“Gratitude soothes and heals the soul.”
Some days won’t be as good as others, but there will always be something good in each day. The key is to keep looking up!
Until the next post…
Blessings, love and light,
Have you ever noticed how meals, when shared with others, can make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside and create a sense of community? Throughout our human history sharing meals is one thing that has always brought people together. Over the holidays I was reminded of how it is one thing that has also always sustained us through good and bad times alike.
It doesn’t matter what the occasion is, or what food is being served; there is something special about “breaking bread” with others and sharing a moment of gratitude for just being able to have such a moment in our lives – all while satiating and nourishing our bodies, (and minds), as is the case with delicious food that either reminds us of good times with those we have lost; or stirs and excites the senses as we share thoughts, smiles and laughter at the dinner table.
Although a good meal sustains us by providing us with the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, you have to admit that we also, generally, have a love of how a simple taste or smell can bring a great big smile to our faces; or even take us back down memory lane – and if you love to cook like I do – then I’ll bet that you, too, have also had the pleasure of watching someone’s face light up from a meal that you cooked. These are smiles created by meals that were made with full hearts and love; and sometimes those smiles are created by the connection created from just being a part of something that warms the heart. A meaningful togetherness. What a truly beautiful aspect of life that is.
Until the next post.
Take Care + Be Well,
Greetings everyone! Today is the last Mercury Retrograde of 2018. If you are familiar with astrology or the metaphysical side of spirituality then you are probably familiar with the term Mercury Retrograde. If you are not familiar with this phenomenon, it is a planetary event that takes place 3, (sometimes 4), times a year in which the planet Mercury appears to travel in a backwards motion when viewed from earth. It has been determined, though, that it is not actually traveling backward but is just moving very slowly which gives the illusion that it is moving backward. Scientifically, this process is known as apparent retrograde motion.
Mercury Retrograde dates for 2018 were
March 23rd – April 15th (In Aries)
July 26th – August 19th (In Leo + Scorpio)
November 17 – December 6th (In Sagittarius + Scorpio)
How all of this relates to this planetary event is that since the planet Mercury is associated with communication, whenever mercury goes retrograde it tends to wreak havoc by causing errors in all forms of communication and it can also affect human behavior, cause delays, issues and problems. The types of communication that can be affected include, but are not limited to:
With this in mind, as you might guess, whenever this event occurs the likelihood that you may be misunderstood, get into an argument with someone, misinterpret things, not pay good attention to things or make mistakes is high. A few other things to be wary of are:
Is this just pseudoscience? Maybe… but for anyone who has experienced the results of mercury retrograde or believes in the influence of planetary alignments it is an actuality. Mercury is not the only planet that “retrogrades’, but it is the most popular type of planetary retrograde event.
Whenever mercury goes retrograde it is a good idea to pay close attention to the possibility that problems may arise and trouble may ensue. So, it is probably best to steer clear of agreeing to anything or making any important life changing plans until mercury retrograde has ended. There are some people who consider mercury retrograde somewhat ominous, but there are many others who choose not to view it in that way and see this event as a time of opportunity.
The good thing about mercury retrograde is that we can prepare for it and work around it or decide to carry out an action at a later date – Thankfully.
A key thing to remember about mercury retrograde is that it always involves another sign and the element associated with that other sign. What does that mean? Well, if mercury is in an earth sign at the time that it retrogrades any problems can usually be eased by applying a bit of practicality instead of wishful or hopeful thinking. If in an air sign analyzing and careful thought or discussion can be helpful. If in a water sign it’s all about using your intuition, and if mercury is in a fire sign, the best thing you can do is use your creativity and be daring and bold in your approach to attempting to fix any retrograde related problems.
This current and last mercury retrograde was actually the first time, (that I really noticed it having an effect on me and my life. Initially, I had not even considered that all of my recent miscommunication issues and delays were because of mercury retrograde. Yet, when they kept happening over and over again that is when I began to get a little concerned – and then earlier this week it hit me… Of course! Why had I not thought of this sooner? It was just a little planetary interference.
As you can see, mercury retrograde is not all doom and gloom. It is a time to:
It will be a while before the next mercury retrograde event:
The Mercury Retrograde dates for 2019 are:
March 5th – 28th (In Pisces)
July 7th – 31st (In Leo + Cancer)
October 31st – November 20th (In Scorpio)
So, smile! If this is something that you follow and believe in then there is plenty of time to prepare for any commotion that the next events may cause you. Now we can all focus a little more on holiday meal planning, gift giving, thinking of new ways to remember and honor lost loved ones and all of the cheerful loveliness of the holiday season – for me – that is a gift in itself (thank you for that experience mercury retrograde) and what a great way to welcome the Christmas season and ring in 2019!
Until the next post
Take care + be well,
One of the things that happens to the bereaved right after losing someone is that we tend to seek out things that will help us fill our recent void. Our bodies begin to crave more rest, and a host of other things – one being great tasting foods. Grief often tends to cause our appetites to change; and while some will experience a loss of appetite, others may experience an increase in appetite as the need to gravitate towards foods that elicit a dopamine release from the brain cause us to feel all warm and fuzzy inside and completely comforted. This is all due to the stress that comes with grief, and just as with any other form of stress we may know of our own “go-to” foods that we find personally healing. In fact we can all probably conjure in our minds right this very moment, (I am sure), a dish or recipe that we know has the power to make us instantly happier at any given moment. For me it’s my Mom’s curried chicken recipe or just about anything with, garbanzo beans, dark leafy greens, avocado or Italian. Those foods always go straight to my soul and make everything better.
But, back to how grief either increases or decreases our appetite. In the days weeks and first few months after losing my son, I lost my appetite which resulted in my losing 12 lbs. Food was the farthest thing from my mind and I remember every time that I did eat, regardless of whether or not it was breakfast, lunch or dinner, I felt as though I was forcing myself to eat. I was forcing myself to eat, because I knew that eating something was the only way that I was going to have any energy to keep running back and forth to the hospital, plan a funeral service and take care of all of the lose ends and important tasks that must be taken care of after someone passes away.
Even though my appetite was not there I knew that I had to eat in order to stay somewhat healthy. Sadly, though, I found myself in a bit of a fast food whirlwind grabbing unhealthy, easy, non-nutritious foods to sustain myself which as you probably already guessed, left me feeling even more depleted.
Something had to change and I needed to find a way to get back to normalcy and start eating healthy again. So, I began by gradually increasing the days that I would cook healthy meals at home instead of eating out or grabbing fast food. Starting with two days a week at first, and eventually leading to making healthy home cooked meals 6 days a week – it took me 4 months to return to my usual healthy eating schedule.
One thing that made it easy to do was to cook in bulk so that we would have leftovers available, (either from the previous day or frozen), if something came up and I was unable to cook one day. Another trick that I used was to pre-make healthy juices, smoothies, vegetable and fruit plates, soups and salads and I kept them at hand so they were easy to grab from the refrigerator for a quick snack or lunch.
It is not uncommon for the grieved to receive food from friends and family after the funeral has passed, and this practice can be such a wonderful blessing when you are too emotionally and physically and weary to cook anything. I can’t stress enough how much helping the grieved in this way can mean the world anyone who has just lost someone. However, that is not something that we can rely on for the long haul.
Therefore, having and idea of how to implement a healthy meal plan and and what to include can be invaluable not just to the bereaved while adjusting to a new way of being, but it could also be helpful to anyone who might be feeling overworked, over stressed, just plain tired or for any reason.
During the spring and summer months we will usually feel satiated after eating just about anything light, but for a lot of people there is something about fall and winter that moves us toward craving comfort foods such as stews, hearty soups and casseroles. There is something about the cooler months that have us reaching for foods that warm our bodies as well as our hearts. The good thing is this, we don’t always have to abstain from enjoying those delicious comfort foods.
For example, one way to still eat them and avoid adding extra pounds, or eating unhealthy, is to change a recipe so that it becomes healthier, but still tastes great. This is what I did with my lasagne recipe when I stopped making it with meat and all of the extra, delicious, but unnecessary cheese. It is absolutely scrumptious! I will post a recipe for that lasagne this week in what will be Salubrity and Soul’s new recipe section, and it will also be posted on the Salubrity and Soul Instagram account.
If you have found yourself in the same unhealthy conundrum and feel the need to eat healthier after loss or just prefer eating a decent home meal try:
As you can see, there are several things that you can do to help ensure that you are eating as healthy as possible while dealing with loss, and I will have more tips and tricks for maintain your health while grieving in the coming weeks.
Until the next post,
Take care + be well,
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
– Melody Beattie
As the month of November comes to an end I begin to sense the spirit of gratitude slowly fade away. The “month of gratitude” may be over, but I do not plan to stop practicing gratitude thereafter. My gratitude practice is a lifestyle. A lifestyle that makes every day of my life a magical and wonderful journey of discovery and appreciation. Even in the midst of grief and profound loss.
Until the next post.
Take care + be well,
The words “I’m Blessed” is a phrase that I have used quite often in the past to express the way that I feel about all of the good and wonderful things that I have received and accomplished in my life. There is no harm in celebrating the good that occurs in our lives…right? However, one has to ask, does that change if we become a bit too zealous in our efforts to celebrate ourselves and we begin dismissing the misfortune of others? Does it change if all of the good that we receive changes us – and not for the better?
I stopped saying “I’m Blessed” a few years ago when I began a volunteer position working with foster youths helping to ensure that they were receiving proper care with regard to their health and well-being in their prospective foster homes. Just hearing those two words at the time would make me cringe whenever I heard them coming from my mouth or from the mouths of others. All of a sudden that little special phase began to seem shallow to me, and I just didn’t feel comfortable using it anymore.
Another reason why I stopped saying it was because I began to notice that there are a lot of people who do not have a “typical” family structure or a “typical” shot at some of the opportunities that others have. Not to mention having the “good fortune” of celebrating the holidays with their loved ones in many instances. I also began thinking about those who had lost their homes and loved ones in recent storms and natural disasters. Once all of this began to infiltrate my mind – well, it was a given that I, personally, no longer felt comfortable using that phrase.
Once I really began to pay attention to how common these issues are, I realized how egotistical I must have sounded to give myself so much praise and attention when I really didn’t need it – any of it – because I have enough. More than enough, even with all of my own personal struggles and imperfections. I still have enough, and I don’t need to tell anyone about my blessings because we’re all blessed in one way or another. As a result, it became more important for me to just appreciate my blessings and be thankful for them in silence and with grace.
I think the word “blessed” can sometimes be taken out of context to go beyond simply meaning “to be fortunate” or “lucky” and is often instead referred to as being something “more than“, being “highly favored” and exalted by a higher power which is often the result of performing some spectacular act, or just being successful or having a perfect family, appearance or life.
Once I began practicing gratitude as a way of celebrating myself and all of the things that I am fortunate to have or have experienced in my life, everything changed. For one thing, I can honestly say that I am now a more humble and open person and someone who is always conscious of what others may be going through. Now I count my blessings instead of professing that I am blessed. You and I – well – we are all blessed just for being; and we shouldn’t feel any obligation of having to have had accomplished something to receive those blessings. Besides, blessings often run out, while gratitude is often the gift that keeps giving; no matter what the situation. Speaking of giving… I hope that you will join me by still celebrating yourself, (in whatever way you need and prefer to), but by also remembering to always make an effort to try to be a blessing for someone else whenever possible. Blessings to everyone!
Until the next post,
Take care + Be well,
Happy Holidays to you and yours! It has been several days since my last post. I decided to ring in the holidays on a much needed easy note, placing a majority of my focus and attention on maintaining holiday family rituals, creating new ones, spending time with my husband, my two remaining adult children, my precious grand kids and completing a Christmas donation project in honor of my “angel son”.
The last few weeks have been somewhat hectic, but I have learned to balance the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with equal amounts of “me time” as a way allowing myself to still enjoy the holiday season while also ensuring that I take care of myself first; so that I can also still be there for my family to celebrate the season with a joyful spirit.
This is the second holiday season without my youngest child and one of my greatest lessons of this past year has been learning to push past my feelings of hurt and remaining grateful for all that I still have in my life. With grief it’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of “loss”, which in most cases is inevitable and completely understandable. However, that is not a place to reside. Practicing gratitude has helped me remember all of good that I have in my life despite also having to live through the bad.
Luckily for me, I began my gratitude practice prior to my son’s death, and that is what I turned to and leaned on immediately after his death. I have to be completely honest though – there were many days where I felt as though there was nothing to be grateful for. Those days happen, but the funniest thing took place when I realized that those days occur. I learned to be grateful for those days. I learned to appreciate that reality, and doing so helped me heal and get through some of the most discouraging days I have ever encountered.
I know it might seem strange to be grateful for “not being able to find anything to be grateful for”, but what not having anything to be grateful for did for me was to allow me to be thankful for my bad days, my disadvantages, my sadness, and believe it or not – my grief. Yes, all of those uninspiring and less than perfect things were suddenly something to appreciate, because they helped to remind me that those things helped to make me a stronger and more resilient person. Furthermore, every time that I expressed gratitude for those things it made me appreciate the good in my life more. In a strange sort of way it made me see that everything in my life and everything that I experience is something to be grateful for because it either added something positive to my life, or allowed me to experience or (better yet) learn something new. Either way it is growth. Either way it is life. Either way it is beautiful.
The truth is – I may still wake up one day and feel out of sorts, but it’s okay. I still have a beautiful family. My “angel son” is still my son, I still have an abundance of wonderful family memories, I still have amazing supportive family and friends, I still live on a great big beautiful planet where seasons change and where I can enjoy nature and the outdoors. I am grateful for my followers and that you have taken the time to read my posts. I am grateful for the opportunity to follow you, learn more about you and read the posts that you have shared with me.
I’d like to close by saying that I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and regardless of whether or not you have lost someone, my hope is that you were able to share beautiful moments with loved ones – moments that created memories to last a lifetime. The month of November is nearing its end, but our expressions of gratitude don’t have to. Let’s all try to remain grateful for what we have in our lives regularly and throughout the year. We all have so much to be thankful for – even when things might not seem to be so great. We just have to open our hearts, minds and eyes to see and appreciate all that surrounds us. Blessings to you all! xo
Until the next post…
Take care + Be well,
“If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day. Nothing stimulates our appetite for the simple joys of life more than the starvation caused by sadness or desperation. In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse.” – Anthon St. Maarten [Divine Living: The Essential Guide to Your True Destiny]
There is so much going on in the world right now, and I have been thinking a lot about the energy surrounding our environments, and the collective effects of indisputable or obvious negativity and toxicity.
The dictionary states that the word positive means: 1. Something positive. 2. the state or character of being positive; a positivity that accepts the world as it is. While it’s opposite, [the word] negativity means: 1. the expression of criticism. 2. pessimism about something, failing to see the good and concerning oneself with bad outcomes, or expressing hopelessness.
The word toxicity; however, can lead one to conjure feelings of impending doom. It is a word that makes me think of something that could take over my mind and body and render me completely helpless. It is a word that signifies and embodies danger and the probability of eventual demise.
“Negative means separating energies, while positive means unifying energies. It’s not about being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – energy is quite neutral, actually…one just feels better. Simply imagine that being negative creates distance between the hearts of two people, while being positive brings them closer together. – Alaric Hutchinson [Living Peace: Essential Teaching for Enriching Life]
One thing that has captured my attention is how, in recent times, it has become acceptable to correlate anguish and sadness with negativity and toxicity. Why have these emotions become a part of a majority opinion that imply anguish and sadness are harmful and pestilential, when they are more likely to denote the presence of a tender soul experiencing a delicate and temporary situation.
Should we place feelings such as anguish or sadness in the same category as hatred, envy, gossip bullying or something much more defective and personally damaging like narcissism – all of which are clearly harmful, toxic and negative behaviors that can be hard to avoid in today’s social “climate?”
Every despairing situation is not a sign of negativity or toxic behavior, and our propensity to hold that belief can be toxic and harmful in itself. If we become desensitized to recognizing pain in others we are open to losing our humanity; and if we lose our empathy we are open to no longer care about others. What connects us to others is being able to empathize with them. Is that something that we are willing to lose?
“Even when something is not your fault, toxic blame has no place in your life. Focus on your own empowerment and healing.” – Bryant McGill [Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living your Best Life]
It is natural for us to try to avoid pain and sadness, but is that realistic? What if those feelings and emotions are a part of your life path, your soul work, your life transformation? If it is, should that process of growth be interrupted? Wouldn’t it wonderful to watch the whole intricate process unfold, and witness the unabashed life affirming growth manifest?
We are all flowers pushing our way through concrete, and lotuses growing through mud. That is the [hidden] beauty of our being. It is the growth and experience that make everything worthwhile and what gives everything meaning. Trying to navigate through rough times is by no means as negative or toxic as causing others harm, or trying to affect anyone negatively in some way – and that is the truth.
Until the next post.
Take Care + Be Well,