Moving Past Fear – A Hero’s Journey

How will the year 2020 be remembered? None of us were expecting reality to make such an abrupt shift. The terrifying thought, for many, is not knowing what it is transforming into. Uncertainty has become a daily staple on our planet.

Pessimism has taken its toll, fueling anxieties, generating ever more uncertainties. The unpredictability we are faced with has left many with a sense of foreboding, leading to panic and in some instances aggression. It all boils down to fear. 

Not everyone experiences fear in the same manner. While some are being quietly consumed by anxiety, stress, sleepless nights and little hope for the future, others are acting out in an attempt to gain some control back. These are not happy times. Had the song “Don’t Worry Be Happy” been released in 2020, very doubtful it would have been a hit. 

Fear Of The Unknown

2020 has made it painfully obvious that we are spoilt for choice. While we were all feeling the impending doom, from the climate crisis, envisioned food and water shortages, nuclear war, the demise of capitalism, identity theft, political corruption, financial collapse, and losing basic human rights, along came Covid.

Our already exhausted sense of hope, for a bright future, collided and joined forces with an unannounced invisible enemy. A mysterious, insidious virus which has managed to catapult the entire planet in record time. Leaving us all feeling unprepared for what lies ahead, unleashing widespread panic and aggression in some instances.

We outdid ourselves, emptying shelves of food supplies, not to mention toilet paper and looking for undeserving scapegoats to blame. How will we fare in this chapter of our story on earth? What sort of legacy are we leaving behind for future generations to discover about us, and how we coped during these challenging times?

How we wish to be remembered or whether we wish to be remembered at all, is determined by our words and actions at times such as this.

The unique blend and brand of fear ushered in by the 2020 pandemic, is an entirely new beast. This relentless villain is digitally fueled and has rapidly gained notoriety around the world. It has gone viral in the virtual realm, where it thrives as easily as it does in the physical realm.

The New Face Of Fear Generated In The Matrix

We are witnessing an unprecedented worldwide split, with all sides convinced they are the sole bearers of the torch, on a variety of alarming topics, from the climate crisis to Covid-19.

It is wise to distinguish this pandemic from the tragedies of war or natural disasters, which regardless of the carnage and suffering they seminate, have the power to unite people on a large scale. When we are faced with global events which we have no control over, it’s a life changer. In the pain, suffering and loss, we find a common denominator that connects us all and keeps us human.

It is a discouraging sign when people are divided and fragmented. This pandemic did not unite people as much as it created a rift and invisible borders, to separate distinct realities that can not coexist.

The internet and social networks have created platforms where people can subscribe to different constructs of the truth and reality. There’s something for everyone, from the eclectic to the absurd, to explain the unexplainable or to disprove consolidated facts, such as the earth’s shape being disputed by flat earthers. This global community rooted in the matrix, that promotes a pseudoscientific belief and argues against hard proven facts, is insanely enough still gathering momentum.

We have witnessed the rise of virtual tribal wars, inciting increased levels of intolerance and uncertainty. What we fail to realize is that this invisible enemy we are facing, has no prejudices, no favorite race, religion or political associations. This invisible enemy has shown us that we are all one and made of the same stuff. Do not underestimate the collateral damages of mass induced reality, propagated in the matrix. It is ripe with fear.

It is during difficult times such as these, that we are revealed to ourselves and to others. Moments that lay bare the truth about who we are and the world we have built. Only once we are able to confront our fears and act from selflessness, can we truly distinguish ourselves.

Fear and Panic Are Not The Answer To Survival

Fear is an internal mechanism dating back to our ancestors. Fear, like a loyal friend, has helped us cope and find our way out of danger since the dawn of time.

In the presence of danger, fear takes a hold of us, constricts our breathing and speeds up our heart. As our body responds to a threat all our muscles tighten and every single follicle of hair on our heads stands to attention. These are powerful, primitive emotional and physiological responses to danger.

Panic can be a life saving reaction, when faced with immediate danger. Unfortunately fear induced panic is not the solution to long term threats, such as those we are faced with now. We’ve never witnessed this particular brand of fear, on such a large scale, prior to the 2020 pandemic. Most of us are familiar with fear induced by what we perceive to be a personal threat.

These internal mechanisms will work against us once we get caught in the loop. When our actions are driven by fear we become enslaved to a destructive force, ruling over our thoughts and actions, mercilessly contributing to the vicious cycle.

How To Remain Resilient In The Face Of Fear

Resilience is the art of bouncing back, no matter how hard you fall. Resilience is not avoidance. It is a skill like any other life skill. Learning how to thrive in the face of adversity is no easy task, but at times it is the key to our survival. Fear is paralyzing and swallows us slowly, like quicksand. How can you remain resilient when faced with gut wrenching anguish, hopelessness and desperateness?

Surround yourself with people that can assist you in lifting yourself out of the quicksand. Shift your focus. Whatever the source of your anguish, you need to build a new foundation. You must cultivate self awareness, self care, purpose and positive relationships. 

Self awareness gives you a clear perception of your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, beliefs and values, helping you understand what motivates you and what moves you emotionally. Self Awareness not only teaches you about yourself, it will also teach you to understand others and how they perceive you.

Self care refers to our ability, as human beings, to function effectively in the world, while facing the multiple challenges of life with a sense of energy, vitality, and confidence. Self care requires our active engagement.

Purpose is the recognition that we belong to and serve something greater than ourselves. Our purpose in life helps to shape our mindset and attitude towards others and the events we experience, in our lives. We can find purpose in faith, family, or being part of an organization with like minded individuals, working together to achieve something greater, whether it is a group involved in climate change or being of support to our community.

One of the most profound experiences, as humans, is the connection we make with other human beings. By building positive relationships with others, we strengthen the foundations that will provide us continued support. As a result we are happier, more fulfilled and connected. Positive and supportive relationships help us live healthier, happier, more fulfilling lives.

Moving Past Fear — A Hero’s Journey

Most of us grew up on stories where in order to get the prince/princess, the treasure or whatever the reward might be, the protagonist had to be willing to put their own life at risk. It’s a classic hero’s journey that has stood the test of time and is still being propagated to this day. You will find this archetype in just about any Netflix Series or Movie. The hero is able to defeat evil and survive death, only through brave selfless acts of valor and nobility. Perhaps the time is ripe to review the core principles and teachings these stories actually stand for.

On a more mundane note, being in a prolonged and persistent state of fear can be devastating, causing anxiety, depression, leading to bad choices.

Assessing risks in the face of uncertainty is no easy task, however, when our actions are dictated by fear, our wellbeing and quality of life take a plunge. We stand to lose loved ones, friends and everything that is dear to us, making our worst nightmares come true.

Ignorance is what most of us should fear. Ignorance and fake news, both of which are spreading like wildfires in the virtual world we inhabit. It is time for a reality check, lest we want to collectively lose our minds and dignity as a species.

“Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.” Bertrand Russell.

DIY-HOW EASY IS IT TO REMOVE OLD TILES?

Tired of those old washroom or kitchen tiles? Need to liven up your shower stall? Want to remodel the fireplace in the living room?  Ceramic tiles are always a nice choice, they are resistant, hypoallergenic, easy to clean and are available in an infinite amount of colors, sizes, shapes and textures. 

If you’re thinking of replacing old tiles, renovating your bathroom, kitchen, or other tiled surfaces, doing it yourself can save you money, as long as you have the time and you know what you are doing. 

I’m about to move to a new home with a washroom floor that needs a total overhaul. I’ve done my share of home renovations over the years and am no stranger to power tools.

Having the right tools for the job, is always a good place to start and can make the difference between a job well done and an amateur job. The biggest part of renovating a tiled area is the removal of the old tiles. The first thing to figure out is the best way to remove the old tiles, without wasting too much time, energy and money. This will depend on the size of the renovation.

AIR HAMMER FOR TILE REMOVAL

Using an air hammer to remove tiles will save you time over the more manual, hammer and chisel approach. I’ve used an air hammer with a compressor for carving rock. An air hammer is a versatile tool which can be used for a variety of jobs around the home, basically any job which involves, chipping, cutting, piercing, or scraping. An air hammer can be used on stone, laminated tiles and metal.

I’ve discovered a whole line of air hammers, for home renovations, which can be purchased online. These don’t need a compressor. They are compact electric, handheld air hammers. 

HOW DOES AN AIR HAMMER WORK?

The electric motor in the air hammer, moves a piston or rod which, depending on the model, can produce anywhere from 1200 strokes per minute and upwards, with pro models. No need for an external compressor. These handheld air hammers generate enough power to cut without any external force needed. 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT AIR HAMMER FOR THE JOB

The size of the area you wish to renovate, will determine what kind of air hammer you will need and whether to buy or rent. 

For backsplash tiles and for vertical tile removal, electric handheld air hammers will do the job. For under $50, you can opt for a kit which includes different shaped and sized chisels. This is a good pick if you like to do a lot of small jobs around the home. If you already have chisels for the job, you can also purchase the air hammer and chisels separately.   

If you’re setting up to remove tiles from a large horizontal surface, such as a large kitchen  floor area, you’ll want to consider an alternate solution, such as a wide angled heavy duty electric hammer, which covers larger areas, and comes with a wide chisel, placed at the right angle to remove tiles from a large floor area, without breaking your back.

A small handheld air hammer is not suitable for removing tiles from large horizontal areas such as floors, unless you want to spend days, bent over, on your knees. For large areas you will need a more powerful tool designed for the job. Unless you plan on doing lots of floor renovations, a rental may be more economical than buying one of these.

HOW TO REMOVE TILES WITH AN AIR HAMMER

There are videos, available online, that show you how to use an air hammer to remove tiles. It is important you set up for the job. Know what you’re getting into. Be prepared to make a hell of a mess, loads of dust and noise.  Removing old tiles is a dirty job. Keep a big bin nearby to clear the floor of old broken tiles as you keep working. A vacuum cleaner to keep the dust under control.

Before using any power tools, make sure you prep your work area, wear safety glasses, gloves, ear protection and a mask to protect your lungs.

  • Always make sure your working area is clear of debris and well lit
  • Remove baseboards and anything in the way
  • Loosen and remove old grout between tiles to make tile removal easier. This helps with the first few tiles, by making room to insert chisel and start removing large areas of tiles. You may or may not need to loosen grout on all tiles
  • Choose the right chisel for the job; for tile removal, use a flat wide chisel

HOW TO DETERMINE WHETHER IT’S A DIY

When removing tiles from a floor, you may find surprises underneath, such as older tiles, which were not removed by the previous owner, before placing a new floor.  Always best to test a corner, to see what you’re dealing with, before moving ahead. 

Once all the tiles have been removed. You will need to smooth the surface before laying down new tiles. The work to be done will depend on how the tiles were attached, whether these were laid to bare cement, onto plywood or mason board. Then there is the unfortunate possibility that these were affixed to a previously installed floor, which means you have twice the amount of work you bargained for.

Determining whether or not your tile renovation project is suitable as a Do It Yourself job, will depend on what you’re dealing with, your level of skills with power tools, and most importantly, whether you have the staying power to get the job finished.

If you’ve never done tile renovation, start with a small project, like a backsplash. A large and time intensive project, such as a washroom or kitchen floor, can quickly become discouraging for a novice. You can either hire a professional or you might want to consider, other viable solutions, which don’t involve removing the old tiles, to give your home a new fresh feel.

STOP BORING YOUR EMPLOYEES TO DEATH

Humans are storytellers and since the dawn of man we have been looking for ways to communicate with one another and to communicate at a distance. It used to be carrier pigeons and smoke signals. In our digital based society we have SMS, emails, voicemails, apps and so on.  In a device dependent and  permanently connected digital landscape of business, video is bringing back the human spark.

In less than a year, the 2020 pandemic has ushered a new way of working. The remote work landscape keeps expanding. In this new new panorama, keeping people in your company connected and engaged is going to take more than Zoom, Skype, newsletters or Microsoft Teams.

You really need to stop boring your employees to death. Long drawn out, daily online meetings are not going to promote the sense of community necessary to keep an entire company on board, receptive and engaged.

ENGAGE YOUR EMPLOYEES

Your employees are less likely to skip through a video than a newsletter or an email. Video strengthens employee engagement, your message has a better chance of actually being absorbed.  Any company initiative can benefit from a video. Video exponentially increases the chances of the message actually being effective.  

Whether it is a video to encourage & motivate your employees to recycle or a video to let your employees know what the company is doing to promote environmental sustainability, the new gym or special company events, the viewers will be engaged and the message will be received. Video can assist in creating a sense of community, promoting company culture, best practices and missions. 

KEEP REMOTE TEAMS CONNECTED

Remote work is a global trend– not just among employees, but also for many companies as a result of repeated lockdowns, due to Covid. Doing away with traditional office life has positive as well as negative consequences. 

Removing a fixed workspace also means getting rid of an established community, lunch partners and friends.  For managers it may prove more difficult to observe and evaluate their employees. There is the question of how much of a connection remote workers can form with their company if they only know their colleagues via group chats or Skype and have only seen the headquarters in photos. 

Video communicates more than chatrooms, phone calls, emails, and they help alleviate the alienation that remote workers can often feel. The advantages of Remote work are clear, however, the social factor should not be underestimated. Employees need to be involved in and connected to the company and video can do this.

RUNAWAY LINES

Growing up in an immigrant Italian family in Montreal was a turbulent experience and a formula for disaster.  I was the eldest of three sisters. By the age of 14, I had done just about every illegal trendy drug available. Before I reached my 17th Birthday I had run away from my family home and was headed across the country to the West Coast. 

By the time I was 19, living on the West Coast of Canada, I’d lost my virginity and been in and out of penitentiary facilities in a very short time span.

The late ’60s and early ’70s were a confusing time to be coming of age. I had totally immersed myself into the North American culture, whereas my parents were not simply lagging behind, they were typically suspicious and not engaging.  

I was not allowed on field trips or school dances, and dates were out of the question.  As much as I was at odds with my parents on the home front, at school it wasn’t any easier.  To say that Canadians, by and large, are comfortable with diversity is not to suggest that problems of discrimination and racism don’t and haven’t existed. During the ’60s and ’70s, in Montreal, I was subjected to a fair share of mobbing for being a WOP. 

Took me a long time to figure out that WOP stood for ‘without papers’.  My parents had immigrated to Canada legally.

Only 18 years difference between myself and my mother and an abyss between her reality as a young woman and mine.  She had to sew her own “trousseau” in preparation for becoming a child bride.  I sewed myself miniskirts, low-cut tops, and hot pants in preparation for losing my virginity to a total stranger.  Not much difference in some respects, but worlds apart nevertheless. The gap was more than a simple generational gap, it was an exponential phenomenon and proved impossible to bridge. 

In North America, women had already burnt their bras and men had finally won the right to sport their hair longer than women, for the first time, since 17th century France, yet young women, such as myself, were being programmed to fit into a reality that was on the verge of becoming obsolete.  

In High school, girls were given courses in cooking, sewing, and typing.  Boys got mechanics and woodwork.  Home Economics, they called it, the sewing and cooking bundle for girls.  I failed both cooking and typing and did ok with the sewing, which came in handy.  At 14 I‘d had it with my mother sewing three identical dresses, for my 2 sisters and me.  We looked like a Russian matryoshka doll that had been taken apart, I have pictures to prove it. 

In private schools for rich kids, girls were getting degrees they would never put to work but would insure them a wealthy husband, in the world of high finance, politics, and so on. 

For kids like myself, from lower-income families, what was the agenda exactly?  Train us girls to be literate housewives, that could hold a job if needed, hence the typing classes?  We could pine for a life of wedlock to a mechanic, welder, or plumber and make more proletariat babies to populate the world and work at bad jobs. 

In 1961, ABC News aired a show entitled, “Is Education a Waste of Time for Married Women?” The video is still available for viewing on YouTube.  The show questioned whether an overeducated woman could thrive in married life since she would be undoubtedly frustrated by the mendacity of domestic chores. This subject caused much controversy in the press back then. 

I didn’t buy into any of it and was planning my escape. 

I left my hometown of Montreal with $50 Canadian dollars and slowly made my way to Vancouver, hitchhiking.  Along the way, I stopped in southern Ontario, for the summer.  In my little girl’s mind, I was heading to Los Angeles.  I was staying out of the cities.  I chose southern Ontario’s clay belt, where the tobacco fields spread as far as the eye can see, as a location to hide for a while.  

I found a job on a tobacco farm and stayed for the harvesting period. My father turned out to be a strict and unforgiving man. He struck me from the family and I was no longer his daughter, or so he said. That was fine with me, or so I thought.

My modem Operandi was, ‘I was not going to end up like my mother or my grandmothers’, that much I had already decided. My life was mine to live and do as I pleased with and not to please anyone else with. 

My maternal grandmother had created eighteen lives, which she expelled from her womb, into this world, while having sex with a single man her entire life.  I dare any man to give that a try.  She deserved a medal for that, and she got one. The Catholic Church awarded her a little gold medal to thank her for her contribution to their tribe.  

Virginity was a hot topic in my family, although no one ever referred to it directly. For example, my aunt Paola, whom I spent most summers with, would sit me down in front of her and she would whisper, very loudly, “that thing between your legs, you keep it tight, you hear me, very very tight.”  I instinctively knew I should agree, although at 7 years of age I had not quite grasped the concept.

At the age of 44, I left Canada. I had lived in Montreal where I grew up, so to speak, fled to Vancouver where I came of age and discovered that being on my own without the support of a family at 17 is brutal. Housing and work were an issue.  Knowing where to sleep and where my next meal came from was the norm for some time.  

I headed to Toronto after 11 years spent in Vancouver, where I turned my desire to work in the Film and TV industry into reality.  During my years spent in Toronto, I made up with my father and finally saw my sisters again, full-blown women on their way to the altar to get married.

Now I live in Italy, where ironically I feel more Canadian than I ever did in Canada.
In Italy, the people I meet won’t let me forget that I am Canadian, not because they want me to feel like an outsider, but because they believe that Canada is the land of wonders, a paradise of democracy, a land of equal opportunities. They can’t imagine anyone aspiring to another nation’s citizenship.

My life has been shaped by 2 entirely different cultures, belonging it seemed, to different timescapes. The one belonging to my parents and the path presented me in the new world I lived in and embraced every day. As a teenager, I felt these two worlds had collided. Now looking back, I know that these two seemingly different worlds converged. 

HOW TO SURVIVE CHANGES AND UNCERTAINTY USHERED IN BY COVID

I am no longer distracted by the bustling needs of life. It seems life has retreated, as we all wait on an illusory, mass induced shoreline, for the next boat to take us home.

Time has taken on new dimensions. Oddly enough it seems to fly by, which leaves me suspicious. It has been my experience, in life, that only when I am enjoying myself, does time race by.  I have been pondering on this, and suspect it may be due to either hope or denial. These two are easy to confuse.  A part of me still thinks that tomorrow morning, when I wake, everything will be as it was before Covid.  Is this hope or denial?

These are trying times for many. Living in the present has never been as important or as difficult, simultaneously. At moments like these, we may tend to experience nostalgia for what has passed and will no longer be returned to us, or we may find ourselves focusing on a poorly defined future, which transmutes into a menacing cocktail of anxiety, stress and panic.

Many are seeking a way to stay afloat despite the realization that today is the same as yesterday, nothing has changed and yet everything has changed, due to Covid. 

At first no one wanted to believe it, including myself. Some still don’t want to believe what is happening. Most of us would prefer to watch it happen somewhere else, preferably sitting behind our TV’s and monitors. This is how many of us grew up, watching tragedy unfold elsewhere. It didn’t touch us. We felt protected and privileged behind our monitors. 

It’s happening in Italy but not here, it’s happening in China but hey that’s China and I’m in New York, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Paris, Milan, Rome, so it’s not happening to me. These are the mechanisms at work that have weakened us as a species and these are the mechanisms which could destroy us. Perhaps something positive can be derived from Covid and this moment in history. The realization and awareness that our fragility might be what unites us, might be a game changer.

Choice is a privilege, although when faced with choice many experience stress and concern, afraid to make the wrong choice. These days, we find ourselves facing a yet to be defined design of the new world we are blindly stumbling towards, and as such, it may feel as though we have fewer choices or none at all. We are all faced with an obscure, imponderable image of a future, which has been ushered in by the 2020 pandemic.

We always have one choice, without exception. At any given moment, we can choose to keep running the race, no matter how treacherous the path gets, or we can surrender to that insistent, discouraging, inner nagging voice, which urges us to throw in the towel and give up.

There are those that feel blessed for simply being alive, and are reaching out to help others in their moment of need. There are those, including high profile political leaders, who have turned a blind eye towards the hardships which have befallen young and old, all over the world.

We are all looking for answers and we are all praying, whether we know it or not, in our own peculiar ways. Through hope and denial, we unknowingly cast a safety line for ourselves.

The same underlying currents compel us all. Whether you are hoping for all this to be over soon and to be propelled back to the so called ‘normal’, or whether you believe it is all a hoax. Both of these reactions, although on opposite ends of the spectrum, have one thing in common. These are both coping mechanisms and examples of our ability to resist change, one way or another, despite hardships, tragedy and loss pointing us in a new direction.

Change is a constant we need to accept and not resist, so that we might all find our way to that new shoreline we so desire. To find our way back to safety, to a place where serenity and peace of mind reign again.

No matter how stuck you feel, accepting change in life is the key to overcoming fear and help you envision a new future, one you can move towards, safely and confidently. When you accept change, you make a pact with yourself. You’ll instinctively know what needs to be done to gain the sustenance, energy, and motivation to move forward.

The effort and commitment you invest in your wellbeing, during difficult and restrictive times, will see you safely through to the other side of the dark tunnel and into the light.

No one said life was going to be easy and if you’ve read any history, you know and understand that tragedy, hardship, pain, illness, death and change have always been with us, making the rounds, from one generation to the next. The good news is, most of us have the tools necessary to help ourselves.

Sometimes we simply need a reminder or someone to shed a light for us, helping us pave the way back to a wholesome self. Capable not only of withstanding change, but of shaping and instigating it.

At first glance the four points that follow may seem simplistic and naive. Maybe you were expecting a list of mysterious new ways of coping, to be revealed to you. The truth is, this advice has stood the test of time and proven undeniably effective. The foundation of your wellbeing is built from daily rituals. These are the pillars that will keep you standing tall, regardless how heavy the burden you carry, and hardships you are enduring.

The groundwork that needs to be done, in order to get back on track, involves working on yourself. Our wellbeing is contingent on achieving a balance and paying equal attention to body, mind and spirit.

If your energies have been depleted, your spirit discouraged or your heart broken, you’ll need a full tune up. Some may even need an overhaul, in order to get their vessels back into the right orbit.

SUNLIGHT

The detrimental effects of insufficient sunlight are well documented. Depression is a typical onset which often leads to more serious mental and emotional disorders. Sunshine is imperative for your mental, emotional and physical health. Even if it means sticking your head out the window for 15 minutes a day or sitting by a sunny open window, it will make a difference. Cats always look for sunny spots on windowsills to take a catnap. They intuitively know what is good for them.

REST

Feeling tired does not guarantee a good nights rest. In order for you to recharge and reap all the advantages of a good nights rest, you need to to turn off the chatter in your head. If anxiety and worry strike at night, making you toss and turn, try to do some deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing will increase the supply of oxygen to your brain, which in turn stimulates the nervous system, promoting a state of calmness by shifting your awareness from your head to your body. This automatically turns off your worry channel.

A piece of advice, turn off all your wifi devices. It is a well documented fact, that cell phone radiation disrupts sleep, amongst other things. Try setting your phone to airplane mode, at night, and see what happens.

EXERCISE

When we are riddled by worry, grief or anxiety, without an escape route, our physical bodies take the brunt. Not all illness is rooted in our bodies. However, all the energies we do not manage to process and release, will get incorporated. This literally means, these will be transferred to our bodies. You may fall ill, so ill in fact, that you forget all your previous worries.

Take control of your life. Reduce, stress, anxiety and depression by stepping out of your head and into your body. Exercise needn’t be a chore. There are so many ways of keeping fit even if you don’t care for gyms. Loads of free workout videos online. Dance by yourself, or join an online virtual workout, yoga or pilates class if you need the extra motivation.

There are many ways of stopping the chatter in your head and help you focus again, try needlework, knitting, woodwork or crochet. Keeping your hands busy on a detailed task requiring your focus, will shut off your worry channel.

What you learn in any new discipline, whether it is martial arts, or knitting, can be applied to other areas of your life. Never underestimate the value and benefits that you can derive from simple tasks and daily rituals.

BALANCED DIET

Depression, anxiety and fear can play havoc with your life. Some may eat more than they need, to feel some solace, while others practically starve themselves, experiencing nausea at the mere thought of food. People react differently to stress, fear, panic and emotional pain.

It is important to nurture yourself in every sense. To achieve this you must feed your mind, body and spirit. This is the balanced diet you’ll need to achieve and maintain.

Feed your body, do not overfeed it nor neglect it. Feed your mind with new knowledge, which turns into new skills and self confidence. Feed your spirit with beauty and truth, which can be found in nature, art, literature, music and meditation.

This balanced diet will give you the courage and clarity needed to become the instigator of change in your life and no longer feel you are victim of circumstances. It will help you see beyond the present and ride the waves of change like a champion surfer of life.

DISCOVER FLAVORED COFFEE BEANS AMBROSIA TO BOOST YOUR SENSES

One of the small pleasures in life is waking up to a heavenly cup of aromatic coffee. There are many who couldn’t imagine welcoming a new day, without a cup of this dark rich nectar of the gods. A good, well prepared cup of coffee is pure ambrosia to boost our senses.

If you are a coffee aficionado, then you know that not all coffees are created equally. To experience the full pleasure of coffee, you can’t beat coffee beans, set aside ground coffee and coffee pods, these pale by comparison.

The selection of coffee beans is vast. Similar to wine, coffee can have a light, medium or strong body and the selection is further enriched with an array of flavored coffee beans to choose from. Flavored coffee beans are enhanced with flavored natural oils from spices, nuts or herbs, once the beans have been roasted.

1.Hazelnut Flavored Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee

Eight O’Clock’s rich hazelnut flavor is infused into a blend of 100% Arabica lightly roasted coffee beans for a mild tasting cup of coffee. This medium roast, hazelnut flavored blend, is gentle on the palate and nose. It won’t leave a bitter or burnt aftertaste as can happen with 100% Arabica beans. Eight O’Clock is a top selling whole bean in. the USA and is Kosher certified. Definitely excellent quality, price relationship.

2.Lion Coffee, Toasted Coconut Flavor, Light Roast, Whole Bean

For a premium exotic start to your day, try this smooth tropical coconut flavored brew made from hand picked, light roasted Arabica beans. Titillate your senses and let yourself be transported by the enticing fragrance of Lion’s toasted, coconut flavored light roast. This flavored coffee is a gourmet’s dream come true.

3.Don Pablo Bourbon Infused Specialty Coffee – Whole Bean Coffee

These specialty coffee beans are soaked in real Kentucky Bourbon, and subsequently roasted to perfection in order to infuse flavors. Don Pablo delivers an Intense, full bodied coffee with flavor notes of cocoa, honey, and butterscotch. It boasts a smooth velvety finish, leaving a sweet aftertaste.

These flavored coffee beans are packaged in a unique collectible bourbon barrel tube. Smooth velvety finish with low acidity and a residual sweetness. The packaging is as enticing and unique as the coffee. It comes in a collectible foil lined cardboard bourbon barrel tube. Excellent gift item for coffee lovers.

4.White Chocolate Macadamia Nut – Gourmet, Naturally Flavored, Whole Coffee Beans

This white chocolate, macadamia flavored blend is rich and smooth. It is a veritable treat for coffee lovers. The exquisite creamy white chocolate undertones are a perfect match for macadamia’s rich buttery flavor. Absolutely sublime aroma and flavor, no matter how strong or light you make your coffee, you will enjoy the exotic bouquet of this tropical blend.

5.HEB Cafe Ole Whole Bean Coffee – Decaf

For decaf coffee drinkers the sad news is you won’t find as many flavored decaf coffee beans to choose from, but this one is worth mentioning. This decaffeinated pecan flavored whole bean coffee, comes in a three package confection at a great deal. The hint of pecan flavor of this medium roast coffee is delightfully smooth and rich at the same time. Don’t take my word for it, check out the customer’s reviews online.

IS FLAVORED COFFEE BAD FOR YOU?

No worries if you are on a diet. You can enjoy flavored coffees to your heart’s content, as the flavors added to coffee beans do not increase the already non existent calorie count of coffee. If you find yourself wanting to add extra sugar, try a lighter roast to reduce the amount of sugar or sweetener. You’ll find a light roast needs less sweetening due to its floral fruity aroma and taste.

Not all flavored coffee beans are prepared in the same fashion. Some brands use artificial flavors as opposed to natural oils, derived from plants, herbs and spices. These artificially flavored coffees make use of a chemical solvent carrier, named propylene glycol, which has some people concerned, and rightly so.

This chemical solvent carrier also interferes with the flavor and aroma of the coffee beans, leaving a harsh bitter aftertaste, and/or an artificial sweetness, neither of which are at all pleasant. As a result, flavored coffee earned itself a bad rap, in some circles. Fortunately, in direct response to this concern, some coffee companies abandoned the artificial flavoring process, in favor of natural flavoring processes, There are plenty of natural flavored coffee beans to choose from, so you need not worry.

You may also opt for organically grown coffee beans. When purchasing flavored coffee beans, make sure you read the fine print. Most natural flavored coffees will say so on the package. Online shopping has made it easy to access data regarding product quality and customer satisfaction, making the process of choosing between brands much simpler.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST FLAVORED COFFEE

Choosing the best flavored coffee is a matter of personal taste. The selection of flavored coffee beans and brands available is quite extensive. Using a variety of spices, herbs or natural oils, such as cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and coconut. There are also blends such as cherry, raspberry and orange chocolate flavored coffee beans. Let us not forget the old standbys such as Irish Cream or Amaretto flavored coffee beans.

So where do you start? First thing is to establish what kind of coffee bean roast you prefer. The process and length of time used in roasting coffee beans determines the final flavor, which can range from sweet and fruity to acidic, dark and bitter. You can choose from a light, medium or dark roast.

Dark Roast

Do you like your coffee strong and bold? Then a dark roast is fitting. You will find that dark roast coffee beans have an oilier shine to them then the medium or light roast, which is the result of the roasting process. Dark roasts are also known as “French” or “Italian” roasts. These dark roasted beans can be smoky flavored, often with bitter and burnt aftertastes. Excellent choice for those who enjoy a full bodied decisive coffee.

Medium Roast

A Medium roast will deliver a smoother, balanced flavor than a dark roast, with a mildly intensified degree of bitterness as opposed to a light-roast. Medium roast coffees are generally less acidic than dark roasts and are often referred to as “City Roast” or “Breakfast Roast.”

Light Roast

Also referred to as “Half City” or “New England”. These beans are not roasted for as long, resulting in a fruity, floral note. Good choice for breakfast, especially if you drink your coffee on an empty stomach, as I do.

Once you’ve picked which roast is best suited to your tastes you can choose from a variety of flavors. To help you decide which flavored coffee beans to purchase, read the label, which should include data about the region the beans were grown in, as well as variety, roast and grade of the coffee beans.

GOURMET FLAVORED COFFEE BEANS

If you are not familiar with flavored coffee beans, online shopping has its advantages. Customer ratings and reviews of products and brands are very useful and can be quite helpful, especially if you’re stuck and not sure what flavor to try.

Some flavored coffee beans are referred to as ‘Gourmet’ coffee beans. Why is that? Because gourmet infers a high quality premium product made from the best ingredients, processed and roasted with natural flavors. Gourmet flavored coffee is a sensory rich experience that everyone should try at least once. My mom always said, “Good things come in threes.” Here are three highly rated gourmet coffee beans.

Whiskey & Rum Barrel Aged Coffee Whole Bean Box Set

This gourmet offer, by Coopers Coffee company, includes three 4 ounce bags with three distinct blends. The first is a robust blend of stout whisky and coffee beans. The second blend is a mix of Ethiopian dry processed beans with Sons of Liberty Rye Whiskey. Followed by the third blend, a Thomas Tew barrel using Rwanda grown coffee. A truly impressive trio of flavored coffee beans.

Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee, Hazelnut

The Eight O’Clock Coffee Company’s Hazelnut flavored coffee beans are 100% South American Arabica beans. This blend will astonish you with its rich and buttery flavor. Once again, Eight O’Clock ranks high when it comes to the quality price relationship.

Koffee Kult

Koffee Kult’s flavored coffee beans are a tropical blend leaving a slightly bittersweet taste, making it an excellent choice for those that enjoy a classic espresso. The unique flavor of cocoa and cinnamon, dark tropical roast places this product amongst the best. the general consensus places this product alongside the very best.

If you’re thinking of trying flavored coffee for the first time, try flavored coffee beans, instead of ground. Coffee beans retain their full rich bodied flavor and aroma which are released only once the coffee beans are ground.

Whether you enjoy a short strong and robust espresso, a smooth cappuccino or frothing latte, flavored coffee will not disappoint you. Dazzle your guests with a special gourmet touch, brew your next pot of coffee using flavored coffee beans. Once you’ve tried it, you may never look back.

WANT TO WRITE A CREATIVE BRIEF THAT PAYS OFF?

As a writer and video producer, I have seen my fair share of creative briefs over the years. A creative brief is designed to communicate exactly what you wish to have included in the final content, in other words, your message, and how you wish to communicate your message. Not all creative briefs are effective.

What Do You Need To Include In A Creative Brief?

So, what do you need to include in a creative brief in order to ensure you will get the quality, authentic, relevant content that communicates your vision and fits your needs? If you are briefing a content writer, it is not necessary for the creative brief to be crafty or in long form, however, it is important that you include relevant information that can be used as a foundation for the article to be written. You should include the following information in a creative brief.

  1. Company Background. A brand statement is always helpful if you have one, if not include some company background and history. Are you an established and growing company or just starting up?
  2.  What are your objectives, and what would you like to accomplish with this content? Create awareness? Increase conversions. Need SEO-driven text? Direct email marketing?
  3. How is it going to be used? Landing Page? About Us? Blog?
  4.  Your target audience needs to be defined since the audience you want to reach will determine the language and tone of the article. Whether your demographic is young adults or you want to reach a mature audience of over 50, the tone and language used will vary.
  5.  If you know who your chief competitors are, it can be helpful to mention them in your creative brief.
  6.  Your brand’s values and market positioning.
  7. Maximum word count
  8. Keywords to include in content should not be underestimated. Proper use of keywords will ensure search engine optimization, which in turn means your article will actually stand a chance of being ranked by search engines and reaching new prospects

How Do You Know What Word Count To Ask For?

There are no fixed rules, however the important thing to keep in mind is to ensure that the final written content is as authentic as possible. If the message can be communicated in 700 words, there is no reason to ask for a 1500-word article.  A wall of text may not have the desired effect and backfire on you, as potential clients turn elsewhere to gather information. More is not better, quality is preferable over quantity.

Have a look online at similar written content. You’ll discover firsthand, that a very wordy article can at times be frustrating when all you’re really looking for is pertinent information. This holds true, particularly for product reviews.

Not enough valid information is also going to backfire. What it boils down to, essentially, is including the content that is useful and informative, written and paced according to the demographic you wish to reach.

If it’s your first time writing a creative brief, there is an infinite amount of valuable information available free online, including creative brief templates you can use.

Writing a clear and concise creative brief, taking care to include all the pertinent information, will help you get a clearer idea of what you wish to accomplish. A well-thought-out creative brief is an ultimate tool for a writer to craft a custom article, designed specifically for your business profile and requirements. A properly constructed creative brief will guarantee authentic, original content which stands a much better chance of being read and accomplishing your objectives.

Is A Long Distance Relationship For You?

Long distance relationships are not for everyone. One thing you can expect from a long distance relationship is that you will be spending far more time on your own, than you would in a traditional relationship. Either way, it is important to understand the difference between feeling alone and loneliness.

In a long distance relationship you may spend extended periods of time alone, however this need not be a reason for feeling lonely. In this virtual era it is so simple to stay connected, that loneliness need not be factored into a long distance relationship. Imagine living in medieval times when the only way to communicate with a spouse at a distance was to send a letter with your servant, if you had one, or a paid carrier on horseback.

The quality of time spent alone or together, in a relationship, depends on us, whether the relationship is long distance or not. Let us have a look at the pros and cons.

PROS

I. Always Having Something To Look Forward To

Repetitive day to day life, can harm a relationship more than distance will. You may lose sight of that spark which lit up the night sky and set you both on a magic ride, fitting of a fiery chapter in a racy romance novel. By contrast, a long distance relationship will feel like you’re going on a honeymoon over and over. It’s like Christmas morning every time you meet again. The key is to focus on improving the quality of our time together rather than the quantity. Time spent together, in a long distance relationship, is rarely taken for granted.

II. Distance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

It is said that distance makes the heart grow fonder. There may be some truth in this. For some people, it works, for others it doesn’t. It all depends on the individual. If you are a romantic at heart, a long distance relationship can fuel your deepest fantasies of bliss and longing. If you are a creative spirit, a long distance relationship can be the perfect muse to inspire your artistic creations, while leaving you plenty of alone time to work on these.

III. A Bridge To A New Life

If you have an adventurous spirit, then a long distance relationship might be perfect for you. You can turn it into an opportunity to engage in a new lifestyle, which will involve plenty of travel and maybe learn a new language. You can also opt for a new life altogether by eventually relocating. A long distance relationship can be an opportunity and the perfect bridge to help you cross over to a new life.

CONS

I. Costs

Travel costs incurred in a long distance relationship can become an issue if the distances travelled are major and involve air travel. If your partner lives in a different country, you’ll need to consider the difference in cost of living, if any, between the two countries. Your paycheck may not go as far if you are spending half the year in a country with a higher cost of living than your own.

II. Trust Issues

Distance can play havoc on our imaginations and unleash a series of unpleasant emotions, ranging from jealousy to feelings of insecurity. A traditional relationship does not guard us from these issues. Whether you are apart one hour, one day or one month, will not make the difference, if there are trust issues at play. The amount of time spent together will not in itself resolve these issues. Trust needs to be built and earned in any type of relationship.

III. Starting A Family

If your heart is set on having a family, then a long distance relationship is not exactly the right formula. We don’t always get to choose who or when we fall in love. If it so happens that you meet that special someone in a place far from home, be sure to talk about what is important to you and if it’s having a family, then one of you may need to relocate.

A long distance relationship can provide a rewarding and successful life. Remember to set some ground rules that both of you agree to respect. When you are apart, keep busy doing the things you love, work on yourself and enjoy quality time with friends and family.

AURA READINGS USED FOR DIAGNOSIS

Auras refer to invisible energy frequencies which surround all living things. In people, auras correspond to the chakras and have specific colors. Auras have been documented for well over 5000 years and the study of auras is based on the principle that all living things vibrate with energy frequencies which can be measured and recorded. The aura of an individual gives us insights into their dominant and weak character traits, emotional realm, and desires, abilities and fears as well as intuition, intelligence and insight. Aura seeing and reading are classified as pseudoscience.

Cutting edge technology has made it possible to decipher auras using especially designed cameras. These cameras are used to observe and capture energy frequencies, which are in turn displayed in concentric, colored fields of light surrounding the body. This practice is known as Aura or Kirlian Photography, which paved the way for aura based, medical diagnostics. Before the advent of these special cameras, able to capture auras, there were individuals that could just as easily see auras with their naked eyes.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF YOU CAN SEE AURAS?

Auras can’t always be seen, at times these can be felt, because each color has its own vibration. It is not science fiction, nor is it far fetched if you stop to consider that several animal species, including dogs, can hear frequencies which humans can’t hear. Seeing auras, is not in itself going to give you revelations about yourself or another person. You’ll need to study and understand the meaning behind your findings. Auras are identified by color and divided into levels.

SEVEN LEVELS OF AURAS

Auras are measured in levels or layers, which correspond to the seven wheels of energy operating throughout the human body.

  1. Physical plane: this is the layer closest to our skin and represents our physical body.
  2. Emotional plane: refers to our state of heart, moods and feelings.
  3. Mental plane: this layer is related to our power of reason and logical processes.
  4. Astro body plane: this is the plane which refers to spiritual health and capacity to give and receive love.
  5. Etheric plane: related to psychic abilities which may involve senses above and beyond the traditional five senses.
  6. Celestial plane: Intuition, enlightenment and creativity
  7. Causal plane: This last plane acts as a facilitator and guide for the other six planes.

AURAS AND CHAKRAS

Auras emanate in varying colors and each color has a meaning, corresponding to one of the seven main chakras; root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown.

  1. Red: refers to the root chakra which represents our foundation and stability and feeling grounded. Just as a home needs a solid foundation, so do we.
  2. Orange: refers to the sacral chakra and stands abundance, wellbeing, sexuality and ability to reach out to others.
  3. Yellow: corresponds to the solar plexus chakra which is the center of personal power and identity.
  4. Green: refers to the heart chakra which houses our capacity for compassion, intuition and forgiveness.
  5. Blue: corresponds to the throat chakra and which rules our power of expression and communication.
  6. Purple and violet: Both these colors refer to the third eye chakra which is the seat of our intuition, imagination and our ability to focus on the big picture.
  7. White: corresponds to the crown chakra which refers to our inner beauty and spiritual connection.

AURA COLORS AND THEIR MEANING

In an aura reading, it is rare to find a person with a single color. By analyzing the colors and which chakra level they refer to, is the key to reading and interpreting auras. Colors can be pure or muddy, giving these different meanings. Muddy colors point to areas where the individual is experiencing blockages, needing work. Similar to tarot readings, when a card is upside down. it inverts the meaning. For example, a muted tone of yellow manifests the negative traits, whereby a confident person becomes over confident and/or cocky. When we look at the description for each color, we refer to archetypes.

Red

If Red is prominent in an aura reading, it points to a passion driven individual that enjoys all the earthy sensual pleasures of life. The red aura belongs to those restless spirits driven by an endless passion for pure enjoyment and an adventurous life on this physical plane.

Orange

The color orange is typical of perceptive, dynamic individuals. They crave newness and making new friends is easy for these joyful, self confident individuals.

Yellow

Yellow has the power of attraction and the ability to motivate others. Sunny, bright, warm, radiating inner joy and self confidence. They have undeniable star potential and magnetism.

Green

Green is creative, compassionate, responsible and focused, with a profound love of nature and eager to be of assistance to others.

Blue

Blue encompasses honesty and clarity in communication. An intuitive and empathic disposition is indicated. Loyal, highly committed and romantic.

Purple and Violet

Visionaries, eclectic and inspirational. Highly original, artists and innovators. Unstoppable when they set their minds on something. Natural leaders.

White

Openness, receptiveness and serenity. At peace with themselves, the world and the entire universe. Inner illumination and wisdom is indicated.

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT TO DISCOVER FROM AURAS?

It is important to remember, when doing an aura reading, to pay attention to the details, the layers and the pureness of the color. Is there a predominant color? Auras can reveal to us, those areas that need looking after. They can shed light on problem areas and imbalances which in turn can lead us astray, causing grief and strife.

For example, personal expression and communication are ruled by the color blue and refer to the throat chakra. If a person repeatedly steps away from voicing their feelings, with regards to an issue which is important to them, this could lead to an imbalance. This imbalance could manifest itself in the physical body, in the form of a sore throat or laryngitis. A blockage in this area can have long term detrimental effects if not addressed. Continued repression of one’s personal powers of expression, can lead to frustration, anger and isolation.

An aura reading can be seen as an early diagnosis of a malfunction which needs addressing. Not all illness is rooted in the physical body. An aura reading can reveal blockages, mental and emotional, which can lead to physical issues. An aura reading can be an instrument to guide yourself and others in achieving a healthy balanced life and keep growing. It is an aid to becoming the best possible version of yourself. An aura reading can lead the way to a higher self, if one is so inclined. It is not by coincidence that all yoga practices are rooted in the seven chakras.

Auras are not set in stone, they keep changing according to each individual’s personal life journey and spiritual evolution. The ability to see auras can be acquired through practice. If you believe that every living thing on the planet vibrates with energy, then reading auras will make perfect sense to you.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR AURA SEEING ABILITIES

The study of aura and its use for healing and therapy dates back to its origins. Aura photography is primarily used by healers, therapists, private and medical practices. Aside from personal traits and disposition, a person’s aura can also reveal their current physical, mental and emotional state, making it an excellent tool for diagnosis. Aura readings may have practically become main stream with the first Kirlian Cameras, however the existence of auras is still a highly debated topic in the scientific community.

Whether or not you see auras, if you are interested in learning or simply want to improve already existing skills, there are several options.

Quite a number of online courses are available, you can also access lots of free posts and documents. These are designed to take you through the steps, to learn how to see and interpret auras, while providing reference materials and support. There are an infinite number of books available, for purchase, if you wish to deepen your understanding of of this practice.

You might not be able to see auras, but this should be no reason to give up. You could buy a Kirlian camera or better yet, have a look at the multitude of apps developed for aura captures and readings, here are just a few.

  • Online Aura Photography
  • Aura Reader
  • Aura and Energy
  • The Goddess Aura Reader App

Reading auras has stood the test of time and it is still with us today. It is now possible to become a fully accredited and Certified Aura Healer. There are well structured courses, available online, covering the basics of aura seeing and reading techniques, aura diagnosis and various healing methods.

Whether you want to seriously pursue the art of aura reading, to become a healer, or whether you are simply interested in a tool for self help and growth, there is a wide world of information, books, courses and a network of like minded individuals to assist you in your quest for knowledge and wellbeing.

DO IT YOURSELF CEDAR HOT TUBS

Motivate to Purchase Writing Example

At the end of a long day, nothing quite compares to that feeling you get when you step into a cedar hot tub, especially on a chilly winter night. You can literally see the tension, aches and pains melt away, as you submerge your entire body into a luxurious cedar hot tub. The woody, sweet balsamic scent of cedar, its durability and insect repelling qualities, make cedar the perfect choice for a hot tub. If you think these are too expensive for you, then think again. Have you considered a Cedar Hot Tub Kit?

Cedar hot tubs need not be expensive. If you have your heart set on one, for you and your family, a do it yourself kit might be the right solution. You’re on a budget, and don’t want to renounce the pleasures of a luxury cedar hot tub, then the do it yourself kit is for you. Cedar hot tubs are deeper than plastic tubs, easy to assemble, available in different sizes and these kits make them affordable.

These easy to install, pre fabricated cedar hot tubs will save you money and time. Cedar hot tubs are traditionally deeper than plastic tubs, this means you can submerge your entire body with ease and take weight off of painful joints.

A cedar hot tub adds value to your home and improves the quality of life. Our health depends on our general wellbeing. Let’s face it, the pace we live at, working overtime, long commutes to and from work and stressful external factors, all contribute negatively to our wellbeing, resulting in health issues. A cedar hot tub is much more than hot water tub with jets. A cedar hot tub will help you reduce stress, improve sleep, get rid of headaches, manage lower back pain, increase flexibility and reduce stiffness. Water temperatures can be regulated to suit your personal requirements. Hydrotherapy has been with us since ancient Egypt, as a treatment for many ailments. Here are some of the proven benefits of hydrotherapy:

  • Reduced swelling and inflammation in joints
  • Relief from arthritis pain
  • Improved circulation
  • Reduced blood sugar levels in those suffering from diabetes
  • Reduced symptoms related to poor blood circulation
  • Increased blood flow and decreased strain on muscles resulting in swifter recovery from sports injuries

The advantage to building your own cedar hot tub, is that you can customize it to suit your specific needs and budget. You can choose the diameter, depth, number of jets and seats. You can expect to save up to 50% off the cost, with a do it yourself kit.

Everyone loves hot tubs, from the young to the old. Aside from the proven health benefits of hydrotherapy, a hot tub is an occasion to gather round with friends and family and make good memories. Invest in your family’s health and long term wellbeing, with a cedar hot tub. Now you and your family can enjoy the benefits of a luxury cedar hot tub, for a fraction of the cost, by purchasing a cedar hot tub kit.