Category Archives: Mindfulness

My Retirement Yoga Journey

Anyone who knows me, or hopefully reads Encore Voyage, should have figured out by now that I am one of the most snarky, sarcastic chicks you’ll ever meet.  I am most emphatically NOT the type of person who comes to mind when you consider the practice of yoga.  But as we headed down this road in retirement, I began to notice that getting up off of the floor isn’t as easy as it once was!  I was losing core strength and stamina, and I didn’t like it ONE BIT!

Even I couldn’t imagine myself sitting in a room acting all zen-like.  Heck, most people can’t even imaging me being quiet for that long!  That said, about two years ago, when my brand new gym opened, I started one of the gym-based yoga classes.  I figured I wouldn’t feel too stupid if I started out new like everyone else.

At the time, my thinking was that this might be a nice gentle type of workout. (I’m not a big fan of feeling my heartbeat in my ears!)  I ended up attending two classes a week for the better part of a year.

What I didn’t realize is that

Yoga sneaks up on you, and quietly changes
the person you are, from the inside out.

  • Slowly, steadily, your body becomes stronger, through the many asanas or poses.  Anyone who thinks that yoga is just a bunch of stretches has been misled.  Yoga is not for wimps!  I can work up quite a sweat in a yoga practice.
  • Your balance is improved from attempting balancing poses.  As we age, lack of balance is one of the most common causes of falls.  I figured it couldn’t hurt to be able to stand confidently on one foot while putting on my jammies, right?
  • You do not need to be flexible to practice yoga!  Flexibility is a benefit of yoga!  I heard someone say, “You are only as young as your spine is flexible.”  I have found that my lower back pain has disappeared as a result of my practice.
  • Yoga is about self-acceptance!  One of my favorite aspects of the yoga journey is that it is not about competition – not even with yourself!  It’s about listening to your body and finding what feels good and right in that moment.
  • There are many different types of yoga for many different purposes.  Some move quite quickly, and others are more restorative.   Certain yoga poses accomplish different things, and with a little training, you can pick and choose what is best for you.  (As for me, hot yoga…two words – never.again!)
  • Attending to the breath in a yoga practice yields a mindfulness and a quality of meditation that surprised me.  This is where my snarkiness got tamed.  I wasn’t expecting it.  The more I practiced, the more I was able to see the carry-over into the rest of my day.  I don’t get crazy in traffic.  I don’t feel rushed.  I am generally more peaceful, appreciative, and balanced than I was before. Crazy – I know!

I did find when I was first starting out that it was helpful to have a knowledgeable yoga instructor who could really guide me into the intention and correctness of the poses.  It’s not about just yanking yourself around, trying to get into some shape.  Yoga is much, much, more.  Now I find that I really also enjoy a home practice, and YouTube has an endless supply of yoga videos, of all lengths and styles.  A particular favorite of mine is Yoga with Adrienne.  Adrienne Mishler has just the right personality, and is not too fast or too serious.

So how about it retired yogis?  Anything else you’d like to add?

Lynn

Oh…one more thing.  If you do take up yoga, don’t cheap out on purchasing a yoga mat.  Get a nice, slightly thicker one.  Your knees will thank you!

The Lust for Christmas

There are seven more days until Christmas.  So many of my friends and family members who are still in the “working set” are frantically preparing for the big day.  Working from eight to five each day, then rushing home to cram in some holiday festivities – parties, shopping, holiday events, visiting the Christmas light displays, baking those cookies, wrapping those presents – arghhhhhhhh!  The list goes on and on, and those people are STRESSED!  There are simply not enough hours to fulfill all the expectations of THE BIG DAY!

I am not sure exactly what happened when I retired, but my perspective has changed.  This morning I was reading an article by Josh Becker at Becoming Minimalist which included this quote:

 “We waste so many days waiting for the weekend.
So many nights wanting morning.
Our lust for future comfort is the biggest thief of life.

It occurred to me that the same is true about Christmas.  We are lusting for a day which will occur in a week – and often times, we miss the pleasures that are right in front of us.  The delicious morning coffee.  The twinkle of the lights on our own tree.  The contented sigh of the dog lying at our feet.

Don’t get me wrong.  My sisters and I baked 29 dozen cookies last weekend to share with anyone who will take them.  But I think it was not so much about the baking or the cookies, as it was about the laughing and being together on that day…in that moment.

I know it is easier for those of us who aren’t trying to hold down full time employment.  We have the luxury of having more time to prepare.  But my wish for all is that you will pay attention to the moments in each day, and not just chase blindly forward in preparation for an event which will last about 12 hours.  I hope that your lust for Christmas will not be the biggest thief of your week!

Lynn

Encore Quotes – Family Traditions

I hope as the weekend approaches you take a moment to consider those Christmas traditions you hold dear.  Are you doing things simply because you’ve “always done it that way?”  Are you exhausting yourself chasing some self-imposed standard that no longer meets your needs?  Instead, I would invite you to consider which activities, decorations, and traditions truly hold a special meaning for you.  Pursue those!  Have a peaceful and heartfelt weekend!

Lynn

Retiring Traditions

As you may know, hubs and I have no children.  For the record, I had everyone else’s children for the best hours of their days.  For.Thiry.Years!

Back in the days, when they found out we didn’t have kids, people would say, “Who will take care of you when you get old?”

My tongue in cheek answers were:

“Having someone to wipe your DROOL is NOT a good reason to have children!”

Or

“I don’t know…I’ll call you from the Caribbean
and let you know how it all worked out!” 

Up until now, we’ve spent Thanksgiving in North Idaho with his mom, and Christmas here at home with my family.  But things are starting to change.  The parents-in-law have all passed on, and the numbers available for big shindigs are dwindling.  The nieces and nephews each have their own families and traditions.  For the past couple of years, there has been quite a bit of leftovers from a 15-pound turkey!

So this year, hubs and I are approaching our Christmas Traditions with a little more intention.  We actually sat (with wine, of course) and had the discussion about which of our traditions should be non-negotiable, and which ones we could reinvent.

Surprisingly, neither one of us was opposed to traveling during the month of November or early December. Or even in January. Both of us want to be in our home for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  We will approach certain traditions with mindfulness:

  1. Decorating our small tree together, with the ornaments we’ve collected from each year since we were dating.  Again, wine (or perhaps hot cocoa with Cinnamon Schnapps) will be involved.
  2. Making my mom’s Divinity recipe
  3. Baking Christmas cookies – perhaps with my sisters if they’re available.  It doesn’t matter that I’ll probably give many away, or put them in the freezer.
  4. Finding the lights – Putting the dog in the back seat of the pickup, grabbing a couple of Starbucks specials, and going in search of festive lights and decorations.
  5. Christmas Concerts – We plan to attend as many Christmas art events as we can squeeze in, without getting overwhelmed.  Friday night we saw Elf – The Musical, and it was magical!  Trans-Siberian Orchestra is coming up!
  6. The Decorations – We’ve decided that we don’t need to kill ourselves decorating our home for the benefit of others.  This year, I decorated only with those items that make my heart sing – The antique Santa toy that belonged to my mom, the carved Santa made by my brother-in-law.
  7. Christmas Eve – We’re keeping Christmas Eve for the two of us – quality time, outstanding food, warm fire. The reason for the season.
  8. Charitable giving – For many years, we have filled a local Toys for Tots box.  I mean, seriously…just because we have no kids, doesn’t mean hubs isn’t just a great big one!  We love shopping in the toy department.  He always tends to pick out toy cars, trucks and construction equipment – Go figure!  This year, we have another fun idea to try.  But that’s another post.

I guess the important part is that we’ve given ourselves permission to intentionally alter or change entirely those tradition we’ve held for years, when they no longer meet our needs.  As we age, we don’t want to be seen as “charity cases,” invited to people’s homes because we are old people with no place to go (Ooooooh – that sounds yucky, even to me!)  Nope, not us.  We’re going to take this holiday bull (or reindeer) by the horns and create our own Encore Holiday Season!  Someday, we might even board a cruise ship on the day after Christmas.  Who knows!  I’ll call you from the Caribbean and let you know how it’s working out!

Lynn

 

 

 

 

Encore Quotes – Choose Gratitude

Happy Friday fellow Voyagers!  Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, we’ve survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and we’re well on our way to rushing toward the holiday where we feel the need to buy more, do more, decorate more, celebrate more.  The race is on…only 25 days till the big day, and soon the papers and televisions and computer screens will be reminding you that you must hurry, hurry, hurry.

So I hope after this week’s post reminding you to see the “wonder” in things, that you’ll take a moment to slow down, take a deep breath, and be grateful for this moment ~ right now.  Have a fabulous weekend!

Lynn

Photo credit: Josh Felise

A Teacher’s Perspective on Wonder — SpEd Tales – Stories for Teachers

Last night, my family went to see the movie Wonder. I hoped my two, young sons would watch the movie and leave with a renewed understanding of what it means to be kind, but I wasn’t prepared for the lesson it had for me. It is November. The season of darkness and paperwork. By November,Read…

via A Teacher’s Perspective on Wonder — SpEd Tales – Stories for Teachers

Do you ever have one of those moments when you read something so true it gives you a kinda lump in your throat?  It happened to me this morning!  So even though I had a different post all ready to go, I decided to switch horses and reblog this one because it’s a

MUST READ!

And not just for us teacher types, but for us all!  In the past week, I’ve run across some very cranky people in my daily dealings!

  • The lady who got all bent out of shape because the line didn’t move quickly enough.
  • The taxi driver who rode our tail last night because his need to be first exceeded our need to be first.
  • The friend in the restaurant last night who “b*tched” because his french fries were only warm – not hot.

And when I read this blog this morning, it occurred to me again that we all need to recognize that

Everyone has a story

and we all need to learn to approach each other with a little bit of wonder.  We get to choose.  I hope the rest of your month (aw heck, the whole year) is “wonderful!”

Lynn

That’s Outrageous!

I’ve been thinking recently about causes of stress in our lives.  As I’ve said before, this is a pretty good gig!  What could possibly be causing angst?  And then I heard an expression somewhere that resonated with me:

We have become a country addicted to OUTRAGE!

As I started to examine that concept, I can see so many examples of its truth.  Everywhere we look, something in the media, social or otherwise, is just begging us to get riled up.  Remember the days when the paper was delivered in the morning, and the news was on TV at 5:00 and 10:00 pm?  Not much time for anything but reporting real events.  But these days, a 24-hour news cycle, coupled with thousands of different media outlets plying for your attention, has given rise to endless “click bait.”

Now I’m not saying that we should become complacent.  We SHOULD be outraged by some a$$hole who shoots hundreds of people in Las Vegas.  We SHOULD be outraged by an idiot who drives a truck into a crowd of innocent people.

But pictures of fat Trump? or Hillary with an enraged face? or Melania’s high heels? or what this or that celebrity did or did not say?  REALLY?????  Do we need to be outraged at that nonsense?  Reporters on TV are no longer “reporters” – they are “commentators”…and they are banking on their ability to get you hooked.

And maybe this is just a sign that I’m getting old, but don’t they teach how to detect bias in high school English any more? Like:

  • Are there inflammatory words in this headline?
  • Is this trying to sway my opinion or get me to hop on board?
  • Is this intentionally misleading?
  • Is it the intent of the publisher just to sway me to click on the site (and hopefully on advertisers?)
  • Is it their intent to incite or outrage the reader?

 

As I was surfing around, I found this video on YouTube which, while a little old, still rings true:

Outrage

So how’s about everyone just take a big deep breath, be grateful in the moment, and vow to look for happier, compassionate, uplifting events in our world.  OK, I know, that sounded pretty PollyAnna, even to me!  (gag me with a spoon!)

But my point is, we do have some control.  As consumers, we get to decide what ‘news’ to read, what sites to click on.  We have more control than you might imagine.  My friend over at Intrepid Kate has instituted her own Facebook policy.  She will scroll her feed until she comes across negativity.  When that happens, she shuts it down and wanders over to something more fun like Instagram or Pinterest.

As for me, I’ve taken to using the “Unfollow” button on my Facebook feed.  Those friends who insist on posting negativity are getting ‘turned off’ (not Unfriended, mind you – I’m just taking a break from their posts.)

I have successfully reduced my Facebook feed to friends who provide “soul-enhancing relationships,” advertisements, and PUPPIES!  Oh yeah, and goofy videos…

So I would encourage you to reserve your outrage for more than Tarantulas in the Guacamole (watch the video).

Random.Ranting.Over.  Can’t wait to hear your thoughts…

Lynn