Do You Get Annoyed?

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Do you get annoyed?

Irritating isn’t it! And the problem is that it can become a habit, a way of being if you allow it… when you live in your small mind.

It’s so easy to get cranky – to let that ‘damn and blast’ feeling take over. What if you were to look at those ‘small mind’ situations from a different point of view?

So, your day starts like this….

It’s your first day at a new job and you’re running late. You miss the bus. Your small mind starts fuming. You’re so annoyed you can’t see beyond your nose. Things don’t improve. When lunchtime comes around you get the wrong food order. OMG! How stupid can people be! You keep your head down and eat it anyway because you’re starving, and you don’t want to make a fuss after arriving late. And so, the day goes on… trapped in your small mind.

Now let’s step out of that small mind and rewind the day…

You’re running late, and you miss the bus for work, but instead of letting your small mind take over, you say, “That’s interesting!” Suddenly, you allow yourself to see the big picture. You look around, and notice your neighbour stopped at the lights. She waves you over and gives you a lift, and you make it to work in plenty of time. Then lunchtime comes around and you get the wrong food order. Oh, that’s interesting, and you look up. There’s someone on the other side of the office looking quizzically at her lunch as well. You both realise you have each other’s order. You swap, sit and chat, and you make a new friend. And so, the day goes on… looking at the bigger picture.

Interesting, isn’t it!

Do you see how the energy changes when we say, “that’s interesting”? It opens the door to possibilities.

Try it next time irritation hits and see where it leads. It’s easier than you think.

Cheers!

© Inara Hawley 2018

Anger – A Surprising Visitor

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This week I had a surprising visitor – anger. I haven’t experienced anger for a very long time, probably 30 years. And I have never been as angry as I was this week. I was shaking with rage.

Now, why would I allow myself – the person who comes from the centre of peace and love – to get so angry that I literally wanted to punch someone’s lights out?

My knee jerk reaction was based on the built-up memory of this someone’s repetitive aggressive behaviour. I snapped because it happened again. Strangely enough, it wasn’t anywhere near as aggressive as in past times, but I snapped anyway. And it’s because my memory bank was chock-a-block full of it, and suddenly it all hit me at once.

I wanted to shout and scream and threaten. But, I have never, nor would I ever confront someone with anger in the heat of the moment. It is too destructive, so instead, I reached out to somebody who I knew would listen without judgement. Someone who was safe; someone who allowed me to vent.

The interesting thing was that while I was experiencing the rage, I was also acutely aware of being in control of what I had to do with it. I even remarked on it. I knew I needed to let it out, and I am thankful I had a safe place to do just that. In fact, it was almost an out of body experience as I could hear every emotive and angry threatening word from outside myself.

And the other interesting thing was, I knew I would never act on it. My love and compassion will always be far greater than any anger I could ever feel. But I had to voice it, or I would have exploded.

The truth is, when someone behaves aggressively on an ongoing basis, we don’t always challenge them. We get used to it, find ways to deal with it and make excuses for them. When life gets hard and things go wrong for those locked in aggressive patterns, they let loose, and anyone who is in the way gets it. So, we the non-fighters back away from the aggressive energy. My anger was the result of years of backing away – not challenging it because I didn’t want to make it worse for those in the firing line, didn’t want it to personally impact me, and of course, I always hoped it would change.

Now, the question is – will I challenge it this time? I have lived long enough to know that the right time to say what you want to say without anger or aggression always presents itself, so yes, I will. But I will do it with kindness and empathy because that’s what aggressive people need the most. They are desperate to be heard. The sad thing is they look for happiness outside themselves and can never find it, so punish not only themselves but all those around them. They are trapped in a negative cycle, and as much as we may want to help them, they must find their own light-bulb moments.

In the meantime, I take full responsibility for my anger; for allowing it build, for not acknowledging it, for what it created in my body, and for the energy it sent out into the Universe. I don’t intend to stack it up again, so I am healing and freeing it the only way I know how – with the Ho’oponopono Prayer.

And finally, here’s something for you to consider. How much anger do you think you’re holding onto, because I didn’t think I was holding onto any.

With love,
Inara

© Inara Hawley 2018

What does RUOK really mean?

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I’ve been thinking about writing this for some time but didn’t know where to start because it’s about many things. Difficult times, kindness, caring, reaching out, friendship, but if I’m honest, it’s basically about giving a damn.

Not everyone lets you know they’re having a rough time. We’re all different. Not everyone asks for good thoughts and prayers. Not everyone asks for help. Not everyone complains. That doesn’t mean that their life doesn’t have its ups and downs, or that they aren’t dealing with challenges. It could mean that they’re keeping schtum because they want to stay as positive as they can; doing their best not to be at the mercy of overwhelming emotions.

These are the folks who look for the best outcome in their day. They are the ones who tell you only a tiny bit of what’s really going on because they look for the best feeling thought and choose to tell the story of their positive expectations instead. They seem so strong, don’t they? So together. So easy to be around. If they are dealing with something tough, they certainly don’t rabbit on about it. They talk about the good things instead.

And how do I know this? Because I’ve had a very difficult year. And I can only now say how hard it really was because the worst of it is over. I found it very hard to talk about because I didn’t want to drag myself down into what, for me, felt like a negative and stagnant place.

I handled it by shining as brightly as I could. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have used a kind word. That came home to me not long back when a social media friend picked up on a comment I made and sent me a private RUOK message. It was such a kind gesture that it brought tears to my eyes. My heart was full of appreciation.

So, how often in our busy lives do we reach out to those around us?  It’s a funny old world isn’t it, where the squeaky wheel always gets the attention. So, how about that friend, family member, or colleague who always has a smile on their face? Have you asked them lately how they’re doing?

There’s not a person out there who doesn’t have troubles, big or small, who doesn’t want validation or couldn’t use a kind word. My point is this ~ why not stop by and ask someone how they’re doing? Those who shine a bright light in this world would love a moment of your time.

So, go for it. Pick someone today, and ask them how they’re really doing, and then, listen. Trust me, it will not only make their day, it will make yours as well.

© Inara Hawley 2017

Old Habits ~ New Choices

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Today I made an observation.

Recently I halved my wardrobe. I got rid of bags of clothes which were old, didn’t fit, and that I didn’t really like anymore. It felt great of course – organising one’s wardrobe always does, but you know what? I’m much better dressed now, and I love it. I’m not wearing the same old stuff out of habit anymore. I now look at my wardrobe every morning and pick something that feels really, good to wear.

And my observation is, that this experience is a great metaphor for life. If we let go of the old stuff that’s not serving us anymore and make purposeful good-feeling choices, we feel a whole lot better.

They say that old habits die hard, and that’s absolutely true if we don’t let new opportunity and choice into our lives.

So, what are you hanging onto, and what can you let go of to make room for the new? There are a wealth of new choices and opportunities out there. It is up to us – it’s our choice whether we greet our tomorrows with old habits or new choices.

© Inara Hawley 2017

My Very Dear Friend

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A very dear friend passed a few weeks ago, nine months after she was diagnosed with an inoperable terminal illness.

She firmly believed in an afterlife. She believed our soul was on a journey of learning, that we choose our life path before we come, and she also believed she would find her miracle moment and survive.

But she didn’t. She tried, but she never found it. She wasn’t afraid of death, but she didn’t want to go either. She fought it to the end. And that’s how it is for all of us. Our love of life and will to live is strong. Giving in to death is not easy, but it’s what we all must face. And if we are lucky, we get the peaceful passing that we all hope and wish for.

I knew when she was diagnosed that this was her chosen exit strategy, and deep down, so did she. I also knew the day after she passed that she was gone. I was standing in the kitchen peeling vegetables when I had the strongest feeling that she had left, and I thought, ‘so you are there and now you know’.

You see, she was fascinated by what happens after we leave this earthly plane. She had researched the subject for many years. It was, in fact, her favourite topic of conversation. She read and reread the same books. She immersed herself in every little detail of it. It was almost as if she willed herself to go there – she wanted to find out so badly.

So, my very dear friend, the friend who is part of my soul family is gone. The friend I will always love, think about and hold dear.

She was strong, bossy, very direct, and always said what she thought. Not a shrinking violet. But she was also a worrier. She worried because she cared. And she was bossy because she cared. And she was forthright because she cared. She reached out to others with a compassionate heart. She was a loyal, loving person.

A friend for over 42 years and I am going to miss her.

But it was her choice. We never pass unless it’s with the understanding and agreement on the highest level of our soul. This was her soul choice, and I understand.

We are all, every single one of us, part of All That Is – the Source Energy from which we come, and part of my soul is there with her now for we are never parted from it.

So, till we meet again on this earthly plane, I hold you in my heart, my very dear friend.

© Inara Hawley 2016

Losing Weight, the Quick and Easy Way

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In my quest for living well, in early March I decided to divest myself of the 15 odd kilos I’d been carrying around for the past 20 or so years. Up until then I’d not really thought it was an urgent issue, and while I knew the extra load was harder on my body and overall health, I’ve never presented with any blood pressure or cholesterol problems. And after all, my Rubenesque curves were sexy, and I have never felt anything but gorgeous or loved so it was not something I worried about. However, my recent and very surprising blood pressure blip gave me a big push. So I gave myself to the end of May to do it. While most of us don’t find it that easy with temptation around every corner, especially if you’re also cooking for others, when things get serious, that’s when the weight drops off. And I had never been more serious in my life!

There are four important things about losing weight ~ eating ‘real’ unprocessed food, eating what’s right for your body which of course is different for each one of us, staying as active as you can, and the most important ~ doing all of those things at the same time.

Generally speaking, my weight doesn’t fluctuate, but it is influenced by my lifestyle. I lead a fairly sedentary life due to injuries so what I eat has a bearing on my weight. Lots of exercise would be great of course ~ it keeps you healthy and strong, but here’s the thing. Exercise is not what losing weight is about. Exercise is about getting fit and toned. Losing weight is about what you eat. But the big win is, when the weight comes off, it’s so much easier to get moving.

Now, having said all of that, I am not a believer in denying myself foods that I really enjoy, however, the old adage, ‘moderation in all things’, goes a long way when it comes to what you put in your mouth. Most times when we eat that piece of chocolate cake or that bag of hot chips, a taste is all we really want. I know I never feel great after stuffing down a sweet dessert or a whole lot of fried potatoes. And as I would rather feel good I rarely do it. You have to listen to your body. And when you do, I can tell you, you will be choosing food your body loves, not food that you’ve been conditioned to eat from childhood. When you eat a healthy, balanced diet that’s right for your body, I guarantee you will rarely crave sugar, salt, or processed food.

So, my weight-loss journey is nearly over, and my goal is nearly reached. Just under 2 kilos to go and I’m done, and here’s how I did it.

Count Calories

As I am not active, counting calories is something I had to do. People will say it’s not important if you focus on eating the right kind of food and keep active, but the bottom line is this ~ if you put more calories in than you expend, you will not lose weight. It’s as simple as that. However, if you have been eating a diet high in processed, fatty, or sugary food, changing that will certainly do the trick and you will probably never have to count a calorie. I, however, rarely eat any of those things, so my only option was to limit my calorie intake. I know I have to eat 800 calories or less per day to drop weight so that’s what I did. I looked at what I was eating and tailored my diet to the lower calorie foods. For example, prawns and strawberries are both low in calories, so I chose those instead of the high-calorie cashews, walnuts and quinoa I was eating at almost every meal. Easy choice, and when you substitute food that you really enjoy eating, you have to ask yourself ~ how does it get better than that?

Keep A Food Diary

I found this invaluable. It kept me accountable with my calorie count as well as my sodium count, which I’m watching as well. When one has a goal one has to be accountable, or there is no serious commitment. And if that meant keeping a food diary while I was getting there, I was more than happy do it!

Eat the Right Kind of Calories

Now this is, and always will be, important for my body and my health. For instance, eating dairy and wheat on a regular basis doesn’t agree with me so I don’t do it. I eat a little occasionally if I feel like it, but not every day. If we consume foods we are sensitive to on a regular basis, it causes internal inflammation the result of which is flatulence, stomach pain, and bloating. This negatively affects both digestion and nutrient absorption, which in turn has an impact on metabolism, energy, and weight.

And if my 800 calories would be mainly made up of processed foods full of fat and sugar, or high carbohydrate foods such as starchy vegetables, pasta, bread or pizza, even if I wasn’t sensitive to any of those foods, I would not lose weight either. So I kept it low carb, low fat, and no sugar. Spreading an 800 calorie pizza over a day just wouldn’t cut it and I’d probably still be hungry. Eating the right kind of calories, however, kept me very satisfied and it worked very quickly.

Below is my basic food list. I made vegetable soups, steamed vegetables, stir fried vegetables, and salads, and to those I added protein, and if I was particularly hungry, I threw in some konjac noodles. Every meal included vegetables and a protein, even breakfast. My in-between snacks were fruit, or half a dozen almonds, or rice thins with either hummus, cucumber and tomato or cheese and sauerkraut.

Sunday Musings - Losing Weight

*These were very ‘occasional’ foods when I felt like it. As I say below, I didn’t deny myself, but I did keep a tight control of what I ate.

**Konjac is a vegetable based noodle. The product is called ‘Slendier’ and is available in supermarkets. It has almost no calories and can be added to soups, stir fries etc.

Don’t Deny Yourself

I organised my diet around my favourite foods. Being almost vegetarian there wasn’t much to change, but there were a few high-calorie foods and starches I could easily take out for a few months. Then I looked around at what else I could include for variety. I found a brand of low-calorie frozen dumplings and battered Hoki fish which I really like, plus two brands of tinned tuna which I enjoy as well. This mixed it up a bit and made my meals more interesting. As for condiments, I didn’t deny myself there either. I included sauerkraut and balsamic vinegar plus my favourite dressing and seasoning but was less liberal with the good oils and fats using only olive oil spray, and a scrape of butter when I felt like it. For added flavour, I used more herbs in my cooking but cut out added salt altogether, which turned out to be a blessing because I began to taste the food I was eating rather than the salt I was putting on it. And as you can see it was all delicious.

Sunday Musings - Losing WeightSunday Musings - Losing WeightSunday Musings - Losing Weight

Size is Important

The size of my meals was really important. On the days I ate bigger meals, even if they were within my calorie limit, my weight loss was less. When I ate carbs was also important. For example, if I ate carbs I had them earlier in the day rather than for dinner as heavier meals in the evening tend to bog down my digestive system. Overall, I found it was best to keep my meals small and light, and if I felt hungry, I had a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack. The bottom line is the lighter I kept it, the better I felt and the lighter I got.

Celebrate Your Food

Every meal I make I salivate over. I really do. Celebrating food is what my family has always done. It makes the most ordinary meal so much more special. I always make time to serve my food beautifully on a nice plate and I do the ‘doesn’t this look wonderful ~ aren’t I lucky’ thing before I tuck in. My appreciation and thankfulness are boundless when it comes to the abundance on my daily plate. I feel so fortunate. To enjoy our food with gratitude and all of our senses bursting with joy is the added bonus to a good meal don’t you think?

Cook Ahead

My last tip is to cook ahead. It makes life so much easier and you won’t be tempted to go to the freezer and get out something, which later, you may be sorry you ate. I fill my fridge with bowls of luscious salads, rosy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, perfectly cooked vegetables and my favourite proteins. And then when it’s time to eat, it’s like a smorgasbord ~ inviting, appealing, and most of all easy. Nothing like delicious anticipation is there?

So, that’s my weight-loss story and I’m stickin’ to it because it worked for me. If you want to drop a few kilos quickly, give it a try. My way turned out to be very easy. But remember, whether you do or you don’t, love yourself and love that bod of yours. It’s the only one you have.

Happy eating!
Inara Hawley © 2016

Living Well

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Hubby and I live very well. By that I mean we live a happy, contented, and easy going life, however recently we both got a big shock. He had a TIA. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a transient ischaemic attack, or in lay terms, a mini-stroke. He’d had his usual busy morning working outdoors, then rushed into town, and while at the hardware store had a temporary loss of vision and felt confused. He managed to get himself home, but it only took a few minutes to realise what was happening and I had him back in the car and at the local hospital within 15 minutes.

Four days later, all of which were spent in intensive care with every test imaginable, plus 18 ECG’s, he was released. Fortunately, there is no residual damage. He now has a handful of preventative medications, a big change in diet, and a quieter life. And thankfully, after a few medication adjustments, he is now doing well.

Now the purpose of this story is about living well, and what that really means. All too often, if everything is going along fine, we chug along happily without giving too much thought about the choices we make for our health. We even ignore small warnings like indigestion, a bad back, a sore neck, tiredness or grumpiness, until something goes wrong. Then everything changes.

And it’s certainly changed for Hubby. He needs to take his blood pressure every day now, and of course, I decided to check mine too. Well ~ what a shocker! It was sky high. Now that could be because I’d had a stressful few weeks, but even so, it was far too high … three days in a row! On the third night, I had what felt like a panic attack about my health. To say I am generally very healthy would be true, however, I’ve had a crook two years with ongoing trigeminal nerve neuralgia. While I am always in a place of appreciation and gratitude, it makes me feel generally unwell so I haven’t been bouncing off the walls with energy and exuberance for quite some time. It’s hard to be bright and perky when you don’t feel well. And of course, that has had me in a place where I haven’t really been looking after myself. What I needed was a wake-up call, and I got it.

The first thing I thought was: lose weight woman and do it quickly! I don’t eat a lot, and being almost vegetarian, nor do I eat rubbish, all of which keeps my weight stable, but I am a bit of a snacker. Even so, I didn’t think there was much room to make many changes. And since a car accident 23 years ago getting my nicely rounded frame into the Lycra and exercising is not an option. However, when I sat down and started working it out, there was actually a lot I could change and still be eating the food that I loved, but with a much lower calorie count. For a short few months, it was not going to be hard to follow a food plan which would do the job. And it was not hard to start walking around the house more either.

But … I was in for a big surprise. As Hubby now virtually has a salt-free diet, I decided to do the same. Salted savoury food, not sugar, is my guilty pleasure, so much so that I wasn’t even prepared to start counting up the sodium content of my diet. Having done the research for Hubby, we only need 2300mgs of sodium per day, which equates to 1 teaspoon of salt. Not much is it? And when you start adding up the sodium in pre-packaged foods, it starts to get a bit scary! But you know what? Within a few days of keeping it within 2300mgs, my blood pressure was normal again. What a relief, and so easy. And apart from the 3 stress-related kilos that dropped off while Hubby was in intensive care, the weight is coming off too ~ 2 kilograms (4½ pounds) in the first 5 days. What a triumph and that wasn’t hard either. It only took 3 days to stop craving my snack foods and now I am coasting along with ease.

Of course, not having to cook different food for Hubby anymore helps a great deal. He now eats my food with a bit extra on the side and all the cheesy toast, bacon buns, pasties, pies, sausages, biscuit and cake temptations are gone. Even though I rarely ate them, it’s a great support when there’s no rubbish food wafting past one’s nose. My goal is 15 kilograms by the end of May, and now that I’ve put it out there, I can only but succeed because I know the Universe has my back. I’m in the flow!

And to celebrate ~ one always needs to celebrate in times of triumph ~ I have started wearing dangly earrings again because they make me feel really cheerful. And I also bought a bangle as a symbol of my goal. It caught my eye while in town today because it summed up my philosophy of life. It was engraved with the words, ‘Live well, love much, laugh often’. When I put it on my wrist, Hubby quipped that it was the ‘bangle with an angle’, and so it is. Hubby and me … we love much, we laugh often, but to really live well we have to take good care of ourselves as well.     

♥ Inara Hawley © 2016