Tag Archives: Perimenopause

Spirituality Without Fanfare

Once you have been on your spiritual path for a while you will start to realise that it is best to not take yourself too seriously.

There are two types of people who practise spirituality, in my experience. Those who tell others how powerful they are or how enlightened they are or how good their expensive courses are…and those who just get on with it, quietly and without fanfare. Do a course for fun if you think you will get something out of it but do realise that the only thing really worth spending is time itself. Time to learn, time to experiment, time to let things simmer.

Unfortunately being bombarded with all these enlightenment sellers can put some potential newcomers off discovering more about themselves and their possibilities and that’s a shame as there is nothing to be nervous about. Don’t be scared by the hype, don’t be put off by those who dress themselves up as mystical beings who need to be adored. They are selling a service which is the spiritual equivalent of getting your nails painted…it’s fun but it isn’t an essential life choice. You can do what you need to do with a little online research, free resources, reading books and, most importantly, living the life and gaining the experience.

Those who are quietly spiritual know that everyone is an individual who will be spending years on their unique path, no expensive course is going to get anyone there quicker. Sorry. Sometimes it can even slow progress down as you are following someone else’s path not your own. Their way of doing things might not be yours.

Your path is your own and you don’t have to be doing A, B or C to qualify for any award. There is no award. There’s a reward for taking a spiritual path though. Several of them.

If you can successfully meditate you can make your daily life calmer and happier. This can take the edge off the hardest situation. YouTube has some really good meditations. Try Michael Sealey or Jason Stephenson.

Practising mindfulness will give you a better outlook on life and will make those challenges easier to deal with because you stay in the moment, at least long enough to have a break from your mind chatter. Here is a 8 week free course, run by Dave Potter a fully certified MBSR instructor.

Being able to work with the energies to heal yourself and others for free is your way to give back and to do your bit to help change one small part of the world which is suffering…whether that be an individual or a situation.  Learn how to give reiki to yourself with this previous article of mine Reiki For Self Love.  Where you go with it afterwards when it comes to helping others is for you to decide.

Ritual is a way to bring order to chaos as well as engaging in aged practices – whether you just count your morning ritual of shower, tea and toast before work or rituals used with your deity of choice, such as prayers. A good morning ritual sets you up for the day and most of us have several rituals which we enjoy. Perhaps yours is a candlelit bath or a cup of chamomile tea last thing before bed. A ritual is simply something you do at a certain time and, sometimes, for a certain reason. Getting a few rituals of your own in place will bring structure and certainty to your day and you will find you look forward to doing them. They will bring a comfort and a smile, a sense of well-being.

Learning how to work with herbs is another way that you can help yourself. Again there are many online courses out there for the basics but a good book will do you just as well too if money is tight. The work of Susun Weed is a good start if you are in the USA or Herbcraft by Anna Franklin and Susan Lavender is an excellent choice for those in the UK and Europe. Herbcraft gives a broad use for plants including medicinal and magickal as well as a bit of history for interest.

Learning which plants are edible is very important so do take care as there are some deadly ones out there too. 

Knowledge is essential when using herbs in whatever form you choose them. Several good books for cross referencing are essential and you should never rely on just one photo in a book to decide which plant is in front of you in the wild. Several good, clear close up photos are needed. Of course, the company of someone who already knows is ideal but few of us have that and so we must take things gradually and be careful with our choices by being sensible.

Here is a fun video done by someone just starting out using herbs. We all have to start somewhere…

Many of us enjoy a cup of chamomile tea or peppermint tea so why not take it a step further and start learning how to work with the energies of the plants in your vicinity, growing your own or even just in their essential oil form. Pure oils can be used for cleaning and sanitising your home, refreshing the aroma, getting rid of garden pests, used to heal yourself and pets and in a multitude of ways.

I have had no training in essential oils but taught myself gradually over many years and now use them in every part of my life. They are surprisingly versatile, useful and helpful and, of course, chemical free if chosen wisely. There are many articles online which will help you choose a starter arsenal of essential oils. My first three choices would be roman chamomile, lavender and peppermint. I have linked to an article for each to get you started if you are new to essential oils.

If you are starting off on your path and follow the signposts above and in my previous nine articles then together they should give you your first few footsteps. You will be on your way to a spiritual life which allows you to grow, gain confidence, deal with challenges, heal your everyday niggles and give love and strength to those around you. There will be days when it all seems too much and you will want a break. Be kind to yourself on those days and do whatever you need to do. Everyone has a spiritual crisis at some point in their lives…sometimes more than one…but this is good because this is where the biggest shifts happen.

My final suggestions are to enjoy life, love who you are and do what you have to do to make your life your own. Never be dictated by those who surround you or even those in your area of choice spiritually. Always trust your instincts and if you aren’t sure what they are saying then meditate and wait. The answer is there.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

When The Menopause Bites Back

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I am feeling quietly pleased with myself as I have just changed the keyboard on my laptop all by myself. I grant you it isn’t a really difficult task for a normal person but I am menopausal…tying my shoelaces on my own these days is a real achievement!

I’m joking…kinda 😀

Today I wanted to talk about the menopause. I thought I was nearing the finish line since Mother Nature hadn’t paid me a visit since last July. Then on the 6th of the month she called unexpectedly and overstayed her welcome. I was not exactly thrilled. Yesterday she popped in for a quick coffee yet again and now she has gone…with a flea in her ear, let me tell you!

There is plenty of information out there telling us about some of the symptoms of a looming menopause but not many websites talk about the days or even minutes of numbness, the crying for no reason and the crazy lady syndrome which can beset some of us. Now, let me be clear. Depression is a long lasting condition which needs medical care. If you have it, you will know it. The type of low mood I am talking about is one which comes and goes. The low mood, brain fog, irritability and crying we get periodically on and off in the months/years leading up to the menopause is very different from full on depression and is very similar to PMT at its worse in my experience. It is just more irregular in appearance and can strike at any time and go away just as quickly, sometimes even in a day.

With changes in our bodies and also possibly in our life circumstances emotionally and family wise such as children leaving home for university and parents needing care, this is a time for many changes not just THE change and we can be thrown off balance far more easily. We are still warrior women but we do have to remember this is a time to be kinder to ourselves and less judgemental of what we feel we ought to be. The Crone is emerging, the wise woman with decades of life experiences to share is settling in. We look to grandchildren now, the next generation to teach and nurture. We look to ourselves and our own needs a little more and this we MUST do, with no guilt attached, if we are to find joy and contentment with what our bodies and minds now offer us. Do you know who you are? Are you who you want to be?

Sometimes it can be difficult to maintain your Zen. I think it is important to be honest about how we feel rather than trying to make out these things are below us (makes it easier for the next woman who comes along to know she isn’t alone too) so let me share the following with you. Two weeks ago I was an absolute mess. The flu, migraines, anxiety, tears whether sad or happy (fluffy bunnies set me off!) and increased pain levels by about a good half. All a prelude to a time of the month I didn’t know I was expecting but it scared the heck out of me. I battled down with herbs, crystals, a blankie and a lot of mental thumb sucking and rode the wave out but, gals, I thought I was losing it at the time until the reason became clear when my period started. It was just PMT and a wash of hormones.

This week I mostly feel as I usually do (the flu is lessening…one hopes!) and what a relief it is! I also bought myself a copy of Susun Weed’s Menopausal Years and found it to be the perfect companion. Susun tells you about all the nitty gritty stuff and gives you the confidence to know that things will be alright even when you are drowning in the emotional riptide.

Your hormones are such fun companions but if they really start to bully you for more than two weeks then do get yourself to the doctors and find out what is available to help you. Get yourself informed about herbs and natural supportive treatments. Meditate. Do what you can to stay in the moment and don’t allow yourself to linger on unhelpful thoughts of guilt, shame and any other negativity which rears its head. Keep away from the news, social media and any other potential trigger of a drastic mood change and wait it out. If it lasts longer than a couple of weeks then seek help. The menopause is a natural transition, it is not something to suffer for.

Do yourselves a favour and buy a copy of this book. It is an absolute must for the shelf of the personal library of every women from 30+ years old and will save you from a whole heap of trouble later. Trust me. 

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The best book on menopause is now better. Herbal solutions for osteoporosis, hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue, flooding, fibroids, low libido, incontinence, anxiety, depression.

Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones.

Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD.

One of the world’s best selling books on menopause still comes on strong. Called “indispensable,” “incredible,” and a “treasure trove of information,” Menopausal Years is the “bible” for the 87% of American women over the age of fifty who want nothing to do with hormones.

Includes information and remedies for problems with premenopause — flooding, erratic periods, fibroids, spotting, water retention, muscle soreness — as well as menopause — hot flashes, sleeplessness, mood swings, headaches, palpitations, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and much more. Final chapters speak to post-menopausal women’s concerns: including ways to maintain heart health, prevent and reverse osteoporosis, deal with dry vaginal tissues and incontinence, ease aching joints, and maintain healthy libido.

The soothing, wise voice of Grandmother Growth guides each woman through the book and through her own menopause metamorphosis. Ritual interludes interweaves a spiritual dimension often lacking in other works.

Includes superb resource lists for menopause information, index, glossary, directions for using (and preparing) herbal medicines, complete descriptions of the most-used menopausal herbs (including nettles, ginseng, dong quai, red clover, oatstraw, and motherwort), recipes for heart- and bone-healthy dishes, and lots of illustrations. 

 

Perimenopause: The One Where I Had Drunk Too Much Tea

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As I find myself approaching month six without a visit from my monthly period I find myself almost holding my breath to see whether this is ‘it’, whether I have passed into the stage of being actually menopausal or whether this is Mother Nature’s idea of a little torment teasing and she will, in fact, be back at some point. Just to put it out there, if she decides to renew our acquaintance on Christmas Day when I have a lot of mouths to feed then I will not be impressed…

I would love to know how ‘the end’ happened for any of you ladies out there who have actually come out the other side and are now in full menopause so do please leave your stories in the comments below as it helps others to get an idea of what to expect too.

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This week I found myself looking up female urination devices. Yes, yes, I know, not exactly a topic for polite society but putting it in with the post on monthlies seemed like a two birds with one stone situation *smiles*. The thing is sometimes a girl has to go. In the UK, even when you hope there is not a soul around for miles, there will be. Usually within shouting distance. As a woman you are probably safer alone in the middle of a wood then you are alone in the middle of an urban area where screams are common place and usually mean nothing especially if you live on a main road as I do. Bizarre but true.

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So going back to the need for a device, let me tell you a story. Years ago I climbed mountains, literally, and when the call of nature meant too many brews had been consumed I found a lonely bush and just got on with it. You climbed a mountain, you paid the privacy price. These days I go geocaching and walking sometimes with the family when I am well enough and, thanks to the perimenopause, that cup of tea I had two hours before the walk is fighting its way out yet again despite going twice before we left home.

So there I was, behind said bush and minding my own business in an ancient wood in the middle of nowhere when some chap on a massive horse (quite possibly a Suffolk Punch only I was too embarrassed to raise my eyes for a good, close look at either of them) called a hello two feet away from me and proceeded to talk about how frosty the day was. I knew this quite well as my behind was exposed to the elements and a nasty looking nettle but I couldn’t rise or I would risk…exposure. I retorted that the day was most agreeable and bade him a pleasant morning and tried to look usefully employed down behind a bush. We waited whilst the horse relieved itself and he made off with a wave of his hand.

He knew what I was doing. Of course he knew. It was probably his wood.

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So I have decided it might be better for someone to come across a woman of a certain age peeing up against a tree…a sort of a modern Victorian curiosity if you like. Hopefully no pictures will appear on Facebook entitled “Now I Have Seen Everything!” but better that than a random photo of my ever expanding menopausal bottom with the same headline. A girl has to have some self pride. Peeing up a tree can at least be seen as an accomplishment..yes?

Therefore I have been trying to decide between a flashy longer pipe for superior aim or a short stubby one which won’t draw such admiring glances when I want to be alone. Is bigger best or is it really all about what you do with it? Will I regret keeping it simple if I come across another woman using the same tree whose girth is more substantial and whose aim is better? Having said that I won’t want to reuse it many times so should I go for quality or quantity? Do I collect and bank or pee and flee? You can see my dilemma.

Choosing the right device is a lot more difficult than I thought and I really don’t want to cock it up.

The Perfect Meditation For You!

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When I first started meditating I found using guided meditations to be the best way to begin. Even now, especially when feeling a little weary, I will use a guided meditation rather than relying on my tired mind to keep the rhythm and flow going.

There are a few things which I wanted to start working on for self-improvement and none of my current guided meditations were ticking all the boxes so I thought why not record one myself? This was surprisingly easy to do as my iPod (it’s old but it still works!!) has a voice recorder on it. All I had to do was read from a self-penned script and fill in the blanks with what I felt was needed. I used rose quartz for unconditional love and black obsidian for protection as my two crystal companions for this meditation. Both strong and uncomplicated crystals which do what they are supposed to do.

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This is my basic outline –

  • Take a deep breath in for the count of four, hold for a count of four, out for a count of five. Do this cycle three times.
  • If you need extra help with relaxing then you could talk yourself through tensing and relaxing your body in sections from your toes to head as you wish.
  • Visualise a TV screen in your mind, see and mentally count down each number from 12 to 1.
  • Do a protection exercise here such as imagining being encased in a spinning pyramid of golden light which deflects anything which is not for your highest good. Ask for the protection of your spirit guides and helpers who love you unconditionally. They will come at your invitation even if you are not aware of them yet.
  • Here is the place in the meditation where you will state your intentions, say your positive affirmations, talk with your spirit guide or whatever else is the purpose of your meditation.
  • When that is done and you feel the tasks are completed it is time to ground yourself. Visualise a column of light coming up from the ground and exiting out of the top of your head. See the healing energy coming up from the Earth and send that energy to every part of you from head to toe. Healing, soothing and cleansing your core and your soul. Scan your body mentally and put any heaviness, tightness or emotion which no longer serves you into the column of light, sending it into the Earth to be cleansed and neutralised. Then reverse the energy back down into the Earth and visualise sending roots from your feet down into the centre of the Earth to anchor you and keep you connected to the soil and Mother Earth.
  • Next count yourself up from 1 to 12, seeing each number on the TV screen as before. Then wiggle your feet, stretch your body, open your eyes and bring yourself back into the room.

You will notice there is quite a bit of time spent on cleansing and body housekeeping, as it were. I think it is worth it when undergoing any meditation. This is your quiet time, your time to regroup and relax whilst working on those things your spirit craves you to find peace and closure on. Make the most of it and do a little spring cleaning whilst you are in the right frame of mind and place to do it.

It is very important to ground yourself when meditating. I choose to do it whilst still relaxed and in the meditative state because I feel at my strongest then and I know I am completely focused on the task at hand and will therefore be more successful. Intention is everything. Do everything in a way which you feel is the right way for you. There is no right or wrong way as long as all the ingredients are there somewhere. If it doesn’t feel right for you one way then try another.

I followed my above pattern and I now have a 30 minute mediation to use daily which is specific to my needs. I can tailor it again to whatever my needs might be in the future just by altering the portion of the script above in italics to reflect this and re-recording it at any time. The more often I use the meditation the easier it will be and the more successful the outcome.

As you read above, I enhanced my energy field with crystals. I lit a patchouli, cinnamon and sandalwood incense stick to connect to the Earth and sipped an infusion of catnip and lemon balm tea before the meditation. I do these rituals routinely to focus my mind and enhance the experience. Everything in its place.

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Easy, hey? And not as daunting as you might first have imagined. Keeping it simple but direct and tailored just for you.

You can use this meditation in times of stress, anxiety, worry or uncertainty. I hope some of you in America will find it particularly useful today. Written with my love and all my hopes.

Many Blessings!

Self Help Books?

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I have come to the conclusion that when one reaches a certain age one starts to reach instinctively towards a self-help book. There’s a whole market of the things out there. Whatever your primary outlook in life there is a book or ten out there for you. All written so you can nod your head so vigorously at the contents you either get dizzy or need actually physio.

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I reached that certain age around 9pm last Tuesday (it might have been 10am the Sunday before…I can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday sometimes) and I found myself book shopping. I bought Caroline Myss’s Sacred Contracts, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and F*ck Feelings by Dr Michael Bennett and his daughter Sarah Bennett.

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Sacred Contracts has been around since 2001 so I am a bit behind with reading this one. I also bought the card deck which Myss has done which goes with the book. The card deck is simply a printed set of all the different archetypes which are said to make up our personalities, the idea being that you go through them and pick another eight to go with the four we all have already. The four we all have, apparently, are Child (various sorts, pick one card), Prostitute (yes, my thoughts exactly but it isn’t that sort of prostitute!), Saboteur and Victim. I admit at first glance I wasn’t keen on making the Victim or Prostitute cards part of my package but there are much deeper meanings than a mere word can put over at first glance. There are light and shadow attributes with the light attribute being the positive one which, in the case of the Victim, “prevents you from letting yourself be victimised or victimising others”. After much wrangling I managed to find my other eight cards, at least for now, but it was much harder than I thought it would be and I am not settled on them until I have read the book and the more expanded explanations of each archetype contained therein. I shall see how it all goes 🙂

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The Power of Now is another one I am slow to discover, which to be fair is hardly surprising when I wasn’t looking for it. Written by Eckhart Tolle way back in 1999, it was a book which found its way by word of mouth to start with and then, after Oprah Winfrey got her paws on it and acclaimed it a sensation, the whole of America read it. Well, that’s sort of what happened. I may have embellished a bit there but Oprah certainly read it because it says so on the cover. As I write this I am on page 32 so I can’t give a fair review. There have been a few raised eyebrow moments for me so far but those moments are what keeps life interesting and I am completely open minded to begin with about anything I read. I don’t dismiss the ridiculous, I ponder it a bit first. It is funny the nuggets of truth which reveal themselves when this stance is taken.

F*ck Feelings is a more modern self help book and came out about a year ago. It promises to be humorous as the co-author Sarah Bennett is a comedian. I rather like that. I do appreciate a self help author who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. It is on my shelf in third position to read and is quite a chunky book so I am reading that last.

I think the reasons all this has come up for me as suddenly important are obvious in some ways. Here I am, a grandmother now, having had five children and a varied and interesting life so far. Some of that life has been difficult and has left the odd scar which now needs healing. Now is my older and wiser time. A time to, perhaps, look more closely at some of the things which have brought me to this point but which I had mentally boxed up because I had too much going on to deal with them. It might be painful, it might be comforting, it will be difficult. I am not sure which of these will rear its head first or if they will all be there together in the mix. What I do know is that it is like finally deciding to get up the ladder and clean the attic…one is not overly enthused at the thought but it needs doing and can’t be put off any longer.

Time to get the gloves on and reach for the duster…

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Over 40 and Missed A Period?

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Today I thought I would write about missing periods whilst going through the perimenopause and how doing so might effect you. There are other reasons for missed periods, the most obvious one is pregnancy, so do get checked out if you are unsure or concerned.

There is a lot of information out there about the various things which you can expect during the lead up to the menopause (which is called the perimenopause) but not much on what can happen to your body and mind when a period is missed. Some women may sail through this time but for those unlucky ones who don’t here is the lowdown on what it does to me and my experience.

For me a missed period will mean extended and heightened PMS amongst other things. I have read an article recently which says PMS doesn’t really exist but there are a lot of women (including myself) and their men who will disagree with that. Having had a house full of girls (five daughters!) for over twenty years and my own hormones to deal with I can say PMS and I are old friends who regularly sit down to drink a cup of herbal tea together. As an aside, I do wish precious research money was spent more often on finding cures, especially for pain and fatigue related illnesses, rather than trying to disprove something exists when so many people have whatever it is.

This time around I have missed two periods. I forget what I am doing more often, I get distracted more often, aches and pains have increased, irritability has increased, patience has decreased and musings have increased. Hot sweats have increased and their duration is longer (that’s been particularly fun at this time of year!), my mood has been rather low and my fatigue worsened by a good 50%, on some days it is difficult to keep awake. I don’t feel depressed as such (that is a very different ball game indeed and not one to be taken lightly) I just feel a bit low as we all do on occasion but in this case simply due to the worsening of my health. All in all really not myself and rather ‘off’ with a suit of black and yellow to warn people I might sting 😀

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Lemon Balm

I am dealing with my symptoms with a herbal remedy and meditating twice a day. I make a tea of fresh Lemon Balm, Catnip, Peppermint/Moroccan Mint and dried Vervain every morning and drink two cups*. I have been doing this for a couple of weeks now and it really does seems to be keeping me calmer and easing the tendency to anxiety and irritability. I can deal with everything else but the anxiety is the killer for me. This particularly mix of herbs will make you sweat a little more for a short time after taking them which does seem a bit daft if you are trying to avoid hot sweats but actually it does have the knock on effect of keeping you cooler. Remember hot sweats come from the inside, not the environment so anything which will break the ‘fever’ going on inside by cooling you down is a welcome relief. It really does seem to lessen them and make my whole core feel easier too for a few hours. It has also had the knock on effect of reducing the frequency and severity of my headaches and THAT has been a wonderful and very welcome side effect. Works for me! Do read the disclaimer below and research carefully for yourself (as well as taking medical advice) before ingesting any herbal remedies.

I have been reading a book called The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup. In the first few pages she actually made me cry because it was like she was writing about me. Some people don’t like her work because they feel she writes as a feminist! I don’t feel she does but, sorry lads, just as most of us woman don’t pee standing up (who has seen The Full Monty?!) most of you don’t go through the menopause…wanting a sports car at 45 doesn’t count *laughing*…so, as far as I am concerned, a little unity with the girls and female power is rightfully in its true place when it comes to female sexuality.

I think it is an excellent book, written by a woman who is a doctor and has dealt with female problems in her clinics for decades but who didn’t want to write a book about the menopause until she had actually experienced it. I appreciate that. I remember dealing with midwives who weren’t mothers and therefore had never given birth. There is a lot to be said for experience over book learning in many situations…child birth, breastfeeding and women’s hormonal sexual health are three of them. If you are over 40 then do give this book a look. It will prepare your mind and body for what is to come and make sure you are at your healthiest. You may thank me for this later. On a side note I would like to thank my dear friend Cynthia Harrison for sending me the book. When someone feels strongly enough to put a book in your hand then you know you have to read it. I wish I had read it a decade ago! Thanks, Cindy!!

Since starting to write this particular article I have started a monthly and what a difference to how I feel! I am pretty much back to old self, as I would normally be feeling when the PMS has gone. PMS doesn’t exist, huh? Wanna live in this body for a bit? 😀

*If you are thinking of using herbs then do check with your doctor and a herbal specialist as I am not either of those. Many herbs will interact with drugs already being taken and so caution is needed. Do not take these herbs (or any others without advice) whilst pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

When The Mirror Growls

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Sometimes it’s just hard to get in front of the mirror and see anything good about our reflection. As we get older things tend to go southwards and with it our self confidence. Now there may be those of you who are gym or yoga bunnies and haven’t a scrap of fat on your lean torsos and for that I congratulate you! For the rest of us who, for various reasons, can’t do that sort of regime it can be a difficult reflection to make friends with.

What I do every day is write down the things I am grateful for in my life and say it out loud in a prayer to my Goddess and the universe itself. I also give thanks for my fabulous legs, sky blue eyes and still firm boobs. Not bad after five kids either…take a seat Sam Fox. There are numerous parts of my body which are not how I would wish them to be but, due to circumstances, there is not a great deal I can do about it. I eat as healthily as hormones will allow, do my stretching exercises twice a day and try to keep as supple as possible. On my confident days my baby belly is a proud statement. It’s a reminder I managed to bring into the world five fabulous human beings who are out there making their mark on the world. Why view something so special in a bad way?

I also try to make up for the less than perfect outside by making sure the inside is well cared for. That old grey matter. Although I do have what might be called ‘a bit of a brain fug’ sometimes, I constantly fight back with meditation, mindfulness, aromatherapy, memory exercises, reiki and other methods to make sure my brain and memory are kept in tip top (for me!) condition. It’s no good having a beautiful outside if the inside is vacant, ignorant or unbalanced. This also has the knock on effect of making sure the flaws I do see on the outside are shrugged off more easily as they become much less important when my mind is occupied by more meaningful questions and pursuits.

However we choose to look after our own bodies we should always do so in a way which is right for us. A way which makes us feel good and confident. A way in which our self esteem is increased and not decreased. So I am going to take my size 14 figure, give it a shake and a wiggle and saunter off with my head held high.

Guilty feelings on eating a small piece of chocolate cake? Move along, folks, nothing like that to see here!

Ocean Jasper

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Today it is the turn of these two lovely pieces of Ocean Jasper to make themselves known to you all. Ocean Jasper is so called as it is found only when the tide is low in a certain place in Madagascar. It is a type of orbicular jasper which gets its orbicular reference from the patterns on the rocks themselves.

If you are having a hard time seeing something from another person’s point of view or you need to develop some self-love then Ocean Jasper might be worth a try. It’s a quiet stone full of gentle, positive energy. A bit like a friend who hasn’t much small talk but stands beside you in times of need, letting their strength speak for them. Like that friend, Ocean Jasper shows us how to be more patient with others and ourselves and waits with us whilst we sort ourselves out. It is also said to gently release anger and pent up negative emotions.

Ocean Jasper says go with the flow but be aware you reap what you sow. Take the short cut and it will be bumpy. It is said to help with the digestive system, IBS, removes toxins and helps with inner ear disturbances and sea sickness.

With the green and pink colours of these particular ones I use them with my heart chakra. Very much a stone of peaceful intentions in my experience and very pretty too!

The Simplicity of Logging Off

 

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I am back after a lovely break chilling out with my family and a fairly strict self imposed ban online! We had a wonderful week as a family and excellent news of fantastic AS level results for my college attending daughter. She is much relieved and is motivated even more to aim for the university group place she is keen on securing an offer from in the near future. Proud parents!

Today I wanted to write about being so connected online and what that means to us on a day to day basis. Although phone companies will tell you it is good to talk, I think it comes with its own stresses. I think we all need some internet and phone free time each day.

I tend to deal quite quickly with emails when they come in so I didn’t realise quite how many I have until I started leaving them until the end of the day. My least busy day last week was 312!! When I think of all the text messages and phone calls I also get it is a wonder I get anything else done at all 😀

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What this did bring home to me was the need for social media free time. Leaving the mobile phone at home whenever possible or turning the internet off at home for a few hours whilst doing something else so I can give my full attention to the task at hand without being tempted to peek at notifications or getting drawn in to reading a blog post. It also reminded me to make a note to look at some of the settings I have so that I can reduce the amount of notifications and emails I have coming in which so regularly light up my tablet.

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We ended up in the forest for the day last week and whilst the others went bike riding I just sat in the shade of a welcoming tree and spent my time reading and watching the world go by with the dog by my feet. I had no signal on my phone and I was lost in the ether as far as the rest of the human race was concerned.

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It was quiet there in my bubble. You forget what it is like to be so disconnected from the rest of the world. Let me tell you – it is good. I still remember when we had to walk a mile to get to a phone box in the 1970’s. We dialled, stuck our 2p in the box and got to speak for a minute or two…if we shouted loud enough, they heard us! And when we did get a phone installed if we were out we were out and that was that. Now, I am contactable 24/7 unless I make a choice not to be and that is something I am going to do more often in the future, even if it is only for an hour a day.

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It is so hard to be unavailable. We are often apologetic when we miss a phone call or feel we have taken too long to answer a text. One of my adult daughters gets quite affronted if she can’t get an answer from me straight away. Not because she is worried I have inadvertently fell under a bus but because ‘That’s what mobile phones are for, Mother!’.

People seem to either love this instant availability or loathe it. I am in the second camp and I realise I am probably going as extinct as a dinosaur with this viewpoint but I often find it quite stifling. In my defense I want to be able to enjoy moments of peace and quiet without having to turn off half a dozen gadgets around the house beforehand and losing the spontaneity which comes with the perfect moment. I don’t want to feel I have stolen it. I want to feel I have earned it and then I get to savour it and taste it fully.

Of course, you can get a digital detox by booking up a holiday specifically catering to this…in other words they haven’t had WiFi connected yet…and they will charge you a nice hefty added extra for not doing so! Just the other day I read an advert for a holiday home whose main selling point was that it had no WiFi…the owners called it a retreat and were charging a premium for the guaranteed relaxing stay and the chance to play board games for that old fashioned family holiday!! Now THAT’S enterprising! Or cheeky, depending on your viewpoint 😀

Still, it’s one way to get the teenagers off their devices without it being seen as an unreasonable demand, us off our phones and everyone back into the real world…albeit kicking and screaming!

Better make the most of it before we all get hooked up with implants from birth and the choice to be ‘off grid’ is no longer ours to make…resistance is futile 😉

Refreshed!

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I am back again after a few days off with my wonderful other half and our teenagers! We spent the first few days decorating our bedroom (looks fantastic!!) and then we went out to the forest, the beach and to a local market on the other days.

The hound went to the beauty parlour and came back trimmed and powdered. Frankly he knew he smelt like a girl and he was not in the slightest bit impressed with this until we went for a walk by the beach and he got lots of compliments. He was also chatted up twice which pleased him no end and his tail curled back up as he strutted down the prom at the head of the pack with a ‘Look at me! I’m so handsome it hurts!’ vibe going on. And he was and it did, until he found some mud later on…

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We also did some work in the garden and I bought more herbs! I now have 25 different herbs I have specifically planted in the garden. I have used each one which is established enough to do so and have plans for the others once they take hold. The most interesting experiment is the morning infusion I created myself to help with my perimenopause symptoms using Lemon Balm, Peppermint and Vervain in various amounts. I really do think it is making a difference so I shall continue for another three weeks and see how I feel then. I have certainly had less headaches so that’s a plus in itself! I will post the recipe up once I am happy it works…having a holiday in the middle of the test may have altered the results so I need those extra weeks to be sure. Every little helps though, so fingers crossed it carries on working so well!