Bulgy belly is Better

Flat tummies are out!

When and where did I (you) learn about the need to suck your gut in to look your best?

For me, it must have been with my mother’s milk. Anyway, I took it to heart and did not think about it.

It was quite annoying and uncomfortable as I have always had a pot. Maybe because I am a pipsqueak, all my adult guts and appetite are squashed down there, able to expand in only one direction.

I have tried girdles and elasticated pantyhose. All I get is a pain in the belly until I take the damn thing off.

But until this week while researching this topic, I have been under the impression the flattest tummy was an ideal among the many other perfections women are conditioned to believe in this day and age.

Well, I can tell you to take a huge relaxed belly sigh with me …

Almost exclusively, I have been reading that holding in your stomach is totally bad for you. It mashes all your organs down there and causes poor digestion and discomfort. All the news about bulgy bellies being better health wise passed me by. (For many years my young family claimed all my energy, with nothing left for myself. I am not complaining because I am fanatically proud of how my two girls turned out – btw they were born with flat tummies!)

So now I can dump the flat belly myth right in the trash along with spiked heels. Sense prevails.

I read the comments on these sites.I am guessing they brainwashed young girls who complained:

“Oh, I just look pregnant when I relax my tummy muscles.”

I think I look down when taking a gander at my gut. I can sympathise with what the girl above felt. However, all is not lost.

Phisiotherapy exercises

 

This is the homework I got from my physiotherapist when I went complaining of a sore back down the right side. She did a short assessment and explained to me about how muscles must stay in balance. I thought of the nearly 30 years I stretched up right-handed at the old chalk blackboards. No wonder!

These two exercises are basically intended to encourage better posture.

 

 

 

  1. Lying on your back with knees bent and arms by your side.Slowly lift pelvis back. x5

  2.  Bend both knees to right. x5

  3. To left. x5
  4. Do these 2/3 times daily

 

  1. Sit straight
  2. Keep shoulders down

  3. Do not use arms

  4. Slowly move shoulders across to meet one another

  5. Do x5/x4 daily

 

Add 1 or 2 regularly throughout the day.

This baby loves the bath Look at this little sweetie. Even thou the image is small you can easily see his relaxed tummy. If this were a video, his breathing would be most visible in his lower abdomen. We are born knowing instinctively the best way to breathe in a normal healthy way. Opera singers like Renee Fleming must re-learn correct breathing to sing her beat. Mindfulness practitioners like you are leaning to focus on your breathing in your preferred vivid area.

Somewhere along the line we lose it. If you are in panic mode your breathing gets very shallow, fast and high up in your chest in preparation for ‘fight or flight’. But we cannot stay in that state for long because it is draining and tiring.

Make sure you do as instructed in order to be balanced evenly on both sides. Practice when you are walking slowly somewhere

Why have stuck this image in here on a page devoted to bellies?

Well,  if you use these exercises to gain better posture, your tummy will be pulled naturally back and in. Your tummy will not look pregnant!

I still haven’t lost that old habit of pulling in. One baby step at a time.

Tracy

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Shocking news overheard!

Shocking news overheard!

I work at the till as a volunteer at a charity shop a few days a week.

One of the keys to happiness is to give some time freely to a good cause. Remember I had bowel cancer? Well, you might guess the name of the charity.

Bits of what I overheard from a covey of old biddies:

 

No, I haven’t seen her for ages…

She’s getting £2 more for this than me…

I’m claiming SSE as well…

How long are you stayin’ off?…

Or an elderly pair:

My mum was a Green Apron in Glasgow during the war…

She should have met my mother, what a pair they would make…

Oh, I haven’t thought about my home in years and years…

 

Yes, my lugs were flappin’

The Sottish accent makes stories so much funnier. I don’t to make myself feel better or luckier than others. I will never see the people again. There are people I know who should be taped, like Doreen Scott who has been around Crail for all her 82 years. Or old Pete Smith, gone now, who was a maths teacher in the local high school. He was also an expert on all things maritime from days gone by when most locals were at the fishing for their livelihoods.

They well-known writer about times past in the East Neuk of Fife is Christopher Rush. In fact, though the names are fictitious, everyone local knows who they are. Not always kind, but always funny. Here is a short excerpt by Mary Munro from the Ballater Eagle:

Twa auld biddies across the aisle were busy takin some o’ their friend throwe haun. “Did ye see Jessie’s perm at the Bingo yestreen? Fit a sitter! She hisna Macklemore hair at the best o’ times, but then perm has just frazzled it dry as a been!” Wi a moofu o’ scone, the ither wifie nodded agreement, syne cam oot wi’ – “That cardigan ye’ve on is a richt bonny feuchy-brown colour. It fair matches yer even. Did ye weive it yersel?

Aye, I thocht it wisnae a bochte ain – I can see the wee holie aneth the oxter far ye’ve drappit a stitch!

(The Ballater Eagle, Autumn 2008)

Go and try and say it out loud. You will tickle yourself.

See my other stories about Africa and life in general.

Mindfulness shows itself when we listen and are entertained by stories of others. You are in the moment listening non-judgmentally, taking in every detail.

Do you have a story to share, overheard or otherwise? Will you share it with us?

 


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10 (25+) Reasons to Junk the Box. Get it?

drawing of a television10 Reasons to Junk the Box. Get it?

(or the flat screen or whatever)

In the way

The focus of the room

It reflects the room

On when no one is watching, a waste of electricity

Babies fiddle with it so it blares

Most of what is on is rubbish

You could be doing something much more interesting – go out and study an ant

It takes fewer calories to watch TV than watching paint dry

You are not having a conversation that makes you happier

Makes you eat junk food at the same time – chickpea noodles

Ruins your diet

Makes you stay up too late

Promotes violence

Shows you products you do not need or want

Lets in silly little jingles that drive you mad

Uses up study time

Bad for your eyes

Can give you a TV screen headache

Gives you bad posture while watching TV

Not getting enough exercise

Getting brainwashed

Not making progress with household chores

Feet get cold

Not benefiting from socializing

Often not a Mindfulness related task

Turns into binge-watching which is all of the above X10

TV rots the brain

Reasons to Chuck the TV

When I was a child, there was a rule in our household that we could watch TV in the living room until dinner. But after that, only a half an hour of something special (very broadly). Of course, in those days there was only one TV, not like today when every youngster has one in his/her bedroom where there can be little if any monitoring. I was absolutely astounded that near enough three-quarters of the 10-year-olds in my class had TV and video recorder (DVD player) of their own. When do the parents ever see or play with their kids

Tracydrawing of a television

Who brought Indian beliefs to the West?

Who brought Indian beliefs to the West?

The  Beatles

 

The Beatles became interested in Eastern religion and music when they had already become famous for their new style of songwriting. They went

to India to stay in an ashram and learn from influential musicians and

experts in Indian philosophy.

George Harrison worked with the renowned sitar player, Ravi Shankar. In turn,

what George learned was reflected in many of their later songs.

They returned when John Lennon had a disagreement with the ashram leader.

 

Jon Kabat-Zinn was a young medic at the time who was drawn to India

out of curiosity. Many college-aged men and woman wanted to find

out for themselves the supposed mysteries of enlightenment in the land of Buddha. What Kabat-Zinn learned, he brought back to Massachusetts and applied

to his patients. And so was the birth of non-secular Mindfulness as a

prescription for pain and modern life.

 

 

Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

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Sassy American Expat has Solution for your Problem

Sassy American Expat has Solution for your Problem

Baby investigating a

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Are you tired and frazzled? If so, I want you to give Mindfulness a try.

I myself found Mindfulness many years back when I hit a rough patch in my life and work.

Since then, I have learned a great deal about Mindfulness by observing children focussing their whole attention on an object.

My granddaughter inspecting a flower is a perfect example of paying attention, in the moment, non-judgementally. This attitude is the essence of Mindfulness and the outcome is Happiness.

Amazing what you can learn from babies! You, too, can learn Mindfulness when you visit my website at:

What is Mindfulness?

8 Questions to Your Sanity

8 Questions to Your Sanity

 

Learn a bit more about yourself with this checkup:

                 Mindfulness Quiz

Here is a quick weather check on your feelings at the moment  —

    1. Do you feel frazzled most of the time?

Yes No

    1. Do you rush from home to work and home again?

Yes No

    1. Do you dread opening your inbox?

Yes No

    1. Have you given up old hobbies because of pressure of work?

Yes No

    1. Do you often feel you are just not good enough?

Yes No

    1. Do you lose sleep at night for ideas going round and round in your head?

Yes No

    1. Are you impatient and cross with family and friends because you feel tense?

Yes No

    1. Are you eating or drinking more than you used to?

Yes No

If you say YES to three or more, you need Mindfulness Way to Happiness in your life. OR you answer none?

If the answer is none, then I think you are kidding yourself.

You can feel better quickly with Mindfulness.

 

Tracy Fryer

How often do you hear this?

How often do you hear this?

 

“Thank you for showing me loving kindness and gratitude.”

It means you are more than just pleased. If you feel gratitude, it is something you appreciate fully. I imagine people are more often grateful for things.

Have you tried making the gratitude collection at tinygratitude.com? Each day you type in no more than 3 words to do with something for which you feel gratitude.

My collection is getting enormous! And I enjoy poring over all the words that mean something special to me. This little exercise has me pondering ahead of time by noticing many possible choices throughout the day. And I can never run out because the object is new every time It attracts my attention.

Things I am grateful for

I want us to think about people now. You may love, desire, imitate, dislike, agree with or like individuals, but who are you grateful for?

Gratitude plays a role within Mindfulness. Gratitude makes us notice the good other people do for us in life.

Let’s face it. No one can be happy and successful in his or her life without someone to look up to. For me it was, and still is, my mother. I know I could not live with her, don’t get me wrong. But she is my mentor, weather vane, my starting place. Of course, you have someone or some people, too.

so today, we are going to mention them by name. The first or last person to name is yourself. Oh no, You hear you say. I have nothing to be grateful to myself for. Start small and It will get easier, you will begin to believe your own words. This can be treated as a formal or informal Mindfulness practice:

May I be safe and free from suffering.

May I be happy and healthy as can be…

May I have ease of being.

 

May I be safe and free from suffering.

May I be happy and healthy as can be.

May I have ease of being.

 

May I be safe and free from suffering.

May I be happy and healthy as can be.

May I have ease of being.

 

Next, it is time to choose someone you truly love:

 

May __________ be safe and free from suffering.

May __________ be happy and healthy as can be.

May ___________have ease of being.  3x

 

Next, choose someone you recognize but you may not know:

Say the words of gratitude 3x as before.

Next, choose someone who has supported or mentored you to achieve your goals:

Say the words of gratitude 3x as before.

Next, choose someone with whom you don’t see eye to eye:

Say the words of gratitude 3x as before.

Next, choose everyone living on the whole planet:

Say the words of gratitude 3x as before.

 

You will be surprised at who you think of. I had the hardest time showing gratitude to people I generally don’t get along with.

How do you feel after this practice, I think closing your eyes helps you to concentrate.

 

 

 

Tracy


April Newsletter

April Newsletter

Mindfulness Way to Happiness

(4th time I have started this newsletter due to crappy computer)

I told you I would send you lambs when they arrived in our field. Don’t you want to just bury your face into that luxuriantly shaggy neck? I do. But they are so shy. They only stay this cuddly for a short while. I dislike their scraggly mothers.

Lambs in the field

Lambs in the field

 Another herald of spring in my house is the arrival of bluetits in the box outside my kitchen window. Madly the parents dash back and forth with nest makings made up of grass, wool, feathers and other found objects. They make a perfectly insulated circular cup which the mum sits on overnight until the eggs arrive. She appears to lay an egg a day. We have fledged as many as 10 nestlings
I must interrupt here to ask if you have ever been in awe of something in nature? That is being truly mindful. How could someone not be fascinated by this miraculous annual cycle? It is like the first time every year.
And how do we know these birds so intimately? It is because for the last 12 years we have had a camera inside the box which relays live movies to a display indoors.
I was busy with two children. These birds plainly exhaust themselves trying to feed all their offspring. Mouths agape and struggling to get highest. These mites gobble up all manner of insects. Sadly there is often left behind in the growing stakes, perhaps the most recent hatched. Mother bird collects the little carcass and other rubbish and disposes of it.
Baby bluetits

Baby bluetits

And how does the nest stay so tidy? The little birds poo by turning upside down and pushing out the excrement all sealed up in a plastic bag. An adult bird gets rid of it. Totally gobsmacking!
So this has turned into a Nature Newsletter. What could you find and marvel at? Please share with us and visit my blog at
https://tracyfryer.com
 More FREE materials on my site. Go there
Check out my Facebook Page
Until next month,
Tracy


6 Easy Ways to Waste your life

6 Easy Ways to Waste your life

 

 

old woman walking

There was this sweet old lady. She lived on her own, but still managed to look after her home and herself with no bother. She usually managed to fill her day.Here is her routine.

She gets up in the morning. She is wondering if she put out the bins last night. Gets dressed and goes downstairs, opening the curtains while thinking about breakfast. Eating her breakfast, she watched the news on TV and tutted at all the bad news around the world.

She fed the cat as she pondered which bus to take to the shops, then made her list. Hat and coat on, she trundled down to the bus stop wondering if she had her bus pass in her pocket. Luckily, the bus was on time and she got on and found a seat even as she thought about bus times home. She never noticed her friend Betty across the way. She got all her food shopping and caught the bus home, all the time trying to guess when the grandchildren would arrive.

Can you carry on the story yourself? Do you perhaps have a similar rut you follow?

What has our old lady missed today and many other days as well? Was she ever paying attention in the moment? Perhaps when she was shopping or she might bring the wrong thing home. For finding a seat on the bus she had to wake up. How many of us talk on our smartphones when shopping? You could be more unaware than the old lady.

1 She might have looked out her window and registered the weather

2 Same with opening the curtains

3 She never tasted the bowl of cereal and got enjoyment out of it

4 The news would also have obliterated her memory of breakfast as well. It might have a depressing effect.

5 She never stroked her cat. One of the most comforting things in life is stroking a pet.

6 Still not noticing around herself, she was worried about her bus pass which leaves the pocket of this particular coat except on the bus.

7 She missed seeing her friend, though she would have been happy to chat. Being sociable is a human necessity.

8 She fussed about the grandchildren.

Now she an old lady with lots of preoccupations as the elderly does. But look how much she could have appreciated in her routine world that she could experience new daily. No two days are the same. No two moments are the same. They are the only ones we will ever have.

So it is common at the end of our days to wonder, “What have I done?” and not be able to come up with anything he/she is particularly proud of.

Not the money or possessions, status or achievements. “Why didn’t I …”    “I wish I had…” are common regrets.

This type of assessment of ourselves is not the direction that practicing Mindfulness leads us in. We will have smelled the weathers and seen the abundance of life all around us. We will eat slowly and savor the tastes of food and not read or watch TV or be on the phone or be playing a game.

We might choose to watch and read Positive News. If we have a pet, we can love it and rely on it to make us feel better.

We won’t miss our friend. We will phone them up and initiate a chat.

You will take joy in your family and let the little one tempt you to share their discoveries with curiosity.

Tracy

 


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Mindfulness of Babies

Mindfulness of Babies

 

Aren’t babies delightful? Yes and no, depending. But all normal babies have this trait, much as it drives their carers crazy sometimes…

This is one technique in your Mindfulness toolbox you will appreciate as much as I do. The true Mindfulness beginner is a baby from about one year old onwards. This kind of awareness often ends or is snuffed out by the time a child goes to school. Perhaps not always.

 

Baby investigating with Mindfulness

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With the practice of Mindfulness, we want to fan those embers of a long-lost sense of discovery that was natural to us when we were young and curious. Look at this photo of my granddaughter. The flower we pass by holds a riveting fascination for her. She is trying to understand everything she can see, feel, touch and if she can get away with it, taste. She doesn’t hear anyone calling her, she is so focused.

When we are out and about, we may think there is nothing we haven’t seen before. Put your mind to searching something to investigate with Beginner’s Mind. I am sure you will successful.

It doesn’t have to be a living thing. When I stand at the bus stop these winter months, I look up to spot the highest leaf still clinging to the branch or watch a particular bird singing its heart out. Or the way the stones fit together on the wall over the road and discovering there used to be a door there.

You may find yourself sensing wonder and delight deriving from this new/old way of looking. With luck, this feeling will remain with you and you will try it again and again.

It’s not often we can learn from a baby!

 

Tracy

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One Formal and One Informal Mindfulness Practice

One Formal and One Informal Mindfulness Practice

 

I haven’t pushed this aspect of Mindfulness mainly because I don’t want to scare off people who would benefit from learning this practice. These are the ones who are leaning towards trying the practice but are still suspicious of the stereotypes of the hippy or the ninja mentioned in the Science or WooWoo page mentioned earlier.

The most formal postures for meditating require sitting on the floor or support and resting tour palms together. I have never done that.

Meditator

But if you are comfortable this way, that is fine. I have not sat with others doing this perhaps because I am getting on and we might not be able to get up!

CHAIR – Formal Mindfulness practice is usually done sitting on a chair. Curiously I haven’t been able to find a good photo (still looking) of the typical Mindfulness meditator. Think about it as I explain:

An upright chair is best with or without a back. When you sit, your bottom wants to be halfway forward on the seat of the chair. Your position is dignified but not tight. Feel as though you are being gently pulled upwards by a cord on your head but don’t stretch.

What you want to achieve is a posture of attention to this moment.

Having said that, when I was new to meditating I could not sit long before I would get a shooting pain down the right side of my back. That did not do much to encourage me to carry on. More advanced meditation can banish the pain.

What novices can do is mindfully shift position to feel the discomfort less. The second method and I often resorted to this in the early days, is to get a cushion behind your back for support.

Wonderfully, you can eventually train your back, perhaps with the help of some stretching exercise. But the pain will go away anyway with time.

HANDS – These may lie on your knees or be cupped one inside the other in your lap.

FEET – These should be flat on the floor. This is difficult for a shortie like me. Sometimes another piece of furniture works for me – not a puffed up sofa! I often use a small table.

Your hips should be a little bit higher than your knees, ideally.

EYES – These can be open and gazing unfocused on the floor in front of you. Otherwise, close them. Personally, I prefer closed because I am less apt to be distracted by things around me.

REMEMBER – You are wanting to be in the moment, not wanting to change anything, neither concerning thoughts of the past or future without judging yourself.

This is the first moment of this time sitting even if you have done it millions of times before. The sense of newness is palpable. But if you do not feel a thing, don’t give yourself a hard time. It’s fine. Every time you remember that your mind has wandered, that is your opportunity to practice escorting the mind back to the breath or body.

That’s is Mindfulness, the returning.

That’s already starting to strengthen that ‘muscle’ that you are trying to exercise and develop. Fantastic. This is good enough to practice for ages.

You can also do this waiting in line for the bus or at the supermarket or be waiting for the lights to change, anywhere you might otherwise feel frustrated or grouchy.

When you are done after 10 minutes or whenever the queue starts to move, ask yourself how that felt.

And please tell me too.

 

 

Baby investigating a flower

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Tracy

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Continue reading

True Beginner’s Mindfulness

True Beginner’s Mindfulness

 

This is one technique in your Mindfulness toolbox you will appreciate as much as I do. The true beginner is a baby from about one year old onwards. It often ends or is snuffed out by the time a child goes to school. Perhaps not always.

With the practice of Mindfulness, we want to fan those embers of a long-lost sense of discovery that was natural to us when we were young and curious.

Look at this photo of my granddaughter. The flower we pass by holds a riveting fascination for her. Her brain is trying to understand everything she can see, feel, touch and likely taste. She does hear anyone calling her, she is so focused.

When we are out and about, we may think there is nothing we haven’t seen before. Put your mind to searching out something to investigate with your Beginner’s Mind. I am sure you will be successful.

It doesn’t have to be a living thing. When I stand at the bus stop these winter months, I look up to spot the highest leaf still clinging to the branch or watch a particular bird singing its heart out. Or the way the stones fit together on the wall over the road and discovering there used to be a door there.

You may find you finder yourself sensing wonder and delight deriving from this new/old way of looking. With luck, this feeling will stick and you will it try it again.

It’s not often we can learn from a baby!

Baby investigating

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Hypnotic Hokusai & Mindfulness put to the Test

Hypnotic Hokusai & Mindfulness put to the Test

 

Who has not heard of this artist’s name? Most of you, however, will know the painting. Isn’t it breathtaking?

Wave by Hokusai

Great Wave off Kanagawa

In fact, it is so familiar that you might be now just seeing it instead of looking at it. Isn’t another example like the ones on my home page which show people doing but not paying any attention? This is exactly like many of us lead our routine lives, going around like computerized robots.

 

I am saying to you to take a few minutes look at and absorb this painting. It is from the early 1800s (Hokusai b1760 d1849). Startling. He directly influenced the Impressionists We would not have had Degas or Monet without Hokusai.

Remember that Mindfulness is about being aware in the moment. This painting is about a moment in time. It may be promising violence; we wonder what is going to happen to the fishermen. Maybe nothing – the past has happened already and the future hasn’t happened yet. If the fishermen panic, they will drown. The next moments will test their skill.

Begin with your Beginner’s Mind as though you have never seen the painting before and never seen this particular painting. Look at details, colors, textures, comparative sizes and identifying features.

Have you seen anything you never noticed before? And this is only the beginning.

Mount Fuji is visible in the distance, a symbol in direct contrast to the wave. It is still and monumental, regal. It represents safety and protection if the fishers can but reach the shore. There are many meditations called ‘The Mountain’ because meditators strive to be as quiet in through their journey through life.

This picture may speak to some about life in general and we identify with the fishermen’s desperate struggle to survive. Another idea is that huge waves are difficult to control. But what about underneath the wave. In the deeper water, it is calm whatever is taking place on the surface.

If we practice Mindfulness we are hoping to attain that quiet peaceful underwater state in which the world above goes about its frenzied existence.

The Wave attests to the impermanence of everything in existence. Do not cling because it will not continue to be the same. Don’t take anything for granted.

Tracy

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