On Meditating

On Meditating

Meditation is one of those things that, when thought of, is often considered to be something that is rather easy to do. Yet, some people may find that once they get into position, (which is usually some variation of the lotus position, but can be just about any position that you find comfortable), they tend to have difficulty maintaining their posture, maintaining a still mind or both.

I used to be one of those people, until I attended a yoga class, one of which meditation was a part of; and I quickly discovered that it’s actually quite common to lose focus while meditating. It was my instructor who, ever so graciously, helped to put my mind at ease and made me feel less uncomfortable about my ability to meditate – and to do so in a way that I could actually benefit and grow in my meditation practice.

I learned that meditation doesn’t have to feel as initially intimidating as it often does for many. Nor does it require that you clear your mind of your thoughts. Instead, it is more important that you learn to work with the thoughts that come through your mind. Why should you do this? Well, because your thoughts are likely going to keep coming. So, in lieu of fighting your thoughts, it would be better to accept that they are there and say to yourself, (mentally, of course, especially if you are meditating in a class with others), “I am in control of my thoughts” and then simply practice controlling them.

One way to do this is to continue to relax, close your eyes, try stilling your mind, (you can do it!), and then pretend that your thoughts are on imaginary clouds. Place your thoughts on clouds that are floating by, in your mind while your eyes are closed, and while maintaining your focus on the task of meditating. Lastly, observe each thought as they float away – far away.

Another similar option would be to put your thoughts in imaginary balloons and observe each thought as they are being released into a sunset filled sky and then – just let go.

I have tried both methods and they have worked well for me. I found that they keep me from being distracted by any thoughts or concerns of the day to where it makes getting through a complete meditation session much easier and without feeling as thought I am clearly focused one minute; and then losing my concentration the next.

So, it is considered acceptable if you find that you have to keep trying again and again to maintain your focus while meditating until you are able to get to a point where your mind no longer feels the need to wander. With a regular meditation practice you will likely find yourself becoming less of a meditation amateur just like I did.

One of my favorite things about yoga and meditation is the philosophy behind the practice; and how they offer so much in way of self-compassion. My holistic living journey over the past several months has been quite the eye-opener and I am excited to see where else it takes me. Thank you for reading.

Until the next post…

With love. Take Care.

Losing a Pet is Like Losing a Child

Losing a Pet is Like Losing a Child

Good Monday to you!

This one is for pet owners.

It’s also for anyone who can’t understand why people grieve the loss of their pets.

We lost our family pet during the first week of January. He was the sweetest, funniest (yes, pets can make you laugh hysterically), “little ham” ever – and a big part of our lives. When you’ve had a pet for 14 years they tend to grow on you and their loss can really “sting”.

Whoever said, “Pets are like Family” obviously owned, cared for and loved one themselves, because they sure knew what they were talking about. We found our little guy , a chihuahua mix, at a local pet store — but he was a shelter dog. One that if not for our youngest child, ( our son who passed away), asking us repeatedly to get a dog, we would not have had. Which would’ve meant that we would have missed out on some very special moments.

Just as with the family members and friends that we have lost, we have memories in the form of photos; but there also the stories. Oh, how I love the stories.

They remind us of the reason why “he” had to be the one to come home with us and become a part of our family.

It hurt having to say goodbye to him forever, not just because we loved him, but because having him around after losing our son allowed us to still have a little bit of our son around.

If you think about it… our pets lives are very much like that of the life that we have with our children, or anyone else that we may be taking care of on a daily basis. Their lives become intertwined with ours as we wake each day, on time, to ensure that they are fed.

We play with them, talk to them (yes, I said “talk” to them), we socialize them with other pets at pet establishments or dog parks; and sometimes we even set up play dates for them. We take them to the veterinarian to keep them healthy, or when they become ill.

Many pet owners, like myself, watch what our pets eat to ensure that they are eating foods that will benefit their health needs and keep their bodies strong.

We make sure that they exercise – usually with a nice walk, and it’s not unusual to hear a “pet-parent” talk about how their pet is often their source of motivation to get off the couch and to get a little exercise.

It’s no wonder that pet owners are considered healthier than non-pet owners, (even though recent research concludes that there is not enough evidence to support that belief). Yet, as a life-long pet owner I believe in the benefits and positive effects of pet ownership; and I challenge you to become a pet owner and judge for yourself!

Our pets keep us going and moving through life, while also adding positively to our livelihood. But, it’s their unconditional love that we probably benefit from the most. As that part of pet ownership has been shown to support emotional health and well-being.

I am sure that every pet owner will agree that there is nothing like the warm welcome and excitement that your pet shows when you walk through the door after being gone for a while.

Here is the thing… A loss is a loss. It doesn’t matter if it is a family member, friend or pet. It’s about how those we lost had an affect on our lives, and how much we will forever miss them.

So remember this the next time that someone thinks you are being dramatic because your pet died and you are grieving their loss; and keep grieving until you feel better. It’s not your fault that they don’t understand. Nor is it your responsibility to make them understand. But, feel free to send them a link to this post in hopes that they may one day learn to understand that pet loss is just as realistic and significant as human loss.

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

With love.

Take care,

xo

25 Ways to Live a Holistic Lifestyle…(With a Focus on the Mind)

25 Ways to Live a Holistic Lifestyle…(With a Focus on the Mind)

Hello everyone! Now that we know that holistic living is more a way of living than just a way to curb illness, (and involves the mind, body and soul), I would like to talk about what holistic living looks like when it solely involves caring for the mind.

A few weeks ago I watched a news program that covered a story on how the rain forest in the Amazon is in danger because of the the excessive practice of burning and clearing away of necessary plant life for commercial purposes due to some of the effects of consumerism. It was quite an interesting program.

They mentioned how that problem has an affect on animal life as well, which was kind of sad, but it really got me thinking. If you’ve ever watched a documentary or read a credible article on the Amazon, you know that it is considered to be “the lungs” of our dear planet earth. Without that critical part of our planet’s whole, who knows what the health of Earth will be like in the years to come. A simple domino effect of problems can have an adverse effect on the “whole”of just about anything. It’s no different with our “selves” .

Whenever one aspect of our health is impacted, (positively or negatively), it can affect other parts of our health, (positively or negatively), too. Our emotions can lead us to develop headaches or stomach issues; or they can have an effect on how well we recover from surgery or illness.

So as you can probably guess, working towards keeping our minds as healthy as we work towards keeping our bodies healthy is a part of living a holistic lifestyle because, again, our mind, body and soul are interconnected.

Here are a few ways that you can apply holistic health to your mind health. This list is not exhaustive, but these are a few things that I have personally learned from holistic practitioners, tried, and deem effective:

  • 1. Practice meditation daily.
  • 2. Use affirmations
  • 3. Practice yoga daily.
  • 4. Think critically about everything.
  • 5. Practice healthy optimism and positivity.
  • 6. Avoid negative thinking.
  • 7. Practice gratitude daily.
  • 8. Develop personal boundaries and avoid toxic relationships / “energy vampires”.
  • 9. Challenge yourself often and release yourself from “comfort zones”.
  • 10. Journal regularly to express and release emotions, feelings and thoughts.
  • 11. Be careful with your thoughts and the things that you allow your mind to entertain.
  • 12. Develop a strategy, such as using a mantra, to redirect your mind from any triggers that might lead to negative thought patterns.
  • 13. Get out into nature and go for a walk to help clear your mind and strengthen mental well being.
  • 14. Try learning new things – often.
  • 15. Give your brains periods of rest by practicing mindfulness, meditation or listening to music.
  • 16. Don’t let your ego take over your being.
  • 17. Practice deep breathing or Pranayama .
  • 18. Practice “Earthing” .
  • 19. Give yourself natural vitamin D by practicing healthy sun gazing.
  • 20. Maintain only those relationships and friendships that foster positive mental health – and that feel good.
  • 21. Try a little aromatherapy every now and then.
  • 22. Detach from social media and technology regularly.
  • 23. Separate your personal life from your work life,
  • 24. Practice minimalism.
  • 25. Create a sacred space in your home – a special place where you can go to for solace and quiet time to find peace from the busyness of daily life.

I hope that this list helps you as much as it has helped me, and if you have any tips of your own with ideas on how to live holistically, (with a focus on the mind), I would love to hear them, so please feel free to share in the comments section below.

Thank you for reading.

Until the next post…

With light and love,

Take care.

Welcome 2020!

Hello friends! Well, we’ve officially entered a new decade…and a new year! Happy New Year!

I have not posted in while because I decided to spend time with and focus solely on family this past holiday season. So, since I wasn’t able to wish you a Merry Christmas, I’ll do so now… Merry (belated) Christmas to you and yours! I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season!

We are 6 days into the new year and I have to say…I feel a slight sense of relief that the holidays have ended. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the holidays, but there has to be at least one person reading this that can agree with me that the holidays, as great as they can be, can also be very, very tiresome. So, it feels quite good to feel a bit of relief from all of the excitement that comes with that time of the year. Now we just have 11 more months to go until we get to create more special memories with those we hold dear once again. That is always definitely something to look forward to. Those cherished moments are the best!

Many of us are returning to work and/or school this week as we ease back into our schedules and personal versions of “the familiar” and the “the everyday.” I for one am looking forward to “getting back into the groove of things”.

2019 was a transformative year for me personally and for Salubrity and Soul. With my having begun a new wellness journey, and the rebranding of Salubrity and Soul, I am very excited about the road ahead!

So stay tuned if you’d like to see what I’ve been up to over the last several months because over the next few weeks I will be picking up where I left off, and delving deeper into the process of sharing my discoveries through a series of daily, weekly and monthly posts.

Before I end this post I have to inform you that there are no words that can fully express the gratitude that I feel towards you- my followers- thank you so much for your readership whether new or old. This has been one rough journey. Thanks for journeying with me…still. You’re amazing! Stay beautiful.

As always, thanks for reading.

Until the next post…

With light + love,

Take care.

What is Holistic Living?

When you think of holistic living, you may conjure up thoughts of consuming “green juice”, using herbs to heal ailments or improve nutrition, creating natural beauty products out of resources made in nature, or some form of complementary medicine such as acupuncture.

Although those things definitely fit into the scope of living holistically, they are a small part of what it means to live a holistic lifestyle.

Holistic living is a philosophy that requires an understanding that all parts of the body, or self, are interconnected and should be considered when taking care of one’s complete health and wellness.

Moreover, on a more basic and common level of understanding what it means to live holistically, it simply means living your life in balance with your mind, body, soul, (and I always like to include heart as well.)

There is no specific way to live holistically, but, one important aspect of doing so consists of living in tune with nature and using natural products, elements, and food, etc., keeping your thoughts and emotions as positively open and healthy as possible – and doing it all collectively as a way to heal or maintain health, wellness and well-being.

I hope this post gives you at least a hint or an idea of what it means to live a holistic lifestyle. Stay tuned for a few ideas on ways to live a holistic lifestyle.

Until the next post…

Thank you for reading.

Take care,

Carol

Why I Began Living a Holistic Lifestyle

Why I Began Living a Holistic Lifestyle

Grief really took a lot out of me. I didn’t expect it to, but it had a negative impact on my health. This was despite the fact that I did my best to eat healthy, exercise, get adequate rest and go hiking often.

To be honest, I was really taken aback and quite surprised at how draining grief can be. It’s funny how we never expect ourselves to ever experience certain things. I guess you could say that grief “caught me off guard.” I believed that I was handling my grief well, but a year later discovered that I was doing just the opposite when I had a health scare and had to go to the hospital to find out why I was having breathing and heart issues. That is when I knew that I had to make a change.

“Honor the physical temple that houses you by eating healthfully, exercising, listening to your body’s needs, and treating it with dignity and love.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Grief affects you emotionally, but it can also put a strain on you physiologically and physically and take a toll on your whole body. Oftentimes you’ll feel as though what you’re feeling is just basic tiredness, but for me it wasn’t just tiredness. I just wanted to feel like myself again. So, I took the leap to take my health power back (so to speak).

One way that I did just that was to begin living a holistic lifestyle that included changing the way that I eat, sleep, rest, think about myself and others, exercise, live and basically just care for my whole self.

Since I made that lifestyle change I have been able to lose weight, (without even trying to), reduce bodily aches and pains, reverse 2 chronic health conditions, gain increased energy throughout the day, manage stress better, become more calm and mindful in all aspects of my life, improve the way that my body feels and the way that I approach and think about life.

Living a holistic life is not a diet or a fad. If done, it should become a way of life if one is to reap the rewards of the benefits that it offers.

I’ll talk more about what a holistic lifestyle is this week, but I just wanted to share my “Why?” with you for now, and how excited I am about the changes that I’ve made.

I can tell you that I love that it’s not just about food, or just about exercise, or just about spirituality. What drew me to it is how this lifestyle cares for all parts of you. I also love it’s connection to living in harmony with nature. I am glad that I stumbled across this new lifestyle and I can’t wait to share more about it with you.

“Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine, our medicine should be our food.”

– Hippocrates

Have you made any lifestyle changes lately? I would love to hear your story in the comments section below.

Or, if you’d feel more comfortable discussing privately…shoot me an email.

Happy Halloween! If you are celebrating the day, have fun and be safe.

Thanks for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care,

Carol

A Pest-Free Yard + Home

A Pest-Free Yard + Home

” A flower blossoms for it’s own joy.”

– Oscar Wilde

 

Do you enjoy gardening?  I do.  I just wish that I could do a lot more of it. Thankfully, I am discovering that the older that I get, the more time I seem to have for it which is a definite plus.  I suppose eventually I’ll be able to garden on days other than the weekends at some point at this rate. Little by little, day by day, right?

I love gardening because it is so relaxing. I also enjoy the reward of caring for something and watching it grow into something wonderful and beautiful.

If you don’t garden you might be surprised to learn that it is a very physical activity, so much so that I consider it a form of exercise. Digging holes, bending and squatting to pull weeds, clipping and cutting, and when you are propagating several plants at one time it can be somewhat labor intensive. So, it’s a good way of getting exercise if you aren’t into exercising…well, sort of.  

I love the way that annuals and perennials add character and color to my yard during the spring, summer and fall months.  I also love it when the plants and flowers that I plant attract butterflies, ladybugs and birds – especially butterflies and hummingbirds.  However, I am less enthused when my yard attracts a lot of bees, flies, snails or other bugs. Not because I don’t like bugs, but because I would rather not get bitten or stung by any insects, and it can be very frustrating when they eat the leaves of my plants and open them up to disease and eventually plant loss. 

One way that I try to combat insects, and their sometimes vicious little bites, are by planting plants that have the ability to repel and ward off certain insects.  Some of the plants that can be quite useful for keeping mosquitoes at bay include mint, basil, lavender, lemongrass and chrysanthemums and marigolds. I like to keep at least two planters filled with bright, beautiful marigolds and chrysanthemums by my front door during the second half of summer through the fall season, and I am also sure that is something that our guests likely appreciate when they stop by to visit as well.

The marigolds and chrysanthemums are beautiful to look at and add that curb appeal to the front yard, but lately I have been thinking about adding some olfactory benefits to my front yard as well. 

I really love the smell of lemongrass and lavender and would love to add both to my front yard. The tricky part is finding a good spot in my yard, or in a pot on the porch, that doesn’t take anything away from the aesthetics of the yard design. I’ll figure it out at some point and I will be sure to post and share that with you when I do so you can have an idea of how to incorporate it in your yard should that be something that interests you.

I was gifted a mint plant last year and I kept it indoors for several months so that it could serve as a natural indoor repellent, and a natural herb to use for cooking that was handy and within reach while cooking.  As a child my mother used to grow mint in our backyard and the refreshing scent is something that I will always associate with home. The scent is light, but still delightful and can be very comforting.

The mint plant that I received eventually outgrew the pot that it was in, and I felt that it was time to move it outdoors. I also wanted to see if it would actually grow outside, and it grew very well outdoors – although I decided to keep it in a larger pot instead of planting it in the ground because after conducting a little research, I learned that they tend to spread if planted in the ground and given a lot of room to grow. This was just my personal preference because I need all of the extra planting space that I can get because I am also currently working on creating a memorial garden, and unfortunately, mint isn’t on that garden’s planting list.   

During the winter and into spring when we get a lot of rain on the west coast we tend to get a lot of snail activity where I live which is, more often than not a bad situation for many of my plants and flowers. Lucky for me though, not too long ago, I was informed by a neighbor that the fennel plant is a great plant to use in your garden if you want to get rid of snails. That was great news for me being that I usually use Corry’s Slug and Snail Killer, and have been looking for something more natural to use for our snail problem. I can’t wait to try that option later this year.

I can’t end this post without mentioning my favorite flowers – petunias! I absolutely adore petunias, and they way that they add so much flair to a yard during the spring and summer.

The pest-free benefit of petunias is that they are supposed to be good at keep aphids away.  (You know, those pesky little critters that are known to invade your lovely rose bushes and delicate indoor plants.)  Petunias are my go to flowers once the weather begins to warm up after winter, and I am ready to add a pop of color to my yard.  If the petunias still happen to get aphids I then turn to using safe soap based insecticidal solutions to get rid of them. 

Even with the likelihood of getting garden pests, I still enjoy this hobby and I appreciate the joy that it instills within me. 

If you have any other ideas for getting rid of garden pests, please comment as I would love to hear your ideas! Love and light to you!

Thank you for reading.

Until the next post…

Take care + be well 

   

“When your hands in the dirt, ready to care for a living thing, that is a time when your cares melt away.”

– Salubrity + Soul