nature

Mexican Squirt, listen and stop

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listen

Around the corner from where I live there is this Mexican Grocery store.  And right now I am enjoying a Mexican Squirt.  That’s Squirt made with pure cane sugar.  No high-fructose corn syrup in it and it is delicious.   I enjoyed being in the market.  The store clerk was friendly, ask me if it was my first time there, it wasn’t.  He was super kind.

They sell all types of peppers, homemade salsa, they even prepare fresh tacos during lunch hour, and they also sell cacti.  How do you even prepare cactus? I don’t know, but while I was there I felt like I was worlds away. Away from the normal unrelenting drone of this American life.  Yet, I was less than one mile from my house.

The point here is – I think I am suffering from too much.  Too much of everything.  Seeing too much, hearing too much.  Owning too much, and feeling too much.  Thinking too much.  Worrying too much.  I am officially on overload.

I need to shut it all off.  I need to shut it all down.  I need to try not to notice.  I need to listen.

I need to listen to that voice inside that has been screaming at me – STOP!

So today I stop.  I am really going to stop tomorrow,  I don’t know exactly what I will do, but it wont require me to worry, to think, or to rush here or there.

I am officially in the stop mode.  I don’t care if I don’t know how to be  a miracle worker right now…..I am stop mode.  If I don’t learn how to meditate this week, so what?

I already feel better just saying I am in “stop mode.”  Seems silly but it appears to be helping me.

I hope you can STOP also…..it’s awesome and I just started a few minutes ago. I guess it doesn’t take 40 day to stop.

Cheers!

learn from the sunflower

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This beautiful sunflower shows all the hope and promise of life.  I am here, I am happy, I am spectacular.  Bring it on. I am ready.

What a glorious sight.  Nature at its finest, from a simple little seed this masterpiece sprouted .

That was yesterday. Yesterday is gone.

Today life has already sent a blow to the sunflower.  I am guessing a squirrel had a hand in this.  It wasn’t anything personal, it just happened.

As time goes on, more and more will happen to this sunflower,  most of which will be none of its own doing.  That  is just the way it goes.

So the sunflower’s couple days brought me to my message or point.  Enjoy life even though it’s ever changing, even if at times it seems unfair.

How many time have you heard the phrase,” enjoy the moment” ?  Sounds so cliche but it’s not.  Have you managed to put this phrase to practice?

It’s not easy, but it is doable.  I try everyday.  Everyday every moment is a challenge, or should I say an “opportunity” to remember to live, to enjoy, to breath, to love and to be grateful and kind.  You can just pick one of those thoughts and you’re well on your way.

It takes a conscientious effort and a consistent effort to live in the moment.  Practice make perfect.  Take right now for instance, be happy you are reading.  Just enjoy the photos if nothing more.  Acknowledge your moment and smile.  Then repeat every moment the rest of your life.

One person I know uses the phrase “don’t time travel”  meaning don’t worry, fret or ponder the future or the past, only right now truly exists….live now – find joy now, be kind now, be grateful now, choose a positive thought over a negative thought.

I may be writing this for myself as a concrete lesson I can visualize…..but it doesn’t matter.

I hope you enjoy many moments.

Cheers.

Update:

I bought plastic

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I bought a plastic cup.  This goes against everything I believe, but I have become super tired of spilling everything in my car.  I  need to drink more water, we all do, but I was spilling more than drinking.  So I broke and  bought a cup with it’s own cover and straw.  Wow, huge purchase!!!

I am trying to get rid of things and not add to the clutter…….but…..this purchase was meant to be.

Take a look at what I saw in my water cup next to my bed this morning, one day after I switch to my sippy cup.

It’s quite possible that I could have taken a swig out of this cup last night in the dark if not for my new sippy cup.

So there you have it.  Beware of the creatures in the night.

I am a coconut

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A coconut, that’s exactly what I am and what I want to be, because it works for me.

I have a hard shell, I can fall from 20 feet in the air and survive. I can be tossed aside and survive. I can be left alone in the dark and I survive.

Inside I am sweet, but not too sweet. I am firm but not too firm. I can be a nut. Plus I am good for myself and I am good to those who get past that hard shell. Yeah that’s it.

Last night after I cooked myself in a hot tub, I lathered myself in coconut oil for the first time in my life! My skin was so soft this morning, it felt like velvet. It was awesome!

Here’s what you do. I bought my coconut oil at Earth Fare, the Whole Foods wanna-be store at Westgate. It is packaged in a plastic tub if you pick it up in the toiletry area. It’s consistency is semi solid like refrigerated butter. To turn it into oil the directions say place the tub in hot water. So I put the coconut container in the bath with me. (make sure the lid is on tight)

When I finished my bath I opened the jar and the sides had turned into a perfect oil, and not hot at all. Use it sparingly – you will get the hang of it. Too much and you will be greasy and you don’t want that. I even used it on my face, it was like magic. No irritation, no chemicals, just delicious moisture.

Your world will smell like the tropics. Your thoughts might move to a more relaxed place as well. I highly recommend this to everyone!

Extra note: Great gift for Mothers Day, for the mom who already has everything.

Tip: Try something new as often as you can.

Inspiration: “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”- Frank Lloyd Wright

One-day one-thing: Read the ingredients on your skin care, then decide if you want those chemicals seeping into your skin.

What do we really know???

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Recently, more than once, I have known things before I actually saw them in real life.

Pretty weird.  But it got me to thinking, just how did that happen.  Seriously who told my brain that I would find exactly what I thought I would find, before I found it.   How did I know?

The more abstract thing is this was a physical item, a book.  Not  feeling or an event, but an actual book.  Published in 2002, today I knew would be in the local Goodwill.  I wasn’t planning to go to Goodwill, but I felt something say “go there.”  I fought that inner voice.  That is until I remembered my post from the other day saying trust your instincts.

So I blew off my trip to the office supply store as previously planned and made my way to Goodwill.

I saw a top I donated last fall, just out now because it’s a springtime top.  I still didn’t like it.  Why on earth did I ever buy that thing?  Anyway, I looked around and practiced just being  there and concentrating on all the weird stuff I was seeing.  I listened to the music playing and minded my own space.

I thought that the “book” was there.  Mind you this was only a fleeting thought in my head.  I ignored it, didn’t even look for the book.  The thought raced across my mind once again. I ignored it again.  Finally I told myself to go look for the book……it wasn’t on the side where I thought it would be.  That was the end of that.

I turned the corner and there was a 2002 edition of the Guinness World Record book.  I could hardly believe it.  It was there.

You see, when my oldest son was young I started giving him Guinness World Record books every Christmas.  I  was encouraging him to read.  Anyway, when he was in grade school he took his brand spankin’ new 2002 Guinness World Record book  to school and some kid wrecked it.  Just like that.

I’d like to find a replacement for him and that’s why I have it on my mind.  But who knew my mind could tell me when it would be at Goodwill.

So weird.   But I am here to tell you I am open to this power if there is such a thing.

Cheers.

Tip: Try to stop thinking, sing instead.  I do this in my car, it feels good.

Inspiration:”In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few.” -Shunryu Suzuli

One-day one thing: Let go of one regret forever.

Nature and My Nature

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The only thing I can count on is nature. I can count on it to do whatever the h%ll it wants when it wants, except for the bazillion things it does everyday that is expected and necessary for the world to continue.

I mean the sun rising is a good thing. Even if it is behind the clouds, it’s there. In the the spring, seedlings spout. In the winter, snow falls….I am sure you get my point.

I also would like to run the idea past you that weather is the expression of nature’s feelings and they are all required to make everything work. Just like we need to express our feelings. We can’t fake it. Even when we try many people can see right through a disingenuous nature.

Here’s my issue, maybe you can relate.

I expect too much out of everybody and everything. So a few years ago I decided I would drop all that. I would stop expecting anything. When I first started this it was great, nothing bothered me. Nothing. I expected nothing, which in turn created a shield. This shield was nothing more than me caring less, an “I could care less” attitude.

The truth is that I do care. And by transferring my expectations to a place that would protect me, (into the “I don’t care” category) I gave away pieces of myself. Face it, if you get disappointed or hurt because your “too high” expectations aren’t met, then get rid of those feelings (expectations) and lose the pain. This is a failed policy – do not attempt.

When you lower your expectations, you then are surrounded with less of the standards that got you through your entire life. If I expect nothing, I will get nothing, and that will be okay. Only it’s not okay. It’s just lowering yourself to where nothing matters, because if it mattered then you would have expectations.

birds of a feather.......

I say raise your expectations. Raise them first for yourself, then for those around you. Raise them as high as you want. The higher the better. The sky is the limit!

Those people and issues that disappoint you are going to disappoint you whether or not you care. By actually caring, you’ll be able to identify more clearly that which you want to keep in your life and that which you want to dis-card.

And since this blog is about de-cluttering this sounds like a perfect opportunity to recognize for once and for all – some people and some situations will never be a good fit for your life. Forget about them. Donate them to people who are similar birds. Move on and find a flock that is a better fit.

Phew- I feel better getting this out of my system. Cheers!!!!

Post script: This post stems from being told my entire life that I expect too much out of people. But that is only according to the low standards of the person who drilled that message into my head.

Tip: Try to learn something new everyday.

Inspiration: ” Set your expectations high; find men and women whose integrity and values you respect; get their agreement on a course of action; and give them your ultimate trust.” ~ John Akers

One-day one-thing: Write a letter to yourself.

I am not what I own

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Which is good.  Because I don’t want to be a bunch of old crap in a storage unit, or and minivan with a crack windshield, even though I love that van.  ( stigma= soccer mom car – but I was a soccer mom )  I am about to break 100,000 miles on the Odyssey, and all those trips represent my family’s travel only.  Kind of sentimental, or maybe only mental, it makes no difference.  Now I use it for my dogs and to my transport of children to and from college.  I’d like to convert it to a camper some day. (hey Pimp-My_Ride pick me)  It’s so useful I will own until the day it dies.

In any case, I confess when I was younger I was into everything materialistic.  Brands and designers, oh yeah.   Not that I thought it made me better, just that I thought is was better to have.  This is quite embarrassing to me now, but most my gifts (from my husband only)  were from Tiffany & Co.   I saved all the boxes.  Those are somewhere inside another box, God-only-knows where.  The beautiful nuggets that were inside those blue boxes are locked in a safe and rarely come out to play.  Which makes it all the more ridiculous.

I love those gifts.  They were given to me with love and that’s what makes them special.  However one of my most treasured gifts is a rock that has “I love you” written on it with chalk.  It was handed to me while having a dinner picnic at the beach.   It’s from one of my children, they don’t remember, and I don’t remember which one, so my mind lets me believe  it ‘s from all of them.

And I don’t own that rock, it belongs to the earth, but I choose to own the sentiment.   Though all my chaos, I have made it a top priority to preserve that rock.  Protecting it for years, maybe as many as 11 years, because I don’t want the chalk to wear off.   I don’t want to ever lose that moment, even though the moment is long gone.

There is no easy way to do this.  People  have tried to protect the famous chalk words of Premier Wen Jiabao,” “distress rejuvenates a nation.” He wrote this while was pointing out to high-schoolers,  that despite all of the hardship that the Wenchuan earthquake had brought to the students, their families, and the people of Sichuan, it wasn’t the end of the world.  They put glass over the words on the chalkboard, which is still in the school.

"distress rejuvenates a nation"

My point, do I have one?  Yeah I have one.  We are not what we own.  We are nothing but what we think or believe at any moment.  If we choose to feel and think  hatred and venom then that is what we are.  If we choose to think/ live with love and compassion then that is what we are.

Make no mistake, we forever adapting fluid beings that can change moment by moment.  When someone is spewing hate in your direction, the first response is fight or flight.  Too often we think we can win by fighting, when in reality we win by simply walking away and letting it go.

And remember it’s no crime to experience an wide spectrum of emotions, we have emotions for our own protection.  Don’t beat yourself up if you get angry, but do take the time to examine and figure out how to get un-angry.

You are never going to be the car you drive, no matter how spectacular (or crappy) you think it is.  It’s not who you are.

Cheers!

Tip: Pick what you want to be and try your hardest to be that as often as possible.

Inspiration: “Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.”- Barbara De Angelis

One-day one-thing: When stress hits you today, for one minute mentally imagine yourself somewhere peaceful. Repeat as needed.

(I am so writing this for myself)

I Shredded like a Mouse.

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Well the bird food was all eaten, and there were mice droppings everywhere. I am referring to the garage. So gross.

I am a painter who doesn’t paint at the moment. But I have an abundance of art and painting supplies stored all over the place. I have been waking earlier, that has been good, and getting enough sleep, but I still find my self running like a mad woman. So today I took on the garage in a couple areas, canvases and large framed photos, and one heavy box of documents.

I decided after seeing the sunflower seed shells and mice droppings that I best get anything that wasn’t completely sealed out of that nasty garage.

Notice the top right corner of the file box has been chewed. I didn’t do that. Look at all these ridiculous papers, I don’t even know the years, maybe 2006, 2007,08 ? This box was packed full with hanging file holders containing labeled manila folders which were holding these worthless statements and paid bills, for years. It weighed a ton.

I decided to move all these various boxes, holding the papers, canvases, and framed photos to my office, where I could sort in peace. Plus I am attempting to get all my art supplies in one area, the corner of my work office.

I had to use a hand cart, dolly whatever they are called. Four trips from the car to the elevator to the office. I worked on the box filled with papers first. Out of the entire box I kept only one paid medical bill.  One piece of paper.  That’s it.

My shredder started acting up, but I got it going again. It made a huge mess in the meantime. I feel bad for making such a mess and leaving it, but we don’t have a vacuum at the office.  It will have to wait for the cleaning crew. It’s  good thing they are really laid back, every day is good to them.  “Better than Russia,” they say.

All is good, I am working away so next I tackle the canvases, and large framed photos. They were in boxes that I needed for something else, so I was emptying them. I got to the third one and I SCREAMED. I’m embarrassed to say this but when I see mice I scream. It’s an immediate and involuntary reaction. Especially when they are jumping around frantically. I was lucky I could shut the box in time. I held it closed with one hand and searched  for tape the other.

Good thing there was only one mouse.

I had to get this mouse out of my office, out of the building and out of this box.

I felt much better once I taped the box shut.  I relaxed a bit and I began to feel sorry for the little creature.  I decided to chauffeur the mouse back his home in the garage, at least if he had family or friends he could stay with them. The city high-rise seemed like certain death for the little guy. ( look at his scared worried little eyes…awe )

I gave him his bedding too. That's all from what he chew off my other things in the garage.

So that was my day, more or less.

My take away – if you have anything stored outside or in areas where there could be mice, there will be mice, and all your “stuff” is on it way to quickly becoming garbage. I found a pair of shoes that the mice ate.  Shoes! Who eats shoes? Those mice were likely making their condo out of shoes parts.

Another thing I will suggest since the New Year is coming; buy a cheap accordion file labeled by month or alpha however you like to file bills and such.  Mark it 2012, boldly. Only put items in this accordion that are records you can throw away next New Year’s Eve.  Do not mix important papers, cards, photo or notes with worthless statements and bills.  Repeat that to yourself [really for me] – Don’t mix important things with worthless statements and bills.  Prepare to destroy this self-contained file in a celebratory fire or toss it at the dump. You can seal it closed with duct tape if you worry about identity theft.  Personally, I pity any soul who ever steals my identity, that would be a real bummer for them.

I’m feeling more optomistic and much more focused on moving in the direction of my dreams.  I guess that’s what people mean when they say the most important habit to have is to be pro-active.

If I can get back on track so can you. No excuses. Remember you only have to do one-thing each day! Cheers!

Tip: If you have to store items, invest in heavy duty Rubbermaid containers. If your stuff isn’t Rubbermaid “worthy,” do not save. :)

Inspiration: ” First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” ~ Epictetus

One-thing one-day: Plan your dream; doodle it, make notes about it, cut out articles that support it and keep it all together in a place you can look at it every so often, make a ” My Dream Project “

“Stop. Hey what’s that sound?”

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I walked in the park the other day, alone.  I wanted to take photos but my camera’s battery was dead.  The only camera I had was in my phone.  Usually I take my dogs with me as my protectors, but I didn’t have the right harnesses.  I felt a strong desire to walk in the woods.  It was a beautiful day and I was afraid to waste it.  So I went alone.

I walked up the stairs, all 100+ of them.  I was winded.  It was beautiful.  I was alone.  Sitting there catching my breath, taking in the fall colors of the tree tops below, and then all of a sudden I got scared.  Just me,  alone, at the brink of a huge cliff  next to the never ending woods.  Not a soul in sight.

What crossed my fearful mind, after all the horrific scenarios, was that I should think like an Indian Squaw.  Hold on….I have to look up “squaw” because I don’t really know what it means.  Well… that was more than I needed to know.  I guess I need to know, but I didn’t know the bad meaning until I looked for the regular meaning.

I recovered from the stairs and started my hike.  I began telling myself to “stop it, don’t let your fear win, just enjoy.”  So I walked for awhile up until the moment I noticed freshly pressed large foot prints in the mud.  I froze stiff in my steps and listened.  I listened hard.  I wanted to hear those footsteps if they were out there.   I tried to imagine that if I heard foot steps that I could locate the origin of them as quickly as a native Squaw.

Sigh….

I calmed myself down.  Which was no small task.  But still I wanted to locate something by sound alone.  I wanted to be keen, keenly aware.

I continued on, hearing only my own footsteps.   I stopped again.  It was really quiet.  Finally I  heard a bird, a large bird, an owl or something up in the trees.  I tried to locate it, but as I walked on the sound bounced, appearing to move.  Being keen is not that easy.

The voice I heard had a soft mellow earthy tone, relaxed.  I have no idea what kind of creature it was, I never saw it.   It sounded blissfully content, high above me in the seemingly empty quiet woods and that was enough for me.

All this on an indiscernible Thursday from a simple walk in the park, alone.

Tip: Keep your batteries charged.

Inspiration: I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.”  ~Rosa Parks

One-day one-thing: Wake-up your senses; step outside and do something alone.