My journey in a new direction

Posts Tagged ‘breathing’

Thinking Out Loud

Posted by BarbaraZ on April 29, 2013

A new dawn, a new beginning

A new dawn, a new beginning… for the Netherlands and also for me and you!

The Netherlands and my Aruba heritage.  I was born and raised in Aruba. On April 30, 2013, the Netherlands will have its first king in many years. I am going to borrow the words of a former Lagoite, Susanne Gravendijk Wirth, in regard to the royal history:

“Wilhelmina was queen. She had been queen most of my grandparents’ lives, as well. She abdicated for her daughter in 1948. Juliana abdicated for her daughter in 1980. And, now, Beatrix will abdicate, tomorrow, for her son, the first king since 1890. It will seem so very strange, to me…koning, instead of koningin.”

There are only princesses on board for the next generation.. we shall see. I remember seeing Queen Juliana when I was a Brownie Scout standing in formation when her plane landed… I remember when Beatrix married and how I wrote a poem in her honor, but never sent it. Growing up in Aruba was a special privilege. The Aruban people and the Dutch,  are a friendly people. Very down to earth. I remember reading that as Queen, Juliana did not hesitate to ride her bicycle into town.  Here is the Facebook page of the Netherlands. Explore and enjoy!

This was the beginning of the new year. Dark clouds at first, but you can see the sun rising behind.

This was the beginning of the new year. Dark clouds at first, but you can see the sun rising behind.

Acceptance of Life There are a number of people who exist in my arena of life, who have to deal with great difficulties and they do it so very well! We have one student, Shern, who is in a wheelchair, and has many difficulties because of a history of seizures. I asked her today if she has pain. She said she is always has pain!  I was astounded as she is the most up-beat individual I know. I asked how she manages it and her answer was, “you have to adjust to it.” Well, I have been having pain and evidently I have not been able to adjust to it very well at all!  I better get my thoughts in order as of right now, as I have too much I want to accomplish, so many things to do! The main thing I must learn to do is do deep breathing. That makes things bearable.

Then there is a photographer I know only through the web. Her name is Cindy. She spoke today on Facebook how her hubby has to help her up once she gets down on the ground to capture some of her beautiful photographs. She stated she was not above crawling if needed. She has a beautiful dog, Phoebe, and the two of them need surgery now, but they both have to get better in order for it to take place.  Thinking of you both.  Your efforts keep me going!

The Calming Motion of Waves....

The Calming Motion of Waves….

I know what I must do and that is to go with the flow. I need to pace myself. This stiff body is not up to sitting hours behind the computer!  I love my writing for BlogMutt, but must realize that to do my best, my body and mind must be in sync. The mind wants to race ahead, but the body starts to stumble as it tries so hard to keep up. Going to use my Chime timer to remind me to stop and do a few yoga moves in the middle of it all. The waves keep going, but they are recharging all the time. Their motion seems endless, there is much back and forth motion… this individual must follow their example. I have to stop and recharge. It is the sound and the motion of the waves that help me recharge. I have an mp3 that I love to listen to when sleep does not want to come. I also have one of gentle rain….

Patiently seeking its prey

Patiently seeking its prey as I must seek knowledge and patience!! :-)

I will seek knowledge for my posts, looking here and searching there. Then I will find it and take it back to the word processor to be put into the latest and greatest of my posts.  I love research and can often get lost doing it. Must learn to cut it short!  Gather what I need, make notes as to where I can go to find more and just move on.  [edited.. several times!] I also promise myself never to write a blog post again… when I have gotten up out of bed because I cannot sleep! I keep finding typos!!  That is a no-no!

Me, posing

Me with my kayak

This will  be my other form of survival. My muscles have turned into a marshmallow consistency that does not do well when one tries to be active. I have been holding back because of pain and slow mindset that I have in this area. I have been resisting exercise as I have to enjoy what I do and plain old exercises just don’t cut it. Kayaking is fun and when done right, can give you a full body workout.  There is also the asanas of yoga. They are going to become my computer break time activity. I will set my mat up in the living room and get on it every 30 minutes. Whenever I go though a door-frame, I will try to take a moment to do a shoulder stretch for both sides. Have to stay balanced, you know!!

Elliot is making a skeg to put on my kayak. He made a super one for his. It looks like it came from an Erector set, but it sure does what it needs to do!  Elliot and I are partners. We are ready to help each other though this difficult age of being  senior citizens. The strange thing is… it is only our bodies that are senior-aged. Our minds are young and full of laughter and love. We will continue our journey as we have done since 2001…. Side by Side

Side by Side We Can Change the World

Side by Side We Can Face the World

I am ready Elliot… is my skeg done yet!!! It is supposed to rain this afternoon so we better get our butts in those kayaks now!!

Posted in Challenges, Concentration, nature, Our Future..., Thoughts and Quotes, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Merry Christmas with Peace and Joy to All

Posted by BarbaraZ on December 25, 2012

Christmas Wishes

Christmas Wishes

It does not matter what your faith is as my wish is for everyone.

We all can use some Peace and Joy in our lives. 

Pelicans on their daily search... against the morning sun

Pelicans on their daily search… against the morning sun

As we search for meaning in our lives, understanding of the tragedies we see or read about in the world of today: we all can dream or believe that there is a better world out there. I know that I do. I start with my love and joy in regard to life and try to share it with those around me.

A mind that is somber does not always see the possibilities that are available. Did you know, that if you just start with a hint of a smile… it will lighten your mood. If just a hint can do so much… let the whole smile come through. When your mind or your mood is lighter it is easier to deal with what is happening in your life. It is important to be mindful of your thoughts and find a way to change them when they start to veer into negativity instead of a positive direction. I am not saying it is easy… sometimes it is very difficult.

Bring some deep breathing into play. I am including a link to breathing exercises that can be found on Dr. Andrew Weil’s site Breathing: Three Exercises. It can be done anywhere at anytime. Then there are the real effects of Positive Thinking. Just like looking at a glass as being half empty rather than half full, how you think makes such a difference in how you respond to life.

How did I end up here after wishing every one Peace and Joy?  Well, we may not be able to see the peace or feel the joy, if our mind is stuck on the wrong channel or stuck in a negative mode thinking level. Go for it and see if what I posted above can even in a small way make a difference in how you feel or see your life at this moment. I know that there are many living in circumstances way out of their own control. Those who survive such circumstances are the ones who can see beyond and remain controlled within themselves. To them, I reach out with all the hope and positive thinking I have. Peace is my dream… Peace for the whole planet. I may be the forever cockeyed optimist as sung by Mitzi Gaynor in the movie South Pacific.

When the skies are brighter canary yellow
I forget ev’ry cloud I’ve ever seen,
So they called me a cockeyed optimist
Immature and incurably green.I have heard people rant and rave and bellow
That we’re done and we might as well be dead,
But I’m only a cockeyed optimist
And I can’t get it into my head.I hear the human race
Is fallin’ on it’s face
And hasn’t very far to go,
But ev’ry whippoorwill
Is sellin’ me a bill,
And tellin’ me it just ain’t so.

I could say life is just a bowl of Jello
And appear more intelligent and smart,
But I’m stuck like a dope
With a thing called hope,
And I can’t get it out of my heart!
Not this heart

Side by Side We Can Change the World

Side by Side We Can Change the World

Posted in Challenges, holidays, Mindfulness | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thinking Cap is on… also, taking care of me!

Posted by BarbaraZ on October 24, 2012

Mud figure with orchid

Morning Prayer with Nature

Breathing deeply, stepping back, and looking inward… all this is being done for two reasons. One, I need to get this blog going in the right direction. I still believe in the title “Restoring Your Inner Self” but it is the direction it will go in the future that is changing.

Stepping Back, Looking Forward

My time that has been spent on the A-List Blogging Bootcamp has been great. I check the forum almost daily and see many good points to ponder when approaching the creation or recreation of a blog. My title is OK, as I mentioned. Now I need to study in depth the specifics that I will include. What areas will I link out to? Who will I seek for guest posts? I need to pinpoint my niche when it comes to self restoration. There are many directions, both traditional and alternative. I have studied and do use both.  I hope to include the traditional and alternative so that my blog will have information that many will find informative and helpful. There is also an ebook in there somewhere.

Layout and Content

From CopyBlogger I have received many informative articles. Here is a link to a guest article written by Pamela Wilson. She covers 8 good points and I will just list the headings here. Some may seem obvious, but do follow the link to learn more in depth information about each one.

  1. Embrace the line break
  2. Break up your content with compelling subheads
  3. Use bulleted list
  4. Use deep captions
  5. Add highly relevant links
  6. Use strategic formatting
  7. Harness the power of numbers
  8. Check your dual readership path

Do Your Research, Know Your Subject

That relative link paragraph means both internal and external. It is most important that your content is worth reading. People search to find information they feel is of value to them. You cannot post just any old topic. Your external links must also go out to sources that you have researched and feel will add to the topic.

Care of Self

Breathing: Back to the breathing, stepping back and looking inward. These are also needed when you are trying to restore your inner self. Yep, that is where I am right now. Why do we always seem to wait until we are almost down and out before we take the action we should have been taking all along? The deep breathing I have down fairly well. I just need to bring it to the forefront more often. A few deep breaths periodically throughout the day can break up the stress that is gathering in your neck and shoulders.. speeding up your mind unnecessarily.

Exercise: I know that the regular gym is not for me. I am lucky in that I can be a member of Silver Sneakers. There are some advantages to getting older besides the senior coffee at various places! I was able to locate a wellness center that is close to me that not only has the Silver Sneaker Program, but also has a pool! To be able to move freely without resistance that the machines like the treadmill have, is what I need. I do use some of the upper body machines because I do not need to stand to use them.

One with Nature

Breakfast at the ocean, lunch along the river, stepping outside at night to view the stars… with a quiet mind so you can hear the sounds of the crickets, the waves, the birds… whatever may be present at that time. Yes, be quiet, watch and listen while taking nice slow and deep breaths.

Brilliant Sun on the River

Posted in Challenges, Concentration, Life & Nature, Mindfulness, nature | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Moving Forward

Posted by BarbaraZ on August 13, 2012

The sun is above the horizon, behind the clouds

It is amazing, the direction our lives may take. It does not matter what stage of life you are in. The way I see my life right now… I am facing a new dawn each day. Yes, I still carry all sorts of ‘stuff’ from the past, but it is what I do with it that makes a difference. I am like the dawn in the photo above… the sun is there, peeking through the dark clouds. Those dark clouds are the ‘stuff’ in my life. I know the sun will rise above those clouds… so will I.

For many individuals that ‘stuff’ is like an anchor… it pulls them back to all they have gone through in the past, preventing them from moving forward. I am not saying that we must forget or leave the past as if it never took place, but do not let it stop us from moving forward.

If I were the same person I was in my teens, I would find dealing with my life as it is now to be quite difficult. I was shy, timid and ‘afraid of my own shadow!’  Now, because of the life experiences I have had, the challenges I have faced and still face, I am stronger… not physically, but within.

Somehow, I am going to regain some of that physical stamina too. :-)  They say, it takes hitting rock bottom, that makes an individual start to fight back. OK… the gong has sounded and I am ready. I am going to be drawing on all that I have gathered in my ‘tool box’ for survival. My Qigong, with my mindfulness breathing, self awareness, adapting. You name it… I am going to use it. If I can manage to get myself down on the floor… I will do some yoga following Iyengar’s method.  I need to make sure I have a way to get up too!!!

I am like the little engine that said:  I think I can… I think I can… I know I can!

The sun in its full glory, starts a new day

Here comes the sun!  I am on my way… join me!

Posted in Challenges, Concentration, Health, Mindfulness, Qigong | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Using acupressure and fingerholds for stress relief

Posted by BarbaraZ on March 10, 2012

Making changes in your life often brings unwanted stress. I do not believe in taking pills for such things, when there are alternative options that work. This weekend I was doing some research online about acupressure and came across several good articles for relieving stress. One site, Capacitor.Org had information that they use around the globe to help people with natural healing. I also enjoyed the information by Michael Reed Gach.

The use of various forms of pressure on the body has existed and evolved over 5000 years. Acupressure is a verified medical form of this practice. It evolved mainly by accident as individuals noticed when pressure was applied in certain areas, they experienced specific reactions. The diverse reactions were noted and recorded.  The points involved are now known to be areas sensitive to bioelectrical impulses. When pressure is applied, the impulses are activated.  Common names given to these points, are pressure points, or trigger points.  Over time these points as well as the reactions, have been mapped and documented. Now, a practitioner or an individual can go right to the correct position, to experience the response desired.

The points used in Acupuncture and Acupressure are the same, but with Acupuncture, needles are used instead of the fingers. A certified practitioner is needed to practice Acupuncture, but most individuals can learn to master using acupressure for themselves. First, feeling for the sensitive area, or pressure point, and when it is found, applying a gentle pressure with a rotary motion until the pain or the desired effect occurs. What occurs is the release of muscle tension and increased circulation which stimulates the body’s own healing ability.

Some specific points for releasing stress and tension, taken from the book by Michael Reed Gach called Acupressure’s Potent Points. Use the diagram attached to follow the locations. Michael Reed Gach also has a blog one can visit if they wish to learn more. (update_2/25/2013) I recently contacted Michael Gach regarding the use of his information. He sent me links to several areas of his that have quite a bit of information.
Self Care: from A-Z,   Acupressure Books, Free Articles and Ways to use Acupressure. Explore them all as there is a wealth 0f information available on these sites.

Acupressure Points

  • Gates of Consciousness (GB 20) It is below the base of the skull, in the hollow between the two large vertical neck muscles. 2-3 inches apart, It is for release of frustration, and irritation, plus much more.
  •  Heavenly Pillar (B 10): It is located one finger width below the base of the skull and 1/2 inch out from the spine on both sides. This point is to release stress, eyestrain, stiff neck and more.
  •  Shoulder Well (GB 21) This is not to be used by pregnant women. It is found on the highest point of the shoulder muscle midway between the outer tip of the shoulder and the spine. Used for relief of frustration, shoulder tension, nervousness.
  • Heavenly Rejuvenation (TW 15): this is located on the shoulders mid-way between the base of the neck and the outside of the shoulder, 1/2 inch below the shoulder. Pressure here can relieve tension, still necks, and is good for resistance to colds and flu.

An international organization, is involved with trying to reach out to areas around the world, to show them how they can use natural healing methods to help themselves. They include in their workshops, Tai Chi, visualization, breathing as well as acupressure to relieve stress and fingerholds to help manage emotions along with other forms individuals can use to help themselves.

They describe several basic pressure points for stress relief. A gentle pressure is applied to the area for several seconds, using the fingertips. You will know when you locate these areas as they are usually sensitive to the touch.

  • Two Points on Eyebrow-Nose Ridge. This is found at the bridge of the nose between the start of the eyebrows and slightly towards the eye. The thumb and forefinger can be used to apply pressure here.
  • Two Points on Back of Neck. It is located roughly ½ inch below the base of the skull between the muscle of the neck then outward ½ inch from either side of the spine. Same as B 10 above.
  • One Point at Base of Skull. This is located right at the base of the skull at the center of the neck


Post Hurricane Katrina they produced a brochure with many helpful ways, including acupressure and finger holds to relieve stress and strong emotions.  Their Emergency kit can be downloaded from their site.

The emotions run along channels throughout the body.  The individual is to use one hand to apply pressure to a finger of the opposite hand, according to the emotion they wish to control or lesson.  They are to  hold the appropriate finger for 2-5 minutes. A pulsing sensation will be felt. While holding their finger, they are to breath in the positive feelings of harmony, healing and strength.

During this process the mind becomes focused ‘in the moment’ and this helps it to be distracted from the strong emotion being felt. The use of music can be introduced during the practice. Fingerholding can also be used for relaxation.

Aside from the acupressure I am finding meditation or at least attempting to quiet my chatterbox or as others call it my monkey mind. I just sit in a basic yoga position using a cushion and seek calmness within. I also find talking quietly over what is bothering me will also lead to that quietness I seek. This, along with deep and slow abdominal breathing, sets me up for a good night of sleep.

Posted in Concentration, Health, Mindfulness | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Side by Side

Posted by BarbaraZ on February 10, 2012

Side by Side

Life is amazing. There are times, in the midst of a crowd, you can feel all alone. Then, when you are starting out on a journey, seemingly alone, you are not. There are others there with you, supporting you, cheering you on. As I study, experiment with words and subject matter, I feel the presence of these friends. What is really amazing, is some I have never met!  They are my online friends. These friends I have only communicated with only through words, comments on blogs or on Facebook.

Unfortunately, I am getting a fluttering butterfly feeling in my stomach when it comes to applying for an online writing gig. Who, me?  Aren’t I the one who has been writing here, on Helium, and now on Ezine? Writing for someone specific, other than myself is a different story. I feel like a 5-year-old child, wondering,  “Will they really like me!!!”

OK, Barb… enough of this. Get yourself going. Get that portfolio together and charge straight ahead. All they can say is ‘no.’ You have the knowledge of what you need to do. You are not 5 years old, you know! You have plenty of  experience under your belt. In other words, you have all you need.

Also, Barb, read a few of your own back posts on believing in yourself, mindfulness meditation, the need for persistence. Remember all those things you tell your students day after day. You need to concentrate and not waste energy worrying. You are very good at that as you know only too well. Worry is a big energy drain.

Breathe.. that’s right. Stop and take a few deep breaths. Calm that racing mind. Let your fingers do the racing… over the keyboard. Another deep breath if needed and then move forward again.  Type a bit, take a few breaths, type a bit more, breath deeply again.  Yes, you are getting the feel of it!

Posted in Challenges, Concentration, Mindfulness, New Directions | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Slow Down… Slow Down

Posted by BarbaraZ on November 26, 2011

This is that time of year, when the pace of life seems to go into high gear. I love the holidays, but not what comes with it. Wish I was one who could remember to start the gift business in January. I do not get many gifts, but the thinking about them, who needs or should get what can be too much when the time is close. I love to make gifts, but that takes real planning… like start in June planning.

For years I always made my own Christmas cards. In the beginning I did wood or linoleum blocks and printed them with my printing press. One year I did up to 3 colors on one card, and got the colors lined up pretty good!

Nativity done in 3 block print

Then I ‘graduated’ to doing them on the computer, using my photographs or digital art and printed them from there. Last year was just a letter. It had lots of photographs along one side… this year, no photographs available. Oh well… working on an idea, but it is way after my usual starting time for doing my cards. The one below was done so long ago. The original size has made it hard to enlarge without a lot of Photoshop work. It was done in Painter, long before it was bought by Corel.

Nativity done in Painter 4

One last look at a linoleum block print… one color. The paper has seen better days. I had to remove age spots! I have the blocks, but stupidly did not keep a printed sample from each card. There were a few designs that I am sure the recipients thought were a bit odd…

We all need Faith...

We all need Faith

What we all need to do during this period of rushing around… is to remember to stop and smell the roses, smell the fresh air, visit a quiet place to unwind and regenerate.

Here is a rose for you. Sorry I cannot include the scent!

This is that time that Mindfulness is key to survival. Be aware of your surroundings, listen to those you love. Remember to take deep breaths at those times the rush starts to catch up to you. Find a good book or e-book… take to that quiet place and enjoy. Not only will you enjoy the season more, but those around you will appreciate you more as you will not be stressed out.

It also seems as it during the holidays, obstacles are put in front of us, whether it be health problems of your own or a special person in your life. Believe me, you will be more help to them, if you can step back, regenerate and step in again to help where you are needed. Perhaps, as a family, you can all help each other find a quiet moment to regain the needed strength that is needed to keep going under the added pressure.

Posted in Challenges, holidays, Mindfulness | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »


Posted by BarbaraZ on May 22, 2011

Some times we just have to learn to adapt…

Hanging OutWell, as you can see, this frog wanted a nice, dry, safe home, so he chose one of the decorative birdhouses I had assembled on a post in my backyard. On many a sunny afternoon, I would see him ‘catching a few rays.’ The Cuban Tree frog is unfortunately an invasive species in Florida. I find them now, in the water downspout, my rain barrel, and in the orchid pots.  I have never seen one in the birdhouse again!

I was reading several articles in the  Life Skills Magazine (#14) put out by Ayo Olaniyan and found many  notations regarding adaptation that I could relate to in this new journey I am on. I am going to comment on just a few.

Stuart Mills stated that we should have our goals in mind, but the path is not fixed.  how we get to our goal may not be exactly how we expected to get there. We have to be able to make adjustments along the way.

JK Allen, in his Framework for Getting Positive Results is big on prioritizing, but stated that your prioritizing must be continually updated. The ineffective processes must be removed.

Steve Aitchison stated that we need our goal, but it did not matter how we got there.  The important thing is to get started. You have to have the confidence that you will get there, as it will not just drop in your lap.

Ayo Olaniyan had his long list of development roadblocks.  At the end of that list, was a list of ways to overcome the roadblocks. There, once more, set goals, prioritize, find your self confidence, and one I especially liked was, “Aspire to make a difference in the life of anyone you come in contact with through serving.”

Then there was the article by Dominique Small. I am so glad I do not have to walk in her shoes. She is a master at adapting. I have a small problem compared to hers, but in order to deal with it, I too, have had to adapt. Since I have a very low tolerance to medications, I have had to find other means to deal with peripheral neuropathy, hence my interest in Qigong.  I am also following the Guided Mindfulness Meditation program written by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It has been used at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center for over twenty years.

I am learning how to control my pain through breathing, through meditation. I am learning how to bring this awareness to the forefront when I am in need of it during the day. This is indeed, adaptation.  The power of the mind amazes me. They say we only use a small part of what is really available to us. I believe this to be totally true, as I learn more each day how my mental capacity has grown.  I have always had a chatter box mind. It never stood still long enough for me to really accomplish what I wanted, or even to get started!

Posted in Challenges, New Directions | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

A short definition about Qigong

Posted by BarbaraZ on May 19, 2011

According to Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming in his book The Root of Chinese Chi Kung …
“Chi Kung is the science of cultivating the body’s internal energy”… “The correct definition of Chi Kung is any training or study dealing with Chi which takes a long time and a lot of effort.” He points out that because of the long history of Chi Kung, it is hard for one person to explain it all and a student of Chi Kung should study more than one to get a more rounded knowledge.

Chi Kung is also spelled as Qigong. Chi or Qi stands for life force… universal energy. Kung (gong) is the study, the practice related to Chi. There are many styles, including healing forms of Chi Kung. I will also use the spelling Qigong.

Douglas Chung, Phd., in his book Qigong Therapies… describes Qigong as the integration of mind, body, and spirit, where the body is relaxed, the mind is calm, and the ego is set aside so that attention can be paid to the conscious self for holistic healing and potential development.

He lists six major Qigong strategies:
1. Internalization…energy internalization, energy management.
2. Body Posture… relaxation is critical. Various postures enhance the free flow of energy throughout the body.
3. Breathing… there are different breathing methods. Abdominal breathing is the most efficient and must be learned by most people.
4. Mental reframing… know your real self, believe in yourself, affirm yourself.
5. Spiritual Adjustment… this is an awareness of yourself–in the present moment… “your body, energy within and without, and on the flow of energy in whatever you do.”
6. Integration of mind, body, and spirit… where the body is relaxed, the mind is calm, and the ego is set aside.

Practice + Intention = Inner Harmony = Qi Flow = Health and Longevity

You must Believe. Often we start things with good intentions, but in the back of our mind… we harbor doubts about being able to accomplish our goals.

I am not a wealth of knowledge about Qigong. I came across it by chance and discovered it had an important lesson for me to learn. I have done some studying of the medical Qigong. As we get older, we find it harder to keep our energy level up where we would like it… sometimes there may be a physical reason, Then there is stress, and of course, we cannot leave out what the fast pace of life demands of us physically and mentally.  That is why I have tried to adapt what I could about Qigong into my life.  I am not able to take medicines, so I have to rely on my mind and my attitude to carry me forward, to keep me going.

Posted in Qigong | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


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