balance

A Peaceful Stroll

Today I took a quiet stroll.

Alone.

My stroll wasn’t preplanned rather it was spontaneous. Off I went. The air was cool and crisp. The shade of the trees added a drop in temperature to 8-10 degrees lower. Unexpected chill but maybe that alerted my senses more.

Hands in pockets watching the trees blow around me. Enjoying the scents in the air on this morning. My path wasn’t set. I was just shuffling along. Sometimes on pavement. Sometimes on gravel. I had the option of grass but didn’t drift that way.

On my stroll I thought about many things. I listened to many sounds. I viewed and observed all of what was around me. I genuinely felt thankful for where I am in life. For the good times as well as the bad times. Sometimes taking a back seat to your own life allows you to see your fortune. Not the fortune of money rather the fortune of life and living it. Experience.

I have experience. I can bend and flex and fit into any mix of people or settings. A skill I have worked on all my whole life. Experiences have helped me mature enough to know when I need to bend and flex. When to reframe the gloomy outlook. When to spark creativity.

My mind works in overdrive during the oddest times. Sometimes it’s in a sleep state. Sometimes on a random stroll. The beauty of a quiet mind yields results. I had a recent conversation with a teenage boy. He mentioned how long it takes him to fall asleep. I questioned why. He noted his mind takes time to wind down.

How I related in many ways. In life we all must find a balance for not only us but those closest to us. Kids especially have an always on mentality. Even more so than me. The younger generation is overactive online making it hard to flip the off switch. They are less likely to take the stroll alone I mentioned above. Therefore we should check in on those around us to see how we can help them recharge in non-traditional ways.

Sports or working out of sorts helps as the fatigue will wear one out.

A day at the beach can help. The sun. The sand. The limited reach of electronics. All add a level of fatigue.

An outing such as a hike, bowling, top golf, go-karting, kayaking, and so on. These little outings can provide a change of scenery. A lot of laughter. An escape from the planned days many are accustomed to. Adventures will let the mind settle and possibly add a dream state of what could be next.

Add mindfulness to your day or week. My Apple Watch tells me it’s a thing. Something to remind me to do daily, however I already know this. I am hopeful this post will spur thoughts or action in you or inspire you to influence another. 

Practice mindfulness.

Set a goal of peace for yourself.

Challenge yourself to do something different.

Riding your bike to work one day not driving may be just the variation you need. Not all can do this but if you can, try it. See how it goes. 

perspective

Body Envy

A recent conversation between friends turned to observations about an acquaintance of ours. In the past year or so she has become incredibly fit and muscular. The comments jumped back and forth: “Have you seen her?” “She is just a solid rock.” “I might have body envy.”

I thought about it and, remarkably, I totally don’t have body envy. At all.

I can look at her and think wow, she looks great. She is lean and strong. So it’s not that I don’t think she is in amazing shape…it’s more that I don’t have body envy of anyone.

Maybe there was a time when I looked at bodies and wished mine were different. But not now. Am I perfect? Nope. Mine is a body that has carried as much as 314 pounds (or more.) There is flab and extra skin hanging down that no amount of clean eating and gym work will ever take away. It’s me. It’s my story. Even though I am proud of my shoulders, if I lift my arms up there is a ton of deflated balloon skin that just drapes down. It is what it is. It is me.

It’s a choice for me. A choice to be comfortable in my skin. I’m pretty proud of where I am and what I can do. So no, I don’t have body envy. I wouldn’t change my story.

You know what I envy, if anything? A person’s spirit. Their soul. Their joy.

People with endless kindness. People with hearts for so many. People who always seem to find the bright side, even in the darkest of times. People who are caring, lively, giving.

Bodies are great. Goodness knows we need them and need to keep them healthy. But there are limits to what we can do to change them, especially after years and decades of experience (and, in some cases, enjoyment or abuse, depending on how you look at it.)

The spirit can always be made more beautiful.

awareness

Script Flip (Again)

Another Street Parking challenge has come and gone. These challenges come around a few times a year. Each one has a slightly different focus, but in the end establishing healthy habits and consistency are the overarching themes.

The little daily extras in each challenge sneak up on me. This challenge required writing a daily gratitude reflection. I like to write at the beginning of the day so I challenged myself to write at the end this time. There were many days when I had to pull myself out of near-sleep to jot it down, but it got done almost every day.

Knowing I had to write what I was grateful for actually made me think about my mindset throughout the day. I realized I had fallen into some of my old habits of negativity and grumpiness. I’ve done this exercise before, but a reset was needed. (I’m also just going to pause and say that right now seems like a tough time for many in my life circles as well as the world in general. Between the pandemic surges, war, weather, craziness, on top of all the regular life stuff, things. just. feel. very. heavy and hard.) So early in the challenge I decided to pull something I was grouchy about it and flip it to a gratitude each day. I did this early in the pandemic as well to try to reframe some of my challenges.

Here are some of the before / afterthoughts from this time around:

-We recently had a stretch where many people in our circles needed a “place to crash” for a few days. This added adults, kids, dogs, and stuff to our already slightly chaotic household. Grouchy to Gratitude: “I am grateful we have a home with enough room to welcome those who need it.”

-Covid hit my family in the past month, bringing sickness and many associated challenges to our daily lives. Grouchy to Gratitude: “I am grateful the vaccine protected some of those around us from sickness.” “I am grateful we have focused on our health over the past couple of years to help us have a better chance of beating this virus.”

-I’ve been given many more work responsibilities this fall. Our student numbers have increased along with a focus on keeping kids safe. Grouchy to Gratitude: “I am grateful that my boss finds my inclusion in projects to be beneficial.” “I am grateful for the opportunity to be a light for kids at a time when lots of things are dark.”

-At times my “extra jobs” have been overwhelming this month – i.e., launching the cut flower arm of our business and being a booster club president / treasurer for a high school sport. Grouchy to Gratitude: “I am grateful for all the smiles a joy I get to give people from the groundwork we have done.” “I am grateful for the abundance our land has provided.” “I am grateful for the chance to organize a season that these girls can find special and memorable.”

The list goes on. I found myself, during grouchy moments, mentally flipping my script. Finding the flip side, the upside, the silver lining.

It’s all in the story we tell ourselves. Another great lesson hidden in something small. Hopefully I can sustain this discipline in the coming season.

adventure, fitness and nutrition

Stranded

When I started this post I thought I was going to be stranded in a hotel for days due to a snow and ice storm. One bad idea turned into another and chaos followed. All in a matter of 14 hours.

Plane ride 2 hours. Drive time 11 hours. “Let’s beat the storm” I said “and drive.” Much consideration for the party of 5. We go for it. Rent the car. Two back out on the way to the car rental place. No biggie, three will forge ahead.

Or not! Car rental place is sold out of cars despite having a reservation. All other rental places are the same. Guess it’s back to the hotel we go. Good night’s sleep but hotel is booked solid thanks to the weather front fast approaching. One room available but one is not. Maybe there is an option to fly from another airport? Guess we will just figure it out.

Flights cancelled for days on one airline yet another is still functioning. Weird but true. Rebook on another airline at a neighboring airport. 3 go one way. 2 go another way. The race to the finish line is on. 

Group 1 starts out first. Dodging snow and ice via a crazy Uber driver. Group 2 heads to the airport a smidge further away to get on a flight 2 hours later. Delayed. Delayed. Delayed is what’s on the screen for group 1. Group 2 moves on without a hiccup. Both groups used technology to keep up on progress. Both end up eating Whattaburger at their respective gates. The spicy ketchup was cool but everything else was meh.

Snow. Ice. De-ice. Wait. Shuffle seats. Off we go. The wait continues at the gate but this time packed in like sardines. The irony of this is it seemed better than being in the hotel with nothing to do or the unknown of when you could leave.

Being stranded brings up many emotions. Should I stay? Should I attempt to go? Which is right which is wrong? I follow my gut always. Sometimes the path is bumpy but normally I find solid ground at some point.

Part of me was curious about the adventures with friends of doing this that or nothing in the hotel but then I thought for reason xyz it was time to mosey on along. Such a crazy storm passing through at the same time I was passing through town. 

I didn’t get to explore the town like I wanted to due to the weather but I met some interesting people and had a great time with my travel mates even if we were at separate airports on the way back. People watching was extra fun at the airport as some individuals struggled a bit with emotions when delays kept escalating.  

My last 24 hours was a whirlwind to say the least. I enjoyed every last minute of the ups downs and everything in between. Find you some crazy friends to do whimsical things with and just go with the flow.  Plane is about to land so this blog post is going end right here.

healthy hacks, inspire

Karma and Kindness

When you are kind many things follow or fall into place. I always choose to fear less and progress forward. When I do so I seem to carry no extra weight or baggage in life.

It’s funny to think about but it’s an important rule to consider. Fear less. Focus on forward. Don’t let life’s dead weight halt your progress.

Kindness matters as well. When you explore a kindness matters motto in life good karma seems to follow. Not really sure how to articulate this other than using a key phases I have heard growing up:

You can fall in a bucket of shit but still come out smelling like roses. Is this really possible? Not physically possible but in life it is entirely possible. One’s life can be shaken to the core and disrupted yet one can still choose happy, kind, and so on. Making that choice is a conscious decision. Sometimes a daily decision.

Nevertheless the choice to be kind normally sets a tone for life. You end up around similar mindset people. You tend to live with good karma/juju. You tend to be open to new environments, people, cultures, opportunities, and so on.

Kindness and karma. Think about how both sit in your life path today. See if you need to change things up a bit to test my theory. See if life throws you sunshine and rainbows or not.