Thursday, January 11, 2018

Powerful Positive Words

As a new year ushers in, for me it brings with it a sense of new beginnings. I embrace this new beginning, and am encouraged by it. Each year I choose a powerful, positive word as a theme to guide me and empower me.

Last year, for the first time in 13 years, I struggled with my word theme more. Here’s an excerpt from the post I wrote at the start of 2017. I would like to be more centered, more focused, more random, more giving. I would like to listen more, laugh more, and love more. I want more of what life has to offer. That last sentence about did me in with this traveling life of mine. Over the last year and a half of full-time traveling, I became less centered and less focused on my needs. In my last post, I talked about realizing this by going with the flow but flowing right on by what keeps me at my best. So, what keeps me at me best? Many things actually, and they’re all centered around what it takes to keep me in balance. Balance is a word I used as a theme in 2014, but I’m taking a different slant on balance by embracing the word listen this year.

Listening is a truly powerful, positive word as I believe if I listen more, I’ll hear more. If I hear more, I just might learn more about me and the world around me. Thus, by listening and learning I will pay more attention and allow it to guide me to a more centered, focused, and balanced me. I could go on about my word, but instead I’ll refer back to it from time to time during posts this year. Let’s just say, I’ll keep you posted as to how well I’m listening and how this powerful, positive word is affecting me. 

I’ll begin my day with my word listen. As I fall to sleep I’ll remind myself how I’ve listened and what I’m learning – grateful to have such a powerful, positive word guiding me. And I can tell you this – I’ve already felt a slight shift! How are you going to begin your year? Join me and embrace a powerful, positive word you feel confident can guide you to whatever shift you need to make.


Listen photo courtesy of Ky

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Dropping Out

Whenever I’m overwhelmed by anything, and nothing in particular, I withdraw from the craziness of life by shutting out the noise of technology, and creating a sense of quiet space around me – what I call dropping out. Back when I had a home and yard, I would take my drop out period very seriously. I would begin my day with meditation, a little yoga, and a walk or run, then retreat to my garden and work my butt off – enjoying every moment. There’s something about physically working my body and being outside in nature that stirs my soul. Oddly enough, I don’t contemplate anything in particular or try to problem solve when I’m in drop out mode. I guess you could say I nourish my spirit by creating this brain break. Then I start fresh and make better decisions once I’ve had the appropriate drop out time. I can even feel it coming – the pull to disengage – knowing if I’m not finding enough space for me to disengage on a regular basis, I’ll need to come to a full stop and completely drop out.

At present, living on the road full time has brought with it a need to figure out how to continue to do what I need to do to feel at my best and be me. I have been going with the flow for the last year and a half knowing full well that I needed to find more space for me to do those things that help me be at my best. But this going with the flow hasn't quite worked because I seemed to keep flowing right on by what I needed – quiet, stillness, space, with some semblance of routine even if it’s for just a short period of time. After four months in Europe this summer and fall I was mentally and physically worn out. On this trip I had the realization that I must find more time for me to just BE. I need to make the time for me to disengage on a regular basis. Which is exactly what I was doing prior to traveling full time.

When we came back to the States the first part of November, we had two weeks of wonderful downtime in Lake Chelan, Washington. Off season is the quiet season on the lake and perfect for just what I needed after traveling in Europe – time to decompress from the recent travels, get used to the time change, and begin to find myself once again. I was able to run, swim laps, fully enjoy my yoga routines, and have many quiet walks. I was gloriously happy and was able to re-energize. Now I need to keep that going, slow the travels down a bit more and find the balance between traveling and the space to just BE.

The holiday season and new year can be a time of reflection for many of us. I’m finding my way back to what my personal values are and creating the space to just BE. My wish for you this holiday season is for you to find your way back to what you know to be true for you. Perhaps you will disengage once in awhile and give your brain a much needed break.


Palm Springs Blue Lady photo courtesy of DaMClark's

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What's Missing?

Over the next few weeks we will wrap up our travels to Europe. We left the states in early July, so it's been nearly four months of traveling abroad. I find myself thinking about those things I miss, or that aren’t quite the same. For those of you who follow our travel blog, no worries, we will continue publishing posts and catch you up on our activities.

Now, back to this post – I’m missing friends and family, and fortunately I’m in touch with many of those people. I'm also missing the Pacific Northwest autumn; and unfortunately, by the time we get back the leaves will have fallen and the rains will have moved in. Because we are going home soon, that’s probably why I’m thinking about what I’ve missed and can’t wait to get back to. Case in point - food I eat on a regular basis, and then there's the goodies I make once in a while. While traveling full time, I’m able to try many wonderful regional specialties, and because I don't want to heft more of me around than necessary (remember, I pack light), I limit the sweets to one of, or a bite of one my husband has. Still, those tasty goodies are not MY go-to’s. Here's a few of my favorites:

  • Cooked thick or steel cut oatmeal with dried cranberries and nuts. Other than when I make it, the only person who makes it just the way I like is Kirby. Unfortunately, I won’t be anywhere near Kirby! Too bad I wasn't missing this early on in the trip when we were in the UK - oats were everywhere. But this will be an easy one for me to do. Oh, and its autumn, so apple cider instead of water will be perfect when I cook up glorious pots full of oatmeal goodness!
  • Kale salad – as in my chop-chop kale salad I noted in a previous post, Craving Kale. I haven't seen kale anyplace we have purchased groceries. I’m craving kale in a big way, what can I say. You know, before kale was the cool kid green it is today in the US, I never gave it a second thought.
  • Tacos – as in my homemade Tacos with just the right ingredients, not the this will do but it doesn’t do ingredient(s) I see abroad. I may just make them every night until I’m sick of them. Seriously, no chance of that happening - I've been eating tacos since I was a kid before there was any fast-food place selling them. I know tacos and they don’t come from a restaurant or fast-food drive-thru!
  • Organic peanut butter (preferably Kirkland brand) – love it on sliced apples or just off the spoon. And that reminds me how much I need to make my peanut-peanut butter-butter cookies (yes, that's one cookie and no typos)! Oh man, can’t wait!
  • Pancakes – as in my Daddy’s recipe for buttermilk pancakes made with Bulgarian buttermilk – no low-fat no-fat nonsense for those babies. And that means I’ll need real maple syrup from New England. Dang, that’s a lot of pancakes I’ll have to eat to use that stuff up!
  • Smoothies – my homemade goodness in a glass and also a previous post, Smoothie Nirvana. Thing is, I seldom have a blender available, and traveling light means there are things I sort of give up. It’s unfortunate because I’ve been making my breakfast in a glass since high-school. I MISS SMOOTHIES! But not enough to haul even a hand blender around with me.

Surprised that I should mention pancakes and cookies? While some of the healthier mentions above are good for me, and I really try and feed my body properly on a regular basis, it's about balance. I’ve never been someone who cut out everything that’s not good for me to eat. I just eat those things in moderation. Besides, most of the above is good for me, ‘cept those pancakes, the peanut-peanut butter-butter cookies, and, oh, there’s also my chocolate Kahlua brownies, and my macadamia nut white chocolate soft cookies right out of the oven, and then there’s...

Sounds like I need a fully stocked (food and baking supplies) kitchen! It’s nearly impossible for me to assemble the kinds of ingredients I need for my go too’s. It’s just not practicle. Plus, not all the kitchens have decent tools for cooking/baking even though owners note having what is needed. I may be hitting up a few of my friends or family members so I can cook – I MISS COOKING!  I make the best out of what’s available in stores and how the kitchen is set up in the homes we stay in, but it’s not how I’m used to cooking. I MISS MY KITCHEN!

You see, I wasn’t brought up with store-bought baked goods or meals. We made most everything from scratch. And I continued this way of cooking as an adult because the store-bought stuff wasn’t as good as the home-made stuff. So that meant, unless I made it, you wouldn’t find store bought muffins, cookies, pies, cakes, whatever in my home. Frankly, it's been a good way over the years to keep calories in check. Oh, but I need to make an apple pie because it’s the season for it, and I love warm apple pie with sharp cheddar cheese when the temperature and the leaves fall. Oh my gosh, then there’s my incredible pumpkin pie, and I love my home-made soups, and dang, I need to eat something after this ‘cuz I’m starving!

Thing is, with traveling full-time, I may not miss having my home and property. I’m missing a part of me. I’m missing my kitchen, my cooking. While I have gotten rid of most of the things in my life, you can bet I've boxed up and stored everything my kitchen had, except food of course. I know someday I'll have my kitchen back. Until then, don’t be surprised if I show up at your door...

I’m asked time and again what I miss with my full-time travel lifestyle. It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’ve always thought there’s a lot of truth in that. But for now, I’m willing to give up a few things (temporarily or perhaps permanently) for all the other things I'm gaining in this amazing traveling life. I realize there will always be a missing piece or two, or three in my life. Again, it's about balance, and I’m working on all that. I’ll figure out what I'm missing and try to make do, but I think it’s a good thing to test myself and see what’s truly important in my life right now. And I’ve got that with my traveling buddy who just happens to be my husband. But, oh, I need kale salad soon, and then there’s my roasted chicken with garlic and balsamic, my spaghetti with meat sauce, my chicken pot pie...


Puzzle2 photo courtesy of Willi Heidelbach

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Moving Beyond the Pain

Pain happens. And when it does, pain is real. It’s a fact none of us care to dwell on even though we all deal with its many forms at one time or another. In recent months, a number of people I know have had to deal with pain from accidents, health issues, family issues, and loss of loved ones. My thoughts on this subject, while personal, stem from the deep feelings I have on this very subject, and since I’m not there with you to talk about it, here’s what I’ve got to say...

There are many words to describe pain, but it boils down to two characteristics – physical and psychological. How each of us deals with it is truly a personal thing, but in the end, there is a reason why it’s there, so we must learn from it, and move through it. Reasons – well, there could be a number of reasons why the pain is there, but that would be a different post, so I’ll leave reasons for you to figure out. Learning from pain may not be something you’ve heard before. If you haven’t, perhaps that’s why you are still dealing with it in the same old way. Pain is not a friend to anyone, and I’m sure most people would not consciously choose it as a friend; but yet, I know many people who give up on it and just live with it – and that, right there, is a choice.

I would have to ask myself why, why, why is it there? I’ve done this many times and the more I ask, the more I try crafting my question in a different way – it may take time, but the answers do come. The secret is to figure out how best to craft that question. Believe me, you are not a wimp, and I know you can do this. The sooner you do it – the better for you! Although, I should point out here that sometimes you may just be afraid of what answers do come when you start asking the questions? If that’s the case, you better get on it soon and just deal with it! This is not woo-woo stuff. If you think this is a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, then how’s what you’ve been doing working for you so far?

Talking to your pain can be as real as the pain you feel. What have you got to lose? Here’s what I do – I fully bring my attention to the pain, noticing not only where it is located, but how it moves, and how it makes me feel. I try to picture it, talk to it and craft my questions accordingly. You may find that asking the more difficult questions is a journey on its own!

I don’t accept – this is my lot in life, or that it will always be this way – always and life are a long miserable time if you carry the burden of pain with you. So, don’t accept the status quo. If I can do this, so can you, and it doesn’t matter if the pain you feel is old or new. Fight the pain, be it physical or psychological, do battle, go to war and say yes to getting your life back. I realize you may not like hearing this, but it is as simple as bringing awareness to the pain, asking the questions, and letting it go.

Right now, this moment, accept what is, release the pain, and be better than you were a moment ago. Resistance to acceptance is a form of negativity and there are no possibilities in negativity - ever. Accept, and release the pain - open yourself to a new beginning. Allow the possibilities of the moment to flow into your life. There is another side to it, like a light at the end of a tunnel, but it's up to you to illuminate the way.

Bring attention to it - and let it go!

PS - don't bother asking me if this was written for you - if you think it was, then it was, like all my other posts...

Love, Michelle

Light at the end of the tunnel photo courtesy of Dawn Huczek

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Happy Anniversary

In August of 2010, I posted to this blog for the first time. I started It Is What It Is as a way for me to continue to write after I finished the book I was working on. While slowly making my way through the book editing process I missed the writing process. As I approached the end of my fifth blogging year, I considered putting a wrap on it as my intention had been to blog for five years. Obviously, I haven’t stopped. I still love the idea of instant publishing and work hard to continue to inspire others through all the changes going on in my life – from living life in a somewhat normal fashion while living with chronic health issues to living out of my suitcase and traveling full-time – chronic issues be damned!

Why do I continue to blog? As with my initial posts, I believe we can all learn from one another as we strive to be our best selves through the ups and downs of our lives. Why do I believe you would be interested in what I have to say? Because I look at my life in a positive light. I wasn’t always this way, but adopting a positive mindset changed my outlook, changed my life, and I hope to inspire the change you may be looking for.

Since 2010, I have continued to work on my book in various stages of editing, formatting, cover design, and on, and on. Early in the process, I decided not to go down the formal publishing road for many reasons, and self-publishing seemed to be a better fit for me. It has been a lot of work to wear so many different hats in the publishing process. It is also a bit more difficult with my traveling lifestyle to work-in when I can focus on the final stages of my book. I’m happy to report I was able to find two months during the spring of 2017 to move the book along. I am now closer than ever to making the self-publishing thing happen. While this may sound like a teaser – well, it is! Let’s see what happens with all this by year end. And, in case you are wondering what this book of mine is called – It Is What It Is. Of course! You will finally be able to follow in the footsteps of my journey, and learn how I found the positive mindset that inevitably changed my life.

Join me as I begin my eighth year of It Is What It Is. I promise to keep you up-to-date on the final process of publishing later this fall and winter. As always, share the love of a post or this blog. If you would like to follow my traveling adventures, you will find a link to my travel blog in the sidebar along with links to Instagram and Facebook. Thank you for your wonderful comments over the years. 

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