January 3, 2016

The Best Things I Did For Myself in 2015

Before looking forward and making my New Years Resolutions for 2016, I wanted to take a peak back into 2015 and share some of the better changes that I made in the last year. I don’t think these were technically “New Years 2015 Resolutions” – but they were promises that I made to myself as 2015 went along.

1. Getting more sleep – This was a hard one because I am more of a night person, and not a morning person at all.
So to remind myself to go to sleep earlier, I did what I do in the morning – I set an alarm to go to bed. Just like I set an alarm to wake up.

So at 9:30 pm, by cell phone starts ringing. I am usually in the middle of something – doing dishes, watching a tv show, creating my artwork projects, there lots of stuff to do. But that 9:30 pm alarm tells me to “slow down”. Its time to make sure I am in my pajamas with my teeth brushed. Its time for the electronic devices to get turned off. Its time to mellow out and relax. I can sit and watch a little more tv, but the lights need to be dimmed.

Sometimes I do stay up a while longer, but its at a very slow relaxed pace. Usually sipping decaf tea or wine curled up on the sofa with a tv show on low. If I am not sleeping, I am resting.

I don’t set an alarm on Friday or Saturday night because I don’t have to get up early the next day. But I am noticing that my bedtime on Friday or Saturday is a bit earlier than normal just naturally, due to my schedule on other days of the week.

2. Waking Up Earlier – See above. Setting an alarm at 9:30 pm to tell myself to go to bed, has given me a ton more energy. I am not up earlier all the time. But there have been many days that I just naturally wake up a half hour before the morning alarm clock goes off. And I feel well rested.

3. Getting Ready for the Week – this is an organization skill that I picked up from a friend. The friend told me that they couldn’t go out on a Sunday night because they spend that time “Getting ready for the week”. With a hectic job schedule, social life, church, hobbies and other things going on, it made sense.

On Sunday after church, I usually stop off at the grocery store so I have everything that I need for the week. On Sunday evenings I make a point to cook both my breakfast and my lunch for the next few days. They go into the fridge in glass containers ready to microwave at the office. Organic Oatmeal with different fruits, and hard boiled eggs for breakfast. Usually some type of low sodium chicken dish with roasted vegetables and rice or potatoes for lunch. I make sure I have my fruit, nuts, snacks, yogurt, whatever, in a bag and ready to go to the office in the morning.

I also pull out a couple of outfits from the closet, so they are hanging right where I can see them. The office is casual so I can easily mix tops with jeans or black slacks. But I also take into consideration any after work plans for the week so I have those clothes out where I can see them. This eliminates a morning of not knowing what to wear.

So these are the changes in that I made during the year 2015. They made me more rested. I am eating healthier. I have more energy. And have helped me eliminate some stress.

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August 17, 2015

How to Get Better Sleep

I have been trying to get more restful and deep sleep. Its really been a challenge for me, but I am getting better.
Some nights, I sit up and the computer working on my artwork nodding off and trying to fight the need for sleep. Some nights I sit on the couch, watching tv, trying to catch a show and then I am out like a light and have missed what I wanted to watch. Then there are nights that I fall asleep perfectly fine, only to wake up at 4 am completely wide awake and ready for the day — the only problem is that I don’t need to start my day until 7:30, so that makes me minus 3 good hours that I had planned to sleep.

I have discovered that planning for a good nights sleep that night, starts in the afternoon.

1. Starting about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, stop the caffeine. I find that if I have a cup of coffee about 4 in the afternoon – I almost for sure will wake up at 3 am and toss and turn and not be able to go back to sleep.
If you need a pick-me-up in the middle of the afternoon try fruit and protein. A small apple with some cheese. Or some berries with some nuts. These will actually give your body some fuel, without the caffeine high.

2. Drink lots of water during the day – but about an hour before bedtime start to limit your liquids. Only sip at some water. You don’t want to have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. The same can be said for food – obviously no big meals right before bed. Some people find they benefit from something light, like
half a banana. Limit alcohol too, it will keep you from sleeping deeply.

3. Also, sometime during the day, try to get some light exercise. At least 30 minutes of light walking. Or you can break it up into segments of 10 or 15 minutes each. Getting exercise will help your body rest easier.

4. About 2 hours before bedtime, I have a pleasant melodic alarm that goes off on my phone. This tells me it is time to start to mellow out. If I am doing something like washing the dishes, or cleaning, or working on the computer – the 2 hour alarm is my signal to “wrap it up”, finish what I am doing, and start to get ready for bed and mellow out. Sometimes I look at it and go “What? Its time already?” – because the evening has just flown by. Having an alarm go off has been a good tool for getting me to bed on time.

5. “They” say – whoever they are – to stop all electronic devices an hour before bedtime. No bright lights shining into your eyeballs. This is the time to lower all lights, and read a regular old-fashioned paper book. No TV either.
I have a rough time on this one, because I like to read books on my Kindle, and watching TV helps to lull me off to dreamland. But if I feel like relaxing, this can be a good time to flip throught fashion magazines and catalogues. Something light, and not too strenuous. I wish I could take this time to read something spiritual but that seems to get my brain working again.

5. Treat yourself to some comfy pillows and blankets. Don’t forget your mattress wears out after a 10 years. Have some nice photos on your night stand, or posters by your bed. Anything that will make your sleeping area a pleasant place for you to be. What temperature do you sleep better in ? I always sleep better with the window cracked open a bit, having air flowing around the room seems to make it easier for me to sleep.

6. And … take a trip to the Dentist. The Dentist ? Yup. I grind my teeth when I sleep. The dentist told me I needed a Night Guard. Its just a little plastic piece that fits over the bottom teeth. You will be saving your teeth, and your jaw muscles wont be all sore and stiff the next morning. The actual night guard will take a few nights getting used to, but believe me your jaw will feel so much better when you wake up the next morning.

Well, I hope some of these ideas lead you to a good restful nights sleep.

Books on Amazon

Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes

No More Sleepless Nights

Health Journeys: A Meditation to Help You with Healthful Sleep


More Sleep Items


August 14, 2015

Attitudes Over Oatmeal

After a long day at the office, I stopped by my local health food store. The place is very packed in, lots of people and it is hard to navigate through the funky aisles overstocked with the latest health food fad.

As I stroll up to the breakfast cereal aisle, I see a woman standing on the far side of the aisle appearing not to be doing much. I just glance at her and I figure she must be on her cell phone but to be frank I don’t really notice.
So I go right up to the oatmeal, and I start to read the labels, trying to see what is on sale.
And with my reading glasses on, I need to get as close to the packages as I can.
Yes, I know its only oatmeal – but I haven’t really decided what I want. And these are all smaller, less familiar organic brands.

All of a sudden behind me I hear the woman in a very angry tone “Well, excuse me !”
And I jolt and spin around to see her.
And she appears to be seething in anger at the fact that I blocked her view of the oatmeal.
I say “Oh, I’m sorry – I didn’t realize you were looking over here.”
“Yes, I was looking over there !” she snaps.
And I just mutter “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” and I move out of the way.

A vision flashes through my mind of me ending my evening by getting beaten up in the cereal aisle of the health food store. I just stand by the side of the cereal, away from the lady, somewhat freaked out.
At first I feel really stupid and inconsiderate that I walked right in front of the woman. Of course, thats something I would never do.
And then I am telling myself “What kind of person reads the cereal boxes from all the way across the other side of the aisle?”
For the rest of my grocery shopping, I look for the lady at every turn to make sure I don’t cross her path again.

On the way home, I start to get philosophical about the whole thing. Here were live in a country where we have Abundance and Wealth. We have our choice of 20 different types of oatmeal in a fancy health food grocery store. Yet, its still impossible for people to not get on eachothers nerves. Bumping into eachother, blocking eachothers
way, snapping at eachother over the smallest most innocent misunderstanding.
Why can’t we just let it go, or approach it with humor – or even turn the situation into a chance to chat with a new person. Welcome the opportunity to bump into a new person.
We have all that we need, we are surrounded by it – yet having abundance doesn’t automatically make us better people. We still have to work at it and be aware of our actions.

Of course now that the situation is over, I had a little bit of a more realistic view on my drive home.
I had a hard day at work and was tired. So I wasn’t watching where I was going, and I accidentally stood in front of her.
This lady probably had a hard day at work as well, and was tired also, and so she snipped at me.

And then there is a humorous view of the situation too.
There I was, wearing my reading glasses so I can see the labels – and I have to get as close to the boxes as I can to read them.
She was standing on the other side of the aisle looking at the boxes across the aisle- she probably needs reading glasses, and can only see the labels from far away.
Its too bad we didn’t both calm down, and take a moment to joke about this possibility. Two people both trying to figure out the Oatmeal boxes, with similar yet opposite eye problems.
In this situation, I am really amazed how both of us are very similar.

So since the lady left the store before I did, all I could think to do was ask God to bless her and take care of her. Sending a person blessings will have an amazing effect on them and their life. When you bump into a person, and the situation does not have the best outcome, all you can do it to ask God to bless them.

Books on Amazon

Oatmeal Cookbooks
Attitude Is Everything: Change Your Attitude… Change Your Life!
The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset
The Be Happy Attitudes

Gift Items

I Love Oatmeal T Shirts
I Love Oatmeal T Shirts by definingyou
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Too Cute Crab Basic Round Button Keychain
Too Cute Crab Basic Round Button Keychain by pinkinkart
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April 19, 2015

Panic Attack I Got Stuck in an Elevator

ElevatorOne of those days where you say to yourself “I had no idea this was going to be such a bad day!”
I had just come back after a few days of vacation. I had a nice walk to the Sushi place down the street to pick up my lunch of a Sushi Combo.
I arrive back, thinking of all the things I had to get done, and I get in the elevator. I press the button to go up, and the elevator starts going up.
Then around the 4th floor, it decided it didn’t want to go up any more. So it went back down.
But it didn’t like the 3rd floor either – so it went back up to the 4th floor. No, it didn’t want to stop at 3, so it went back up to 4.
I bounced up and down between the 3rd and 4th floors like this for a long time. 5 minutes. I was pressing the buttons, pressing the alarm – which was a dinky little “ding ding”.
I was all alone, trying to get the elevator to stop bouncing between floors.
And I realized I didn’t even have my cell phone with me to dial 911.

Finally, the elevator decided to let me out at the 4th floor. I ran out and was clinging to the walls. Some people were there, and I said “Don’t get in the elevator.” I was dizzy, and feeling faint, and holding on to the wall.
The people said “Lets take the stairs.” And they left me there – at no time asking if I was ok. And how stupid of me not to ask them to call 911 – I wasn’t thinking, just clinging to the wall.

I stood there for a few minutes, and realized I was in no condition to take the stairs. I was so dizzy. I pressed the elevator button. The other elevator opened, and there were people in there that I knew. But they thought they were on our floor. I grab them and said “No, no – I’ve been stuck in the elevator! I thought it was going to fall!”

When we got to my floor, I finally sat down. Everyone said my face was as white as a ghost. I ate my lunch, but I was still shaking.
After about an hour, I decided I wanted to go to After Hours Urgent Care and see a doctor. I was worried I could have had a heart attack or a stroke from such a frightening experience.

The doctor at Urgent Care said my heart rate was normal. He said my blood pressure was “not great, but not horrible” – which is pretty normal for me. Thank heavens I take two mild blood pressure medications, very low dosages of Lasix in the morning, and Metoprolol at night. I think they really kept me from having a heart attack.
I didn’t feeling like my heart was racing, just shaking and dizzy.

The doctor took an EKG just to be on the safe side. He said that the EKG was totally normal. So just go home this evening and try to get some extra rest, since I had had such a bad experience. Try to go home and relax.

One thing I learned is to always have my cell phone with me. The elevator emergency alarm was pretty dinky and more like a chime. I wish I had the phone to dial 911. I will always have my phone with me from now on.

And I am glad I decided to go to the doctor. After having a terrifying experience, it is good to get checked out just in case. Especially if you are on medications, or have health problems. It is best to be safe and not take a chance. If you think you should get checked by a doctor, just go. You want to be sure you didn’t suffer a mild heart attack during your ordeal.

I have taken elevators since them. I am not panicking when I get on them, so that is good too.

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Image Credit of Elevator, public domain, MorgueFile

April 13, 2015

Selfishness and The Higher Self

Diamond Rose

Diamond Rose

Something I heard got me thinking about being Selfish, Self Absorbed and dealing with the spiritual issue of becoming a better person.
I have been listening to a lot of Podcasts on my cell phone lately. And I mean a lot ! Everything from Christian preachers, to New Age Gurus, Self-help single dating advice, Get Rich Quick Schemes, and healthy holistic health advice and who knows what else.
So this evening I was listening to someone whom I thought was going to be a Christian preacher – and it turned out he was from a positive thinking “New Mind for the New Millennium” type of thing. And I am really not used to listening to that type of philosophy, I am more atuned to the tradition Christian concepts. But I figure I can always learn something from someone else, even if it a little bit out of my usual realm of thinking.

I had just left work, and went straight to the nail salon to get a manicure. I told the lady doing my pink nails “I’m going to put my head phones on, okay?”
The guy starts preaching about “The Higher Self”. And he is saying because we are listening to him, and seeking our Higher Self that we are NOT self-absorbed or selfish. That this is a very un-selfish thing to be doing. And all I could think was “Wow I think he’s got this wrong”.

If I was not self-absorbed or selfish, I would be on a dessert island helping Mother Teresa care for sick people.
Or instead of driving to a nail salon after work, I would be heading to a Soup Kitchen on Skid Row to feed the homeless.
(There are wonderful people who do that, you know – after a hard day at the office they hop in their car and drive to a charity to help out. Not nearly enough people do it, but some.)
But here I am, sitting in a Nail Salon in Studio City, getting my nails painted pink, and listening to this Spiritual Speaker on my cell phone podcast, talk about “not being selfish”.
I felt pretty selfish and self-absorbed at that moment. But I realized that its okay.

Being Self Absorbed or Selfish is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be a Positive. You need to take care of yourself. Everyone has their own reality, and some of us need to work through our own stuff and we might have to be Self Absorbed to do it. There is reason to have a “Guilt Trip” over it.
One of my main issues I have come to realize is that I enjoy taking care of other people, more than I enjoy taking care of myself.
That has gotten me in trouble before, when I am out doing things for other people – but the dirty laundry is piled high, theres a sink full of dishes to be done, and I am totally out of toilet paper because I can’t even squeeze in time to stop at the grocery store. Looking at the extra weight I carry, I can seen that as a sign of not being into myself enough. Health issues are a big Red Flag that you need to be more into “you”.

Some times you have to be Selfish. Stop, take time for yourself. Carve out enough time in your day or week when it is You, and only You, on the itinerary.
Which brings me to why going after your “Higher Self” is selfish and self-absorbed. You can’t take care of other people until you take care of yourself first.
Well… you can … but its not healthy or good – especially when done for a long period of time.

Basically we strive to be good and kind, and atuned to our Higher Self – so we don’t get God mad at us, or end up burning in Hell, or we want to have Good Karma. It really takes a wise, mature person who does the right thing just because it is the right thing. Most of us are “being good” for a selfish reason – we don’t want to get in trouble
with the “Powers That Be”. Or we just want to Feel Good. And there really is nothing wrong with that, it is actually the smart thing to do considering the alternative.

Being Self Absorbed and Selfish, does not necessarily mean being Rude or Unkind to other people. (Thats just being an Idiot.)
You can be a Selfish, Self Absorbed and a Good Kind Person all together at the same time.
So go ahead and be Self Absorbed and Selfish when you need to be. It can help you nuture your Higher Self, to become the type of person God intended you to be.
I will continue to listen to spiritual podcasts as I get my nails manicured – now that I think about it, they seem to go together.

Info on the term “The Higher Self” – The Wikipedia Higher Self Page

Books on Amazon.com, just click the link:

The Joy of Me: Uncover Your Loving Self through the Art of Being Selfish

Your Life Isn’t for You: A Selfish Person’s Guide to Being Selfless (BK Life)

Getting Past The Ugly Through The Beauty of Self Love: 30 Devotions for Higher Self Esteem

Mission Possible: Living With Higher Purpose

The Higher Powers of Mind and Spirit

Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self

Mother Teresa – Books and More on Amazon

Higher Self Spiritual Tshirts and Shirts

Photo Credit, Diamond in a Rose, Morgue File public domain