I was sitting outside today, feeling the wind blow through my hair, when I realized it had been a really long time since I’d waxed or shaved my legs.

I began my rebellion of shaving my legs a few months ago when my skin, also began a rebellion of it’s own.  After spending a business trip in San Francisco trying to scratch the epidermis down to the bone with no relief I realized that shaving was possibly a thing of the past.

Not a big deal you say? To someone who’d been shaving their legs everyday since they were 12 it was. Well, actually that first time I shaved my legs, my arms, my stomach, my face and would’ve tried to shave the dog if I’d been able to get it to hold still long enough – shaving was a sort of magical power. That was, until my mother, in horror of viewing the ‘Cousin It’ that was left in the bathroom, pointed out that shaving any thing other than my legs would potentially result in  “prickly stubble”. She stabbed her point home (yes, puns are sometimes intended) by showing me her own prickly legs. I’d seen less sinister spines on the creatures in “Jurassic Park”, so, heeding her warning, I stuck to shaving only my legs (and occasionally strips of skin…. holyhell that hurts).

I, recently, managed to make it about 2 weeks without shaving my legs, screaming into pillows to avoid the maddening itch of it, and gingerly stepping into my running pants to avoid shredding them to pieces (I eventually avoided this by canceling all future workouts) until I decided waxing might be the answer.

I’d only seen one other person get their legs waxed and thought she was, quite possibly, being tortured to death. But, the great thing about watching a friend almost die from something is that we secretly feel we are tougher and could ‘almost die’ a bit less (certainly with less screaming). So, I perused the aisles at Target for their selection of leg waxing options. I settled on ‘Veet’ strips and headed home. No reason for everyone in a salon to hear me screaming.

Now for any of you that know me – you know I’m fascinated by anything that is somewhat gross. Waxing my legs was going to be right up my alley (and apparently my daughter’s). After applying first some baby powder, I warmed the strips (under the bum works better than rubbing them between your fingers – especially if your fingers are a step above icicles on any given day), and carefully applied them to my legs to avoid cutting myself. And pull. Oh for the love of jellybeans and buttered toast – ouch. But! the skin was smooth and the wax strip held an interesting type of science experiment of some indiscernible mammal. Perfect!

So after repeating that same procedure and getting (most) of the hair from the legs – who sees the backs of my legs anyway?? I am hooked. No more crazy itching from shaving and no more daily ritual of shaving, wasting water, time, and skin in a never-ending battle against Cactus Legs. Who cares if I’ve got wax strips stuck to every surface of my home 😉

My recommendation? Wax or embrace your inner Yeti.

Advertisements

I honestly don’t know.  Although, enough evil is done in an attempt to gain more money.  I use the word ‘evil’ loosely as I’m not a “good vs evil” kind of person.  To me… it’s all good or it was until I realized I didn’t have quite enough money for what I want to do this morning.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to look back on my life, dissecting every decision, every choice that led up to another choice and on and on.  This is an exercise in stupidity mostly as who really knows if making different choices would have led to a different life.  We make choices, we adjust, we move on.  Or do we?  I’m fairly certain that no other choice would have led me to more money but part of that reason is because I’m not really comfortable with money.  We didn’t have any extra money growing up, things were difficult, but because of this, I decided to never live that way.  VOWED to myself, I never would which then put me in a vulnerable position (as deciding you MUST have something always does).  I had been a nanny for a period of time for a wealthy family with a large number of boys.  They had lots of money and seemed happy although, I did notice that shopping was part of that.  Being able to shop can make us happy (temporarily).  The problem with shopping is that there is always something else you need or want.  Something else that will make you feel fulfilled… temporarily.  And then it can become the ‘where’ are you shopping as well as ‘what’ you are purchasing.  I had somehow got it into my own head that my clothing should come from one particular high-end store and no others.  However, I always felt like an interloper in the higher end stores, so, therefore, almost never shop and when I do I come home with random things I don’t need:  a pair of thigh high boots and hiking socks.  Riiight.  So, what is this?  In truth, I almost never enter the mall or stores anymore because there will surely be something I think that I MUST have and will try to figure out a way to get ‘said’ object only to end up regretting the purchase or will love it (aka: juicer) and use it every day for 2 weeks and then watch it collect dust.

I often wonder if people that have all the money they could want… are happy because they certainly all don’t look happy.

I posed this question to my psychiatrist friend (who is well known in his field and a person I trust to give me a straight answer on things – even if I do secretly wonder if I’m being analyzed in the process).  His reply was something like:  “Most of my clients are wealthy, and they come to me because they are unhappy in their relationships.  I have a few poorer clients and they come to me because they are depressed about not having money… but, they are happy with their lives and relationships.”  Curious.

So again, is money the root of all evil?  Well, what does evil mean anyway?  Dictionary.com defines it as:

"Evil"

The devil? high taxes? (I’d say that one is accurate which then leads me to wondering who is in charge of taxing us… yes, agreed, those people are definitely evil), a supernatural force? a nasty bathroom smell??  Okay, well, let’s address the first one:

1.  The Devil.  Sadly, I don’t believe the devil takes money, checks, cash, credit so no… no amount of money can help you with that one.

2.  High Taxes.  Umm… I believe that might actually help you since our government is whacked enough to think that you should pay more taxes the less you make (of course this changes daily so I may be wrong about that).  So, having more money (like oodles more) might help you afford taxes (and insurance… but don’t get me started on that).

3.  Supernatural Forces.  Again, I’m thinking this one might be like the devil.  I mean, what would a supernatural force do with money?  Could they possibly use it to buy extra supernatural powers?  Maybe hire a “make objects move” tutor?  I don’t know, that one sounds suspect, I’m going to have to say, No.  Money won’t help you with Supernatural Forces.

4.  Nasty Bathroom Smells.  Yes, money can definitely help you with this.  So this one wins fo-sho.  You could buy flowers, cans of chemicals to kill not only the nasty smells but yourself and any other living creature nearby (which, btw, will end up costing you more money), you could put in more ventilation… maybe even a window… you could work on stinking up all of the outdoors for virtually no money whatsoever.

So, I have to say, that even though, I myself could use a little more money to get where I need to go… not much (but that is all relative to each individual), I still don’t think it would make me any happier.  Having less money means I need to be smarter.  And, being smarter makes me feel good… about me! For free.

Thoughts? On money? Evil? Nasty Bathroom Smells? 🙂  Please refrain from making me vomit if you insist on talking about ‘nasty bathroom smells’.

I’ve never said ‘STFU’ to anyone.  Mainly because if you were to say, “S-T-F-U” out loud, well, you would just sound stupid.  I’ve also never said, “Shut the f*** up” to anyone… oh, well, there were those mere 102 times but that hardly counts and I’ve never said it to my yoga students.  I’ve never even thought about saying that my yoga students.  Yet, I recently came across an article where a yoga teacher goes on to say, from what I could understand of it, that she sometimes feels like telling her students to: STFU and that she has actually snapped at her students.  Seriously?  I get that we all have ‘limits’, however, my yoga classes are not places where I decide to unleash fury.  Wearing a tank top, yoga pants, and a red angry face don’t really say “yoga” or “om” to me and I’m not sure if my students would have cowered or laughed (I’m thinking the latter).  I like to torture them in other ways like, “ok my yogis and yoginis!  we are going to hold this pose for-EVER”.  This would give me a giggle and give them the chance to unleash their own fury in my general direction.  It’s all good, I can handle it. What became my biggest obstacle with teaching yoga and I haven’t really shared this with everyone… so I might as well share it with EVERYONE, is that I had a hard time finding a ‘place’ for myself.  I would see the other yoga teachers completely high on their om’s and talking as if not a single hateful thought had ever breached the bright light of their 3rd eye.  I would secretly wonder if they went home to kick their dogs. I would show up nearly every morning, shaking, white knuckled over some asshole who’d pulled out in front of me (since I obviously OWN the entire highway) while I was driving recklessly to get to class.  As if!  Imagining that suddenly my car was a tank and I could somehow run this person over for having committed the horrible crime of interrupting my  need for speed.  Breathe.  (I actually own 3 shirts that say, well, they don’t actually speak, t-shirts don’t talk, but ‘read’ “breathe”).   Yet, I watched in awe and listened to my own yoga teachers and their very zen like qualities of speech… how graceful they moved and how almost ‘angelic’ they seemed and it all just made me want to punch a pillow. I’ve bought books on ‘how to be a better yoga teacher’, how to find your inner ‘om’, how to balance your chakras, Buddhism, Buddha, Mudras, Peace, Peace and Love, Peace and Light, Ashtanga Yoga, Yin and Yang yoga (just about any kind of yoga style you can imagine).  I became Reiki certified, although, it still seems odd to me that  I could be “certified” in something so important that could be attained in one afternoon.  This is perhaps where I struggled with my yoga teaching the most.  Teaching yoga seemed like this amazing gift that I could give to others.  I am not a ‘yoga expert’, I can’t bend myself into a pretzel even though I am flexible (depending on the day), and I love each and every one of my students…. With the exception of the one lady who decided to protest my class (in the middle of it) by standing at her mat, arms crossed, glaring at me (I might not love you too much, lady), but, I also didn’t become angry with her.  In fact, what I found to be interesting was this strange ‘pull for power’ that I felt in the immediate students around her.  It was almost as if they weren’t sure what to do and kept looking back and forth between us trying to decide who to follow.  There are some things that I feel fiercely about… making someone participate in class is not one of them.  Plus, she took my class again about 6 months later and came up and told me that it was the best class she’d ever had.  Victory! Yoga teachers are, I don’t want to say ‘required’, but, you definitely sense that you are held to a much, much higher standard than others.  There are rules to follow (being a vegetarian one of them, although, not everyone follows this) and I was constantly beating myself up for eating chicken…. which is practically vegetarian if it only consumes seeds in its lifetime, right??, for feeling the need to play some kind of get-from-my-house-to-yoga-class-faster-than-the-last-time game, for just not attaining some brighter ‘light’.  But the truth is – I’m not really comfortable in the “all Zen” area.  I tend to embrace the Warrior side of yoga a bit more enthusiastically.  Is this a bad thing?  hell no… and if you care to argue with me then I’ve got 4 letters for you “STFU”.  You can make fun of me later for actually saying the letters as opposed to the words (I really don’t like to swear at people) and then, maybe afterwards we can rub our 3rd eyes together and practice our “Oms”.  😀

Who Are You?

06/02/2012

I sometimes wonder if this is what those forms that say, “Tell Us About Yourself” really want to know.  I have a wide variety of standard answers that would fit into the little box that they offer, however, I find myself stating the usual (safe) suspects of, “dependable, honest, trustworthy…” when, in fact, what I would really like to say is: I would love to ride a dragon. I often fantasize about being a Samurai (and fighting in a battle where I win).  That I never quit and I rarely yield. That I believe Laughter is a cure for almost anything. That I want to be fearless and fierce every day of my life.  I want to lead.  I’d declare that I place the most value on my happiness… and on true love.  I want to inspire and be inspired.  I’d write how I too struggle with my own identity and insecurities.  I’d say how I try very hard to follow the Buddhist way of not holding onto things but it’s something I have to remind myself of frequently.  I exercise mindfulness and although I teach yoga and love to teach…. I often don’t make time for my own practice.  I’d add I believe that brilliant things can be learned in silence.  And, I’d end by saying, that a long time ago…. I was my own hero and that knowledge makes me fearless and fierce (almost everyday of my life).

There is no amount of space in a box that could possibly contain “Who I am”.  It changes every day.  But the one thing that never changes is that I always hope and strive to be the very best version of myself.

So, that’s me…. at least me right now 😉

Who Are You?

Image

Not.  Just put the chocolate milk down and step away slowly….

What IS our obsession with dairy products??  Ok, well, maybe it’s MY obsession with them but sadly, my love affair has come to an abrupt end.  How will the dairy companies survive without me??  (*sob… I miss you yogurt).

My love of all things dairy started as a child and kraft cheese slices.  I’m not entirely sure that these are actually cheese, but, they were yummy and I would eat them one after another.  When I was little we were unaware of the sad things that companies were doing to manufacture their foods so therefore, we were blissfully unaware of the dangers of bologna (!!) and Lucky Charms (omg!!) and if we didn’t have butter with every mean (and lots of it) then, surely there was cream of mushroom soup (on something).

As I got older, I started researching all things nutrition and became an advocate for my own health.  One of the foods that I’ve always felt safe eating is:  Dairy.  And dairy may be a healthy option for a lot of people… but it isn’t for me or my family and I’ll tell you how I figured this out.

Recently, I’d been noticing that on my neck and jaw line I was getting cystic acne.  Painful (painful!) cystic acne that would cover one 1/2 of my neck, close to my jaw line.  It was impossible to cover with make up or treat.  After trying all kinds of acne treatments, mostly all natural as I don’t care much for prescriptions, I was at a loss and went to the dermatologist.  The dermatologist gave me a prescription and sent me on my way.  She, in fact, gave me 2 prescriptions because she felt that maybe my hormones were out of whack and needed some help.  The trouble with that is the prescription she gave me could cause kidney failure.  Nice.  Cystic acne OR kidney failure…. trust me as obvious as that answer should be… kidney failure wasn’t looking like such a big risk.  I decided that as tempting as it was to rid myself of this problem with one pill I would take a couple of weeks to research cystic acne and another solution before taking any internal meds.

I’d begun to notice a correlation between the dairy I was eating (large amounts of organic yogurt) and acne.  I should mention here that I tend to find a food I like and then eat LOADS of it… ok, live off of it, but, yogurt is healthy right??  Ummm… that is debatable.

I decided to cut all dairy out of my diet while I was still researching and noticed that my acne cleared up almost immediately.  It was such a noticeable improvement that I felt there had to be something to it.  I found an article about dairy and cystic acne that suggested the hormones in dairy products could cause issues in our own bodies.  Funnily, I had thought by avoiding dairy products that were not organic, substituting goat cheese for a few cheeses, and avoiding dairy products that contained rBGH that I would not be at risk for some of the side affects associated with these.  However, the article, I read made an excellent point and that is… that ALL animals contain hormones.  So whether you are eating sheep, goat, or cow, you are still ingesting hormones (organic or otherwise).  It also touched on the fact that humans are the only animals that continue to drink milk after infancy (my adult cat would like to add that he rejects this comment vehemently).

I still do, occasionally, have dairy, although I try very hard to avoid it. Another symptom of dairy that I could find (or maybe this was too much dairy) is inflammation.  Dairy can also make the body ‘acidic’ which I am learning more about.  My own body happens to be soooo acidic that I have the magical ability to turn white gold… yellow.  Therefore, I can wear nothing but platinum.  Feel free to use this excuse yourself 😉 lol

So, if you are experiencing acne or hormonal issues, even inflammation of the joints…. of course, check with your doctor first (always check with your doctor) but you might want to consider removing dairy products from your diet if your only other option is a drug that might cause kidney failure (or other unpredictable symptom).

Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor of any kind (not spin, witch, or of the “Who” variety) 😉

Pay Attention!

10/26/2011

I was sitting, petting my not-so-little puppy this morning and started to wonder if she gets enough love and attention.  I have been busy the past 2 weeks and don’t feel like she’s been given the attention (or training) that I promised when I got her.  I then started to think about my children.  If I felt my puppy might not be getting enough attention then certainly my children weren’t either (as I spend a great amount more time with the pup).  And, that thought led to wondering about other people in my life and how I can sometimes be self-focused.  Other thoughts then arrived along with questions.  And the realization that I frequently say, “I’m too busy” for more things than I should.

I am quite fortunate in that my friends frequently email, call or text me to see how my life is.  They leave little notes on my Facebook wall or text letting me know that they are thinking about me.  They make time for me.  But, do I make time for them?  And how often when I am with them, am I thinking about the 100 other things that I need to do?  I have one friend, in particular, who is so great about texting me to say ‘hi’, to wish me a happy Wednesday or Friday or Tuesday or whenever.  I tried to think back to when I might have done something similar for her without provocation.  I couldn’t come up with more than a few times and I would consider myself a fairly thoughtful person.  But am I really?

How many times have we told someone we’ll ‘talk to them later’ or given our children, who want nothing more than a hug, a brush off… stating that we are too busy or worse… giving them a half second hug in return, as if their own love and thoughtfulness wasn’t appreciated.  I am definitely guilty of doing this on occasion.

So, the next week (yes, starting at the middle of a week and the end for some people!) try to offer the people in your life your full attention.  Listen to or spend quality (uninterrupted, unconditional) time with your friends, your family, your little people might be trying to say to you.  Listen with patience, try and put anything else you might be dealing with, out of your mind, turn the t.v. off, step away from the computer… whatever it is for you.  It can be so difficult especially when lives seem to be overstuffed with responsibilities and activities.  When we are trying to juggle chores, meals, work, and time for ourselves, but, what you are offering someone, when you give them your full attention, is a gift that is priceless.  You are letting that person know that they are important.  That you care about them… that they mean something to you. It might be the only time in their day where they get a chance to feel this way.

Maybe I am more guilty of this than most 🙂  But, I already know what a difference this will make with the people in my own life.   As for my puppy, she’s probably ok… we often eat our meals together, sleep in the same room (omg she is a snorer!!),  and she sent me out in a foot of snow, in my pajamas, to help her find her missing bouncy ball.  Thankfully I was paying attention or I would never have known where it was  🙂

Autumn…

09/18/2011

Autumn is a great time for cleaning.  People generally think of spring as the best time for “spring cleaning” but fall can be a great time too.  Except that it isn’t called “spring cleaning” and “fall cleaning” sounds like some sort of dangerous reality show.  When fall comes around, it’s like we can finally slow down a little. The days shorten, the weather becomes cooler, we get a sense that nature is going to sleep and that can help us to find some peace and relaxation in ourselves too.  However, most people, live in a world, where their lives aren’t going to suddenly become less stressful just because it’s a new season even though the changing of seasons does affect us mentally, emotionally, maybe physically our lives don’t really allow for any of that.  Jobs don’t become any less demanding, schedules don’t become suddenly full of free time, and our anxiety over what needs to be done doesn’t diminish much either.

Autumn has become a great time to give myself permission not to care about everything as much as usual… permission to get up and walk away from things without having the guilt I might normally associate with it.  During this time, it’s also the time I reevaluate my life.  I have a harder look at those elements in my life that might be causing me stress or unnecessary concern.  For me those things are, my diet, relationships, how I’m managing my time, and exercise.  I tend to live inside my head… constantly thinking about this or that.  I believe the technical name for it is:  Ruminating.  I ruminate.  So, to distract myself from ruminating, at least for the next month or so, I’ve decided to completely change my diet.  I’ve noticed that I am living a bit on carbs and protein bars (ones that contain chocolate, of course).  I’m not overweight, but, I’m not exactly feeling great either.

Eating a cleaner diet of veggies, water, unprocessed foods, only low, natural sugars is when I feel and look my best.  So, I’ve decided for this first week to eliminate:  SUGAR.  I LOVE sugar and have even noticed myself sort of sneaking it without being completely aware.  I seem to find things that contain sugar that I wouldn’t have necessarily considered ‘sugary’ (like ketchup).  I tend to use stevia and that works well for me, but, I’m still craving sugar.  There are some tricks for this.  We did this challenge last fall so I know that I, personally, have all the tips I need to avoid sugar and I have loads of knowledge on how horrible it is for the body.  However, this does not stop me… in fact, it doesn’t even slow me down when I want something sweet.

We’ve all heard about the “emotional” eater and other reasons why we might overeat.  Honestly, after hearing from a friend that visited I think we are just bombarded with an overabundance of overabundance which causes overindulgence.  It’s my excuse today in any case 🙂  I also came across this article which suggests that we have a section in our brain that you need to exercise to have better self-control.  It also mentions that by continuing to surround yourself with temptations can cause mental exhaustion.  I can relate to this.  If you’ve ever spent a certain amount of time trying not to eat a certain food(s), had an alcoholic drink, smoked a cigarette… whatever your ‘temptation’ might be, then you know just how exhausted this can leave you.

So, let’s start the process of cleaning up our diet by eliminating one thing.  Maybe sugar isn’t your “thing” and you’d prefer to eliminate bread, cheese, alcohol, etc then go ahead and chose that one thing that you feel is most important to you right now.  That one thing that will with your footing while we spend a month cleaning up our diets (we can tackle the basement another day) 😉

If you chose to do the ‘No Sugar’ challenge with me this week, then you might find this article in WikiHow on how to Stop Sweet Cravings.  If you chose to do something else… let us know how it goes for you 🙂  And, good luck!

 

Shortly after I wrote the blog about bullying, a number of things happened.  First of all, and most shocking (to me) was the story that hit the web about the little 7-year-old girl whose parents had plastic surgery on her ears to stop the bullying.  Her ears, according to the article I read on yahoo, were ‘cup’ ears… think Kate Hudson, Ron Howard, etc.  Usually people outgrow this… or maybe grow into their ears 🙂  But, this family decided that the only choice was plastic surgery. 

I could not imagine having surgery done on my child to avoid bullying, it seemed quite extreme.  I, however, know nothing about their situation but did wonder what kind of message that sends to people who bully and I also wondered if other options had been tried (I’m sure they were). Everyone has to make decisions they feel are best for their families even when they may not make sense to anyone else.

I originally wrote the blog about bullying when my son, who is in 6th grade in Colorado (not Chicago, not NY, not some hardcore city) came home and asked me what “ass-raping” was.  Naturally, I assumed that watching prison movies must be something new they were doing in school.  When he assured me they were not watching prison movies, I started asking what other kinds of ‘names’ they were learning.  He went on to tell me that kids at the school frequently call each other “bitch”, the “n” word, “sexual molesters”, and “gay” (if you don’t have a girlfriend and are male).  My son is also the minority at his school and is frequently made fun of for his pale skin and blue eyes.  It’s very hard to teach your child about racism when they are being targeted.  It hit home with how many people of many different races may have felt at one time. 

I heard more than one story about boys bullying girls into having sex, about sweet, smart kids going completely crazy on a bullies and trying to smash their heads in (and then being suspended for it), suicide, depression, failing grades, fear. Is bullying an epidemic?  So, what is the cure?  My brother suggests he pay a ‘visit’… lol.  No, we aren’t Italian in case you are wondering… we’re worse… we’re Flemish. 😉

One of the most drastic but best suggestions I’d heard was avoidance.  Normally, I’m not an advocate of avoidance, but, after considering carefully what it was I would be helping my own child avoid it was:  lack of self-worth, lack of confidence, pain, suffering, and peer pressure.  What I’ve heard in response to this is that I will be teaching my child to run away and not face their fears, but, am I seriously going to put my child is a situation that could hurt him mentally, emotionally, maybe physically to build character?  My job as a parent, is to keep my child safe.  He is my responsibility.  I’m raising an adult.  Someone who will need to go out and function successfully in our society.  Someone that may have a family of his own one day.  And, I just can’t see how dealing with bullying will help him in any of those situations.

So, for us, possibly home-schooling and learning some kind of martial arts that teaches respect for others and oneself is what I feel is best.  It’s true, I’m altering our lives to avoid bullying, same as the family, that had plastic surgery on their daughter… but, at what point would one ever stop trying to protect their children?  Or should?

Thanks for reading.

Bullying.  An issue that is worldwide and not gender or species specific.  I’ve seen footage of killer whales playing “kick ball” with a baby seal, chickens imposing their “pecking order” and monkeys bullying a lower ranking member of their troop.

Bullying at some point, may have affected all of us.  I was lucky enough to have been bullied (to the point where I thought I might be beaten up) once.  It was over a note that was passed in high school and a misleading bit of information.  It all started when my friend, who will remain anonymous, Jenn… I mean, Gertrude, and I were passing notes in class (getting the most out of our public education) and she was saying how she thought “Scott” was soooo cute.  Now, I’m not exactly sure how… but, the girlfriend of Scott intercepted this note and my ‘friend’ told her that I was the one who thought ‘Scott’ was cute.  I remember understanding that her fear was insecurity based, not to mention, that she ran with a group much different from my own, AND I was a bit afraid of their group.  They would corner me in the stairwell, shove me into my locker, and generally threaten me on a daily basis.  This was a loooong time ago, long enough that I should not remember all those details, but, it left an impression.  A couple actually (and no, in case you are wondering… none of them permanent).  But, the one thing that had really scared me the most, was that they really didn’t care what the truth was… they enjoyed bullying me.

Why do people bully?  Maybe understanding the “why” of it can assist in knowing how to deal with it properly.  I think we’ve seen all too often when a gang of people bully and terrorize someone for something they may not understand.  Because they were “told” to do this by another?  Because they fear being “bullied” and outcasts themselves?  Because they need that validation that badly?  Maybe because they like to pick on others… who knows.

We are seeing on youtube and other places about bullies taking it to the point where a suicide is committed.  Or, where the bullied turn and end up bringing weapons to the school to do a little intimidating (or worse) of their own.  So, what is the answer?

I’ve posed this question on my facebook account:  Looking for a few creative / non-violent way of dealing with bullies.  So far, I’ve received a reply about using tennis balls and duct tape and another stating that they prefer to do the bullying with psychological, intimidation, etc.  lol  Now, I just need one that suggests wearing a Jason mask and wielding an axe and my list will be complete.

I’ve seen little blurbs on using humor to deal with bullying and also to ignore it.  Ignore someone picking on you?  In theory, that is a really great suggestion, however, in the real world, you just want to kick that person’s ass.  So… I thought I would do a search on the internet to see what suggestions it has for dealing with bullying.  Here are just a few suggestions and links from friends, the web and my own experience:

  1. One of my most trusted friends says to enroll your child (or self) in a martial arts class.  I think this can be excellent especially if the person who is being bullied struggles with self-esteem and confidence.  Martial arts teach children and adults about control, about body awareness, and using your mind instead of emotions.
  2. For my own children, I think seeing that the world is full of people outside of the 100 or so in their class is another way to help deal with this.  I have signed up my son (and I) for volunteer work in a serving kitchen once a week.  It may not help with being bullied, but, it will broaden his horizons and put him in touch with dealing with people who are more interested in the “greater good” than what his hair looks like that day.
  3. This article at kidpower.com has a lot of great advice on how to handle yourself and bullying situations:   http://www.kidpower.org/resources/articles/safety-tips-bullying.html has lots of great information on how to deal with bullying.
  4. When I was in my 20’s I took kickboxing (real kickboxing… not cardio kickboxing).  I worked one on one with a martial arts teacher for over a year.  One of the best lessons I learned from him was to stand up tall.  Walk with confidence and don’t show fear even when I felt it.  I honestly, think that advice alone may have saved me a few  times when I was alone in vulnerable situations.  So, whenever you are feeling scared or insecure in yourself… sit or stand up, pull your shoulders back and look straight ahead.  Bullies are going to be less inclined to pick on someone who looks confident than someone who’s shoulders are hunched over and their head is down.
  5. Get help.  Call a teacher or a friend (although we are all tempted to call our hot-headed friend who we know will do some serious arse kicking… refrain) 😉
  6. This article here on how to “Deal with Bullying at School” at wikihow is good too:  http://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-School-Bullies

Lastly, at least for right now, with all of the cyber bullying that goes on it is easier to block those people, report them, or avoid them.  Don’t give bullies full-time access to your life or the lives of your children.

We all may know someone or have someone in our life that enjoys getting their little “digs” in.  Putting you down in a way to make themselves feel better only you can decide if that is the kind of relationship you want in your life OR, if you are the antagonist… are you the villain in your own story?

The whole point of this blog, is to try to make our lives a little better a week at a time.  Some of it will stick and some of it we will be happy to abandon (like the week without sugar) 🙂

Hopefully, the links here will help you or someone you know who is dealing with bullying.  Never hesitate to share your constructive thoughts 🙂

Your Challenge: This week, make yourself aware of any bullying going on in your life, a friend’s or your children’s and implement one or two of the suggestions above and don’t forget to check out the links… great source of information there.

I was working out the other day.  I like to lift weights… yes, I’m a real She-Ra.  Okay, not really… but anyway, that’s not the point here… stop looking at me!  I was in the free-weight section and it’s mostly populated by men (no, of course that’s not why I go to that area! lol) and I started looking around… and something occurred to me.  People that workout look constipated.

You think I’m joking, but, I’m not.  Next time you see someone running down the road or at your gym or wherever you go to workout, look at the expressions on people’s faces.  They look constipated (and maybe a little bit mean… but being constipated might make you feel mean… anyway).  Which is ironic because when you workout, your body releases endorphins which are supposed to make you feel happy.  So, maybe people really are constipated… I have no idea.

But then I had an idea… well, it was more like an idea for an experiment because I love to experiment.  I started smiling at people when they would look at me.  Normally, I do smile a lot and I like to smile at strangers, most of the time people will smile back, however, at the gym this is what happens:  Me:  Walking towards a constipated man.  We make eye contact.  I smile at him.  He: Stops dead in his tracks.  The constipated look falls off his face.  Which is replaced by a scowl (and beady eyes).  Me: (okay I made up the part about the beady eyes) Take 2 giant steps to the left and let Mr. Constipated pass.  Luckily, I do have a friend there that smiles nearly as much as I do (Gabe) but he’s getting paid to be there and I’m paying some crazy amount… aha! now I know why people there look constipated. 😉

Can smiling change your life?  Absolutely it can!  Now that is something to smile about for sure 🙂

Once, in one of my yoga classes… it was packed with about 60 people.  And, they looked a little grouchy too, so, I’d heard that Thich Nhat Hanh had tried this (don’t quote me on that) and decided I would like to try it too (and yes, I was a bit terrified).  All you had to do was take your hands to the sides of your body… and tickle yourself.  So, of course, at first no one laughs (and my anxiety sky rockets), then, suddenly, I see smiles and hear giggles and then laughter.  Then, the entire class was laughing (except for someone in the back who I believe truly was constipated).

So, what are some solid reasons we should smile?

1.  It will make you more attractive.  Seriously.  Haven’t you ever seen a person smiling and felt drawn to them?  You want to know why they are happy… just seeing their smile makes you smile, which brings us to,

2.  Smiling Is Contagious.  When one person smiles it can make other people smile… you can brighten a whole room.  You can be the sunshine that everyone is drawn to.  Smile.

3.  Smiling can make you look younger.  It strengthens the muscles of the face and makes you appear younger.   You will feel younger, you will have more confidence, and these are all things that help keep us looking and feeling youthful (I think 3 is a perfect age for me).

4.  Smiling can make you HAPPY.  Yep, when you are sad or mad or hurting…. maybe you feel like crying… you just smile.  And, all of a sudden you feel like smiling.  You feel happy.  It can’t be a fake smile… that will never work!  But, the muscles in your face work because your brain tells them to.  So, if you make the muscles work… then, maybe it tricks our brains into thinking we are happy.  Try this test:  Smile.  Now think of something negative without losing your smile.  It’s really hard to do!  We want to be happy 🙂  It’s natural for us (well, most of us anyway).

5.  Smiling: lowers blood pressure, releases endorphins (yeah, those same things working out is supposed to do), relieves stress, releases serotonin.  Smiling is a natural drug.  And, it stimulates your parasympathetic system (this among many many other functions, helps us to relax, slows our heartbeat… LOL… relaxes the sphincter muscles… omg… I think I peed myself.)

Your challenge this week?  Smile. Smile. Smile. 🙂

If you are really at a loss and have no idea how to smile then this article on “How To Smile” will be perfect for you:

http://www.wikihow.com/Smile

And, a warning:  Hmmm… it was a little more difficult to think of a warning that someone might need with this ‘challenge’, but, I can definitely say smiling while riding a motorcycle… big no no.  Big, bug teeth… not attractive.  Ack.  Actually, I thought of another one.  There was some cop show on at the gym and this officer had this little 2 year old… an apparent hardened criminal, in handcuffs.  I guess this little… candy burglar had snuck some candy… without paying!  Shocking.  Everything was going fine until… the kid smiled at the officer.  That’s when he actually got cuffed.  The officer said, “I knew when that kid grinned… I had to take him down hard”.  Okay, that’s not exactly what he said, but, I can’t be expected to remember everything!  And, maybe the kid was more like… 14 and maybe it was more like a smirk… 😉   The point is… don’t smile at an officer while being arrested for stealing candy! ~Toodles