Archive for the ‘relaxation’ Category

Retreated and Renewed

I am BAAAAAACCCCCCKKKKKKK!!!!!!! Hello again blogging world.

I am not exactly sure what I expected to get from the spiritual renewal retreat in Jemez Springs. Sometimes I think I expect miracles to happen when what I should expect is a nice easy time of things. Then again, maybe my miracles happen in little ways instead of in big production ways.

Jemez Springs is a neat little town. I had heard about it often from our friends who have a cabin there. HOWEVER, the Canon del Rio was the coolest place I have ever stayed. The arched adobe courtyard entrance greeted us as we drove up. Walking through the front door revealed a huge lodge-type great room with a wall of windows facing the mountain to the west. On the left was a breakfast bar. Moving around the room, I noticed a nice kitchen area, a door marked private which I later found out was an efficiency apartment, and the traditional southwest fireplace.

On the other side of the entrance was the entertainment center complete with a big screen TV and a sofa, chair, and loveseat. The decor around the room was very Southwest Native American. The floor was covered in a stone tile that added to the southwest flair.

Flanking each side of the great room were hallways leading to the bedrooms. Six rooms, three extending from each side of the great room, were each decorated similarly. We were shown to ours with its king-sized bed for Daddy Long Legs. Our room had a sliding glass door leading out to the back courtyard, which was beautifully adorned with pole benches, small trees, and a gorgeous fishpond/fountain. Another archway led visitors beyond the B&B grounds down toward the Jemez River.

Even with the remants of winter still holding natures beauty at bay, we were overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the things our eyes had seen. Trees and mountains have a way of providing a sense of seclusion, even when one is not alone. I think seclusion was my miracle for the weekend.

If you ever get a chance to visit Canon del Rio in Jemez Springs, NM, I feel quite confident that you will find it every bit as charming as I did. When you go, be sure to tell Dagna (pronounced like lasagna) that I sent you. She is an incredible breakfast cook. You won’t be disappointed.

As for the various energy modalities used during the retreat activities, I found that I was familiar with most of them from my various BrainGym experiences and my limited yoga and Touch for Health experiences. They were good for me and for my hunky baby because it reminded our bodies of ways we can move with a little bit of warm up and preparation. We haven’t lost that flexibility yet, but we sure need to get with the program and keep moving. And yes, he survived a room full of women being sorely outnumbered about 14 women to two men.

We set an intention for the retreat. Mine was something about having clarity and confidence in my career options. That became the focus of the various meditative moments I had. I suppose I have come away from the retreat with some clarity in that area. I think I am still processing a bit, which we were told would likely take a few days longer to fully do it’s thing.

One thing is fairly solid at this point. I have realized my strong desire to reconnect with nature. While I love promoting health and wellness, I also realize I probably won’t be happy if I go from teaching and working with technology in a windowless concrete room to teaching and working with health and wellness in a windowless concrete room. I need sunshine, raindrops, singing birds, pecking chickens, green plants, and some slimy earthworms throughout my day no matter what I do. That’s an important piece of career information. If I choose to pursue massage as a full time career, I will have to figure out how to do it in a way that allows me to gaze out on nature. It’s not going to work for me to be shut up in a windowless private massage room for hours on end. I guess you would call that some serious clarity, therefore this was a successful retreat for that reason alone.

Finally, this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the two amazing people who were our tireless hosts. Debi and Randy are absolutely some of the most gracious people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. They shared their evenings in Jemez Springs with us, then allowed us to extend our stay another night in their beautiful suburban hacienda. While there is much to appreciate about these two people, I think what I like most is the fact that they are truly genuine.

Randy is a man’s man. He’s a Vietnam vet chopper pilot who loves hunting, fishing, and his dog. He is not afraid to tell you what he thinks, even if it is a bit on the politically incorrect side. He is real, and that’s a great thing to be.

Debi is his counterbalance. She is soft and compassionate to everyone, and would give them her last spinach salad (which I could eat for every meal). Even so, she has a line and stands her ground when necessary. She is a woman worthy of respect, and a beautiful woman at that.

Yes, it was a great escape…my man, God’s awesomeness, powerful intention, incredible food, loving people, and none of my own children. :-)  When can we go back?

 

 

 

Renewal

I am so grateful to be spending this weekend in beautiful Jemez Springs, New Mexico, at a spiritual renewal retreat. My very good and enlightened friend Debi is hosting the event which combines yoga, Native American Medicine Wheel, sound vibration, healing breath, accupressure, Aryuvedic massage, meridian massage, movement, stillness, plus BrainGym in an incredible setting. While I am familiar with many of these, I have yet to experience most of them. I am very excited about having the opportunity to get them in my body.

Debi’s flyer lists a ton of benefits to be gained by practicing these Multi-Sensory art forms. They include:

  • enhance body functions
  • increase energy
  • alleviate mental fatigue
  • create efficient electrical and chemical action between the brain and nervous system
  • reduce emotional flare ups
  • diffuse stress
  • improve self-control and sense of boundaries
  • lessen depression, fatigue, pain, and hypersensitivity

I’m dragging my wonderful hunky baby on this adventure. I don’t know that he is overly excited about being in the sessions, but he has such an incredible meditative mind. Besides,  from my past experiences after returning home to him from BrainGym workshops,  he will find it is WELL WORTH not having to wait for me to get back home to reap the benefits—if you know what I mean. Honestly, I’m just excited about being totally alone with him for a few hours. It’s been too long since we’ve had that privilege.

As for my friend Debi, I love being around her and her hunky baby. He doesn’t have the guts to endure a spiritual retreat, but that’s okay. He also probably isn’t into candles, fish, plants, and cats like my man is, yet we love him anyway. He gives some of the biggest and best hugs I’ve ever had. I fully intend to pick Debi’s brain right down to the very last neuron. She has knowledge that I want and skills that I would like to acquire. She has led or hosted several of the BrainGym workshops I have attended and one will never find a more gracious hostess. It will be an awesome weekend filled with incredible energy.

You can be assured of two things that will happen over the weekend. First, I won’t be checking my email. Second, upon my return to blogging, I will have details (well, G-rated details anyway) about the incredible things I am expecting to happen while in Jemez Springs.

Here’s trusting you will have a weekend just as amazing as mine.

Soul Soothers

Here are a few things (in no particular order) that soothe my soul when life gets crazy:

  1. Cuddling up with a love-y dove-y cat.
  2. Rubbing our dog’s ears as if doing Thinking Caps (that’s a BrainGym activity).
  3. Taking a walk in a pasture on a warm wind-less day with the sun blazing down on my forehead.
  4. Scratching our horse’s belly.  He has this one spot that makes him go nuts. It is so much fun to make him feel good.
  5. Listening to the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” It’s a hoot.
  6. Imagining life in a 600 sq foot house powered by solar and wind, totally independent of everything and everybody.
  7. Imagining how our 300 sq foot barn could be converted into the house I just mentioned.
  8. Looking at a picture of a tropical jungle with an incredible waterfall tumbling down the side of a cliff. I can almost get there in my mind.
  9. Getting wrapped up in the arms of my hunky monkey man.
  10. Talking with my oldest about her dreams and aspirations.
  11. Holding my youngest in my lap while she drifts off to sleep.
  12. Watching my chickens. They are better than any Seinfeld rerun.
  13. Planting my garden. It’s a killer of a job, but such an amazing feeling. This time of year really rocks for me.
  14. Visiting my growing garden BWTO(before weeds take over).
  15. Dragging the chicken pen to a new spot of pasture without any man help.
  16. Watching the water sprinklers dance in a circle and smelling the damp sod.
  17. Roaming the aisles of a greenhouse.
  18. Imagine having my own greenhouse.
  19. Writing blog posts.
  20. Reading blog posts.
  21. Kidnapping my husband and …ahem…”hiding out” with him in the 300 sq foot barn.
  22. Lying flat on my back in the middle of the pasture with the sun on my face.

What works for you?

Authentic Angie

Mid-Life is such a fun time….and a confusing time….and a brave time….and…and…It really just rocks. Mid-life for me is the point at which I have realized it’s okay to be authentically me. What does that mean? Well, for me it means being who I really am. It means that being a nice person is okay, but I don’t have to squash who I am to please other people. It means that I don’t have to apologize for having an opinion just because someone else thinks I am wrong. Being authentically me means being free to be me, and freedom is so important at this stage of my life.
 
I learned very early on that to be accepted by the “pretty people” meant I had to conform to their view of what was acceptable no matter how stupid or rediculous their views seemed to be. Not doing so created unbearable social pain for me, and I didn’t handle social pain very well. I guess most kids don’t. As a twenty-something, I conformed because I wanted to get a job and then please my superiors. Sadly, it wasn’t because I WANTED to please everyone as much as it was because I was AFRAID of the consequences if I did not please everyone. On those rare occasions when an Authentic Angie showed up, I was quickly admonished and put back in my place.

Over the years, Authentic Angie has reared her head from time to time. She never intends to cause pain for someone else, but often attempts to help bear someone else’s pain or help someone get relief. In return, there it is…some sort of social discomfort as payback for being authentically me. Now at life’s mid-point, I find that I truly want to be authentically me and not care what anyone else thinks. I think it is time. I find that those who try to squash authenticism are themselves feeling threatened, so why would I hand over my emotional confidence to another insecure individual?

 
Authentic Angie is emerging. She is coming forth with confidence, dignity, and purpose. Those who would seek to squash that drive should consider themselves warned….better step out of the way. Authentic Angie is shining through and there is nothing going to stop her from being her authentic self.
 
How does your authentic self shine through?

Bi-Polar Gratitude Disorder

Gratitude is a hot topic these days. If I want good things to come to me, then I must practice an attitude of gratitude with deliberate intent. I am all about this topic, because I have plenty about which to be grateful, and I certainly want more good things to flow my way.

However, it is so much easier for me to find things to gripe about than to overflow with gratitude.  This presents quite a dilema, and I have developed a few strategies to cope with this disorder.

In my most unscientific opinionated research (that means this sentence should have started with “I think…”), there are several factors that play into this battle of the will. The first one is the constant negative bombardment from our surroundings: newsmedia, co-workers, the billboard selling vasectomy reversals, disgruntled parents, even well-meaning friends and family who think they have my best interest at heart. You know exactly what I am talking about. It’s like a hot tub of negativity, so easy to just sit there and soak in it, absorbing its negativity molecule by molecule as our pores enlarge in the rising heat to let in bigger and bigger chunks. <SHUDDER>

Then there is the genetic factor. There simply has to be a genetic component, again, because……I say there is. It’s an inborn trait that is passed from a parent or a grandparent and lands….well….apparently in my jeans…er uh…genes. I know my family history, and even though that source of family negativity passed from physical life so long ago I barely remember, I know it was there. Since my growing up years were fairly positive, I am convinced my natural tendancy toward negativity must have been hard-coded.

Now comes the tough fun part. (See? I remain a work in progress.) I have to figure out daily, hourly, and even moment by moment who will win. Will it be gratefulness carrying the torch today? Will negativity stand triumphant as I rip some poor soul  for their stupidity and ignorance? Will the “Doing what I love will lead me down a path to success” mantra lead me through my day, or will the “How could you possibly be thinking about quitting your job in this economy” mantra guide my decisions? It’s a very bizarre form of being bi-polar, if you ask me. (My apologies to those who deal with the real form of this disorder, yet it makes for a good analogy.)

When a person struggles with managing a disease or disorder, they learn what their triggers are, they take appropriate meds when necessary, and they nourish their body with those things that support health and wellness. Bi-polar Gratitude Disorder is no different.  

I know what my triggers for negativity are. They are the very things I described above including watching or listening to news and politics (geez that stuff is depressing), hanging around people who ooze anger, hostility, and resentment that just seems to smear all over me and suck me in like quicksand, and family who are hyperfocused on that first item (what the media is saying about our economy) and insist on making sure I don’t do something they think is stupid and irresponsible. Just like an allergy, I do my best to stay far away from these. When I do have an unavoidable encounter, I have to reach for the “meds”.

I make a daily conscious effort to “take my medicine” both on schedule and in emergency rescue situations. I read daily affirmations that appear on my web browser’s homepage or pop up in Twitter (see this website  for a dose of good thought). I am not one to glue and tape pieces of paper on the bathroom mirror, but I totally enjoy the random digital messages that appear for me on screen. They are as if God picks out just the right dosage for me at the exact moment I am gasping for positive air and need my rescue affirmation.

Finally, there is the health and wellness component. It is simply easier to be positive and grateful when my body feels amazing. That’s not always an easy task at 40 as a full time working (outside of the home)mom going to massage school and having four incredibly involved kids and an awesome husband . Fortunately, my first method of treatment makes this third method of treatment much easier. Since I don’t spend much time participating in negative media, that leaves much more time for taking walks, feeding my chickens, working on my farm, soaking up sunshine, listening to inspirational works, preparing healthy foods, and of course therapeutic writing.

Thank goodness bi-polar gratitude disorder isn’t fatal. I’m not convinced it is curable, but it is manageable.

How do you control bi-polar gratitude disorder flareups?

BrainGym, Take Me Away!

If you have been around a few years, you will most likely remember the Calgon commercials. Those were the ones where the poor lady is dealing with cooking dinner, kids and dogs running through the house, lamps being knocked over, doorbell ringing, and more until she can’t take another moment. She cries out at the top of her lungs, “Calgon, take me away!” The next scene is her soaking peacefully in a tub full of bubbles surrounded by candles and the fluffiest towels on the planet.

I don’t know if Calgon is still around, but even if it is, I’m not convinced it can whisk me away from all of that fun and excitement. Around my house, even a tub full of bubbles doesn’t keep the kids, dogs, and doorbell at bay.  When things get that crazy, I have to reach for the heavy artillery. No, I’m not talking about a Captain or a guy named Jose. I’m taking about the really big guns….Water, Brain Buttons, Cross Crawls, and Hook-ups. In BrainGym, we call those four powerhouse tools PACE. They are the booster cables for kicking things into gear, or in my case, into a more favorable response.

BrainGym doesn’t change the doorbell, the kids, the dog, or the noise. What BrainGym does change is my response to those things. I never cease to be amazed at how my tolerance level increases when I use the BrainGym movements. Oh, don’t get me wrong. The kids certainly don’t get away with any more when I use BrainGym. Instead, I have a much clearer head for strategizing the best possible way of dealing with inappropriate behaviors. My energy is more in control and dominant. Even the dog doesn’t question the command to sit when the Powerful Mom energy is flowing.

Give it a test drive and see if you have a similar experience. If you aren’t sure how to perform the BrainGym movements, check out my Powerful Reads section or take a BrainGym workshop. It will be an investment that will pay daily dividends for years to come.

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