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Where did my creativity go?

Yesterday I was remembering when I was a child and would write short stories. I loved to imagine these stories up and then see them come alive on the little booklets I made up. I would staple or glue papers together to form a small book. I was so proud of my stories! Since that time as a young girl, I have not written any creative, imaginary stories. I was wondering why I haven’t as they brought me such joy. What made me think of this certain time of my life was listening to Sadhguru’s talk online from Inner Engineering. He spoke of our “aliveness” as a child and our aliveness as an adult. What has changed? We are still as alive at 90 years old as we were at 5 years old. But, our energy or agility has gone down. What struck me was his animation of a young child jumping about trying to catch butterflies and a picture of a 90 year old just sitting there watching the butterflies flutter about their head. Are we just not fazed because by 90 years old we have seen hundreds of butterflies? What is it that causes this? How do we make ourselves feel just as excited as we did when we were younger?

I know our interests change as we age and some things we just grow out of. How are we able to take what made us be creative and joyful of our creation on into our present lives? It is a choice we have to make daily. We have the ability to choose to be joyful, to be creative, to live life with “aliveness.” Some moments in our lives seem to not be able to be controlled by our choices, this is just how life is. What we do have, is the ability, the choice, to make the best of the situation. It is all how we perceive it. If we perceive something to be annoying to ourselves, it will annoy us. If we have pain in one part of our body, we have a choice to not let it effect our life. If you don’t focus on the negative things, they will not be as annoying. I’m not saying to just ignore something and it will go away. There are certain things that do need attention.

Now back to what brought you joy and was creative as a child. Sit in a quiet place and take some deep breaths. Remember as far back as you’re able to. Feel that feeling you had as a child after doing something you loved or felt accomplished afterward. Now as an adult, try these things again. Remembering to not judge or compare your creativity or activity with anyone else’s. See if you feel uplifted. If not, try something else. Do these things without having a sense of having to complete the project or make it social media worthy.

For me, I will write some silly fairy stories, dance, get my hands dirty in some clay, and bake a lot of sweets.

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Making do and Making things better

I have been seeing so many posts about folks not being able to get their staple foods. I understand it is frustrating. For me though, it gives me a challenge to branch out and try new foods. We tend to get stuck rotating the same meals and food items, day after day. Some families don’t have the experience or even the urge to try new foods. If a person tries a new food and doesn’t like it, keep trying it out in different ways. As a child, I couldn’t stand mushrooms or tomatoes. Now I now love them! I just made myself keep trying them in different ways. What got me with tomatoes were some fresh from a farm. Those were like candy in my mouth! I couldn’t believe I was thinking this about a “disgusting” tomato. This summer, go to your local Farmer’s Market and get yourself a farm-grown tomato!

For now though, if your grocery store doesn’t have eggs, try out flax eggs in baked goods. Grocery stores definitely have ground flax seeds or order them from an online source. Flax seeds are high in omegas, protein and other nutrient-rich sources. It’s very simple to make a “flax egg.” Mix one tablespoon ground flax seed with three tablespoons water and let sit for a few minutes. Use in place of an egg in pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc.

Try a dairy-free milk. There’s so many to choose from now. Find one you like. My fav is almond coconut blend. Macadamia nut milk is so rich and creamy. Oat milk is light and would work well as a dairy milk replacement in baked goods.

Switch out butter for shelf-stable ghee. Ghee is an old Indian staple. I’ve seen it at major market stores. It is just butter that has been boiled down and clarified. Use it like you would regular butter, but it works best in high-temperature foods(frying or baked goods).

Incorporate more legumes into your weekly menu. There are so many different type of beans available. If cooking beans from scratch intimidates you, go for canned. Chickpeas are extremely versatile. Roast them with some seasoning for snacking. Mash them with some avocado or mayonnaise. Lentils are so quick to cook up and mild tasting. I even blend some into smoothies for a protein punch. Try just replacing part of the meat in chili, spaghetti or tacos with cooked lentils.

Try eating non-breakfast foods for breakfast. Who said one has to eat cereal or oatmeal for breakfast!? This is rather a new thing. Not too long ago, the late 1800’s, most people ate leftover bread, popcorn soaked in milk or a meat in the United States. In other countries, rice, soup, or a type of bread from that culture. I eat a lot of leftovers for breakfast, it’s easy and filling. Or try making your own muffins, bagels, bread if that’s your thing. It might take a bit more effort, but will be so much healthier and cost-effective.

Instead of pasta, how about polenta? It’s great with lots of different, yummy sauces, not just marinara. Get some polenta or yellow grits( not quick-cooking), boil the up. Spread it into a baking dish and let firm up. Cut the polenta up of use cookie cutters. Fry the pieces crisp or eat straight from the pan. You say you can’t find prepared marinara sauce? It’s fairly simple to make it from scratch. Use fresh tomatoes, preferably Roma or use some canned tomatoes. I plop the Roma’s into a large saucepan without peeling them. First though, chop some onion, carrots and garlic up and sauté them. Then add those Roma’s. Cook until the tomatoes are falling apart, you may need to cover it with a lid while simmering and add water as needed. Then use an immersion blender or carefully blend in small batches in a blender. Add in seasonings(basil, rosemary, oregano) and salt and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of sugar, if needed to cut down on the acidity or bite. If using canned tomatoes, do the same, but you might not need to cook as long.

Another option is making gnocchi. Gnocchi is a potato noodle. The texture is so wonderful. They could even be made with instant potatoes, if needed. Growing up, I loved eating these with just some butter melted over them. Now as an adult, I make a grownup version with browned butter and sage.

You may find you and your family enjoys these new found culinary items. It might help make things better by changing it up or creating a memory of a failed new recipe or a funny story to tell later on in life.

Don’t gripe about what one cannot have. Make do, get creative, have some fun.

Let me know if you try one of these out or if you’ve already had eaten one in the past. Do you have something I didn’t mention for a good substitute on “regular” foods?

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What is your truth?

I’ve felt a nudge toward turning inward as of late, even before this stay at home deal. During this time, you may feel that it’s hard to get in a quiet space with yourself, especially if you have young children that are now home all day long. But, most of us are able to find at least a few quiet moments in the day. Perhaps it’s getting up a bit earlier than others in your household, or a someone in your household could take a turn playing with the children while you take this time to go within.

This is the perfect time to learn and know your truth, your Sat Nam. What is your truth? Who are you? Have you been stuffing yourself deep down inside while doing all the things you feel the need to do on a regular basis? Slow down and get uncomfortable with your truth. Write it down. Free journaling or writing is one way to do this. Write whatever comes to mind without judgement. Let it out and do not criticize what is written. Words may be repeated or sentences, just let it be. It may take a few days for you to get in the groove, but stick with it. Another way is walking outside, alone with your thoughts. Push aside any lists or petty things that come up and let your thoughts come freely. You may use a device to record these thoughts that come up during your walk. Again, do not judge what comes up. Try each one and see what resonates with you.

Your “truth” is your core being. Strip away any beliefs that were taught to you by society or others. Step back from what you have read and studied. While these may all have been what has shaped you and helped you decide what you are today, they can also be a hinderance. Have you ever really questioned why you are who your are today? Do you believe something just because this is something that someone placed upon you and you carried it with you without really observing the reason behind it? I’m not just talking about religious beliefs here, but core values and other ideas and thoughts that make you up, as a person. Really feel into what makes you, you. Away from all that society places upon you. If you were alone, living in a remote area, how do you think you would act or be? Would it be any different than how you are day to day now?

Some societal pressures are conducive to us as humans, such as being kind or proper hygiene, but others are a hinderance and make us step away our truth, our Sat Nam.

Why do we do the things we do? Why these certain methods of learning? Why do we work the way we work? What do you feel works for you? Your family? How can you bring about positive change to these things you just felt were required off you or you had never thought or questioned about? Ideals and ideas that you absorbed from other’s teachings and methodology.

Now, write these out as a list, leaving room for comments. Write the reason you feel you hold these things to be true. Then, ask yourself if they are really your own truth. Be honest with yourself. There’s no one to judge you, except yourself and if you feel ashamed or scared about what you wrote or thought, that is something you have found to work with. Brene Brown has a great audio book on shame(The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection, and Courage). It’s something we don’t want to talk about or think about. It’s unfortunately in and all around us. Take some time with this and anything else that comes up. You don’t have to feel like you need to work on every little thing that comes up, this might be too overwhelming. Take one thing at a time.

Go into yourself. Feel the feels. Be uncomfortable. Be honest. Be your truth. Feel your truth. Truth is your identity.

Try this Kundalini yoga kriya(kriya is series of postures, sounds, and breath that work together for a specific outcome):

Sat Kriya

Instructions

  1. Sit on the heels in Rock Pose, knees together.
  2. Stretch the arms over the head with elbows straight, until the arms hug the sides of the head.
  3. Interlace all the fingers except the index fingers. Cross the thumbs over each other(traditionally the right is masculine and the left is feminine).
  4. The spine stays still and straight. This is neither a spinal flex nor a pelvic thrust.
  5. Remain firmly seated on the heels throughout the motions of the kriya.
  6. Begin to chant “Sat Naam” with a constant rhythm of about 8 times per 10 seconds.
  7. As you pull the navel in and up toward the spine, chant “Sat” from the Navel Point. Feel it as a pressure from the Third Chakra.
  8. With the sound “Naam”, relax the belly.
  9. As you continue in a steady rhythm, the root and diaphragm locks are automatically pulled. The steady waves of effort from the navel gradually enlist the movement of the greater abdomen.
  10. The breath regulates itself – no breath focus is necessary.

To End:

  1. Inhale and gently squeeze the muscles from the buttocks all the way up along the spine.
  2. Hold it briefly as you concentrate on the area just above the top of the head.
  3. Exhale completely.
  4. Inhale, exhale totally and hold the breath out as you apply a firm mahabandh – contract the lower pelvis, lift the diaphragm, lock in the chin, and squeeze all the muscles from the buttocks up to the neck.
  5. Hold the breath out for 5 to 20 seconds according to your comfort and capacity.
  6. Inhale and relax.

Taken from https://www.libraryofteachings.com/kriya.xqy?q=Sat%20kriya%20sort:relevance&id=db3cbe9b41c54be99b17aaf2e5caa839&name=Sat-Kriya

I am personally deepening my daily meditation and yoga practice. In deepening, I’m not talking about necessarily making it physically more challenging, but going deeper into how I view it or how long I’m practicing. Breathing meditations are one that are good to focus on when you are wanting to go inward and rest more. They’re powerful and effective. I always feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Just simple segmented breathing (https://www.3ho.org/files/pdfs/various-breaths.pdf) is one to start with or add to your day. It requires nothing that would go against any one’s religion or belief system. It is a technique that slows the mind down and allows the body to fully relax. Focus on the breath. Breath is a commonality we all have. Breath is our life-force. Breathe into your space and bring in expansion of mind and body.

Sat Nam to all you beautiful souls.

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Giving thanks for our food

Even if you aren’t religious, giving thanks for our food is something that really benefits us. Many may be worried about over-eating on Thanksgiving Day with all the rich-tasting foods, many of the dishes being ones we don’t typically have throughout the year. The day becomes a dreaded day when we feel we can’t hold back and may feel that we will ruin our diets or gain weight. This doesn’t have to be true and it isn’t true. Be thankful for the abundance of food available to you. Offer up thanks for your food. Be truly grateful to have food to fill your belly. Savor each bite you take. Sip on a favorite drink. Enjoy the company you’re with. Don’t rush through the meal. Only take a small serving of each dish. If you really want seconds, take it without feeling guilty. Eat a piece of pie.

Go for a 20 minute walk after eating, even if it’s cold.

Hug someone. Tell another how much they mean to you or what you’re thankful about them.

Call a friend or relative you haven’t talked to in awhile.

Text your co-workers a quick “Happy Thanksgiving.”

In all, enjoy this day and don’t let food get in the way of your happiness.

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Truth in healing

For the last six or so years I’ve been feeling a pull toward healing work. I was a licensed massage therapist for over ten years and had been introduced to the healing art of energy work during my training. Now, many of you may be skeptics of energy work. Some of you may believe that it shouldn’t be practiced or used on a person due to certain religious beliefs. I am not going to go in-depth about this in this blog post. There are many scientific studies out there if you prefer science-based beliefs. This is just what I felt surface as my truth and I wanted to tell it. Sing it, per say, in writing.

From a young age I have been a spiritual person. When I was about five years old, I asked Jesus into my heart and life. Over the years, I had some experiences that made me keenly aware of the spiritual realm surrounding us. Oftentimes people, upon meeting me, would remark that I “had an old soul.” I also seemed to connect better with older folks and didn’t have much in common with my peers.

After the death of my daughter is when I really started to feel this pull toward healing work energetically. I’m not saying that I’m going to out right heal people completely, but I might alleviate pain, be it physical, emotionally or spiritually. In regards to not believing in this type of healing or not believing it’s something, in particular a Christian would get into, remember this type of healing goes back a long time in history. Jesus was a healer. He healed without even touching a person. The same applies to energy work. Why couldn’t other human entities heal in this same way? Jesus was in human form when he healed. Others in the Bible were healed miraculously by ones that God saw fit to give the gift of healing to or ones filled with the Holy Spirit.

In particular, Reiki was and is the modality that has caught my attention. I have completed level I and II so far. Next year I hope to take the master level III training.

Last year I felt called to take a health coach training class. I feel that food can be healing and ties into how we live our life. There are many interesting documentaries about the food industry, which foods are the best to eat, and how the way society influences our food choices. If after watching these or if you don’t like to watch documentaries, shoot me an email on my website and I’d be more than happy to set up a free consultation to discuss your healing food journey more in depth.

Here’s a website with some good food documentaries listed: https://www.google.com/amp/s/decider.com/2017/07/06/the-10-best-food-health-documentaries-on-netflix/amp/

Some of these films are anti-meat. I’m not necessarily anti-meat as I eat meat personally. I do believe that many eat an excess of meat and that we do need to be aware of this.

I also see exercise, or intentional movement, as a must in healing oneself. I’m a big fan of yoga and walking outside. It’s beneficial to the whole body system and helps build resistance to disease and illnesses. Prevention is key in staying healthy and well. Stagnant energy isn’t a good thing. Move your body, clear your mind, and eat whole foods. Try out some energy work too and find out for yourself how amazing you’ll feel afterwards!

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Musings of the day, in the life of a mom

Time management. What does that make you think of? Perhaps I’m not a very good time manager. The day seems to just slip away. Before I know it, it’s time to get to bed. This is typically when I stop and think. I may be tired, but my brain is still ticking. I believe my body is physically tired, but I’m not mentally tired. Being a mom you may not necessarily be stimulated mentally(perhaps from some mom-life situations, like, “Sweetie, don’t do a headstand on the ottoman. “No, we don’t want to collect and keep all the frogs we find.”).

So I am here to do a brief post tonight as I ponder what my day consisted of.

I may be lax on my time management as I do recall scrolling through Instagram this A.M. I did manage to complete my housework that needed to be done, plus grocery shopping and a quick work out. My children are all alive and well too. I believe it has therefore been a good day, right?

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Wonders of where we live

Today we drove from middle Tennessee to Kentucky. We are here for a week visiting friends and family. Then off to the country side of New York. When I was younger I went to Chautauqua, NY, which is in the country part of New York too. It was a beautiful area.

One day it would be nice to explore the city. But for now it is the country side.

Isn’t it amazing how one can go to the same state and see so many different variety of landscapes? To think that a city like New York City is surrounded by a gorgeous landscape. It is not what comes to mind when most people speak of New York.

My children and I have been reading about children from around the world. In one of the books it mentions that in the United States we are able to just move from one side to the other and experience a huge variation in landscape and weather. In many other countries, this isn’t the case.

We are indeed blessed with a beautiful country to live in. I am so happy to be able to travel and see so many of it’s gorgeous wonders.

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Thinking of you

Most days I crawl into bed, beneath my white quilt scattered with colorful feathers and a soft, fuzzy throw blanket(we keep it cool at night to promote sleep). This is where I think of you. You, as in my blog and readers. Several months ago I was all about writing everyday and seemed to have a pretty good routine down. Now, I thought 21 days was a magic number in helping one establish a habit. I wrote practically everyday for that amount of time and see here I’ve been missing many, many days as of late. I wanted to put myself out there, be more open and vulnerable. I can say, it is harder than one would think. Some of the journal prompts were so easy and seemed quite silly to me, but others made me delve into myself more than I had done in awhile. A couple made me wonder why I hadn’t thought about that particular thing before. I actually had to look some facts up(on Google if course☺️), to be able to answer the journal prompt fully.

This afternoon, while waiting for the charcoal to be ready, I read a short blog post on writing for just ten minutes a day. Now I could at least try to do this. So, thank you, Kara, from http://www.kelizabethfleck.com/ , for inspiring me to hop on my blog for just a bit of typing a day.

You may see a journal entry or just something that I felt I needed to write that particular day.

Now to read for a bit before this cold room induced sleep over-takes me.

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In Memory

As I sit here waiting on the instructor for the neonatal resuscitation program(NRP), my thoughts again drift back in time. Every two years, for the past ten years, I have attended this exact class. Last night I was anxious and couldn’t sleep. It isn’t due to being nervous about taking this class, but to the place that I have to go to take it. It is held at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. On the same floor as my daughter was on. It is held in a classroom on the neonatal intensive care unit(NICU). Some of my readers may know that six years ago, I gave birth, prematurely, to a dark-haired baby girl. We knew(doctors and myself), that my baby girl would have something wrong with her, we just weren’t exactly sure what. When I went into labor at 33 weeks and they couldn’t stop the contractions, she was born. The hospital was concerned about transporting me to the original facility I was supposed to deliver at, the one with the specialty pediatric ward, so I had her at a rural hospital. When she was placed on my chest, she was a beautiful pink color and looked like a perfect little doll. She was also hard like a baby doll. Something was definitely wrong with her. The nurses swept her off my chest onto the radiant warmer next to me. There was a flurry of activity, then they took my baby away. I’m not sure how long it took for someone to come tell me news about my baby, but it seems like an eternity. They told me I was to come to the small nicu area. That Vanderbilt’s Angel team was there ready to transport my baby. They said they never let anyone go back here. That made me nervous to think that they’re letting me and my husband go back. I’m thinking my daughter was in a dire state for them to offer this. They told me that they had given her several drugs to help her and that she was sleeping and may not respond to me. There she was, lying in the radiant warmer, attached to many tubes, she was intubated(a tube down the throat to administer oxygen) and she wasn’t breathing on her own. The staff gently placed her in my arms for me to hold and see her since at her birth, I wasn’t able to. Too soon for me, they took her back. Out to the special ambulance that Angel transport had waiting. They would take her an hour away to the hospital I was supposed to deliver at. I wasn’t able to go with her. It took several hours for me to be discharged. By the time I got to see my daughter again, it was midnight, 7 hours after her birth. The attending doctor we saw that night was absolutely horrible. He pretty much interrogated my husband and I before he let us back to see our daughter. After doing some scans, they noted that she had a severe brain anomaly. We were so tired from the day that we briefly saw her and then went back to the rooms the hospital kindly provided patient’s parents. The next morning, we went back to see her again. An older doctor was there this time. The first words out of his mouth were, “You did nothing to cause what is wrong with your baby. It is not your fault.” I immediately liked this doctor. What a different approach he had than that awful doctor the night before! This doctor kindly and patiently explained his findings. Unfortunately, her cerebellum didn’t form properly during development. The cerebellum is responsible for multiple functions of the body. Which includes breathing and swallowing, two major needs to live. He told us that we could take time to decide what we wanted to do. How long we wanted to keep her on life support. He said that we could keep her on it for as long as we wanted, but said her quality of life wouldn’t be good for an extended period on life support.

The next day, a new nurse was there caring for our baby, Ansley. This nurse had been a former hospice nurse and was amazing. She had me do some care on our baby, like changing her diaper, giving her a sponge bath and changing out soiled clothes and linens. She also helped us make foot and hand cast of Ansley. My husband and I had decided to take her off life support the next day. We wanted family to have time to come visit her while she was alive. It was a hard decision, but we just could see our little baby suffer any longer. She would be lying there, unmoving. Some of it was due to the drugs they were giving her, but she had no motor control of her body. If they hadn’t given her those drugs, she would be in constant contracture(which is when your muscles seize up and won’t release). We took photos of her and loved on her. Family came and went.

The next day came too quickly. I didn’t want to let her go. I held her while they removed life support. Her little heart beat strongly, but she wasn’t breathing now that the tube was removed. It was about an hour before her heart stopped.

Today as I walked out of the big, double doors, at the hospital after my class, I was overcome with sadness thinking that I had carried my baby out these doors. She wasn’t alive when I carried her out. I was able to take her to the funeral home myself.

So, you now see why I get so anxious each time I need to renew this certification. The class is top-notched. That’s why I still go back. But, the memories are strong. This never will go away. I don’t wish them too. The pain isn’t as raw now as it was six years ago, though it is still there, inside of me, like my memories of my precious daughter. In a few weeks, she would be turning six here on earth. My May baby.