5 Ways To Live In The Moment

Being In The Moment

One of the most fantastic aspects of opening myself up to blogging has been the wonderfully supportive community I have had the privilege to ‘meet’ online.  As you may remember my post about Wonder Women, my friends and acquaintances have all been very encouraging all throughout this process of dealing with my CSF leak, of course.  But, I have had the bonus of connecting with other bloggers who provide tips and tricks about the blogging world that I had no idea I needed.  Nor did I know that all these folks existed on social media sites that help to support each other.

One person I have recently connected with is a wonderful blogger named Melissa Davidson who sees life in many of the same ways as I do.  I asked her if she would be willing to write a guest post for me and she immediately said: ‘YES’.

So here are some thoughts about living in the moment by Melissa Davidson, author of The Plunj.

5 Ways To Live In The Moment

Life is full of beauty, wonder and amazement, but how often do we take in any of it? Between running errands, going to work and toting kids around, it often feels as if there’s no time left to just, be. And once we do get a moment to ourselves, we are often so consumed with stewing over past events and preparing for what’s ahead we can’t enjoy what’s right in front of us right now. This is why days feel as though they fly by; weeks turn into months and months turn into years, all in the blink of an eye.

We become so swept up in the thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow of which we can’t do anything about. The present, however, is another story. The present is all ours and we can change it instantly, we can enjoy it and we can share it with others. You don’t need to wait for the perfect time to enjoy what’s around you, the opportunities are right in front of you for the taking.

It may take a little practice, but you can make living in the moment second nature. Here are a few tips you can start using right now to enjoy each moment and ensure you don’t let everyday monotony sweep them away.

1. Be your six-year-old self

5 ways live in the moment
6 Year Old Self

Do not, and I repeat, do not think that just because you are an adult you need to adhere to some unwritten rules about adult etiquette. Of course you need to be a decent human being, so no tantrums, but this world should be viewed no differently than when you were six—as if you are an explorer. When you allow yourself to explore this world and try new things, your senses become heightened and you can get back to being who you really are—that kid we abandoned when life got so serious.

We only have so much time in this world and there is so much to experience, whether you are six or 60. Need to get motivated? Think ahead to how you’re going to reflect on your life when you’re 80. Will you be happy you took all the opportunities you had to get out and live or will you be full of regrets because you didn’t take any chances. Keeping this perspective is a great way to muscle through fears you may have about exploring so you can try new things and take the plunge toward a new life.

If you want to dance then dance, if you want to sing then sing, just trust your gut and let your inner child free. You’ll not only feel as though a weight is lifted, but you’ll also learn more about yourself and may even discover your passion.

2. Stop living in someone else’s moment

Most of us wake up early to get ready for work, wait in traffic for 30 minutes, sit at a desk for 8 hours at a job we don’t even like, and then head home to meet the demands of our families i.e. dinner, kids baths, etc. We are constantly living in the moment of someone else and it often feels robotic as though others are dictating our every move. Doing this day after day takes its toll and can make us feel disconnected from ourselves.

But you can re-connect with yourself. Remember you are in control of your life and simply doing something out of the ordinary on your terms is one of the quickest ways you can get in touch with yourself again.

Take a new route to work, have your children help you with dinner, give in to those spur-of-the-moment urges, such as stopping for ice cream, or engage in a dart gun war with your kids. Whatever the event, it doesn’t have to be monumental or planned. It can just be a little tweak of the current situation, but it’s often enough to make you reframe the world around you, boost your senses and allow you to tap into your inner self.

3. Listen

5 ways live in the moment
Listen

Don’t just hear people when they talk to you, truly listen. When you listen to others you engulf yourself in the conversation and form deeper connections with those around you. We are social creatures and when we form deep connections we are naturally happier. Think about it. When you’ve had a meaningful conversation with someone who listened to you how did it make you feel? You likely felt good, respected and drawn to that person because they valued what you had to say. When you listen to others, they’ll likely be drawn to you as well.

Lend an ear, ask questions, enjoy the conversation, and don’t worry about what you’ll say next, just relax.

4. Disconnect

5 ways live in the moment
Disconnect

Our devices should really be called time vampires because we can spend hours scrolling through Facebook with nothing to show for it but the empty feeling of inadequacy thanks to all the keeping-up-with-the-Jones’ posts. Social media is a far cry from the really human connections we innately need.

We all know we spend way too much time on our phones and tablets, but admitting that is not the same as actually doing something about it.

Unplug. Seriously, unplug. It’s easier than you think. Your time with your own thoughts and with your family is way more important and will make you feel far better than an app or meme ever will. You need to take that time and not just be present for it, but live it.

If you’re not quite ready, start slow and gradually work your way up to more and more time 100 percent disconnected. Or try making it a family rule and take turns coming up with creative ideas on how you can spend your time together.

5. Meditate

Meditation can do wonders for clearing the mind of the daily clutter and also bring inner peace. It doesn’t have to be the traditional meditation that I know you’re picturing; legs crisscrossed, arms lightly placed on knees, the humming of “ohm” in the background.

Meditation can be done anywhere by simply allowing each of your senses to take in the moment around you; smelling the air, feeling the wind against your skin, or hearing the hustle and bustle of the day. Focus on one sense at a time to push out the thoughts of the past and future and embrace the now. You’ll feel more calm, grateful and simply happier.

You can also try traditional meditation by blocking out all thoughts. It doesn’t have to be complicated. This too can be done anywhere. Try it for a few minutes in the morning during your shower, on your way to work or while having a cup of coffee on the deck. It’s a great way to start your day.

5 Ways Live in the moment
Quiet Time

Being more present so we can truly savor each and every moment we’ve been gifted is not hard, but rather a feat in restructuring our habits. It takes about 30 days to form a new habit so try a few things and see what sticks. What do you have to lose? Best of luck!

Do you have any tips you use to be more present? I’d love to hear what works for you. Email me: Melissa@theplunj.com

About Melissa

Melissa is a mom, blogger and freelance writer born and raised in North Dakota, USA. She has a love for tea, DIY projects and helping others discover their true potential. Follow her at The Plunj: www.facebook.com/theplunj, www.pinterest.com/the_plunj/ and www.theplunj.com

 

I hope you find The Plunj to be SOMETHING WONDERFUL too!

Love Ingrid x

I Made A Magnificent Mala

Malas

I love to wear Malas to help guide my thoughts.  As a result, it helps me focus my meditation by twirling the beads through my fingers.  I wrote about it some time ago, in my post called 6 Steps To Becoming Enough.  A friend bought a bracelet for me from Malarae in Ottawa.  Kyla Miller is the maker of the bracelets and malas and I wear mine mostly every day.

I have a long necklace that I made years ago at a Yoga festival.  A wonderful group of women and I sat and threaded our beads and told stories.  Although, it was a wonderful communal experience that I remember with fondness, frankly, I didn’t know much more about the beaded necklace than the basics.

Last month, I made my own Mala at a workshop that was hosted by my local Yoga Studio. I had wanted to participate in the workshop as a result of my love for beading and for all things meditation.  This was the workshop for me.

Malas 101 (by me)

A Mala is the wonderful necklace or bracelet you often see Buddhist people wearing.  They are made of stone, wood, seeds, or other natural beads.  They often hang with a wonderful tassel at the end of them.  Much like the Christian equivalent of a rosary. People gently shuffle the beads through their hands or pass over each bead one at a time from start to finish.  They have 108 beads since 108 is a sacred number in many Asian cultures.

The 108 bead Mala is said to have an intention. Therefore, the person who wears the Mala wears it for a certain purpose.  I lived in Japan for 14 years, where you could buy them at most temples and they were sold by the intention: health, luck, abundance, safe driving, good results on an exam, fertility, etc.  More authentic, handmade Malas, are set with intention as the person threads the beads.  Hence, if they are hoping for abundance, they would think the word abundance.  Repeating the word as they put each stone bead onto the string.

The Love Yoga Newsletter describes a mala this way:

A mala (the Sanskrit name for ‘garland’) is a set of beads traditionally worn and used for meditation. Malas are typically made of 108 beads (108 being a sacred number in many Eastern cultures) and serve to keep count of the wearers affirmations by focusing their awareness and staying mindful in the present moment.

Paul McDermid, our instructor told us to thread our Mala with our intention word as each bead went on.  She had thousands of beads all separated into colour groupings.  We selected beads and placed them on a wonderful Mala tray.  From there, we ‘built’ our Mala each bead at a time in rough form before threading the beads.

I could hardly wait to start.

Our fabulous instructor told us to choose the beads to which we were most attracted.  She would tell us when our malas were tied what the significance of each stone held.  I loved the idea of not knowing what the Universe would have me choose.

Getting Started To Thread The Beads

Firstly, we chose our beads.  I was delighted to count out the various colours and align them and arrange them in a way I liked.  Selecting each stone, I chose, placed, arranged, rearranged, and contemplated.  Due to my illness, my intention word means a lot to me at this time in my life (you know I love my affirmations and intentions as I write about these topics often) so I had no trouble choosing it.

I was instructed not to share the word because it is personal to me.

Consequently, I am never to share my mala with another or let them put it on as it is literally not intended for them. (I’m not entirely sure about that…but why tempt fate?) Apparently, energy could pass to the natural stone and be held in or could create an adverse vibration. It seems like that could be a possibility.

While I threaded my mala, I had the chance to talk with the other participants (I was with a friend so conversation flowed easily).  The other members were fun to talk to, easy to get to know, and open to letting the conversation flow or to sit in silence as the energy ebbed and flowed in the group.

My necklace was threaded, and Paula glued the last stones in place next came the really exciting part came.

I made a mala
Ready for sealing and tuning

Sealing and Tuning My Mala

Paula took us in one-by-one to a room where she had a set of crystal singing bowls.  This is where we were going to tune our malas.  She and I entered the room where she told me the various meanings of the stones I had chosen and then asked me to cleanse the mala in the first bowl.

Tibetan Singing Bowls or Crystal Singing Bowls are used to cleanse and tune the energy of the beads.  Each person, as they touch an object, gives off energy.  So, the energy that we want in the mala (our intention) needs to be set into the mala according to each of the 7 Chakras.  There’s a crystal bowl, one for each of the Chakras in our body, and one more to initially cleanse the necklace.

The bowls go from smallest to largest according to the appropriate chakra.  Especially noteworthy here is once I start tuning/sealing my mala, I am the only one who is to touch it until we’re done. The idea is not to get another person’s energy in my beads.  Therefore, I placed the mala in the first bowl and cleansed it. Next, with a tool much like a soft drum stick, I tapped the outer edge of the bowl and rubbed along its outside edge gently.

It was magical!

This experience will stick with me

The sound of the ringing of the crystal filled me from the inside out.  It vibrated inside my heart and brain and echoed out to the room around me.  As a result of the varying sizes, each bowl vibrates at a different frequency creating a different sound and wave.  In addition to this, your own state of being either enhances or hampers the sound.

What an experience!

I did this with each of the chakras: root chakra, sacral chakra, solar plexus chakra…all the way up to the crown chakra. My experience of tuning my own Mala filled me with a sense of harmony. I felt a sense of belonging on this planet that I have never felt before that day.  I was literally over-joyed and felt lifted up by the Universe. This feeling lasted for a very long time afterwards. Was it due to my heart vibrating in harmony with the earth?  Each day, when I looked down at my mala as it dangled around my neck, I had a huge smile on my face.

 

Could making your own mala be something that could lift your spirits? Do you have something that you created that helps to focus your attention?  Please feel free to share these precious things in your life by leaving a comment.

I hope you get the chance to experience SOMETHING WONDERFUL like making a mala!

Love Ingrid x

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mysomethingwonderful/

IG: www.instagram.com/ingridsnydal

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/snydaling

I made a malaSaffron Robes

Secret Notes to Strangers

Strangers Need Love and Encouragement Too

I just wanted to write a little note about a neat little activity I have signed up for in case any of my readers may be interested in joining along. It involves strangers and love…hear me out!

I was introduced to this idea from a Facebook post that a friend of mine tagged me in.  She and I are pen pals as well as being pals in real life. We both jumped at the chance to participate.  That’s because it involves writing letters and I just love a good old letter writing binge.

I have posted before about the #Lovenotesfairy project that ended up sending me dozens and dozens of handwritten letters from all over Canada and the United States.  This is one of the many truly wonderful ideas by Jennifer Belthoff who truly is one of our very own angels here on earth!

Well, this new activity is very much like that but it’s all about strangers.  The idea is to write letters from August 1st to the 31st and leave them around in public places where strangers will find your little notes of love and encouragement.

Sounds WONDERFUL…right?!

I cannot WAIT to get started!

 

Secret Notes Strangers
Crafting Notes for Strangers

 

If you’re interested in joining a wonderful group of individuals as we embark on spreading joy for the sake of spreading joy…head on over to the Secret Letters To Strangers Month-Global Kindness Initiative and sign up!

I hope this makes you feel as excited as I do.  It’s my Something Wonderful for today and it lasts for the next couple of weeks!

Love Ingrid x

#lovenotesfairy   #secretlettertostrangersmonth   #globalkindnessinitiative

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31 Days of Wonder

Wonder truly is everywhere

Do you think you could add more wonder and magic to each day?  Are you finding it hard to break out of yourself and do new things?

As you know, my motto these days is to start each day knowing that something wonderful is about to happen.  I love this outlook on life because it truly makes me feel that even in the hard times, it is easy to remember that good times are not far off.  Searching for the good times is not hard for me.  I have simply to think about the little wonders that creep into my day and it brings a smile to my face as I prepare to sleep each night.

Earlier this Spring I wrote a quick 5 Positive Actions To Completely Change Your Day and I have been finding it quite useful throughout the summer days so far.

31 Days of Wonder

I decided to put together a handy list of 31 Wonderful Things you can do to brighten up your month.  By no means do I want you to feel that you have to follow along each day but I can assure you, I will be doing some of the following activities to spruce up my next 31 days.

Here they are:

31 Days of Wonder
31 Days of Wonder

I would be delighted if you wanted to follow along with me and share the ideas you’ve been adding to your day.

Let’s make it a great month together.  And as always, thank you so much for tuning into my SOMETHING WONDERFUL blog!

Love Ingrid x

P.S. You don’t have to start your 31 Days of Wonder at the beginning of the month…why not start today!?

 

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Ruby Red Strawberry Lavender Jam

Nothing says “Summer Is Here” like freshly picked strawberries!

Strawberries in my garden

I am fortunate enough to have fresh strawberries growing right in my very own back yard.  A few years ago, we planted two or three tiny rows of plants and much to our delight we had a few handfuls of fresh berries that year.  We kind of neglected to do anything with them. And the following year, we had a disappointing crop.

I never like to spend money on a crop that doesn’t do particularly well with our growing conditions, so I was a little worried about buying more berry plants the following year.

Well…am I ever glad I did!

To our delight the berry plants just kept on sending out more and more shooters and now we have a healthy gorgeous patch of strawberries that give us a great fill for the season of ruby red goodness.  We go out every couple of days and get a nice bunch of berries.

We’ve been adding them to our morning smoothies (as you know smoothies are a popular breakfast around here) and having them with other fruit as a quick snack on the super hot summer evenings.

This past week though, a friend of mine and I decided to make a new (to me) flavour combination for jam.

Strawberry Lavender Jam

The key for me for any kind of homemade jam recipe is to try to keep it simple.  I also like to keep it modest in the sweet department (my next batch I’ll try for 3/4 of a cup of sugar).  I looked around on the internet for recipes and decided on the following which includes a few tweaks on my part.  I am not take credit for thinking this one up on my own because I did change all the recipes I read, to suit my own needs.  So here is the ‘Ingrid Version’ of the recipes I found.

 

Ingredients:

8 cups of strawberries freshly picked (here is a good guide to measuring strawberries)

1 cup of sugar

3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 drops edible lavender oil*

*I used lavender essential oil this time and the taste is delicious but intense.  I have also read that you can make a lavender sachet using cheesecloth. Take 1 1/2 tsp. edible lavender tied in cloth and add to your recipe at time that you add the berries back into your saucepan to reduce the jam.

Materials:

Cheese cloth for straining berries from liquid

Canning jars (cleaned and sterilized)

Large measuring cup

Colander

Instructions

  1. Place your strawberries and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, and let bubble for 5 minutes.
  2. Pour your berry mixture into a colander set over a large bowl. Stir the berries to release all of the juices. Pour the juice back into the saucepan and set the berries and colander aside.
  3. Bring the juice to a boil and let it reduce to a syrup, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes (I knew it was ready when it was bubbling much like when you make candy…almost like ruby coloured cotton candy).
  4. Toss in the remaining berries and the lemon juice * and let simmer for 15 minutes until the jam hardens and sticks to the side of the saucepan. At this point add two drops of edible lavender essential oil. (If you are using the lavender sachet, you will add it before the 15 minute simmer and remove when you take it off the heat).
  5. If canning your jam for the year follow appropriate instructions (here are some great canning tips), otherwise, pour into glass jars and enjoy right away. Freezer jam will last for a few weeks without sealing the jar.

A few notes:

This recipe makes 7 small jam jars (these are the minis so each holds 1/3 of a cup of jam or about 4 ounces). That was just perfect for a sampler set of jams.  If you are wanting to make jam to last you will have to double or treble the recipe. That way you can have that fresh picked summer goodness all year long!

Personally, I am looking forward to trying a few different recipes with my strawberries this year, so I was delighted that I still have more jars for new and exciting variations.

I really hope that Strawberry Lavender Jam is SOMETHING WONDERFUL for you to eat and enjoy this summer!

Love Ingrid x

 

 

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