Money and marriage is always tricky. Who spends and on what. Who makes what. A conversation about money can get heated and can spin out of control in a second.
Take me for example. I married a man expecting that he was going to be a provider. Halfway into the marriage he became unemployed/ self employed. Really it was the same thing. He basically contributed nothing for 10 years! I expected that it was a temporary setback and worked my hardest to pick up the slack.
What a dummy I am. Ten years later and he feels totally justified in living off the business I created. He considers himself successful and entitled to an early retirement.
Legally, I can subject him to a career analysis and the court can assign an amount of money he is capable of earning. I frankly don’t understand why he is so unwilling to try to contribute. I don’t think I could ever be that person. Is it fear of flying?
At the end of the day the whole money discussion so frequently is about power. Who makes what and how do you determine how it is spent? I’d like to start with a financial contribution from my spouse. That seems totally reasonable to me!
An unknown author said it well, “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
How do you stay rooted in the present moment? We have our to do lists and our goals. We drown ourselves with our smart phones and our IPads. We are busily squandering the present as it flies into the future. Then we comment on how time flies by.
Another trapping is to continue to examine the past. For example what happened in a relationship or how unfairly one was treated by a coworker. So many people continue to suffer from the results of a bad childhood. Living in the past is very toxic. The pain becomes self perpetuating.
How do we reconnect with the present moment? Meditation is wonderful. If I could only make myself sit down and do it! I found the meditation below and it seems easy and approachable:
The following is an excerpt from Shannon Duncan’s Present Moment Awareness.
Anchor yourself in the moment on your breath.
Do a body scan for sensations and tension.
Relax any tension you find, to the best of your ability.
Be open with all of your senses to the life going on around you.
Observe your thoughts as they float by.
Fully accept, don’t resist, whatever you sense.
Be patient and gentle with yourself. When you feel comfortable with this exercise, please continue.
I am going to commit to trying this meditation for 10 min per day for 7 days. Will you join me?
Lately I have been so swamped!!!
Frankly I am my own worst enemy. I take on too much and then I am cranky and tired. What I really need to do is learn to say no. No, I’m sorry I don’t have time for that. I need to tell myself. No, you can’t fit that in. You can’t please everyone.
Multi tasking is actually bad for you. Interestingly enough it is a cause of dementia. ”Frontal lobe function is the most fragile human brain function, and is altered in aging and impaired in most neuropsychiatric diseases [schizophrenia, autism, dementia, depression],” said Koechlin, a professor with the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research in Paris. “Understanding how the frontal lobe function works is fundamental to understanding cognitive aging and the nature of neuropsychiatric mental alterations.”
Apparently, the human brain is really only capable of handling two things at once. ”Three-tasking [overwhelms] the capacity of human frontal function. Dual-tasking is alright,” explained study co-author Etienne Koechlin, whose research appears in the April 15 online issue of Science. “Human higher cognition is dual in essence, which can explain why people like binary choice and have difficulties in multiple choices [people can easily switch back and forth between two options before making a decision, but not across three alternatives].”
Ok, but in todays world our jobs, family commitments and lifestyle require our brain to work overtime. We are constantly on our smart phones and are texting while on the computer etc, etc, etc. I frequently find myself tasking at 5 things simultaneously.
No wonder I have been so exhausted! I’m ready to make some changes and be good to my brain. For me, no is the new yes.
Ok, there is no such thing! In a perfect world I would get rid of taxes all together. Certainly I would get rid of the task of preparing them. That being said, is there an upside to tax preparation?
I have my own business which gives me a lot of free time. Sometimes my time is less free but it feels free because I can make my own schedule. The tough thing about being my own boss is that the buck stops here.
I am totally responsible for my own success or failure. At tax time I really have the opportunity to review my year and see where I have been and what I have done. For those 4 days when I am reviewing my receipts, my payed bills and accounting for my income, I am really faced with examining the past year.
How did I do last year? I can say that I stuck with it. It was a tough year overall. I worked very hard and endured some very difficult relationship issues. Overall, I think that I slogged through and in the end made some positive changes in my life.
In the current year, I am still dealing with some of the financial and emotional fall out from last year. Fortunately, the pace is less hectic and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am able to take some time to smell the roses.
Now that I have had my little year end review, I am off to the tax accountant. Wish me luck!!!
Sleep. Would be nice to get some. Arrrg!
I seem to go through periods where I wake up in the early morning hours. Then I fall asleep just in time to get up. Not only is it unsatisfying, but then I drag myself through the day and do it again the next night. It is a bad cycle.
It is amazing how monumental things seem in the middle of the night while I lay awake staring at the ceiling. During daylight hours the same list of challenges seem manageable. At night, they are the fiercest dragons that need slaying.
The next day when I contemplate the same issues I feel kind of silly for all the worry. I feel capable and able to cope. What is up with me?
The insomnia could be as a result of hormonal flux. My friend Sarah did not sleep during the entire length of her pregnancy. I can’t even imagine how difficult that must have been.
I’ve tried melatonin and it helps. Yoga helps for sure. Sometimes I even think it is a little bit of dehydration that keeps me awake. I live in the desert and sometimes forget to drink enough water while rushing through my day.
My sleep RX for today. Get hydrated. Get some exercise and GET SOME SLEEP. Phew.
What is my secret for getting through a tough yoga class? Yoga toes!
Since I spend a lot of time staring at my toes in yoga I like to get funky with my pedicure. Currently I have a sparkle gradation to celebrate the end of the winter season. It looks like glittery frost at the end of my toenails. Bring on the fun! To hell with being mature! Sometimes I do flowers, bold colors, layered sparkles. Anything that makes me smile.
I keep my finger nails short and conservative, but my toes are different. The wilder the better. I love to see the little rebels poking out of my open toed shoes.
Last weekend, I treated my unemployed friend Rachel to a mani pedi. She got Big Apple red for her toes. She texted me after her yoga class how motivated it made her feel to have 10 little bright red toes staring at her. It works!
Now that my leg injury is healing, I am contemplating what new inspiration my toes can bring me as I head back to yoga. Pucci print? Here I come!!!
I had a little sports accident a few weeks ago and I got HURT. Yes, I fell and broke my foot, sprained my knee and ankle. For the 1st time in all my years of riding my horse, and now at 50, I fell off and actually injured myself!
How do I feel about this? My initial reaction was that if you do sports eventually you get sports injuries. No biggie. I have great health insurance and I am very fit. I will get back in the saddle as fast as possible.
Whoa, trigger! Things are not exactly going to plan. First of all, I am still quite sore. Secondly, I realized a few weeks ago that maybe I am supposed to slow down and figure something out.
From Louise Hay “Accidents are no accidents. Like everything else in our lives, we create them. Accidents are expressions of anger. They indicate built-up frustrations resulting from not feeling the freedom to speak up for one’s self.”
OK, Louise Hay got me again. Guilty as charged. Like many people who grew up in the South, I learned to only talk about the pleasant and the positive. As a woman, it is doubly hard. We are cursed with the burden of how to make things nice for everyone around us. And why is that bad? It isn’t really except when you put your needs second to everyone else too many times. Then it becomes toxic.
I am grateful for this little break in my life. It has given me the opportunity to reflect and get back in alignment with myself. Now I think it is time to get back on the horse that bucked me off.
Valentine’s Day came and went this week and frankly I’m glad it is over. Society puts so much pressure on everyone to have a successful relationship and a perfect life. A day of celebrating love sounds like a great idea but for many it represents stress and disappointment. My friend Karen referred to Valentine’s Day as “falling rock day” after her divorce. My friend Sarah posted of her facebook page “cupid, please try to hit both of us next time”.
In a world where all of us are trying to find and maintain love what do you do when you get the consolation prize? Well, hello people the world is far from a perfect place. Far from it.
First of all I’d like to point out that St Valentine was a martyred saint who died a terrible death in ancient Rome. Not so romantic. It wasn’t until much later in the time of Chaucer that the holiday was a romantic one celebrated by lovers.
Secondly, non of us have a crystal ball. We may feel like things are hard and life is a lemon today. But tomorrow could bring many beautiful things if our hearts are open and we are willing.
For Valentine’s Day this year I decided to throw my heart into rescuing a few dogs from a local high kill animal shelter. There were 8 dogs total. I networked their photos via email. I made transport arrangements for them. I worked with other volunteers to get them off death row and to rescue organizations. Seeing them all leave the shelter was the best Valentine gift I have ever had.
Laughing feels good. First of all, you are already feeling positive if you are laughing. Secondly, you are focused intensely on what is making you laugh which is meditative. Laughing relaxes you like a little mini vacation.
But wait, there is more….
According to Web MD, there are some very significant physical benefits to laughter:
“In the last few decades, researchers have studied laughter’s effects on the body and turned up some potentially interesting information on how it affects us:
Blood flow. Researchers at the University of Maryland studied the effects on blood vessels when people were shown either comedies or dramas. After the screening, the blood vessels of the group who watched the comedy behaved normally — expanding and contracting easily. But the blood vessels in people who watched the drama tended to tense up, restricting blood flow.
Immune response. Increased stress is associated with decreased immune system response, says Provine. Some studies have shown that the ability to use humor may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells, as well.
Blood sugar levels. One study of 19 people with diabetes looked at the effects of laughter on blood sugar levels. After eating, the group attended a tedious lecture. On the next day, the group ate the same meal and then watched a comedy. After the comedy, the group had lower blood sugar levels than they did after the lecture.
Relaxation and sleep. The focus on the benefits of laughter really began with Norman Cousin’s memoir, Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins, who was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful spine condition, found that a diet of comedies, like Marx Brothers films and episodes of Candid Camera, helped him feel better. He said that ten minutes of laughter allowed him two hours of pain-free sleep.”
So the next time you have a little chuckle, pat yourself on the back. You are not being frivolous. You are taking significant steps to improving your health and well being. Laugh loud and frequently. It is good for you.
Ok, so what does an awkward furry little creature have to do with creating happiness?
Everything. The penguin is a great model. He or she is a determined little animal that lives in mostly impossible conditions. They travel huge distances over difficult terrain to get things accomplished by taking tiny steps and never giving up. They hatch their eggs in freezing conditions by holding them on their feet. The fact that penguins exist is a testament to possibility.
Penguins don’t give up. Penguins protect their young and share responsibilities with their spouses. They mate for life. They are very social creatures and use sign language to communicate with each other. They are an ancient species that appeared 40 million years ago in the Eocene.
Who doesn’t love a determined, loyal, devoted, little, social creature like the penguin. Black and white little buddha penguins say march forward in the direction you want to go and never give up.
Penguin steps are very powerful.