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Cross Train Your Brain April 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Health & Wellness, Meditation.
Tags: , , , , ,

A few weeks ago, we attended a lecture at Freedom Village on Cross Training Your Brain.

We’d heard the speaker, Dr. Kevin W. O’Neill, once before when he presented A Brain Training Symposium.


Dr. O’Neill reiterated that what benefits the body, benefits the brain:

* Exercise ~ Ball Room Dancing is #1!
* Eat right ~ a Mediterranean Diet is best
* Sleep tight ~ without popping pills
* Don’t let the bed bugs bite
* Manage stress ~ meditation is great
* Focus on positives ~ don’t worry, be happy
* Interact with friends ~ be a social animal
* Tickle your funny bone chakra
* Learn something new today ~ build synapses
* Share your talents/volunteer/help others
* Develop an attitude of gratitude
* Drinking coffee lowers the risk of dementia
* Eat tumeric ~ curried veggies, please
* Play games, solve puzzles, have FUN!
* Live, Love, Laugh, Learn!

A few key points:

(1) Exercise is the fountain of youth when it comes to brain health.  It lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, increases gray matter, improves blood flow to the brain, elevates mood, and reduces stress.  For a 76% reduction in Alzheimer’s risk, try Ballroom Dancing!

(2) Reducing Stress helps maintain brain health ~ try exercise, yoga, tai chi, meditation, or other purposeful pursuits.  And get enough sleep.  Sleep allows neurons to shut down and repair themselves.

(3) A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and veggies, and omega 3 fats helps keep dementia at bay.  Vitamins C, D, and E are key building blocks for brain health.  As is Folic Acid ~ found in dark green veggies, chickpeas, and pinto beans.

(4) Intellectual Stimulation and Social Engagement are beneficial to brain health as we age.  Playing games and musical instruments helps ward off dementia.

(5)  Go ahead, enjoy your daily dose of caffeine.  According to the research Dr. O’Neill shared, drinking 3-5 cups of coffee a day will lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease . . . by 65%!

But don’t just sit around drinking coffee, R~E~A~D!  More on that tomorrow.

Aah . . . that’s better!


What do you do to keep your brain sharp?

13 Life Lessons February 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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Yesterday’s post contained some advice S~T~R~E~S~S.  Following up on that post, here are 13 Life Lessons to help you deal with daily challenges:

Donald-Duck-Mad1)  Acceptance.  Accept that some days you’re the pigeon and other days you’re the statue.

2) Exercise restraint.   Keep your words soft and sweet (in case you have to eat them).

If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

3)  Look for hidden blessings.  If you lend someone $20 and never see them again, it was probably worth it.

4)  Go With the Flow.  A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on an unexpected detour.

5)  Watch your tongue.  If you put both feet in your mouth at the same time, you won’t have a leg to stand on.

Donald-Duck-Driving6)  Drive with care.  If everything’s headed straight  for you, you may be in the wrong lane.  It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.

7)  Be patient and wait your turn.  The second mouse gets the cheese.

8)  Perfection is over-rated.  Laugh at your mistakes.

And remember that some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

9)  Dance like no one’s watching.  Nobody cares if you can’t dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Life is not a dress rehearsal.

10)  Sleep late when you can.  It’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird.

11)  Birthdays are good for you.  The more you have, the longer you live.

12)  Be kind.  Perhaps our sole purpose in life is simply to be kind and compassionate to others.

13)  Do what you can.  You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Inspiration: e-mail from unknown author

Put Down That Load! February 11, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Life Balance.
Tags: , , ,

Green-ParrotA lecturer on stress management raised a pitcher of margaritas into the air, then asked her audience, “How heavy is this pitcher?”

The audience called out answers  ranging from four to eight pounds.

The lecturer replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter as much as the relative weight.

“The longer you try to hold it up, the heavier it feels:

* Holding it for a minute is no problem.

* After an hour, your arm will ache.

* If you try to hold it all day, you’ll need an ambulance.”

As the audience considered her remarks, she continued:  “In each case, the  absolute weight remains the same, but the longer we hold it up, the heavier the relative weight becomes.  The same is true with stress.”

“If we carry our burdens around all the time, they become heavier and heavier and we become more and more fatigued.  We need to put our cares and concerns down once in a while to give ourselves a chance to recharge.”

With that, she poured herself a margarita, took a sip, and added, “Once we’re refreshed and recharged, we can carry our burdens more easily.”

 Aah . . . that’s better!

Great advice!  Whatever burdens you’re carrying right now, put them down and give yourself a chance to recharge.  Take a mental health break.

Margaritas optional.

Inspiration:  e-mail from unknown author

Related posts:  Your Wheelbarrow Of Woe * Just Let Go * Ordinary Miracles

Ask Your Angels February 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Health & Wellness, Synchronicity & Mystery.
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Sometimes angels tell us what we need to hear:

* It’s never too late to shut up!
* Silence is always appropriate.
* Silence is the refuge of the wise.

Sometimes angels remind us of choices we face:

* You can choose to reflect difficulty or you can use humor and courage to lighten your own burden and the burdens of those around you.

Angels are calm and compassionate.  Sometimes wry, often amusing, they lift us up without putting us down.  They encourage and inspire without nagging or bullying.  They are not bossy or judgmental.

Here are 5 steps to talking to angels . . . with GRACE:

Grounding ~ be centered and present in the moment
Releasing ~ let go of worries, concerns, and negativity
Aligning ~ be open, focused, and relaxed; awake and alert
Conversing ~ connect with the highest source of knowing and listen
Enjoying ~ it’s FUN to tune in to our higher self and inner wisdom


Angels can help us heal by removing energy that is “bent out of shape.”

* Focus on the physical or mental imbalance you want to transform.
* Close your eyes and focus deeply on the problem that needs healing.
* Visualize an angel using a vacuum cleaner to suck out the bad stuff.
* Visualize the machine unclogging blocked cells of spent & bent energy.
* Feel the pain diminish as you breathe deeper and lighten up.

Don’t forget to thank your angel for its multidimensional recycling efforts!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  Ask Your Angels by Alma Daniel, Timothy Wylie, and Andrew Ramer

When we look within, and begin using an internal reference point, we unearth our Inner Cheerleader who NEVER has an agenda other than encouraging us to be the best we can be.

No Regrets January 28, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness.
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IMGP4187Barb heard a knock on the door and looked up.

David, hat in hand, stood framed in the doorway.

“David!  Come in . . . it’s so good to see you.”

He hung back.  “I figured you’d never want to see me again.”

“I do want to see you.  Very much.  Please come in.”

He looked at Barb and frowned, “This is all my fault.  You’re stuck in here because of me.  If I hadn’t dropped you . . . “

“It was an accident.”

“You make it sound like I spilled a glass of milk.”  He nodded at the chart at the foot of the bed. “What do the doctor’s say?

“Well . . . the psychiatrist is frustrated.  He’s waiting for me to be angry.  Or sad.  Or angry.  Angry would make him happy.  He wants me to grieve.  To rail against fate.”

“Why don’t you?”

“Besides the fact that I’m getting a kick out of doing the unexpected?”

“Yeah, besides that.”

“I don’t know.  I’m just not angry.  The psychiatrist is sure I’m in denial.  He scowls when I smile and shakes his head when I laugh and tell him about my day.  He scribbles madly on my chart when I say anything positive.”

“So you’re driving him crazy.”

Barb grinned. “Yes.  And I take great pleasure and pride in that.”

“Maybe you are in denial.  Maybe it just hasn’t caught up to you yet.”

“Maybe.  But I don’t think so.  I think I’m in a state of acceptance.  At peace with the “what is.”  Any day could be my last.  If this is my last day, why would I want to spend it crying over spilled milk?”

“This is NOT spilled milk, Barb.  You’re paralyzed from the waist down.  I ruined your life.  Forever.”

Barb reached out and touched the back of David’s hand, “No, you didn’t.”

“How can you say that?”

“Easy.  Even in a wheelchair, I’m not as crippled as those who allow emotional scars to eat them alive.  People like that walk through life without seeing the good.  They are blind to the present moment.  Being paralyzed may keep me from walking, but it’s not going to blind me to the wonder and delights of life.”

“I just want those 5 minutes back.  If I hadn’t been showing off . . . “

“Let it go, David.  I forgive you.  Forgive yourself.  Let go of the guilt.  Let go of regret.  You’re my best friend.  I don’t want you to destroy your life.”

“You mean like I destroyed yours?”

“Shall I be honest?”

“Yes.  Give it to me.  I can take it.”

“I would not choose to be in a wheelchair.  But I don’t get a choice in that right now.  It is the “what is.”  How I relate to that issue is the issue.  I can crawl into a ball and cry . . . or I can look for opportunities to laugh and smile.  I can hang on to anger . . . or I can embrace peace.  I can choose to be sad . . . or choose to be happy.   I choose happy.”

Barb reached out again and covered David’s hand with hers.  “I want you to do the same.  For me.  Be happy.  Live life with no regrets.  Find whatever joy you can.  Don’t take life for granted.  Life is good, but life is short.  Bad things happen.  Laugh when you can.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Is happiness an inside job?  Are we buoyed up or dragged down by the thoughts we choose to think?

Is Barb right?  Does hanging on to pain, regret, guilt, fear, anger, and sadness weigh us down more than losing the ability to walk?

Quote to Ponder:  How refreshing the whinny of a pack horse fully unloaded! ~ Classic Haiku

7 More Unpolished Stones December 2, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Blogs & Blogging, Humor, Poetry.
Tags: , , , ,

Tigger-BouncingLast time I created one of these impromptu posts of unpolished thoughts, people didn’t send up a roar of protest ~ at best, it was a whimper.

So, I’m going to do it again.

This time linking to specific posts which spawned my eclectic thinking:

1.  Rainee did a post, It’s so easy to Avoid Doing Stuff, and ended by asking if we ever have days that don’t go according to plan.  After a quick glance through various and sundry mental filing cabinets, I said:

Nope. Uh-uh. Never. All my days go exactly as planned. :razz:

As long as I PLAN to “go with the flow” and/or PROCRASTINATE.

2.  Kate Crimmons wrote a fun and funny post, Is Anyone Really A Standard Size?  While she focused on jeans, I considered my entire wardrobe:

I have every size clothing in my closet . . . and they all fit!  I might be wearing XS, S, M, L, XL ~ it all depends on the manufacturer.

The only thing sure NOT to fit is the article marked “One Size Fits All.”

3.  In Mother to Daughter ~ A Questionable Legacy, scientist and author, Joanne Valentine Simson, discussed the insidious messages girls receive from mothers and others.  My experience was somewhat different:

I never remember being encouraged to downplay my intelligence in order not to compete with boys, nor do I remember being encouraged to pay undue attention to how I looked.

As a result I never got addicted to shopping for shoes or handbags. ;)

I always knew I could be anything that I wanted to be. I never felt that my worth depended on who I married. When I married, I kept my maiden name and corrected people if they addressed cards to “Mrs. BFF” instead of using my name.

That said, my mother encouraged me to be a nurse because that was such a flexible profession for women. My father overheard her and said,”Why should she be a nurse? Why not a doctor?”

I fooled them both and went to Law School. :mrgreen:


4.  Kate Shrewsday did a fab post, The Priceless Art Bonfire, about the systematic destruction of religious artifacts during regime changes.  My response:

Maybe it’s a good thing that some of these relics are no more.

One could wander museums from dawn to dusk for a lifetime and never see all the treasured antiquities “preserved for posterity.”

Perhaps we aren’t making headway in the HERE and NOW because we’ve spent too long staring over our shoulders at our posteriors?


5.  Everyone’s got a story to tell . . . but not everyone is a storyteller:

Have you ever been “trapped” in a conversation that is going nowhere fast?  Key facts are omitted, we circle back trying to scoop them up.

The story veers off in an unexpected direction and we wait, in vain, for it to return to the central thread.

In conversations like these, the temptation to interrupt is . . . intense.


6.  BB’s publishing her first book of poetry.  She solicited blurbs for the cover. Here’s mine:

After a round of golf (amid the kangas and the roos)
BB studies her school notes, then pens a poem or two
Her poetic blog is inspired, unequaled, without compare
And that’s because BB is full of . . . AU CONTRAIRE!

To see more of BB’s Bio Blurbs:  Blurb Blurble Bloop ~ One Sentence Biography Competition.

7.  In Choosing To Let Go, SuziCate addressed the benefits of “letting go” of the negatives (e.g., Anger, Doubt, Fear, Pain, Resentment, Jealousy).  So true:

When we accept ourselves as we are . . . we accept others as they are.

We no longer feel the need to control “them” (e.g., by insisting on an apology).  Instead, we choose to control our reactions to them.

Once we let our anger and resentment go (as well as our need for external approval) . . . “they” lose their power over us.

We are FREE at last.  And FREE is the best place to BE!


Aah . . . that’s better!

Care to toss an “unpolished stone” into the comment pool?

Taking A Holiday November 27, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Food & Drink, Health & Wellness.
Tags: , , , , ,

What we eat is important to health and wellness . . . but so is flexibility.

Being too rigid adds to our stress levels and creates feelings of deprivation ~ both of which can negate the benefits of healthy eating.


When we view food choices as “all or nothing,” we’re afraid to slip up.  And, if we do, that momentary indulgence can result in an all-out binge.  Instead of enjoying a single cookie or savoring a piece of chocolate, we inhale boxes and bags of sweet and savory treats.

By swapping our “all or nothing” mentality for a 90/10 rule, we can enjoy mini-indulgences without telling ourselves that we’ve “blown it!”

What we do MOST of the time matters more than the occasional Holiday.

Here . . . have a cookie!


Aah . . . that’s better!

Rapunzel, Rapunzel . . . November 22, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
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Asha Mandela’s hair no longer has a monitored category in the Guinness Book of World Records ~ on December 10, 2010, the Guinness Book of World Records rested its “longest dreadlocks” category after investigation of its first and only female title holder, Asha Mandela:

“Following a review of our guidelines for the longest dreadlock, we have taken expert advice and made the decision to rest this category.  [I]t is difficult, and in many cases impossible, to measure the authenticity of the locks due to expert methods employed in the attachment of hair extensions/re-attachment of broken off dreadlocks. [T]he dreadlock can become an extension and therefore impossible to adjudicate accurately.  [F]or this reason Guinness World Records has decided to rest the category and will no longer be monitoring the category for longest dreadlock.”

World Record or not, Asha’s dreadlocks are a massive endeavor, measuring more than 25 feet long and weighing 39 pounds.  Washing her hair takes a long time.  Drying it takes even longer ~ as long as two days.

Over the years, her hair has taken on a life of its own.

IT has its own seat in the car.  She cuddles with IT, uses IT as a pillow, and talks to IT.  She packs IT into a fanny pack to toot around town . . . or has friends and family carry IT for her.

And IT has a name to go with its claim to fame ~ Asha calls IT, “Mr. Cooper.”

“He’s my baby.”  “I love him.”  “I’m happy to have him in my life.”  “It’s like I’ve given birth to a child who will never leave home.”

Now “Mr. Cooper” may be threatening her life.

After surgery for colon cancer, Asha refused chemo because she didn’t want to lose her hair.  “The Doctors” had her on the show and offered to find her a doctor who would work with her so she could follow up on the colon cancer without sacrificing her hair.  Asha appeared dubious, at best.

Imagine being held a prisoner . . . by your own LOCKS.

Aah . . . that’s better!

What are your thoughts on this story?

Artwork: Wikipedia ~ Rapunzel (in the Public Domain)

Less Stress, More Joy October 24, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , ,

One of my priorities is to retain peace of mind and contentment when faced with challenges, obstacles, and S~T~R~E~S~S.

Even if it means walking out of a Lecture Gone Wrong.

Once we learn the underlying principles, we are able to tap the infinite source of peace, gratitude and love even in the midst of the stormiest seas.

Instead of floundering on the surface, tossed around by relentless waves, we dive deep and float, buoyed by gentle undulating currents of joy and harmony.

S~T~R~E~S~S disappears as soon as we remember to Let IT Go.


Instead of battling the waves crashing over our heads at the surface, we go within . . . and float.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Posts:  10 Life Lessons You Should Unlearn (my fave -> #6) * Swimming Beneath The Current

Tigger Had A Busy Summer October 20, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Amazing Animals, Animal Welfare, Humor.
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Well, here we are, five months from the last update, and Tigger is still hanging in there!  Yay!  He often hides out in this hidey hole.


Peek-A-Boo!  I see you . . . and, wait, what’s that?  A treat?  Pour Moi?  Merci! 


Last time I weighed him, a week or so ago, his weight was on par with his weight in January.  So feeding him 17 times a day seems to be working.

Of course, what goes in, must come out.  Which requires LOTS of LITTER.


When not eating, drinking, sleeping, or pooping, Tigger took the opportunity to explore new-to-him nooks & crannies.



But he doesn’t goof off all day, every day.  One day, he helped BFF paint.


As is apparent from the next shot, Tigger’s an excellent supervisor and/or middle manager.  Purr-haps, he even has upper management potential.


A few days later, BFF went “up on the roof” to paint the siding.


Tigger doesn’t do ladders, but he excels at doing what Tiggers do best.


Taking frequent cat naps . . . whether he needs one or not.


Aah . . . that’s better!

Previous updates:  It’s Tigger Time! * Eat, Drink, and Be Hairy! * Tigger is NOT Your Average Cat * Don’t Train Us . . . We’ll Train You!


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