A Life Restricted

For those of us who live in northern climates, the transition into a lengthy cold and dark period may be especially difficult as the pandemic continues to spread and increase in numbers across the nation.

So how do we survive a life that feels more restricted than ever? Making the transition may not be easy, but this is the time in our lives when we can stop running, wasting our time on meaningless activities, fix what is broken and release what no longer serves us.

As humans, life is not perfect, and sometimes during changes and extremely hard transitions, there are gifts in the darkness, like diamonds in the raw, waiting for us to find them.

I challenge you during these times to re-invent yourself, re-discover your passions, and let go of who or what no longer serves you. Use this time to make the most out of your life. Each day offers a new beginning. As life continues to feel restrictive, use it as an opportunity to let your authentic self shine.

Consulting Clouds LLC Healing body, mind and spirit.

Lucky’s Worry Box

Lucky’s Worry Box is a story about a cat that is unable to tell his parents about his worries, so he hides his worries underneath his food in his lunch box.

Sometimes, like Lucky the cat, children are unable to verbalize or talk about how they feel or what they worry about and need help expressing their feelings.

This book was written to help kids talk about their worries through the use of storytelling. The third in a series of children’s books including Lucky and the Stinky Cheese Man, a book about blended families, and Feckle Head, a tale about overcoming anger and bullying.

Rock Scrambling

Yesterday’s adventure had an unexpected find as we came across a huge rock mound in the middle of flat barren farm lands. The rock wall was an odd and unusual surprise as rock scrambling has always been one of my passions. As you can see from the photo, this rock wall was painted with art and graffiti, and the view was amazing of the changing season.

I have been searching each week for different activities to keep myself busy and entertained during this ongoing time of social distancing.

If you don’t have any nearby rocks to climb, look for a new trail, city street, river walk or mountain hike. Wherever you are, there is something to explore!

Is Your Pet an Old Crank?

We all love cats and dogs.  I have a rescue cat named Lucky that I have had for 11 years.  The vet thought at the time of rescue that he was about 4 years old, so that makes him around 15.  He has traveled with me around the country and has lived in the forest, desert, ocean and mountains.  He has provided me with hours of entertainment and comfort.

With aging pets, there comes some challenges.  Luckily for me, Lucky, has not had any serious health issues, but I’ve notice his behavior changes from time to time and that he sometimes misses a step when he runs up the stairs.  He also tries to get in my face when he wants a cat treat and gets annoyed when I wake him up.

Pets are like people in that they need more sleep and become more cranky in their daily routines.  Regardless Lucky gets lots of love and attention as I take care of him in his old age.  We continue to play by stalking each other around the house and run after each other when he feels up to it.  He makes me laugh, even when he has had enough and tries to nip at me to let me know he is done playing.

Sometimes I get sad when I see how much he has aged and know that when the time comes that he leaves me, I will deeply mourn my beloved cat.  Until then, I take the best care of him possible and am truly grateful for each day that we have together.

Fall Chaos

I’ve noticed over the years that fall seems to be a time of significant change for many.  There appears to be a lot of loss, health issues and abrupt endings, and with the pandemic in full swing, numbers are increasing nationwide making a difficult time of the year even more challenging.

As the leaves begin to fall and the earth prepares to go into dormancy for the long winter months, this is a time to let go of what is no longer needed.  Sometimes we make those changes ourselves and other times it is forced upon us as we say goodbye to people we love, health issues arise or things are out of our control.

Fall is a time of endings and beginnings. It is a paradox of beauty and pain.  In the northern hemisphere we see less light in the sky, the plants fade and return to the earth, and our bodies, minds and spirit adjust to all the changes.  Some people long for the cold dark winter skies and others crave sunshine.  Wherever you are in life, embrace it, allow what needs to fall away or leave your life go, and find joy and beauty in what is there.  Together we can help each other through this season of changes.

Be grateful for today as tomorrow may be totally different.

 

Plant Based Diets

I never thought years ago when I was first diagnosed with a dairy allergy, that someday there would be a huge selection of plant based foods to choose from. There are now so many options to eat healthier foods that are lower in calories, rich in nutrients and are not so destructive on the environment.

After having health issues for years due to developing a dairy allergy, it was a struggle giving up my beloved cheese, but once it was out of my diet, my migraines and asthma healed and I lost weight.  Several people told me they would rather die than go without their cheese, over dramatic for sure, but I found several great substitutes that taste just as good or even better than the cows version.

Years before I started my plant based diet, I met a woman who was almost 100 pounds overweight.  She started making raw foods and meals, and it changed her life.  It was amazing to see her almost a year later as she had lost 100 pounds, her hair and skin were glowing, and she was the happiest she had ever been.  All the positive changes were a result of a single decision to make dietary changes, which affected all other areas of her life including physical and mental health and improved self-esteem.

I’m not suggesting you change your diet, but would encourage anyone to try some plant based foods and see if you notice a change in your energy level, complexion or weight.  You may be surprised at how a plant based diet affects you.  Research indicates that people who add more plant based foods into their daily diet have improved immune systems, a reduced in inflammation, lower cholesterol and stabilized blood sugars.

Even if you are not into plant based foods but are passionate about the environment, look at the impact of factory farming, which is not healthy for animals or people.

One of my favorite new foods is a “hamburger” made out of pea protein and beets.  It looks and tastes as good or even better than any hamburger I have ever eaten. It’s delicious!

Life is a journey and making some changes in food or diet can be a tasty adventure!

 

Rustic Rock Games

Ok, so this is weird, probably really weird, but I recently got into the painted rock scavenger hunt in my area and have been having fun biking and hunting the woodland trails of my local community for rock gems.  I have found some really cool rocks that I have added to my collection.  Some I keep, and others I re-hide, but recently I came across a piece of a tree that had been sawed into a thick slice.  I noticed that someone had used a chainsaw to cut criss cross lines across the top of the tree trunk that was left behind.

Being a lover of games, I decided to drag the large piece of wood home with me and used my wood burner to burn some solid lines into the top and then went out in search of round rocks which I painted with X and O’s and created a rustic, natural tic tac toe game that now sits on my front porch.

I know it’s weird, but the pandemic has ignited my creativity beyond art, writing and cooking, and now I’m thinking outside of the box, or in this case, outside of the rock.

Whatever you’re into, games, biking, hiking, creating, do something kind of crazy, you might just rock it!

 

 

Why You Need to Laugh

Laughing during a pandemic? Of course!

It is exactly at this time of emotional stress and physical isolation that we need to laugh the most. We are not laughing at the problem, or the global situation, but simply choosing to live in the moment and lighten our mood.

As a Certified Laughter Leader, I teach the health benefits of laughter. Not only does laughter fuel the body with much needed oxygen, but it also lifts the spirit and decreases negative emotions such as sadness or anger.

Laughter is a part of mindfulness and when we focus on what is good in our lives, what is going right or well, then we change our perspective. The theory behind laughter therapy is that laughter is truly the best medicine. Allowing yourself to let go and laugh by participating in some silly activities or just having fun, allows you to release physical and emotional stress and tension.

Life doesn’t change around you, but changes within you, when you make the decision to bring more laughter into your life. You may not feel like laughing, but giving yourself permission is the first step. If you watch children, they have a natural way of being joyful. Pets are another wonderful source of joy and happiness. Watching my cat chase a butterfly and running up and down the stairs provides me with brief moments of happiness.

Whatever you are doing, or wherever you are at this moment, think about a funny incident and give yourself permission to giggle, or spend the day giggling and releasing all of the yuck of the world.

Life will eventually change and become peaceful and safe again, but until then, find someone to laugh with, or laugh by yourself. It feels great and its healthy for you!

Turmeric Stir Fry and Lemon Crusted Tofu

Always on the look out for new foods, we recently found Wildcrafted Natural Organic Turmeric Paste at our local grocery store, so last night we made turmeric stir fry with lemon crusted tofu and it was delicious!  We used a cast iron wok, adding in some extra minerals into our already healthy meal!

Recipe:

Chop 2 cups organic broccoli, 1 cup carrots, 1 onion and any other veggie you desire

Cut super firm tofu into thin-medium slices and coat in gluten free flour and gluten free panko crumbs

Deep fry the tofu in avocado oil (or oil of your choice), turn over when brown

Fry veggies for approximately 5-7 minutes

Boil rice noodles for 5 minutes, add into wok with veggies, stir fry for extra 2 minutes and serve

Dipping Sauce

Veganaise – 1/2 cup, add a squeeze of lemon and some dried dill seasoning

Serve and enjoy!