April 28, 2017

First Garlic




We have been off imported garlic for several years thanks to garlic growers in the family (thanks, mom). Garlic by mail has saved us from the low grade bulbs at the grocer. Who knew that Lethbridge, Alberta was a prime garlic growing region?


Seed Garlic. Photo credit: Campbell Garlic


This fall we decided to grow some of our own. We took several large, firm, purple organic bulbs and planted them on a warm fall day in November. We covered them with mulch, tucking them in for the winter.



More have come up since I took this photo.


Warm spring weather allowed the mulch to come off, and look what was happening underneath.

Our first ever garlic crop is up - let the 2017 gardening season begin.

April 26, 2017

Clearing Mental Clutter

It is easier to be happy when you are not surrounded by the confusion and the clutter of life. ~David Baird


Feeling infobese lately? Overwhelmed by faux facts and truthiness? Bundles of bad news? Mental overload is easily achievable in an information age if one is not careful.

Indeed, the most dangerous clutter is not in your home - it is in your head. Mental clutter, like its material counterpart in your home, creates stress. Stress creates illness. No one likes illness.

So how does one go about clearing mental clutter? There are many ways. Here are a few that have worked for me and Linda.


Meditation

"Self-reflection is the first step to decluttering because it's not about the stuff."
How about stopping the thoughts altogether? One of the main universal methods for clearing mental clutter is meditation. It can be recommended for anyone, and everyone. A few minutes each day of quite time in which one stops the constant flow of outside input, has multiple benefits.

And it is free. All you need is yourself, although a teacher can be beneficial.

Science is even in on it. Findings show that the release of catecholamines and other stress hormones are reduced and parasympathetic activity is increased while subjects are meditating. Spending time in “thoughtless awareness” enables one to dwell in the present moment rather than focus on the unchangeable past or undetermined future.

The result is the excessive stress producing activity of the mind is neutralised while the meditator remains alert and effectively able to navigate life. Peace and compassion remain when the clutter is removed.


Music, Singing, Dancing



“When music and courtesy are better understood and appreciated, there will be no war.”
- Confucius

When I am listening to music and dancing, or playing guitar and singing, or playing guitar, singing and dancing all at the same time, it is impossible to think about anything else. Let the music move you, and the all cares and worries slip away.


Walk in Nature

"Clutter smothers. Simplicity breathes." ~Terri Guillemets


Being in nature is good for the body and soul. It is my main method for closing all the unnecessary tabs open in my brain. When I return home I feel refreshed and uplifted. My mind is still, and I can more easily focus on what is most important.



Give In To Your Creative Yearnings


“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ~ Pablo Picasso


We are all creative, despite what some mean teacher may have told you in grade school. The painting above was done when Linda decided to start exploring creativity through watercolour painting. Making art is a naturally immersive activity that replaces fear and doubt, replacing it with a pure flow experience and sense of accomplishment.

Go ahead, pick up the paint brush, or camera, or knitting needles. Cook, bake, build something. Indulge your creative urges - you can do it. It feels great.


Unclutter Something


"There is something immensely therapeutic about clearing your clutter. The reason is that while you are clearing things on an external level, there is a corresponding change going on internally too.... Being clear of clutter is one of the greatest aids I know to manifesting the life you want, and it is absolutely essential if you truly want to know joy and happiness in your life. "~Karen Kingston


Meditation does not have to be static. One can get into a meditative state of mind through movement. Might as well make that movement meaningful and do something that you have been putting off.

Straighten a drawer, clear out a closet, do the laundry or washing up. When you conduct your activity, do it with all your being. Remember to breathe.


Having strategies to clear mental clutter is more important than those that keep your physical possessions in check. Both can be difficult, at first, but both are worthwhile to do. An uncluttered mind is conducive to an uncluttered home, and vice versa.

Choose things that appeal most to you. The important thing is to slow down and cut out all distractions. This could mean any of the suggestions above, or a long, relaxing bath, disconnecting the phone, TV, and Internet, yelling "Stop!", sitting quietly with a kitty in you lap, or taking in deep, cleansing breaths.

You are on your way to better mental, physical and spiritual health. There is no better way of improving yourself and the world around you.

How do you clear your mental clutter?



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