Happy Luau

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am wishing each and every one of you a Day of Gratitude, wherever you are and whatever you're doing. I am blessed to know you and blessed that you read my blog so that I can share my life with you. Much love, O

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wellness Wednesday: Rant---the H1N1 Vaccination---Decide!

This is so controversial, but important for me to post.

Whether or not you get the H1N1 vaccination is up to you. It is such a personal decision. No one should be forced to get it. However, everyone should make a conscious decision for themselves.

Here are the facts:
(1) The H1N1 vaccination has not been tested the way it should have been. It may not be safe. It may or may not even be effective. We don't truly know. It's impossible to tell who to believe or to trust those who think they "know".
(2) The H1N1 vaccination can have terrible, even deadly side effects.
(3) The H1N1 vaccination will have limited usefulness unless a critical mass of people in a given area receive the vaccination.
(4) The H1N1 vaccination may actually compromise your own immunity to the H1N1 virus or to viruses in the future.

And more facts:
(1) The H1N1 virus itself may or may not erupt and become terrible. It may, or it may die out.
(2) The H1N1 virus itself may be mild and surviving it may result in increased immunity.

However, I got an H1N1 vaccination. So did LoveHubbie (the physician, the first responder). Why?

Because here in our little town in Washington, and other places as well, maybe your town, people are dying from H1N1. At our hospital, where LoveHubbie works. People who did not fit the profile and without known underlying health problems. Three people so far have died there in the last month. And it's not being reported in the papers as far as we can tell.

Each person must compare the potential risks and rewards in an educated way and decide for themselves. Compare how you feel about the risk of the vaccination and the risk of acquiring and surviving the virus and make an intelligent and personal decision. Weigh what you can know for sure.

A family member is not getting the vaccination because he "heard about that cheerleader". Don't be like him. Research the facts. Really think about this. Pray about it, if you pray. Do due diligence.

No matter what you decide, no one knows what the right decision is for you, no matter what they say. No one. Too many variables are uncertain and unknown. There is no one known right decision that is right for everyone. So we have to do the best we can, each of us, and then live with whatever the outcome is.

LoveHubbie and I decided that we would take on the risks of the H1N1 vaccine because the risks of doing so for us were way less worse for us than the risks of acquiring the H1N1 virus. And LoveHubbie goes to the hospital where it is spreading every day of his life. That's our decision. But it may not be yours. We know we still might yet have a reaction to it, that it is poison to our bodies, after all. You need to decide what is right for you. Just don't NOT decide, don't remain ignorant.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Enjoying The Day

Today I am having a beautiful, meandering Sabbath. I started with a lovely quiet time, did some relaxing art in my pajamas, snagged a walk in between raindrops, and read. And watched a geekie video about Google Wave that was incredible. I read some more. I thought a lot. Listened to Christine Kane's new "Wide Awake" album again and again and again. Cried some. Now I'm watching the sun begin to go down. It's 4 p.m.

Tonight I will spend some time with LoveHubbie and perhaps call a friend.

Nothing sensational.

But an absolutely perfect Sabbath.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Visit Jane

I won an apron from Jane last month, and I wanted to tell everyone that it is gorgeous, wonderful and IT FITS! For those of you who visit Jane's blog and Jane's etsy shop, you may have noticed that she is an attractive petite woman who looks gorgeous in little aprons. I am not that. But I do love her aprons as well as everything else she creates.

One thing about Jane is that she is currently unemployed. She's considering many different options. I am hoping that she ends up deciding to follow her strong creative streak and contribute to express herself via her many creations, not just for sale, but in her home. She has enormous energy and could do whatever she wants to do. So please do visit her, and if you're so inspired, leave her a comment, or buy something from her etsy shop! YAY Jane! And thank you again. xo

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wellness Wednesday: Creating Time Abundance

Is it possible to create time abundance? To cultivate an attitude of experiencing time as slow, as a friend, as there being more than enough to accomplish everything that the day should hold?

I think that it is, and this is what I'm doing.

It started a few weeks ago with a strong desire to find a way to prune my schedule so that I would have time for writing. I am working on a book that I've promised myself I'll deliver the next time I visit Maui. My co-author, guide, and Hawaiian cultural treasure is Akoni Akana. He is currently in a hospice in Honolulu, and I would like to finish this while he is still alive. Since he is so ill I will need to do this without him.

The second challenge with this book is that I did all of the research for it a last year. I put all of my materials in a very safe place for perpetuity and they will remain there because I haven't been able to locate them. So I'm writing the book without my prior work, essentially starting over, plus without Akoni.

With all of these obstacles I've procrastinated, but I promised Akoni and many dearly loved friends from Maui that I would do it, plus it is the dearest thing to my heart...so I needed to create a way to have it happen. Instead of just wanting and wishing and hoping that it would happen. Without direct action from me, it would not happen as I do not have "extra time" for writing.

So, I began taking some action, like refusing or canceling all social obligations I didn't need to attend. I also began to clean up my diet and lifestyle so that I'd have more energy. Then I found Christine Hohlbaum's wonderful book "The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World". It's a new book that just came out, and unlike many of the books I've read on the subject, it goes beyond the philosophy of time abundance and the whole Slow Movement and into practical and concrete ways of implementing mindfulness and the philosophy of slow. If you want to find out more about the book you can visit Christine's blog, The Power of Slow, and follow her on Twitter.

I began to read The Power of Slow with my journal next to me, keeping a list of everything that struck me that I'd need to do differently or think differently. Then I took that journal, along with my lists, and combined them. My lists were: my To Do list, my list of values (I read this list every day to set my intention for the day in my quiet time), my list of my spiritual beliefs and my list of writing goals.

I know that's a lot of lists--too many. I made one big fat compilation out of all of these lists and my journal notes, using the old-fashioned cut-and-paste method.

Then I entered it into my computer so that I could constantly tweak it, as what I'm learning is on-going, so the document would have to be dynamic. And through these weeks I'll continued to implement the changes I've learned. I read the ONE list every day to remind myself of the changes until they become natural.

The new list includes things like limiting the number of television shows I keep up with. I have a list of programs I'm willing to give up my time for, and that's it. I hold myself to it. And I have a defined schedule, so that when people ask me for a time commitment, I check it and can say, "I can't do that, I'm working, but I'll be available after 4 p.m." For the last few weeks I've been saying, "No" constantly (but kindly). I've improved communication between LoveHubbie and myself and found ways to limit my exposure to his drama (which he likes and which supports his lifestyle but not mine) during my writing day. Theses are pretty straightforward, but they're big for me. I'll be writing about some of these thing and other changes and what I'm learning in future posts.

I am learning to view time as my friend and as an opportunity. It is not an overstatement to say that this has changed my life and is changing my life. More later!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book Review: "The Power of Slow" by Christine Holhlbaum

As many of you know, I am a big fan of the book The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World" This is my book review from Amazon published yesterday on "The Power of Slow" by Christine Holhbaum:

5.0 out of 5 stars
A Fresh, Modern Look at Slowing Down and Befriending TimeNovember 16, 2009

Is it possible to create time abundance? To cultivate an attitude of experiencing time as slow, time as a friend...as there being more than enough time to accomplish everything that the day should hold? I think that it is possible, and this is what I'm doing, thanks to this wonderful book that takes a fresh and practical look at befriending time and slowing down your life.  

Unlike many of the books I've read on this subject, this book goes beyond the philosophy of time abundance and the whole Slow Movement and into practical and concrete ways of implementing mindfulness and the philosophy of slow with a special emphasis on different ways of dealing with technology and information overload. The book covers useful, modern issues such as cell phone multi-tasking, creative ways of handling call-waiting, dealing with time suckers and addictive behaviors, delegating, managing expectations, and so much more. This book is not so much about time management as it is about life management so that each of us can best use the limited and uncertain amount of time that we each have. Since I have viewed time as something to race against, and have felt like time's victim, this appealed enormously to me.

I began to read The Power of Slow with my journal next to me, keeping a list of everything that struck me that I'd want to do differently or think about differently. I came up with a time abundance plan that I've been implementing and tweaking, one that is truly changing my life. If you have been looking for a practical tool that addresses your real-life concerns, look no further. You'll get far more than just a list of 101 things, however. The author shares important ideas about how to think about time differently, perhaps the most important part of the book; without thinking about time in a new way--as a friend--the changes you make won't have the impact they could.  

To give you some examples of my personal time makeover: I now limit the number of television shows I keep up with. I have a list of programs I'm willing to give up my time for, and that's it. I hold myself to it. And although I work at home, I have a defined schedule, so that when people ask me for a time commitment, I check my schedule and can say, "I can't do that, I'm working, but I'll be available after 4 p.m." For the last few weeks I've been saying, "No" constantly (but kindly). I keep only ONE browser window open when I'm focusing on something intently. I've delegated work to people who work for me and stopped micro-managing thanks to the idea that if I delegate, the work will never be done the way I would do it, but that's okay, considering what I've exchanged it for--the opportunity for me to complete other work myself that is far more important to me. I've found that, as the author says, small changes can open up enormous energy.  

I am learning to view time as my friend and as an opportunity. It is not an overstatement to say that this has changed my life and will continue to change my life. The author writes that our relationship with time determines all other relationships in our life. I now agree with this, and encourage you to find out why this is so by starting your own adventure into "The Power of Slow".  

Highly recommended. 


Monday, November 16, 2009

Update From Yesterday

In my haste in writing yesterday, I forgot to give you some links to Jane and her wonderful aprons in case you don't know who she is. Stay tuned for a later post and a picture. Jane is incredibly talented in many areas, including but not limited to mothering, making ordinary furniture beautiful, photography, collage, and aprons. You'll love her so visit her blog and her etsy shop for a treat!

LoveHubbie had to get a new phone for his work. The police say his old phone will probably never be recovered. LoveHubbie is determined though, so we'll see. The thief is well-known and hangs out at our local farmer's market using the name "Too Cool", wears a black suit and a black tie and talks non-stop (apparently an interesting fellow). If you see him let us know.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sacred Sunday: Peace in the Midst of Chaos

Well, we've had an exciting day today, not the usual Sunday. LoveHubbie lost his iPhone about 4 hours ago, and we found out that it had been found and stolen by a particular thief who is now using it. Normally this would be bad enough considering the identity theft aspect, as LoveHubbie has all of his important personal information on the iPhone, as well as access to all of our banking information and other such things. However, LoveHubbie also has patient information on his iPhone (he is a physician) and thus it is an emergency, the police are involved, etc. There is much urgency and chaos here.

This made today less like a Sabbath, which as you know, I like to practice. I had my own agenda of relaxing things I wanted to do. LoveHubbie is always losing things, so this is frustrating. Earlier in the day he had even lost his keys! However, thanks to many of the new time abundance ideas I've read about in The Power of Slow and the new lifestyle I've created, I do feel fine, other than the slight frustration. Something like this would normally freak me out completely.

So, I had wanted to blog about this exciting new "time abundance" lifestyle, and tell you about my writing, since I'm now actually working on my book on a daily basis, M-F. Really! I am writing! So many changes have led to this and I SO want to share them with you!

I had also wanted to blog about H1N1. And I have yet another post planned on a spectacular apron I won from Jane last week, complete with pictures. Instead I am calming myself and supporting LoveHubbie as he freaks out---completely. We have spent this afternoon at the AT&T Store, retracing everywhere we'd been this morning, and talking to the police, our ISP, our credit card company, etc.

Yet somehow I am calm.


So now the story continues. As I am writing this, the police identified the location of the thief and moved in. Only...they went to the house of our very good friends, to whom we had given a previous iPhone, and they attempted to recover that iPhone from them, which was a gift. What a comedy of errors! Fortunately the friends are good friends and understood.

Still calm.


The blog posts mentioned above will be coming soon. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quiz Update

Wow, the commenters on my last post gave me a lot to think about.

First of all, I didn't realize that I was beating myself up, but I agree that I am. I'm just being too darn hard on myself, instead of gentle, kind and positive. I don't need to make myself wrong about my lifestyle with such vehemence in order to embrace my new way of life.

Secondly, YES, that quiz had a lot of values that I don't share either, not just those of you who read my blog. But you all made me see it; when I took it myself I questioned myself rather than the quiz (a habit I have). In addition to that, the quiz design didn't allow for a "not at all like me" choice, which is a serious flaw and was pretty annoying.

Lastly, I am accepting Christine Hohlbaum's invitation to put up a "Power of Slow" badge of honor from her blog, The Power of Slow! Please see her comment my last post!

Thank you SO much, each person who commented. You always give me so much to think about, and reflect enlightened opinions that inspire me. I've been blessed to attract such amazing readers!

Monday, November 9, 2009

How Efficient Is Your Life?...The Quiz

I took Oprah's quiz about negative and positive energy, which teased me away from work last night, asking, "What Kind of Energy Do You Give Off? Take the Quiz!" So I did. Ouch! The truth hurts. My results, which were more about efficiency, more related to how "clean" your energy is, were as follows:

You scored 30.

26–35 points:
Your life is inefficient and is getting more so. You have a sense that you are treading water rather than getting ahead. Too much is out of your control, and your ability to cope with everyday challenges is only adequate. To begin to feel comfortable, you will have to address negative areas you've been overlooking and change your habits and beliefs in those areas. Look realistically at your inefficient ways, because one or the other—sloppiness, disorganization, procrastination, denial, impulsiveness—is draining your energy. Your available energy for positive growth is limited.

Right. On the money.

With a diagnosis like this, and a prognosis so depressing, I am so glad that I'm addressing this.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Guilt-Free Play

As many of you know, I am currently reading the book The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World" by Christine Hohlbaum. I am also completely revamping my life in order to create time abundance. I should have a strategy and plan in place early in the week; however, I am already implementing changes, since many things take time to accomplish. I will be writing more about this soon.

Tonight I read about how both workaholics and procrastinators have trouble engaging in guilt-free play. This was a huge revelation to me. LoveHubbie is a super workaholic and I could easily see his pattern. Seeing my own was another matter. Underneath the busy, busy gal trying to do things I love and things that are important to me is is The Procrastinator always getting derailed by little, usually diddly, trivial tasks. I clearly see that my "falling" into unwanted yet urgent tasks is a way for me to procrastinate about my passions. I am the same as LoveHubbie in that it is incredibly difficult for me to participate in guilt-free play (although I do admit to engaging in guilty play!)

Insights like these will help me to continue to develop my plan. As I'm reading this book, I'm writing down changes in a notebook. Then I'll synthesize them and implement them. I am so excited about the changes that I've already started.

If you struggle with guilt-free play, maybe you are a workaholic or a procrastinator. Anyone else struggle with this?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday: Treats Not Tricks

Tonight I thought I'd write a bit about some treats I decided to give myself in the last few weeks. Each one is meaningful in its own way and has made a difference in my life.

The first treat I gave myself was a special pen nib. I enjoy writing with fountain pens (I also collect them) but have never bought a special nib, one that I custom-picked and detailed every aspect that I wanted it to have. I've kept journals for years and enjoy handwriting as an art--not calligraphy, exactly---but drawing my words in an intentional way. So this month I got one from a pen specialist and I have enjoyed writing so much more. As part of The Joy Diet by Martha Beck (Next Chapter Book Group) we are encouraged to give ourselves three treats each day, and one of mine every day is sitting and writing in my journal, drawing my letters and enjoying it so much!

The second treat I gave myself was bigger. LoveHubbie and I have been married for almost ten years and as you know we take big vacations to Hawaii on a regular basis. However, we don't do a whole lot else for fun as he especially is a workaholic. The vacations to Hawaii are what we use to recover after five months of his working very intensely at a very demanding job every single day in between. I don't work with him anymore but am still involved in his career, and his pace does affect me. We have never gone away for a romantic weekend even once during this whole ten years, but this year we booked a trip to Leavenworth, WA and it was his idea.

This means so much to me as this getaway will be over Christmas when the holidays are especially hard for us. LoveHubbie is usually depressed and not wanting to celebrate because he misses his children so much--it's more like a mourning time. For those of you who do not know, I have three step-children, but the circumstances of LoveHubbie's divorce were very adversarial and he has had limited success in being able to reestablish relationships with his children, including visits. They are now adults, but the difficulties continue. Lots of drama and it is always sad for him. I don't mind too much, as holidays have never been important at all to me; however, I do feel bad for him, as I know how much he loves his children, and I hate that he grieves while so many other people find Christmas a happy time. "Oh, no, Christmas is coming!" is my normal anticipation for the holiday.

So this year we'll be bound for Leavenworth, which is as close as you can get to Germany in this country. LoveHubbie and I spent time in Germany 34 years ago, and it has a special significance for us. This will be really romantic! I love this treat!

And the biggest treat is something that you might find silly or frivolous. For the Leavenworth trip, I bought myself special blue jeans--premium blue jeans--designer blue jeans. I have never owned a pair of expensive blue jeans. Mostly due to my frugality, but in middle age, mostly because I am a woman of size. I always seem to be wanting to lose weight, so it just doesn't make sense to "invest" in a pair of blue jeans that I will hope to discard as soon as possible with my anticipated plummeting weight loss. It almost says to me that I'm planning to stay big, which would seem like a big defeat.

Well, so then I saw that Oprah show about the Cookie Johnson Jeans. Oprah raved about how they felt like pajamas and how comfortable they were for women with big butts, and how she wore them for a five hour plane ride and I thought---"At last!"---but they only make them up to size 18. Not 18W, but plain old 18. I am not an 18-anything, but bigger. I'm not sure how much bigger as I mostly wear men's pajama pants and XXL stretch pants and don't weigh myself intentionally. And I have size 18 jeans that I don't fit into, not even close. And they cost so much money. So...I bought the Cookie Johnson jeans as an expression of belief in myself that I could fit into them, but even more, that as a woman of size, I deserve to look beautiful. Oooooh, that was hard even to write, but it is a truth that I am learning to embrace.

I know that this might sound like another foolish woman buying clothes too small for her, but it's really not. I already love these jeans--well, not the jeans exactly, but rather, what I had to teach myself in order to buy them.  I am absolutely going to fit into them, and I hope by Christmas, but if not, as soon as my body allows me to. And no matter what, I am enjoying appreciating my larger body as something of beauty instead of what our culture teaches us.

I think that a sacred life involves giving ourselves pleasure and treating ourselves at times. I am just really only now in my fifties learning how to do this. I am learning to be kind and appreciative to myself. I often fall back into judging myself as being self-indulgent, frivolous, selfish, and superficial in that my treats all involve material things in some way, but I'm living with this discomfort in order to try to move beyond it. I'm learning to do new things and to create new patterns, and this can naturally involve discomfort and judgements, so I'm just letting them be. And being grateful for the lessons in my sacred life.