Optimizing Yourself – Week 17 – Setting Constraints as Big as Dr. Seuss

working with constraints

Working With Constraints

Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) was the master of setting constraints. He once made a bet with a publisher at Random House that he could write a book using 50 words or less.

His power to set limits paid off when Green Eggs and Ham sold more than 200 million copies and was Seuss’s best- selling book

Cat in The Hat was written using only a first grade vocabulary

Limitations inspire creativity by making you find a way to make it work, and setting a schedule helps you get things done whether you feel like it or not, and adds to your productivity.

Everybody has a limited set of tools to work with, but you can work with your tools to maximize what you have.

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I am going to challenge myself to set constraints and make myself work within limits, and find a creative way to make it work. I will let you know how it goes next week.


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Review of Week 16 – Open Space In My Heart For Blessings

Blessings Cupboard

Making Space in My Blessings Cupboard

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I cleaned out the cupboard in the laundry room where I put everything that I don’t know what to do with. I call it my procrastination cupboard, full of stuff I haven’t decided to throw out yet. It is where I look, if someone asks me where that thing-a-ma-gig is. As the old saying goes “if Mom can’t find it no-one can”.

It is one of the last vestiges of disorder in my house, and clinging to the stuff, feels like I am holding on to the past.

So when Pablo Coelho said that by purging what isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful, we will open space in our hearts for blessings, this was the perfect place for me to start.

I found a marionette puppet of Woody from Toy Story, which would be joyful to a small child, but not my adult children. I found a black plastic holder for je ne sais quoi, that is also getting the deep six. That blue plastic basket that was never beautiful, useful, or joyful, has also gotta go. There were two empty boxes, and a box of pencil crayons, and as soon as I throw them out, someone will ask me for them, but even if I have to buy new pencil crayons, I can’t hang on to stuff in case someone someday might need it.

I felt so good cleaning out the cupboard that I am going to rename it a more positive name – the blessings cupboard, as Pablo said blessings will come if I make space for them. <3 photo credit: -PinkFarasha.* via photopin cc

Week 16 – Optimizing Yourself – Discard An Item A Day To Create BIG Space

open space in your heart

Open Space In Your heart for Blessings

This week, I am going to get rid of at least one item a day that is not useful, beautiful, or joyful, as Paulo Coelho says, in order to “open space in my heart for all the blessings” that this week will bring.

What a positive feeling to open space in my heart for blessings by freeing up my environment of what doesn’t serve me. This fills me with joyful energy, as I am creating usefulness, beauty and joy in my environment and my life.

I will let you know how discarding an item a day to create BIG space in my heart for blessings, goes next week

photo credit: Frances Lane via photopin cc

Review of Week 15 – Spring Yard Cleanup

Appreciating Garden Beauty

Appreciating The Beauty of The Garden

spring yard clean-up

Spring Yard Clean-up

I cleaned up the rubbish in the yard for this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, and took a load to the landfill, packed away the snow shovel, and set up the tables and chairs and patio lights.

When it rained for three days, it did thwart my planting and power washing plans.

But I managed to overseed the lawn with two bags of grass seed while it was sunny and warm, and pulled weeds and mowed, so the wet weather created the perfect conditions for the grass seed to germinate.

Sitting in the garden, and taking a rest in the spring and summer makes my problems go away, and makes me grateful for the flowers, birds, trees and sunshine.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveparker/3417047456/”>daveparker</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

Optimizing Yourself – Week 15 – Spring Yard Cleanup in a BIG Way

going to the landfill

Going to the landfill

I am going to pack away the snow shovels and ladders and bring out the weed eater and garden lights. I am going to clean up the grass and weeds that are growing again, and mulch up any lingering leaves.

I will make a trip to the landfill with any rubble that has gathered in the yard over the winter, and set up the outdoor chairs and tables and get the yard ready for barbecue season.

I am going to power-wash the outdoor patio stones and clean the windows I can reach.

As I replant flowers in the planters to create a colorful summer garden, I will also sprinkle grass seed on the sparse areas of the grass, so new grass will fill in the holes. I am also going to buy some topsoil for the garden beds and plant some flowers like bacopa to attract butterflies to the garden.

I will let you know how it goes next week.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/clintjcl/2847738957/”>Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

Review of Week 14 – Optimizing Yourself – Get More Sleep BIG time

Sleep is Good For you

Sleep is Good For You –

‘Photo by Michael Phillips https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeyphillips.
This week I learned that I have made not getting enough sleep a habit, and habits take some time to break. I did manage to get about an hour extra of sleep each night, but I still did not get as much sleep as I need.

By setting the goal to get more sleep, it made me aware that I need to go to bed earlier, so I can form a habit of getting adequate sleep each night, until I am feeling rested.

I am going to continue to work on getting more sleep, as feeling rested improves your mood, your memory, your energy and your overall health.

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Our Soul Animates Our Body and Mind

The Soul Animates Body and Mind

The Soul Animates The Body and Mind

The soul is the essence of the man” – Socrates (470-399 BC)

It has been said that our soul exists before we are born, and will continue to exist after we die.

The soul is an elusive concept, yet every culture recognizes a spiritual part of us that is separate from the physical body, and way beyond the mind. Stone carvings from Ancient Greece depict souls leaving the body.

When we get in touch with the everlasting part of our inner self, through meditation or quiet reflection, we feel joy, that is unaffected by outside circumstances. Our soul tells us everything about us, if we LISTEN. The soul is a great teacher.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
― Rumi

When I was young, the religion I was brought up with, taught me to pray for souls, but didn’t teach me what a soul was. I later learned that a soul is a spiritual, rather than merely a religious concept – even some atheists believe they have a soul.

It is the ageless, timeless, part of us, that animates our bodies and minds.

It feels like the souls of the people and animals that I know don’t die; they move to another room that I can’t access. They continue to live in my heart rather than my memory. Their image is fresh, and evolving, as if I am experiencing their presence with my senses.

While the body and mind age, the soul is ever new. We don’t have a soul, we ARE souls. The soul is bigger than our biological parts or our physical form, and is filled with lofty and utopian ideas that are so pure and loving, they are not of this world.

The soul is the force within that connects us to others, nurtures, heals, protects, teaches, forgives, uplifts, motivates, enlightens and loves.

photo credit: David Paul Ohmer via photopin cc

No Worry Curry at Cloverdale Rodeo Grounds

April Artisan Showcase

Jas and Vick from Ace Curry at April Artisan Showcase, Cloverdale Rodeo Grounds

As we browsed through all the beautiful handcrafted items at the April Artisan Showcase at The Cloverdale Rodeo Grounds today, I was lured by the smell of aromatic spices, and to a man frying butter chicken sauce in a steamy pan, under the “Ace Curries To Go” sign.

“Vick” introduced himself and offered us samples of his butter chicken sauce, and after one bite, I knew what I was making for dinner tonight.

Having spent hours chopping and frying the ingredients for butter chicken in the past, I was thrilled to find a delicious, ready made sauce, made from fresh ingredients.

Vick and his wife Jas, are dedicated to making quality curry sauces. Their labor of love is also evident in the sample of delicious fruity mango curry sauce that I tried, made by simmering the fruit for seven hours.

The butter chicken sauce is good for everybody in my family, because it is gluten free, contains no msg or preservatives, and is non-dairy.

The price of the jar of sauce is reasonable at $6.

When I arrived home, it only took me 30 minutes to cook a delicious healthy dinner for 6 people using the following the recipe on the jar:

Stir fry four chicken breasts, add in one jar of sauce and simmer till chicken is cooked. Add in one can of coconut milk, and serve with rice.

My sons thought the butter chicken tasted YUMMY!!

The April Artisan Showcase continues tommorrow, Sunday April 13 from 10am to 5pm at The Cloverdale Rodeo Grounds, 17763 – 62nd Ave, Cloverdale, BC

visit www.acecurry.com for more info on the curry.

Review of Week 13 – Nurturing Your Body in a BIG Way

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, instead of giving into the demands of daily life and feeling disconnected to my body, I took time to connect with my body.

I awakened my olfactory sense with scented creams, soaps, perfume, and bubble bath.

I wore soft, fleecy clothing against my skin.

I connected to my life force by breathing, exercising and sweating – pumping blood and oxygen through the cells of my body.

I drank a large, nutritious fruit and spinach smoothie each day – a healthy drink, and a handy small meal substitute.

I listened to calming music which soothed my ears.

Nurturing my body removed tension and stress, had positive benefits on my mind and health as well, and by the end of the week, I felt like I was in paradise 🙂

Thinking About Not Vaccinating Your Kids? Think Again!

Think again about not Vaccinating your kids

Vaccinations protect babies

Despite recent measles outbreaks in Canada and The US, some parents refuse to have their children vaccinated against the disease, and I think they are risking the lives of their children, and others.

My brother got infected with the measles when he was one year’s old. That was in 1956, when there was no reliable vaccine for measles.

He developed complications from the disease – a high fever, then a rash, then convulsions. Then he was taken to the hospital, and he became unconscious, and remained in a coma for three months.

The measles caused encephalitis, (or swelling of the brain), which resulted in brain damage.

My brother was lucky he survived the disease. Some, (like writer Roald Dahl’s daughter), die from measles encephalitis. Approximately one in 1,000 who contract measles get encephalitis.

The doctors told my Mom that it was unlikely that my brother would ever be able to walk or talk.

He struggled with his co-ordination, but, at three years old, he started walking, and he also started talking, but his speech was slow and slurred.
His functioning continued to improve over the next twenty years, until, after attending a special needs school, he landed a full time job, which he continues to work at today, thirty three years later.

Today, we have the ability to eradicate the measles and the suffering that this highly contagious disease causes.

The side effects from the measles vaccine are extremely low, but the risk of complications from measles, ranging from ear and chest infections to encephalitis remains high.

I am so grateful that my three children were able to get all their vaccinations, and I think parents have a responsibility to educate themselves on the facts, and have their children vaccinated, not only to protect the lives of their children, but the lives of others as well.


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