Tag Archives: Spring

Like Me, Do You Get the Urge to Do Spring Cleaning? Here Are Some Areas I Plan to Tackle.

One of my great realizations about happiness (and a point oddly under-emphasized by positive psychologists) is that for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm. More, really, than it should. After all, in the context of a happy life, a crowded coat closet is trivial. And yet over and over, people tell me, and I certainly find this, myself, that creating order gives a huge boost in energy, cheer, and creativity.

So I’m a big believer in the value of clutter-clearing.

Also, I’m a big believer in using outer milestones as a catalyst for action or change. Whether that’s New Year’s day, September (the other new year), my birthday, or a holiday, I think it’s helpful to be reminded that I might want to make changes in my life. (Yes, Questioners, I know you think that January 1 is an arbitrary date. Noted.)

So spring, for me, is a reminder to think about spring clutter-clearing. I’m not inspired to do deep cleaning like window-washing, carpet-cleaning, or anything like that. Spring reminds me to tackle nagging clutter build-ups.

I look for places where I tend to stick things and forget about them. Do you have this problem? For me, I’m looking at these areas: Continue reading

Alive: Quotes for Living

Being alive.
Being really alive.
As springtime arrives and the earth is waking up from a long sleep, we’re reminded of what it means to really live, to really bloom and grow. Everyday you have the option to put yourself on autopilot, to check out of everything happening around you. But what if you really embraced being alive? What would it look like?

Here are some gentle reminders of what it means to really be alive: Continue reading

3 Tips to “Wake Up” with Spring

wake upApril. Spring. Daffodils. Tulips. Magnolias. Things that were resting, sleeping or hiding are now starting to wake up and join life again.

We all need rest. We have complex bodies and minds that need time to disconnect and recharge. Winter is that for many of us; the weather forces us in instead of out. It forces us to watch instead of participate. It forces us to hide instead of run free.

And now that spring is here, we wake up. We watch nature wake with the first rounds of colors – from forsythia to crocus to tulips to daffodils. We watch dogwoods and magnolias bud and the first new tender leaves change the stark and gray-brown views along our highways to light, faint, mint green. Nature’s awake.

The energy of spring reactivates our energy. We shed our winter doldrums and step outside, taking in the smell of a new world – warmer, greener, more fragrant and more welcoming. This welcome can encourage us to see ourselves differently.

We had dinner with another couple last night. One of the couple has used this change of seasons to shed the old and to step into the new. He changed his exercise program to include more time outside – walking, investigating and connecting to his world. He changed his look with a neater, trimmer hairstyle and chic hip glasses. I asked what had inspired the change. He shared that there was a new and better self wanting to surface and that spring inspired this change. He is happier, healthier and more connected to his life. His relationships are stronger, his approach to work has improved and his time with his kids is better. A season change inspired his personal change. Brilliant.

Lessons?

  1. Let the “wake-up” rhythm of the season inspire us with new energy, ideas and plans. Make an intention to get up earlier and spend more time with your day, the people in it and the dreams that it inspires. Pull the family together and brainstorm ways for all of its members to embrace it and use the new energy to improve their outlook, effort and approach to life. Implement your ideas. Have a plan. Act.
  2. See the colors of spring as a reminder to add more color to our lives. Make an intention to connect more with the people who matter in your life. Do things that feed your spirit and soul. Plan an adventure. Paint your walls. Buy a new bright article of clothing. Bring flowers into the house. Play more music. Open the windows. Buy a new flowering plant. Shed the winter grays in favor of vibrant spring colors.
  3. See the arrival of spring as a gift. Trees with new leaves, gardens of flowers, sounds of birds, footprints of deer and the fragrances of the season are all gifts of spring. Make an intention to notice and appreciate these gifts. With the arrival of spring to many parts of the country, our views have almost instantaneously changed from somber to vivid. Notice it. Spend time with it. Appreciate it. Share it. Love it.

Spring inspires energy – wake up and show up big to life. What intentions can you make to use today’s energy to awaken a bigger, better, greater you?

Nature is showing and sharing its best. Seems like a great time for us to do the same.

Super Spring Detox Foods

detox foodsI live in a northern climate so the end of winter signals a new season of fresh produce and nutrition-rich foods.  Even though all these foods are available from the grocery store in the winter, getting them straight out of the garden or fresh-picked at a farmers’ market early in the growing season can’t be beat.

When it comes to cleansing your body of harmful toxins, food really is the best medicine.  Many of your favorite foods also cleanse the liver, kidneys, skin, intestines, and other detoxifications systems.  Add more of these nutritious and delicious spring time foods to your diet to help ward off the harmful effects of pollution, food additives, second-hand smoke, and other toxins.

Artichokes—increase bile production. Bile helps the intestines eliminate toxins from the body. They also contain a substance that helps the liver break down fatty acids, reducing its already immense load.

Asparagus– an excleent source of vitamin K and folate.  Asparagus also contains vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, niacin, folate, manganese, potassium, magnesium and selenium.  Due to its high folate content it is a particularly good option for pregnant women.

Garlic—helps cleanse harmful bacteria, intestinal parasites, and viruses from the body, especially from the blood and intestines. It also helps cleanse buildup from the arteries and lowers blood pressure. Garlic has anti-cancer and antioxidant properties that help detoxify the body of harmful substances. It also helps cleanse the respiratory tract by expelling mucous buildup in the lungs and sinuses. I am referring to fresh garlic, not garlic powder, which has virtually none of the above properties.

Onions—demonstrate powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer activity. Onions also thin and cleanse the blood and lower LDL cholesterol without lessening HDL cholesterol. Onions also help detoxify the respiratory tract and fight asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, and diabetes. Onions help cleanse the body of viruses and the intestines of harmful bacteria.

Watercress—increases detoxification enzymes in the body and acts on cancer cells in the body. In a study at the Norwich Food Research Centre in the United Kingdom, smokers who were given 170 grams of watercress per day eliminated higher than average amounts of carcinogens in their urine, thereby eliminating them from their body.

Adapted from Weekend Wonder Detox by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, ROHP (DaCapo, 2014)

Check out my new book 60 Seconds to Slim.  Subscribe to my free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more.  Follow my blog on my site HealthySurvivalist.com, Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.  

A Lesson in Resilience

cherry tree resilienceOne of my brothers still lives on Cape Cod, the place where my 5 siblings and I grew up. This is noteworthy for two reasons – first, he is a scenic photographer – he captures amazing shots of nature; second, Cape Cod and New England has had snowstorm after snowstorm this winter. This has created one of his latest works – the amazing flowering cherry tree in his front yard in each of the four seasons. Amazing flowers in spring, great dense green leaves in summer, amazing fiery reds and orange foliage in fall and the bare brown trunk blanketed under epic snow in winter. This bold tree is resilient; it shows up powerfully in each season. It inspires my intention to be more resilient.

The lesson from the cherry tree is that we too are capable of shining no matter what happens. We are resilient to handle the seasons – and by seasons I mean the constant changes in our lives. We meet sunny days where things are going our way – we flower, we shine. We meet stormy days that seem unfair, unrelenting and scary. When we are intentional and determined about connecting to our inner greatness and strength – to the power deep in us – we find we have access to amazing resilience. This helps us show up strong and committed to life, regardless what comes our way.

It still amazes me that this tree can survive in temperatures from minus 10 to nearly 100 degrees. It stands there and faces what comes, doing what it does best – living its truest self. It doesn’t lament the rains or wind. It doesn’t give up when it snows. It doesn’t wish that its leaves would remain all year – it allows them to change color and sends them off to make room for new ones. It partners with life; it allows life.

We however, like to plan and control everything in life. And when things don’t go according to plan, we find fault. We get angry. We blame. We quit. We feel at the affect of our world – at odds with it.

Or, we could learn from this cherry tree. We could see that we have the strength and resilience to see the blessing in every event, and not to fight with life but live it as it is delivered. “Anyone can be cooperative, patient and understanding when things are going well and life is good. But it is the noble man or woman who can behave with grace and compassion, and even kindness, when times are bad,” shares Garr Reynolds, blogger of Presentation Zen. My intention is to be noble and act with grace, compassion and kindness regardless of what happens in life.

Resilience, or grit, is what enables us to show up committed to life when life sends snowstorm after snowstorm. Resilience is what enables us to show up big to life when our idea didn’t work, the relationship failed, or the job was lost. As the great Japanese proverb says, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” We can choose to bounce back – we can choose to see what was, understand it, learn from it and get back into life’s driver’s seat. We, like the flowering cherry in my brother’s front yard, can just keep on keepin’ on. Resilient. Strong. Committed. Determined. Intentional. Living our greatness and ready for the next moment of life – whatever that might look like.

Find your resilience role model – nature, a pet or even a person. Mine is this amazing cherry tree. Let it share its wisdom with you; learn from it and let it inspire you to be intentional and purposeful about living powerfully, positively and resiliently no matter what comes your way.

4 Reasons To Put Spring Cleaning On Your Family Agenda

parentingspringcleaningAh, spring. A time of rebirth and renewal. A beautiful time to lighten your load and refresh your spirit. A perfect time to clean up and clean out the excess trappings of life.

Ah, spring cleaning.

I have a confession to make. My first spring cleaning exercise this year involved taking down my Christmas tree. Yes, it came down before Easter… but not much before. It was definitely spring.

My second spring cleaning task? Peeling the purple and orange lights out of the shrubbery in front of my house. Those would be the ones that I put out for last Halloween, only we got an early snow and I never actually replaced them with the sparkly white lights reserved for Christmas.

Hmm.

For me, spring cleaning often feels like a game of catch up. I come out of hibernation sometime in March and finally get motivated to do all the jobs that I’ve been contemplating throughout the cold, low-energy months of winter. I guess the good news here is that I do (eventually) get motivated.

Eventually.

I love the whole idea of spring cleaning. It is helpful for everyone, I think, but absolutely critical for families with growing children. And I think it is totally consistent with the practice of conscious parenting. Clearing space for conscious living is a physical as well as mental (and spiritual) endeavor.

Just in case you need a little extra motivation yourself, here are four great reasons to put spring cleaning on your family’s agenda:

Reason #1: Atrophy and Decay

Like it or not, life takes a little maintenance. When it comes to house and home — or car and yard — winter is a tough season. The world is cold and dark and frequently covered in snow. While the elements are battering the exteriors of our property, house-bound kids are beating up the interior.

Even with the best of intentions, home maintenance projects take a back seat to the Christmas holidays, winter sports and an inborn desire to snuggle in front of that warm fireplace.

You know how it goes. Cars become crusted with mud and road salt. Paint peels. Clutter accumulates.

Take a walk around your house and yard. Do you see anything that needs a little TLC? Maybe it’s time to start a list of potential spring cleaning projects. Don’t worry… you won’t have to do it all today.

Reason #2: Growing Families

By definition, we grow out of stuff on a regular basis: shoes, clothes, toys, books and sports equipment. Depending on the age of your children, you may also be growing out of furniture — like high chairs, trundle beds and baby carriages.

For the truly organized among us, there is already a process in place. We diligently sort through our cold weather clothes, packing them up according to size and carefully storing them for next winter. We bring out the warm weather clothes, all neatly packed from last season and ready to be shaken out and hung in closets or folded into drawers. Anything that we’ve outgrown goes to younger relatives or the thrift store.

For those of us still stuffing Christmas decorations into the far reaches of the basement, extra attention is required. And for those of us still hoarding baby clothes because we cannot bear to part with our child’s Blue’s Clues overalls (they looked so cute!!)… well, extreme action may be called for.

Take a few deep breaths and look at your children. Accept that they are growing up — it is a natural part of life. What has your family outgrown? It’s okay to let go, just a bit. Take your spring cleaning To-do list and add tasks as needed.

Reason #3: Maturing Adults

As adults, we continue to grow out of things, as our focus (hopefully) shifts from the accumulation of material goods to the growth of spirit. Spring is the perfect season for recognizing and releasing the clutter of our youth — all the stuff that we acquire, use briefly and then just hang onto for no really good reason.

As we mature, we might naturally need less stuff to make us feel good about our lives. As we watch our parents age and our children grow, we come to find that relationships and experiences account for most of the joys in life.

Those pristine Partridge Family albums from 1972? Not so much.

For many of us, this clutter becomes an anchor, holding us back both physically and emotionally from the adventures of life. If you are afraid to have friends over to socialize because your kitchen / living room / garage / driveway is serving as a storage shed for all those things that are too “valuable” to part with, you know what I mean.

Spring is a time for big projects. These can be big as in, “I need to paint the house,” or big as in “I need to grow up now.” Don’t forget… as parents, we are teachers. With conscious parenting comes a greater awareness of the major and minor choices of our everyday lives.

What lessons are you teaching your children? Is your behavior sending the messages you would choose, if you chose them consciously? Perhaps you want to help them learn how to care for what will probably be the greatest financial investment they will ever make. Or do you want to teach them how to live more lightly on our planet — accumulating less clutter and producing less waste?

How does spring cleaning fit in your conscious parenting practice?

Reason #4: You Deserve It

Spring is a natural time for a major cleansing because we are coming out of the stillness of winter, ready for action. We are reawakening physically, mentally and spiritually. With the snow melting, the sun shining and temperatures warming, we can feel our blood stir and energies rise.

Take a moment to shift your focus. Try to stop viewing spring cleaning as something onerous. It is more than a chore and less than an overwhelming obligation. Think of spring cleaning as a gift that you give to yourself. It will get you moving — mindy, body and spirit. It will help you shake off your winter blues and open you up to growth and renewal.

It will feel really, really good when you are done.

Take a few moments to prepare. Go outside, if you can, and feel the fresh spring air on your skin. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Absorb the sounds and smells of the season — fresh flowers blooming, the chirping of birds. The hum of bees.

Give thanks, for the absolute perfection of the universe. Give thanks for spring and the season of cleansing. Accept this opportunity to make positive change in your life.

What a gift!

Related Posts:

Recharge your batteries with “Welcome, Spring!”

For additional inspiration, see “Eight Great Ways to Keep Your Family Organized.”

Originally published in 2011

5 Intents to Help You Rejuvenate Your Finances this Spring

 

First blossoms of Spring, the season of renewal and rebirth

Earlier this week the vernal equinox heralded in the much anticipated Spring season with the cold, short and dreary days of winter eventually giving way to longer, warmer and sunnier days. The arrival of Spring signifies a time of rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation – a time for new beginnings, new possibilities and new hope since that which lay dormant in the winter is now able to blossom and flourish. In fact, in my Persian heritage, the arrival of Spring marks the beginning of the Persian New Year (Norooz, literally “New Day”) which we honor, as we have for thousands of years, as a season for renewal, both within ourselves as individuals as well as in nature and the world all around us.

This spirit of renewal can be applied to anything in our lives and given my role/expertise in helping my clients learn about money and personal financial matters, the message which I’d like to share with those who wish to rejuvenate their finances is that there’s no better time to get started than during this beautiful season of renewal. Of course, there is no cookie cutter formula since everyone has different aptitudes, life circumstances, goals, etc. Also, the  process of becoming more financially literate and empowered does not happen overnight. It is a habit, which if adopted consistently over time, can become a valuable asset to one’s life with far-reaching ramifications.

For those of you who have a desire to take control of your financial health but don’t know exactly where to start, the first step is to begin with a commitment toward adopting a new mindset and an openness to a new way of doing things. With consistent daily practice of keeping your hearts open and your minds ready to accept new and positive messaging, it will become easier for you to take the steps necessary to identify and work toward reaching your own unique financial goals. Focus on making small changes, but do so consistently to yield big results.

In celebration of the season of renewal, I’m dedicating my inaugural post on the Intent Blog to the community of individuals who seek financial empowerment. I’m honored to share with you a series of five intents which can be incorporated into your daily consciousness to help you create the proper mental and spiritual environment for improved financial wellness. Whether you choose to focus on a single intent or all five, make sure to connect with the chosen intent(s) on a consistent basis (ideally daily) since the application of a consistent effort is the key to success in anything that we do in life.

  • Intent #1:  I acknowledge that my financial wellness is a vital component of my overall wellness (which includes the wellness of my mind, body and spirit).
  • intent #2: With improved financial health I will be better able to be a force of positive change in the world.
  • Intent #3: By being mindful of my finances today, I will ensure a better future for myself and for my loved ones.
  • Intent #4: My finances are aligned with my beliefs and attitudes. My finances reflect who I am (and who I want to be).
  • Intent #5: I have the power to change my habits, thoughts and emotions about money. I will replace past mistakes and bad habits with positive inspirations and healthy habits each day.

As I stated before, there is no cookie cutter formula. There are as many unique ways to incorporate these intents into your life as there are unique individuals so feel free to find a method that works best for you. Based on my experience with my clients, I find that the individuals who are best able to harness the power of these intents are those who write them down, either in a journal or on index cards. As impactful as it is to fill your mind with positive thoughts, you’d be amazed by the power of writing your thoughts down on paper. Once you allow yourself to engage in some form of written self-expression, you’ll notice a tremedous release of creative energy from within. Whatever method you choose to follow as far as incorporating these intents in your life, make sure that it fits comfortably within your overall schedule and lifestyle. Start with baby steps and then expand as you need to over time.

I hope that these intents will be a useful first step in your journey toward financial empowerment and I look forward to sharing more posts with you in the future. If you have any comments, insights, etc., feel free to connect with me on this blog or via Facebook or Twitter.

Wishing you success,

Lili

President & Founder, Empowered Bookkeeping LLC

4 Tips to Spring Clean Inside and Out

Street Cleaner in Beijing

Spring is the perfect time to clear away the old and begin anew. In Feng Shui we want to clear out the physical space. In the spiritual world of metaphysics we want to clear out our interior. Here is a simple check-list to maximize your spring cleaning:

1. Clear out closets and junk drawers of unwanted items and things that no longer serve you. This helps you think more clearly – it truly does. After all, stuff is just stuff. Ask yourself; does this reflect who I am now and who I want to become? If so keep it. If not, chuck it!

2. Space cleanse using Dragon’s Blood Aura Cleanse spray or candles. Stuck stagnant energy needs to be cleared out after the winter. Space Cleansing has many techniques including Karen Kingston, the space cleansing expert. Do not use sage, because unless you are a Native American and this is your magic you will amplify whatever negative energy is in your space. Better to clear it out using Aura Cleanse (visit your local spiritual shop or visit www.AnitaRosenberg.com.)

3. Clear out toxic relationships. Yes, friends and other people carry with them toxic vibes as much as your environment. Take a moment to list the positive loving people in your life and those who constantly drain and depress you. You don’t have to be mean about it – but it’s time to release those toxic relationships so you can attract fabulous new folks into your life.

4. Get an astrology reading. Knowing what is in store for you according to your astrology chart is powerful. It helps you tap into your true potential and create a good solid game plan. Western Astrology is more popular here and you will surely find someone at your local spiritual book store. Vedic Astrology is what they use in India. BaZi Chinese Astrology is my area of expertise. As one of the few people in the West doing this type of work, I will tell you it was originally used to personalize your Feng Shui. I use it as a stand-alone practice and it is extremely accurate. Whatever you pick – create your game plan for success.

Have a super Spring!

Celebrate Spring Allergy-Free: 10 Natural Remedies for Seasonal Sniffles

(cc) by wcn247's

The history of celebrating Spring is thousands of years old. It is the day that there are 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. It is the celebration of the vernal equinox. There are two equinox’s per year, occurring around March 21 and September 21. An equinox is when the earth is neither facing toward nor against the sun. The center of the Sun is in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. The earth is balanced.

For centuries, people across the entire world have celebrated spring as the time of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. Spring months are defined in most places as March, April and May. These are the months that the snow starts to melt, temperatures rise, the days are longer and plants are blooming. Spring is seen as a time of renewed excitement about life. It is the awakening of the dead from a long winter.

(cc) Rich Anderson

Spring is also a time of turbulent and unpredictable weather patterns as the cold air mixes with the warm air. In perfect timing with this wonderful day, we had thunderstorms and flooding yesterday here in Texas and today, it’s slightly colder with beautiful blue skies and no rain.

With the blooming of the trees, flowers and changing weather patterns, people also suffer from allergies due to the increased pollen and climate changes. As I sit home sick, due to a sinus headache, on the first day of Spring, I can’t help thinking about the timing of my illness. While I may be suffering from a stuffy nose and head, I look outside and can’t help but notice the beauty that the rains and warmer temperatures have brought. And so, like the earth, I search for balance between the turbulent storms and the beauty that new life brings.

A follower of meditation, yoga and natural remedies, I am taking this day to balance myself so I too can renew this Spring. Like me, you also might suffer from allergies. Here are some natural remedies that I have found to help with a stuffy head. These remedies may not work as fast as some of the over the counter remedies you can take but in the long run, these methods last a lot longer and make you feel clean, refreshed and renewed.

  1. Drink lots of water, hot tea (such as a sinus tea with nettle – Celestial Seasonings makes a great one), green drinks and smoothies.
  2. Eat hot soup.
  3. Clean out your sinuses by taking a hot bath or shower then doing a sinus irrigation.
  4. Place your face over boiling water with a few drops of eucalyptus oil.
  5. Use a nasal spray (water mixed with a little bit of salt) hourly.
  6. Rest. Sleep some, read, or watch TV.
  7. Exercise. When you feel well enough, sweating and getting your heart-rate up will help you detox.
  8. Meditate.
  9. Do some light yoga.
  10. Mix 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar with 1 tbsp honey (preferably local) in a cup of warm water and sip throughout the day.

That’s it. If you can do these things you will not only feel better, you will be balanced and be in alignment with the changing seasons of the earth and your life.

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photos by: wcn247 & Rich Anderson