Tuesday, February 4, 2014


As I was sitting on the train tonight, looking around, I noticed how many people are plugged in to their earbuds and out of the world (myself included).  I then thought about how most of my day is spent plugged in--when I'm at work, when I'm walking around on a lunch break, when I'm riding home in the evening, when I'm biking (probably not the smartest idea).

So as I sat there, plugged, in, I thought, why do I, why do we do this?  Are we even aware we're doing this?  You'd think that the thought alone would be enough to jar me out of my buds but I left them in.  I wanted to think about it.

Why do we, a society, go around plugged out from the world?

Not only did I want to ponder this, but I also wanted to ponder whether or not it was important I change my habits.

I thought about a lot of reasons why I plug in my earbuds daily and, therefore, why others might--music can offer escape, music can offer connections to songs and the musicians singing them, buds might keep one's ears warm, plugging in is a force of habit, et cetera, et cetera.

Plugging in, however, also removes one from a lot of what is going on in the world.  It can cause one to miss out on potential interactions and observations and to disconnect from life.  Yes, listening to music can offer some sense of connection but it can also prevent one from making a lot of potential connections.

I don't write this post to tell you to stop listening to your iPod.  I offer this post so that you will think about your own listening habits and question whether your "plugging in" is causing you to miss out on other important stuff in this amazing world.  Maybe try a day unplugged and see what happens!  I promise you won't explode!

I leave you, then, with the invitation to ponder, question, challenge and confront!

With love, light and happiness,

Friday, January 31, 2014

Be Curious!

Gertrude Bell

We human beings are curious creatures.  

We have questions.  

Sometimes, in fact more times than not, these questions we have stay confined in our minds.  We don't vocalize them.  When we do this, we allow those questions to ferment in our minds or we simply end up forgetting them. 


Why do we, such intelligent, inquisitive, knowledge-seeking individuals (yes, we are!!), keep ourselves from expanding our own knowledge?

My theory is that we simply don't think about it.  We don't bring our consciousness to the idea of actually vocalizing a question. We think questions all day long, or have thoughts about why things are, or wonder things, but those same questions/thoughts/wonders stay there in our minds.  We, as a society, have become robotic in our actions.  We do the same things the same way over and over again, and the more we repeat these same patterns, the more that pattern that gets ingrained in our mind and way of thinking and the harder it becomes to shake.

But it can be shook. 

I was at the train stop the other day and this girl had a laminated picture of a woman in her bike spokes.  I was wondering to myself, who is that? I really did want to know!  Anyway, I kept wondering this and finally, right before her train approached, at the very last minute before she boarded, I asked her.  She answered, Gertrude Bell.  I then followed up with, well who is Gertrude Bell?, to which she responded, look her up.  And so I did.

This story is interesting and relevant for two reasons.  First, by asking a question and exercising my curious mind, I gained knowledge.  I found out who Gertrude Bell was.  Yesterday, I hadn't even heard of the woman; today, she is someone of whom I've heard and know a little about.  She was, according to Wikipedia:

"an English writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, archaeologist and spy who explored, mapped, and became highly influential to British imperial policy-making due to her skill and contacts, built up through extensive travels in Greater Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Arabia. Along with T. E. Lawrence, Bell helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in what is today Jordan as well as in Iraq.She played a major role in establishing and helping administer the modern state of Iraq, utilising her unique perspective from her travels and relations with tribal leaders throughout the Middle East. During her lifetime she was highly esteemed and trusted by British officials and given an immense amount of power for a woman at the time. She has been described as "one of the few representatives of His Majesty's Government remembered by the Arabs with anything resembling affection".[1] 

The second reason this story is interesting and relevant is because the girl in possession OF the picture didn't know even know who Gertrude Bell was--yet she had it in HER bike spokes.  This exemplifies perfectly what I am talking about: we don't ask questions (or not nearly enough of them, anyway).  Not asking, not wondering, not being curious limits our knowledge-expanding potential.  

I, for example, now know who Gertrude Bell is (but that girl likely still doesn't). 

One's curiosity is not only enriched by asking questions (my friend, Wade, used the word "constitutional" as a noun the other day, which I did not know the answer to so I asked him, mid-conversation), but by finding answers to questions posed. 

Conversations we have with others takes on, for no particular reason, a somewhat formulaic quality. Someone asks you a question to which you do not know the answer and you say, "I dunno," then you move on. Few of us say, "I don't know the answer but I'm going to find out so that both of us know and then get back to you." 

This just sounds weird.  

And the reason it sounds weird is because it defies the formulaic script we are used to speaking.  We say the same things the same way over and over again.  We ask the same questions (or don't) and respond with the same answers (or don't).  

Try challenging yourself though!  Awaken that mind and expand that brain!  

Think of a question to ask someone?  Ask it.  

Wonder why something is the way it is?  Look it up.  

I invite you to dedicate the next few days to asking as many questions as possible.  Definitely confront strangers too.  This does not mean you have to be obnoxious or rattle off questions in much the same way an auctioneer rattles off bids, but do challenge yourself to ask more and find as much new information as possible over the next few days.  I'd love to hear your observations too.  What did you notice about yourself?  About others?  What in your life changed?

The people of this world have so much knowledge, wisdom and information to offer.  We need only stop a moment to ask them...or answer what is asked of us.

With love, light and happiness,

Scheduling Health Into Your Life

We all have different schedules.  Some of us stay at home all day.  Others of us go in to the office.  Some of us fleet from one job to another throughout the day while others of us have to go to school.

The thing is, there is no one ideal schedule.  Every person's schedule is unique, and there are benefits and drawbacks to every schedule, even the seemingly perfect schedule.  As the saying goes, though, you always want what you can't have.

Oh how true that is.

Those of us working a 9-5 office job, for example, may envy those of us who have more flexibility in their schedules and can, say, fit in a yoga practice whenever.  Those of us who have an erratic schedule may, in turn, envy those with more stability since those are the people who can outline a weekly plan for themselves and know that they'll be able to keep to it.

Envy, among others, is a useless emotion.  There's no point in desiring something that someone else has because it does nothing but make you feel worse.  Whether that covetable "thing" is tangible or intangible doesn't really matter.  Yearning for it, desiring it, envying it (or the person) will not magically change your own situation.

Instead, let those desires/jealousies/what-have-you incentivize you to modify your own schedule so you can incorporate those things you want to be a part of your life!  Make your schedule work for you!

Am I getting too abstract?


Let me be more specific.

You work a 9-5 office job.  You're jealous of your friend who freelances from home because she can wake up as late as she'd like, ease her way into her morning, maybe practice yoga, and scramble up eggs for breakfast.

You want to do those things but you realistically do them, at least in the same way as your friend, so what can you do?

Well, depending on which of those, or other, things are most important to you, decide to schedule those in!  Take yoga, for example.  If it's important enough to you, you will make it work for your lifestyle by scheduling it in regularly.  This might mean waking up extra early to get in some sun-salutations before work or it might mean going after work when you might be either hungry or tired.  As I said though, if it's important, you make it work.

Say you also need your morning smoothie and it's so unfair that your friend has all the time in the world to make hers but you're always zooming out the door.  Again, that may be true that your friend's schedule is different but you can make your own schedule work to accommodate this desire.  This might mean portioning out smoothie ingredients the night before so that in the morning they're ready immediately for blending, or it might mean letting yourself sleep in a bit and treating yourself one, two, three days a week to a smoothie shop near your work.

You can make it work.

And how, you might ask?


Make a list--yes, a legitimate, handwritten list--of the most important things for you to include in your very own unique lifestyle.  Start by choosing five and make them as specific as possible.  Then, once you've done that, figure out how you're going to do them.  It might mean buying scrambled eggs from a nearby cafe a few mornings of the week or it might mean skipping a yoga class some night in order to get to bed earlier for a longer night's sleep.

Whatever they are, commit to doing them.

Do you currently envy someone or something?  Maybe it's abstract or maybe it's a tangible thing, but whatever it is, it's holding you back!  Adjust your schedule to incorporate this thing[s] you feel you're lacking so that you're no longer viewing yourself as the victim but instead as the champion who chose to make a unique situation work for the present moment.

By scheduling in top-prioritized activities, hobbies or anything else, you'll become confident and empowered in knowing that you're living YOUR life to its fullest, and what that means, only you can define.

With love, light and happiness,

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lift Yourself Up With Music!

We all find ourselves down from time to time.  You know the feeling--blue, down in the dumps, glum.  This is totally normal!

Oftentimes, though, when we find ourselves in these types of states, we turn to music as a sort of therapy.  It's comforting to listen to those sad tunes--Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2U, George Harrison's I Live For You, Bruce Springsteen's The River, Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5--and I say EMBRACE them!  Listen to them, cry if need be, sulk, and release all those sad/negative/what-have-you emotions.

Use music as therapy and allow it to transport you!

Allow whatever it is you're listening to, though, to eventually shift you over to peppier, more upbeat songs [eventually].  Get the "sad songs" out of your system, even if it takes a whole month, but allow that music to transport you to a happier state.  In time, you will naturally want to listen to Let's Call the Whole Thing Off!

Without realizing it, the music we are listening to reflects our current mental-spiritual state.

Reflect on the current soundtrack YOU are listening to.  What kind of music comprises it?  Have you been drawn to a specific type of music lately?  Take inventory on the music you've been listening to might be reflecting your overall spirit or how your overall spirit might be impacting your choice of music!

In short, music is some pretty powerful stuff.  Use it for the amazing tool that it is.  And if, by chance, you do happen to be feeling down, might I recommend this to add just a bit of brightness to your current life soundtrack?

With love, light and happiness,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Brief Hiatus

Hi All!

Thank you for being such loyal readers.  I wanted to let you know I will be taking a brief hiatus from my blog.  I will be back though with even MORE advice to offer you all and even greater wisdom.  For now I simply cannot commit as regularly as you all deserve.

As always, with love, light and happiness,

Friday, October 4, 2013

Heed Your Own Advice

Ok.  I'll admit it.  This post is selfish.  I wrote it for me.

Actually, truth be told, I write all of my posts for me.  I, of course, hope that they will help you but yup.  They're for me.  Selfish.

Anyway, what inspired the subject of this post was the truly wonderful conversation I had with my mom earlier this evening.  We talked about the the usual "stuff" going on in our respective lives--work, weather, family members--but we also got into some more personal stuff, most of which was about me.

Ever since I can remember, I've been so hard on myself.  I really don't like that about myself but it is what it is.  Try as I might to change it, I have a really hard time!  I fear that it's going to be an eternal struggle but I know it doesn't have to be and that I can change.

During our conversation, my mom offered me some great advice and that was to listen to my own words, aka my blog posts!  As I mentioned, I write them for you all but they come from my heart and soul.  The posts I share are what I'm feeling in the moment but I hope that those feelings will resonate with you all as well.  The advice, guidance, whatever you want to call it, that I offer is sincere.  That is to say, I firmly stand behind what I offer--I just need to start listening to myself!

To conclude this short post, I encourage you all to heed your own advice.  Pay attention to your own wise words.  You have more knowledge and compassion for yourselves than you realize.  Tune into it and listen to your inner voice.

I will do the same.

With love, light and happiness,

Monday, September 30, 2013

Get Out There To Expand Your Knowledge!

I'm going to format this post a little differently by telling you a story.

The other day, on my lunch hour, I popped into a little wine shop near my work. I was looking to buy a bottle of wine to go with my dinner for that night and, as someone who loves absolutely everything about wine--its body, its texture, its juiciness, its color, its fragrance, et cetera, et cetera--I decided to strike up a conversation with the store's wine buyer to see if he could recommend a bottle to me. I told him what I was looking for (sort of) as well as certain flavor profiles I didn't care for (oaky Chardonnays?  NO THANKS!). In addition to receiving his own personal recommendations, I also came away with so much knowledge. I drank it up--no pun intended! 

I learned about Tokaj, a Hungarian wine that is orange in color. I learned that it cannot be called "Tokaj" here in the United States due to Hungarian licensing laws but can be called "Jakot," the backwards spelling of "Tokaj." Flavor-wise, it's a little nutty, with subtle undertones of spices like cumin and coriander and is very dry with a short finish. 

I also learned about this type of sherry, Menzanilla, made only in Spain. The way this sherry is made is different from others in that there is a "flor," which is kind of like a fungus, that sits atop the sherry in the oaken barrels and eats the yeast. It's aged for a year and then bottled. There is also "Fino" sherry, which is created in the same way as the Menzanilla. The only difference is the region in which the two sherries are made. One is closer to the water, which results in a much more humid inward wind and the other, farther from the water, resulting in a drier wind.  These climate factors affect the final taste of the sherry.  What is that taste? Well, while discernibly "sherry," the Menzanilla tastes nothing like Harvey's Bristol Cream. It's dry and crisp and has just a complex flavor, much like a wine!  

I entered the shop wanting just a single bottle of wine and came away with that, a bottle of pretty darned good sherry, and newly acquired knowledge!

So why am I dedicating the better part of this post to writing about wine and sherry? It's because I'm so passionate about wine.  I learn what I can from drinking it but that can only teach me so much. There's a much larger world of knowledge out there just waiting for me! I need only ask the right people--and the same goes for you and inquiring into your passions!!

Yes, you can read Wikipedia or Google permutations of various search terms relating to your interests but I invite you to get out there! Do a little research (okay, you can use gGoogle for that) and see whom you might be able to go and talk to about what it is you're passionate! It doesn't even need to be a formal event. Maybe it's something as little as talking to the farmer at your local farmers market about different zucchini (your favorite vegetable) varietals, or maybe it's asking the guy who draws your blood how he came to have that job since you've always been interested in becoming a medical assistant. Whatever your passion or interest, learn more about it by getting out there and connecting with other, like-minded individuals.

In conclusion, please let me know what your passions are.  What are YOU doing to get out there and expand your knowledge?  I can't wait to read your comments--they just might inspire others too!

With love, light and happiness,