New Experience: Aromatherapy Blending Workshop

It’s a new year and last week, encouraged by the ELDEST GRANDDAUGHTER, I ventured way out of my comfort zone to explore a new experience.

AROMATHERAPY BLENDING WORKSHOP

Over the years, the ELDEST GRANDDAUGHTER has blended and gifted me with different essential oils and sprays for relaxation, sleep, and to control my pain levels.  When she suggested going to a 3-hour Aromatherapy Blending Workshop, my immediate response was “sure sounds like a fun outing.”   Saying no to the grandchild that carries my name and shares my birthday has rarely happened.

The workshop was held at one of my favorite places to visit in Orlando,  The Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens.  Just in case the class wasn’t a good fit for me, I took my IPad and camera.  The backup plan was to politely excuse myself, the Eldest Granddaughter would complete the workshop, and I would tour the gardens.

Well, the opposite happened.  The class peaked my interested and, with or without the Eldest Granddaughter, I plan to attend the next scheduled workout.

During class, I created a recipe and blended my first essential oils.

MASSAGE OIL FOR PAIN RELIEF

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I left the workshop newly-educated and newly-converted.  I plan to dig deeper into creating and blending essential  oils for self-usage as well as gifts for friends and family.

After the workshop, I was able to take a quick walk around the gardens and captured a few photos.

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Week 3: Mindful Monday – Healthy Living

It’s Week 3 of Mindful Monday – Healthy Living, I feel self-motivated, self-inspired, and self-directed to uplift the body, mind and spirit.  The CREATION Health program, I chose to follow on this Healthy Living journey allows self-guidance and self-direction through the eight principles of living life to the fullest.  I am enjoying the journey.

THE 8 PRINCIPLES 

CHOICE

After looking at this video, “STOP: A Short Mindfulness Practice,”    Potential stressful  situations, last week, were avoided and/or reduced because I didn’t immediately react to them.  As recommended in the video, I took time to:

  • S = STOP
  • T = THINK
  • O = OBSERVE
  • P = PROCEED

I made the CHOICE to add STOP to my Healthy Living Self-Management Tool Box.

REST

Sleep hygiene is excellent, I get 7-8 hours nightly. Pacing my activities throughout the day is my biggest problem.  To address this issue, I went to Google and found a 12-page publication by the University of Michigan, “Improve Your Functioning through Effective Pacing.”  The first few lines grabbed my attention:

“One of the most effective forms of therapy for increasing physical functioning and improving your quality of life is NOT a pill and it’s not an exercise.  It’s changing how you do your routine daily tasks by Pacing.”

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to add a link to this publication.  You can, however, google — Improve Your Functioning Through Effective Pacing — to access the  PDF document.  Once accessed you can download it to your computer, Kindle or IBook.

When I blog, I over-extend.  When I exercise, I over-exert.   Honestly, I tend to over-extend and/or over-extend while doing most things.  Oftentimes, I fail to stop or slow down until the body crashes and the mind boggles.

I added this document to my Healthy Living – Self Management Toolkit.

ENVIRONMENT

Florida’s rain and chilly weather kept me indoors for most of the week.  On the gloomiest day, I brought sunshine into my space.  In the quietness of our bedroom with drapes drawn, I connected with nature’s beauty by looking through my computer photo album.  I took these photos last summer when my daughters and I went on our annual Mother-Daughter vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

Ninety-nine percent of the, approximately, 12,000 photos stored in my computer photo album are memorable and cherished moments that bring peace, happiness and love into my space.

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My Computer Photo Album is one of the most important tools in my Healthy Living – Self-Management Tool Chest.

ACTIVITY

I lived up to my INTENTION to, daily, exercise the body, mind and spirit.

Exercise: On Saturday, Hubby and I went for an early-morning walk in our city’s largest indoor mall.  I love the accessible amenities available during non-mall hours for walkers —

  • Comfortable Seating
  • Accessible Bathroom Facilities
  • Coffee and Water

I also got in two days at the Fitness Center and four days of early-morning home exercises.

Mind and Spirit – After an almost two-year absence, I revisited the meditation practice that started me on my daily meditation journey.  The Meditation Podcast offers thirty, free, 8-20 minute meditation practices.

I brought The Meditation Podcast out of retirement.  It is now in my  Healthy Living – Self-Management Toolkit.

TRUST  –

This week I set as an  INTENTION to build SELF-TRUST.  I begin this new journey motivated by five inspirational quotes:

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Trust yourself and try not to get lured off course by conflicting opinions that don’t seem to sit right with you.” (Auliq Ice)

‘Never let the thoughts of self-unworthiness re-arrange your prepared passion for failure.  You can do it even if others say you can’t.  But you cannot do it if you tell yourself you can’t.” (Israelmore Ayivor)

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”  (Norman Vincent Peele)

“You can have all the tools in the world but if you don’t genuinely believe in yourself, it’s useless.” (Ken Jeong)

I added these quotes to my Healthy Living – Self-Management Toolkit

INTERPERSONAL 

On Tuesday, I spent a lively and enjoyable three hours in my photography class.  Talking and laughing through most of the class as we struggled to take our first Water Splash Photo.

This is my first attempt.  It took a few tries before I figured out how to keep my hand out of the photo,

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I managed to keep the hand out.  But it took many, many, more tries to capture a half-way decent photo.

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I added my photography class to the Healthy-Living Self-Management Toolkit.

OUTLOOK 

I listen to Depaak Chopra’s, “Souls of Healing Affirmations.” Uplifted by these positive affirmation upon waking every morning is the building block needed to get through the day with a positive OUTLOOK.  It’s a gift to myself.  (paraphrased CREATION Health)

The Souls of Healing Affirmation is a key tool in my Healthy Living Self-Management Toolkit.

NUTRITION

Encouraged by my eldest daughter, I bought a set of Portion Control Containers to manage and track my food intake. It didn’t work out well.

PURCHASED THE CONTAINERS

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CREATED DAILY COLOR-CODED CALORIE TARGET SHEETS

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I used the two smallest containers to manage my intake of nuts and ignored the others.  I allowed myself only one container of nuts per day.  A lover of pecans, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, etc., I always buy the largest bag, jar, or can of nuts.  Throughout the day, I visit the pantry and grab a handful.  I hope these little, bitty containers, will help to break this serious nut-eating addiction.

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Next week, I will assess the Portion Control Containers and decide whether they are a worthy addition to my Healthy Living-Self-Management Toolkit.

Handbook for Life

While purging files last week, trying to declutter my office space; I, came across the Handbook for Life (author unknown).  A breast cancer support group friend sent it to me several years ago.

Rather than filing this document again and sending it back into hiding for another two years, remaining unseen until the next filing purge, I chose to share the 39 tips in this post.

After the last tip, I give an honest assessment of where My Life is in relation to the four categories presented in the handbook:  (1) Health, (2) Personality, (3) Society, and (4) Life.

Handbook for Life

Health

  1. Drink plenty of water.
  2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
  3. Eat more food that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
  5. Make time to pray.
  6. Play more games.
  7. Read more books than you did last year.
  8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day — Meditate.
  9. Sleep for at least 7 hours.
  10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily.  And while you walk, smile.

Personality

  1. Don’t compare your life to others.  You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  2. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control.  Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  3. Don’t overdo it.  Keep your limits.
  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously.  No one else does.
  5. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
  6. Dream more while you are awake.
  7. Envy is a waste of time.  You already have all you need.
  8. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner of his/her mistakes of the past.  That will ruin your present happiness.
  9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.  Don’t hate others.
  10. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.  PROBLEMS ARE SIMPLY PART OF THE CURRICULUM THAT APPEAR AND FADE AWAY LIKE ALGEBRA CLASS BUT THE LESSONS YOU LEARN WILL LAST A LIFETIME.
  13. Smile and laugh more.
  14. You don’t have to win every argument.  Agree to disagree.

Society

  1. Call your family often.
  2. Each day give something good to others.
  3. Forgive everyone of everything.
  4. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
  5. Try to make a least three people smile each day.
  6. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  7. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick  Your friends will.  Stay in touch.

Life

  1. Do the right thing!
  2. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  3. God heals everything.
  4. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  5. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
  6. The best is yet to come.
  7. When you awake in the morning, Thank God for it.
  8. Your Inner Most is always happy.  So be happy.

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My Life in Relation to the 39 Healthy Living Tips

Of the 10 tips related to Health, I gave a positive response to 8 out of 10.

I didn’t fare as well with Personality, of the 14 tips, 9 still are a part of my life.  In this area, I continue as a work-in-progress.  But, less than five years ago, I lived with the negative thoughts and behaviors cited in all the 14 tips.

Of the 7 Society tips, I have overcome 5 and 2 still remain.

Only 1 negative remains of the 8 Life tips, I live peacefully with the remaining 7 positive thoughts.

Finally,

  • responding to the statements in the Handbook for Life;
  • acknowledging the negatives in my life; and,
  • establishing a plan to reduce and/or eliminate my negative behaviors

brings me closer to living life to its fullest with a healthy mind, body and spirit.

 

 

 

August 2014: Mother-Daughter Vacation in Martha’s Vineyard

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Chronic Pain flare-up

Despite the fact that weeks before this scheduled trip, I was dealing with a pain flare-up in the right knee; I was going on the annual Mother-Daughter Vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

I have struggled with chronic pain since 1993 related to diagnosed conditions of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyaglia.  Over the years, I developed various self-management tools to control the pain levels.  However, my bone-on-bone knee pain needed either an injection or surgery.  And, neither was available before this vacation.

Since there was nothing I could do to make the “Pain Go Away”, my only option was to “Grin and Bare It” 

Wheelchair Transport Through the Airports

Since Hubby was not going, he ordered a wheelchair to transport me through the Orlando Airport.  This is a long walk through one terminal, a short train ride, and a longer walk through a second terminal.  Trust me the need for a wheelchair was the topic of more than one discussion in the days leading up to my departure.   Finally, I gave in.

My son picked me up at the Milwaukee Airport and we were off to meet-up with the daughters.  After the traditional hugs and kisses, they said, “Mama, you are limping.”  While the limp was noticeable, I am certain Hubby had telephoned with his concerns.

After discussing the pros and my cons of a wheelchair; I lost and they ordered one for the next leg of my trip.

When I arrived in Milwaukee, I was an “Unhappy Wheelchair Traveler”;  but, I left as the “Grumpy Wheelchair Traveler” as my 14-year-old grandson pushed me through the Milwaukee and Boston Airports.

Was it not just a few years ago that he depended on me to push him around in his stroller?  I was not ready for this.

Having someone push me around in a wheelchair was not a pleasant experience; and, I felt —

  • Stressed
  • Powerless
  • Depressed
  • Angry
  • Embarrassed

The Airline Flight

On the airplane and seated comfortably; I closed my eyes, breathed deeply, and let go of the negativity.

Through Self-Talk, Self-Awareness and Self-Acceptance; I embraced and accepted the gift of wheelchair transports from my hubby, son, two daughters and grandson.

No longer did I feel —

  • Stressed, I enjoyed Relaxing
  • Powerless, I gained Power
  • Depressed, I discovered Peace
  • Angry, I achieved Happiness
  • Embarrassed,  I reflected Pride

 A Few of My Favorite Mother-Daughter Vacation Photos – 2014

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The 14-Year-Old Grandson, CJ with His Friend – Lunch on the Ferry
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The Ferry Deck
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First Night. First Order of Business – Glass of Wine
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My Play Daughter from Another Mother, My Youngest Daughter, and Their Two Boys Playing Monopoly on a Rainy Day
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The Moms Won
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Could This Be The Reason The Moms Won At Monopoly? IPhones, IPADS, Laptops, X-Boxes, etc.? I’m Just Saying!!
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Main Street – Downtown Oak Bluff
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Oak Bluff Pier
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Love The Old Vintage Homes on Main Street – Downtown Oak Bluff – Facing the Atlantic Ocean
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Lunch on The Upper Deck of Nancy’s Seafood with Grandson, Two of His Friends and the Daughters
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Surprise from The Daughters – My Favorite Appetizer Before the Crab Leg, Lobster and Shrimp Boil
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The Grandson CJ – Adding Crab Legs to the Boil
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It’s Crab Boil Night – Because CJ Hates Seafood, He Had A Burrito. His Friend Enjoyed the Crab Let Boil and the Burrito.
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Relaxing and Sitting on The Oak Bluff Pier
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Look Up In The Sky – Air Force Helicopters Flying Over Prior to The President’s Vacation Visit in The Next Several Days.
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Beautiful Sunset View Sitting on The Front Porch
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Last Night. Busy Week. Grandson Massaging Mom’s Feet. He Is Special!!!
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Goodbye Rental House – See You In August 2015

Exciting New Adventure – Yoga Class!!!

When I first signed up for an exercise program at the YMCA more than sixteen years ago, Yoga was my first exercise of choice.  But, I walked away.  Why?  I was . . .

  • Embarrassed about the inability to lift or lower my body to do the floor poses; and
  • Fearful to let others know about this physical limitation.

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Recently, this changed.  First, let me share my story.  Several months ago while perusing the Internet, I came across an article on Chair Yoga DVDs for the elderly and people with disabilities.   Immediately, I went to my favorite online source for DVDs, www.amazon.com, and ordered three — “Easy Yoga for Arthritis,” “Chair Yoga:  A Seated Practice,” and “Yoga for Us.”

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Looking to share my happiness, I e-mailed a friend who has practiced Yoga for a number of years.  She cautioned against trying to do this on my own.  Her advice, which I respect and value, was to find a Yoga instructor who could show me the proper way to do the poses and lessen the chance of getting an injury.

Following my friend’s suggestion, I discussed my dilemma with a personal trainer at the YMCA.  She urged me to attend one of the upcoming Yoga Issues classes.  Mind you, she said the Yoga Issues class was “low key” and designed to meet the special needs of people with “issues” that prevented them from taking a traditional Yoga class.

Imagine my surprise when I entered the class.   There were No Chairs.   Well, One Chair was in the middle of the room.   But, surrounding the One Chair were people sitting on a variety of vibrant and colorful Yoga floor mats.  All appeared quite comfortable in their Cross-Legged seated poses.  The ONE CHAIR, I assumed was for me.  So, I claimed it.   This “issues” group performed poses comparable to the ones I had observed while peeking through the window of the Yoga class at the YMCA in my former hometown years ago.

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In looking around the room, like me, there were,

  • elders in the class;
  • several people were overweight; and
  •  others may have had “invisible” disabling conditions.

But their “issues” did not seem to limit their abilities.

I sit in the CHAIR, fearful and embarrassed.  I watched the flexible and pliant bodies of people with supposed “issues” effortlessly bending, reaching, rising, lifting and twisting their bodies as they did the various Yoga poses.   Following the lead of others, I attempted, when possible, to do the poses in a sitting position.  I was embarrassed by my performance.

Disappointed, but not defeated, I returned to the class the following week.  Alone, in a far corner of the room, and leaning against the wall was the CHAIR.  I claimed the CHAIR.  Clearly, no one else in the class would ever need a CHAIR.   Naturally, I did not seek a spot in the center of the room.  The CHAIR and I went to the farthest corner in the rear of the studio.   I placed my Yoga mat in front of the CHAIR for the comfort of my feet.  Unlike the first class, I chose to do the standing poses without the assistance of the CHAIR.

Then, it was time to do the floor poses.  I sat down in my CHAIR.  After several poses, the CHAIR slowly started to lower toward the floor.  I prayed no one would notice.  But, the CHAIR kept moving down, down, down until my “buttocks” ever so lightly touched the floor.  Several people came to offer help.  Pride made me say NO.  I did not want people standing around trying to figure out how to get me up.  .

Instead, I remained on the floor.  To my surprise, with a bit of effort and a little pain, I got through the poses.  Independent, of any help, I brought my body to an upright standing position.

Now, I don’t want to oversell.  While I lifted, reached and twisted, this body did not always end up where it was supposed to go.  Touching my toes and sitting in a Cross-Legged pose are at the very top of my “Yoga Goal List.”

I am a little nervous about going to the next class.   But, FEAR and EMBARRASSMENT, are no longer problems.  After years of dreaming, I am grateful to finally have Yoga in my life.

Thank you CHAIR for breaking and gently guiding me to the right place.

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I Choose to Rise