Monday, January 31, 2011

Mirthful Monday - Conversational Detour

- "I saw Mary Kinidal, last night," my mother-in-law answered.

- "Oh, who is she?"

- "No, you know, American Idol. They had the new judges, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.

Yes, my hearing loss has progressed and it's time for some hearing aids. In the meantime, it does make for some interesting conversations!

Which detours have your conversations taken lately?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Changing Forecasts - Snow Melts, Moods Change

"When the clock strikes the hour, that look will be permanent," so warned my mom whenever I made a face.

We seem to think something similar holds true when we are feeling badly - that we are forever frozen in the tundra of anxiety, sadness or low self-esteem. Those feelings create white-out conditions, so that we don't clearly see the scene. If we did, we'd realise that we have more control over how we feel than we think we do.

I've spent many Canadian winters in temperatures that would routinely average between -20 and -40 Fahrenheit. The winds would blow, the snow would drift.  Remaining on snow-blown roads would be a challenge. Sometimes, the best option would be to stay put and wait for better weather, which would surely come, even if it wasn't until the calendar was turned to the next page!

With respect to stressful feelings, you have a greater deal of control with them than you do the weather.

Do you remember when you were experiencing "foul weather" and someone or something brought some "sunshine" into your life? Suddenly, the day was looking brighter and you were feeling better. Changing your perceptions elicits a change in the chemical cascade that occurs. Slowly and subtlely, the darkness lifts and you begin to feel better. You may find you even forget what it was that was troubling you. This is the remarkable healing power of the body.

Isn't that a desirable forecast?

Image courtesy of Diane Miller.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mirthful Monday - Got Musicians?

This one really struck my funny bone. It still does!

Please bear in mind that I think it would be wonderful to have musicians, whether it be to fill the house with songs full of soul, playful piano tunes or gentle guitar riffs. The most I can master is a few hums on the harmonica which sets Holly to howling!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Presenting the Present

"Which one is your favourite?" she asked.




That's when I realised that I was truly in the moment. No comparison. No judgment. Simply being there with what was present.

Suspending judgement allows me to enjoy Holly for the dog she is, good traits and bad.

What if we could be as non-judgemental with whomever we are with and whatever situation we are in, at that particular moment in time?

Stress transformation techniques help you spend more time in the present, which is where you truly live.

"Today is a gift. That's why they call it the present." ~ Anonymous

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Swimming up to the Aha Bar

I have to confess that I haven't been swimming for quite some time.

Part of my Stop! Start! Continue... assignment revealed that this was something I wanted to (re)start.

Swimming is a wonderful non-weight-bearing exercise and is highly recommended for anyone with joint problems, such as myself.

Did you know that the ego can get in the way and prevent you from fully benefiting or enjoying what it is you are doing? More so, if you were accustomed to a certain standard of excellence in the task you were doing, but because of age, illness or other factors, have had to accept a change in performance.

In what seems like another life-time now, I used to swim competitively and teach swimming. I know how to properly do and teach the front crawl, back crawl, breast stroke and the butterfly. I can even tell you how to do those out-of-fashion ones - the sidestroke and the elementary back stroke. However, fusions, surgeries and deteriorated joints have left their mark in how I now execute these strokes. (Some, I can't even do anymore.)

The other day, I had an aha in the pool. The struggle arose in my head. Perhaps you can relate?

"I used to be able to do this better." "Why can't I kick as fast as I did?" "That hurts when I do that." And on it went. I was being sabotaged and it was coming from within, or rather, "upstairs"! My ego was bruised because I was holding myself up to this standard that was no longer a fit for me and my life. Rather than enjoying the moment, I was wrapped up in a conversation an argument with myself.

I decided to practise some techniques and  just let my body take over. I've covered enough miles, (Or should that be knots?) over the years that my body knows exactly what to do. Immediately, I noticed an end of the struggle, which  The difference was remarkable! I even swam a little faster and with greater ease!

In the swim. In the flow. In the zone. Those timeless moments when skill, technique and conditioning all come together to make magic. Time for another round from the Aha Bar, wouldn't you agree?

The best part is that you can practise this, so that you'll swimming circles around those moments! What it will it be, the Aha Bar or Oh No Bar? (It's OK if you dog-paddle or even use an assistive device, like Auntie Stress!)

Related Posts:
Image courtesy of Cezar Perelles.
Cezar, was this photo taken in Brazil?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mirthful Monday - Laugh with the Animals!

How easily is your funny bone tickled? Stress impacts your ability to smile and laugh, weighting you down with the seriousness of life.

You lose the ability to see the humour in situations. Laugh at yourself? Never!

Let's see how you do with this video.

I think I found myself in one of these "voices". If you think I'm going to tell, you can forget it! A woman needs some secrets!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Seasoning with Good Will - A Stress Undresser

She arrived at my door, eyes twinkling and sporting a contagious air of jauntiness. "I've had the most fun this season!" effervesced Laurel.

She continued. "I've been committing random acts of visiting and dropping off gifts along the way. In addition to this gift for you, I also had some cookies. You see, there was a young police officer parked next to me and I decided to pass them on to him. As I drove away, he was munching away with a big smile on his face!"

How many of you were the recipients and/or donors of the largesse that is inspired by the The Season of Good Will, otherwise known as Christmas?

Remember that those positive and generous feelings that were generated during the holiday season can continue year-round. They don't have to be taken to the curb like all that wrapping paper, packaging and the turkey carcass. (On another note, I do hope that each year the garbage fall-out of Christmas is diminishing - you are reducing, reusing and recycling, right?)

As I recall Laurel's visit and her considerate gift, I'm enjoying a change in my heart rhythms. When you see your heart rhythms smoothen out, you know you are no longer operating in the stress mode - flight or fight.

Learn to change the way you feel by activating positive thoughts and emotions. Use simple techniques that make a difference inside, so you can constructively influence the outside!

Curious? Send me an email and let's talk!

Related Post: Gifts That Can't Be Wrapped!

Speaking of seasonings and all things cooking, Laurel has informed me that you can purchase Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens, a book her husband has written.

I'll leave it for Laurel to tell you about it: "If you're a cook, you'll be interested in the ancient recipes and the history behind them. If you're a writer, you'll be interested in tasting foods your historical characters might have eaten. If you're a foodie, you can see how recipes evolved over time, or was that intelligent design? :)"

Image courtesy of Johann.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mirthful Monday - Get Up and Move

"I can't keep time."

"Someone will laugh at me."

"I'm not very good."

Suspend that self-limiting talk for 4:45 minutes and just get up and move. (Not sure? Start slowly by tapping your foot!)

Warning! Be prepared to feel joy wash over you.

Ready? Set? Click here!

That is how quickly emotions can change. Doing little things have a big effect on the way you feel. Learn and practise techniques that change the way you feel and feel better more often. I invite you to find out more by clicking here.

Image courtesy of Emmanouel V.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Quick Year-Planning Exercise - Stop! Start! Continue...

As we fling open the drapes on a shiny new year, I am going to revisit an exercise that a former principal I worked with used as a year-end review exercise.

We entered the library for the last staff meeting of the year and saw Stop! Start! Continue... written  in that neat teacher-like printing across the blackboard. We were broken into small groups and given a list of criteria to evaluate and place under the Stop! Start! or Continue ... category.

This is a simple way to end the year and to begin a new one. No self-recrimination, no fretting and certainly not long hours spent agonising over what to write. Instead, a quick from-the-heart jotting- down of the things you've done to determine what the view from the window of 2011 will reveal.

What does your Stop! Start! Continue ... list uncover? Any surprises?

For 2011 and beyond, may you be enveloped in great health, rewarding work and projects, loving relationships and memories that will sustain and entertain you! Happy New Year!

Image courtesy of Murali CM.