Celebration of Life

After my mother passed away in early 2021, we were not able to have a funeral due to the pandemic. The funeral has been delayed until late summer or early fall when it is safer for people to come together in larger groups.

As I began to prepare for my mother’s “funeral”, I was corrected and told that it would be her “celebration of life”. Although the terminology changed, to me it was still a funeral, saying goodbye and putting closure on her life on earth.

I thought about the term, “celebration of life” and realized that we should celebrate life everyday, not just when someone passes. For most of us, we get into our daily routines and often take life for granted, such as saying good morning or saying goodnight to our loved ones, seeing the sun rise or set each day, or feeling the wind on our face. We even take for granted the earth that we walk on.

Don’t wait until someone passes away to have a “celebration of life”. Celebrate life everyday, in every way possible. Celebrate your work, your family, and the food that you eat. Celebrate each breath that you take and every step that you walk. Celebrate your short life on this planet. Never take a single day for granted.

Celebrate your life today in some way that honors your journey. Be alive, be present to all that is.

Climb, Conquer and Succeed!

Life Warrior: The Everyday Summit is a motivational self-help guide in which you will take the journey of your lifetime, that of becoming a leader and warrior within.

Providing everyday tools, Life Warrior challenges you in the areas of personal growth, relationships and addictions. Travel to your very own personal summit, and never look back as you make powerful life changes.

As a warrior, your journey is a solo one in which you will commit to a new path, one of personal strength and power that will ultimately lead to a new life.

A Time for Renewal

Easter is about new life, renewal and rebirth.

What can you say goodbye to, what can you release or what no longer serves you?

Use this time to renew your body, your mind and spirit. Getting out of old routines that prevent you from being the best you can be is essential as we move forward in spring. Take one step today to make tomorrow better.

Physical Needs:

Take a walk, a hike, go biking and explore. Do something active that makes your body stronger.

Emotional Needs:

Release the past, forgive someone who has hurt you, and stop being hard on yourself.

Spiritual Needs:

Listen to the sound of the wind, say a prayer, meditate. Connect to god or spirit.

Easter is a powerful day to begin anew. Take one step to make your life better.

Seed Sisters

Over twenty years ago, I met a young woman who was stationed in England and was living and exploring the country. Different circumstances had brought us both to the UK, yet despite our differences we became instant friends until one day, the military shipped her to Japan, where she continued her career and I remained in England for another ten years.

We lost contact with each other as quickly as we had met, and life took us both in completely different directions. Years passed as we lost contact; then one day she sent me a message. We continued to touch base from time to time, the years and England were now part of our pasts. Somehow we reconnected again and started to share our stories, our experiences together in the olive markets of London, and of our journeys far apart.

Now I live in the vast Midwest, and she continues to travel. Although my house is small, she lives even tinier, as she travels and lives in an RV and explores the beautiful southwestern United States.

On days that I need a bit of encouragement or inspiration, she texts me photos of her artwork, or places that she explores that take me on fun adventurous journeys. I get to experience the raw beauty of New Mexico, mine for geodes in the desert mountains, and watch as she paints in the setting sun.

Although we are over a thousand miles apart, we now have more contact than we ever did before as we both plant seeds of hope and inspiration on our earthly journey of ours, together, yet also apart.

My longtime friend is now on the road again traveling, with no zip code in sight. I know that she is living life tiny in her shared RV as she travels to unknown and unfamiliar places, so I decided to create her something special, a miniature clay garden that can travel with her as she explores, or that can be left behind for others to plant lifelong friendship seeds that might grow, blossom and flourish too.

Life randomly and intentionally brings people into our lives. I had no idea on a fateful summer’s day in London over 20 years ago that I would meet a seed sister who would blossom and grow with me, my entire life.

Seed sisters on the grow!

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.