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Into the Mist with Audiobooks: Running With Audible

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It is a misty morning here in Alaska as I run through the streets and trails, and so far there has been a murder of a young school girl, and I’ve been getting to know Magnus fairly well, in fact, I would say we are becoming friends. Magnus is a man of mystery to most people, partly because he is a hermit and not many people want to get to know him, and partly because they care more about town gossip and make up false stories about him.

Although I am in Alaska, where it rains more than most places in the country, the man, and the murder mystery is happening in my head, actually to be more accurate in my headphones. As I continue to run the novel “Raven Black” by Ann Cleeves keeps my adrenaline thumping, making me more excited as I continue going about my path. The thriller novel set in the Shetland Islands in Scotland makes me wish I was solving each case with Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, chatting with Magnus about ravens, and roaming around Scotland taking in all of the sites. The thought of solving a mystery half way across the world through an audiobook delights me, and even as I run I feel as though I am part of it.

Listening to audiobooks while running isn’t quite new, in fact, loads of people have been listening to audiobooks while they were running, lifting weights, or hiking; just to name a few. For me, when I am running I have found out that I cannot listen to music while I run because the music is more of a distraction than a helpful tool, whereas the audiobooks are more of a helpful tool for me. I can concentrate on the narrator, imagine the scenes playing out before me, and can even concentrate on my pace. While I am concentrating on all of that, I have completely forgotten how many miles I have logged.
The best thing about the audiobooks that I pick I can easily access them on my mobile, having already downloaded the app, making it easier to access them before I suit up for my morning jog. Not only that, I don’t have to listen to the same old boring music that seems to haunt the radio stations over and over again. I can listen to a novel for a couple of weeks in a row (if it is a lengthy one) and will never get bored, because the story is captivating, and keeps me up in the morning as I lace up my running shoes.

Many of you already follow my book club, which I am extremely thankful that you have joined, and so it is with great pleasure to let you all know that I will be hosting an audiobook book club for those who are runners, hikers, weight lifters, or any of the like. I think it will be fun to get people into listening to more audiobooks while they are engaging in activity, to make it more fun.

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Simple Life, Simple You: Coconut Macaroon Cookies

These delicious low-carb cookies were devoured by my coworkers throughout the day while we were working, and each person told me that they enjoyed them. These cookies are extremely easy to make, very versatile, and overall just amazing to eat. I made a batch for myself, and a batch for my coworkers.

Ingredients:

Ingredients
4 egg whites
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups coconut
½ teaspoon salt

Directions:

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and grease lightly. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Separate the egg whites from the yolk, and combine the egg whites along with the honey in a saucepan over low heat, stir constantly ( don’t let the egg white solidify). Then remove from the heat.
Pour the egg white/honey mixture over the coconut mix. Stir until combined, but do not over stir for you do not want the coconut to be too soggy.
Spoon the macaroons onto the prepared cookie sheet with a teaspoon. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned on top and firm. Cool, then coat with melted chocolate or eat plain.

I made several batches, a couple with chocolate drizzled on top and a batch that was just plain. They are both delicious.

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Healing From the Core: Elemental Energy

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When one heals from the very center of their being, the core, their whole body, mind, soul, and heart heals as well. The very core of a person’s body is deep inside, it is not the stomach nor the pancreas, it is something bigger than their soul. It is their energy, it is where a person gets their energy from. That energy is linked to every part of their body, including their personality, a great example for this would be: when you see a friend or relative of yours who you consider down-to-earth, they get their energy from the earth below their feet. Or someone who is like a cloud moves about, sometimes there or they have taken off to unknown places, they are connected to the air that is around them, that is where they get their energy, by standing on top of a mountain or hill, letting the wind gently brush up against them, giving them their energy to thrive for a period of time.

Returning to your element, to heal yourself is vital, because you would not be able to focus on the tasks at hand, nor would you feel healthy and safe. And there are many ways you can get your energy back whether you be outdoors or indoors.

Fire

For those who resonate with the fire, those who are normally hot-headed, fiery, passionate, and just have an all-over connection with the element, you can warm up your house with the fireplace on, or you can participate in hot yoga (not only will it get you moving, you will be able to connect with the heat as you practice). At work, add some photos of warmth, such as your memories of bomb fires; or if you are allowed in your workspace, light a candle.

Water

When it comes to the water element be near a body of water, such as a river, lake, or ocean. Being near the water will help you rejuvenate and bring your energy levels back up. Submersing yourself in a body of water will help you out, even more, go for a swim, and just let the smooth water wash over every inch of you and just let it fill you with delight and peace, when you let that happen you will become healthier once more. At work, you can add a little buddha fountain or whatever your preference in the statue is, that has the trickling of water into the numerous rocks, or you can add water meditation music as you work throughout the day.

Earth

Mother earth, she truly is a beautiful piece of artwork, isn’t she? When it comes to the earth element, it is easier to find your energy more outdoors than indoors, but that doesn’t mean that it will be impossible to incorporate the earthy element into your office or home. Add plants or flowers, add little bamboo pieces around to make you feel grounded and in your natural habitat. When you add these little pieces whether at work or at home, your energy draws from the plants and bamboo, revitalizing and becoming healthier.

Air

When it comes to the air element it is a little bit harder to place objects around your office or home to draw in that energy you are needing. However, it is not impossible. Adding meditation music such as birds chirping, wind chimes playing, or even lighting an incense candle will bring the element of air into your office space if you are unable to open a window (city buildings don’t have a lot of windows that are able to be opened). At home you can also do the same thing, or you can even just open up your window, and let the breeze fly into the house, filling everything with positive energy, bringing your core into a healthier state.

Digging into our core, we will be able to heal once again and be able to boost up our energy levels so that we may thrive and be ready for whatever the Universe throws our way.

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Reconnecting With Yourself

There are times where we need to unplug from our electronic devices, get away from the internet, and the social media wars that seem to plague everyone across the world. The reason for this is to reconnect with ourselves, continue our own growth, and get back to the core of our own being. That is what I have been doing for the past two months, I had rarely made any posts on here, or on any of my social media accounts, because I wanted and needed to reconnect with myself and see where I was going, to see if I was growing in any sense of the word (except for height, because I am always going to be short).

Stepping away from the internet helped me, because I was able to focus more on my poetry, on myself and heal. Knowing that I was starting to become a slave to my electronic devices, I set them aside, and started to focus on myself and see what it was that I needed to do in order to grow more spiritually, personally, and career wise. Plus, I needed to focus on my health. During the two months of not only posting anything, I also ended up not really speaking to many people that I know, this is also due to a fact that I needed a break from socializing, because I was being drained. Drained of my energy, and drained of any thoughts that I harbor. And it was slowly making me depressed and unable to focus on a lot of things.

After spending time by myself, meditating, healing, and just focus on my own well being for a change, it made me happier, and made notice that we all need to make time for ourselves more than just an allotted time each day. And so now, after taking those two months, I figured out how each person, child, woman, or man can create more time to just reconnect with themselves even if they are on a tight schedule and cannot devote an entire month to themselves.

Each morning when you are getting up, or helping your children get ready for school, create a drink  to your liking for each season (hot chocolate or coffee for fall or winter, smoothies or iced tea for spring or summer), to go along with your breakfast. Sit together, you don’t have to speak to each other necessarily, but sit at the same table, and enjoy  the silence or put on some light music, while you prepare yourself for the day ahead. For lunch time, sit by yourself and enjoy your lunch while you read a book, listen to your iPod, or sit with your friends or colleagues and just enjoy a light conversation that doesn’t cause such a big stir (ahem, politics). When it comes to dinner, socialize with your family, talk about your day, enjoy your dinner. But after dinner, make that time for you, and you alone. Put on some music, write in your journal, meditate; just shut out social media for that time period. On your days off, go out into nature, embrace the beauty, the energy that she provides us, and take it all in. Because while you are walking through the hills, forests, mountains, or near by the ocean, your body is healing, your soul is healing. And that is what you are needing.

A lot of people don’t realize that they are needing some time by themselves, so that they can heal, can reconnect with themselves. And that is the problem with social media and the internet, it takes away that time, and instead uses its vortex of search engines and websites to drag you in further, keeping you away from what your body is needing, and what your soul is needing. Always make time for yourself to heal, to reconnect, because if you don’t then you won’t be able to help others. You need to help yourself first before you can help others.

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Seeking Answers in Mother Nature

For the past month, I haven’t really written a lot of posts for this site, nor have I really posted anything on my social media accounts, due to the fact that I have been in the process adjusting to my new job, new town, and new state. On top of that, I needed the time to take care of myself, to focus on my health and mentality, and to dive into my art and dreams. 

We’ve all been there, a new place where things seem foreign, a place of isolation even if we know a few people there, a time where we feel a little bit lost and are looking for the right path for us to take, hoping that we can find some sort of guidance to help us out. That’s where I’ve been for the past month. Don’t get me wrong, I love Alaska, it’s truly magnificent and outrageously beautiful. But there has been a few moments of, “is this truly where I’m supposed to be right now?” And so this past month, I had been going out into nature, talking to Mother Earth and seeking answers to my questions, and she answered. 

Being linked to Mother Earth, Father Sky, and my ancestors that roamed around the forests, hills, and mountains, it keeps me grounded, and gives me the ability to receive answers in my dreams. Sometimes they don’t make sense when I’m having the dream, but once they become reality, then I completely understand what they were trying to tell me. And that was what I was dealing with, I had received the answers that I was looking for. 

Not only that, I have been focus on my health and well being, by eating a little differently, going out into nature more since I live just half a mile from a trail that leads up into the mountains. There I can breathe, just stand in silence, and just be happy and healthy once more. 

Sometimes, we just need to step away from our electronic devices, social media accounts, and websites to heal ourselves before we can communicate with others and help others.

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Standing With Mother Earth

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Here we are, in 2017, with a brand new president and vice president to run the United States, while also bringing new presidents around the world to their first terms as presidents (congratulations to Tsai Ing-wen for becoming the first female president of Taiwan!). While here in America, a good majority of us (including myself) are preparing for things to even get worse (it already hit the fan with the temporary ban on Muslims from entering our country), our new elected president Donald Trump has recently signed a document letting the Dakota Access Pipeline to go ahead and destroy the earth with its pipeline that is running through the Dakota’s.

Seeing our precious earth becoming more and more of a landfill, than what it is supposed to be (an ecological, sustainable, graced with hills of luscious green grass, trees, and wildlife). Turning this planet into a waste dump is not what it is meant for. It is not used for greedy corporations to make their “mark” on this land, it is not for chemical induced products to be placed into the grounds, the very grounds that we walk on, grow food, and raise our own families on, is for us to have a healthy and long living life; all the while following our passions and dreams.

More and more pipelines being produced and being forced into the ground, we will see the earth dwindle away to nothing but a concrete jungle of skyscrapers and mansions. All the trees that provide us with warmth, shelter, and oxygen are being taken down and thrown away as if they were garbage, the food that we tend to grow into the soil of the earth is being contaminated by the chemicals that everyone is dumping into the lands below our feet, and the wild animals that roam the planes and mountains are disappearing due to greedy poachers who only care about making a quick dollar. We are living in a time where we are giving the future generations absolutely nothing, we are living in a time where we are allowing corporations destroy the earth and its inhabitants one day at a time.

So, instead of giving them a concrete jungle and no world to play in, we need to be making this place we call home healthier, more sustainable, and capable of having humans and the entire animal kingdom living on it for thousands of years to come.

 

Photo Credit: Unknown

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Simple Life, Simple You: Minimalist Lifestyle

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We live in a society where all the ads on television and in the newspapers telling us that we need this item right now, telling us that we will be complete once we have obtained that said item. That being said, you will not be complete with whatever item the ad is trying to sell to you. Instead, you will be spending more money on something that you probably didn’t need anyway. The society that we currently live in is all about more; more food, more clothes, more toys, just more of anything, and for a few minutes there will be a glimmer in your eyes telling the rest of us and yourself that you are happy, but in reality you are not. So instead of coping with your hoarding hobby, you make your way over to the nearest strip mall and you start roaming through the aisles, looking for something to make you feel that “happiness” once again. But then you don’t find it.

As a traveler, blogger, and coach, I find myself in the same boat but only with books. Being a bookworm, I am always wanting more books, to fill some sort of emptiness that I have deep inside. But I know for a fact that even though I love books and that they make me happy for a period of time when I am reading them, I know that they will not fill that void. So I tell myself that I should only keep a certain amount of books for the next six months, and once I am done; I will get rid of the ones that I do not want to continue reading. It makes it easier for me, and not only that, it makes it easier for when I travel to my next destination.

Creating a minimalist lifestyle might seem daunting, but in reality, it isn’t that hard. It is just creating piles of things to figure out what it is you are going to keep and what you are going to throw away or donate.

Wardrobe: The wardrobe is the most common place for many people to hoard clothes. Most people will buy articles of clothing and never wear them, just to only sit in the closet or drawer to gather dust. Creating a minimalist wardrobe is easy, and you can still have your own style and flair to go along with it. Only having 25 to 30 articles of clothing (not including intimates: boxers, underwear, bras, swimsuits), makes it easy on you to have some fun to mix and match your clothes, and makes it easy for when you are traveling to go to weddings, visit relatives, or even go overseas. **If you haven’t worn the article of clothing within the past 6 months, then donate it, because in reality you might never wear it again.

Books: I know, all of you bookworms out there that are just like me are gasping for air because I have put this into this post. However, let’s be realistic, traveling and lugging around two or three suitcases of books is not ideal in any situation. Because I’ve attempted that once, it was a horrible mistake. Now, I keep only 15 to 20 books with me at all times, then twice a year I go through them and look over them to see which ones I don’t want to keep, then replace them with different books for the next year.

Food: Yes, food is going to be on here. The reason why it is, is due to the fact that people eat way more than they used to, it is all about bigger and fuller plates, than actually enjoying what is in front of you. And for the most part, people don’t even eat half of what is in front of them, then they just toss the rest into the garbage can. The food we put into our stomach is for us to enjoy and savor the aroma and delicious herbs and spices that are placed upon the food. It is also to keep us nourished and keep us healthy. Food isn’t meant to be wasted in the landfills, while there are millions of children in third world countries are looking for a meal on the streets. If you are single, and enjoy making big batches of food for the work week, there is nothing wrong with that, just make sure that you don’t waste it by chucking it out, and don’t gorge out on it either, use proportions.

Email: We live in the digital age where everyone has an email account that is linked to their social media accounts, and also linked to their work. However, sometimes, the inbox can become cluttered with unwanted messages and scams. Cleaning out your inbox at least three times a month will help your digital side of life, minimalist as well.

Quality over quantity: When it comes to clothes, toys, and electronics, most people think that more is always better, but you don’t need to have more in order to have those things. Invest wisely in those things, find things that you know that you can wear over and over again for a while, until they are torn down; or those electronic devices that can last a long time. Because being able to use an object for a long time is a great thing, because you can create different outfits or you can still surf the web and create amazing documents on that computer, or your child can still play with the toy without it breaking down on them after only a few months. *I had a backpack that I had kept for four years and it finally fell apart, so I invested in a new one. I do the same thing with shoes, clothes, and electronic devices.

Living a minimalistic life is not daunting, you are only making it appear that way because you are unsure of how to start, and you are afraid to let go of the things that you truly do not need. Simplifying life creates more room to breathe, more room to be creative, and give your space some breath of fresh air so to speak.