Sandals to Snow Shoes in 24 Hours

It is 80 degrees in Colorado on October 8th. We are expecting 72 degrees tomorrow, and then, SNOW on Thursday. That four-letter word that turns the average nice person into a maniac when it first arrives in the fall.

Leaves have barely turned. Flowers are still pushing blooms out for our visual pleasure. Ghosts and goblins are appearing on front porches everywhere and Christmas trees are arriving in stores.

Fall seems to turn everyone inside out. Traditionally, it is the time of harvest when we reap the rewards of all that we have planted. Did you sow a fertile field this year? Whether it is farmland wheat or just the seeds of your dreams, now it the time to see if it all has grown to meet your desires.

I hope you planted something. Action steps towards your dreams or just a pretty daisy in a pot, there is life and hope and beauty in your life. When we cannot plant even a thought, we lose sight of where we are going. The journey is yours to design, not just be swept along by someone else’s tide. Or snowstorm.

I don’t look forward to the first snow, yet I can still see its beauty. It dampens down the harvest, cleans the air, and heralds in a time of rest. Away goes our fun sandals of summer, and out comes fuzzy boots and the warmth of a fire. Time to settle in and nurture ourselves, give thanks for another season of growth, and relax until it is time to plant new ideas or something of beauty.

Goodbye happy flip-flops, see you in the summer.

Halloween Is Coming!

IMG_20191006_151509616 (1)Halloween is my favorite holiday. Ever since I was a child, I have loved dressing in costumes. It is a moment in time when I get to be someone or something else. In the past few years, it has taken on a new life with decorating my front yard. Now we are the hit of the neighborhood.

I’ve changed the theme each year, and then reluctant to put my – err skeleton crew – away, they take on new life at Christmas. The first year was random scenes that changed weekly. My crew consists of 2 skeleton people, 1 dog, 2 cats, 1 chicken, 1 bird, a fish, a spider, 1 owl and a six-foot tall T-Rex. Some of them stay out all year – the owl for sure.

 

Last year’s theme was football, called “The Pumpkin Bowl”. The score ended Rex 10, Bones 6. It’s a little difficult to tackle a T-Rex. They all buddied up for a victory parade on Halloween.

IMG_20191006_151305952 (1)This year honors the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock, however in my yard it is Bonestock. First in the lineup is Jimi Hend-Rex. I think The Boo will show up in week 2. Beyond that, it is anyone’s guess. Or maybe I just like to keep everyone guessing.

And to all those legendary musicians who made Woodstock still going today, Rock On, and RIP to all those who have left us. Your music lives on.

Festi-fall

IMG_0687Every now and then, my fashionista side says “let’s go play fashion shoot” and off we go to some interesting locale to get my vogue on.

September is nearly at its end, and the leaves are changing colors and floating to the earth. These last few days of warm weather herald a flurry of festivals; whether it is an outdoor concert or a romp through a pumpkin patch. Or for many, a chance to suck down a few gallons of beer at an Oktoberfest.

The beautiful colors of fall had me pulling on some festival worthy garments, such as this gorgeously embroidery tunic from Johnny Was, aptly named “Festival Tunic”. The pants are from Sundance and the 4-inch platform sandals are by Schutz. Although I wouldn’t recommend sauntering through a pumpkin patch in them. The happy hippy hat is from some shop in Estes Park.

IMG_0674Fall is such a lovely season. I think Mother Nature gives us all Her glory as a present before the frigid days of winter. Something to stick in our mind as we hunker down and nurture ourselves while She rebuilds herself for another season. And so should we. Getting out there in all my glory helps to remind me that whatever is hiding beneath those layers of clothes, like it or not, it is me and I can rebuild myself with all the intent and care as Mother Nature. Sometimes She, too, doesn’t look Her best, but with faith and knowingness comes another season to get Her festi-fall on.

And so will I.

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Guardians of the Desert

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Leigh-Ann Edrich from Pixabay

We recently spent a week in Arizona, visiting friends in Tucson and Phoenix. Coming from Colorado, the desert landscape is quite different and requires some adapting. Colorado is dry, but not quite like Arizona.

The landscape is brown and rocky, and dotted with cactus and other vegetation. There is much beauty in its simplicity and the mighty saguaro cactus reigns supreme. From short to tall, slender with varying number of arms, these beauties symbolize the desert region. Some areas are heavily populated, and some without a single statue in sight.

I found myself studying them as they seemed to pulsate with life. I sensed the spirit beings within and slipped into their energy. Mystical, folksy, somewhat primitive yet highly spiritual, they reminded me of the famed Hopi Kachina Dolls. Their presence seemed to me that of a guardian and guide. A protector of both land and its inhabitants, who offers guidance to those who seek it. They also seem as lightposts showing them the way to the afterlife.

Arizona is a much-sought-after destination for retirees. Whether it is year-round residency or the wanderlust of the snowbirds (those who winter in AZ and summer in another state), the over sixty crowd can be found on the golf course, in swimming pools, grocery stores and the mega clubhouses of the various popular communities like Sun City. Draw by the warm winters, older folks find contentment and companions in the desert.

But what if there is something more to draw the older crowd? What if these stately cacti, filled with spiritual energy, are what beckons them to give up their family homes and move south? Perhaps these beings are there to assist people in their life transition. It’s not like I think people go there specifically to die, but maybe age gracefully and beautifully with peace and purpose until it is time to pass on. I believe these guardians stand tall to show them the way.

They are here to show us all that we are never alone.

Innocent-ive

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Image by KDArtStudio from Pixabay

Innocent is the baby sister of the twins Blame and Shame. She sees that at the core of humanness is the pure divine light of creation. This light is the soul connection to Spirit, with the innocence of a baby. Within this pure light, there is no blame, no shame, just the love that we are created with.

Innocent knows that even though we are human with flaws and imperfections, her sisters want to make a big deal out of those bumps and blemishes. She continually reminds them that the only thing wrong is the tendency to hate themselves.

The anger and fear that we project on others is simply the avoidance of acknowledging and accepting our own imperfections. We turn these emotions inward as self-hatred instead of nurturing and loving the blemishes we carry. Perhaps you were unloved and unwanted as a child. This may have instilled a belief within you that something was wrong. Shame became your new best friend, because you couldn’t trust human friendship. Your misguided view of yourself manifested into outward traits of being unlovable. Maybe you were excessively shy and avoided people. Maybe you didn’t care for your physical appearance. Maybe you were defensive and belligerent. You unconsciously put yourself around people who treated you badly. Blame joined her sister and you had a way to fight back.

If this has been your pattern, it is time to look deep within yourself and recognize the beautiful innocent core of your being. Spirit would not have created you and made you human if you were not lovable. Sure, you may have flaws, but Spirit was not looking for perfection. Those flaws are there to grow your spirit in order to grow Spirit. Think about that for a moment. Spirit is all loving and all abundant so why would Spirit need a human? Obviously Spirit wants and needs your imperfections to become even more loving and abundant. How awesomely cool is that? Do you now understand how important you are to Spirit? Even Blame and Shame are important to Spirit, because without them there would be no reminder of their baby sister, Innocent.

That just gives you more Innocent-ive to love yourself.

Just Peachy

peachesIt is Palisade Peach time in Colorado. If you have never had one, you are missing out on one of life’s greatest treats. Rumor has it that they are better than Georgia peaches. Sorry GA.

Mother Nature graciously gifts us with this annual bounty of flavorful goodness, reminding us of life’s true sweetness. One bite of these babies puts bliss upon your tongue and will fill you up without longing for anything beyond. This is true sweet, not sugar, not chemical substitutes, not some lab-cooked corn laden concoction that gets you addicted with the first taste.

Our Dear Mother is telling us to reach for Her blessings of fruit when we need a pick-me-up from life. If you are having a bad day or a series of bad days, put down the soda, the alcohol or any other substance that will only give you a temporary lift and leave behind unseen damage. She’s not too happy about genetic modification either, natural fruit is always available even if it needs to be shipped from another country.

When you cut them open, most fruit has a visible seed. Although you might not have the climate to grow that type of fruit, a seed is available to continue with your own harvest. Mother Nature loves renewables. A seed is also a reminder to plant ideas. When you take time to savor a piece of fruit, the pleasure helps you to relax and you might get creative thoughts. Use those thoughts to plant your own seed so when it’s harvest time, it will be Just Peachy.

Pi-Lot-es

pilates-3799327_1920I love Pilates. Once you learn the movements, you can do Mat Work anywhere. Bedroom floor, back yard, hotel room. I consider that it saved my life.

I’m convinced that I developed bursitis in my hips from an often-prescribed medication. I won’t name it, in case Big Pharma starts poking into my life. Let’s just say most cardio docs want you to take it. I can’t prove that it happened, but it coincidentally occurred right after I began taking it. I stopped the prescription quite a few years ago. The constant pain in my muscles and joints was not worth the small risk of not taking it. I had to stop exercising because of the pain.

And then I discovered Pilates. The manager of fitness programs at our rec center suggested I try it. The teacher was phenomenal and taught the Classical version. When I began the lessons, it was hard work. I was still on the drug and didn’t have a lot of muscle strength. I still had pain. Some in-depth research made me stop the meds and within three months, everything changed. Sure, I adapted to the routine, but the biggest gain was no more pain.

I love Pilates.

It’s been eight years since I first laid down on a mat and stuck my legs in the air. (Yep, most movements are like that.) You will hear that Pilates is all about core strength. They are not kidding. I am often amazed how much I now have. Why core strength? You might think it’s all about the abs. That is part of it, but it is so much more. From your neck to your knees, everything is connected and has the most impact on your daily life. Getting up out of a chair takes core strength. Good balance requires core strength. Lifting your arms in the air requires strength in your shoulder girdle. Without it, you might become one of those rounded-shoulder, shuffling elderly that we too often see.

Going to a class is fun. Since you are laying down most of the time, you can’t really see what anyone else is doing so there isn’t much competition. However, it is really impressive when you see someone do the inversions so effortlessly. You can do it by yourself. You can do it with a friend. (Sounds dirty, but it’s not.) You can do it however often you want. I try to do a short routine every night before bed. It helps to “untwist” me, so to speak, from my day. You don’t get all sweaty and cardio so it doesn’t affect your sleep.

A whole lotta Pilates is really good for you in every which way. Anyone up for the “Hundred”?

I Wants It

barbecue-2098020_1920You remember Gollum from “Lord of the Rings”. An emaciated creature who craved an empowered gold ring. A craving so intense that nothing else mattered. I doubt that even a junkie would be that far gone.

Cravings are powerful. I’m sure you’ve experienced them in some form or another. Like OMG, nothing will do but you have to have a bag of chips before you die of starvation! Not likely, unless you are on “Naked and Afraid”, and even then they would rescue you before death.

If you are of average weight and maintain it, cravings are fairly normal. They typically signify unmet needs for fun, excitement or love. Basically, you are bored and food fills a hole. If you struggle with being overweight or are a chronic dieter, then food cravings and overeating signal unmet emotional needs. Overeating often springs from anxiety or depression. I am not a doctor, nor am I providing a diagnosis, but if you struggle with these issues please see a doctor or therapist. Life is too short, and you are missing out on too many good things so make your overall health a priority.

Real physical hunger comes on slowly and your stomach tells you it needs fuel. Emotional hunger swirls in your mind and triggers taste sensations in your mouth. Poor nutrition, blood sugar swings, alcohol and drugs mess with your brain chemicals – especially serotonin – and cause even more cravings. Give your body the proper fuel and in return, it will provide you with energy and feel-good chemicals so you want to get out and enjoy life. Good trade-off, I’m thinking.

Lately, I’ve noticed that I have been overeating. Nothing extreme, but I’m looking a little poochy. Ick. And not for anything in particular as that points to different needs, such as salty-crunchy for anxiety. So I decided I needed to look into my need for food.

Sometimes we overeat for simple reasons: obligation – someone brought cookies to work and you don’t want to hurt their feelings; not wasting – you ordered the food at a restaurant and don’t want to leave a full plate, although a doggie bag is always an option; taste – it’s damn good!; boredom – snacky foods give you something to do; true hunger – eat too fast and eat too much; tired – hoping it sparks energy. These are a few of the reasons we shovel in more than we need.

Well hmm, I think those are my reasons.

I’ve b*itched about my work plenty, but it is a long day from waking to coming home. I have plenty of responsibility that goes from all-out-balls-to-the-wall to sitting and waiting. Anyone that does accounting work understands those cycles. During the boring times, I eat. During the stressful times, I work through lunch, go home tired, eat to refuel and have a drink to unwind. The perfect combination to build tummy fat. Because of all that, I have set aside some activities that I would normally enjoy doing – like I don’t have the time and energy for them. I know, practice what you preach. Eating has become the new enjoyment. Therein lies the problem.

Using food as a replacement for getting your needs met is a bad idea, but instead of focusing on food as the enemy search for the root. Give yourself permission to have fun. Schedule some free time in your day, just for you, to do something you love. Practice self-care. Give your relationships some attention. Hug your friends. Get out in nature and soak up a little sun. Maybe do some energy work. The third chakra – Solar Plexus – is at the navel. It governs personal power, so it may be said that a little tummy fat protects your power. Maybe your personal boundaries need a little work. The second chakra – Sacral – is directly below and governs pleasure, emotions and addictions. A definite connection. If you sit at a desk all day, like me, then the two probably get squished into one muddled energetic glob.

Hmm. Addictions ending up in the stomach. Better get up and stretch, but not for another cookie.

I wants it. . .

 

A Happy Space

I’m taking a week off from work. I have a lot of vacation time built up and I want to use some of it up before I retire in January. Plus, it’s great to get away from the stressful hustle. I chose to be home-bound for the rest and relaxation, and it is a sigh of relief. We’re hosting a neighborhood gathering tomorrow evening, and having a party Saturday afternoon with some friends. There is always a lot of prep for events, but I have plenty of time for it.

IMG_20190614_181516011 (2)I have several of these weeks throughout the summer. I am using them as practice for retirement. I knew that I needed some time away and I anticipated that it would be enjoyable, but certainly not at the level I am experiencing.

I am discovering an absolute true feeling of contentment.

IMG_20190614_181523173 (1)There are books, and articles, and videos, and podcasts, and so on, that speak of being happy. Do this, don’t do that, the list is goes on. Much of it is true, but it all comes back to how you feel inside. It is different for everyone. Sometimes the happiness is fleeting or short-lived. Such as that which comes from a thing, place or person. We all want the kind that stays with us for ever and ever. But what does it really mean?

It is how you feel at any moment, where you experience peace, contentment and relaxation. Your blood pressure drops, respiration becomes slower and deeper, worrisome thoughts seem to drift away, your gaze softens, and your senses relax. When I sit outside and look at my flower garden this happens. The colors, the shapes, the sheer beauty of the flowers overwhelm me. I become less aware of street noise and more aware of the tiny bees that roam from flower to flower. The chirp of birds. Perhaps one lands to take drink from the bird bath. Butterflies floating about. Time passes by without a thought.

I can begin to appreciate that the stress and striving brought me to this. That work and effort is important, because it brings safety and security, and purpose in serving. But yet, we must never lose sight of the need to fulfill our own passions and the necessity of self-care. Whether you are working or not, good health or bad, have many responsibilities or not, taking a few moments to find your happy space are as necessary as breathing.

Your soul will hug you if you do.

Rainy Days and Mondays

rain-84648_1920“Always get me down.” (The Carpenters, 1971) It’s been raining a lot, for the middle of May. Yes, I know some of you have been getting snow and I certainly don’t envy that. We plan on setting up our little pool next weekend and I’m wondering if we might get frostbite. Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be stormy, just a dandy way to start the work week. Sigh.

The weather is always volatile this time of year. The planet is making its bi-annual tilt from winter to summer (or the opposite for the southern hemisphere). I realize the tilt is an ongoing shift, but the wild and wacky weather makes it seem as though it is happening within a month. I guess I could liken it to riding down the road, doing 70, in a convertible and without a hat. Mother Nature’s convertible is a little larger and she likes to get a little “showy” with the lightning strikes. Reminding us just who is in charge. I am always grateful to get through Spring without too much of a spanking.

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The rain is certainly good for the garden. I’ve discovered that I really like growing flowers. Their beauty, of course, and just the riotous colors, shapes and sizes. With each bud, a surprise lies inside and you must wait patiently for it to reveal itself to you.

IMG_20190519_132612255 (1)We added to the perennial collection this weekend. A few things didn’t make it through the winter so they needed to be replaced. We also have a dead zone towards the front so instead of trying to suffer through another round, we put in some blocks and raised the bed. Naturally, it had to be filled immediately. I found this bright, candy red, small rosebush that called to me. I haven’t grown roses in, oh probably 15 years. I guessed that little bush was what I needed. The pots and the planters always get annuals and I change them up year-to-year. I could not resist the very fascinating fuschias even though the location might be a bit sunny for them.IMG_20190519_132640740 (1)

I am always excited when the buds appear. Flowers mean I made it through the winter and hot days are ahead. I love the laziness of a hot summer day. I love floating in our little pool. Dinner outside. Cocktails with friends. It’s sort of like recovery after a surgery. It just makes me feel good.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for giving us the rain so that I can appreciate the sun.