Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One


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Slurpy McSlurplord, The Art of Not Procrastinating, Kelly Clarkson and Phoning it In

Kelly

I was coming home today on the subway, not always my happy place, when I found myself trapped next to an unusually tall man eating an unusually large meal RIGHT NEXT TO ME.  I shall call him Slurpy McSlurplord.  On the long journey home, I got to enjoy a meal – his – mostly because I felt that I was eating right along with him.  All I heard was SLUUUURRPPPP, SWIIIISHHHHH, PHHHHHTTTTTT, YUMMMM, UM, UGH, OOOGA CHAKA, OOGA Chaka…so I’ve created a little song for the disgust that I felt to “Hooked on a Feeling”:

I can’t stop this feeling
Deep inside of me
Boy, you just don’t realize
What your slurping noises do to me…

When you hold your dinner
In your arms so tight
You let me know
That your food is all right

I’m hooked on a feeling
I’m high on believing
That you’re disgusting to me

Chicken and Ribs and Fries as sweet as candy (POETIC LICENSE)
Its stench is on my mind
Boy, you got me thirsty
For another cup o’ wine or Coke or whatever it is you are drinking in my EARRRRR…

Got a bug from you boy
And I’d like a cure
I’ll just stay a victim
Of your germs I’m sure

All the good stuff
In your carry out tray
I feel like I’m in there with you
The stench from your fingers makes me go boo hoo

I’m hooked on a feeling
I’m high on believing
That good subway manners are a possibility

All the good food
In your take out tray
With your greasy fingers
As shiny as a sunny day

I said I’m hooked on a feeling
And I’m high on believing
That you’ll act politely
I’m hooked on a feeling

I actually hated sitting next to him more than I hate sitting on a warm seat…and I really hate warm seats.  Not only did he eat like a cave man, he actually opened his little sauce container with his teeth…yes, it’s nice to know that Cro Magnon Man  exists.  I kept thinking he was going to drop his meal on me.  He ended up just losing his sauce.  In an enlightened moment, I felt grateful that he didn’t lose his cookies, because it would be aimed in my direction.  Trying to get to my happy place, I yelled Kelly Clarkson the way that I do sometimes – in my inside voice (and the way 40 Year Old Virgin did when he was getting waxed…actually so do I, it helps me cope with the pain).
Seriously – are manners really dead?  And seriously, I love Kelly Clarkson – she’s just talented and herself – and in this day and age that’s a rarity.  I went to see her in concert a few weeks ago and she was fun and completely genuine.  Love her – she’s a lesson on why being yourself is a good thing.  She could get rid of the half shaved head, but that’s her choice.  Go see her if you have a chance.  She doesn’t phone it in…
Speaking of phoning it in – did any of you do Deepak and Oprah’s 21 Day Meditation Experience on Gratitude?  You know I love DOPRAH too, but this was completely phoned in and disingenuous, if I may be so bold.  I’ve done several, and admittedly, I’m not the deepest person, and I’ll NEVER be able to meditate properly, but I’ve always liked Deepak’s message.  This time, meh.  He may have had a couple of messages where I felt he was back to himself, but can’t say that I feel that this was time well spent.  I’ll keep doing them, but totally not grateful for this one.  I just hope that they haven’t jumped the shark, so to speak – or is that just a TV term?
I’m also going away shortly – which I’m so excited about, but I did something scary on Monday.  I packed for my trip…yes, all of my clothes and shoes for two weeks are neatly packed and I don’t leave until Thursday.  Does this mean that I’ve learned the art of not procrastinating or am I just getting old?  I don’t know what’s come over me lately!!! I miss the good old days when I’d run around two hours before my plane left throwing things in a suitcase and hoping for the best.  Times have certainly changed.  I’ll be writing about my little adventure when I get back.
Until then, I remain gratefully yours…
Jill


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I Get So Emotional…

Halifax-20150223-00265

…well not really, all the time, but I thought it was the perfect Whitney Houston song to use as the title for today’s blog.  2015 is not a year that I am going to have many fond thoughts of, in fact, in the words of my home girl Queen Elizabeth  (Her Majesty to you), this is fast becoming a year I shall not look fondly upon.  It has turned out to be an annus horribilis.  For those of you who think that I’m referring to someone more cheeky, annus means year in Latin.  

A lot has happened over a very short period of time, and I’ve seen the best and worst of people.  The one thing that I have discovered in all of this, is how important it has been to use my emotions productively.  This is something that Deepak Chopra talks about in his latest 21 Day Meditation Experience and you know I like to remind you that Dr. Oz highly recommends meditation to alleviate stress among other health benefits.  I still suck at it, but why quit trying?

In my favourite meditation to date, Deeps talks about what you should do in a time of difficulty.  I love that he says that being emotionally productive isn’t about “positive thinking as a solution or constantly trying to maintain an optimistic disposition.”  Rather, he wants us to make our emotions part of our support group.  How can we do this?

  • Be aware that emotions are tied to every choice that you make and you can’t always be rational.  I like being rational, but yes, I would say that in the scheme of things, emotions rule the day
  • Deal with emotions as a contestant companion and advisors.  In other words, don’t try to suppress how you feel – many decisions, good and bad, are made based on feelings and it doesn’t help to try to bury your emotions.  The one thing I have to say is that good or bad, I get everything out.  If I need to cry, which isn’t often, I do it.  If I’m angry, depending on how much something is bothering me, I tell the person.  If I’m happy or grateful, I say so.  Life is far too short to choke down feelings and I’ve noticed, at least for me, that there is something very therapeutic about getting things out into the open…and a good cry never hurts.  Deepak says that it is important to remember that every situation has an emotional component
  • “Pushing down emotions” or try to stifle emotions, they get “stuck” meaning, they just sit in your subconscious like a ginormous unhealthy dinner gets stuck in your tummy

There were a few other deep thoughts, but this was the gist of it.  I loved that he didn’t stress positive thinking or fake optimism as a solution.  I hate when people tell me to look at the bright side or that things happen for a reason.  I think I’ve written about this before, but I think that sometimes bad things happen to the best people and sometimes, you see karma in action.  I’m seeing both of these situations at once – but coping with each is less difficult, because I know exactly how I feel and today, that is what I most grateful for.


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Sleepy-Time Stress

eye twitch

Keeping one eye on the time…

I admit it – I’m a clock watcher and always need to know the time.  It’s productive during the day, so that I can get to meetings on time or meet people pretty close to the time we agreed on, but when you have insomnia, clock watching is just plain stressful.  You think you are the only one awake, in the world, and it’s a very lonely place to be.  I was reading an article in “Dr. Oz – The Good Life” and was a little disappointed.  Not because the article wasn’t well written and totally useful, but the cover tease was “Turn Off Stress So You Can Sleep-Pill Free”.  That is right up my alley – I hate taking sleeping pills, and not sleeping is a huge cause of stress.  When I eagerly flipped to the article, it was all about women who can’t get back to sleep…not my issue at all.  When I do have insomnia, it’s because I can’t fall asleep.  If I fall asleep, and wake up in the middle of the night, I can always fall back into la-la land – after I check the clock of course.

When I first started blogging, in January 2014, my first topic was all about insomnia.  In general, I do sleep better than I did a year ago.  Here are a few things that I think have helped:

-Eating more nuts – for real – I still eat two brazil nuts a day for the selenium and I eat almonds and walnuts every day.  Think I’m nuts?  It seems to work

-I’ve learned, the hard way, that as soon as I get an inkling that I’m about to fall asleep on the couch, I have to get up and go to bed – immediately.  If I fall asleep, for even 5 little minutes, my shut eye pattern is off, and I find it impossible to sleep

-A cool room helps – really, but freezing cold isn’t great.  Once I’m that cold, no matter what I do, I can’t warm up

-Dr. Oz’s sleep experts say you shouldn’t check the time, but I have to, and it helps me fall back to sleep knowing that I still have a couple of hours that I can get in

-There are times, when I just can’t sleep, that I do get out of bed and walk around, watch TV or read, just to get out of my room

Here are some new recommendations from “Dr. Oz – The Good Life: Your Fall-Back-Asleep Prescription (page 108):

1. Do some belly-breathing – I know I’ll never do this on my own, but I am doing Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey’s latest 21 Day Meditation Challenge, and I can always do one of the meditations to get in some deep breathing.  I still can’t do the meditating part properly, but I do deep breathe when I listen to D-OPRAH’s latest

2. Get Out of Bed – see above

3. Note and release your worries – this is a great idea – I’ll try this one.  Sometimes, I may have to type it into Outlook, so that I know that I have time set aside for the tasks, but I think knowing you have your “to-do’s” listed somewhere is comforting, at least to me

4. Take a mental stroll – you are supposed to visualize places that bring you peace – I’ll try it, not sure if I buy it, but it’s worth the effort

5. Listen to something calming – This works – I know you aren’t supposed to have iPads in your room, but I listen to podcasts and they put me to sleep and yes, I am admitting this here, Reality Steve’s (Bachelor Spoiler extraordinaire) Live Video Chats are a must listen an my own brand of Nytol – I fall asleep every Thursday listening to them.  I don’t watch unless he is talking to his dog Maddie – which is cute and priceless.  He’s never boring, but there is something soothing about the way he speaks.  Whatever works right?

6. Call in the pros – AKA see your Dr.

Today was a pretty good day with a lot to be grateful for – I’m off this week from work, I got to see my niece and I got to speak to the Shoe (not her real name, but a really close friend).  Not too bad – and no stress : )


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Change Is In The Air

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I knew that 2015 was going to be a year of change.  I had that feeling on December 31st.  I just wasn’t quite sure what that meant for me.  So far, it has been difficult, but sometimes, not to sound like Polly Pureheart, those difficulties spur you to explore the unexpected.  One day, when my mother wasn’t having a great day, I told her that I would cook for her.  She would just have to be there for me and tell me step by step what to do.  After checking her life insurance policy, she agreed.  Not nice Mummy!  I spent the afternoon making soup for the first time, spaghetti sauce for the first time (beef stinks when it’s cooking – I’ll try to keep my chick-a-fish-a-veg-atarian self away from Elsie the Cow for the rest of my days), baked chicken breasts (not the first time, but only about the third time making this dish) and egg salad (BLAH – too smelly for me to ever eat).  You know, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  It’s just weird how someone just knows how much of everything to add without a recipe (my mother, not me).  So far, she’s survived the experiment.  I made the soup – pictured above, at home for myself.  It was ok day 1 but on day 2, I was about to gag on it.  It did have a lot of Oz approved foods – fresh onion (pre-biotics to super-charge my probiotics), carrots, celery, cabbage, snow peas and a package of dried vegetables and barley.  I probably won’t make it more than once a year, but it was nice adding something to my limited recipe book.

This will also be a year of trying new things.  It means a Zombie “Escape the Room Challenge” and Axe Throwing.  It means doing things that I’ve never tried before, even if they are outside of my comfort zone.  It means committing to a cut off time for work.  It means that in the interests of decluttering, that I actually un-friended someone from Facebook.  Not a big deal, but it was time to do a little tune up.  Why have someone there who clearly I haven’t had a conversation with in years?  I’ll be doing a little more of that in the future – but it was a start.

I also recognize that in order to live in a relatively healthy way, I have to learn how to cope with worry.  I dealt with being sick for most of January (which I wrote about).  This didn’t worry me, but it kept me from being able to write as often, or as clearly as I may have wanted to.  It left me a little fatigued, but that’s partly stress.  A huge work project finally came to an end, which caused me a lot of sleepless nights – but it went well, so that’s a relief.  Last, but most importantly, my family and I have to cope with a challenging situation – I can’t get into details, yet, but it’s not easy.  Luckily, we are supporting each other and for that, I am grateful.  Here are some of Dr. Oz’s tips for coping with worry (from doctoroz.com):

  • “Get More Sleep: One common complaint of distress is lack of sleep. It can put your brain on edge, which forces it to go into survival mode.
  • Meditation: The well-documented effects of regular meditation include lowered blood pressure, less heart disease, decreased chronic pain, and increased mental clarity.
  • Yoga: Dr. Oz recommends doing the 7-minute sun salutation yoga exercise every day. Not only does it keep him in shape, it keeps his mind focused and clear.
  • Teas and Other Calming Foods: Some foods and teas have natural components that help soothe the brain.”

I’ve signed up for Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey’s latest 21 Day Meditation Experience in March.  I also have 3 other meditations streamed.  As I’ve mentioned, I will always struggle with it, but so many doctors recommend it, that I’ll never stop trying.  I’m already a tea lover, so that’s never an issue, but I am going to see what foods help cope with stress.  I’ve also got to give yoga another try – maybe a laughing yoga class, because I have such a hard time taking it seriously?

Today is Family Day in Ontario, and as always, I like to end on a note of what I am grateful for.  Today, in honour of Family Day, I am grateful to my family, frousins and friends that are like family.  I’m lucky to have all of you.

I


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So, We’ve Come to the End of the Road….

Pondering

In the words of the immortal band, Boyz 2 Men,  that I’ve never been a big fan of, we’ve come to the end of the road.  I’ve committed to writing this blog for a year and that time has now come to a close.  I’m not sure if I’ll continue on or not, that remains to be seen and what is life without a cliffhanger?  This year, there have been peaks and valleys.  I think I’ve learned more in the past few years, then I have in the sum total of my life and this year was no different.  Here are some life lessons for you to consider as we change calendars:

  • The worst thing to live with is regret so don’t put things off, you never know what tomorrow will bring
  • It’s better to be kind sometimes, than to be right (and it pains me to say that)
  • No matter how type A you are, some things are beyond your control (huge pain saying that too)
  • It’s ok to be selfish at times (as long as it’s not to the detriment of someone else)
  • You have to try things that are either outside of your comfort zone or that scare you – life is too short not to try things at least once
  • You know how I like to quote cheesy songs, so in the words of Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney’s “Ebony and Ivory” – there is good and bad in everyone.  I felt that I had to quote Stevie Wonder at least once since I got bored and left his concert

Here are some peaks for my year:

  • Keeping up with this blog no matter how out of control my work load was.  It helped me cross one item off of my bucket list
  • I kept my New Year’s Resolution to make my health a priority – I had a mammogram, had blood work done, and changed some bad habits (although there is still room for improvement)
  • Finding Deepak Chopra – it’s the first time I’ve connected to anything self help and although some of what he says is beyond me, or could be construed as hooey – like Dr. Oz, you can pick and choose and find out a lot of insightful information
  • The trips that I took.  The ultimate peak was hiking to a glacier
  • Knowing that I can take a cyber break and be ok (and you can too)
  • Finding something to be grateful for every single day
  • Having moments where I actually felt good again
  • The people that I spent time with including family and friends (old and new and those that I got to reconnect with)
  • Getting to watch my niece graduate from college
  • Seeing my mother at her 75th birthday party

Here are the valleys:

  • ?
  • Let’s not focus on the valleys – we all have trials and tribulations to deal with and after the trauma of 2012 and 2013, life really wasn’t so bad this year

Here is a quick summary of my Oz Journey:

Pounds lost – 17

Items banished through decluttering – 214

Items sold on Kijiji – 3

Meditations that I tried – 63

Times where I actually meditated – 1 (I think)

Bottles of probiotics used – 3

Bottles of Vitamin D used – 1.5 (they were big bottles)

Containers of flax – 3

Nuts consumed – can’t count that high, but maybe in the hundreds of thousands

Shampoo mohawks made since I found out they could damage your hair – 1 – I slipped

Times per week that I exfoliate my skin – 1 as Dr. Oz recommends

Reams of paper shredded – 1

Number of page views – almost 5,000

Number of posts that I’ve written – 176 including this one

Knowledge gained – immense

Gratitude to you, my readers – immeasurable

I wish you all good health and great happiness in 2015 and whether I continue on with this blog or not, I will forever be…

Gratefully yours,

Jill


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Identifying with Stress

care bear

Courtesy of Google Images

I was thinking about stress all of this month – everything from the stupid stresses (warm seats on the subway) to ones that are more real.  The one thing that I noticed that I do, a lot, is generalize what is causing me stress.  I say (and have heard others say) – “Work is stressing me out” or a person is “stressing me out.”  Very general – right? Dealing with stress so that it doesn’t cause the inflammation that Dr. Oz has taught me to fear is important, and in some weird way, writing about it, when I can, has been cathartic.  Maybe it’s my “feditation” experience with frequent Oz guest, Deepak Chopra.  I call it feditation, because I am the worst meditator in the world.  I fall asleep because I usually do it at bed time, I worry that I’m not pronouncing the mantras correctly in my inside voice and I fear being a fake.  I do think taking the 20 minutes a day to do the Doprah 21 Day Meditation Experience does help me think about things in a different way.  I got a lot out of each of their small, daily lectures.  I think that’s how I came to the conclusion that I was generalizing my stress too much.  It’s time for me to makeover my thoughts.  Here are some examples:

The Before – Work is stressing me out

The Makeover Thought (AKA, recognizing what is causing these feelings) I find work is causing me to worry because…I’m in a new-ish role, in a new-ish department with a new-ish boss with a new-ish team.  My work load is very large and I put a lot of pressure on myself to excel.  I worry that when I get so busy that things will fall through the cracks and that I will disappoint people.  I have less free time and feel that I sometimes forget to reach out to people that matter to me because their emails get lost in the mess that is my inbox.

The New Reality – I am pretty good at what I do, so maybe my best simply is enough and I have to accept that I can’t do everything.  I have to learn to delegate more and respond less.  The world isn’t going to end if I don’t get every single item off of my to-do list.  I also have to realize that I’ve achieved every career goal that I’ve set for myself and maybe it’s time to learn to be happy about that.

The Before – My family/friends stress me out

The Makeover Thought – I am worried about the health and happiness of the people in my life.

The New Reality – I can’t control whether people are healthy or happy, I can only control my reactions to them.

The Before – It’s a weekend, and other than going out and doing something fun, I haven’t been productive.

The Makeover Thought – I need to clean my apartment, run errands, get some stuff on Kijiji, go to the bank, dry cleaners, pick up a gift…and the list goes on and on.  How will I ever do everything?

The New Reality- I will get through the list, but maybe, every now and again, it’s ok to just veg out.

I think  being more specific about what’s been causing me stress, has made me feel better.  Maybe a little Deepak also helped.

Speaking of silly stress, I went to a Stevie Wonder concert with my frousin, GK, on Tuesday.  Stevie Wonder is one of the most talented people I’ve ever seen – there is no denying that.  The man plays the piano like a dream, the harmonica, and probably a slew of other instruments that I will never in a million years be able to master.  He is charming and inspirational and everything good.  People who were at the concert were glued to the stage….except me…I have to be honest, I didn’t know most of the music and I was getting  bored very fast and I love concerts.  Every time GK looked at me, I’d shrug my  shoulders.  I was counting the songs knowing that there were going to be 25 in total.  I was mentally calculating that each song was approximately 5 minutes in length and there were 15 left after Sir Duke (the only song that I knew before the intermission).  By the 8th song, GK texted me to ask if I was enjoying the concert, and as ashamed as I was to admit this, I wrote, “He’s very talented….but I wish I was at Pink!”  I felt like the most uncultured concert-goer in the world, but the fact of the matter is that she felt the same way!  There was a point where Stevie sang a really weird lyric and we both looked at each other and cracked up.  We decided to leave WAAAYYYY before the concert ended.  We were both stressed that the other would want to stay – sometimes, its best just to fess up.  It was so nice, and de-stressing, at that moment in time, to be understood.  This week, I’m grateful to GK for being my partner in the great Wonder escape and for just being fun to being around in general.


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The Stress of Blogging…And Other Stuff

I don’t think that blogging is all that stressful. In fact, I enjoy writing my blog.  I rarely get writer’s block.  Researching, checking out videos and other Oz-worthy information is a little stressful though, but not enough to add to inflammation in my potentially riddled body.  The only real stress is finding the time to blog…and the lack of really great recent Gwyneth Paltrow quotes.  I do have faith though, that I will always find the time to write and that Gwynnie will say something really dumb….soon.  I have to give her props for the Jailbird Cake in response to Martha Stewart’s own nastiness – there is nothing more stinging than a WASP feud (pun intended).  Check out the linkhttp://goop.com/recipes/sweets/jailbird-cake.  I personally will not be making this cake – it calls for a mix master and I don’t own one.  I’ve been banned from using the mixer at my mother’s house ever since the gingerbread man incident of 2008.  Talk about stress!  It was my first time using a mix master since I was a wee one and it was a bit of a disaster that resulted in a set of broken beaters and a warning never to touch my mother’s kitchen equipment again.  Since then, she has relented and lets me use the kettle and the dishwasher.  I’ve also been upgraded to stove top usage since I’m the only person in the family who can make a good pot of rice, but every time I even think about getting close the the mecca that is the mixer, I’m given a stern warning that it has to last the rest of my mother’s life and that she is down to her last set of beaters thanks to me.  OOOPS….sorry!

Getting back to the stress of blogging, most days, I barely have time to answer my work emails.  I’ve stopped answering most emails from friends just due to lack of time – sorry friends!  I still do get joy from writing my little blog so I do try to make an effort where I can.  Bizarre fact – last week, when I blogged just once, I had more views than almost any other week.  Another interesting fact if you do blog, and I’m not sure that this happens to everyone – I get WAAAAYYYY more views on weekdays than on weekends which is the best time for me to write.  Lesson – just get it over with during the week and party on during the weekends.  When I write about travel, I also get more followers…interesting….I love travel and could write about it every single day.

In terms of stress relief, my daily Deepak Chopra/Oprah 21 Day Meditation Experience is going off just as expected – I listen raptly as DOprah speaks and as soon as it’s time to meditate, I lose it.  Fortunately, Deepak always assures me that the goal isn’t perfection.  I’m sad that it’s winding up but to tide me over, I’m reading Chopra’s “The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire”.  It makes me feel deep that I’m reading it!  It’s actually really well written – it’s all about the role of coincidence in your life.  Ever read the bore that is “The Celestine Prophecy”?  That book lost me after chapter one which was the only good chapter in the whole book.  It was all about coincidence (just that chapter) – I blocked out the rest of the book since it qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.  Chopra’s book on the other hand, is all about coincidence – it’s the central theme – with some quantum physics to make you feel especially smart.  He explains everything so well, it doesn’t even lose me when he starts talking about molecules and atoms – check it out if you are interested in the topic.  You won’t be disappointed unless you only like horror and chick-lit – then you are out of luck.

Last but not least, a moment of gratitude.  Today I am grateful to my over 70 year old mother (I’m not going to share her full age – that’s a not very carefully guarded secret).  My poor little mother who has health issues of her own, got up and offered a heavily pregnant woman a seat on Toronto’s subway.  I sat comfortably watching this, thinking – YAY Mom!  Give up your seat instead of me…just kidding – I wasn’t even there.  I just can’t believe that people today let my mother give up her seat while they sat there.  It’s common courtesy to give up your seat for an elder, a pregnant woman, someone that is blind, uses a cane, is in a walker, etc.  I see people everyday pretend to be asleep or lost in their book so that they can stay comfy.  All I have to say is shame on you!  Let’s be a little kinder to one another, and offer someone who needs to rest a place to do it and not make someone who isn’t old at all (like my Mummy) but who may be more advanced in years than you, give up hers.


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Stupid Stress Followed By Calm and Serenity

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Doesn’t this look serene? I took this in Norway…

Remember the book  “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff?  It made me sweat the small stuff…a lot…Why you ask?  Or you don’t, but I’m going to answer anyway – because I am the type of person who can cope with pressure when it’s big but when it’s small, that’s when I start feeling stress.  Everyone copes differently, so here is my top ten list of REALLY STUPID THINGS that cause me stress and how I’m going to cope with them:

  1. Sitting on a seat that’s really warm on the subway – and I mean really warm.  I’ll cope by reminding myself that people spend thousands of dollars to put bum warmers in their cars and this is a special gift for me to get it for free.  I’ll also tell myself (in my inside voice) that it wasn’t a smelly person who sat there before me and they definitely didn’t have bum sweat.
  2. Getting stuck on the subway.  I can’t really do anything about it – it’s beyond my control, so I’ll do what I always do, pull out my book and enjoy the mini-break from work.
  3. The fact that the best show on TV, “The Mindy Project”, may face cancellation.  I’ve already told everyone I know to watch the show, I blog about it and bring it up in casual conversation where I can.  There really is nothing else that I can do but wait for the ax to fall and enjoy it while it lasts.
  4. Winter in general and being cold in particular.  It’s going to happen, whether I like it or not.  I have a really warm jacket and dress for the weather, so I’ll have to just accept it.  I also have to accept that it’s November, and all hopes of 20+ degree weather are gone.
  5. Cooking.  Although I am much better than I used to be having mastered the art of the stir fry and a couple of pasta dishes that I don’t really eat anymore, I have to stop getting intimidated by fancy terms.  By the way – did you know that “reserve” means to set aside?  I bet everyone knew that but me – you are all so much smarter, better people and much wiser!  There I go stressing again.
  6. The fact that there are at least 14 country songs that I know and like (mostly Lady Antebellum.  It doesn’t make me a Hee Haw Honey – it makes me open minded when it comes to music.  Just don’t tell anyone that I like it – ok?
  7. My fear of bugs.  I’m never going to deal with it, so I just embrace the fear and enjoy the entertainment it provides to people.
  8. The fact that Google can track my every move online.  I’ve just come to accept it.  Facebook does the same thing.  I always wonder how The Huffington Post always posts doggie pics and deeply touching animal stories on my newsfeed – well, I get it now.
  9. The fact that every day, I gain and lost almost an equal number of Twitter followers.  I don’t love Twitter anyway – somehow, I’ll cope.
  10. All of the things that I have to do in life.  I still have half a lifetime to finish them – so maybe I should just stop stressing?

So, what am I doing this month to help ease the stress of these and other pressures?  I’ve signed up for another Deepk Chopra/Oprah 21 Day Meditation Experience – it’s free so try it yourself https://chopracentermeditation.com.  Dr. Oz is a big believer in meditation which I may have mentioned about 21 times!  I’m also going to scour his website to find other solutions to de-stress myself and embrace a semi-relaxed new me (likely not going to happen, but worth a try).

Today, I’m grateful for November – I’ve never loved October and am so happy to see a new page on the calendar.


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Some House Keeping – Literally ; Accepting the New And Ice Bucket Challenges

The death of a laptop is never an easy thing to digest.  Like grief, there are 7 steps:

  • Denial – how can it completely die?  If I press the button ten times in a row, surely it will come on…
  • Pain and guilt – Wow, this is going to hurt my wallet – what a pain.  I feel such guilt over the clothes that I bought after just investing in a laptop.
  • Anger and bargaining – Stupid laptop – why did you have to die on me?  I’ll never leave you uncharged again if you come back to life.
  • Depression, reflection and loneliness – I’m so sad I had to pay for a new lap top.  It’s so expensive.  Reflecting on it made me realize that my iPad just isn’t enough.  I feel so lonely for my old computer – knowing how to copy and paste was so nice!
  • The upward turn – but wait – this isn’t so bad – the MacBook Pro has so many great features, and it’s really user friendly and I feel cooler saying that I use a Mac instead of an HP.  Really, how many people do you hear saying “I’m an HP girl…I love my HP…”
  • Reconstruction and working through – wait – oh that’s where my pictures went…the data transfer wasn’t a big fail.  
  • Acceptance and hope – I accept that this lap top is a step up – and so pretty!  I hope that it lasts for at least 5 years1

So – I’m loving the transition and learning a new operating system.  Plus, the meditation that I’ve been doing on Dr. Oz’s advice has helped me accept the inevitability of computer death.  I’m so happy that I only have 3 meditations left and my 21 day experience is over.  Meditation is wrought with pressure for me as much as I love Doprah.  I’ll do the next one when it comes up, but I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of turning my brain off and I’m ok with that.

The next order of business is a report on my decluttering.  Here is the tally from last weekend:

Garbage:

  • 1 set of sheets (is that one item or two?)
  • 1 pair of shoes – beyond repair
  • TOTAL – 2 ITEMS

Donate:

  • 4 pairs of shoes
  • 2 skirts
  • 1 blouse
  • 1 robe
  • 1 dress
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 top
  • 4 sweaters
  • 1 faux fur shrug
  • TOTAL 17 ITEMS
  • GRAND TOTAL – 19 items

I still have half of a closet and 7 drawers to go through before I finish my clothing.  Two more weeks and hopefully, I can continue on with other decluttering.

Last, but not least, inspired by Dr. Oz’s fearlessness and the value of a worthy cause, I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Check out the link below.  Before you naysayers say how ridiculous the whole challenge is, please remember that ALS was not on the tip of everyone’s tongue before this social media phenomena.  It gives the spotlight to a really terrible disease that is badly in need of some help.  If it takes dumping a bucket of water on my head to help, I’m game.  Remember, cancer, heart disease and diabetes affect millions more people, but you can survive and live a long life if you, heaven forbid, are diagnosed with one of these diseases.  ALS is another story and I’m happy that this viral campaign made it top of mind for a moment in time.  

Today, like many people, I’m deeply saddened by the death of Joan Rivers.  I grew up watching her and was a fan of “The Fashion Police”.  She had chutzpah – having the guts to say what many of us thought.  I really thought she was going to live forever.  I’m grateful, today, for the laughs that she gave me over the years.  

Gratefully and a bit mistily yours,

Jill


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Day 21: Expressing The End

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Image courtesy of chopracentermeditation.com

It’s finally here, my last blog on meditation.  Thank you for sticking with me through it.  I was getting grumbles from some of my readers –  they were getting bored with this, but when I committed to 21 days, I had to see the whole process through and this blog was my way of doing that.  As I mentioned, I think meditation is fine and that I’ll enjoy it more without the added pressure of writing about it.  I think the only way that it can work for me is through guided meditation.  I need some sort of structure, otherwise, I’ll just be sitting there wondering if I’m doing it correctly.  I can’t say that it’s something that I’ll do every day, but I do understand now, why Dr. Oz recommends it and after I finish writing this entry, I am going to go and peruse Deepak Chopra’s meditation library and buy myself a little something special.  Now onto the final words for this, the 21st day!

I’m going to skip most of Oprah’s remarks, although they are inspirational, it’s a case of been there, written about that.  To end though, she reminded us that although we’ve completed one cycle, we will begin again.  You can say that again Lady O – I’m beginning a whole new 21 day meditation and it’s great because I’ll be able to go back and concentrate on the ones that I liked  best.  Consumerism lives even in spirituality.  

Deepak starts the last meditation with a statement that we step into living our vision as we align with the light that is focused on the seven chakras.  A month ago, if someone said this to me, I’d likely laugh at them, by the end of the three weeks, I was buying everything that Chopra was selling me.  He let us in on another spiritual secret which encourages you to be the source of light in your life.  It’s like that old song, “You Light Up My Life” by Debbie Boone with a twist making it “I Light Up My Life”.  So when you are sitting by the window waiting for someone to sing you their song, get up, go to the mirror and sing it to yourself sister (or brother).  Anyway, DC believes that the most important lesson for us to learn is that spiritual awakening is natural.  The process is similar to waking up in the morning and opening your eyes to the light, only here we have been opening our inner sight to the light of consciousness.  I know, I know – a little abstract.  Maybe part of this whole process is realizing that there are no easy answers?  Just a little something to meditate on – and by that I mean you, not me!

Back to rolling in the Deep-ak.  Our light expresses our personal vision.  We all have dreams to fulfill (otherwise our lives would be pretty dull).  For spirituality to be valid, it must be useful in bringing fulfillment.  Well, there goes that purse that I dreamed of – but purses are useful and bring me fulfillment.  Could this be what he is talking about?  Hello Chloe if he is!  Nope – he’s talking about truths that will lie dormant and asleep – foiled again.  The fulfillment of our dreams is meant to be activated by the seven chakras and as we activate them, we are focused on seven levels of fulfillment.  The highest state of fulfillment arrives when you are fully connected to the internet (just checking to see if you were paying attention).  It actually arrives when you are fully connected to the light of being oneself.  

We are supposed to offer ourselves a simple reminder of the light that we share with others. We should smile with our hearts and let our true selves shine through our eyes.  A few words offered with kindness is another way to let your light radiate – isn’t that lovely?  Another way is going inward when you are feeling good and saying silently to yourself “I am enough”.  If that isn’t self-affirmation, I don’t know what is.  It’s simple and true, but it’s easy to believe on some days rather than others.  When I experience disappointment, I never feel that way but maybe it’s because I didn’t think of those three little words.  DC goes on to say that if you radiate the light of your own being, nothing more can be asked of you.  It may take a journey to find your true self because of past conditioning or other obstacles that cloud our inner vision.  All of these things can be overcome.  DC suggests that meditation is the way to do this since it allows you to find your inner vision and use it in daily life. Today, even though I’m not 100% on everything that I learned over the past month, I can say that I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in this experience.  I am grateful to you for bearing with me too.  I promised you awhile ago, that I would share my very favourite poem with you – I think it sums up, in a very non-abstract way, the point of this whole exercise.  It’s called Desiderata and if you aren’t familiar with it, please enjoy:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927