Food Frenzy

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Image by jbarsky0 from Pixabay

You’ve seen it; rows and rows of empty shelves at the grocery store. Carts piled high with food and paper goods. Panic buying, they call it, but what if it begins with something more primal?

If you look at the pyramid representing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; food, water, warmth and rest are at the base of the tier and are defined as Deficiency Needs. These needs arise when there is a real or perceived lack in a person’s life. The longer this lack remains, the more the desire to fulfill the need. Currently, the fear of shelter-in-place has many people flocking to grocery stores to stock up on items to meet this need, sometimes in excess.

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

If you read any of the local government closure orders, food and the supply chain are considered essential services and remain open regardless of the shelter-in-place. There is more than enough food to go around and the opportunity to get it. Those quarantined or self-isolating can have food delivered.

Cravings are intensified during a crisis. Anxiety sufferers tend to reach for salty, crunchy foods. Bread and pasta people need calming and comforting. Cookies, cakes and pies represent hugs, pleasure and reassurance. Dairy works as an antidepressant. Think about which shelves in the stores are the most plundered. In the book “Constant Craving” by Doreen Virtue (Hay House, 1995), she explains the emotional needs behind food cravings and how to overcome them.

Food cravings tend to be our first go-to for emotional comfort. As you reach for that bag of chips, stop for a moment and listen to your thoughts. Are you stressed? Do you have another option besides eating, unless you are truly hungry in which case, you are better off grabbing a crunchy carrot. If you are housebound can you do some form of exercise to burn off the stress? Maybe even throwing a pillow at the wall will help. Do you live in an area where you can safely get out and walk or run, while maintaining social distancing?

Be mindful of your need for extra food. When we come out of this pandemic, we don’t want to be carrying an extra load of body fat. Tend to your emotional needs first. Cry, scream, write letters and burn them, meditate, talk to the dog or cat, sit outside in the sunshine, walk, run, anything to keep from stuffing yourself with food. You’ll be glad you did.

Reset

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Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

This morning I read an article on “The Power Path – School of Shamanism” website titled “The Corona Virus: The Bigger Picture”.  here  I have been following this site for a number of years, and have gained much insight from their articles and monthly forecasts. What stood out the most for me was the idea of Reset. We’ve been determinedly plowing forward with the current way of life, and it isn’t working all that well. There is no denying that many destructive things are being ignored, and now a rampant virus is a very blatant indicator that we need to make some changes.

Lately, I’ve read a number of articles about how the millennials are so stressed, even to the point that they can’t tolerate handclapping. Those of us older people snort derisively, complain about their incessant use of marijuana to calm down, and demand that they grow up and handle life like we did.

What if the millennials are right, and all of us have created this go-go-go, get-it-done-right-now world?

Since many of us were teens, technological advances have connected the world delivering almost anything in real-time. We’re excited that we can see what’s going on in another part of the world, at any time of the day or night. We can have food or other supplies delivered to our door whenever we want. We can communicate with one another with a device in the palm of our hands. More powerful, efficient, clean-burning vehicles get us from place to place. Vast strides in the medical world have kept cancer from spreading too quickly, and I’m sure the cure is coming.

While these many things have been gifts to improve our lives, and make us live longer and healthier, there are downsides. Faster has become entitled. Faster has become expected. Faster has become a demand. And the cost is our mental health. Anxiety and stress drive us to do more and it is not always a good thing.

Mother Nature feels the burn as well, but doesn’t hesitate to snap at us when we’ve gone too far. Maybe, just maybe, this is our dear Mother Nature telling us it is time to slow down. Many businesses and government offices have closed their doors to the public. Events, and gatherings of more than 10 are banned. Schools are empty, and children are at home. What message, and purpose, might this be saying to us?

Is it time for a Reset?

When was the last time you sat down on the floor with your child and played a game? When was the last time you took a nap, read a book, or fixed yourself a nice meal that didn’t come out of a box?

I realize that many of you might be out of a job, and in danger of financial ruin, so I am not trying to downplay the reality or the hardships that come with global turmoil. But staying in a state of anxiety does not serve you either. Creative ideas and solutions do not come when you are in a state of panic. Take some time to play. When you are relaxed, you’ll be able to formulate plans to keep yourself on track. Maybe some of those plans are to divest yourself of things that are more stressors than useful. Sometimes facing ruin is our greatest path to a better life.

The Coronavirus primarily affects our lungs and our ability to breathe. Do you find yourself holding your breath? Do you feel suffocated by your circumstances? Symbolically, this virus is “exposing” us to the truth of our reality. Maybe you are not in an area with a large risk of exposure. Maybe your life is not feeling the pressure of this crisis. If so, you are more than likely on your path and don’t need the challenges presented. Your path might be to stay safe and ride it out, or it maybe that you need to be of service to others. Taking the time to relax and play to relieve the anxiety is the first step. Connecting to the Universe through meditation or prayer comes next, so you can receive guidance. And then you will be able to see if you need to do a little Reset of your life.

You Can Live With Fear, Or You Can Live With Faith

Fear is a sneaky little trick played by your Ego to keep you separate from everything that makes your life better. You stay disconnected from Spirit, who always works for your highest good. You isolate yourself from people that can help you. You avoid doing things that bring you joy. You stuff yourself with chemicals, food, and alcohol to cover up your fear. Basically, you avoid caring for yourself spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

Now why would you want to do that?

Faith is support from the Universe that makes everything flow and resolve for the highest good of all involved. Faith is not blindly thinking that everything is going to be perfect and you don’t have to do anything. No, no, no. When you engage with the Universe, it’s like playing ball. You ask for help, and you get messages relaying action steps that can include doing nothing – like rest. Faith is believing that you will receive help and messages. Faith reminds you to do things for your best health. Eating well, limiting or avoiding substances, exercise, hobbies and activities, being with family and friends, providing service and anything else that benefits your spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health. Basically, the total opposite of fear.

Faith encourages you to be educated and informed about stressful events. Neither ignoring nor stressing about situations is healthful. Faith will guide you to turn left when you might normally turn right. Is my intended activity bad for me or should I continue with my plans? Faith will come in as a gut feeling about what to do. Trust your gut, it is the center of your power and immune system.

Global media provides information on demand, any time, anywhere, in any format. You can have real-time connections with people who live far away. You can see places you may never visit. The downside is that you forget to go outside and enjoy the healing benefits of nature’s cure – the sun.

Global media can also keep you locked in a state of fear, watching or reading countless hyped-up news reports of some disaster looming or occurring. Even though you are not there, exposure to these events activates your sympathetic nervous system, an involuntary response that sends a flood of hormones racing through your body. One of these hormones is cortisol, which is now known to create inflammation, believed to be a cause of heart disease.

Fear will make you sick.

Which will you choose? Will you choose fear and be afraid, isolated and ill? Will you choose faith and be guided to a safe, healthy and better life? Remember, as human we have free will choice. Choose wisely.

Renewal

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Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” I’m sure many of you have heard that phrase by Ralph Waldo Emerson. How often do you say “if I have/achieve/do this [thing], then I’ll be happy or whatever”? I know I have many times. But then what? Is life over because you got to that point? Maybe for a few, but most of us come up with the next thing.

That is why life is a journey.

I think it is supposed to be. Life is made up of a series of moments, discoveries and actions that help us grow. Or maybe just get us closer to death (sarcasm intended). We shouldn’t let it become a drudge or even a race to the finish line. Life is also not a competition, unless it is within your own mind and if that is what it takes to motivate you, then go for it.

I see life as a renewal. Think of how many people you have been. Baby, child, teenager, young adult, adult, elderly and many versions in-between. Relationships, careers, hobbies and interests. And if you think you don’t have interests. . .well, reading is obviously one of them.

Downtime is a renewal. Sometimes you just need to give your body or brain a break and do mindless activities. I like computer games and have a tendency to get addicted to them. I’m in that mode now, but am starting to realize that I need to get active again. After this post, I have a date with my treadmill. It’s only 12 degrees Fahrenheit outside or I would take a walk. What is important about this is acknowledging and accepting what renewal actions we need. Honoring your body’s need for rest is as important as keeping it strong, flexible and healthy. You can’t do one without the other. If you are fidgety, it is just unspent energy and your body’s way of saying “get me moving!”. Just as feeling listless says “give me a break.”

Too often we push ourselves past the breaking point because of the perceived expectations of others. Do you really think your employer wants a crabby or sick you at work? No, especially if you are sick and infectious to others. You wouldn’t want a crabby or sick doctor operating on you, would you? Listen to what your body is saying to you and take care of it, unless you don’t care if it takes care of you. When you honor your body, your mind will respond and give you ideas. They could be creative, inventive or just reminders of to-do tasks that you forgot when you were neglecting your body.

You can think of the Earth as just a gigantic body. She goes through seasons as a form of renewal. We are in Winter, when she lies dormant and lets the Sky be active. Spring tends to be volatile, when Earth and Sky work together to cleanse and clear the way for new life. Summer is about growth, so the two work in peaceful harmony. Fall is the time when Earth and Sky share their beauty and bounty with all of nature. Imagine what we would be like if we nurtured ourselves in that same way? Do you feel renewed?

Lazy Days and Mondays

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Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

I know there is a song somewhere in there, but it doesn’t get me down. It is Monday and a no work day for me. It is lovely being at home and I have decided to make this a restful day. I’m doing some things just for me, but I don’t feel like they are work.

We live in a non-stop world. Everything is delivered to us almost immediately, whether it is technology or actual items. This creates a reactive energy within us and makes us feel as though we need to respond to or do everything right now. I wouldn’t give all that technology back, but it would be nice to change our behavior to one of thoughtful response. Not everything is a heart attack waiting to happen, although the constant stress could bring one about.

I have been away from work for several days and don’t return until Thursday. I’m using up some of my vacation time prior to my last day in February. It has been interesting to say the least. The first two days were spent in gotta-do-everything-right-now mode, and the next two I-want-to-veg-like-a-couch-potato. Pretty normal behavior, I’m thinking. What I find most interesting is the emotional roller-coaster that is going along with it.

I suppose that going through retirement is much like the stages of grief. I have experienced the feeling that I’m never going to reach the actual day, and along with that, old anger and resentments of events that I have experienced. I think that is very healthy, so I am just letting them ooze up and out. It helps to understand where I didn’t have good boundaries, so I am forgiving myself for not honoring me. Then there is the jubilance bubbling up and filling me with joy that I am moving forward into a future where I am living on my schedule and not someone else’s. In between are thoughts about money and having enough. I don’t think that has an answer, because we don’t know how long we’ll live or what we will need. It is a matter of looking at all possible sources and using them wisely over a projected time frame. With the understanding that you may need to adjust.

I also think of what to do to fill my days. I have numerous activities on my list and I am doing one of them right now. Afterwards, I am getting on the treadmill for some exercise. I have concluded that boredom is basically unexpended energy so movement of some sort will get you to a restful state. And then having a lazy day to read a book or work a jigsaw puzzle is just the ticket to release stress.

And that will never get me down.

Ratatouille

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Image by Sergei Belozerov from Pixabay

Whether it be a delicious French country dish made from harvesting late summer vegetables, or the animated film centered around a rodent gourmand who dazzles a restaurant critic with the same dish, ratatouille involves nourishing our soul.

In the Chinese calendar, we are on the verge of the Year of the Metal Rat. These zodiac Rats are know for their industrious nature, and the ability to gather sustenance and prosperity and tuck it away much like the harvesting of late summer vegetables.

I am a Metal Rat and fit that profile quite well. Coincidentally, I am petite and small-boned and quite adept at hiding in corners. You will often find me there, worrying and working myself to the bone, typical behavior of the first sign in the Chinese Zodiac. Although it might not be listed in this lucky sign’s traits, I do love me some metal music.

If you are a fellow Metal Rat, it is our year to shine. Metal is a conductive energy, so whatever we touch will have powerful energy behind it. Be careful and vigilant where you focus your thoughts and tasks, you don’t want to waste that power down the wrong path or in too much worry. I consider it quite auspicious that I am about to retire and making plans to building the next chapter in my life’s story. My efforts have been in the left-brained, logical world for many a year, so I am gearing up to give my right-brain, creative side some release. #Create!!

Even if you are not a fellow – ahem – rodent, it is a potent year for shoring up your resources. Invest wisely, beautify your nest and fill your coffers with that which sustains your life. The little rat is a workaholic worrier, always afraid there is never enough financial abundance, yet loves practical luxury. That little nest will always be stylish and those little feet shod in beautifully made shoes. The task at hand for the rat, is that in order to avoid excessive worry about money is to not overspend. Go green, recycle, upcycle, my little friends, and don’t overlook secondhand and consignment shopping. I have just discovered this market, and have scored some lovely luxury items at minimal cost. Minnie Mouse understands that you can look fabulous and be frugal at the same time.

Don’t neglect the inside, while covering up the outside. An overload of chemicals will keep you feeling off, bloated, itchy and overweight. Chemicals are everywhere and in most everything, and our bodies have difficulty in eliminating them. Think of your intestines and skin as a filtering system, and drink pure filtered water every day. Eat organic, non-GMO food. Rats have thin skin and are susceptible to the “itchies” and you don’t want to look like that. This is going to be a big year and you want to keep your body in as good a condition as possible so you have the energy to give it your best. Not that you shouldn’t do that any other year.

Remember to be a little social too, my fellow Rats, all work and no play is unhealthy. Our workaholic tendencies cause us to put all our duties before play, and usually there isn’t enough time nor energy left for play. Yes, I know you want to put the laundry away before going to the party, but no one has ever died from not having folded towels. A much refreshed you is a much happier you.

Come out of the corners, little Rats, dream big and put those plans into action. Be sure to join those celebratory parties when you meet a milestone. #wineandcheese

PS. I’ve also been told that rats make good pets.

Re-Evolving

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Image by Mira Cosic from Pixabay

Is it just me, or does it feel like Mercury Retrograde? I know it isn’t supposed to start until February 17th, but OMG, things feel crazy.

I have been reading some of the astrology reports and today begins a “collaboration”, if you will, of Pluto and Saturn. Pluto likes to destroy everything in its path, and Saturn loves to build structures. Maybe that’s why it seems like the work of my busy, little planet. I can’t claim to understand all of what this big meet-up means, but it seems pretty simple. Take a bulldozer to everything and rebuild. Not that I am recommending that to anyone.

It seems fitting that this is happening in January, when everyone is hell bent on setting resolutions and reinventing their life in some way. Most resolutions fail within about six weeks, or so I am guessing, so maybe this planetary collusion will help some of those big plans actually stick. Did you make resolutions this year? I didn’t and rarely ever do. You gotta turn something into a habit or way of life instead of just some grand plan.

Do you feel like you are stuck in some dull routine, just because, but it doesn’t really serve you? Perhaps Pluto will help, or maybe force, you into ditching it for something better. For example: do you go to your in-law’s every Sunday for spaghetti dinner even though it gives you heartburn for three days? Maybe you like your in-law’s, so why not suggest they come to your house for pot roast instead? Or maybe you don’t like them, and it’s time to have a chat with your spouse about doing something different for Sunday dinner. Who knows, your spouse might so full of relief at your suggestion that’ll they will make dinner. Winner-winner, chicken dinner!

Whatever the circumstance, it is important to acknowledge that there is some crazy energy going on and to do what you must to stop the panic. Don’t rush out to buy a new refrigerator just because it had a brain fart and displayed an error code. (Like ours did this morning. We have it on notice, but a backup plan with a spare fridge in the garage.) Don’t get a divorce because you hate in-law spaghetti dinners. Don’t quit your job because your boss went all stupid over a report. Breathe, be vigilant if necessary, but let the Universe guide you on the path for your Highest Good.

That is what this Pluto-Saturn thing is all about. The re-emergence of the real you. The ever, evolving journey of your life. The support and resources to make powerful, enduring changes. The Universe has your back and wants you to be happy and evolving into your best you.

A New Decade Rolls In

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Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

Happy 2020 to all! I’m back online, mostly, as I’m still in recovery mode for my wrist. Who knew such a little lump would be such a big deal. I’m back to work tomorrow so we’ll see how that goes.

Not just a new year has begun, but a whole new decade. The time is ripe for a new, or just revised, vision of your life. Resolutions are usually a wasted effort and often abandoned within three weeks. I’m talking about a vision. How do you see yourself? What do you want your life to look like? Have you practiced that?

In February, I am retiring after 18-plus years of government service. It’s been a good run for me. I helped start up a new county and made it a worthwhile career. I set my intention to serve and I feel as though I lived up to that goal. But now it’s time to serve me.

I’ve been in the prep mode of this event for a couple of years. I’ve begun new hobbies, written a-yet-to-be-published book, researched places to visit and practiced activities and interests. The three weeks I have been away from work due to my surgery have been very useful in teaching me what matters. I expect retirement to still have its surprises, but I am ready. I have my vision of what my life will look life. I look forward to this new decade and what it will bring.

How about you? What vision have you imagined for yourself? Have you taken any action steps or practiced your vision? Are you ready for the reality of it?

Many blessings, hopes, dreams and most of all, good times to all of you as we journey forth.

Ever Evolving

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Aging. There is a reason why it is a verb and not a noun. Or a journey rather than a destination. Some days I just blaze through them when I am focused on a task and not even notice that the time has passed.

Other days, I look in the mirror and think: WTF what is going on here?

Lately, I’m a bit obsessed with my wardrobe. I’ve always been a fashionista, with a tendency to make a statement with my clothing. I like edgy with leather moto jackets and studded boots. I like bohemian with flowy prints. I like color, texture and patterns. No one that knows me would call me beige.

What comes with aging, that is so mind-boggling, is the constant state of body change. All you women out there who have gone through menopause, know exactly what I’m talking about. There are a gazillion blog posts written on this very subject. Lots of WTF moments.

Change is inevitable, but I think it is difficult to accept what happens to your body. Your boobs get bigger and they droop. Your ass gets bigger and droops. And then there is this round thing that shows up around your waist like a Monday morning donut. WTF. It is not an easy task to get them corralled and back in shape.

A diet shouldn’t be a diet, but a lifestyle. Learn to love vegetables. Eat hormone free meat. Seriously? If it makes an animal get bigger, what do you think happens to you? Practice intermittent fasting, if nothing but to eliminate the digesting grumbles in the middle of the night. Take supplements because, yes, they really do work. Drink water with a chunk of lemon in it. It makes you pee, but you’ll notice the puffiness goes away.

Exercise. Walk. Take the stairs. Do weight-bearing repetitions several times a week. Even if it doesn’t do much for your shape, your bones and joints will love you. Having muscles will help you get out of bed in the morning, instead of just rolling over and hoping you don’t end up on the floor. Our muscles get weaker as we age, so you can counteract that by lifting weights.

Take care of your hair and skin. Nothing ages you faster than looking like you don’t give a sh*t. Gray hair looks awesome when it is well-cared for. Spending money on good hair products is worth it. Same thing with your skin. If you live in a dry climate, like I do, moisturizers are a must unless you like itching your way through winter. Coconut oil works quite well.

Keep up with your teeth. Brush, floss, see your dentist. Healthy teeth keep you healthier.

Breathe. Meditate. Get out in nature.

It will make it a lot easier to go back into your closet and throw out all the things you bought last year that no longer fit.

The Winners of the World

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Image by AxxLC from Pixabay

It is Sunday, which means football, which means that – once again – I am writing a football inspired article. Why? Well, I like watching the sport, but there is just so much inspiration to be found in such a hard-driven game.

There are, of course, winners and losers in each game and each season. There has to be; that’s why it is a competitive game. No one would watch otherwise.

What makes a Loser? And why would I start with that? Because it is too easy to talk about a Winner. A Loser can happen for various reasons. Not feeling good enough comes to mind first. A Winner can feel that way too, and so pushes themselves that much harder. That isn’t so bad, unless the endless quest pushes you into a nervous breakdown or serious injury. You can have an off day or feel ill, which could make you a Loser for that day. That could make you a Winner if you realize that sometimes you need to rest and recover instead of pushing yourself harder.

You could have a bad rapport with your mentor or coach, so you make a bad decision based upon bad direction. If you can adapt or resolve the situation, you become a Winner. Sometimes choosing to leave the situation altogether can be winning.

A true Winner knows how to change their circumstances through the power of choice. A Loser believes they have no choice. Not choosing at all is still a choice. Even if you are part of a team, and your team is experiencing a loss, you still have a choice to be a Winner. You played your best; you did your best work; you did something that made you feel good about yourself – makes you a Winner.

So get out there and kick some a$s, even if it is just your own.