The Pursuit of Happiness!

The pursuit of happiness is real, and finding and keeping it can be a daunting undertaking for some. We all deserve to experience genuine happiness, and attitude and perspective can play a big role in finding and acquiring happiness.

The road to contentment is not an end product, and with things the way they are in the world today, it’s become increasingly difficult to be truly content. While we assume that happiness depends on external factors such as wealth, career goals, family harmony, better cars, nicer houses and bigger paychecks, while others work to create a large network of friends.

Happiness is said to be a state of mind, and we can sabotage it when we are fearful, dwell in the past, worry too much about the future, stress over lack of support, as well as physical health, or other factors that can negatively impact the happiness quotient.

We all deserve to experience genuine happiness. Considering this; there are some things that can be done to help achieve contentment. We can increase our self-awareness, invest in the right people, train our thoughts to remind ourselves that we can choose to change things for a better physical wellbeing. Practicing a positive outlook towards life’s situations, and ourselves can make it easier to experience happiness and achieve a state of true joyfulness. Remember…”Life is what you make it!

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Fly, Hip and Ageless

We are what we believe

There’s something about that slogan “Fly, Hip and Ageless”that struck a responsive cord with me. Fly, Hip and Ageless is defined as “a state of mind with no age limits,” that state of mind in my opinion is maturity, and some points about life which should become crystal clear with age.

True maturity and state of mind affords us with a positive, optimistic, courageous outlook, which in turn helps us to adapt and cope to life’s changes by focusing on what’s important instead of the trivial. At this point in life, inconsequential situations don’t deserve attention.

Ageless people have influence over whether we let things knock us down.   Maturity fosters the ability to see possibility instead of problems. Be realistic, tackle small things and focus on the things that will make the most difference.  As Debbie Hampton shares, “put the big rocks in the bucket first.”  In other words leave the pebbles where they are.

Life is precious and aging itself can be an avenue for rich new experiences, offer a way to renew passions and reinvent oneself. “We are what we believe we are,” and at any age, people can become open to new possibilities and add richness to life.  

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YES, I bought the T-shirt!!!

 

 

 

 

Mindful Reflections – Mind the Moment!

Merriam-Webster defines mindfulness as “a state of awareness”.

Being mindful allows us to observe our thoughts and feelings with no judgment on whether they’re good or bad. Mindfulness affords us the opportunity to experience the moment. Instead of letting life pass us by, we need to “stay woke and present”.

An easy way to begin the process is The “Notice-Shift-Rewire (NSR) strategy developed by Eric Latgshur and Nate Klemp PhD of Mindful, healthy mind, healthy life.

*Notice:  become aware of our attention. In most cases, we’ll find that our attention is “mind wandering”

*Shift:  redirect our attention to the present by focusing on our breath, sounds around us, sensations in our body or even something that we’re grateful for.

*Rewire: finally take 15 to 30 seconds to relish the experience and to reinforce the shift in our mind and thinking.

The beauty of Notice-Shift-Rewire (NSR) is that it can be done anywhere and at anytime.   It can be used as many times as needed, and it doesn’t take time out of the day. Use NSR during a shower by listening to the sounds and sensations of the moment; when waiting for something or someone use NSR to enjoy the fact that you’re alive!

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Soul Vegan 21 Day Challenge!!

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I did it, I completed my first Vegan Challenge!  The experience wasn’t the easiest, as  the undertaking called for me to follow a prearranged menu, and admittedly I did modify a few of the recipes to fit my Vegetarian lifestyle.

Presented by Zakhah, the Soul Vegan Hostess; the goal of the challenge was to help people build lifestyle habits for better health. The challenge provided healthy coaching and cooking classes to demonstrate that the quest to eat healthy could be flavorful, fun & easy. The author of The Joy of Living Live: A Raw Food Journey, Zakhah founded Soul Vegan Challenge to bring together some of the world’s top health experts to share simple, easy, life-giving wisdom.

For twenty-one days, expert chefs from the world’s largest vegan community demonstrated in a free, virtual, educational and entertaining event. The recipes and video’s were easy to follow, and the majority of the meals were tasty and satisfying. My favorite meals from the challenge were The Szechuan Eggplant, Gourmet Pizza, and Vegan Philly Cheez Steak. Not so much; the Thai Orange Soup, Tofu Teriyaki, Sliceable Cashew Cheese

Upon completion of the challenge, the question is whether I will adopt a strict Vegan lifestyle?   The answer is probably no, but to be sure after my visit to the plant-based New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, MD this weekend, I will incorporate Vegan based meals such Mushroom Calamari, and Buffalo Cauliflower Wings into my current Pescatarian diet which includes a weekly portion of Salmon or Cod.

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The Beyond Burger, Mushroom Calamari, Smoked Jackfruit and Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

#newdealcafe#vegan#healthylife

Find Your Flow!

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Three facts that I’ve rediscovered about myself since retirement are that:

#1 I must be busy and involved

#2 Activities and endeavors have to be purposeful and meaningful to me

#3 I’m an entrepreneur at heart

With time on hand, I’ve finally discovered my flow!! Which in positive psychology, is described as being in the mental state of operation in which a person performs an activity fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.

Currently, I have several streams of energized focus: blogging, coordinating a Meet up Group, and building my tutoring and resell businesses. I’ve found things to fulfill my desire to be busy, a platform to organize and share purposeful activities for women, and lastly an additional stream of income from my two businesses.

The key to finding your flow, in my opinion is finding:

*things that interest you…

*something you LOVE…

*something you believe in                                              

*something that you have faith in…

*something that you have personal experiences and professional knowledge.

Stay tuned as I share what invigorates me and keeps me flowing 😉

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Confessions of Sheep Counters

Lately, I’ve been talking with friends who are experiencing sleep issues. All over 50, some retired, and others still employed.   Their issues are the same;  being unable to sleep, or not getting enough. Not surprisingly, a 2015 survey conducted by AARP on brain health topics found that the number one concern that adults 50 and older had was sleep.

Since retirement I’m not sure exactly how my sleep pattern has changed. Transitioning from a set bedtime to none took a while to get used to. Since, most days I didn’t have any particular place I could stay up all night.  The first several weeks of my retirement, I was so excited that I found myself watching TV, reading or on Social Media all night. Sometimes I was up as late as 1-2 A.M., and would still awake at my regular working time of 6:30 A.M.   After a few months, I noticed that I was sleeping later, waking up at 9 A.M, most likely a result of staying up until 2 or 3 A.M.  Currently, and with conscious effort , my pattern has improved to at least six hours of sleep.

One retired friend said that she’s retires to bed by 9-10 P.M., but her sleep is interrupted several times during the night. Consequently, she’s tired during the day, but says that she’s rarely able to take a nap.  Not good, according to a sleep consultant who states “Quantity and quality of sleep is one of the best predictors of energy”. He also goes on to say “many people don’t get enough sleep to revitalize them.” The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends 7-9 hours for Adults 26-64; 65 and over is 7-8 hours.

According to the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) it is normal for sleep to change with age. It’s not unusual to experience changes in the quality, quantity, as well as the structure and duration of sleep patterns.

Another friend said that he didn’t experience changes in the length of time it took him to fall asleep, however he woke up several times during the night and early morning.   The GCBH study reports that as we age, sleep is more easily interrupted and deep sleep decreases. Which means more effort must be excreted to sustain good sleep and lifestyle habits to maintain restorative benefits of sleep.  Seven to eight hours of sleep a night is recommended for most adults to maintain good physical and cognitive health.

Older people tend to get sleepier earlier in the evening,  Because the body’s internal clock changes and prompts changes in the timing of sleep. and staying up late becomes more difficult.  If a person falls asleep at 8 or 9 PM and awakens at 4-5 AM, they are still getting the minimum suggested sleep. This doesn’t mean that their sleep quality is worse. It just means that the timing or pattern of sleep has shifted and waking up earlier in the morning becomes more common.

According to GCBH there are some basic steps a person can take to help promote good brain health.

*Getting up at the same time each day helps maintain a regular sleep cycle.

* Instituting an environment conducive to sleep, keeping regular bedtime routines

*Getting enough exercise and outdoor light exposure during the day can help people maintain good sleep patterns.

Of course these basic routines may not help if a person begins to experience significant insomnia. As another, younger friend experienced to the point that he enrolled in a Sleep Apnea Study to determine the cause for his sleepless nights. If instituting good sleep practices does not remedy the problem, it may be a good idea to see a sleep specialist who can recommend behavioral therapies, or medication that can be of assistance.

We all know that sleep is essential, and that good rest can be a predictor for good health. For most people, the most important practices to promote good brain health through adequate sleep is to maintain regular duration and timing of sleep.   So I say that in order to operate at optimal performance… let’s get some good ZZZ’s.

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A Novice Crystal Wearer Opens Up

 

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Today I heard one of my favorite way back in the day (1968) songs “Crystal Blue Persuasion,’ by Tommy James and The Shondells.   I love this song, and the dreamy, harmonious lyrics, especially the fourth verse:

So don’t you give up now…                                                                                                               So easy to find,                                                                                                                                  Just look to your soul                                                                                                                          And open your mind

The song reminded me of the reason I started wearing crystals. As a novice wearer, I won’t be able to share a lot about what they are or exactly what they’re supposed to do. My sharing is about my reasons for wearing them and the outcome achieved.

If you ask different people about wearing crystals, you’ll probably get different answers. But the gist of it is that there is a belief that various stones have healing energies that align with imbalances in one of the seven chakras, or the spiritual energy centers.  According to the Chopra Center, when these energy centers are misaligned, or blocked, energy becomes stagnant and can manifest as physical illness or throw you off emotionally.

My reason for delving into the Crystal world was a result of the negative feelings I possessed about my job as a teacher. These emotions were caused after returning from an injury sustained when a male student sprinted into me at school. The injury resulted in my being out of commission and in Physical Therapy.

After three months of land and water Physical Therapy, my doctor cleared me to return to school on apart-time basis, with restrictions because I was still in PT for my back. The first few days back at school were easy because as a Special Education Resource Teacher I had plenty of paper work to catch up on. The anxiety and dread arose when I began to circulate and maneuver the hallways. I felt intimidated by the vast number of rambunctious students as I moved from class to class.

With more than twenty years teaching,  I’d never been frightened of students, but after the incident and the pain experienced from the accident; I found myself being overly cautious, cuddling the wall and it was then that I realized that I was afraid, and didn’t want to be around them. On a visit to my general practitioner, I shared my concerns.   She suggested therapy and/or medication to help alleviate my fears. I kindly told her that I didn’t think that therapy would abate my feeling of not wanting to be at the school; and that medication was definitely out of the question.

It was during a conversation or rather a venting session with a young eclectic, yogi friend/co-worker who suggested I try crystals. She explained the general premise and suggested that I do further research. So, faced with a whole three months to withstand my feelings, I convinced myself that I had nothing to lose by trying crystals.

I visited a metaphysical, New Age shop. and shared my situation with the proprietor. She explained various crystals and their properties, and suggested Clear Quartz which, according to her, “opens the mind and heart to higher guidance, and acts as a conduit for healing—allowing positive, healing energy to flow into the body while pushing negative, toxic energy out.”

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Lord knows I was harboring negative energy, so I purchased two Clear Quartz stones, which amplifies whatever energy or intent is programmed into it, and may accelerate the fulfillment of one’s prayers, or hold a pattern of energy long enough and strongly enough for the materialization of a goal.

Actually, I purchased two clear quartz; one on a small silver chain and another on a longer black cord which I started wearing the very next day. Whenever I felt anxious or discontent I’d gently massage the crystal, take a deep breath and recite, “This too shall pass, I can do this.”

My Quartz’s have become a stable accessory, and I wear one or the other every day. I believe that the Quartz’s and mantra were my Crystal Blue Persuasion, which helped me to search my soul and open my mind in order to achieve my goal to finish the school year safe, strong and in control of my emotions and fears.   And they continue to aid me as I continue to live my life fearlessly.

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