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Fruit Flies and Panic

We recently had a fruit fly infestation…in our kitchen.  The solution ended up being a “fruit embargo”…and a fruit fly trap made of a cup of water, a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap (eco-friendly, of course) in a glass set on the kitchen counter until nay a fruit fly remained airborne.  Generally Buddhist, I go out of my way to save all living creatures, including spiders and ants.  But, not fruit flies in my house…and not Japanese beetles.  Japanese beetles are pure evil in the garden.  They decimate beautiful roses and destroy food crops.

It’s not just about fruit flies…

Similarly, I recently had a sort of panic attack due to a “to do” infestation.  I always have a lot on my “To Do” list, and I manage.  But, this was borderline panic after hearing a feng shui theory that every thing we have has a string attached to us.  Every. Thing.  (Yes, even the stuff in the closets, attics and basements…and storage units).  Visualizing that made me panic.  No wonder Marie Kondo has sold multiple books about decluttering and now has her own TV show!

Now, I have a fairly decluttered home, but lately piles have started accumulating as I’ve been renovating my new office space and working more out of the home.  Heck, even working in the home, it was hard to keep up with the piles.  Fostering kittens lead to pretty much every towel we own being out of the linen closet.

But, similar to the fruit embargo, I decided to conduct a panic embargo.  Panic, stress and fear are counterproductive emotions.  They are very real and can be crippling (think “fight, flight or freeze”).  I sat down with my “To Do” list and parsed out what I can realistically do today, this week, this month and in the next six months.  Some things are more urgent than others (bills and library books have due dates, but signing up for that paint ‘n sip class with my husband does not).  I’ve recently been challenged with coming up with four fun things to do in the next two months.  So, although not urgent, those absolutely are important.

Remember to Breathe…

My point is that sitting down, taking some deep breaths, being gentle with myself and thinking “what is realistic, what’s urgent and what can I let go of?” helped.  So, I blocked out some time to tackle ONE pile of papers and get the linen closet back together.  AND, since my marriage is important, I scheduled time with my hubby…it ended up being a Thai dinner date and snuggling back home with a movie I think we both wish we could un-see, but it was wonderful just the same. 

The movie was Burn Before Reading, by the way.  Guess we’re just not the dark humor / Pulp Fiction / brain matter splattered on the back of the closet wall type.

I leave you with this:  if you end up with an annoying fruit fly infestation, there is a way to deal with it.  And, if you find yourself overwhelmed with your To Do list, there’s a way to deal with that too.  Take a deep breath, come up with an action plan and follow it through.  Everything gets done eventually (or it falls of the task list because it didn’t matter that much anyway).  And, well, fruit flies are just another source of protein. 🙂

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Bringing Mindfulness Home

Sometimes it is a bit challenging to practice mindfulness at home with your family.  But, sometimes it’s also as simple as adding in a new ritual.

It can be starting a habit of one minute of gratitude and/or kind thoughts after you get in bed.  Or, taking a Mindful minute of deep breaths before you start to go to sleep.  Using calming music or a Mindfulness app can be beneficial before sleep as well.

Here are some apps I recommend to our mindfulness students:

There are more listed here:

Top Meditation iPhone and Android Apps



Free Mindfulness Apps Worthy of your Attention

But, the reality is, you don’t need to install and app or listen to a YouTube video to practice mindfulness.  All you need is your lungs and they are free and they are always with us.

Bring it to the Table:

Another option is to create some routines around shared meals.  So, at the family dinner table, you can take a minute to breathe before beginning the meal.  Or, everyone can take turns saying one thing they are thankful for that day.  Setting the expectation that everyone is to focus on the person speaking is another way to be mindful.

Children, but humans in general, thrive on routine.  So, creating a regular mindful activity can really benefit our children, but ourselves as well.

It doesn’t have to be complicated.  It doesn’t have to be “perfect”.  Just give it a go!


If you want to dive deeper, here’s another great article about mindfulness apps:

How Do Mindfulness Apps Work?

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Today’s challenge is to slow down…

…is there a way you can create more time to allow to make your lunch? 

Make your own bread, jam or yogurt?

How about just taking some time for self care?

Life today is busy and stressed for most people.  I don’t think we are on this planet to live busy and stressed.

Mindfulness about ourselves, our community and our planet means taking the time

to “look around once and a while or you might miss it ” (in the words of Ferris Bueller)

Ferris Bueller Quote

So, today, can you take some time and go for a walk? 

Observe birds chirping, the color of the sky, the color of the grass. 

Have you seen bees yet this season?  They are critical pollinators for our food sources. 

Can you sit and take 10 minutes to focus just on your breath?

Can you lovingly make a meal for yourself and your family?

Can you make time to bake a loaf of bread with care?

That is all.

Just slow down today.

And, enjoy.

Thank you to all of you who participated, took a look and asked questions or made suggestions.  This has been a fantastic journey!

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Mindfulness – Trend or Way of Life?

Mindfulness Mag Collage

There has been a lot of discussion in the last few years about this thing called “Mindfulness”.   In this world of smart phones and free wi-fi, it can be challenging to find stillness.  The more busy schedules get, the more we are expected to multitask, eat on the go and rush through life, the more Mindfulness is desired.

What is it exactly?

Mindfulness is “being present and aware in a moment without judgement”. 

That’s it.  Getting still and letting our nervous systems settle is critical for balancing ourselves.  If you can sit up in a chair with feet on the floor, place one hand on your belly and one on your chest.  Close your eyes.  Feel your belly, then your chest, rise and fall naturally, listening to the air come in and out of your lungs.  As you repeat this, try counting to five on the in breath and down from eight on the out breath.  Then repeat for a few, slow, deep breaths.  Do this for a minute any time you need to reduce anxiety, calm down and focus.  This is a great breath pattern for settling down to sleep at night as it is calming.

A lot of scientific research has shown that Mindfulness helps improve focus and concentration and reduce stress and anxiety.  And the most beautiful thing about it is it’s just breathing.  And, we have our lungs with us from the moment we are born until the moment we die.  They are always with us and they are free.  Finding our breath puts us in a happier mood, helps us sleep deeper, reduces anxiety, helps our hearts be healthier, and improves our air intake among other benefits.

It’s as simple as taking one, slow, deep breath to deepening the Mindfulness Meditation experience to three, then five, then 10-20-30 minutes.  More experienced meditators can meditate for an hour or more.  The Dalai Lama meditates for something like seven hours a day.

The beauty of Mindfulness being trendy in the information age of smart phones, the Internet, tablets, and iPods is that there are free and low-cost apps available to guide us through Mindfulness meditation.

Some of the more popular apps are*:

  • The Mindfulness App (free)
  • Headspace (free)
  • Calm (free)
  • MINDBODY (free)
  • Buddhify (Price: iPhone, $4.99 and Android, $2.99)
  • Insight Timer (free)
  • Smiling Mind (free)
  • Meditation Timer Pro (Price: $0.99)
  • Sattva (free)
  • Stop, Breathe, & Think (free)

Additionally, there are hundreds of free guided meditation videos on YouTube and Vimeo. 

Some of my favorites are:

The Honest Guys’ 10-Minute Guided Meditation is great first thing in the morning right after you wake up.

Yoga Nidra Body Scan Meditation is great if you have a little more time.

And this one from Michael Sealey is good any time to help reduce anxiety and stress:

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