Newsletters

August 2017 Oasis Odyssey

by Leslie Ackles

Sweet Dreams?


How many of you have trouble getting to sleep at night?

 

How many of you wake up in the middle of the night with worries or thoughts flooding in and sleep becomes a distant memory?

 

OK – How many of you couldn’t sleep so got up with your partner to test drive your current car (the old Altima from last month!) to see if he can assess what is wrong? Oh, did I forget to mention that this was in the middle of the night (2am!), in your pajamas?

 

This has all happened to me. I notice it especially when my life is crazy busy and stressful. It seems as if I can’t sort things out during the day so when it gets quiet at night my brain decides to take that opportunity to gnaw through issues – over and over again – as if that will solve everything.

 

Do you find yourself doing this as well? Believing that you can solve something by going over and over it?

 

When I am ruminating instead of sleeping I believe that:

 

“Maybe if I could just figure out why this person did what they did I would understand and could respond?”

 

“Maybe if I could just figure out a solution where I don’t have to hurt anyone it will be okay?”

 

What to do?

 

I came up with this ‘brilliant’ idea: “What if I allowed quiet time during the day for these issues to percolate instead of waiting until bedtime?”

 

This idea was followed by some trial and error and culminated in my

Sleep Formula:

  • Write three pages in my journal (Morning Pages) each morning
  • Allow quiet time (even if only for 10 minutes) during the day
  • No computer/ no email after dinner
  • No “scream worthy” TV shows at night
  • Read a book before turning off the light
  • Calming breath

 

What do you do that works already or has worked in the past? What can you add to this list? What would you like to try?  How badly do you want to sleep and what are you willing to try in order to get that sleep?

 

“Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.”

William Black

___________________________________________________

 

Other Possible Sleep Suggestions:

I recently co-taught a workshop series with a woman who created a segment on sleep. Here are a few of her recommendations:

  • Set a sleep schedule and stick with it
  • Exercise but not within 4 hours of sleeping
  • Cut caffeine after 2pm
  • Write down your woes
  • Take time to wind down
  • Do not drink alcohol within 2 hours of going to bed
  • Listen to relaxing music or meditations before bed
  • Take a hot bath or shower before bed
  • Stop watching TV or engaging in screen technology at least an hour before bed
  • Breathe deeply
  • Consider kicking our furry bedmates
  • Drink tart cherry juice or eat tart dried cherries or pumpkin seeds before bed
  • Aromatherapy: spritz lavender on your pillow

July 2017 Oasis Odyssey

by Leslie Ackles

A 'Good' Good-Bye

 

I found myself crying as I followed my car on its last trip. The memories started to flood in. It hit me hard. I felt as if I was saying good-bye to a friend who had faithfully stood by me for the past 13 years during life’s joys and trials.

 

My Nissan Altima, with 175,000 miles on it, had finally let go.

 

So I needed a new car, a year earlier than anticipated. I knew what I wanted. My husband and I test drove several cars and I loved one of them.  I couldn’t sign on the dotted line though. I needed the evening to think about it. Something didn’t feel right to me.

 

What I didn’t realize at the time was what was…. I hadn’t honored and said good-bye to my Altima.  Sounds crazy as I write these words.  The realization hit me as I followed my Altima on that final journey.  Seeing my car ahead of me is when the tears started to flow and the memories flooded in.  I pictured all of the monumental events in my life witnessed by this car. I pictured all of the places my family had been safely transported by this Altima.  This car was a part of huge changes in my life. I felt as if I was losing the memories and saying good-bye to a whole phase of my life. Who knew a car could bring up so much emotion!?

 

Monumental Events During this Time:

 

  • Dropping our kids off at college as they grew into the adults they were meant to be
  • Wandering and struggling in the wilderness to find new meaning within the empty nest
  • Lovingly carrying us to the joyous weddings of our children
  • Safely transporting my daughter to and from her doctor’s appointments for her first child
  • Carrying a shaky me to witness the births of two of my grandchildren
  • Folding me into a cocoon on Route 495 for the final six years at UMass through rain, snow and sleet
  • Accepting the Installation of a car seat for when I babysat our grandchildren
  • Launching me through the dream of my new business

 

What I realized is that sometimes we are drawn to an exciting new phase in our lives and we don’t always honor and say a ‘good’ good-bye to the place we are leaving. Whether it is:

  • A new car
  • A new home
  • A new stage for a child
  • A new business venture
  • A declining parent
  • A new, healthier you

 

There is a loss…..a loss that is crying out to be felt and acknowledged….

 

Consider taking the time to say good-bye and honor the phase of your life that you are leaving. Clear the path to step fully and openly into your next adventure.

 

“Memory…is the diary that we all carry about with us.”

-Oscar Wilde

June 2017 Oasis Odyssey

by Leslie Ackles

The EASY BUTTON

 

 

OK, So I have been trying to lose 5 – 10 pounds for the past year. I do know that some of you are trying to lose more and would love to be in this position. I have been there too. I used to say that at Weight Watchers I lost 175 pounds – 35 pounds five times!

 

I have now kept most of the weight off for over 10 years and the good news is that even though I haven’t lost those 5 – 10 pounds this year, I haven’t gained any either.

 

So, do I want to write about a shift in perspective – a shift in attitude? Well, not this time.

 

Right now I am realizing that one of the main reasons I am not losing weight is that I want it to be easy!

 

I want an EASY BUTTON!!

 

I don’t want to suffer. I don’t mind being conscious of what I eat. I love walking to exercise but I don’t want it to be hard.

 

I don’t want:

  • To join Weight Watchers again. It worked for me five times but it will take a real effort emotionally to commit to the meetings. And, it will be HARD to figure out all the points for all the food I eat.

 

NO EASY BUTTON HERE

  • To fill in everything I eat on the my fitness pal website. It is such an effort and takes a lot of time.

 

NO EASY BUTTON HERE

 

  • To follow a prescribed diet. I am beyond that. I want to just eat what I want to eat.

 

NO EASY BUTTON HERE

 

  • To exercise on my elliptical anymore. It is boring and takes so much time. I also start sucking wind after 30 minutes.

 

NO EASY BUTTON HERE

 

So what I have come to realize is that some things that I want – I really have to work for. No matter how many times this year I have tried to lose those pounds I have failed. I kept trying to find the EASY BUTTON.

 

Now it is time for me to dig deep and realize that some things that I want in life are HARD. I really have to work for them.

 

If I really want to lose the weight I have to stop looking for the EASY BUTTON and do what it takes even if it is hard, even if it takes time, even if it is boring. I have to put in the effort to reach my goal. It is not going to be handed to me on a silver platter.

 

Working hard for what you want can work for any goal:

  • Starting your own business
  • Home renovations
  • Saving a marriage

 

It’s all about committing to the goal and doing what it takes, even if it is hard, even if it hurts.

 

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act.

There is no other route to success.”

-Pablo Picasso 

 

 

May 2017 Oasis Odyssey

by Leslie Ackles

Laughing Nana

 

 

What kind of Nana do you want to be?

 

What kind of Mother? Father? Sister? Brother? Daughter? Son? Friend?

 

Do you want to be Laughing “Nana”? OR Serious “Nana”? OR…

 

The other day my husband said something so outrageously funny that I burst into laughter and could not stop. I was sitting on the couch and was snorting and laughing uncontrollably.  Our grandson, Jonathan happened to be visiting. He ran over to view this strange behavior coming from his Nana. Then being two, he joined right in! He jumped on the couch and started laughing and bouncing up and down. He kept saying, all the while “Laughing Nana”  “Laughing Nana”…… He had never seen Nana like this before and he loved it.

 

Of course, in our family, this led to “Dancing Nana”. We pulled out his Uncle Jason’s favorite boyhood song ‘La Bamba’ and danced with complete abandon.

 

I realized that in my grandchildren’s eyes, I may be fun Nana some of the time. I may be caretaking Nana at other times. I do want to continue to be those Nanas. What I really desire though, is to be remembered as “Laughing Nana”.

 

What about you?

How do you want to be remembered?

 

Are you taking life so seriously that you forget to have fun, forget to play games, forget to laugh, forget to dance?

 

So, consider asking yourself, how do I want to be remembered?

 

 

A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly;

but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.”

--Carolyn Birmingham