The path toward peace

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[Image credit: digitalart]

When we follow our hearts, when we choose not to settle, it’s funny isn’t it?
A weight lifts. The sun shines a little brighter and for a brief moment at least,
we find a little peace. ~ Grey’s Anatomy

This quote speaks to me in the places where I’m afraid to follow my heart.  When reality laughs at the tiny voice that encourages me to step out of my comfort zone, throw caution to the wind and every other cliché in the book.  It’s that louder voice echoing of past failures, what-ifs and all things that go bump in the night (in honor of Halloween).  The one that settles as a familiar weight upon my shoulders, and casts a shadow to keep the sun from shining brightly.  But slowly, in the little things, I’m practicing.  And maybe I’ll discover it’s really about listening to the head, rather than the heart, which leads to that little slice of peace.

Do you follow your head or your heart to peace?

Older but wiser

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[Image credit: David Castillo Dominici]

You are never too old to set another goal
or to dream a new dream. ~ C.S. Lewis

I read something recently — on Facebook perhaps, or maybe I heard it on the news or ran across it in a book — how some people find it easier to do a job that pays the bills but leads to nowhere, than to take that leap of faith by setting a new goal or pursuing a new dream.  That used to be me.  The girl who kept her eyes down, lived quietly in her little circle of influence and plugged away.  Until I went back to school and my eyes were opened to a world of possibilities and opportunities.  And I see more and more people my age who are just starting to live the lives they’ve only dreamed of.  Sometimes I feel like that guy who fell asleep in Gulliver’s Travels and I’ve woken up in a new place.  Older, yes.  But wiser, too.

What’s a new dream you’re dreaming?

Word-of-the-month: circuitous (adj.)




[Image credit: Arvind Balaraman]

This month I’ve chosen the word circuitous to pick apart.  As much as I read, I have to admit I don’t know that I’ve ever run across it in one of my books and only just heard it in passing.  Pronounced ser-kyoo-i-tuhs, it is an adjective and, according to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, means having a circular or winding course; or, not being forthright or direct in language or action.  Synonyms include back road, by way of, complicated, devious, meandering, labyrinth and roundabout.  Antonyms are direct, in line, straight.  Sample sentences may read: The traffic was redirected to a circuitous route through town in order to avoid the holiday parade.  And: According to witnesses, the alleged criminal’s alibi seemed a bit circuitous Personally speaking, my life seems to be taking the circuitous route to Someday, but it sure is scenic along the way.  And I find that the back roads oftentime illumine the path I should have been taking all along.

Where does your life take the roundabout way?

Give it your all

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

I ran into my neighbors a week ago and learned they’re moving back to Minnesota — their hometown and mine — and secured an apartment in the same city where my best friend and a lot of my family resides.  Although I get back twice a year for visits, the goodbyes prove harder each time.  Oh how I wish I could be in two places at one time.  Or three or more.  But my employer depends on me to do my job.  My family counts on me to manage the household.  I’ve started getting more involved in my community and I’m expanding my friendships … which means I have multiple commitments in my own back yard.  A recent getaway really opened my eyes, however.  Even though I can’t be in two places at one time, I can give 100 percent wherever I am.   It’s not always easy, but at least I can give it my all.

If you could be in two places at one time, where would that be?

Being present at all times

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A couple of weekends ago I planned to travel to Vegas with a girlfriend.  Life happened and I found myself on the strip for the very first time.  Solo.  Although I was a bit nervous, I was also excited.  I ate out, enjoyed the Titanic Exhibit at The Luxor, as well as the Mirage’s volcano and the fountain and botanical gardens at The Bellagio.  I hung out with new friends, caught a Cirque du Soleil show (another first) and the pirate show, both at Treasure Island, lounged by the hotel pool and worked out in the gym.  My first massage in over 20 years was a highlight, and a trip to Fremont Street and gambling on the Black Jack slots rounded out the weekend.  When all was said and done, it was one of my best trips.  I think it’s because I was present in each moment.  I want to be that person when I’m not on vacation too.

Are you present in the big and little things?

Listen to your body

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[Image credit: Sura Nualpradid]

A few weeks ago, I had about 10 minutes to go in my 90-minute Bikram Yoga class.  It was my 27th practice session and the very first time I was forced to lie down in the middle of a pose.  And the next one and the next one.  My heart had started racing and no amount of slow, deep breathing helped.  It was pretty scary.  Fast forward an hour and a half.  I had replenished my electrolytes while still at the studio, driven home and eaten a healthy dinner.  It took that long to slow my heart to its normal rhythm.  The next day I consulted my cardiologist and, although she couldn’t tell me the exact reason it occurred, she gave me tips if it happens again.  That afternoon I listened to my body and refrained from physical activity.  I also decided it may be time to cut back a bit more.  Too much of a good thing and all that.

When your body speaks, do you listen?

Liking what you see

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[Image credit: ponsuwan]

If I took a poll, I wouldn’t be surprised if a majority of people measure themselves up to others based on physical appearance and prowess.  For instance, in Yoga class I covet the strength and bodies of a few class-act yogis.  But at the same time, I’m pleased to see the fruits of my labor in my outward appearance.  Until I start comparing myself to the girl with the smooth, unlined skin who seemingly effortlessly navigates standing head-to-knee pose.  Then it’s easy for me to get hung up on the nicks and scratches on my legs, the little spider veins and bruises marring the surface, my stiff and sore “old” body.  So then I wonder if we ever get to that point in our lives where we’re truly satisfied with what we look or feel like.  A friend of mine believes it comes through working on our inner selves.  That’s undoubtedly the best place to start.

How satisfied are you with the reflection you see in the mirror?

Grow up, not old

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[Image credit: Rawich]

Youth is a circumstance you can’t do anything about.  
The trick is to grow up without getting old.
~ Frank Lloyd Wright

Here are some tricks to grow up without getting old that I’ve plucked from past blogs I wrote for In With Skin (Feel Younger (and Sexier) at Any Age! and You Are What You Eat).

  • Beauty and brains are always chic, so work out regularly, take a college course or read a book.
  • Quit worrying about what’s hot in fashion — dress for your unique personality.
  • Pamper yourself regularly, which means mani, pedi, massage, flattering haircut and style.
  • Smile a lot and laugh at yourself for a healthy dose of feel-good endorphins.
  • For shiny tresses, glowing skin and more, eat plenty of fresh fruit and veggies, drink at least 64 ounces of water daily and log in an adequate amount of Zzzs.  Avoid GMO and processed foods, maintain low salt intake and skip items with added sugar.

What is your secret to growing up without getting old?

Grounding yourself


[Image credit: renjith krishnan]

At the beginning of the month, something happened to really test my patience.  I was so upset I was seeing red and, what made it worse, was that it took place while I was at work (although not work-related).  When the phone rang and I picked it up, I strove for a pleasant tone, not knowing who was on the line.  Right away the caller, who turned out to be a close friend of mine, asked me if I was okay.  With that, the flood gates opened and I poured out my frustrations in what seemed like one exhalation of angry words.  My friend couldn’t fix it, and I knew that.  But he listened, and it felt like a figurative anchor had pulled my tumultuous emotions back to earth and grounded me.  I was still filled with tremendous angst, but it helped to be able to simply vent.  And the object of my irritation should consider herself lucky.

How do you ground yourself when you’re angry or frustrated?

More *is* better

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Before I begin a contracted writing assignment, I ask what the word count is.  For some reason, it’s always been helpful for me to have a number to either shoot for, or to remain between the boundaries.  For a recent article I was working on, the word count was 800.  At first, I didn’t know if I could find enough material to fill the space, but thankfully it didn’t take long and I was up to 1,200 words.  After the first round of edits, I was closer to 800.  But after the second, I clocked in at 600-something.  Thankfully, the art director for the publication was able to format the piece to fill the space.  And I realized how in some cases, more is better.  The more of something you have — in my case, words — the easier it is to pare it down to what you need.  In other words, if you start out with more, you can typically subtract from.

When do you think more is better?

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