Mindfulness and Meditation

Tips for reducing anxiety on the spot

I’ve been having a very difficult last few weeks juggling stress at work, family life and the monotony of day to day. During the time I’ve realized there are two different ways to deal with this anxiety. There is the short term and the long term management of this stress.

Today I am focusing on the short term. The “how the hell do I get through another day (or hour or minute) like this” solutions. When you’re stressed, it’s not often that your issues are resolved quickly (or ever sometimes). So, you have have a way to reach down deep and find a way to carry on to the next minute so you even have a fighting chance to get through to the other side.

  1. Meditate – If you haven’t already started meditating, download the Headspace app and start the trial version. Or use any number of guided meditations you can find online now. The breathing and mind-quieting techniques you will learn will be the most valuable tool in your arsenal.
  2. Put someone else’s needs first – Doing this instantly takes you out of the self-loathing mindset. You may just put a smile on someone’s face or fulfill a long ignored need or obligation, but either way you are not focusing on yourself and this helps stop the viscous cycle in your mind.
  3. Go out – Change your scenery, take a walk, take a different route to work, just do something to change up your environment.  Your brain will notice new things or be distracted by new challenges or just be uplifted by the sunshine.  This is a change you don’t have to work to hard at that can make an instant difference.
  4. Declutter – A messy desk or room or to-do list can make you feel overwhelmed and buried under loads of confusion.  When you clear out the mess, your brain is able to realistically envision what is on your plate and ignore the garbage.
  5. Do one thing – Anything.  Sometimes you can’t even drag yourself out of bed or off the couch, however, just getting up and doing something else will occupy your brain with something other than dwelling on the misery.  Also, accomplishing something, anything, can send a small burst of triumph  your brain and get you moving in the right direction.  Wash the dishes, fold some laundry, write in your journal, call your mother, any number of things will qualify.
  6. Stop dwelling on it – Your mind is a steal trap when it comes to toxic thoughts.  Once those thoughts cease to be helpful, though, they need to be dropped.  A common technique in meditation is “noting and releasing”.  This is where you note the thoughts your having and then refocus on the present.  Every time the thought arises, you acknowledge it’s there (“hello, demon thoughts”), then go back to your task at hand (“I have work right now, I’m not able to focus on you”).  This becomes easier and easier the more you practice.
  7. Wallow in it – This is directly contrary to the last two items, but sometimes letting your brain take the misery as deep as it can go will allow you to basically exhaust the cloud of anxiety that surrounds you.  Allow your mind to envision the worst scenarios and take you to the darkest place, cry your heart out and wallow in the self-misery.  Then, miraculously, at some point, your brain gets tired of doing that, bored of it really, and will make the decision for you to get up and move on with your day.

Finally, and maybe most important, realize that your brain is a stress machine!  It is why we still exist on the planet and have not been eaten alive by everything bigger and stronger than us.  We fear, we limit, we stress.  It is how our brains are wired.  Understanding that your downward spiral of pain may not be a direct reflection of the world around you, but rather the symptomatic results of 100,000 years of evolution is really the FIRST and BEST step towards a happy, healthy and content life.

Repurposed Life

It’s not me, it’s you.

During my last meditation with the Headspace app, I decided to focus on “Acceptance” because I have been struggling lately with the gap between the life I want and the life I have. The moderator asked, “Who or what are you resisting most in your life right now?” Bingo, my job!

However, as I further reflected on the thoughts that came rushing into my head, it wasn’t fear or resistance to me physically doing my job, it was fear and resistance to all of the people I’m around every day at my job! It was for the politics and the back-stabbing, for the personal agendas and the hair-brained schemes.

My company is about to enter yet another cycle of disruption due to corporate greed and empire building. I see what’s going on all round me. Executives are fighting for their jobs with the new organization by beating on the backs of the workers to over perform and stay under budget. Workers are fighting for themselves and their teams, with little to no regard of the big picture at stake. The big picture, however, is rarely addressed in the short term goals, yet it’s addressed majestically in the long term vision. The long term vision, however, remains foggy.

It’s not really my work that I hate, it’s the people all around me. I hate the politics, I hate the games, I hate the manipulation, I hate the constantly changing agenda. It is the people who do these things, not the business.

Most environments have these types of dynamics to some degree, but I think there are certain, special industries that foster and nurture, even breed, a certain slimy, self-righteous group of elitists who really weigh heavily on my conscience.

This is what is driving me everyday to find a new way to live, to not depend on the game, only to coexist peacefully with it (maybe even take advantage of it, from time to time), but certainly, certainly to never allow it to overwhelm my soul or darken my spirit.

Repurpose and DIY

Don’t Toss, Re Use

Check out these super great Repurposing ideas. Thanks Kelley’s DIY!


Before you toss away that egg carton or piece of old rug, think of something else you can use it for. Stuck? Well here are some wonderful reuses of those trash items.


Use an Old Eyeglass Case for Hardware Storage

Do you have a bunch of old eyeglass cases that you don’t use anymore?  I re purposed them to store small things like drill bits and screws. I keep it in my toolbox until needed. It’s so much easier having them all together in one place, and not have to dig around everywhere to find the right bit.


Bread Tabs

Not sure which cord goes with which electronic device plugged into your power strip? Save yourself the hassle of following the cord from the plugin to the device for each item you need to move by labeling them. Plastic bread tabs are perfect for labeling cords that are plugged into…

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Repurposed Life

7 Reasons why I am definitely going to the Bad Place when I die…

My daughter recently got me to start watching a Netflix show called The Good Place, which is actually about a bunch of people that go to the Bad Place when they die and are judged on their transgressions. However, what gets them to the Bad Place is not really bad stuff like killing people or stealing, it’s the little stuff. The stuff like ignoring people when they need help, not doing nice things for the right reasons, or driving people around you crazy with your indecision, are what ultimately dooms these people to the Bad Place. (P.S. if there’s more to the show, no spoilers, I’m just illustrating a point.) So, I thought it would be beneficial to my personal growth to talk through all the little things that may send me to the Bad Place someday or maybe, just maybe, I’m not so different than everyone else…

So, here goes…

1. I don’t call my mother. Or my father. Or any of my aunts or cousins or anyone else who I’m supposed to be keeping in touch with. Don’t get me wrong, I talk to these people, just mostly when they call me or we get together for family gatherings, etc. I am the WORST about calling people.

2. I don’t send thank you cards. I mean, sometimes I do, like for big occasions like a wedding or baby shower (I think I mailed those…). Occasionally I’ll make a thank you phone call (see # 1), text or email; but this is the exception, not the norm.

3. I don’t like to get up early. I know this is when grown-ups are supposed to do all their stuff before the rest of the world wakes up, but I hate doing that. I would rather lay in bed until I’ve snoozed my alarm 45 times and it is 3 minutes past the latest possible time I can get up and still make it to work on time. Which leads to #4.

4. I am always late. Everywhere I go and everything I do, I am late. I feel I am physically incapable of leaving with enough time to get somewhere on time. Or rather, I leave at the time when, if all traffic parted the way for me, I made every light, and made the trip 3 minutes faster than I’ve ever driven it, I might get there on time.

5. I self medicate. This is term for when you use substances to forget your problems instead of dealing with your issues or seeing a medical professional about them. This sounds bad, I know, but really it just means that I drink alcohol and well, do…other things when I’m stressed; which is mostly all the time. Welcome to adulthood

6. I’m super lazy. I am not one of those people who knocks out 3 projects every weekend or won’t go to bed until the dishes are done. Nope. I’ve left an entire spaghetti dinner sitting on the stove for multiple days before washing the pots out! I would just rather sit and relax…which, as a mom, is not often.

7. I procrastinate like a professional. I wait until literally the last possible moment to gets started on any task. If there was an award for procrastinating, I would win it, but never get around to picking it up.

I’m sure I could go on, but just a couple of these things is enough to solicit “tsk, tsk’s” from your mother and disappointed head shaking from your boss.

On the flip side, I also meditate, do yoga, play make believe with my kids, provide the primary income in my family, have a great relationship with my husband, don’t appear to have mentally devastated anyone close to me and haven’t taken us into to bankruptcy even once.

I’m quite sure there is a special place in hell for people like me with all my tardiness and inconsideration.

But until then, I will try to ignore my raging guilt and maybe, just maybe, try to do a little better at these things when I can…

Repurposed Life

Bring me your tired, your hungry, your stressed out to the max!

While this blog is about a lot of different things, it is mostly to help people get through this amazing, miraculous, terrifying, awe-inspiring, oppressive and completely humbling life.

I know life can be hard. It really helps to know there are other people challenged in the same way we are.

I consider myself a very normal person with no special abilities. However, I am also a person striving for another way.

I want to appeal to other people who are also searching for another way. People who are tired and bored with their current way of life. Those who can’t stand to go to the office one more day and work hard for someone else’s dream. I want to inspire those who have resigned their expectations in life to nothing more than a sizable savings account and a comfortable retirement. I want to tell mom’s, dad’s, kids, that you can be content with today while pushing yourself like crazy for something incredible tomorrow.

My audience is someone who wants to repurpose their life into something more meaningful, adventurous, calm, peaceful and joyous. Someone who is a kid at heart and still doesn’t like sitting at the grown up table.

Repurposed Life

What this blog is all about

Life is really hard. There are things in life that one person learns, yet another person may never figure out.

I’m working really hard on trying to figure out some tricks that might make this life a little easier for me. When I do, I want to jump up and say “Eureka! By George, I think I’ve got it!” Then I want to run through the town telling everyone what I’ve just discovered.

I want this blog to be a platform for sharing these ideas.

Also, I think we are all unique. But not so unique that there isn’t a million other people out there who like a lot of the same things I do.

Travel, Art, Disney, DIY, Repurposing, Super Hero movies, Musicals, Dance, Yoga…

However, enough unique that I don’t know very many folks who can relate to the way we think and the priorities we have in our family.

So, I’d like to build a community of like-minded individuals, where we focus on fun, acceptance, mindfulness, creativity and a little bit of science and history to tie it all together.

I think I have some good ideas about managing stress and goals and kids and marriage and plenty of life’s other pitfalls, and probably some bad ideas too. But this is a place to explore these ideas and get people talking about them. You have to be able to test your hypothesis to see if it will stand. This is were these ideas get tested.

Repurposed Life

Unrealistic Expectations for Women

These days, women are provided with more opportunities in life than we have ever been in recorded history. And I say “hoorah” to this! We need to continue to push for equality in every aspect of our lives, our culture and the society around us.

But, as a woman, I must say, it’s getting harder and harder to live up to all the hype!

In the media now, we are portrayed as goddesses. We are the warriors, the super heros, the political mastermind, the attorney for the drug cartel. Yet while accomplishing all this, we are also the wife and the mother and the best friend and the cook!

For goodness sakes, the other night on Netflix, I watched a woman lay political waste to a half dozen men, clean up a dead body and it’s surrounding pool of blood, provide foster care for the 6 month old baby of said dead guy, AND lay out a solid breakfast the next morning for her family complete with pancakes, bacon and orange juice!

SERIOUSLY! How can I live up to these kind of expectations?

(I mean that pool of blood alone…I can’t even begin to imagine how many times she had to rinse those towels.)

See here, I am not cooking breakfast the day after I have to clean up a dead guy! I don’t even cook breakfast now!

Yet young, impressionable women are watching these shows, not expecting to ever mop up a dead guy’s pool of blood, but thinking surely they can at least put out a full breakfast for their family every morning.

NO! I mean if that’s your thing, and you love doing it, then yes, by all means….but if you’re a working mom and not a morning person, if you have babies, toddlers or young kids and morning is like a visit to a Victorian insane asylum, then oh my gosh, just getting out of the house each day without losing your mind is all you need to burden yourself to achieve!

We need to be realistic about what is achievable on a day to day basis as a wife, mom, worker, friend and world conquerer.

I think we tend to assume that we need to cram all our awesomeness into a single point in our lives, but the truth is that we only have finite amount of energy and focus in any given day. Our bodies and mind are not physically capable of “doing it all”. And what inevitably happens is that some of the balls drop and we beat ourselves up endlessly about it.

TV portrays a woman accomplishing all of her tasks in a single day and still finding time to clean up the dishes before she goes to bed. But we need to start realizing that, while we are capable and strong, we are also human and limited.

Understand and accept that you cannot achieve it all today, and be at peace with the top few things you prioritize (and make sure these are your priorities, not what is defined by some TV show). You will find yourself with more confidence, more focus and more energy for the present so that you can dream, plan and prep for when there is an opening in your calendar.

What the...?

What the… Painted doors

This falling asleep space for my 3 year old tends to bring on some unusual thoughts. From last night’s session:

“Mom, would you rather have a painted door?”

Me: “Rather than what, honey?”

“Rather than a brown one.”

Hmmmm. Then a few minutes later…

“Would you rather hide or paint doors?”

What sick person is forcing my 3 year old to paint doors all day long????

What the…?