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Vibrant Days….

Flourishing with Sensory Processing Sensitivity

January 2017

Announcing: “Hsp Connect”
An informal support group for hsps led by a local hsp.
Location: Schaumburg Library
130 S. Roselle Rd.
Schaumburg, Il
When: Saturday, January 21, 2017
Time: 10:00-11:30 am


Winter Practices To Support Your Inward Journey

This next month can be fertile ground for renewal of spirit and for clarity of mind and heart.This is my favorite time of the year. It is not because of the gatherings nor the Christmas lights. It is my favorite time of year because it is a time of drawing inward and a time of quiet. We have lived through some very unusual months and many of us are wondering where solid ground is, whether our lives will change in big or small ways. If I am not careful I will slip into a place of fear with no known recourse. I am a “do-er”, an action oriented person who has been socially engaged to create positive change in our community. At this moment in time I am unsure of what action to take or how to make my voice heard.
And so, I am choosing quiet. In Ayurveda I have been taught to treat a complex presentation with a simple remedy. I have heard that when you don’t know what to do it is best to pause and wait. Inspiration always comes. The truth always makes itself known. I firmly believe that within us is the wisdom of the universe. I am waiting to hear that quiet inner voice that will lead me to do the next best thing.
Until I know, and while I wait, I will choose winter practices to support and ground me. This next month can be fertile ground for renewal of spirit and for clarity of mind and heart. I share with you some suggestions that have nurtured me.

Wake Early

The wee hours of the morning are both mystical and auspicious. For many years I spent considerable time at a Benedictine Monastery. I loved waking very early and stumbling into the chapel with my eyes full of sleep to chant prayers with the Monks. There was no hierarchy. We were all welcomed to gather and lift our voices or to stand and listen while others did. Somehow it felt easier to hear my inner voice during the pre-dawn hours.
Consider rising between 5:00 and 6:00 to savor the silence in your home. This may be all the meditation you need. Pad around your kitchen in your slippers, sip warm water and let the dogs out. If you crave more, sit in prayer or meditation. You may use words or not. The act of being present is enough.

Cook Soup

I love when fall is upon us. It is as if someone is saying to me “Stock up on root vegetables, good olive oil and warming spices. Make soup every day.” Do you hear this message as well?
One of my Ayurvedic teachers shared with us that she could not both meditate and cook for her family in the morning and so she chose to crush cardamom, to roast turmeric and to generously add ghee to her pots as each day began. She would chant while she cooked. Food is medicine you know. The fresher your ingredients, the more love you add as you stir and grind and the blessings that you impart all add potency to your creations. As you sip your soup or eat your stew, feel its healing power. I always know when I am out of sorts. I stop wanting to cook. When this happens, the symptom speaks to the remedy.

Apply Oil

This is the season of ether and air; in Ayurveda we know this as a time when the Vata dosha is present. Winds are strong, there is dryness in the air, the temperatures have dropped and we feel a sense of constriction and drawing inward. My favorite antidote is to apply oil. Some days this means giving myself a top to bottom self-oil massage with a warming oil (sesame is appropriate for most in these cold months).
Today it meant warming some scalp oil and rubbing it on my head and throughout my hair. I tied up the ends and wrapped a bandana around my bun to keep the heat in. I used an herbalized oil that helps to calm my nervous system and clear my thoughts. I left this on for a few hours and then took a warm shower using an oil based shampoo bar. Can it get any better than this? I think not.

Take a Walk

It is easy to walk when the sun is shining and you feel its warmth on your face and back. Now that the temperatures have dropped it may seem counter-intuitive to bundle up in a warm coat with a scarf and gloves but, trust me, it is well worth it. Take a moment to inhale deeply. There is something wonderful about the crispness of the air right now. Notice the smell of the leaves and the chimney smoke. I am blessed to live close to the ocean. When I make time to walk on the sand in the off-season I am aware that although the waves and the horizon seem timeless, they too change when summer turns to winter.

Befriend Your Body

Yoga has become not only my personal practice but also what I offer to the world. It is a very special type of yoga that is, at its core, a hatha practice. It was developed to help people whose lives have been affected by trauma. It is also what heals me every day. One of the core principals of Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) is that it offers a way for me to be present to my body, its sensations, its movements and its stillness.
Practicing in the manner that I do strengthens pathways in my brain that allow me to know what it feels like to be hungry, to sense anxiety, to need rest and to know how my muscles engage and release. Sometimes my practice looks a lot like I am lying on my back resting. Sometimes I practice in repetitive flows of simple movements and breath. Sometimes I twist and sway and balance and fold. What remains constant is my awareness of my body in each moment.

Give Thanks

There is so much to be grateful for. As I type these words I have two dogs curled up beside me assisting my writing process. They feel safe and cared for. I am grateful for them. I have a working computer and fingers with which to type. I have a sense of curiosity and a large imagination. I am loved and I love. I can breathe deeply and I can sing. I am grateful for each of these gifts. Find what you are grateful for and acknowledge it, sit with it, breathe it in.
In the words of Anne Lamott, “Gorgeous, amazing things come into our lives when we are paying attention: mangoes, grandnieces, Bach, ponds. Astonishing material and revelation appear in our lives all the time. Let it be. Unto us, so much is given. We just have to be open for business.”
I wish you silence, the gift of looking inward and the awareness that in darkness there does exist light. May your practices feed you and support you in this coming month.
This article by Lisa Boldin was first published on Ayurveda Next Door.



7 Things You Don’t Want to Learn Too Late in Life

We should never regret too much in our lives. However, there comes a time when we realize there are things that, if we had known them earlier, could have benefited us a lot in our younger years. Maybe we only come to these realizations through personal growth and experience, but sometimes we can go through life not being fully aware of situations until we hit a crisis point that leads us to question whether we truly did or cherished things to the best of our ability.
How often have you thought to yourself I wish I’d known this when I was younger? There’s an overwhelming feeling that if your younger self had just been more enlightened or aware, then you could have dealt with emotions and situations more readily or just moved forward with a more knowledgeable mindset and perspective on life.
With this in mind, here are 7 important life lessons that will change your perspective and mindset to enhance your experience of life for the better.

1. Be Present In The Here And Now

We spend so much time rehashing the past or planning for the future that we forget to experience the present moment. The present moment is what is happening to you right now. Happiness can only exist in the present moment ‒ the past has gone and the future hasn’t come yet so the present moment is all we have.
Our minds have a habit of running at a hundred miles an hour and this means we are rarely just being in the here and now. Try stopping and looking around you, see what is happening right now, be mindful of where you are right in this moment, or simply be aware of your breathing. Once you do this, your mind will start to open up and appreciate what you have right now and you will even start to feel like time is no longer slipping away.

2. Don’t Rule Your Life By What You Think You Should Or Shouldn’t Do

Society, or our family’s expectations tend to make us think there are things we should do ― I should go to university and get that degree or I shouldn’t pursue my dreams because I won’t make the same money as I would working in this dead-end office job. We all have these niggling ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ circling our minds, but when we make these statements, who exactly are we making these statements to? Who exactly are we trying to get permission from? And why is this acceptable? Living your life the way you want to is the only way to be happy. Stop limiting yourself because of other people’s expectations. It’s your life and no one else’s.

3. Don’t Make Things Bigger Than They Are

Our minds can work against us and through mindsets we develop and fears that take over. We can often make problems much bigger than they actually are. It’s all about perspective. How many times have you thought something was a huge deal but a day, week, or month down the line you don’t even think about it anymore? That’s because your mind likes to focus and blow-up worries and problems that aren’t actually problems.
Next time it happens just take a moment to ask yourself: realistically, will I still be thinking about this tomorrow, next week, next year etc.? Most of the time the answer will be “NO” so eliminate all the unnecessary worry you put yourself through.

4. Face Your Fears More

We all have fears ― some are justified and some are not ― but to grow and really get as much out of life as you can, you need to face your fears more often. Remember that many of your fears are only a product of your mind; they don’t actually exist. When you start to realize this, doing things you find intimidating and scary will actually become easier. The feeling you’ll get from facing your fears head on will be the best and most rewarding feeling you will ever have and, 100{59f60c537d2e599ed690a67c103d9265f11cc7a0cf2bd0efbc3e3c577f8a61ac} guaranteed, it will always never feel as scary as your mind thought it was going to be.

5. Slowly But Surely Wins The Race

When we’re younger, we tend to aim high and want everything quickly. When we set ourselves goals, we can give up easily when we don’t get the results immediately. Our modern world has conditioned us to expect and obtain anything in a blink of an eye which has led us to believe this can be the same for our dreams, goals, and ambitions.
The secret to success is small steps for big changes. Our goals are there to help us achieve and grow and we can’t do this if things happen quickly with no area for learning or getting a sense of achievement from it. Remember to set yourself small attainable goals that will help towards your dreams and know you are on the right path no matter how long it will take.

6. Stop Assuming What Other People Are Thinking

We can often make huge assumptions about what others are thinking whether they are judging you for something or thinking badly about an opinion you had. The bottom line is the world doesn’t revolve around you. Everyone around you is dealing with their own problems, worries, and insecurities and the chances are, they aren’t paying as much attention to you as you may think. So stop caring and, even worse, assuming what others are thinking. You wouldn’t want anyone to assume what you’re thinking so why do it to others?

7. Appreciate Everything In Your Life

One of the most important life lessons is appreciation. The older we get, the more we appreciate the things in our life including people, experiences, lessons we’ve learnt, and even our possessions. Establishing this habit early on the better, because gratitude and appreciation is the true key to happiness. The sooner you can be enlightened to this and integrate this into your everyday life, the more you’ll be able to live in the present moment and be thankful for what makes your life a good one―no matter how small the thing is you’re appreciating.
So, whether it’s the shower you get to take every morning, the nature around you, your pet, that one person who you can talk to about anything, the food in your refrigerator―appreciate it all and realize the abundance that’s really present in your life. This will transcend into the rest of your life and establish the positive mindset needed to live a happy and healthy life; your older self will thank you for it!

In this together,