Energized bunny!

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yoga rabbit

Happy bunny yet again! I finally found a yoga class that suits me time and type wise. I’ve been searching for one since I left China 2 years ago with no lasting success.

This one is right near my home between the lakes and embraces all the aspects I wanted, breathing, exercise and fun! A little challenging (I’m a bit out of shape after just doing it on my own mostly) but it’s great to feel that nice body glow when all my cells are well charged with oxygen, relaxed and flowing smoothly.

What I do when I’m not writing.

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If you read carefully you’ll know that my original major was fine art sculpture (top marks anyone that got that one LOL!)

While sculpture tends to be a little hard to accommodate I still like to paint and sketch from time to time. Trees and plants being by far my favourite subjects.

The pictures above and below are the first two of a series I’m working on (very slowly as I tend to write a lot more often) for my apartment.

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The two sketches I did in China and happened to have on computer. I constantly gave my work away due to my travels and most of my friends in China have something from me as a remembrance.

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I still enjoy painting for recreation and am always trying to capture the beauty and primeval force of nature. Though never quite achieving what I want to communicate I find it relaxing and satisfying.

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More chill pills”. (exercise and nature)

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forest walking

This particular chill pill (exercise) is widely used, even as an alternative to anti-depressants. Its physical effects are scientifically measurable. Not being a science wiz I won’t go into that here, rather stick with how I apply it.

It depends somewhat on what I’m trying to deal with. I find yoga stretches (I don’t do the spiritual stuff but the stretches and breathing are great!) help me slow down, alleviate stress and relax (great chill pills!)

If on the other hand I’m angry or upset and about to “blow a gasket” the exercise has to be vigorous. In my case usually a very fast paced walk (never get in my way when I’m doing this lol!) The coursing energy seems to take the anger or whatever out along with it. Gradually it seeps away and as exhaustion kicks in I slow down and (if I planned it right to end up in nature) I become aware of the beauty around me. I’m then calm enough to pray and God never fails to show me how to deal with the problem (the last bit is optional for non-Christians).

The fast walk works much better than bopping someone on the nose lol!  When younger my kids and friends would always cover for me when I’d say through gritted teeth, “I need to go for a walk! Now!” They knew! Thankfully it’s been years since I’ve had to do that, guess we mellow with age. Of course you don’t have to walk, it can be anything vigorous, one of my daughters actually bought a small punch bag and boxing gloves and one of my son in laws (who did karate etc.) told me he used to go down in the basement and brake two by fours with his hands when he was mad at his dad lol!

So on to the other chill pill – nature. Probably most of us have experienced its calming effects (if you haven’t get off that seat and find the nearest lake or forest right now!) Before I became a Christian (having less chill pills at hand) I would go find the nearest tree (or forest if available). There’s just something about trees I can’t explain, but they give off vibes, calm, patient, understanding vibes. Water is also a great relaxant. It has been proved scientifically that ocean waves have a calming effect (something to do with positive and negative eons – wish they’d had science at my school it’s fascinating! No science for girls in my day, sigh!)

You do need to slow down to take in the nature well though. A jog with head phones may help but you really need to actually stop, look, listen, smell and take it all in to get the full benefit. Man was not created to live in cities. Nature is our natural environment and when we return to that our bodies give an inward sigh and start repair work (which is why when we visit the sea or countryside we often get “sleeping sickness”, our bodies are able to relax and make up for lost time.)

I find the combination of nature and exercise works great together especially at those times you think you’re gonna “blow a gasket”. One more chill pill to go. Can you guess what it is?

My “Chill Pills”

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It seems the words “depression” and “stress” flood social media nowadays, they even emerge to wave their ugly heads in conversations with close friends and family sometimes.

Odd that as a child and young adult (I’m thinking 50’s – 60’s here for all you “spring chickens”) I seldom heard these words and when I did not with the same connotation. It could be due to the increasing pressures of today’s increasingly fast paced world (though I do think surviving a world war either in active service or bombed out London would have produced high levels of stress for the adults around me – not to mention rationing and housing shortages!)

Part of it was doubtless they didn’t have the “labels” back then and had to pretty much deal with their own problems. When my dad returned from Burma (one of the only 3 in his battalion to survive) having seen his friends killed before his eyes in guerrilla style jungle warfare he was experiencing what would now be termed post-traumatic stress. My mum just had to love and support him out of it (God bless her she won that battle).

I am hugely thankful that such help exists now for those in need and wholeheartedly support their free access to it. My concern is that too often nowadays it’s easier to “pop a pill” than to find ways to deal with the stresses and set backs of life. That might seem the “easy way” but unless the real problems are tackled things are inclined to get worse. Sometimes it takes a change of job, ending a bad relationship, going on the attack to save a marriage or a change of location etc. It’s hard to make such tough decisions in the midst of emotional turmoil though.

I’ve lived what could be termed a “very adventurous life” with sometimes huge elements of responsibility (not to mention severe earthquakes and hurricanes). I’m not by nature that strong stable type one usually pictures for such a role. Old friends tend to describe me as “strong” but actually I’m more like the lion in the “Wizard of Oz” a scaredy cat who is brave only when it comes down to the line and  they have to be, because there’s no one else.

All this to say, over the years I’ve developed some ways of dealing with stress, discouragement (which leads to depression), anger and overwrought emotions which may help others too. They are all rather “old fashioned” but maybe that’s how folks dealt with these things before the days mental health became widely established. Perhaps they may help someone else unwind under stress and avoid having to end up with a severe problem. Rather than make one super long post I’ll dedicate my next few to this topic..

Christmas walk.

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I’d never done it before but what a perfect idea, a leisurely walk in the park before Christmas dinner with all its excesses and resultant “food coma”.

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Two dogs, and three humans all delightful company and several herds of deer sitting comfortably under the trees (all we needed was snow to complete the picture!) I highly recommend it as a great interlude between presents and mountains of food (my body thought so too lol!)

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Dog Medicine!

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happy dog

A Chicago physician reports that he had to abandon the use of dogs in an ulcer research program. The dogs refused to get tense & worry, & worry & tension are prominently listed as suspected causes of ulcers.
If you inflict an ulcer upon a dog by artificial methods, says the Chicago doctor, he will sit down & placidly cure himself by refusing to be bothered about anything.