Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Feeling Amazing - Loving Your Life Now

I really think the secret to a long, happy, beautiful life is to take pleasure in the things you love! You will feel amazing- and when you feel amazing you will express the true beauty that you are!
It is just a gorgeous spring here. I am inspired to take pleasure in every day. My aim is to be able to count 3 or more joyful experiences from the day before I go to sleep each night . Little things like :
 -watching my 22 month old fairy godson playing in my secret garden as he expresses awe at the frogs on the edge of the lily pool
-eating my breakfast with the frogs and the blue dragonflies
-finding more things in bloom to photograph
More important things
-  connecting with people who light me up when I see them
-  dancing to a newly discovered piece of music
- beginning to learn a new song or phrases in Italian
Today I photographed all the new things I discovered in bloom. It was like a treasure hunt. Fun!
Fragrant Pink Formosa Azalea I did not get the 1st hummingbird- too fast!
Sweet Bush (Calycanthus) it smells like strawberries!

Snowball tree (Viburnum) like my Grandmother had.
Hot Pink Columbines.

 Also I am becoming braver about commenting on blogs I follow and Facebook groups I belong to. Today I made a new friend. She has inspired me for a blog/ video about wearing what we love .
Stay tuned!
What do you do to feel amazing? How do you love your life now?  Have you noticed that you look so much better when you feel amazing and love your life just as it is this moment? I think these are two of the secrets to ageless beauty. Do you agree?
Please leave a comment below or email me. Also have a look at my Pinterest boards

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Appreciation in times of doubt and uncertainty

Another blog prompt from Stacey Hoffer Weckstein at Wisdom Bloggers Sisterhood!
No matter how fabulous our lives can be we experience times of doubt , uncertainty, even fear that we are on the wrong track! How to respond?
The first thing I do is check in with how my body feels. Usually I have a sinking feeling in my sacral space ( the area just below the navel). I make an effort to just stay with the feeling and not attach a "story"to it (this takes practice!). Just stay with the feeling and breathe.
 Then I ask myself  when did I first feel this feeling? Usually something has happened when I have given my power away and allowed someone else to affect my sense of well being or I have tried to control something I have no control over.
What is the feeling? Anxiety, dread,  sadness....? Of course, there are times when I have eaten something that disagrees with me or I need to eat , or I need a dance break or a nap!  Really being present to my body gives me clarity about  my discomfort and the source of it. No stories- just the feeling!
Once I have clarity about what I am feeling ,  I can ask my body to tell me what would feel better. I know this sounds crazy if you are not in the habit of dialoging with your body! After some practice, though, it is amazing how clear the answers are . Not only are they clear,  if I implement them I feel better fast!
So today I had some anxiety about a discussion with a family member. The discussion resulted in my giving my power away and feeling a sense of abandonment (I had abandoned myself!). I was also overdue for breakfast... My body wanted to be fed and to have a sense of well-being and a warm hug.
Here is where the Appreciation comes in! I begin to make a delicious breakfast - being thankful for all the lovely ingredients at my disposal. Also I arranged my Italian painted tray with a lovely place setting and the food beautifully arranged.  I took my tray out to my secret garden and sat on the edge of the water lily pool in the warm sunshine. There is nothing like warm sunshine enveloping my body to give me a sense of well-being and a warm hug! The extra surprise to send my feeling of well-being soaring was an adorable frog who sat next to me on the edge of the pool and an aerial dance by many beautiful blue dragonflies to entertain me as I enjoyed my breakfast.
As if that were not enough to appreciate, as I basked in the sunshine replete with my delicious (and rather large!) breakfast several of the blue dragonflies began to land in my hair and on my hands! They played with me for quite sometime. I enjoyed admiring how wonderfully made they are as well as how beautiful and blue!

 Hard to photograph - they move so quickly and I have not mastered taking a photo with only one hand when they rest on my hand or arm!
Do you agree that you have the power to feel better in times of doubt, uncertainty, even fear?  Do you have favorite practices to feel better that involve appreciation for what is good right now in the moment ? Have you had surprises like dragonflies dancing for you in the air when you become present in the moment appreciating what is good right now?
 I would love to share more thoughts on this topic. Please leave a comment below or on Facebook!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

AppreciateBeautyEveryday: Appreciate Beauty Birthday

AppreciateBeautyEveryday: Appreciate Beauty Birthday: This week I am celebrating and reflecting. Another birthday.... I have learned some mantras from various teachers that i am using as a basi...

AppreciateBeautyEveryday: What Does It Mean To Love More Fully ?

AppreciateBeautyEveryday: What Does It Mean To Love More Fully ?: This week's prompt from Wisdom Bloggers Sisterhood led by Stacey Hoffer Weckstein is a challenge. Especially since my birthday is this w...

Appreciate Beauty Birthday

This week I am celebrating and reflecting. Another birthday....
I have learned some mantras from various teachers that i am using as a basis for my reflections. They are-
 1) Love What Is Now- appreciate what is happening in the moment- it is a blessing or a lesson. Be present to and love every moment of my life . I am responsible for how I deal with what is happening. Love without asking for love to be returned.
2) Shine Your Light- we all have a unique light to shine on the world around us, if we dim our light the world is a bit darker.
3) Appreciate Beauty (including your own!)
4) Dance with Life! - my favorite and sometimes the most difficult to practice.
All 4 create plenty of opportunity for growth!
Here are some photos of my misty , rainy landscape on my birthday:
 New Pink Door!
 Lady Banks rose!

Copper Beech and woodland flowers

I hope you have as much beauty to appreciate everyday1 Please leave a comment. I love hearing what you all think!

What Does It Mean To Love More Fully ?

This week's prompt from Wisdom Bloggers Sisterhood led by Stacey Hoffer Weckstein is a challenge. Especially since my birthday is this week and it's time to reflect and assess my growth.
First what does it mean to love? Over the years I  have begun to learn that to love is a practice requiring acceptance. First accepting ourselves as we are right now - not the person we want / hope / or are working on to be. These can be a big stumbling block for many of us- giving ourselves permission to be authentic- loving and valuing ourselves just as we are with our strengths, weaknesses and imperfections. When we can love ourselves exactly as we are we can begin to love ourselves more fully. This does take practice!!
How do we do this? I have had to grow into giving up being what Amy Pearson calls an "Approval Addict". It has been quite a process learning to approve of myself and not to need the approval of others. I am prone to be what Amy Pearson calls  a "Hero Worshipper" (seeking approval from people I admire and hope that they will like me) and a "Performer"/ "Perfectionist" ( striving to be entertaining, talented, etc to impress the Heroes!)
I have also had to learn to stand in my own power and not allow myself  to depend on anyone else to make me feel good, happy, etc. Also not to give anyone power to make me feel sad, unlovable, etc. This has been and continues to be a real growing experience! I am responsible for my feelings and for how my life unfolds. It is a scary as well as liberating process!
I have had to learn how to feel my feelings without attaching a "story" to them- if I begin a story, I use Byron Katie's The Work to discover if what I am telling myself is really true. ( It almost always  is NOT.) I have also learned many things that soothe me,  light me up, and raise my energy.
All of these growing experiences are teaching me how to accept and love others as well as myself. For me to love more fully is to continue to accept myself as I am now (while continuing to GROW into the best "me " I can be) and to continue to learn to accept others as they are now ( whether they grow or not- that is their choice).
This is not to say that we cannot limit our contact with people who drain our energy, who are not kind, etc.  We can, however accept them as they are choosing to be, send them love, wish them well and keep our encounters with them to a minimum. We cannot change them- we can only choose how much we interact with them. Many of us have family members in this category!
I would love to know what you think it means to love more fully! How do you do it?  Am I on the right track?
Please leave a comment below.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Exquisite Self Care

"How do you practice radical self care when you feel pressure and stress?" This is the prompt from The Wisdom Bloggers Sisterhood this week. What perfect timing, Stacey Hoffer
Weckstein! As beautiful as spring can be, it is often a stressful time with pressure to get things done , start new projects, get in shape for summer and make plans for vacations, summer camp,etc.  Some of us even have birthdays/ new beginnings on the calendar! Then for some there is also the challenge of springtime pollen allergies. Yikes- definitely time to focus on how to feel good despite the stress and pressure. The key to dealing with stress and pressure for me is EXQUISITE Self Care that makes me feel good inside and out. 
 My most stressful time is spring; it is migraine/allergy season for me.
I had to learn to manage stress when  migraine headaches were controlling my life. Migraines for me were clear signals from my body that I was stressed out. The best gift from migraines was learning to be responsible for my stress levels (which in turn led me to learn to take complete responsibility for my happiness and my life- that is another blog!). I learned to avoid food and drink that stressed my body. I learned to reconnect with my body through music and dance. I learned to relax with coloring books and colored pencils and cutting out paper dolls! I learned that sleep is critical! I also learned how to manage my emotions so that I am responsible for how I respond to people and situations that challenge/trigger me.
My priority is to FEEL GOOD no matter what is going on in my life. Every Body is unique! Would any of the following work for you? Here is my list:
Easy first step for me- appreciate  beauty everyday as the spring unfolds. Here is the view from my kitchen window:
If you do not have a gorgeous view from any of your windows find a place you can easily visit - preferably outdoors. Fresh air and natural light are refreshing! If you are affected by pollen find out what works for you. I take small amounts of pollen and raw honey from local bees throughout the spring .

Take time to see the beauty around you- even if it is a small vase of flowers or favorite object or photo at your work space. We NEED beauty to support our good feeling energy.

Slow down! When we get stressed we tend to work more and attempt to get things done faster. Slowing down takes practice! No need to get everything done at once - prioritize - one step at a time. Slower is better! Focus -not multitasking -  is really more efficient (easier said than done- this DOES take practice!)

Have a glass of water- take a short walk- take some relaxing breaths! It's amazing how relaxing and energizing conscious breathing is. Ask your body what would feel good .

Take mini dance breaks - have some favorite dance music on your phone or on your computer. Most songs are about 3 minutes long. Move to the music and shake out the stress. My favorite prescription for stress!

Check in with yourself frequently to see how you FEEL. Feeling good is a CHOICE. Choose even one small thing about life right now to feel good about. If there are no choices- find some! Make a list of what lights you up- and choose one to practice in a moment when stress is mounting. Sometimes a brief nap will work wonders.
Limit your interaction with people who are a drain on your energy. Arrange to connect with them when you can be resilient and strong.
Unplug from electronics! Schedule time to be completely unplugged- especially in the evenings.
Have some essential oil to diffuse or to sniff from a small glass bottle -choose a scent that makes you feel good - whether calming or uplifting what ever you need at the moment.

Eat food that truly nourishes your unique body. Make sure it tastes fabulous!
 Make sure you are drinking enough pure water. Being dehydrated is stressful. 

Show up as your best self- a fast way to feel good! Wear your favorite colors, feel good in your clothes. Maybe wear some accessory you really love- even add a little sparkle-

In the evening take a scented bath or have a shower while diffusing your favorite essential oil. Wear your  prettiest most comfortable sleepwear -or just your gorgeous birthday suit to sleep in.
Go to bed earlier- read or listen to your favorite feel-good music and get a refreshing night's sleep!
All of the above are easier said than done. The hardest part is making the decision that you are responsible for how you respond to stress.It helps to check in with a friend, a personal guide or whoever will encourage you to actually begin and keep practicing whatever steps you choose to create your own Exquisite Self Care.
Please leave a comment and share what Radical/Exquisite Self Care  steps you take when you feel stressed and pressured!