As I reflect on my life right now, I want to share an article I wrote that I am reminding myself to follow.
This year has been a very stressful, yet exciting year. We made a major move from a house of 31 years to a new home- very different, a connected “landominium”, maintenance free living-quite a change. Between preparing the house for sale, decluttering, keeping it immaculate for the weekly showings for months, working with the builder on the plans for our new home, and the major task of moving in general, my body has taken a toll. You really do have to be mindful of a stress and the affect of pushing until your exhausted. We are now settled and loving it, but I reacted to something while unpacking and developed a major allergic dermatitis reaction. Now on steroids and drugs, it is important that I take time to heal the cells of my stressed out body, by reconnecting my mind and spirit.
Today I put out the yoga mat while listening to meditative music and did a 40 minute yoga routine for detoxing. It felt very necessary and quite nice. My husband and I have resumed our Tai Chi practice in the evening, and hopefully this bout of illness will pass, having been a blatant reminder that YOU HAVE TO STOP SOONER OR LATER!
Anyway, here is the article:
For years people who have talked about wellness referred to weight loss, fitness or smoking cessation programs. Later we identified the role stress plays in our overall health and wellness so we developed stress management programs.
Interesting that although the wellness industry has spent the last 20 years designing programs and providing health promotion information to the point that most consumers are very well educated, health is not improving
much – Not the kind of health that is defined by an overall sense of balance of body, mind and spirit or physical, emotional or spiritual togetherness. In fact many people are exercising and watching their weight. Unfortunately many people have given up and continue to spiral upwards. There is no loss of material on what constitutes a healthy diet or adequate fitness program. There are also more self help books published than ever before to help us deal with our stress management.
Keeping all of this in mind, it is interesting that when I work with people as a wellness coach, their vision often includes a regular exercise program and healthy diet, but it always seems to include the word
balance and gaining more energy and enjoying life more. Yet that is the one place it is hard to concentrate. To stop all of our activity, whether it is for our work or just to keep the house managed is very difficult. We just keep going until our body can’t go anymore and then we get sick. It is when we get sick that we question how we have been going about getting all these things done.
More and more people have said to me that they need to take time to meditate, yet less and less do. Why is that? I know for myself I often feel that once this or that item on my to do list is complete, I will be able to sit back and relax. Sitting seems such a waste of time when there is so much to do. That is why we recommend that you schedule a regular time for meditation regardless of what is going on in life or with work. It has to be as built in as brushing your teeth. It has to be an everyday occurrence.
But what if we are just not of the makeup to sit in a formal meditation? That is not necessary, but what is necessary is to have some sort of practice built into your life for reflection on more than your everyday tasks. The fact is that one’s body and mind can’t keep on going without a break. Eventually you will have to stop.
Regardless of what your life looks like right now, it is helpful build into your day a time( even if just 5 minutes) for silence, prayer, yoga,reflective reading, listening to peaceful music, journaling, or if you can, sitting in a position of meditation, following your breath long enough to feel a difference in your body- a feeling of peace and quiet rather than rushing and a sense of urgency. If you practice enough, it will become a memory in your body that you will be able to tap into when life is speeding by. Like all of my clients, it has to be a priority and goal for change. Let that be now and not later.
Passover/ Easter 2013
A bunny on matzo, Buddha, A Course in Miracles, The Santa Cruz Haggadah and Mother Teresa.
I always feel a little lost on Easter Sunday. Growing up in a Catholic home we celebrated the entire season of Lent all the way to the special day of Easter.
Our rituals began with getting ashes on Ash Wednesday and then coming up with a sacrifice for the season of Lent. “What are you giving up for Lent?”
Chocolate or candy was a frequent choice. I don’t remember coming up with anything too deep like giving up holding grievances or judging others.
I'm feeling so resistant
Yet my mind is so persistent
I need a virtual assistant
My head’s at peace-No it really isn’t.
Should I sit or should I write
Should I journal or have a bite
Should I wake an hour earlier?
Or stay up late at night
It's the Holiday Season and I want to wish all of you a very Happy Holiday, whatever you celebrate!
We celebrate both holidays-Hanukah and Christmas. As many of you know, my husband and I come from different faiths. Our 38 year marriage still strong with more love than ever, has had its challenges. One of those challenges was the holiday. I was raised with Christmas being a very big deal both religiously and full of gifts, great food, and lots of decorations. He was raised with Hanukah which was a much more sedate holiday. For most of our marriage we went to Chicago for Christmas, but last year we ended that tradition and stayed home in Cincinnati to celebrate with our grown children and grandchildren. My husband surprised me with a tree. It did have conditions. It was a pre-lit tree with white lights. And then in individual boxes were several ornaments that he had ordered from Brommers Christmas Store in Frankenmuth, Michigan. They were all Hanukah symbols – menorahs, Stars of David, Israeli flags and dredels. I loved them. Each ornament is beautiful and the tree fits perfect on a small wall in our family room. It made not going to Chicago okay.
This year Christmas and Hanukah fall together. So tonight, Christmas Day is also the 6th night of Hanukah. We will light our menorahs and enjoy Christmas. There are gifts under the tree, some from Santa for our granddaughter. She and her parents spend Christmas Eve with us and then spend the night. She is being raised Jewish but her parents said it was okay for Santa to leave a few things for her. We put that order in. Our youngest daughter is also with us. She flew in from Boston. Later we will all go over to my son and daughter in law's to continue gift giving and have dinner.
I am writing this early on Christmas day and noone is up yet. I have the turkey in the oven and the gifts and stockings are ready for the excitement when everyone wakes up. I have been up since 5:30 AM. I love the peace and quiet, and was hoping to do some writing.
We will have breakfast and then my husband will be going to the synagogue this morning to set up beds and a home environment for local homeless people. Our synagogue offers parts of the building during holidays. There will be congregants who are feeding them and meeting their needs for the next week.
Well-I must go-I hear someone waking up.
Have a Happy Holiday and I will write more soon.
I would love to hear how you spend your holiday.
Bless you all this season.
Hope you are all enjoying life wherever you are, and whatever you are doing. I hope that if life is unsettled or there are problems and you are feeling down, that you are at least picking out those moments where all is good. Regardless of how life is going for you, we all have many moments that can be appreciated as good.
Here are some you may not have noticed. They all require looking up:
Look up in the sky in the morning and the sun come up. Or at dusk look up and see a sunset. Or at night look for the moon. I have two 3-year-old granddaughters and they love looking to see if the moon is visible at night. We look up and enjoy it’s shape and the fact that we may see a face on it or not. Sometimes it’s a crescent or a half moon. Sometimes its full. Sometimes you don’t see it at all.
When you are busy with your day, take a moment to look up in the sky. Look at the clouds. See what shapes and forms you can make out. Look at the colors. Take some deep slow breaths as you watch the clouds move and reform. Notice the spaces between the clouds and notice when there are no clouds, just a clear blue sky.
When it rains, stop for a moment and feel a rain drop. Look up as the drops fall from the sky. Sometimes we are so quick to put up our umbrellas, yet there is something mystical about being in the rain and feeling raindrops fall on our skin. Accidentally on purpose step in a puddle and splash. We all did it when we were kids but shy away from puddles as we get older.
It’s Fall and in many areas the leaves are changing. Look up at the trees and notice all the colors of the leaves. Notice the spaces between the leaves and notice the wind as it blows the upper limbs from side to side. Take a slow deep breath as you watch a leaf fall from the tops of the tree to the ground. Where does it land? Simply notice.
When we were little we had to look up all the time. We looked up at our parents and adults. We looked up at the walls where the pictures were too high to see. We looked up.
Remember the movie UP where the grouchy old man, who had lost his wife, had to look up and actually go up with the balloons.
When you are feeling down, it may make you feel better, even if just for a moment if you look up.
I want to wish a Happy Hanukah to all those of you who celebrate. This is the time of year to remember miracles and light in your life.