I started learning about mindfulness in a religion class several years ago. The textbook described this idea of closely paying attention to what was happening or what you were experiencing right at that moment. In other words, your mind is focused on what you are doing and experiencing with your senses: sight, touch, sound, taste, smell. For example, if you are washing dishes, focus on the feel of the warm water, the smell of the soap, and the texture of the pan.

According to Mindful.org, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing…” 

That week, I tried to be present and focused on my activities. When I ironed clothes, I focused my attention on the heavy iron, the steam, the cloth. When I cooked dinner, I paid attention to the vegetable, the knife, the cutting board and the sound of chopping. I realized how peaceful I felt. It was so calming to not think of anything else besides what I was doing at that moment.

“Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.” (Mindful.org)

I noticed that the more I practiced being mindful, the more appreciative and grateful I became. When I ironed clothes, I realized that I have clothes to wear. When I cooked or did dishes, I appreciated the food I just enjoyed.

Practicing mindfulness has been one of those things that has transformed my life. If you are interested in learning more, this link is a good place to start!





Summer Fun Ideas

Summer Fun Ideas

I love the change of seasons and with that comes the list of fun things to do that are unique to that season. Here are 30 things to do this summer!

  1. Eat watermelon.
  2. Go on a picnic.
  3. Go to the beach.
  4. Build a sand castle.
  5. Ride a bike.
  6. Go camping.
  7. Sit in the sun.
  8. BBQ
  9. Enjoy a hammock.
  10. Make homemade ice cream.
  11. Go canoeing or kayaking.
  12. Play croquet.
  13. Have a yard sale.
  14. Go to a yard sale.
  15. Can a jar of pickles.
  16. Pick wildflowers.
  17. Go to a baseball game.
  18. Make s’mores.
  19. Go to a music festival.
  20. Go to a drive-in movie.
  21. Grill fruit.
  22. Eat a popsicle.
  23. Find the big dipper.
  24. Watch the sunset.
  25. Play Frisbee.
  26. Go swimming.
  27. Tie dye shirts.
  28. Play mini golf.
  29. Visit a botanical garden.
  30. Have a water balloon fight.

Featured photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash.

Alone vs. Lonely

Alone vs. Lonely

Within the span of just a few months, I experienced a divorce and an empty nest. The pain was great. One minute I am living with my spouse and daughter; the next minute I was living on my own and my daughter had moved out. The hardest part was having so much time alone . . . to think . . . to feel . . . to experience. I felt so lonely inside that I could actually feel physical pain as well as emotional pain.

I looked up books and articles to read in order to learn how to overcome this feeling of loneliness. What I discovered has completely transformed the way I view being alone versus feeling lonely.

Being alone . . . this IS a condition or a state of being. It is a fact. You are either alone or you are with people, hence not alone. Stating your condition simply just identifies that fact.

Feeling lonely . . . this IS a feeling or an emotional state. It can also be a fact. You are either feeling lonely or you are not. Stating how you feel helps to recognize how you are emotionally.

I realized that just because I am alone, doesn’t mean I have to feel lonely. I thought the two went hand-in-hand, but they don’t. A person can be in a crowd and feel lonely or a person can be alone and not feel lonely.

Loneliness is just a feeling like happiness, or sadness, or anger, or excitement. Feelings change and pass over us. We can change how we feel just by changing our thinking. It is impossible to think happy thoughts and feel sad inside.

Being alone, on the other hand, just states a fact. If we don’t want to be alone, we can start dating, attend social events, and invite friends or family over.

I took all this new way of thinking and decided to reframe how I feel about being alone. I decided that I was going to be happy as a single person and make my life everything I want it to be. I fill my days doing things I love doing and I have fun all on my own.

Now, I actually enjoy my time alone.

Featured photo by Fabrice Villard on Unsplash.

Organizing Tip #16: Sugar & Spice

Organizing Tip #16: Sugar & Spice

Spices are essential for cooking and baking if you want your food to taste delicious! It is easy to accumulate all varieties especially combination spices like italien blends or seasoned salts. Our spice cabinet can quickly become overstuffed making it difficult to find the one you need. A simple organization plan can remedy this problem.

Step 1: Take all spices out of your cabinet. Discard old spices. Instead of looking at the expiration date, smell and taste to see if there is any flavor.

Step 2: Locate the best cabinet for storing spices. I like the one to the left of my stove since I am left-handed. You may like the cabinet on the right, but the idea is to put them near your stove for easy reaching. I use the bottom shelf for spices, the middle shelf for oils and vinegars, and the top shelf for bulk spices, dressing bottles, and small pitchers for sauces.

Step 3: Find a lazy susan or a tiered shelf so you can read labels and organize spices. Even though there are so many spice racks available that sit on you counter, spices should be in a dark cabinet since the light destroys the potency of the spice.

Step 4: Alphabetize your spices. This is the best tip! I thought it was ridiculous when I first heard this suggested, but it is really an amazing tip. I can find my spices so easily. I put the spices that I use most often on the outside edge of the lazy susan and the ones I rarely use in the middle where it is harder to reach.

That’s it! You will never have to organize your spices again!

Featured photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash.