If you spend many hours at a desk, you have probably experienced neck pain and tension headaches. There are many things that can contribute to these painful problems. One of them is could be poor posture.Continue reading “Poor Sitting Posture Causing Your Tension Headaches? Try these exercises…”
There are times we don’t make progress in our work because something in our personal lives is holding us back. We may not feel worthy of the dreams you have for yourself. Even if we realize that this is the starting point of many heroic stories you find it difficult to place yourself in those stories. So, this is something we must begin to gain control of in ourselves. Our own dignity is worth cultivating, and that must begin within each of us.
I believe that there is nothing that can happen to us in life that can keep us from “starting over.” I don’t mean physically. Aging and any physical damage to our bodies are obstacles to be overcome. What I am talking about are things that damage our psyche and our spirit.
Especially now, in the new “Cancel Culture,” where people are bullied out of their jobs and are often cut off from family and friends there is so much fear of being singled out for humiliation. Many of us, who are of the baby Boomer generation, feel fortunate that the worst antics of our youth reside in our friends’ memories and not on video online somewhere. Still, we are all vulnerable. Our words can be taken out of context. We could be caught on cell phone video at our worst. We are all worried about being judged in a bad light.
Life, even at its worse, goes on. Even at our lowest point, we must move and think and start again. It may a great effort, but it must be made every day.
We must have faith we can return to life, though it may be different than it was before. The human spirit can overcome terrible events. It’s important that we keep that thought close to us when anxiety threatens to overwhelm our minds.
If there is something that you have done that is wrong and continue to do, even if you were compelled to do it because of your circumstances, then you must struggle to change that part of your life. If you can find help then get it.Continue reading “Cancel Culture: How to build a Tranquil Spirit in a Chaotic world.”
Here’s a fun and healthy treat to bring a little fall cheer to your table. These muffins are hearty and tasty. Add chocolate morsels or dried fruit and nuts into the mix, or just serve them plain. I also love to spread fruit jam onto them after they are baked.
I used steel cut oatmeal for my daughter, whose diet is Gluten Free for health reasons. This makes the consistency similar to corn muffins (which I love). For those not concerned with gluten you can use rolled oats instead.
The pretty silicone baking cups are reusable. I bought them Amazon and the link is below. (Please note that I get a commission on this link if you click on it) Prefer Green Reusable and Non-stick Silicone Baking Cups/Cupcake Liners/Muffins Cup Molds in storage Container-24 Pack
You can use the drop down menu at the top of the page or find the recipe here: Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Muffins.
Until next time 🙂
Why is it your best thinking is done in the shower or driving to work, but when you sit down to write your mind is strangely, stubbornly blank?
Where did those thoughts go? How do you get them back so that you can write them down?
Our brains are divided between two operating modes. We have two hemispheres in our brains. We, the general public, call them the right and left sides of the brain. In popular culture, our artistic half resides on the right side and the calculating, logical side resides in the left. This is not quite correct as neuroscientists have recently discovered. Though, it is true that one side of the brain tends to dominate certain activities and the other different activities that roughly correspond to a “creative” side and “deductive” side, the communication between both hemispheres of the brain is greater than what we used to think.
When you are doing those mundane, mostly automatic tasks such as taking a shower or driving a familiar route to work, your right side (where wordless, creative thought goes on) is free to wander around in your consciousness. Those wonderful, swirling thoughts begin to stray into your left side and take the form of pictures, ideas, and conversational forms. In effect, they surface from your unconscious to your conscious mind. So, what happens when you sit down to write and those thoughts scatter? It’s because your critical, conscious mind takes over again. It says to your whole brain: “Here is a task that I must concentrate on” and banishes the arty, unconscious part of the brain to the recesses of your mind, effectively cutting you off from the unconscious mind where those thoughts originated. This response, from what I have read, is an evolutionary development that is a normal survival response. So, is there a way to coax those thoughts back from your unconscious to your conscious mind in such a way that they can be expressed concretely?
Turns out that you can….if you follow the instructions in the book, Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande.
[Please note that I get a commission if you use the Amazon link. There is also a free .pdf copy of it here: Becoming A Writer ]
AmazonBook Description: Becoming a Writer remains evergreen decades after it was first written. Brande believed passionately that although people have varying amounts of talent, anyone can write. She also insists that writing can be both taught and learned. This is Dorothea Brande’s legacy to all those who have ever wanted to express their ideas in written form. A sound, practical, inspirational and charming approach to writing, it fulfills on finding ‘the writer’s magic.’
I was surprised to see that even back then the understanding of the divided brain was not so much different than we understand it today. Truthfully, we still don’t know much about the brain and our ideas of the structure and biological processes change over time, but the basic idea that our brain attends to problems in a divided manner remains the same. Exactly how it works is something left to science. Why it works is best left to philosophy. Getting it to work? Fortunately, for us, exactly how the brain operates is not necessary to understand how to train it to help us get the creative side of the brain and the stubborn, skeptical part of our brain to communicate more effectively. It simply takes a good teacher and the willingness to practice and modify the practice to fit your needs.
I’ve had this same problem for so many years, and the past year seemed to be the worst. I wouldn’t have believed there was a way to get at these thoughts. I almost gave up. But, in just the first week of practicing the lessons from this book, I wrote down a dream, a number of ideas for essays, descriptive writing – which has always been hard for me, and a piece of dialog that I thought I had lost forever.
Keep in mind that what this book promises is help in recalling your thoughts in a way that you can dump them onto the page. What comes next is the actual craft of writing. The ideas and words that come still need to be shaped into a finished form. But, if you are like me, the first block to writing will be overcome. It is a remarkable feeling of liberation.
The blog I found this book on is a writing blog called: Writing About Writing (And Occasionally Some Writing) And I am eternally grateful to the blog’s author, Chris Brecheen, for bringing it to my attention.
Until next time…😊
You’ve spent the whole day at work, or you’ve been home taking care of the kids, or you’ve managed to squeeze out some time for yourself after taking care of everyone else. Now, exhausted, you sink into a chair after a good day’s work and look around.
Tell the truth. How bad is it? Do you have piles of unfolded laundry flowing onto the floor? How’s the trash situation? Is every flat surface you have in your house fully covered? How long has it been since the dishes have been done? Let’s not even talk about the bathroom.
Don’t despair. First, it’s important to recognize that our culture gives us mixed signals about housework. On the one hand, we feel guilty about a dirty house while on the other, housework belongs to a category of work which is beneath us – unless we’re paid to do it. We have a distorted view of physical work in this country and I for one, am tired of being pushed around about it. I want some level of cleanliness in my home.
So, the second thing to do is to decide what level of cleanliness you can realistically do. You need to consider your work hours, your commitments to family and friends, your health, and your budget.
If you are working full time or you have a chronic health condition, you might consider someone coming in once a week or longer to get to the things you cannot get to. If neither of these are possible because of your budget, you can still manage to keep some order by attending to a limited number of tasks each day.
And to help you get started, I highly recommend the following book:
How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White
(Please note that I get a commission if you use that link)
I really liked this book because it was close to my own approach to housework: I hate everything about it, but I also like the results of a tidy home. Also, I learned something new that helped me with some tasks that I was still struggling with and how to fix what I was doing wrong.
Every week I am adding recipes that have worked well for my family. We never had a lot of leftovers and we needed to keep our food budget under control.
Putting these recipes up on this website will serve a number of purposes:
- If your food tastes are close to mine, you might find some recipes you like. These are inexpensive meals with ingredients that are easily bought at your grocery store. There are notes for Gluten Free and Vegan diet restrictions, meal suggestions, and ways to stretch or store meals for different family sizes, including singles.
- Even if your tastes or diet requirements are different, it’s an example of using a set of ingredients that one can almost always have on hand. (The secrets include: keep the meals simple, group them under type of protein, and use recipes where the ingredients are similar. In this way, you are almost always prepared to make something out of the things you have on hand.)
- Being online, my kids can download the recipes for their own use. Having made changes here and there over the years, there are many recipes that no one but me can read. So it’s a legacy for them, too.
I’ve been making this recipe since I was a teenager and my family still loves it. It was one of only three meals I knew how to make. The other two were spaghetti and sauce from a jar and Pot pies from the freezer section of the grocery store.
This week I’ve added one of the simplest meals in my recipe booksUnti: Sloppy Joes.
Until next time 🙂
Here’s a quick, inexpensive hack. They’re called Pan Scrapers, but they work on all kinds of surfaces where any kind of goop has stuck. If you are ever tempted to use a fingernail to get under it to work it free, then this little tool is for you!
They are stronger than fingernails, which in my usual impatience I would use when other scrubbers would fail to get the gunk off my pans. By the time I finished the dishes or cleaned a wall or floor my fingernails would be torn. It’s not that I’ve ever paid attention to my nails, but I don’t like pain either. I would like to keep them intact. And for anyone who takes pride in their nails, this little product is worth it.
They are made of silicone and will get that cast iron pan completely scrapped clean in no time. I use them every time I do the dishes, keeping them in a cup on my windowsill for easy access.
I found them in my supermarket so look there for them or you can click on the picture link below Amazon. (Please note that I get a commission if you use that link)
In the last century technology freed men and women from many time-consuming daily tasks. It was such a rapid, sweeping change that in the 60s people envisioned a time when all labor would be replaced by machines.[e.g. The Jetsons: The Complete First Season ]
I grew up in an era that proclaimed housekeeping a ball and chain holding women back from their true potential. It was a time when all the skills women had accumulated over millennia were belittled and considered worthless. It was a time where Home Economics classes were still taught in public schools (in the late 60s) and yet we were hearing through the culture that women should refuse to do these things in order to be free.
The women in my own family knew how to cook and clean, how to sew and knit, how to organize a dinner party and some of them actually had a college degree and went to work. They did it all. But, I did notice that they had very little time to devote to any creative activity of their own. They were still expected to keep an immaculate home and prepare homecooked meals every night.
By the time I went to college (late 70s), attitudes about women were changing for the better. I was in a Physics class (my major) with three or four other young women. We were holding our own and there was no talk of women not belonging in the sciences. We were going to make the same kinds of intellectual strides as the men.
However, by the ‘80s women were beginning to regret that they never learned domestic skills or, as in my case, failed to practice what they had been taught. They felt guilty that they were not able to do the things their mothers and grandmothers could do.
This anxiety was exemplified in the comedy called “For Richer, For Poorer” starring Kirstie Alley and Tim Allen where a well to do couple, whose marriage is on the rocks, ends up hiding from a crazed IRS agent in an Amish community.
Caroline (Kirstie Alley): Every day’s a reminder that I don’t know how to do anything.
Brad (Tim Allen): You’re feeling sorry for yourself.
Caroline: No, I’m not. These women know how to do everything. Hell, I can’t even cook or sew. [pause] I’m domestically challenged.
Caroline: I feel so useless here.
A link to the video at amazon is below. (Please note that I get a commission if you use that link):Continue reading “Do you experience guilt over housework? We’re all there…Part 1”
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”
― H.L. Mencken, In Defense of Women
“We always have time for the things we need to do,
But never enough time for the things we ought to do.”
I have been waiting for the right motivation all my life. I have created many stories and characters in my head. I’ve been dreaming of the day when I would finally finish my masterpiece. Then it hit me: Will I ever get it done? Where is my Motivation?
Thinking is not doing. I know this. The above quote is from a friend and mentor who warned me about this nearly forty years ago. Still, it has taken me a very long time to truly understand what he was trying to express to me.
Why does motivation arrive for what I need to do and not for what I ought to do? It’s because writing, with the aim of publishing, is a risky business and the survival instinct in humans is all about reducing risks. Do I want to stand out from the crowd? Sure, I do. But, only in theory. Just thinking about how it will open myself up to public criticism makes me want to stay in bed all day safely hidden under the blankets.
This fear of risk-taking is the same reason why so few people do anything out of the ordinary. They fear starting their own businesses or speaking in public. It’s so much easier to simply keep our heads down and do the things people expect me to do. Mowing the lawn or washing the dishes may not be pleasant things, but they are familiar things to do, comfortable things. But when I up my pen – ink or digital – to begin something new that fear begins well up in my chest. To make it go away, I begin to look for the things I “need to do.” The fear subsides, but the desire to write continues to gnaw away in my heart and mind.
Motivation is never going to arrive. At age 61, I know that now. I must push on without it.
I wonder will it get easier? Will obscurity be my future? If so, I am afraid of nothing. Will fame cure that fear? Doubtful. Most famous people say celebrity status only made all their insecurities worse. What if the worse happens and I’m humiliated? Well, I’m old enough to have been there already – so what am I really afraid of? I think it’s a phantom fear and that’s how I must think about it to continue on.
How will I do it? I have thought about it a lot these past few months. And now when I start to recognize that terrible, debilitating fear of the risk welling up, I try to take courage and push that fear away. I must concentrate on what I want to write. I must dare to make time for my art and do it regularly. Lastly, I remind myself: I need to do what I ought to do.