Changing Your Life? Make Some Space For It

I was cleaning out the cupboard that has all the medical stuff – the international travel kits with all the gastro emergency tablets and potions if gastric disaster strikes, the head and muscle pain relief for pulled backs and periods from hell, the day time/nightime cold and flu medicine for the times we have to keep trucking when we should really be in bed, the bandaids, the ankle wraps, the heating pads, the salves, the salines, the bandaids, the mini scissors, the tweezers, the tiger balm, the cat’s medicine….. you get the picture!

 

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It didn’t take long to dawn on me that the contents of this cupboard were in a clash with the reality of my life. We’re healthy. We make efforts in our health. We haven’t used and have no intention of needing 90% of any of these things in this closet and even the idea of having them there just in case seemed wrong.

Changing your life means making sure that your normal, everyday, as it is now life, matches what you want.

I chucked out all but one travel kit, cleaning it up and making it perfect, more of a promise for amazing travel adventures to come. I got rid of the cat meds and all but a pack of pain relief. I tossed all the cold and flu meds, congratulating myself for completely disregarding the conventional thinking that because it was winter, the flu was just a bad germ encounter away. I culled and organized the Ace bandages and heating pads, we are after all pushing our bodies so it’s okay to have some reinforcements just in case.

The once messy medical cupboard, with stuff in it that just drained me with it’s lack of connection to who my family was but seemed necessary to keep for an eventual sick rainy day was now mostly empty. I had cleared space for our current and future health.

And it felt GOOD!

In the episode, I mentioned a past video where I talk about living your perfect day TODAY – here it is:

 

 

And in my book “How To Find Your Purpose After 40: The Secret To Unlocking Your Unique Gift To The World” I lead you through an exercise to design your perfect day. Listen to a free chapter of it here.

And PS, as mentioned, I’m currently working on Season 3 of The Change Guru podcast – Woo Hoo! From time to time I’ll surprise you with some random thoughts on the current podcast so keep an eye out for random updates and obviously when I launch the new season, you’ll be the first to know.  In the meantime, please enjoy the over 100 podcasts that I’ve done, all the links are here.

How To Stop Feeling Guilty

What do moms, Sanskrit chanting, funerals and dill pickles have in common? Well, this is a stretch, but these topics, which I discuss in this week’s podcast all involve making a decision to do the best you can with what you’ve got. The challenge is that a lot of us are great at being Monday morning quarterbacks. We’re quick to find kinks in our past thinking and willing to drag ourselves over the goals rather than to remember, at the risk of repeating myself, that we do the best we can with what we’ve got.

 

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In the podcast I mention a few inspirations I’ve had this week. First off, I’m exploring the world of probiotics and when I was trying to use up the veggies in our fridge, I spied a half head of cabbage and figured, let the experimenting begin. Turns out it’s outrageously simple to make fermented veggies – that’s what they call it – and there are a lot of videos that walk you through the steps.

This guy “Craig” from Craig’s Kitchen has some videos that are incredibly straight forward and low key. Plus he drops things and stuff so they’re pretty relaxed!

 

 

My sauerkraut has been sitting in the cupboard for a good few days so I’m going to have a taste and see if it’s ready. To be honest, I haven’t had sauerkraut in a gazillion years and have no idea what it tastes like. I have a feeling when I did have it, probably on a hot dog, it was something that I didn’t particularly love, otherwise I would’ve had more of it. Anyhow, I’ll be going in with an open mind and be willing to let it be an acquired taste. The things you do for gut health.

The cool thing about trying something new is that one thing leads to another. Same for this probiotic adventure. Once I did the sauerkraut, I thought, “Whoa! Would it be that easy to make dill pickles?” I might not know jack about sauerkraut, but I KNOW dill pickles. Sure enough Craig had another easy how-to on making these as well.

 

 

Now, these I can’t wait to taste and I’ll certainly know whether they’re right or not and if they are, I’ll assume so it is with the sauerkraut! 

These probiotic experiments were created under the influence of some classic Sanskrit chants. I’ve been hooked this week on the lessons of Deva Premal and Mitan’s 21 Day Mantra Meditation Journey. You can listen to it on Spotify. As mentioned, I find mantras kind of a cross between calming and focused music and a sort of prayer. As per cooking and food preparation, you might be interested in Day #15 of these chants which focuses on healing. They explain that in Aruvedic philosophy, cooks will chant this mantra to infuse the food with healing and nourishing properties. Perfect for creating guilt-free magic with anything you prepare to eat, probiotic or not.
 

How To Kick Distraction’s Annoying Butt

Last night my dreams were accompanied by the manic soundtrack of “Bitch I’m Madonna”. If for some  reason you haven’t heard it yet, don’t! Look, I love Madonna and always will, but this song doesn’t do my world any favors. The only thing it did for me was get so stuck in my head that I couldn’t even sleep without getting it out. Argh, I can hear it right now as I write this!

  
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In some ways “BIM” was the perfect anthem for my week. It was noisy. It was trashy. It wasn’t good for me. I was insanely distracted by the online world. Twitter conversations. Instagram posts. Facebook articles. I caught the comedian Brody Steven’s using Periscope in brilliant ways. He was on a roll and I just couldn’t look away. And then the news of Rachel Dolezal came along and that blew my mind. Add in Cersei Lannister’s Walk of Shame in the Game of Thrones finale, The Donald running for president and for me it was all a perfect storm of pop culture distractions that put me off track.

 

 

Most of the time I can ride the wave of social media distractions but not so this week. So what leads us to being more distracted than usual? Can we blame the planets? It was after all a new moon this week and the end of Mercury in retrograde. I don’t really know what that means when it comes to distractions but I was scrambling for answers. The scramble turned into a week long in-depth meditation about what was really going on and how to move past it. It wasn’t until I started preparing for the podcast that the answer to what these distractions might really be about came through, and it was pretty interesting. Actually, it made a highly, frustrating week of distractions make perfect, prophetic sense.

Resources I mention in the podcast are

SelfControl App – This app blacklists problem surfing sites online for a period of time. It’ great but be very careful with the timing and sites to block setting as once you get started, you can not undo it. Even if you delete the app.

Periscope – Live streaming app

Steven Brody Stevens on Twitter/Periscope  – If you want to see a comedian using Periscope in a fascinating way this is a great start.

Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life – One of my first albums. Pure grounding joy. You can listen to the whole album here:

How To Take The Pressure Off Yourself

One of the most powerful concepts that I’ve learned in this chapter of my life is the idea that there is no such thing as failure. Perhaps there are some that might argue about this but for me, the concept that it was okay to make mistakes, to not get “it” right, to skin our knees was absolutely freeing.

But recently I’ve also started thinking that failure’s shadow – success – might also be in need of a rethink. Just as the possibility of failure might keep us in situations that don’t serve us or make us feel ashamed,  setting ourselves impossibly high standards of success to achieve can also keep us from trying.

 

 

In the podcast I talk about how to reframe the concepts of success and failure and also offer up three concrete ways of doing this. I also mention that before the podcast I fueled myself up with a vegan brownie that I made without any refined sugar, dairy,eggs, butter or wheat. Here’s what it looks like and honestly, if I gave it to you, you’d never guess it was anything but loaded with forbidden stuff. It’s actually a superfood which thrills the you know what out of me. My husband and I started eating this way about a year ago – focusing on removing wheat, refined sugar and dairy

 

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I got the basics of the recipe from The Minimalist Baker – so check it out there for specifics on sizes. For the brownie part I soaked a bowl of dates for hours (I forgot about them so I probably over did it but they were very soft which is what you want). I drained them, mashed them by hand (my food processor just konked out) and then added in raw cacao powder. Rather than the almonds and walnuts that the original recipe called for, I added in a bit of almond flour. We always have a steady supply of it because we make our own almond milk.

Oh my, I’ve become “that” guy! 😉

So anyhow, mix it all together til you have a good batter. Have a taste. Sweet right? Chocolatey right? Seriously, dates are a wonder food. Add some chopped walnuts to it and then spread onto a small lined baking dish and stick in the fridge.

For the topping, I also improvised because I didn’t have any chocolate as called for in the original recipe. I melted coconut oil and mixed it with some almond milk, raw cacao powder and a little maple syrup. I put it in the fridge to thicken but that didn’t happen so I just poured it over the brownies and then topped with walnuts. At first this topping didn’t look too appealing – maybe the almond milk wasn’t necessary – but when I served it for dessert a few hours later – I just kind of stirred it a bit – and it was fine. Actually it was more than fine, it was delicious. And the next day, the topping looked fine. I will try the original recipe frosting again next time I make these as that could be a whole other world of OMG but for now, the small bit of maple syrup is as far as any processed sugar went in this recipe and apparently, that’s okay to use according to those who are in the refined sugar movement.

I hope this week’s podcast inspires you to let go of those made up goal posts of success and failure. Take it from me, sometimes, making a good, healthy brownie is enough!

Making The Most Out Of Long Distance Relationships

My adult life has had one constant – the long distance relationship. Whether it’s from the early days of meeting my Australian husband, staying connected with American family members while living down under or having my adult children leave the nest to live overseas themselves, relating via remote has become kind of an art.

 


 

In this week’s podcast, recorded while I’m traveling to see my daughter who’s based in Chicago and the rest of my family who live in California, I share a few ideas for rethinking the difficulties that we often associate with long distance relationships. They’ve become underpinnings for how I now view these special circumstances and definitely help take the sting out.

The Attitude That Will Save Your Life

Think back to when you were a teenager. What did you imagine for yourself when you were at midlife? Could you not even fathom it? Normal! Now, move on forward to you in your 80’s, 90’s and beyond.How do you see yourself? What will you be doing and saying? Where will you be living? If this is also a stage of life you can’t imagine, you’re not alone. And it’s probably for a good reason. Most of us have zilch decent reference points of what it will be like to live this stage of our life and more telling, if we do have a concept, it might not be that positive.

While we can’t predict our future, we can absolutely change our concept of how we’ll envision these years and an awesome way to begin is with our attitudes towards the people who are already there. In this podcast I share my revelations about why I feel this attitude is so crucial. Honestly, to me it is a game changer for how I’ll live my life and I hope it inspires a change of mind for you as well. I almost feel like if you really want to live your best life, this is a must.

A Lifetime Of Healthy Enjoyable Sex

I was thinking about sex the other day and how it stacks up to the energy we give our other biological functions. For instance our bods. We know we gotta move ’em and we know the healthy ways to fuel them. And then there’s our minds. We know the importance of learning and having practices to calm and still our thoughts. I’m sure there are plenty of other ways I can explain the various levels of extreme care that we at least try to give these prongs of our health but when it comes to sex, a lot of us are okay with looking the other way.

Obviously this happens because of a few things. We haven’t been trained from the get go to see our sexuality as an integral part of our health or we were raised in a time where sex was way more taboo than it is now or we were brought up to believe that sex is just for young people and maybe even just for men. I’m not even going to touch religious beliefs or trauma.

I might not be a sex therapist or a doctor but I’ve been married for over 30 years and I’ve come to feel that a healthy sex life is as important as all the other things my body needs. It’s simple. It makes me feel good in just about every aspect. I don’t buy into the common thought that interest in sex drops after a certain age and these thoughts are acknowledged in growing research that suggests people who have an overall attitude of positivity, an emphasis in wellness and a life long interest in sex, continued to have a life long  sex. Yes hormones might mean we have to look for options and yes there might be times when we don’t have partners but the long and the short of sex is that a lot of it is in our minds, not our genitals. Sex is about how we communicate and how we think and how much we prioritize it.

I wanted to say all this in a podcast and I think it’s the start of some more conversations but what helped me focus it a bit more was when one of the subscribers on my newsletter mentioned that Viagra was playing havoc in her life. The tiniest bit of research revealed this is a huge problem. Women were actually getting hurt from their partner’s reliance on the drug and rather than talking it through, they were suffering in silence.

So here’s the deal. Sex is the same as all the other things we do for ourselves like eating well, exercise, sleep, and meditation. At its natural best it demands intelligence, patience, effort and communication. What would happen if you brought all of those things into the bedroom with you for the rest of your life? I think like all the areas we put effort in, the answer would be simple. You’d just feel better

Happy Mother’s Day! In this week’s podcast I give some advice to two gals from our community. The thing is they asked for some help on completely different issues but they had one thing in common. Their mothers had strong opinions on the way they were living their lives and it was preventing them from making a decision on their own, big girl terms.

In the podcast I mention some interesting studies that highlight the huge cultural and societal divide between our generation and that of our mothers. The first one, where the lives of their adult daughters caused lower levels of self esteem in mothers was published in Social Psychology Quarterly by Deborah Carr.  Further research revealed that a significant number of mothers of adult daughters reported that they were generally concerned about their daughters and didn’t intend to come off critical. More on this can be found in this book.

I also mention in the podcast that I’ve got a video on how to use a podcast player on your phone. If by chance you haven’t ventured further that this page for listening to my podcasts, this will really help expand the experience so you can take me on the go. Click here. 

So talk to me. What tip for dealing with an opinionated mother resonated with you? How can you be the change in the relationship with your mom? I’d love to know so post below.

The Midlife App You MUST Have

I believe we must stay up with technology. It’s not an issue for generations younger than us because they’ve grown up with it. They’re pretty much hardwired to change. But for us, well we’ve grown up with a choice to keep up, opt out or float somewhere in between. If you have a tendency to avoid the whole early adopting concept, you might want to reconsider.

 

 

Avoiding new technology is going to come with a cost (if it hasn’t already). It will impact everything from limiting your work potential to your ability to continue learning to being able to communicate with your family. Those are just off the top of my head “for instances” as I think about all the new things that are being developed and what could happen if you don’t latch on.

So here we are now. We’re kind of at the point where we can still get away with keeping it old school and sometimes that’s a good thing. But what if there was one gizmo you’ve avoided that actually could really help you. Especially during this time of life where we’re searching far and wide for everything.

That’s why I want to introduce everyone in my community to podcasts. I’ve been obsessed with them since they just started coming out. These were in the days before there was any such thing as a player app. I don’t even think there were smart phones because at the time all I had was an iPod!   I knew one thing for sure. These were freewheeling conversations on every topic under the sun delivered by normal people who didn’t speak with phoney radio voices. Best of all I could listen whenever and wherever I wanted. It was revolutionary!

Fast forward to now and podcasts are so common. Most people I know seem to have an idea of what they are. I think the popular podcast “Serial” helped crack that code but we’re still not there. Every now and then I get emails from women who say that they know I do podcasts but they just don’t know how to listen to them. And that makes me want to run over to wherever they are in the world and get them started.  I’ve got well over 100 podcasts in the can at the time of this writing. Not only is that a lotta podcasts, that’s a ginormous treasure trove of support and inspiration for truly thriving at midlife and beyond. And if you didn’t know, they don’t cost a dime.

Did I just say “dime”? Talk about old timey lingo!

But, back to podcasts. Women who needed this info were missing out. That got me thinking I better come up with a way to help take the mystery out of podcasts and that’s how this little tutorial was born.

I mention in the video that I wanted to share the five current podcasts I’m listening to. Here they are:

Watch What Crappens – This podcast is devoted to all Bravo reality shows with a special emphasis on the RH franchise. Listening to the hosts are like listening to your funniest friends going to town.

Joe Rogan Experience – Always in my top five. Best conversationalist podcast out there hands down.

The Art of Simple – interviews, tips, etc for minimalist living, downsizing, less is more lifestyle

The Paleo Hacks Podcast – We aim for 80% paleo in the Paget household. It’s a new thing for us so this is a good podcast for wrapping your head around the rules.

Katy Says – From biomechanist Katy Bowman who’s life’s work is about the importance of moving our bodies.

If you’ve avoided downloading a podcast app onto your iPhone, please have a go and let me know how it goes for you!

 

 

 

Perimenopause: The Importance Of Surrendering

I had a weird dream the other night. In it, strangers were sticking acupuncture needles into my body and I was pulling them out. It was more annoying and uncomfortable than painful but it went on and on and when I finally woke up and downloaded the dream to my husband, I knew it was weird enough to investigate further.

 

 
So I went and Googled “I’m dreaming of being attacked by strangers with needles” and several dream dictionaries came up. Some just offered interpretations of what dreaming of needles meant. Others defined what dreams that involve strangers mean. I kind of threw everything I came up with into a hat in my head and pulled out a grand interpretation. Not good! Evidently I was a heaping pile of  deep internal, and harmful,  conflict.

Even though it was “just a dream” and everything in my world was really good, there was truth in that result. Lately I’ve been feeling the impact of perimenopause in a way I haven’t before and that is absolute exhaustion. But at the same time I have so much to do in my work. Put them together and they are like oil and vinegar, they just weren’t mixing. I was feeling guilty that I wasn’t producing as much as I had aimed for. I was feeling guilty for being wiped out.

Fortunately I don’t do guilt and I knew what really was happening here was that I was swimming against a tide. I was having a total Sisyphus moment, pushing a ball of “shoulds” and “have to’s” up a big, impossible hill of my body’s current needs.

And so I waved a white flag of surrender. And this is a fascinating feeling for me. It means I get to revisit what I’m doing and just do less. It means that rather than harm myself during a time of taking it easy and letting go, I can put some systems in place that are supportive so this surrender is a nurturing time.

For some, the idea of surrendering and being willing to do less, without having a guilt trip over it, is an impossible feat. If you’re feeling the clash of perimenopause and ego, or anything and ego, I dare you to wave a white flag.

In the podcast I mention a Ted Talk by Dr. Judith – here it is:

 

 

I also mention the book “The One Thing’ which challenges the supposed value of multitasking. Read more here

Don’t forget, you can get more great ideas that will support your midlife journey by signing up for my free newsletter. 

And what about you? Where can you surrender in your life? Share with me how you use my three tips for waving your own white flag.