…in the islands

20170810_074501I recently took a trip to a tropical island.  It offered a chance to physically and mentally relax.  The option to focus on my health and wellness presented itself in a most unexpected manner.  As I was standing on the sandy beach I was gently reminded that life, as well as nature, has a certain “ebb and flow” to it.  This cycle doesn’t depend on a human intervention or a mechanical manipulation.  No one has to set a clock or develop a time sheet to optimize this cycle.  A computerized spreadsheet has nothing to do with the cycle’s performance or occurrence.

Natural issues such as water, air, rotations and awareness of nature’s subtle signs perpetuates the cycles.  I was instantly aware of the similarity between the nature of the ocean and the nature of my body.  Each of us has an “ebb and flow” to our system.  We have functions, and cycles, that occur within our bodies that seem to operate without our knowledge.  Our responsibility is to provide the water, air, nutrition and awareness of our bodies subtle signs so that our systems can continue to perpetuate its’ cycles. Often, our challenge is to provide the optimum “fuel” so that our cycles can operate at their most efficient level.

Do we get enough rest?  When did we exercise last? Have we had enough water intake?  Did we eat our fruits and vegetables? Do we give our bodies enough protein for fuel? Are we aware that our minds and bodies are physically connected – our thoughts affect our actions?  Did we look into our mirror today, and smile?  Did we tell our loved ones that we care for them?

We are living beings operating on cycles.  These cycles need to be nourished and protected.  Someday you may find yourself standing on the beach of a tropical island – you want to feel “in-tune” with the cycles.

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Summer Routines

20170528_124438We all have routines that we practice when the warm weather engulfs us. Beach visits, holidays at the theme park, playing at the community park, checking out books on the library summer reading list, enjoying outdoor sports, spending time with our family pets, enjoying more time in the sun and just relaxing in the lazy days of summer  – all of these activities offer enjoyment.

Some people pick a more sedentary list such as bird watching, gardening or feeding multi-colored humming birds.  On a recent trip to a arboretum I observed the consummate bird watcher.  This person was equipped with every facet of his routine.  Hat, shoes, clothing, glasses, change of clothes (in case of an emergency), binoculars, camera, tripod, cooler with appropriate snack (so as not to miss that perfect view), and small folding chair.

He had arrived early so that the perfect spot could be located and dedicated to his endeavor. Each item was carefully placed in its’ designated place (i.e., camera on top of the tripod ) before he attempted to make himself comfortable.  It was obvious watching this bird watcher that the items of his summer routine were as important to him as the routine itself.  He made sure that each item was in the correct place so that it could do its’ job.

This observation made me reflect that we all have summer routines.  When we go to the beach, we take our towels, sunscreen, swimming suits, hats, drinks, coolers and ice.  These items and the part they play in our summer routines are important and each is a “place holder.”  If we forget to bring the ice, no one gets a cold drink, if we forget the sunscreen, we get a sunburn, if we don’t have a beach towel things get really sandy real quick…

So, as the days of summer are heading for their final days, let’s give a final nod to our routines and decide whether they are good or bad.  Do we want to “shake” them up a bit or do we want to continue on with our “tried and true” routines because they work for us in our enjoyment of summer?

Support

20141005_141728Yesterday I attended a panel discussion at a Public Library entitled: Writer’s Workshop. The roundtable dialogue presented various options for authors.  The main topic centered around developing a strong social media presence and building a lasting readership for independent authors.

The topic of “support” was prominent among both the presenters and  audience.  Having attended many conferences over my thirty-five years in the nursing profession, I have often found the idea of support a lacking issue.  In the professional world, colleagues often attempt to compete and corrupt their fellow workers in order to succeed in their work environment.

However, this is not the case in the “indie” author world.  Independent authors use the idea of “support” as the medium with which all succeed.  Only by helping fellow authors, do all succeed.  Supporting struggling writers to find professional review avenues or locate specific publishing professionals can be a valuable tool for an aspiring novelist.  Working with these resources can often be the one inspiring event that skyrockets a career into the public arena.  It is like a lone butterfly discovering a blooming field of spring flowers and then signaling his group that the nectar is ready – all can feast on the resources.

Ask yourself: “How can I support the area in which I live?”

Nutrition

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I recently enjoyed a conversation with a health conscious friend.  The topic of nutrition centered around carbohydrates.  My friend immediately said, “I never eat bread, it’s got carbs in it.”  Well, that began our  extended discussion about “simple” and “complex” carbohydrates and their place in a well balanced nutrition plan.  I say “nutrition plan” instead of “diet” because that’s what it is a – life long plan to improve and maintain good nutrition.

Our bodies need “complex” carbohydrates for brain food and the intricate functions that it performs every minute of every day.  Without them we can not think, walk, talk or interact with each other in a coherent manner.  Complex carbohydrates are those wonderful foods that slowly release useful sugars our body uses to perform the necessary functions of life – whole grains, beans, legumes, etc., that keep our internal factories running at an efficient level.

So, the next time you have a conversation and the topic of nutrition enters the arena, add the idea that “complex” carbohydrates might just be a good source of brain food.

Celebrate the 4th

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The bright lights of Las Vegas will certainly be shining as we celebrate Independence Day.  This city seems to take great joy in displaying the ability of expression.  Just looking at the glittering lights makes me feel happy.  The scene reflects an oasis in the desert which beckons far and wide with possibilities and potential.  It’s a part of America that grabs you by the collar and says, “come here and have a good time.”

However, the responsible adult in all of us knows that a “good time” also involves making responsible choices and good decisions.  This is what forms the greatness of America.  It is a country that offers immense opportunity and possibility while presenting clear and true guidelines for success.  Our job, as responsible citizens, is to look at all of our options and pick the right choice, the best fit for our needs.  This choice will be the one that keeps us healthy, prosperous and motivated in a positive manner.

So, when you are celebrating your freedom this holiday season, make good choices…

Endorphins

20170528_123447These neurotransmitters are electric signals within the nervous system that interact with our opiate receptors  in the brain to reduce our perception of pain.  They act similarly to drugs such as morphine and codeine.  At least 20 different types of endorphins have been identified in humans according to a website – MedicineNet.com (7-25-2017).

When our bodies sense stress and/or pain these endorphins are released to interact with the targeted receptors to decrease our perception of distress.  This natural process does not lead to addiction.  We feel euphoric, calm, satisfied, healthy and comfortable.  Studies show that activities such as acupuncture, massage, eating certain foods, i.e. chili peppers and chocolate, can also stimulate these endorphins.  Additionally, healthy sexual activity with a loving partner and meditation has proven to release these helpful chemicals.

It may be a good idea to engage in activities that help us to feel good on a regular basis, especially since we have found some that aren’t addictive and don’t seem to have adverse side effects.  So, the next time you are feeling stressed or angry or lonely or are over come by a general feeling of dread, try engaging in an enjoyable act.  Go out and release some endorphins.

Little Children & Young Animals

20130627_110722Children and animals seem to innately understand that exercise and moving their bodies are automatic – part of life.  If they want to get from one place to another, they simply move their legs and feet in that direction and go.  When they see something good and happy they join the activity.  Their brain tells them to use their bodies to go to the happy thing.

Medscape (June09,2017) states that “senior citizens who enjoy dog ownership increase their physical activity in a meaningful and healthy way.”  This means that as people match their movements with our animal friends both enjoy the benefits.

I wonder why we as humans forget the idea that movement helps us?  A University of Lincoln study in England found that dog owners walked 23 minutes more a day than older adults who did not own a dog – enough to meet U.S. and international exercise recommendations for substantial health benefits.

If you take some time to watch small children in a play ground, you will find that they share a trait – spontaneous joy in movement.  So, if we as a young children receive a positive feeling when we move, why do we forget about that feeling when we get older?  Could it be that we get too busy?  Is it too many intrusions from electronic devices?  Do we create too many excuses?  Are we too tired?  Have we forgotten how good that spontaneous feeling of joy actually feels?  Have we let our aging bodies rule our mind?

Well, it could be a collection of reasons.  In reality, we don’t move in our adults years as often as we did in our childhood.  So, if movement is good for happy little children and feisty young animals, it might just be good for us.  Just a thought…

Be Open To Improving…

20130704_214725“Be open to improving,” this was a statement in a medical article that caught my eye.  As I read the article it discussed the idea of expanding our everyday thoughts and actions to include ideas that we hadn’t tried before or that seemed to difficult to perform.

What a great idea.  Since our bodies and minds are made to move, what better way to test the limits of both.  If we only do what is “known” and what we are familiar with everyday, then our bodies and our minds develop a pathway into the “known.”  It’s logical then that those pathways are the most developed.  But what about the millions and millions of other UNUSED pathways in our bodies?

Imagine all the neurons that never get used.  What about the muscles that never get enough exercise or stretching?  How long has it been since your lungs took a nice, full, deep breath of crystal, clean air?  When was the last time your eyes saw the most gorgeous sunrise known to mankind?  When did your feet touch the top of a high mountain in an exhausting climb?  What about those upper arm muscles having a good, challenging workout? Can you remember when you engaged in an exhilarating conversation with a group of friends discussing a passionate subject?

These are all things which need to be explored.  Only you know the answer.  The answer will only come to you if you are – open to improving.

Have a stimulating day…

“Family” Reunions

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During the summer months some families celebrate reunions. In today’s society the definition of family seems to include an extended vocabulary.  The definition may include the traditional – mom, day and the kids.  Or the blended family may be more current with a step mother, step brothers and sisters.  Possibly, a set of two mothers who are raising an adopted, foreign-born child, is the most descriptive of family.  Or even the more extended definition should include the “family” we belong to in our public life – school and work.

If we look at the extended definition, then consider the recent college and high school graduates who are entering into our ever-expanding public life.  These new “entrants” will soon be looking at their 10th, 20th and 50th class reunions.  In most situations, high school and college are the institutions where we form our public family.

We have all experienced the situation when we receive notification that it’s time for our high school or college reunion.  Sometimes we are excited, sometimes scared, sometimes we dread even the thought of reliving our challenging school days.  Whatever our situation, we usually relive our experience through memories which may or may not be accurate.  We seem to convince ourselves that history is a certain way simply by talking to ourselves – we decide it is and so it is.

Whether it’s our public or private family,  we all have memories of our interactions and experiences.  However, they may not be accurate.  The best way to put a true spin on our memories is to attend the reunion and spend time with other family members who helped formed those memories.

So, if you are invited to a reunion this summer – go.  You may be pleasantly surprised.

Summer Time

20170528_130156.jpg” Summer time and the livin’ is easy…the frogs are jumpin’ and the cotton is high.” Well, as we all know, the lyrics from this song in “Porgy and Bess” is introducing the audience to not only a new way of life but a change in the seasons. The axis has turned and we are in the throws of summer time.

It’s time to consider that during this time of year, we are all prone to the health issues that come with this season – sun burns, dehydration, insect bites and stings, falls, sprains, broken bones, traffic accidents, boating mishaps and camping casualties.  People are just more active when the weather is warmer – it’s a fact of life, at least in this area.  Not only that but we tend to “let our guard down” when we are enjoying ourselves.  Which means that we are less vigilant with our safety issues and health maintenance rules.  We drink more alcohol and less water.  We eat more carbohydrates and less protein.  We get less refreshed sleep and stay up later watching more sports activities.  We move around more and aggravate our muscles more than we are used to.  Let’s face it, there are a lot more “week-end warrior” out there on the playing field in the summer time.

So, let’s all be more vigilant.  Make that extra effort to drink more water.  Before deciding to be part of that week-end football or soccer game, you may want to spend some time in the gym and tone-up a few “under-used” muscles, first.  When taking that beautiful boat out into the pristine lake, stop and think – did I pack the sunscreen, insect repellent,  life vests and extra batteries?  Your friends will ask you to go hiking and you will say, “Sure, and I’ll wear my good hiking boots and bring a current map of the trails – don’t want to get lost.”

It’s really very simple – be prepared and stay aware!  Have a great summer.