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  • Sleep – Let’s take a deeper look

    In general, with a good night’s sleep we feel better, we think better, we have more energy, we are in a better mood and we enjoy our day overall. We rebuild and regenerate while sleeping. According to WebMD, and almost all other qualified resources, 7 hours a night is a minimum and 8 is ideal. They also mention a study that showed with less than 7 hours sleep people are 3 times more likely to get sick than if they get 8 hours or more on a regular basis.

    It’s essential to ease out of our busy days and leave behind its tensions, stress and hectic pace and enjoy a good night’s sleep.  You’re not alone, if you have trouble either falling asleep or staying asleep. Lack of sleep can negatively impact many areas of your life.

    A wide range of things can contribute to trouble sleeping. Physical and/or emotional stress is often the most common reason. Lifestyle, health issues, medications, and aging have also been known to contribute to sleep problems. Chronic problems, such as severe nervousness, agitation, nausea or thoughts/feelings that are self-destructive should be discussed with your doctor.

    Our minds are now being over stimulated with the fast pace of work, constant use of television, computers and mobile phones. Our brains find it hard to switch off and allow us to sleep. We have to learn to relax and take control of our own minds – thinking and worrying about sleep can lead to no sleep!  There’s no one sleep solution, often it’s a matter of finding a range of solutions that work for you – your own path to a better night’s sleep.

    Tips for what to do as you prepare for Bed on our next Blog!

    Does this beach paradise hold the secret for long life?

    Does this beach paradise hold the secret for long life?

    And what does this have in common with

    “Stay grounded and listen to your Dad?

    I watched a wonderful show on CNN, it is Bill Weir’s The Wonder List. Each week he visits different places and cultures, mainly ones that have tradition and have not changed very much over time, treasures of the world that are not well known. He mentions that he wants to visit these unique and special places while they are still there, before they change.

    Meeting Dan Buettner, BlueZones.com, and listening to his adventure stories, Bill learned some very interesting things. One being a statistic from the World Health Organization that claimed that Okinawa Japan had the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world. They lived longer and healthier. This became his kick off for this interesting series.
    The question, after looking at United States longevity statistics is, ‘How do we get those extra 13 years?”

    The episode that I am writing about here is his visit to Ikaria, a small island off Greece where people live well into their 90’s and 100’s.

    Being in touch with life while slowing down to enjoy it, lots of movement and their diet, are major factors of their long lives.
    Growing their own food means that for every meal they are bending, picking doing some form of movement to gather and prepare. They did not know what Organic was as they have never used anything on the plants they grow.
    Meat’s a rare treat and a tomato is a snack with their diets being mainly 95% plants.
    Interaction across generations is common with Grandparents watching and playing with children.

    A few general comments from the Island were:
    Having a sense of value, feeling needed.
    Hiking, walking, dancing
    A life of service
    Moderation for everything
    Here, life is slow.
    Longevity is 25% genetics. 75% comes from where and how you live.
    Daily routines that help with stress
    Eat a plant based diet

    Does this beach paradise hold the secret for long life?

    This is the opening line on the CNN page about longevity on the island of Ikaria.

    “Stay grounded and listen to your Dad”
    This is Bill Weir’s comment to his daughter at her very young stage of aging.
    He is watching his daughter grow up, become independent much too soon and, from my perspective, wondering about his own longevity and hers, maybe without him to guide her.

    So the common bond, of these seemingly unrelated two statements, is the unknown question of how long will we live?

    He also mentions the following statement, as a side note, because his daughter is included as he personalizes his story.

    “The real lesson is, when they reach a certain age of freedom your kid is going to ignore everything you have ever said.” Bill Weir

    Happy “Alamo”

    Happy “Alamo”

    It means a mission in San Antonio Texas or a Poplar Tree but in this writing I am referring to Alamo, the car rental agency.

    On a recent trip to the wonderful city of Atlanta I happened to rent a vehicle from the above-mentioned company.  It wasn’t until returning home from the trip that I noticed the wording on the map they had given me.

    There is was, right under their logo, a slogan, so short and so powerful that it caught my attention enough to save it and still have it as a reminder.

    I am well aware that, especially in today’s world, I need reminders to bring me back the present and what is really important. I still have Alamo’s logo pinned up on my wall with its clever and meaningful, hand written tag line.Alamo Drive HappyDid you ever notice how most of us, when we are in our car, are in more of a complaining mood. Traffic is going to slow, people are following to close or someone cut you off, seem to be standard thoughts as we cruise along.

    So what if we really did do what our friends at Alamo are suggesting to us, what if we really drive feeling Happy.

    Here are a few alternative meaning and there are many more.
    Delighted, Untroubled, Pleased, Content, Thrilled, etc.
    If you woke up this morning you should feel thrilled and Happy just for waking up.

    There are not any guarantees that you will each day.

    Now to extend this concept how about;
    Working Happy
    Thinking Happy
    Sharing Happy
    Eating Happy
    Meeting Happy
    Whistling Happy
    Dancing Happy
    It doesn’t have to only be at birthdays that we wish another to have a Happy Day.

    You see it is all about energies and how we feel in the moment. If we Feel Happy we attract like energies.  Others pick up those feeling and it helps them feel closer to the same.

    Have you ever noticed when you are near an angry person how you can feel their energy? Well it works the same way being near a Happy person, so allow that to be you.
    It can change the mood of the whole room.

    Next time you think of it, while you are walking, try Walking Happy.

    Actually just by thinking and typing the word “Happy” so many times I am feeling it more and more.

    Now I even have Pharrell Williams Happy song in my head.  See if you can watch a YouTube video of Happy and be able to sit still.
    He even has a website 24hoursofhappy.com

    Happy feels good.
    Happy is a magnet.
    Be Happy, use your car to remind you.
    Then work on being Happy all the other times when you are not in your car.

    Drive Happy.   

    Finding Beauty


    My friend Sandy is a Master hair Stylist. She is very well known for her perfection in creating beauty with hair and also for her stories and spiritual thoughts of wisdom she passes on to her clients. Her blog is titled SandyColoredHair.com

    Below is part of an email I sent to her as a lead off to entice her to work together on the project of drawing more attention to Beauty. This means in all aspects of life, the outer and the inner, the awareness of and seeing where it takes us.

    She agreed and here is a partial of what I sent her.

    Attached is an article on poet Rumi from Spirituality Health Magazine, March 2008. I saw this and immediately thought, I need to send to Sandy.

    I love the opening line on this article, as a theme, to work on together.  We can approach beauty in all of life; people, nature, animals, words, thoughts, writing, languages, places, music, songs, art, learning and anything else we can think of.

    “Beauty is a significant presence, and it is beauty,
                        in whatever form, that awakens love.” 

    I am sharing some thoughts to keep in a folder for when the time fits.  Thoughts of you, what you do, how you think and how you write is what inspired me think of adding a section on beauty to the mix.

    Let’s use Beauty to awaken us, and our readers, to another level of awareness of life.

    Still game?

    ray j

    Here is a quote about Sandy. Julie’s quote, of which a partial here, is what urged me to get this rolling. I read it, said yes that is her let’s see if we can get her to expand her stories.

    “Meeting Sandy has changed the way I look at beauty. I’ve never met someone with the level of authentic passion that she radiates for her life’s calling.”
    ~Julie Colvin, Book Project Coach,Wellness Facilitator and
    Author of, A Cure for Emma.

    www.acureforemma.com   www.wellnesswritingretreats.com

    Well Sandy was game for the project so here is her first Blog.
    She is a completely Beautiful role model herself, how she looks, how she thinks, speaks and writes.

    I am sure this will grow and evolve Beautifully over the next year and on.

    Sandy’s Blog Post:

    Finding Beauty for Ray Justice
    by Sandy Evenson on April 6, 2014

    sandyI have been asked by my friend, Ray Justice, to join him on a new adventure. We are exploring the “World of Beauty” on his Web site, ecpathways.com. Along the way, we aim to help people discover inner beauty and all of its manifestations. We will give our respective points of view on beauty from every angle. I know the male/female perspectives are going to create exciting discoveries for our readers. So, I thought I would get the ball rolling by sharing one of my favorite stories.

    Early in my career as a master haircolorist, I found a great way to help my guests see for themselves what I could see when I evaluated their skin tone, existing hair color and eye color. I used a computer assisted color analysis method that would isolate their unique color combinations. It was always fun to show someone just how many colors were in their eyes!

    Annie was a wonderful girl who visited the salon regularly for haircuts and highlights.  She was among the thousands of hard working women on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. I gained enormous respect for those women, the people you never hear about, working behind the scenes for all of those faces you see in the media.

    She was an interesting study. She was so very shy and introverted that it was even hard for her to lift her head enough for me to shape the fringe of hair around her face and over her eyes. I often wondered if something had happened to her to make her so afraid. It made me cringe to think what it might have been.

    So, I was so excited when she asked me to do her colors and give her a makeup lesson. She was getting up the courage to speak to a new young man she had noticed at work. This was such progress for her. I was so proud to take part in bolstering her confidence.

    After spending some time selecting her colors, I placed each of them next to one another…one for her softly highlighted hair, one for her lovely green eyes and one for her peaches and cream skin. She looked at them and said “They’re beautiful.” I looked back at her saying “That’s because you are beautiful.”

    She looked again at the colors. Her eyes widened. She began to smile. Her face was utterly glowing. I think it was the very first time she had ever heard those words spoken about her. It was such a simple thing for me. But, for her, she was just now discovering her true beauty.

    I watched her grow in so many ways. She started to walk taller, exuding confidence. And yes, she was even able to introduce herself to that guy who had piqued her interest at the office.

    Beauty exists all around us. The very best of beauty comes from deep inside ourselves. We all have inner beauty. And we need to learn to bring it out and share it with the world. That’s when it truly blossoms.

    Ray and I are working out the details and will begin our beauty quest soon. Join us on the journey and discover your unique gifts of beauty.

    Check out the site. Then, share your comments and insights when we’re up and running.

    “Lonely is The Night” Changing what you think is so.

    “Lonely is The Night”
    Changing what you think is so.

    guitarHow much of my life, of your life, is a habit or pattern?
    My answer is quite a bit, often much more than I am aware of.

    The way is has been, during our life, is often the way we do it, think it or believe it.
    A great deal of this we are not aware of and on a form of automatic pilot.

    Questions to ask ourselves when we become aware of those repeating thoughts and beliefs.

    Are they real? Are they true? Or just what you are used to?

    Here is an example story that happened to me.
    There was the time, many years ago, when my son was about 12 years old and wanted to go to a concert featuring rock star Billy Squire. My story was that I did not like his music, with his loud screeching guitars.  So my belief was I don’t like rock, or at least this type, at all.

    He was too young to let go alone or with friends and he really wanted to go.
    I had an idea and asked him to make me a cassette tape. Remember this was way before iPods were invented. He copied several Billy Squire songs and I listened to them twice a day for two weeks. I would go for a two-mile jog in the morning and again when I got home from work. I estimated I listed to about 7 hours of Mr. Squire during my daily runs.

    I intentionally decided to work on my mind before I took him and his friend to the concert.
    I had to find a way to not be aggravated by it all. Earplugs were also on my list of possibilities. It worked beyond my expectations; I just needed to be open to possibilities.
    Guess what?  I still enjoy Billy Squire to this day and that was 30 years ago.
    “Lonely is the Night” still pops into my head now and then and I love it.

    So what is the meaning of this story?

    My belief was that I do not like this type of music. Even stronger I would of said, then, that it drives me nuts and is annoying.  I changed my belief because I had a reason big enough to have me figure out a way to enjoy it or at least tolerate it.

    With “Lonely is The Night” as the theme it becomes a reminder that when we go to bed at night it is a perfect time to pay attention to what we are thinking. What is going on with our thoughts?  It is also a perfect time to practice thinking about, or visualizing what and how we would like things to be instead of how we don’t.

    Change is possible and not as difficult as you would think.
    Rock on Billy Squire.
    “Learn How to Live” by Billy Squire
    Year: 1982
    Album: Emotions in Motion


    “Very Useful” – The Most Important Part

    19122011“Very Useful”  –  The Most Important Part

    “When talking with another friend this afternoon, I shared with her what you said about how the most important part of any interaction is the way you feel about yourself, and it was a very useful insight for her. I will definitely be reflecting on and drawing upon that for years to come.”

    After we had a business conversation on the phone I received the above message from my friend, Alyce, the next day.
    What I was drawn to was her wording “very useful”.
    If someone had asked me what our conversation was about I would have answered that we talked about how important it is to feel good, or actually great, about yourself.  This is a very important piece of any communication or connection and thinking of it as “very useful” seems to add more clarity and even an “aha!” Yes not only is this a good idea, about knowing yourself and being aware of how you feel in the moment, but it is also “very useful”.
    I can do something with this.
    I started wondering about how many things we talk about each day that have little meaning and are not especially useful, let alone “very useful”.
    Taking care of our self is important, not only for us but for everyone we come in contact with. Note: we exchange energies with each other.

    Think about this, would you rather be in a room with a very happy, enthusiastic person or a nervous, angry or upset one? . . . and when you are, pay attention to how that has an affect on you and how you feel.

    It is also interesting, and useful, to remember and know that we learn many things by repetition and the power of suggestion.
    That is what I have done in the paragraph above (and below)
    I have repeated that this is “very useful”, have drawn attention to it by bolding the wording and hopefully have gotten your attention as to what is “very useful” in this writing.

    Now back to my friend Alyce’s comment on what was “very useful”. That is, knowing and understanding that an “important part of any interaction is the way you feel about yourself”.

    Next step, pay attention to your conversations and notice if your chosen words had any real meaning. After you have a little insight on that then pay attention to how you are actually feeling about yourself. And then think about how your own thoughts, about yourself, are a part of how you feel. Not the whole thing but a piece to consider.

    Are you feeling alert, confident, curious, interested, trusting?
    Are you willing to pay attention or are you daydreaming and thinking of other things to talk about.
    If this is the most important part of an interaction and is “very useful” to know, then our mission with any connection, besides being informed and prepared, is to feel balanced, alert, aware, and grateful to be with the person we are interacting with.

    I have been taught that we need to hear or see something at least seven times to even remember it let alone have it be part of who we are.  In this writing I have repeated, that this is “very useful” information, eleven times, if I counted correctly.
    If you have read this far then you have the idea and the rest is up to you.

    Acceptance – How It Feels To Be Who You Are

    Welcome all.

    This writing is about how it feels when others, especially when they are close to us, accept us as we are.  Personal confidence goes up a notch and we can relax and be ourself.

    21584999It starts out with the funeral service and celebration of life for my father who passed away at 92 years old. The service it self was full of stories of a man who served his country in World War 2, started his own florist and plant growing business and raised a family of 8 children along the way. His favorite song was titled “In The Garden” and he passed at the exact time while 32 close relatives were singing that song to him.

    Several family members spoke of his Navy days, community and family involvement, his entrepreneurship, hard work while building a successful business. It was very touching, but it was the last speaker, my brother in law Jerry, who hit the high note. He spoke of the very strong feeling of acceptance felt by him, as an in-law, to our family. As he emotionally continued I was well aware of the heads nodding, in agreement, especially by the extended family members. You see once you were part of our family it did not matter if your relationship changed with your spouse. My parents accepted you as you were and if the relationship changed you were still accepted, exactly the same, just because you were you.
    My parents currently have 63 members of there extended family. That includes their 8 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and partners. You can imagine the different personalities, beliefs and desires of a group that size, yet all are accepted for who they are not how another thinks they should be.

    As I heard the emotion in my brother-in-laws voice it took me to another level. Acceptance, so gratefully appreciated by those stepping in from other relations, and which I have so naturally taken for granted, moved me to yet another level of appreciation for my parents.

    Thanks Dad, and as you already know, Mom is still at it, accepting all for who they are.

    Out of Your Mind Creativity

    One of the main focus points in the self coaching section on ecPathways is to use meditations and other exercises to help us calm our busy minds and slow down our thoughts. Feeling healthy and generally good about your self is an important part.

    30715766We all know that lack of sleep, movement and exercise affects our mood and focus ability. So do many things that we put into our bodies without thinking of their nutritional or hydrating value. We seem to spend even less time being aware of the thoughts we have,  the words we use and how they can affect and change our state of being.

    Here is a quote from Debra Kaye in her book Red Thread Thinking

    “Fresh ideas come when your brain is relaxed and engaged in something other than the particular problem you’re embroiled in

    Long showers, soaks in a tub, long walks, or doing chores are frequently when those “synapses” that find alternative solutions to a problem in new ways all hit together so that the big idea can spring.”

    In other words when we are doing something besides thinking, we tend to have out best, brightest ideas and aha’s.

    Much of our stress in day to day life can be managed by awareness and mastering of our thought process. Many of our thoughts are the same ones we had yesterday and even a few minutes ago. Creativity will naturally arise when we focus on something other than our thoughts. 

    Mindfulness is about being present in the moment, in other words being aware of where you are, what you are doing and how you are being.  Having activities that demand our attention,  just enough so that we are not thinking with our random, often useless thoughts, opens us to our intuitive and naturally instinctive self.  This is the place, or state of being, where most great ideas and new possibilities get their beginning.

    Here is a statement from best selling author Stephen King.   “We are writers, and we never ask each other where we get our ideas; we know we don’t know.

    “We know we don’t know”.  An awareness of not knowing, or not thinking that we know, to open up to our natural, personal resources that are there waiting for us to discover them. Our inner coach, mentor and intuitive self are on always on duty , if we are or have learned  to be aware of them.


    Personal Energy Our Thoughts and Poetic Thinking

    At a presentation on personal energy and how it effects our self and others, I did an exercise that had some interesting results. It was for a group of about 70 health care professionals.

    TM-034Here is how the exercise went.

    I asked on a scale of one to ten, to focus on how they felt, in their body, as they heard the word. And to respond quickly, and out loud, without thinking.  “1” being low energy, or negative, in some form and “10” being high energy, feels good.

    For the first word “Discipline”, most  said “2”,  for the next word “Adore” most said “10”.

    I had done the same exercise with a different group at an earlier date and they said the exact same numbers – “2” & “10”.

    Interesting on its own and a reminder for us all to become more and more aware of our thoughts and words and to practice changing some of them if they do not feel good. Awareness is the first step. If we are not paying attention inwardly we will not even know what is there.

    Think about practicing with your thoughts and words just as we practice with improving our physical abilities with sports and games. Our personal energy and awareness improve in the same way by being interested to do so, having the intention and practicing to change our habit.

    Having written a fair amount of intimate poetry I am interested in finding a way to mix poetic thinking with our daily lives and even with business situations.

    Poetic thinking, or writing, is somewhat more about what you feel, and are aware of with your senses, than just what you are thinking about.

    It is a deeper, more present, more in tune, more compassionate, and more about life, way of thinking, writing, speaking and being.

    Poetic writing and thinking style might be an interesting exercise to relate to some event in your life.  If you do it a few times, you might just surprise yourself.

    Remember getting started, taking the first step, is the difficult part. Once you start, your pen, or keyboard, will take over almost on it’s own. Here is a question to ponder and use as a starter.

    What choice could you make today that would enhance your personal environment?

    And why could or would that happen?

    Enjoy this moment as it is constantly changing, and a good time to change your thoughts.

    Conscious Eating, Conscious Living-Yoga Journal

    Eating & Being Aware That We Are Eating While We Do.

    This following message came in my email this morning from Yoga Journal’s “Daily Insight” – a great free service for subscribers/ YogaJournal.com

    The reason I am posting it here is I have to believe that I am not the only one who often eats on the fly or in the car. I meditate and do Yoga daily and yet. . . It speaks for itself and I am using it to increase my awareness another level. To eat and to be aware that I am eating at the same time. It won’t always happen but it will become more conscious. A new habit is begining.

    32381009Yoga Journal “Daily Insight” – 1/18/13

    Do you ever feel like food is something that’s getting between you and your life?
    In today’s modern world, we rarely make time to eat mindfully.
    Often, we eat on the go, in cars or at our desks for the five minutes we can spare.
    But when we eat without noticing our food, we miss one of life’s greatest pleasures and we allow that which should nourish us to become that which causes us stress.
    The next time you eat, take a moment to relax and really taste your food.

    Stop what you’re doing, sit down, and notice the flavors, textures, and smells of the meal in front of you.
    Express gratitude for the health and nourishment it provides.
    And then, as you eat, truly enjoy the experience.

    Over time, this ritual can improve your digestion and overall physical and mental health.