I’m a huge believer that your environment is a reflection of your psyche. I’m often taking a glimpse of my environment to give me feedback on what is really going on energetically.
Try it. Look at your environment right now. What do you see? This is your energy. This is what you give off energetically to the world and attract. While I asked myself this very question the other day, I found myself looking at the obvious – my petite Manhattan apartment. It was giving me instant feedback on how balanced I was after spending all morning cleaning and tidying up. Saturday mornings for me are always my clean up day. I get up, walk and feed the dog. Then, I walk a few blocks to the bakery and grab a chocolate croissant and a tea latte. As soon as I get back to my apartment, off to cleaning I go. I actually enjoy it. It’s like a workout and by end of day, my life from the week before is back on reset. However, this Sunday after I thought I did a really thorough cleaning of my apartment the day before I looked a little further at my surroundings and for some reason my focus landed on my only plant in my apartment. Yes, my only plant. This plant has been through the trenches with me. It’s called a snake plant or Mother-in-laws Tongue plant, named after it’s thick, hearty straight leaves that stand tall like a column. This plant is more than 10 years old and has been in three different apartments with me, even a 2 month bout in a dark storage space couldn’t kill this thing. Apparently, the plant just thought it was in hibernation for 2 months.
I live in an apartment with abundant light all year long, so it’s ideal for plants to flourish. When I focused in on my plant, I almost didn’t recognize it. I said to myself, oh dear, how could I have neglected this little guy who has been so loyally a sign of life to me? There were dead dried up leaves in with the green ones, the leaves that are usually stiffly upright we are falling over the edges of the pot. I immediately sighed- talk about my environment being a reflection of myself. How telling.
I am one to neglect my own personal life for work. I always have and I felt it this last spring when I was told I caught mono (which is very unusual for a someone in their 30s). So, until the end of the summer I was doing my best to get my immune system back in shape and feel strong again, but feeling strong again did not just mean physically. It meant getting back to my life, having a personal life that I neglected for months in lieu of a very demanding job. I had put my personal needs aside for everyone else’s and it resulted in being physically tired and my immune system had weakened to the point that it couldn’t fight off picking up this virus. I was giving beyond what allowed me to remain balanced. The plant was very clearly telling me I had dried up things that need to be tended to and brought back to life and there were also old habits or ideas that died in me that I was happy to release. It ultimately reminded me that I have to be sure to nurture myself every day. After I picked out the dead leaves, tilled the soil and gave it some water I put it in a new spot in my apartment. Every morning I open the drape of the window it sits in so it gets the first light of the sun and I talk to it. I will nurse this plant back to health just like I am brining and nursing myself back to wholeness and balance. I neglected my personal needs just like I neglected my plant. My little plant taught me to really slow down in the moment and really look at what is right in front of you and that nothing is more urgent than your self care and balance. So, I am making sure I sleep more and that I’m not answering work emails all hours of the day and night seven days a week. Despite the fact that I walk a good bit around the city, I also make time to take a Pilates class or play tennis because these are big stress relievers for me. Night time and weekend time is for me so I can be my best self and if I don’t insist that it is, the universe will be sure to tell me so.
What surrounds you every day? Is it a loving atmosphere, are you positive to those around you and do you feel positive around them? What about your “things”- Are they half put away or half completed? Are there piles of things to get done? Are your floors swept and shelves dusted? What’s in your refrigerator and cabinets? Are they nourishing, life force foods? Are things orderly and in place? Is your environment one that is welcoming and calm that fosters good energy because we all deserve this. Do you need help with your projects in order to finish them? Can a spouse or friend help you clean up the energy of unfinished business so you have a fresh place to start from? Is all in order as this new year approaches? If so, that’s awesome. Keep the good energy going. If not, look around you and keep listening and looking until your environment tells you things have changed for the better. You will know because it will literally transform before your eyes.
Happy New Year!
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As Dec. approached, I was pondering themes for my Twitter and Facebook posts. During a brainstorming session, the topic of stress relief during the holiday was suggested by a friend. I sat and thought on this for a little over a day and even started to write out the typical effective stress relief tools out there- taking deep breaths, going for a walk, music, meditation etc.
I said to myself: nope, this isn’t the answer.
And then my intuition came barreling through me, reminding me that the only real stress relief is helping or giving to others. That is when I decided that everyday, I would post a company or product that gives back. Using the hashtag #g1veeveryday, I wanted to remind people that yes, it helps stress to take a deep breath or go for a walk, but if anyone really wants to get out of that energy space of stress, then they just have to stop and give. Help a child, help a stranger, open the door for someone, call a relative, just be kind to someone or order a present that gives back and learn about that charity. All of these things stop stress and, I would say, giving is the #1 stress reliever out there.
Here’s my list of gifts that give back for anyone stressing about what to buy someone this holiday season. If you can’t find a gift, why not just learn about one or two of the charities and be aware. See how much you have to be grateful for. There is always someone else in a more difficult situation than the one you are facing. Happy Holidays, and wishing you less stress in the New Year!
#g1veeveryday list of Gifts that give back tweets:
1. For the music enthusiast: http://www.lstnheadphones.com
2. For the beauty product lovers out there: http://www.lushusa.com
3. For the animal lover: http://www.heifer.org
4. More beauty products that give back: http://www.kiehls.com
5. Rugged jewelry made from repurposed keys: http://www.thegivingkeys.com/
6. Tote and backpack lover: http://www.stoneandcloth.com/
7. Human Rights Advocates: http://shop.hrc.org
8. Fun pajama pant lover: http://intlprincess.org/
9. Socks for any stocking: http://www.mitscoots.com
10. Blanket lover: http://www.blanketamerica.com
11. Donate toward Fair Food Movement: http://www.foodchainsfilm.com
12. Easy to pack sneakers by Toms: http://www.target.com
13. Hobo bag lover & other products: http://ssekodesigns.com
14. Supports the Metropolitan Museum and its programs http://store.metmuseum.org
15. Desk accessory benefiting St. Judes: http://www.westelm.com
16. Great go to bags for anything: http://www.feedprojects.com
17. More beauty product options that gives back: http://christmas.thebodyshop.com
18. The book lover with 100% of proceeds fighting hunger: http://moneymasterthegame.com
19. For the tea lover benefiting the fight against AIDS: https://www.harney.com
20. Choose the charity you would like to benefit from your purchase: http://www.uncommongoods.com
I’m happy to write that my book website, Solitary Genius is now updated. Specifically, a new Resources tab has been created for educators who use Solitary Genius as a part of their course curriculums. Coming soon, I will also add a Discussion Guide for Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology and Education classes, along with Extension Activities. If you know of any educator, parent or student who you feel may find Solitary Genius of interest, please do pass my website link along as it is ALWAYS appreciated.
Working. Yes, working like crazy. You see that house in the picture that the dogs are running toward in the distance? That was my modern day Downton Abbey this past summer. It wasn’t a leisurely summer, I can assure you of this fact. I’ve been back in the city since mid September and it’s taken me until now to actually find some time to sit down and write. Wow, I’ve missed my writing. It’s good to be back.
The Monuments Men is the story of a group of men in WWII who rescued some of the greatest art in history stolen by Nazi theives. I LOVE this movie. No, it’s not the action packed Hunger Games type movies that we have these days, but it’s a true story of WWII history that we should all know. There are so many heroes during any war whose stories aren’t in books or on a movie screen and I’m happy this one made it to the big screen. My grandfather, Lieutenant Colonel Charles A. Grennan had his own stories of bravery during WWII that will most likely never make it to the big screen, but hopefully will be preserved and passed on through family generations. Lieutenant Colonel Charles A. Grennan was an Engineer in charge of the 294th Engineer Combat Battalion. I know from my Mother that during his service he saved all of his men by getting each and every one of them off a sinking ship to safety. Another interesting fact is that as a head engineer of his Battalion he had an artist with him at all times to render drawings and with that, our family has original drawings from WWII of pontoon bridges that he built to get troops across the Rhine River and other waterways. He would name some of those bridges he built in Europe after our family. I wish I knew more, but I don’t. I do imagine The Monuments Men story would make my Grandfather proud. That is, proud that one of his many granddaughters knows one more triumph that his sacrifices and all those in service made during such a heart wrenching time in history.