Pillow Fight

The term pillow fight takes on a whole new meaning when you get a bit older and your pillow can become a huge source of strife. Your pillow is one of your most valuable possessions, if, you have the right one. It's been years since I've had a pillow that I'm happy with, and believe me, my linen closet is starting to look like the back room at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Piles of rejected pillows.

Like most of you I'm sure, I toss around a good part of the night. On one side, onto my back, next side, and all the while turning the pillow, punching the pillow, squishing the pillow as I go.

I've tried the down pillows (too soft and flat for me), the memory foam (feels too constrictive), and even toyed with the synthetics, the cheapest of the bunch, which are usually okay only for a night or two. Pillows in their new packages indicate, side-sleeper or back-sleeper, or a certain position. Does anyone have just one position? I'm not sure what kind of sleeper I am. Oh great, another one of those soul searching questions.

Anyway, the pillow is of utmost importance when it comes to a good night's sleep, and we all know how important sleep is to our good health. It takes a lot of work and experimentation to find the right one. I'm still searching. But here is a guide that at least helps break down the difference of all those pillow types out there. If you've found the perfect pillow, I'd love to hear about it!



The Need to Please

When I was a teenager in the early 70’s, it was a time wedged between two schools of thought. The newer “women’s liberation” movement and the views of the women who came before me, generations of women who accepted their lot in life and fulfilled their womanly and motherly requirements without question.

It was a time when opportunities were opening up, but a lot of us weren’t sure if we wanted to take them. Babies and husbands, little clean houses with well manicured yards, that should be enough, right?  For many women it was, and then again, for many women, it wasn’t.  But true liberation comes when you can make this choice, or any choice for that matter, for yourself, and not feel pressured into choosing one over the other. No one should make you feel guilty for whichever path you take, and in this case, especially other women.  Either choice is a good one, and the right one, as long as it is your choice.

But I was thinking more about how women (I’m talking about myself here, and many women of my generation) as liberated as we’ve become, still have the need to be the “yes” girl. No rocking the boat, wanting to be liked, never asking for the raise they so deserve or even thinking to negotiate. Women who feel it is their role to please, that it is their duty to make everyone else’s life around them better, more comfortable, even if it comes at the expense of their own health and happiness. 

As important to our health as any food we eat, is the reduction of stress in our lives. Too many women are trying to do too many things.  Working outside the home long hours and still coming home to the same role of caretaker, endless household chores, good mother, the good wife or partner, and it has taken a toll.  Women are exhausted.  Enter IBS, digestive issues, depression, headaches and numerous other stress related physical ailments.

We are pleasers by nature. We bend over backwards to fill everyone’s needs, whether it be our children, spouse, friends, family, boss, or co-workers.  Now, when women are asked to do something and they don’t want to do it, they usually end up doing it anyway or they feel they have to make up a thousand excuses (some are downright lies) to get out of it.

For example, it could be something as simple as a friend calls and asks you to go to dinner with her on Thursday night.  You really don’t want to. You’ve had a busy week and all you want to do is go home after work, get in you pj’s and watch a movie.  But instead of telling your friend that, out of fear of hurting her feelings, you will concoct some sort of story, make up something that indicates you are already committed.  

One of the many spiritual teachers I was lucky enough to have known, was a woman named Shirley, who lived in Sonoma. She gave me one of the most important pieces of advice that I ever received in my life.  She advised me, that on those occasions, all we have to say is “No”.  Politely, of course.  We just have to say “Thanks for the invite, but I already have plans on Thursday.” And you do.  It is not a lie.  Your plans are to be with yourself.  Watching a movie, taking a bath, cutting your toenails.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  It is time you are spending with you.  And we all need that desperately in our lives. Now if our friend/business associate or whoever has any manners, he/she will not question you about your plans.  And if they do, and they give you a hard time about it, you might want to consider what kind of friend this is.  

There is nothing wrong with giving, in fact, it is one of our most wonderful attributes. But in order to give we must keep ourselves full, and we can't do that if we never get time to replenish our supply.

So if you find it difficult to say no, practice that line and be ready to use it next time you want some down time.  “Thank you, but no. I already have plans that day/night/time”. Practice saying “no” ~ and saying “yes” to time spent with yourself, to rejuvenate, to breathe, to give you the energy to keep on giving.

For more information about health coaching, click here to visit my website ~

For the sake of argument

You want to be right, or you want to be happy?

I know many have said this, including Wayne Dyer, but I think the first time I heard it was years ago on Dr. Phil. There is plenty of his wise advice that I agree with, such as, if you didn’t get the love or support you needed as a child, give it to yourself now.  Or, being from a broken home is better than living in one.

But the advice, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” needs to have the line drawn somewhere. By asking this question, it is also asking us to possibly give up our strong beliefs, our value systems and our true essence.

I get that a lot of times ego gets in the way. That we think our own point of view is so important and superior that we must express it, and we fight for the listener to understand it.

Now, if this saying applies to simple things in life, like, in a simple conversation, I thought they used egg noodles in Chow Mein, and your partner is arguing that they use rice noodles, well, you just might want to surrender and let it go. It really is not that important.  Sometimes it seems we argue just for the sake of arguing. And there are many of these things that can come up on a daily basis, and it’s best to, as they say on the east coast, "fuhgeddaboudit."

But, on the other hand, if it is something that really matters to you, something that you need to express, that is a part of your belief system, a part of who you are, and you give in, in order to keep the peace, then you are being dishonest with yourself. And you will find that the more you do this, the more it will begin to eat away at you. The trick is discovering what to keep and what to let go. And, that's not always easy.

So, do you want to be someone other than who you really are? That is the question that you need to weigh carefully. True health can’t be ours if we are living a lie, if we are not speaking our truth so as not to rock the boat. Because once we start giving in, little by little, letting go for the sake of argument, letting go so that someone else can be right, eventually we will no longer be right or happy.

What are your thoughts on this?

Dear Sir, I write to you today concerning a large sum of money

Stress is one of the biggest factors when it comes to the state of our health. As I've said before, you can eat the healthiest diet, exercise regularly, but if your mind and body are being assaulted by stress, it is pretty much a guarantee that your health will be compromised.

In today's world with all of the gadgets, inventions and technology that we have, designed to make our lives easier, it sure can cause us to "lose it" when it isn't working properly. Like, for example, when your wifi goes down and you can't get online, or the garbage disposal backs up on Thanksgiving after the big meal, or heaven forbid, the cable TV goes down and the latest episode of House of Cards is about to start, and instead you spend hours on the phone with some customer service rep in another country.

But one of the things that can wreak havoc on our lives, and can be more than just a mere nuisance, is Spam. It can turn your life upside down.  And while it seems many of us are getting rather Spam savvy, a lot of us are still confused and scared by what shows up in our inbox. 

Spam is coming at us from all directions, our emails, on Craigslist, on home rental sites, just about everywhere. It seems that the Spammers can't really be monitored so the only solution I see is to educate ourselves. 

So, first and foremost, when you get ANYTHING from institutions like your bank, the IRS, credit card company, or PayPal via email stating that they need account info from you, or any other Urgent message, disregard it. If you look closely at any of these emails, something will be off.  Like their spelling. Or punctuation. If there is truly an account problem you will receive a phone call. And, if you think that possibly the email is valid, do not respond, but instead you should call whatever company is emailing you directly. And not to the number on the email, if there is one, but to the correct number that you have in your records or that you can locate legitimately. 

I mean seriously, are you kidding me? I keep getting this email from, what they would like me to believe, is PayPal. I love the use of the word "here" in the body of this email. But many people won't even see that ~ and they will panic and respond immediately to the Update Your Info button.

Your Account Will Be Limited.
Dear customer,
Your Account Will Be Limited , Until We Here From You . To Update Your Info . Simply click on the web address below (or copy and paste the link into your browser):
Update Your Info

So what I am asking all of you, is to look closely when you receive these types of things and share this information with others you know, especially older people who aren't quite as tech savvy and have a strong sense of "doing the right thing" ~ they are extremely vulnerable and the Spammers know it. Heaven knows, we don't need this kind of bulls*#t causing us any more stress in an already stressful world.

Every time I watch the fruit turn rotten ~

A few years ago I was watching Deepak Chopra being interviewed on TV and he was asked, "What is the one thing you would recommend to people that could improve their health and overall well being?” His response was, "meditate." He didn't say quit smoking, quit drinking or quit overeating, though as obvious as that advice would've been, I still expected something along those lines.  So it actually came as a surprise when the number one piece of advice above all else that he gave was to meditate.  Even if only 5 minutes a day.  Now I believe that we all have five minutes, somewhere in our day.  I usually take at least 15 or so just to stare off at nothing first thing in the morning, death grip on my coffee cup, as if my life depended on it, and some mornings, it probably does.

But then the next morning as I was scurrying around the living room getting ready for work with Good Morning America on in the background, I saw Ted Williams, the homeless man with the "golden voice” turned overnight celebrity, being interviewed.  I really didn't catch that much except to notice how cleaned up he looked from the photo they had plastered of him days before all over the Internet.  Shaking my cynical head, figuring if he didn't get the book deal he would at least qualify to be one of the next "celebrities" chosen to be on Dancing with the Stars.  Yes, right there along side Bristol Palin and Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino. Only in America, as they say.  But a positive thought also came to my mind, which was, "amazing - I'm happy for him.  What a difference a day makes." I heard him talking with his radio voice about his drug and alcohol addictions and then he said something that caught my attention. He made some mention of being told at one time to "meditate before medicate" -

That stopped me in my tracks. Especially since I had been suffering with a two-day migraine and I believe a pinched nerve in my lower back.  I meditated daily from the beginning of my Feng Shui training in the late 1990’s until a few years ago, when for some unknown reason, I started slacking.  To hear about meditating twice within a 12-hour period, and especially from an unsuspecting source, was sign enough for me.  More like a loud shout from above in surround sound to get back on the program.  

The benefits of meditation have been researched, studied and touted by many and just like everything else that is good for me, I tend to jump on the bandwagon for a short while and then secretly jump off when I think no one is looking.  Hence, the treasure chest of vitamins in my cabinet, the bottle of Bragg's unfiltered apple cider vinegar that I vow to drink each morning, the walks I intend to take daily, the green botanical print yoga mat shoved in the far end of the closet, and the crisper full of brightly colored vegetables full of vitamins A, C and K, that always seem to collapse and wilt before I get a chance to eat them.  And just like one of the lyrics in a song by Dan Fogelberg, "every time I watch the fruit turn rotten, I tell myself I'll try a little harder next time."

But meditating should be easy, right?  We don't have to get showered, don't have to get dressed, don't have to swallow a vitamin capsule the size of a gherkin pickle that has that horrible fish oil aftertaste, don't have to exert any muscles. We just get to sit there, totally silent, relaxing, breathing, getting empty.  We don't need any special training or any special equipment. It is free.  Why then the resistance? We are worth the investment. We are worthy of good health and well being.

So, if any of this sounds familiar to you and you want to get back into (or for some, just start) taking time for self-care, here is a simple meditation from Deepak Chopra that is a very pure and calming meditation.  There are so many ways to meditate, from focusing on the breath to saying a certain mantra, but after doing this one I felt very peaceful and knew that I wanted to do it again and thought you might want to try it too.  Start with 5 minutes each morning, maybe even 10-15 minutes, and who knows, you might get it up to 20 minutes a day in no time.

From Deepak Chopra - 

1.  Put your feet firmly on the ground so that they do not cross. (sitting in a chair or on the sofa)
2.  Put your hands on your lap with your palms facing up.
3.  Close your eyes and pay attention to your heart.
4.  Experience gratitude by thinking of blessings and counting your blessings.  Be grateful for everything good in your life.  Let your ego move out of the way.
5.  Recall an experience of love with someone you love or someone who loves you.
6.  Keep your attention on your heart and ask yourself a few questions like the following: Who Am I? Do not try to figure out the answer, just let your heart answer and guide you.  What do I want?  What is my purpose?  What makes me happy?
7.  Observe all of the sensations in your body.  This step is all about simple awareness of your body.  Bring awareness into your breath and breathe air in through your nostrils.  Observe as the air moves in and out.
8.  Keep your eyes closed and keep your attention on your heart.  Focus on sensing your heart beat as either a sound or a sensation.
9.  Move your awareness into your open hands and fingertips.  See if you can sense your heartbeat in your fingertips as a warm, tingling sensation or mild throbbing.

10.  Bring awareness back to your heart and relax you body.  Yawn, move, or stretch if you want.  Take half a minute and gently open your eyes.