Wednesday, 23 December 2015

gratitude...& Christmas cheer

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Today I have been immersed in Christmas memories. And the importance of Christmas rituals, especially for children, for these rituals lay the foundation for treasured memories, & for future memories. The excitement, the anticipation, for children. The family gatherings. The laughter. How blessed are we to have the opportunity to do all this. I am truly grateful, especially at Christmas, when we are all gathered for breakfast & secret santa, that my children & grandchildren are well & happy. It is the greatest gift.

This year, our large extended family has had 3 passings over, 1 serious emergency stage 3 cancer operation (recovered, thankfully), 1 very serious kidney operation (also recovered, thank you universe!). So we are all extra aware that these moments of gathering are precious indeed. And we are welcoming a new addition to the family early next year, so this also is very special.

We in New Zealand, no matter what our circumstances, are not in a war zone, nor fleeing from war. We are not in a famine. These are great blessings. As a young child, our Christmas mornings were ....extremely sparse, to be diplomatic. Thankfully we went to our Nanna's after for lunch.....yummy food & presents!! And cousins!

Later, life became more affluent, but I shall never forget the gratitude I had from those early years. It has stayed with me, always. I know, from experience, that we don't need "stuff" to be happy.

And I hope that you all have a happy Christmas, with beloved friends & family. And that it is a happy time, irregardless of "stuff"

Thursday, 3 December 2015

returning to former days

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(family wedding late 1970s. My two eldest are in the front, both with dark hair, and I'm in the back, fourth from left)

I was reading about a study done in 1959, where older people who were degenerating, were put into two control groups. One group wore clothing from 20 years prior, & talked & acted for that time too. The other group talked about the time of 20 years before, memories & such. Both groups regenerated to a remarkable degree & were able to resume much of their life in a more active way.

If we think back to a wonderful time in our life....what made it so? We will have so much memory, of weather, smells, sounds, emotions, food, clothes, hopes, dreams....the list is endless. Amongst all of this there will be specific things that made us feel, & look, good. We can replicate those things in order to enhance our life today.

I have looked at much of my life, seeing what works, right here, right now. And what worked in the past...& why it worked, how it worked, circumstances. Honestly it can often boil down to simple things such as the food you ate, how you dressed, how you looked after yourself. Obviously, peak times are falling in love, & with our family, & our children. But there are other times too.

There was a long period in my life when I was as fit as I ever was going to be. Sleek. It was a lifestyle which isn't exactly appropriate to my life today, tons of exercise (yoga & walking), long periods of meditation.

Then another period, just before the above one, when I did less exercise than my peak period, but I looked & felt amazing. I had a very short yoga routine & it worked, it made me look & feel great, on all levels. I also peaked in self-care, & truly it was minimal...but consistent, as I had very little time to myself. A good wash & wear haircut, hardly any makeup, clothes which flattered & were fuss free, simple skin care. I went for a very quick brisk walk at lunchtime. Both times my diet was simple.

I could apply all these principles to today's life & they still would work. I am constantly recreating much of that period, because I liked how I felt about myself. I felt light, freer, had more energy, looked great. I personally don't wear clothes of a couple of decades ago because it's ageing. But the principles of what suits a person don't often change. I adore wearing strong colours, especially black & white together. I have returned to it...with a flourish! Although I dye my hair now, I still keep my hair simple so that it moves. I wear minimal make-up. I've learnt, through experience, to never let an older woman "do" my make-up, as it invariably puts me into a time-warp...& it looks old & tired. I wear clothes & shoes which enable me to move, not only because it feels good, but also because constriction is ageing...whether it's hair, clothes, shoes, etc.

So, what in your own life, amongst the memories, made you look &  feel great? Why was it so? Can you recreate any of these elements? How? Rediscover parts of you that you liked, & which have been buried. Some of these parts of your former life might not work today.

But, you know, some just might.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Madame Chic

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I'm currently re-reading Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott.      

I've read this book often, & I love it. It's about an American student, Jennifer, who stays in Paris with a family whom she calls "famille chic". The whole family are...well, they are all chic, & it's their lifestyle, habits, that make them so. In particular, the mother, Madame Chic. 

It is by example that Madame Chic teaches Jennifer how to look good, eat well, stay fit, be charming. & like herself.

Madame Chic only used a small wardrobe of 10 pieces, not including her coat, scarf, shoes, etc. And this 10 piece wardrobe has inspired countless bloggers worldwide, including moi. So today I've been looking at my new 10 piece wardrobe for weather that currently veers from cold & rainy, to hot & summery. Actually only about 2 new pieces are going to be added as I already have the basics. As I am currently wanting to downsize, I'm really happy to have a "new" 10 piece wardrobe.

I already have 4 pairs of pants. Soft, lightly baggy, tapering at the ankle. These pants have somehow morphed into being my current "look". Which I'm ok with, for now. 3 of these pants have patterns, 1 is black. I have a black, loose top which goes with all the pants, a royal blue tee with swirly arms which goes with 2 of the pants, & a black cotton top with some white embroidery which also goes with the same 2 pairs of pants. I'm on the hunt now for a red v-necked tee to wear with all the pants,  & 1 will get another top.....haven't decided what it will be. I have a black cardi which I can use & I just might "make it do" until summer. Voila! 10 pieces.

When the heat of summer emerges, I'll do a bit of a revamp, so that I'm wearing more weather- appropriate clothes. Most if my life I have only had just a few clothes, & I like it that way. 

I had my own Madame Chic

This was inspired by my own "Madame Chic", my grandmother. She was a total inspiration on all levels. She taught me how to make life nice, no matter what else was happening around me. To be nice, look nice. And she was adamant that I did not need many clothes. Nanna was right, no-one needs a lot of anything. Nanna only had a small wardrobe & she looked so glamorous.

Simple shoes for summer

I like to wear cheap, black, canvas slip-ons in summer, as a casual, everyday shoe, & the best cut & fit I've found, is at K-mart. These shoes just never go out of style. I've worn them for years, & I know younger people who do, too. I find many sandals date very quickly, & to me, they are just plain uncomfortable. 

And a hat. I need a new one

I'm thinking that a new sunhat is also in order. My old black one from Amazon now has tons of flowers pasted to it, for when I do markets......not exactly chic for everyday. When I wore it one day, one of my kids looked at me & said, in horror: oh....my....god....., so I just braved the sun instead that day. 

I've got some sunglasses, & I already have a lovely brown bag that I got for Xmas last year.

Be well groomed

Madame Chic kept life simple, & I like this. It actually makes life easier. I may change doing the 10 piece routine but for now, I like it. It suits my casual lifestyle.

The other noticeable thing about Madame Chic's appearance is that she had a hairdo....le french bob, which was easy to do & flattering. She had good skin. She kept her figure nice with lots of everyday walking, & housework. And she was well-groomed. 

My Nanna was big on grooming, in a subtle way, & I absorbed it. Well-groomed means that our clothes are clean & mended, & they are flattering. Our shoes are clean. Our nails are shaped, & this doesn't necessarily mean that they have nail polish. Our skin looks good, with minimal make-up. Our hair moves & is cut in a flattering style. To be chic also means that the whole look is effortless.....one just happens to look this way.

Chicness.....I like it. For now, I am endeavouring to be effortlessly, a bit casually, chic.







Thursday, 12 November 2015

summer glow

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Summer diet changes

With summer approaching, it's time to revamp our lifestyle to suit the new weather, the longer hours. Quite naturally, we move into a different diet than what we were eating in winter. In summer we can make a large proportion of our food raw, as in fruits, salads, juices. These raw foods, especially those that grow above the ground, are high in life-force/prana from the sun, & can increase our own prana levels too.

Food can make our skin glow

When we eat foods which are high in carotenes, which are plant foods that have an orange base in them, they help to make our skin glow. Foods like oranges, apricots, canteloupe, orange kumura, peppers, tomatoes. Beta carotenes are found in leafy greens like spinach, & these can help protect our skin from the sun. So add these colourful carotenes to salads, & the fruits to smoothies or fruit salads, & steam spinach, watercress & kumura. Your skin will improve.

Water helps too

Drink lots of water to "feed" our skin & body. Skin seems to "plump up" when we do this. 

And surprisingly, we seem to need more protein in summer. In New Zealand, we have amazing kai (food) moana (sea), it is light food & so nourishing.

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Body brush for glowing skin

We can also make our skin glow by dry body brushing, before a shower or bath. I get my brushes from a $2 shop. 

  • Do long sweeping strokes towards the heart. 
  • Start with your feet, brush the soles & start doing upwards strokes. 
  • The ankles to knees, 
  • Knees to hips. 
  • In the sides of the groin. 
  • Do one side then the other. 
  • Up the buttocks. 
  • Do big circles on the tummy, going up your right side, across the top & down the left, following the route of our large colon. 
  • Then big strokes up the torso towards the heart. 
  • Down the chest. 
  • Up backs of hands to wrists, wrists to elbows, elbows to shoulders.

At the end of your shower, start cooling down the water. Now is the time to start, so that you build up a tolerance for it. Cool water blasts tighten the skin, & makes it glow.

Oils for beautiful skin

After, apply a natural oil in the same manner & pattern as the body brushing. 

  • Apricot oil contains vitamin A & is very beneficial to skin
  • Olive oil is good for tired muscles
  • Grapeseed  or almond, are lovely
  • A friend makes kawakawa oil, which brings blood to the surface of the skin & increases our skin collagen levels. 
Collagen is a protein which keeps the skin young. I avoid any skin cosmetic that has collagen in it, as the only way that collagen would be added is by killing an animal. I can't see that harming animals is a good way to "help" our skin.

I know a woman with amazing skin: she gets baby oil for the $2 shop, adds some scented oil from the same type of shop, & uses this mix for her face, body, hair, & to take off eye makeup. So if you don't have much money, you could try something like this. 

When the singer Cher was about 40...so it was quite a while ago, she used a mix of aqueous cream & almond oil on her body, so that's another option.

Another option for those of us who are pressed for time, & I have done this "trick" also: 

  • use body scrubbing gloves from the $2 shop, or supermarket. 
  • tip some body lotion onto each glove, & give yourself a quick scrub after your shower.
  • this brings blood to the surface of the skin & gives us better circulation, & better skin.

Be sun smart

  • Try to keep out of the sun during the danger times: about 10-11am to about 3-4 pm. Use sunblock if you are in the sun during these times
  • Sunscreens & sunblocks are full of chemicals so it's good if we can also find other ways of protecting our skin instead....like using sunhats, sunnies, loose cotton long sleeved tops, like a kaftan top. 
  • Sunbathe during the "sunsafe" hours.....by getting sun on your torso & not washing after. The oils on your skin interact with the sun's rays for some proper vitamin D. So beneficial.


Saturday, 31 October 2015

little habits to be happy

Easy habits make life nice

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Get up a bit earlier, shower & quickly make yourself look nice: you will feel better. Elizabeth Hurley says it takes her 4 -5 minutes for skin care & makeup. I always got up before my eldest kids to do this because there was never time after.

Lay out your clean clothes the night before.

Throw out/give away any clothes/shoes/accessories that you actually don't like.

Wear what makes you feel good.

Stay current with your clothing...you will feel younger & happier.

Dress for your actual life. Not for your pretend life.

Make sure you (& your children if you have kids) have lunch ready for tomorrow if you're out & about, or at work. Even a cheese, marmite & lettuce sandwich, a piece of fruit, a yogurt, water & maybe a muesli bar are better than grabbing food on the run. We frequently make bad choices when we are stressed. I bought a little padded container bag for $2 at a garage sale that you can put a freezer pad in to take with me when I have to be away from home.

  • Write out which foods that you don't like. Don't bother even buying them. 
  • Now make a list of 5 -6 basic foods that you are happy to base your daily diet on. This is a tip from nutritionist Monica Grenfell. 
  • Mine, so far....& this is always up for change if needed, are: porridge, Lewis Rd full cream organic milk for coffee, & cheaper trim milk for the rest, Gopal's yogurt because it's natural, tins of fish, free range eggs, spinach, potatoes, lettuce, carrots. These are the basics I have always available.

Have a rough food plan & stick to it.

Be regular with:

  • your diet
  • what & when you eat
  • bedtime
  • getting up in the morning time, because that makes our body happy, which in turn makes us happier.

Have little routines in your life that work at these times:

  • getting up
  • when you walk in the door after work
  • dinner routine
  • before bed routine.  
When my youngest was at school & I was working, tossing on a load of washing when I got up each morning & then hanging it to dry, whether outside or on a drying rack, were always part of my routine.

Make your home nice to live in. Have a daily routine of:

  • dishes
  • loo wiping
  • bed making
  • window opening
  • have 15 minutes of extra cleaning daily, where possible. This is a tip from Flylady.com, & is totally doable without being a stressor.

Aim for a daily walk in the sunshine. Makes us happier.

Have a couple of daily affirmations that work.

Eliminate people from your life who make you just not feel good. Do it quietly, sneakily....but do it. Do it for you.

Sometimes it is actually easier to do practical things for being happier, than by trying to force it by "positive thinking". When life has some routine, when we are less stressed....we are more naturally positive. And then, it is so much easier to sort out why & what we are not feeling positive.

My "get it done" tricks

  • When you need to do something & don't actually want to...quickly "see" it as being done. This really works. You will find yourself doing it!
  • Another trick is to clench a fist hard for a wee bit...it's like getting some determination muscle.



Tuesday, 27 October 2015

making our home life nice

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I always notice special things about people's homes

Wherever I go, I take notice of what people do in their lives, how they do it, & the effects of what they do. I've noticed, for some time, little things that different people do to make their home life nice.
And it has inspired me to want to have some little habits that make my life nice, too.

I stayed with my sister recently & saw her open all her doors & windows wide, & light some sticks of incense at the same time, as soon as she got up. I usually would only do 1 of these, but I liked the effect that doing the 2 together, gave. So that's 1 of the nice-life secrets that I've "borrowed". My sister is very artistic, with bits & pieces everywhere that she has made, like bejeweled masks & painted glassware & mirrors. And unusual furniture that she has collected. I do know that I will never do the arty stuff. Never. But I came back from my trip with some little antique bits of crockery, which I love, to actually use, & some second hand furniture, of the vintage that I love. I can't wait to polish the furniture, as I also love the smell of polished wood. To me, that's a nice-home smell.

When my eldest children were young, I made some craft bits & pieces for our barren home to make it nice. I made xmas tree hangings too & every year the xmas tree box was pulled out & our humble decorations were happily put up...this was special to the kids & me. With my youngest, we always had crystals & chakra wall hangings.

I go to a friend's meditation group a couple of times a month, & am constantly fascinated to see what new crystal spread she has laid out on her lounge floor, usually to do with the phase of the moon...but sometimes it's a spread about other things. It is totally charming, with the soft unusual lighting & quite unique wall hangings which she has. I have started, when I remember, to light a candle at nights, & light incense, instead of having harsh electric lights going, inspired by my friend, Carolyn.

When I'm at someone's house, I get a tad envious of their gardens. I'm particularly useless at any form of gardening but have decided to change this as I too would love to have fresh herbs, edible flowers & some vegetables on hand. To me that's a type of real affluence....pop outside & get fresh, inexpensive, nutritious fast-food. Having flowers & produce, flower smells, bees & butterflies....to me this is also nice-home.

Nanna left nice memories of our home

My grandmother left me with an association of lovely smells in the home. She always had soap wrappers tucked between the towels & sheets, in the cupboards. I have also used empty incense packets, & in my drawers I have at times used empty perfume bottles. Nanna also had what we today would call rituals, but back in the day...they were just they way things were done. In the evenings, leaving the table after dinner, doing dishes, then retiring to the lounge. It stopped us doing non-stop eating, I can tell you. Having breakfast or lunch on the verandah in the weekends, when it was sunny. Having a bedtime ritual of putting your things away, bath then goodnight kisses, then sleep. These wee rituals impress upon our mind, emotions & body, that at a particular time, we eat, pause, sleep, get up...whatever. Our entire being loves routine...we thrive on routine. And good routines make our home lovely.

Time to redo wee abode

I have decided to ruthlessly go through my cupboards & biff anything that does not make my home nice......from kitchen utensils, to books, linen, & bits of furniture. Hang up some prints that I love, polish my statues, find some pot plants.....for the first time ever, I want a home that's uniquely nice to me, & as I live alone, I can do this.

We all can make our living situation nice, even if we are just renting a room...there is always something that means "special", for each of us, & if we have children, some things are special to them too. We can bring all this into our "home"....whatever the home is, we can make our living situation more meaningful. Sometimes we need to think this through, & try out different things. Because each of us is unique, what is special to us, whether it's big or small, these meaningful things are unique too.





Wednesday, 21 October 2015

baselines

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I was reading about a well known international author, Monica Grenfell, does to stay:

  • feeling good
  • looking good
  • being healthy & trim. 
She said that she had "baselines" in place to be able to stay that way.

So what are baselines? They are several things. First are "rules to live by". 

  • Things that we will do & won't do, either in daily life or certain situations. 
  • Simple rules that we can easily fit into our life: smart rules. 
  • A couple of her health baselines are: not to eat in the car, except when driving for hours on end; not eating whilst walking along the road. Eating regular meals at regular times. Not snacking. I mean, how easy is that?
Apply it to our diet

She also recommends having a sort of a baseline diet, meaning that: 

  • there are certain foods that she emphasises in her diet, usually on a daily basis
  • but she also enjoys eating foods that others have prepared, like going to a friends' for dinner, and having a healthy, regular diet in place, enables her to enjoy herself when she goes out
  • because we generally eat the same foods & meals, over & over, here our baseline can be that we have healthy food.
  • plus, we tend to over eat when there are too many choices available, & too many flavours in a meal, so let's Keep It Simple, Sweeties!

Some of my diet baselines

I had a think about all this & I decided I should be having, as much as possible:

  • a leafy green, like silverbeet or spinach for folic acid, daily, because I'm prone to anemia
  • I don't often eat meat but I can eat organic eggs
  • fish (great if you have any polynesian DNA, as I have)
  • yogurt for digestive health & calcium
  • oats & oatbran for porridge & fibre
I'm still working on this list...it could change, but I do need a couple more baseline foods that I can incorporate daily. The idea is:

  • not to have too many choices 
  • then eat roughly the same types of food at roughly the same times each day. 
Our body will love it.

Exercise baselines

Then there is exercise. For decades I had a baseline yoga morning practice. But I have altered it now as it seemed not to be having the effects I was after. So, again, we need baselines for our health & exercise is one of the ways to do it. Here are some hints:

  • I read about a British actress, Linda Lusardi, now in her mid fifties, who has done, since she was 16, 50 sit-ups & 20 side stretches each morning & evening. She looks amazing. Again,how simple is that?
  • I had a friend with a killer body, achieved with 10 minutes of exercises as soon as her feet hit the floor each morning, that she found on an old video by Tony Little. She either used baked bean tins for weights, or used no weights. For her diet, & she was just as regular with this, she had oatbran & wheatgerm for soaked porridge/muesli with a juice, followed by a simple sandwich at lunch & whatever was happening for tea. These were her baselines. She looked amazing & felt it too. All so simple, all so effective.

So what will be our baselines for exercise? A walk each morning? The gym 2x a week? Yoga class? If we choose what suits us, & make it that we just do it as part of our life....it becomes like a baseline.

We can have baselines in other areas of our life too:

  • there can be certain things that you do at work first thing each morning so that your job flows better
  • you could have a lunchtime walk instead of going to a cafe & eat a sandwich after, at work
  • we can have specific things that we do in our home each morning & evening to keep on top of housework & make life nicer.
Make it all doable

The idea is never take on more "rules" at any one time, that you can deal with successfully. It's just too overwhelming otherwise & is a signpost for failure. So I am also looking at daily life for a couple more baselines for a better life.


Friday, 16 October 2015

Tony Robbins

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Tony Robbins has coached & inspired millions of people to be the best "them" that they can be, to succeed in life....whatever that success is to a person! To take control of their own destiny. And, I think, to be unique.

So, how can we do some Tony-isms to our advantage? Here are some of his suggestions that we can use:

1) get into great physical shape. If we are not (& I am not! but I'm certainly working on it) because so much winning ...whatever that means to each of us, is mental & has to do with our attitude. It is so much easier to be sharp mentally & have a positive attitude when we are fit & healthy. We have more stamina to do whatever we need to do. We feel better about ourselves too.

2) have a good diet (that suits you) for the same reasons

3) there are behaviours & circumstances under which each of us "performs" best. What are yours? See if you can identify them & use them to your advantage.

4) in any situation, or something we are trying to achieve, whether it's habits, work, friend/family situation, job, finances: focus on something that you can do in the situation.

5) be practical & think things through, then

6) simplify things...that is do things in a simple & practical way to get them done, & to figure them out.

7) work towards positive results (remember that you can always change things if they don't work out - see my previous post)

8) what ever we are trying to do: build a system for it. (Then it's easier for things to be habits)

9) we each need our own personal fulfillment

10) be authentic, be who you want to be & in what you do.

11) be in charge of your own life, take charge of your own destiny, achieve your own goals. Of course  this is also circumstantial, sometimes in life we have to put others first, such as when a close friend or family is unwell, when we have a new baby, for example. We do need also to be realistic.

12) all of this changes the "story" that we have about ourselves

13) Tony has a morning ritual that takes about 20 minutes that he calls "priming himself" for the day ahead, including a physical & breathing routine to change his "state" & then he "primes" gratitude, & finishes by focusing on 3 goals that he wants to accomplish. We might not have the time to do all this, but there are ways: we can think of something that we are grateful for as soon as we open our eyes. If our situation supports it, we can do a few exercises, or go for a walk...we could do our gratitude/goal thing then!

14) so these are Tony Robbin tools...translated into as simple a style as I can, of tools for breakthroughs in our lives, or, even just having a better life.

The next step of course, is to incorporate some of these Tony-gems in our lives.




















Friday, 9 October 2015

recap

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Recap on some suggestions for revealing & living one's own uniqueness:

1) if something appeals to you to enrich your life: try it

2) if it doesn't make you feel or look good or is impractical, change it

3) repeat steps 1 & 2 until you do find out what suits you

4) keep doing step 3

5) a 5% change in anything produces a 20% effect, so if it is a positive thing like drinking a bit more water or fruit...go for it & if it seems difficult...do it a little bit (this is our 5%) to get a good effect

6) if step 5 doesn't work out, do step 2, then step 1

7) a few little daily 5% changes here and there, will give more than 1 x 20% increase, & this will give an accelerated overall effect. This alone will bring changes that make you look & feel good. Like revving everything up

8) keep a relaxed attitude.....tension creates stress

9) find some good affirmations that work for you

10) notice how the food that you eat effects you

12) notice what times you eat ...when you are habitually hungry, & sort out snacks/meals for these times

13) make yourself look nice each day

14) sort out a skincare routine that suits you & your budget

15) make sure that you are "current' and not stuck in the past

16) enjoy the unique journey



Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Affirmations, self-talk...etc .....etc

                          Image result for magazine cover about affirmations

I have already mentioned that I have a couple of affirmations that I have used, since my mid-20s actually. I kept those two because they work for me: 

  • "I believe in love, I believe in life, I believe in me"
  • "I do what I have to do willingly & cheerfully", which may sound a bit silly, but if you have to go to work, or clean, or do a social thing that you balk at, it really does help if we can be cheerful about it

Affirmations haven't always worked for me


But I have, in the distant past, done absolute overkill trying to get affirmations to work, such as adding my name, a time frame eg by "1st January 2000 I will be.........". Also I've done "now" affirmations such as "I am happy & have lots of money". I have "powered-up" with force, concentration, doing affirmations. 

None of these worked. Why? Because there are ways to do affirmations that really do work, & there are also lots of silly ideas too.

Here are a couple of secrets that I've found, some by myself, others by researching:

  • first, the affirmation has to be relevant, which sounds obvious. If, for example, you want to be rich but don't even have a job, then perhaps getting a job, or training would be better things to make affirmations about 
  • and, using the same example, do you actually want to be rich
  • Or do you want to have lots of money to spend? 
Generally, rich people don't waste money!! There is a difference between the two. So if you want to be rich but spend all your money all the time, the affirmations could be about:

  • saving money
  • being careful with your spending
  • growing vegetables
  • using what you already have (rather than always buying "stuff")
And, if these are the things that make you rich(-er), then affirming "I am rich" makes sense.

An affirmation "trick" for tiredness

Researchers at the University of Kent, England, have found that the symptoms of physical tiredness can be staved by simply repeating phrases to yourself like "I feel ok". Try it & see. 

Tricks to help how we feel

There is a highly lauded technique called The Lightning Process, which has been found to be miraculous for head injuries & fibromyalgia (amongst others). I don't know the full technique but basically, we can try something similar, so when your symptoms appear eg severe pain with fibromyalgia: 

  • you change your stance. So, if you are standing, turn & stand in another direction. Or, if you are sitting, stand. If you are stooping, stand tall. 
  • talk to yourself: "do you want to be this way?" "do you want to feel better?"
  • then bring to mind a colour, remember what it felt like when you were free of the problem
  • as you release the colour through your brain & body, bring those "good" feelings through your body, mind emotions
  • pause
  • say your affirmation, we will use "I feel ok" here, still holding onto all the good feelings
  • now, be aware of how you are in the present moment...this helps to "imprint" everything through the nervous systems. 

An easier version

Tony Robbins, personal mentor extraordinaire,  used to say that if you want to change the way that you feel, change your (physical) stance & it will change your emotions.

Be relaxed

Affirmations work best when we are relaxed. For some, it's necessary to learn how to relax first. When we are stressed, angry, anxious or upset in any way & we say "I feel ok" (for example)....how can that work? We are saying that we are one way when we actually are the opposite way in fight or flight mode. These are contradictory messages for our psyche, & we are creating tension by doing this. There is a wonderful old book, from the 1960s or 1970s, called Psycho-Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz. It can sometimes be found in 2nd hand book shops & fairs, & although it's quite dated in many ways, the basic principles are still correct. Relaxation whilst doing visualisation & affirmations are the important criteria, according to this book.

These are a few ideas to start working with, or to consider. There are more.



Saturday, 26 September 2015

A BIG secret to being youthful


                          Image result for magazine cover about looking younger

There are people who stay youthful....& it doesn't cost anything!!! They have found some of the secrets. There is one secret which is glaringly obvious, really, yet usually overlooked: it's about when, as one gets older, one sincerely tries to look & feel their best, be more youthful feel & look younger.

So often, people dress, act, & for women..makeup & have hairdos, that they had in their youth, or when they were a few decades younger. B-I-G mistake. V-E-R-Y ageing. One of my kids, when she was a teen, asked me if women kept dressing, doing their hair & make-up, as they did when they were young. We were both looking at an elderly neighbour who was doing just that. I had to admit that it did seem to be true.

Which is a pity. Because it is so ageing. It screams: "I am old but I think that I am young & think that I look young!" And, you know, there are times when we feel old, past-it, but these should be fleeting things, not daily sensations.

  • If you want to look & feel younger...have a "current" hairdo. For example, if you look at "bob" haircuts since the 1920s....there are slight variations in the cut over the decades. To have a bob cut that is 10 - 30 years out of date, is not flattering. In the 1980s, frizzy perms were the rage. (so don't have one now!) A vintage hairdo such as a french twist from the 1960s, can look amazing on a younger woman...but when we're older?/...I think not. If you find a hairdo which is "you"...you can stay using it but...keep it current. I recently did a talk where I "set" my hair to look a bit more professional, because I'm useless with blowdrying my hair...then I messed it up a bit to look a bit more "now". (I think, hope, that it worked...)
  • The same goes with makeup.....eyebrows drawn in like a big surprise expression - old! Dye your eyebrows or draw in lots of little eyebrow hairs instead. Much more modern.
  • Lipstick drawn inside the lipline (circa 1980s?) - old! Horrible too. As we get older, our lips get thinner (which makes me very suspicious as to how Angelina Jolie's lips are still majorly puffy at age 40), so to draw an even thinner set of lips, is awful, ageing, unflattering. What we can do is draw our lipstick outline just outside of our lips so that they appear fuller, & use a lightish lipstick shade: instant youthifier!
  • Lots of blusher - old! Blusher is meant to be discreet & give a touch of colour, not look like a clown nor a makeup refugee from another era.
  • Eyes cleverly sculpted a la a previous era. Don't do it. Because it's ageing. Please don't. People don't walk around looking like that anymore.
  • And, women look after their skin now, rather than walk around with heaps of make-up, they have healthy-looking skin instead. Now, that is youthful!
  • Wearing old fashioned clothes is a real ager too. Old fashioned as in vintage, like 1970s & prior, now that's trendy, if the rest of you is modern. But overdressing = old! Truly.
Stay "current"


Look at women in their mid-20s to mid-30s to see what looks current. It actually is just a matter of being able to "see" an overall effect which is made up of a few details. The teenage look is always amazing...when you're a teenager. Otherwise it can fall into the (tragic mutton or) inappropriate look.

So, an easy way to stay youthful: be Now, be current. You will look & feel so much younger if you do this, & it usually is a process. I wear some similar clothes to 2 of my grandchildren who are in their 20s. I know I don't look silly & I'm always asking where they got their clothes from. Because I like to stay current. Be Now. And I get really upset when people try to get me to wear dressy clothes or clothes from 10 years or more ago. (I don't, won't, wear them!)

So be Now, be Relevant. Always. You will enjoy it.











Sunday, 20 September 2015

more choices

                   Image result for sufi quotes on choices decisions

It seems to me that my last post, on choices, might have not been quite as clear as it could have been. Basically when we have to make too many choices, our good judgement and common sense in making choices, this lessens, weakens, for example later on during the day, & we start making unwise choices as the day goes along, or come evening, when we let the kids do things we know we shouldn't allow, we can't decide between healthy & unhealthy food. The list goes on! 

So this is why we can make better choices when we are rushed, tired, under stress, if we have some things that are habits. Like kids' bedtimes, dinner decided earlier in the day, breakfast & lunch same but maybe slightly different each day. Takeaways for special times or when we just fit in cooking.

Apparently we usually have a repertoire of about 10 meals that we regularly make. If you add a choice of maybe 2-3 breakfasts, & the same with lunches...what we chose is depending on the seasons, I mean...who wants hot thick soup in summer? or chilled foods in winter? Straight up, just by doing this...when we get to the supermarket we know what to buy, what we need & we then don't hike up our food bill dollars by having to make on the spot choices.

Sometimes we have too many choices

I think that it's the same with everything. If we have too many clothes which don't mix & match....it's stressful just getting dressed! So unnecessary. Imagine how it is for young kids when they have too many clothes & they decide what to wear. Or too many choices in anything. How can  they be expected to always make suitable choices?

But we do need some choices

But I am totally into choices on another level:

  • my kids often decided what to wear when they were young, but, they didn't have endless amounts of clothes, and shoes
  • and they often got to choose meals. But not always
  • they had so many choices with playing & their friends. It was through these interactions with their peers that they learnt how to make the choices which built them as individuals.
Our choice are learning curves

This is the flip side of choices:

  •  our choices teach us in life
  • we learn about ourselves, about others, about society
  • we grow through good choices & bad choices

As a parent this is what I so wanted for my children...to learn about life & themselves through experience & learn how to make their own choices, travel their own path. And I want it for my grandchildren too. 

To stand tall & to know who they are. To find & reveal their own uniqueness. This is real power. Although (apparently) I was a strict mum, I always wanted my kids to be true to themselves & to grow in that truth. Not follow my path, & not adhere to my truth.

So, for me, I believe that in restricting daily choices so that with the real things that matter, we can then make easier, happier choices. I can see with some much younger friends, that their children will have a happier adulthood because they have not been overwhelmed in childhood with too many (spoilt) choices. And experience & choices, & the aftermath of those choices, good or bad, taught me this.



Saturday, 12 September 2015

the dilema of choices

                      Image result for vintage children playing

Choices, choices

When my 2 eldest children were young, I was a lot stricter with them in many ways, than I was with my youngest. There is a big age gap between the 2 eldest & the youngest. But I was more strict about other things with my youngest. I think that I had just gotten older, wiser, & learnt a lot of lessons, so my emphasis on what was "allowed" & what wasn't, had changed. As it does.

But irregardless of all this: what was constant was choices. Choices that I, as the parent, made, & choices that they were allowed. Bedtime was non-negotiable. 

The 2 eldest had the whole army of neighbourhood children at our place, after tea, playing outside, running with the wind, laughing, climbing. Then it was bed. No arguments. Trust me, they tried: one was a balker, & the other a trickster, so often (usually) I had to deal with this. 

My youngest, when we lived in Northland, in the countryside, had the same "deal", but she had to be in bed by "1/2 past late", no matter what & I had learnt, finally, to give a child ample warning. I am a great believer in fresh air, playing, running, climbing, learning how to get on with other children. So within that arena, were my children's choices.

When it came to meals, the choice was to eat it, or not, but, there weren't alternatives. However, I honestly endeavoured to feed the children really healthy food that mainly included the healthy food that they liked.

It seems that when we make too many choices, our cognitive ability diminishes. What this means is: our memory (of what a particular choice produced previously), our judgement (is this right for me?), these attributes get smaller, have less impact on our emotions in regards to our decisions.

This is as a result of making too many decisions, which is why, say, we make bad judgements/choices at particular times. One of my danger areas for choices was at cafes...so much choice!! But now I have eliminated this problem.... I have 2 poached eggs & toast if I'm out for breakfast or lunch. And usually Earl Grey tea with trim milk. And tons of water. Non-negotiable. This simple decision has eliminated so many bad aftereffects from cafe meals. I just do not handle rich food especially during the day. 


Often, talking about food still, we can get through the day making good choices, then come afternoon or tea or after tea....everything turns to custard, & out come our bete noir (black beast) foods & drinks, caused ultimately by having made too many choices throughout the day, triggering off less positive food hormonal responses & the cravings set in.


Find out what suits you

So how can we get around this? For ourselves, with diet, nutrition, way of eating? Why not try 1 meal at a time to get it right for you? It could be 2 eggs & a piece of toast for breakfast, or weetbix, or toast & marmite. Whatever. As long as it suits you, your lifestyle, wallet. A meal that keeps you going for at least 3 hours. Have a back-up meal or two for breakfast. I need my backup plan once a week when I leave home at 6am every wednesday to teach yoga. I have a piece of toast with peanut butter & a coffee before I go. When I get home about 8.30am, I have something else, like eggs or porridge. 


Having eggs for breakfast cuts down on the rest of your food for that day by about 400 calories, without even having to think about it. 


Eating porridge (whole rolled oats not instant which messes up with our blood sugar & makes us become sugar hunters all day) reduces our lunch intake by 31%. I found that I had to have equal amounts of oatbran & rolled oats for my porridge to keep my blood sugar stable. Or just oatbran. 

When you have got breakfast sorted, start on lunch. Find a lunch that you can take with you when you are out & about, say, shopping, errands, at work. Mine is a Vogels Very, Very Thin sandwich, with mustard, lettuce, & cheese. And a small carton of soymilk for extra protein. Glamorous? No. Exciting? No. Does it stop me buying rubbish when I'm out? Absolutely. 


During winter I had homemade vegetable or lentil & vegetable soup for lunches at home. I had to add a big dollop of cottage cheese to each one as I seem to need protein at lunchtime, but this week, inspired by a friend, it's salad & protein for at home lunches.


Some people need afternoon tea. I have tried nuts but they don't suit me too well. Some people have fruit, or a muesli bar, or cheese & crackers. Some protein powder, in milk or not, is a good idea as it reduces our evening appetite. Again, try different things. If you then go on to eat even more dinner, or have extra wine, or go hunting for food after dinner...it could be that whatever you had for this snack is making your blood sugar behave crazily. Trial & error works...it's a great teacher.


It helps to have a food system

Then all we have to do is make a choice for tea!! It will be easier to do this if you have systems in place for breakfast & lunch. And if we get stuck in "choices" for this meal, & it's a stress, we could always try what people did in the past: sunday=roast/tuesday=leftover roast & vege/wednesday= ....whatever you decide for each day to be repeated each week. Hey...it works for some people.

A friend told me that Friday evenings meals in her home when she was growing up were packaged rice risotto & fish fingers. A family member used to do Maggi instant soup & scones on friday evenings. These might not be your choices, but not every meal needs to be a culinary delight, with a new dish every evening. 

I am off clothes shopping today. All the choices in those shops are overwhelming for me so I have decided to approach it as a "hunting" expedition, with the shops being civilised "calls of the wild". I think that it's the only way that I shall cope.

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