bundles of joy

March 29, 2013

With 2 of the 3 major "endings" completed this week I am starting to feel a rush of ideas and inspiration coming on. It's like someone knocked down walls and rearranged the furniture in my brain. Now I have an open and airy floor plan with enough space for sporadic cartwheels and walk in closets ready to be filled up with creative projects.

To celebrate being on the edge of exciting new things, and hopefully bring some of this excitement your way, here are a few bundles of joy that are inspiring me lately.
Enjoy your weekend! Take a little time to reconnect this weekend and I will see you next week with some new tunes for April.  

Hey, Monday...

March 25, 2013

It's going to be one of those weeks. When the finish line for one thing is the starting line for something else. But isn't that just the way it is with most things? When one chapter in our life ends it opens the door for the next adventure to begin. It may not feel like it at the time, but within every small change lies big opportunities. 

Granted the "endings" in my week are not necessarily significant (budget deadline, real estate exam, finalizing paperwork) but they are each a type of ending to a long term part of my life. And even though these endings are marked on the calendar it doesn't mean these projects are final. The budget will need to be approved, the paperwork is only the first step in the next process, and there's a good possibility I won't pass the exam. Right now it's more about being at a crossroads...the starting line of the next big thing. So many possibilities for what can happen next. 

At this time, I will embrace my options and use my downtime this week to dream about my next project. I'll admit, I've got a little bit of sewing and a little bit of self-education on the brain. Perhaps my next adventure will include some of that creativity I've been searching for... 

Are you on the edge of something new? 

ten ways: physical balance

March 15, 2013

As promised...here is a list of 10 ways to improve your physical balance. I've already started putting a few of these (1, 3, 5, & 10) into practice and now that I have studied up, 2, 4 and definitely number 6 are headed my way. I'm shooting for a gold medal in the "sidewalk crack" balance beam.

    to improve physical balance.

  1. Move. Becoming sedentary is a major contributor to losing your ability to balance. Any action which keeps your legs and feet moving (simply walking!) will help to maintain your balance. 
  2. Stand on one foot. Work this into your daily routine...while brushing your teeth, while standing in line for coffee, while doing the dishes, or while waiting for the bus. If you find yourself "waiting" for anything, use that moment to work on your balance. 
  3. Sit down and stand up without using your hands. Better yet, do 25-50 squats a day. The concept of a squat is to pretend you are about to sit in a chair, but don't. For good squat posture, push your booty back, keep your chest and head up, and (this is very important!) make sure your knees do not push forward in front of your ankles. Keep your feet about hip distance apart, put your hands on your hips or in front of you, and push through your heals. 
  4. Strengthen your core. This does not mean you have to do sit-ups. There are lots of ways to work your abs without doing a single sit-up. Try the plank! A stronger core means better posture and better balance. 
  5. Take a tai chi, yoga, bar method, or pilates class regularly. The benefits of slow and deliberate movement, core strengthening, holding positions, and the act of grounding your body will do wonders for balance. Not to mention the many other profound benefits of these practices. 
  6. Walk heal to toe along a curb or even a flat crack in the pavement. Remember doing this as a kid and pretending you were a circus tightrope walker or an Olympic gymnast?!?! Why not have a little fun while gaining more balance? 
  7. Try out a balance board or an exercise/stability ball. The simple act of sitting on an exercise ball while watching TV, reading or working at your desk will naturally improve your balance while you adjust your posture. The balance board is more involved, but one of the fastest ways to improve balance. 
  8. Walk with a book on your head. You will learn to "glide" smoothly while walking, improve posture, and practice balancing. (I'm getting major movie flashbacks with this one.)
  9. Focus. Find a particular point across the room to look at and relax. Eyesight works with your inner ear to help adjust your balance while in motion (turning in particular). Remember how much harder it was to balance with your eyes closed? Exercising your eyes throughout the day by looking up from your computer or book periodically to focus will help to maintain this valuable reflex. 
  10. Get dressed one leg at a time. When putting on your socks and shoes in the morning, try standing on the opposite leg instead of sitting down. You may need to squat a little (free booty workout!) or stand close to something (a chair or wall) to quickly steady yourself should you start to wobble. 
Now, go have a very productive Friday and a rejuvenating weekend. My wish for you is for the next few days to bring you plenty of balance.  See you next week!

how old is your equilibrium?

March 13, 2013

Peeking Stones
peeking stones by joyful.mara on flickr
Finding balance is my goal (my one word) for 2013. Physical, mental and financial balance. Changes in balance for some of these takes a bit longer to cook than others, but on the forefront today is adjustments to physical balance.

Our ability to balance isn't something that we generally think about day to day (unless you're the man on a wire), but even simple activities like hiking in the woods, riding a bike, and walking up stairs depend heavily on balance. To be honest, other than work-life balance, improving any kind of balance wasn't on my radar until I wound up with a broken foot. And now that I am on the path of healing, and after being denied simple actions like running, dancing, and jumping jacks (of all the things I could miss!), balance is on my mind often and it is the key ingredient to increasing my overall health.

The truth is, it doesn't take an injury to cause your balance to deteriorate. Age mental health, non-deliberate action (rushing!), and a sedentary lifestyle can all contribute to loss of balance. I always prided myself in having consistent and excellent balance. I loved that certain yoga poses were never hard for me. But after my injury I find myself wavering more and my fear of falling only reinforces my feeling of not being "grounded". It is becoming exceedingly and extremely important for me to gain it back. So if you are like me and you are looking to regain your balance, or maybe you are interested in maintaining the balance you have...here - today - is a place to start.

Testing Your Balance
Knowing where you are is the first step in getting where you need to go. The following test is a way to check your current ability to balance and even gauge the relative "age" of your equilibrium. Are you 28 with the balance of a 45 year old? Or maybe you are 45 with the balance of a 28 year old? (I'll admit...these sorts of tests are my guilty pleasure!) Whatever the results may be, here is where you find your point of reference. You can choose to either keep doing what you are doing or use a few of the tricks below to reach your potential!

Step 1: Stand next to a stable surface...something you can hang onto if needed. A counter top, railing or chair. 

Step 2: Place your hands near the surface in case you need to steady yourself, but do not touch it. 

Step 3: Close your eyes (be careful!) and lift one foot. Balance on the foot still touching the ground. Think about pressing evenly through your foot, especially through your heal...like you are connected to the ground. 

Step 4: Count out loud the number of seconds you are able to balance. Use your core to keep yourself steady.

Now, here is the fun part. The shorter your balance time, the "older" your equilibrium. Equate the number of seconds to the following rule of thumb: 20 seconds or longer, your balance is in it's 20s. From 15 seconds to 19 seconds, your balance is in it's 30s. From 7 seconds to 14 seconds, your balance is in it's 40s. From 3 seconds to 6 seconds, your balance is in it's 50s. And 2 seconds or less...your balance is well...of retirement age. Now, give it a try on the other foot to see if one side is better than the other. You likely have a dominant side, but this will help you to know which side may need more attention or care.

I'll admit it is pretty hard to do with your eyes closed. I'm in my 20s on the right and in my 40s on the left (owwie foot)!

Remember, if you are "chronologically" older, it doesn't mean you can't obtain a younger "balance age", and there are many different ways to boost your balance abilities.

On Friday, I will share 10 ways to gain physical balance. See you then!

Hey, Monday...

March 11, 2013

Renew your spirit. Do one thing today that feeds your soul. Take a walk on your favorite street...savour a meal and a conversation with family or friends...grab a cup of coffee and get cozy...cuddle up and filter through the pages of a good book...whatever it may be that makes you feel whole/connected/alive. Take a moment today to fill up your cup.

Remember, though the waves of life responsibilities may crash over and tumble you about...a process that can be unnecessarily rough...you will come out on the other side with refined edges. Someone will pick you up and place you in their pocket. You will be treasured regardless of your imperfections. Live for the moments that feed your soul and you will have everything you need to provide for yourself and those who cross your path.

This week I will fill myself up. Feed my soul through words on the page, warm cups of tea, goals accomplished, and lingering tasks checked off the list. I look forward to coming out the other side with refined edges.

Have a great week!


March 6, 2013

Here we are right in the middle of a mercury retrograde. One of the three that will occur in 2013. How are things going for you?

If things have been rough or a little out of the ordinary, don't worry just yet...it's probably the hijinks of Mr. Mercury. He's been raking over coals and twirling things in the air over at my house.

Now, I'm no expert on astrology, new age studies, or the "woo woo" as some may call it, but I do enjoy reading how happenings elsewhere in the Universe can affect the energies and paths of even the smallest of beings. After hearing from another blogger that we are currently experiencing a mercury retrograde and how certain phenomena may occur, I decided to take a peek at what we are dealing with.

Mercury is dubbed "A man with a message." Typically depicted as a male figure having winged sandals and a winged hat, Mercury is deemed the ruler of communication...the official messenger of the ancient gods and goddesses. In astrology, the planet Mercury influences areas of travel, literature, poetry, and business and this "man with a message" can be witty and cunning, a trickster and mischievous.

When Mercury is in retrograde the planet appears to moving in the reverse direction. This is just an illusion, but during mercury's retrograde odd things tend to happen. Plans go awry, delays occur, misunderstanding are more frequent. Friends from the past may suddenly get in touch or you may even find yourself asking "whatever happened to so-and-so?...I wonder if they are on facebook?"

During this time, it seems mercury's messages either get lost in transit or reach far back into our past. But with all the chaos comes opportunities for renewal. Take this time to reflect on the past and see what you find. Pay attention to what resurfaces...ideas, inspiration, memories, grudges...and find a way to use or resolve them. The important thing is to not allow the hiccups (delays, mishaps, etc.) derail you. Understand that you may need a few extra minutes of travel time, major life decisions may need more review, emails should be proof read and computer files backed up. Remain flexible and use the reflective and rejuvenating aspects of these periods to your advantage!

So what is in store for us? In 2013, Mercury will be in a period of retrograde from February 23rd to March 17th (Pisces), June 26th to July 20th (Cancer), and October 21st to November 10th (Scorpio). Each of these periods is also shaped by the associated astrological sign and the affects of each sign may be different from one retrograde to the next. Our current retrograde in Pisces may cause clouded thinking, daydreams, and lapses in logic, but also improve creativity related to writing, dancing, photography, or painting.

Just remember to be open to what comes your way. If something from the past is popping into your head or sending you an email, take a closer look. There is likely something more to learn in there or something you need to heal from. Finally, understand that this period of retrograde will pass. Choose to embrace it with positivity....be productive...and hang in there kids!

Remember to listen to the whispers:

monthly music

March 4, 2013

The sun is starting to shine here in the pacific nw and I'm getting excited for spring. For planting in the garden, hiking in the tall trees, and clear skies that allow for breathtaking views around every turn. The mountains here look much like the ones in this month's cover art. Snow capped, majestic, and striking against the bright blue skies, green trees and dark waters of puget sound. If you live here or have ever been here you've likely experienced the show-stopping effect of these mountains. They will literally stop you in your tracks. One of the many things that I love about the place that I live.

How's the weather in your neck of the woods?

Bold & Brave March 2013
1. Running for Cover - Ivan & Alyosha
2. Up Against the Wall - Fiction Family
3. Autumn Tree - Milo Greene
4. Grounded - Buckaroo
5. Sweater Weather - The Neighbourhood
6. Glitter & Gold - Rebecca Ferguson
7. The Fold - Ivan & Alyosha
8. To Build a Home (feat. Patrick Wilson) - The Cinematic Orchestra
9. Green Mountain State - Corinna Rose & The Rusty Horse Band
10. If I Couldn't Have You - Sweet Talk Radio