life curation · Uncategorized

What You Focus On, Expands

Hey friends! I have a VERY special post coming tomorrow. It’s so special that I actually decided to SKIP Fibro Friday in order to post this one. Yes, it’s that special. I know you’re going to love it, and there is a specific reason why I’m posting it tomorrow instead of today. So, be sure to come back tomorrow to see what I’ve got up my sleeve . . .

Until then, I’m going to reflect on a post that I had on my now-defunct blog. Back in 2015, way before I knew anything about Law of Attraction, I knew that focusing on problems could only create more problems, while focusing on solutions would create opportunities to improve my situation. I’m going to share a snippet of that post, and then I’ll come back with my 2021 thoughts.

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I am writing today because I’ve seen how some of us spend an inordinate amount of time on things that do not enhance our life or increase our happiness. One blogger, that used to write beautiful, inspiring posts, has descended into one of the most annoying people on my Blogger feed (I’m still trying to figure out how to remove her from my feed, but there’s something weird going on with my Blogger setup). Her descent into bitterness does nothing to empower her or her readers. This is the sad result when people chose to focus on what angers or hurts them.

I know that most of you that have been participating in empowerment forums/groups are well aware of the power of focusing on what we want. FOCUS allows us to keenly tune in, and can even give us extraordinary energy to tackle an obstacle or accomplish a goal. It’s been said that what we focus on expands, which is why I’ve been absent. I’ve been FOCUSING on creating the kind of life that will nourish and inspire me, as well as benefit my loved ones.

Here’s what I’ve been focusing on recently:

-Increasing my net worth
-Positioning myself among uplifting individuals
-Filling my life with rich experiences
-Removing toxic individuals from my circles
-Creating stronger, clearer boundaries for myself

There are some fantastic bloggers that are still sounding the alarms for women, lighting the way to true empowerment. I commend them and they deserve ALL of the accolades, because they are quite literally saving lives. For those that have moved past the “life-saving” phase, what are you doing for “life enhancement” or “life expansion”? Are you still overly focused on life-saving rhetoric? I’ve seen it for myself: women in empowerment circles spending outrageous amounts of time discussing negative, life-minimizing things. There should be progression, but for some women, I see that they are “stuck” and, as a result, regressive in many ways.

IF you are still overly focused and wringing hands over what groups or individuals have wronged you and mistreated you, HOW can you possibly focus on living a quality existence? IF you still get worked up over every negative meme or article posted about you (and women that look like you), HOW do you have time and energy to create a life that defies the negative stereotypes? In a couple of words, YOU CANNOT.

The best thing you can do for 2015 [and TODAY!] is think about the things you want more of (peace, love, wealth, joy, happiness, prosperity, whatever) and focus on how you can get MORE of those things. Some things may be tangible, others intangible. In any case, spend your time focusing on what you WANT, instead of thinking about what you DO NOT want. Your life will be better for it.

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Looking back upon this post, I realize I’ve done what I’ve said I would do: increased my net worth, positioned myself among groups of diverse, uplifting individuals, had some pretty incredible life-enriching experiences (even in the midst of COVID), removed toxic people from my life, and gotten clearer, stronger boundaries. All of these are works in progress, but I can see that, within the past 6 years, I’ve moved steadily in this direction. I’ve had some major wins, and I thrilled to know that I will get even more wins in the future.

So today, ask yourself, what have I been focusing on? The answers may surprise and inspire you. I hope you’ve been well, and focusing on what you want in your life! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

health · life curation

Fibro Friday – How I Made Peace With My Diagnosis

Welcome to this week’s Fibro Friday! For those that are curious, I enjoy discussing an aspect of my fibromyalgia experience every week. This condition is more than a diagnosis: it’s a shift in my way of life. But as I continue to learn my “new normal”, I find myself seeing the silver lining every single day. And, if my experience can offer a silver lining for someone else, then I’m delighted that I can make this path easier for another person.

One of the most difficult things about learning that I have fibromyalgia is making peace with my diagnosis. It’s so easy to rebel against the diagnosis and throw myself into a cycle of over-extension, then drastically long recovery periods. I resisted this diagnosis for over a year. I would have one good day, try to do as much as I can, then I’d spend the next week in bed because my body ached terribly and my mental faculties weren’t up to par.

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I resisted the diagnosis because I hated feeling “less than”. I hated the fact that I had limitations. I really despised being face-to-face with my own frailty and, by extension, my mortality. I hated the fact that I wasn’t who I used to be, and there was nothing that I could do about it.

When you hit your lowest lows, that’s the point where you learn to release your death grip on your beliefs and to accept that your own resistance is what’s keeping you in your pain loop. Those lows teach you so much, but, mainly, they teach you to let this moment, and every moment you experience, be enough. When the moment is enough, you no longer obsess over why. You lean into the experience, and, just like magic, the solutions to your problems start to appear.

For me, the moment I started resisting my pain and just allowed it to be so, I felt a measure of relief. After that, the relief increased steadily. I’m not pain-free yet, but being present in the moment and observing my body – its pain, fatigue, mental fog, and inability to perform tasks like it used to – without judgment, freed me up to find solutions to my pain. My medication started feeling more effective, my mind started to clear a bit, and I started taking note of what physical activities felt like “just enough”, and which activities were overdoing it.

Instead of resisting my diagnosis and judging myself, I started approaching my diagnosis like a clinician. I analyzed my symptoms from a neutral standpoint, and, eventually, I started treating myself better than any doctor could. Much of my peace from my diagnosis is centered around the fact that I view it as neutrally as possible, which allows me to accept the symptoms without villainizing them, and to forgive myself for not treating my body as well as I could have over the years. When you know better, you do better. And I’m finally doing better by my body, which only came on the heels of accepting my diagnosis and moving forward.

That’s it for today. I hope this post encourages you and inspires you to make peace with the things that you can’t change, and to allow that peace to open the door for relief and solutions to whatever bothers you. Take care, and I’ll talk to you next week!

health

Fibro Fridays – Pain Management Tools

Happy Fibro Friday! We made it through another week: let’s celebrate!

I’ve been trying some new pain management tools over the past few weeks. These have helped me with some of the chronic pain symptoms that come along with having fibromyalgia. I really liked these items that I’m sharing today, so if you have fibromyalgia, or if you experience chronic pain, these may be worth a try.

First, I have the Nayoya Acupressure Mat and Neck Pillow set. At just under $40 USD, it’s a great item to try for some pain relief. I was going to review it, but Deena of Adventures with Fibro on YouTube (YT) beat me to it! Her review was great, so I’m going to link it here, but I’m also going to embed it in this post.

Now, there’s another tool that I’ve enjoyed using, and not only is it effective, but it’s reasonably priced, too. This tool is less than $20 USD currently, and I’ve loved using it to relieve some of the nerve pain I experience. It’s the La Vie Lactation Massage Roller.

Before you get any ideas . . . No, I’m not lactating! This massager is gentler than many other massage devices, which is crucial when your chronic pain is intense. Here’s the review of the lactation massage roller that I posted on my YT channel:

If you’re curious about the variety of tools that may be needed for those that live wtih fibromyalgia or chronic pain, you should check out Olga Chronics on YT. She is so thorough, and she’s charming to boot. I really liked her video on mobility aids (which I’m embedding below). I don’t use mobility aids, but it’s good information for anyone that has impacted mobility due to chronic pain or fibromyalgia.

Do you have any tools that you can recommend for pain management? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

*Post contains affiliate links.

life curation · relaxation

How to Do a Tea Meditation

Happy Tuesday friends! I hope you all are enjoying a comfortable and happy day wherever you are.

In light of the recent events in the United States, I thought about how I could contribute to the collective energy of peace and kindness. It may sound a little simplistic, but I truly believe that good intentions, prayer, and self-mastery are foundational to creating a more peaceful world. Indeed, if I can create peace within my personal world, I can radiate this out to others, and eventually this energy can start to encourage a peaceful attitude around the world.

I looked around my home to see if I had anything that would create an immediate mood lift. I reached for what has always worked for me: a cup of hot tea. But, instead of simply drinking the tea, I decided to do something a little different. I created a tea meditation around my ritual of enjoying hot tea. After I finished my cup, I felt so much more relaxed and grounded. I figure, if this process can have that effect on me, perhaps it will be of use to you, too.

So here are the steps involved in my tea meditation. If you prefer to watch a video on it, you can see a video demonstration below. Also, if you’re interested in reading more about the rich history of tea and the culture behind the tea ceremony, you should check out The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura. I found the book unexpectedly enlightening and thoroughly inspiring.

  • Pay close attention to every step that you take in preparing your tea: select your tea carefully, listen to the sound of the water as it goes from simmering to boiling, feel the weight of the cup in your hand before and after adding water.
  • Select your sweetener carefully (if you choose to indulge). If you’re inclined. do a taste test of the different sweeteners available and see which one makes your taste buds dance.
  • Gently, slowly and intentionally pour the hot water over your tea. Look intently as the water changes from clear to colored. Look closely to see if the herbs or tea leaves make swirls in the water as it infuses. Get lost in the slow transformation from clear liquid to flavorful beverage.
  • Add your sweetener a little at a time. Taste the difference between levels of sweetness. Connect those levels of sweetness to emotions or actions (perhaps you can compare lightly sweetened to a mild happiness, and the perfect level of sweetness to bliss [maybe like a passionate kiss]).
  • Stir the tea gently with a spoon, to ensure that the flavors are evenly distributed. Immerse all of your senses into the process.
  • Allow the tea to cool a bit before drinking. Take deep, cleansing breaths while you wait, and concentrate on what you want to experience as a result of drinking your tea (happiness, peace, satisfaction, etc.,).
  • Bring the cup up to your lips but, before sipping, deeply inhale the aroma. Try to identify each of the components of the tea by smell.
  • Take a sip, noting the feel of the cup against your lip, the weight of the cup in your hand, and the smell of the tea.
  • Allow the tea to gently swish in your mouth, coming into contact with all of your taste buds. Try to pick up notes of sweetness, bitterness, sourness, or saltiness (an exquisite tea can have elements of each). As you swallow, concentrate once more on what you want to experience.
  • With every sip, engage all of your senses and focus on what you desire.
  • Upon finishing your tea, speak a few words of gratitude, and complete a few more deep, cleansing breaths.

That’s it for today. I hope that this meditation blesses you and helps you tap into a feeling of peace and relaxation, as it has done for me. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

*This post contains affiliate links.

life curation

Vibe Lifters – A Key Part of Self Care

Hello friends. I hope this post finds you in peace and living well.

Last week, less than 150 miles from my home, the US Capitol Building, was raided by rioters that disagreed with election results and the overall management of the United States. This terrifying act has put many Americans on high alert, but it has also served as a source of great stress. In the midst of a global pandemic and considerable financial unpredictability, this act of terrorism exacerbates an already tense situation.

While I was disheartened by what happened at the Capitol, I knew that I didn’t have to allow it to cause me stress. I reached for a few of my reliable vibe lifting activities, and I instantly felt my body shift from tense to relaxed. I’m thankful that I had these activities in my self-care kit, so I could utilize them as soon as I found myself feeling anxious over the events happening not too far from my home.

What are vibe lifting activities? These are things that you can do whenever you’re feeling stressed or depressed. These aren’t a substitution for therapy or prescription medication, but these can offer a bit of relief when you need it most.

The key to a good list of vibe lifters is to make sure that the activities you include are things that can be done for free or inexpensively. The last thing you want is to rely on costly activities to lift your vibration: emotion should never been attached exclusively to financial ability. The best vibe lifters can be deployed instantly and connect you to your core values or favorite things.

Here is a portion of my list of vibe lifters, just to give you an idea of what this list can look like:

  • Drinking hot tea (tea is a favorite thing, and this can be done inexpensively and quickly)
  • Taking deep cleansing breaths (connects to one of my values: relaxation)
  • Yoga (another favorite thing, that can be done for free by follow YouTube yogi videos; also relates to one of my values [relaxation])
  • Read a mystery novel (can be done for free, so long as I have the book nearby, and is a favorite thing of mine)
  • Burn incense or light a candle (can be done inexpensively, and has aromatherapeutic benefits)
  • Take a nap (FREE! And connects to one of my values [relaxation])
  • Throw away something broken/unnecessary (free and speaks to one of my values [streamlining my lifestyle])

As you can see, there are a multitude of things that can be done to lift your vibration. Think of what makes you feel better and list those things. Having a list can really help when you need to quickly refer to an activity to lift your vibe.

What we saw last week isn’t the first or last example of stressful political incidences. However, having a handy list of activities to calm you down and improve your mood can help you to handle these stressors with grace and ease. Make your list, and let me know what things you can rely on to improve your vibration!

fitness · health · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

New Year, New Goals

To commemorate this new year, I want to share some of the intentions that I’ve set for 2021.

Over the past few years, my goals have felt a little lackluster, so I’m excited to share some goals that really light me up! I looked at several areas of my life, and I pinpointed what changes I need to make in order to make those areas of my life feel more balanced and abundant.

So, without further ado, here are my 2021 goals:

  • Publish 5 books
  • Lose 15 lbs
  • Manifest 3 international trips
  • Earn 6 figures from my businesses
  • Read 100+ books
  • Luxury purchases – an item from Hermes, a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, a pair of Sophia Webster shoes, and a pair of Ralph & Russo shoes
  • Cure my fibromyalgia (as I mentioned in my last Fibro Friday post)

I discuss my goals further in this video, along with why I’m not creating a vision board this year (I’ve created one every year since 2014 or 2015). I usually don’t make my videos this long, but I needed this amount of time to discuss all of the things I’m planning for my YouTube channel as well as for this blog. Enjoy, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

health

Fibro Friday – My Hope for the New Year

Happy New Year, and Happy First Fibro Friday! I’m keeping this simple, since it’s my favorite holiday and I’m feeling very hopeful.

My greatest hope for the New Year is to eliminate all of my fibromyalgia symptoms. In essence, I want to cure myself. I’m desiring to create a pain-free body in 2021.

I’m sure that sounds far fetched or even impossible, given the fact that fibromyalgia is generally considered a lifelong chronic illness. I don’t even have any case studies of people that have eliminated their fibromyalgia symptoms: at least if I had one or two examples, then maybe there would be some sort of logical basis for my hope. But that’s the thing – I’m believing in spite of the evidence around me.

So that’s my greatest hope for this year. I’m determined to cure my fibro and live a pain-free life. I’m so excited to share my progress with you all throughout the year. Here’s hoping that my discoveries will create a blueprint for wellness for someone else.

Happy 2021 to you all ❤️

health

Herbalism: My Favorite Tools

As a baby herbalist, I feel fortunate to have so many tools at my disposal. Plant identification apps, online herbalist courses, and countless hours of discussion on YouTube have really opened my eyes to the depth and breadth of the herbalism world.

Today, I’ll be sharing a few tools that I’ve found invaluable in my growing herbal practice. If you’re interested in taking your wellness back into your own hands, I implore you to research safe and effective plants that you can incorporate into your wellness plan, and then venture out into preparing those plants in different ways: as infusions (teas), tonics, tinctures, poultices, and more. The more that you experiment, the more that your knowledge grows. I hope this little list of tools helps you. Enjoy!

One of my first major investments into my herbal practice is my drying rack. I love using this when preparing herbs that I harvested myself, or when I purchase a bundle of fresh herbs at the store. This one by Adwaita is large, and can accommodate a lot of plant material. I use this almost every day, as I frequently find myself eager to preserve my fresh herbs.

After trying to crumble herbs by hand a few times, I knew that I needed a mortar and pestle. This one has a really nice weight and ergonomic design. I love that it doesn’t shift around when I use it: the weighted base keeps the bowl firmly in place. It also has a sleek look that I enjoy.

I regularly prep my herbs on this cutting board. It’s a large and attractive workspace: using it is always a pleasure. I sometimes use it to take photos of some of my herbs as I’m trying different blends. I love this work surface!

Eventually, I’ll be standardizing some of my preparations, so an inexpensive digital scale was a must. I purchased this last week but I haven’t used it yet: I’m looking forward to eventually offering my herbal mixtures and I fully intend to be consistent in my formulations.

These are my favorite herbal tools at this point, and I’m slowing growing my collection to include all of the tools that I need to create the herbal products that I enjoy using. That’s all for today: let me know if you use anything like the items that I mentioned above!

health

Fibro Fridays: My Five Favorite Spoonie Essentials

Happy Friday! I hope you all had an amazing week and an amazing weekend ahead! It’s Fibro Friday, so I’m sharing some more tidbits from my fibromyalgia journey. One of the things I’ve noticed is that there are a few items that I keep nearby (especially during flares) to make my life a little easier and more pleasant. Here are five of my favorite “spoonie” essentials (if you want to know more about “spoonies” and Spoon Theory, you can read my post here). If you have some essentials that you think should be on my list, please share in the comments!

If I had to toss my spoonie essentials into a backpack, these are the ones I would include.

Knee pillow – Sometimes, my trigger points can be especially sensitive, to the point where it hurts for the insides of my knees to touch one another. When this happens, I love using a knee pillow for relief. There are knee pillow designed for side, back, and stomach sleepers. I have two knee pillows, but this one is my favorite.

Magnesium cream – I’ve written about this before, so if you want more information, you can check out this previous Fibro Friday post.

Ginger candy – This is one that I suspect a lot of spoonies keep nearby, because they are so handy and effective. Sometimes, even if you don’t have a digestive condition (such as IBS or chronic nausea symptoms), you will still find yourself feeling a bit nauseous. Fibro is a condition of nerve dysfunction and improper nervous perception, so there’s an element of unpredictability with the symptoms. In any case, nausea can flare up unexpectedly, and ginger candy can be great for soothing upset stomachs. I’m including the link to my current preferred ginger candy (you can probably find it for a much better price in stores, but if you can’t find it, this Amazon link may help). I prefer a stronger ginger flavor, so ginger mints are my favorite. However, I’m also including the link to a milder version that I used years ago, which are also effective.

Kindle E-reader – When I’m spending a lot more time in bed, I like having my Kindle e-reader nearby. My Kindle is OLD (LOL!) but it still works well. The most economical Kindle available right now is less than $100 USD but it is a great item to have, especially if you’re a bibliophile like me. I love that Kindle e-readers retain their charge much longer than my cellphone, and it’s far more portable than my laptop. Here is the basic black Kindle e-reader.

Easy-to-prepare foods – Some days are more exhausting than others. When I simply don’t have the energy to prepare an elaborate meal, I enjoy having a few easy-to-prepare foods around the house. I love instant soups, noodles, and even protein shakes that take less than five minutes to prepare. The local international grocers have a lot of healthier quick meals than typical grocers, so I generally prefer to shop there. However, one of my favorite meals is by Tsubi Soups (I’ve written about it here) and I can only order it online.

That’s all for this week! I hope your weekend is spectacular, and I’ll be back on Monday. Take care and be safe!

*This post contains affiliate links.

health · life curation

Preparing for Mid-Summer Gardening!

I have still been enjoying time out in my yard, and I’m considering what plants I can start in July (since I was SO behind the ball this season). For the record, I didn’t know that I was going to be so fascinated with gardening, flowers, and nature in general this spring. My fascination blindsided me, so I’m very LATE in garden planning. But that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost! There are quite a few plants that can be started in midsummer and still thrive with ease.

Dreaming of summer gardening . . .

Burpee’s website outlines all of the crops that can be started in July. I wasn’t interested in growing vegetables per se, but if I change my mind, I may try to grow squash. My preference is smaller herbs and maybe some flowers. I found this guide published on The Spruce to be the best one for planning the kind of plants I would like to grow.

The only thing currently blooming in my yard: my gorgeous gardenias!

I’ve very interested in growing cilantro, garlic, basil and (perhaps) arugula or looseleaf lettuce. I want to start small and then expand into bigger plants. I really enjoyed seeing my overall growing options over on the Old Farmer’s Almanac website. There are a lot of plants that can grow in my zone (zone 7) so I’m excited to see if I can squeeze in one more herb or maybe even a fruit (perhaps blackberries or raspberries).

I watched this fantastic video that also gave me some ideas for what I may grow in my zone in July. I like that this guide can be used for multiple zones, not just zone 7. Rare Seeds’s YouTube channel is a wealth of information.

Will any of you be trying some midsummer gardening? Let me know about it in the comments!