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The Power of Pen . . . and Paper! July 19, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
23 comments

Journaling on a daily basis helps boost creative thinking.

It allows us to access hidden recesses and expand the boundaries of our minds.

It promotes clarity and fosters insight as we allow our imagination to take flight.

It helps us to assign positive meaning to what life metes out.

It improves our ability to “think outside the box” and come up with creative solutions.

Judy Willis MD, a neurologist, and former classroom teacher explains, “The practice of writing can enhance the brain’s intake, processing, retaining, and retrieving of information… it promotes the brain’s attentive focus … boosts long-term memory, illuminates patterns, gives the brain time for reflection, and when well-guided, is a source of conceptual development and stimulus of the brain’s highest cognition.”

To read more about the benefits of this powerful practice:

The Life-Changing Habit of Journaling (Why Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Many More Great Minds Recommend it)

Best of all, starting a morning journal practice is simple:

  1. Find a pen or pencil.
  2. Grab a notebook or sheet of paper.
  3. Write, draw, doodle, reflect, reminisce, explore, etc.

It’s your boat to float!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Success & Failure = Inside Jobs July 11, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
31 comments

Chasing Unicorns posted a thought-provoking “stolen quote” last week.

He lifted it (exercising due care) from  J. K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Address in 2008 when she reminded the graduates (and other attentive attendees) that we must decide for ourselves what constitutes “failure.”

She’s right.

It’s pointless to measure our success and failure using someone’s else’s yardstick.

No one else knows what we value the most.  They only know what they value most . . . since they are looking at the world through their eyes.

Some yardsticks measure power.  Others measure money or acclaim or fame.

For some, success lies in approval from others manifested in the form of awards and trophies, accolades and attention, and “likes” on social media.

They tend not to agree with the “less is more” philosophy.

Still others measure success by education or knowledge . . . or by the adrenaline rush of running the rapids or parachuting from a plane or wrestling an alligator.

My preferred yardstick is inner peace and happiness and contentment.

For years, I’ve measured success by how much I am “enjoying the journey” . . . without worrying about reaching some unseen and imaginary “Finish Line.”

If I am happy and peace-filled right here, right now ~> THAT’S SUCCESS!

Aah . . . that’s better!

On with the dance!  Let joy be unconfined. ~ Lord Byron

Drink It All In July 5, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Less IS More, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
10 comments

When we’re “lost in thought” we tend to “miss the moment.”

To be mindful OF the moment IN the moment, we have to stop thinking and start sensing . . .

We need to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste what’s going on around us.

We need to stop ruminating or the past and rehearsing the future if we want to experience the present and be present for the experience surrounding us right here, right now.

For more on this, read David’s post on Raptitude this week:

The Alternative to Thinking All the Time

Drink it all in!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Like A Kid In A Candy Store . . . June 21, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Mindfulness, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
28 comments

While in Fort Collins, BFF and I paid a visit to Natural Alternatives for Health ~> my niece’s favorite pot dispensary.

I loved it!

The “ohm-budsmen” were friendly and knowledgeable.

The prices were reasonable.

The decor was cool.

The selection was great.

A fun vibe all the way around.

Two days later, my niece asked me to smoke some “Critical Mass” with her.

Did I inhale?

Let’s just say, I enjoyed that “Rocky Mountain Hike in Colorado.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Press The *PAUSE* Button May 11, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
10 comments

The myriad of challenges we face in our lives can create agitation and anxiety in our thoughts, crowding out feelings of peace and happiness.

When we take a few minutes to press the *pause* button, our calm center returns . . . and with it our feelings of love and gratitude for all the drops of good in our lives.

When we remember who we are at the core, our days overflow with peace, kindness, love, and contentment.

And we stop struggling with the current of life and enter its flow.

Want to dive in to the flow of life?  Enjoy the calming cadence of Val’s recent post:  Haiku – Notice

Aah . . . that’s better!

Tai Chi: An Oasis Of Calm May 1, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Health & Wellness, Mindfulness.
23 comments

Participants engaged in mastering the slow mindful movements of Tai Chi remain present . . .

In the moment . . .

The only place happiness resides . . .

In addition:

Tai Chi helps participants increase flexibility and balance while improving concentration.

It’s hard to be “lost in thought” while engaged in Tai Chi, giving participants a break from anxiety, worry, angst, and other every day stresses and strains.

As it taps into the mind-body connection, Tai Chi soothes the sympathetic nervous system, lowering dangerous levels of cortisol and adrenaline which are tied to a host of health ailments (e.g., high blood pressure & excess weight).

Tai Chi provides a *pause* that refreshes, resets, and relaxes the monkey mind . . . an oasis of calm in the midst of the frenzied and frenetic pace of life.

As an added benefit, many classes are held outdoors, offering participants the opportunity to nurture themselves amid the sights and sounds of nature.

Nature + Nurture = Perfect Together!

To learn more about the benefits of Tai Chi:  Why Tai Chi Is As Good For You As CrossFit.

Aah . . . that IS better!

 

 

Choice Morsels To Chew On April 25, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Gratitude, Less IS More, Mindfulness.
30 comments

#1 Want to lose weight?  Chew MORE, Weigh LESS . . .

“Some preliminary research has found that chewing until “no lumps remain” increases the number of calories the body burns during digestion: about 10 extra calories for a 300-calorie meal. (Eating fast, on the other hand, barely burns any calories.) Chewing food more thoroughly also increases blood flow to the stomach and gut. By taking a little extra time for chewing, someone could theoretically burn about 2,000 extra calories each month, the study authors write.”


“Extra chewing also slows the pace of eating, which may be another reason why it’s so healthy. Meena Shah, a professor of nutrition at Texas Christian University, has looked into the effects of eating speed on meal size. She found that people who eat slowly tend to eat less. Slow eating may help people eat more mindfully and tune into their own feelings of fullness, she says.”

To read more:   Chew Your Food: Why Slow Eaters May Burn More Calories

#2 Want to temper your spending?

“Make it your goal to spend only on what you truly value, be it travel, special times with family, a hobby or entertainment.  And cut out the frivolous spending on what you don’t value.

“You’ll be amazed at how many things you can happily live without because you’re getting what you really want,” says personal finance expert Donna Freedman.”

“Frugality isn’t a punishment; it’s a positive commonsense approach to life.  So focus on value and quality [to you], not prestige or appearances [with others].”

To read more:  AARP Magazine, February/March 2017

#3 Want to take up yoga?

Choices abound!

“In Higher Self yoga, a monthly “ganja yoga” class that Goda owner Nathania Stambouli introduced in the fall: “We’re bringing together two great spiritual practices. Marijuana is a way of enhancing the experience.”

“Ah, yes, enhancing the experience. Of late, there’s been a fair amount of yoga-enhancing going on. It’s yoga with something extra on the side.

“Would you like beer with your yoga? There’s a class for that.

“Yoga in the buff? Manhattan’s Bold and Naked Yoga is precisely what it says it is.

“For yogis who prefer to bundle in down, there’s snowga — yoga with snowshoes.”

To read more:  Weed yoga, naked yoga, yoga with goats: Have we reached peak namaste?

#4 Having a tough time choosing between too many options?

“As a last resort, flip a coin.  “I don’t just look for heads or tails, says Berger.  “I think about how I feel about the toss.  If I’m sad that the coin landed on heads, I’ll go with the tails option.” ~ AARP Magazine, February/March 2017

That’s what BFF & I do ~>  Being mindful about how we feel about the final reveal of the coin toss clues us in to what we really want.

#5 Want to learn how to drive?  Fast?

“An 8-year-old East Palestine boy used YouTube videos to learn how to drive his father’s van to McDonald’s on Sunday.  When he pulled up to the drive-through window after ordering a cheeseburger he had been craving and intended to pay for using money he gathered from his piggy bank, the McDonald’s workers at first thought they were being pranked.

“The workers thought that the parents were in the back, but obviously they weren’t,” Koehler said.”

To read more:  Young driver gets help from YouTube

#6 Want to feel better?

Make someone else feel better:

“Make a difference in other people’s lives.  Even small acts of generosity can make you feel rich in spirit.” ~ AARP Magazine, February/March 2017

#7 Want to watch a heart-felt movie?

Check out Collateral Beauty (Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightly, Ed Norton, Michael Peña, Naomie Harris, Jacob Latimore, Kate Winslet, etc.):

Love is in everything . . .
From a child’s laughter to the pain we feel when a loved one dies.
Love is THE why of it all.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Following The “What Ifs” . . . April 17, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Less IS More, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
21 comments

Life is all about following the “what ifs” . . . isn’t it?

What if I moved away from crowds, noise, and congestion toward silence, serenity, and solitude?

What if I moved away from cold cloudy days toward warm tropical breezes under bright blue skies?

What if I moved away from perpetual busyness toward simplicity?

What if I ignored the yipping of border collies trying to keep me in line and steered my own ship following the call of my inner voice?

For some, drifting with the tides holds no appeal.  To them, my decision to “go with the flow”~ to rise and fall with the ebb and flow of life ~ sounds dull.

For me, it’s perfect.

Time to pause and reflect, to read and write, to pursue things that interest me without concern about accolades, awards, achievement, or recognition in the eyes of others.

Instead of being nervous or anxious about meeting external expectations, I am relaxed as I flow from one activity to the next.

Instead of acting with deference to the judgments of others, I happily assert my independence.

Instead of settling for societal mandates and consensus, I persist with what matters to me.

Instead of dreading the dawning of the day, I’m excited to be awake and aware of the infinite possibilities around.

Instead of being stuck like a square peg in a round hole, I can enjoy each custom-made niche.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Next up:  Thoreau had the write idea when he penned Walden.

 

Why Slacking Off Pays Off . . . April 15, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Less IS More, Life Balance, Mindfulness, Travel & Leisure.
16 comments

I’ve long been a proponent of the phrase “less is more,” which I find applicable in situations too numerous to count.

And now I’ve found a new application for the phrase.

Turns out that LESS work often results in MORE creative output.

Don’t believe me?

Check out this article ~ Darwin Was A Slacker And You Should Be Too

From the article:

Figures as different as Charles Dickens, Henri Poincaré, and Ingmar Bergman, working in disparate fields in different times, all shared a passion for their work, a terrific ambition to succeed, and an almost superhuman capacity to focus.

Yet when you look closely at their daily lives, they only spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their most important work. The rest of the time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking.

Their creativity and productivity, in other words, were not the result of endless hours of toil. Their towering creative achievements result from modest “working” hours.

From writing to research, from science to music, from athletics to art, top performers benefit from deliberate practice followed by deliberate rest and downtime.

World-class performance doesn’t come after 10,000 hours of practice, as Malcolm Gladwell claimed:

“It comes after 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, 12,500 hours of deliberate rest, and 30,000 hours of sleep.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

The cited and linked article is excerpted from Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Drops of Good April 13, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
30 comments

For years, I’ve had a Gratitude Basket . . . it’s encouraged me to focus on things in my life for which I’m grateful.

They can be simple things ~ a blue sky, the laughing of ducks on the lagoon, or the whisper of the wind through palm fronds.

They can be big ticket items ~ BFF’s cataract surgery restoring him to 20/20 vision, my brother and sister-in-law’s excellent oversight of mom, or my niece’s wedding which caused family and friends to convene in Orlando the week before Christmas.

They can be ephemeral in nature ~ feeling light-hearted and bright, allowing  joy, vitality, and peace to surface from within, or sharing happy, enthusiastic, amusing, and upbeat moments with new friends.

They can be celebrations of mini-milestones ~ finishing the taxes, losing weight, finding the perfect swimsuit, or  winning BIG BUCKS at Bridge (“Woo Hoo!  First Place . . . $8!”).

This week I started a new practice, Drops of Good, to remind me to be mindful of moments & acts of Generosity and Connection between the citizens of this marvelous planet.

As with my Gratitude Basket, these Drops of Good can be big or small, ephemeral or physical, on-going or one time deals . . . like a HUG.

They can be something I’ve done for others or something others have done for anyone else on the planet, including plants, animals, or the environment.

Drops of Good add up ~> “A bucket is filled drop by drop.”

Do not overlook any good actions, thinking they are of no benefit; even tiny drops of water in the end will fill a huge vessel.  ~ The Buddha

Celebrating the myriad moments of Generosity and Connection around us points us in the right direction ~> UP!

Aah . . . that’s better!