Posts tagged ‘peace’

February 28, 2014

I’ve Got to Get Away!

this way out

Hi, Friends! It’s Brooke here. Is busyness overtaking your life? Are you constantly weary and running on empty? We all have so much to juggle that we barely have time to breathe. If you can get away on a vacation, sweet! But what if your schedule or your wallet is a bit pinched? You don’t need a whole week away at a 5-star resort to get some peace in your life, though it would be a great start! Here’s my personal plan for getting away, if only for a little while.

1. Nature

Happy, hot, and muggy in Mexico!

Happy, hot, and muggy in Mexico!

Go where the wild things are. Go where you can take a deep breath and actually smell the air. Find the wind, search the wide open sky, find some water, or surround yourself with your favorite kind of plant therapy. To a nature-starved soul trapped in the city, even the greenhouse at Home Depot is warm, loamy, and vibrant. I could never articulate why my soul resonated so deeply with watching a fire burning in my fireplace or standing on the deck of a cruise ship, gazing at the horizon as the wind whipped my hair and the waves  broke below me. Then I found Martha Beck’s description of the soothing power of nature in The Joy Diet: “If your body is tired, seek out some fluidly moving part of nature: a fireplace, a river, a field of wind-blown wheat, a thundering surf. Watching and listening to the patterned disorder of the universe is one of the deep soul’s favorite pastimes.” Lovely . . .

2. Loved Ones

My sister, Paige, and I--love her so!!

My sister, Paige, and I–love her so!!

Find the person or people you love the most and just marinate in the happiness they bring you. You don’t have to do anything or go anywhere, unless doing so will bring you joy. My heart bubbles over in the presence of loved ones—it is therapy like none other for the craziness in my life. When I’m with people I treasure, I love to linger and no amount of time is ever enough. You know the quote, “Parting is such sweet sorrow . . .”? Absolutely true!

3. Animals

animal collage

Seek out some animal friends ASAP! If you love creatures like I do, there’s nothing that makes me more deliriously happy than petting an animal. Some people go crazy for (human) babies—for me, it’s animals. If I can’t touch a creature, I’m begrudgingly content just to watch them. My favorite hotel in Miami, The Biltmore, is famous for its two beautiful, old-fashioned finch aviaries. These cages are in the lobby, are home to at least 20 finches, and are the first things you see when you step into this glorious hotel. If you’ve not heard the sounds finches make, the tiny chirps are soft, constant, and sweet. I could watch and listen to those winged charmers for hours—so very soothing.

4. Free Time

If you are a spontaneous sort like me, having time unplanned is a precious thing. Having an end point at the end of a stretch of time (even for something fun) makes me feel boxed in and anxious. So, on a recent trip to see my sister and her family, we found ourselves momentarily without plans and it was heavenly. When you keep time unmarked by expectation, 1) you can relax and simply be and 2) you leave room for unexpected joys. We enjoyed our free time by visiting, chilling out, reading, and then lucky for me—a puppy play date happened! See, you never know what will happen when you relax your grip on life! 🙂

5. Joy Reading

A few of my favorite things . . .

A few of my favorite things . . .

This seems to be an obvious choice, but for hyper-achieving, busy people, setting down whatever instructional, educational thing you doing can be the first step to getting away for a bit. I’m always studying or preparing for something, and of course there’s never enough time in the day to do everything. So, when I need to escape, I pick up my favorite books that make me laugh and am transported.

This list is my go-to plan for escaping for a little while and regaining some sanity and joy. What do you do to find some peace in your life? I’d love to know! Find me at Brooke@healthyhousewives.com.

May your weekend be blessed and filled with joy,

Brooke

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August 14, 2013

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes… Knees and Toes…

I’ll pause while everyone’s inner-80s child sings a few lines of this favored jingle. Back then; my goal was to sing the chorus as fast as possible while managing the coordinating hand movements. The first signs of my competitive spirit came out around that time too… I got good at performing this song and movement combo, and will challenge anyone who wants to try it out again.

This song came to mind, as I completed my studying and testing for my Holistic Coach Certification. Chapter after chapter, lecture and study after lecture and study, it finally clicked that wellness has so much more to do with how you feel/perform outside of the gym or what you prepare in the kitchen (or choose from the food stand at meal time.) Furthermore, it has a lot to do with energy and emotion levels and one of my favorite words: perspective.

Part of being well, is having your “head, shoulders, knees, and toes…” in alignment with what your physique and nutritional goals are. Studying about Chakras (nerve every body has them) was intriguing from the start, but I accepted it only as another perspective from holistic health professionals—nothing more. I didn’t realize how nurturing my energetic makeup would manifest into less anxiety, less fatigue, less pain, more energy, more strength, and a more joyful perspective.

chakras

You have seven Chakras within you. They are the energy centers in our body that manage our overall energy flow. Blocked energy in one or all of our seven Chakras can often lead to illness, or pain, so I thought I’d discuss these briefly to build awareness and understanding.

1. Root Chakra – Represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded.

  • Location: Base of spine in tailbone area.
  • Emotional issues managed: Survival issues such as financial independence, money, and food.

2. Sacral Chakra – Our connection and ability to accept others and new experiences.

  • Location: Lower abdomen, about 2 inches below the navel and 2 inches in.
  • Emotional issues managed: Sense of abundance, well-being, pleasure, sexuality.

3. Solar Plexus Chakra – Our ability to be confident and in-control of our lives.

  • Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area.
  • Emotional issues managed: Self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem.

4. Heart Chakra – Our ability to love.

  • Location: Center of chest just above heart.
  • Emotional issues managed: Love, joy, inner peace.

5. Throat Chakra – Our ability to communicate.

  • Location: Throat (duh…)
  • Emotional issues managed: Communication, self-expression of feelings, the truth.

6. Third Eye Chakra – Our ability to focus on and see the big picture.

  • Location: Forehead between the eyes. (Also called the Brow Chakra)
  • Emotional issues managed: Intuition, imagination, wisdom, ability to think and make decisions.

7. Crown Chakra – The highest Chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually.

  • Location: The very top of the head.
  • Emotional issues managed: Inner and outer beauty, our connection to spirituality, pure bliss.

Now that you know what and where your Chakras are, what will you do next? You don’t have to do anything, as they’ll exist without your involvement at all; however, checking in with your energetic system from time to time can assist with your next health and wellness goal. You can nurture your body’s energetic sources with several wellness treatments: massage, ionic foot or hand soaks, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, low-level laser therapy, Reiki work, and meditation are some of my favorites. Do you pray or wish for less pain, less fatigue, less sickness or more energy, more excitement, more endurance? Consider asking your doctor, holistic healthcare professional, or trainer about potential blocked energy in your body and ideal remedies for your situation and needs.

Feel free to reach out to me as well for referrals based on your specific goals or with questions. Until then, I’ll going to brush up on verse three of the song. I know there’s something after “eyes, and ears, and mouth, and nose,” but it’s been a while…

Have an energetic week, friends!   –Lacey

Oh, and just for fun… and because it’s pretty hot out there… check out these “cool” uses for peppermint oil. Treat yourself to a refreshing drop or two.

Peppermint-Summer-Tip-590x3001

 

March 18, 2013

Birthday Love and Gratitude

bday photo_cropped

Hi, Everyone! It’s Brooke here. So, this is the time of year when my fellow Pisceans come out to play—we really couldn’t ask for a better time of year to celebrate. Early spring in Texas is beautiful. The mornings are still a little cool, the tulip trees and daffodils are blooming in their purple and golden glory, respectively, and all the critters are actively rejoicing in the close of the bitterly cold winter. This year, my birthday fell on Tuesday, and to tell you the truth, I was kind of disappointed it was going to be a workday. Internal thoughts: Really? How festive can Tuesday be? What a drag. Blah, blah, blah. Anyway, first Monday came along, and my heart was quickened by a few early birthday wishes from my friends at work. Then Tuesday arrived, and sweet wishes arrived throughout the day from people in all parts of my life—kind acquaintances, dear family members, and precious friends. Many of these kind thoughts arrived online, and as I set about replying to each of them, something magical happened. As I typed each little note, I reflected on my relationship with each sender, thankful for the connection tying us together. Then I sent my warm wishes back from whence they came. I spent all day doing this, except for several intervals of actual work, and what a wonderful day it was!! I felt absolutely bathed in a steady stream of love from sunrise to after dark. I so hope that each of you experiences a day (or lots more!) like this in the very near future. It does your heart a world of good.

heart leaf

This year was the big 3-8 for me. Yikes!! When did I get to be within spitting distance of 40? And more troublesome, why was this bothering me? In years past, I’ve always loved birthdays—what better way to celebrate the day that a loved one entered this wonderful world? Also, because there’s nothing we can do to make time go backward, we might as well embrace its inevitable forward movement with joy rather than dread. Now, the tiny thought teases my brain that those sentiments are easily expressed by people basking in the prime of their youth, with their facile optimism—but what does one say or think as the years creep along? Really what I’m wondering is what has my life been up to this point and what shall its purpose be going forward? Something about 38 seems so . . . serious. So grown up. Like I should have my crap figured out by now. Darn it!

What I’ve decided this means is that I need to slow down (for a little while), be still, and reflect on what my goals are for the future, rather than living each day frantically trying to meet obligations, deadlines, and expectations. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with balance and wanting to live a radiant, authentic life, despite the busyness of each day. But thankfully, on many days, and one day especially last week, I was reminded that my life is full of joy and love all the time; that if I’m continually thankful, my sights will be set on powerful, positive things; and despite occasional evidence to the contrary, this is a beautiful world.

Give thanks for a little

I’ll leave you with the “Desiderata,” one of my favorite poems that I keep close to my desk. I’ve spent many idle moments pondering its message of peaceful living amid a chaotic and sometimes discouraging world. I repeat it silently in my head like a rosary or a mantra, checking for relevancies in my life as I go through each line. And two things happen every time—my eyes tear up as my heart recognizes these same truths and my soul is soothed. It’s literary Xanax. Purrrrrrr. Have a blessed week!

With love, Brooke
desiderata

November 30, 2012

How I Accidentally Nurtured Myself . . . And You Can Too!

 

Ok, so I’m going to let you in on a dirty, little secret. I’ve been a massage therapist for 4 years, and I can count on maybe one hand (possibly part of another) the number of massages I’ve received over the years. I know it sounds bad. It IS bad! Not only is it a crime how knotted my rhomboids and traps are, but spending my days encouraging all I meet to enjoy the benefits of massage and not going myself is just plain fraud. In the past, if one of my clients would ask me how often I got massages, this standard refrain would ring out inside my head, “Me get a massage? You must be joking. I don’t have time to relax! Now, you there on the table, just close your eyes and breathe deeply. Relax . . .” Can you feel the hypocrisy dripping right off? Wow.

Fast forward to a particularly stressful and horrendous week, when I felt like the juggling act that is my life was not going well. I reached my breaking point when I just had to surrender and call in reinforcements. “Help me, please!” I cried to my favorite therapist. My massage was heavenly and profoundly healing, as I knew it would be. And I made that secret promise to myself (again) that I would come back on a regular basis, and then floated out the door. I swear that the grass and gardens I passed going to my car glowed vibrantly greener, and my view seemed more panoramic than before. Remember Brad Pitt’s character in Interview With a Vampire, when he wakes up in the garden after becoming a vampire and stares up at the angel statue, every sense heightened, as if he can feel everything “living” in Technicolor around him? That’s how I felt as I melted homeward.

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

A calm hush had fallen over my weary spirit, and it was so long overdue that my heart just wanted to cry. I needed to nurture myself, as I would anyone I love. So, once home, I put on a comfy shirt and my favorite, butter-soft jeans, and then finally took the time to do a scrub and ultra-moisturizing mask while I (gasp!) sat still. Then I gathered the ingredients for a wonderful green smoothie. I’d never had one before, but it just felt right. Like I needed to cleanse and heal my insides as the massage had done for my outsides. My favorite recipe right now is modified from the Glowing Green Smoothie from Kimberly Snyder’s The Beauty Detox Solution:

  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 head organic romaine lettuce, chopped (I use ½ package of Power Greens—kale, arugula, chard, and spinach)
  • ½ head of large bunch or ¾ of small bunch organic spinach (I use a large handful of bagged organic spinach)
  • 3-4 stalks organic celery, chopped
  • 1 organic apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 organic pear, cored and chopped
  • 1 organic banana
  • Juice of ½ organic lemon (I don’t use this because I like my drink sweeter)

In a blender, add the water and chopped greens, and mix until smooth. Add the celery, apple, and pear, increasing the speed as you go. Add the banana last, and if you like your smoothie thicker (and colder), add some ice cubes. This recipe makes about three or four 10 oz. servings, and you can store any unused smoothie in the blender in your fridge and re-blend when ready. Super easy!

green smoothie banana

I took my smoothie and my books and curled up on the couch, contemplating how to take better care of myself. I even took a lot of very deep breaths. It was a lovely afternoon that brings me peace even now as I remember it. Since that afternoon, I’ve been trying to do better, be kinder to myself. I’m a work in progress, as we all are. But I wish you lots of joyful pampering of yourself and your family during this busy holiday season. You are wonderful and you deserve all the happiness and help you give to others.

XO, Brooke

November 16, 2012

Personal Musings of a Massage Therapist

Hello, Family and Friends! This is Brooke. For the last 4 years, I’ve been blessed to be a licensed massage therapist at a beautiful retirement community. Massage therapy itself is truly a special occupation, one that allows you to help people in so many ways. I love being able to take my fascination with science and anatomy and use it to solve problems that people have with their bodies—maybe an injury here or there, a little tweak in the back, a stiff neck and shoulders, a tension headache that needs soothing. I also confess that I like to be needed and I adore making people happy. So, therapeutic massage is a gift I can share with people.

Some people may find the practice of therapeutic touch mysterious or unfamiliar, but really, it is very simple. The manual manipulation of soft tissue not only loosens tight muscles, but also reduces pain, warms tissues, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, improves immune function, reduces blood pressure, increases respiratory capacity, calms the nervous system, and influences hormone levels (among various other things). These effects are physical, and so can be observed and measured. However, the emotional components of massage are just as powerful. Recipients of therapeutic massage report feelings of well-being and happiness, of acceptance of their body, of connection and being cared for.  Actually, some psychological benefits of massage stem from physiological means—massage can reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, and can increase serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone.  Also, massage can increase oxytocin, the bonding hormone that helps you feel nurturing connection with others. Now, I’m certainly not saying all good feelings and happiness can be explained by scientific rationalization, but in case you are the pragmatic sort, actual clinical evidence supports the benefit of therapeutic touch. There you go. Now for the more touchy-feely stuff . . .

Everyone has personal space, the invisible but palpable field of energy around them that is closely, often subconsciously regulated. One allows others into that personal space according to the social relationships he or she maintains with the others. For example, you allow your friends and loved ones close to you, but door-to-door solicitors you probably keep at a distance. When clients come to me for an appointment, they are allowing me to be in that personal space with them and share my therapeutic touch—this is a great honor. They trust that I will be professional and respectful while helping them to relax or relieve a painful knot or move more easily, and I convey my care for them through my hands and how I communicate with them. My hope for my clients by the time they leave my spa room is that we have accomplished what they asked for help with, and that they are calmer and happier than when they arrived, with looser muscles and softer spirits.

But what’s on the other side of this interaction? Most of us know what it feels like to receive a massage, but what’s your therapist thinking? I can speak only for myself, but while I try to convey a calm, peaceful, positive vibe to people I interact with, my mind is often filled with thoughts of the day feverishly pinging around like an out-of-control pinball machine.

Once a session begins, however, my monkey mind is forced to be present and connected with my client. I wrangle my thoughts and tuck them quietly away as the music provides a soundtrack to the action of my hands, and I am lulled once again into peaceful contemplation. Massage becomes a moving meditation and calms my anxious spirit, in spite of myself. Often I feel the same peace and expansiveness my client feels as we work together—we are sharing the same air and energy in the dim room after all.  As I ponder this interchange of energy, I think of this quote by Ofer Zur and Nola Nordmarken, which feels true to me: “Touch is our first language. Long before we can see an image, smell an odor, taste a flavor, or hear a sound, we experience others and ourselves through touch, our only reciprocal sense. We cannot touch another without being touched ourselves. . .”

Blessings and happy Friday!

~Brooke