Changes…

 I dream a lot. I do more painting when I’m not painting. It’s in the subconscious.

~Andrew Wyeth

I’ve been focusing on the positive in my life; trying to keep to what is real to me.  So I’ve changed the look of my blog.  I wanted to focus more on the healthy balance of life and I will start another separate blog focusing on New Orleans.  A challenge…yes it is.  I also want to focus on my Paleo lifestyle and the positive affects it has on me.  With many parts of my life falling into place, I suddenly got my inspiration to paint once again…to paint what is real to me and what feels good at the time.  I think I was feeling I had to paint what others wanted, but art is individual and subjective…maybe you will hate the painting I am working on or maybe you will love it.  I will paint or draw a subject which pulls me in.  What I realized is that it doesn’t matter what you think, but how it makes me feel and if it makes me feel whole, then I am on the right track.  It’s the same with my blog…it’s for me as much as it is for you.  I thought my blog was scattered and indecisive, which resulted in a rut, so I’ve decided to stop trying to please with my words; just put down what I feel I want to at the time.  So, it may go from a recipe to the meaning of life, but it’s as scattered as my thoughts are sometimes and that’s okay.  I want it to be quirky and meaningful at the same time, because that is me.

Physically I feel right, mentally I feel perfect.  Now it’s time to take that feeling and express it in my art and my words here.

By the way, this is a favorite song of mine and some words have a lot of meaning for me…so please take the time to find the meaning for you also.

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Darkness, Sweat and Fears

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting,
dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
~ Edgar Allan Poe

My only light during the hurricane.

The past week has been long. Too long for a supposed minor hurricane. With all the preparing we do it still turns our lives upside down.

4 full days without power in the Louisiana heat. To me this is living primal…I got to live like a cavewoman for 4 days. Even though I had a few modern necessities like texting (although I had to charge the phone in the car) and a flushing toilet, I took my Paleo lifestyle to a new level.

I prepared my Paleo survival food and cooked like mad before the storm came…it was coming a half day earlier than expected. Burgers, beef jerky, cut up vegetables, bacon, Paleo pancakes  sweet potatoes, pork roast and lots of water. Got the food cold knowing power would go off. I guess our hunter gatherer ancestors would have prepared what they could or consumed what food they could knowing they would be without for a few days.

Survival mode sets in. The hurricane came by overnight. Howling winds shaking the house. Up all night I tried to see the rain and watch the streets. Watching for flood…calling our tugboats on the Mississippi River to see how much it’s rising. It’s a little unnerving. Katrina didn’t hit us direct so what would Isaac do? He stalled and moved North. Thankfully.  On Tuesday evening, when the wind barely started, the power went out. Flashlight broke so I lit a few candles. Total darkness and I mean the scary boogeyman type of darkness. Alone with the dogs and cats in the dark.  One time at night I sat in the car charging the phone and getting some air with the dogs and a knock at the window by a neighbor, drunk and scaring the shit out of me.  I felt very alone.  Note for next time: Get a gun.

Rain and wind continued until the next day then it stopped. Then no breeze and the sun came out. Then the heat set in. Topping 100 degrees and extreme humidity. It was too hot to even go upstairs in the house.  I can barley function. I tried to exercise in the house but too hot. Walking the dogs was all I could do other than picking up debris and tree branches outside.  This is just what you do.  Ice was melting quick; so I stand in long lines to get ice. Throw out food going back and eat what I could. I still had to work…Grace had power, she took us in to her nice cool home to work for a few hours, then Ken did the same. I worried about the dogs and cats in the heat, and I would rush back to my hot home.  It’s still home so I don’t want to be away long.

And sleep, boy did I sleep. I slept as soon as the sun went down. Too dark and hot to stay awake. It was a little scary. I wait for a comforting voice to call. And after I would sleep more.

By Saturday with the sun and heat, although unbearable, it almost seemed normal and hoping this new “normal” would end.  Sweat is just pouring down me; standing under a cool shower feels wonderful.

And just as the sun is setting and the Michigan football game begins, the power comes on!  Glorious air conditioning…close the windows and make it cold!  Sprawl out on the couch and celebrate.  Just in time.

Out of cavewoman mode to recovery mode.  Work, clean, work.  The stress experienced after almost makes you want a little of that primal life…just without the scary parts.

It’s Not Just a Diet, It’s a Lifestyle

Paleo diet, Caveman (or Cavewoman) diet…whatever you want to call it, it’s more than a diet, it’s a decision to change your life for the better.  It’s about obtaining and maintaining ultimate health…more and great sleep…forming a community…little stress…making time to play…make time for yourself…positive attitude…loving yourself…more fun…lifting heavy things and enjoying it…happiness.  It’s getting back to the basics.  Adapt to nature.  It’s about spending time with family and friends, laughing together, eating together, playing together…sharing life.

When I took on the diet part I didn’t know about anything more than taking control of my health, which really, when you take care of this main part the rest of it falls into place.  With all the research I did, I realized in order to have the best health possible I would have to put the whole picture into perspective.

Surprisingly most of the changes came naturally with the diet; hard to explain.  Even though I’ve adapted to the diet 100%, I am still working on the lifestyle…this requires more discoveries, more time and more changes I am more than willing to make.  I like this life.

  • Exercise becomes more natural.  Lift heavy things.  Take long walks (walk dogs).  Feel stronger.
  • Enjoy nature.  Listen to the night sounds.  Savor the sound of waves on a beach.  Watch sunsets and sunrises. Encounter nature alone or with others.  You will just be more aware of your surroundings.
  • Discover all the parks around you.  I know of several parks in Southeast Louisiana that I would love to visit again.  It’s peaceful.
  • Enjoy the sun and feel the benefits of natural vitamin D without coating our skin with chemicals.
  • Sleep for 8-9 hours a night because it makes us feel good, productive and necessary for good health.
  • Learn to appreciate real food and how it is made.  Discover real farmers who raise animals, vegetables, eggs and fruits in a natural way.  You will just be more thoughtful about your food and make better decisions about what you put in your body when you commit to only eating whole real food.
  • Discover new local places to get your meats like a local butcher or a farmer’s market.  Plant some vegetables or herbs.
  • Researching to know what foods make you healthy and why.  What nutrients and vitamins are contained in food you eat.  It not only gives you more knowledge for yourself, but you will be able to help others.
  • Spending time with family and the people you love.  My last trip home was more significant to me than I ever thought it would be and that is saying a lot. Laughing, playing, cooking together.  From sunsets and boating to a concert to happy hours to BBQ family gatherings to cooking together and laughing together.  Really enjoy good times.
  • Finding people with like interests with the Paleo lifestyle and forming a little community of friends to bond with.  Maybe it’s in the city or an online group.
  • Simple living.  Cut things out that have no meaning.  Throw things away that aren’t necessary.  Maybe it’s time to just live a little more basic because it is really all you need.  You will find you will appreciate what you own more than before.  It might be papers, books, Mardi Gras beads, clothes that don’t fit.  Maybe it’s people in your life that clutter your head.
  • Enjoy slow living.  Have a campfire or make a fire pit.  Walk in the rain…I do have my shrimp boots :). Have a picnic.  Go camping.  Go canoeing or kayaking.  Go fishing. Go boating to enjoy that sunset. Plant a garden. Stare up at the sky and star-gaze.  Play games.  Be silly. Throw water balloons.  Build a fort inside or outside.
  • Be creative.  Creative art, writing (hey who would have thought I would have started a blog!), photography, building things, collecting, sewing.  Make it fun.  Creating makes you happy…believe me.

You get the idea.  I still like the Paleo or Caveman lifestyle to describe it…maybe that forgotten world is really what it’s supposed to be like for us humans. We know all animals should eat, live and play in their own natural way, but that’s changed for us, but why? Sure progress is wonderful, but not if we are too sick, too busy or sad to enjoy it.  It’s a nice feeling to eventually have a stress-free, peaceful, happy life…one in which I am fulfilled on the outside and the inside.  Euphoria.  That’s what I’m striving for.  I feel I make discoveries about myself, my life and my surroundings daily.  Ever-changing.  Becoming fearless.

Love this song…it’s a little primal in sound and the only words “Don’t think about all those things you fear, just be glad to be here”.