Roots—highly underrated. I was struck by the profound strength and stability underlying a grove of trees when a national forest ranger described the floods in the late 1800’s, caused by cutting down too many trees along the Hudson and Shenandoah Rivers at Harper’s Ferry. It's all about the roots inter-woven and dense, holding the soil together. I'd never considered that before. It was an "aha moment", as I connected the physical reality to the psychological one. No wonder we are stronger in numbers.
New Year’s Resolution solution Why make resolutions? Are we just setting ourselves up for more stress with our expectations? Resolution comes from the word, resolve. Maybe we should just “solve” our issues instead of re-solving them. The solution may be in how we frame our goals and aspirations. This year, let’s make it more fun! Try this: Let your (re) solution be a template for your new year. Progress comes from baby steps. Intend that each day is a little better than the day before. Frame your resolution in a positive way:
- If it’s about eating, don’t think about denying yourself pleasure. Avoiding temptation takes too much energy. Instead, place your intention on loving what’s good for you. Convincing your self to prefer salads is more constructive than saying that you can’t have that luscious chunk of chocolate.
- If it’s about procrastinating, imagine yourself to be a master of time management. No one wants to be told to change, particularly those of us with authority issues!
The Art of Heartitude. Did I make that word up? It was on my mind as I surfaced from delicious deep sleep on the snow-crisp, cold morning of the newest year to date, 2018. Heartitude: n., the state of having a heart-felt attitude; a feeling of love; an opening the heart chakra; use of love and compassion in decisions and relationships. January 1, 2018. Wow. I slept in this morning—because I could. Designating January 1st as ‘my day”, I have been taking liberties with my personal choices —what to do, when and how. Freedom is an elixir. A good way to start a year, methinks.
Not in the brightest of moods? Recently, a discussion group that I belong to posed the question: What have you done to bring joy into your life during times you don't FEEL joyful? I’d been wrestling with this lately because cold weather had me feeling over-dressed and frumpy—which in my experience, often leads to weight gain and poor body image. Maybe you can relate. There must be as many strategies as there are people, but one that works for me is to—Dress the way I want to FEEL —and build on it from there.
Trying to stay good-natured is a challenge while you hurt! Pain erodes your attitude; it's difficult to ignore driving and nagging pain. I too have some issues, so I’m sharing some of my personal strategies for dealing and alleviating the issue of sitting too long.
As a medical massage therapist, Here's what I know about stretching: Stretching is a dialogue between muscles and nerves. It's always seemed downright sweet to me, not to mention, prudent, that the nerves respond to a stretch with a built-in response mechanism called a reflex to keep the muscle from being stretched too far--to the point of injury. Unfortunately, the response often triggers a spasm which is a muscle contraction designed to stopping inhibit the stretch NOW. Quick, jerky movements are highly excitable to the nervous system, triggering the response and cold tissue is more likely to spasm as well.
The CHANGE Meet my friend, Lola She's in her mid-60's, smack-dab int he middle of the baby boomer generation. Divorced, she's accustomed to living alone. She's happy to be the mother of a good mother. Deeply involved with her grandkids, she's enamored beyond belief--who knew? She had a successful marriage for approximately 15 years then she experienced a change. Many people call menopause THE CHANGE. Maybe it is. But maybe the change is more than hormones in need of replacement. Maybe THE CHANGE is a change of heart and a change of mind.
Do you sometimes feel that your head is too heavy and your neck is too tight to turn? Remind your self to use your headrest and take advantage of the support. Here's where a little "self-talk" comes in--be conscious of relaxing the neck muscles that you are not using when you rest your head against something. In that moment, a release can make all the difference. Exhale the tension that has built up--really empty your lungs as you sit with your head agains the top of the couch or the backrest of your car--or wherever... It only takes a few moments to change your situational discomfort. And the relief becomes worth the effort--believe me.
Don't confuse stiffness with decrepitude. Turn on some music and dance a little--you'll soon smooth out your moves and groove. Just because we are stiff, does not necessarily mean that we are arthritic or "losing it". When you move and stretch to music, you find a way to unlock those stiff, rigid muscles. Go ahead--try it--you'll see. Research shows that music stimulates motor cells (muscles) using a different part of the brain. During WWI, patients who were shell-shocked and catatonic, began to move and even dance in ways the medical community would not say is possible when they heard familiar music. Experiencing some polio-effects, I can relate. When I walk, I seem to have more power and movement possible when I'm grooving to my tunes.