“I feel like I left who I am somewhere and I can’t find her …”

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“And I don’t even know where to start looking.” I heard that on a show & I felt this overwhelming feeling of  “EXACTLY”!  Because no matter how hard you try, the years of being an employee, a wife, a mother can be so frantic & exhausting it can smother the person you were or dreamed of becoming.  The life of women (and men) can become so busy & overwhelming, especially when you have kids, that it can be hard to find time to take a breath … literally!  I think that’s why I became “addicted” to yoga because it was the only way to escape and breath and have an hour of PEACE and quiet.  Over the years my friends who’ve known me for “forever” have said to me “where did the Shannon I used to know go? What happened to THAT girl?” There’s a song “That Don’t Sound Like You” …”that ain’t the girl I knew, gimme the girl I knew, if you wanna come back, you can come back to …” Lee Brice.  You CAN come back to you.  I want to come back to me.

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I told my friend I’m tired of trying to be perfect, I just want to be me (whatever that means) and she recommended a book to me “Present over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist, I told her it’s only taken me to age 50 to not care if I’m not perfect … perfect hair, perfect body, perfect house, perfect wife, daughter, mother etc. and to truly feel like “if you don’t like it, you can try to find a better one, well maybe not mother!?  My kids are kind of stuck with me! My husband would say I still care a lot about my hair 😉 & that I let the “perfect house” go long ago. 😂

“In many ways, I loved this life—loved my husband, adored my kids, was so thankful to be a writer. But it’s like I was pulling a little red wagon, and as I pulled it along, I filled it so full that I could hardly keep pulling. That red wagon was my life, and the weight of pulling it was destroying me. I was aware that I was missing the very things I so badly longed for: connection, meaning, peace. Who wins, then? I handled it all! I showed them! But who is “them”? Who cares? Whose voice am I listening to? What am I trying to prove? What would happen, what would be lost, if I stopped, or if I slowed down to a pace that felt less like a high-speed chase all day, every day?”  “If someone gave you a completely blank calendar and a bank account as full as you wanted, what would you do? The first thing that leapt into my mind: stop. I would stop. I would rest. I would do nothing at all. I would sleep. The thought of it almost made me weep.”  “Stop. Right now. Remake your life from the inside out.” Shauna Niequist “Present over Perfect”

Get back to you, is how I interpret that statement.

What if …

“I Allow myself to stop, to rest, to breathe, to connect. That’s where life is, I’m finding. That’s where grace is. That’s where delight is. Years ago, a wise friend told me that no one ever changes until the pain level gets high enough.  That seems entirely true. The inciting incident for life change is almost always heartbreak—something becomes broken beyond repair, too heavy to carry; unmanageable.” Present over Perfect

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Well I’ve done that, I “retired” two years ago and I’m getting closer to finding “that girl”.  I’ve “rested” a lot!  What I’ve discovered and rediscovered about myself is I love reading & writing, I hate cooking, I love baking, I love napping, I love art & poetry, I love learning about yoga, I love being by myself, I love traveling.  I’m trying to do my “work” (aka chores) during the day and not feel guilty folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher, going to the store etc. while everyone else is at work.  When I first quit working I would race around all day long being “busy” because I felt guilty being at home, but then my evenings were full of chores ,just like when I was working.  Instead of running myself ragged trying to get everything done in a day, I’ve learned to slow down (maybe too slow for my husband 😂)! What if I don’t get all the laundry done, or go to store, or empty the dishwasher … for a day? Would everyone survive?  I think so, I KNOW so, but the key is to not beat myself about it if it doesn’t all get done TODAY.  I’ve been much more pleasant to be around (I think, I hope🙏)  because I’m not completely exhausted & spent by 7p.

At the same time I was reading Present over Perfect & working on this post. One of my yoga teachers, Sukhraj Kaur, sent the following in her weekly newsletter …

Cold Depression
Cold Depression is our single biggest challenge as we enter the Aquarian Age. It affects vitality of spirit and leads us to behave in ways we would not otherwise. Yogi Bhajan, the Master of Kundalini Yoga, cautioned us that as we transition into the Aquarian Age, that is, through 2038, humanity would suffer from a phenomenon he called Cold Depression.

What is Cold Depression?
“Cold Depression is when the external demand is greater than the internal capacity to deliver and we have spent our reserves. We are depressed but we are so numb and insensitive to our own self, we do not feel it. The depression is therefore “cold.” This leads us to inner anger and isolation from our soul.

We instinctively counter the numbness of Cold Depression with behavior that fulfills the need for stimulation. A person experiencing Cold Depression does not seem depressed to herself or others. This is because she is busy, active, and appears energized.  They may overwork, create “emergencies,” or drink 6 energy drinks a day.  They may engage in extreme sports, risk taking, or substance abuse. The insensitivity of Cold Depression leads to reactivity, impatience, and drama. Do you know anyone like this?”

Yes! ME! This is what my doctors diagnosed me with years ago, they just didn’t have a name for it, when all my tests came back “negative”, meaning there was no medical reason for my racing heart rate, insomnia and panic attacks, they both said we think you’re depressed but you are so busy, being busy & exercising so much, you don’t feel depressed, you have put yourself in a constant state of “fight or flight”, but there is no saber tooth tiger chasing you, you don’t have to build a fire with two sticks to keep warm & you and your children are not on the verge of starving.  I think It’s because someone told us (women) who are now in our 40’s & 50’s that you could & SHOULD “have it all” but you really can’t, not without running around like a chicken with its head cut off! I do believe our mother’s generation, telling us girls “you can have it all” had the best intentions, but sometimes I think it did more harm than good, because we all think we have to be perfect, but really we just need to be “our own perfect”, flaws & all! Let something go or ask for help (or skip a workout & take a nap ;)). It doesn’t mean you’re a failure it means you’re human! I used to lie about taking a nap because I was scared people would think it was a weakness & self-indulgent.  Only in the last few years do I proudly admit & announce “I need to lie down for a few minutes”.  My son said in the days of headstones mine would read “she just had to lay down for a few minutes… this time she didn’t get back up”😊

“There has to be another way. And I’m going to find it. I’m going to make the space to taste my life once again. I’m going to find a new way of living that allows for rest, as much rest as I need, not just enough to get me through without tears, but enough to feel alive and whole, grounded and gracious. Things I haven’t been in years. What I ache for these days is space, silence, stillness. Sabbath. I want to clear away space and noise and things to do and things to manage. I want less of everything. Less stuff (that we are just going to throw away). Less rushing. Less proving and pushing. Less hustle.” Present over Perfect

Periodically I will declare “a ban on saying yes to more than one thing a week”  and my husband rolls his eyes, but then I say it doesn’t mean we can’t do more than one thing in a week, but it does mean we are not OBLIGATED to more than one thing!  He usually thanks me later ;)! One morning after being out late the night before (and maybe a bit hungover), we woke up to a snowy, cold morning and my husband was talking about going to the gym and everything he had to do that day and I said “what if for one day we did what some people do on a cold, snowy Sunday and watched a movie (something he would NEVER do) and he said, a bit reluctantly “ok let’s watch half of a movie”.  I was SO happy!  We watched “This is 40” and snuggled on the couch & giggled, halfway through I said “ok I better take the dogs and you should go to the gym” and he replied “what if we watched the whole movie?” I was over the moon! ☺️

“Richard Rohr says the skills that take you through the first half of your life are entirely unhelpful for the second half. They made me responsible and capable and really, really tired. They made me productive and practical, and inch by inch, year by year, they moved me further and further from the warm, whimsical person I used to be . . . and I missed her … the opposite of pride, one might say, is vulnerability—essentially, saying this is who I am . . . not the sparkly image, not the smoke and mirrors, not the accomplishments or achievements. This is me, with all my limitations, with all my weaknesses.” Present over Perfect

My friend sent me this the other day & said “this is so you” …

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I took it as the biggest complement .. my husband says that’s why I’m no longer the best housekeeper!” 😂

“Trying to be perfect is a toxic journey. We are not perfect.  We have to love and embrace our shadows. Sometimes, good enough is good enough” Jane Fonda

“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts” Winston Churchill

The author of  “Present over Perfect” says towards the beginning of her book “My prayer is that this book will be a thousand invitations, springing up from every page, calling you to leave behind the heavy weight of comparison, competition, and exhaustion, and to recraft a life marked by meaning, connection, and unconditional love.”

That is my hope, wish, mantra, “prayer” for all of us, especially women in their 40’s & 50’s

Present over Perfect

It may have taken 40 or 50 years but …

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Aging (& friendship):

 

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Maybe because of my “near death experiences” and/or the older I get (my husband agrees with this wholeheartedly — not just me, but both of us getting older;)) there is not enough time to hang out with the people we want to, let alone people we don’t.  There are people that either I don’t want to get out of bed to meet (from my afternoon napping ;)) or I can’t wait to get in bed after being with them — the latter are the people I want to hang out with, because it means I was up past my bedtime, so I must have been having fun!!!  I’m like Cinderella, except I turn into a pumpkin at 10p not midnight.  That being said, I stayed at our friends house the other night until 12:30a!!! We were having so much fun, I didn’t want to leave (normally my bed time takes precedence over all else & I don’t want to lose my “glass slipper”), but who knows when it ALL could come to an end.  I used to say “you could get hit by a bus tomorrow” now it’s more like “you could drop dead of a heart attack tomorrow”!  It was the first time in our 15 year friendship that the wife had to “kick us out”!

I was talking to a friend about people changing and getting “less fun” & boring & grumpy as they get older and she said “if you don’t bring anything to the table/party at this point, why would I want to hang out with you?!”,  (🙏 bring humor, andicdotes, empathy, honesty, authenticity, intellect, “deep thoughts & feelings”, & oh, did I mention HUMOR?!) 😜 We both agreed we want to hang out with people that think & feel “the glass is 1/2 full not 1/2 empty”, who are grateful for what they have and want to enjoy what time we have left.  People who are FUN & REAL!  She’s right, “after all we only have 10 or 20 good years left … if we’re lucky” (this I’ve been told A LOT when people find out I’m turning 50)! 😮

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A therapist once told me “people change as they age and they generally go one of two ways” …

they either soften and become sweet & pleasant

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or they harden and become sour & bitter

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I want to become the former not the latter.  As I’ve gotten older people have gone one of two ways:

1.  Become more open-minded and less judgmental, more generous, more fun, more all-encompassing of differences, curious instead of condemning, easy-going, fun-loving, grateful for what they have vs. longing for what they don’t, optimistic

or 

2.  Become closed minded and more judgmental, self-centered, frugal, boring, less tolerant of differences, condemning, rigid, grumpy, stuck in the past, regretful, pessimistic

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I also think we have a choice of who we want to become #1 or #2 — soft and sweet or hard & bitter.

I choose #1 softer and sweeter — at least I’m hoping and trying 🙏  (and hopefully with the same fabulous color of gray hair as my mother)!

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Less Said, Best Said …

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“I give zero fucks about anything yet I have strong opinions about everything, even topics I’m not informed on & know nothing about” Hannah from Girls … this kind of sums me up or at least my husband might say it does and that’s why he has to give me “the look” or a slight “kick” under the table which means “wrap it up” or ‘take it down a notch” “or “don’t ask THAT” (because you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about or if you do your opinions are too strong, or who would ask that!?!).  I actually really appreciate it (most of the time) because he saves me from myself or at least saves the other person from having to listen to me and what I think 😉 on a whole range of topics that aren’t necessarily acceptable to talk about :(.  But those are the things I WANT to talk about … politics, religion, the meaning of life, the bad shit in addition to the good shit going on in your life.   However, I recently had to leave a conversation/party before I was finished telling a “story” and the girl (women I guess because I’m that old 🙄) grabbed my arm as I was leaving and said “wait I want to hear the rest …” and my husband said “trust me you don’t ;)” and she said “oh … Less Said, Best Said”??? And my response was “YES!?” (maybe 😏) sometimes, maybe that’s the best road to take???  My “New Years Resolution” was to make a change or should I say my newest mantra (since I started this post last fall) is going to be “Less Said, Best Said” anyone who knows me knows it will be NOT be easy (probably impossible)!

“The less said the better.” ― Jane Austen

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Regarding making a CHANGE …

“People change” … “but more often people stay exactly the same” … The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.  Isn’t that the truth?! More often than not you can’t change someone, but I think sometimes a person can change themselves at least a little bit or at least maybe get some credit for trying??? Honey I’m going to try!

“Aye, well, sometimes best not to say the first thing that pops into your mind out loud, eh?” he said quietly, not looking at me.” Elinor Oliphant by Gail Honeyman— believe it or not I really do try not to do that, but most of the time I just can’t help myself! 😮

Regarding text abbreviations … “I wasn’t made for illiteracy; it simply didn’t come naturally. Although it’s good to try new things and to keep an open mind, it’s also extremely important to stay true to who you really are. I read that in a magazine at the hairdressers.” Elinor Elephant by Gail Honeyman

 

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” — I don’t know where I first heard this (I wish I said it first 😉) just looked it up and nope not me … DARN IT!

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When women my age wear too short of skirts, or too short of shorts or tube tops or teeny, tiny bikinis — and even though they may look good in them because they’re in really good shape, it’s still not appropriate — “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”  I won’t “change” my opinion on that one!

Anyway, as long as my husband gives me “the look” or the slight “kick” under the table ;), I’m going to try to be a little bit more …

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that being said …

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For the love of dogs 🐶❤️

Reposting because it’s National Pup Day! 🐾🐶💕

This is how it always is, or at least how I think it should be ... by shannon bennett

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“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace” — Milan Kundera

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“Dogs are not our whole life but they make our lives whole” — Roger Carass

“Dogs are wise.  They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more” — Agatha Christie (good advice for when I have PMS)

“The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs” — Charles de Gaulle

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs & infants” — Johnny Depp

“Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.” — Emily Dickenson

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, but the size…

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Looks can be deceiving …

I was sitting in yoga before class the other day trying to “meditate” and one of my favorite, long time yoga teachers (actually the one who really “hooked me” on yoga) was taking the same class.  She gently touched my shoulder and said “you look so spiritual & serene sitting there” and I almost said “looks can be deceiving” but instead I just smiled.  Maybe if I keep sitting still and trying to meditate & smiling I WILL become spiritual, serene, peaceful, content …. that’s what I keep “praying” for because I’m not.  When the teacher says set an intention for your practice, something you want to take with you “off the mat”, mine is always “remain peaceful & calm” the two things I am not, but desperately NEED to be … I went off my anti-anxiety/depression medicine a couple of months ago and at first I thought I was doing great but slowly the racing heart, sleeplessness, uncontrollable irritability has crept back in … if I were single & alone I might try to push through, but I have a husband, two kids, two dogs, a cat, a mom recovering from one of the worst cancer surgeries you can have, and the list goes on, and none of them deserve having to endure my bitchiness.  The definition of spiritual:  affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things, The definition of serene: calm, peaceful, and untroubled; tranquil, “her eyes were closed and she looked very serene”, (synonyms: calm, composed, tranquil, peaceful, untroubled, relaxed, at ease, unperturbed, unruffled, unworried)… I WISH!!!  Anyway, I “gave in” and went back on Lexipro — for better or for worse — those around me would probably say for better and unfortunately I have to agree 😦 I’m sleeping better, not flying off the handle over the littlest inconvenience or mishap, all and all better for everyone involved.  I really tried, I tried meditating every day (or as often as I could) for a couple months — it helped a bit but not enough (unfortunately).  I’m going to try to keep up with the meditation because I think, actually I know it helps.  My husband has been meditating almost every day for the last two years and he is such a better husband, father & human being because of it, it’s amazing how much more tolerant he is … with me especially.

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I may look calm & peaceful & put together on the outside … but on the inside I feel like I want to smash a dinner plate on the floor or throw a rock through one of my plate-glass windows that I adore in my house that I adore.  Or alternatively, crawl into my bed and go to sleep and never come out … I mean ever!  And this isn’t to say I always feel this way but I definitely “have my moments”!  I was telling my friend about the yoga teacher incident because she was asking me why I hadn’t written in my blog for awhile and I told her “funny you should ask” … and I told her I’ve had too much “real life shit going on” and then I told her about the “looks can be deceiving” yoga incident that prompted this post.  I said to her “come to think of it you are one of those people that always looks serene & peaceful & happy, on top of being one of the most beautiful people on the planet” and her response was “oh I have my moments you just wouldn’t know it by looking at me” … see looks can be deceiving.

So now I’m back on my “happy pill” and I wouldn’t say it makes me happier but I’m generally calmer, no wanting to throw rocks through windows or slam plates on the floor when no one shows up to dinner or shows up and then says they aren’t hungry because they don’t like the looks of it  ;)),

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I’m a Grinch … sort of

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“Oh, that’s right,” she said, “you never go, to the company party do you?  I’d forgotten about that. You don’t do the Secret Santa either. Eleanor the Grinch, that’s what we ought to call you.” They all laughed. “I don’t understand that cultural reference,” I said. “However, to clarify, I’m an atheist, and I’m not consumer oriented, so the midwinter shopping festival otherwise known as Christmas is of little interest to me.” (Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman). That could be me, I’ve been called the Grinch on more than one occasion.

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My mom loves the holidays & always tried her hardest to make them picture perfect, especially Thanksgiving & Christmas.  It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting, but sometimes she seems a little stressed 😟. We all try to tell her it doesn’t have to be perfect, I just hope she gets joy & happiness from all her hard work.  She does make the BEST Thanksgiving dinner! I on the other hand could skip it all, sometimes I do, I’m pretty good at trying to plan a trip so that we can skip the holidays especially Christmas & New Years.  We also pick a charity each year to donate to rather than too many unnecessary presents, I encourage you to do the same whether by donating your time or money.  It’s nice to sit down as a family to discuss what organization “speaks to you” for us it usually ends up the World Wild Life Foundation, http://www.worldwildlife.org.  My best Christmas was the one we “skipped” and went to Mexico and our only presents were surf lessons on Christmas Day …

We’re not religious, not me or my immediate family or extended family (as far as I know), and isn’t Christmas the celebration of the birth of Christ?  Even though I’m pretty sure December 25th isn’t even his birthdate.  I prefer to celebrate the winter solstice, or maybe even Festivus, “Festivus for the rest of us”  as proclaimed by George’s father on Seinfeld, is both a parody and a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. Originally a family tradition of scriptwriter Dan O’Keefe,[1][2] who worked on the American sitcom Seinfeld, Festivus entered popular culture after it was made the focus of the 1997 episode “The Strike”that’s what George proclaimed he would celebrate from now on instead of Christmas or Hanukkah.

“Winter solstice has long been recognized as the first day of winter and is the shortest and darkest day of the year. It occurs when the Northern Hemisphere is furthest from the sun. After the winter solstice the days get longer … What can you gain from this period of darkness?” According to its Latin roots, the word solstice means “sun standing still,” and winter solstice has been recognized across many cultures as a time to celebrate the gradual return of the light.”  … http://www.yogainternational.com

I want to celebrate the holidays by spending time with my family doing what we love whether it’s time at the beach, or skiing or hiking in the woods to cut a “Charlie Brown Xmas tree” but NOT shopping or wrapping gifts!

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This isn’t to say I don’t like some things about the Christmas holiday … the lights for one, the year Vail hosted the Alpine World Championships and all Vail was lit up with red, white & blue! 💙❤️💙  I like it when my mother-in-law takes me & my daughter & my sister-in-law & nieces to Xmas tea.  I love curling up on the couch with my family and watching “Elf” & “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the millionth time. I like the Xmas eve party our friends host that we get dressed up and they put on an amazing dinner spread (that looks like so much work but their extended family all help and I think they truly enjoy the time spent together putting it on).  I also like when my extended family doesn’t exchange gifts and instead plays a game …. What I don’t like is the commercialism and Xmas lights & music BEFORE Halloween and the pressure of gift giving.  If I drive around and get frustrated with traffic and the crowds and parking etc. to buy my sister-in-law a scented candle & then she in turn does the same thing & gives me a scented candle don’t they cancel each other out? And we could have saved ourselves all the aggravation, not to mention the damage to the environment?!?!  And don’t even get me started on the wrapping of presents 🙄!

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And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

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I do like Thanksgiving, it’s about giving thanks (therefor the name ;)) not unnecessary gifts. Believe it or not I even enjoy hosting Thanksgiving, although it is far from a Norman Rockwell Painting. It’s more like everyone come (even though our house is small, certainly no formal dinning room) bring on the “orphans” bring your relatives that are in town! Bring one & all!  One of my best memories is having one of the young coaches from my son’s football team over.  He was so thankful for the invite and although I told him not to bring anything, he brought his family’s traditional appetizer,  He pulled me aside and said “thank you so much for having me and my mom wanted me to thank you because she was sad that I might be alone”. ☺️ 💜💛.   One year in a somewhat new house, the turkey was cooking so slowly (because the boiler pan that comes with the oven, was on the lower rack, goes to show how little I cook I didn’t even know it was there 🙄) the heat wasn’t reaching the turkey, we didn’t eat until 9p, but it was super fun because we drank a bit more, played a board game before dinner instead of after and laughed hysterically (thankfully that mishap was PK (pre-kids)).  We use our nice dishes, crystal etc. but I’m not embarrassed to admit that come dessert the paper plates and paper napkins come out! No more dishes please!!!

This Thanksgiving break we were in Mexico and the night before we left we happened upon a guy getting ready to release baby turtles from their protected nest and he asked if we would like to help him release them into the ocean, which of course we were thrilled to help, now THAT is something to be grateful for!

Last Thanksgiving was the last time I saw my father, I remember so clearly when I came into the living room he said “you look so pretty” and I knew it would be the last time.  I miss him terribly, today especially, I’ve been a puddle of tears more than once.  I’m going to try to concentrate on how thankful I am to have spent his last Thanksgiving on this earth at his table.
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“I am grateful to my heart
that beats and breaks and heals
I am grateful for the fullness of my life
For the brief, heartbreaking, heartwarming fullness of life.”

May your holidays be filled with experiences (less shopping & wrapping), laughter & peace (less stress) & happiness, joy & love!

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Letting go of (or at least learning to live with) resentment

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 8.53.57 PMI think, actually I know, one of my worst qualities is my ability to hold onto resentment and the toll it takes on me physically and emotionally.  I have very strong feelings on how I think people SHOULD behave and when they don’t live up to my expectations instead of being upset or sad or even disappointed, I get mad!

“When you are angry at someone, you are unhappy with how they acted. You believe they should have acted some other way. The should have acted is what you’re holding onto. If you didn’t have the should so firmly attached in your mind, you wouldn’t be angry.  So the answer is letting go of the should.” Leo Babauta, zenhabits.net

“There is no good way or bad way. And the sooner we let go of expectations about how things are supposed to go (should go), the happier we get to be.” “The Divorce Party” by Laura Dave.  Perhaps my mother is right, she once told me “I have really high expectations of myself and so I think everyone else should behave the same & the sooner I let that go the better”.

For me feeling mad is much easier than feeling sad or even disapointed.  If I am sad I have a tendency to become paralyzed, wanting to crawl into bed and not come out.  But if I decide to be mad, I can move on and in my mind persevere, and in some circumstances even “kick ass”, I’m the same way if someone questions why I want to do something or go somewhere … it only makes me want to do it more.  The problem with mad is I feel it in my heart, literally my chest tightens up, my heart races, sometimes I feel like I can’t catch my breath.  They say resentment resides in the heart chakra … “Physical imbalances in this chakra might include a cardiac or respiratory issue or a feeling of pain and heaviness in the heart.  Emotions connected with the heart chakra include love, hate, anger, bitterness, resentment, grief, forgiveness, compassion, loneliness, self-centeredness, generosity, gratitude, commitment, trust, loyalty and the ability to follow one’s heart.” … chakra.info

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“The color associated with the heart chakra is Green. Green symbolizes harmony, creativity, health, abundance and nature. It is the combining of yellow (soul) and blue (spirit). Green, nature’s color, offers new energy and revitalizes tired nerves.” … crystal-cure.com

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I just got back from a yoga retreat and the first day of the retreat there was a praying mantis “praying” right next to my door, she was there every night until the last night, when she decided to take up residence in our room.  I told my roommate I was so thrilled because they are my favorite insect! She was green my favorite color, like the color of my dad’s eyes and the heart chakra, coincidently or not?!💚.  This is not a new love of mine, my husband bought me a glass praying mantis 10 years ago, it was definitely not in our budget at the time, I fell in love with it and he said it was too expensive, but he went back and bought it and gave it to me for my birthday.  My friend looked up the “spirit meaning” of the praying mantis, lets just say her being there had significant meaning to me, “An appearance from the mantis is a message to be still, go within, meditate, get quite and reach a place of calm.” “The mantis comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives. Usually the mantis makes an appearance when we’ve flooded our lives with so much business, activity, or chaos that we can no longer hear the still small voice within us.”

we felt like she deserved a name because she greeted us every morning & every evening, we named her Shanti, Peace in Sanskrit 

Resentment: or the strong and painful bitterness you feel when someone does something wrong to you, it doesn’t have actual physical weight, but it feels very heavy and can last a long time. Forgiveness is one way to get rid of resentment.  Sometimes resentment lasts for years. It can be strong and hard to pull out, like an old, gnarled tree root. While resentment over being wronged can come from just one act against you, it also can get stronger over time, it also comes from misunderstandings, like feeling resentment over a dirty look you thought was directed at you but really wasn’t.  It’s usually best to root out resentment early. … vocabulary.com

Or in my case … a text that was missing a particular emoji that would have helped me determine if you were just “short on time” vs. “being short”, why not throw in a … 😉or 😍or 😴???  It only takes a second!

“The human emotion of resentment is one of the most futile and destructive emotions, more a reflection of inner needs than outer circumstance. Many people spend more time dwelling on the wrongs supposedly done to them than on the wrongs they have done to others.” … psychologytoday.com

Trust me I’m sure people resent me for certain things … I know I’m not innocent or perfect by any stretch of the imagination (even my imagination;)).

“It’s Futile. It’s Destructive. It’s Blinding. But this universal emotion does have its rewards. It assures us of our own impotence — (inability to take action)” By Theodore Dalrymple

“Considering the importance of resentment in our lives, and the damage it does, it receives scant attention from psychiatrists and psychologists. Resentment is a great rationalizer: it presents us with selected versions of our own past (how things should have played out), so that we do not recognize our own mistakes and avoid the necessity to make painful choices.” Theodore Dalrymple, brainyquote.com

Psychologist James J. Messina recommends five steps to facing and resolving resentful feelings. (1) Identify the source of the resentful feelings and what it is the person did to evoke these feelings, (2) develop a new way of looking at past, present and future life, including how resentment has affected life and how letting go of resentment can improve the future, (3) write a letter to the source of the resentment, listing offenses and explaining the circumstances, then forgive and let go of the offenses (but do not send the letter), (4) visualize a future without the negative impact of resentment, and (5) if resentful feelings still linger, return to Step 1 and begin again.

People have told me to write it down, crumple up the piece of paper, throw it in a fire & let it go … 📝+ 🔥=🙏… hmmmm???

“Resentment is considered to be synonymous with anger, spite, and other similar emotions; however, while it may incorporate elements of these emotions, resentment is distinct from these emotions in several ways. Aside from sharing similar facial expressions, resentment and anger differ primarily in the way they are externally expressed. Anger results in aggressive behavior, used to avert or deal with a threat, while resentment occurs once the injury has been dealt and is not expressed as aggressively or as openly.  Resentment and spite also differ primarily in the way they are expressed. Resentment is unique in that it is almost exclusively internalized, where it can do further emotional and psychological damage but does not strongly impact the person resented. By contrast, spite is exclusively externalized, involving vindictive actions against a (perceived or actual) source of wrong.” … Wikipedia

“Resentments embody a basic choice to refuse to forgive, an unwillingness to let bygones be bygones and bury the hatchet. We review and rehash our painful past, even as we profess to want to let go of it. We do so because we believe the illusion that by belaboring our resentment, we will somehow achieve the justice we believe we are due. We cling to a futile need to be “right,” which overrides the capacity to heal and be at peace with ourselves. We hang on to perceived offences because we don’t know any other way of coming to grips with painful feelings of hurt, rejection, and abandonment. We need to learn to let go of resentment, because living with it can only bring us chronic punishment and pain, and prevent us from building up other relationships based on love, nurture, and support. Letting go of a resentment is not a gift to the person you resent. It is, rather, a gift to yourself.”  Mark Sichel, LCSW

“Forgiveness is not something we do for other people, we do it for ourselves — to get well and move on  likelovequotes.com

“Forgive when you can, and practice willful and deliberate forgetfulness when you cannot, keeping in mind that these acts are gifts to yourself rather than capitulation to the people you resent.”  Mark Sichel, LCSW

My dear friend has been acting as my voluntary editor, commented on the above … “I love the bit about practicing forgiveness, and when you can’t do that, WILLFUL FORGETFULNESS. That works for me! So may times other people’s behavior is inexplicable/confusing/mysterious, so it’s better to “forget” the perceived hurt. I call it “not putting any more energy into it.”  It actually works! For me anyway ;)” 💚 thank you!

“When you let go of resentment toward someone, you are not necessarily condoning or agreeing with what they have done but you instead are allowing yourself to be free and liberated from the heaviness of carrying it around. Remember that you are not letting them off the hook but simply allowing yourself to release the strain so you can put your energy into something that is good for your mind, body and soul.” mindbodygreen.com

“Happiness: When we are frustrated with someone, disappointed with ourselves, unhappy with our situation, angry at something in the past … what is standing in the way of our happiness? We could blame the other person, or ourselves, or our situation, or the thing in the past … but actually, the thing preventing our happiness is being stuck on an ideal or expectation (the should). We could let go of how we want others to be, how we want our lives to be, how we want ourselves to be … and find contentment in the way things are. This is hard for people to accept — because they aren’t good at letting go yet.  The answer is to loosen the tight grip on the way you think things should be. And let the should blow away in the wind. Because in reality, we have no control over the should of reality. We can’t make other people act the way we’d like them to, because they’re not puppets. We can’t even make ourselves act the way we want, much of the time.  We don’t control the should, and so letting go of our tight grasp of them, loosening up and learning to accept the uncontrollable nature of life, leads to many benefits …” Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

“Forgiveness is mercy in action the same way that compassion is wisdom in action” Stephen Levine

“To understand everything is to forgive everything ” Buddha

“What we achieve inwardly effects how we behave outwardly”   Plutarch

“When you find peace within yourself you can become the kind of person that can live in peace with others” Peace Pilgrim

“If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future, if you are living in the present you are at peace”  Lao Tzu

And finally (this poem has presented itself to me four different times in the last few weeks) …

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty it of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond — Rumi

Until I’m capable of  “letting go”  the “The Guest House” is what I will practice for now …

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“the mantis comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives.”

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All women in their 50’s (45ish-55ish) are at least a little bit crazy

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After the hot flashes and mood swings, then how will we feel? According to plenty of older women, great. I cling to one Gallup poll from 1998 that asked older women when they felt happiest and most fulfilled, and a slim majority chose the years between fifty and sixty-five. So hang in there, baby. Fifty’s coming. In the meantime, forewarned is forearmed. Just knowing you can get a little crazy and angry can help the whole process not get the better of you …” Julie Holland, MD

A nicer title might be “can I handle the season’s of my life?” as Stevie Nicks so eloquently put it …

“Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Til the landslide brought it down
Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older, too
I took my love, I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down
“Landslide”  by Fleetwood Mac 

I love this song, most people do, they must because they keep making remakes of it. But you don’t really understand this song until you get older, you can love it, but not understand it.  I thought I “got it” after I got married & then again after I had kids, but now that I’m living through “the change of life” (perimenopause) and losing my father — I think I “get it” even more and then I’ll probably “get it” even more again when I’m in my 70’s, if I’m lucky enough to live that long, all these changes,”changin’ tides” of life.

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“Women & cats will do as they please,  and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea” — Robert A. Heinlen (author)

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My friend is really wise, just like my conversation with her about women in their 40’s drinking inspired “All women in their 40’s do … drink every night”.  She also inspired this post, because one day we were talking about my “issues” … horrible periods, night sweats, sleeplessness, irritability, weepiness , racing heart rate. I told her I was about at “the end of my rope” and she asked “well have you had the crazies yet?” And I said “oh my god YES — exactly!”.  Perimenopause is no fun. “The ups and downs of the your menstrual cycles, relationship drama, and family responsibility may seem like enough to manage, but just at the moment you might begin to think you have everything under control, there comes another curveball: perimenopause. And it comes earlier than you may have thought. Actual menopause lasts one day. It is the one-year anniversary since your periods have completely stopped. The average age for menopause is fifty-one, but anywhere from the forties to the mid-fifties is considered normal. Perimenopause, however, is the long, drawn-out transition from fertility to infertility, which begins seven to ten years prior to your period stopping. Things don’t usually get problematic until the late forties, but this is a marathon, not a sprint. As you near the finish line, things will likely get intense. You learn to expect the unexpected: worsening PMS that seems to come earlier every month, flying off the handle for no reason …”  from a book I’ll be quoting a lot “Moody Bitches” by Julie Holland MD (when quoting I’ll use MB ;)) I highly recommend it!

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My doctor told me some women “sail right through” perimenopause and some women come into her office practically suicidal.  And then there is a whole range in between … I have never felt like killing myself but I have felt like killing everyone around me (including by beloved dogs, on occasion 😯).  Also talking to our mother’s generation doesn’t offer much help because most of them were on some form of HRT (hormone replacement therapy — therefore most of them “sailed right through”).  They took it off the market (due to a link to breast cancer, however some experts say that’s debatable and today there are a lot of natural HRT options and supplements,  so don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about HRT or visit a naturopath). The heavy periods that have landed me in the hospital and left me anemic for months, are the least of my problems, the worst of it being the uncontrollable irritability and a racing heart rate that felt like I was going to have a heart attack, making it really hard to get a good nights sleep (what is a good nights sleep anyway? — between having kids & perimenopause — I can’t remember), I finally went to see my doctor and after a long road of blood tests & cardiology tests, & as she suspected months earlier, she said I was physically fine but suffering from perimenopausal symptoms, a combination of depression & anxiety manifesting itself in the form of panic attacks.  She recommended an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety and when the cardiologist said she agreed with my doctor, they convinced me to at least try it for a couple of weeks to see how I felt.  Both doctors are women approximately my age which I think is important to note. Within a week or two my husband said “wow it’s so nice to have the old Shannon back” and this is coming from someone who is adamantly against any drugs, he won’t even take an Advil for a headache! It’s been a couple of years and I’m weaning off the medication.  Even though it made me more “even keeled” and probably easier to live with — I did feel a little “flat”, no extreme highs or lows.  However, it definitely saved me from getting in my car and driving to California and never coming back, but now I kind of want the “old, old Shannon” back — the one that cries really hard at a touching or heartbreaking moment, the one that “calls bullshit” when she thinks it, one of my teachers recently said “yoga teaches you to feel that it’s okay to FEEL”.  My husband thinks he might like the “medicated Shannon” better, I was more fun, I think because I just didn’t “give a shit”, everything was a lot more tolerable and therefore more fun.  I also think I was a little bit wrong to think going on that medication wasn’t a big deal — going on it WASN’T a big deal, within 5 days I didn’t feel like divorcing my entire family.  But going off is another story — the irritability is back albeit not as bad, I was nauseous and dizzy & had pretty debilitating headaches for a week or two (the Ancient Greek word, pharmakon, which has held disparate meanings — sacrament, medicine and poison. It is a common saying in medicine that sometimes the treatment is worse than the disease. MB) Getting off the medication was not easy but I kept trying because it can’t be good to stay on it forever?! I’m almost completely off and “so far so good”!

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“Sometimes, if I see a patient with crippling depression or anxiety, then prescribing an SSRI is the right call, but even if it is the best initial treatment, it might not be the forever cure. Feeling deeply may, at times, be difficult to navigate, but it’s also a powerful tool … We are built to be highly attuned and reactive, and embracing that truth is the first step in gaining mastery of our inner lives and our health. If your serotonin levels are constantly, artificially high, you’re at risk of losing the emotional sensitivity that makes you you. You may be less likely to cry in the office or bite your nails to the quick, but you’re also going to have a harder time reacting emotionally and connecting fully with others, especially sexually.” MB  the old, OLD Shannon.

“Our hormonal variations allow us to be empathetic and intuitive—to our environment, to our children’s needs, and to our partners’ intentions. Women’s emotionality is normal. It is a sign of health, not disease, and it is our single biggest asset.” MB  I feel like my medication served it’s purpose, getting me through maybe the worst part of my perimenapause and the dying/death of my father. As she states in her book “Yet one in four American women are choosing to medicate away their emotionalism … More women than ever before are taking psychiatric medications, creating a new normal that isn’t normal at all. It is at odds with our biology. Our brains are wired differently from men’s brains, and our hormones do make us more moody.” MB

I was hoping I could blame my weight gain on the medication, however I haven’t noticed any weight loss and read in “MB”  that during perimenopause “Your appetite for food goes up. For sex, it goes down. The urge to mother or nurture, reliant on estrogen all those years, starts to give way to thoughts of … Why do I have to do everything around here? When is it my turn?  But first, let’s talk about my belly. FYI, when you’re perimenopausal, your belly starts to store fat because your estrogen levels are waning. Beware the menopot.” MB — which I copied and emailed to my husband and my son to show them that the little belly I’ve developed in the last few years (that they make fun of) isn’t my fault — “just like I’ve been trying to tell you!!!”

I’ve been killing myself for the last 8 to 10 years to try to look like my 25 year old self, when people ask why, I say it’s because I know there is a 25 year old out there just waiting to take my place when my husband leaves me because I’ve gained weight and gotten wrinkly and fat, but lately I’ve been thinking that maybe the real reason men leave their wives or wives leave their husbands in their late 40’s to 50’s isn’t because they’ve gotten fat or gray or wrinkly (on either side) but because the women are crazy and the men are boring (which is their version of perimenopause aka MANOpause)!

When I was in my early teens I so clearly remember my parents talking about the “crazy” things their friends were doing,  getting divorced left & right, having affairs, buying expensive cars & boats, drinking too much and doing drugs, leaving their families to move to India for a year to live in an ashram (little did I know back then I might grow up to be one of them — especially now that I know what an ashram is ;)).  And then one of them would whisper “well you know it’s because they’re having a mid-life crisis”  and I remember thinking that’s a “bunch of bullshit” just because you’re over 40 doesn’t mean you get a “license” to lose your mind and start behaving badly or at best bizarrely!  But now that I’m 49 (50 in 5 minutes ;)) I’m here to tell you it IS a real thing.  Between realizing that your life is more than 1/2 way over and the hormone shifts and the getting fat & gray & boring or crazy or all of the above (and did I mention living with teenagers) — it’s not an easy time in life and it definitely makes you want to reflect on your life and life choices and where you see yourself in the future.  And if you’re in a relationship (i.e. married 20 years or so with children — teenagers in particular) you find yourself wondering “is this really all there is?”, “are we still going to like each other or even know each other after the kids leave?”, “can we weather the storm of my menopause?” “Can I handle the seasons of my life?”

MB offers some advice for just those questions “make sure you create and maintain a “space between” in your relationship. Do things separately, (i.e. yoga retreats for me, ski/bike/” motorcycle trips for my husband) have your own friends and interests, so you’ll have something to talk about when you do spend time together. And when you can, do novel, fun things together. Travel to new territory, try new activities, … have fun out there. It may lead to great sex, which can help solidify the bonds of great love. Remember that you’re on the same team.” MB I have friends taking pole dancing (yes like a stripper only with their clothes on ;)) & salsa dance lessons and they love it & so do their husbands because they say it makes their wives feel sexier and therefore … ;).

 “Also, only one of you gets to be a baby at a time. Two passive, irresponsible people cannot run a household or raise children. If you insist on being two children, neither of your needs will be met. You can decide between you, and it can be fluid, but one of you needs to be an adult in any given situation.” MB  Like when I HAVE to go “take a bath”, even though I just took a shower 😂 my husband now knows he needs to step in and take the reins.

Ever since I had babies I have said where’s my red tent!? If you haven’t read “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant you should (or maybe you shouldn’t, especially if you’re young because when you have babies and as you age you’ll be asking “where’s my red tent?”)  😔 In MB she talks about “The Red Tent”… “I still advise keeping the sanctity of the cycle by having some delineated downtime on a monthly basis. I wish we had some sort of red tent, where women could gather to learn from one another and grow together, to hang out when they’re menstruating or nursing or delivering. I hate that there is so much shame and secrecy around menstruation and menopause. It’s not fair, and it’s not healthy.” MB  Where’s my Red Tent? Where was it when I was pregnant & having babies & where is it now?  I’m trying to find it in researching, reading, talking & sharing with others about this “mid-life crisis”, this “change of life”.

Perimenopausal women today are not just balancing work and family; they’re also trying to avoid putting their parents in a nursing home. It’s not only stress inducing or anxiety provoking, it’s depressing. We all have fears around aging and becoming “infirm.” Watching our daughters blossom in the springtime of their fertility as we fade out in the autumn of ours, plus seeing what lies ahead as our mothers wither and weaken, is poignant and painful and very nearly too much to handle. Hormonal surges and cycles are a major part of being a woman.” MB 

“Just as my teenage daughter, is entering into her cyclical moodiness, her mother is ungracefully exiting. Don’t you wish you were my husband, sandwiched between a cadet just joining the ranks of the menstruation nation and a retired general who’s bowing out? Both of us are having fits and starts of our ovaries, … Nearly a quarter of women with teenagers are in their fifties.” MB  We’re in the same shoes in my house right now, I tell my husband all the time I feel sorry for him, thank goodness we just have one daughter can you imagine being the husband in a family with multiple teenage girls???

“Being authentic in your actions and in line with your emotions, doing what you feel instead of what you think you should, can lead to improved health.” MB How many times in the last few years have I said “I’m so tired of people telling me what I should do?” Or feeling like I should be doing something other than what I feel like … like I should be doing cross-fit when what I feel like doing is yoga & guess what it turns out after a certain age yoga and pilates are way more beneficial to your overall health than lifting ridiculously heavy weights, and box jumping and sprinting and on and on and my yoga teachers don’t yell at me like the cross fit trainer … instead they talk about being kind and gentle to yourself and others and taking care of yourself so you can take care of those around you …

“Women feel more, and for good reasons. By evolutionary design, women’s brains have developed to encourage empathy, intuition, emotionality, and sensitivity. We are the caretakers and the life givers; …” MB

“The answer for each of us will be unique. But all of us need to stop and listen when we get bitchy. Embracing our moods will, in the end, make us happier. We need to begin anew, to realign with our bodies and learn how to treat them right. It’s time to embody the wisdom inherent in nature, and in our natural animal selves. Moody Bitches will show you the way, ...” MB So when I say I need to take a nap, or need to go (escape) to my room to “read my book” or “take a bath” and sometimes I don’t even come out until morning 😮, I mean it, I NEED it, and we will all be better off because I took “a time out” (that’s what my friend Melissa calls it 😘) from now on I’m not going to feel guilty about it! I am almost 50 after all!

“Dogs are wise.  They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more” — Agatha Christie
IMG_3608We have a football tailgate group and we are all between the ages of 45 -55ish and I said to one of the husbands at the last game I wasn’t sure we would renew our tickets next year because “I couldn’t keep up! I couldn’t handle the tailgate party plus the game plus getting home late, because I’m so tired the next day I have to take a nap.”

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And his reply was “so what if you have to take a nap, or how about only come to the tailgate party, you’re just going to die soon so let’s have fun! Cheers!” He is NOT one of the boring ones!

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Advice I would tell my 20-25 year old self & young girls

If I could go back in time here’s what I would tell myself and I AM telling you girls (maybe boys too ;)) if you’ll “listen” …

Travel!!! If you want — as much as possible while it’s easy (no kids, no pets, etc.)Image 6-11-17 at 3.46 PM

“Trust your gut” your intuition — women have a very powerful sense of intuition, we’re “wired” that way, be in-tune with your inner being, it’s part of being female (certain times of the month are more powerful than others ;)) listen & look closely “take notes” even … trust me it’s there you just have to find it and when you do TRUST it!

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“Wear shorts & skirts” — while you can (but not the kind girls wear today with their butt cheeks hanging out, that leave absolutely NOTHING to the imagination!

“Dance” — as often as possible (while your feet can handle it :))

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“Have Quiet Time” — give yourself 30-60 minutes a day of no artificial noise —  Run, walk, yoga, meditate — I always had a dog so even before I started practicing yoga I would run or walk everyday no music, no phone — there weren’t even cell phones back then (because you know I’ll be 50 in 5 minutes)!
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“Read” — an actual book!  My parents taught be to always read before you go to sleep — ever since I was about 10 years old — I’ve gotten in bed with a book and sometimes I read 30 pages and sometimes only 3 but I never skip the bed time “ritual” and because of it I’ve read thousands of good books and I’m sure I have hundreds (if not thousands) more to go  — also remove your makeup and wash your face ;)!
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“Nap” — it’s good for you and doesn’t mean your lazy, there’s a reason so may cultures have “siesta” it’s a chance to recharge your batteries and get on with the day and hopefully be a more productive, enjoyable person afterwards :)).  If you have PMS or it’s that “time of the month” and you feel like going to bed at 8p — DO IT!!! Everyone will be better off because of it :)).

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“Breath”, “Count to Ten”, “Sleep On It” — I can be very “reactive” and sometimes it gets me into trouble so I try to remind myself to “take a deep breath, “count to ten”.  When it comes to big decisions my dad would always say “sleep on it” or if I’d ask him for something big he’d say “let ME sleep on it” and then I knew not to push it, it was his way of not “reacting” or “over-reacting” if he was mad or annoyed or whatever — which happens often as a parent, kids are constantly asking/demanding things and sometimes if I don’t “react” and instead say “let me think about it” or “sleep on it” then they actually forget that they asked me to let them get another ear piercing, or another pair of shoes (in addition to the 20 they already have) etc.  I also will type out a text or an email when I’m mad or annoyed but instead of sending it, I’ll save it and decide the next day if I want to hit “send”, usually I decide against it or at least to “tone it down” and everybody is better off for it — it’s good advice to tell your kids that when it comes to this world we live in where it’s so easy to respond to a text or snap chat or Instagram … immediately (especially when someone “pushes your buttons”) it’s not always a good thing, it may not actually be the message you were wanting to send and you might end up regretting it — so really think about it before you hit send, breath and count to ten! 😉

“Pay your bills — on time!” — my dad always told me from a young age to make sure you pay your bills on time & protect your credit score because it is so important because it SUCKS to have bad credit!  I’ve always followed his advice and I’ve never had any trouble getting a credit card, car loan, mortgage loan etc. and now I think most employers check your credit — your credit says a lot about who you are, if you can’t pay your bills on time or live within your means, you probably aren’t going to be a reliable employee.  I would NEVER hire someone with bad credit, unless they had a damn good excuse and even then …🙄🙄🙄

“Get dressed up”  — often because the older you get those opportunities will be far and few between (especially if you live somewhere like Boulder) again …

Seriously?

“If you have kids”  — have them before age 30 so that they are out of the house & don’t have to live with you while you’re going through menopause ;))

“Nice Guys” — don’t discount the nice guys — trust me there will come a day when you’ll want to be treated like a princess, and you won’t be annoyed by the guys who are “too nice”.  Honey you were one of the nice ones but not TOO nice ;)!

“Don’t stay out past midnight” — “nothing good happens after midnight”, for the most part – there are a few exceptions 😉 but again few and far between and past 30 or 40 years old you might want to round down to 10p (it’s midnight somewhere ;))!

“Do what you love” — Follow your passion — try hard to find work you love — and if you don’t then make sure you make time for the stuff you do love!  And if someone questions you “why would you want to do that?” it might be all the more reason to do it!!!

“Give thanks” — before you go to bed or during your “quiet time” think of at least 5 people & 5 things you are grateful for in your life.

“Laugh” — Surround yourself with people who make you laugh … a lot & often (and who like you enough to take you to or pick you up from the airport — at least every once in awhile).

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“Cry” — because sometimes it’s what you need to do, it’s ok to not even know why (we are female after all) so crawl into bed & watch your favorite sad movie & cry — you’ll feel better I promise (and if you don’t watch two ;))

“Love”  Love often & with abundance & love & be nice to your parents — they love you no matter what and I’m pretty sure for the most part they did their best!

“CELEBRATE OFTEN & HAVE FUN!!!”

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For the love of dogs 🐶❤️

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“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace” — Milan Kundera

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“Dogs are not our whole life but they make our lives whole” — Roger Carass

“Dogs are wise.  They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more” — Agatha Christie (good advice for when I have PMS)

“The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs” — Charles de Gaulle

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs & infants” — Johnny Depp

“Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.” — Emily Dickenson

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” — Dwight D. Anderson

“Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness?” — Jonathan Safran Foer (author) (I don’t know why but it is so true)

“When an 85 pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit in your lap it’s hard to feel sad.” — Kristan Higgins (author)

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.” — Dean Koontz (author)

“If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” — Will Rogers

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” — Andy Rooney (60 minutes)

“Some of my best leading men have been dogs & horses.” — Elizabeth Taylor :))

“Dogs express their feelings through their eyes, there barks & wagging their tails, sometimes their whole bodies … if only they could talk!” — unknown

Dogs talk.  We just haven’t evolved enough to understand them.

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“Happiness is a warm puppy” — Charles M. Schulz 

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Cats can be pretty great too … but not quite like a dog  😘

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