domestic bliss

Today we drove to Silverthorne and went to look at BBQ’s for our mountain home.  Standing kissing in the seasonal section I said out loud “I feel so married”.  I ment this in a good way.  Here we were buying house hold items together.  We had moved passed the dating, to the going steady, to domestic bliss.  How did that happen so fast?  We also looked at deck chairs.  At first my fiance pulled out plastic Adirondack chairs.  I had to disclose that I hate plastic chairs as they always look cheap and dirty.  We settled on woven outdoor wide chairs and a side table.   We even bought potting soil!

Those of you who are in longterm relationships are used to this.  For me it has been a long long long time of being single and buying furniture for one.  Now we are a family with our two dogs.  I had a mixed feeling of bliss, excitement and relief!

It finally hit me, I was no longer alone, no longer solely responsible, we can share in everything and we can accomplish more together.

On our way back  to Breckenridge with our SUV full, we stopped for a romantic walk by Lake Dillon. The ice melting in the 60 degree sunlight-8,000 ft in the mountains we walked along the beach, stopping to kiss.  I love this area in Spring, a time of hope, a time of renewal, a time of new beginnings.

digital detox

*When was the last time you went 48 hours without responding to email, checking Facebook, answering your phone, or being over-stimulated by external media?

*Have you given yourself the space and time you need to reflect, decompress or relax?

*Are you feeling burned out, tired, addicted to your social media, or simply need a new perspective on life?

*Do you find yourself reaching for your phone or device in any moment of down-time?

*Do you interrupt conversations or lose track of time to meaningless online activity?

*Do you sleep, eat and use the bathroom with your phone?

*Do you need space to reassess an important business move, give your mind time to rest, or just want a break from the tethered life?

*Is your personal health declining or interpersonal relationships suffering from the imbalance in attention you give to your screens or work?

I went to a workshop with the talented Amy Lieberman, integrative health life coach (www.amylieberman.com).  She spoke about going on a digital detox diet, (disconnect to reconnect).  Turning off the pings and dings on your devices to reduce stress.

“Research shows that many of us feel so tied down by technology that we can’t let a single message or email slip by without responding to it immediately, or feeling a sense of anxiety. The cultural pressures to constantly check messages and to stay up to speed on the latest blogs or news media often lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed and frustrated without time to breathe.  Unplugging for just one day can give some users mental and physical withdraw symptoms” (digital detox.org)

 

My fiance takes his phone everywhere.  When we watch a movie he puts his phone, the remote and his glasses in his crotch while we watch the movie, just in case he will need them.  I admit we like to stop and chat in movies, and google facts about actors in the movie, like how old they are now, who are they married to, what other movies they have done.

He used to bring his phone to bed when we were dating, and when the notification would go off, he would sit bolt upright in bed.  He has two phones, a work phone and a personal phone and carry them both everywhere, pulling them both out simultaniously like a gunslinger doing a quickdraw. He even takes his phone with him to the bathroom so he can play backgammon to facilitate his movements.

What would digital detox look like at our house?  First I would love to lie in bed and not hear pings in the living room on three possible phone.  I would love all notifications turned off by 8pm. In fact vibrate would be a great setting.  Who says when someone texts that we have to respond immediately?

I would like no phones in the bedroom period.  I fantasize having one room in the house with no digital devices, tv or phones.  Perhaps books and a meditation altar.

Recently I have decided to take digital detox breaks, for me this means going out without my phone, or switching it off.  Tonight we went for happy hour, when my fiance went to the bathroom I reached to check my phone, and then I realised that I had consciously left it at home.  After a quick pang of anxiety–  I looked out the window and noticed the purple crocus and tips of daffodils peeking through the alpine soil and took a deep breath.

*If you are ruled by your devices, or have fear of missing out (FOMO) try small steps to digitally detox, work with a coach or go on a digital detox retreat offered by digitaldetox.org.

 

The surrender experiment

How much do you resist showing up fully for life?

I am reading an interesting book called the Surrender Experiment. Michael Singer (author of the Untethered Soul). Mr. Singer describes how he decided to surrender to whatever presented in his life for one year and not evaluate what was showing up.  But rather to say yes to what comes into his life, despite any internal resistance.  His goal was to rid himself of internal resistance and go with the flow of life.    When something good or bad shows up in our life,  do we evaluate it based on our preferences in our mind of what we like or dislike?  Do we then we decide our action based on our mind’s preferences. 

The whole premise of the surrender experiment is to accept everything that takes place in your life, good or bad, and say yes to it. 

As I read this book I contemplated what a radical experiment this would be to undertake in my life.  How much of my time and energy is spent resisting life and evaluating what shows up, in order to compare it against my mind’s preference for what I was expecting to show up.  

So what has shown up in my life so far that was not planned?  Two wonderful dogs, a wonderful American man I met at a retreat, a home in the Colorado mountains at 10,000 ft.   Being financially dependent and emotional dependnt on this American man as I am not legally allowed to work (ie surrender control).  What would happen if I said an internal YES  rather than dwelling on where I should  be in my life at this age.  What if I defined success by my ability to surrender to what is present in my life.  To fully show up?

How do I  surrender completely to the experiences in front of me?

How often do I hang onto self concepts  that limit me and set expectations within myself about what I let into my life. What concepts am I holding onto that limit what I let into my life?  Can I surrender my fixed concepts of myself like the author did. Self concepts and labels such as independent woman, grieving widow, college teacher.  Do I let these concepts unconsciously define me?  The more I hang onto the past self concepts that no longer apply here in the present, do I limit the unknown, or mysteries that are waiting to flow into my life.

Michael Singer made the “commitment to surrender to life’s flow even if he didn’t understand what was happening.”

Through the surrender experiment he started out on 10 acres wanting to be alone and practice his meditation in the woods.  By saying yes to what life presented he ended up with a multi-millon dollar business developed on his land, he built a temple dedicated to yoga and meditation, and had a permanent  spiritual community  that was established on his land called the Temple of the Universe that has existed since 1975.   In his book he said “ I know perfectly well that I didn’t do it.  The best I can say is that I let go of myself, and allowed what was meant to be-to be.”  

How can I do that? How can I fully surrender to life?  How have I opted out of life, or not fully shown up to what is present in my life today? How have my attempts to control and direct my life from my mind’s preferences interrupted my true purpose?  

 

The Omega center 2017 catalogue

What is it about receiving the omega institute catalogue in early spring, that makes my spirit soar? The setting has to be right for the first glance of the offerings.   I need to be in a place with no pressure, a place I can dream of possibilities and relax before I open the 2017 catalogue.

I hold the magazine/brochure/schedule with the reverence of scripture, as if it hold all the potential of my soul.  Why?  Do I believe that if I take enough courses I would be enlightened?  That I would be more evolved by end of the Oct 2017 season?

That I could be changed from being a student to being a master of life?

I have always dreamed of volunteering at Omega center, for a season and eventually teaching there, and having a cottage nearby. For me teaching there would be the “holy grail” of achievement. Omega is a place where all the good things happened to me in my life. I swear the land energy is transformative on its own. The connections  I have made there have endured.

Big turning points, big transitions, meeting life long friends and now my new life/soul mate partner and finding my spiritual teacher.  All of it happened at omega centre.   Flashback to 2015 I picked up the omega catalogue in February, the ice was still on the lake in rural Canada where I lived.

I nestled into my pillows and flipped reverently through the pages folding over the corners of every workshop that appealed to me.   My usual process each year to write down every workshop I was interested in, all on one page and then eliminate workshops based on schedule and timing.  This time I heard a voice clear as a bell, it said “whatever you do, you must attend this course”.  The course was a weekend in  October with Dr. Barbara D’angelis called Soul Shifts. I registered.

At that course I met my life partner, and a wonderful spiritual teacher all in one.  My life has never been the same.

Do not underestimate the possibilities of timing and spirit at Omega center. Another example is when I attended a “Hearts Desire workshop” with Sonya Choquette.  I met a great friend there that has led to an eight year sisterhood, with a woman who was wanting to leave her husband and be free.  Now eight years later she is free and in a gorgeous relationship.  Eight years ago when we met,  I was widowed and deeply suicidal and on strike with life.  Eight years later I am in love and transformed.

This is the Ju Ju power, that I hold in my hands when I hold the omega catalogue.  For me these pages represent potential, transformation, future direction and love of myself.  No wonder I approach this seasons offerings with reverence.  If you are guided to take a course.  Do it!. Trust me.

 

 

Let go of the oars *

I saw on a bulletin board the phrase “Let go of the Oars, everything you want is downstream….”

When I was 16 I immigrated to Canada from England.  15 years later I went back to visit England with my new Canadian husband in tow.  I always felt British in my blood, and that England was my home.  When I went back in my 30’s I had changed so much, I no longer fit into the British way of life.  Most Brits thought I was American.  I was shocked, I did not realise how much I had changed until I went back to visit.

I had a similar experience recently when I had a single friend visit me here in the Colorado mountains.  He was interested in the nightlife in the mountains.  I really have not been out in the bars late at night, as my fiance does not drink. I wondered if I was missing out on the live music and the dancing scene by staying home every night.

With my single friend visiting we went out on the town in Breckenridge.  We first went to a bar called Apres where they serve craft beers. It was fun, I had a dark beer from a Fort Collins Brewery.  We met people from Miami who grew up skiing in Breckenridge.  We met lots of young folks from Florida who grew up in the heat, hate the heat, and love the snow and mountains.   Then we went to the Gold Pan Saloon which was loud and we left. We Finally ended up in the back room of another bar called the Motherloade tavern.  We sat and watched attractive 30 somethings hooking up around us.  One couple had just met three days ago, she was from Denver and he was from Miami, they were on their third date and they were very cute. I kept encouraging my friend John to go and talk to women.    He went up to ask a woman to dance and she said no.  I mean really? it’s just a dance.  Everywhere people were doing shots of Fireball whiskey.  The band started at 9pm and people were dancing on the tables, with pint glasses smashing on the floor.  We were standing on the ramp to the back room, and within 15 minutes the place filled up.   We were  pressed up against two other rows of people on the ramp hanging onto our pint glasses.  People were screaming in your ear to talk to you.  One guy beside me got up and sang with the band and did the Rolling Stones song Ssympathy with the Devil.  He rocked the house.

The energy of the place was drunken hook up energy, or as they say here “hitting the mountain”.  I said to my friend John “if I was a cougar I would have easy pickings here” as everyone was in the 20s or 30s and pounding back shot after shot.  I realised that this was no longer a place that I fit in.  I missed my fiancée who was home in bed, and I could not relate to the drunken hookup artists around me.   I just wanted to go home.  I waited  until my friend was ready to go.   I was relieved to be home.  I realised I had emigrated from the country of singleton to the country of relationship, and I was not missing a thing.

*Image credit:  By Motmit – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

March Break is a Gong show

Walking around Breckenridge I notice one in three people have an arm brace or a leg cast.  I wonder what is going on all of a sudden?

I went to the liquor store and two cashiers had arm slings and the other cashier had a stage three concussion.I asked the snarly liquor store guy what is going on?  He said, “Oh it’s that time  of year, you get a grove sking and you get overconfident.”  He said “I am 22 concussions in this year, and I just keep going.  “Yesterday my shoulder popped out and I just popped it back in. That is the way it is up here”.

OMG what a wacky mountain town.

As we move through March break in the states I asked where are all the college kids.  The same “concussion guy” said “Oh, they will start arriving tomorrow, Thursday, and then by Friday it will be a gong show.  Hmm I said, is that not a 70’s reference?  You were not even born.  He said, well there was the 80’s remake.  When were you born I asked?  1986 he said.

Oh well,it seems that the Gong Show is now part of the urban dictionary and in use by people who have never seen the show. His advice?  Go grocery shopping tomorrow, get everything you need and  stay home.  Nice outlook on life in one of the most idyllic places in the world.

Bracing for the gong show on the slopes and around Breckenridge.  More stories to come……

Image credit: By website, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27356873

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quirks of living at altitude 

Wednesdays are my favourite day in the mountains.

We have a private salsa dance teacher come to our home.  I went on a site called one mans junk the facebook page -for the mountains.  I posted for a dance teacher.

We got a response from a professional ballroom dance champion.  He is amazing young professional, and a great teacher.

Where else can you get a professional to come to your home to teach you salsa in your living room. This champion ballroom dancer is working two restaurant jobs to make ends meet here in the mountains.

One local in a coffee shop said” there are two kinds of people in Breckenridge, those with 2 homes and those with 2 jobs”.

Dealing with Altitude physically:

I am so “regular” at altitude, which I never used to be.  Is it the pressure of gravity pushing down?

One product I swear by is called Resqwater on the bottle it says “Scientific research shows the ingredients in resqwater aid in muscle recovery, clinically tested”.

I have one of these a day in the morning, and I find it gives me my daily supplements.  I have never heard of this till coming to the mountains.  It is wonderful and it is way better than any sports drinks as it is natural and has no speedy ingredients. Check it out….resqwater.com.

Wacko Bathrooms

Only in the mountains do they have outdoor bathrooms in cold weather conditions.

I am sitting in a wonderful coffee shop called Cup a Joe’s, and next door is the popular yoga studio.  One coffee in, it is time for the bathroom, except the bathroom is outside.  You go outside down the stairs and through another building.

The same with the yoga studio no indoor bathroom. You are in the middle of a great  downward dog session and you need the bathroom. You need to get the key go outdoors, down the stairs and through another building, in minus 20 weather.

No one blinks and eye at this.  To compensate they crank the heat in the coffee shop and the yoga studio, all the staff are barefoot with shorts on.  The cafe is like a steam sauna,  you run outdoors to the bathroom, and back in.

How to dress in the mountains?

I assumed women here would wear sweaters and winter weight dresses.  Nothing is further from the truth.

In the street local women wear Sorrels and big coats.  Once the outdoor burka is shed.  Women wear tights, little mini skirts and a cami, or backless t-shirts with their tight and boots.

It is the strangely alluring look; big boots tights and lingerie.  Most of the 20 something women are half-naked but with their boots on!

“Rock on” in this mountain town.

___________________

 Time famine

It seems the mountain energy seeps into your soul.  The ability to see awe all around you through every window in your home has a way into your heart.  Recently we took a vacation from the mountain and we went to Hollywood Beach Florida.   A mountain friend said to me Hollywood beach is a place where old people go to die.  Nothing to do but sun and surf, it seemed so flat so bland. I think of it as Margarittaville culture. While I was in a t-shirt store in Florida  the worker hanging the new shipment of shirts said  “I need a vacation, my soul is slowly dying, I don’t have enough time to do everything”. He needed a vacation from the vacation spot.

I read recently that North American people are experiencing a time famine.  “Time might be the scariest commodity for many people in modern life. A recent poll of more than 1,000 Americans found that nearly half (47%) felt they lacked enough time in daily life (Carroll, 2008). This feeling of having too much to do and not enough time to do it—or “time famine” (Perlow, 1999)—has been linked to undesirable side effects, including trouble sleeping, stress, difficulty delaying gratification, and postponing seeing a doctor when ill (Lehto, 1998; Vuckovic, 1999; C.-B. Zhong & DeVoe, 2010).”

Is it true we need more time? Or can we adopt practices that help us shift  our perception of how much time is available.  Awe researchers tell us we can shift our perception of time.  It seems that experiencing awe expands time.  Especially when we experience awe on a vast scale, like standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon.   Researchers says it jogs our brain to update our mental schema, which is like restarting the computer after software updates. It is amazing that awe has that ability to reboot us.  Even reading a description of someone climbing to the top of a mountain or viewing  an inspiring image of nature can fire the pathways for awe.

It is worth considering putting ourselves on a steady awe diet, especially if we are feeling low or stressed.  Taking in images of awe or focusing on a description of awe can shift our perception of time, and reboot our energy with just three minutes a day.

I want to encourage you to give yourself a daily dose of awe, via physical experience or through an image.

 

Shades of grey

via Daily Prompt: Nuance

Nuance is a word that reminds me of a flavour we add to a dish.  Nuance could also be a tone or attitude or stance we hold within ourselves.  The word actually refers to shades of meaning.

How often have I had different shades of meaning in my life?  How often do I use Nuance in a story to allude to the truth but do not tell the truth?  How often do we get offended when someone does not have the skill of nuance like Trump who just tells it as it is?  Different cultures have more nuance than others.  I think of Asian cultures where a lot is not said but is conveyed through gesture, tone and body language.  That is nuance.

As a Canadian living in the USA I find myself recoiling at the blunt nature of how people talk to each other.  People volunteer their opinion without being asked.   A sense of self-importance amongst the culture is present.  Perhaps this is common in world power countries?  What do you think?

Having a guest up in the mountains

My brother from another mother came down to visit me in Breckenridge.  After a sushi dinner I wanted him to see the town at night.  My fiance goes to bed about 9:30 and gave us his blessing to go out and party.  We went to one bar and had a half pint of local brew then ended up at the Motherlode Tavern for a full band Karaoke night.

We ended up standing on a ramp to the backroom listening to the band.  We had an eagle eye view of the room where we were able to watch all the people on vacation doing shots of fireball whiskey. It was hilarious as we watched them getting ready to stand on the tables and dance.

We surveyed the room together.  I suggested he ask this one woman to dance who looked fun and was grooving to the music. She had tight jeans on and a black and white spider top that had silver glitter across the chest.

Even though my brother from another mother is very shy he still asked her to dance. Much to my chagrin she said no. Wow, how hard is it to be a guy these days?  I felt sad for him and somewhat responsible as I suggested he dance with her.   As she walked by I asked her why she did not dance with my brother. She barked a drunken answer at me but then stood by him and rubbed up against him not talking.

Strange.

I struck up  a conversation with a guy named Paul who was very shy. He surprised everyone when he got up and sang a kick ass version of Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones. I must say, he had the place rocking. It turns out he used to be a professional singer  He said he lived in Massachusetts and was a retiring tool and die maker. He is now training to be a ski instructor and wants to retire here.  I said DO IT.  “I live here and don’t ski, you love skiing and live for it,  you should live here instead of me.”

What is wrong with me?  I live here and don’t ski?

Today I tried to cross-country ski and loved it. I did fall down twice but laughed and enjoyed myself.  I also love that my thighs burn in such a good way.

I tend to be a winter hermit. Perhaps I need to reform my ways, now that the weather is hitting 40 degrees during the day.  Maybe I could try venturing out.