Lemon & Lavender
Did you ever wonder if you stepped into a wardrobe, you might step out into an enchanted garden? Something like this happened to me. Only it wasn’t a wardrobe or an enchanted garden. It was the Lemon & Lavender gift shop and I do believe it is enchanted.
A friend and I were riding along, when she noticed a store called Lemon & Lavender. The name itself made me smile. I knew I had to go there. After finishing some errands, we headed for the shop.
When you step inside you are met with displays of, what else, lemon and lavender themes including the colors and scents of both. The items are unique, classy, whimsical, along with treasures for the heart and soul. You are also met with the warm, friendly, accommodating, helpful natures of the mother and daughter proprietors, Antonella and Christina.
This story is not about the merchandise per se. (To view the enticing wares, I suggest you go to their site or Facebook.) This story is about what you do not see. This story is about a special feeling. Unless you stop to smell the roses, oops, I mean the lemons and lavender, you may not notice. You may not even notice until you exit the shop and are hit by city vibes again.
I can’t say exactly what made the boutique enchanted. Maybe it was the engaging personalities of Antonella and Christina. Maybe lemon blossom and lavender flower fairies had spread their magic fairy dust everywhere. Maybe it was a momentary wrinkle in time. Maybe it doesn’t matter. What mattered was when we left with our purchases, I felt like Spring arrived in my heart and it was a very good day.
Will all who visit Lemon & Lavender have a similar experience? I don’t know. Maybe. It’s certainly possible. You see, every now and then the universe conspires for us by providing exactly what we need in a given moment of time.
Comments are welcomed. I'd love to hear from you.
It’s been said , change is inevitable, except from a vending machine. That inevitable change has an uncanny way of sneaking up and pouncing on you when you least expect it. I’ve experienced a few of those sneak attacks over the past few years. Too many, in my opinion. One just happened this week which really gave me pause. What is it about change? There are times we yearn for a change in our lives, whether it involves a job, spicing up our daily routine, a change of scenery, etc. Then there’s change that is out of our control which can rock our foundation. We are usually caught unawares when those kind of changes occur.
What makes change so difficult? There is actually a neuroscience reason that accounts for a good part of it. Neuroscientist Jeffrey Schwartz: “At the level of individual neurons, brains are built to detect changes in the environment and send out strong signals to alert us to anything unusual. Error detection signals are generated by a part of the brain called the orbital cortex (it’s located right over the eyeballs, which is very closely connected to the brain’s fear circuitry in a structure called the amygdala. These two areas compete with and direct brain resources away from the prefrontal region, which is known to promote and support higher intellectual functions. This pushes us to act more emotionally and more impulsively.”
Knowing my brain is not a fan of change is curiously comforting. Knowing there’s a valid reason for being wary of change, tells me I’m not a total neurotic. This still begs the question, what are ways to best deal with change? There is no one size fits all. Each of us deals with challenges in our own unique way. Each of us has particular coping mechanisms that work for us. Here are some things I’ve found helpful:
Build a support team of family, good friends
Adopt a mindset that will allow acceptance that things can be different and we will be okay
Keep things simple and don’t expect too much too fast.
Go easy. Trying to force our way through the change can be more harmful than helpful.
Incorporate happiness boosters – a movie, gardening, working out, shopping –whatever appeals to you.
Finally, self-compassion is uber important. We need to treat ourselves with the same caring and kindness we would a loved one. I find this quote by Kristin Neff, the leading authority on self-compassion, particularly meaningful:
“This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.”
Comments are welcomed.
My 11 year old granddaughter and I were hanging out together at my apartment one evening. We were having an awesome conversation which, at one point, came around to my blogs. I asked her if she had some suggestions for topics. Of course, she did. What 11 year old kid doesn’t have suggestions?
K had been reading some news reports about cell phones, texting, social media and some of the hazards. She learned there have been more suicides since the onset of social media, people having accidents from paying more attention to texting than their surroundings, and so on. She knew people have become less connected on a person to person level. She asked me to tell her how we communicated pre cell and smart phones and that I could write about it. Sure. Why not?
As a very young child, I recall (as some of you might) picking up the telephone receiver and hearing Ernestine say, “Number please.” If I didn’t know the number, I might have asked her to ring my cousin. Believe it or not, she actually knew who my cousin was. There was never any doubt that Ernestine and the other operators listened in on calls. Most folks were on a party line. When you picked up the phone to make a call, you might hear people talking. Did we ever listen in? I cannot confirm or deny. Well, okay fine. Maybe sometimes. On the other hand, you could be having a conversation when one of those party liners would come on and tell you to get off so they could make a call. Really, no respect for kids.
It was great when my parents got a private line. Still you could never be sure Ernestine wasn’t listening in. Then the rotary dials came in. Adios, Ernestine. I was no longer the party to whom she was speaking. We all know how phones evolved there after.
There is one more memory from those days. It was about those prank calls we made when we were bored. Did you ever phone a local store and ask if they had Prince Albert in a can? Our retort was they better let him out so he doesn’t suffocate. Seriously lame, but quite hilarious to 8 to 10 year olds.
My granddaughter loved the stories about those early telephone days. She especially liked the fact that people spent more time being together and talking face to face. Let’s have some more of that, please.
Comments are welcomed.
35 Going For 52
I sat down at my computer ready to start another blog. Only I couldn’t decide whether to write about a little of this or a little of that. Really, as if there’s a difference. Suddenly it occurred to me that I’ve actually written a weekly blog for the past 35 weeks. This may mean nothing to you, but I find this rather astonishing. Here’s why.
When I first kicked around the idea of doing a blog, it was one of several options for something different to attempt. I think I came up withevery possible excuse not to do it. For instance, I don’t have anything to say. Everything under the sun is already out there. I’m not a writer. I’d have to produce every week or every other week or once a month. Regardless of how often I chose to post, there would be pressure. Doing something with pressure was not an option. What if I start a blog and suddenly find I can’t keep it up? It would not feel very good to start and not follow up for a significant length of time. All these excuses were defying any possibility of having an enjoyable experience.
So, what change of thinking got me to where I am now, some 35 weeks later. My best guess is I ruminated about all the reasons not to until I got fed up ruminating and told myself, “Just do it, already!”. Honestly, I am continually surprised that somehow I manage to post every week. Thus far, that is.
That brings me back to the present moment. What am I going to write? A little of this or a little of that? Okay. Neither. I think I will just celebrate my 35th weekly-versary. Thanks for stopping by. I promise to post something about something next time.
Comments are welcomed... and encouraged.
April Fool’s Day
Yes, I know it is the day after April Fool’s Day. However, I read some fun, interesting facts about the origin of April Fools Day which included a little of the science of smiles. Thought you might enjoy this, too.
April Fool’s Day started with a glitch in the calendar. Specifically, more than 500 years ago, when the Gregorian calendar shifted to the Julian calendar, there were some folks (those people who apparently did not get any social media updates) who were unaware of the shift in New Year’s dates from April 1 to January 1. So, these unsuspecting souls became the brunt of April Fool’s day pranks and jokes, always at their expense.
One of the most memorable pranks was the BBC broadcasting a “fake news” story about Italian farmers harvesting spaghetti crops, which motivated hundreds of listeners to call the station to inquire where to purchase the harvested spaghetti crops or to observe the harvest in person.
Here’s a little about the science of smiles. Did you know that there are 43 muscles in your face, accounting for 7% of the muscles in your entire body? These muscles enable you to make more than a thousand facial expressions. Even though everyone’s face is unique, there are only five universally recognized expressions, the ones for anger, sadness, disgust, surprise, and joy.
Smiles Can Be Sources of Joy
Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Smiling when you aren’t really happy could actually change your mood. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis.
What happens when we see other people smile? You’ve probably heard the expression that laughter is contagious. Well, because of mirror neurons, smiling is contagious too. These mirror neurons play a central role in imitation. They’re activated both when we perform an action and when we see someone else perform the same action. Mirror neurons are also important in empathy and recognizing emotions in other people.
So folks, it seems we are wired to feel good when we smile and when we share smiles and laughter with others. Laugh away not just on April Fool’s Day but every day. After all, laughter is the best medicine for health and vitality. (Based on an article in Positive Psychology News Daily by Lisa Buksbaum)
Comments are welcomed.