NEW YEAR – NEW ME

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Though the  first post on this topic, I  started this new journey to uplift the BODY, SPIRIT and MIND at the beginning of the year.

Thus far, I have brought several things into my space as I meander down this path of becoming a NEW ME in this NEW YEAR.

UPLIFT THE BODY

I am grateful for a strong support team of likeminded FAMILY MEMBERS, FITBIT FRIENDS, and FELLOW FACEBOOK 70 DAY CHALLENGERS who strive to follow a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE regimen. I interact with one or more of them on a daily basis. This keeps me informed, motivated, inspired and challenged to stay on track in my efforts to UPLIFT THE BODY.

I have a FITBIT and 70 DAY CHALLENGE goal of 10,000 steps daily and, with few exceptions, met and/or exceeded this goal.

 

UPLIFT THE SPIRIT

To uplift the SPIRIT, I confiscated Hubby’s abandoned and ignored MAN ROOM to create a space, for me, to BE IN STILLNESS  and MEDITATE. 

In the pre-dawn hours, I retreat to the  SERENITY ROOM. It is the place, for me, to build the solid foundation, which always seem to sustain me throughout the day.

UPLIFT THE MIND

Always open to learning something new, I agreed to go to a WATER COLOR PAINTING CLASS with the 25-year-old granddaughter.  I enjoyed the quality time spent with my MINI ME, but made the CHOICE to not return for a third class.

I am grateful that the NEW ME felt empowered enough to walk away, without carrying the burden of guilt, to something that no longer served to UPLIFT THE MIND.

However, I plan to keep the two partially-finished pieces as a reminder of a wonderful bonding experience with my MINI ME.

Week 7: Mindful Monday – Healthy Living

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Week 7:  INTENTIONS

Thank you Silver Threading for hosting Mindful Monday – Healthy Living.  My INTENTIONS for Week 7:

  • Prepare three healthy dishes from new cookbook.
  • Neighborhood mindfulness walk and capture nature photos x 1 day.
  • Fitness workout (cardio and circuit weights) x 3 days.
  • Indoor mall walk x 2 days
  • Walk through local botanical garden and capture nature photos x 1 day.
  • Color one page in a mindfulness coloring books

Week 6: 

CHOICE 

Last week, I made the CHOICE to live by the CREATION Health principles in the following ways:

REST

Sleep

I met my goal of sleeping 7-8 hours nightly.  According to my Fitbit, the 7-day average was 8 hours and 50 minutes.

ENVIRONMENT

At-home access to a stress reducing and spiritual uplifting ENVIRONMENT is a blessing..  When I am unable to get out and about, my  Healing Container Garden is always there.

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ACTIVITY

Early Morning, at-home exercises for the:

  • Body – physical therapy home exercises x 2 days for 15 mins.
  • Mind and Spirit – three guided meditation practices.

I did get in three days of additional exercise for the Body;

  • 30-minute LA Fitness walk on the treadmill;
  • 60-minute mall walk; and
  • 40-minute mindfulness walk through the neighborhood.

TRUST

When it comes to TRUST and SELF-TRUST, I admit to being a work-in-progress.  Through self-education, I hope to find answers.

This week, I read the first three chapters of, “The Courage to Trust: A Guide to Building Deep and Lasting Relationships.” I completed two Self-Discovery Questionnaires:

  • How Much Do You Trust Yourself – Based on my responses, the answer:  “Distrust of yourself is destroying your self-confidence.
  • How Much Do You Really Trust Others – Based on my responses, the answer:Your distrust of others is very high, limiting the depth of intimacy.”  This was quite revealing given my 0=none response to the question, “Do you believe you don’t know how to have truly intimate relationships.”

I no longer wish to live as a “a naked person” who distrusts self and others.  Before my space opens up to Trust and Self-Trust, I must first learn to discover, embrace and express love of self.  I am working on it.

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INTERPERSONAL

To uplift the mind, body and spirit, I decided to take part in the 8-Week Palouse Mindfulness online training program.  Organized and coordinated on Facebook by Sister Blogger, Elizabeth, over at My Eyes Are Up Here.”

Last week, the focus was on communication.  The reading materials and videos provided a lot of helpful information to improve both our listening skills and managing anger.

Going through this training on communication was an eye-opening learning experience.

 

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OUTLOOK

Daily, I worked at maintaining a positive OUTLOOK  by:

  • practicing daily morning meditations; and
  • sharing inspiring quotes with friends and family on Facebook and Instagram.

 

NUTRITION

Instead of drinking diet sodas daily, my 24-year-old granddaughter challenged me to change to lemon water. I found a number of articles in support of this and was surprised to learn of the many benefits.  Now, a glass of lemon water is always close by.

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Week 6: Mindful Monday – Healthy Living

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Week 6:  INTENTIONS

Thank you, Colleen, for hosting Mindful Monday – Healthy Living.   I begin each week with the INTENTION to mindfully move outside of my comfort zone to explore healthy living options.


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Week 5:  8 CREATION Health Principles

CHOICE

I made the  CHOICE, several weeks ago, to  Stop, Think, Observe and Proceed before acting.  When I take time to STOP, I make healthier decisions in all areas of my life.

REST

For more than a year,  I have fulfilled my INTENTION to get 7-8 hours of sleep nightly.  I slept 11+hours on Sunday and Thursday night.  Was this a healthy night’s sleep?

Seeking an answer, I went to WebMD, Sleep Disorders Health Center and read the  “7 Myths About Sleep”

Here’s what I found out:

MYTH:  If you can get it, more sleep is always healthier.

“FACT: …Some studies have found that people who slept more than eight hours a night died younger than people who got between six and eight hours.  What scientist don’t know yet:  Whether sleeping longer causes poor health or is a symptom of  it …. Long sleepers may suffer from problems such as sleep apnea, depression, or uncontrolled diabetes that makes them spend more time in bed.”

I believed the MYTH.  Even though I am being treated with overnight oxygen for sleep apnea, I am not concerned about the FACT.  If I begin to routinely sleep more than eight hours, I will check in with my pulmonologist.

ENVIRONMENT

I struggled through congestion and a cough that kept me housebound for most of the week, but I was able to connect with nature’s ENVIRONMENT.  I looked at photos taken during past mindfulness walks through my neighborhood; and felt as though I was in the presence of nature.

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ACTIVITY

I began the week taking care of a sick husband with a cold.  Several days later, I came down with a cold. I wasn’t able to follow my normal weekly ACTIVITY routine; but, I was able to go upstairs to my relaxation room to exercise the:

  • body — physical therapy exercises, leg stretches, yoga belt and plank poses for 30 minutes x 3 days.; and
  • mind – mindfulness and meditation practices for 11-30 minutes x 7 days.

TRUST

This week, I went online looking for reading materials to address my SELF-TRUST issues.   The one that drew my attention,  “3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust,” written by Ms. Margaret Tartakovsky, M.S., Associate Editor, Word of Psychology who states:

“Everyone in your life has the potential of betraying you.  They may leave.  They may pass away. They may make a rude comment. They may cheat. They may lie. They may disappoint you in many different way.  We can’t count on anybody 100%.”

To develop SELF-TRUST, Ms. Tartakovsky recommends:

  1. Avoid people who undermine your SELF-TRUST.
  2. Keep promises to yourself.
  3. Speak kindly to yourself.

Having lived for more than 73 years, I have been hurt and abandoned by people who I loved and trusted.  In most cases, it was short-lived and temporary.  Other times permanent — Like my mother passing away, almost 48 years ago, I am just beginning to deal with the hurt and pain of that.

Also, I am still reading the book by Tara Brach, “True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart.”   It is bringing me closer to understanding that SELF-TRUST will come when I am able to unconditionally love and nurture ME.

INTERPERSONAL

While building SELF-TRUST, I do not want to compromise developing strong  INTERPERSONAL relationships.  

Searching for guidance, I found this book written by Cynthia Lynn Wall, “The Courage to Trust:  A Guide to Building Deep and Lasting Relationships.”  She writes:

“The person you need to trust first is yourself.  No one can be consistently supportive of you as you can learn to be.  Being kind to yourself increases self-confidence and lessens your need for approval.  Loving and caring for yourself not only increases SELF-TRUST, it also deepens your connection with others.

Inspired by this quote, I purchased the Kindle version and look forward to beginning this new learning experience.

OUTLOOK

Feeling under the weather and out of sorts this week with a cold, I tried to maintain a positive OUTLOOK.   

For the entire week, I connected with The Meditation Podcast to uplift the mind and spirit.  I was able to let go of the negative and embrace the positive by practicing the following meditations:

  • Power of Kindness
  • Emotional Clearing
  • Positive Thoughts
  • Peace
  • The Healing Smile

NUTRITION

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Luckily, I found all the ingredients for this Turkey Vegetable Soup in the fridge and pantry,

  • Chicken Broth
  • Dry Onion Soup
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Frozen Mixed Vegetables
  • Frozen Okra
  • Turkey Legs

I dumped everything into the slow-cooker and ended up with enough soup to carry Hubby and I through the week.  When I have a cold, a hot cup of soup makes everything better.

 

 

 

Week 4: Mindful Monday – Healthy Living

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INTENTIONS

I start Week 4 of Mindful Monday – Healthy Living with the INTENTION to, daily, embrace and follow the eight CREATION principles of living life to the fullest.

 The 8 Principles – Week 3

CHOICE

Though still a work-in-progress, I feel good about the Mindful Choices made during the week.

REST

Six of seven nights were restful and met the good sleep hygiene standards of 7-8 hours.  One sleepless night led to a pain flare-up the next day; and, I made a Mindful Choice to let go of DOING and spend the entire day BEING.  In other words, DOING nothing and BEING still.

I was Mindful of Pacing my activities.  Instead of, continuously, walking for 45 minutes on the treadmill, I put the machine on a 1-minute pause every 5-10 minutes to rest. stretch and breathe.  I left the fitness center refreshed rather than exhausted.

ENVIRONMENT

I went on a MINDFUL 45-minute walk through my neighborhood.  From time-to-time, I walked at a slower pace and paused to connect with nature’s beauty:

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A Mindful Walk with Just ME and My Shadow

ACTIVITY

Exercised the body on six of the seven days for 45-60 minutes, I:

  • walked on the treadmill and/or glided on the elliptical machine for three days at the fitness center;
  • walked through my neighborhood one day; and
  • followed my early-morning exercise routine of leg stretches with the Yoga Belt, home physical therapy exercises, and/or plank poses.

I made the Mindful Choice to heed the advice of my massage therapist who is a practitioner of yoga and pilates.  She encouraged me to do plank poses every other day and not daily to give my muscles a day of rest.

Mindfully, I made the Choice to uplift the mind and spirit, daily, with a 20-30 minute meditation practice.

TRUST

My INTENTION this week was building Self-Trust.  I made the Mindful Choice to begin the 21-day Chopra meditation practice, “Become What You Believe.”  

“to seek our true nature and discover our path to health and happiness.  You will discover your soul’s purpose and create a life in which things are within reach.”

I am hopeful that as I grow in the belief of ME, Self-Trust will follow.

INTERPERSONAL

I love going to the car wash with Hubby.  It gives me the opportunity to buy my favorite line of greeting cards.

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This week, I thought about girlfriends that I have bonded with over the years.  I made the Mindful Choice to send cards to three of them:

  • DJ, lives in Illinois.  Girlfriends since the womb and we stay connected via telephone. I last saw her at my youngest daughter wedding in 1998.
  • VB, lives in Milwaukee.  Girlfriends since 1996. We come together twice a year when I visit Wisconsin.  In turn, she sets aside one day to spend with us during her annual Florida vacation.
  • JL lives in Wisconsin. Friends for many years and Girlfriends for the past five.  We connect regularly via social media and always get together when I visit Wisconsin.

OUTLOOK

I re-affirm a positive attitude by reading motivational and inspirational quotes.  I share uplifting words via social media. Both serve to improve my  OUTLOOK on life.

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NUTRITION

I made the Mindful Choices to:

Snack on pistachio nuts and kosher dill pickles as opposed to a 220 calorie piece of cake.

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Read the nutritional label on this container of coleslaw before putting it on my dinner plate.

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Grateful for making the Mindful Choice to change the way I live my life to improve the quality of my life!!!

CANsculpture Exhibit

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After seeing a television advertising, I decided two days ago to visit an art exhibit at one of the local malls.  The CANstructure Orlando Exhibit is a design and build competition, which exhibits in more than 150 cities around the world.  According to their website, “it’s mission is “to feed and inspire the world — one day at a time.” When the exhibit ends, all food is donated to the local Second Harvest Food Bank.

It is said that you are never to old to learn something new.  Two days ago, I learned about using full cans of food to create artistic CANsculptures.  Of course, I took photos to share.

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Freedom Friday: Week Two – Mindfulness and Meditation

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Introduction

Three weeks ago, after reading the book, “You Are Not Your Pain,” by Burch and Penman; I decided to try their 8-Week Mindfulness and Meditation Training Program.  

Even though, there were doubts, I embarked on this new journey which, If successful, would add a new self-management option for managing and controlling my 20+ year chronic pain condition.

Week One:  Still A Work-In-Progress

When the week ended, I still wasn’t able to, wholeheartedly, buy into the concept to welcome and accept with compassion my physical, mental or emotional pain.

I successfully completed the required reading and medication/mindfulness practices.  Although, I experienced different results when faced with:

  • Mental and Emotional Pain – I wasn’t able to welcome it with compassion and kindness.
  • Physical Pain – The pain levels appeared to lessen when, without negative judgment, I made the choice to enter stillness, follow the breath, and acknowledge the pain with compassion and soothing words.

Week Two:  You Are Not Your Thoughts

The practices this week were twice daily, 10-minute Body Scan and Breathing Anchor Meditations; as well as a Watch The SkyHabit Releaser.

Body Scan Meditation

After completing twenty-eight (28) meditations, I still cannot warmly welcome and accept mental and emotional pain when it enters my space.

Yet, I did make progress.  At least, I think so, given what happened following a recent disagreement with:

  • Hubby,  “What’s wrong?”
  • Me, “I’m good.”
  • Hubby, “Why are you just sitting there with your eyes closed?”
  • Me, silently, “I am breathing deeply trying to welcome and compassionately accept the fact that you are getting on my last nerve.”

By practicing stillness and breathing, I eventually let go of the negative feelings, moved past a stressful moment, and stepped into the present moment stress-free.

A work-in-progress, I remain, as it relates to welcoming mental and physical pain with kindness and compassion.  Yet, I am optimistic that further study and meditation practices will open me up to embrace this concept.  After all, this is only the second week.

Breathing Anchor Meditations

Reading about and practicing this meditation introduced me to Characteristics of the Doing and Being Modes.  

According to the authors of this book, the:

  • Doing Mode causes you to over think your pain,
  • Being Mode – allows you to step away from your pain.

I read, re-read, highlighted, and flagged the information shared by the authors on the two different modes.  Eventually, I reached the conclusion that I shouldn’t limit this meditation and mindfulness training program, as initially planned, to managing and controlling my chronic pain condition.

This new understanding of the Characteristics of the Doing and Being Modes, led me to expand this training program to delve into some of my anxieties and frustrations as a Breast Cancer Survivor.

Habit Releaser – Watch The Sky

Every day, I looked up at the sky for fifteen or more minutes because, according to the authors:

“Pain and suffering can be likened to the weather, while your awareness can be seen in the sky. Sometimes the weather is wild and wintry. Other times it is calm, clear and sunny. But no matter what happens to the weather, the sky always remain.  One of the best way to gain a sense of this simple but profound idea is to simply watch the sky for a while.”

I watched the sky for seven days.  One day, while exercising in the pool, I looked up and followed the quarter moon as it moved farther and farther away, finally disappearing.

Other days, I spent watching the sky, at different times and in various setting and, even, captured photos:

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I enjoyed watching the different colorations in the sky, the formation of the clouds, and the movement of the quarter moon.  After several days, I could see the ever-changing looks of the sky in relationship to my mental, emotional and physical pain.

Conclusion:  Self-Awareness

What I know now that I didn’t know before Week Two:

  • Doing Mode – The realization that I function in the Doing Mode as a breast cancer survivor and need to reset this mindfulness/meditation training program to better manage and control the emotional and mental pain that affects the quality of my life.
  • Being Mode – Self-analysis leads me to believe that, as a chronic pain survivor, I have lived my life in the  Being Mode for a number of years.  Continuing this training will either confirm or disprove my self-analysis.

As I move forward on this journey, I plan to document my Doing and Being Mode experiences, past and present, in future posts.

I will be back posting Week 3 of this on January 24.  I send a warm thank you to the imanikingblog for hosting Freedom Friday and allowing me to use her platform to document this journey.

Freedom Friday: Week One – Mindfulness and Meditation

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Reading the book, “You Are Not Your Pain,” prompted me to begin this 8-week journey of trying to manage my chronic pain condition through Mindfulness and Meditation.  

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Week One

I successfully completed the three required activities for Week One.

1.  Twice Daily 10-Minute Body Scan Meditations 

I had a difficult time staying fully aware of my breath as it flowed through different parts of my body during the meditations.  But after several days, when I experienced emotional or physical pain; I breathed deeply, became aware, and acknowledged the pain with compassion and kindness.  

2.  Spend A Little Time with Nature, Daily

With temperatures in Orlando reaching the high 90s, I wasn’t able to spend time with nature in the way  I had planned —

  • walks through our local botanical garden; and
  • sitting  quietly by the lake in one of our beautiful county parks.

Upon learning that I was,  virtually, housebound because of the summer heat in Florida, imaniking, creator of Freedom Friday, sent me an online portfolio of her beautiful nature photos to view.

3.  SPEND ONE HOUR WITH NATURE ON ONE DAY

I spent two hours with nature everyday last week:

  • Meditating, Conscious Breathing and Being Still, daily, for one hour, before daybreak, while in the presence of nature’s singing birds and rustling tree leaves.
  • Water Exercising, daily, for one hour, periodically, looking upward at the changing colors of the sky and the ever-moving and billowing clouds.

After completing Week One, I now know that my pain:

  • is fluid rather than solid; and
  • should be timely welcomed and accepted with compassion and kindness.

Knowing this has enabled me to better manage and control my pain levels.

I am excited about beginning Week Two and can’t wait to share another new learning experience with you.  Back next Friday.