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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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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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Drenching Yourself in Colors: Telling Society to Back off

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We live in a society where it seems that to be your true self is the worst thing a person can do. That if we were to pursue our passions, we could be considered an outcast, that if we wanted to dress the way we want or do whatever we wish to our hair, we would be ostracized. Why? Why should someone feel as though they are an outcast for following their passions and dreams, why should someone be labeled freak, odd, eccentric, for being true to themselves? Why should society dictate how someone thinks, feels, and looks? In all honesty, it shouldn’t.

For thousands and thousands of years, people have constantly felt ostracized for being themselves, for not fitting into the mold that society has created. It seems as though society just wants every man, woman, and child to be the same lifeless robotic shape with no mind of its own and just rely on the opinion of others. However, once someone has stepped away from the social norms that has been dictated all hell breaks loose. Families disown that member of the family for not being “normal”, society shuns that person just as the family did, labels get placed on an individual, leaving an individual all alone and feeling as though they are worthless and at that point they begin to feel the pressure of fitting into the mold that has been created by society.

Not fitting into the mold that has been placed before us by society is invigorating, breathtaking, and it gives us a chance to feel and be free from the social norms. Who wouldn’t want to be free? Free to make your own decisions, to go off and study whatever you want in college or not even go to college at all and just travel the world, or to dye your hair an outrageous color, have a tattoo or piercing that you’ve always wanted.

Let me tell you, to step away from society and do your own thing is the best thing that you could ever do. Saying “screw you” to society will be the best thing you will ever do in your life, for you will finally be in control of yourself and of your life, for you are no mindless robot, you are a human being with a mind, a heart, and a soul that yearns for freedom to be yourself. Isn’t that what you wanted?

 

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Paint me in Orange: Art Therapy

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Many of you know that Mental Health Awareness Month is not until October, however, we shouldn’t be discussing it only during one month. It should be a topic that should be discussed frequently, and not just only during a designated month. Mental Health is one of the few topics that most people do not want to discuss, due to the fact that they are afraid of the topic, afraid of the reality of illnesses that plague nearly 43 Million Americans alone.

When it comes to mental health, the most common treatment is either prescription or seeing a therapist. Personally, I go to see a therapist once a week to help with my own health problems, and it is nice to have a conversation with an outsider (3rd party) that is a professional and that could help me cope with things. Besides seeing a therapist, I participate in what is called, “Art Therapy”. I’ve been doing art therapy for years now, with my poems and novels to my paintings, and it is truly a great therapeutic approach to helping oneself.

Art therapy comes in so many different ways: painting, writing, drawing, knitting, sewing, playing instruments, singing. Just about anything in the art community can be turned into a therapy session for someone. Art therapy is usually overlooked by most people, because they seem to call it hogwash, which it isn’t. It is highly effective, especially for those who wish to put their thoughts and emotions onto something that is pure white with no speck of any word or color splashed on it. Art therapy gives the person a chance to show their inner self, the emotions and thoughts that they currently having, and put them onto a canvas or on paper. Having this ability to throw your emotions and thoughts onto paper can help relieve you from the weight that has been placed on you, giving you a chance to breathe, and letting you be able to, in that moment, feel stress free.

If you ever feel that you are overwhelmed by the emotions and thoughts that have been plaguing you, grab a paintbrush, a pen, or knitting needles; because you can help get rid of those unwanted thoughts while concentrating on something that you enjoy.

 

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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.

 

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A New Chapter in Our Books

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Every year begins a new chapter of our life, and also at the same time, new events become a brand new chapter in our lives as well. We as humans, change. Our jobs change, our scenery changes. And all of this has started the next chapter that we are about to embark on.

For the most part, everyone is a little nervous yet excited at the same time when a new chapter in their own lives begins. And we have every right to feel this way, it is normal. These new chapters bring about new adventures, new romance, new breaks in the path of ours that we are meant to take for a period of time; it is part of our life. These chapters are to show us our growth as we read through the book of our own lives. And when we reach our 80’s, our books will be presented to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren through photographs, journals, clippings.

2016 was rough for all of us, let us be honest for a moment, yet that was a chapter in all of our lives that we had lived through. It had taught us so much about who we are as an individual, and also as a society. Now, here we are in 2017, only two weeks in, and we are being granted this new chapter of our lives of growth in every aspect. Many of us are going to embark on new adventures in this new chapter of our book, some may go to new states or countries, others might be welcoming an addition into their families, and others might break away from a job to start a new one that is meant for them. All of these adventures are about to begin for everyone.

Don’t be afraid of this chapter that is being presented to you, it might seem daunting, but in reality, it is going to be a fun bumpy ride that you will be able to tell when you are older to your great-grandchildren or nieces and nephews.