Sunday, September 20, 2015

Healing Elements

A few years ago, I was having dinner with my friend Anita. We talked about what we would do if money weren’t an issue, as in winning the lottery. We would have to buy lottery tickets in the first place; but what if? We both mentioned traveling more and agreed regular facials and massage would be a must. Nothing we mentioned seemed extravagant at all, even if we had won the lottery. Days later, thinking it was interesting how neither Anita nor I were over the top on anything we talked about, I mentioned this conversation to my husband, Dennis. He just looked at me and said, “You could do that stuff now; you don’t need to win the lottery.”

What was top on my list? Schedule a massage. My friend Phyllis had been going to a local massage therapist at Healing Elements for some time and raved about how skilled Jennika Brewer was. At the time, I was seeing an acupuncturist monthly, so I decided to alternate each month between acupuncture and massage. I found my body seemed to respond in a more positive way when I had massage. I had been doing acupuncture for a number of years and had felt I wasn’t getting the same benefits I had initially. After a few months of alternating between the two, I dropped the acupuncture and have been going to massage appointments at 4-6 week intervals ever since.

Prior to Dennis’ comment, I thought of massage as a luxury, not as something clinical like acupuncture. I was wrong. They both deal with well-being. Just what is well-being? Simply put, a state of being, in that it embraces a state of being happy, a state of being comfortable, and the all encompassing state of wellness - all healing elements.

While I haven’t ruled out heading back to acupuncture if I feel the need in the future, having a massage on a regular basis has become one of my priorities. It doesn’t matter whether I have an issue I am dealing with or I just want the peace and relaxation that comes with a massage. It is truly a healing element as are my other priorities: meditation, working out, and eating well - which altogether helps me embrace happy. When my well-being is in balance, I feel my best and can be my best for whatever comes my way. No extravagance there!
Smile photo courtesy of Fergus MacDonald

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Patience, Gratitude, and Blackberry Jammy

After what has been one of the warmest and driest summers on record for the Pacific Northwest, this past weekend we abruptly cooled, and the rains moved in with a series of storms in the western part of Washington State. Our power was knocked out at the onset of the storm and it’s still out four days later. Having a generator relieves a few of the issues when losing power, but having patience and gratitude goes a long way in keeping us on track with the day-to-day disruptions.

When I was running in-between rainstorms yesterday, it smelled as if I was running on a trail through the woods. When in fact I was running on a paved road near my home. After the storm, the considerable debris from the cedar and maple trees lining the road made for a different type of run for me. As I dodged left and right, around and over debris, I was creating a strong woodsy scent along my way. By the time I finished my run, I was in a wonderfully happy mood. When I run, I generally feel happy, but I can honestly say I felt as if I didn’t have a care in the world. Even though I was longing to take a hot shower, but without electricity, a cold and let’s just say invigorating shower was what was on tap for me.

Prior to the recent storm, I have been enjoying my runs filled with the heady scent of blackberry jam from the large clusters of shiny, juicy berries aging on the vines in my neck of the woods. I am keenly aware of the scents around me from season to season, but now I'm thinking there has been an intense amount of aromatherapy going on around me as I run. When I researched aromatherapy and the scent of cedar, I found it to be a stress reliever. Well hallelujah, just what I need right now.  I also found the scent of blackberry to be strengthening and exhilarating, as well as a mood balancer. Wow! Combine that with the cedar and no wonder I was feeling so great after my run yesterday.

While one never knows what disruptions the day may hold, I will strive to hold onto my patience whether the power is up and running or not. And hey, I can always hit the road and enjoy an aromatherapy-inducing run if I find my patience waning. Through all this, I will continue to be grateful for many things. Even though I have found myself to be less than comfortable these last few days, I can grin and bear it when taking a cold, invigorating shower knowing the storm has slowed the fires burning out of control in eastern Washington. On a personal note, I will be grateful for a hot shower when the water heater warms up once again. And lastly, in the next few weeks I will be grateful for and celebrate running as those jammy berries age a bit more to the blissful aroma of blackberry wine in the mood-balancing last weeks of summer.

Just in case you were wondering - yes, I have eaten handfuls of those beautiful berries. And if that doesn't fill one with gratitude, I don't know what will.

Blackberry photo courtesy of Colin