Category Archives: Naturally Happy

How to Master Life

I am a life-long procrastinator. It’s something I am really trying to tackle in 2019. I had an epiphany about it this morning and realized I have been going about it all wrong.

I have been trying to overcome procrastination by becoming more efficient. I have been studying how to establish good habits. I have been watching endless videos on effective morning, evening and writing routines. I have been trying to establish these good habits and efficient routines, only to get derailed by life events and end up feeling like a failure.

Oddly enough, it was my new favorite hobby that led to this epiphany that changed everything. I started learning how to crochet last April and I LOVE it! It’s one of my favorite things to do. Although, I realized that when I crocheted for a long time, as much I enjoy it, there was still something amiss.  There was a little nagging voice in the back of my head saying, “you know, you haven’t written anything in a really long time!”

It was then that it occurred to me that there are things you need to do like eat, sleep and maintain good hygiene, things you love to do like crochet and then there are things you are meant to do- and for me- this is writing.  The things we are meant to do, often, seem to be what we resist the most to our own detriment.

The truth is when I don’t write anything at all, I don’t feel quite well.  Life is literally draining out of me. I realize that sounds dramatic but there is probably something in your life that produces the same effect.  I enjoy crocheting and it adds a lot to my existence but nothing makes me feel quite as alive and purposeful as having written.

So, why do I avoid it?  Why do I procrastinate? Steven Pressfield writes about resistance in the War of Art as if it is a real life bogeyman who quite literally wants to kill us. Whether this is actually the case or not, it’s really the only compelling explanation I have found to demystify the phenomenon of procrastination.

What are you meant to do? What have you been resisting?

Enjoy The Donut!

This past Thursday, Valentine’s Day, I stopped off to pick up a coffee cake for the breakfast we were having at work. While completing that task, I spied a package full of beautifully-baked, perfectly-sugared jelly donuts.

I am not usually someone who is drawn to sweets. I am more of a savory kind of gal. However, there is something about donuts that I find utterly irresistible! I turn into Homer Simpson. (“Doooooo-nut…!”) Normally, I avoid places that sell them for this reason. I tried to summon up my will power to avoid them even in this instance but after circling them three times, I pounced and they were gathered up with the coffee cake.

I scarfed one down in the car on the way to the office. I felt immensely joyful afterward. Then I became concerned that I might be using food to control my mood. I shared this with a few people at the office, who said, “It’s Valentine’s Day! It’s okay to have a sweet once in a while.”

I think they’re right. Since I am interested in nutrition and self-improvement, I tend to review a lot of content by people who seem perfect in their habits. They live on salads, green smoothies and kale and nary a bit of refined sugar ever seems to cross their lips. While that’s admirable, I think as long as I am making the effort to avoid the bakery 90% of the time, it’s okay to enjoy a donut every once in a while. So far, I haven’t started putting on a scarf and sunglasses to sneak into donut shops on the daily, weekly or even monthly yet… So, I can probably cut myself a break.

Do you have a not-so-healthy food that you find too tempting to pass up?

Time to Get this Garden Started!

It’s that time again!  One of my favorite things about gardening is watching seeds turn into plants. I am really excited about this year’s seeds because I purchased them from Seed Savers Exchange.

Seed Savers was founded by Diane Ott Whealy and Ken Whealy in 1975.  The mission of this nonprofit organization is to save and share seeds in order to preserve biodiversity for generations to come. They maintain a collection of more than 20,000 heirloom and open-pollinated vegetable, herb, and plant varieties, including over 1,000 varieties of heritage apple trees.  Their collection includes many organic seeds.

I am happy to support an organization with such a great purpose.  I have to admit though, I am even more excited about seeing what comes out of these seeds!  My tomato plants this year have names like Velvet Red and Black Krim! The peppers are Jimmy Nardello’s and King of The North. How cool is that?

Check out this description for Redfield Beauty Tomatoes: “Historic Variety introduced circa 1889 by H.G. Hastings & Co. of Interlachen, Florida. Flattened pink 3″ inch fruits with excellent full flavor.” When was the last time you ate a tomato from the Supermarket that matched that description? Never.

I think that one of the most marvelous things about gardening is the opportunity to discover something new (and delicious!) right in your own yard. There is a romance to gardening. You nurture these plants along on the promise of the rewards to come when they bear fruit.  The prize you end up with is largely determined by the seeds you have when you begin… like all great romances!

Are you starting your garden from seeds? Have you used Seed Savers Exchange? Please leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you.

 

Have You Got Hygge in Your Home?

Not that long ago, after many years of thinking I knew my ancestry, I discovered that my father actually has a rather substantial amount of Scandinavian blood coursing through his veins.  So, it stands to reason, my siblings and I do too. Perhaps, this is why I took to the concept of Hygge like a cod to water.

Hygge (pronounced hue-ga) is a danish word with no direct english translation.  According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it means:

A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture.)

I can get down with being cozy especially this time of year.  I am a Spring-Summer kind of gal.  Winter makes me want to hibernate!  Since I can’t actually sleep all season, the next best thing is having little comforts to keep me warm and cozy inside when it’s cold outside.  Here are some of my Hygge-ly tips:

1. LIGHTING can make a big difference in creating a warm and nurturing atmosphere.  I like the soft orange glow from this Himalayan salt lamp my sister gave me for Christmas.  Candles can also provide beautiful soft light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. SCENTS provide a mood-lifting experience.  I like blending different essential oils in a diffuser.  This candle-powered one is great because it has  the added benefit of lovely candlelight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. A WARM TREAT can be just the right balm for a weary soul on a chilly day.  No further explanation needed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. CUDDLY FRIENDS are great any time of year but they are definitely more inclined to snuggle up in the winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. DREAMING of Spring can help too.  Winter is a great time to plan what you would like to do in the balmier days to come.  Gardeners start planning months before the ground is warm enough to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you got any Hygge-like rituals to help get you through the winter?  Please share them by leaving a comment.

Learning to Love Life Again

I mentioned in my last post that my luck has not been so good lately.  As the saying goes, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”  At least, that’s how it has felt.  So, when I saw a workshop titled, Love Your Life, I thought, “I should probably take that.”

Love Your Life is based on a book, The Passion Test, by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood.  The gist of both the workshop and book is to help you gain clarity on what you are passionate about.  This is achieved through an exercise where you identify 10 things that would make your life ideal.  With the help of a partner you narrow it down to five through a questioning exercise.  You then set goals or markers to achieve those five items.

While I found that part of the workshop interesting, identifying my passions has never really been my problem.  The second half of the workshop was about commitment and overcoming obstacles.  I found this very interesting because I often get distracted from goals because of life circumstances and-this is hard to admit- fear.

Our facilitator, Christina Loggia, had us write down our negative self-talk.  Then she had us “re-language” these sentences into something more positive. As a writer one of my fears is that no one cares about what I have to share.  I re-languaged that negative statement into “the right audience finds and appreciates my work.”  I felt my mood shift when I read this new statement.  Feeling better about it, somehow, made it seem more possible it could be true.  Affirmations are not new to me but I had never made one that was so goal-specific before.  It was like a little fear-seeking missile!

My other big takeaway from the workshop was about committing the time and energy to achieve what I am passionate about.  Christina shared with the group that one of her passions is yoga.  She said that everyone in her life knows when she practices and teaches yoga and that they know better than to ask her to do something during those times.  I have been very sloppy when it comes to setting boundaries around my passions.  I intend to change that going forward.

The last point I wanted to mention was that I realized nothing has to be achieved overnight.  I think I have been inclined not to set goals in the past because I didn’t think I would have the time or financial resources to achieve them.  Our society is so inclined toward instant gratification, it can be hard to work toward something if you don’t when exactly it will come to fruition.      Christina gave an example about trying to sell her house and how it was taking longer than hoped.  It doesn’t mean it will never sell.  It just hasn’t been the right time yet.  The important thing is to stay clear on what you want even when success seems elusive.

 

My Reiki Experience

I was looking for a free QiGong class when I saw an event listed at a nearby library:

REIKI

Reiki is a Japanese technique for reducing stress and promotes healing.  Wear comfortabe clothing.

I thought with my luck lately, I could use all the stress reduction and healing I could get. As a student of yoga and meditation, I am somewhat familiar with energy healing but not Reiki per se. So, I really didn’t know what to expect in a group session.

I arrived at the library meeting room with the other early birds.  While we waited, our Reiki Instructor warned us about the dangers of consuming food a day after it is cooked, as well as processed food.  Something about nighttime altering the subtle energy of food.  Although, I agree about the processed food, today was the first time in months I bought soy ice cream!  I was looking forward to a little treat and really wasn’t in the mood for a lecture.

After everyone arrived, we silenced our phones as the lights were lowered.  We were told to sit with our spines straight in a comfortable position.  It was important to not cross our arms or legs; as this would interfere with the flow of energy.  Then we were asked to visualize a silvery-white cosmic energy a few feet above our heads.  A ball of this energy was to enter our crown chakra- “Wait a minute! Chakra? I thought this was a Reiki session.  Reiki is Japanese.  I know chakras from yoga and Ayurveda.  That’s Indian. Does Reiki use chakras too?”

Then I reminded myself that maybe it would be better to focus on the meditation.  I was after stress reduction and healing. It didn’t really matter how I got it.  So, I settled in and let her words guide my mind as she described this cosmic healing energy cleansing each chakra from root to crown.  It was very relaxing.  I also noticed that the cough from my allergies had abated during the meditation.  Pretty cool!

After the session was over, I thanked our instructor. I also mentioned I was surprised when she started talking about chakras and didn’t realize they were part of Reiki.  She said something like she does the Reiki and that was one of the forms she chooses to use.  I took this to mean that Reiki is the healing energy and you can put it in any vehicle you want.  She used a chakra meditation. Someone else might use sound and vibration for example.  Apparently, there are numerous ways to transmit this energy.  I am not sure.  Perhaps, I can write a follow-up if I learn more about it after a future session.  I do plan to go back.

I did find a QiGong class.  So, I will let you know how that goes.

2017 Garden Moments

A week ago, it was in the 70s then Fall finally arrived for a few days. Yesterday, it seemed like Winter came early.  Brrrrrr!!!!

Here are some shots from my 2017 Garden to warm things up (Click on the photo to view a larger image.):

Tiny seedlings

Tiny seedlings turn into Great Starts

 

 

 

 

 

Waste not! Eat those thinned out seedlings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miles the Compost Pile is born!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Care and Feeding of Miles…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything in my little pocket farm was grown from seed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gotta have some ornamentals too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tillandsia (air plant) Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the tomatoes: Baby Beefsteaks, Baby!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zuke and Cuke Blossoms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Zuke!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reaping and eating the harvest!

Zoodles! (Zuke Noodles)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Cukes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home for the Bees 🐝

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunflowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for viewing.  I hope you enjoyed my little garden tour.

Many blessings,

Cynthia

Eat Your Seedlings!

Is that a vicious title or what?  Actually, I’ve decided eating seedlings is the kindest thing to do.

The hardest part of gardening, in my opinion, has to be thinning seedlings.  You spend a week or more, wishing, hoping and praying that your seeds germinate and grow.  Then they do!  Then you have to wipe out a sizable portion of them because there are always too many or none at all, nothing in between. They need to be spaced properly or they won’t grow but MY GOD, I don’t want to decide which ones have to go.  I want to nurture them but in order to do that I have to ruthlessly pick which ones get to live.  Yeesh!

The other thing that bothered me is that it seemed so wasteful to just toss them.  So, I decided to eat them!  Now, I prefer to think of them as sprouts, instead of my victims and they are delicious!

So, how is your garden growing this year?

Many blessings,

Cynthia

Seeds Update

There is some good news and not so good news.

Bad news first,  the indoor herb seedlings didn’t make it.  I suspect I didn’t get the peat pots wet enough to start and the sides needed to be covered better with the plastic.  I’ll direct sow them again outside.  I think they will be fine.  I’ll just need to wait a little longer to harvest them.

Now for the good news!  The tomato plants are doing great.  So great in fact, I needed to find homes for them.  Several people have said they will be happy to adopt the little leafy guys once they are hardened off and can live outside.  They should be ready in about two weeks.

So, tell me how is your garden growing?

Many  blessings,

Cynthia

Planting Seeds of Hope and Happiness

I was at Home Depot last week trying bring a project that was banging around my head to fruition when I spied the organic seed section…  Uh-oh.  It’s amazing how quickly seed packets can stack up in your cart.

Now, I have tried to grow plants from seed several times before. I haven’t tried indoor seeds in many years.  I tend to be more successful when I direct sow outdoors in the Spring but that means I never get to grow certain plants like tomatoes from seed.  So, with a heart full of optimism, here we go again…

Baby Tomato Plants

Baby Basil

Do you grow your own plants from seed?  I would love to hear from you.

Many Blessings,

Cynthia