Coping with Death and Embracing New Beginnings

In February of 2021, I unexpectedly said goodbye to my mother. Even though I had said goodbye several times over the years as she slowly began to drift away from Alzheimer’s Disease, I was still not prepared to lose her completely.

Although I help others heal through grief and loss, and have personally experienced loss myself, nothing truly prepared me for the emptiness that my mother’s passing left behind.

So I begin my own personal journey toward healing. I found a local atrium filled with tropical flowers and plants and sat for hours over days on rocks hidden from view. Sometimes I sat and cried, reflecting on my mother’s life and her death. I felt alone, lost, and abandoned. Then I began to notice the new growth that surrounded me. Even in the middle of a cold endless winter, new life, new beginnings were there.

My mother had passed, and although sad, I realized that life is a cycle of birth and death. The plants were a reminder that life never ends, it continues, blossoms and grows. My mom had transformed her frail, worn body into a beautiful angel’s trumpet flower that hung next to me on a nearby tree.

One day, a college girl came in and started working, labeling plants and fauna. On the way out, I asked her about the beautiful trumpet tree. It had a single, light pink flower.

“Does the tree blossom all year round?” I asked.

“It blooms when it’s stressed.” she replied. Right now it has water and everything it needs so there is only one flower.” It’s called the Angel’s Trumpet.

My heart melted. I was also blossoming while stressed and the Angel’s Trumpet flower was a reminder that my mom’s death meant that she too, was blooming and growing, along with me.

Love you mom!

Exploring Zanskar

Meet world-renowned Stanzin Nyibum. His passion for guiding tourists on adventure expeditions in and around beautiful Zanskar, a region in Ladakh, northwest India that is famous for its beautiful remote scenery and Buddhist monasteries, is second to none.

At an elevation of height of 13,154 ft, Zanskar Valley is a semi-arid region nestled in the Himalayas. People are drawn to the majestic snow-capped mountains, sparkling rivers and lush landscape. Close to China and Pakistan, it only takes a one hour flight from Delhi to get there, or for the more adventurous, you can arrive by helicopter.

If you are like me, and love to travel off the beaten path, remote places like Zanskar is truly a hidden gem. Stanzin, an experienced guide who takes care of your every need, creates a memorable adventure whether hiking, biking or on wildlife expeditions.

Zanskar attracts thousands of adventure lovers every year.  Some of the highest mountain passes are in Zanskar and requires trekking knowledge and experienced guides, like Stanzin.

In 2022, Zanskar Winter Sports Youth Festival will be held from January to March offering a variety of fun filled sporting events.

Explore the unique village of Padum and meet friendly locals.

Zanskar is not for your average tourist, but for those of us who have a wondering spirit, and a passion for adventure.

For more information contact: zanskar4travel@gmail.com

How to Stay Happy and Healthy

I don’t know about you, but somedays I feel like I have been living off grid for the past year as the pandemic continues to rage across the nation. Staying in isolation, lack of social contacts and loss of travel have all taken a toll.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the weather takes a horrible turn with over 10 days of below zero temperatures that stops me from taking my daily walks outside, one of the few things that I can still do to release the stress and tension of being pent up in isolation.

After releasing some frustration and surrendering to the fact that I am trapped indoors, I had to change my focus on how I could stay healthy and happy. For me, being outside in nature, walking on the ground, breathing in fresh air and seeing plants and wildlife, makes me feel alive, healthy, and happy. With the lack of what makes me feel well, I had to focus on new things that could also bring me a sense of healing. I quickly discovered that although I deeply missed being outdoors, that I could bring nature into my life in different ways. So I began a personal journey of how to stay healthy and happy while being confined indoors, which includes the following:

Bring nature into your house by filling your home with green plants and flowers.

Soak your feet in epsom salt. Add essential oils such as Juniper or Bergamot to get that connection with the earth.

Turn your bathroom into a personal spa. Take a warm shower using salt scrubs that are fused with essential oils. Turn on some relaxing music that helps you unwind.

Cook earthy grounding foods by using organic root vegetables. Make a healthy soup or stew.

Burn sage in your home. The combination of the sage and smoke not only clears your home’s energy, but also brings in the element of fire on cold wintery days.

Open the curtains and stand in the sunshine. We all need light to survive. The sun is a natural mood lifter for those of us stuck in the north or on dark winter days.

Light some candles as they create a feeling of warmth, spiritual connection and peace.

Nothing lasts forever. Although it feels as if the pandemic has lasted for an eternity, sometimes with little to no end in sight, the pandemic will eventually end and life will resume. Until then, I do my best to survive a cold and brutal winter and continue to connect with nature the best way that I can so that I stay healthy and happy. And you can too!

How to Change the World

You have more power than you realize. When you step into your own authentic power, you not only change your life, but the lives of those around you.

The first step is to become aware of your thoughts and how you view your life and the world around you. During challenging times, we have to look closely at how we think and respond to different situations and world views. We can easily get drawn into other’s anger or negativity, and unjustly so. Let’s look at our own personal lives. Do we live in peaceful homes and are our relationships positive and filled with joy? Do we support friends, family members, and community agency? If we don’t have peace in our own hearts, in our homes, and in our communities, then we live in a turbulent world. Peace is possible, but we need to personally make the decision to become the peace we desire.

By making the choice to become part of the solution, and to promote peace, always starts with making the choice to take peaceful steps to become part of the solution instead of spreading anger, hatred or judgments. No one wants to live in a stress filled, emotionally charged environment. Make the choice to start with yourself and to take steps to make peace your priority this year. Begin with yourself, your relationships, your family, and your community.

It’s been a rough year. Let’s work together to make a positive difference. A simple random act of kindness can spread across the country. Pay it forward and keep it going. Make peace the goal!

How to Find Happiness in Dark Places

During these difficult and challenging times, we went on a mission to find more happiness, and we found it in a variety of everyday places.

Rediscover your inner joy through art, dance and music. Reinvigorate your body and mind with the simple pleasures of play, cooking, and overall wellness.

Written as a guide to help you create a new kind of personal happiness that is not focused on external objects, material gains, or through temporary short term means, but instead creates a new awareness of how authentic happiness is found in unknown and unexplored places that are nevertheless readily attainable if we only seek them out.

Together we take you on an engaging, personal journey where you will discover ways to create personal happiness through different areas of life.

How to Create a New Kind of Happy in 2021

This last year has been a difficult challenge for many, including myself as we have all had to adjust to our world shutting down in the face of the pandemic, political unrest, and for many the loss of jobs, health issues and reduced social outings.

Being stuck at home and spending our days together, Tim and I knew we had to create a new kind of happy to survive not only the dark dreary winter, but also the ongoing and persistent pandemic. So we went on a personal pursuit of happiness, which resulted in our latest book, A Mindful Kind of Happy.

Not only did we discover new ways of having fun, but we had fun trying to have fun!

Although these are challenging times, there are also blessings to be found. Tim and I have had to learn how to have fun in a world without social outings, family reunions, vacation time or travel. It may sound difficult, and at first it was, but then we realized that all we had to do was to be mindful of what we already have.

How to Add More Laughter into 2021

There hasn’t been a lot to laugh about in 2020. With news of increasing COVID cases expected to rise after holiday celebrations, it may leave us feeling frustrated as we continue to isolate and socially distance. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t set goals to laugh more in 2021. On the contrary, we need to make the decision to bring more laughter into our lives.

Laughter therapy may sound extreme to some, but may be necessary after a long period of ongoing stress, illness, or moving into year two of pandemic fear. Most of us need more laughter after 2020 and one way to bring more happiness into our lives is through laughter therapy.

Through a series of simple, yet fun activities, turn false laughter into real laughter and before you know it, you will genuinely be laughing like crazy!

Join me if you want to learn new ways of alleviating stress and anxiety and how to bring more laughter and happiness into your life. I not only offer traditional talk therapy, but several alternative methods of healing and feeling better.

No matter what our life circumstances are, we can always add a bit of laughter. It doesn’t change or fix our problems, but it allows us time to heal and alleviates the stressors of life in a way that helps us to feel better. And you deserve that.

How to Survive a COVID Christmas

Holidays are a source of celebration for many, but this year due to the pandemic, we may struggle due to having to social distance and be separated from family members .

So how do you celebrate a Covid Christmas? Instead of focusing on who you can’t see for the holidays, think about who is already there with you. Celebrate the people that you see every day in your life. People often focus on who they miss or haven’t seen, yet the people that we take for granted need to feel valued and appreciated. If they were not in our lives, we would miss them too.

During this Covid Christmas, instead of focusing on loss, which you may have in the areas of jobs or career, loss of income, or lack of social interactions with friends and family connections, focus on what and who you currently have in your life. If you are in a relationship, celebrate that special person. Celebrate your kids, your friends, your cat, dog or other pet. Even if you find yourself alone, celebrate those who make a difference in your life and make plans to make new friends in the new year.

This Christmas will most likely be different for many of us, but it doesn’t have to be bad. Do something new this year to celebrate your life or even to celebrate the end of a difficult year, and remember that we are all truly going through this together, but in different ways.

This year start a new holiday tradition. It can be something simple such as making handmade Christmas ornaments, sharing stories with family members in person or via zoom, or taking a holiday hike through the forest or city streets. It doesn’t matter what you do, but make it something special that you enjoy.

Life has been a challenge, but through the adversities and loss, there are also blessings and gains. Take the time to acknowledge them and to celebrate them.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Somewhere in the Sky

Somewhere in the Sky adventures are waiting to take flight. Through a compilation of everyday travel, food foraging, and stories about human nature, learn to incorporate gratitude, laughter, hope and inspiration into your own life.

Read inspirational stories and guidance to inspire, motivate and encourage you to follow and embark upon your own everyday adventures to a healthier and happier life.

How to Practice Self-Care

There are many ways to take care of yourself, but it’s easy to forget to practice self-care. Sometimes we simply have to give ourselves permission to nurture ourselves. One of my favorite ways to release stress and tension and to feel grounded is to practice Qiqong.

Qiqong is an ancient Chinese practice, using life force or breath (Qi) combined with (Gong) gathering and movement. Together when you move the breath and body, you come to a place of stillness and peace.

There are thousands of variations of Qigong styles so it’s best to find one that resonates with you. Some practices have very slow repetitive movements and others have a vigorous or active style. Qiqong like any self-care practice is personable, so if you try one and don’t like it, try another!

Children, teens and adults all benefit from Qiqong. It’s a healthy and fun way to eliminate stress and to to keep the body in motion. Because practices are so individually different and unique, it’s easy to pull up YouTube and try a variety of different approaches. You may find that you have found a new way to practice self-care!

Below are two of my favorite Qiqong practice styles: