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

Affirmations

Affirmations

Have you ever tried using affirmations as a means of self-help or self-improvement?

An affirmation is a positive statement that is repeated or written until it is believed to have manifested. They are quite helpful in decreasing negative thoughts, and every time that an affirmation is recited it helps to strengthen positive thinking.

My first experience with affirmations was less than favorable to say the least. In fact, the first time that I tried them I was instantly unimpressed and convinced that they were ineffective.

It seems I somehow formed the conclusion that they were just some type of “woo-woo” new age thing that didn’t offer any real inspiration or serve a viable purpose, (not that there is anything wrong with new age concepts…) I am not judging here. At that time it just felt wrong.

I remember I didn’t like the way that saying them made me feel when I recited them. They always left me feeling as though I was sad, incomplete and somewhat pitiful. Which was quite the opposite of how they were supposed to make me feel. Affirmations are supposed to leave you with a sense of empowerment. Why wasn’t I feeling empowered?

I later learned that affirmations, just like anything else that is created for the purpose of self-development and personal growth, work best “if” the person is ready, willing and open to receiving what the self-help task being performed is attempting to help you accomplish. I think sometimes when it comes to self-help activities we often expect them to work in an instant – like magic – at least that was the belief that I had at that time in my life. That is often not the case though. It took me a long time to realize that. Now I say say affirmations daily and I appreciate the gift of mental and spiritual inspiration that they give me each day.

What I like the most about affirmations, is that they work very similarly to gratitude in that they are personal, and they remind you of the positive life affirming aspects of your life. Every affirmation, once spoken, wraps you in your own personal strength and power; and prepares you for a day in which you will be prepared to take on any obstacle. To me, they are like daily “mental rainbows’ that provide you with little shots of extra resilience while also filling your heart with self-compassion and joy.

An affirmation as simple as “I am feeling stronger today” can help provide you with that little bit of encouragement needed to perhaps… get out of bed and face the day ahead when you are in a bereaved state; or experiencing some other type of loss.

In addition, reciting an affirmation such as ” I am feeling stronger today” is considered to be a better affirmation to use than something very simplistic like: “I am strong” because it is more reality based, a little more in-depth and considered to be easier to accept – and therefore apply. This works well for me, but feel free to try this for yourself to see if it works for you.

Other examples would include the following:

  • Using the affirmation statement “I will be kind to myself today and apply patience through all things that I encounter, ” instead of using a statement such as “I have an abundance of patience.”
  • “It is okay for me to laugh sometimes because laugher is a soul’s expression of joy. Appropriate laughter helps me breathe positive energy into the universe”, Instead of ” I will remember to laugh to foster a sense of joy.”
  • “I am present in my life and open to receiving love and support and good energy from others”, instead of ” I am open to socializing, and trying new things.”
  • “I trust that my ability to create a new story, (or add to the one I already have), is strong when things go wrong in my life, and I repel all doubt of my ability to do so”, instead of ” I can and will beat any adversity.”

A few ways that affirmations are useful include the following:

  • They help you draw on your ability to be open and receive positive energy from source or the universe.
  • They allow you to focus on applying courage because instead of denouncing your fears, they help you climb over them.
  • They help you apply patience, because they help you remain honest about your abilities and intentions.
  • They help with resilience because they make it easier to keep showing up during tough times.
  • They help you maintain your sense of humor and your ability to smile, laugh, not take life too seriously.

If you haven’t already done so, try creating your own daily affirmations, or if you’ve tried and had a bad first experience like I did, why not give it another try and see if it adds value to your life this time around. You’ve got nothing to lose, only something to (hopefully) gain. I wish you luck. Love and light to you.

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care + be well.

Contentment

Contentment

Hello and Happy September! In my last post I made a reference about how it is impossible for everyone to do something big or great. Well, I received a little feedback from some of my readers regarding that post and how it appears to denote a defeatist tone and may come off as uninspiring.

Before I go on, I would like to first apologize to anyone who may have found the content in that post offensive or otherwise. Secondly, I would like to say that I can see how the perspective in that post may have seemed counterproductive with regard to maintaining a postive outlook on life, or how it may have come of as being pessimistic. However, that is not the kind of message that I was trying to convey.

“Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves.” – Pema Chodron

The main focus on that post was actually about practicing self-compassion, acceptance and more important…contentment. It was not intented, in any way, to share any likeness with self-pity or lacking.

It came from a place of understanding that is more modest that egocetric.

It also came from a place that engenders a less acquisitive perspective towards the achievement of goals and aspirations; while still celebrating one’s achievements, goals and aspirations…whatever those achievements goals and aspirations may be.

“I only seem negative to the fortunate. That is because I show the less fortunate that they aren’t less fortunate after all.” – Criss Jami

In short, that blog post was meant to inspire, encourage – but most of all empower. It was created to support those who may need to feel good about the way that they are choosing to show up and contribute to society, especially if to them – it may not seem like it is “enough”.

It’s no secret that some of us will become very well known and some of us will not. Most of us will not. Some of us will earn PhD’s and some of us will not. Some of us will form corporations. Some of us will not. Then there is the consideration of whether or not we actually want to take on a bigger responsibility and role. Sometimes it’s hard to understand and accept that others aren’t interested in the same things that we are interested in; and that doesn’t mean that something is wrong with them. We forget that as connected as we are, we still, as a society value individuality. It’s our differences that make us beautiful and more important…interesting. Just strive every day to be good at what it is that you do!

It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, or how you choose to do it. The only thing that really matters is that you are trying to do something good – and that you’re not causing anyone any harm while doing so. If you are bringing something good into this universe of ours, then you are doing plenty! No matter how big or small. Besides… I am sure we can all agree that doing something is better than not doing anything at all when it comes to trying to make the world a better place… A more interesting and special place. Love and light to you!

Thanks for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care + be well.

Feeling A Sense of Freedom

When I started Salubrity and Soul a year ago. I had done so to fulfill a personal promise to someone that I would go through with my (long awaited) plans to start writing again and to begin that process with a blog.

It just so happened that I ended up focusing on my experience with loss. That wasn’t my original plan though.

Growing up (which for me was many eons ago) English was my favorite subject and I, (believe it or not), used to be pretty good at writing… but as the old saying goes… “if you don’t use it you lose it.” Boy did I lose it! However, that’s not to say I won’t get it back.

That didn’t sway me from wanting to continue finding a way to bring writing back into my life either, because when you really enjoy something you tend to not just give up on it. You keep starting over until you get it going!

I didn’t start this blog with the intention of “changing someone’s life”, in fact, my hope and intention was to share my story and “if” it “could” help anyone…or “did” help anyone then “Wonderful!”

We all feel good when we are able to give back or make someone feel better right?

And that’s more than enough to make my life worthwhile. Just helping one person is enough – and like my grandfather used to tell me – a small victory is still a victory.

Because the truth is…Everyone can’t and won’t be able to do big things. Not to be a downer, but the reality is this…It’s just not in the cards for everyone or feasible. Some of us will have to make an impact in the world on a smaller (but no less influential or important scale). Otherwise we would all be super stars or become President – But then who would help us at a sales counter? Or help care for an elderly, special needs or disabled person?

Are those jobs no less important? Not at all. They’re very important.

There are many ways to make an impact in this life, because there are so many ways to help people and to be of service.

Maybe the only real concern that many might have is whether or not that impact will be noticed and revered by others, or lead to some type of fame. It’s all a matter of what we’re really seeking in the end I suppose.

All I know is (it seems) that everyone is trying to get on board the fame and noteriety train and to be honest…it can be a bit overwhelming at times.

How is everyone going to help everyone? There is just so much “help” out there. It’s enough to make your head spin. What ever happened to just sharing and leaving an impact with your words or your message?

That’s where I am now. That’s the direction that I seek to move forward in.

I appreciate my followers and readers so much and I am so grateful for your continued presence here on Salubrity and Soul and Instagram, but I am especially thankful for the ability to share our thoughts and stories together as a community. If we can make each other smile, laugh or appreciate another perspective – then GREAT!

That’s what it’s all about!

Until the next post…

Take care + Be well.

New Moon, New Opportunity

New Moon, New Opportunity

There is that old saying, “Every day is a new beginning!” which is just as inspiring as it is true, but did you know that every month we are offered a chance to begin anew as well?

This lesser known second chance is one that is gifted to us by our amazing universe every time that a new moon occurs, which is about every 28 – 30 days.

The new moon is an planetary (or astrological) moon phase that happens when the sun and moon become conjunct. This is also when a new lunar phase cycle begins.

Tomorrow, on July 2, 2019, at 3:16 p.m. EDT, a new moon in Cancer will occur – and with a solar eclipse! How exciting! Unfortunately, though, this occurrence will only be visible in South America – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t experience the healing and spiritual effects of the this event.

“A new moon teaches gradualness and deliberation and how one gives birth to oneself slowly. Patience with small details makes perfect a work, like the universe. – Rumi

Most people never pay much attention to our alignment with this energy force, but it is there for the taking if we’re open to receiving its offerings.

New moon events are prime times to set intentions, make life changes, start new goals or projects, etc. I, personally, like to think of these events as being special unconscious universal connections that help us to vibrate higher and grow spiritually.

If you’re wondering what to do during a new moon, and are interested in taking advantage of this celestial event I’ve listed a few simple ideas below.

Start a new venture.

Energy received from the new moon holds an abundance of possibility allowing you reap the rewards of the seeds you have sown in the form of set intentions prior to the new moon event. (It’s best to set intentions that will take place the day after the new moon – not on or before.)

For example, the new venture that I have set my intentions for is to successfully train for a 5k that I will be participating in this September. So, any training that I begin, in order for my intention to have the best chance for success, will begin on the day after the new moon.

You should also make sure that your intentions are as specific as possible. For instance, ” I want to complete the 5k in September in 35 minutes or less”, or ” I want to beat my score from last year’s 5k by 10 minutes.” The reason why you should be as clear as possible is because this helps the universe and divine intervention help you reach your specific goal without any ambiguity.

Start a healing ritual .

Thankfully, new moon energy is great for helping us learn to appreciate the calm after the storm or better yet, the light that brightens our days once again after the darkness ceases. A healing ritual can help you overcome grief, a job or relationship loss, or any other type of loss and it is as simple as drawing on divine intervention or the universe for comfort and solace. Being as specific as possible here is key as well. You might want to include, in your intention, when you would like to be healed; and note what what you would like to replace your loss or sadness with.

Create a sacred space.

A sacred space is an outdoor or indoor space that is created for the purpose of prayer, meditation, self-reflection or intention manifestation. Most sacred spaces are created within one’s home, and becomes a place that one uses to get away from everything or just commune with a higher power. It is a safe, quiet, comfortable space decorated with personally relaxing or soothing colors, preferred spiritual or religious relics, decorations and furnishings. Oftentimes a makeshift alter is also created within a sacred space and filled with candles, religious or spiritual beads, statues, crystals, rocks and other items that can help you connect with your higher power and enlist good positive healing energy.

I recently began working on creating a sacred space in my home. It isn’t quite where I would like it to be, but I will be working on it until it meets my satisfaction. Stay tuned for future updates on its progression – especially if you’d like some tips!

Candle lighting.

My tried and true… and my favorite means of preparing for a new moon is candle lighting. This method is done by lighting a candle, holding it in your hands and saying a prayer, mantra or asking your higher power to help you bring more love, happiness, gratitude, blessings and light into your life. It’s as easy as that. It is customary to let the candle go out on its own, but for safety’s sake… I would not do this. Please put the candle out in a safe manner once you have completed your candlelight new moon ritual.

I hope that you found this non-exhaustive list of new moon ritual ideas helpful, or at the very least interesting. Thank you for reading and Happy New Moon in Cancer!

Until the next post…

Take care + Be well!

An Experience in Late Spring Desert Soothing

An Experience in Late Spring Desert Soothing

Hello Everyone and Happy Thursday! I just returned home from a slightly extended, (and much needed), trip to one of my favorite places to visit in Southern California – Joshua Tree National Park.

It was exciting, relaxing and wonderful as usual – this was my third time visiting this national park.

I missed not going last year, tremendously, because I was deep in the throes of overcoming grief, and I didn’t realize exactly just how much I missed the desert until I was finally able to once again step foot onto the coppery, tawny hued hot sand and dirt of the very beautiful Mojave-Colorado desert inspired landscape of Joshua Tree National Park. You really have to visit this part of the earth to truly appreciate just how welcoming it is.

To back track a little bit, I didn’t go last year because it just didn’t feel right. I even made reservations twice last year, and cancelled them just as soon as I made them. So, I know deep down I wanted to go badly, but my need to hibernate at home and learn how to live without my youngest child was so much stronger. Sometimes I think that my son may have even had a hand in my not going because I was no where near ready to enjoy myself – as one should when on vacation.

My last visit was just a few months before my son’s death, so as you can probably imagine, this trip brought back so many memories of when he was still physically in my life.

This year though, I was more prepared for the adventures and physical exertion required for such a trip; as well as the opportunity to release some really heavy internal turmoil and manifest a hint of personally relevant rehabilitation. The desert offers many opportunities for reflection and healing and my heart and mind are now in a good place – a place of equanimity.

This trip was quite different from my previous trips to Joshua Tree National Park in that it was less about reaching a specific peak, enduring a strenuous trail, or taking a lot of pictures so that I could post them to Instagram. In fact, for the first time ever while traveling, I gave extra attention to avoiding my smartphone while away. I wanted to make sure that I would be fully immersed in my trip, and that required me to be fully present in every moment so that I could obtain the most from my experience with nature, and the culture of the area, while there. Trust me, it was by no means easy, and I was tempted to get on my phone a few times to post photos on social media and to create a post here on Salubrity and Soul, but I didn’t and I am glad that I was able to keep my promise to myself and to ensuring that I would be able to have the best possible connection to my trip experience.

I did take a few photos eventually though, because I had to have something to remind me of my trip besides the Joshua Tree t-shirt that I bought. I just made sure that capturing photos from my trip just so that I could let everyone know what I was up to at the moment was not my main focus – or a focus at all.

This trip was was less about physical activity and more about becoming one with nature, more specifically, the desert – and and allowing it to teach me about surviving, overcoming, adjusting to harsh conditions and thriving while in that state.

I love being in the desert and I figured if anything was going to propel me to another level of healing in my bereavement it would be within the lessons learned from watching the example of resilience from the delicate but oh-so-mighty desert.

One of the first things that I noticed was the abundance of plant life and wildlife at Joshua Tree National Park this year. It was obviously more green and more bright with colors from a variety of plant species that were dormant during my last visits – (and my 2017 visit was pretty exciting as far as seeing color and running into fauna was concerned, so that should give you a little hint to the eye-catching changes that left me in awe.) I concluded that my increased sightings of lizards, birds, insects, desert rats and rabbits were the result of the increased plant life which undoubtedly was the result of the fact that the desert had received quite a bit of rain earlier this year. This part of my trip was something that I enjoyed witnessing as it made my trip even more pleasurable and in a lot of ways – more spiritual.

Joshua Tree National Park emits such a deep, raw energy within its boundaries that I would describe as being very cleansing. Maybe it has something to do with it being a high desert, or maybe it is because when you are out there it is almost as though you are visiting another planet, or because the desert holds a great deal of “fire energy”, or perhaps it is due to it being a vast land once inhabited by ancient natives and still feels like it.

Whatever the reason, many people, myself included, love to visit this desert public land for the visual aesthetics, the physical activity offerings and the spiritually stimulating opportunities.

Had I decided to go last year, I know that I would not have enjoyed myself as much. It would have been a very solemn and mentally draining trip and I don’t believe that I would have been able to even entertain the thought of going out for a hike each day; or try new restaurants in the area like I was able to while on this trip. It feels very good to be able to open up myself up to new experiences once again – and in a place that fills me with so much joy and peacefulness.

Have you ever gone on vacation only to return home feeling as though you now need a vacation from your vacation? I have, but that never happens to me after visiting Joshua Tree.

I am grateful for every moment of mindfulness along the trails that I hiked and every awe-inspiring view that captured my attention and my heart. The connection that I receive with every visit here never fails me. This time is no different. Right now I feel transformed, invigorated and inspired to share the lessons of resilience that I learned from the desert.

Thanks for reading!

Until the next time,

Take care + be well

10 Ways That Suffering Can Help You Grow Spiritually

10 Ways That Suffering Can Help You Grow Spiritually

Well…we have survived yet another Monday my friends! Happy Tuesday! Today on “Talk-about-it-Tuesday” I would like to discuss spirituality and how suffering can contribute positively to personal growth.

“Don’t put your soul in the wrong hands, mindset, or environment.

– Lalah Delia

Spirituality means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and my intention with regard to this particular blog post is not to focus on the different types of spirituality or get into the topic of religion; but rather to look at how it (spirituality) can be beneficial in the instance of grief.

One thing that I have noticed is that all spirituality carries with it is the ability to bring us back to our “center.” Back to our “home base.” Back to a phenomenal place where we’re able to develop a deep connection with something that is many times greater than ourselves, and perform rituals that make our spiritual practice (whatever it may be) special and meaningful to us.

“Spirituality is a supreme inter-communication between you and everything.”

-Bryant McGill

Spirituality is often the thing that we’re reaching our for when we experience loss because that is a time in our lives when we tend to really seek answers to the most perplexing questions about life… and death.

I have found so much comfort in discovering and implementing the guidance that I’ve received from my spiritual practice(s). They have brought more peace, tranquility and inspiration into my life making it easier for me to heal.

Suffering can be as lonely as it is painful; and it feels wonderful to have something in my life that I can do to alleviate the pain and loneliness that can also be practiced in very personal and intimate way without infringing on anyone else’s personal comfort level. I can express what I am feeling without any worries because I know that I am in the company of a power that understands my grief, and who is ready to assist me in performing my soul work and growth.

“Part of the spiritual work is remembering who you are – when triggered.”

– Lalah Delia

I have compiled a list of 10 ways that suffering has helped me to grow spiritually. I believe that this list could help you too.

  • Suffering makes your appreciation for life more profound because you get to observe closely just how precious every single moment is. You get to see it’s worth up close and personal.
  • You learn that life comes with limitations – and you learn to accept that reality.
  • You learn that no matter how much you think that you have control over your life… you do not.
  • You gain a greater understanding of the gift of vulnerability and you become more fearless and courageous as a result.
  • It can help you open your heart and mind to the gift of “storytelling”, authenticity and self-expression.
  • It can help gain insight of your life purpose and find meaning in life.
  • It helps you remain focused on the important things in life and you become more grateful for everything.
  • It can help increase your interest in fostering an intimate relationship with a higher power.
  • It can help you prepare for and manage life’s ups and downs.
  • Suffering teaches you to have more compassion and empathy in all of your relationships.

If you have any thoughts about this post please share! I would love to hear all about it!

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care + Be well