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Christmas_Tree2_2010

Don’t you just enjoy Christmas? The festivities. The food. The fun. The gifts. The…everything about Christmas and in particular, Christmas in the islands!

I used to think that once I got older, I would lose the Christmas fever but at 50-plus, that has not yet happened. I don’t believe it ever will.

As a child, Christmas festivities were in full swing from the very week of Christmas, so by the time the actual day arrived, everyone in our home was all set. The night before, no one went to bed until around 2:00am, due to the fact that we were all so busy, with dad making sure all decorations we put up were still in place with all the lights working; my sister and I would be getting our hair done; mom would be baking rum cake, sorrel drink and preparing the meat dishes for the next day and my brothers would both be helping mom and dad. We would probably get a couple hours of shut-eye, but were back up by 4:00am or so on Christmas morning.

Now this was the highlight of our Christmas holiday – the events of Christmas morning! Our parents would give us money and we would head off to “Christmas Market” downtown. We would shop to our hearts’ content, and head back home with the tons of goodies we bought. That was the best time ever and it didn’t stop there.

My oldest brother was a musician who was the drummer on many of the popular songs at that time. Live shows musical shows were held and we were sure to be there, with backstage access after the show, every single year.

The Christmas Market and musical show routine went on for many, many years until we became adults so that spirit of excitement and anticipation never left me.

I’m happiest at Christmas time and I bet you are too!

Christmas 2008

Do you have a good network of friends? Are you in touch with your family – both immediate and extended? If your answer is “no”, then you should do all you can to change that to a resounding “yes.” Our social life is something is something me must pay attention to.

This aspect of our lives is extremely important as we age. Studies have proven that people who maintain a good social life, are likely to live longer.  I have read that in so many different places.

Introversion and seclusion are the last things we want to do at this stage.  If you want to age fast, then that’s certainly the way to go.

There is so much that can be done when you have a great social life.  You can take trips, play games, go to games, go to the movies, go dancing or other physical activities, join various clubs, join various groups, visit others who are unable to leave their homes and entertain them…a plethora of activities.

If you’re thinking that it’s difficult to do at this stage, think again.  It’s easy as (1) seeking out former friends either via Facebook or any other social media that’s out there (2) starting a club, i.e. a book, sport or game, financial, etc. or (3) resuming a favorite hobby and encouraging others to join in.

Why not get moving today; the sooner – the better.

I attended my second retreat that was designed for spiritual enrichment and focus on entrepreneurship and self. Money well spent!  An incredibly rich experience it was.  This was held in the countryside in the hills in my hometown, Jamaica, at a historic great house called The Bromley.

www.liberatedbitches.com were the designers of this awesome event.  Since co-authoring How She Got Free: A 5-step Spiritual Business Manual for Women Who Lead Through Entrepreneurship—a bestseller on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble—the duo has gathered audiences of women in various stages of entrepreneurship to teach, guide, and inspire on the process and benefits of creating sound Standards, Systems, and Structures™ both personally and professionally.

These women curate and cultivate dialogue around the practice of spiritual entrepreneurship, and provide live and digital opportunities for women to increase their knowledge and their network around legacy-building and living well.

It was the experience of a lifetime. I happened to be the only 50-plus woman in the group and I never felt more welcomed.  All the women there but one, were in their 30s, the other being in her mid-20s.  I drew so much from these women and they drew so much from me, proving that we can all learn from each other, no matter what our ages may happen to be.

They craved my wisdom - they said, which of course was gained from my many life experiences and thanked me wholeheartedly for willingness to share and just for being among them.  I couldn't have been in a better place.  We laughed, cried, expressed our joys, fears, sorrows, etc., hugged and comforted each other and just basked in the moment we were experiencing.

We did yoga on a private beach which we had all to ourselves and again in a secluded spot in the hills with an awesome actor/dancer/teaching artist/yoga instructor, Lynnette R. Freeman; had a moving session with relationship coach Monique Halley of www.simplyblissliving.com ; ate delicious vegetarian meals three times per day for the entire four days and three nights we were there; had deep-tissue massages by an awesome local masseuse and tarot card reading.  Each night we danced vigorously on the verandah overlooking the hills, to the sweet sound of Jamaican reggae music that belted out from the valley below as we drank wine and natural Jamaican fruit juices.

The most powerful event of the retreat-- the bonfire into which we threw and watch burn, all of the "not it shits" we no longer wanted in our lives. We wrote them down, said them out loudly then threw them into the raging bonfire, not moving a muscle until we were SURE we could actually see them burned to ashes! There were shouts, tears, laughter, praying, dancing--just complete rejoicing after letting go of those demons that had been holding us down.

I'm already looking forward to my next retreat. CLICK HERE to learn how you can come join us at the next retreat!

I missed this year’s annual planting of my Spring garden with my grand daughters.  For some strange reason though, that feeling and urge to still do some planting kept hammering at me.  So, the Spring season came and went.  Summer came and went as well and  I managed to suppress the strong urge for those two seasons.  Then came Autumn, and the urge to plant only got stronger and stronger.

To make matters worse, I took a trip to New York for my younger cousin’s wedding and happened to swing by a childhood friend's home nearby.  She took me outside to her backyard and immediately, an out-of-body experience took place.  My "planting urge" hit me almost to the ground when I saw Marie’s beautifully planted yard!  The front was filled with beautiful zinnias and other colorful flowers too numerous to mention.  Her backyard was also filled with flowers, and there were vegetables and fruits of all description.  Mind you, my backyard is three times the size of hers, yet she managed to fill her entire yard with maybe up to four times more than I would have done in mine!   She had various types of herbs, vegetables, fruits, edible and inedible flowers which gave the yard the feeling of just wanting to spread a blanket and just laying there the entire day.

I spent three days at Marie’s house (of course canceling my prior arrangement to stay elsewhere) and just couldn't get enough of this beautifully planted-up yard.  I began to wish that I lived in New York -- that I lived next door to Marie's beautiful yard.  I also wished I didn’t have to leave!  I wanted to see this yard every single day!  This was my new inspiration!

I couldn’t wait to get home to finally release this monster inside of me to plant, plant, plant!  I know Winter is only a few months away, but that's no deterrent to me.  I’ll just have to find Fall-friendly flowers and vegetables to plant so I can release the tension I'm having in my green thumb this year.

It's on now!!

As I delve further and further into the fitness arena, I find myself getting the urge to try new things in these my mid-fifties. Things I'd never even think of trying as a younger girl -- roller blading, bike riding (nope, never did learn to ride a bike), hula-hooping, swimming, belly-dancing.Belly dancing is the swaying of the hips and torso, in a range of dynamic and emotional expressions. Characteristic movements in the dance include curving patterns, undulations, thrusts, lifts, locks, and drops, and shaking or quaking body movements. The focus is on isolated movements of individual parts of the body with little notice given to the footsteps. Arms and hands move fluidly, like serpents or ribbons in the air. Unusual strength and control is demonstrated in the belly area.

http://www.learn-to-belly-dance.com/styles.html 

This past week, I received an e-mail from my daughter about a $5 introductory offer for belly dancing classes. I jumped at that opportunity so fast that I'm almost sure I was the first one signing up. I couldn't wait for Friday evening to get here.

I have long wanted to do belly dancing. It is such a beautiful style of dancing; so graceful, free-flowing, and sexy!! Nothing could keep me from going so of course, I was the first to show up in the studio along with my niece. My daughter, Akilah came along as well. In fact, quite a few ladies showed up and most of them expressed the same sentiments – the attraction to the gracefulness and sexiness of this type of dancing.

Our class began on the dot of 7:00pm and as we breezed through each move, we were all smiling as we felt as though we were full-fledged belly dancers. Our arms, eyes, fingers, hips, bellies, toes and legs were all incorporated in each move as we whined, shimmied, stretched, smiled, and bounced to each move. I didn't want the darn class to end.

That hour came and ended so fast, much to my dismay. I sauntered over to the instructor to get more info and of course, agreed to sign up for her Monday classes. Just what I have always wanted!! I'm giving myself some time to get to "expert" belly-dancer status.

I'll keep you posted.

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Letting my time in-between visits stretch out for too long, I had almost forgotten how much of a wonderful time can be had visiting Jamaica. I had the pleasure of going there this past Labor Day weekend for the Yoga Camp; Wellness Retreat #CCLJamaica at the Bromley house in St. Ann.

The country-side home where we stayed was gorgeous. Words cannot describe how beautiful, peaceful, calming and fragrant the air was. The sound of cows mooing over yonder, reggae music playing in the hills, birds chirping all day long, coupled with the fantastic view of the lush, green hills.

This was truly a time to pay attention to self, relax and just simply - - chill. As organizer, Takeyah Young of Core Connection Lifestyle put it, “It was a time to go within, tap into that which resonates at your core and take action.” The vegan-style menu for all three daily meals, yoga at the house and on the beach, the one-on-one coaching sessions, the Take Living Personally workshop by Takeyah, and Akilah Richards of www.Execumama.com fame's Live Your Grain workshop all made this retreat an event to never, ever forget.

I’m still in #CCLJamaica mode. What a wonderful time it was!

 

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