Saturday, January 30, 2010

Take a unexpected vacation

There are days when you have to stop and take a little mini vacation. This is a vacation of the spirit. You can't plan this, it's not expensive and you most likely just stay home. It is a little unexpected block of time where you say " enough, I'm on vacation" and then proceed to take one. It can be for as little as for 15 minutes or as long as 3 days anything longer turns into an actual vacation. Which is also Ok but not the same thing,

This time of year the ground is still asleep, trees are still without leaves, grass dormant. The outside knows the importance of rest but as a society we value a good day of tasks completed.

If you find yourself wandering from room to room, fighting with yourself about your to do list and generally feeling overwhelmed, under appreciated, over booked, exhausted, then for heavens sake take a vacation day. If you can't take the whole day then take 3 hours, take 1 hour, take 2 days. Take back your own sanity and give your life a chance to breath and your smile to effortlessly return.

I think there is great value in free time, in taking a break from the have to's of life. Freedom is what we fight for in this country. Freedom is also what we should enjoy. When we were in high school we called this playing hooky. Go play hooky, if being on vacation is to formal. But most of all just relax and smell the roses.

Wishing you a most enjoyable hooky-vacation day,

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Go outside and get the stink blown off"

"Go outside and get the stink blown off" These are words my mom must have said to me on a weekly base when I was growing up. I don't know what led to her saying. Was I getting grumpy, acting up, was I bored, pale, snippy, tired, edgy??? I have no idea- well that's not entirely true. Her words sound off in my head even now when I'm a bit out of sorts or feeling caged up.

Going up in Colorado, even in the winter, I still had outside chores. I was suppose to water the cattle. In the winter, this also meant, chipping ice out of the tank, so there was room for fresh water. It meant being extra careful not to run the tank over. After it was filled, I needed to stretch out the hose and carefully lift it up over my head. From one end to the other end until all the water had run out. Do you know how much trouble it is to thaw a hose in the middle of winter??? Do you know how unhappy your family memebers are with you if you freeze a hose?

I now live in the city, I don't have cows I need to water. I walk my dogs most everyday but it isn't quite the same as accomplishing a chore. This afternoon it was sunny and all I wanted to do was go outside and clean out my rock/herb garden bed outside my living room window.

This whole day I had been plaged with a heavy feeling of dispair. I took a little break and my mom's advice and went outside. I pulled weeds, cut off perenials and moved around little rocks. It wasn't a big job but I paused from my day and put my hands in rich winter soil. Smelling the sage leaves as I raked, I looked at the dark soil, saw little worms. This pause was a little bit of heaven. Taking me less than 1 hour I went outside and "got the stink blown off" and in the midst of my mothers advice my day was so much sweeter.

Wishing you a good trip outside,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Don't wait for an earthquake to shake you present

"The 7.0 magnitude quake that struck Tuesday is most powerful to hit the Caribbean nation in 200 years" Headline from on online newspaper Voice of America 1-13-10.

You can plan, schedule, dream and work and yet when a 7.0 magnitude earth quake hits your day, your life is forever changed. No matter what we planned or scheduled life is bigger than our to do lists.

Learning to appreciate and cherish the gifts of each day: the morning chat over breakfast, the rowdy afternoon watching football with your husband, the Saturday morning cleaning your house, the phone call with your dad, the walk in the rain with your dogs. Everyday is a gift.

Pause today- stop and just look around. Don't look at what you haven't done or need to do but stop and be present. Look around and see what you have been given. The gift of this day.

Be mindful, enjoy your days and cherish your relationships.

Wishing you a happy and healthy home,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wildly sane with mung beans and purple potatoes

Today, during my lunch break, I made myself mung beans and purple potatoes. It was colorful, surprisingly yummy and most likely very nutritious.

This evening my aunt and uncle called, we visited about food, holidays and celebrating. My aunt Darlean told me "you only live once you know, have as much fun as you can". She celebrates most holidays. Why not? Why not try purple potatoes and celebrate Epiphany day?

I think one of the dangers of living is forgetting to live. No matter what the time of year it is, there is always something interesting to discover. It might be a new exotic food, a holiday from another country and time, or a discovery of a new love- like writing. Try experimenting with life and see what a year of exploration brings.

It is the beginning of a new year. Why not put away our old patters and try some new ones on for size. Of course, there will be flops, surprises and goofs but who cares?

There is an old saying:
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results."

This year be wildly sane!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Whistle while you work

Yesterday, I was working in the office for an extended period of time. I was focused on my tasks at hand and stressing a bit about an upcoming class I'm teaching. At the end of the day I was tired. I took a deep breath- it felt like I hadn't breathed in months. My energy was low and I might have been a touch grumpy- only a touch.

And then I remembered to smile. I learned this from Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink. In his book Malcolm talks about how your mood mirrors your physical body. If I frown I will probably develop a mood that goes with a frown. But if I smile my mood will also follow suit. So I smiled. I took a deep breath and relaxed. It took a few minutes but I was determined to shed the low tired energy of office work.

By the end of the night I was happy, full of energy and relaxed. I learned a very valuable lesson, one I might add I've learned before, I just forget. I seems, I'm a determined but slow learner. Anyway, I relearned this: during my work no matter what it is... I want to pause and smile, to notice how I feel and relax. Smile if for no other reason than to help me lighten up. This may come as a shock to you but I am much more enjoyable to be around when I'm relaxed and happy vs stressed and tired.

Whistle while you work -a classic and timeless piece of advice. Residue free also means free of stress and worry.