New Adventures

I love to travel!  Ever since I was a young girl I always dreamed of traveling the world. I remember helping my sister with a school project about Peru and pasting cotton balls on the llama.  That was the beginning.  I became intrigued with traveling to new places to immerse myself in the culture, history, food, music, art, architecture and the natural beauty around.

And travel I have.  When I met my husband, we shared a love of adventure and travel. And here we are, still seeking adventure in new places after almost 38 years together.
We have traveled to 6/7 Continents, 6/7 Wonders of the World, 44 countries.  The gypsy in me tends to seek out more off the radar places and I could easily go for a month!  In fact it had been a desire of mine to ideally work 3 months/take a month off/repeat.  Although that has not materialized yet, we have enjoyed 1 week, 2 week and 3 week holidays near and far. Instead of dealing with laundry, at times we have been known to take well worn clothes and running shoes with us and then donate or toss.

Planning a trip is also a fun project for me.  We have done small group tours (like bicycling trips with Backroads, and other companies). However we prefer independent travel with some of the transportation and daily excursions pre-arranged.  Then it is Charles and I exploring, getting lost, having the map upside down!, finding out of the way treasures, participating in funerals, weddings, all kinds of celebrations.  Great experiences and great memories.

For me, travel is an education.  It helps me remain non-judgmental, open to new things, more flexible, more adaptable, more receptive.  I feel that everyone can benefit from traveling.  And it doesn’t have to be far away.  Look at all the different neighborhoods around where you live.  Take the time to explore those.  Talk to locals.  Taste the food.  Attend a concert or visit a museum.

So much to learn.  So much to see.  So many places for New Adventures.

Happy Exploring!
With Light and Love,
Karen

 

 

Reinvent Yourself

I have recently read quite a few articles regarding Retail Reinvention. Having been in the industry for so many years, even though I am retired, I continue to be fascinated by all things retail related.  Especially regarding fashion and beauty.

Two of the most significant changes impacting the landscape are:
Subscription services – a monthly charge to receive a box filled with new items based on your preferences that you keep, or a monthly fee to rent, return, and refresh a selection of items with new ones.
Resale of Used Items – Thrift and consignment stores have evolved and expanded into online channels and are now morphing into retail departments within stores or as freestanding locations. Key players have entered or have announced their plans – Bloomingdales, Macys, Urban Outfitters, Patagonia, Banana Republic, Stage, Nike, Vince, West Elm, JC Penney. The list grows daily.

These are definitely game changers.  Several of the reasons noted are:
Convenience – Shop online and have it delivered to your home.
Newness – We all want to try the latest, greatest and best items. 
Sustainability – Help the planet, recycle, reuse, repurpose.
Affordability – Rent  designer clothes and accessories for a reasonable monthly fee. 
Selection – So many items to choose from. 

I find this fascinating. The younger generations are definitely driving these choices.  And rightly so.  It is in sync with their values and goals.  Since Marie Kondo inspired all of us to only keep what brings you JOY, consignment and thrift shops have been overwhelmed with merchandise.  People are  more open to vintage and used clothes. No stigma attached.  And the concept of renting clothes and accessories for a short time is preferred.  No more jammed closets with items we no longer use or wear!  

With this reinvention of how we buy, rent, use, reuse our  “Things” – I was sparked to expand the concept to our “Thoughts”. We can use the same principle of reinventing ourselves. What thoughts, habits, feelings, wants and routines need to be recycled?
What behaviours continue to represent us and which should we let go of?
What dreams and goals are still relevant and which aren’t?
What are our likes and dislikes as of today, not from the past?

Give yourself the chance to Reinvent Your Entire Being.  From head to toe, and heart to mind. Clear out what no longer serves you.  Make adjustments to refresh yourself. Try a new way of doing something.  Try modifying your behaviour. Go left instead of right. Try a new sport.  And if you don’t like it, then do not subscribe to it!  Let it go. Reinventing is a necessary component for all of us.  Become  the new and improved version of YOU.

Here’s to your Reinvention!
With Light and Love,
Karen

 

 

Sweet Pain

Or should I say Mild Discomfort!  Well worth it though.
Yesterday I continued on my gardening project.  Before I knew it, I had spent over 4 hours digging holes for new flowers, pulling out weeds and roots, snipping off overgrown vines, adding in soil amendments, and then stepping back to appreciate what I had accomplished. My husband was a big help in carrying out the tools, the bags of soil, cleaning up and watering.  Team work definitely helps!

Since the gardening work was after our Saturday 6 mile run on the beach and trails, I knew I would be having a super charged work out day.  No wonder I got tired and was in bed by 8 pm!!  And I slept a good 12 hours.  My body did feel it.  I ached a bit during the night, especially my upper back and shoulders from digging with the gardening claw.  However when I woke up this morning, I felt pretty good.  My sweet pain was minimal.  I could do my morning deep squat without any tightness in my thighs or lower back. I was also thankful that Sundays are a casual walk day!! 

I give thanks for my health and ability to take on projects that require some muscle. As I was maneuvering the claw in the soil, I thanked my weight training and yoga for giving me the strength.  I also thanked myself for not overdoing it and asking my husband for help when needed.

At this stage in life (I will turn 66 next month), I want to continue being an active participant in life.  I want to continue being active – running, hiking, practicing yoga and traveling.  And I want to remain injury free.

So it’s okay to feel some sweet pain or mild discomfort at times.  Challenge yourself but know your limits.  Be mindful and careful.  Ask for help if you need it. Give yourself recovery time.  And commit to doing what is in your power to have maximum good health – nutrition, exercise, rest.  And the right attititude.  It all makes a difference.

With Light and Love and a little sweet pain from your gardening project, whatever that may be.
Karen

 

 

 

One Step at a Time

Taking that first step changes everything!
However sometimes we get overwhelmed with the scope of the project that we don’t even begin it. We talk ourselves out of it. Sure we can be a bit nervous.  Am I doing the right thing, is this the way, is it the right time, do I really know what I am getting into, will it work?  Doubts surface.
However that is the time to proactively reaffirm your commitment, your desire, your enthusiasm and your intention. Take a deep breath and break the project down into smaller steps. By so doing, you diffuse the stress and anxiety, allowing the excitement to build. Use your affirmations and positive self talk to affirm “Yes I can do this”.

It all begins with that first step. As we begin, we become energized.  We get focused on what we are doing.  We get in the flow.  And in most cases, the project becomes easier than we expected!  Maybe some detours,  but in most cases, better than we imagined.

An example: For a while now, my husband and I wanted to replace some bark underneath our succulent container gardens.  So we set our intention on that project. We realized that we had to start somewhere.  As much as I loved the TV show “Bewitched” while growing up, I could not just twitch my nose and make it happen!

So we developed our action plan.
Step 1 – Commit to taking on the project.
Step 2 – Buy the bark based on number of bags in the past.
Step 3 – Decide on the day to do it.
                (Saturday after a long run is always good since we are already sweaty!)
Step 4 – Rake up the old bark. 
Step 5 – Distribute the new bark.
Step 6 – Make some adjustments to the pots and succulents.
Step 7 – Oops- Realized we needed more bags than we thought!
Step 8 – Decide when to go and buy 2-3 more bags.
Step 9 – Schedule the day to finish project.
Step 10 – Project complete!!!! Already the 3/4 done looks awesome!

And it all started with taking the first step. Making a commitment.  Setting your intention.

How many projects and desires are you floating around in your head?  Our mind is a thought machine. Our imagination is limitless.  So many great ideas. Which ones should I do?

Making a list and prioritizing the projects is still the best way to go for me.  Then I can zero in on developing the strategy, breaking the project down into steps that I can tackle one by one.

Here’s to your First Step!

With Light and Love,
Karen

 

A Summer State of Mind

How is your summer going?  Are you taking the time to relax a little more, unwind, slow down, enjoy being outdoors, travel, see friends and family, read, listen to music and just BE?
I hope so!

When I run into people I haven’t seen in a while, they ask “How is your summer going?” I chuckle because I feel that we are blessed to live at the beach in Southern California.  Everyday in a way feels like summer.  And not just because of the weather.

Summer is a state of mind. It can be with you all year long.  Just because the calendar moves on, we don’t have to. Even if we are returning to more formal rhythms of school or work with an intensified schedule, we can still carry with us a summer vibe.

For me, being retired has the benefit of more time to enjoy life. I can spend my days doing activities, projects, hobbies and interests that allow me to Reflect, Renew and Refresh my spirit. I can be more mindful and not rush.  I can make sounder choices and decisions. Sure, there are responsibilities, appointments, deadlines, things that “Have” to get done – however there is a calm that I attempt to maintain underneath it all.  

As I run on the beach at this time of year, I see so much JOY with tourists and children enjoying themselves building sandcastles, digging in the sand, swimming, surfing, getting a suntan glow. The kids at their week Life Guard camp are having a blast.  Even though I have to dodge them, I am glad  they are experiencing a JOY filled adventure.  However I have to admit, I do prefer the beach when it is quieter!

As Labor Day approaches, and back to school is beginning,  the calendar may say that Fall has arrived and Summer has ended. That does not mean that your Summer State of Mind has to. Think of ways you can carry it with you all year long. Slow down a little. Balance your life with more “Want to”s” versus  “Have to’s”. Be adventurous, be carefree, be curious and playful.  Continue to spend time in nature even if you have to layer your clothing more.  Keep your Summer State of Mind!

With Light and Love,
Karen

Nourishment

Fueling up with nutritious food is an important part of health. I have for most of my life been a more plant based foodie, incorporating fish and occasionally eggs into my food selections. Food does make a difference. I find that without dairy, my sinuses are clearer. I get the jitters if I have chocolate – although it tastes so good – I react. If I endulge in too many carbs, especially late in the day or night, I feel sluggish and puffy. I can’t remember the last time I had a soda. A natural and plant based diet is for me  – mostly consisting of raw, steamed or grilled vegetables, fruit, nuts and fish. Sure I like my weekend coffee with some liqueur added! And an occasional craving for something like chocolate, carrot muffins, or ice cream (even though I know I may react to it!) This practice works for me.  However not everyone will agree.  Find your preferences.  See what works for you. And then stay the course.

Equally important is nourishment for our minds and spirit.  Like food for our bodies, we need to experiment with what works, what feels right, and what influences our behavior and actions. What thoughts are you thinking?  What are you reading?  What types of videos, movies are you watching? What podcasts, talks, broadcasts are you listening to? What activitites do you engage in? Are you a sports enthusiast? Do you hike, bike, surf, ski, run, play soccer? Do you spend time in nature, by the ocean, mountains, desert? Who are you hanging out with? And why? Do you feel and share love and compassion? All these can be considered some type of food intake for your mind and spirit. I find myself reading less and less from the “News” – I scroll through headlines so I am aware of what is happening, though I do not get too much into the detail.  Why? Because too much of the negativity, the grief, the “BS” that goes on, could bring me down.  Therefore I watch what I allow in; what I read, what I watch, what I participate in.  I daily spend time in nature, especially on the beach. I run, I practice yoga. I am grateful and thankful each and every day to share my Life with a loving, kind and very special husband. And to be alive and cancer free for 14.5 years!

Just like with nutrition for my body, I decide what goes into my mind and spirit. I carefully select those I want to be around.  I focus on uplifting and inspiring words, positive and meaningful communications, engaging activities.  I look to resolve issues – I find the solutions, I make recommendations, I put a “can do” spin on things.  I make time for me! Keeping myself nourished allows me to be stronger, healthier and better equipped to deal with all that Life has in store for me. And I intentionally find what is good.  I have my three words that guide my decisions – Faith, Dream, Believe.

We have a choice! Fuel yourself with the right nourishment and watch the healing take place. Feel more alive. Feel more you. Make a decision today to nourish yourself completely.  Thrive and Be Well.

With Love and Light,
Karen

 

 

Keeping my Balance

What is going on in this world?  How do I stay calm and balanced when so much is happening around me?  We are being bombarded with negativity and meaningless attacks on each other – anger, violence, chaos, crime, war, killings, destruction, climate changes, sadness, grief, hate, bullying. There seems to be more of it, more frequently and more severe. People feel frustrated, not in control. There is confusion, unfair practices, and inequality on so many levels. My grandfather use to say, “This world, she is upside down!” It sure is!!!

Where and how does it end? How do we protect ourselves? How can we eliminate it? How do we stabilize and find balance again? 

I attempt to live my life in a loving and kind manner.  I choose to be optimistic and see the possibilities.  I want to encourage, inspire and motivate others.  However, when so much is happening that is totally against my beliefs, I find it challenging and sometimes hard to stay centered and balanced.  I am sure you do too.

So what are we to do?  What steps can we take to make a difference, to help redirect the energy in a constructive, meaningful way?

The paths we choose will be different.  My way of impacting change will be different from yours. Whether it is through our community involvement, our work, our writings, our wallet, our music, our compassion, our voice – we must continue to send out meaningful communications and take the necessary actions.

First, take the time to find your inner strength to remain calm within the outer chaos.  Find your balance.  Continue to do what works for you to stay positive, optimistic and kind. Whether that is spending time outdoors in nature, listening to music, baking, sewing, painting, reading, meditating, exercising, creating your form of art expression – keep doing it. And probably more of it. Being in good health and practicing self care will give you confidence, power and resilience. It will help keep you in the right frame of mind to tackle what needs to get done.

Then you can decide how to best proceed.  We all matter.  We all make a difference.  The more we focus on helping, assisting, loving and doing the right thing, the better the outcome.  The shift in consciousness will happen.  It though will take time, attention and commitment.  But it is so worth it!! Together, we can make a difference.

With Light and Love and Balance,

Karen

Be Like a Parachute

Is your mind opened or closed? I find this quote an Interesting way to understand how the mind works – or doesn’t. I immediately went to my skydiving adventure years ago and how important it was for the chute to open! And at the right time.  WOW! What a flashback.  I remember being high for weeks every time I thought about it.  The anxiety before – signing the waiver saying if we died the company was not responsible! And then slowly climbing in our small plane to 12,000 feet – all in silence with my husband, the pilot and our 2 instructors. Then the moment to jump out of the plane and immediately arch to be horizontal with the earth and enjoy the ride! The thrill! Seeing my husband who had jumped first on his descent  – he was beaming.  I was too.  After landing, we were super stoked on accomplishing our mission and landing in one piece!

My husband and I had a tradition of doing something exciting on New Years Day.  The new day was more significant than celebrating on New Years Eve. Since we are not big party goers or drinkers, it was usually a quiet evening, dinner, a walk to view the floats being set up for the Rose Parade, and then getting sleep before our morning adventure. Some type of aerial experience was the norm.  From hot air ballooning to glider plane, to hang gliding and culminating in skydiving.  We considered it a great way to start the New Year.

As I reflect on it now, it was really setting the tone for what was to come in the New Year.  It propelled us out of our comfort zone, challenged us to try something new, and kept us open and receptive to Life. Too often we become creatures of habit; repeating the same things, hesitating to try something new.  However I continue to see the incredible value in exploring the unknown.  Venturing out to new cities, countries, restaurants, trying new sports or activities, changing up the routines.

I feel more alive, more creative and energized.  I encourage you to try something new – be open to the possibilities and all that Life offers. Being open, flexible, nonjudgmental and flowing allows you to think new thoughts, do new things and  It changes you.  It changes how people see you and interact with you. They sense something.  They feel something.  They want to be around your unique energy. 

So go ahead and open your parachute! Even if we have mellowed out a bit, we still seek new adventures, experiences and activities all around the world.  We want to keep our mind, body and soul working and thriving and being alive for many years to come.

With Light and Love,

Karen

 

 

From Dreams to Reality

Fifty years ago, the first astronauts landed and walked on the moon. WOW! What an event.  What appeared at first to be an impossible dream came true.

As quoted by Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, one of the astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission, “One truth I have discovered for sure: When you believe that all things are possible and you are willing to work hard to accomplish your goals, you can achieve the next ‘impossible’ dream. No dream is too high!”

What exactly are dreams? An article from Psychology Today states that dreams are the stories the brain tells during sleep—collections of clips, images, feelings, and memories that involuntarily occur during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of slumber. Dreams typically involve elements from waking lives—known people or familiar locations—but often take on a fantastical feel. Dreams are frequently interesting, and can allow people to act out certain scenarios that would never be possible in real life, (or they could be). People continue mining their nighttime reveries for clues to their inner lives, for creative insight, and even for premonitions and eventual real happenings. Dreams can and do come true!

So will your dreams. If you really want them to! When you think about it, everything that you have accomplished, done, are, and look forward to, came from some form of dream.They started in your dream state, as a desire, a thought, a wish, and sometimes an out of the blue idea. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you manifest your dreams.

  1. Affirm that dreams do come true.
  2. Stay committed to the outcome even when faced with challenges.
  3. Spend time visualizing and refining your dream.
  4. Identify what you need to do to succeed. Gather your resources.
  5. Remain positive when the dream feels like a nightmare – learn the lesson.
  6. Refine and be specific keeping the end result in mind the entire time.
  7. Write it down.  Don’t let an idea get away.
  8. Remember that things take time – be patient.
  9. Be careful who you share your dream with. Others could sabotage it.
  10. Continue having Faith and Believe that your Dream will come true.

I once had a dream of having a warm fur coat for the winters.  I wanted a silver fox.  Well, it came true – sort of! My silver fox materialized in the form of my future husband with his gray hair!.  During the years until meeting him, I had decided against wearing anymore fur.  I took a stand against animal cruelty.  I truly forgot about my silver fox dream.  However, my subconscious did not.  Years later, it came to fruition in a totally different way. A much better way and one that I am thankful for each and every day.

Lesson being that your dream may morph into a different manifestation – but it does come true.

So remember to be aware of your dreams, and refine them along the way. Happy Dreaming!

With Light and Love,

Karen

Awareness Acceptance Action

I recently read an interview with Dylan Lauren, the founder of Dylan’s Candy Bar (and daughter of fashion icon Ralph Lauren). Lauren runs what’s now the largest confectionery emporium in the world with over 20 locations worldwide, offering over 7,000 candies to choose from. Even sweeter is her hard-earned wisdom on how to stay organized, create boundaries with technology, and the lessons she’s learned from her father about succeeding as a business leader.  

She quoted “Awareness, Acceptance and Action” as 3 guiding principles that have greatly assisted her.  I too related to the 3 A’s.

Awareness. The critical 1st step.  We need to be aware of something before we can develop a strategy to deal with it.  Too often, we deny what really is.  We could be scared, fear the worst, not want to be bothered, or think we are above it. Not so. Build the courage to face whatever presents itself and move forward.  Just by becoming aware and recognizing it gives you strength and the ability to move to step 2.

Acceptance. I may not like whatever it is, however I accept the reality of it. Accepting does not mean agreeing with.  It does confirm your intention and commitment to dealing with it.  It also provides the ability to develop the course of action.

Action. The 3rd step.  Taking action will make the difference.  Depending on what actions you take will determine the outcome.  Take the time to develop your plan. Look at your options.  Consider “What if” scenarios. Get advice from trusted friends, family and or colleagues.  You do not have to do this alone if you do not want to. Do what works for you.

Once you decide on your action , commit to seeing it through.  It may involve some hard conversations, some changes in career, relationships, habits and patterns. However, you know inside what is best for you. 

Now go and do it!

With Light and Love,

Karen