Empowerment Through Mindful Living

Empowerment is not a topic I often reflect upon

Last month, I wrote an article for Nabalo Magazine.  They offered a number of topics that I could write about and I found myself drawn to the concept of empowerment.  It is not something that I often consider.  As a middle aged person, I feel I have been learning all along my journey how to empower myself and others.  By no means am I an expert at this but I wondered as my fingers brushed the keys if empowerment were truly a priority for me.

It brought up a whole series of questions for me.  Is finding a silent state and moment of calm my way of finding my inner strength?  Does writing about challenges I face through my illness strengthen me from the inside?  Does finding positive ways to handle adversity give me the strength I need to face the next hurdle?

Empowerment Mindful Living
Today is the day!

I’m pretty darn sure, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, that you know where this one is going….

Is what I do ’empowerment’?

As I wrote, I realized, that my meditation flowers that I reach to for guidance each morning, are my form of empowerment.  I gain confidence and resilience through watching them each day as we evolve together.  Using flowers is my assurance that even if I am feeling very unwell, that I’ll have a bright spot in my day (this is often enough to at least get me out of my bed).  More often than not, though, my garden walk helps me to build my strength to face the day.  Another example of gaining energy and motivation from inside myself.

Writing about and sharing my challenges, and connecting with others, helps me to build a fortress of resolve for that day when my thoughts may choose to turn their back on me.  Finding purpose during adversity is teaching me that darkness and light really do have to exist at the same time.  Gratitude is helping me to understand that I have abundance no matter my areas of lack.

So, today is the day.  The August edition is being published ‘for real‘ and I am in it.  I feel exhilarated, and excited, and truly grateful.  I am both proud of my accomplishment and terrified to send it out into the ether!

I also feel empowered!

Love Ingrid x

#nabalolifestylemagazine

I would love for you to read and share the article on their site at http://nabalo.com/the-magazine/

Or via these links:

Nabalo Website : http://nabalo.com
Nabalo Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/nabalolifestyle
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My Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/mysomethingwonderful

My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ingridsnydal

My Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/snydaling

Thank you always for your kindness.

Wonders of My Secret Garden Oasis

My garden is my world at the moment

I have been writing about my love of gardening, and how I love to spend time out in the garden to start my day.  I took photographs to share with you today. I like to go out first thing in the morning because the light is perfect for photographing flowers.

As you know, I have been dealing with a CSF Leak this past year so often I spend days at home.  Often, the only place I can go is out to my garden for a few minutes in a day.  I am so grateful that it can offer me hope, peace, and calm.  It also provides opportunity, food, distraction, and a lens on life.  It is a place that even if I only spend ten minutes picking strawberries, I can feel productive.  My garden has been guiding me all these months. It gives me purpose and lessons beyond anything I could have imagined.

Wonders of My Garden
Lavender At First Light

Hopes for My Garden

I have many plans for the future of my garden. I like to think through how things will evolve over time until the day when I can do the work. This year, I decided to start writing a gardening journal (you can read all about my other morning routines in 10 Things To Do To Kickstart Your Day).

A dear friend of my mother’s had one and I thought I would try it.  I have recorded: dates of first planting, soil conditions, when I planted onions and garlic, what I planted from seed or seedling, and how things are progressing.  I have a drawn out garden plot annotating where everything has been planted this year just so I can change things next year if I need.  Every so often, I add information so that next year I can refer back to it.  It has become a treasure map of sorts.

Looking out at the garden and thinking through my plans for the future is an exercise that brings me hope. It offers a much appreciated distraction from my condition. It’s the time of day when the garden, my body, and my mind can work to heal, protect, and re-energize me to face another day.

A Snapshot of My Garden

  1. The vegetable patch: our vegetable patch was doubled this year as we realized how much we LOVE to grow our own food in the summer.  I am not even convinced, at this point, if it’s any cheaper.  But the joy we both get from tending our vegetables is worth every ounce of sweat that goes into each vegetable that ends up on my table.

2. A shaded sitting area: we got an antique, cast-iron bench and two chairs.  The previous owner had painted the chairs gold and this week it’s time to spray paint them white to match the bench.  Once I find an antique cast table, this little shaded area under our pear tree will serve as my late afternoon sitting area.

Wonders Of The Garden
Antique cast iron bench
3. Morning sunshine: my honey build this super fabulous shed last year.  I think it looks like an adult-sized doll house even though it has garden tools in it.  The little deck out front though is my little oasis right in the middle of town.  I spend time out here every morning when I come out to do my morning meditation.  The golden morning light comes right onto that deck and it bathes me in warmth to begin my day.

Wonders of My Garden
My Darling Garden Shed
4. Perennial beds: I plant almost only perennials in my garden because I just love to watch as year upon year the garden evolves and grows into its own.  I have many a spot that has been packed too full, but it just means more planning and separation for next year.

5. Patio and outdoor entertaining: this part of the garden is in the planning phase.  We had an aged old deck and chairs with a barbecue for having friends over.  Last year, we had to take down a huge old tree which meant the entertainment area had to go. We have great plans for a new patio but it will most likely be a couple of years before it all gets done.  I love having things to look forward to in my garden.

The Garden Shows Me How Far We’ve Come

It’s such a joy for me to think back to what the garden looked like when we moved here.  It has changed so much.  Each time we add something to the garden it feels like a monumental change until the next change comes around and we forget what it looked like once more.

Gardening really is my SOMETHING WONDERFUL for today (and every day).

Love Ingrid x

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Belly Bio

I found a new app that I would like to share with you today.  This one is not just for those who are suffering from illness but has an appeal to anyone who likes to fall into deep relaxation but has trouble with the focus involved.

I have to admit, I never used to have trouble with meditation, but recently it is a little more challenging.  The Belly Bio app is a tremendous fix for this.

belly-bio-app-logo

Belly Bio is an app for your phone that you download and you can start using immediately.  The idea is that you lie flat, tuck the phone into the waistband of your clothes, and relax.  The app starts off by playing gently crashing wave sounds, until you start to really breathe in a relaxed manner, when it changes to soft meditative music.  The longer the music plays, the longer you stay in your meditative state.

At first, when I tried to use the app, it was mostly giving me the waves.  I tried it for about 10 minutes at a time so as not to become discouraged.  After three or four trials, I got so that the music started playing most of the time.  There is a graph that tracks how much of the time you stay in the CALM phase as well as other biofeedback information that keeps track of your progress.

I LOVE this app.  I have to say! I have tried it when I know I am agitated or upset and it clearly tracks the difficulties I am having relaxing.  Other times I have used it and slipped quickly and gently into my meditation so that I can do the healing work I need.

I have read, and I am sure many of you have too, that the word ‘disease’ is ‘dis-ease’ (meaning a state opposite to ‘ease’).  I believe strongly that when my body is in dis-ease, it gets very busy doing the things I need to survive and cannot take the time out to focus its goodness on my illness.  I think it is so crucial for me, and for many people, the ‘ill’ and the ‘well’ to learn to take the time to allow the body to slow itself and to focus its energy on true healing.  (Whether your illness is tangible like my CSF leak, or whether it is worrying, stressing, over-spending, mismanaging…you name it).  It is so essential that we learn not just relaxation but re-generation of our system so it can work at its absolute finest.

I hope you try Belly Bio and that you like it as much as I do.

…and I hope it becomes SOMETHING WONDERFUL in your daily life.

Love Ingrid x

#loveiseverywhere   #csfleak   #leakweek   #relaxation   #meditation   #bellybio

P.S. I do not endorse any product and am not paid to promote any app…I just really do use this and like this app!

 

How I RECEIVE Bad News

I’m not going to sugar-coat it here, people…sometimes it really bites to get bad news from a doctor.  I, for one, have to literally pull my thoughts to the present moment as I have usually gone off on a horrible tangent into sudden doom as soon as the bad news hits, momentarily of course.

Dealing with a Spontaneous CSF Leak is full of stories of people that have had their hopes up for a positive outcome from a diagnostic test, only to be told days later that nothing was found.  Or, for many, undergoing promising procedures, only to find that a few days or weeks or even months later, that the ‘patch’ has been unsuccessful.

I recently underwent a procedure that not only did not reveal what we wanted, but right in the middle of it, the doctor told me he was not doing what my doctor had ordered but something all together different.

calm

I handled it the way I need to handle things but the beauty was that I did not go down ‘sudden doom alley’, and here’s how:

  1. I carefully weighed the doctor’s words before opening my mouth
  2. I quickly did an inventory of my feelings to know I was angry and that anger would not be welcome
  3. I made a valid, succinct argument and noted that I had expected the procedure asked for by my doctor
  4. I very quickly assessed the situation for positive outcomes regardless of my disappointment
  5. I accepted that ‘it is, what it is’ and I cannot change it.  If nothing else it is a lesson for the next time.
  6. I made a plan to use what positive I can glean to move ahead with my care
  7. I addressed my concern with the doctor who ordered the procedure and we made a plan forward.

All this is to say that, for me, anger was not the way forward.  It is a reaction I would be having and not an action forward.  In a very quick, split-second decision, I changed the course of what would most likely have been a difficult conversation at a very awkward time (as I was mid-procedure) and ultimately would not have swayed the opinion of the doctor.

I chose to accept the circumstances and then do what I could to see the positive outcome from the situation (even though we may just have to repeat the exact same procedure for the third time). I calmly calculated mentally that I could use the information to my benefit even if it was not perfectly what I had hoped for.  And, I just let the rest of it go.

Bad news is very challenging to receive.  I once had a friend explain to me ‘it isn’t when everything is going right that you test your resolve and your mettle, it is when someone tells you ‘no’ and you keep calm and you keep centered’.

I really think I’m growing!

Love Ingrid x

#loveiseverywhere   #csfleak    #staycool   #kindnesstag