Mother: thank you

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Mom. This woman amazes me, every day.

I am not a mom, yet. I know there are things I will not understand until I am. But I do know how lucky I am to have her. To be like her. And to have developed into the woman I am on the foundation of her unwavering love, acceptance & admiration. As our national Mother’s Day arrives, I want to acknowledge the woman who gave birth to me, lived to love and care for me & who still teaches me so much every day. I am humbled & in awe. And so very grateful.

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A lot of important women in my life are having babies. Family. Friends. Women I have known a long time & respect greatly. It is so fascinating & inspiring watching the transformation to motherhood. It is profound. Magical. And deeply instinctual. Every single experience is different. Each on their own beautiful journey. I have so much love for each of you.

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As I walk along my path in life, sometimes I wonder, what it will be like to be a mom & still be me? A balancing act to love in a new way – a way we are born to love – but to still prioritize & honor our self-love. Rooting deep into who I am, yet still open to transformation beyond anything I can be imagine. To stretch. And grow. To give unlike before. To love in a way I have not. They say: it is the best & hardest thing you will do.

I look forward to becoming a mother one day. I am grateful for all the strong, loving mothers in my life. You all fill the world with joy & love. Thank you.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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Yoga & turning inward

Happy Saturday my friends. What will you do with this beautiful day? I just hiked with my mom… I am so lucky to have her near me, both of us be fit and capable of hiking, and live in a place that is seventy plus degrees in winter. I am filled with gratitude as I reflect on the beautiful morning we had connecting & being in nature.

Yoga with Mamma

That said, I want to apologize for my absence. I committed to a post per week when I started this blog last year. I have been closer to a post per month since the holidays. It’s that balance thing again. On the one hand I love getting sucked into the latest project or relationship and soaking up all the beauty of the present as I immerse into FLOW. On the other hand, I do not want things I love or value to fall to the wayside. Can you think of a time you experienced FLOW?

In positive psychology, FLOW, also known as ZONE, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Named by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields, though has existed for thousands of years in other guises, notably in some eastern religions.

-Wikipedia.org

For now, I am accepting my sporadic posting & relishing in abundance of other joys in my life. I still intend to set more goals around & improve my blogging skills in the future! Baby steps. I recently had coffee (no, tea actually – delicious tea with steamed, fresh almond milk & honey) with a dear friend who generously shared some amazing insights into the blogging world. Have you heard of SEO? New concept for me, but totally logical. Anyways, I am rambling off topic, just to say, I have much to learn about the online & blogging world.

Warrior Woman Yoga

In my absence from posting, I have been looking at my life and identifying areas I want to give more attention. I am learning that to grow, achieve my goals & realize my full potential I must emphasize personal development. Refuse to be stagnant or unchanged. Always challenge myself to become a better person. So I have been looking inward. Working on improving the consistency of meditation, my anxiety is alleviated and sense of peace elevate. I have a better understanding of myself, feelings & desires when I take the time to be quiet and listen. Check out my post on meditation for more on what I do in my practice.

Lotus Meditation: Yoga on John

But lately, it has been yoga. I love yoga – the safe place of self-love that is my mat, the joining with others for greater peace within & worldwide, the strength that shows up when you least expect it, the calming of the inner chatter that mindful breathing encourages… I could go on and on. I have been trying out a new hot yoga studio this month & enjoying the new faces, challenge & re-commitment to this practice. I left my previous studio in the summer to get outside more to hike, develop my personal practice further & save on the costs of going to a studio.

Yoga in Solitude

All this yoga has been encouraging and reminding me to look inward. My recent introspection has given me greater confidence in who I am & the goals I am setting for this year and beyond. When regularly looking inward and simply being with myself, I find grounding, purpose & confidence.

Yoga with an Open Heart

Another cool thing about yoga – it is for everyone. There is no room for judgment of the self or others. Yoga holds a different experience for everyone yet brings us together. Most studios have free intro classes, so if you have never tried a class I encourage & challenge you to do it! Get outside your comfort zone – this is where change will happen! Even if you don’t go to a class, just starting the day with a couple loving stretches or winding down the evening with a mini bedside practice can make a big difference in your peace, your day & your life.

Celebrating with Yoga

Lastly, here is one of my favorite people finding some balance & strength in yoga…

Early Morning Yoga

Polar Bears & New Year: It’s 2015!!

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Happy New Year to you!

I hope you are finding what you are looking for today – the first day of a new year. Whether that be a fresh start, resolution for change, acceptance, openness, renewal or just a new day to fill with love & gratitude.

I for one, was ready to jump start the new year. It’s not necessarily about packaging time up in a tidy little box and getting to forget the troubles of the year just past. 2014 was a beautiful & challenging year of growth – a year of inspiration. I have come to love January. I just realized this today. January is the month we had our wedding (I got a sun burn that day). It is the month my husband was born – thankful for that Capricorn! As a sun-loving Californian, January has it all. Crisp air, stunning sunsets, possibility of rain (at last – the hills are green for the first time in a year) & no shortage of sunshine.

green hills

And January marks a new calendar year. For me the new year is encouragement, motivation, & a reminder to seize the day. It isn’t about waiting until tomorrow, or Monday, or even a New Year to make a positive change. Personal growth, working towards goals & even being a happy human being are active & ongoing processes. However, there is something about a new year that says, “Go ahead, you can do this”. Starting a new year, like starting again, is a new beginning. We may need many new beginnings on our journey & this time of year reminds us that it is okay.

In celebration I chose to spend the day with a couple of the people closest to me.

We hiked & connected with nature.

We connected with our community in celebration & renewal (via the Polar Bear Dip – it was playful & restorative).

polar dip

And lastly, carved some time to be with myself in meditation & reflection.

Oh, & we ate good food together too. Yum.

However you begin the year, go for it. Open heart. Courage. Authenticity.

May 2015 bring much love, gratitude & joy.

Our Water Use: The 5 Gallon Challenge

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The sound of water splashing against the rocks as it falls into a pool below is a beautiful thing. Between our trips abroad & here on the central coast, our summer has been pretty full of beautiful (yet fairly small) falls. The power & beauty is striking. However, standing in front of a waterfall is a sharp contrast & reminder of the harsh drought California still faces. (Read this article on the current state of California’s water usage).

I talked about water conservation earlier in my post: Big, Blue & Beautiful: H2O.  As the conversation continues to grow, more & more Californians (and people all over the world) are becoming aware of the urgent need to preserve our precious water resources. Check out this beautiful & inspirational video that was made in response to the ALS challenge: The Five Gallon Challenge.

Our Five Gallon Challenge

The average American uses 75-100 gallons of water per day. So for a household of two (like us) that would be around 150-200 gallons per day. (Read more stats & facts at EPA.gov/watersense). So today, me & the hubby completed this challenge in response to the ALS Ice Bucket challenge (thanks to my eldest nephew for the nomination!), The Five Gallon Challenge, & the growing water crisis in California.

First we measured out 5 gallons of water…

…and then we taped the faucets off, limited our number of toilet flushes, and went about the day as usual.

Okay, our day was a little different than usual. We couldn’t shower (as a ten minute shower would be at least 20 gallons of water each), so we used washcloths to get clean. Dish washing took a little longer taking care to conserve every precious drop. Watching the water level go down in our little supply was an eye opening experience. Even a midst drought, we are so very blessed to not feel an immediate threat of going without water in our daily lives.

I couldn’t brew new tea for my kombucha because I didn’t want to risk running out of water before the day was over. Having to stop & think before every water use was a different feeling. It was hard to be patient & weigh priorities before consuming water. It was also empowering.

A few work colleagues & I started pairing up when we needed the toilet. I don’t mean we went in together, but everyone would do their thing in turn & the last person flushes. It sounds kind of gross in terms of hygiene & definitely outside of our normal privacy comfort zone. However, it turns out to be a pretty effective strategy with each non-flush saving between 1-7 gallons depending on the toilet. TMI?

So, here are the numbers…

4.5 gallons of water: total water used by our household today. This was all our water usage (excluding toilet flushing), which included personal hygiene, dish washing, drinking, cooking, cleaning & watering plants (the outdoor plant didn’t get watered).

10 gallons of water: This is our estimated water usage for toilet flushing. We used 7 gallons of water combined for all our flushes while at work (both our employers use low-flow toilets). Since we were not sure the gallons per flush of our home toilet, we kept our home usage to just TWO flushes – pretty good, right? Turns out it is hard to break the habit of always flushing. Have you ever pre-flushed in a public restroom to clear the bowl? I’m guilty. And that doubles your water consumption! Okay, moving on…

The cool thing about this challenge is we were mindful in every choice we made about our water usage today. I feel so much gratitude to our water & a deepened desire to contribute to making this world better for everyone. We will start by donating to three of our favorite organizations that strive to make a difference in people’s lives.

I now challenge you to complete The Five Gallon Challenge to support water conservation efforts & be part of the change our planet needs!

 Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

Give & Give Thanks

I received a gift yesterday that I am beyond excited about & must share. A set of essential oil blends for mood management. There are many ways to use these oils to promote feeling grounded, motivated, hopeful & at peace. I have several routines for self-regulation using these blends & will share more about using essential oils for managing emotions in an upcoming blog post (hopefully soon!).

Essential Oils for Emotions

Yes, I just started a post about giving by talking about something that I received. But that is the beauty of giving – whether you are the giver or receiver – you win either way. As the receiver I have been filled with appreciation & gratitude. And when I give, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of love & purpose. We have many opportunities every day to both give & receive if we are open. Giving to others what we can is a simple way to strengthen our connection, community & world.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life but what we give.    -Winston Churchill

With this in mind, I incorporated giving into my Thirty before 30 list. Although the project is centered around self-growth & experience, service to others is a priority. My giving goals for this year include donating blood, volunteering at a local fundraiser & a random act of kindness.

This month I have been focusing on donating: select 1 item to give every day for a month. It is a simple way to reduce the number of things that we have and also give to a charity in support of those in need. This is a fun one because it is in line with my values of living minimally & serving others. (For honesty sake, please note I selected all 31+ items in a two day period after a friend – who is also doing the challenge – suggested this technique. Once I started collecting items to give – sifting through my wardrobe, kitchen & cupboards – it snowballed quickly into more than 31 items.)

Giving feels good. Everyone wins. It can come in all forms. We are all capable of giving to others. A smile or acknowledgement. A hug. A piece of food from your lunch. Kindness. Love. Give for others. Give for yourself. Give and make our world a happier & more loving place.

One last thing. Have you heard of Giving Tuesday? This relatively new holiday dedicated to giving falls on Tuesday, December 2nd this year. Check out givingtuesday.org to start planning ways that you can give back. With the holiday season upon us, what better time then now to help out a friend, neighbor or fellow human being?

The International Day of Peace: September 21, 2014

Guess what?

This Sunday, September 21, 2014 is the 33rd anniversary of The International Day of Peace. I bet you already knew that after reading the title of this post. But, what an important thing to be aware of! I just found this out thanks to my local chapter of TM (read more here about Transcendental Meditation). They are organizing a group meditation for peace that I am planning to attend this Sunday.

I am looking forward to connecting with my community and meditating on peace & love. Our world needs more of these things. Meditation is a small step that we can take to find greater peace within & thus send more peace out into the world.

The president of the Global Union of Scientists for Peace, John Hagelin, discusses how meditation is a key factor in the Global Peace Initiative:

“Violent behavior is rooted in the brain. The only way to prevent violent behavior is to restore balanced brain functioning. The Brain-Based Approach to Peace restores balanced neurological functioning on the individual & global scale.”

If you are interested in reading more about how the brain & behavior are linked, or just want to better understand how you can directly influence Peace through meditation, check out the Global Peace Initiative website as it breaks down this brain-based approach for reducing violence & global conflict. It explains the science behind & reasons why every person who meditates can make a big impact on global peace.

“It means that only a few thousand individuals are needed to produce an extremely powerful & scientifically demonstrable effect of orderliness & calm in the surrounding society – even on a national or global scale.”

-Global Peace Initiative

This day encourages us all to look at ways that we can make a difference. So often I hear folks (& my own internal dialogue) talk about how insignificant their actions are or how they are not wealthy or powerful enough to make change. Every small effort we make contributes to the whole. Awareness. Action. Compassion. Love. We can all send positive ripple effects out into our universe. We must believe we make a difference.

If you want to find creative ways to celebrate the International Day of Peace  or find events near you check out the official website for more information!

I want to share some photos of places that have inspired Peace…

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Another year older. And grateful.

bdayWow – 29 years. Seems so long. And so short. All at once. Old or young, one thing is for sure, I have a lot of love in my life. I feel so very blessed & want to take a moment to reflect on this beautiful birthday weekend & all the gratitude I feel for the people in my life.

My birthday weekend (yes, I celebrated for three days instead of one) has served as a powerful reminder of who I am. Specifically what I value & look for in relationships: connection, trust, & mutual understanding. I chose to spend my birthday (weekend) doing things I love and having so many people show up & show me love has left me feeling understood, appreciated & so very grateful.

I sort of think I am too old for gifts. But then, are we ever too old for anything? Nah! I was surprised & grateful for all the gifts I received this year and they were a fun reflection of who I am & the relationships I have with the people I love.

  • Fresh, colorful flowers
  • handmade: card, jewelry, food (BBQ, salads, dips, sweets, treats & a fruit platter aka “fruit loot”), drinks, a hoop (yes, a hula hoop), purse
  • farm fresh local cuisine
  • vino & mittens (wine & fashion are fun b/c choosing these myself can be work!!)
  • framed photograph
  • beach, picnic & play with the best company
  • scratchers – I’m feeling lucky!!
  • reflexology/massage (ok, that one may have been a “happy birthday to me” gift)
  • vintage style glassware
  • journal – a place to set goals, self-reflect & express gratitude
  • upcoming dates & travel (I guess I’ll be celebrating longer after all!)
  • cooked & cleaned for all weekend – ahh 🙂
  • lots of hugs, laughs & love

I love receiving & giving gifts that are useful, edible, experiences & a true reflection of a person &/or relationship. I definitely feel that my friends & family understand who I am. And feeling understood, appreciated & connected is the real gift. Thank you to everyone who has showered me with love this weekend & always – I am truly blessed & thankful.

What do you look for when giving or appreciate when receiving a gift?

Big, blue & beautiful: H20

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We’re back. Back to the work week. Anyone else still daydreaming about the beauty & relaxation of the holiday weekend? We spent the holiday at Lake Tahoe – it really is blue! And clear. We played on a jet ski, swam, floated & soaked up as much of that beautiful water as we could in three days! Despite the packed beaches, beings surrounded by lake, mountains & blue sky brought so much peace!

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Did you know Lake Tahoe holds enough water to cover all of California with 14 inches of water? Well, at least it usually does. I’m sure it has been impacted by the current drought situation, but the feeling was still one of abundance. A lovely and misleading feeling.

Blessed to have spent three days in this magnificent blue body of water & fresh mountain air, I have returned with a fresh awareness of the seriousness of California’s current drought & wild fire season. While the problem is big, we can all contribute to the solution. I just took this online pledge to conserve – check it out! Accountability is good 🙂

After checking out some ways to conserve water at home I am committing (& re-committing) to the following changes to reduce my household water consumption:

  • Wash dishes with a tub of soapy water & a tub of rinse water
  • Put ice cubes that accidentally fall on the ground in house plants
  • Collect water used to rinse veggies for watering the garden
  • Use water-less car cleaning products to increase length of time between washes
  • Turn off the tap while washing hands, brushing teeth & shaving
  • Check & repair any leaks immediately
  • Take shorter showers & turn off water while washing hair
  • When home, don’t flush every NUMBER 1 – that’s over a gallon saved per flush!

I am grateful to live in a world full of solutions & ways we can generate change! Let me know in the comments below if you have other easy suggestions for conserving this precious resource – H20!

 

 

 

The Beginning: first ever blog post!

One love. Bob Marley put it so simply. But somehow everyday life & relationships complicate even simple things. The further I travel down my own path and the more soul searching I do, the more I understand that we are all connected. That’s what this blog is about – or at least how it is starting out. That’s something else I’m learning, that despite our best intentions and well thought out plans, life has a way of throwing the unexpected at us. So I choose to identify & work towards goals while striving to stay open to whatever the present moment may bring.

Off on a tangent already – back to the purpose of One little Peace. To share who I am in this moment & how that changes day by day. Share passion, awesome community resources & wellness inspirations. This will also serve as a handy reference tool as the details of things often allude me (forecast a post on ways to improve memory). I have always been fascinated by human behavior and love everything health & wellness. Seeking purpose & wellness in my own life, I keep coming back to something greater than myself – US! I want to be the best me so that my life has a positive impact on those around me. In a world where so many of us are separated from our loved ones & neighbors by fences, great distances & miscommunications, I hope this blog inspires & contributes to a greater sense of community. Every small action we take to be well & act with love puts out a positive ripple effect into the universe & promotes positive change in ourselves, our community & our world.

You have probably already figured out that I am much wordier than Bob, so bear with me while I back up a smidge. I’m Kelly, turning 29 this year & a seeker of balance. Yoga is one way I do this – I’m currently practicing headstand (more on that fun challenge later). But, I mean balance in life – the bigger picture. Between our jobs, families (see some of mine below), emotional, physical & mental well being and so much more it seems impossible not to feel depleted or out of whack sometimes! My journey is seeking balance & peace in my life.  With One little Peace I hope to share part of myself, provide wellness information/resources & look at the wide array of choices we can make to be a catalyst for positive change in the world just by being happy, peaceful human beings.

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Being silly & playing outside at my brother Stephen’s birthday BBQ last weekend.

If you find yourself laughing along with me, adding momentum to the discussion or trying out a wellness strategy for yourself – I will feel blessed to be a small piece of your journey & grateful that you are a piece of mine.

Don’t let people pull you into their storm, pull them into your peace

Kimberly Jones

(Anyone know more about Kimberly Jones? Maybe I’ll do some research…)