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How to Create a Peaceful, Relaxing Day

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There comes a time when you need a break. You’ve been moving at a dizzy pace for weeks, whirling through your days like a desert dervish.

Your spirit screams for R&R while your conscience feeds thoughts to your brain that go something like, there’s too much to do, just one more task and my personal favorite, time is money, so stop wasting time!

Living out of three houses –each about 25 miles apart–for the last week brought my sweetie and me to our knees over the weekend. We cried Uncle! and laid around the Manor pool most of yesterday, ignoring calls from laptops to come inside and work.

Begin the day with sunshine

Today was the first day we’ve seen morning sun since we’ve been house- and dog-sitting at the Manor.  We’ve experienced some unseasonably cool temps for north-central Texas and quite a lot of rain recently.

The weather was perfect for packing to move from our townhouse to our new home and community but not so great for our dangling carrot, a three-week stint at the oasis we call the Manor.

We’ve worked so hard for the last month, packing, cleaning, buying new appliances, selling old stuff, and yes, working.  We knew the break would come, when we could relax and chill for three weeks before settling into our new place and getting things unpacked at our leisure.

Circumstances didn’t quite work out that way.  Turns out our plan was a tad too simplistic.  Oh well.

And the blasted weather–windy and too cool for the pool–didn’t help our states of mind at all.

But yesterday, one week after our arrival at the Manor, was sunny and hot from the start.  Upon awakening, I made a beeline to the chaise lounge for my morning journal time.

B still and notice the gifts of nature

As I wrote, my attention was drawn to the swaying branches of the massive oak tree just outside the fence. I recalled a piece I read years ago about focusing on the space between tree leaves when meditating.  I believe the author called the practice right now meditation.

The more I focused on the tree, the more I let go.  That’s when I decided to surrender my intention of working.  I was called to do something way more important.

I was called to relax into the moment and to let the moment last as long as I liked. @bheretoday (Click to Tweet!)

Those moments are my lifelines, although I don’t let go often enough. I mostly hurry and scurry through life (Can you relate?)

But there’s something about the Manor that invites quietness and a loosening of the ties that bind me to my work.  The air here seems to whisper, Take a step away from your busyness, let yourself meld with the sacred spaces here.

Yesterday, I heeded the call and had a peaceful, relaxing day.  The work is still there, but I’m grateful for the respite, for allowing the wind to overtake me as I focused on the space between the leaves.

Meet Recovery Carrier Herby Bell

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Today’s post is the fourth in a series of interviews with folks across the nation (and the Universe!) who embody a life of recovery, from the physical to the psychic.  Please enjoy this conversation with Dr. Herby Bell, an addiction recovery coach and licensed healthcare provider in chiropractic care. His practice is called Recovery Health Care. Herby also enlivens the airwaves with podcast series, Sober Conversations.

William White defines recovery carriers as “people, usually in recovery, who make recovery infectious to those around them by their openness about their recovery experiences, their quality of life and character, and the compassion they exhibit for those still suffering.” (www.williamwhitepapers.com, 2012)

When you hear the term recovery carrier,as it relates to addiction, what does that mean to you? Do you think youre a recovery carrier?

In the tradition of the recovery carrier concept, Beth, I do believe I’ve caught the bug…I mean the buzz. Recovery IS contagious because it is all good things when it comes to beholding the ecstasy and the angst of Existence. Giving up chasing the buzz to literally entering into the Buzz of Life is what it feels like to me.HerbyBell

I remember the run-up to understanding just what in heaven was happening to me as I decided to give up what in hell had become of me. I’d go to the rooms of AA–and other places of healing–and listen. Stories…raw, world class, extraordinarily ordinary stories of, “What it was like, what happened and what it’s like now.”Dude, I wanted what they were having…Inspiration after inspiration until I began to realize, say and write my own story. The power of, “I can do this!”…WOW.

It seems to me I’ve “arrived”, (albeit just a parenthesis in my eternity) in a place now where it feels like my healthy compulsion to carry the message of recovery is really “none of my business.”As if reclaiming the unadulterated truth that I care deeply about my life, about others and the world through the lens and metaphor of recovery–is the reason I was born. And you know…I always did care. I just didn’t know how to get out of the self-imposed hell and prison I was in until I started listening to, and hearing other carriers. My turn. That kinna unapologetic, big picture, dignified, purpose and meaning and what I believe to be the transformational miracle of addiction recovery. My God, you’re evoking tears with this beautiful question.

You’re a recovery coach, a chiropractor and a believer in “optimizing metabolic machinery of the mind, body and spirit,” to quote your interview with Bill White.  You’re also a person in long-term recovery.  It sounds like you show up every day for work and bring all of yourself to the job at hand.  Can you describe your work–especially the idea of recovery wellness–and tell me why you do it?

I love looking back and realizing that necessity truly is the mother of all invention. I learned to get and stay well because it was a matter of wellness or insanity, a matter of life or death.

(To read more of Herby’s interview, click Herby Bell 5-14)

Photo courtesy of deegolden

Where Have Meaningful Conversations Gone?

file561270689520When was the last time you had a conversation with anyone that was about more than just the weather (Family members are excluded from this question.)?

For that matter, how long has it been since you had a conversation that lasted longer than it takes to type 140 characters?

Do you remember when you last received a hand-written note or card in the mail?

I miss old-fashioned communication!

Don’t get me wrong, I love social media and electronic chatting.  In fact, I participate in e-conversations more than most 50-somethings.  I have online friends I’ve never met face-to-face and yet we’ve shared intimate pieces of our lives.

However, even as a word person, typing messages can’t be my only form of social involvement.  There are subtle nuances of facial expressions and voice inflections that I miss.  Oh, and gestures!  Even the cutest emoticon can’t replace a person’s enthusiastic hand gestures.

Why are we in such a hurry to blow past a conversation?  When did I become so important that I can’t linger over lunch or coffee?

As I write this, I’ve just returned from a delightful brunch with four other women.  I didn’t especially want to go.  When I woke, it was rainy and kind of darkish outside, a perfect morning to sleep in.

I’m so glad I went.  I see these four women fairly frequently, but there usually isn’t time for more than a quick, Hi, how are ya?

When you pay attention, you become a part of someone’s life

I came away from the brunch thingee with new information about each of the four women.  Plus, I feel connected, like I’m a part of something bigger.

Sure, I could have stayed home and dug into my work for the day.  But these women and I share a bond that deserves attention.  More than that, it deserves respect.

We live in a finite world where no future conversation is guaranteed.  I don’t say this in a morbid kind of way, but I do believe that when we’re given an opportunity to interact with someone else, we should really take it.  If we don’t, we may not get another chance.

I would miss knowing about one woman’s month-long trip to Poland where hotel breakfasts are complete dinner-like meals and how all she wanted each morning was oatmeal.

I would miss being aware that another of the women–though only in her 20s–likes old country and western music (She told me it’s what she grew up with because her dad is 52–ouch!).

Everyone has a story and every story deserves an airing.  That just can’t happen on the flat surface of weather conversations.  Unless, of course, you’re a pilot like my friend Sam, who probably does have meaningful conversations about the weather.

So get on out there–dig a little deeper.  When you’re asked to go somewhere, GO!  Chat up the people.  Ask them about themselves; people love to talk about themselves!

I guarantee you’ll find companionship and meaningful conversations.

Photo courtesy of DuBoix

Decisions, Decisions

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One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes . . . and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

How many times have you stood before two (or more!) sets of circumstances, tapped your finger against your lips and said, “Hmmm, decisions, decisions”?

You may struggle with deciding but isn’t the power of choice an amazing thing?

What happens when you can’t decide which circumstance to choose?  You make a pros and cons list.  You talk it over with your most trusted “advisors.”  You pray.

And you’re still at a loss.  By now, you’re threatening to tear out your hair.  Your teeth are sore from gnashing.  Your sleep is completely screwed up by your lack of decisiveness.

Plus, you’re eating way too much chocolate.

Get out of waiting hell

The purgatory of waiting can be miserable.  I’m doing a bit of that right now as I wait for contract jobs to finalize so money will flow into my bank account.

These are circumstances not in my control, yet I’m doing my best to force them to a rapid conclusion.  Yes, I’m in waiting hell.

But I can decide to leave and I have.

I am still waiting, but my body and my demeanor feel looser as I realize that I am giving money way too much power in my life.  I’m changing my thoughts from believing that money buys happiness and walks on the beach into realizing that money is useless and pointless if I’m not already happy.

In truth, I have no need for money if I’m trusting in a power greater than me to guide my decisions.  Now, instead of fretting about money, I wait in the knowledge that everything is good and right and perfect in this moment.

Trust your gut

Do you trust yourself to make good decisions?  Over the years, I’ve learned that my gut–my intuition–is seldom wrong.  My gut knows the truth behind the decision long before my brain starts yearning for peace.

In the meantime, my monkey-mind has been so very busy trying to cajole the rest of me into a decision.  Monkeys have a way of looking at situations from all the different angles and my monkey-mind is no exception when I let it run around unsupervised.

Once I’ve exited Waiting Hell, however, Monkey Mind quiets and decides to take a nap since it has become weary from the constant motion.

Quiet little monkeys no longer have to maneuver around negativity showing up as doubt, fear, guilt, judgment or condemnation.

They can just rest and trust that they will intuitively know if they want to eat honey-coated bananas  or ants-on-a-stick for supper.

They will know when they know and not a moment sooner.

My dear monkey-minded friends, I encourage you to relax into waiting.  Your bananas will come even if it seems like you’ll have to subsist on ants forever.  Just wait; you’ll see.

Photo courtesy of richard_b

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

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“Don’t go through life, grow through life.” ~ Eric Butterworth

The calendar reads Spring, and while many parts of the U.S. are still blanketed in blustery cold and snow, many of us are experiencing rising temps and warm rays.  Be consoled, my northern friends!  At least your knees and backs aren’t aching from spring planting;  I’m finally starting to recover from last weekend.

Our climates may be different, but we can share a different kind of spring right here, right now–the spring planting of new thoughts and attitudes.

You don’t have to channel Tiny Tim

If you’re a child of the ’60s or early ’70s, you may recall a long-haired, ukulele-playing guy who sang “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” in a high, falsetto voice.

Let that image go!

Instead, let the images of spring–the tulips, cherry blossoms, redbuds and the myriad of other flowering plant life–stoke your desire for this to be your  Spring Extraordinaire.  Determine that this is the year you will clean your mind of old mulched and rooted thoughts.

Turn your mental ground, till the soil and make ready for a new crop of fertile ideas.

The winter of your discontent has given way (or will soon!) to the Spring of your dreams.

Preparing for new growth

I’ve written quite a lot lately about losing my job and starting a freelance copywriting business.  (By the way, thanks for indulging me.  Writing here has been great therapy.)

Last weekend, I hit the nursery on Saturday looking for bedding plants.  I walked the aisles, stuck my fingers in the dirt checking moisture and started planning which plants could go where in our little townhouse garden area.

I talked with other patrons about their plans, joked with the guy in line behind me who was also buying a dozen bags of mulch (and then helped me load mine in my car–spring does great things to people), and drove home with the windows down and the radio up.  I felt alive!

Sure, lots of stuff has gone down lately; some of it has been rough.  But there was something about having living things in my hands that made me feel bright with possibilities.

Sunday was planting day.  My sweetie and I assembled our tools and dug in.

Working the soil, whether in your garden, or in your mind, is hard work, especially if you have years of old growth to cut through.  I discovered though, that chunking through all the clay to stir in fresh new loose soil said a lot about my desire to do the work.

If you want a refreshed garden or a renewed mind, you have to be willing to go to the earth.

You have to be willing to cut away old stuff to root the new.

Once the work is done, you can’t just walk away.  You have to be willing to feed and water your new growth.  (It’s only been four days but I think I heard the lilies and columbine and phlox whispering their thanks.)

In the end, new growth is about your willingness to be a bloomer.  Through the challenges of the last two months, I’ve made the decision that I am a bloomer.

Doesn’t matter if you’re early or late to blooming, so long as you bloom.  Are you ready to tiptoe through your mind’s tulips?