Celebrating with Both Big Toe Pose

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA

Yoga is a 5,000-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice; the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga.

Yoga is an invaluable gift! More than just exercise, yoga is the exploration of the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. “It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being.” – Narendra Modi

 

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Both Big Toe Pose – Ubhaya Padangusthasana

 

Spotlight on Both Big Toe Pose – Ubhaya Padangusthasana

 How to do Both Big Toe Pose – To hold this pose, you will first need to breathe and calm your mind. The object is to find a balance of energy in the legs and spine. Sit down with your legs bent. Grab your toes with two fingers; use your sitting bones as your grounding point. Without letting go of your toes, straighten your legs up. Elongate your back, lift your breastbone and lengthen through the hamstrings.

Energy Flow

Feel life force extend through your head and feet. Keep your heart lifted; don’t let your rib cage collapse onto your stomach or round your back. Hold for six deep breaths or longer and enjoy this energizing yoga posture.

“Every posture has important principles of structure, alignment, and kinesiology. But learning to cultivate internal energy flow is just as important as mastering these mechanical aspects,” – Ganga White

Happy yoga day and May God bless you with His life-giving energy.

With gratitude, Linda

 

“For He who is Almighty has done great things for me and holy is His name.” – Luke 1:14

 

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Finding the Balance to Stay Strong and Carry On

 

It may seem that I’m sitting on the rock, but look closer and you will see my body is floating, hovering above it.

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Floating Stick Pose – Utpluti Dandasana

The goal of this exercise is to explore how changing your center of gravity affects how well you can balance. It would be almost impossible for me to support all my body weight, as I am in the photo, if I didn’t find the perfect spot to place my hands to balance evenly front to back.

When I put Floating Stick Pose into one of my yoga fitness classes, it invokes some giggles because at first, my students think it’s impossible to do. But once the foundation of the fulcrum is placed in the right spot, it is possible.

Exploring Balancing Poses

Most of the women I teach like to follow me as I go through my yoga postures, this is fine, but sometimes I need to challenge them to find their own way in balancing postures. Balancing poses cannot be achieve by just watching, you must listen to your own body and discover the way. It is not only how far you stretch into a yoga pose that matters but also how you engage your body’s dynamic energy. 

Benefits

Balancing requires that we tighten our core, and lengthen outward, as a result it tones the whole body.

Working to stabilize a balancing posture burns calories and improves cardio vascular function.

Holding your balance teaches the interplay of concentration and focus.

In learning to balance, you will perfect control and develop an understanding of lines of energy.

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Balancing Stick Pose -Tuladandasana

Other names for this posture include warrior three pose, one-legged pose & balancing staff pose.

“If I am loosing balance in a pose, I stretch higher and God reaches down to steady me. It works every time, and not just in yoga.” – Terri Guillemets

Soul Yoga

Balance is the foundation of all movement and helps to develop coordination and grace that carries over to everything you do. Finding the right balance and the right purpose is one of the secrets to a long fulfilling life and when life’s storms come, you will know how to stand. 

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” – Barbara De Angeles

Mindfulness, prayer and meditation releases God’s wisdom into our circumstances. If we continue to feel for the vibration of our true essence as daughters of God and align our thoughts to Him, we will find balance and energy.

I reflect on the many blessings God has given me and my family. His blessings are my inheritance. I am here for a purpose. God is within me.

With gratitude ~ Linda

 

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” – Matthew 7: 24 – 25

 

The Love of Trees

I couldn’t see it at first. From the trail it just looked like a gnarly old oak tree but something beckoned me to take a closer look. I thought I should beware of rattlesnakes in the grass but my curiosity got the best of me. I walked off the trail through the thick wild grass and stood before the tree’s massive form. And there it was, staring at me with a gaping mouth, like it was trying to speak!

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“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues,” – Dr. Seuss

 

TREES ARE VITAL TO OUR HEALTH AND THE HEALTH OF OUR PLANET.

As stewards of the Earth, Earth Day is a good time to renew our commitments to the Earth and give thanks for its constant support, beauty and inspiration. This year I honor the trees.

Trees are beautiful and make people feel good.

Exposure to trees and nature has a positive effect on our health and mental attitude. Recent research has shown that trees not only filter pollutants from the air so we breathe easier, but they help make us feel better emotionally as well. ¹

Research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology shows that trees help people to feel more alive. And another study, in the Journal Landscape and Urban Planning, shows evidence that being around trees could actually decrease levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Acacia-yellow-flower_I planted a variety of drought tolerant trees around my home including this attractive flowering Acacia tree. I enjoy its beauty so much. It’s the first tree to bloom in late winter. With a burst of color it offers the hope of Springs eminent arrival.

Laboratory research shows visual exposure to settings with trees, produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension. – Dr. Roger Ulrich Texas A&M University ²

Trees conserve energy.

Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can lower summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants. If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%. – Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research ²

Trees increase property value.

The majority of realtors believe that having well cared for trees in your yard, will have a significant impact on the value and salability of your home. Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value. – USDA Forest Service.

Trees cool our cities.

Average temperatures in Los Angeles have risen 6°F in the last 50 years as tree coverage has declined and the number of heat-absorbing roads and buildings has increased. ³ The net cooling effect of a healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. – U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Trees combat climate change.

Excess carbon dioxide contributes to climate change. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs, six tons of carbon dioxide, the amount of carbon dioxide produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles. ³

Trees provide oxygen and clean the air.

One acre of forest puts out four tons of oxygen. According to the U.S.D.A., this is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people. Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

“In a study published in 2014, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidents of acute respiratory symptoms. The researchers valued the human health effects of the reduced air pollution at nearly $7 billion every year.” ¹

I love trees. Trees are an amazing creation. Let us show our gratitude with action by protecting our trees and rainforests, for they are the lungs of the earth. Together we live or together we die. – Linda Eichberg

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Love our earth and be blessed, Happy Earth Day!

~ Linda

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. – Psalm 33: 8-9

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-being-around-trees-help-people-feel-good/
  2. https://www.arborday.org/trees/benefits.cfm
  3. https://www.treepeople.org/resources/tree-benefits

Energize and Turn Up Your Body Heat With Inversions

SIX GREAT REASONS TO DO INVERSIONS

The world seems a little upside down lately. The tide has turned in politics and it’s really shaking things up. I’m feeling like I need to ward off some sensory pollution and get a renewed mindset on taking care of my wellbeing.

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Standing Split

By shaking things up in your yoga practice, you can refresh your body, mind and spirit. When you’re feeling weighed down or sluggish, inversions are wonderful for bursting through the blahs, especially in the winter months when you need increased circulation to stay warm.

1) Improve circulation and stimulate the blood flow in the body. In inverted yoga poses, the head is below the heart. This boosts your vascular system, helping the blood to circulate and stabilize body temperature. Inversions aid the body in transporting nutrients (such as amino acids and electrolytes), oxygen, carbon dioxide and hormones to and from the cells in the body.

2) Strengthen your upper body and core. The standing split I am doing in the photo, supports a good deal of body weight on the shoulders and triceps. It takes a considerable amount core strength to hold your balance in inversions like headstands and handstands.

3) Increase your mental clarity. Acute focus is needed for most inversions, which helps concentration and calms the mind. Blood and oxygen flow to the brain is stepped-up. Your head will be cleared of negative thoughts, as you feel empowered by your practice and ultimate success.

4) Move out of your comfort zone emotionally and physically. Upside down asanas are some of the most difficult and challenging. You may experience a wide range of feelings, from apprehension to courage about changing your relationship to gravity. But do not fear, you can always start with more gentle inversions, like legs up the wall, standing forward fold or down dog.

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Downward Facing Dog is a good pose to start with to get yourself comfortable with being upside down.

Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana – Half Feather Peacock Pose) is great for toning the arms. It stretches deeply in the upper back, shoulders, hamstrings and calves. Dolphin can flow from Downward Facing Dog by lowering down to your forearms and firmly pressing your heels into the mat. You can also approach Dolphin Pose by starting out on all fours.

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Dolphin Pose

5) Boost your immune system. By turning upside down, you are going against gravity which helps purify the body. The fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system can travel more readily to assist in the elimination of toxins and bacteria and bring you optimal health. Increased blood flow provides extra nourishment to the cells and serves to fight diseases and stabilize pH.

6) Improve balance and coordination. “Learning to find balance in inversions can help bring balance into your life off the mat as well. Holding an inversion requires patience, practice, and being present in the moment; all qualities that can help create balance in your life.” ¹

If you want to be a yoga ‘rock star’, build your flexibility with this yoga wheel.

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Maria Lauren – yoga wheel with leg extension

That’s my sister, Maria. I’m very grateful to have her to inspire my life!

Wishing you love and light and the best in health, Linda

“Light in the messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” – Proverbs 15: 30

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Disclaimer – Inversions can be harmful to persons with certain medical conditions. Best to consult a doctor before practicing yoga inversions, especially if you have one or more of the following: glaucoma, detached retina, cervical spine or shoulder  injuries, heart disease, stroke and/or high blood pressure.

Footnote

  1. http://www.yogiapproved.com/yoga/10-reasons-to-do-inversions/

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Writing Therapy

PROCESSING GRIEF

At first the pain was too much. I didn’t want to think or feel. I wanted to be numb and repress my emotions. But strangely, now I am now finding comfort in the opposite. I need to talk about him, write down memories and remember the special moments we had together.

Processing grief is like an ocean, rolling up and down unpredictably. Submerged until you can’t breathe, you’re almost drowning and then you are finally able to come up for air, for hope. My brother-in-law, Umberto, passed away this month after a long battle with cancer.

Writing as Therapy

I know writing and journaling is good therapy for many traumatic situations, so why not for loss and death. Actually, there is science behind writing to help with the grieving process. It doesn’t have to be public writing, like a blog. Any kind of writing has therapeutic power.

Umberto

umberto-young-man_He loved cooking, food and people. As a young man, Umberto studied at a culinary school. His passion landed him in Monte Carlo, working as a waiter at the Hotel de Paris. One day, a friend who was on the personal waitstaff of the Royal Family of Monaco became sick and Umberto was asked to take his place. The Royals enjoyed his service so much they ask for him to be their permanent personal waiter. It’s no wonder, Umberto was loaded with good looks, personality and culinary acumen.

Umberto ended up in Philadelphia where he opened a successful restaurant downtown, The Monte Carlo Living Room. The restaurant received much critical acclaim and was known as one of the top restaurants in Philadelphia.

During this time, he met and married my sister, Alane. Alane was a journalist and an assistant editor of an epicurian food magazine. One of her assignments was to write a story about Umberto and his famous restaurant. That was how they met. It was love a first sight. Together they had two boys, Umberto Jr. and Marco.

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Creativity

Umberto was extremely creative: he liked to design. He built and designed an Italian restaurant in Ardmore that he converted from a bank. He retained parts of the bank to give the restaurant a special flair and used the bank’s vault as a private dining area. He had a huge imagination!

Hospitality

Some of my fondest memories of Umberto was of him managing at his restaurant, Primavera, or entertaining with his family at his home. Sometimes he would personally craft special off the menu dishes for me in the restaurant’s kitchen. He was an artist with food and he aimed to please. I loved the twinkle in his eye when he would beak out a bottle of rare wine from his cellar to share with us. Umberto’s face would beam joyfully as he described the qualities and nuances of the wine. He was more than a fine restaurateur, he had the gift of hospitality.

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What Say You?

Umberto’s favorite family greeting was, “What say you”? It was customarily delivered with a chuckle and a smile. But it was his Italian accent that made the phrase so charming and memorable. Umberto could light up a room!

IL SUO RETAGGIO E’ ANOCORA TRA NOI – His Legacy Is Still With Us

Friends and Family

Always a jovial host, Umberto delighted in gourmet food, fine wine and conversation. He loved to see people having a good time, eating and enjoying each other’s company. My brother-in-law loved his friends and family.

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His son’s Umberto and Marco

We celebrated many family occasions at Ristorante Primavera in Wayne, Pa. It was the spot for making great memories. Alane and Umberto were so gracious about letting the family use their restaurant.

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Our nephew,Dylan’s Christening party at the Primavera

Not too long ago my brothers and sisters and I, esteemed my mother for her 85th birthday at the restaurant. Here I am enjoying a laugh and a hug with Umberto at her birthday party.

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Umberto’s personality was larger than life!

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It was a rare treat when Umberto and Alane joined my husband, Steven and I on vacation in Kauai. Vacations are extremely difficult to plan for busy restaurant owners. They were both dedicated, hard workers.

Though they lived on different coasts Steve always had a special bond and relationship with his brother-in-law. They were close in age, only a few days apart. They were joined at the heart.

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Steve and Umberto at the reunion

The Final Days

This past summer, my mother surprised me and all my siblings by inviting us, along with our families, to Florida for vacation. There were over thirty people at the gathering. It was a great reunion on the beach!

That get-together was the last quality time my family and I spent with Umberto. It was a gift. It wasn’t too long after, he was diagnosed with stage four cancer and had to be hospitalized. We did fly back to Philadelphia to see him in the hospital but by then he was a different man.

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My daughter, Lindsay with her uncle Umberto in Florida

Words can’t adequately describe what I feel for Umberto but it is a good feeling when I look back at all the beautiful times we had together. He added so much joy to my life. For that I am grateful. I always have the comfort of knowing that we both belong to Christ and we will be in His loving arms for eternity.

As you hold your loved ones close this holiday season, focus on gratitude.

The Eichberg family wishes you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. All the best for 2017.

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~ Blessings, Linda

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” – Psalm 34: 18 NLT

Spread Holiday Cheer With This Easy Fall Decorating Idea

I enjoy the changing seasons, the fresh crisp air and colors of fall, but when November comes around, I turn most of my focus to preparing for the big Thanksgiving dinner. I will be entertaining 18 friends and relatives this year. Weeks ahead I prepare or purchase my table decorations. These are some of my table decor creations.

pumpkin-cactus

I got the idea to make this at a garden store I visited. At first glance, it looked like the pumpkin would have to be scooped out and filled, but when asked, I was told everything was glued to the top. I thought I’d give it a try.

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You too might like to make this centerpiece. Here’s how it’s done.

You will need:

  1. a pumpkin or decorative squash
  2. a few different sized succulent plants (Select plants with different shaped leaves and in a variety of hues.)
  3. a small package of green reindeer moss or Spanish moss
  4. a hot glue gun

First cut off the stem of the pumpkin or squash close to the skin. Then glue a layer of moss to the pumpkin.

Select the largest succulent and apply that first. Cut the stem 1/4 to a 1/2 inch from the base of the plant and glue it to the pumpkin through the moss. Fill in the top with the smaller succulents or cuttings from larger plants. You can add moss to the outside edges for a finishing touch.

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The arrangement will last quite a while, it just needs a spritz of water a couple of times a week. They make great hostess gifts!

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I enjoy decorating. It lifts my mood when I spread holiday cheer. Yet, the holidays can be the loneliest and most stressful time of the year for some people. I am holding a heaviness in my heart. My husband, daughter and I made a bittersweet trip to Pennsylvania to visit our brother law, Umberto, in the hospital. He went into the hospital for what was supposed to be a relatively minor cancer treatment and he hasn’t come out. My sister, Alane, will spend her holidays in the hospital by his side. It breaks my heart.

Happy Birthday Mom?

It was also my mom’s birthday while we were visiting. She wouldn’t let us sing “Happy Birthday” to her because of Umberto being so sick. “It’s not happy”, she said.

This is a tough one for the whole family. There is little we can do but rely on God’s grace to get us through this difficult time. We’re very fortunate to have each other to lean on. That is something to be thankful for and to smile about. God is able. We are all praying.

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I am reminded once again to be nice to everyone I meet because they are also carrying a heavy burden that I know nothing about.

Dealing with Holiday ‘Blues’
“You can improve your mood by practicing self-care during the holidays. Eat a healthy diet, and maintain a regular sleep pattern and exercise program. According to the kept Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, as little as 30-minutes of cardiovascular exercise can provide an immediate mood boost similar to the effects of an antidepressant medication. Joining a support group where you talk to people with similar experiences to yours can also help.” ¹

Sometimes these things aren’t enough and medication is necessary for a time. Talk to your doctor if you are feeling sad for long periods. They can refer you to a mental health specialist. Explore every option. Getting your joy back is worth fighting for.

Wishing you all the joys of the season, Linda

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12

Footnote:

  1. http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/holidays#1

 

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Yoga Befits Children Of All Ages

In our family, we practice yoga for fun as much as for its many health benefits.

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Garland pose with a bind

During family gatherings my grandniece, Riley, will frequently pull me aside and ask me to show her some new yoga poses. Children’s brains and bodies easily take to this form of exercise.

Riley-childrens-yoga-garland

Squat – opens the hips and groin as it stretches and strengthens the hips and ankles

Children who practice yoga postures, conscious breathing and mindfulness are better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves, according to scientific studies. They may also have better eating habits and engage in more physical activity than children who do not. Yoga addresses the whole child, encouraging academic and emotional competence. “The studies also illustrate that centered, calm and focused children learn more easily, have better social skills and, in general, are much happier kids.” ¹

childrens-yoga

Yoga Increases Static Motor Performance.

A sample of children from ages 9 to 13 were divided into two groups. One group received yogic training (physical postures, voluntary regulation of breathing, maintenance of silence, visual focusing exercises, and games to improve attention span and memory) while the other did not. Over a ten-day period, the children in each group were tested to observe their steadiness. The yoga group showed a 17% increase in steadiness while the control group showed no improvement. The study concludes that yogic instruction improves children’s ability to control their minds and bodies. ² 

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My nieces, Jocelyn and Marianna practice their splits together on family vacation.

Children Following Yoga Training Improved Their Visual Perceptual Sensitivity.

A study of 14 children with ages ranging from 12 to 17 years who received 10 days of yoga training and another group who did not receive yoga training were assessed on Day 1 and Day 10 for visual perceptual sensitivity through Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency (CFF) and degree of illusion. Yoga group practiced postures and meditation, along with specific activities to improve memory and attention. Following 10 days of yoga training, the yoga group showed a significant increase in CFF and decrease in degree of illusion while the control group showed no change. The study suggests that children can show better improvement in performance in a relatively short amount of time.³

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Me and Riley working on our Camel Pose

Twenty Benefits of Yoga for Children

The following are just some of the recognized benefits of yoga for children (and adults):

  1. Develops a strong and flexible body
  2. Encourages motor development on both sides of the body
  3. Assists neuromuscular-development
  4. Increases balance, body awareness and coordination
  5. Improves posture and alignment
  6. Reduces injuries and improves performance
  7. Improves digestion, circulation and elimination
  8. Strengthens the immune system
  9. Relaxes the body, promoting better sleep
  10. Calms and clears the mind, bringing us into the present moment
  11. Increases concentration, focus, memory and attention span
  12. Stimulates auditory processing and responsiveness
  13. Expands imagination and creativity
  14. Alleviates tension, stress and anxiety
  15. Balances energy (high or low)
  16. Builds confidence and self-esteem
  17. Develops discipline and self-control
  18. Supports individuality and self-expression
  19. Encourages a fit and healthy lifestyle
  20. Promotes an overall sense of well-being

Yoga helps children feel more comfortable with their bodies and helps them get in touch with who they are inside. “A child who learns yoga, mindfulness and relaxation will be developing essential skills for a lifetime of health and wellness in mind, body and spirit.” 4

Best in health, Linda

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT)

 

For more info, please visit my website!

Footnotes:

  1. http://www.thekidsyogaresource.com/2012/09/research-on-yoga-for-children.html
  2. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/research_papers/ips/om.aspx
  3. http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/research_papers/ypp.aspx
  4. http://www.yoga4classrooms.com/benefits-of-yoga-in-schools

 

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Keeping Your Peace In Tumultuous Times

Linda-Alberici-Eichberg-The-Gratitude-Life-Joy_2

Choosing to look forward to a bright future is exactly that, a choice. The world seems a little scary right now. Every day, whether in the news or in our personal lives, we are presented with a multitude of problems and troubles. I yearn to keep this negativity from taking my peace.

“While it may sometimes seem impossible, inner peace is possible despite the emotional influences from world events, media, negative people, and our own judgments.” ¹

Peace is a State of Being.

I am not in denial. There is real evil in the world. Peace does not necessarily mean a world without problems, pain, or persecution.

This latest horror in Nice, France, on July 14, hit close to home because, Nina, the daughter of my good friends, was a couple of blocks away from the violence and she was caught in the stampede of panicked people that followed. Nina Heintz found refuge under a restaurant kitchen sink where she hid for an hour, not knowing if anyone was coming in with a gun. Thankfully she is physically fine but it will take a while for her to heal emotionally and regain her inner peace. “I wish I was more fearless like I use to be, but everyday gets a little better,” Nina said, “… and in the long run it will make me stronger…”

Peace state of mind_1

Finding Peace In Chaos

During a time of crisis strong emotions can overtake us and our very existence may come into question. Taking time to be alone with our thoughts and feelings is a valuable tool to develop a strong foundation of inner tranquility and hope.

I recall the day I drove by San Bernardino, right after the mass shooting on December 2, it was like a war zone. Numerous helicopters flew overhead  and dozens of police and SWAT vans zoomed past me. My heart pounded and my stomach turn with nervousness. The tragic details played over and over for days in the news. It took a while to work through my feelings of confusion and despair.

“Ego says, ‘Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.’ Spirit says, ‘Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.’” ― Marianne Williamson

Pursuing Peace

Some of my friend take periodic fasts from the news. Turning off the outside world from time to time is important. What helps you feel peaceful? For me it can be: meditating on peaceful thoughts, a walk in nature, yoga breathing, prayer, a day by the ocean or sometimes just time to rest and enjoy a book or a movie. Taking care of ourselves goes a long way to maintaining a calm state of mind. Self-care can easily be intertwined into our daily routine.

Creating A Peaceful Mind

Keeping our thoughts on happy memories and taking into account all the the wonderful things we are grateful about will also help us keep a hopeful attitude. Remove thoughts of “need,” “must” and “have to” from your life. These words communicate life-and-death direness that probably doesn’t exist and robs us of happiness and peace. ²

“An affectionate disposition not only makes the mind more peaceful and calm, but it affects our body in a positive way too.” – Dalai Lama

Riley-Krugh-New-York-Policeman

Preserving A Peaceful Heart

Doing kind deeds or supporting others who are doing a good service, helps me to maintain a feeling that the world is becoming a more peaceful, loving place. Just looking at this photo of my grand-niece, Riley, and this New York policeman as she shares her plush unicorn, named Uni, and he shares his police cap, gives me a nice, serene feeling.

“A heart at peace gives life to the body.” – Proverbs 14:30

Positive Outreach – “To Protect and Serve Ice Cream”

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police department bought an ice cream truck dubbed, Operation Polar Cops . The police men and women hope their ice cream truck and free ice cream will help kids see them as positive role models and develop a better relationship with the community they protect and serve. Surely, it couldn’t hurt! The idea spread from the Boston Police Department; they also have their own ice cream truck.

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St. Louis Police hand out ice cream

Using our creativity in a peaceful and harmonious way can give us empowerment when we face injustice and feel like the moral compass of the world is spinning out of control.

First keep peace within yourself, then you can bring peace to others.” – Thomas a’ Kempis

My friend Theresa Bishop Miller created this graphic as a creative contribution toward unity and understanding and to move her own consciousness and purpose in a positive direction after a string of senseless killings throughout America.

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This photo is a reminder of our potential together as fellow human beings.

We need to do whatever we can to spread love, dismantle hate and become the people we aspire to be as a nation.

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix

 

Peace That Transcends Understanding

The world’s peace depends on having favorable circumstances: if things are going well, then we feel peaceful; when things go awry, the peace quickly dissipates. Jesus made the distinction between His peace and the world’s vacillating peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27). ³

Christ’s peace has to do with having a right relationship with God, reconciled through his love and sacrifice. 

My faith is tantamount to why and how I can maintain peace in my heart. I know God is pure goodness. His goodness in the face of the atrocities that exist in the world are beyond my understanding but I know God is Sovereign above all, and desires that I come to Him with childlike trust and rest in His compassionate presence. Yes, I receive His supernatural comfort, protection and peace.

“There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.” – John Wooden

The bible reminds us to: “pursue”, “seek”, “promote”, “search” or “run after” peace (Psalm 34:14). I’m not trying to add work or pressure to your life; quite simply, peace can be promoted with something a easy as a smile or a prayer. In Christ we are free! Jesus paid it all. So, be grateful, lighten up, rejoice, have a little ice cream and laugh a lot. It’s good medicine!

With a grateful and peaceful heart, Linda

~~~~~

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

References:

1. Quote from – Sandra Lee Schubert, an interfaith minister. http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/2008/10/9-ways-to-find-peace-amid-chaos.aspx?p=2

2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-purpose/201309/lighten-and-laugh

3. http://www.gotquestions.org/peace-that-passes-all-understanding.html

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The Power of Flowers

This has been a season of helping others carry their burdens. I have a few family members going through some very stressful and hurtful situations. Some difficulties cannot be avoided or ignored. When you love someone you feel for them and you hurt with them.

Finding Beauty in Unexpected Places

One of the ways I like to restore my spirit is by walking or hiking in nature. The hills above my home in Westlake Village are a close retreat. When I started out on my hike my heart was heavy, unaware of the beautiful treasures I would soon find hidden in the chaparral.

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Within minutes, I was dazzled by a burst of color. I had never seen this particular collection of wild flowers. They were much larger than any I had ever come across before, so vibrant and delightful!

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Yellow California Wildflowers – Sticky Monkey Flower

“Earth laughs in flowers.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wellness Through Flowers 

Nature provides us with a simple way to improve emotional health. Flowers trigger happy emotions, heighten feelings of life satisfaction and increase positive social behavior, according to a study at Rutgers University.” What’s most exciting about this study is that it challenges established scientific beliefs about how people can manage their day-to-day moods in a healthy and natural way,” said Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Rutgers and lead researcher on the study.

The study also found particular benefits for seniors. There was a marked decrease in depression for older adults who received flowers. “Seniors performed higher on everyday memory tasks and experienced enriched personal memories in the presence of flowers.”¹

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Another group of wildflowers I saw that day was such a lovely orchid purple color, I could hardly believe my eyes. Southern California is in a drought and these beauties sprang up without any man-made cultivation. Incredible! They were perfection.

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Purple California Wildflowers – Chinese Houses

 

Consider How the Wild Flowers Grow

Does God speak through flowers? I think so.  As I moved in closer to more fully experience their fragrance, Jesus’ words came to my mind.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” ~­ Luke 12: 27-31

These verses spoke to my heart, refreshed my soul and renewed my mind.

A Sweet Blessing

“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~ Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts

Mothers are the sweetest beings God ever made and put a soul into.

I was blessed with a visit from my mom from Pennsylvania,. I am very grateful for those rare and precious moments shared with my mom.

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May the garden of your heart be filled with flowers.

Many Blessing, Linda

~~~~~~~

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Footnote:

  1. http://aboutflowers.com/health-benefits-a-research/flowers-a-seniors-study.html

Music Does a Mind and Body Good

THE POWER OF MUSIC

Music has the power to stir our emotions, to move us to dance, cry or be still in wonder. Think about how adeptly a movie’s music sound track adds to its drama and helps to lift you into the movie’s emotional highs and lows. Music can affect the body and mind in very powerful ways. Scientific evidence has shown that music can change our mood or help us concentrate. It is even used to heal. Hospitals are beginning to use music therapy to help with pain management and to help ease stress and muscle tension. ¹

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Music and the Brain – Body Connection

Music can help your mood by stimulating the brain which affects changes in other bodily functions like breathing and heart rate. Some people listen to music to help them focus, re-energize or to help them relax. Listening to music with strong beats results in brainwaves resonating in sync with the beats of the music, which gives one more concentration and alert thinking. It doesn’t matter what your taste in music is, enjoying your favorite music could help your mood, according to a 2011 Canadian study, published in Nature Neuroscience. ²

Studies have also found that the beats per minute, the speed of a piece of music, can determine what music is best for performing certain tasks. For instance, to stimulate learning listen to music with 50 to 80 beats per minute, such as Mirrors by Justin Timberlake. This tempo has a calming effect on the mind that is conducive to logical thought, allowing the brain to learn and remember new facts, according to psychologist, Dr. Emma Grey

When selecting music for the fitness classes I teach, I match the music to the tempo of the workout. It helps participants get better results. A study at Brunel University in West London has shown that music can increase endurance by as much as 15 per cent and help lower the perception of effort during a workout.

Music and Wellness

Listening to music can stimulate reactivate speech centers of the brain, prompt memory and improve gait and coordination.  Gait training that uses music, significantly improves balance, coordination and walking speed for people with Parkinson’s. Patients who participated in music therapy improved their ability to do such tasks as cut food and get dressed, and said they were less likely to experience the  freezing-up of muscles that occurs with Parkinson’s. ³

Music can help promote positive focus and it is used as therapy in dealing with mental health conditions. Researchers at McGill University in Montreal showed that listening to pleasurable music of any kind triggered the release of the feel‑good chemical dopamine. It’s no wonder that I love music and singing; it’s a good kind of high!

“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.” – Maria von Trapp

My sister, Maria, and I sing with a big band. We love to get people dancing and in a good mood with music.

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The Alberici Sisters

We’re grateful for music and for the wonderful musicians in our life.

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We recently paid tribute to Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday in a show and a fan captured a song on video! Enjoy “Fly Me To the Moon.”

You can read stories about when Maria and I performed with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and friends in our book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams!

Keep a song in your heart, Linda

“My heart , O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.” – Psalm 108:1

 

beyond-our-wildest-dreams-alberici-sisters-the-golddiggers-dean-martin-frank-sinatra

BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Alibis.

Footnotes:

1. http://stress.about.com/od/tensiontamers/a/music_therapy.htm

2. http://www.wwu.edu/wwura/1301.pdf

3. Mind-Body-Spirit News June 01, 2007 by Shirley Archer, JD, MA  & http://www.webmd.com/parkinsons-disease/news/20000620/music-helps-parkinsons-patients

*This blog is dedicated to my dear friend, Joanne, who is bravely living with Parkinson’s. 

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