Food + Family + Friendship and The Ties That Bind

Food + Family + Friendship and The Ties That Bind

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.

Live + Laugh + Love…and light the way,

Carol

Welcoming 2019

Welcoming 2019

Happy New Year! December was an engrossing month for me. Not just because of Christmas or because the spirit and activities of the holidays were in full effect, but because in addition to all of that loveliness I had the opportunity to experience a few things that brought me just a bit more added holiday cheer, profound happiness and joy.

For starters, I received exciting news that one of my children had plans to get married and I also received news regarding my son’s accident which helped me to gain some closure with regard to the details of his accident and eventual passing. Both of these occurrences were blessings and really helped to make an otherwise stress laden, but truly wonderful and exciting month a much more rewarding experience overall. In fact, those were the best Christmas gifts that I could have ever received…but, enough about my December. I hope that you had a great Christmas and were able to enjoy the holidays with those you hold dear to you… and for my fellow grievers, I hope that you know that your loved one(s) were with you sharing every moment of the beauty of the holidays with you.

“There are 365 days in a year and you will meet all the colours of life throughout the year: The blue, the black, the pink… Only blue is not a life only pink is not a life, only black is not a life! Life is all the colours!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

Now that 2018 has passed I know many of us have made resolutions for the new year. Some of which will be successful throughout the year; and some that will probably fall to the wayside in about three months or so. Just remember that the good thing about new year’s resolutions is that you can always begin again if yours did not work out this time; but if you can stick with yours for the remainder of the year (and possibly thereafter), even better and think about how wonderful that feeling of accomplishment will feel!

The reason why I mentioned the possibility of not fulfilling a resolution is because, in all honesty, it is a common reality. We can promote positivity and motivation tactics until the sun falls from the sky, but the truth is that sometimes sticking to our resolutions can be difficult, not just for the bereaved, but it can happen to anyone and for any reason. Sometimes it just isn’t the right time to start something no matter how much we may want to do it and that does’t mean that that person is a failure or lazy, it just means that maybe there is something else that might need to be that person’s central focus at the moment. What I know is that if someone wants something bad enough, they will do everything in their power to try to achieve it – in such an instance the question is never “why not?”, but “when?” and the answer to that is always when they are ready. So “Cheers!” to the new year and to success in all of our resolution endeavors!

“Another chapter in our lives has begun and as our thoughts all turn to improving ourselves we ought to remember that this book holds 365 pages and only we are responsible for what is written on those pages, so let’s all make sure that our books are worth writing, reading and publishing. “

– Carol C.M.

Until the next post,

Live + Laugh + Love… and light the way!

Carol

Balanced Healing

Balanced Healing

“The waves ebb and the waves flow, and yet I never tire of watching from the shore, the way the waves rhythms show their intensity, then inactivity; as if to remind me of what I already know in my heart and in my soul, which is that to life there must be balance, and happiness is empty if sadness we must forego.”

– Carol C.M.

15 Ways to Conquer Those “Blues”

15 Ways to Conquer Those “Blues”

When I stepped outside and onto my front porch this morning a cool breeze brushed against my face. I also felt a bit of warmth from the fall sun; and both sensations were very soothing.  I turned around to close my front door and while doing so I could hear a group of leaves bustling down the street behind me.

Naturally, I didn’t have to turn around to know that they were leaves that had recently fell from the neighborhood trees.  In my mind I called upon past memories of the season and I thought to myself, “this only happens once a year.”  This was fall in full effect and as I turned around to face the street, all of the leaves began to then scatter to different areas of the street and into yards like little colorful children laughing and playing a game of tag.

It’s always the little things that capture my attention, and where I find some of the most intriguing things to be grateful for.  Practicing gratitude allows me to readjust my focus so that I am always able to find “something” good in everything.  Even those things that I normally would not find pleasing – like cold weather months, for example.

When fall arrives I know that I will now have to try to plan my outdoor walks and hiking trips a bit more carefully for the next few months, if at all, and this alone contributes to my “blues” along with grieving and missing the sunshine.  However,  the cooler months also bring with them the opportunity to sit or lay by a fireplace fire, and if I keep looking on the bright side and maintain an open mind, I will also be able to appreciate the fact that I can still perform other exercises and activities indoors. Optimism is a beautiful thing. I guess that is why we as a society celebrate it.

A big part of conquering the “blues” involves maintaining a positive outlook once the weather changes. Yet, as I have discovered, this isn’t always easy to do especially if the shift to cooler weather and shorter daylight hours are affecting you while you are grieving. There are a few things that anyone can do to help make this time of year more pleasant and more manageable and I have listed fifteen tips below that I have personally tried and that seem to be helpful.

  1. Practice gratitude – Find something in every day, no matter how big or small, to be grateful for.  Begin by noticing something good about the changes that come with both the fall and winter seasons.
  2. Get a pet.  Pets can help keep you stay healthy by encouraging you to stay active. It may also help to care for something else other than yourself.
  3. Open your curtains or blinds as often as possible to allow the sun to shine in and keep your mood positive.
  4. Exercise or find another way to keep you body active for a few minutes a day.
  5. Take up a new hobby or start a fall or winter craft. This can be especially helpful in easing any grief.  Try creating something in honor of the person who has passed away or create something that sparks your interest. Either way, creative expression is good for managing feelings and emotions.
  6. Find an exercise buddy to keep things exciting and for accountability.
  7. Eat healthy and don’t feel bad about treating yourself to a favorite treat once in a while…think balance.
  8. Volunteer or donate to a cause that you care about, or that your loved one cared about. When we help others it can give us insight and remind us that things aren’t as bad as they may seem.
  9. Join a club such as a grief group, book club or hiking club, or any club that sparks your interest. This is a great way to maintain social contacts and prevent feelings of isolation.
  10. Create fall or winter rituals such as decorating for the holidays, cooking holiday meals, baking desserts, (especially those that your lost loved one enjoyed), or burn  candles and make a fire in the fireplace. These things can help you enjoy the “warmth” of the season.
  11.  Avoid negativity  – Surround yourself with positive people and positive environments.  Negativity can be stressful and may trigger unfavorable emotions and memories.
  12. Look forward – Create something special to look forward to in the coming year such as a memorial event,  or a solo or family trip or vacation.
  13. Stay social – Spend time with family and friends, share family memories and create new ones, or simply get together with friends to watch a movie or have brunch or dinner out at a restaurant.
  14. Play music – Listen to your favorite music regularly in your home or car to give your mind a break.  You may also enjoy playing a little holiday music during the holidays to add a little cheeriness to the gloomier seasons.
  15. Create a morning and evening ritual – such as practicing meditation, yoga, prayer or journaling as these practices can help with maintaining a positive outlook.
Thankfully, seasons change, and “the blues” will too, but until the seasons actually do change and bring back the longer, brighter days with the trees and other foliage beginning to show hints of a less monochromatic world  we have just a few months in which we can savor the beauty that fall and winter bestows us. Let’s enjoy it together. Shall we? Happy October!

Until the next post,


Take care + be well,

Carol