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Posts from the ‘life’ Category

Stop and smell the roses

Yes, stop and smell the roses and other flowers.

When was the last time you decided to do so?

Just yesterday? Today? Congratulations. It’s not true that you don’t have time for that. Believe or not, there is time enough for anything: even with long commute (which is most often our choice), even with small kids and no grandparents or nannies, even when studying or being a workaholic.

Having no time is a habit and lack of focus. Having no time for smelling flowers and recharging is a bad habit.

Are you saying: yah, right? I would like to repeat that it is a bad habit and it comes from chaotic and scattered attention management, or rather, attention non-management.

Being and feeling rushed with everything causes nervousness, unplanned actions and loss of time. We have to pretty much stick with our daily routine, and that means: if you can spend just 1 hour in front of TV, do not make it 4 hours at the expense of your sleep, or if it’s responding to an e-mail, we cannot make it scrolling through all Instagram or Facebook feeds and new posts. We have to stay on the path.

We don’t do that always, do we?

I am convinced that we are experiencing a chronic feeling of always lacking time. Realistically, we should have more time because there is so much help with housework, shopping and lots of other daily chores; there is automation and so many devices are replacing manual work.

Where does the time disappear?

It evaporates with unexpected, unplanned and also forgotten things. There are so many distractions with anything we just were about to start doing. Time over-consumption is also caused by unreliable and chaotic people who we have to be in touch with. Therefore, I am very convinced that it makes a lot of sense not to deal with people who never have time: either for you, for responding to you or for anything in their life; who cancel things because they never intended to do something in the first place, who are always late, who love talking too much or texting too much, or who do not even listen to what you are saying.

Having time for stopping and smelling roses eventually comes down to discipline. First of all: that is self-discipline. It’s not the case that we are always perfect and we never get lost in our good intentions. No human is 100% perfect, and life is never perfect. So, whether we have time for ourselves and whether we can make it for smelling flowers also requires some flexibility in executing our daily tasks, even small ones, and it requires so much more flexibility in tackling the big ones.

Late autumn, but everything in full bloom

Gentle, delicate, beautiful

When my daughter was just 8 months old, her father passed away. So, I was alone. I got German language teaching job at a countryside school because they provided with a free apartment. However, the free apartment had absolutely no conveniences. I needed wood for heating the stove on which I had to cook and also the heating oven in the other room. I had to take to a high second floor every bucket of water and afterwards I had to take it out. We didn’t have easy to use diapers or formulas these times yet, therefore, I had to manually wash everything since I did not have a laundry machine and I had to cook for daughter something she could consume, which was liquid porridge type of thing most often. There was no heating, so every time when I needed to warm up her food I had to get stove going.

My teaching job was full-time. That happened in the ancient soviet times, so, we didn’t have any nannies. There was no free spot in the kindergarten either if somebody would take such a small kid. I took my daughter to classroom which wasn’t far away, but just in another building. The school principal didn’t mind because they really needed a German language teacher. My daughter was either sitting or sleeping between students. She actually started to speak in full sentences extremely early and she also started to walk just at nine month.

My biggest problem was getting the wood: they showed me large logs which I was allowed to use, and before I could utilize them for heating, I had to split these large logs. I had seen my dad splitting wood, and it looked quite easy. I borrowed a huge axe and got to splitting. That was really tough, especially until I grasped how one tries to hit the right spot on the log. Next thing was to get that wood to the second floor storage. I decided to organize a help team from anybody who was around, and I was very lucky that some older teens and a few other teachers assisted in taking the wood to the second floor.

Salaries were miserably small, I mean, really small. I was doing sewing for people who wanted some outfit. After daily lessons I gave at school, I was sewing wedding dresses, suits, jackets, skirts, dresses, blouses, you name it. Some people offered produce and products instead of money. Well, I didn’t refuse.

I was in the fourth year at the University; I studied foreign languages at that time. Later at night I was preparing my test works, research works, etc. It was a lot of work for one person, however, I managed to read books, go to concerts or dancing to a local club whenever there was something on, too.

I have been thinking a lot: how did I manage to get this done? Practically on my own: full-time job, studying at University, small kid, home chores: wood, water, laundry, cleaning; sewing to make some additional money? People quite frequently don’t have to do even half of that and they are saying there is no time for anything.

The answer is extremely simple: I did not have a TV. Internet wasn’t invented yet. I didn’t have any phone. Nobody was dreaming about something we call smart phone now. I mean, there were practically zero distractions.

It’s impossible to avoid from all distractions with everything going on at once nowadays, however, there is a line which we can draw. We also learn how to say “No”. We sort out priorities and start with the most difficult mandatory tasks, then we move to easier things, and then we enjoy the time we have saved. It shouldn’t be at the expense of sleep, definitely not.

So, we are now free to go and smell and enjoy flowers.

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Think pink: how to return to life after a long treatment

A few suggestions which work for me

If you just took the last pill, are still struggling with the treatment medications, are just getting in or out of a long treatment, I know where you are coming from.

The treatment of my current health issues lasted for 1349 days so far. It hasn’t ended yet, but I am getting back to life and back to normal everything. 1349 is just a number. It is just a number that has resulted from many months, weeks, days, hours and minutes spent trying to feel better. Did you know that every minute in pain lasts longer than an hour doing pleasant things?

I have tried everything. I am not saying that my personal experience is going to work for everybody, but some parts might.

The inevitable side effects

Many people go through very long treatments and use medications that also destroy them along with a cure. Side effects manifest on our body and on our mind in many very different ways. The cure of bad issues and severe conditions always comes with undesirable effects. Always, that is the nature of chemicals which can be extremely harsh at times.

I just downloaded some beautiful pictures of flowers and could not resist sharing them. I attached them below text.

Looking at, thinking of and seeing beauty in nature helps me relax and makes me forget pain and bad feelings. Does the beauty have the same effect on you?

If it does, you should put yourself together as much as you can and get out there and look at flowers, trees, listen to bird songs and watch wild animals like squirrels or rabbits, chipmunks or similar creatures. Watching undisturbed flow of a very simple life supports the weak, recovering body and certainly gives more strength.

The first suggestion is: do not put pressure on yourself. Just don’t do that. Treatments are always accompanied by strict schedules, doctor’s appointments, nurse visits, meal times and sleep hours. Everything is scheduled. When we start feeling better and when it seems we are strong enough to do absolutely anything and embrace the globe, we should take things easy. Especially at this moment. We should move step by step, not rushing, not exhausting ourselves even more.

With recovery and as the undesirable effects wear off, we are experiencing unusual additional energy. Small bit of willingness to open our eyes. A desire to breathe very deeply. An intention to walk without concerns about getting dizzy and shaky. Wow! That is success!

That is the hugest success we can only imagine. We never think it is such a pleasure to simply walk without pain. Well, it is. I know how it feels to suddenly wake up after long months of being in a subdued mood, blundering around half-asleep, having no willpower to even want something. Recovery after a long treatment is similar to being reborn.

Colors regain brightness. Sounds become clear. Light is blinding. Sun is so intense. Yes, we probably have to wear sunglasses.

The other suggestion is as follows. Many medications require specific approach: staying out of sunlight, not consuming some particular foods or drinks and so on. We cannot forget about these warnings after the last dose of medication because its activity may continue way beyond this point. Being cautious is a good habit when starting or discontinuing medications. Alcohol does not work with any medication: it either inhibits the positive side or enhances it. I believe staying away from alcoholic drinks is a basic when recovering or while using meds.

The most often observed side effect must be nausea and feeling sick. It is unfortunately that our body wants to alert us, and we know we are wrong and the body is right, but we have to continue with meds. I had extreme episodes of nausea. To the point when I could not even think clearly. Nausea did not allow sleeping or resting either. I somehow found aloe vera juice. The stuff that worked for me was with pomegranate flavour. I am extremely sensitive to any substance, and regular anti-nausea pills never did what they were expected to, but with aloe vera juice I achieved a state when I was feeling practically normal. I took it after quite a lot of water on empty stomach and then as prescribed: 4 full large spoons.

The third suggestion is moderation. Moderation in everything. No extreme foods or entertainments, no extreme physical loads or exercises. Living around the neutral zero isn’t that bad at all. Overdoing with physical exercises can through you back, so can eating out too much or having too many drinks.

It’s a heavy work for the body to return to normal daily routine without strong pills, injections, i/v pumps or i/v lines. While it is such a relief to get off meds, there is an in-between period. It is better to get back to life slowly than destroy everything that was achieved through so much suffering.

Meanwhile, the last suggestion is think pink! Soft and dreamy colors in the environment work their magic. Pictures drawings and paintings of beautiful things in calm colors do the same: relax the tension, make our mind happy and that’s when we are really back on track.

Think pink: create happiness

Think pink: troubles go away

Think pink: send and receive love

Think pink: beauty has so many faces

Think pink: recovery is just a step away

Think pink: no other color speaks so loudly about feeling good

Think pink: this is how we win

Think pink: it is a good color to make face and soul look fresh

Why to declutter your life now: the many powers of spring

Do you feel happier also just because it feels like the cold and snow seem to be gone? I do for sure. It is difficult to explain how much the dullness and darkness can affect us. It does this in so many ways: I hear people engaging into comfort foods, some just sleep over or hibernate and some other try to do their best to accomplish something. I belong to these who try to accomplish something, but it is so tough. I have to put pressure on myself all the time during winter months.

Why so many New Year’s resolutions fail? The timing is simply bad because we still have in us the ancient need to save energy for the spring awakening. That is nature; these are genes and our personal clock which dictate that.

Spring arrival is in so many ways better than the New Year: we finally get to do things that were postponed due to the cold and nasty weather outdoors. That includes even such routine chores as throwing out garbage or things we will never need, but are keeping “just in case”. Decluttering only our living and work space is not enough. We definitely have to declutter our mental space and mind also.

That is the energetic power of spring!

Chives: green despite the snow we had just 2 days ago!

We can go ahead with all the health ideas we have, in particular, because we will be able to put on our table the greens and early veggies we have managed to start and accommodate in tiny, small or larger back yards, balconies, front yards and anywhere where we can plant something. It does not have to be big in order to give as a huge spring vitamin boost. NO synthetic supplements can ever replace the nutrition from real sprouts and baby greens.

Therefore, your spring greens will not only make you healthier, but also give plenty of pleasant emotions. While we watch the seed germination and sprouting we become so aware that something tiny can have an insane power. The growing power.

What are the easiest and fastest things to start with? Any herbs, any green onions, chives, radish, lettuce and similar plants. They practically require very little care: we have to only provide them with sunlight and water after planting or seeding.

Strong and bright green nettle leaves; in fact, they can be added to the spring mix

It is a huge relief when the weather forecast puts us in a better mood: birds are singing so gladly and loudly, the sun is painting shadows on tiny grass stems, and there is a promise of warmer days being here soon.

It is also time to reorganize everything from our attitude and blog to contents of our wardrobe and different garbage hiding spaces in our living space. Decluttering is such a big matter because stuff just grows around us and we need to make space for fresh air to get a brain functionality boost also indoors.

You might consider reading the blog posts of your fellow bloggers instead of just clicking on “like” from your READER this spring. That is a wonderful blogging habit, and it not only shows your respect and interest in others, but helps discover different opinions and views on the same subject. You’d be surprised how many more returns via blog traffic and personal friendships one can make just by being an attentive blogger and leaving a comment here and there. I would imagine most bloggers are like me: if you never comment on my blog, I most likely will not engage in the comment section of your blog either. Think about that: blogger community is a place where mutual interaction is appreciated.

This is the best time to start with physical activities also because there will be less side-effects and it will happen seamlessly. It feels very natural to walk more and work outdoors in spring.

This is the best time to engage in new eating habits and to get rid of our bad habits. The seasonal change to a better weather makes any swift changes easier tolerable.

This is the best time to start loving oneself because we can change our outfits, switch to nicer colors and use some lighter make-up.

Tulips are getting ready to go, as well

All inspiration we need is right before our eyes: squirrels and chipmunks running around like crazy, birds singing, plants budding and grasses sprouting. Daffodils, bluebells, crocuses, wild anemones and tulips are up. That is a genuinely new beginning. Do not miss that.

Living green means simplifying and enhancing life

So far, we have been taught that more is always better. We have known for decades that having more than anybody else is the best.

It is fairly obvious, however, that it is better to have a few good things than very many useless ones. We have to educate ourselves every single day, and do that not based on what somebody else believes, but based on facts, our and other peoples’ experience and tested, proven truth. The campaigns which claim to provide us with miracle products are just advertising trick because the real miracle of life is our ability to change the aspects affecting us. We always have a choice, would that be food or place to live.

We love excuses, we can justify any laziness or idleness of mind and body. There are diseases, there are accidents, many of which wouldn’t happen if just paid more attention and implemented some preventive measures. Accidents and diseases are quite often caused by things WHICH WE DID NOT WANT TO DO. Which we felt we were too tired or too exhausted to do.

Prevention is the best protection, both against diseases and accidents. Having everything safely placed at home and in the outdoor space, prevents plenty of childhood accidents. It is not that difficult to never place hot or boiling substance close to the table rim. It is not that difficult to fence in open water on a property. One ambulance worker said: if people didn’t try so hard to show off how brave or strong they are, many accidents wouldn’t happen.

Choosing simple things over expensive equipment and gym isn’t any worse sporting activity. In fact, we are aware now, that MODERATE physical activities are the best. That means people who already have some illness or disorder, have to be careful and choose activities which won’t harm them more.

Everybody who can, should take walks. The added bonus is doing that in tree-rich area, parks, forests, taking a path away from busy traffic routes. When we compare walk in the forest and workout in the gym, it is almost like having decent organic meal and dining at fast food restaurant.

Appearances take huge place in any area of our life. I mean, people do so much stuff not for themselves, but to show off to somebody who is “EVERYBODY”. I have noticed how TV uses “everybody”: everybody eats this and everybody watches that; everybody wears that outfit or color and everybody exercises like that. EVERYBODY is NOBODY.

Thankfully, we are also all different as our DNA proves. There are no 100% identical people on the planet because even twins due to epigenetic factors develop distinctive life styles or get different diseases in their life-time.

Epigenetic factors have strong influence, therefore, we are not only determined by our genetic potential or some genetic disorder.

The best way to keep ourselves healthy is to ALWAYS stay close to nature and natural products and environment.

We can learn a lot from the garden: how to start fresh every year, how to bloom regardless of bad weather and how to get through tough winter peacefully and being ready for new blossoming. Therefore, we can impact our destiny and genetic predisposition by returning to nature: fresh air, unpolluted water, undisturbed sunlight and clean soil will always take care about basic products, greens and herbs on our table. The beauty and tranquility of a garden is the best environment to recharge and reset one’s energy.

It was late fall, and some flowers were still blossoming. Sunflowers are beauties with a strength and surviving power of a warrior. Colors of leaves make us wonder every fall: the nature has so many shades of colors and shapes.

The soothing Sunday thoughts: castles of sand

castlesofsand-1

I know they won’t be able to withstand the big waves and the stormy winds. I keep building them regardless. Lots and lots of marvelously shaped wonders made out of zillion sand crystals. Castles of pure sand.

I know very clearly, and it is so obvious that such buildings are for a moment and they won’t last. They never do. Why to bother? Why to put in so much time in something evanescent that only passes away in the moment it is created and is unable to survive? Did I think this would be an exception? Did I believe that our dreams can magically turn sand into gold? Steel? Glass? Concrete? Wood? I must have been really silly believing in the magic of imagination. I must have lost the thin line between daydreaming and reality.

I build them all day. Long rows of beautiful and tall sand castles. I get up in the morning; pack up my pain and depression so they can enviously stare at my creations. When the weather is smooth like a silk scarf and the sun just sends down the first beams to explore the coastline, I am ready to get to my never-ending work: I am focused, determined and extremely self-conscious. I don’t need any plans, I don’t care about schedules. I always hope this day is going to be better than the previous one. In fact, it never is. My castles are fine. Materials and place are wrong. If it only was some other place. If I only had something stronger for my castles. So the night sets in, waves rise and they level down my creations. When I look at the same place next morning, all I can see is an empty sandy coast. No sign of anything from the day before.

Well, it has come to the point when I have to make a decision. I have two bad choices to consider. Doing nothing is not a good choice and doing something might worsen the current situation. It is as if I am standing at the crossroads and neither one of four roads promises to end in a good destination. Or do they? There might be something hidden behind the hills, there might be a good news waiting. Meanwhile, the days have been quiet and fairly empty. Foggy, meaningless and painful. The only thing to hold on has been castles built of sand. Fragile, unsafe and only for a short moment standing. They cannot become a shelter. They cannot save anybody from the storm. Why to bother? Why?

I would say there is always still hope even with a hopeless intention and an impossible purpose.

castles-of-sand-2

The killer success: sad story of an useless sacrifice

As my worst summer ever is turning towards the fall, I am getting more and more upset and disappointed with anything. I’d attribute some of my bad feelings to huge and non-stop doses of harsh medications, but that certainly does not change a thing. I feel like everything that was worthy and uplifting has turned its back to me.

Since I had plenty of time to waste while resting on a couch or rather trying to forget about pain and other unpleasant things, I could watch some TV. I usually don’t do that, but even computer has become not that easy to use, so, I had very little choice. The TV we have is Rogers TV, I mean Rogers is the provider. It is a kind of TV for people who most likely forget immediately what they were watching the day before. Everything is repeats and old movies. The few non-repeats are some reality shows and news. I cannot currently take any more news because it’s all Trump and Clinton. Again, again and again. This is even Canada, not the USA, but still every single word of their mouth is getting analyzed and discussed, and I have to admit I’m so sick of this that I’m changing the channel right away when I hear mentioning Trump or Clinton.

I cannot take any of the reality shows either because it feels like they are created for somebody dumb and underdeveloped. Just seeing the housewives for 2 minutes causes me to really wish I didn’t even look at them. What exactly is this about: some younger and older women with way too much make-up are boozing, partying and talking behind the back of the one that isn’t present? They sometimes fight and argue. What a great show! Really? It seems they have money and do not know what to do with it and therefore they need now popularity and TV presence. Just awful. There is lots of stuff about food, a lot. My medication causes nausea, so I have to skip those. Then there are talk shows which most often handle the same subject. I cannot take any celebrities and stars either because I think it’s so much overblown with these trending stars, and they would go on and on how beautiful they are when, in fact, quite a few are neither beautiful, nor elegant, nor good-looking. Take away all these treatments, make-ups, fancy outfits and crew of image makers and all you get is some completely average person. I also calculated that as per my recent income I would have to work for 250 years spending nothing in order to make what these stars make in just one year. It feels like there is something profoundly wrong.

So, I turned to reading online magazines in Latvian, hence there is a bit different stuff and not only celebrity scandals, politics and greed.

killer success

The article was about a woman who I remember quite well. She was just 1 year older than me and quite visible personality in Latvia between 1988 and 2002. She had just passed away a few days ago. There is nothing unusual about people getting really sick after spending the most part of their life in a show business. The unusual part was her character and her image of an iron lady. She was somebody always going against the stream, but the way she did it was not that nice, indeed. As the organizer of the first Latvian beauty pageant in 1988 and later the owner of the entire beauty contest business in Latvia, she had to turn to lots of people in order to have financial means to go ahead with these beauty contests. She handled that excellently being quite rude, always speaking her mind and never looking for an answer when attacked or provoked. Over the course of many years, this lady had spit in faces of many people, humiliated them, and eventually taken advantage of their not that splendid situations. We could call this even black mailing. Although, she became financially very successful thanks to donations of freshly baked Latvian millionaires, she went as far as to kick out her mother of the family house they had in Riga, the capital city of Latvia. She put her own mother who had and still has a very good health and could take decent care about herself into an old folk’s home. Her mother didn’t complain, but she certainly felt betrayed and not deserving such a treatment.

This lady never managed to have a long-lasting family, but she had 4 husbands, and the last one was 30 years younger than her and she married him at the age of 52 when the signs of the stormy youth years started to remind that one cannot booze for ever and it will result in some disorders and illnesses. She told she did not want any children because they would disturb her business. Parties before and after beauty contests and other events involved a lot of drinking.  That was some kind of never ending partying.

One early morning being half awake and completely drunk, this woman accidentally drove onto the side-walk where people were waiting for the bus. There were quite a few injured and one woman died on spot. The accident caused injuries to her, as well, but she managed to cure most of them for a while. The following trial found her as a very well-known woman with lots of useful connections not guilty in most counts. She only got 4 years in probation, and the society of Latvia couldn’t agree with such a court decision. However, time washes away everything, and the accident was forgotten by most, but never by the family of the deceased woman.

The objects of her stormy love affairs were quite often married men. When asked once why she was causing all these troubles to so many families, she clearly stated that the other women were no competition to her, and the only purpose of these affairs was to prove how much above the others she was and that she could always get whatever she wanted. The following years proved her wrong and, most likely, she had to learn the hard way that nobody of us is able to build our happiness by destroying other people’s lives.

Her health worsened to quite a great extent during the last five years, and she obviously could not continue to shine in public events being on crutches and later in a wheelchair, hence, the after effects of that bad accident which took one woman’s life and made a few others disabled did not pass her either.

The circle of well-situated and famous friends shrank rapidly. Nobody was interested in a completely disabled aging woman who never cared about anybody else, but only about her own success and prestige.  In fact, she was in a lot of pain, but suffered very lonely, even her mother was in the old folk’s home and could not visit her.

So, she had passed away on the floor of her almost empty bedroom. Alone, with nobody praying for her and nobody crying after her. Next to her, was found a packed bag because she had decided to also move to a shelter for disabled people. This decision came a bit late.

The only person who took some care about this once so famous lady was a middle-aged neighbor. This neighbor said she had changed extremely during the last half of year. The reason was the clinical death at the hospital she had gone through. It is possible she had faced some warning signs or something that was awaiting her after the death because she had asked to bring her mother to her and also to send letters asking for forgiveness many people who she once had betrayed or offended.  Mother came; she is 89 now, but still having a fairly good health. The only thing this woman told her mother was: I wish you could take me on your lap and forgive me all pain I have caused you. I wish I could start my life from new, but this is where it ends. The mother forgave her, and I suppose, she can finally rest in peace.

life in ruines

This made me think:  there is success and there is success at any price which demands one to lose all human feelings and to walk over corpses and destroyed lives. One should really carefully watch for signs when success turns against them and eventually becomes the killer. The killer of their human nature and later the killer of their health, wealth and anything which makes this life worth living. The question is: how far should one go in order to be successful and how much should one sacrifice in the name of success? Doesn’t the success at any price become a lost battle for anybody involved? The ugly side of success means sacrificing everything, even one’s life.

Photos: http://www.skatkartes.lv/elejas-muizas-drupas/

The Mother’s tree

I have a box of memories. This box holds everything which I could take with me from my past life in Latvia after I moved over to Canada. It is amazing how little space can be filled with memories of 46 years, and that’s all I have from there.

As I’m going through yellowish pictures, some as old as I am now, some even older which makes them 70 or 80 years old, I’m having a look at my mom. She is so diligent, loves moving and doing everything so much that even now at 85 she is still busy in the garden and at the sewing machine. Her eyesight has worsened a lot, but that does not stop her. My dad was like that, too: always busy with something. We had a fantastic place over there in Latvia. It was a semi-detached house; quite honestly, it later caused a lot of problems just because it was not solely ours, and my dad built it practically from scratch, when we moved to this small town Saldus, it had only the outside walls and sort of main structures.

Mother's day

He and my mom worked hard to make it a lovely living space. My mom is a born gardener, somebody who genuinely understands the nature and character of every plant and tree, and I believe I have inherited this knowledge because I have green thumbs, too. We had a huge orchard, 2 greenhouses and many flowers and vegetables, all kinds of them. These, who know what life was like in the late soviet era, can recall how nothing was in the store, so most food which we had on our table came from our own garden. Thankfully, gardening was the greatest thing I could ever learn. I started helping early, we were just small kids: sister and I, but it was an unwritten rule that everybody has to participate in order garden and orchard received the attention they deserved.

My mom in her 30

My mom in her 30

In my memories, there’s always spring and blossoming apple tress in this old place which doesn’t even exist anymore. I suppose, that will be my most favorite time of the year for as long as I live. There were white and sweetly pinkish clouds of blooms all along the garden path as we walk down the hill. The house was at the top of a hill, so when standing there, one was overlooking the most beautiful scene imaginable. Cherries, apple trees, plum trees, pear trees, black, white and red currant and gooseberry bushes were on both sides of the path. I think it’s not a coincidence I love painting garden path images. Whenever I think back, I am seeing my mom under these blossoming apple trees. It is spring, it is warm and sunny and dad works in the small shed he built, as well.

Whenever I think about a mother and her importance in our life, I am seeing a huge apple tree, wide and strong and it carries its fruit through dry, rainy or stormy summers straight into the first frosts of the fall. Branches are so strong and flexible at the same time, but they are in a full beauty in early May. Mother and a blossoming apple tree are synonyms for me.

My mom working at greenhouses

My mom used to work in huge greenhouses, I was quite often with her, I was 4-5 since we didn’t have kindergartens 

I never developed extreme attraction or attachment to things one can buy, but I found an endless opportunity to express myself through things one is able to create. Therefore, creativity became my true existence. That is thanks to my mom who is the most creative person I’ve ever known. She created home decor, pillow cases and curtains, thousands of dresses, skirts, blouses, dresses, coats and jackets. She still loves designing and sewing aprons. She gives them as a gift to people who love cooking or doing work around the house. She could create any outfit one only can dream off. I took over this skill when I was 12; and when I was 13, I was wearing everything made by myself, that included coat, pants, skirts, blouses and tops. It takes my mom nothing to create the most beautiful flower arrangements, and I obviously am good at that, as well. I think my feel of good composition and balance within a space or image takes its origin right there: that is the way my mom would arrange things. Harmony and balance was the main feature of any of her creations. I’ve never eaten more delicious patties or home- made pies. Thanks mom for allowing me to become not a consumer, but so much more a creator of anything beautiful around us! I think it is a precious skill which carries me through life and makes my living so much simpler.

My mom at her sewing machine

Returning to the memory box: I was surprised how few photos I had from all these years. Well, cameras and smart phones were not available as they are now, so having taken a picture was a big deal. I cannot describe the heartache when these pictures didn’t come out as good as planned. It does not really matter whether I have only a few or lots of pictures. My memory has it all: the old house, the orchard and my mom under a blossoming apple tree. That’s all what matters.

My mom in Latvia

A recent picture of mom, just last year, she is 85

Food for brain: feed your happiness, not depression

Do you sometimes think that everything you eat can make you happy, full of energy and joy, or upset, depressed and exhausted? The truth is, feeding our brain the right way will provide us with more power to overcome bad days, allow to have much fewer bad days and to feel better and less stressed out or anxious.

We are aware by now that we can successfully teach and exercise our emotions and feelings provided the chemical reactions and levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters are in balance. However, we rarely think, that food we consume and nutrients we provide our body with have an extremely huge impact on our mental state, emotions, feelings and ability to determine whether we are having more bad or good days. Among the most important brain chemicals are serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, melatonin, insulin and prostaglandins.

Due to external and internal stresses, many people might complain about very long-lasting mild depression. I have heard recently many saying they experience a seasonal affective disorder. Well, we all do to some extent if any nutrients are lacking in our diet and we don’t give an appropriate boost of those.

I used to have extremely bad intolerance to winter darkness and was upset most of the time when the weather was cold and I couldn’t get enough air and sunlight. I had sort of no energy to deal with any issues. I refused jobs just because I didn’t feel I could handle them. As many of you know, I’ve devoted many years to medical research, writing and analysis of patient data and symptoms; therefore, I have come to conclusions that everything which is within us affects everything from our physical condition to our mental states.

Digestive and metabolism disorders heavily affect the balance of brain chemicals. For instance, most of serotonin is produced in our gut and during the sleep. It’s extremely simple: people who have good metabolism and no noticeable lack of nutrients and who take their time to rest and pay attention to long enough and good sleep, shouldn’t be having too many bad days either.

How about external stressors which do not depend on us? Like the angry voice of your boss or piles of work that needs to be done, but you’re stuck in a traffic jam, or kids insisting you do one thing, husband being grumpy about something else while you’d rather do nothing of that, but something totally different you believe you need at the moment? That’s exactly the same story: we have built in coping mechanisms, and when our brain chemicals are in good balance, when we do have our thyroid and adrenal glands not working in hypo-or hiper- regimen, these coping mechanisms can work properly, too. That is why you will see in the same situation one person laughing, the other person ignoring this situation completely, but the third one will be crying or going crazy. It’s not exactly their personality that causes these reactions; it’s how well they are prepared for dealing with any issues.

Happiness starts in the gut

Everything starts in the gut. When we are treating a mood disorder or mild depression with strong medicines, alcohol, drugs and comfort food, we are aiming for side effects and reactions which we actually want to avoid. The New Year is almost at our door step and holiday season is in full swing, so alcohol consumption is high. Your liver does not care how beautiful the cocktail looks or how expensive the drink is: once the processing starts, a big label “toxins” is assigned to the contents of the decorated drink. Many pre-processed foods, soft drinks and food with high content of artificial ingredients get assigned the same label: “toxins”. When we add to this some damage which over years has happened to parts of our body that take care of removing any toxins and leftovers, the picture becomes quite clear: these toxins are going nowhere, but accumulating straight within us, poisoning our mood, destroying our chemical balance and making levels of brain chemicals significantly off. Therefore, it should be very easy to understand: treating bad mood with a pill, drug, alcohol or sweets is absolutely wrong. This means relieving symptoms for a short-term while, in fact, we need a long-term adjustment and correction to the cause of all these disorders and imbalances. That’s how we get caught in a roller coaster of sweets and sugars that we decorate with a glass of wine or champagne.

Happiness starts with food 5

Artificial supplements and drug store vitamins might not always get absorbed as good as the ones which come from the real sources, just because your ancient DNA and your body recognizes them much better.

If you love engaging in writing New Year’s resolutions, the first and the most important item should address the BALANCE: balanced activities, balanced sleep-awake periods, balanced intake of nutrients, balanced body processes, balanced reactions due to balanced metabolism. Everything else is secondary.

Happiness starts with food 6

I love not only eating vegetables, but I’m extremely happy to take their pictures, as well. This activity alone lifts my mood. I paint these things quite often also: beautiful shapes, colors, it’s pleasure for eyes, as well.

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