. Be Kind and Compassionate – Only say things that are kind, necessary and true.
  9. Have Integrity – Be honest, be clear, do what you say you are going to do.
  10. Love Yourself – Practice self compassion and self care, Celebrate you.

By following the above 10 principles, adding a few of your own, and setting an example, we influence others in their behavior choices and help bring up society.  Who you are and what you do matters! Each of us makes a difference.

With Light, Love and Resolving to Evolve!
Karen