Lately I’ve been re-evaluating my state of inner peace and calmness. While randomly reading, I’ve stumbled upon an abundance of material relating to being calm. This is purely coincidental yet fortunate as I’m seeking this. As I work on inner peace, it seems natural to focus on being calm.
Let me tell you candidly that my personality is the farthest from calm you can get! I’ve always been hyper, loud, anxious and nervous. I’ve accepted this for its who I am, but with that, I also desire to change some of my ways! I wish to instill peace and calmness in my life replacing anxiety.
Living in a calm state is a challenge, especially in this hectic world we live in. By turning on the news we see devestating occurrences that build a deep rift in our state of peace, severing any calmness within us. Jumping on your cell phone, answering multiple texts constantly and trying to stay ahead of emails can try someone’s inner peace. But I believe that we have a choice!
I choose NOT to own a cell phone. I know, I know, you may think I’m behind the times and fighting society’s norms. I am doing that…but I’m also choosing calmness! Without a cell phone I am not bound to constant calls and I’m truly happy without it!
Lately I’m working on staying calm as a reaction to others. Sometimes people say hurtful things or lash out at you with negativity. In these situations it’s helpful to keep your emotions in check. Is becoming angry going to help or hinder the situation? My suggestion is to keep calm, walk away, breathe deeply and feel the emotions and then let them go.
Staying calm is any situation can be difficult, especially when you’re exhausted. Make sure you get plenty of sleep at night. Eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. Drink lots of water. Journal all your feelings that overwhelm you. All these practices are medicinal and will not only make you feel great, but will aid your emotional and mental states.
I truly miss my yard of vibrant yellows, deep purples and red flowers, all that keep me calm and centered in the summertime. The flowing green, cool grass on my feet, the cooing of morning doves and the songs of twittering birds all contribute to my peaceful world. I can’t wait for real spring and summer to relish all of these. Nature keeps me grounded and content.
In the meantime I exercise, go for walks in this small country town, read and write for calmness, and take care of my emotions so that I can thrive as a human, a wife, and a mom.
How do you stay calm in difficult situations? Are there vital things that contribute to your sense of peace?
Listen to me…I’m no expert nor do I pretend that I know what the right practices for your lifestyle will be. I’ll tell you what I do know and what I’m 100 % confident about as it pertains to my life. If you want to lose weight and become fit, you need to throw away the word diet from your vocabulary. Once you commit to a diet it solidifies pressure on many aspects of your life such as your eating habits, social eating, your exercise regiment, etc. This kind of deep hold on your life works but what I’ve learned is that it doesn’t last. Eventually it fizzles out!
My weight loss journey unexpectedly was launched through a stressful situation. I don’t wish this on anyone but it catapulted me into a different version of my life. It was a negative that transformed into a life changing positive. ( Thank you God) I was living from one sweet to the next with an overload of non-nutritious foods on the menu. I didn’t exercise nor did I wish to. I was sick for weeks every winter with a run down immune system. Lastly my emotional and mental well being went haywire, thrusting me into rough waters to try to swim out of.
One day I woke up…really emerged and I asked myself, is this the way I want to truly live, to exist and not thrive? That day I set a mini goal on the horizon, that I lose a little weight for my son’s wedding. Then I started eating healthier and lighter. Instead of eating a whole sandwich at lunch, I cut back to a half. I snacked on almonds, pistachios, fruit and veggies and hummus. I walked a few times a week with my neighbor Anita, not only experiencing a great workout but a mental strengthener from our enlightening conversations.
As my journey progressed, I maintained active in my garden and did yard work. I stacked wood with Tom while sucking my abs and bottom in. ( This sounds wacky but I feel it helped) I practiced my old Denise Austin aerobic/ exercise/ weight training dvd a few times a week. I journaled( and still do this) all the meals and snacks I ate so that I would see what I actually shoved in my mouth on a daily basis. It’s a fantastic way to stay accountable to yourself. This has been quite an eye opener as I didn’t realize how much I was eating. Journaling goes hand in hand with meal and snack planning. Jot down what your meals and snacks will be for the week and use this for a generated grocery list. Try a variety of foods so you don’t tire of your choices.
One trick that worked for me was not weighing myself. In the past on my weight loss journey, I would get upset if the scale didn’t favor me so in turn I ate. This time I went for months not weighing myself but gauged my progress through how I felt physically and how my clothes fit me. As they got baggier and bigger I knew that I was getting favorable results. Now I weigh myself once a week at school for The Biggest Loser program, which isn’t a competition but an individual track of your personal weight loss.
As of yet I have lost 33 pounds and feel unbelievable! I feel healthy, fit and in turn that helps me emotionally and mentally. Knock on wood, I haven’t caught the flu or even a cold this winter! Proper sleep at night and a multi- vitamin has its benefits as well.
Here are some of my tips that may help you:
Start small without huge expectations and pressure
Downscale your meals at first, focusing eating a variety of fresh vegetables, a protein every meal and limited carbs like potato and rice
Eat two snacks a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. That would put you at five times a day of eating( three meals and two snacks)
Drink lots of water and stay hydrated
Start exercising a few minutes at a time every day or every other day. I started at three times a week with the dvd and now I practice it four to five days a week, 50 minute workouts every time
Walk with a friend twice a week to start. Make sure you stretch first to avoid painful Charlie horses at night. This happened to me last summer! Ouch!
I skip eating bread all but maybe a piece of toast a week and sometimes a half a sandwich at lunch. It’s been a tough adjustment as I love bread! But I’ve done it and sometimes I treat myself!
Try to not talk too much about your new lifestyle, unless it’s collaboration with a friend who is doing the same thing. Sometimes talking about a diet to everyone puts pressure on yourself.
Try simple body moves while washing the dishes or brushing your teeth. I do a stretch where I try to keep my heels up tall and squeeze my legs, calves, thighs, inner thighs, bottom and abs as I go up and down a few reps. While washing dishes I kick my legs up on each side six reps while sucking my abs and bottom in.
My great snack ideas that have worked for me:
Carrot or celery sticks with hummus ( I love red pepper and the garlic flavors)
apple slices and peanut butter ( sometimes I sprinkle dark chocolate chips and granola pieces on them)
pretzels with hummus
roasted chick peas 1/4 cup a serving, a great source of protein!
Avocado slices and ak- mak sesame crackers
one orange, two clementines, half a banana, one cup berries are all one serving for me
one mini box of raisins
One piece of whole grain toast ( I buy loaves of freshly baked bread from a bakery in Vermont that sells to Shaw’s) with two tablespoons peanut butter, a half of banana or apple slices
An overnight oatmeal cup, 1/2 cup steelcut oats, 1/2 cup milk, one tablespoon peanut butter, place in a small mason or jelly jar, set in fridge overnight. The next morning add apple chunks or banana slices and more milk if needed. You can eat this hot or cold, I enjoy it cold.
1/2 cup Grape Nuts or Kasha Shredded Wheat cereal with fruit
1 cooked egg with spinach and garlic, one or two slices bacon
2 small homemade pancakes with fruit one tablespoon maple syrup
One important aspect of my new eating lifestyle is treating myself! I have always savored chocolate and have adamantly decided that I will still eat it in moderation. Most of the time I treat myself three times a week, mostly on weekends so I can workout to limit the damage. Sometimes I indulge in a cup of Haagen Daas almond milk ice cream or a homemade cookie or two. Other times I have a few squares of dark chocolate or dark chocolate raisins. Don’t feel guilty if you go off track, after all you are human! Maybe a rigorous walk or workout will offset your treat intake.
I will post on this topic again as I try new things in my new life and will communicate my strengths and shortfalls. All I know now is that as a 49 plus woman ( a few months shy of the big 50), I currently feel the best that I have ever felt physically! I wish this success for you as well! I feel women need to support other women during the journey instead of tearing each other down!
Believe in yourself for you are worth changing your routine! It may take a few weeks of trial and error with building confidence, but stick with it until it becomes a positive habit.
Let me know how your eating/ exercise regiment is going. Are you committed to feeling the best you ever have? If so, take a chance and make small changes that could grow into an amazing positive lifestyle!
I made these low fat Chocolate Chip cookies with banana yesterday. All they have is two ripened bananas mashed, 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 tsp. Vanilla. Mix together. Place in tablespoons on cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork. Bake at 350 F for ten or twelve minutes. They will be soft and need to be stored in the refrigerator.
One gratitude I hold dear to me right now is my discovery of Maria Shriver’s Sunday paper. Maria posts a positive and uplifting message about thriving in this noisy and chaotic world we live in. Shriver writes with sincerity and clarity, drawing me in and helping me through everyday life’s noise. She also ends her paper with a prayer to God pertaining to her topic, something I read with fervor and end with an amen. If you wish to sign up for her free weekly paper, go to Mariashriver.com for details. Maria also hosts a free podcast called Meaningful Conversations that I enjoy as well. I just listened to a conversation with Jon Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea discussing Soul Kitchen, their successful project that has not only fed many homeless souls but empowered them with the opportunity of working and giving back to the community.
In this week’s paper Maria discusses rising up from life’s noise and breaking news to staying calm and focused. She suggests that you don’t get wrapped up in every media news story or tweet but limit the noise. Shriver also shares how she lists her positive intentions every morning for the day. This is something that I already practice in the shower while I’m preparing for the day. I also pray for my family and people I know who need it. I think focusing on light rather than darkness ( which Maria discusses as well) is the perfect calm in any storm.
As I write this, I’m planning on journaling most days of my positive intentions. One intention is to spread kindness to all, even people who dislike you or don’t seem worth the time for who are we to judge?We don’t know everyone’s battles so choosing love, acceptance and kindness is the answer. This can be tough at times but everyone deserves the embrace of graciousness.
Another positive intention I’m currently practicing is avoiding watching the dramatic news every morning. First of all, it’s never good. Do you notice that? It heightens my anxiety level and causes me to question our flailing President and government. I choose calmer and peaceful shows to watch in the morning or I connect with my blogging friends. It’s one way I can control what I’m inputing into my heart and brain and limit the clamoring confusion.
I believe focusing on a positive idea and implementing it throughout the day is my personal way of creating peace. It grounds me and keeps me centered heart and soul, as I continue to live and thrive in this life. I challenge you to set a positive intention today. Do you wish to focus on peace, kindness, acceptance or forgiveness? Once you set that daily positive intention, you are on the right track for the day.
January 10, 2016…three years ago I settled in my recliner to write my first blog post. Back then I didn’t know what to expect or if anyone would even be interested in reading it. It was the first time in a very long while that I put caution to the wind and really took a chance. Those fleeting moments of filling the page with words felt liberating. There…I had done it. I listened to my heart and invested in the possibilities. It felt like I had unleashed a woman who had hidden within me for ages, not only a married working mom, but a writer who had copious words and stories to share. This passion has always lived within me, bubbling up finally. I thought maybe no one would care. Maybe someone would. I simply trusted myself and my readers and put it out there.
Since then I’ve learned that not everyone in your life will pay attention or care. Some joke about my blog like it’s a stupid thing or that its funny. That’s okay! But some have been interested and have encouraged me along the way! They signed up for my email! They read now and then and comment, sharing in my experiences in life. Whether you are my family of friends or ones who have stumbled upon my site, it doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that you care, that you support me as I travel this special journey. I’m eternally grateful for your support, your love and friendship.
As I continue this journey and dream of compiling my penned posts, I am considering taking writing classes to learn more. I hope you all will stay connected with me. I wish you all peace, joy and love as you start this new year.
This month of November it’s common to hear in podcasts and other media the theme of gratefulness. Thanksgiving reminds us all of what we have that we cherish…our family and friends, our health, a roof over our heads and food for meals. Although being thankful is truly what this holiday is about, I’d like to think that being grateful is my mantra every day of the year and not just the third Thursday in November!
I used to have a practice of listing five things I was grateful for. Sometimes I listed Tom and the boys. Others my job and friends were included. I listed my health more than once, for despite a few health scares I’ve always managed to stay strong and healthy. Most times I thanked God for having Tom and the boys healthy too.
I learned this habit from Oprah and did it religiously for a few years in my journals. Slowly it faded away yet I mentally go over my grateful list most days and continue to thank God for all the good in my life as well as the difficult challenges. It’s plowing steadily through those barriers that has built my character and fortitude. It comes full circle and after experiencing the rough bumps on this road of life, I am aware that the hurdles have strengthened me. I am extremely thankful for the gifts hidden along the way, for they have made me the person I am today!
Now that I’m approaching 50 this coming year and my family is raised, I have ample time to reflect. Being grateful every day doesn’t mean a joy ride or perfect circumstances but to me, it is finding special and maybe little things that can brighten my day. A kind smile or phone call from a friend or family member, feeling the rich soil of the garden and planting seeds for future days, being able to walk on both legs and cherishing serenity in nature are all things I’m thankful for.
The more I think about this the more I realize that being grateful in some way every day is the key to happiness. If you notice what you have( such as being healthy or having a beautiful family) and not dwell on what you don’t have, you’ll truly appreciate what God has gifted you. I believe everyone has something to be grateful for and if you ponder over this you can generate quite a list.
What are you grateful for? Do you reflect on this just in November or everyday of the year? The more we notice all the good things in our lives, the richer your experience will become.
I’m busy getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. Today I’m vacuuming and shampooing my rugs, generating a last minute grocery list and planning my table setting. I’m grateful that I’m able to do this at home and Tom’s sister Bev and her husband Chris are coming, as well as my youngest son Branden. Dylan and his wife Lexy will come later for dessert , so both my sons will be here together. Excitement is in the air as the big day approaches!
What is it you wish to accomplish before you leave?
My purpose in most of my married life has been raising good kids and making my husband happy. I focused on those things more than anything else. Now, years later, I must reinvent myself and discover who I am other than being a mother and wife. Finding happiness and fulfillment totally in my husband is too much pressure on him. We are happy together and best friends. But…I realize that I must do much of my inner work myself, love myself and move forward with visions of what I want to do and what my purpose on earth is.
It’s hard work starting from scratch with little tools to help. It’s probably one of the hardest things that I ever will do! Unfortunately I’ve built a life of dependency, hurt feelings and low self esteem. It’s been my security blanket and now I feel that I must tear it off, throw it aside and reinvent my life without it, unclothed. It’s my choice to plow forward and get to know who I really am.
I know I am here for a reason but I’m not sure what that is. Other than raising great boys and building a beautiful family .Maybe writing comes into play in some form? Maybe giving and volunteering? It make time for me to discover what I will do with my life from now on but that’s okay because I have time.
What do I want to accomplish?
Spreading love, kindness, being understanding
Being self confident
Loving my family and friends
Organizing our house
Gardening and creating beautiful gardens in our yard
Walking, hiking, exercising
Baking for Pals ( a school parents group)
Giving to others
I think there are times in ones life when priorities shift and directions change. I’m at a time in my life when my children are grown and settling in just fine. My motherly role remains but has taken a back seat. Lately I feel similar to the twenty- year-old me, a young woman with a needed direction and focus. Here I am at the age of 49 and those feelings are back. I plan on using them to my advantage to learn who I am and what I want to do. How exciting it is…to live with a fresh outlook and forward vision.
What is your life purpose? Have you always known? Did something trigger your purpose that changed your life? If you have a similar experience I would love to hear your story!