Monday, 15 August 2016

Image: Spring is here!!

                                   Image result for spring french drawings

Spring Has Sprung

Spring arrived this week. After a very cold spell & preceded by lots of rain. I, for one, hope that it is here to stay. Until summer, at least, with no slips back into a cold & wet winter. I always think of spring as a time of hope, enthusiasm, & eagerness to get things done!

How To Plan With The Seasons

One of the best things that I ever learnt, is to plan in winter. Whatever. Get your plan of action ready. Plot your course. Then, come spring...step into doing whatever it is you would like to achieve. Get it going, rev it up, before it gets too hot & we want to play in the long, hazy days of summer. When summer does arrive, whatever you're doing has already built up speed. We can keep it going & coast along doing it in summer with a bit of a wind-down if it's needed in autumn when we are getting ready to "hibernate" on some level. Then back to rebuilding & replanning, whilst we keep on going, in winter. So that come spring, we are off again, with an almighty effort.

How To Plan With The Moon

The other excellent to use the full moon in the same way. Plot, plan, in the waning moon, traditionally known as a time when we have lower energy, especially use the last 7 days of the 28 day moon cycle. When the new moon arrives....we start our project! The energy around our project will build up all the way to the full moon, then, again it is coasting time as the moon energy slowly winds down again. This is a wonderful way of doing the increment thing. You know, make changes in small increments, & doing this each month can become a habit, & is not too stressful. Whereas we can use the seasonal approach for our bigger plans.

Spring Is For Shredding

And at some point in spring, it's also time to "shed" things. You know, the warm clothes, bedding, food & drink that has kept us fortified for winter. In winter, I get just plain miserable eating cold food, & I can't even handle cold water drinks, even though I don't actually get as cold as many others do, during the cold, wet season. But today, I am plotting & planning my next excursion to the plant shops for quick growing greens & herbs for spring salads. And getting ready to say "adieu" to my warm breakfast porridge.

Fresh And Light For Spring

Spring makes me think of the words "fresh & light", & as mentioned, we start to eat fresher, lighter food. Our makeup should go the same way, too: fresh & light. In other words, start peeling off the layers of make-up so that come summer, we are wearing very little. Start making our make-up not only lighter in application, but also looking a bit fresher, a touch more pinky, or apricot, depending on your skin undertones. Less eye stuff. Even our hair, if we colour it, can be a tad lighter, signalling something fresh.

Lighten Up Your Wardrobe For Spring

We can merge our wardrobe for spring. By adding some lighter summer clothes to replace some of the warm, winter gear. In spring, it can still rain, it's just not so freezing & windy at the same time. And other days are so crisp, so fresh. And so darned freezing! Then there are the warmer, sunnier days. So we still need some warm clothes, our brollies, & some lighter garments.

Wee cardis instead of bulky, warm ones. Layering tees instead of jumpers. Scarves which are less bulky than our winter woolly ones. Mix in some of the summer clothes with the winter ones, as needed. If you wear different types of jewellery, signal the freshness of spring here, too. We tend to wear more sombre clothes in winter, but in spring if we add some more colour, it just "lifts" everything. In summer, when it's hot, we need somewhat cooler colours, but in autumn & spring, we can use some of the warmer, brighter colours, such as reds, which are simply a bit much in the heat of summer.  Even though red is also excellent for winter, in the in-between seasons: spring & autumn, our reds & oranges, can be in lighter fabrics.

And, spring is the ideal time to go walking. It's quite disheartening when you want to sally forth for your daily constitutional, & it's so early it's still dark, &/or torrential rain. But now, it's light enough to go morning &/or evening. What a blessing.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Image: what can we do right now?

Image is not just about the way we look. No, no, that's too superficial. It's also about our life. For me, it's also about having our life how we image-ine it to be, how we would like it to be. And this varies from time to time in our life. How I want my life to be right now is totally different from what I wanted for my life, 2 years ago., because circumstances have changed, financial & personal priorities have changed, & life itself is now different for me, & will be so for you, too.

So, what can we do right now, to have the sort of life that we would like to have? I used to feel horrendously guilty about even thinking like this when there are so many suffering people in the world. For years! But now I think about how fortunate I am to have the space & opportunity in this lifetime, to create a nice life, no matter what is happening in my own life. And creating a nice life is a brain-happy state, too. When we approach looking at our own life, we can get the positive attitudes going by first noticing what we do have in our life that is good....& this is not necessarily to do with material possessions...& also by being grateful for what we do have. Whether it's money, somewhere to live, friends, time, space, work...the list is endless.

When we start with a negative outlook, we create stress hormones in our brain. Stress in turn has been found to lead to fear & doubt responses. And when we are looking to have a better life, or even just to feel better about our life, a wee turn of perception goes a long way. It's hard to create anything nice when fear is the over riding factor, or when we a riddled with doubt. And, it seems to me, that when we are in this space, we start to expect & notice obstacles, real or imagined. So, to recap...1st step is to look at our life to find out what to be grateful for. Not to fool ourselves that things are good when they are not...but to give ourselves a heads-up so that we have the emotional tools for change. And sometimes in our life....the changes do have to be big & dramatic. I have had a few of those times too. And I survived.

So, to get past the fear factor, & self doubt...get into the positive habit. Then we have an easier time of making change. When we want the changes to be big...start with something that you can easily achieve, so that you can create the feeling of accomplishment. It honestly helps to have those feelings! It sets the stage for us to do more...because we feel that we can do more, we feel that we can do things, we have that success feeling, whether big or small.

"The ability to take risks is based on previous accomplishments": Gail Sheehy: Passages.

A few years ago, I was looking for employment, after a dramatic life change (!), & realised that I loved flowers. So I worked at a plant nursery, packing flowers for a wee while. All those beautiful flowers quite naturally created happiness in my brain. So now, I think...what little steps can I do in my life, to create those lovely feelings? Each of us has little things that we can do to get happiness hormones going. Some people just want to live in a tidy home, others want flowers & plants around them, still others like things to be cosy. Other ways for me are being at the ocean's edge, watching sunrise, having friends. What we do in our life counts too: work, recreation. It's helpful to make a list of what makes you happy, then look at little ways you can incorporate those things into your life.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

image: positivity & affirmations

I used affirmations, mostly unsuccessfully, for many years. It was not until a woman taught me a technique to change self beliefs that derived from very difficult situations over my lifetime, that I learnt how to unscramble my brain circuitry.

Prior to that, most of them did not work. Sometimes we just are doing the wrong affirmations for ourselves (which I obviously was doing!), & I do believe that they have to resonate with us. I have 2 that I have used for most of my life, they are simple yet effective, & based on attitudes, & the second is also about doing: I believe in life, I believe in love, & I believe in myself; & I do what I have to do willingly & cheerfully. These two take away sulking, resentment, & self pity, & instead produce a positive attitude, & expectation of good things, which is why I like them.

The other excellent type of easy affirmation is of course: thank you, Universe. An absolute winner. So useful, so life changing. And it really helps if we can be automatic with our affirmation responses. As if those affirmations are just the way that we naturally think. And it works! Because studies have shown that we become happier when we do the gratitude "thing". And, we become more positive towards others, so gratitude is great for our social skills too. The part of the brain that is affected also has some "doing" skills, so we get smarter in other ways, too.

We are always going to have a gazillion trillion thoughts inside of us. The ones that seem to affect us the most, whether positive or negative, they simply have made deeper, stronger, tracks in our brains. It always reminds me of that beautiful Smokey Robinson song: Tracks of My Tears. I always imagine tears creating pathways down our faces. Well, it's like that in the brain. We have pathways of thoughts, & to be a positive thinker, we can use how our brain works, to our advantage. Each time we have a conscious thought, or thought response, it creates a little sort of electrical charge through the brain, as neurons fire the message of that thought, through the brain. Keep repeating that same thought, & the neuron impulses along that pathway get stronger & stronger, until we end up with a strong automatic pattern in the brain, relating to that thought. So, if we decide to make positive statements, they can start to become our reality as they take over the older perhaps negative & defeatist know: the I can't....& the negative thoughts & feelings of whom I am & what I look like.......

If we have positive, rather than negative statements, according to studies from Thomas Jefferson University, the frontal lobes of our brain are also strengthened, & it is this area of the brain where we are able to discern between right & wrong, so here we can also be able to respond appropriately with others. Here we are also able to make good important in our life.

It really helps to have our brains working well, not only for our current life, but for the future. It would be really nice to be healthy in our body, & brain, when we are of considerable years. Some of the very best ways to do this are: rewire your brain...& this is a gradual ongoing thing so that it is less stressed (brain stress is a real ager!). By being more positive. And by doing one thing at a time, as constant multitasking is stressful to our brains.  Have just a few affirmations that denote that "we just are that way", & use them, often. There are other things to do too, exercise being paramount.

But today it's positivity & affirmations. And how does it affect us, image wise...or image-ination wise? Well, we feel better, & that is such a blessing, so we behave in easier ways...& this rubs off on our families, friends, & work situations. This in turn just makes our life better. It all creates an energy, & that energy somehow seems to pick up speed, so that life keeps getting better. We feel better, therefore we look better. We are better. And when the hard times come...we are able to deal with them better, because our brains are now thinking in more proactive ways.

Warm weather food

Yes! The warmer weather has arrived. And with it, a few changes in le regime (my diet, aka what I eat). I really get miserable eating salads...