On Life and Living…

During the past week, our family has been saddened by the death of the Matriarch of my husband’s family, Great Aunt Rose. Rose was a country lady who dedicated her entire life to celebrating the bonds of family and friends. Over the last 29 years, she taught me numerous lessons about accepting and loving others as they are and enjoying the smaller things in life. Rose’s unique personality affected everyone she came in contact with. Even residents, staff and family members from the nursing home she resided in have shared how much she was loved and how much her smile will be missed. Those of us who are family have also been witness to the part of her personality that she referred to as being ‘concrete headed’ but we all loved and respected her none-the-less. Rose’s strong determination and willingness to help out others in need is prevalent in those of her generation. Her generation is a generation of folks who survived the great depression and learned how important it is to cherish whatever (or whomever) comes your way.

For almost 30 years, I worked in the field of geriatrics and was privileged to witness the life stories of countless senior citizens. I discovered through them the importance of being grateful for the smaller moments in life. Many of them shared with me the regrets they had about not appreciating the everyday things that most people take for granted. Things like going for a walk (before life placed them in a wheelchair), really relishing the taste of chocolate cake (before diabetes took away this option), holding hands with a loved one (before they were taken from this earth), taking the time to watch a sunset (before Macular Degeneration destroyed the ability to see) or even savoring the sound of rain falling on the rooftop (before bilateral hearing aides were needed). Everyday actions and connections that seem to the younger sect to always be available to be appreciated…tomorrow…whenever things slow down…tomorrow… whenever life stops being hectic. Did you know that life will never slow down on its own? One day you, too, might wake up and realize it is too late to savor the gifts that were placed in your hands or in your care. Why wait until then? Learn to savor them now.

But just how do you do this? How can you slow down when life pulls you in so many different directions? By realizing that your time is as valuable as anyone else’s and setting limits. By learning it is okay to say ‘no’ when you are asked to do one more thing that you really do not want to do. By realizing you are a human being who has worth regardless of what you do for a living or how many committees you are involved with. For some people, this also means changing career directions. (Ever wonder why self-sustainable living-living off the land-has become so popular?) If this is the case for you, check out the possibilities for an alternative way of earning a living. Examine your expectations of what salary you need to earn and see if you can scale down what you spend your money on. It is possible to look forward to going to work and to love what you do for a living.

It is also necessary to start to discover just what is important in your life. What would you miss if it were taken away? Sadly, some people live their entire lives and never discover what makes their own hearts sing. Not their loved ones hearts but their own. Simple everyday things that do not cost a lot of money but are still invaluable. Start paying attention to what makes you feel good…what makes you smile. Is it a purring cat? or the color purple? The scent of a freshly plowed field after a rain shower? or the scent of freshly baked bread? Whatever it is, make time for it every day. If you are unsure of what you like (this happens more than you think) make time to start exploring. Stop at a gourmet food shop on your lunch hour or browse in a home furnishings store. See what you are drawn to. Make notes and keep exploring. Try out a new hobby. Pull out the craft project that has been sitting on the shelf. Plant a garden in the back yard. Explore a new herb. Take an herbal workshop (with us at The Simple Heart of Life) and share this journey with others. It doesn’t matter where you start. The point is to start somewhere. Give yourself permission to start living. Discover the simple pleasures to enrich your life. Be open to change and growth and a calmer more fulfilling life will unfold as it is supposed to. Trust this. An added bonus is that you just might decrease your stress level and improve your health, making your doctor happy too 🙂

For additional information about herbs or herbal workshops, post a message below, call or text 217-248-1508. We would love to share our passion for herbs, gardening and life with you!


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