Vitality Archive

5 Minute Video: Do Workshops Really Work?

Posted July 3, 2015 By Nancy Burns

4 Simple Ways to Nurture Your Spirit

Posted February 23, 2015 By Cherryll Sevy

flowersLast week my dear longtime friend, Carol, invited me to join her to hike a nearby trail which is part of the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space. I’d grown up nearby and never even knew it existed. It was a spectacular winter day in California, the air was clear and fresh, and I was outdoors with a good friend. Doesn’t get much better!

My senses felt so much keener. Without the continual sensory overload of urban living in Silicon Valley, I opened up fully to my surroundings. I felt the aliveness of the hillside around me and it energized me. The air was fresh and cool in my lungs, I heard the wind rustling in the trees above, and I saw several varieties of birds flying overhead. I noticed several early season wildflowers—bright purple blossoms and delicate yellow flowers were tucked in the greenery along side the path we walked.  Plus, being able to spend several hours with a good friend during a time when our lives often are so full of the busy-ness–was a real gift. I was reminded of several important things that day I thought I’d pass along.

….There are treasures in our own backyards. Find them.

….Exploring new places will awaken your senses and your sense of being.

…..Walking outdoors on a trail is a great, easy and fun way to get in exercise and fitness.

…..Sharing experiences are what weave friendships together through the years. Also,  an easy, non-rushed conversation over several hours makes me truly appreciate special those people in our lives.

 

 

Your Badge of Courage to Say “Yes”

Posted December 17, 2014 By Cherryll Sevy

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog about saying “no”. Now I’m almost as good as a 2-year old girl saying no, but hopefully not as defiant! The act of saying no is so freeing and I feel great afterwards. At the same time, it helped me learn when and why to say “yes” more thoughtfully and with positive intention. I’ve really noticed a difference in my life and my state of mind. Today, I’d like to talk about the value in saying “yes”.

1. Say “yes” to those people who energize, inspire, support and  like you.  I’ve decided I don’t  want to  spend my precious time in a struggle with relationships where I don’t feel better for the time spent.  Most of us have a few people in our life who exhaust us, treat us poorly, or make us uncomfortable, “less than”, or worse. It doesn’t matter if they are clients, service staff, salespeople, friends, or even family. If you are not better for the time spent with someone—-take your time, money and love elsewhere. Life is just too short! If you must interact with them, then minimize the time you spend with them and consciously maintain healthy boundaries. Getting enough rest, positive self talk, brief stays or encounters, and the counsel of a good friend all help.

2.  Say “yes” when someone asks if they can help you. Let’s say you’re having friends over for dinner and they ask, “what can I bring?” Thank them for their kind offer and suggest something. If you’re the type of person who carefully plans your menu with very specific food in mind, then its better suggest they bring a bottle of wine or other beverage. And above all, graciously accept the offer.

3. Say “yes” to putting yourself first. Take very good care of yourself. Rest, drinking enough water, daily exercise and time for relaxation and fun are essentials to your well being…. and to maintain good health.  Self-Care is essential, particularly during the holidays, times of travel, stress, or winter. Treat yourself to a good book, movie or a long conversation with close, cherished friends.

4.  Say “yes” to a beautiful space.  Whether this space is your bedroom, office, car or living room, notice how you feel when you’re in this room. Is it clean, orderly, and contain lovely, soul-nurturing things? Or is it a dumping ground for all the stuff in that doesn’t have a home?  Look around at the clutter, papers, clothes strewn about, and any items in the room that no longer support who you are today. Is the lighting appropriate for the room,  warm, soothing light for a bedroom or sufficient work light for an office.  (Studies have proven that electronic light and devices actually have a negative effect on your sleep, so get that smartphone out of there.) When a space doesn’t enhance your well-being, it is agitating, creates emotional stress and doesn’t allow you to focus on the purpose of the room. A beautiful space awaits you under all the stuff, so find it.

It takes courage to say yes, so wear your badge proudly! You’ve earned it. Hope these help…..would enjoy hearing your comments below.

Cool Summer Tip: Eat Spicy Foods to Cool Off

Posted August 11, 2014 By Nancy Burns

It sounds counter-intuitive, however eating spicy food releases your interior heat by causing you to perspire. In hot humid climates foods are often very spicy hot. The side benefit is spicy foods increase your metabolism and aid in weight loss. Add a little hot pepper to your salad tonight. Spice it up!

Making sense of it all…The high cost of workaholism

Posted August 1, 2014 By Cherryll Sevy

Single_RoseI am a recovering workaholic and busy-ness addict, which in Silicon Valley valley is not only encouraged, but lauded. To actually slow down, relax and receive the world in all its wonder at this time of my life (recent retirement from a long successful career) has been challenging to say the least. The seduction of this “disease” is powerful. But I’m learning and enjoying the process along the way.

I came across this quote from Virginia Wolff which says it all….

“If people are highly successful in their professions, they lose their senses. Sight goes. They have no time to look at pictures. Hearing goes. They have no time to listen to music. Speech goes. They have no time for conversation. They lose their sense of proportion and the relation between one thing and another. Humanity goes.”

One of the reasons I joined Nancy in our Hourglass Workshops adventure several years ago is because I wanted to regain full use of my senses—all 5 of them (plus better use of my women’s intuition). I want to share such experiences with a community of like-minded women, as well as learn to more fully appreciate and attend to the world around me. More importantly, I wanted to regain my sense of proportion, a stronger connectedness with life, family and friends, and the bigger community around me. I’m doing all those things and savoring the process.This blog and our Hourglass events reflect part of this journey, and I’m very interested in the experiences of other women during such transition points and what they’ve discovered for a book I’m writing.

Back when I was growing up, this was known as the Valley of the Heart’s Delight and I’d like to know it again as that. There is no better time than right now, today, this Summer and this lifetime to turn up your tunes and dance, try a new recipe, smell a beautiful summer rose, and really listen to the voices of those you love.

Travel—the Elixer of Life!

Posted July 15, 2014 By Cherryll Sevy

Cafe in FranceFrom the age of 16, I’ve always loved to travel after a life-changing experience as an AFS exchange student to Brazil. With my newly issued passport, I clearly remember sitting in SFO waiting for a flight to New York City and then on to Rio De Janeiro. Looking back at my parents as they waved good-bye at the gate (obviously back in the pre-TSA days), I still remember the excitement, fear, and heightened sense of anticipation as I boarded on my very first flight. Since then, I seem to always be planning the “next trip”. I thrive on travel. Not only the trip itself, but the planning, anticipation and the pre-trip excitement. I just don’t understand people when they say they rarely ever go on vacation!

With all its frustration, too small seats in crowded planes, extra fees, and petty inconveniences, travel continues to fully engage me and during trips I really stay in present. Studies show that travel improves our physical and mental well-being. I’m sure its partly due to the heightened awareness we have when we are out of our routines. Also, I always walk more when I’m on a trip than I ever seem to at home and it feels so effortless. (A real bonus is regardless of what I eat, I never gain weight while traveling.) I remember a recent trip to Paris and all the walking we did. Who hasn’t walked from dawn to dusk all over a new city, exploring streets, aware of architecture, people watching, and the variety of sights, smells and sounds? I have been keenly aware of the sensory feast in a Greek spice market, the sounds of waves crashing as we walked along on a Hawaiian beach, and the stunning vibrant autumn leaves along the Blue Ridge Highway in Virginia— all remain vivid reminders of travel. I was fully engaged in those experiences, my level of everyday stress was reduced, and I felt much more in the flow of life.

In an excellent article published by the Global Coalition on Aging , the authors discuss the physical, mental and emotional benefits of travel. Perhaps it’s not that healthy people travel, rather people who travel and remain active are healthier! In one study, women who travel twice a year are statistically less likely to have a heart attack than those who travel once every 4 years! So, for your heart’s sake, plan a trip!

There are many, many wonderful travel blogs and one I suggest is The World According to Barbara, a delightful travel log by a woman in mid-life…well written and inspiring.

More later as I share some of my travels and insights, and of course the health benefits! And if you have a favorite blog or a comment about how travel has made you healthier, let us know in the comments below.

Ciao!

July 4th is a day of picnics and spectacular fireworks enjoyed by families and friends in communities throughout the United States. A few years ago, my two sons and I were in New York City with thousands of others packed on FDR Drive to watch the fabulous Macy’s fireworks. We heard dozens of languages spoken all around us while we all enjoyed the display…truly a special moment. Such moments demonstrate the beautiful cultural diversity of the audience all enjoying an American tradition, giving me hope for these troubled times.

Today—Independence Day, gave me an idea. Are there things you’d like to free yourself from and be more independent in your life or something you’d like to free the world from? This might be poverty, addiction, hunger or illiteracy for example. You can do something to make a difference beginning today. Personally, perhaps it may be the stuff that no longer supports who you are today, whether in your closet, your head, or your life. I’d like to be free from the gremlins of self-criticism and my mental negative putdowns. Two important traits essential for a vibrant, beautiful life are confidence and courage. For me, when I’m critical of myself, it erodes my confidence and I become less courageous and more tentative in my thinking and actions. I want to live my life boldly and create some fireworks in my life! Today’s a great time to start. How about you?

One simple word can change your life

Posted June 24, 2014 By Cherryll Sevy

How often do we think or say…”geez, I just don’t have enough time in the day!” I’ve really been paying close attention to what I say and what I hear from others. It seems we try harder to do more, rush through our day, skid into our deadlines and appointments, and wind up feel emotionally frantic and mentally fractured.

We want and need more peace in our day (and in our world), yet it feels as though we spinning farther away from peace all the time. I know there are always essential things we need to do, but what about all the other stuff we cram our lives with?

There is one powerful tool each of us has which can dramatically change our life. A simple word–that word—NO.

No, I can’t help you on this right now.

No, that doesn’t work for me at this time.

No, I don’t have the time.

No.

Oh, this is so hard for me, and for most of us for many reasons, beliefs, insecurities, people-pleasing, etc.

Here are a few ideas to help you with this.

1. Practice several times a day until it becomes comfortable and easy to say to anyone. Don’t offer any excuses, long explanations, or justifications. Simply “no”. For most women, it seems to be an ingrained habit for us to react with a yes, so create a new habit and respond thoughtfully with a “no”.

2. For every “no” you say to someone else, you are saying “yes” to yourself! More time, more energy, and more resources will be available each day to put towards the things that really matter to you.

3. If you need to, take a breath, a moment (or overnight) before you respond. In this moment, feel the question and your gut-response in your body. What do you really want to do? If you aren’t sure, do NOT say “yes”, until you are sure. This really helps me to identify what “I want to do” before I answer. Your body isn’t lying on this, trust it.

The joy of “no” is that every “yes” will be sincere, aligned with what you want and need in your life. You’ll start to clear out less important stuff, activities and people. You will also experience less resentment towards the situation, fewer regrets, and less frustration with yourself which you bring into situations when you didn’t say “no”.

Flirting at any age

Posted June 18, 2014 By Cherryll Sevy

mickey and minnie flirtingWhile on vacation recently, one afternoon my husband and I were in a brewery-restaurant. We sat at the bar enjoying a local craft beer and chatting with the bartender. He was a friendly young man about 27, recently had moved to the town, longish hair, tattoos on both arms, and very knowledgeable about beers. I was very friendly and we chatted and laughed about a variety of things, finding several topics of mutual interest. I was genuinely interested in him and his life and he knew it. After about an hour, a couple of beers and appetizers, we were ready to leave and pay our bill. Before he handed it to us, he said he’d comp’ed the beers for us both. Wow! Made my day! Of course, he got a very nice tip. What a wonderful gesture which I really appreciated. I haven’t had a drink paid by a stranger in a bar for years, and my inner 25 year old just giggled.

Awhile ago, Nancy loaned me a wonderful book I highly recommend, Ronda Rich’s What Southern Women Know About Flirting (favorite books) She does a great job of de-mystifying flirting, how it spices up our life and describes the effect it can have in our work lives, relationships, socially and enjoying a richer life. (Isn’t that what we all want?)

I’ve heard women of all ages tell me they either don’t flirt, don’t know how, think they are just too old to flirt or that it’s being dishonest. I take issue with each of these and here’s why. We are never too old to share a smile or laugh, small talk, or a compliment. It is not dishonest, it is kind, fun and a very human interaction. And no one is too old to flirt! (In Barbara Walters’ retirement tribute, there is a great clip watching her flirt with Clint Eastwood, and she still blushes when she sees it.)

What is flirting? It is a personal interaction that is fun, playful, lighthearted and helps to create or enhance relationships–all relationships. It simply makes others feel good about themselves and then about you. Flirting adds sparkle to a conversation, a party and one’s life. If you can play and smile, you can flirt.

I think people these days have become way too serious-minded about life, and forget to have fun and just enjoy one another. It’s not difficult and you don’t have to be young, beautiful or sexy. Just be yourself and connect with another person in a fun, kind, perhaps slightly sassy way if that feels right to you. I’ve known people in their 90’s who still flirt and have a sparkle in their eye.

In the book, the author describes three types of flirting—social, courtship and seductive. Her tips and descriptions are all very interesting if you need some guidelines. So, no excuses. It will definitely add some pizzazz to your life.

I encourage you to start by smiling more—at everyone all day. Put down your phone and actually make eye contact with anyone you see, confidently say hi and smile. Compliment the person, ask an intriguing question, smile and engage the person. I do this all the time. It makes for a more interesting day, and I’m encouraged by the response I get. So will you.

Do You Ask Too Many Questions? (Video)

Posted June 18, 2014 By Nancy Burns