dahlia in my garden: Rio Fuego in Coleus leaves

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Just One New Thing

After being too busy for the last month, today I finally allowed myself the pleasure of repotting the succulents I bought on our trip to Mendocino. By the calendar, summer is over and autumn has begun. I can certainly feel the difference in our weather as this morning was very cool and crisp and the evening was down right chilly. I was happy to get those darling little succulents settled before the rains come. I so enjoy working with my plants. I gently removed them from their pots, teased their roots free of the excess soil, and resettled them into an amazing piece of driftwood with hollowed out holes.

Fall is not only a time of seasonal change, a shift in temperature and weather. It’s a time we shift the focus and pattern in our daily lives. We may not gather nuts like busy squirrels or add extra feathers to our nests for warmth, but I always find within myself a subtle shift inward. Summer is a time of outwardness and freedom, but autumn pulls us in and makes us more self-contained.

I’d like to challenge us all to do “just one thing”. As I gently unearthed my succulents eased them into a new environment, I think it’s an excellent time for us to stretch ourselves outside our comfort zones and find a new outlook - something to improve our lives. It doesn’t have to be huge, just something outside your ordinary routine. 

Here are a few suggestions:

~ Get yourself to bed half an hour earlier to help battle ongoing fatigue (this is one I need to do, I never get to bed on time and I’m always tired)

~ Conversely, maybe you should try getting up half and hour early to meditate, do some yoga, or just commit to doing the physical therapy exercises that you sometimes ignore (Oops! I’m guilty here, too.)

~ Resolve to eat better: drink one less soda or coffee, eat an extra serving of  veggies a day, choose healthier snacks, try a healthy thing you’ve never had and see if you like it (such as quinoa, greek yogurt, or kefir)

~ Laugh! It’s been proven that laughter not only feels good but has scientifically proven benefits - including pain relief. If you missed my blog post on how laughter is healing and how to add more to your life, click HERE. It’s not hard to convince yourself to have a little humor each day, and now you have actual evidence it is like medicine to both soul and body!

Here are my succulents planted in the piece
of driftwood I bought in Mendocino.

~ Add a little extra exercise: if you have severe pain, just make a goal to walk for 5 minutes a day. If you’re able to do more add an extra 15 minutes to your swim, walk your dog an extra quarter mile, or even add one more workout session a week. You could make it something fun: join a dance class, sign up for charity walk-a-thon, try a martial arts class like Tai Chi or even Karate. Pick something that matches your level of ability.

~ Try a new pain management technique. Consider how you are feeling and functioning, perhaps you don’t need all the meds you are currently taking. Give a try to acupuncture, yoga, pilates, massage, meditation, watsu, or whatever treatment you think might help  - but always make sure your doctor agrees it’s okay for you.

~ Before bedtime, take time to reflect on your day. Think about what you could have done differently, what things you are grateful for, how you will approach tomorrow. If you want to take it further, start a journal. Write about whatever comes to your mind and just let it flow. You may find it very freeing.

~ Read a random article from Wikipedia to expose yourself to new things. Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit a certain country, see a famous painting, or meet a hero. If you get inspired by what you learn online, consider visiting the library to do your own personal study of what interests you.

~ Do something for the first time. Either find something new you have never done before, or find a new way to do something.

~ Even if you aren’t artistic, do something creative. Sit down with crayons or paints and just express the mood you are in, bad or good (no one has to see it). Or if you want to take it further, do a craft project for a holiday gift. Glue buttons to a picture frame, paint an ornament, decoupage a flowerpot, make a stepping stone from a kit, learn how to knit or crosstitch*. Allow yourself to make mistakes and just let it turn out as it will.

*Mosaic is also a great craft: you get to take out your frustration when you break plates (use precautions to protect your eyes) and then use the broken pieces to create something beautiful.

So take a risk as autumn starts and the changing leaves start drifting lazily to the ground. Stretch yourself, "tease" your roots from their set environment like my succulents have been shifted into a new perspective. Try just one new thing. Or be brave and try a couple from my list above or any others you can think of. Who knows? You may find your daily routine will have a new permanent item which challenges you, keeps you healthier, and brightens the upcoming winter months.

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