Too Busy Mopping Up the Floor to Turn Off the Faucet!

How often in life do we focus on treating the symptoms instead of getting to the root problem? Please take a moment here to pause and reflect. We all do it, we’ve done it and many of us are living it; daily.

It seems that each year that passes the expectations increase: work, life, home, social media. I find myself, especially at work, multi-tasking “to the max” (showin’ my age here) and then wondering why I’m tired and then later having difficulty sleeping.

Yet, in my work I help clients find a balance between self-care and care of everyone else. Some are more receptive than others. Some resist even the most basic of changes to help themselves live better.

It took me decades to figure out how important a daily routine of quality self-care for myself was, a routine I’m still tweaking. I cannot imagine where I’d be without it.

Today, where can we begin to take the time to turn off the faucet, so that we’re not just continuously mopping the floor? Where can we create space in our over-scheduled lives to care for our own physical, mental, spiritual and emotional needs? “Waiting” until the next break, vacation, holiday, day off, etc just kicks the can down the street. Be joy now. Bring it! 

Love anyone or everyone by taking care of your basic needs! The world will thank you!

Namaste

Self-Care: An Often Overlooked Responsibility

We cannot give to others something which we do not have. Yet so often in life we are told to take care of others first. Take a step back for a moment and consider this: how long can we maintain our own function when we repeatedly give to others while depleting ourselves?

This is much like over-farming. Farmers, prior to the industrialization of agriculture, would rotate crops to assist with avoiding nitrogen depletion of the soil. 

Yet, as a society we seem to value giving until it hurts. This leads to depleted caregivers in hospitals caring for the ill and infirmed. Meanwhile, parents are running themselves ragged giving and doing. We cannot raise crops in depleted soil nor can we nurture others with depleted souls.

Continually we are told it is shameful and selfish to take care of ourselves. I beg you (and I don’t like begging) to reconsider this belief we have been endoctrinated with. If your own cup is empty, how can you truly fill someone else’s?

Another side of this is that we often treat ourselves the way our caregivers treated us as young children. If we felt abandoned or neglected as children, we often abandon and neglect our own needs. Maybe we’re good at taking care of our physical needs, but lack self-care for emotional and spiritual needs. 

In the void of self-care, we reach for things outside ourselves to fill the emptiness. Drinking alcohol, social media absorption, sex/sexual release, dating sites, taking excessive responsibility for others, dating relationships and blogging to name a few (all areas where I have sought refuge).

Follow your heart to change the tides. There you will find your path. Self-care is not selfish. Only you can hear your heart’s words (with a few exceptions), and your own energy is the best salve for the wounds left by depleted caregivers. 

Please look inside at where you carry forward the pain from yesterday. Self-care is a life long process. It can either be life-sustaining or depleting. Which type of garden or field do you desire to live within? 

Photo credit: © Nielshariot | Dreamstime.com – Woman Looking At Self Reflection In Mirror Photo

Overcoming Procrastination: Lose Yourself

The more we push off doing something for “later,” the more we build up a wall that then needs to be broken down. Pressure builds with each moment that we avoid doing something that we know will help us in some way. As such procrastination is also a passive-aggressive way to block love from ourselves.

Sometimes a perspective shift such as in “Motivation Through Punishment?” can be helpful. I find that “should” and “ought”statements build shame and guilt. So when I say to myself things such as “I really should/ought/need to do (this task),” that I often don’t want to even think about it.

What I have found that works better for me is to say, “It will help me to do (this task). I will feel better once I get started.” So often we wait and hold off doing something because we feel we need: more time, more energy, more motivation. Just as we need to push a button or turn the key in our car’s ignition, to “get motivated” we need to start with action. If we waited for the car to start itself, we’d never get anywhere in life.

Another aspect that can cause procrastination involves the belief that what we do needs to be perfect. Even just one tiny step towards starting a project can help break down barriers, allow room for mistakes. It’s better to start a walking program that lasts ten minutes than to couch surf and expect a change.

Sometimes we also tell ourselves, or make ourselves believe, that we must do the entire project at once. Commit to a small time frame instead. “I’ll do 20 minutes a day today and get this thing started,” can take off some of the pressure. After 20 minutes, you can then choose to continue, or you can set a time frame for another day or time, then stick to it!

The longer we wait, the more walls build and then we need to break down. Loving yourself is not just about breaking down walls, it’s also about not allowing yourself to continue to build barriers. So today, and everyday, let’s “lose ourselves” in the moment, you own it, you better never let it go. While I do believe we have more than one chance to get it right (even Eminem in this very song talks about trying again, and again), we only fail ourselves when we fail to try.

So what step can you take today to start a project? Write it down. Make it simple. Then do it! And remember to celebrate climbing the mountain you’ve created. You’ll love yourself more for it.

Namaste

 

Photo courtesy of suphakit73 at freedigitalphotos.net

Fireworks, Magnesium & Muscle Function

This is the first in a series I’m working on regarding the body, which emphasizes muscles and function.

Magnesium, the metal that gives many fireworks their spark of white light is also required in the body. For a muscle to be able to relax, magnesium is physiologically required on a cellular level (ie no magnesium, no muscle relaxation). Magnesium deficiency is often overlooked while its chemical counterpart, Calcium, takes the spotlight. Both are required for muscles to function properly and imbalances in either can cause heart arrhythmias. The heart is one huge muscle, after all.

Here, I share my own experiences with magnesium deficiency in the hopes it may help you, too.

Medical Disclaimer: The Content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.

In seeking the help of a Naturopath (ND) for insomnia and anxiety, I was shown how magnesium deficiency was affecting me. At the time of this discovery, I did not want to take conventional medications as I was breastfeeding. Well, I should also mention I avoid taking prescriptions as often as possible. That’s another story for another day!

While I am a healthcare professional, a physician or dietitian I am not. Here, I am sharing my experiences with magnesium deficiency and what it has meant to me. If this post compels you to investigate, please check with your MD or pharmacist first! While it is my hope that it may help someone, possibly you, to live better, magnesium consumption could possibly interfere with medications and or worsen some medical conditions.

Here were some of the symptoms that I had when I sought help:

  • Insomnia (not just sleeplessness from having a baby, as often she was asleep while I was in bed fully awake)
  • Chocolate cravings – insatiable
  • Muscle tension & cramping
  • Menstrual cramping
  • Constipation
  • Night sweats
  • Anxiety/inability to relax

When I went to see the ND, he introduced me to Natural Calm, a powdered form of magnesium. While I love this product, I found it expensive and easy to overdo it, causing the inverse of constipation; loose stools. So I was unable to get enough into my body to stop the menstrual cramps.

It’s interesting that I had forgotten at the time that with post-Labor pains, my midwife had me take Cal-Mag supplements instead of a pain-killer. This resolved my cramping without the need for pain meds (post-parting cramping was more painful at times than labor, and like menstrual cramps x1000). Cal-Mag was simply Magical!

When I started running, years later, I found magnesium oil spray to help. As it is absorbed through the skin, the body will only absorb what it needs (think osmosis). Just need to remember to avoid applying it to any broken, freshly shaved/waxed or dry skin. Think intense burning! Avoiding dry skin can be a challenge in winter, when we may need magnesium the most.

Another product I like is magnesium oil by Trace Minerals Research, taken orally. This I purchased when Whole Foods was out of the spray and I was, too. It has a strong salty taste, so not good for anyone who is taste sensitive. I keep the oil in the fridge as colder foods cause less stimulation of taste buds. When I take it, I just add it to a tall glass of water and chug it. I usually do this before bed and I find I settle down more easily.

Epsom salt soaks are also great and I often do 1-3/week when I have an event (running or obstacle). Soaking both before and after the event helps reduce delayed onset of muscle soreness.

In general, I find during times of high stress (any form) that I need to increase my magnesium intake. I have found that post workouts I barely have soreness and if I do, I just take more magnesium. The same goes for menstrual cramps.  In times of emotional and mental stress, if I find myself restless: more magnesium. If I find that I am getting constipated, you guessed it: more magnesium! Same action when I get chocolate cravings.

While I do NOT consider magnesium a cure all, I have found that I no longer crave chocolate (I use to eat it like it was a drug, well, it was…), my sleep is more restful and I actually require less of it (this could also be a meditation side effect), I’m rarely constipated, I’m much more calm (another possible meditation side effect) and I rarely have menstrual or muscle cramps.

In reading into magnesium deficiency more, many who drink filtered water (city or bottled), miss out on magnesium. It is dissolved into water as it travels through the ground. Being magnesium deficient can cause many ill effects. I encourage you to do your own research. Don’t just trust me, blindly, as I am just one.

Photo credit

Being Vulnerable to Accept Love

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When we armor up and protect ourselves, we actually shield against the very thing we seek: Love.

By removing the armor, laying down our shields and weapons we open up to receive and give love. In all actuality, the very thing we seek is already within.

Writing, meditation and creative expressions are our windows into the depths of ourselves. We can use them as tools to peek inside to see where we were taught and where we accepted the belief in not-love. The more we break down our own walls, the more we love ourselves and the greater capacity we have to love others.

Loving ourselves more reaps more rewards than looking for someone else to fill the void within. For no matter how much someone else loves us, if we cannot receive their love, it is the same as pouring water onto a rock. When we live behind our castle walls, we block against love and just as the water will flow away from the surface of the rock, we will not be able to receive this beautiful gift that we so desire.

It is by being transparent, vulnerable and open that we can love more fully, more deeply.

If you fear being vulnerable there may be several reasons. If the people in your life attack you for being yourself, then maybe it’s time to find new people with whom you can truly share yourself. Sitting with and immersing oneself within the feeling of vulnerability can also lead it to crest and then diminish. Repeatedly working through the feelings in the way will lead you to your freedom from its grip.

May we all learn to be free of the obstacles that block us from more deeply experiencing love within ourselves, so that we may freely give and receive love both for ourselves and others. 

Namaste.

Photo by Matt Banks at freedigitalphotos.net

Spiritual Blocks

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For each bit of me that wants to move forward through the process of my journey of self-discovery, there are times when there is an ounce-per-ounce bit of anti-desire that resists each step.

While there are times when my feet are light and I am able to move by leaps and bounds, there are other times where it feels like each step is taken in quick sand. It seems that the quick sands arrive when I am closest to reaching another degree of understanding.

It can be a challenge to surrender into the sinking feeling when the density comes ’round. After all, I was feeling so good when I was moving forward in my lessons. Everything felt light and doable. Even on the most difficult days, I felt capable.

Now I find myself trapped in a series of densities that seem to have me moving backwards. I know from experience that once I am through them (or they are through with me), I am able to catapult forward in a way that almost makes my head spin it happens so fast.

For now, I may as well enjoy the scenery, as I’ve learned that fighting the density only causes me to feel exhausted, doubtful and short of breath. I have also learned that these blocks are part of the process, as the lesson must be unlocked before I am able to move forward unfettered.

So it is in quiet faith that I sit in silence and wait. I return with a renewed zeal to my spiritual tools: journaling, gratitude, meditation, self-care, prayer and feeling my feelings. When I do, the quick sands begin to release me from their grasp.

Forward!

Namaste.

Photo Courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at Freedigitalphotos.net

The Side Effects of Meditation

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There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.
– Buddha

Just as most things in life have side effects, it is also true with meditation. These are the side effects I have observed after having had a consistent daily meditation practice for nearly two years:

  • Clearer thinking
  • More compassion: for self and others
  • More creativity
  • A greater sense of connection with self and others
  • Improved intuition
  • More self-confidence
  • More self-worth
  • A greater sense of calmness (less anxiety, worry, anger and depression: without medication)
  • Stress-relief (decompression when moving through the difficulties of life)
  • Stress-control (when the shit-hits-the-fan unexpectedly, I find I am more readily equipped to handle the situations without freaking out: completely or partially)
  • A greater capacity of love for self and others
  • More vivid and memorable dreams
  • A greater sense of understanding
  • Less fatigue & more energy with a decreased need for stimulants
  • An increased ease of learning new things
  • An increased tolerance for things that before would annoy the crap out of me
  • Less “monkey mind,” bouncing, racing, fear-based thoughts
  • A greater awareness of what helps me & hurts me
  • A decreased need for sleep
  • A greater capacity for happiness
  • A greater sense of inner-peace
  • Improved vision and ability to see the truth
  • A decreased need to be pushy or rush things
  • A greater understanding of life and life’s purpose
  • Less guilt, shame
  • An increased connection and confidence when emotions move through me
  • Increased gratitude
  • A stronger connection to the Creator
  • A greater sense of balance: better daily life choices
  • Weight loss as a side effect of side effects: better choices,  less need for comfort foods and beverages (Whiskey-lover, right here)

As a health care practitioner, I felt it my duty to warn you of some of the side effects of Meditation. This list is not comprehensive, it includes everything I could think of in twenty minutes. I’m sure that by this evening, I’ll be “kicking myself” for missing something.

I will say that at first it may not feel that you are doing much when you sit down for the first few times to clear your mind of clutter. Just as water drops can change stone, daily meditation can help you to alter your mind.

So what’s stopping you?

Namaste.

Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles at Freedigitalphotos.net

Giving the gift of giving

ID-100179140“Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving…. Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.” – Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland

It is amazing for me to see how many who are service-minded have such trouble in receiving even an ounce of what they give to others day in and day out. This is not a balanced way to live. Does the grapevine, in producing its fruits for the world to enjoy shun the sunlight, water and nutrients it needs in which to thrive? If it did, it would not produce good fruit for long. Why, then, my lovely friends do we shy away from receiving from others all that we so willingly give to them?

In order for us to thrive, we need to learn to receive. If we continue on this path of only giving, our vines will produce raisins and not luscious grapes. We cannot make wine from raisins!

I encourage each of us to begin to learn to receive. We need our cups to be filled in order to be able to fill, or even share, with others. So when others want to give you something, please receive their gift. If you can, receive it graciously. You, my friend, are worthy of self-love and self-care. Only giving and not receiving is an unbalanced equation.

Give someone else the gift of giving to you.

Namaste.

Image courtesy of Stoonn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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