I lost 13 pounds in half an hour!

Okay, so I lost the weight from my closet, but hey, it’s still 13 pounds! (Yes, I actually got on the scale and weighed the piles of clothing.)

piles of clothing
What I cleaned out of my closet.

  Continue reading “I lost 13 pounds in half an hour!”

I forgot my cell phone yesterday – or did I?

Yesterday I discovered that being without a cell phone all day can be a relief.

I didn’t intend to find this out. I fully intended to take my purse and cell phone when I left the house. And then I forgot.  Continue reading “I forgot my cell phone yesterday – or did I?”

Tracking the neighborhood wildlife: My photo safari

One of my favorite adventures is a photo safari. I’m on a tight budget, so I book my safari close to home — very close. I take a walk in my neighborhood, cell phone or camera in hand, and document the local wildlife.

What I found right in front of me the other day was fascinating.

close up of praying mantis head
Anybody recognize this guy?

Continue reading “Tracking the neighborhood wildlife: My photo safari”

Weekends: How do you spend your time?

Weekends can be hectic or laid back, productive or contemplative, structured or free-flowing. For me, most weekends are some combination of these. By Sunday night I’m often left feeling as if the time just flew by. I wish I had done something more, but more of what I’m not sure.

road sign pointing right to relaxation and left to stress
Which direction does your weekend take you?

Continue reading “Weekends: How do you spend your time?”

Fitting meditation into your schedule: Mindfulness behind the wheel

I’m always seeking ways to bring serenity to my life. Meditation helps, but it can be hard to fit into my schedule. But recently I’ve discovered ways to incorporate mindfulness practices into daily activities. I’ve benefited a lot from practicing mindfulness while I’m driving.

road ahead mindfulness


Before we go any further, a word of caution: Stop the mindfulness exercise if you feel drowsy or unable to focus on your driving.

How to practice mindfulness at the wheel

In my experience, meditation helps me stay both alert and calm while I’m driving. I hope it does the same for you. Before you start, turn off any news or music you have playing, and take some deep breaths. Here are some practices I’ve used:

  • Observe the feel of your breath on both the inhale and exhale. You can focus your attention on the flow of air at the tips of your nostrils, or on the rise and fall of your chest.
  • Observe the flow of traffic in both directions, not judging it, not commenting on it, just watching it flow.
  • Observe the sounds: engine, wind, tires, rain. Let each sound enter your awareness without judgment.
  • Repeat a mantra, such as the word peace, or love, or lovingkindness, either silently or aloud.
  • Allow yourself to feel goodwill or lovingkindness toward other drivers.
  • Bestow a blessing or feeling of lovingkindness on other drivers. You could say, “safe journey,” or “blessings,” or “peace,” either silently or aloud.

These last two may be difficult when you encounter drivers who are rude, thoughtless, or reckless. But that’s all the more reason to try. When I can let go of my anger and irritation at other drivers, I feel calmer and lighter, better able to get on with my day.

When I can, I sit in mediation for longer stretches. Sometimes for 20 minutes twice a day, sometimes for a longer period once a day. It all depends on what else I have to fit into my schedule.

How I’ve benefitted from practicing mindfulness at THE WHEEL

I’ve enjoyed many benefits from practicing mindfulness at the wheel. Here are just a few:

  • I arrive at my destination feeling calmer
  • I find the commute less stressful
  • My reactions to other drivers are less extreme and angry
  • I feel good about having done something positive for myself

If you want to learn more about mindfulness while driving

I found this book to be very helpful: Meditations for Manic Motorists by David Michie which is offered as an audio book by Bolinda Audio (and which is read aloud by Nicholas Bell in a soothing British accent)

the audio book Meditations for Manic Motorists by David Michie
This audio book guides you through several mindfulness exercises

At her website Renee Burgard LCSW/Mindfulness & Health, Ms. Burgard has recorded some mindfulness exercises that are free to download for personal use only

This article at The Mindful Word describes 4 simple ways to practice mindfulness while driving.

Have you tried mindfulness at the wheel? Will you try it now? I’d love to hear from you.

 

Confessions of an HSP: Decluttering

I really enjoyed this post from a fellow blogger on decluttering.

Confessions of an HSP: Decluttering.

She illuminates the connection between our environment and our moods, productivity, and well-being. I hope you find this as insightful and inspiring as I did. Yesterday I worked on decluttering the garage. In just one hour I managed to go through two whole boxes of stuff. Some of it I donated to Goodwill. Some of it I put away in the house. And some of it I just threw out. More of it than I care to admit, really!

I’ve come to realize that instead of being a once-in-a-blue-moon event, this taking stock and letting go of stuff is a cycle. As autumn gets rolling I feel an urge to go sort through my closet. To every thing there is a season…

 

My coffee costs how much?

I was surprised to learn how much a coffee habit could cost me over time. The average U.S. employee spends $21 per week buying coffee drinks. That adds up to roughly $1100 per year.

I put together this infographic to illustrate how the costs accumulate over time, from 10 years out to 40 years. I also calculated the result of saving that money and investing it at a modest 3% (just to keep up with inflation).

//e.infogr.am/so-how-much-does-your-coffee-really-cost

enjoying my coffee without blowing my budget

Yes, once in a while I indulge in a decadent coffee when I’m out and about. (Make mine mocha!) For me, coffee is more than an indulgence – it’s a necessity. I have to have it to function in polite society. Just ask anyone who’s ever shared an office with me.

But the bottom line is I’m cheap. I can make coffee at home. I can even make fancy coffee drinks like cafe au lait and iced mochas. (More on this in an upcoming post.) I can think of lots of other uses for that money. Such as, I don’t know, retirement.

being able to retire someday

I keep reading about how little Americans are saving. Most of us don’t have an emergency fund. And more than a third of us have less than $1,000 set aside for retirement. I’d rather scrimp now and be able to live comfortably when I’m older.

How is your retirement nest egg? Do you have any strategies for making it grow?

links and resources on coffee and spending wisely