Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Writer's Notebook: 5 Strategies to Improve Your Mood

Oasis Feature: Writer's Notebook (and we are all writers!) Is it a cloudy day in your emotional life? Do you have the blues? 

If so, I recommend these "5 Strategies to Improve Your Mood."


I'm working on writing my mother's story. Those of you who have been following Oasis Writing Link™ know that she was murdered in a hate crime many years ago. I believe this story is worth telling and yet, it is difficult to revisit the memories without holding on to the sadness. In fact, it's not only writing about her but also, I seem to become moody when her birthday approaches. Even Halloween symbols bring about strong memories of our life together because she was born on October 31st. I've decided that this is the year that I will tell this story. It's time to move forward, which is why I need a plan to perk myself up after I write.

These following tips can be used whenever you want to break your own downward spiral after an intensely emotional writing experience.

1. Turn on fun upbeat music! Do you remember "Popcorn" (see video below)? That's the kind of playful atmosphere you want to create for yourself in order to transition out of a blue mood.
2. Move! Go outside for a quick walk. It's possible any other exercise could break the mood cycle but moving in nature, noticing how your feet contact the earth, feeling the sun and wind on your face is a great way way to change your perspective.
3. Stop and contemplate a leaf, flower, tree, cloud. Look deeply but softly at the shape, texture, uniqueness of each beautiful aspect of nature. Remember that you share this unique beauty. Ponder on the life coursing through your veins and appreciate your own beauty-essence as you absorb nature's beauty.
4. Breathe in joy as you appreciate all that is life. As you deeply inhale joy, exhale any residue of disturbance that may be inside you without any sense of rejection. You are accepting yourself and all that is animating this world.
5.Make a JOY Plan. Decide to do something energizing in the near future, with the intention to create optimism. Encourage yourself and cultivate a happy hopeful disposition. Be imaginative. Do you want to go on a last minute cruise? Can you make a self-care appointment such as a facial, hair treatment or a mani-pedi for this weekend?  Do you want to see a loved one? If so, then plan a visit where you share a special meal, picnic or visit a favorite restaurant together. Remember to nurture yourself and keep it fun!

These ideas are not intended as avoidance strategies. If you have a genuine problem that needs resolved, I encourage you to seek advice or therapy from a professional counselor. My hope for you is that these five tips will provide you with a readily available mood shifting strategy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Inspired to Change




I’m organizing people, tasks, plans
at work and in my dreams. I’m
living my work life twice,
once awake and once asleep.
Let me out!

Walking down the street,
I’m shucked as new corn –
Exposed, raw, open.
It’s New York City in the fall
Curtains blown through -
caught, held, pinned.
(Muse refuse?)

 Outside the box
walking through Washington
Square in clear air
Green corners filled out
In secret places
rendezvous and parlez-vous
“Bonjour mes amies!”

Feeling life, living, alive
Holding together, letting go
Convex, concave
light and loose …
willpower?
– it’s now or never.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Visit From Tropical Storm Bertha

Batten down the hatches!? People are stocking up on crackers, water and batteries but so far the storm is not bad here in a Puerto Rico. Still everyone is "en casa" waiting. A few of us are outside, after all Beni needs his walk. Mangos are dropping like rocks in anticipation of an avalanche. A lady from the Dominican Republic wearing a knee length skirt and holding an tiger printed umbrella is collecting fallen mangos in a plastic bag. I hand her one that's fallen hard at my feet, call Beni, leap over newly forming streams and run into the corner building. It's a storm, and the streets are flooding but so far we're just fine.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mellow Yellow Gratitude

Oasis Reflection
 


 "The moment your judgement stops 
through acceptance of what is, 
you are free of the mind. 
You have made room 
for love, 
for joy, 
for peace."


The Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now


 The sun is shining this morning in San 

Juan, Puerto Rico. As the breeze gently 

catches the ocean mist, I'm reminded of 

the goodness in this life. It's so easy 

to forget to notice the beauty that 

surrounds us everyday but today I am reminded to accept:
 


I'm lucky! I'm so fortunate to live here on 

this beautiful island. I appreciate my 

friends and family all across the States 

and Puerto Rico who welcome me into 

their homes and make room for me in 

their lives.  It's good to know my health,

if not perfect is good ! (I've done my 

summer routine checkups and I'm fine.) 

I'm looking forward to little pleasure, for example,

soon we will have bikes to ride around the

town and to the beach! My girl is coming 

home for a couple of weeks! Oh, yes, I'm happy 

indeed! 
 
In our ordinary moments, we can let 

go and just be in this moment and 

experience it without any changes. 


It's lunch time now. My simple pasta is 

warm and sprinkled with freshly cubed

tomatoes. Soft and sweet peaches, 

freshly sliced, await. No, I think I'll try a 

bit of fruit right now with the pasta. Why not?!


I'm moving along at an even pace at 

home and at work...look for this, look for 

that ...it's a mellow yellow kind of day. 


I hope your day is brightly imbued 

with radiant joy.








MUSIC NOTES:

They call me mellow yellow
(Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow
(Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow

Some comments by Donovan about the lyrics and his inspiration:

"In an interview with the June 18, 2011 edition of the NME, Donovan was asked what the song was actually about? He replied: "Quite a few things. Being mellow, laid-back, chilled out. 'They call me Mellow Yellow, I'm the guy who can calm you down.' Lennon and I used to look in the back of newspapers and pull out funny things and they'd end up in songs. So it's about being cool, laid-back, and also the electrical bananas that were appearing on the scene - which were ladies vibrators." (What!? These are the songwriter's risqué words! haha)




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Visit to the Blue Hole

I haven't seen my brother in 20 years. 
In the wake of Mom's unexpected death, he moved to the mountains in Tennessee and I moved to the island of Puerto Rico. It's common to look for peace and new surroundings when tragedy suddenly strikes. Nevertheless, the closeness you feel as siblings never goes away. It's so good to reconnect with my brother Richard!
We walked to the Blue Hole and I couldn't resist going in! Soon I convinced him to come in too! 
It's not so cold!! (I lied!) he looked at me in the water and decided to show me how it's done.

"Are you going to jump!? I exclaim. He tells me, "That's the only way." 
Sibling rivalry? He wins - hands down! 
Now Patrick the General decides it's time to join the party! It's his first swim ever!! 
Poor baby! The water is so cold! Better get him out, now! 
Life can be so hard. We have to make the most of the good times. 
 
Jump right in and live!! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Dear Mom


For Susan Pittmann who died a violent death by an angry and bitter man on this day 22 years ago:

Dear Mom,

I like to think of you as happy with all of your children and grandchildren nearby. 

You must know that you indeed have lived a successful life - though brief, you made every day meaningful! 

You taught me how to love unconditionally and focus on the good in people. 

Your memory is a great comfort to me.
I celebrate your life more and more every day! 

Your loving daughter, 


Cynthia ❤️

"To laugh often and much; 
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Traveling Today through JFK

I'm hearing the soft rhythm of Sade playing in the background while drinking large gulps of American style coffee and sitting at a clean table on a cushioned chair using free wifi and an iPad set up for public use. Where am I? A coffee house?

No! I'm at the JFK airport in New York.

What happened to travel in the last few years? The last time I was in this airport on a family trip, the plane was delayed, we had lost our connection, and it was dreadfully uncomfortable. We waited for hours cold, hungry, tired and trying to sleep on the floor with fifty other waylaid travelers caught in route like flies in this crafty spider web of concourses, terminals and shuttles. Victims at the mercy of impatient airline officials and over zealous security agents, e.g.

 "Where are you going and to what purpose?" 
"Home"  
 "What are you transporting in that red jar? 
"It's homemade cherry preserves?!" (There they go into the trash!)

I felt like running to the nearest exit, "I'm unsat! I'm unsat!" For those of you who don't know, that's military jargon for "unsatisfactory" but it's equivalent now would be "that's a fail." Only the panic feeling of "I'm unsat" is more to the point. I felt guilty and afraid that I would get caught. But what had I done? The general atmosphere after 9/11 was intense, we were all guilty until proven innocent. I stayed  away for a good while. I stopped traveling north. 

Today, I'm mystified by the contrast of my memory with the current reality. Is this the same nightmare airport where more than once,  I've been caught midstream on my way to somewhere.
I'm not complaining about the comfortable wait, I'm just taking it all in and feeling more and more delighted by the moment! Times have changed while I've been sipping a cool drink by the ocean on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico -  oh yes, they keep changing by the moment! I'm pleasantly surprised that this change is good; in fact, it's brilliant!