Revisiting Old Habits

 Sometimes old habits are good.  We forget how much we enjoy things and slowly the grind of life puts those wonderful old things aside.  This is what happened to me and my photography. A few years ago I got a great camera. I learned about it and took photos of everything. I even got some pretty great photos of the moon.

I have a grouping of some of my photos on Fine Art America

Here are a few of my favorites.











I forgot how much I enjoyed it. I began using my skills to take photos of my jewelry and items for sale. It became a tool for me to get a job done instead of the actual job. I've decided to pick up my bag, dust it off and begin taking photos again. I look forward to sharing my new works with you.  I hope you're ready to join me.


If it doesn't bring you joy.....

Renee

Memories and Pain

 Facebook has a little tool that pops up items from your time spent. It shows you images of things you shared.  This morning I woke up to this memory.




This photo is of my lap on a plane trip back from Hexfest. It was remarkable because all I could remember of my last plane trip was devastating. I was traveling up North for my mundane job. I was put in a middle seat on that trip and I had to raise my hand and ask for a seat belt extension because I was too fat to fit in the normal one. After that trip, my desire to go on planes obviously dropped. So much so that I did not step foot on one for over 10 years.  When I see that seat belt not only being able to fit me but it being so large that it extends to my knees my eyes fill with tears. I cannot believe how far I have come.



That trip to New Orleans changed my life. I spent a wonderful weekend surrounded by so many magical people. My time with Sorita was priceless and I enjoyed it so much. A year ago today I was so touched to be in the room with this amazing energy. 



Memories take us back to what we were feeling in a certain space in our lives. Sometimes these are painful but useful memories.  My memory today reminded me that there are many in that airplane painfully waiting to ask for a seat belt extension. 



It only takes a moment to be pulled back into that space where you are heartbroken. Sadness and fear can pull you into depths that feel inescapable. For me, changing my diet helped my mood so much. Adding meditation and playing music throughout my day help me stay focused and allow these memories to come back in and NOT pull me down but instead, lift me up.


This is one of my favorite mantras:



Memories don't necessarily have to mean pain. In fact, until we learn that we have the power to be completely happy exactly where we are; everything will bring suffering. Suffering can end, and we can end it. Just by stopping and listening to the breath. 

Today my memories reminded me of the beautiful people in my life.  They reminded me of the sadness and pain I felt in the past. I said hello to that pain and embraced it. There are people out there right now, struggling with weight (or any other issue) that feel they are in the depths of despair. I was there.  You can make it out.  Take a moment. You are here. You are alive.  You can be.  Just as we cannot remove the sunshine from a flower, we cannot remove it from you.  You are the sun and the rain. You are the earth. I am the earth, we are one. 

Life is suffering. There is an end to that Suffering.  Take a journey down that path to relieve suffering.  

Stay present and enjoy your memories. They help show you that you have lived.

Live, Laugh, Love and Breathe

Its be just over a month since my last post. Things are going well here. We're keeping to ourselves, using grocery pick up and fresh veg delivery to keep us going while this pandemic is running full force through our little state. I've been spending my time learning new things for my full time job, as well as working on my energy.  I've found a great YouTube channel that I highly recommend for playing all the time. Here's a look what this month has been.

My photography is going well. I'm not using a camera but instead using my Note 10 to capture all of the shots (except the screengrabs) in this blog and what I share on FB and Instagram.  Here are a few of those.






Now an update on our weight struggles.  Last month as I posted I fell of the wagon and had cheese.  This month, I've avoided all of that and have stayed true to my food goals. My scale died so I had to order a new one that finally arrived yesterday. This new one is supposed to sync with my Samsung Active, so far it isn't working.  We'll see how it goes. My weight is staying between 133 and 139. It isn't where I want to be.  I'm about 11 pounds from my goal weight which would put me at a normal BMI. But I have to accept that I'm 51 and that just may not be possible. 

This way of eating has certainly changed our lives. My gray hair is gone, Elijah used to have really thin hair and that's changed now.

     

I've begun (finally) working on his hair in the style he wanted. I've tried braiding it in a french braid but I really like this twist effect. It stays up nicely and looks great on him.  

It is inspired by hair from the History Channel show, Vikings.






We had a brief struggle with fresh veggies so we joined Misfits Market. This has been pretty successful. Basically they send you organic veggies that are on their last legs to try to lessen food waste in the US. Our boxes originate out of New Jersey and are scheduled to arrive on Tuesdays. This was the first week our box actually arrived on Tuesday. Usually it's Wednesday or Thursday. Over the 4th of July week our box didn't arrive at all. But we get a small box and for the price and the contents it is completely worth it.  Here are a few of our boxes.

       

















Our neighbor has also been dropping by with some fresh veg weekly and we picked up some fantastic local strawberries!  Its been a great addition to our meal prep.







This channel is amazing. It's called The Meditative Mind and offers an assortment of healing and cleansing chants, mantras and songs that will ease your body and mind into a constant meditative state. I have found that my intuition has increased, my blood pressure and stress has gone down and my ability to connect with the natural forces of the planet of increased 20 fold. If you have time, and I recommend you make time, stop and listen to some of these. Their library is endless.  They even have an 11 hour chant that I put on at bedtime to help me sleep.  It is so amazing.






I've been playing Wizard101 since it was created off and on.  Over the last six months Eli and I have gone back to spending our free time there.  Its really a great game, dubbed a kid's game but I see more adults playing than kids.  There's no random pvp and there is tons of content.  Here are a few screenshots from the game.








If you decide to play, let me know on Facebook.  Maybe we can team up and do some adventuring together.

Finally we've been making some really great recipes.  Eli is really working on his spice blends and these meals are turning out amazing. If you don't have the chops to make your own we highly recommend following Monkey and Me Kitchen Adventures on Facebook and checking out their website. They have really fantastic recipes. We try a new one from them usually once or twice a week and have not been disappointed.  Here are a few pics from our recreations of their amazing dishes.









Overall, it's been a pretty amazing month. I hope you're staying safe and taking the time you need to heal and reconnect with the energies of this amazing planet we live on.  Take a moment to smile at your fears, welcome them as part of you. Inhale and exhale. Just breathe.





Coming to Terms with Addiction

For years I have always known that the food we eat is laden with chemicals that cause our bodies harm. I knew that eating them could cause cancer, trigger bipolar manias and even cause death. Over the last two weeks I found out just how strong that addition is.



It started with just a veggie pizza with no cheese to full on stuffed mozzarella bread sticks. This past Tuesday I found myself sitting in my living room in tears because I felt so horrible. I felt my mania come back in full force with panic attacks, headaches and even that odd growth returning to my nose. I had eaten cheese on four occasions. 

My brain was so far back into the addition that I was ready to sit down and eat everything in sight.  My arms were killing me and my fibro was coming back.  I had eaten a total of 10 stuffed bread sticks over the 2 weeks and maybe 8-10 slices of pizza.  Just that little bit and I was completely hooked again.  I even gained 5lbs. The oil that came through after my trips to the bath room was frightening.

Today, four days after my wake up and stopping the diary, I find myself in a much better place. I've been stuffing myself with blueberries and green tea to try to clean this junk out of my system. My mania has passed and I feel so much better.  No more panic and anxiety. No more pain in my arms.  I really believe, if not the chemicals, then the emotion in the milk from those poor cows does immediate damage to our body. 

When I say to you, I understand why you can't give up meat.  I understand why it is so hard to stop cheese, believe me, I am saying this as one junkie to another. Those things are intentionally addictive. They want you to crave them so strongly that even as you sit in pain and depression you reach for it and add it into your body just like any other drug.



You can however break the cycle.  It isn't easy, but you can do it. If you need support, message me. I'll help you. I'll listen. I won't judge.  I know what it is like to be in that position. Here are some tips to help.

1. Remove all the junk from your house - throw it in the trash!
2. Sign up for a fresh veggie delivery service - I use Misfits Market
3. Pick up an Instant Pot - Great for beans and potatoes
4. Find a support person - You can message me!
5. Be kind to yourself - Everyone makes mistakes



Remember, nothing is forever.  Things are always changing and you can either resist the change or accept the change. Opt for the things that bring you peace. You have the power within you to happy. You just have to accept it. 

Hang in there!





Somewhere Over the Rainbow

So it's almost been a month since I posted my last piece about the stay at home orders.  Today I sit here listening to the news as they report on protesters demanding to open up diners and hair salons. I hear people complaining that they haven't had their hair dyed or their nails done and it is the same as being in prison. It is so odd to me that the people protesting are not the people who work those jobs. And aren't those the same jobs that people always complain about when they want $15 an hour? Now all of a sudden they appear to be pretty damn important to people.

For us this month has pretty much been the same.  The only change was that our weekly trips to the market for fresh fruit and veg were completely cut out.  Today we ventured out and picked up apples and a huge flat of strawberries. It was so wonderful to have those things back in the house. We're set up for a few more weeks but I can tell you that we solid ran out of just about everything before heading out to the stores. I was amazed at the number of people not distancing themselves from each other. Not a lot of folks wearing masks either. We scurried in and out taking out produce and heading back home.



Last week I took a week off from work to get some things done around the house.  We managed to get several above ground beds in and planted lots of veg. We did some trimming on some of the trees around the house and got the yard ready for spring. 

  

 


Eli is still perfecting our zero waste.  He came up with a great recipe for crackers made from the oat milk he makes each day. They turned out amazing!

  


Overall, I'm pretty surprised at where we are right now. Life is very good for us. I feel a strange sense of calm and ease even though when I read the news it appears the world is falling apart. 

Last week my aunt Sandra passed away.  She was the aunt that every one always told me I was just like. She was pretty amazing.  Over the last 5 years, we had a bit of a falling out. In the end we made a mends for that but when we came back from New Mexico, she didn't want us to come over or help at all with her.  She was someone I always looked up to when I was a child. As an adult, I learned that a lot of times when you put people up so high, it is a really big fall.  She was diagnosed with cancer about a year before we left and was in Chemo until the end. One of my sisters was with her when she died. I hate that she had to suffer but they did tell me that she was on morphine at the end so there's that. 

This is an older picture of us.  The first is of me in El Cajon some 17 years ago. Just amazing.  The second photo is her around the same time frame.



I'm not as sad as I thought I might be, when I thought about her dying in the past. I would have thought that I would be bawling my eyes out. But, that just isn't what is happening now.  I'm actually glad.  I'm happy she's not hurting any more. Death isn't the end of life.  Today she is here in the same way she was two weeks ago.  A flower is a flower, but it is also the sun and the rain.  It is the soil around it.  The flower is the sum of all the parts around it and we cannot remove one of the parts.  Without the sun we could not have the flower. It is this inter-being I think that makes me feel that we need to stop concentrating on the suffering and instead, be here.  Be right here, right now in the present moment to fully learn that we have everything we need to be happy. 

Everything.

So I sit here today.  With my strawberries and my rainbow.  I sit here with my dogs.  I sit here with my husband and I am present. I am in this moment right now.  I breathe in - Calm    I breathe out - Ease.  Maybe that's the magic.  Finding our place, where we can just be.