365 ways to energize – a daily companion to living with health, purpose, and joy

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Taking off on too much coffee

DAy 151The mystery of indulgence

For those of you who have followed me for a while; you know that I took a sabbatical from any stimulants such as coffee, tea with caffeine and alcohol for two weeks.

It was – surprisingly – not hard to take this break and it did me really well. I noticed a shift in my sense of inner calmness, and I enjoyed my own company feeling wholesome. My energy level was good, despite not having any stimulants.

I reintroduced the stimulants again a week ago and have chosen to consume smaller doses of tea and alcohol to maintain the calm sensation. I normally do not drink much coffee as it often makes me a bit too wired.

I woke up feeling very tired from lack of sleep and since I had an unusually hectic program today with several meetings among them one long four-hour meeting as well as close to five-hours of driving, plus some important and pressing decisions to make, I felt inclined to have a cup of coffee to get me started. It did me well, so I went for another cup very shortly thereafter. When that cup also felt ok, I even went for a third cup after lunch and I can tell you, that this was not a very good idea. To drink that much coffee – for someone like me who only drink coffee from time to time, it meant going into a spin that felt horrible.

What was I thinking? Well, that’s it. I wasn’t really thinking. Was I avoiding something? Perhaps… It is known that pain lies at the bottom of any addiction, and that self-indulgence goes hand in hand with addiction. Was I hoping for a different outcome than what I was used to having in the past…? Isn’t that the sign of insanity, to make the same mistake all over again expecting a different outcome, according to Einstein? As I took the third cup I knew I was playing with fire, but I decided to go for it and deal with the consequences later.

Looking back at it now, I cannot understand what came over me. Why did I let myself loose connection with my body and mind and allow myself to indulge this way? What happened to my usual strong willpower?

When we do not get off to a good start in the morning or something challenging happens during the day, it can be easy to get off balance. If we don’t stop and connect with ourselves, but instead keep making wobbly steps, we will keep on going further off balance – instead of what we really need, which is to be gentle and kind to ourselves by bringing us back to balance and a state of wellbeing.

What effect does coffee and other stimulants have on you? Do you sometimes indulge instead of looking at your fear or pain?

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DAy 145Hormonal mood swings can turn a woman very emotional and, in some cases, into an angry bitch.

I have for the last few days been writing about relationships, intimacy and love, and yesterday’s blog was about being a bitch – which jeopardizes many relationships.

What I did not mention in yesterday’s blog was that many women suffer from PMS or even worse, Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PMDD. Those with PMDD can experience dreadful mood swings, which can last for as long as up to two weeks per month – puh – as PMS can begin 10 days before a period and last a few days into the period.

Most women do feel that their mood changes with PMS. Many feel that it is not their fault if they turn into a mini bitch or even a super bitch during their PMS. It is true that women truly have to deal with tough challenges with their PMS and period every month, but is this ‘an OK excuse’ to act out and behave badly? Is it possible to be more in control of ones emotions? And is there something that can be done to ease the hormonal roller coaster?

First of all, there are things women can do to alter their life style that can have a major impact on their wellbeing. Exercising can help a lot, as well as finding out which type of food that nurtures them the best. For some, eating small portions of carbohydrates throughout the day can help. Also taking supplements of Vitamin B-6, magnesium and L-tryptophan may help. Some take birth-control pills to regulate their hormones and in more severe cases, prescription drugs might be needed.

I also think that mediation and mindfulness can help to bring an awareness of ones emotions and provide opportunities to make conscious choices in the emotional responses. A committed willingness to be our best self, and consciously think and be positive, instead of giving in to our immediate emotions and acting them out, both strengthens our character and can ease the mood swings.

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How sweet it is to be loved by you

Day 141How sweet it is to be loved by you

I have a lot to celebrate today and even this year.

Today May 22,nd is the 22nd wedding anniversary for my husband and I.

We have been a couple for 25 years – so a quarter of a century this year.

I have spent More than 1/2 of my life with my husband.

This year, it is also 30 years since I left Norway and became an adventurous expat.

My recipe for living in a happy, loving, and fulfilling relationship:

  1. Being real with one another
  2. Speaking our truth
  3. Sharing things with one another that feels heavy in our heart.
  4. Supporting one another.
  5. Taking responsibility for our own happiness
  6. Taking responsibility for our own growth and development
  7. Praising one another
  8. Showing and expressing gratitude towards each other
  9. Consciously giving the love our partner long for to feel loved.
  10. Understanding that intimacy and connection is of primary importance in our relationship when having a conflict and argument – not that of being right or bright.
  11. Having understood that love is a verb. Love is engaging in kind actions, which brings about feeling love for the other.
  12. Giving one another freedom to be ourself and to do our own things (from time to time).
  13. Family meals
  14. Quality one on one time almost every day.
  15. Spending a romantic weekend away at least ones per year.
  16. Dancing together
  17. Sharing positive experiences together and also sharing the family work-load
  18. Intentionally being positive and uplifting towards one another.
  19. Having the heart to say, “I am sorry.”
  20. Warm hugs, sex and physical touch.
  21. Being happy, proud and grateful for one another and for what we got.

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When a woman praise a man

DAy 140We all have an innate need to be seen, appreciated and make a difference.

Our work can bring us a great sense of meaning and purpose as well as recognition. At work we often engage in activities where we have strengths and talents and where we make a difference. If we are lucky, we have colleagues, or a boss, that see and appreciate the work we do, and deliver praise for the contribution we make. Many of us connect our identity with our work. We relate who we are to what we do. Perhaps men do this more so than women.

I just came back from a wonderful classical concert in The Victoria Hall in Geneva. As we all applauded the vocalist and musicians, I reflected upon that there are few professions that receive as much applause and praise as performers and professional athletes. They often bathe in praise and I’m sure they appreciate it. They also get publically criticized when their performance is not to the level or taste of the audience. Performers often suffer when judged negatively. But don’t we all…?

We all like to feel competent and strong. But that is not often the case as we return home after a day at work. Many men feel out of place when they come home, where domestic activities are being performed. Women to this day, even though it has changed radically over the past 40 years, often take on a larger share of the work at home with children, keeping the home tidy and clean and preparing meals – despite also having a profession. Since women for generations have done more of this type of work, men don’t feel as competent, and this might hold them back from engaging more, especially if they are criticized for the efforts they do make. How a woman treats her man will most likely determine his future engagement.

Many women get tired and in a bad mood when they end up with double work. This imbalance often creates conflict and distance between partners and can be one of the major obstructions to a loving connection.

What can be done to bridge the gap that often arises between couples?

What can we do to stop fighting over imbalances?

In environments where we feel valued and receive praise, we become inspired and motivated to change our behavior and actions. A woman can truly make a difference to inspire her man by giving more praise.

If both partners become more conscious of and notice all the things that each one contributes with – both outside of home and within the home – as well as recognize the qualities they each one has and give more praise, we can bridge that gap and take the relationship to the next level. When we notice and share positive things with our partner, it inspires more of the same behavior. It also makes us grateful and happy, and we feel more love towards our partner when we think about their positive characteristics.

How much praise verses criticism do women deliver to their men at home? I think that men thrive on praise and will be more inclined to take a greater share to make a difference at home, if they feel that what they do is appreciated and valued. Women may need to get used to giving more praise than what they receive, if they want to share the work at home. Women might not think this is fair and reasonable. My advice is to eat your pride and just do it. It will be so worth it!

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When a man loves a woman

Day 139

How much love can you give?

Have you heard the touching song “When a man loves a woman,”sung by Percy Sledge? You can listen to the song here:

The lyrics goes like this:

When a man loves a woman
Can’t keep his mind on nothing else
He’ll trade the world
For the good thing he’s found
If she’s bad he can’t see it
She can do no wrong
Turn his back on his best friend
If he put her down …

When a man loves a woman
Spend his very last dime
And trying to hold on to what he needs

He’d give up all his comforts
And sleep out in the rain
If she said that’s the way, it ought to be

When a man loves a woman
I give you everything I’ve got
Trying to hold on to your precious love
And baby baby please don’t treat me bad

When a man loves a woman
Deep down in his soul
She can bring him such misery

If she is playing him for a fool
He’s the last one to know
Loving eyes can never see

I think that many men can relate to the words in this song when they truly love their woman.

Men have a huge capacity to love their woman despite what women often think and say. They have the capacity to perhaps love a woman more than a woman can love a man. How do you like that perspective…?

So if men has this great capacity to love, why then do men fall out of love? As in the case in the story I shared yesterday, it is quite obvious. If we give our man no attention or affection, love will not and cannot grow. Men need to feel loved as much as women do, if not more – in order for them to feel satisfied and not “run away” and get busy with other things, such as work or sports, or even another woman.

Men often feel it is complicated to love a woman… and they often fall out of love with their woman because she has changed and become different in the relationship.

Too many women forget to love and show love towards their men, as they are so busy doing everything they “think” is essential… especially after having children. This is partly because mothers are genetically wired to take on the responsibilities to love and nurture their children. Mothers’ love for their children often satisfies women need for love, while their children are young. But then once the children are more independent, they wonder where their man went…?

Well he got busy doing other things….

But children are not the only “obstacle” to loving acts towards their man. When the initial romantic stage is over, and women do not know how to love deeper, they can exchange their need for love by investing their time at work or with friends instead with their man.

Many men rely on their women only, to fulfill their need of being loved. They do not have the deep connection with their male friends that women have with their girlfriends. Sadly, men do not have the same capacity to find love somewhere else, and therefore can feel very lonely and sad in their relationship with their woman.

Women often feel that their children’s and friends’ love fill them up, and in that case they do not need as much love from their man…, which makes them more susceptible to not be so loving towards their man.

I believe that most women do not know how to love a man. If you are a woman reading this, you probably are reacting strongly now…, because you feel that it is just the opposite, that your man does not know how to love you. That might be true as well, but I think that women, who have generally a greater ability to sense their feelings and put words to them, also have a greater capacity than men to understand their man and find a way to make him feel loved.

If it really is so that a man that feels loved will do anything for their woman… what more then can you do to love him?

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When a man leaves a woman

Day 138Will she really be happier living alone….?

Today I spoke to a woman, let me call her Lisa for the purpose of this story, whose partner had just left her. I asked about how she felt and how it was now living alone. She replied this was not the first time a man had left her, and now she was fed up with men and had decided to be happy being without a man and focus on her work and herself.

Hum… In my mind I felt sorry for her for having had such a bad experience with men. I believe that we are not wired to live alone and that she most likely will not be happy in the long term being on her own.

Lisa and I ended up having a long conversation, where I learned a lot about her personality. She also learned about herself from the realizations that she made while sharing her story with me. At the beginning of our conversation she told me she did not understand why he left. Our meeting opened her up to understand why her partner, as well as her ex-husband, ‘probably’ had left her.

Let me share a little bit about Lisa’s personality and story.

Lisa is a hard working woman. She runs her own business and actively grows it, and loves the work she does. Lisa hardly ever takes brakes. When she comes home after a long day at work, she often does grocery shopping and errands. After this she starts all the necessary work at home – and the list is long….; she makes dinner, cleans up, does the laundry, irons, cleans the apartment – until finally she almost collapses and head for bed. And so it goes, day after day.

IMG_4848I was wondering how much time and energy she has had for her partner? “Well, not much”, she said, “because he did not help me and just watched TV or sat with the computer, which I thought was so unfair and since I did not receive any help from him I became angry with him.” Lisa felt that she was serving her partner and that he was lazy and unhelpful. She had had a similar story with her ex-husband.

How often did you have sex, I asked? I got the same answer, “Not much. I was either too tired, or had no desire.”

Regretfully too many people recognize themselves in Lisa’s story.

It is quite interesting that we actually believe and think we can have a rewarding relationship if we are constantly busy. It is also interesting that one person in the relationship, and often the woman, accepts to do all the household chores with joy at first, and then end up bitter and complaining about it.

What are the solutions, what more is possible in our relationships?

Tomorrow I would like to explore ways to a rewarding relationship with our spouse or partner; where we share positive energy.


Walk & Talk

DAy 129

An impactful walk we will remember

Walking is one of the healthiest forms of exercise for the body. It can also be one of the nicest ways to spend time with your spouse, a child, or a friend, as conversations can flow freely while we are moving our bodies.

Today my husband and I took a beautiful walk in gorgeous weather with spectacular scenery on the plains outside Geneva. There were breathtaking views of the snow-covered Mont Blanc massif on one side, and the Jura Mountains and Lake Geneva full of sailboats on the other side. In the middle were fields all vibrant in different shades of gorgeous green and blooming yellow colza flowers.

In this beautiful environment we both decided that we would not talk about anything that got us into problem solving or organization mode. Instead we explored some interesting questions that were enriching and brought insight to ourselves and about each other – while also stopping many times along our way to just take in the gorgeous scenery and sunny, warm, clear day.

DAy 129bWhen we returned from our walk we both felt it had been one of our best walks ever…

Among the topics we explored where the following:

  1. I shared the content of a great book that I am reading, which was fun to do. I love to share experiences.
  2. We went on to explore which books that have had the largest impact on our lives. This was very interesting, surprising and revealing. (We have been together for 25 years this year and we are still discovering things about one another).
  3. We also talked about the things we each want to have done before we die…, also inspiring to explore.

To discuss current issues, solve problems and plan are all necessary for couples and families to run smoothly – but if most conversations we have with our partner or spouse ends up discussing children, their school, activities, organizing and or planning, it leaves very little room to just be with one another or discover topics that touches our heart and soul.