Have you ever come home from a long day only to feel more exhausted when you step inside your messy house? Science can explain why you find clutter so frazzling.
Have you ever come home from a long day only to feel more exhausted when you step inside your messy house? Science can explain why you find clutter so frazzling.
Spirituality is a great way to grow as a person and become more in tune with your highest self. Therefore, faith, mindfulness and a peaceful lifestyle are generally the best ways to achieve inner peace and happiness in your day-to-day life. However, nature plays an enormous role here. This is why indoor plants can be so beneficial to your mental health. So if you’re like that, or you have someone special who is into spirituality, here are the best plant gifts that will make them happy.
Every beginning is difficult, and entering parenthood – especially for the first time – is no different. Parents-to-be struggle for a multitude of reasons, and even the most confident parents can find themselves feeling like they have no idea what they are doing once their bundle of joy arrives.
While caring for a newborn can make first-time parents anxious and nervous, there are some tips that can help ease this transition and make parenthood feel much less overwhelming and far more enjoyable. Below, five things parents-to-be need to consider when expecting.
There are at least 7.8 billion ways of seeing a rainbow, each one perfect and true. A scientist sees refraction of light. A poet sees transcendent beauty. A child sees magic. A spiritual seeker sees the gateway to heaven. Someone who has suffered great loss—a loved one, a home, a job—may see a sign of hope in the midst of their pain. What if our individual experiences of the world, of Nature, are how we discover meaning in life, how we connect with our souls and find God, or Spirit? What if spiritual connection is not about struggling to understand mysteries but instead just opening our eyes to the extraordinary beauty before us? Step inside the rainbow itself, and a world of vibrant color and divine light opens up all around you.
What comes to mind when you think about the holidays?
Do you groan, feeling burdened by all you have to do? Do you dread going shopping for gifts or cleaning up after Christmas or Chanukah or Kwanzaa or other holiday celebrations?
Or, do you feel a sense of fun, delight, and joy in the celebrating and in the giving and receiving?
Which part of you is in charge of the holidays - your judgmental, ego wounded self or your spiritually connected loving adult?
Think for a moment about the little child in you - the child who may have loved the holidays. What delighted you about Christmas or Chanukah or Kwanzaa or other holiday celebrations? Most kids are really excited about receiving gifts, but many children also feel equally excited about giving gifts. Did you enjoy decorating your house?
Or, were the holidays a sad time, a time of heartbreak due to not having enough money? Or a time of loneliness due to the loss of a loved one? Were they a time of stress in your family? Was there abuse around holiday times?
“This kind of spring day, with the beautiful myriads of colorful sprites just arrived from tropical shores, has to be one of the greatest gifts on Earth.”—Kenn Kaufman
Inevitably, people ask me why I moved from Florida back to Massachusetts after only two and a half years. I answer a little differently each time, usually something about missing friends/family and the change of seasons. However, as spring begins to flower in New England, there is one answer that rises to the top: the birds! Meaning the spring bird migration that brings thousands of birds from Central and South America northward through Massachusetts. And right down the street from me to Mt. Auburn Cemetery, which is heaven on Earth for birdwatchers from April to June, especially the first three weeks in May. With the exception of the last two years, this is where I could be found early in the morning to mid-afternoon on most spring days over the past 30 years.
When you are in your teens and 20s, life seems to extend into the future like an endless expanse of potential experiences. You can’t imagine not having the opportunity to visit places you love again or see friends and family regularly. As you grow older and encounter both loss and change, life takes on a quality of uncertainty, sweetness tinged with sorrow. A favorite uncle or a parent dies, friends move away, you yourself may move multiple times. The tapestry of life is always shifting, and we too shift with the changes. At a certain point, you may realize that the years ahead are possibly fewer than those behind. It may awaken a deep sense of appreciation for every moment you are given. This is how our lives teach us gratitude. Yet now, at this time on the planet, that lesson is coming up in unexpected ways.
In today’s fast-paced work environment, achieving a work and life balance can seem impossible. Technology makes most workers accessible 24 hours a day.
The stress of never taking a minute off can compound to hurt your health, your relationships with loved ones and friends, and your overall happiness.
The stress you deal with day to day can easily bleed into your home life if you let it, so don’t let it. The trick is to follow set principles that allow you to keep that stress in the office where it belongs.
Today, I want to talk to you about how to find your perfect work and life balance so that you spend less time working and more time doing the things you love.
I once read about an injured hawk that was rescued and taken to a raptor rehabilitation center. The hawk, after recovering from its injuries, was driven back to the location where it had been found, many miles away. At a certain point in the trip, the hawk suddenly became more alert. It lifted its head and looked around sharply; it moved its wings with anticipation. It sensed in the deepest part of its being that its home was near. Such behavior can’t be logically explained by science because it has to do with the things we know without physical evidence to prove it. Awareness beyond the five senses. Author Rupert Sheldrake called it “morphic resonance” in explaining how a dog would know its human companion, a hundred miles away, had started to return home. We living beings, animal or human, feel presence and remember home from great distances. Our heart has an intelligence even deeper and wider than the brain’s.
Each new year, many set out goals for what they want to achieve or experience. 2020 has challenged us in all-new ways — both personally and professionally — but our essential need to find balance in work and life still remains. How will you use your time in the year ahead? Will you cling to the need for work more than ever, or will you prioritize play and free time that feeds your spirit?
As you look ahead to how work and play will factor into your time, it is worth reflecting on how different cultures and time periods have treated this issue. Perhaps you will find your personal key to work-life balance somewhere in the midst.
Europeans like to remind us that they work to live while Americans live to work. They believe their lifestyle of more emphasis on leisure than work is superior to the American way. After all, it is filled with less stress and it’s less materialistic and less dehumanizing.
With more free time, Europeans feel that they can focus on nurturing their families, building their communities, and cultivating their minds. Frenetic Americans, on the other hand, don’t seem to have much time for such a rich life.
The spirit of hope and expectancy is very much alive during this season; which is often called the most wonderful time of the year. This season is a time when many faith traditions and religions are celebrating the magic of high holy days. There is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, just to name a few and so many more celebrations. Most, if not all have stories that are about the miracle of life and hope. These stories have unexplained or miraculous phenomenal occurrences articulated to help inspire people and give them a sense of hope.
Many of these stories are based on mystical or magical journeys. I personally believe these stories are not just for the time period beginning with Thanksgiving at the end of November through January 1st each year. If we are willing to commit ourselves to carrying the stories’ spirit of hope and expectancy, we can experience their meaning through every day of our lives. We can experience wonder, possibility, and hope as our new normal.
I drove around my neighborhood the other day and noticed several houses already decorated for the holidays. Seeing the colorful twinkling lights around the windows and giant inflatable Santa Clauses waving from front lawns puts me in the holiday spirit.
But this year, as we all know ... things are different. A nasty Grinch called Covid-19 is trying to steal Christmas from us. With more lockdowns in place and more cases prohibiting us to cross borders and visiting our loved ones, the classic holiday song, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is literally coming true for 2020.
I wanted to share some interesting parallels I learned about this popular song and our challenging year fighting the pandemic.
People were singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” when we were involved in another tough battle—World War II. The lyrics were written in the voice of a soldier serving overseas who is reminiscing about the holidays—surrounded by family and friends. This soldier looks forward to coming home and asks specifically for things that represent the holidays: Please have snow and mistletoe, and presents by the tree. The song, however, ends on a melancholy note with the soldier saying: “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.”
On this day 31 years ago, I became a mother for the first time. Happy birthday, my sweet Katherine! You have become an amazing young woman and, now, a loving mama as well. I love you to the moon and back.
I love celebrating my children. I love celebrating friends on their special days. I think it matters when you celebrate a person. It matters when you know their favorite meal, their favorite TV show, their favorite song, their favorite dessert, etc. It matters when you take the time to let them know what you love about them, what you see in them, and why their presence on this Earth matters to you.
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on all of our lives, and it has made it harder to celebrate the people and things we love. That is why I think it’s more important than ever to celebrate those we love no matter the day—their birthday or otherwise. Celebrating someone doesn’t have to involve a big party or material gifts. What it should involve is an intention to celebrate them and share everything you appreciate about them.
Tonight, I’ll do that with my daughter, but I also want to do that more in the coming days with others I care deeply about. After all, there is no time like the present to celebrate those you care about and who have left a footprint on your heart.
First off, can we just say that if there’s ever been a holiday season when we all deserve to treat ourselves and each other… it’s 2020!
As I’ve been looking for gifts to treat my friends, family, and — okay, I admit it — myself, I’ve been naturally pulled towards those that help us create a cocoon of self-care and nurturing (doesn’t that sound amazing?!).
So pull up a squishy chair, tuck your pajama-clad legs underneath you, grab a mug of something warm, and let’s do some self-care gift shopping!
I awoke at dawn on Friday. The early morning, like my home, was dark and quiet.
I looked out my kitchen window as I brewed my coffee. I always look at the same tree in my backyard whenever I’m feeling off balance or out of sorts. It has been an inspiration for me as long as I’ve lived in my home.
When there were wildfires in California earlier this fall, I looked out at my tree in what felt like slow motion. Several of its beautiful branches came crashing to the ground. I was told it was just too hot outside and that the branches buckled under the weight of the heat. I held my breath as I watched them fall. I thought the entire tree might fall before my very eyes. I was already mentally preparing for what I would do without it.
I tell this story because, in some way, I think many of us are holding our breath right now waiting for something to fall. We are preparing for things to keep changing, or to live without something we love.
How long have we been stuck at home now? Has it really been months? Ask your home how it feels from your climbing its proverbial walls, and it may well be ready for a refresh too.
Recently I’ve gotten serious about “refreshing” our house, from having the carpets cleaned to replacing some furniture, filling boxes with books to give away and clearing clutter.
Surprisingly, one of the things that made a huge difference was buying a new doormat for the front door! For the past fifteen years, I’ve walked across an old, ugly, cat hair covered door mat. Now I have a beautiful, dark red mat that makes me smile.
Who knew such a simple change could bring so much joy?
This happened after a quick consult with my friend, Stephanie Bennett Vogt, MA, who just happens to be a leading space clearing expert, and the author of four books including YOUR SPACIOUS SELF and A YEAR TO CLEAR.
I’ve asked Stephanie to share with us her best five “one minute” tips on how to make sheltering at home more beautiful and more friendly. Enjoy!
After two and a half years in Florida, my partner Anne and I are moving back to Massachusetts. It is a decision of the heart. We are choosing to be closer to family and old friends and to remembered places that fill us with great love and appreciation. We are returning home. A few weeks ago, as I was on hold while buying our airline tickets to Boston, Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Homeward Bound” began playing in my ear. The synchronicity was unmistakable. I burst into tears.
TV, Books, Beach walks and Travel Memories are all the top of my list of how I’ve been keeping myself amused this summer. FYI, none of these activities fall into the category of spiritual or personal growth.
TV – Brian and I have fallen into an early evening routine of watching a couple of hours of TV together. Since we can’t go out to the movies, we have a found some series that are just as exciting. Our favorites are on Netflix. We’ve watched all of the episodes of White Lines, a decadent, sophisticated mystery of drugs, sex, and murder on Ibiza.
Next we watched Money Heist (created by the same producer as White Lines, Alex Pena who’s storytelling chops are spectacular). It’s a thriller of crazy bank robberies in Spain with an eclectic, captivating cast of characters.
The coronavirus has sent us all home, so to speak, to assess and re-assess who we are, what we are doing, and why we are doing it. It has mandated a break for eight billion of us from our mindless, urgent, spot-light focus on the particulars of our lives and encouraged us to examine our lives with a flood-light, so to speak. It shows us the little things in our lives from a more accurate perspective. They are little things. Why then, do they appear so large, important, and immediate? Time in isolation allows us to explore these things, if we choose, yet there is no such thing as “isolation.”
All of us, all of Life, and everything we encounter, have encountered, and will encounter belongs to the Universe. They are the Universe. We belong to the Universe. We are the Universe. What is there to be “isolated” from? Can wet be isolated from water? “Time in isolation” is time with the Universe. Every time, anytime, anywhere is time with the Universe. The coronavirus is giving us opportunities to investigate this. If your experience at home includes children, that is time with the Universe. If it includes in-laws, that is time with the Universe. If you have no home to go to, that is time with the Universe also.
The coronavirus mandate to “stay at home” has meant different things to different people. For some, it has meant freedom from external-world busyness and distractions and a return to inner peace and quiet. To others, it has felt like unwanted confinement and loss of in-person social contact. Some have lost their jobs and incomes; others, like healthcare workers, have had no choice but to leave the “safety” of home to provide critical services, despite the risks. All of us are suddenly facing issues of life and death. Our entire world, inside and out, has changed radically and continues to do so. In the midst of these huge ongoing changes, what does home mean?