Farewell 2015 No Regrets

Saying farewell to 2015 and hello to 2016, I am reminded of the popular words by Hunter S. Thompson in “The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967,”

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

“Totally worn out” was the only part of life’s journey I recognized. So this year I pedaled my tricycle as furiously as I could searching for what would make me skid in broadside to the grave knowing I’d thoroughly used up every gift and talent I possessed.

Why a tricycle?

Farewell 2015 No Regrets 12-31-15 © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

It’s such a bright and happy symbol of laughter, freedom, and seeing the world through the eyes of a child. Fresh. Curious. Fearless.

Untainted by other people’s expectations, views, demands and values.

Wheeling over the driveway and onto the sidewalk ready to explore and choose my path with eyes wide open, a willing heart and a backpack chocked full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples and a thermos of chocolate milk – 2015 was the year of questioning.

Children will persistently ask “Why?” much to an adult’s mind-boggling distraction.

Why puts us into a loop of eternal questioning. Asking how or what will let the brain figure out solutions.

So I could examine, then determine what I wanted to consciously believe, I asked:

  • “If I could start all over, become a child again, with all the influences I get to chose, what would my life be like and look like?”
  • “What beliefs block me from accepting that I get to make my own choices and my choices are valued?
  • “What beliefs block me from fully loving, accepting and valuing myself?”
  • “What made me believe that God hates me and is mad at me?”
  • “What do I choose to believe?”
  • “What do I chose to be?”

Often times an immediate answer was “I don’t know.” Remembering the child on the tricycle, I persisted in asking and never let up.

I have no regrets over spending time and energy on daily morning and evening prayer, meditation, mirror work, chakra work and homework from the therapist as I peeled back layers and layers of beliefs.

Like the child on the tricycle that veers off path, scraping knuckles and skinning knees, I cried, saw where I made less than life-enhancing choices, decided I could do better and pushed on refusing to give up my adventure.

In order to heal, I had to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. And recognize when I was resisting being uncomfortable and letting the more familiar anxiety lead the way.

2015 started with gritted teeth, sobbing prayers of “Please God, give me the strength, courage and wisdom to get through this day.”

2015 is ending with smiles and excited prayers of “Thank you God, for showing me who you really are, that you are Love. Thank you for teaching me to love myself and heal my mind and thoughts. Thank you for teaching me that I get to choose my beliefs and no one, not even you can or will take that away from me. Thank you for helping me understand that you don’t hate me and aren’t mad at me, those obstructions came from listening to other people’s views. Thank you for unblocking my ability to accept my highest good and absorb the meaning of gratitude, grace, love, joy and peace. Thank you for an awesome day!”

May you too look back on 2015 with gratitude for people you love, grace and blessings received (even when they weren’t pleasurable), lessons learned even if they hurt and pursuing your dreams of what would make you skid in broadside to the grave.

That’s me, waving at you as we pass by on our tricycles heading to new adventures in 2016 with no regrets. I have a spare PB&J; let me know if you need it.

© 2013 – 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved

ABlueSquash.com is devoted to transformation and reinventing life. Topics and projects are wide and varied as inspiration is found around any corner anytime, anywhere.

The author of this blog does not presume to offer psychological therapy nor advocates the use of any technique for the treatment of any specific or traumatic psychological condition without the approval and guidance of a qualified psychotherapist. The writer’s intent is to convey personal experience in the hope it may be of help in others’ personal quests for mind, body and spirit improvement. If you use any of the information as a form of self-therapy, the author / writer assumes no responsibility or liability for your actions.

Holiday Teas & Tisanes Review

What could be better than a cup of tea to warm and brighten the holiday season?

Eggnog, peppermint martinis, and cocoa with marshmallows you say?

Okay, I’ll accept that, but my favorite feel-good drink is tea.

Holiday Teas & Tisanes 12-18-15 © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

What is the difference between tea and tisane?

All tea (black, white, green, oolong) comes from the Camellia sinensis plant.

Anything else is an herbal (Rooibos, chamomile, yerba mate.) Tisane is a French word for “herbal infusion.”

Check the ingredients on the package or description of the product to verify if it is a “real” tea or “herbal” tea.

As mentioned in my Autumn Flavors blog, there is a difference in flavor between loose leaf premium tea and tea bags. Think a can of beer versus a microbrewery or craft beer on tap. You can clearly taste the dissimilarity.

For many years I shied away from the easily found teas in grocery stores. Only purchased premium loose leaf teas in specialty stores and online.

CELESTIAL SEASONINGS SUGAR COOKIE SLEIGH RIDE® was one of the first herbal blends that changed my mind about grocery store “boxed tea bags.” It is delicious and a good reason to lose my snobbery.

Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

Thank our lucky stars that Celestial Seasonings continues to bring back this perennial favorite year after year. Like drinking a liquid sugar cookie, the vanilla and orange infusion is surprisingly based on milk thistle and roasted barley.

Caffeine free this is perfect for soothing your voice as the kids are snuggled in their beds and you read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore.

Here are some other holiday concoctions found in local stores this season.

CELESTIAL SEASONINGS GINGERBREAD SPICE   Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Spice © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

Gingerbread is one of my essential food groups, so I couldn’t wait to try this herbal tea.

Opened the box to a delicious waft of cinnamon and ginger that had me thinking about baking an extra large pan of the spicy cake.

While the herbs were steeping, the scent had my mouth watering. Would the flavor be as dense as the aroma?

Yes! It hits the back of the throat like you just swallowed a luscious bite of gingerbread cake. Nothing can take the place of the real thing, but thank goodness for this calorie free tastiness, it helped me let go the urge to do some calorie filled baking – for now. Next cup I’m going big and adding a touch of molasses – woot!

“Decorating” my serving with a splash of Coffee-mate® Gingerbread creamer hit the spot on a cold winter evening as we watched “The Santa Clause.”

CELESTIAL SEASONINGS CRANBERRY VANILLA WONDERLAND   Celestial Seasonings Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

The sweet aroma of this herbal blend reminded me of a cranberry Danish. Got a hit of cranberry and cinnamon on the front sip, then a kick of vanilla at the back of the throat. This gorgeous mahogany colored brew is lovely by itself or lightly sweetened and perfect for savoring with a late morning Christmas breakfast.

BTW: I noticed a slight medicinal flavor after adding Splenda®, will stick with agave or try it with honey next time.

TAZO® JOY   Tazo Joy © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

I’m in LOVE with this tea found at Target!

The beautiful berry color container describes Joy as “a jubilant blend of black tea, oolong, jasmine green tea and hints of peach. The combo in a high quality pyramid bag is reminiscent of a deep muscatel Darjeeling (my all-time favorite tea) with hints of jasmine.

I hear a symphony when enjoying this tea, so sip into bliss while lounging in front of a crackling fire and listening to Mannheim Steamroller’s “Christmas Extraordinaire.”

BIGELOW® EGGNOGG’N®   Bigelow Eggnogg'n © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

Smells like eggnog, doesn’t look like eggnog, yet its flavor has the essence of eggnog so you can indulge in a classic holiday treat without the calorie laden cream and eggs.

The black and green tea blend is individually wrapped in foil pouches, making it nice for carrying in a purse or taking to work. The cute graphics on the box includes the wording “An ‘Eggceptional’ Winter Tea” and I agree. Just don’t let it steep longer than the recommended two minutes, the delicate eggnog and cinnamon disappear and the tea is too strong.

Delightful without any enhancement, I added a dash of rum for the extra kick needed to finish wrapping presents. Yum.

BIGELOW® PEPPERMINT BARK   Bigelow Peppermint Bark © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

Described as a “minty chocolate herb tea” I definitely tasted a blast of mint and little chocolate.

It is “refreshing” as the box’s narration claims and after adding a little sweetener (agave) it tasted like an after dinner mint. Very smooth and cool. Will probably try this after the holidays with a splash of chocolate creamer to play up the chocolate. Right now, the refrigerator is too full of pumpkin, French vanilla, Cinnabon® and gingerbread creamers.

As peppermint is excellent for digestion this is the herbal tea I kept by my side while baking holiday treats. Individually wrapped in a foil pouch you can take this with you to any holiday gathering. Absolutely will have it by my elbow while playing board games with the family after Christmas dinner.

BIGELOW® GINGERSNAPPISH   Bigelow Ginger Snappish © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

Wasn’t feeling a hundred percent this morning. Woke up with a stuffy nose, puffy eyes, and sensation of Santa’s sleigh sitting on my chest.

No way.

No way was I getting sick, it simply wasn’t happening with Christmas coming next week. I just needed something to perk me up.

Ginger always perks me up, so I reached for Biglelow’s Gingersnappish. As I opened the foil packet a cheerful burst of lemon greeted my nose. After steeping four minutes the bright flavors of lemongrass, ginger and ­­­­­­­­lemon verbena warmed my tongue and throat like sunshine on a cloudy day.

Wrap yourself in a cozy blanket and let this uplifting and merry herbal blend release the blues and remind you summer will come again.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This is a personal blog and all the products reviewed in the above blog were purchased by me and are available to the general public.

I did not receive any free products, monetary compensation, or any type of payment for reviewing the products. Reviews represent my opinions based on personal use and are not influenced by anyone or any entity.

© 2013 – 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved

ABlueSquash.com is devoted to transformation and reinventing life. Topics and projects are wide and varied as inspiration is found around any corner anytime, anywhere.

There’s No Place Like Home

Have you ever been stuck, trapped at an airport or on the road due to Mother Nature being a seriously wicked witch?

Been there.

Tried to make the best of it, tried to see it as an adventure, yet really, deep down inside all I could think about was getting home. Wishing for a pair of sparkly slippers. Click my heels three times and I am there!

Those times were bad enough, but not being able to find the home in my heart were the scariest and loneliest times.

The times when family, friends, new relationships, religion, food, jobs, success, money and the stuff that cluttered my house wasn’t enough to fill a sense of emptiness. A feeling of lack, hollowness, “missingness.”

The times when being me wasn’t enough.

Human nature abhors a vacuum.

The emptiness had to be filled and I was stuck and trapped when worry, anxiety and depression seeped in.

I wished for a pair of sparkly slippers. Click my heels three times and I am there.

Managing and transforming my anxiety disorder took more effort than wishing.

It was a long and winding road learning to trust God again and in turn to trust myself. To experience life without an abundance of worry, to increase my capability to know I am enough and can handle any set of circumstances.

If you’ve never experienced an anxiety disorder, think crisis. Think about how you feel during and immediately after a near brush with danger. The heart races, blood pounds, and your body trembles and shakes while your mind replays the incident.

You think about what might have happened and generally, after a bit of time, you move forward. Some people are able to shrug it off quickly and even laugh about it. Others dismiss it after a while and don’t bring it up again.

With an anxiety disorder, you do not get over it quickly, sometimes not at all. Your mind and body continues to replay the danger, looping it over and over until it begins to affect sleep, work, appetite, and relationships.

The definition of danger and crisis expands to encompass the “little things” in everyday life.

Disorders can be mild to extreme. Anything, and in some people’s cases I do mean ANYTHING, from a dog barking, to someone parking in their usual spot at work, to a simple comment from a family member, friend, coworker or employer are triggers.

As the anxiety reaction heightens, all we want to do is make it stop. Make the pain go away.

In distress, we can’t find home.

I encourage anyone with anxiety to get professional help.

I did not and do not take medication, if you need it, that is a personal choice.

It takes a lot of courage to face the fact that we cannot make it go away, we can only make it better. Trying to make it go away keeps it strong.

Accepting that it exists and can be neutralized weakens it and moves us forward.

Now, instead of feeling an earthquake of anxiety, I feel tremors and respond appropriately.

I mean really, if a bus is going to run me over, I’m getting out of the way, not going to do deep breathing exercises first.

AS THE TREMORS START HERE’S WHAT I DO

1.    Use deep breathing techniques.

2.  Say to myself, “Hum, interesting,” observing the situation instead of reacting.

3.  Say a prayer asking and thanking the Divine for guidance and peace.

4.  Stay in the present moment. My brain’s wiring will recall the pain and emotions from similar situations in the past and projections of future “what if’s.” This ingrained reaction can be controlled so old pain does not add to and take over what is occurring in the moment. The brain can be “re-wired” with practice.

5.  Observe where I am at and what is the truth of the current situation. Am I truly in harm’s way? Am I projecting my feelings on someone else? Is this a real crisis or conflict?

6.  Remind myself I cannot control another person’s actions or behaviors, only my own. By deep breathing, praying and observing, I stay calm enough to make life-enhancing choices about a situation. I can control my response, which could include not saying anything and letting it go or taking appropriate action. (If you do not know what an appropriate action is, relay the circumstances to your therapist or psychologist and ask for their suggestions.)

7.  Ask myself, “If by worrying about this situation, am I avoiding looking at something else?” Are there conditions in my life I need to work on or address? Like relationships, being in an unsatisfying job, feelings of unworthiness, etc.

I learned to give myself permission and accept that it is okay to “self-care.” Finding the “missingness” of trusting God and myself did not happen overnight either. More about that in another blog.

Also do mirror work and journaling, use relaxation techniques, repeat positive affirmations and scriptures and work with my chakras and grounding. I keep myself open and receptive to learning more. I’ll share what I’ve learned with you in future blogs.

Without a pair of sparkly slippers or clicking my heels three times, I have learned to stabilize and find home in my heart.

© 2013 – 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved

ABlueSquash.com is devoted to transformation and reinventing life. Topics and projects are wide and varied as inspiration is found around any corner anytime, anywhere.

The author of this blog does not presume to offer psychological therapy nor advocates the use of any technique for the treatment of any specific or traumatic psychological condition without the approval and guidance of a qualified psychotherapist. The writer’s intent is to convey personal experience in the hope it may be of help in others’ personal quests for mind, body and spirit improvement. If you use any of the information as a form of self-therapy, the author / writer assumes no responsibility or liability for your actions.

Fall Flavors: Teas & Tisanes Review

The weather had been so warm here in northern Nevada that it was just a few weeks ago I put away all the refreshing, light and fruity iced teas of summer.

I’m definitely ready for the rich robust flavors of autumn and winter hot tea and tisanes.

Fall Flavors Tea & Tisanes 11-13-15 © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

What is the difference between tea and tisane?

All tea (black, white, green, oolong) comes from the Camellia sinensis plant.

Anything else is an herbal (Rooibos, chamomile, yerba mate.) Tisane is a French word for “herbal infusion.”

There is a difference in flavor between loose leaf premium tea and tea bags. Think a can of beer versus a microbrewery or craft beer on tap. You can clearly taste the dissimilarity.

For many years I shied away from the easily found teas in grocery stores. Turned my nose up at boxes of, dear heavens, tea bags containing inferior tea. Only purchased premium loose leaf teas in specialty stores and online.

CELESTIAL SEASONINGS BENGAL SPICE® HERBAL TEA yanked my nose right out of the air and into tea bag reality . . . it is pretty darn good.

Now one of my cold weather any-time-of-day go to teas. I really like the “caffeine free interpretation of Chai” with the full-bodied flavors of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, roasted chicory, black pepper, cloves and nutmeg.

That led me to try other teas on the shelf. Here are some found in local stores this season.

CELESTIAL SEASONINGS CARAMEL APPLE DREAM   Celestial Seasonings Caramel Apple Dream © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com 

There is a reason this herbal tea flew off the shelves and not because some woman had over ten boxes in her shopping cart.

Noooo . . . honestly, it wasn’t me.

I was lucky to get the one box in my hand.

As the herbs steep into a rich mahogany color the aroma of caramel and apples fill the air. No crisp Granny Smith here. Juicy red apple with a creamy maple caramel finish. Pleasant without sweetener, the flavor turns harsh if steeped too long.

Pick up a box and give it a try before this seasonal item disappears.

HARNEY & SONS PUMPKIN SPICE   Harney & Sons Pumpkin Spice © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

Found this yummy herbal blend in a gorgeous tin at Target. Rooibos, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a high quality pyramid bag turns a bright bittersweet orange as it releases a lovely pumpkin flavor. When sweetened the pumpkin flavoring is not as bold, I preferred it unadorned. Relax with a cup while browsing Pinterest.

BIGELOW® PUMPKIN SPICE   Bigelow Pumpkin Spice © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

This “hearty spiced” black tea is individually wrapped in foil pouches. Nice for carrying in a purse or taking to work.

Warm and invigorating, I like the predominate kick of cinnamon over a gentle wash of pumpkin. There is a hint of rum aroma, although rum is not listed as an ingredient. Excellent choice to start the day or to rejuvenate a slow afternoon.

STASH PUMPKIN SPICE DECAF   Stash Pumpkin Spice Decaf © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

With a light pumpkin flavor and lovely golden copper color, this decaffeinated black tea lightly sweetened and enhanced with a splash or two of Coffee-mate® Pumpkin Spice creamer is delightful. Savor it while reading Blood Brothers Book One of the Sign of Seven Trilogy by Nora Roberts.

TAZO® CINNAMON CHALET   Tazo Cinnamon Chalet Stash Pumpkin Spice Decaf © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

All I could taste in this infusion is Rooibos with some cinnamon. I would have liked a solid hit of the apple, cranberry, cloves and ginger as promised on the tin.

A hint of apple undertone arrived too late for me to enjoy the cup. Although captured in a high quality pyramid bag, this herbal mixture didn’t do it for me or put me in the mood to “play Parcheesi before a dancing fire.”

Speaking of Tazo® tea I spied one box of Tazo® Chai Pumpkin Spice at Smith’s within their autumn harvest showcase at the front of the store.

The Hallelujah chorus soaring in my head came to a screeching halt as a white-haired woman with a walker reached for that last box. What was I going to do, snatch it out of her hand?

I pretended to browse the pumpkiny and applely flavorland display as I waited for her to finish reading the box.

Darn.

She liked what she saw and put it in the purple cloth bag hanging off her walker.

When she turned her head to check out the Frosted Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts® I was ashamed at my urge to snag that box of Tazo® when she wasn’t looking.

The wave of temptation quickly passed. Thank goodness.

Checked the tea aisle to see if any were there. No luck. So if you have tried it, leave a comment and let me know how it tastes.

© 2013 – 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved

This is a personal blog and all the products reviewed in the above blog were purchased by me and are available to the general public.

I did not receive any free products, monetary compensation, or any type of payment for reviewing the products. Reviews represent my opinions based on personal use and are not influenced by anyone or any entity.

ABlueSquash.com is devoted to transformation and reinventing life. Topics and projects are wide and varied as inspiration is found around any corner anytime, anywhere.

Flaw Season

You see the signs everywhere this time of year:

FLU SEASON – GET VACCINATED!

I’ve had some pretty gnarly life-threatening cases of flu, however, my health suffered just as much from the cumulative dis-ease during “Flaw Season.”

Flaw Season is how I label:

  • embracing and magnifying flaws and pushing strengths to the side.
  • too much focus on mending weaknesses instead of honoring and seeing my worth and power.
  • ignoring and refusing to evaluate habits that obstruct my good.
  • focusing on what I do not want instead of what I do want.

Without precautions, Flaw Season would have lasted a lifetime.

MIRROR WORK

Have you done mirror work? It is a wonderful preventative measure to combat Flaw Season and transform mind, body, and spirit health.

You begin by gazing into your eyes in a mirror and repeating the words, “I love and accept you exactly as you are,” as suggested by Louise Hay in her book You Can Heal Your Life.

At first looking into my eyes was too difficult, so I looked at my face.

An appalling lack of concentration plagued my early attempts.

“Oh man, look at that disgusting hair curling out my nose. Step away from the mirror and pluck that sucker out!”

“Hideous. I look hideous. Dark circles, puffy eyes, boy that lack of sleep is showing. I have back-to-back appointments today, can’t see people looking like this, and my hair! I’d have time to fix everything if I wasn’t staring into this mirror. I’m going to be late for work!”

“Wait. I think I missed a slide in that PowerPoint presentation. Did I? I can’t remember. The meeting’s tomorrow morning; I’ll have time to check it if I get to work early. (Yawn, yawn, yawn) I’m so tired and I’ve got so much to do! Gotta put this mirror down and get stuff done before bedtime.”

“Good heavens, is that another wrinkle? Look at all the wrinkles! This mirror work blows.”

And off my thoughts would go on a tear about getting older, the laundry, dinner, what was on Food Network, etc. etc. etc.

The whispers of divine intelligence must have felt like they were in a crowded bar with the band cranking tunes at 85 decibels or in the middle of a playground surrounded by screaming children.

Eventually with practice, I looked directly into my eyes, thoughts calmed and I heard my inner voice.

  • It told me what I was really thinking about loving and accepting myself.
  • It revealed what feelings and beliefs were blocking me from accepting and receiving my power.
  • It pointed out how centering on flaws was a flaw.

The act of writing down where the thoughts, feelings and beliefs came from illuminated what I needed to acknowledge and heal.

Journaling the mirror work led to transformation, as I made choices on what to believe and where to put my focus.

Journaling is a measurement tool.

Experiencing progress stimulates motivation to continue working. Seeing a mass of baby steps transforming and adding up to substantial breakthroughs is exciting.

Divine Intelligence opened the door to people, books, movies, blogs and resources that provided information when I needed help in processing and understanding how to move forward, learn more and make life-enhancing choices.

Mirror work was only the beginning, a pro-active injection to start shaking off the perpetual winter of the soul.

© 2013 – 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved

ABlueSquash.com is devoted to transformation and reinventing life. Topics and projects are wide and varied as inspiration is found around any corner anytime, anywhere.

The author of this blog does not presume to offer psychological therapy nor advocates the use of any technique for the treatment of any specific or traumatic psychological condition without the approval and guidance of a qualified psychotherapist. The writer’s intent is to convey personal experience in the hope it may be of help in others’ personal quests for mind, body and spirit improvement. If you use any of the information as a form of self-therapy, the author / writer assumes no responsibility or liability for your actions.

The Power of a Mask

Saturday is Halloween, so earlier this week Rich (my husband) and I visited the Spirit Halloween Super Store in Reno.

Holy House of Horrors, Batman! What an awesome showcase for the spookiest day of the year. The store is a dripping plethora of bloody and frightening props, in addition to make-up, costumes and masks featuring superheroes, villains, imaginary, and real-life characters.

Masks line the walls.   Wall of Masks © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

People were trying masks on, ripping them off and slamming them on one after another, choosing then discarding in a fast and furious frenzy.

Rich jumped into the fray looking for a hideous look to scare the kids who trick or treat in our neighborhood.

V is for Vendetta Mask © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com   Hum, no.

Metallic Pumpkin Mask © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com   Hum, no.

Chrome See-Through Mask © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com   Hum, no.

Skull w Baseball Cap Mask © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com   Oh, yeah!

He was going to purchase the baseball cap with skull, until we saw the checkout line.

Curses! It snaked from the front to the back of the store and people were already complaining about the long wait.

Rich decided to stick with his wicked pumpkin-face mask from last year and we left.

Of course being around all those masks and the way people cast them off as quickly as they put them on, got me to thinking about masks worn on a daily basis and by familiar characters.

There is power in hiding behind a mask.

Masks © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

Batman disguises his secret identity and fights crime, striking fear in the guilty.

Darth Vader conceals his disfigurement, uses the mask to breathe, and strikes fear in pretty much everyone who gets near him.

The Zumbanator, my daughter’s made-up heroine, gives fitness flare, fights fat and strikes fear in no one.

We disguise our secret thoughts, conceal our feelings, and fight to survive behind masks of humor, humility, disappointment, indifference, and countless other attitudes and feelings.

We wear “masks” to help us be accepted, protected and find the power to be polite, respectable and civilized.

Taking a deep breath and wearing a mask of confidence gives us the power to buck a system, take a stand, fight for change and be extraordinary.

With enough practice, we no longer wear a mask of confidence, we simply are confident.

Most of my life I wore a mask of dread and feared owning my power. First, because I did not know it was possible and I could not comprehend the power of choices.

Second, because I thought somehow it was wrong. Like it was a violation of humbleness and personal power equaled pride and vanity.

It was easier and more comfortable to just not go there.

Eventually the negative masks grew into anxiety so severe that it damaged my mind, body and spirit.

Hitting rock bottom emotionally, I finally understood that it was time to choose. Either go on as I had been and die, or do something different, take charge of my life and live. At that point, I had nothing to lose.

That choice took me on journey – a quest – of discovering what is personal power, what was blocking it and how everyone is more powerful than we let ourselves accept or believe.

I learned to love and heal myself.

I learned to embrace my capabilities and flaws.

I learned the power is within me, not in the mask.

© 2013 – 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved

ABlueSquash.com is devoted to transformation and reinventing life. Topics and projects are wide and varied as inspiration is found around any corner anytime, anywhere.

The author of this blog does not presume to offer psychological therapy nor advocates the use of any technique for the treatment of any specific or traumatic psychological condition without the approval and guidance of a qualified psychotherapist. The writer’s intent is to convey personal experience in the hope it may be of help in others’ personal quests for mind, body and spirit improvement. If you use any of the information as a form of self-therapy, the author / writer assumes no responsibility or liability for your actions.

Love Letter to a Nutty Kid

Today, October 22, 2015 is National Nut Day.

To celebrate the day, I fully intended to post a killer Chocolate Chili Almond snack recipe. Ran out of time after the seventh attempt to perfect the formula.

The almonds took a left turn at Flavortown and landed smack dab in the middle of Bland Camp.

Not tasty? Not posting.

So, I’m “repurposing” National Nut Day to write a blog of appreciation for the three things I learned from my favorite nut, my daughter, Tysha.

From the day she was born I’ve told and showed Tysha how much I love her and thanked her for being a wonderful, extraordinary individual. Can’t recall ever telling her about my gratitude for her nutty side.

LIGHTEN UP

Tysha is a perfectionist. Yet she strikes a remarkable balance between being silly and being serious. She wears an essence of goofiness like perfume. It mellows the meticulousness.

If she wants to go somewhere or to see someone, she goes. No hesitation.

No worries about make-up, what she is wearing or how she looks. It’s the adventure and the laughter that is important. Life happens in those moments.

I used to laugh a lot.

I used to be silly.

The nut did not fall too far from the tree. When people see Tysha and me together, they nod and say, “Oh, now I understand where she gets it.”

Unlike Tysha, I lost my daily LOL (Laugh Out Loud.) I let anxiety become my master.

I got heavy, tightened up, and forgot how to live.

Watching Tysha and talking with her, reminds me:

  • it’s okay to lighten up and be myself
  • it’s smart not to care too much about what people think of me
  • step away from anything or anyone that crushes a merry spirit.

WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY

A few years ago, when Nevada was very slowly coming out of the Great Recession (more like a Deep Depression), Tysha was living in Wyoming and planned to come back to Reno.

“Are you nuts?”

Reminding her I was in the employment business and “jobs are as scarce as water in a mid-summer desert,” she did not let me deter her from reaching her goal.

“Stop worrying, I’ll find something,” she said with a smile in her voice.

And she did.

Later, she out grew that job. There was no room for advancement, she did not feel like she fit anymore and the feeling of unhappiness was pinching.

Tysha wanted to take a chance on a temporary position when Reno / Sparks still had not fully recovered its job market.

“Are you nuts?”

“Stop worrying, Mom, it’s all good!”

And it was.

Tysha is happy. She loves her job (that is no longer temporary), her co-workers, and the company. She’s making good money and her personal brand of nuttiness fits like a glove.

I am so glad she did not focus on my doubts.

She believed and trusted:

  • in herself.
  • in her worthiness.
  • in her abilities.

She knocked hard on the door of opportunity and did not hesitate to walk through – although you might have heard her laughing as she stumbled on a dust bunny or two.

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE FOR TIMING & MOTIVATION

When Tysha was little, I tried to share and teach her the things I enjoyed.

I despaired.

She didn’t want to bake.

She didn’t want to sew.

She didn’t want to dance.

Understanding they were not her “things,” I left it alone and let her be the kid she wanted to be.

Three decades later Tysha:

makes cupcake bouquets.    Tysha's Cupcake Bouquet for Judy's BDay © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

became a Zumba® instructor.    Allen Abraham & Tysha Zumba Instructors 2014 © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

creates exquisite costumes.    Tysha's Handmade 2015 Steampunk Ball Ensemble © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

She taught me about the importance of owning the timing and motivation.

When pressured or forced to do something, my heart is not in it. I don’t feel the joy and I’m not motivated to stick with it.

I’ve learned the best we can do is offer to teach, train with patience and excellence, be available for additional instruction, and then detach from the outcome.

That kid in the featured photo transformed into a lovely, amazing woman – who is still a nutty kid at heart. Isn’t life grand?

© 2013 – 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved

ABlueSquash.com is devoted to transformation and reinventing life. Topics and projects are wide and varied as inspiration is found around any corner anytime, anywhere.

Tricks For Learning a New Language

My American Sign Language (ASL) Barbie doll, currently up for sale on eBay, has her fingers shaped in the sign for “I love you.”

I tried to learn sign language in my younger days.

Didn’t use it much. It didn’t “take” and I did not advance beyond the basics.

I tried learning Spanish.

It didn’t take.

Ask my former co-workers who speak Spanish. They found it quite amusing that the only things I could remember and say well was, “The apple is red” and “Where is the bathroom? Pronto, pronto!”

I tried learning French and German.

Didn’t take.

The transformation of my life required changing my “thought” language.

Uh oh.

It did take, because I used some of the same tricks for learning a new language and applied them to changing my thought patterns.

WHY = MOTIVATION = COMMITMENT

Recognize why you want to learn a new language and make the decision to be in it for the long haul. No one needed me to communicate with him or her in sign language, Spanish, French or German. There were no plans to travel to different countries. It sounded fun and that wasn’t enough motivation to make a lasting commitment.

Changing the language of my thinking and thought patterns improves my life and moves me closer to my dreams. I wanted to learn and made the commitment.

TALK TO YOURSELF & RELEVANCY

Experts say talking to yourself is a good way to practice pronunciation. Hear yourself speak aloud and build confidence to speak to someone else. Focus on useful, every day, practical words and phrases.

When transforming thought patterns, it is crucial to listen to yourself. Words and phrases highlight where negative thinking is a conditioned response. Write them in a journal or notebook. The process may trigger additional thoughts or emotions, write those down too.

HAVE FUN & THINK YOUNG

Play with the language, have fun with it and be willing to make mistakes. Adults tend to give children and youth more leeway to make mistakes. Give ourselves (and other adults) permission to let go of perfection and embarrassment. If we use the wrong word or phrase or pronounce it incorrectly, someone will likely point it out. Thank them for their help while you are getting the feel for the language.

Many of our beliefs come from childhood teachings. Give yourself permission to question those beliefs and the resulting thoughts and behaviors. Explore if they are right for you and the life you desire. For each negative thought, give yourself the gift of discovery. Like a child, you are starting fresh and getting the feel for something new.

PRACTICE & REMEMBER TO BREATHE

Practice every day. Speak the new language, write it, think it, sing it. Use it. Feeling frustrated? Take a deep breath; ask for help. If you are learning from recording and written materials, take a class or find someone fluent in the language and ask to practice. People love helping people, especially when you are motivated to learn.

Practice changing your thought patterns by going back to what you wrote in your journal or notebook. Take each negative and turn it in to a positive. If you don’t know how, search for the word or phrase online, research self-help books, ask a therapist or psychologist for help.

When you hear yourself (verbally or inside your head) using a conditioned thought or response, take a deep breath, acknowledge it – my therapist taught me to say “Hum, interesting” – and redirect to your positive words or phrases.

Pay attention to what fears are blocking you from believing the positive words or phrases. Until you release the block, positive affirmations will not work.

Thank the CEO of the Universe® for help with removing blocks. “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4 KJV)

Give yourself a treat; learn a new language. Improve on the beautiful person you already are and remember to tell yourself everyday “I love you.”

© 2013 – 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved

ABlueSquash.com is devoted to transformation and reinventing life. Topics and projects are wide and varied as inspiration is found around any corner anytime, anywhere.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Hum, something has gone amiss with the seasonal decorating on my front porch.

Busy with selling my doll collection on eBay, I overlooked buying the orange and yellow squashes that herald autumn and enhance the front of the house.

Wanting to get in the spirit of fall, yet not in the mood to dig out the Halloween décor, I substituted canned pumpkin for my usual decorations.

Pumpkin Decorating Canned vs Real 10-7-15 © 2013 - 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved ABlueSquash.com

After all, pumpkin is pumpkin, right?

It gave me a laugh and a thought, “Sometimes there’s no substitute for the real thing and isn’t that just the way? I get too busy, sidetracked and settle for less than the best.”

In the past, I settled for:

  • inappropriate relationships because I was lonely.
  • jobs I didn’t like because they paid the bills.
  • dispiriting thoughts and behaviors because they were familiar and all I knew.

To find your best, instead of waiting for the New Year and all those soon-forgotten resolutions, start now with a daily mind, spirit, body program (think in minutes not hours).

Settle for improvement by:

  • committing to releasing fear bit by bit and doing the work of excavating your real self.
  • finding and trusting your Higher Power.
  • learning to calm your mind.
  • never comparing your program, growth, pain or joy with another person’s experience.
  • loving, approving and respecting yourself in every stage of development.
  • taking baby steps that lead to evolution.
  • getting inspired.

When first starting a daily program, my mind bounced, bubbled and boiled with thoughts darting all over the place. It was difficult to get even thirty seconds of peace. After countless baby steps, taking classes, reading books, watching videos and doing the work every day, I am harvesting a wonderful life.

What’s wrong with this picture? Absolutely nothing – depending on your perception. Libby’s canned pumpkin is my favorite to cook with; however, I like the “real thing” to decorate my porch.

So instead of posting another doll on eBay, perhaps it’s time to take a quick break, go to the store and pick up a couple of pumpkins.

Or better yet, I’ll ask my family to join me for some quality time at the Andelin Family Farm Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze here in Sparks, Nevada. It is a treat to enjoy my family’s companionship and that is the real thing too.

© 2013 – 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved

ABlueSquash.com is devoted to transformation and reinventing life. Topics and projects are wide and varied as inspiration is found around any corner anytime, anywhere.