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Have you ever wondered why we love dogs so much? Not only are they loyal and cuddly, but they also regularly teach us to live in the moment.
My Great Dane, Petunia, passed away several years ago. In addition to embodying unconditional love, she reminded me to stay in the moment.
I remember one day my husband Byron and I went out for a walk with our Great Dane. He crossed the street to the park with Petunia and walked towards the dispenser to grab a doggie waste bag. I watched them as I continued walking up the hill, knowing they would join me in a few yards.
Petunia happily sniffed the grass, patiently waited for Byron to grab a bag from the dispenser, and wagged her long tail as she walked by his side.
After their two-minute journey to get a bag, they crossed the street to rejoin me on the walk.
When Petunia saw me, she stopped, looked at Byron, then at me, then pranced up and down with great joy as if to say, “Look, Dad, it’s Mom. It’s Mom! We found her! There she is! Oh my goodness! This is the best day ever! I can’t believe it. Look, Dad! Look! It’s her! It’s really her! We found her!”
She kissed my hand, and then with joyful determination, walked up the hill between us. A few minutes later, she stopped at a spot of grass that had the best smell ever only to be distracted by the need to gleefully greet a person walking by us.
Petunia wasn’t weighed down by heavy thoughts of, “Does this collar make me look fat?” or “I know she is petting me, but does she truly mean it?”
No. She lived life as most dogs do. In the moment.
Why do we want to live a dog’s life?
To hang with happiness and stay in the present, use these three easy steps.
I name what’s filling up my mind and taking me away from the present.
Is there something bugging me? If the answer is yes, then I name what it is that is bugging me.
Take, for example, this thought that often plagues my mind, “I’m overweight.”
Naming the thought that is taking me away from the present moment helps reduce it’s power.
So, find those thoughts that take you away from the present moment where happiness lies like a dog on a rug in the sunshine.
I come up with an actionable solution. This action must be reasonable, of course. For instance I can’t tell myself, “OK, I’ll run 10 miles a day and skip lunch and dinner until I drop the weight.” That’s not a reasonable solution, so I need to use common sense.
What can I do to lose the weight? I’ll sign up for an exercise program that will keep me accountable and help me lose weight.
As long as you can be honest with yourself, the first step is pretty easy. The second one is also fairly easy, but might be a tad harder because you have to come up with a solution to that thought that is keeping you away from the moment.
Think back on a dog’s life. The dog is thirsty, so she thinks, “I’m thirsty.” Then, she creates an action by walking to her water dish and drinking. Then, she takes the third step in the process.
Now, the third one is where many who aren’t dogs, get tripped up.
I let it go.
In the first step, I named what was pulling me away from the present moment, During the second, I took action, and I signed up for the exercise program. Now that I know when I will be working out, I need to let it go.
The third step is undoubtedly the most difficult.
In my 50+ years of life, I’ve learned that it’s OK to let go.
In fact, it’s healthy to let go!
Give it a try and see how it clears your mind so you can focus on the here and now.
The dog who becomes thirsty, walks to her dish, drinks, and doesn’t spend the rest of the afternoon wondering if she drank the right amount of water, or if she should have maybe ordered a cappuccino, and maybe next time she will order a cappuccino and sprinkle cinnamon on top of it. Yes, cinnamon would be nice. Although, why not just get a Mocha Latte with a side of Pellegrino? Sparkling water is so lovely this time of day…
No. A dog gets thirsty, thinks, “I am thirsty,” walks to her water, drinks, and then lets it go! Done.
When you live in the present moment, the beauty of life becomes more apparent, and your focus sharpens.
Living in the moment helps you to feel happy like a dog walking with her family, and let’s face it, you were born to be happy!
It’s hurricane season, and there is already another hurricane barreling towards us when most are still picking up the pieces from the last hurricane.
That’s life, though. Life presents one storm after another, whether it is in the form of a hurricane, personal illness, family trauma, and the list can go on and on.
We have to learn to live our best life now and not wait for the storm to pass.
Pampering is an essential part of living your best life. You HAVE to take care of yourself.
I used to live in Connecticut years ago. I loved living in Connecticut. It was such a beautiful place to live.
I made many new friends while I lived there. One of my new friends had immense wealth.
One day, I was at her humongous home, and our daughters were playing somewhere in the house, and my new friend was giving me a tour of her home.
I remember her showing me her bathroom, which was fantastic.
Floor to ceiling windows.
Beautiful sunken tub surrounded by ferns.
“I really love this tub, but I have never used it,” she commented to me.
“Why not?” I asked.
“I just don’t have the time?”
While we walked on to the next room, I was stunned over what she had just said.
How can you not have enough time for a bath?
In a tub you love?
How can life be so hectic that you can’t find 10 minutes for a soak?
Living in the idyllic backdrop of New England, I too kept myself busy; although I didn’t have the grand tub to ignore, I did ignore taking time for myself.
Then, I had a miscarriage at 15 weeks, which devastated my mind, body, and spirit.
Six months later, I had another miscarriage at 8 weeks, which further weakened me.
You’ll never guess what happened six months after that – I caught Lyme’s disease.
I felt like I was in a boxing ring getting punched in the face and gut over and over again by a prizefighter.
It’s just life, though. I am no different than anyone else.
Life can be one hurricane after another.
After it took months to climb out of the deep hole of lethargy that Lyme’s disease threw me into, I began to rethink the whole “No time for the tub” agenda, and I am hoping if that is your mindset, you will reconsider that too.
If you walk by your tub and think, boy I could use a soak, then take ten minutes out and soak.
Who is it going to hurt?
No one is going to care that you took time out for yourself.
If you have always wanted to take a gardening class, go do it NOW.
Don’t wait until the stars align or someone with higher rank gives you permission.
Go take the class NOW.
If you have always wanted to take yoga or exercise class, or meet your friend out for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, go do it NOW!
The excuses you make to not pamper yourself mean nothing.
When you take your last breath on this earth, I promise you, you will not think, “I lived a good decent life. I’m so glad I didn’t soak in my bathtub for ten minutes.”
You may very well say while at the end of your life, “What the hell was I thinking? My life is nearly over, and I never got a chance to live my best life.”
Taking time out for yourself helps you to live your very best life.
When you make that extra time in your day for yourself, go do what you need to pamper yourself.
None of us have that much time in life to pass up opportunities to be kind to ourselves.
Pamper yourself now because that next hurricane is already on its way.
If you want to have wellness, you’ve got to take care of yourself. An easy step towards wellness is to go soak in a tub!
You’ve got ten minutes, don’t you?
I’ll give you my Epsom Salt Bath recipe so you can go take a soak as you journey towards wellness.
As a toddler, one of my daughters had a very wealthy friend. Her mother was so generous with her time and always opened her home for playdates. She gave all of the moms a tour of her 10,000 plus square foot home during the first playdate. I remember the mom as being a very kind and humble person, yet I also remember her standing in her very large bathroom, motioning to her very large tub, telling us that she had this fantastic tub, but never had the time to use it.
She had a maid.
She had great wealth.
Yet, she couldn’t find ten minutes to soak in her own tub?
There’s something wrong with that.
If you’ve never taken a ten-minute soak in your own bathtub, you might not understand, so I challenge you to take a soak.
Fill your tub with warm water, get in, and just relax for ten minutes.
If you don’t have ten minutes to soak in your own tub, then you may need to look at how you are spending your time.
Let’s amp-up the Me-Time and add Epsom salts with essential oils to the water.
That’s where you might draw the line.
Those little containers of lavender-infused Epsom salt can run from $5 to $50, and they definitely don’t last long, especially if you are like me and pour in a good two cups per bath. But hang on, my simple recipe helps create more for less.
You may now be thinking, “More for less is great, but what is all the fuss about Epsom salt?”
Well, Epsom salt was discovered in the early 1600’s in Epsom, England. It’s been around for some time now.
Epsom salt differs from regular table salt in that regular table salt is made up of sodium chloride. Epsom salt is made up of a compound of magnesium and sulfate.
Although I use it for sore muscles AND wellness, Epsom salt is also used for arthritis, sprains, sleeplessness, ingrown toenails, and the list goes on! (Check out some other uses at “Why Take An Epsom Salt Bath?” at WebMD.)
Some people drink Epsom salt, but I don’t want to encourage that here because of the health risks. Check out some of these risks at WebMD.
Soaking for a good 10 minutes in a warm tub with a couple of scoops of Epsom salt helps me relax and refocus.
Here is my simple recipe to keep your bathroom stocked with Epsom salt for your next soak!
I bought mine from Bed Bath and Beyond for $9.99. This one-time purchase is reusable and will last indefinitely, as long as you don’t drop it!
I found the one I like at World Market for $7.99. This is also a one time purchase and lasts indefinitely.
I purchase fine grain Epsom salt in a 50 lb bag from Salt Works for $49.99. The bag usually lasts me about a year.
I use Radha essential oils and they cost about $12.95 – $14.95 for a 4 oz bottle, which lasts me about six months. It would last longer, but I also use the oils in diffusers as well as mixing it in the Epsom salt.
Now, go take a soak for ten minutes. You deserve it!
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Spring is in the air, and so is a lot of collective stress.
It’s been a brutal start to spring.
We’re all feeling it.
Nearly everyone’s March Madness NCAA Basketball brackets burst with unimaginable game outcomes (I still love you, Tar Heels. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Berry and Pinson!).
Our kids have taken to marching on the capitol and giving moving speeches along the way because they are fed up with being shot at during school. (These are OUR BABIES marching because of violence! OURS!)
I don’t even want to talk about the news media’s obsession over a woman named Stormy who had an affair with our current president before he was president. (Why is this mass media newsworthy? We all get it. A lawyer gave her hush money. Is that really 60 Minutes worthy? Our babies marching – OK, I can see that. But, an hour of Stormy? Oh for heaven’s sake!)
Collective stress is in the air, arriving before the impending rain of pollen.
That pollen will cover and clog everything it touches until a good storm washes it away. We truly don’t want to stop the deluge of pollen because it promotes growth.
Just as the rain will wash away that irritating green river of pollen, there are actions we can take to remove collective and personal stress.
Here are 7 actions to rinse off stress.
Have you noticed while watching the news, you may be holding your breath or shallow breathing with your shoulders up around your ears?
Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you are happy and exhilarated, like when UNC won last year’s NCAA Tournament? Many of us were taking deep, long breaths after that win.
We can help reset our stressed-out nervous system by practicing breathing exercises.
Breathe in through your lower abdomen, poking your belly out. Continue the breath by expanding your ribcage. With the same breath, breathe into your collarbone area. Now, exhale pulling your stomach in towards your spine.
When you practice breathing full breaths, you may become aware of how often you hold your breath or breathe shallow breaths.
Make sure you are taking several deep breaths (Yogic breaths) every day.
Stress wears us all down. When you sleep, your body’s nervous system can repair.
Take a nap for ten minutes, thirty minutes if you can, every day to help you reset and repair. You’ll be amazed at what a brief break can do to increase your daily productivity.
Speaking of daily rest, not only does your body need to repair so does your mind. Ten to twenty minutes of daily meditation helps to clear away the clutter collective stress heaps on you.
Meditation is the act of doing nothing.
You can do nothing for ten minutes, right?
Practicing yoga on a regular basis helps to relax your mind and muscles.
Yoga also helps increase your focus.
You don’t have to go to a studio to practice yoga, just do some poses in your office or your living room.
Keep it simple.
I’ll post a yoga pose for you here to get you started.
Get up and get moving for at least 30 minutes every day.
That stress is wearing you down.
Walk it out!
Do something to get your heart pumping and your body sweating to rinse away that stress.
Remember that time you helped out in the soup kitchen?
Or the time you made cookies at The Ronald McDonald House?
Or when you picked up the drink tab of your friend wearing a Duke basketball sweatshirt? (You helped out a Duke fan even though you know Bagley is a big diva who holds onto the rim too much when he dunks.)
Remember how great it made you feel?
Conversely, stress makes you feel awful, so do something that makes you feel good – help someone!
Since we are talking about doing something that makes you feel good, do something you love to do.
Stress takes a toll on us all. It can make us forget who we are.
It can make us forget what we love.
If you love shooting baskets, go outside and shoot hoops for a few minutes.
If you love to read, go read.
Whatever it is you love to do, go do it!
Collectively, we will all recover.