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
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.

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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 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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Optimizing Yourself – Week 13 – Nurturing Your Body Each Day in a BIG Way

Nurturing the body

Nurturing the body keeps it healthy

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I am going to nurture my body each day.

Feeling your breath going in and out is the easiest way to connect with your body. Focusing on breath makes you present, and rids your mind of obsessive thinking, as your thoughts transfer into your body. This creates peace and relaxation, and helps you to fall asleep at night.

Getting your body moving more, even if it is walking or gardening, pumps blood and oxygen through your body, and the sweat cleans the impurities and toxins out of your skin. You sleep better when your body is tired, and eight hours of sleep at night restores your energy.

Eating nutritious food and taking vitamins energizes your body, and taking a bubble bath re-juvenates you, and putting lotion on your skin afterward makes your skin soft.

Drinking warm herbal tea also calms the body.

I will let you know how it goes next week.

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Review of Week 12 – Going BIG with Creating Positive Self-Talk

Changing to positive self-talk

Do is better than try

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I changed to using positive self-talk words like: do, choose, proud, make, and when, on my to-do list, to motivate me to get tasks accomplished.

Using decisive words left no doubt in my mind that I was going to accomplish tasks, helped me tackle little tasks easily, and the big ones didn’t seem as intimidating.

Do – ask for help to lift up a king size wooden futon frame and clean under it.

Choose – to eat meals at regular intervals and not skip meals

Proud – feeling proud and reflecting on the things I have worked hard to achieve instead of downplaying them.

Making time instead of not having time – By leaving no doubt that I was going to get a lot done, I completed a big sewing project this week, mailed items at the post office, ordered flowers for someone, bought computer software that I needed, wrapped items, had a celebration, printed off applications and helped fill them out, provided transportation to outings, and sorted through cupboards, drawers and closets.

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Week 12 – Optimizing Yourself – Go BIG With Creating Positive Self-Talk

creating positive self-talk

Reprogramming the brain for positive self-talk

Behavioral researchers describe the human brain as the most powerful computer there is. We think up to 50,000 thoughts a day, but many of them are negative, and those thoughts are the basis of our self-talk dialogue that we all have throughout the day.

Old programming from our past gets stored in our subconscious mind, and needs to be re-programmed, or updated to support our current reality, or our goals.

The exciting news is that we can re-program our minds to think positive thoughts and create a new self-dialogue.

This week I am going to create positive self-talk to motivate myself to achieve my current goals.

Brain researchers tell us that our brain pays attention to what we tell it to do, so we need to use supportive words.

I am going to swap the following words in my self-vocabulary this week, to add more awareness, certainty and resolve to what I am telling myself: I am going to use decisive words like “do” instead of “try”, and “choose” instead of “should”, and I’m “proud”, instead of I’m “only”, and I’ll “make” time instead of saying I “don’t have” time, and not “if” this happens, but “when” it happens.

These words give positive direction to my brain and remove doubt, and help re-program the old thoughts that are no longer useful. I will let you know how it goes next week.

photo credit: g.p.macklin via photopin cc

Review of Week 11 – Go BIG with Eating 6 Small Meals a Day

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I ate six small regularly scheduled meals a day instead of three big meals. For the first four days, it felt like an inconvenience to stop and prepare so many small meals when I didn’t feel hungry, but as I continued to follow the schedule, by the fifth day, I felt the difference.

I started to feel more energy, and was able to take my dog on longer walks, and I didn’t feel dizzy once, yet I didn’t need to snack because I never got hungry. I also ate healthier food, like eggs and vegetables and fruit, instead of getting hungry and eating heavy food.

After only one week of establishing this routine, I was feeling better and more balanced, and I am going to continue on with this new routine and make it a habit.

Life is Short, Buy The Shoes

It’s the first day of spring, and my Mom beckons me to visit her in ‘The Gardens’ where she peacefully rests. I enter the driveway under the shade of the huge cedar tree, until the warming spring sun meets me, and I circle around beside the lake, and pass by the Chinese pagoda on the right, and the chapel on the left.

I arrive at The Garden of The Good Shepherd, with a statue of a shepherd in the center, his eyes watching over my Mom’s headstone. The only sound comes from two enormous Canada geese who are sipping water running from a hose on the path nearby.

There are more flowers in ‘The Gardens’ than the golf course and all the big lawns of the houses beside it combined, and the blooms are ablaze in pots and bouquets and wreaths in every shade of cheerful red, yellow and orange, creating a peaceful and beautiful spot.

life infusing flowers

Flowers are life infusing

Words matter, and I prefer the euphemism ‘garden’ over cemetery. Gardens are grown, cultivated and nurtured, while cemeteries are maintained.

I do not feel grief, but I feel nature rejuvenating my senses, and infusing me with life honoring energy.

A small miracle occurs each time I visit. On one occasion, my sister felt as if someone was watching us, and there was a beautiful coyote standing as still as a statue, staring at us from the distance. Another time, my brother said it seemed as if all the song birds in the area had gathered to sing for us.

On my first visit after Mom died, I drove out the exit and traffic was stopped. Then a mother duck jumped off the curb, and trailed three wee ducklings behind her across the street, in front of my car. The ducklings were so tiny, they made a few attempts before getting up the curb on the other side. What symbolism! Three of us had helped Mom a lot around the time of her passing, and it might sound weird, but this felt like she was giving a little gift to us.

I place a pot of pink flowers into the holder on her headstone, and sweep debris off her stone with my hand, and remember a verse from her favorite song, Danny Boy, that she used to sing to me:

And I shall hear, though soft, your tread above me
And all my grave shall warmer, sweeter be
For you will bend and tell me that you love me
And I will sleep in peace until you come to me.

Visiting here helps me cherish the gift of life.

I think about the frivolous sign I saw in the store where I bought her the flowers earlier:

“Life is Short, Buy the Shoes”.

It is a metaphor for going after what makes us happy in life, like buying the shoes we long for, and to softly tread along the sweet path of our lives in them.

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