Walk This Way

rundmc-aerosmith[1]Aerosmith or Run DMC with Aerosmith?

Either one, the message is still “move your a$$”.  Walking is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your well-being, especially if you can get out and connect with nature.

man-1225488_1920During my work week, I take a half hour walk at lunchtime.  Beyond the exercise, it gets me out of my chair and out of the building.  The first five minutes are a bit stiff-legged and my feet are tender.  Sometimes my thoughts match that movement. Then the blood flow kicks in, joints get lubricated and most all of the pain and stiffness goes away.  There are two ponds located near my building, with a variety of birds, a few turtles and an occasional muskrat.  Just moving past water drops my stress level.  If I tune into the sights, smells and sounds of nature my thoughts slow down and make room for the Universe to give me suggestions for problem-solving.  A bonus, for sure.

nature-243483_1920Yesterday, I battled with a database not giving me the information I needed.  I fussed with it for a half hour and it resisted.  So I went for a walk.  My thoughts calmed down as I enjoyed the beautiful day.  And then, lo and behold, I heard a voice in my head [that would be the Universe, not a psychotic episode] tell me to delete the problem data and re-enter it.  When I went back to working on it, I did that, and . . . you can guess the results.  Bingo!

As I have gotten older, I have discovered that walking doesn’t necessary cause weight loss like it did in my younger years.  This seems to be a common complaint, especially amongst women.  I read an article about menopause that said when your estrogen drops your body looks for another place to find it.  Apparently, belly fat is a source of estrogen.  WTF.  Fat gut or hot flashes from h*ll.  I don’t think there is a choice.  I think sometimes your body gives you both as payback for all the abuse you’ve put it through.  You men don’t get hot flashes, but that beer gut might be replacing your lost testosterone.

Enough about guts and sweating to the oldies.

Walking is still one of the best things you can do for yourself.  Movement keeps you moving and as you move forward through life you will want to enjoy it as much as possible.  If nothing else, being able to walk to the bar to support your beer gut and avoid a DUI.

Slainte!

I’m Better Than I Never Was

photo-256887_1920Remember when you could run a seven-minute mile?  Wore a size 2?  Could live on five hours of sleep a night?

What if these and many others things like them that you tell yourself on a regular basis are really just lies to avoid accepting yourself for who you are now?  If you quit saying them, could you embrace your reality, could you be kind and loving to you?

And if you did, might you be better than who you thought you were?

It is easy to get caught up in the past.  It is about who you were, but your memories might be tainted.  Maybe things in your life aren’t going very well.  Struggles with a lover, unsatisfying work, body image, bank account a little low.  Not surprising you might wish for what was.  Not surprising you might think the past held better times.  Maybe it did.

What if you could change now?  The good news: you can.  How?  Think differently.  You are better than you were or you wouldn’t be here now.  You are better than you were because you have experience.  You have more knowledge.  You know what you really want, but did you know that your thoughts create your reality?  What you focus on is what appears in your life.  The more you think your life is crap, the more crap appears in your life.

Start by thinking of all the good things in your life.  Write them down.  Put a sticky note on your mirror to look at when you brush your teeth.  Stay focused on the good things.  Like attracts like.

Before long, you will realize that life is better than you thought it was.

Forever 21

Yes, I know it is a clothing store.  And No, I do not shop there.  Would I want to be 21 again?  Oh, Hell No!  Too much work, too much silliness, too much learning to do all over again.  Even if I knew then what I know now, I would not want a do-over.  I would not be the woman I am now if it were not for the stupidity of my younger self.  Stupidity might be too strong a word.

color-run-festivals-438124_1920

 Twenty-one is a time for learning.  Twenty-one is a time to do crazy, but hopefully not detrimental, things with all the joy and exuberance of youth.  It is best at any age to try to act in a safe manner just so as not to leave this life too early.  But where would you be today if not for some drunken night with your besties?  I so do not miss those days.

 I think the only thing I miss about being 21 is just the physical aspect of it – not waking up stiff and sore, the strength and resilience of your body.  But would I do anything different physically if I had that body or would my wisdom tell me that I really do not need to be different?

 You cannot go back to your youth and you really should not dwell on those times.  Doing so causes you to miss out on all the beauty and wonder of the present moment.  Love the self you are now, love your body, love your wisdom and love your sh*t. 

 And do not try to replay those drunken nights.  It is bad for your skin.  And you will smell like the cat box.

Waist Not, Want Not

belly-2354_1920Remember when a tiny waist was so important?  You would measure yourself daily and if there was a slight variation, you would starve yourself or do those twisty exercises or maybe just suck it in for the next week.  Once you are in the menopause-ing years, that tiny waist should be as forgotten as eight-track tapes.

I read a story once about maiden, mother and matron.  The maiden had a tiny waist to attract a really good husband, as a place for his hands to hold her.  The mother’s waist expanded so that when she held her child, the head was supported and placed for nurturing.  The matron’s waist was much thicker as to provide warmth and comfort on a cold night.  Hmmm.  Seems like our waist is only for the benefit of others.

Our middle section has been a focal point of our physical body since we discovered we had one.  Thick, thin, poochy, six-pack muscles, we spend more time on it than brushing our teeth.

Does your waistline trouble you?  Review your diet.  Do you need to clean up your eating habits?  Maybe go grain-free and check out the plan in “Wheat Belly” by William Davis M.D.  A ketogenic diet might work well so read “Fat for Fuel” by Joseph Mercola M.D.  If you have health issues, review them with your doctor.  It might be time to ditch the TV watching and go for a walk.  If you are physically impaired, roll your wheelchair down the sidewalk and experience the healthful benefits of fresh air and sunshine.

If you have taken the necessary steps to be your best self and your waistline still is not what you want, then it is time to accept this change.  Wrap your arms around your middle and give yourself a big hug.  That is what Loving Your Sh*t is all about.

Note: while the story about the waist was a cute fictional version, Maiden-Mother-Crone is considered the Triple Goddess in Neopaganism and often a woman’s power symbol in Celtic lore.  I also like to consider the waist area as symbolic of the third chakra – the solar plexus – as the area associated with personal power.  Claiming your personal and feminine power might actually strengthen and tighten up your waist.

Wastin’ The Day Away

patio tiki barI am taking a “stay-cation” next week.  It’s practice for when I’m retired.  I would like to know what it feels like to be at home all day and choose what I want to do.

Luxurious, I’m thinking.

I realize that taking a week-long break from work is a whole different animal than being at home day-after-day.  A break from work usually means doing nothing, doing everything, or maybe just wastin’ away in Margaritaville.  There will be a small amount of Margaritaville in my week.  It’s summer, we have a little pool and a tiki bar on the patio. . .so why wouldn’t I?

There will be fun festivals bookending the week.  I have my usual chores.  A little bit of de-cluttering.  Spiffy up my ride.  Exercise.  Walk the lake.  Lounge in a chair and read.  And hopefully, write and stockpile a bunch of articles to keep you entertained in the weeks to come.

A lot of what I anticipate my days will look like in retirement.  Regular exercise will be priority on my list.  Writing because it pleases me.  Writing my book.  Yes, there is one of those.  I am calling it “Phucensch*tt – Spirituality for People Who Swear”.  Yes, really.  But I’m not giving out any more info on that.  You will have to wait.  I plan on trips to the library.  Trips to cool places in Denver that I’ve never seen in all my years of living here.  Like the Molly Brown House.

I will walk to the grocery store and buy a few things for that day instead of stockpiling from a warehouse store.  I will poke in the dirt until it begs me to stop planting flowers.  I will chase pigeons off the roof.  (Hopefully that problem is already resolved.  Haven’t seen them in a day or two.)  I will re-ignite my love of cooking.  I will meditate.  H*ll, I might even take guitar lessons and become a rock chick.  Or not.  Guitar Hero might be enough.  I’ll watch all my favorite movies over and over until I can recite every word,  “Welcome to Columbia, Joan Wilder.”  And if I feel the need to work and serve, I’ll give readings at my favorite little metaphysical store, For Heaven’s Sake.  I just won’t be doing what I’ve done for the last 30+ years.

Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll put on a pair of flip-flops and search for my lost shaker of salt.

Shake It Off

skeletons-32459_1280I recently created a music playlist to listen to when we are hanging out on the patio.  I tried to pick songs that make you want to get “jiggy”.  That’s code word for dancing, not the OTHER jiggy.

I went back in time for some of them, for favorites, and to add variety.  Remember “Dancing on the Ceiling” by Lionel Ritchie?  Watch the video on YouTube, it will make you smile.

Dancing is healthy for mind, body and soul.  It gets you moving, maybe singing along and it just lightens your soul.  And it is portable.  We have a little above ground pool on the patio, just big enough to cool off on a warm summer day, and spend quite a bit of time there.  We can fit 4 inner tubes without crowding and it is butt-deep.  Ever dance in an inner tube?  Okay, wiggle, but you get the idea.  Just don’t wiggle too much lest you wish a mouthful of pool water.  Needless to say, it has been a fun way to beat the heat and listen to some great tunes.

Dancing can also help heal the soul.  I recently read some articles discussing the shaman’s “Skeleton Dance”.  After you have done some emotional healing work, it is recommended that you do this dance to shake off and out the residual energy.  First, picture a skeleton hanging by a string.  Give it a shake and watch how all the bones rattle around.  It is a very loose dance and probably not much different than what you might do when you are drunk.  Just don’t drink alcohol when you are doing healing work as it defeats the purpose.  Well, duh.  Drunkenness is probably why you need to do the healing work in the first place!!  So let’s practice. . .err, give it a try.

Stand up.  Get your a$$ up off the sofa, it is time to get jiggy!  Start swinging your arms around like they are loose in your shoulder socket.  Loosen up those elbows, your wrists and even your fingers.  Do the same with your legs and move on up through your hips and waist.  Head too.  Just let loose and shake it loose.  Quit worrying about what you look like, you are supposed to be a skeleton, remember?  Jiggle around until you feel relaxed and fluid.  Then stop and just stand there for a bit and tune into your body.  How do you feel?  There should be some measure of less stress.  You should always do some method of body release work after emotional healing to avoid keeping it trapped in your body.  The skeleton dance is a fun and effective way to do this.

So why don’t you cue up “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” by Will Smith or “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift and dance your way to joy.

Some Like It Hot

saguaro-2714996_1920We recently spent a week in Phoenix.  Yes, the middle of the desert, in the midst of summer.  I like warm weather.  I like sunshine.  I like being outdoors.  I like swimming pools and gardens and outdoor cafes.  The temperatures in Phoenix were pushing the low 100s, so we spent more time indoors with the frigid air-conditioning than I would have liked.  I hate cold blowing air, but I realize it is a necessity.

Some don’t like it hot.

I would much rather float in a swimming pool to cool off.  Fortunately, our friends have a little pool in their backyard so I got my wish.

Some like it wet.

The desert is an interesting place.  A kind of stark beauty, with cactus and shrubs and the eerily lovely green-barked palo verde trees.  They are a much-needed contrast to the terracotta and sand tones of the desert.  There is very little grass, as there is very little water and what there is fills up the many swimming pools.  All-in-all, I’d say the dryness contributes to the heat.

Some like it dry.

To my very great relief, I did not see any scorpions or tarantulas.  I’m told that the scorpions are usually very small and you can’t see them unless you use a black light.  Seriously.  WTF.  I stored my shoes in the dresser while we were there for fear that one of the little buggers would take up residence in them.  I’m not really sure what I would do if I saw one.  Probably something similar to my reaction of the high-rise hotel in Honolulu.  (see blog post “Defcon Five”)  Is there such a thing as Defcon Six?

Some don’t like creepy crawlies.

There are some pretty cool (no pun unintended) places to live in the Phoenix area, if you are into year-round heat.  If you are an active over-55er, Sun City West would cure you of permanent boredom.  There a several golf courses and rec centers, and when I say “rec center” they are on steroids.  If you ever had one boring day living there, then you are probably dead.

Some like it busy.

Still, I’m not sure I would want to live there.  I like being warm, but I would miss having seasons.  As much as I b*tch about being cold and go nutty long about April, changing seasons is interesting.  The birth of flowers in the spring, orange and red and yellow leaves in the fall, a touch of snow, well it’s the cycle of life.  Plus I would miss wearing my purple [faux] fur coat.  And the leopard one too.

Some like fuzzy stuff.

It takes visiting different places to make you appreciate where you live and what you have.  I like my little neighborhood.  I like the lake.  I like seeing the mountains in the distance.  Right now, I have the window open and I can hear the music from the weekly street fest.  It’s home and it’s where I am happiest.

Some like to call it home.

Parts Unknown – Heaven

clouds-2709662_640The 2nd in a week, Anthony Bourdain was found dead of apparent suicide. May he rest in peace.

anthony-bourdain-parts-unknownHis TV show, Parts Unknown, was entertaining and interesting and pulled us out of our busy world and into adventure. Anthony lived life to the fullest, sucking every last drop of fun out of his existence. A self-proclaimed alcoholic and prior drug user, he battled his demons through his passion for food. Heaven will be eating well.

 

restaurant-2697945_640Like Kate Spade, creativity appeared to be the outlet for all the good within. Something beautiful, whether a handbag or a dish to be savored for an evening, their true self and soul shined through. We have all benefited from their contributions.

Addictions typically mask pain. Many people are afraid to deal with their pain for the fear that it will never go away. You MUST feel, then deal and THEN you will heal. You don’t have to do it alone and there is no shame in asking for help. Your family and friends don’t need to know the details. Surprisingly, pain can be present in your life from birth. It comes in from past lives. I realize that not everyone believes in this, but I know it to be true. Why else can a small child, in a pleasant environment, display “issues”?

If you battle addictions, mental illness, or ongoing negative behavior patterns, please do something to heal yourself. There is nothing in your life that can’t be replaced with something better. You are a beautiful human being. Your needs, your feelings, your very life is important to the Universe. You are here for a greater purpose. Maybe you are here to teach someone else that you can recover from whatever troubles you and live peacefully. Maybe there is a culinary delight or fabulous handbag in your future.

I wonder what’s for dinner in The Universe Cafe tonight? Cheers, Anthony.

The Day The Music Died

53130451[1]Last week when I was in Target, I found this cute little hat with Sgt Pepper patches on it. I bought it, of course, but it took me back to my teen years and listening to the album until I knew every word by heart. The album, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, was released May 26, 1967. I didn’t get interested in it until about seven years later.

Some say that when John Lennon was killed on December 8, 1980, the music died. However, we know that Don MacLean’s 1971 hit “American Pie” was intended to be about the plane crash that took Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper on February 3, 1959.

We all have our interpretation of when the music we love met its end. For me, it was the ending of the 80s. I am a die-hard rock-n-roller and am very grateful that Denver has a classic rock station, playing songs from the 60s thru the 80s. But what has happened to rock music?wallpaper.wiki-Classic-Ac-Dc-Wallpaper-PIC-WPC003516[1]

Sorry, millennial friends, but your music sucks. We don’t need any more Pop Tarts with a wall of sound backing them up. And the hillbilly chorus line. . .that’s just awful. Apologies again, but where are the rockers?

I’ve written about this many times, but I think people are rotting their brains with electronic devices. I don’t see an ounce of creativity in anyone anymore. Graffiti artists, maybe. Most of creative effort I see these days is doing the same thing over again. There is no desire to be innovative. Hell, there is no desire to work. And playing in a band takes work. Serious work and serious on the road travel to make it. I suppose the record companies (do they even call them that anymore?) have something to do with it. It is all about making money after all.

Most people seem to be moving through life in a daze, just getting by, rushing thru everything with too much technology and sucking down coffee. (I love coffee, too.) But no one FEELS. You have to feel to create. You have to bleed out of your soul to bring to life beautiful artistry, music, design, and words.

Most people are afraid to feel.

If you look back at music, many of the musicians struggled. They lived in vans and ate cheese sandwiches. Yes, I know they drank or did drugs too. Some things never change. But they weren’t afraid to pour out their life into guitar, drum and keyboard.

So I am tossing out this challenge to the musically – talented: I double-dog dare you to open your heart and pour it into some earth-shaking rock. Just so I can feel it again.

I Have To Grow Older, In Order To Get Younger

water-fight-442257_640I grew up as a miniature adult. The product of a teenage pregnancy, my father had little to do with me, and my mother was just angry that her life was ruined. I spent the first twelve years living with my grandparents.

Being mostly unwanted, I learned very early that I needed to take care of myself. I grew up on a farm in rural Iowa and started to have chores at an early age. I was old from an early age.

I will be 58 years old in a few months and planning my work retirement at 59 1/2. I’ve spent nearly my entire life working and am not planning on a new career. I have realized it is time to have my childhood. Oh, I don’t mean to suddenly become helpless and let someone take care of everything. I’m just not wired that way.

It is time to Play.

I’m not even sure I know how to do that. What?! Seriously?! Maybe I should say that I don’t know what play is for an adult. I guess I could think about it as the opposite of work. Aside from necessary activities for your existence, Work is doing something for someone on their time schedule with the expectation of something in return, as in wages. Wages are good and if you’ve saved enough of them you get to retire and still get them in a different form. So then Play would be doing something for yourself on your time schedule with the expectation of something in return. . . such as freedom and relaxation.

But can you only get that with Play?

Not necessarily. I think it is all about your experiences and perception. I think if you love what you do, and maybe you work for yourself, you can experience freedom and happiness. I believe it is all in how you invent your life.

toys-3200971_640My thoughts are full of these things as I start my transition. I’m tired of the grind and the stress. Many work environments are getting more faster-paced and more technology. The push to do more and more often is wearing on people. I am experiencing a great deal of that in my workplace. I come home tired and then go to bed a few hours later just to start it all over again. I’m getting past the point of even enjoying what I do.

I am ready for Play.

I constantly think about what I enjoy and how I want to incorporate all of that in my life. I am quite certain you will see many more of my blog posts. I look forward to daily exercise. Since I live so close to a lake, I hope to walk around it quite often. I love Pilates so that will be in my daily routine. Reading has always been my escape and relaxation so I will be able to settle in with a good book. I’ll make friends again with the local libraries. And to actually have time to watch a movie. And so on.  Sigh. I guess I don’t really worry or wonder what I’ll do every day.

I think it is just time to go Play!