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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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.

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. . .

 

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere

IMG_20190505_132400079 (1)Alcoholism is a serious and debilitating disease that engulfs the mind, body and spirit. It can contribute to any number of health issues and can result in death. From my research, alcoholism can be a coping mechanism for deep, personal issues. It is a sad waste of a beautiful human life.

There is no doubt that drinking alcohol can be fun. A summer afternoon, an evening cocktail party, wine pairings, all are fun gatherings with friends. A cold beer after yard work. A “topping off” after the completion of a project. All reasons to offer a toast. But anything in excess is unhealthy for your well-being.

When you are super stressed, it is easy to reach for a cocktail to numb your nervous system. It may be helpful for the moment, but you’ll wake up in the middle of the night just as restless and edgy as you started. Instead take a walk, or engage in some other mild form of exercise. Meditate. Read a book. Work a puzzle. The idea behind stress relief is to focus your thoughts on something that relaxes you, which will help you do actions that relax your body.

Treat alcohol as a treat, and just because it’s five o-clock somewhere doesn’t mean it needs to be five o’clock every night.

Decaffeinated

coffee-791045_1920I am trying to stick with decaf coffee. Too much of the regular stuff tends to make me anxious, not a good thing for the anxiety prone. But there are days when you need a hit of jet fuel to give you momentum.

The last several weeks have been very hectic. At work, it is budget prep season and that takes a lot of time, thought and people cooperation. I coordinate the effort for the whole department so I have to make sure everything gets done on time. In the midst of that, there have been several long drawn-out audits. They have brought to the surface some issues that the entire organization has been neglecting. I hesitate to say that, because it is not that they were intentionally neglectful just some timing issues. Along with all that, there is the usual flurry of work and month end duties. There are many things for me to remember and be responsible for. I keep a list, but sometimes my mind just runs in hyperdrive, and on occasion, I kind of lose track where I’m at. Like last Friday morning, for example.

I was tired from the week so I thought I would treat myself to a Starbucks latte. I love them so they must be consumed in a limited quantity. So long about 6:15, I was waiting in the drive-thru line. I’m zoning out, listening to the radio and waiting for some movement in the cars in front of me. Finally, I inch forward and am next to the menu board. I glance at it briefly, already knowing what I want. I am totally in the zone. Then I hear a voice “if you would like to place an order, you will need to roll down your window”.  Sigh.  Apparently, I need to lay off the decaf for awhile.

I roll down my car window. “I’m sorry”, I say with a laugh, “I guess I really need some caffeine”.

This is surely a sign that I am taking life way too seriously and need some rest. As luck would have it, I planned a day off on Monday.

I plan on drinking lots of caffeine.

Rest and Digest

brunch-788499_1920Or not eating while you are stressed.  I’ve been reading a book “The Microbiome Diet” by Raphael Kellman, MD  (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2014) and it is about getting your gut healthy to boost your immune system and lose weight.  Very helpful and a good read.

There is a section in the book that talks about eating while you are stressed and that your body says “we are at war and need to hold onto every last drop of food ‘cause starvation’s coming!”  (statement, mine)  I agree, because what do we so often do when we’re in squirrel-chasing mode but shovel in food.  Usually crap that makes you feel horrible in the middle of the night when your body gets around to deciding whether or not to digest it.

Stress can be blamed for everything.  Sort of like a younger sibling.  Only meaner.  And with red hair.

So you gotta stop, unwind yourself from the electronic device, breathe deep and then sit down to dinner.  Without the television or device.  When was the last time you actually sat down to dinner and had a conversation with the people in your house?  Try it sometime, they have interesting things to say and there will be happy tummies on the way.  Keep doing that and you might not have a group cold virus ruling your house this winter.

I’ve been yapping a lot lately about how busy I have been.  Got some of those outdoor chores done, and I just finished a big project at work.  So I finally have a slow day, and I don’t know what to do with myself.  Hah!  See what happens when you are a stress-activated junkie and you don’t get your fix.  Ya just get more anxious.  So I made myself relax and enjoy the peaceful day.  When I sat down to lunch, after my walk, I did it with the idea of enjoying my food.  It wasn’t the greatest choice of food, but I took the time to savor and chew slowly.  It seemed to taste better and my tummy isn’t protesting.

Digesting isn’t just limited to eating.  Accepting new ideas, behaviors, situations, or whatever also need to be digested.  If you allow yourself to relax, you’ll clear your mind to accept or have the wisdom to make changes.

And then you’ll have more time to relax and have dinner with those strangers that live in your house.

Gone Viral

monster-426995_1920A couple of weeks ago, I came down with some sort of virus.  You know the kind, lack of energy, and just wanting to sleep.  With it came several days of internal rumbling and not too interested in putting food inside me.  Had no resulting weight gain, damn it.  It’s still lingering and I’m getting a bit depressed.

Or maybe it is just because summer is coming to an end.

Maybe I need some sunshine.  I could go outside, lie down on the sectional and take a nap.  Then I’d likely wake up with a sunburn on half my body, a-la Close Encounters.  (Please say you remember the scene when Richard Dreyfus looks out the window of his truck and, um, “sees the light”.)  I take vitamin D, so I don’t think I’m lacking there.  But then, sunshine always makes me happy.

Whatever the cause, isn’t it interesting the things our bodies do in response to an internal threat?  Often far better than the anti-virus software in your computer.  Without getting graphic, it is rather astonishing how the body goes into all-out war in eliminating the monster that invaded it.  I, and likely many others, am not very patient during the siege.  It takes a lot of effort to fight viral take-overs and the body likes to shut you down during the process.  I’m torn between sleeping and weeping.  Yesterday, I went shopping for a couple of hours, came home and washed the car, and I was just done for the day.  WTF.

It’s that time of year when viruses start gearing up for an attack.  Kids go back to school and we all know that is one gigantic bacteria factory.  You go to the doctor’s office and you get sick just breathing the air around the building.  Last year, my sweetie and I managed to avoid catching anything.  Yay!  I attribute that to our twice daily dosing of vitamins D, C, zinc sulfate and turmeric.  I had a bit of a sniffle in February, but it died off in a few days.

We owe it to ourselves and our Creator to take care of our bodies.  Eating well, sleeping, vitamins, exercise, play, relaxation and mindfulness.  Figure out what works best for your body and not just what someone else says.  Life is meant to be enjoyed and taking care of yourself contributes greatly to this.  Because if you don’t, you’ll end up with some mutated germ that wipes out half the planet.

And then you won’t be able to post some amazing video that Goes Viral.  You know, like that cat. . .

My Mother, My Body, My Self

mother-1327186_1280My mother was mean and fat.  I suppose she had her reasons.  I was born to her when she was a teenager, unable to graduate with her high school class, and the subject of scorn from many.  Self-hatred can cause you to pack on pounds in an effort to deflect other’s criticism.

I swore I would never be like my mother.

I never grew fat, just slightly chubby during difficult periods in my life, but always managed to ditch those few extra pounds when happiness was more prevalent in my life.  But I absorbed my mother’s dissatisfaction in other ways.

I became her punishment.

She told me once, “never get pregnant or you’ll ruin your life”.  I suppose, then, that I had ruined her life.  Her self-hatred ran deep, and so I spent the better part of my life attempting to appease her.  Wasted effort.  Once I gave up, my life changed in dramatic ways.

Shame and blame are guilt trips that are all too easy to fall into.  It takes courage, it takes strength, and it takes total compassion for yourself and your struggles to dig out of the rut of shame and blame.  My mother never got there.  She might still be in that place, but I don’t know as we no longer speak.

I still hate her on occasion.  I would guess that’s normal.  When my thighs get fat, I hate her.  When I stand with my hands on my hips, I hate her.  Sometimes we mimic our mother’s body to heal the pain of rejection.

I am not my mother’s body.

When I see these aspects appear, they just remind me of the wounds left behind.  They remind me of my struggle to create my own identity and not the one my mother impressed upon me.  And as each day goes by, and I allow my wants, my needs, and the desires of my true self thrust outward like a seedling in fresh mulch every piece of my mother’s rejection drops into my arms like a newborn greeting the world.

Like Phoenix rising from the ashes.

And knowing this, I wrap my arms around those injured bits of my soul, and tell myself that I am Loved and I am Cared For.  And I smile as I watch shame and blame fade away.

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.