Refocus and redirection in the midst of seemingly forced life changes.

It’s hard to decide where to focus, what exactly the writing should look like. Bring in personal experiences, desires, expectations, plans….. where focus should be in time of quarentine. Life isn’t like it what we are used to and how we have set up our everyday patterns. Where should we place our time and energy? We aren’t used to focusing on mere survival. It is so much more than being in a physical place, it is what we build within that space to encourage a healthy mental space.

My yoga mat has become my refuge for getting away from the negative and the newly attained unalterable situations. However, although it has been weeks, it has often felt like years. Sometimes writing can be another place of mental reset, but it is sometimes difficult to syphone the thoughts into one cohesive topic. I find it amazing that, in a time where we are forced to slow our lives, our minds runneth over.

I have been trying to use the time to make thoughts focus on future movement: finding and setting up a new home, traveling to a few places on my wish list, taking hikes across new terrain, and spending time with family we haven’t seen for some time.

It’s a good time to recenter and refocus, but it is difficult without seeing what life will be beyond. But do we really need to see that. Do we every really see the result before we have worked through the various choices and solutions? The real battle is within ourselves to think we have to fully understand and visual that life exactly as it will be once we arrive. We take issue with stepping into the not knowing. Is it because we are unsure of ourselves and our ability to adapt and cope outside of our old patterns. Maybe we should ask ourselves if those patterns were 100% working in our favor. Yes, others will make decisions that will affect life going forward. And we will have to adjust to that. But what about those changes that might ultimately lift us from ruts we might have been in prior. Changes that might bring about new opportunities and fresh ways to consider living your life.

Think back to when you were a kid. How easily did you adapt? You crawled and that was good enough. Or so our little minds thought, as we were reaching into areas we had never chartered alone. But then you were placed on your feet and encouraged to walk. So you did. We weren’t given the choice, but yet we instinctively new the benefit in pursuing and mastering it. It didn’t matter how many falls we endured. The muscle memory of that encouragement and success propelled us through the next life lesson.

But where is that thought process now as an adult. Reunite with that resiliency you had. As children we are hopefully gifted with people who encourage us to learn and grow. I’m sure all of us had someone like that in our life, or we wouldn’t be where we are today. We were encouraged by loved ones to push through and to be confident in our ability. We were being filled with tenacity and know how to always remove obstacles, find solutions, and persist. But somehow as adults we forget those lessons. We see the obstacles, halt, and question why they are there and why we are the ones burdened with them. Rather than grow around them and use them as a way to climb higher.

I know we are experiencing something that is uncomfortable, confusing, and feels confining. But, it is all about how we view this time, harness it, and plan for the future, that causes us to fall into its grip and swallow us up or ignites us to grow bigger. We cannot see what lies ahead, but we can decide to move the obstacles as they present themselves and find ourselves a comfortable or perhaps even improved life beyond it.

A particular situation stirred these thoughts in me. My eldest grandson, who is typically a “follow the rules” kind of kid, and whose confidence is just beginning to emerge, evidently had decided his bangs were bothering him. Aren’t we all experiencing this given we haven’t had haircuts, at least professional ones, for nearly 2 months!? While his mom was busy working out and dad was giving his two younger brothers a bath, he went into the kitchen and grabbed a pair of kid scissors. He then boldly began cutting his bangs. Now, mind you, he had not expressed this visual impediment aloud, until his dad walked in to find him addressing it on his own. Although taken aback, dad just asked him what he was doing. After and explanation of how bothersome it was to have them blocking his vision, he was allowed to proceed with his remedy. His hair was then styled by his dad; AKA, buzzed off.

Even having no experience with that task at hand, he tackles it with a determination and certitude that the outcome will be nothing but an improvement and be met with positive results.
The pride in the accomplishment and a new skill formed is obvious in that stance and grin.

This is precisely the way I want to tackle the current situation and all hurdles going forward. Why not cut to the chase of what we need to change in our life that wasn’t working us toward a positive direction or serving to fulfill us, We need to get past what appears to be blocking our vision.

This is the opportunity to grow, learn new skills, and be reminded that all of the falls, hurdles, and setbacks now provide more experience than we had when we took our first step or handled our first pair of scissors in fumbling, uncoordinated, hands.

Trim away what blocks the view. Then grin proudly to have succeeded at your best possible attempt.

The willpower exists. Employ it. No, do one better, capitalize on it.

Be powerfully well.

(Featured image:

A (3rd) shift in life and mindset during stay at home orders.

Unprecedented times. How many times have you heard that lately? But it is true. Most of the generations today have never lived through such trying times of uncertainty and social isolation. And I believe most of us are digging deep and analyzing how we chose and need to live life now compared to how life was pre-Covid19. It’s only natural to compare what once was to what we are currently living through. There is a huge sense of loss on many levels at this time.

I have to admit, at the start of this, I was not in the least filled with dread or concern with being told to shelter in place. I looked at it as my responsibility to work toward the common good of all. I certainly didn’t want to put my family in harms away, nor did I want to be part of a chain that might possibly transmit the virus to others. I tried to look at it as “life as usual”, with just a little tweaking.

I have been doing a lot of tweaking and self evaluation prior to all of this. At the end of last year, I was no longer taking care of grandsons. I had, at that time, decided I needed to look more at my health issues and put my entire focus on that. It was a large part of why I could no longer physically keep caring for them. Pain, inflammation, and digestive issues had taken over too much of my life. With all the extra time on my hands, I wanted to utilize it for a positive change. Admittedly it was mentally difficult to not have a purpose. To place all the focus on myself seemed selfish. I had to keep reminding myself that I was actually making a crucial health choice and that it would ultimately be important for me to do so as to enjoy traveling with my husband, be physically able to play with grandsons, and live out all the other nuances I had desired to have in my life. I was tired of the daily doldrums and disappointments of deciding what I had to eliminate from each day in order to push through it or to take part in any small things that brought me joy. It was time to tackle and eradicate the issues that were forcing me to make these upsetting and mentally debilitating choices.

When my health issues came to boiling point about 16 years ago, I took it as a sign that I had to slow down. I had to not be that “yes” person who took on more than I could cope with because I would become a disappoint. I used it as a wake up call. I knew I needed to slow down, but it wasn’t until a critical point that I actually took action. Despite all I have tried, I’ve not overcome all the issues that are depleting parts of my life. My second wake up call was that moment I had to tell my son I could no longer take care of the his boy in a way I felt they weren’t being affected. I weep now at the memory of that confession to myself that I couldn’t carry on with something that brought me such joy. My life was being controlled by an internal monster. I felt had lost everything that defined me because of it.

Two months into tying to regain myself and my life, I know I still wasn’t being honest with myself in what I truly needed to be doing and that I still wasn’t giving it enough. I was mentally giving up and allowing the pain to consume me. I felt lost and wasn’t sure where to turn. Some of it was because I was mourning the loss of time with the grandsons. I was trying to get more sleep as I often only slept only 4 to six hours a night. I was getting more sleep, but it was taking me 10 to 12 hours to get the needed 8. I did remain focused on eating right and tried to get some sort of physical workout when pain levels weren’t soaring. However, mentally I was drowning and the pain was winning yet again. I remained in the “fake it till you make it” mode and throwing on a convincing smile.

Doctor after doctor have warned me about not putting on weight as it would exacerbate the pain I was already experiencing. I knew I had to move more in order to keep the pounds at bay, despite how much it hurt. Unfortunately, hitting my mid-50’s, the number on the scales was creeping up. My husband and I were taking walks, albeit not as long as I had hoped. It was just so painful to move. And I was walking indoors in order to keep moving and was doing yoga, although at times that was even difficult. Trying to refocus through Mel Robbins program Best Decade Ever helped pushed me through the harder days and to remain hopeful for a better future despite the pain. It was during this time a high school friend who I had been chatting via IM with about supplements that help reduce pain, told me about a product another mutual high school friend was using. Being a skeptic, I merely stalked her Facebook page for awhile until I finally got up the nerve to comment. When she reached out to me, I, with my doubt in tow, let her explain the premise behind the products. A few weeks later, I decided to take her up on a three day trial. From there, I decided the products were worth a 3 month trial.

I was just at my third month of using the Plexus products, when the stay at home order was enforced. It was then that I felt this mental push to up the ante. Life once again, was directing me to step back. I was feeling the positive effects of taking them, but I was still saying quite ugly things to myself. Negative talk can take you down a deep rabbit hole both mentally and physically. So, while I was further losing myself, the world seemed to spinning into an unknown dimension. It took my thoughts back to 911, when our nation made a collective gasp and we all had a mutual understanding, empathy, and alarm for the suffering that was occurring. This seemingly unwieldy situation is happening on a global scale. This, this overwhelming lack of control, has been my third wake up call. I had to gain some control over this world of chaos within my personal space.

I have to admit this ability to cope waxes and wanes. However, I’m sure I am one among billions who are feeling the mental strain. But this third, and deeply immense wake up call, has brought me further into seeking positive change. I have a long way before I feel I am capable of eliminating my mental struggle. I’m still questioning my ability, but not my determination. I am walking more. I’m resisting the need to stress eat. I meet my insecurities at the yoga mat at least 5 days a week. And I am taking advantage of the plethora of free programs, videos, and blogs that encourage self discovery and self love. I’m tweaking my Plexus products to get the best results for my body and needs. And each night I read at least 15 minutes in order to remove any negative thoughts of the day. I’m not sure what will bring me to the edge of my best health yet. But, with the uncertainty of what we are currently living in, I do know I want more than just a mediocre existence. And while being asked to shelter in place, I feel the need to start building something that will be better when we come out on the other side of this.

I’m also hoping the world also emerges more peace-filled and whole.

Grandboy love, Life as it is, and Making strides not despite but because.

Hello friends! I hope this post finds you all healthy and staying sane in this weird and unsettling time in our lives. I know it has been awhile since I checked in, so I thought it was time for an update. We have had some sickness run through the family, but thankfully we have remained a few steps away from any Covid 19 infections.

A couple weeks ago, we had picked up the the 3 grandsons on a Thursday night to bring them down to NC for a 3 day weekend, since the oldest didn’t have school on Friday. On Saturday, our son, their dad, was diagnosed with Flu B. We knew that the Covid 19 issues would soon be knocking on our door, but we were prepared to heed any recommendations given by the state or federal government. We, at that time, were still in “business as usual” within our own little life bubble. But within 24 hours, the suggestion of social distancing became more stressed. We made a conscious decision that we would have to tweak our usual plans of visiting playgrounds and favorite eateries. And, of course, although our son was diagnosed with flu B, his high temperature and sore throat was a bit worrisome since the cornovirus was hitting closer and closer to home. We also decided we would have to play it by ear as to when it would be safe to take the boys home given he was contagious.

Our Friday was merely a day of playing at my son and DIL’s, whom we currently live with. Saturday’s plan of taking the boys to their favorite place for chicken and fries, Tenders, and then to a playground turned into getting take out and a jaunt to Lake Norman where the kids could throw rocks into the water and get a little nature walk in. It was a bit disheartening for the 5 year old, when we didn’t stay to eat at that restaurant. He leaned his little body against the building, head hung low, and bewildered and sad stated, “I just don’t understand all this.” I did my best to reassure him and explain the situation. We promised that, although we needed to heed the safety concerns, it didn’t mean we couldn’t find alternate ways of having fun.

It was decided that we would find an area that did not have a playground to alleviate any potential frustration the boys would feel not being able to enjoy it. Our little picnic and time near the water to dig in sand, rummage for rocks, and find the perfect rocks to make huge splashes was the perfect remedy to keep it light and fun. Little did we know this would be our last gathering as a family with our NC kids and our VA grandboys.

Boys, rocks, and mud: as a mom of boys and now grandboys, that is life at its best.

On Sunday, the little guy started to run a temperature and was only wanting cuddles. He was also complaining of “owws”, which when asked where his booboo was he pointed at his head. He was showing the exact symptoms his dad was. At that point, we were already talking about keeping the kids another day, because Virginia had closed schools due to Covid. By Monday evening the poor boy was just miserable, so my DIL and I got him into a clinic 15 minutues before they closed, and he, too, tested positive for Flu B. I was relieved to at least know this was what we were dealing with. Our little 3 day weekend turned into a week stay as we didn’t feel comfortable putting him through a 2 1/2 hour drive home. Hubby, Matt, and I did our best to make his first long stint away from mommy and daddy as comfortable as possible. The older two were as good as gold, and given we were just beginning the throws of this Covid 19 issue, we were unable to go out as we normally do when they are here for a visit. And with the suggestion to social distance and Ian being sick, visiting the other NC family was totally off the table.

Ian had improved a bit by Thursday and his fever had finally broke, so we decided to try to get him home where we thought he would be more comfortable. I know it was easier for him to have his older brothers here with him, but I felt that was the best place for him to continue his recovery. It was a tough drive back to VA. He was a trooper, but I could tell he was still miserable. He even vomited only 5 minutes into the trip, and I almost reconsidered making it. But ultimately, home is always best when we need to heal, so we moved forward. I know he and I both had a sense of relief when he could finally take a warm bath in his own home and cuddle up on his own couch. We felt lost for the days after, as I took care of Ian during the day and my husband took the night care. The older two boys kept life lively and fun, and we had plenty of hugs and love from them. Upon returning home, Ian felt lost without his Papa as they have a very special bond. He even asked for him at night as he had become accustomed to cuddling with him while Matt told him stories about pirates and other adventures.

The next 10 days found myself and Matt down with something. It was a cough and a slight sore throat with no temperature. Mainly it was just a lot of miserable coughing and exhaustion. Needless to say, for about three weeks, any sort of workout was nonexistent. I was, however, adamant about keeping up with my Plexus regimen and keeping on course with making healthy food choices. I must admit, my pain levels didn’t reach as high as I expected given the lack of sleep, the hours of caring for the boys and holding and carrying Ian, and the coughing spells I was enduring. The worst part was hip pain due to hours rocking and holding him for hours while he napped. I must admit it was a huge win that fibromyalgia didn’t put me into a position of not being able to care for all of them. It was a monumental milestone in feeling as if I am combating and overcoming fibromyalgia’s suffocating infliction.

Now that we are in the midst of this myriad of days of sheltering in place, I’m using it as an opportunity to focus on my health with more diligence. It has actually forced me to step back and make it my primary goal. Before life from the outside was beckoning me to try to keep up with the world. Something I truly haven’t had the physical and mental capacity to do. Now, instead of fighting the urge to keep up, I’m revealing in the moments I have to catch up. And given the state of our new normal in the world, there are a multitude of them, wouldn’t you say?

Each day I now focus on what I can do to improve my health. I am doing a 18/6 intermittent fasting at least 5 days a week, eating healthy, and am continuing my Plexus supplements in order to regulate my sugar and improve my gut health. Since recovering from our illness, my husband and I try to take daily walks for both the mental and physical benefits. We mapped out a 3 mile route we try to take daily, but have actually recently added to that so as to get almost a 5 mile trek in when we are up for it. We have done that route both Monday and Tuesday this week, and I can happily report that my pain levels have to not increased in the least. Good things are happening within me due to the choices I am making. I can’t begin to express how elated I am about this!

I hope you are all finding your way through these uncertain times. I wholeheartedly believe we will all come out of this with a deeper appreciation for the little things in life. I mean if toilet paper can become something we can revel in having possession of maybe, just maybe, the big world waiting to be once again appreciated, will find itself becoming our human accommodating Pandora (Avatar).

Be well. Be safe.

I look forward to one day seeing you on the outside. Until then, I’ll keep meeting you here at a safe social distance.