Category Archives: mindfulness

Free e-Book download one day only.

I’m running a free promotion for my book Friday, October 16th.  Amazon only allows me to do this very few days each quarter and this is the last day for this period so mark your calendar. This allows you to download and own the e-Book for free. Of course, the printed copy is available for purchase on Amazon as well, and you can find it in three different local outlets – Book proof front

Date & Thyme

1130 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 587-7475

Key West Island Bookstore

Address: 513 Fleming St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 294-2904
917 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 292-0043

I’d really appreciate reviews!

It’s not a long difficult slog.  It’s about a two hour read.  You can download here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012E7M2VG  .  I hope you pick up a few tips that will help you with your wellness, weight loss and life goals.

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, here in the comment sections below my posts, and of course, I invite you to share your experiences, recipes and ideas as well.

Signs

In my journey into meditation and into mindfulness, I have come to be aware of signs in my life.  Daily little synchronicities, coincidences and signs are everywhere and I feel they are our guides’ way of pointing us in the right direction, or even simply letting us know that they’re there for us.

ButterfliesI have come to pay attention to a wayward butterfly crossing my path, or a dragonfly darting around me when there are no others.  I notice cloud formations that have meaning to me.  And I notice little things in my life that tell me those I love who are on the other side, are reminding me that they’re with me.

Humans become far too involved in day-to-day living, to the point of ignoring what is truly important on this planet.  We begin to base our lives, our hearts, our direction and our decisions on unimportant minutia.  I mean, seriously, do you really want to stay angry at the inane customer service agent on the phone to the point it stops you from experiencing something beautiful, or from experiencing messages and direction from your angels and guides.  You know, your anger or grief will do that.  dove cloudAnd our angels, guides and loved ones on the other side cannot help us unless we ask for their help and unless we listen for them.

Some of the best times to listen are when you surrender yourself totally to nature. Sitting in nature, breathing in fresh air and enjoying all that is around you is not only calming but it allows you to connect with the planet and thus, connect with the help and love that surrounds you.  When you’re angry, when you’re not in the moment, you miss a lot of the beauty that is your gift from earth.

Signs generally have meaning only to you. The image in this post of the clouds is an example.  I’ve recently lost someone who I loved dearly, who was like a second mother to me.  My heart has been hurting since her passing in May.  In two visits to her home in SW Florida, I have seen a few signs that tell me she’s with  me in spirit.  On the trip home the first time, I was feeling particularly lost and then I saw this cloud which to me, is an amazing bird. I knew that I was not alone in my feelings.

On another trip, I realized that she was sending me iris!  I came upon a cup that I was compelled to buy and now I know why.  Iris cupShe loved Iris!

And then I saw iris in many other places (note the bedspread below).

So, my message today is to not ever let these special moments go unnoticed.  They are there for your benefit and to help you with whatever you’re struggling with, be it grief, loss, love or any of the myriad of other of life’s struggles.

And then there are numbers.  But that’s for another post another day.

Iris

 

And In Other News: Free e-book today and tomorrow

This is reminder #1.  And yes, you’ll see reminder #2 tomorrow.  🙂

I’m running a free promotion for my book today and tomorrow (Saturday), October 2 and 3.  This allows you to download and own the e-Book for free. Of course, the printed copy is available for purchase on Amazon as well, and you can find it in three different local outlets – Book proof front

Date & Thyme

1130 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 587-7475

Key West Island Bookstore

Address: 513 Fleming St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 294-2904
917 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 292-0043

I’d really appreciate reviews!

It’s not a long difficult slog.  It’s about a two hour read.  You can download here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012E7M2VG  .  I hope you pick up a few tips that will help you with your wellness, weight loss and life goals.

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, here in the comment sections below my posts, and of course, I invite you to share your experiences, recipes and ideas as well.

The past can be healing

I make every effort to live in the now.  It is generally not helpful to dwell in the past or to live for the future.  However, there are times that for me, visiting the past is very healing and revealing.

My mother and father passed away in 2012 and 2013.  While I loved them dearly, there are family friends who I have always felt incredibly close to, who I have always considered my ‘second parents’.  They have lived on the beach in Southwest Florida since 1959.  My Mom and Dad Bayfront 47Sepiaabsolute best memories of my Dad are there on that beach.  Perhaps it’s because this was before he became so judgmental.  Or perhaps it’s because I was so young that I never saw that side of him at that time.  However, in thinking back, that is when he seemed the most light-hearted and carefree.  My Mom was always perfect in my eyes so I can’t think of her in any situation where she wasn’t wonderful.

My Mom, Dad and my sisters and myself would journey to the home of my parents then-best friends a few times a year.  I find that at age 60, I am attached to that place, and to those memories more than anything else in my childhood.  Perhaps it’s because my parents are gone.  And perhaps it’s because half of my ‘second parents’ has recently died. I’m feeling more and more that it is the place that I’m now tied to.  As a child, I could never hold back the tears when it was time to leave, and as my husband has seen, I’ve not changed even now.  Our friend often comments on how every single time as a very small child, I was in the back seat, with tears in my eyes as we drove away.

I was born in Miami and then spent some years growing up in Alabama but I have never felt an attachment to any place I lived in Alabama.  I couldn’t wait to leave Alabama and did so Mom and Dad 7 Mile Bridge 47the moment I was able to. I find it interesting that I feel no ties to the home where I grew up yet feel tied to this one spot on our planet.  It’s where I feel the most grounded.  Am I the only one who feels this type of connection?

I’ve lived many places since then, and the last 20+ years have been here in South Florida.  I feel South Florida is where I am meant to be and have no plans to leave.

After I grew up and was on my own, I continued to spend a great deal of time on that beach with those wonderful people.  My husband knows and loves them as I do. We continue to go there at least once a month now, because we’ve seen that those we love who are of that age group are starting to leave us and we don’t want to miss a moment with them if we can help it.

I looked through some old pictures, hoping to find some pics of my dad surf fishing there, or relaxing or doing little projects with our friends.  But all I found were some from a trip he and my Mom made from Miami to Key West in 1947 right before they were married, which are embedded here.  One is at Bayfront Park in Key West and the other is on one of the many bridges between Miami and Key West.

Yes, this is an incredibly sentimental post today, but somehow, it just seems to feel right to share this.  My husband has always said since we were first together, that I’m his ‘Real Emotional Girl’ (a Randy Newman song).  I do indeed live from the heart and when one does that, it can leave one open to a lot of pain.  It’s just important to learn from it all. It seems today is one of those days that I wear the ‘Real Emotional Girl’ description proudly.

 

The pitfalls of NOT being mindful

While on vacation, the Mercury In Retrograde theme continued. I noticed our friend’s car had a flat on the front right, and we phoned the auto club to have a spare put on so we could drive the car to have it replaced.  They were to arrive in 45 minutes.  They arrived 2 hours and 45 minutes later.  Then the guy wanted the car to be driven to the road so he didn’t have to back in.  I was agitated!  To drive a car with an obviously flat tire would ruin any chances that the tire could be repaired.  So I insisted that he do his job.

Ok, so I lost my peaceful ‘mode’ for a few minutes.  I went upstairs to grab my shoes and started down the stairs.  I was briefly distracted by a phone call from the auto club, and when I looked at the screen to turn it off, I stepped off the third step from the bottom, thinking I was already at the bottom.  Oh, goodness, that was an ugly fall!

I ended up with two badly sprained ankles, bruises up my shin and a badly torqued right knee.  It took a while to get up the stairs.

Immediately after fall

Immediately after fall

I slathered on Vitamin K cream, which I had on hand and elevated all with ice packs for several hours.  It took three days to walk without that ominous horror-movie ‘thump, drag, thump, drag’. Of course, I was on vacation so it wasn’t too inconvenient.  I began just sitting in the sea twice a day.  The salt water helped, as did the energy of the earth.

I didn’t beat up on myself too badly.  I feel it is simply an important message from my guides that mindfulness shouldn’t be left behind while on holiday.  It’s vital that we all stay in the moment. Distractions can be dangerous, even deadly.

I do feel the Vitamin K cream helped with the bruising, believe it or not.  I can’t imagine how nasty it would look if I’d not immediately slathered it on and immediately gone to the ice packs.  Now home, I am treating with my own essential oil blend that I concocted a few years ago for swelling and sprains.  I’ve also upped my liposomal Vitamin C, liposomal glutathione and turmeric in an attempt to speed healing. Should anyone like to know how to make the oil blend for swelling, please just comment below or email me. Can someone tell me why my ankle is swelling in places where it’s not even black and blue?

As for now, my massive, swollen ankles and knees are a black and blue reminder of the importance of mindfulness. At least I can say this: the change of colors gives me something new to see daily!

Right Foot next day

Right foot the next day with swelling and new colors.

 

 

Mother Nature at her best

I feel so blessed to have spent a week by the sea.  It was perfect to wake every morning to dolphins in front of the beach front house, to turtles lazing in the early afternoon on the surface of the water briefly before diving again, to manatees drifting along at their own pace, to the first of the pelicans from up north, feasting on the small bait fish close to shore, to the ospreys showing off their freshly caught fish, and to the heartbeat of the sea in the form of steady, gentle surf action.Simple Peace

Left is a still and here is a small video sample (hopefully the link will work): 30 Seconds of Peace   No, there is nothing ‘about to happen’.  It is just this and nothing else.

This is renewal for me.  It brings me closer to nature and reminds me that we all need this planet, and the planet needs help.

This week has emphasized the importance of spending more time connected to nature. My priorities become clearer.  My meditations become far more meaningful and far more emotional.  I feel re-dedicated to my personal goals, which involve helping this planet and those who need the most help – the animals.

I feel very humble and amazingly blessed.

 

 

 

 

Make your home your spa

Who doesn’t love a trip to the spa?  You walk in the door and immediately, you relax.  The air is clean and oh-so breathable.  The sounds are calm and relaxing.  The lighting is low-key and the decor is reminiscent of nature.  Often there is the sound of water. The furnishings are well-maintained. There is no clutter and the feel is clean and fresh.

Now, who can afford a daily trip to the spa?   Not many of us, that’s for sure.  The next best thing is to give your home that spa feel.  In my book, I go into some detail as to the steps you might take.  But here, I’ll give a bit of a crash course.

Start at the doorway to your home.  The entry way should give a hint as to what is inside.  This is generally going to be your porch or portico.  It should be clean, uncluttered, with any furniture in clean condition and good repair.  FountainI have a medium-sized fountain going with lush greenery and a comfortable rattan bench to sit on when removing shoes. Like at any competent spa, you kick your shoes off outside the door.  After all, you don’t want the toxins, poisons, dangerous fecal matter and sewer run off that is present on all streets and sidewalks stepping into your home!   When you step through the door, stop and close your eyes for a minute.  What do you hear?  What do you smell?  What do you see? What do you feel?   HOW do you feel?  The preferred answer?  You feel like you’ve walked into a spa!

You should hear either total quiet or very relaxing music or even nature sounds.  Since I have a fountain in the kitchen for the cats, and since I have fountains near most all windows, I hear the movement of water first.  I often keep nature sounds going in my house daily.  My pets love it.  They also enjoy a soft, low-key instrumental music. Since I work at home, I’m much more able to do my work well in a relaxing, natural environment.

You should NOT smell last night’s baked fish or tonight’s veggie lasagna.  You should smell Aromatherapy Diffusera fresh, relaxing scent or something that is very neutral.  Please, please, please! NO GLADE or other toxic air fresheners!   They’ve been proven to be truly dangerous for humans and pets. If you want to add scent, I generally recommend something like organic lavender essential oil in a diffuser with purified water.  There are many alternatives, based on what you’re trying to achieve.  Aromatherapy has been proven to have a positive effect on your mental attitude.

Look around you now.  What do you see?  Do you see clutter?  That needs to go!  A cluttered home stifles the energy flow that is necessary for a serene, relaxing environment.  Many things can hide in clutter – dirt, dust, allergens, vermin, and just plain old crap.  Get rid of it!  The air flow to your home is as important as your breathing is to your body.  Think of it this way:  If something is obstructing your airway, you won’t be able to breathe and give your body the much-needed oxygen that is required.  If clutter is obstructing your home, your home is unable to breathe and give you the peace that you require to live a healthy life.

Now what do you feel when you walk through your door?  Do you feel stressed?  Oh so much to do!!!!  Or do you feel relaxed and grateful for your peaceful space?  In our case, when we walk through our door, we immediately relax and lose all the annoyances that we experienced in the ‘outside’ world.  Between us, we work four jobs so stress could always take over if we allowed it.  But we do not. My husband says the most important gift is to walk through the door and feel instantly at peace. Here our world is quiet.  Here our world is restful.  This is where we renew our energy.

It’s very rare that we do not have a good night’s sleep and not a lot of people can say that at age 65 and 61.   We awake renewed and ready for a new day.

I highly recommend reading up a bit on the basics of Feng Sui.  While we don’t have the luxury of repositioning our homes on the piece of land where they’re located, we can certainly have some control on the interior spaces.

Now some will say that nature is the perfect ‘spa’ and in many cases, that’s absolutely true.  However in the area where we are, it is close to impossible to find an environment in nature that will allow this type of relaxation.  As an example, we often would go to an area in our boat about 6 or 7 miles north of our island.  We’d run the boat up on a sand bar, anchor and sit naked in salt water up to our chests, with a cool beverage and just ‘be’ with nature.  The shore birds were marvelous and calling to one another. Spotted Eagle Rays would swoosh past my arm, mangrove snapper would be feeding nearby.   You could hear and see nature in it’s glory – for about 3 minutes.  Then someone who didn’t appreciate nature would come roaring through a no-wake zone at high speed, in an over-loaded boat with stereo blaring. :::sigh:::  There goes nature.  Then the next overloaded boat 2 minutes later would decide that they wanted to have a party about 40 feet from where we were when there happened to be a hundred of miles of similar spots in reach.  So, sadly, in our area, it is not possible to truly have a ‘spa’ moment in nature.   Too many people don’t respect the space, property and peace of others.

Often my posts are inspired by the events of a day or the day before.  In this case, this post was inspired by a particularly spiteful, bullying post or two on a thread from someone half-a world away who felt that their choices were the only choices.   The website I enjoy so much is generally chock-full of healthy tips and ideas and is dedicated to health, wellness, peace and a non-toxic life so it’s surprising to find those on there who seem opposed to the basic healthy tenants of the site.  This just served to remind me that everyone makes their own choices, and that our personal choices are particularly precious to us.  One’s own value system defines one’s life.  If your life is dedicated to peace, wellness and a healing non-toxic atmosphere for you, your family and your pets, then this is all that matters.

 

 

It pays to invest in wellness

My husband will turn 65 the end of November, and thus I’ve been forced to look at Medicare in detail.  Let me tell you, it’s ugly!  The many myths I’ve believed have now been shattered.  Medicare is not a panacea.  MedicareAs a matter of fact, my husband’s Medicare will cost us more for basic annual services such as blood work and checkups than our existing ACA coverage does.  (Affordable Care Act)  AND he’ll pay $104 monthly which is higher than current premiums, with far, far higher potential financial exposure than the current coverage offers.

It’s discouraging to think that our government pushes those at age 65 into a program that really isn’t the best thing for anyone.  Luckily for us, we do everything in our power to stay away from the standard Western medical community by remaining well.  Unfortunately accidents do happen and my husband was hospitalized because of an accident in 2010.  He was also hospitalized because he ate some bad stuff in 2012.  In looking at our coverages, it appears that we would pay far, far more using Medicare than we’d have paid with our previous insurances.

So, it’s become increasingly clear that we MUST keep ourselves healthy.  This country is not like France nor is it like Canada, where quality health care is available for all at a minimal cost, if any cost at all.  In the US it’s every man for himself.   Thank goodness for the wellness-minded providers!  At least you are getting quality for what you pay where with the standard medical community, your results are always questionable and quality is long gone.

I invite you all to contribute to a list that we can all share, of health-minded providers, natural healers and alternative healers in the comment section below.  You can include health food stores, wellness providers, integrated medicine providers and any other alternative provider that you deem worthy.

I should also add that the same holds true for our beloved furry and feathered family members.  The same lack of respect towards wellness, the same cut ‘n’ drug thinking applies to veterinarians.

And if you have been reading this blog, you know that I am a strong believer that reading labels, organic eating, healthy choices and meditation will go a long way towards healing.

I’ll start the list here, but urge everyone to please, please add to the list!

Mitzi Schardt, MSN, NP – Fort Myers / Cape Coral, FL

Robert Murdock, NaturalFamilyPhysicians.com / Fort Myers and Cape Coral, FL

Whole Foods nationwide

Natural Pet Care LLC – Metarie, Louisiana  (They do phone consultations)

A Healthy Brain … AND our weekly winner!

Deborah Mccottry won our weekly drawing this week.  For those who wish to become part of our community and be part of the fun, you can sign up here:  Free weekly drawings

Now, today I’d like to pass on some information about brain health.  In case you are not paying attention, it’s a growing problem.  Dementia and other brain disorders are on the rise.  BrainDisordersThe Alzheimers Association states that the US will see a 44% increase in individuals with Alzheimers by 2025.     Utah, Alaska and Colorado are projected to have the biggest increase – around 126%, with significant growth in states with the largest populations:  Texas (74%), Florida (64%) and California (50%).

One doesn’t have to look too far to see friends and family members who have been touched by this disease.  If you’ve seen it, you have most certainly felt the impact.

I have read Dr. David Permutter’s book “Grain Brain:The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers” and I highly recommend it.   His approach is complex but then this is a complex issue.  It has everything to do with your immune system and keeping it healthy.  There are no ‘quick fixes’ but there are things you can do right now to help keep your brain healthy.  His book goes into nutritional issues as well as issues of toxicity from our foods and environment.  He makes a definitive link between colon health and brain health.

Just to give you a quick run-down on important supplements, Dr. Perlmutter recommends:

*Alpha Lipoic Acid – 600 mg daily

*Coconut Oil – 1 TBS daily (taken straight is recommended but you can use it in cooking)

*DHA – 1,000 mg daily  (combined with EPA.  He recommends a fish oil supplement but since I have a problem with the mercury in our fish oil supplements, I opt for a DHA derived from marine algae.)

*Probiotics – 1 capsule on an empty stomach up to 3 times daily.  Look for a probioitic that contains at least ten billion active cultures, from at least ten different strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium.  For probiotics, I take one that has 150 billion active cultures –  Renew Life brand Ultimate Flora Mega Potent.  With a history of colon issues and gluten sensitivity, this works best for me.

*Resveratrol  100 mg twice daily

*Turmeric   350 mg twice daily

*Vitamin D3 5,000 IU daily

These are all easily obtainable from Amazon or other sources.  If you would like some recommendations, please comment below and I’ll give you links and details.

No, the above is NOT all you need for a healthy brain.  You also have to clean out your kitchen and cabinets.  Get rid of the junk – glutens, sugars, processed foods, anything containing non-fermented soy, anything that says ‘fat free’ or ‘low fat’, margarines and most oils that are processed in any manner whatsoever.

I know it sounds complicated but isn’t this better than sitting in a vegetative state among your loved ones as their hearts break for you?

I highly recommend Dr. Perlmutter’s book.  In reading it, you may find many surprising links to your own health challenges.

And predictably, I come back to meditation.  😉  Meditation seems to keep dementia at bay!  There are hundreds of articles, but this one sums it up nicely:   Prevention Magazine: Meditation staves off dementia 

I know the last thing I want to happen to me is to have one part of my body go before the rest.  It works both ways – I want my mind to be present and for my body to function right up to the very end.  It’s an important goal for us all to embrace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindfulness

Last night, I watched an excellent piece on 60 Minutes by Anderson Cooper about Mindfulness.

MindfulnessMindfulness meditation is just another of the many forms of meditation.  I prefer to think of it as the ultimate goal of my meditations.

I enter into my daily meditations usually with a specific intention or two, in mind.  I set the intention for the meditation – what I wish to examine or accomplish or what I wish to embed in my psyche.  But after I’ve gone through the steps of my meditation for weight loss, wellness, blessings and healing for others, abundance in health, love and finance, the real joy of my meditation is the final step for me – the mindfulness period.   During this time, you’re not trying to get from point A to point B.  You just are.

For me, it is a blissful state, where I am able to just ‘be’ with no pressure, no agenda, no worries.  I finish my daily meditation refreshed and eager to move forward with my day.  Since I’ve been meditating daily, without fail, I rarely get angry in traffic as I once did, I am not as frustrated with humans.  Note I said ‘as frustrated’.  I’m still frustrated.  I just don’t get to the point that I allow it to ruin my whole day.

And while the political atmosphere in this country is rancid right now, with racism, hate, ignorance and greed fighting for daily attention, I am not quite as angry about  ‘them’ as I once was.  As a peaceful person, it is difficult for me to ignore those who harm others with their political acts, their hate-filled speech and actions and their financially driven need to poison our population with toxic foods.  The truth is, we all create our own consequences in life and those who harm others will themselves suffer the effects of their hate-drive or greedy choices.  It’s just a shame that others have to suffer as well. For that reason, we are adamant about making informed choices for our lives, our pets, our food and our home.

Mindfulness has become part of my center now.  I think more clearly and come up with inventive and creative ideas more readily.  I am able to connect to my pets and my husband on a more spiritual level and feel I am far more compassionate about others.

It doesn’t take a lot of time.  You can do this in a matter of 15 minutes or can go on for hours.  I urge you all to give it a try!