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

Unprecedented Times

This past week has definitely been an altered reality for me.  Not one I chose, though one I had to deal with and could not avoid. Did I want to pull the covers over my head and go back to bed? Yes, I did! On more than one day.

However I chose to handle whatever came my way with an underlying sense of calm and peace. I got rattled a few times from outer circumstances: the rain (though we need it, I prefer sunny days and blue skies), the stock market dive, the Covid-19 virus spreading rapidly around the world, the political scene, and the insane panic buying of toilet paper! I sensed the fear and panic in others and have felt waves of it myself. Truly unprecedented times. My grandfather used to say: “This world is upside down!” It surely seems that way now. 

What I found to help me deal with it all was to first and foremost take care of myself. I continued to run or walk daily (whether on the beach or inside on my treadmill), eat mostly plant based healthy foods, get proper rest, and spend quality, loving time with my husband. I found myself taking deep breaths more often to relieve any anxiety that started to build. I limited my time on social media, focusing on positive, affirmative, healing quotes and looking at photos of nature and travel. I tuned into the news alerts only in the morning and sometimes again in the afternoon, but not at night. And always before falling asleep I said my affirmations and gave thanks. One rainy afternoon, my husband and I even watched “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”. What a special movie. It warmed our hearts.

I also sent off my annual Thank you cards to my 3 Doctors who I owe my life to.  On Sunday, I celebrated 15 years free of cancer. And for that I am most grateful. I do not take being alive lightly. Life is truly a gift.

So even though we as a society are faced with tremendous challenges and the world is very sick right now,  I know we will get to the other side. We will be healed, we will be stronger and better equipped to handle whatever is thrown our way. I remain calm even with so much chaos around.

And hopefully, we will have learned a few things during this time. Like what is really important, what is really necessary, what is the true meaning of this Life and what is the Best way to truly Live this Life.

With Light and Love and Healing Vibrations coming your way,

Karen

Making Oneself A Priority

For me, taking care of myself is a key priority, especially during challenging times. By investing in my health and wellbeing, I am better equipped to handle the unexpected surprises that come my way. For years, running, yoga and healthy nutrition have been important elements supporting my efforts to be successful in Life, Love and Business. Were there detours, twists and turns along the way? Of course there were. However, I had a strong foundation that helped me get to the other side. And to thrive!

Let’s look at today’s environment!  We are in the midst of so much uncertainty, negativity, and volatility. What is one to do? I say #1 is to take even better care of yourself.

I recently read some interesting articles regarding online shopping in China. As the coronavirus epidemic keeps hundreds of millions of Chinese at home, they’re shopping online to stave off boredom with games, yoga mats, books and exercise equipment. Many malls and stores remain shut and sales of cars and smartphones are significantly down, but demand for health, entertainment and cosmetics products is buoyant. One consumer was quoted saying: ““No medicine really functions against the virus so far. All you can count on is your own health. I want to exercise at home to be healthy and fit.“ 

Here in the US, in most areas, our daily lives continue on. However, we are all aware of the increased precautions we are taking to stay healthy: Wash your hands, do not touch your face, stay away from crowds, stay home when sick, cover your cough or sneeze, replace a hand shake with a fist bump or elbow shake, get proper rest, eat healthy, exercise and destress. 

We have a choice! Let’s choose wisely as we protect ourselves against all that is going on. Do not stop Living – however maybe hit the Pause button on a few things. For one, I have not booked any international travel for right now. We will probably do a road trip within the next month instead. Being cautious is wise. 

I like to visualize a bubble around me that can shield me and protect me. It is an armor of sorts, however see through and flexible. I have used this for many years in business and in personal interactions. For me, it works. You may visualize something different and that’s okay. The importance is to protect yourself. Shield yourself. Focus on what you can do proactively to affirm health and wellbeing instead of allowing fear and panic to set in. What we focus on and think about, becomes our reality. 

Choose wisely and create your world, your way.

With Light and Love,
Karen

 

Being in Sync with the Universe

Saturday was February 29th – Leap Day 2020!  Leap years are years where an extra day is added to the end of the shortest month, FebruaryLeap years have 366 days instead of the usual 365 days and occur almost every four years.
Why you ask?
According to TimeandDate.com, ” Leap days keep our modern-day Gregorian calendar in alignment with Earth’s revolutions around the Sun. It takes Earth approximately 365.242189 days, or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds, to circle once around the Sun. This is called a tropical year, and it starts on the March equinox.
However, the Gregorian calendar has only 365 days in a year. If we didn’t add a leap day on February 29 almost every four years, each calendar year would begin about 6 hours before the Earth completes its revolution around the Sun.

As a consequence, our time reckoning would slowly drift apart from the tropical year and get increasingly out of sync with the seasons. With a deviation of approximately 6 hours per year, the seasons would shift by about 24 calendar days within 100 years. Allow this to happen for a while, and Northern Hemisphere dwellers will be celebrating Christmas in the middle of summer in a matter of a few centuries.
Leap days fix that error by giving Earth the additional time it needs to complete a full circle around the Sun.”
So we become once again in sync with the Universe!

How incredible. And what an invaluable lesson of the importance of being in sync, in harmony and in balance.

In the past I never really focused on this extra day. However today, I find myself reflecting on the impact it makes. It could also have something to do with how out of sync I felt this past week with all that is going on in the world: political unease and frustration, the increase and spread of the coronavirus, the stock market dive. So much negative news, alerts, disruption and concern.  It is not business as usual. As much as I try and stay detached, I became absorbed in the frenzy. I felt not in control but impacted by it all. What was I really suppose to do?
How do you feel today?

I encourage you to take time to calm yourself, put things into perspective, focus on what you can control. I intend to go on a long run and hike with my husband to recharge and renew. Being out in nature is so healthy and vital for my well being. I am grateful to live in a beach community – surrounded and comforted by the ocean, the beaches, the bluffs, the seagulls, the pelicans, the wild flowers, the waves crashing. I will take time to renew my spirit, focus on the positive, be aware of outer circumstances and protect myself. I give thanks for being alive and well, feeling gratitude and appreciation. And I send out thoughts of Healing Love, Compassion, and Empathy. 

Whatever your source of getting in sync – do it! Embrace this Leap Year and reset your balance.

With Light and Love,
Karen

 

 

Toss it or Keep it?

Having been in the beauty industry for many, many years, I understand the benefits and importance of quality ingredients in both skincare and makeup. For me, it is as important as the food I choose to nourish myself. What I put on my skin has an effect on me. So I am careful in the brands I use. In addition, it is key to follow proper hygienic standards when applying. Not only in store when customers are testing product or having it demonstrated on them by a beauty advisor, but also at home for ourselves. No one wants to get a bacterial infection from unsanitized products, dirty tester units or items past their sell date. So you can imagine my surprise when I took an inventory of my cosmetics – both skincare and makeup.

I just finished up my cleanser and looked in my stash to replenish it. One of the many benefits of the industry is the sampling and gratis that one can receive. And who does not love that! I was sure I had a backup of the same item,  but I did not. I did though have several other brands that I was looking forward to trying. The shock came when I checked the expiration date!!!! Some were 3 years old. Even though they were mostly unopened and sealed, they were past their prime for efficacy.  And considering that most were facial products, I wanted to be extra careful.

After I replenished my tray with my new daily regimen, I decided to take stock of all my skincare and makeup products. I wanted  to make sure I was keeping only what I was using, what was current, and what was clean.

I threw out almost a grocery bag full of outdated, some not used, some almost empty items! I couldn’t believe it. How could I have kept them all? I realize that my lifestyle has changed since living at the beach and I am much more casual and natural in my grooming. I like that I do not have to wear makeup everyday. However my skincare ritual is daily and I never go to bed without taking off makeup when applied. 

I feel so much better after clearing out the old and only keeping what is current, fresh and fits my lifestyle. I encourage you to take a look at your drawers, your closets, your cabinets. Check expiration dates. Are the items on trend or out of style? Ask yourself if you are using the items. Or are you just holding onto them for sentimental reasons or thinking that maybe one day you will use them?  They may be expired or outdated by that time. Do a refresh! Do a purge! Not only will you feel better, you may even find some hidden gems! Or you may clear out so much that you will have to go shopping!

Either way, make the time and have fun! Your skin will thank you for it.

With Light and Love,
Karen