Do you like to plan ahead? Many of life’s transitions can be made more smoothly with planning. When I had my babies, knowing that there is a part of labor and delivery called “transition” that is particularly intense helped me be prepared. Expecting what was coming, and having a plan to deal with it, made it less scary and more possible to ride it through.
There are transitions, however that come unbidden and unexpected. How do you ride through those times? In much the same way that the relaxation and breathing skills I practiced while I was pregnant helped me through transition during childbirth, practicing when it’s easy helps you get prepared for what’s ahead, no matter what surprises life delivers.
Practice when it’s easy! How do you stay centered, well-fed in body, mind, and heart? For me, I practice when it’s easy with regular time for meditation, time in nature, and frequent pauses during my day to take a few deep breaths and remember that aspect of myself that is connected to source. It doesn’t keep some life events from rocking my world and driving me to my knees, but it does provide a well of strength I can draw on in rough times.
At Twirl, we make gifts that carry a message, a reminder that we are connected. My Twirl throw is a calming weight on my lap as I sit in meditation in the morning, or a warm wrap around my shoulders if the morning is cool. Yesterday, my little bracelet with the Twirl logo on it reminded me multiple times each hour to breathe in and breathe out, returning again and again to an experience of balance and ease. We could all use a little reminder to practice when it’s easy. Whether you want a daily reminder for yourself, or you are looking for a special gift for someone else, visit www.twirlconnect.com.
How does your mindset impact your life? It’s early September. All signs point to summer fading away. Vacationers are returning from the seaside; students are returning to the classroom. Whatever your life holds, do you utilize the power you have to choose your perspective?
Earlier this summer, I wrote about a woman who returned from vacation to a packed schedule (sounds familiar!) with events to manage every night of the week. The evening I met her, she was relaxed, enjoying the evening, and firmly committed to maintaining what she referred to as “vacation mode”. She exemplified a disciplined mindset. She was the picture of grace and ease as she moved through her 14-hour day because she stayed in the moment. She was present to each encounter and every task. She didn’t get ahead of herself, get caught up in the size of her to-do list, or worry about the next thing coming. Easier said than done? Absolutely! But this week, as I return to work after a quiet week at the beach, I’m taking a page from her playbook!
I’m also inspired by Carol Dweck’s research about mindset. (Check out her book, called “Mindset”.) In my work with Twirl, there are so many new skills I need to develop. I’m learning something new each day. Developing a growth mindset – a belief that I may not know something yet, but I’m able to learn – makes the challenges fun and exciting instead of daunting and scary. You can read more about Dr. Dweck’s work here. While much of her research focuses on young students, the principles apply to all of us. This month, I’m working on developing more flexibility in my thinking, and looking for opportunities to grow. My hair may be getting more gray, the lines around my eyes may be getting deeper, but my brain is getting more flexible (with effort).
Staying present and developing a growth mindset are 2 ways I make my life a little easier, and a little more enjoyable. As I show up for myself, I find I have more to bring to my relationships and my family. What are ways you show up for yourself? Celebrate them! Share them with others. Leave a comment below - I’d love to hear from you.
Today, the solar eclipse crosses our country, and the line of totality runs just north of the Twirl headquarters. This event is weaving lives together in ways both planned and unexpected. Millions of people from around the world are making their way toward the path of the eclipse. Millions of people are talking about this event and sharing anticipation and celebration.
In a TED talk, David Baron discusses his experience of an eclipse. If you’d like to hear how it inspired him and changed his life, watch his talk here.
When we feel awe, appreciation, and a connection with something greater than ourselves, and when we share that experience with others, we create an energy that changes the world. What if we learned to come together more often in love and appreciation. At Twirl, we dream BIG.
This month is a great month for connecting, slowing down, and enjoying the end of summer. Perhaps August finds you taking a vacation and enjoying travel. Whatever your plans, can you slow down, have fun, and live life more richly? It’s a choice! As the world seems to speed up, with information traveling lightening-like across networks and media outlets clamoring for your attention, it is more vital than ever to find time for a quiet and easy pace. Whether you’re planning a vacation this month or simply scheduling a little ME-time on your calendar, I hope you make this month count.
Have you heard about “forest bathing”? Scientists in Japan are studying the health benefits of time spent quietly enjoying being outside in a wooded environment. They are even talking about “prescribing” this treatment for people experiencing high levels of work-related stress. You can read a Washington Post article about it here, or listen to an interview about it on NPR here. While part of me thinks this is really cool (left brain, science data geek self), there is a part of me that screams, “what has this world come to?!” Do we need scientists to quantify benefits, and medical practitioners to prescribe going outside and enjoying nature? Maybe. If you’re feeling depleted this month, try a little nature. The world is rich with resources all around us that support health and happiness.
Taking a mindful pause is at the foundation of being able to experience the richness all around you, and it’s at the foundation of what we do here at Twirl. Whether it is the beneficial energy of trees, or the love and support flowing to you from a friend far away, you only feel it when you pause to notice (i.e., become mindful). As I prepare to travel this month, I’m tucking an extra Twirl journal in my bag. One for me (I make note of special moments of connection I experience to reference on a blue day), and one for someone I meet on the road, to support their living more mindfully. Perhaps someone you love is coming to visit. A Twirl robe gift set in the guest room is a great way to let them know you will be with them even after your visit ends. If you enjoy finding gifts that are beautiful, useful, made in the USA, and carry a message of love and caring, you’ll love having Twirl as a resource. Visit our product page if you’d like to see more.
Much like the synergy of how our breath connects us with the trees (we breathe in oxygen, they breathe it out; they breathe in carbon dioxide, we breathe it out; both growing and thriving from the relationship), a gift from Twirl is a tangible connection of our love flowing to someone, their reception of the love, the amplification of that love as they think of us…. It’s what we think of as “Twirling”. May your month be filled with beautiful time outside, a good measure of slowing down, and lots of twirling!
At Twirl, we bring you beautiful gifts and apparel from America's Heartland with messages that uplift and inspire. One of our gift lines is "Love and Appreciation". Today, I'm sharing a bit about why I love apprecation!
My heart is like a tuning fork, and I get to decide in each moment my vibrational frequency. On a typical day, I run a wide range of frequencies (think “emotions”) through my system. My amazing heart is sometimes giddy with the beauty of nature, sometimes fearful with the unknown looming before me, angry, sad, and many feelings on the spectrum. A practice of mindfulness allows me to partner my mind with my heart, and offers more opportunity to choose perspective and adjust my frequency to the preference I have in the moment.
Experiencing a range of emotions is healthy and human! Sometimes when I am sad or angry, I ride deeply into those feelings and allow them their space and time. In my day to day life, though, I have a strong preference for experiencing joy, peace, love and appreciation; of these, appreciation is the easiest to get to no matter where I find myself on the vibration dial. Finding joy when I’m really mad about something is a great big giant step for me. In my experience, however, there is ALWAYS something I can appreciate. Often something in my environment captures my attention. Wind, water, fire, air, earth, light all make up the world around me, and often the smallest thing is large enough to bring on full body appreciation and, voila, vibrational shift.
How do I feel when I am in appreciation? I feel open and full at the same time. In addition, I find that when feeling appreciation there are often dimensions of joy, and peace and love. Appreciation has a one-ness feel to me, as if I am breathing in an essence of something beautiful and wonderful – whether that’s an oldie but a goodie on the radio, the color of a scarf, or a bite of cookie. Appreciation is not a snob. What captures my attention in a delightful way right now? A crunchy pickle?! Good enough!
Ah…. This is where I feel the vibrational difference between appreciation and gratitude. When I am grateful for this pickle, I feel thankful that it has been provided for me, for the vegetable that gives its life to me, for the folks that picked it, pickled it, packed it and shipped it. Yet it is an “I and Thou” relationship. I am grateful FOR all of that. Not a bad feeling. Gratitude is important to me because it is both comforting and humbling to remember how many people have a hand in the life I enjoy. But appreciation, the taking in of pickleness and feeling my joy and love of pickle crunch, somehow makes me feel one-with. Are you with me?
Appreciation is so equal opportunity that it invites me to open up and feel inclusive of experiences beyond my own – like maybe you don’t feel appreciation for the pickle. Maybe you appreciate the onion. But when I am in appreciation of pickle and you are in appreciation of onion, we are one in the vibration of appreciation. Namaste.
Do you know someone who is giving so much you wonder how they continue to sustain the giving? Maybe you have been that person. Maybe you are that person now.
The human spirit is able to endure incredible challenges and continue to shine. I have seen career and family caregivers sustained by their faith, hope, love and joy. Faith that they will have the strength to do what they need to do. Faith that there is a bigger picture than they can see right now. Faith, and hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel, a better day ahead. And love, the energy and motivation that allows selfless service. Love allows people to go beyond themselves. When that love is flowing out more than in, selfless service quickly results in caregiver fatigue. The work depletes the giver, and loss of joy is often the cost for this depletion.
Do you know a person who is tireless, joyful, gentle, and kind? A person that makes everyone around them feel better. They have a special glow. Yes, they are human and have low moments, but most days they light up a room with their presence. These people are balm that heals body, mind and heart of those around them. These special people live in flow, and they work with joy. Joy is one feeling that springs up from feeling love flowing in, coming from a source beyond the individual self. They know the secret of participating in receiving a stream that flows through them, not from them. They move through their days feeling blessed. They look around their world and see things to appreciate everywhere.
If you or a loved one is giving to the point of fatigue, there is good news! By shifting focus from giving to receiving, we tap into something much bigger than ourselves. We remember we are not alone. It may be something as simple as remembering a friend cares about us. That seemingly small act of focus is like an in-breath. I am loved. Suddenly my fatigue seems lighter. Do this experiment to see how you respond when you feel “I am loved”. Take quick stock of how you are feeling – body, mind and heart. Then spend a minute or two imagining a feeling of being loved. Feel it with as much detail and intensity as you are able to bring to the experiment. Then do another quick inventory and see how you feel in your body, mind and heart. Did you move the dial up a notch on your overall sense of well-being? As simple as an in-breath, remembering we are loved feeds us. We have more energy, move vitality, and come into better balance as caregivers.
At Twirl, we remember the comfort received from a casserole lovingly delivered, or cookies taken to a new neighbor to welcome them. These gestures carry value greater than the physical gift offered. Involved in the exchange is a heartfelt giving that lets the recipient know they are cared for and thought about. When you send someone a gift from Twirl, send them a reminder of this little secret: the love you send with the gift flows through you, to them. The love (or well-wishes) nourishes you as you feel it, and them as they receive it. Then each moment spent in mindful focus increases the value of the gift received! The more we participate in the flow – both in and out - the more strength and ease we experience.
Take time each day to feel the flow of love and grace that is present each moment. It awaits your attention. Open your eyes to the beauty in nature. Open your heart to the energy that flows in when you remember that you are loved. As a caregiver, nourish first yourself. It is a simple as breathing in.
I’m twirling today. Spring is coming. Can you feel it?
A pinwheel turns in my garden. Today is gusty. A good day to be a pinwheel! It stands, doing nothing. It allows. The wind flows. The pinwheel twirls. We can be like pinwheels, simply standing in the present NOW, sourced by the wind that comes from someplace greater and more vast than this garden in which we stand.
The pinwheel takes in and gives out evenly. The energy of the exchange makes the pinwheel twirl. When we participate in a balanced receiving and sending out of energy, we can use that power of flow to create anything of our choosing. How? Think of something that makes you smile… then… dream big! Expand your vision until you smile bigger! Next, bring that dream into the center of your chest and allow that idea to settle at the front of the spine, behind the sternum. Breathe into this heart space. Allow your smile to find a home in your heart space. Your smile is a sign of the wind at your back. Breathe into the space between your shoulder blades. Breathing in, you receive energy. Life is flowing into you! By noticing this you awaken to the power of flow. Consciously choose to fuel that which makes you feel more Light and more Joy (capitals used because choice is so important and today, I choose Light and I choose Joy). Then Light and Joy are amplified within you. They flow from you into the world in ways unique and precious because you are unique and precious.
Twirl’s tag line, wrap yourself in the power of words, is an invitation to choose for yourself what you create in this moment. What makes your heart twirl? What makes you smile? And how do you feel as you send energy out into the world? Is it drudgery or joy? Does the quality you send out into the world day in and day out match the energy flowing in that makes your heart sing? If not, maybe your pinwheel is laying on the ground, unable to access the flow of the breeze. I had to pick mine up and resettle it today before it would spin in my garden. Remembering to stand tall in this powerfully present NOW aligns us with an easy flow of energy that can become balanced and fluid.
At Twirl, our line of gifts for you and those dear to you are designed to support living in balanced flow. We want to inspire you to stand, powerful and tall, present in present time. We are connected, part of a network of energy that works with elegance and ease when we stand in its flow. It connects us as surely as does the air we breathe. We want to celebrate spring together in this garden in which each of us finds our smile and our joy. Today, I am taking inspiration from the pinwheel. I am sending you a smile.
Have you heard the joke about the farmer who won an award? He was always out standing in his field! Do you feel like you are outstanding in your field? Like the farmer, when we allow ourselves to simply be, to stand with the earth under our feet and the sky above us, we find a prize awaiting us. That award-winning farmer teaches us that when we participate in an ever-present flow of energy, allowing cycles of growth and decay without judging one or the other to be “bad” or “less than”, we rise toward excellence. The farmer reminds us we are participants in something greater than ourselves.
We are all part of a field of energy. Do you have pets? Have you observed their sensitivity? Dogs are frequently observed anticipating the arrival of their owners, even when that arrival time is random. Dogs are "out standing” in the field. They can’t help themselves. They exist in a connected world. It seems that humans alone have the ability to experience ourselves as separate.
The amazing intellect we possess as humans is a double edged sword. We are fantastic creators. Looking around the world, I marvel at the seemingly endless array of creative expression! But we also can create a sense of separation that may leave us feeling alone, scared, and adrift without a sense of meaning and purpose. The idea behind our products at Twirl is to remember that we are connected. Not only are we connected to loved ones who may be far away, we are also connected to inspiration. The field that connects us allows us to send strength and love to others and to experience the fortification that comes from others’ love flowing to us. And, much as a pinwheel is powered by the wind, we have access to inspiration and insight when we open up our minds and hearts and allow ourselves to notice that we are a part of something vast and powerful.
I use our Twirl symbol to remind me throughout my day to breathe, and through my breath return again and again to awareness in present time. It is ONLY in present time we can experience our connection to a greater whole. It is in present time we feel the support, inspiration, and strength available to us always. When I allow an inflow of inspiration to fortify and uplift my mind and heart, I feel outstanding in my field. In my work as a teacher, as a mother/grandmother, or as a partner, I am connected. My work is relevant and impactful. Treat yourself to agift from Twirl, and remember you are connected! You are important. You can be outstanding in your field today!
Do you feel the changing season? Twirling requires us to be balanced within our center point, and to maintain equilibrium while spinning. How do YOU maintain stability in the midst of inevitable change? I use our motto, “wrap yourself in the power of words” to create a stable focus for myself. Try it and let me know what you experience:
Take a few deep breaths. Allow yourself to settle in to a quiet space within your heart center. Now choose a feeling you want to embody. (Today, I choose peace.) Give yourself a minute to really feel that feeling. Claim it as if it were a garment you can put on. As you breathe, let yourself weave that feeling throughout your physical, mental and emotional bodies. Now do this process again with another word. (Today, I choose joy.) Now, a third. (Today, I choose love.) Visualize these 3 words as if they were the 3 corners of a magic carpet that carries you safely through wild and beautiful landscapes.
Focus your intention and your attention and choose with awareness how you will hold yourself stable in times of change. Keep hope in your heart! Invite healing within yourself, for your loved ones, and for our planet. The natural world holds inspiration that sustains and uplifts me, and night skies deep with stars tell a story of a vast and connected universe. Remember you are a beautiful and important part of this magnificent and interconnected universe. The world is blessed by having you in it!