Life Necessities

Many would argue that this post should just say…Shelter, water, food, Clothing, but what kind of life is that truly going to consist of? Maybe, these are enough if you are sleep walking through life, but to truly awaken, one must go deeper, seek those essentials that are the true necessities for a life fulfilled.

Here are SOME of my personal necessities.

CONNECTION

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” -Albert Schweitzer

In all my many years of life, I sadly say this is one area that I genuinely struggle with, but with anything in life, we must continue to strive to become better. So, with my recent move I have been striving to connect with my new neighbors and investing in the people around me. It has definitely been more moments of positive connections that I am very grateful for.

In all things we connect, whether it is with nature, a gaze of eye contact, to hug your pet, to recharge your phone—all things have a current; an energy that connects in one way or another. Just like in nature, whether it is how a tree is connected to a grander forest, how the ocean ripples energy and connects to a shore, how bees are connected to a hive or how stars are connected to the sky, there is a deeper connection in all things. That is a sacred, deep truth—we are all connected.

May we find ways to seek out these deeper connections in nature, in relationships, in friendships, in strangers. There is a beautiful spark that flows and transforms in all we do. Be aware of the power you carry—the power that connects you to others. Everyone is on a personal journey, so smile, share the care, spread the love and connect deeper in all you do.

WATER Water has this beautiful magic, whether it is to cleanse, to hydrate, to bathe, to nourish, to balance, to energize. Water has a power and energy that covers the earth and is a living life force. We need water in our lives on every level. Our bodies are more than half water and our planet is 70%. Life is created from water, can heal from water, and bring an overall wellness to everything it touches.

“Always be like water–float in times of pain OR dance like waves along the wind which touches its surface.” – Santosh Kalwar

I love the visual of this quote. A visual that seems to always calm my soul is the idea of floating on my back down a slow moving stream with the sun warming my face. In any time of pain we need those visuals, feelings, experiences of floating, rising to the surface in a moment of adversity. OR dancing like waves along the wind makes me think of the ocean tides and the way the sunlight glimmers and dances like diamonds on the surface. It is a visual delight that brings serenity, calm, peace…to my soul. Water holds and carries a magic all its own.

“Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.” -Wm Paul Young

This quote hit me straight to the heart because my beautiful, college daughter just had her first heart-breaking break-up that has left her feeling emotional and teary eyed. Her soul is aching and as her mother, my tears have welled to the surface many times for her sadness. I just read this quote and called her immediately. I told her to never discount or apologize for crying because tears can be such a healing vessel for the soul. I expressed how they bring about feelings, they rise with emotion, tears are a gift to help us understand our hearts fully. They are the cleansing balm for a broken heart, a message from heaven to those left behind, they roll down our cheeks as expressions of longing for something, whether love or loss, laughter, hopes, dreams, sadness or solitude. Tears are a deeper doorway to something within us that we need.

BREATH

“Breathe in the sweet air of limitless possibility, and make life as rich as you know it can be.” -Ralph Marston

Your breath can align your body, calm you physically and help you slow in times of stress, struggle, fear or frustration. It can guide you with an inhale and exhale to a solid space that allows you to just let go. Your breath is the life-force of your being–it controls, slows, and reacts to your own personal necessities to strengthen, fight or flight, to soften, to calm, to just be in a stillness of a needed moment. Your breath has power. Just breathe and allow. Your breath can take you on your own needed internal journey.

In my mindfulness class we did a lengthy body scan of breathing and body awareness. I was very intrigued as I began to control my breath to see how my physical mind began to react. As I put my breath in a steady inhale and exhale rhythm, I began to see physical images of the ocean tide coming and going. My breath began to follow the images in my mind, my heart slowed and I began to be guided by the rhythm of it all. It was fascinating.

GROWTH

“Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time and energy needed to develop yourself.” -Denis Waitley

I stretched myself a bit and signed up for a mindfulness class that began last night. It was full of so many great things–connections with complete strangers, hearing people’s experiences, breathing exercises, and even a moment of mindful eating. Who knew there was such a thing! It was wonderful to step out of my norm and seek a deeper understanding of myself through guided meditations, listening to my internal dialogues and allowing a space to develop.

I believe you are your best asset to invest anything in. The more we can learn and grow in this life, the greater the nourishment we will feel from those things we take in. You can learn and grow in so many different aspects of your life. Seek within to find those areas that you need to stretch and move out of comfort. Maybe you need to sign-up for a class, maybe you need to push yourself to enter a race of some kind, maybe you just need to pick up a book and explore learning something new or maybe you need to watch an educational documentary instead of the mind-numbing regular programming that steals your time.

You may tell yourself you don’t have time or that luxury, but YOU are your best asset, so invest in you! Make and take the time back. Even if you listen to an inspired podcast while you are driving carpool, or you take a break from social media & take an online course. Your time is your time—take it back for the incredible benefits that are for you.

CREATIVITY

“Our life is composed greatly from dreams, from the unconscious, and they must be brought into connection with action. They must be woven together.” -Anais Nin

I have heard the thought that creativity is a a divine connection with something greater than ourselves. It is awakening to ideas that swirl within, dreams that seem to come to life after a deep sleep, a pulse that pounds until you take notice, a whisper, a silent knowing…there are so many ways to describe the secrets to creativity. For some it is different than another. Every one of us has a creator within. It is just taking the time to tap into those places that swell up with excitement, a brilliant drive that overwhelms our heart, a nagging pull until you begin a work. Creativity is a divine calling and we must be still and listen within to hear the directions.

We must then also, act! Taking action is the other main ingredient for a creative life. When we begin to take notice of the little details that make life beautiful, when we fall in love with the simple realities, when we aspire to create something, worlds collide, magic happens, inspiration takes flight and our wings run wild to try and keep up with the whirl of creativity that calls to us. Listen. Be still and feel the rhythm that seeks you. Be a co-creator.

SHARE

One of my favorites…a Tibetan proverb: “Eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure.”

Because when we can find things that inspire us to share with others—that is a gift to everyone. Life is about giving and taking and the balances we can find in the essentials of living well. Always be seeking to find things to share, things that are positive and will send a goodness into the world. The world needs more light & giving, sharing, gifting GOOD is a start.

May you find those things, places, people, essential necessities you feel you need for your life.

Peace. Love and Light to you -H

FEAR & its POWER

This post is for my beautiful daughter who is struggling with some internal and external fear factors. Hope this helps, darling.

Fear remains like a shadow that follows. Here along the Oregon coast, I am going to compare it to the dense fog that comes and goes. It can be a gorgeous, blue sky day and then a thick fog can roll in within a few minutes and take over. It is fascinating.

Since I am new to the Oregon coast it has taken some getting use to the weather here and still I struggle with the fog, the lasting days of grey, but I also have been in awe of the quick changes that can happen and I often refer to the weather here as “a surprise.” If you can view things as a good surprise, things can seem better, right!?

My daughter just started her second year of college last week and it has been a tough ride. She broke up with her first love of seven months and started school days later. The week has been an emotional roller coaster and her inner fears seem to rise and fall like the tides here at the coast.

Our daughter is an incredible, outgoing, bubbly, fun, smart, beautiful girl that has so much going for her, so it has been so hard to see her fall victim to the struggles of the various fears that are on the rise within her world. She has been viewing her life from another perspective–that of needing external factors to make her happy. [ie: being with her boyfriend makes being on campus better, she would be happier with people giving her praise, her worth seems to be based on so many things outside herself] Her ego seems to be having a party and taking over in a negative light.

She seems to be allowing the fear to freeze and immobilize her. The campus ambassador job she has been so excited about & loved training for—is no longer of interest. The ocean club she is in leadership for is not giving her the attention she needs. She feels she has no friends. She feels alone. She feels she will never find people who are capable of being her friend…the feelings, the fears seem to be enveloping her and she is beginning to drown.

Our strong daughter is crumbling under the pressure of a campus she chose and she seems willing to sacrifice her happiness to make it. In a conversation with her yesterday she said, “I want to want to be here.” as tears rolled down her face.

As a mom you just want to fix everything and make sure she is safe emotionally and physically. It is tough. Today, she cried over the phone and said, “I have to make it work here. This is the place I chose.”

I stopped her and gave her my pizza analogy. I said, “You know I love pizza and I get sooo excited to try various places with yummy pizza, but IF I go somewhere new and I get a pizza that does not taste good, does that mean I should sit and suffer through the rest of the slices? There are plenty of pizza places out there. There are plenty of other life experiences you can get out and enjoy and not suffer through. I suggested study abroad in other countries.

Life is a journey, the fears will come, but it is how you manage them. It is how and what you allow them to do for your life. You can either fall victim to fears and get stuck or you can package them in a new “surprise” outlook and have them help challenge you in a different way with a new opportunity.

My husband and I listened to part of a podcast with the free solo climber, Alex Honnold. He had a great perspective on fear. He explained that he still gets afraid and sometimes the fear takes a firm grip during moments of his climbs. He talked about how people need to look at fear like they look at hunger. He said, we all know when we FEEL hungry and we then give our body what it needs. We need to look at fear the same way. We need to FEEL our body and the fear that is holding on and decide to put it to the side for a moment until we can handle it properly. Just breathe through the fear, set it aside and not emotionally react to it. Then, when you are calm and ready to handle the fear–then face it once you are in a better space to do so.

I sat and looked at the ocean after a tough conversation with my daughter. I just watched the ocean waves slowly roll and had this thought, I shared this with her as well, “The ocean comes and goes, up and down. You need to do a couple things: You sometimes need to dive deep below the surface to find a deep stillness, to find a calm within for yourself. Then on the flip side, you need moments that you take on the fears and emotions that are hard and show yourself that you are strong enough to ride them and see where you end up in the journey.” I felt that was a great analogy of our emotional journey–the ups, the downs.

I heard another interesting fact about our emotions—they can only last in our bodies for 90 seconds.

“Feelings are like ocean waves,” says psychologist Alyson Stone, “they rise, crest and recede, all day long.” We can all relate. But according to brain scientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, these waves last just 90 seconds. After that, we’re simply re-stimulating our internal circuitry. 

Explains Taylor: “When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90-second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.”

She goes on: “Something happens in the external world, and chemicals are flushed through your body which puts it on full alert. For those chemicals to totally flush out of the body, it takes less than 90 seconds. This means that for 90 seconds you can watch the process happening, you can feel it happening, and then you can watch it go away. After that, if you continue to feel fear, anger, and so on, you need to look at the thoughts that you’re thinking that are re-stimulating the circuitry that is resulting in you having this physiological reaction, over and over again.”

Sarah Chauncey weighs in: “What keeps emotions lingering are the stories we tell ourselves about them … Because we humans are story-making machines, we often tend to interpret our body’s signals as emotions, when in fact, they’re just … processes, happening. They will pass – unless we attach a story to them and keep them alive.” -thedanielislandnews

STRESS STRATEGY: try this Consider practicing the 90-second rule this week. When stress hits and you can feel yourself launching into full-on fight or flight mode, go back to the principle of the pause. Inhale. Exhale. And allow yourself to feel the tension in your body ease, without expecting yourself to respond immediately to the situation confronting you.” -same news as above

TIPS TO TAKE FEAR HEAD ON:

“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”
–Judy Blume

Every single one of us has a different capacity to take on various fears. My daughter has already swam in a tank full of sharks & that is one thing that would put my fear levels on high alert. But, some people may be afraid to get out of their comfort zone to take a community education class, go back to school, sign-up for golf lessons and for many that would be no big deal. While others would be terrified to stand up and give a talk, others light up at the opportunity. To each their own is a level of varying fears. So, we need to look at our own fears individually and find ways to face them. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do something that scares you every day.” Maybe you find one thing today that would scare you and take a step. If you can’t take a full step, put your toes as far to the edge and prepare to step tomorrow. smile. smile.

“Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”
–Yoda

Fear is resistance. period. Yoda is so wise. all of the things that fear breeds—creates a basis for nothing good and stagnates the soul.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
–Dale Carnegie

I have especially seen this with my daughter on her college campus. She can sit in her dorm and not leave, breeding her doubts and fears, but as soon as she gets busy for a class or work, her energy swings and she is in action, the fear subsides.

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”
–Henry Ford

I love the great word, SURPRISE. The English noun surprise comes from late Middle English, from Anglo-French and Middle French surprise(e), a noun use of the past participle of surprendre “to seize, grasp,” literally, “to overtake,” from the French prefix sur- “excessive, over

Maybe if we can look at overtaking, seizing or stopping fear with Surprise—it can shift us to something greater. May we think and shift our way of thinking from Fear to WoW! We need to push our perspectives from the small person we become with the fears that reside and take on the Wow, I can do this and live from the confident person who seeks adventure in the surprises found.

Now–think of it like this. Think of all the things you have been afraid of—could be physical things like scuba diving, parasailing, zip lining, rock climbing, etc. It could be speaking in front of people, going to a party and having to socialize with a room full of people. It could be fear of failing in your marriage, your job, your life. NOW, step back and evaluate different situations where all of these things have happened to you in your life—in the end how did you FEEL? honestly, I bet more than not you were SURPRISED by the outcome!! You probably ended up loving your parasailing trip, you met some new friends at the socializing event, the job you did fail at led to something better suited for you. More than not, the things that fill us with the emotional fears are many of the things that end up leading to great life surprises.

“Run towards your fears. Embrace them. On the other side of your greatest fears lives your greatest life.” -Robin Sharma

Seek to make fear a friend. Embrace the surprises that come in the ups and downs of life tides. Ride the waves of emotions and find those things that make life worth living. Challenge and Change bring fear, but those are two of life’s greatest teachers.

“Write 10 times: ‘FEAR’ is my friend. Fear is the energy to do my best in a new situation. You don’t have to believe it; just write it.” -Peter McWilliams

Sometimes you fake it to make it. You just begin–you write it down and seek to believe you will find the best in any situation.

“Run towards your fears. Embrace them. On the other side of your greatest fears lives your greatest life.” -Robin Sharma

Run TOWARDS fear to fearlessly find your courage, your confidence, your best self. Run AWAY in fear to find your smallness, your insecurities, the smallest places of your self. Who do you want to be? Fearless or Small? It is a choice.

Peace, Love and Light to you in all you do. xoxo. -H

Mind. Body. Spirit.

I recently heard a beautiful statement…Your body is a connection between heaven and earth.

I LOVE that!! It hit me soo hard the importance of finding gratitude and strength in this human experience. These bodies that move, think, learn, play…We sometimes easily forget the gift of strength, movement, simple actions that get lost in forgotten corners of our busy lives. We easily take for granted being able to take walks, to play with our children, to breathe in the fresh air, to learn something new, to exercise and push our bodies to a higher degree. We often get lazy and don’t utilize time to challenge our lungs or help our hearts be healthier. We all have human tendencies to sideline our health in one way or another.

What if we look at that great line above and continue to seek ways to truly connect with our bodies, our spirits and connect them in various ways. How intimately beautiful would that be. Like, a beautiful promise to ourselves. Take care of YOU.

Here are some ideas…

FOR YOUR BODY:

Move. Don’t limit your life to a couch potato, a Facebook surfer, a time stealer of any sort. Life is too short and there are plenty of things to take up and waste your life. According to Heart.org & The MayoClinic Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week. To provide even greater health benefit and to assist with weight loss or maintaining weight loss, at least 300 minutes a week is recommended.

Movement is Medicine. What is the best medicine for YOU?? Whatever it is you enJOY doing. The type of exercise you choose isn’t important. What’s important is working all your body parts with rigor — meaning to the point of breathing rapidly or sweating — for five to ten hours a week -bluezones

Nutrition. Eat from the earth. Eat organic whenever possible to avoid those foods that have been nutritionally depleted in the farming process. According to Chopra A simple way to make sure that you are getting a balanced diet is to include the six tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent) in each meal. The pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes, on the other hand, are anti-inflammatory and increase metabolism. These tastes are found in food such as radishes, ginger, mustard, peppers, spinach, mushrooms, tea, lentils lettuce, and so on. In addition to including the six tastes in each meal, focus on eating a variety of fresh and freshly prepared foods, while eliminating or at least limiting items that are canned, frozen, microwaved, or highly processed. These are “dead” foods that weaken health and accelerate aging.

Breathe. Breathing is energy. Breath brings oxygen into the cells, which ignites us with energy. Think about this—we can live without food, water, exercise…..but we need oxygen. We need the breath to cleanse, to move, to remove and all of it is done on varying levels of conscousness. We get busy, we dont take the time to breathe correctly and our shallow breaths don’t allow our bodies to function at its best.

Take a moment and learn to breathe to your best. Here is one example. There are many great exercises and resources to learn how to properly breathe and the exercises that will allow you to breathe fully.

*Here is a simple one that you can try at home:

  1. Take a seat on a chair adopting the 90 degree rule (chin at 90° to floor, hips at 90°, knees at 90° and ankles at 90°).
  2. Breath in through your nose for a count of four seconds, hold for two seconds and breathe out through the nose for a count of four.
  3. Really focus your energy and thoughts on your breathing with your hand on your stomach (notice that your stomach is moving rather than your chest, indicative that you are breathing deeply). Repeat several times.

Breathing brings our body and mind together and for both to function well, they need oxygen. By learning how to breathe well:

  • You become healthier and stronger
  • More endorphins are released which improves feelings of natural wellbeing
  • Your muscles relax
  • Heart rate and blood pressure decrease
  • You can help control your emotions and fears
  • Natural cleansing will take place allowing energy to be directed more productively
  • Feelings of stress, anxiety and depression can reduce
  • You will have a clearer and sharper mind
  • You will feel more ‘present’ and more alive. *healing-feeling.com

Sleep. Here is a list of 50 different things to help you achieve the sleep you need. https://novoslabs.com/tips-to-sleep-well-sleep-better-fall-asleep-faster/?gclid=CjwKCAjwx7GYBhB7EiwA0d8oe-VS0LvUcaeUtBcdnZqSFe8OMYxLygHk-2yGCri4dx91T3BDryJJIRoCQUcQAvD_BwE

A couple of my personal favorites: if you are struggling to sleep, imagine yourself floating down a river and the river is taking you away from your stresses. You are drifting further and further into a deep sleep. Breathing and couting your breaths will also help you relax and drift off.

FOR YOUR MIND:

Quiet your mind. Be still. We have an abundance of noise pollution in our daily lives, so the small amounts of time you can just take in silence, quiet your mind and be still, the better. We take this quiet time so for granted and probably don’t even realize it. We are bombarded by television ads, people talking, the hum of electronics, the vibrations of cars we move in, children fighting, alarms going off….just sit and listen to the amount of noise you take in at particular times of the day and begin to see the various pollution points of your mind. Take note. Begin to lessen the noise, let go of our learned behavior of having noise in the background to feel less lonely, to feel productive, etc. Get comfortable being still.

Naturally light it up. This is for varying degrees of the body and mind. Natural is always better with pretty much anything, but especially light. Just watch the plants in your home and see where they are drawn. Natural light is the way. Open the windows, breathe in the air, let in the light. Turn off your led’s and lights that dim out our life giving essence. We need natural light, almost like we need air. Get outside whenever possibe and just bathe in the natural light. Soak it up whenever possible. The benefits of natural light: gives your body the “sunshine vitamin” D that helps your body with depression, sleep balance, helps prevent bone loss, and reduces your bodies risk of many other health risks like heart disease and many cancers. Natural light is also better than flourescents with eye stress and strain.

Light tips: Please make sure you are wearing blue light glasses, avoiding screens before bed and doing all you can to wake up to beautiful, natural sunlight. Ditch the curtains & allow sunlight in. Hang mirrors to bounce sunlight to various parts of your home. The natural sun will be the best way to start your day.

Reading & Learning. Challenges different parts of your brain that enhances comprehension, language, and makes you an overall better writer and speaker. As individuals we can never learn enough, so reading, learning and challenging our various skill levels & finding ways to enhance who we are is an overall great gift to our lives. When we become better–life gets better. We also challenge those around us by the example we set– to grow, to be challenged and to create those good habits that will lead to better skills for our lives.

Relaxation. You may just need a good rest. Nourish your mind and body by just taking a needed break. Relaxation is a personal preference of what you feel you need. You may consider a nap, a walk outside, playing with your pet, reading a poem, writing in your journal, meditation, mindfulness…anything you feel calms and relaxes you.

FOR YOUR SPIRIT:

Laughter is the best medicine. Laughter helps relieve stress, eleviate tension in the body, reduces pain by creating your own feel good endorphins (happy chemicals), brings about connections with people, makes you happy. My own personal stress-filled situations, like my husband losing his job, we always resort to watching a string of comedies to help keep the blues at bay. Here is an article on the additional benefits https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456

Let go of negative emotions. release anything that brings about a draining energy, whether it is people, stressful situations, extra work that weighs on the emotions, etc. Find ways to productively eliminate added negativity in your world.

Have boundaries. Be aware of your personal needs and be able to say “no” Remember invitations are not obligations. Choose those people, activities, invitations, situations that you feel good and comfortable with and let go of feeling guilty for those that are not ideal for you or your life.

Be aware of energy you carry and the energies you surround yourself with.

Beautiful connections. Research shows that a good social support network has numerous physical and mental health benefits. It can keep you from feeling lonely, isolated or inadequate and if you feel good about yourself, you can deal with stress better. -Chopra

You do need to evaluate and ask yourself a very simple, but very important question about every person you surround yourself with. Does this person recharge or drain me? Do you enjoy them or feel drained by having them around or merely thinking about spending time with them? Energy of others is very vital to your own well-being. Take this very seriously.

Time alone. Take time to be still with yourself and evaluate your personal needs. Sometimes we just need to be alone and take moments with our own thoughts, the stillness of our own breath, a quiet minute to just be.

I smile as one of my little dogs seems to be very comfortable having some alone time. Periodically throughout the day, she meanders up our stairs to the loft to be alone. I often find her just lying in a sun spot taking a moment alone. Dogs always do seem to have some things figured out. smile.

Service. Doing something for another. Getting outside of yourself makes everything better and balanced. It is very easy for every single one of us to get lost in the busyness of our lives and to easily justify that we don’t have time to get involved in this or that cause. Change your thinking to…BE the CAUSE…BECAUSE Service is something that changes everything and everyone involved. Create something you get excited about and bring about your own cause that helps someone in some way. Whether you get lit up about making a book library to share with your neighborhood, you teach a free class in your community about growing dahlias, you start leaving kind messages for neighbors, sharing great quotes with complete strangers, start a food or clothing drive for refugees near you, help with shelter dogs, etc…the ideas are endless and especially if you take on your own ideas and BE the CAUSE in your community.

Pray. It does not matter if you have a religious affiliation or not, but to me prayer is seeking something greater beyond yourself and being humble enough to go to that place beyond. It could be going within to a deeper part and finding that humility to ask for those things you need for your life. It could be going to a church or temple and finding a type of peace there. It could be climbing to the top of a hill and crying out to the heavens for an answer you need. Whatever prayer is to you, there is power in humbling crying out, letting go, seeking answers, asking questions, knowing there is something greater for you to understand and being open to the prayers within your heart. I have had many times and various places that I will go and open my heart and soul to understand life a little deeper, ask for prayers to be answered. It is a personal place—that only you can go, but go. There is power in the depths beyond yourself and prayer can take you there. I promise.

Music. Music has a greater power than we have any idea. Music can transport you to specific memories, times in your life, meaningful moments, people, places, etc. It has the power to calm, the power to excite, the power to ignite your brain, to ease, to make you move. It has so many incredible qualities and you need to use music to your best life. Utilize its power when you need to move or when you need to be still, when you need motivation or need to remember something.

I was just driving with my daughter and she began playing a montage of a variety of different songs that took us back to specific years of her life, places we lived, moments we shared. It was such a sweet walk down memory lane through the soundtrack of our lives. It was wonderful to connect with the lyrics of songs that held such meaning. It was incredible. It was cherished.

Find something that brings you to the present moment. A little something I have come to love—I gather a rock or two every time I walk to the beach. When I get home I continue to create a rock cairn somewhere in my yard. I have varying sizes all over & it reminds me of being in the moment, stacking a rock, remembering the walk I just had and just being with myself for a small while. Whether you collect rocks at the beach and build small towers of cairns or you watch the birds come and go, watering your garden, or watching the waves crash on an ocean shore…whatever you can find that helps you to be present—do more of that.

There are so many other things you can do for the various parts of your mind. body and spirit connection, but I just wanted to touch on some of the key points that are vital to making your life a little more balanced. Do those things that make your soul sing, follow your heart on your health journey, listen within for answers, seek nature, do what you FEEL you need.

Peace. Love and Light in all you do. -H

Daily doses of Miracles

I walked for hours with my daughter today at a beach strand line…the line of ocean debris that is left after the tides come and go. We walked seeking to find small ocean animals that may need a little saving–lots of snails beginning to shrivel from the sun beating down, but as we toss each one into the waves, I think of the sweet sea star story and how one by one we make a difference in saving them.

Then we came upon a very rare treasure—a giant barnacle. You can find plentiful shells covered in rows of tiny barnacles, but this barnacle was the size of my palm. It was huge!! I was eager to get it in the water and see if it would come to life and what it would do. My daughter dipped it into the fresh ocean water and we watched with anticipation. It slowly began to open its beak-like animal and it began to move its arm. It was fascinating. I was hooked. I wanted to find more and more. Sure enough, I came across more and more family-like structures that all seem to grow together on whatever they hold onto. We again dunked the barnacle families into the sea and watched. All the little home-like structures began to come to life. Movement. Life. It was amazing.

Life is full of tiny miracles that happen every day! We take so many small things for granted—take a breath. Take another one and think of the miracle it is to simply breathe. I definately have taken my lungs and breathing for granted. I had covid almost two years ago and my lungs still suffer every morning. I can feel the toll it has taken and I try to push my body to breathe more, to engage my lungs to breathe in and out, to fill with air, to be grateful for the miracle to breathe.

Nature is another reminder of the tiny miracles all around us—the timing of everything placed in nature always makes me pause. Look at the gorgeous panarama’s of nature everywhere you look. Trees dot horizon lines, mountains tower above valleys, the way the sun rises and sets, the timing of the seasons, the timing of everything. Look closely at the symmetry of flowers, the way a fern rolls and unwinds as it grows, the colors, the details…so many miracles. I am in constant awe of the seeimingly protected coast line that I live on. The forest of trees that reach for the sky and many are hundreds of years old, yet the way the coast is constantly misted with moisture always makes me humbly understand how perfect everything is timed. The temperature is a pretty constant cool and keeps the coast lush with the right amount of moisture to keep the forest flourishing. You walk the forest floor and it feels like a carpet of sponge. It is all a miracle in how beautifully everything is taken care of in the perfect timing of it all.

Your eyes that can see. Count that as another miracle. Your eyes are an incredible system: There’s the complicated process of irrigation, lubrication, cleaning and protection that happens every time we blink – an average of 4,200,000 times a year.-smh. The normal human eye has about 120,000,000 photoreceptors. -sta

YOU are an incredible miracle. No one will every exist like you. You are unique. This makes me think of another great treasure for life—Og Mandino’s The Greatest Miracle in the World book.

LOVE THIS.

“You are my greatest miracle… I love you and I am with you…. are you blind? No, you can see because there’s over 100 million receptors that I placed in each of your eyes enabling you to see all the magic of life from the snowflake, to a child, she’s a soaring eagle, and the look of love. Are you deaf? No, you can hear a baby laugh because I have built into each of your ears 24,000+ fibers which vibrates to the wind and yet you hear my breath and then you go to your favorite Opera house and Handle’s Messiah is playing and you are mesmerized. As you leave the theater children are at play…. and you hear, I love you!

You can move and travel the world and do great things to make the world better because you can stretch and run and dance and work for within you I have designed over 500 muscles with 200 bones and miles upon miles of nerve fibers which are synchronize to do magnificent things within. As you place your hand on your chest and feel the pulsating rhythm of your heart day in day out 36 million beats each year year after year. I, your God, put this heart in each of you and your heart pumps 600,000 gallons of blood each year through more than 600,000 miles of been any capillaries and arteries in each person. Within the 5 quarts of blood in each person are 22 billion blood cells and within each cell are millions of molecules and within each molecule there is an atom oscillating at more than 10 million times every second and with each second 2 million of your blood cells die to be replaced by 2 million more blood cells since your life began.

As you’re taking a deep breath of air you become cognizant that the breath of life is filtered through the 600 million pockets of folded flash which filter the toxins out of the air allowing you to have life. Furthermore, your brain manages and control of your body through the 4 million pain sensitive structures along with 500,000 touch detectors and more than 200,000 temperature detectors.

If not so you would not be in touch with yourself or your life and you would die if we were not touched by life and love through the over 4 million pain sensitive structures we are to be cared for and lovingly touched.

Are you feeble of mind? Can you no longer think for yourselves? I think not. Your brain is the most complex of my creations and within this 3 pounds is over 15 billion nerve cells more than twice the number of cells than there are people on earth. Therefore you can file away every experience you have in life including every sound you hear, every sight you see, and every experience you have from the first day that you were born to the last day of your life.

I have implanted in your life every sound you hear, every taste you smell, every reaction from birth till death so that I have implanted within each of cells more than 1000 billion billion protein molecules so that every incident in your life is there waiting only for your recall, providing you with endless capabilities of growth and learnings.

You are the most valuable treasure in the face of the earth what are you know who created you and there is only one of you. Never in all the 70,000,000,000+ human being to ever walk on this planet there has never been one exactly like you. Really never, until the end of time, will there be another such as you. From your father, and his moment of supreme love, flowed countless seeds of love more than 400 million and only one Infinitesimal cell joined within your mothers womb and these two cells now united in the miracle each containing 23 chromosomes and hundreds of genes which governed all your characteristics from the color of your eyes to the charm of your personality to every dimension of life I could have created 300,000 billion humans each different from each other but you are the priceless treasure the rarest of the rare.

When I first read this book it moved me so deeply with all the details of the many miracles within our lives, our bodies, the smallest miracles we don’t even give a second thought to.

Life is full of details daily that can move us to a greater understanding of the incredible gifts we receive every single day—-LIFE. Live it fully. Love endlessly. Give whole-heartedly and be grateful for the small things to truly appreciate the greatest things within your life.

Peace. Love and Light to you. -H

Connection.

I was recently walking a green space near my home with my husband and came across an incredible man. He was sitting on a fallen tree and his two dogs were dancing down the trail towards us. The man instantly greeted us and with his charm and wit, asked if I was the daughter, wife…puzzling with a smile. I instantly connected and liked this man. There was something about him that made me want more. He excitedly began to educate us on the trees all around us, “This is a hemlock, that is a spruce…this flower is a foxglove…” His passion was infectious and he was a joy to be with. He then got even more exuberant and pointed at the fallen tree he had just been sitting on, “This tree is exactly due North—true north!” he exclaimed with such enthusiasm. He took out his phone and went to the compass and showed us how exact it was. He then humbly said, “this is my prayer place.” We listened to him as he explained various trails nearby, and then told us about a fishing trip to Argentina, a visit to Scottland with fields of Heather…he was a wealth of places, stories, tips about local berries, bears and the conversation peppered with scriptures, enthusiasm and faith. It was a very fun conversation and we left the mountain better for it!!

I am never surprised by outcomes of happy meetings of various people. Yesterday, my daughter and I went to a local spot to do some whale watching, take some research photos and start the day in nature. A few couples dropped in at the special point, but one woman in particular could not get enough of the whales. Every single time she would see a whale she lit up, boomed out a loud, “there it is” and pointed. Even if the whale was right there for all to see, she could not help herself. She was filled with an enthusiasm that was infectious! I told her that I loved it and she shared how she had been to the Oregon coast numerous times and had not had this experience. She was genuinely so happy to be there at that moment. She then shared how she had just been to the Galapagos and this was even better.

I get pretty excited to see every whale blow, but her enthusiasm made me reflect on how often we take it for granted that we get to enjoy the whales just about every day. It made me appreciate every blow even more and that when we get the opportunity to explore, see and enjoy all the beauty of the whales, to remember how special every moment is. It is all a level of connection.

Whether we are connecting with people, the planet, whales, the ocean, taking pictures of seals, watching an eagle, having a fun conversation with a stranger or a neighbor—it is all a beautiful gift of connection.

What I learn from these connections—how important it is to not lose sight of every connection we have. We are influencing people in one way or another. I remember having a phone conversation about a stressful home warranty issue with a telephone customer service person. I tried to go into the conversation with good energy, to create a positive situation, be respectful of the other person on the line and in the end, make lemonade out of lemons and the guy laughed, enjoyed our conversation and left the call with, “best call ever!” I smiled as he transferred me to another representative. Our connections, no matter how small, are important and matter.

What if Larry just sat on his log quietly and did not say a word. We would have probably just smiled and walked on our merry way past him. The sweet connection would have been lost. We would have missed the enthusiasm (God within) of this man and the knowledge he passionately shared. It is wonderful to know that there are people like Larry praying on a log and connecting with those who cross his path in one way or another. He is an influence for good. Thank you, Larry.

In all you do–Connect. Be a light for good. Do good. Be an influencer of good things.

Peace, Love and Light to you. -H

Variety:Spices of Life

We currently have a guest in our home who is staying with us for a month. He is a friend of my daughter’s from college. He comes from a different background and has grown up with lots of spices in his food. In our home, we are very plain compared to the basil, parsley, oregano, lots of pepper, bouge cheeses, etc….So, it was hilarious to see my daughter, her Dad and her friend joining forces to make our families traditional spaghetti. At our house they like it sweet and he is use to a more savory and spicy pasta. I sat back and laughed watching them all debate how in his mind, “spice is good. Spice is a great variety of life. It needs spices!” he argued. It was back and forth with my daughter stating her side and how this is tradition and she likes it her way. Finally, it was agreed that the spaghetti would be made the traditional way our family makes it & then he can add all the spices he wants in his bowl & that my daughter would at least try it.

The pasta was finally done & everyone was happy, but I was especially happy to see both sides pleasantly talk about the variations. He shared how the sweetness was delicious and different than what he was use to. My daughter tried the spices and was open to new flavors. But sometimes you just have to try the variety to see what you really like & how sometimes your traditional will always be your personal favorite. How can you truly appreciate or value something if you don’t try anything else?

When I think of spices of life—I think traveling to new destinations, seeing new places, shops, trying new food, even if they are new spots in your own backyard, community, state, etc. We have moved to a few different states (Idaho–both sides, Arizona, various places in Utah, two different locations in Oregon) and have seen various parts of California, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, Nevada…we have a ways to go to see the various parts of this incredible world, but slowly we make our way. They are the places that make the greatest memories, the moments that stay with you. Think about it—your favorite memories and life moments—where were they??

SEEKING THE VARIETY: So, this post I am researching and giving you some fun activities and ideas to get you out seeking a variety of spices for your life!

TRAVEL: So does traveling lead to more happiness? Im sure many people would agree that the answer is yes. In fact, a survey by the travel company G Adventures found that 83% of people consider travel to be a very important part of life, and 68% of people say that new experiences are the happiest part of traveling. -Delivering Happiness.

Why are we happy when we travel? According to the blog In Pursuit of Happiness the answer is these six reasons: having a sense of accomplishment, learning about ourselves, becoming more interesting individuals, realizing that some things in life are less important than they really are, connecting with people and feeling alive. I LOVE that!!

I know for me, traveling to new places, even just a new trail, a new antique shop, a new activity, a new food place to try, a new destination…makes me come alive with wonder and curiosity. I so enjoy the newness of any new adventure. This past weekend our community had a kite festival. I had been waiting months to see this event & experience it. I even purchased a book on the history of kite flying so I would have a new perspective and understanding of the history. Always so much to learn. I couldn’t believe the amount of people that accumulated. Just the variety of people that were drawn to this event was fun to see. It was pure joy to see colorful kites blowing in the wind in every view of the ocean sky. To see huge whale kites, sharks, giraffes, modern spinners, angled shapes that twist with the breeze—beautiful! It was wonderful to see children pass by me with their homemade kites with big smiles & even bigger smiles when you commented on their kite. It was incredible to see kite fliers who created & choreographed multiple kites to musical compositions. Who knew!? To see such passion, strength and skill was extraordinary.

Travel Challenges: Visit a new city & ask the locals for all the musts to see. There are always local spots–whether its for great food, an incredible sunset skyline, a specialty shop, a unique food that is local, etc. Ask the locals for something special. They wont let you down.

Tour a new location on a bike or take some type of local transportation–trolley car, ferry ride, horseback, etc. See things around you from a different perspective.

Take a free tour of some type–whether it is a walking tour, a museum tour, local garden or historical homes. Find some free tours of interest to you.

Find local graffiti art and take selfies with your favorites. This is especially fun because there are always so many different messages, images, artists, etc. Find what you genuinely like.

Find local LOVE padlock bridges, gates or place to leave your loving mark. My little family did this while traveling through Nevada. There are locations all around the world and in different cities. Take a special padlock, write a message & attach it to a special location. Have fun!!

Send yourself or someone you love a fun postcard. This would be a fun memento to yourself and it would be a great way to remember the places you have seen and adventured.

Find the Unique or largest something of some kind challenge: Whether it is the largest croissant, a large local statue, big sign, giant rock coming out of the ocean, a manmade elephant, an octopus made out of recyclable plastics, etc. Find things wherever you are that you may not see somewhere else. Go out of your natural way to find the unique and extraordinary.

BEST VIEW: Seek out the best views in town. Humans are 90% visual beings, so it would make sense that we are moved by visual settings, things and places we see. No matter where you are, ask around for the best views in town. Whether it is on top of a hillside, the top of a building for an incredible skyline, a tall tower, a good whale watching spot, a beautiful beach to photograph, a forest path that leads to an open meadow. Seek out the places that you are drawn to. Maybe you like to take photos of graffiti and ask around for local art. Maybe you just want an idyllic picnic spot. Maybe you want to take a tram ride to a meadow of wildflowers. There are special spots everywhere. Seek out what you need to find.

NEW FOOD: Make it themed. At our house, we try to add some spice to our meals with a fun, new song themed with our dinner—ie: Italian, French, Mexican and have the fun music mixes playing while we saute meats, bbq steaks, boil pasta, broil breads, etc. Add some flair, decorate, try new dishes.

You could also do a fun share and care potluck with your neighbors. Have everyone sign-up to bring some fun flavors & try a bit of everything.

Also, try out some of your local dishes. Seek out and find a favorite thai or mexican dish, maybe find some place that has incredible desserts. Try it all. Find what you enJOY!

SOMETHING out of your NORM: Seek to find something that will help get you out of your norm. Find some activity that will challenge you on a new level—whether you have always wanted to go sailing, hike into a cave, golf from an ocean view, Tour and walk to the top of a lighthouse or maybe a haunted house. Maybe you have an obsession with Twilight & want to stay in one of the epic homes in the movie. Maybe you want to find Big Foot & need to find a museum to explore your curiosities. My neighbor wanted to stay at a hotel with alpacas & play with the babies on the property. Maybe you want to stay overnight in a treehouse. Maybe you have a list of waterfalls you want to see—The list of opportunities is endless. It is up to you and your imagination. Plan a trip and make something happen.

I hope this list gets you thinking, planning, and shaking things up to bring a little more variety and spice to your life. Your life only changes when you begin. Think about it—Everyone LOVES a good surprise. Life is full of surprises if we take the chance to seek and find them in all we do.

-Peace. Love and Light to you. -H

Digging Deeper w Yourself

The most satisfying journey is the journey you take inward with yourself. -Nitin Nameo

We often get stuck in the routine of life, often missing a deeper connection with things that are quite essential to our life journey. There seems to be a rushing clock of life that does not stop for anyone. My little family was talking last night about how our new surroundings, external experiences, new physical address, the old, the new and how quickly life has happened. We reflected about leaving our old home of 11 years almost a year ago seems to have been a distant dream. It seems like we were there years ago, but it has not even been a year yet. Time flies. Life quickly gets snatched into the reality of change. Every journey is different, but every single one is essential to growth, challenge, change, ultimately a greater version of who we are to become.

So, lets talk about one of the most essential journeys–the one to truly find ourselves. The kind of journey that takes you inward on a deeper level. The kind that takes time to truly seek within, but so often is neglected in the intertia of the day to day. Lets take a moment and relfect what we need.

A SPECIAL PLACE FOR PRAYER OR QUIET REFLECTION: As I reflect on my own journey, I instantly think of times where I was broken emotionally and what I did to get through those moments. I found prayer to be a place of calm. I have found special places in nature—an open field peppered with horses that I could just sit and ponder, pray and be taken to a place of peace. Another place I have found—in our new surroundings–a special rock that I sit and pray, ponder and seek calm at the ocean. I think having a special spot creates and opens a space of quiet, inner conversations and moments that open to personal reflection, deeper thoughts and questions that your soul yearns for.

DEEPER QUESTIONS: I am often teased about all the questions I ask. When I meet new people, have intimate conversations, of course I am going to jump into questions—not just the, hi, so what do you do for a living type, shallow, hallow, aimless questions. I go for the deep, jump into the pool with me kinda questions. Sometimes people feel uncomfortable, but sometimes we have a deep dive convo that is priceless. I think these deep questions are especially essential for one self. Lets get started: What makes you come alive? My daughter’s favorite quote by Howard Thurman, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” What do you lose time doing? What lights you up or gets you excited? Those are a couple indicators of what makes you come alive. GO Do that! What could you give a 30 minute quality talk on with little preparation? I came across this question and love the idea because this is an instant guide to what your heart knows and is passionate about. This is often the stuff you research, read up on, know all about, want to share, take time to get educated on, etc. Think hard about what you are truly knowledgable about—is it trends, is it happiness, self help, a sport of some kind, politics, travel, baking, reality tv, creating memories, yoga, etc. This is also a great key to unlock personal directions of interest, possible career opportunities, etc. What was probably one of the most stressful experiences of your life & what did you learn from it? Stressful situations bring about instant reaction & it is a time where you learn so much about yourself, how you react to situations and what you take away from them. They are true growth indicators for your journey. Is there something you have always wanted to do but have not been able to yet? A big dream. A dream job. Created something…Why have you not done it yet? This one is a hard question because lots of excuses can pile up, so be honest with yourself. This is where you dig deeper, create baby steps and begin slowly. At least begin. Little by little big things are built. Brick by brick. Small keys open big doors. Begin. Celebrate each small win. What is something you FEEL sets YOU apart from other people? your strengths, your super powers, your creativity, your enthusiasm, your skill set, what sets you apart? How can you use that to your benefit? Do you feel you live your life more authentically by Love OR Fear? [These are the two primary emotions–which one do you live in mostly?] Those are both ends of the spectrum, so be honest with yourself on this one. Think of your day to day interactions, your thoughts, your emotions, your actions—do they seem to be living from an energy of Love OR Fear? “There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt. It’s true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it’s more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They’re opposites. If we’re in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.” -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. What is your definition of Happiness? I recently sent out a text to family and asked this simple question…or so, I thought pretty simple question. smile. smile. I had one person respond (out of probably ten) and that was my brother who is currently doing a lot of self-reflecting during a divorce. This is a real question you need to ask yourself. What does it mean to you. What are three things you wish you knew for sure? That is a great question that makes you stop and ponder. This also reminds me of Oprah and how she always would ask guests what they knew for sure. Think about it.

This is also a great stopping point to say—great questions bring about a greater life. period. There are plenty of questions out there. Google questions. See which questions make you stop and ponder. Take the time to ask yourself hard questions that help you ponder, pray, seek and find greater answers for your life. That is what we all need on our personal journeys.

ADVICE. Motto. Mantra: This is a tricky one. We all hear the phrase for many occasions–what is the best and worst piece of advice you have received. Whether it was for your wedding, a job, a life choice, etc. Think over the years of advice and write down some of your favorites that you have since tried to live by or appreciate. Some of my favorites: Give the love you want to receive. It is what it is, so its up to you how you react. Your life is what you make it–you choose. Get outside of yourself and be better in the service of someone else. Be aware of the energy you carry. Karma. Namaste. Live Love. Give Love. I also heard a fun idea—randomly ask a stranger, co-worker, friend, family…whomever you like what is a favorite motto or piece of advice they live by. Then try to take a day and implement it into your life. See how it feels. I just randomly asked someone and this is what they gave me…”Conformity kills character.” Be open to ideas. Share in finding those things you live by that will help you as an individual dig deeper into who you need to be or become.

When will you begin that long journey into yourself? -Rumi

Peace. Love and Light to you today. May your journey be yours in every possible way. -H

Creative Whirl

Creativity is always at the forefront of my mind. I think we all have more creativity at play than we realize. I find myself at the beach watching my husband and daughter get lost in the thrill of agate hunting, so I have found myself yearning to seek something else to do on the sandy, beach landscape. It first began with looking for heart shaped rocks, which then led to making rock towers and now I make cairns (The name originates from a Gaelic term that means “heap of stones.” It was likely first coined by Scots who used them to mark trails across grass-covered, hilly landscapes. In the Andes Mountains and Mongolia, rock cairns were used to mark routes to safety, to food, and to villages–zionpark.com) It is a simple exercise in patience, but also simple beauty.

Stacked rocks that seem to balance with a gentle touch. Who knew It could be so addictive. It is a game that my creativity likes to challenge. My mind whirls in movement as it seeks different colors, shapes, textures to build the ideal stack. It made me think of nature artists and artists who seem to have such natural flow in the land of art. I have sinced googled artists to find people like Andy Goldsworthy who seems to create such imagined art out of nature. His works are unique, sometimes seemingly unimageinable in the way he stacks, teeters, twists and constructs materials together to make such incredible beauty. [look him up—worth the visit–couple of his below]

I am always drawn to art, especially the artists who seem to have such depths that seem endless. So, needless to say, while flipping through Netflix, I came across the documentary called Sky Ladder, the Art of Cai Guo-Giang. His name was not a familiar one to me, but when I saw some of his art, I recognized it. He has so many incredible mediums and depths that his imagination whirls in, but my favorites were definitely what he is able to do with biodegradable gun powder to make such incredible stories and beautiful landscapes across a sky. It was like a chalk fest on another level, with depth and creativity I had never seen. It lit me up with imagination and wonder. I wanted to run out and buy a canvas and throw colorful chalk to experience a similar explosion of color. It was incredible.

Then the story began to talk about one of his personal quests, a project that seemed to propel him to another level of creativity and imagination. After multiple attempts and having various issues stop the plans in the making, the Sky Ladder seemed to become a personal mission, a larger limit, a project that many felt was unachievable and had many nay-sayers, but to him pushed him and the project into existence. It was a wonderful journey and story of how dreams, projects, art, inspiration and imagination can guide, push, propel us to new heights, fresh ideas, to see things from different lenses and to believe that anything is possible—if we simply believe.

It is amazing to me that such a story can touch another on such a level. I came away from that documentary ready to create—even on a small scale. To see someone so passionate, so driven to see his dream become a reality, was awe inspiring.

It took me back to a couple of years ago when I was inspired to create a lantern walk in my little community. I bought hundreds of lanterns and hung them on a path in a nearby forest. I created hearts out of light ropes, hung numerous lanterns of variety from trees, made luminary paths, and lit up a small park for the greater good. It all ended at a giant “LOVE” sign that was four feet tall to take pictures with friends and family. It was a lovely event that had probably about one hundred friends and neighbors in attendance, but the night seemed to have magic and wonder for all who experienced it. It was imagined, created for a larger purpose, inspired to bring connection, love and light to a community and the artist within me seemed to sing with ideas for months. It was a culmination of a creative whirl!

I am going to get all my lanterns and come up with another creative culmination that will spark a little more light and love on another scale in another community. Thanks Cai. You have inspired!!

FOR PERSONAL INSPIRATION: Watch the Netflix documentary or read this article and video about Cai https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1002725/the-man-who-played-with-fire-

Go into your yard or outdoor space and find some medium to be creative with. Maybe start with a rock pile, leaves, twigs, chalk, water, bubbles, sand, anything you feel drawn to. Take some pics of your creativity.

Look up creative artists–whether they are caligraphy masters, nature artists, watercolor, musicians, photographers, painters, people who work with resin, natural materials like shells, etc. Find pieces that you are in awe of.

May you find something today that ignites a spark of something greater within you today.

-Peace, love and light to you. -H

Beyond your own Edge

I don’t care who you are, everyone journeys through struggles, ends up with personal scars, insecurities and victories that they begin to own for their life. Sometimes struggles are self-induced or sometimes external factors play a role, but in any event, struggles and challenges test us and push us beyond our own personal edge.

Which made me think of a great example of this which was watching the incredible people on the CBS show, Beyond the Edge. Even if you are not into adventure reality television, you can watch this and appreciate the relationships made, people climbing out of their comfort zones, getting dirty, experiencing a deeper part of themselves, all in the name of winning money for their desired charities. It was an incredibly fun ride to watch. *[There are some spoiler moments, but also lots of quotes from the cast talking about the experience. Just wanted to let you know]*

I LOVED learning about each of their personal journeys and the roads their life has taken them.

I could not have told you who Ray Lewis or Coach was or anyone else on the show for that matter, but I genuinely enjoyed hearing about the inspiring snippets from their lives. At one point in the show there was a snake near Ray Lewis and he began explaining to one of the others about why he has a thing with snakes. As a young boy Ray’s mother was dating a man that was abusive towards his mother and Ray struggled deeply with the abuse. One day the man caught a snake in the yard and threw it on Ray. In fear and desperation Ray tried to call out to his mom, but nothing came out and from that day on Ray talked with a stutter. That was also a turning point for him. He knew he wanted to do all he could to be a man that could stand up for himself and his mother. Ray began a journey to build himself into the man he is today and not allow others to abuse his family. There were so many journeys—P talked about losing her husband, Craig shared his pain of losing his son and dealing with the loss daily, Jodie being a single mom, Lauren Alaina’s body issues, Eboni’s personal insecurities and overcoming them, and Colton was on yet another television journey to share his own story. So many of them were vulnerable with one another and the connections were so valuable and lifelong friends were made. It was wonderful to see different people, from different backgrounds coming together to touch others lives, but having such an incredible impact on one another.

I LOVED hearing them talk about going beyond their own comfort zones.

“Every celebrity went on a journey,” says Goldman.[produce] “It’s easy to be nice when things are going your way, but who are you when you’re exhausted, starving, and in pain? That’s when your true colors come out.” -TV Insider

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: This is such a great point!! It is so true. It is easy to be nice when you are in your day to day, comfortable life, but when you are exhausted, starving, in pain…what happens? How do you handle the stress? Think about it. How do you handle stress and being pushed beyond your limit? It was incredible to see these people take on such a challenge & they all have very comfortable lives, so it was definitely out of their comfort zone and they all handled it with such strength and dignity. So good. Would you??

“The day before we started principal photography, all of the producers looked at each other with the sinking feeling that this celebrity cast might see where they were living for up to two weeks — the harsh jungles of Panama — and just bolt,” he said in a statement. 

“To the contrary, we were amazed by how these icons pushed themselves to their breaking points, showing incredible mental fortitude and physical tenacity,” added Goldman. “And all for an incredible cause: to raise money for charities that are near and dear to their hearts.” -People

“I learned something about fear,” Singletary admitted. “I’ve interacted, been around fear, been in fear, but not being able to see your hand at night and you’ve got to get up and go to the bathroom … By the time I left that jungle, I felt it belonged to me, and I was no longer, really, afraid. It was like, ‘This is my jungle now.’ That was something I really wanted to achieve when I got there and being able to leave with that was very empowering.” -Coach. [mediavillage.com]

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: Fear. What strikes fear in you? Public speaking, trying a new sport, darkness, spiders, talking to a stranger, going back to school, dating, getting uncomfortable, etc. What makes you uncomfortable? When you come across things that make you stop, ask yourself, “what am I afraid of?” You may need to evaluate what you are truly afraid of & begin to take small steps in overcoming & “owning” the fear. Not giving it your power. Taking your power into your own hands. Like Coach said(my own summary)…By the time I left, I owned it. OWN YOUR FEAR.

…when they asked me to do it, my first response was yes. I was like, “That sounds like something I would never do on my own.” There are certain things that I want to do, like being out in the jungle for two weeks and really physically challenging myself and emotionally and mentally. I’ve been trying to say yes to things that are incredible opportunities. And Beyond the Edge was just something I would never plan or do or be able to do on my own. And so I was just like, “Yeah, let me add this to the list of things that I’ve done in my life.” -Jodie Sweetin [parade]

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: I love her perspective how she looked at the opportunity and said yes because she knew enough about herself that she knew she would never do something like this experience on her own. She wanted and invited the challenge. She invited opportunities to say YES. What can you say YES to? Think of things you normally wouldn’t do & begin saying yes. Those are the opportunities you will truly grow from & learn so much about yourself.

Eboni admitted that she was “so Type A” and “way out of my comfort zone.” She explained that as a child, while everybody else was playing sports, she was competing in pageants. However, Eboni began to see that she had valuable skills that she could offer her team, including helping them to organize their rowing by counting out loud during adventure one. This was a skill that she learned at summer camp. When she balanced on a 60-foot slack line in adventure two, she was using skills that she had learned in classical ballet classes. Eboni shared that she had brought her grandfather’s Bible with her to the jungle because “it is really a spiritual compass for me. This book is to remind me who I am … Because I might forget because this is not my comfort zone.” -Williams [screenrant]

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: What skills do you feel you own? What are you good at and could offer to the world? How could you utilize those skills and benefit others? [ie: I have a very strong input strength–I LOVE to learn and gather info. I have soo much info from research over the years, so I am working on creating a course for my local Community Education to hopefully benefit others in the community] You have skills, strengths, talents…how can you use them? How can you Step beyond yourself to improve your life and the lives of others.

“As hard as it was, it really became fun, but it was the most challenging thing, I think… that we’ve ever done, physically and mentally,” Lewis said. “Harder than a football Super Bowl?” asked anchor Denise Koch. “Yeah, cause usually after the football Super Bowl I come back home to my bed,” Lewis said.

I LOVED seeing a group of strangers come together in so many incredible ways.

“I can echo what everybody said,” added Underwood. “But while we are all individuals there, there was a weird comfort I had, sleeping in the jungle and knowing that there were eight other people who, sort of, had my back. If a monkey [came] in, they would step up. We leaned on each other, not only to survive, but through the competition aspect of it, the emotional part of it, and just getting what we needed out of not only the show but the experience of coming together and working together. That’s what made this experience so special and worth all the jungle trauma.” [mediavillage.com]

Not having all of the comforts and all of your usual distractions really allows you to open up to people in a way that I don’t think we often do in normal life, certainly not these days with phones. I just gained so much respect for people who I didn’t maybe know their whole story. I didn’t know where they came from. We all just shared who we were. Every day, I had a moment with someone out there that changed me. And I am so grateful for that. -Jodie [parade]

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: How can you connect with someone today? Can you start a conversation with a stranger? Can you just smile and connect with someone? I think we are changed by the people we meet, the conversations that connect. My husband and I have recently moved to the coast and it is so fun to just strike up conversations with people walking the ocean. You meet all types of people from different places, with different history, stories to share, places they have been. Connections are a gift. Look for them.

“I immediately just fell in love with every one of these people,” Morgan said. “I’ve used Paulina as an example a lot. I don’t know if it weren’t for this show if Paulina and I may have, and Ebony as well, we may have never met each other. In fact, if we had met each other at some event or some function in New York, there’s a good chance we wouldn’t have spent much time together because we all, I mean, it this is the truth. And I’m being transparent. We all have these preconceived ideas about who people are and the lifestyle they live. This supermodel and this famous lawyer TV person probably would’ve never come over and talked to this country, boy. But here we got to really know each other. For me, the biggest thing was the emotion of the experience. It wasn’t the physical aspects. I could have stayed there for another month. I would’ve had a house built.” -Craig [CMT]

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: I loved Craig’s comment about the likelihood of meeting, let alone talking to certain people. We all have these preconceived dials within us that may limit or challenge us to not talk to people that look different from us or look closed off or unreachable. There are so many people of all types all around you. Look at everyone as a life lesson for yourself. Don’t judge. Connect. Reach beyond your edge of reason or knowing and just be there. Begin a conversation and see where it goes. You will be better for it.

In adventure one, when the contestants had to slog through a 5-foot deep muddy bog (which was thick like quicksand and almost the length of a football field), Eboni panicked when she became stuck and could not touch the bottom. She felt as though she had lost the ability to control her limbs and said that it was “a paralyzing thing.” She called out for help. Ray told Eboni to trust him, and he pulled her out. At The Lanterns, Eboni cried and shared, “I am somebody who didn’t necessarily grow up with the father figure. And to have every man here step up with protection is a big deal for me. I haven’t always felt safe. I’m not used to really being able to trust anybody but myself.” She then explained that something about the conviction in Ray’s voice when he told her to trust him made her feel that she could. -Eboni Williams [screenrant]

“I’m a little bit in love with everybody here. These are my new best friends. This is my new extended, chosen family.” -Eboni Willimans [Screenrant]

“It was amazing to feel connection with people again, because we’ve had a lot of disconnecting and disconnection in the last few years,” she added. “So to be able to get dropped off in the jungle and to find true, genuine love and connection, it was really inspiring.” -Lauren Alaina [CBS8]

Singletary coached Lewis when he worked as a linebacker coach for the Baltimore Ravens from 2003-2004. “His hut was right next to mine,” says Singletary. “So, we were in talking distance, where we woke up in the morning talking and went to bed at night talking. We had a lot of really interesting dialogue.” Asked if Lewis still calls him “Coach,” Singletary says, “No, no, he calls me Papa. So, we had a lot of really great dialogue about life, about God, about football, about the disparity in our country.” -Coach [Patheos]

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: We can all do better at connecting with people we care about. We have people who live with us that we could connect with a little better. Do something—anything—even something small to make a deeper connection. Write a note. Have a conversation. Reach out to a distant loved one or someone you know could use your loving support. Make your moments more meaningful and rich with care.

I LOVED seeing them push their personal limits for a good cause outside of themselves

We’ve seen you toy with the idea of leaving the game a couple of times so far. Were there any inciting incidents that led to those moments?
It was a lot of things every day. We all went through stuff and said, “Oh my god, it’s just too much. I can’t do this. I’m done.” Everyone has those moments. You wonder, “What the hell am I doing? What if something happens to me like this is really dangerous? What if I hurt myself and have to go home, or something happens to me permanently?” I don’t know that it was ever one specific thing. But there were moments of being really homesick. Thinking, “I want my family. I want to be safe. I want not to be scared. I don’t want to step down out of my hut, and there’s going to be a snake there.”

But also, you made such a commitment. For me, playing for Girls Inc, I was so determined to live up to the ideals of what that charity is about: Creating strong, determined, smart leaders in young women. That really kept me going a lot, along with my girls. I am out here to raise money and raise awareness about this. And so I have to show up and be that. That really kept me going for a lot. -Jodie [parade]

“There was no whining,” Morgan said. “I know you might not believe this … that’s the truth. It was the opposite. There were moments when everyone there, they could have whined. And no one would’ve said anything when Paulina was absolutely soaking, drenched, wet, and woke up shivering. She had a positive attitude. When people got hurt, every time something happened, they were upset that they may have let people down. It was unbelievable. I think it’s keeping perspective of why we were there.” -Craig [CMT]

It was a good series and I highly suggest the watch—even just to see good things done to make a difference for a number of charities—all done by incredible people who created an unbelievable experience together.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT to help you beyond your personal edge: We can all learn through struggle. It is how your perspective in the situation challenges and changes OR breaks you. It is your choice. Like Ray Lewis said during the show–[I am writing it from my memory, so it is not exact] Comfort Zones are the deadliest space to be. If you don’t step out of your norm—nothing changes.

They all talked about how uncomfortable this experience was but they were also so grateful for the opportuntity to step away from their daily routine, away from technology, to connect with others and have the whole journey to learn even more about themselves while doing something so good.

How can we take this into our own lives? What can we do to step out of our ordinary, to get uncomfortable and shake up something that will challenge us to become even better?

Here are a few ideas to get you started and moving BEYOND your own EDGE:

Start some sort of personal challenge [Fitness, self care, bucket list, summer project, reading, gratitude, etc]

Go somewhere new–variety shakes things up and gives you new perspectives.

Try a new workout and push your body beyond its current limit.

Take a class—educational, dance lesson, community education, art, etc.

Learn a new skill like an instrument or a foreign language

Listen to a new type of music or better yet go to a live concert that plays a new style

Watch something you would normally not watch–documentary, foreign film, series

Take a day and commit to saying hello to everyone you pass on the street or on a walk

Think of a project you have always wanted to do and just begin [ie:write a book, article, knit a sweater, enter an art contest, build an engine, learn an instrument, make a movie, etc]

Try something good for you—begin to meditate, take a yoga class, learn about mindfulness, go on a nature walk, drink more water, try an app that helps with stress, get a massage, etc.

Get out in nature—so many benefits, try a new hike in your area, walk a green space, buy a plant to put it in your yard, walk barefoot on the lawn, have a picnic, watch the sun rise & set for a week.

Hope these ideas get you started in some good directions to help you get beyond your current state. We all need to be challenged to some degree to enhance our life, to grow and become better. Do those things that will help you move beyond your own limitations.

Peace to you today. -H

Little things BIG wins

We sometimes underestimate the influence of little things. -Charles Chestnutt

Today is a great day to share some personal gems I have come across in the past week. The picture above illustrates that so well. When you find little treasures on a beach, you pile them in your pockets and carry them home. I do that with rocks, agates and life gems of wisdom that seem to endlessly abound from so many great places. Seek and find them. Here are some of my favorites I found. enjoy!

My husband and I have been listening to Matthew McConaughey’s book, Greenlights while we have been commuting here and there through life. It has been a fun ride learning about his journey. At one point he was talking about roofs and how they are a man made thing and that we need to not create ceilings for ourselves, the dreams we have, the lives we live. We need to look beyond.

Reach beyond your grasp. 
Have immortal finish lines and 
turn your red light green 
because a roof is a man made thing.
~Matthew McConaughey, actor, philosopher, author, b.11/4/1969SOURCE: Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey

I love this thought, of how we, as individuals seem to construct personal limitations of what we can do. We begin to tell ourselves that we can only rise so high or go so far in life. That if we step beyond our own boundaries we will not be safe. We begin the life lies that end up ruining so much that life has to offer. When we begin to believe that we are powerful beyond measure, that is when miracles begin and life opens doors to greater places within us. Love that. DONT put a ceiling on yourself. Reach beyond within your own mind for those higher places your seek.

The easiest way is to dissect success, is through gratitude. Giving thanks for that which we do have, for what is working. Appreciating the simple things we sometimes take for granted. We give thanks for these things and that gratitude reciprocates, creating more to be thankful for.
~Matthew McConaughey, actor, philosopher, author, b.11/4/1969

Gratitude has this incredible power to almost fix anything. When we feel an energy lag in our life or feel things are not going quite right or we hear complaints or whines—-gratitude has a beautiful chime that can wash away and change the energy in a moment. It is almost like an instant switch, a brighter light that turns on a new perspective, a greater awareness, a place that awaits for a simple, thank you to help balance everything.

We are all made for every moment we encounter. Whether the moment makes us or we make the moment. Whether we are helpless in it or on top of it, the predator or the prey, we are made for that moment.
~Matthew McConaughey, actor, philosopher, author, b.11/4/1969SOURCE: Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey

A few of our family mottos: Just show up and play full out. Always do you. Say yes to things that will challenge or help you grow and always look for opportunities to be of service–especially when we get stuck in ourselves. Life is a series of moments & it is how you make them, how you respond, what you say in the moments and the feelings you follow. Life can try to trip you up, throw curves and hurdles, highs and low points, but it is how you handle it. Do you come out stronger? Do you break, but then figure out how to rebuild a little better and brighter. It is also more importantly, the energy you carry and live by. As Matthew says, the predator or the prey, your energy of who you are, what you allow to propel you, the insecurities you let own you, the thoughts you think, all play a factor in your life. You either make the moments count to your best ability or you don’t. You walk away feeling energized or you feel let down by the encounter or experience. Moment by moment, life takes you on a ride, it is how you live it that makes the moments matter most.

Those were a few of my favorite lines. The book is full of fun stories, wild rides, colorful language, great insights, an enjoyable read. The audio book is Matthew reading, so he makes the stories truly come to life. Highly recommend–you will take away some good things for your own life. Even his energy and charisma is contagious.

Speaking of CHARISMA—this takes me to another treasure to share. A podcast, called The Good Life Project. This is a great place to find incredible interviews with all types of people who have come from various places, projects, books, institutes, award winners, etc. You will definitely find some worthwhile interviews of great things to learn.

I recently listened to the podcast with Zoe Chance, teacher at Yale, author of Influence is your Superpower. When I ask people which influence skill they’d like to develop, the most common response by far is “charisma.” When I ask them to define it, they tell me, “It means people pay attention to you” or “It means you have a lot of presence.” But why do we pay attention to charismatic people? What are they doing? A dictionary definition of charisma is “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others,” but as a tool for influence, that language is awfully vague. Yes, charisma gets people to pay attention to you, but it’s not just any kind of attention. You wouldn’t say a guy running through the office in his underwear is charismatic. People who try to make themselves the center of attention just become annoying.

The first paradox of charisma is that trying to be charismatic has the opposite effect.

Most of us, most of the time, aren’t consciously trying to be the center of attention. But we can fall into this trap subconsciously, focusing on ourselves in ways that are anti-charismatic. Humor me for a moment and try this exercise.

In each row below, guess which group uses the word “I” more often.

Leaders…or followers?

Older people…or younger people?

Richer people…or poorer people?

Happy people…or depressed people?

Angry people…or fearful people?

Better students…or worse students?

Men…or women?

According to analyses of formal and informal conversations, speeches, emails, and other written documents, people in the groups listed on the right-hand side tend to use “I” and other first-person pronouns more frequently and by a large margin. In a book called The Secret Life of Pronouns. He found that people who feel they have less power or lower status tend to use more self-referential language. Sometimes the gap has a basis in reality—followers must take orders from leaders, and the poor are less powerful than the rich. But unconscious linguistic patterns derive more precisely from feelings of personal power—or lack thereof. -Yale Insights

A few of her other tips: Just ask for what you want, Be okay with saying No and the magic question to always get what you need…WHAT WOULD IT TAKE?

To be a BIG INFLUENCER, she says to do one thing with every person you encounter—CHOOSE to like them. It may be hard, but find SOMETHING to appreciate about that person.

Finding a Happy, HEALTHY BALANCE with Positive Psychology. Jonathan Fields from Good Life Project also shared some great tips about a MODEL FOR NOURISHING…a well being theory called PERMAV [Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishments, Vitality]

Pursuing these things is the best way to happiness…not just pursuing happiness.

POSITIVE EMOTIONS: Negative emotions are inevitable but you need to learn how to move through it to avoid getting stuck in this state.

ENGAGEMENT: Being fully absorbed. Finding flow in something you are aligned with. Ask yourself, “What makes me lose track of time?” Do more of that!

RELATIONSHIPS: Studies show LOVE is the key ingredient for positive relationships. Those can be chosen family, biological, friends, partners…romantic love, companions, compassionate love (could be a stranger you feel empathy or compassion for), attachment (relationship for a length of time–ease or connection) He suggested doing an exercise of Arthur Erin—2 people, 36 questions that connect. He also suggested doing a Friendship Text Roulette—flip randomly through your contacts and send out a loving message(s).

MEANING: Purpose. In service of others, something that benefits something or someone beyond yourself. You will experience the Givers Glow.

ACCOMPLISHMENT: or Achievement. We are more alive and better beings when we are actively setting a goal or seeking to achieve or do something. The movement towards something that allows us to feel we are alive and on purpose. The feeling of progress and competence is incredibly powerful. Accomplishing things that truly matter to you as an individual. Not just going up some ladder of success. Doing the things that matter to YOU. It is about rising up your own ladder. Accomplishemnt tied to a personal reason of why is what we are looking for.

The above is all BRAIN, thoughts….But what about the BODY? You need to have the body in alignment with the thoughts and actions or you are missing something huge. They feed back to one another and if you don’t connect the two, it will be a dis-service to you truly feeling alive and flourishing. That is why they added VITALITY.

VITALITY: The feedback mechanism. The way the mind and body communicate with each other. So, what can we do for the body to help it truly come alive? It all comes back to simplicity. No hacks, new pill or diet fad–the basics. Nutrition and nourishment—how we FEED the body. Also, MOVEMENT. We are not built to be still…not moving. Have some MIND STILLING practics and good SLEEP.

ALL good TREASURES to be found. Little things that can make an overall BIG difference in our lives. DO GOOD. BE GOOD. LIVE WELL.

Peace. Love and Light to you. Always SEEK good things that lead to HAPPINESS. -H