Slovenian beach

Best Slovenian Beach for Children: Izola, Strunjan or Portorož?

Slovenian beach – why go there at all when there’s Italy, Croatia, Spain and many other luxurious and cheap places? Why for me, Slovenia is a beautiful country with outstanding nature. The way to the beach (if going by bus or car) is an aesthetic experience on its own. Its people are civilized and friendly, its prices are cheap, hotels and guest-houses are cozy. (Although most don’t have mosquito nets on windows, which is annoying). No matter where you choose to stop for a night or for a coffee break, you will lay hands on a good restaurant.

Slovenian beach – what to expect?

Pebbles

Beaches in Slovenia can leave different memories and impressions on your soles if you are not wearing beach shoes depending on what you fall. But one thing can be promised – there will be no or little sand, so if you are a sand-castle builder – Slovenia beach is definitely not for you. But if you are a pebble-castle builder, then it is certainly a good place. Here is a list of amazing things to do with pebbles. If you are trampoline jumper and a diver, if you like water slides and good ice-cream – it’s another reason to go to Slovenian beach.

People

One thing that has surprised me (for good) were the people I came across during the vacation. Most of my beach neighbors were reasonably good-looking, polite and mannered. No rude shouting, no crazy beach games around, no insane surfing and so on – all quiet. I see it as a plus but some of you might see it as a minus – to each his own.

Generally speaking Slovenia cannot boast being the first choice beach resort for families during summer vacation. However, it has this clean, wave-less sea water, sports attractions and nice people around.

Izola, Strunjan or Portoroz – brief comparison

Here is a purely subjective comparison of three beaches, kids-wise: Izola, Strujan and Portoroz. Points of comparison are: shallow water accessibility (for small children), cleanliness, availability of jumping/playing facilities (for older children who can swim well and are bored from just splashing around).

 IzolaStrunjanPortorož
Pebble/SandSmall Pebbles - beach shoes requiredBig Pebbles/Stones - beach shoes are still required but stones are nicer for touchSand
Facilities for childrentwo spiral water slides, trampoline (outside of sea), small sand court for ball games. Excellent water trampoline (low prices), and small playground for very young children.Water trampoline, which looks decent from far away. My kids haven't tried it, so cannot recommend. Besides the trampoline haven't noticed any visible entertainment facilities.
Cafes nearbyTwo nice cafes with snacks, salads etc., reasonable prices. The ice-cream sold on the beach was not approved by my experienced ice-cream users. Two cafes, haven't tried food in any of them, the ice-cream, however, is memorably good. The place is swarmed with cafes and restaurants nearby, haven't tried any though, so cannot recommend. There is a supermarket nearby where you can buy snacks/water/almost anything else.
Shadow/Sun umbrellasAlmost no shadow. Sun umbrellas and long chairs exist for FREE use. Lots of shadow and trees. No sun umbrellas, but none are required anyway.Little shadow, lots of sun. Sun umbrellas exist but it's unknown whether they are for a fee or free.
Easy access to shallow water (for children)Nice, shallow water easily accessible from the beach. Becoming deeper and deeper the more you advance. Plenty of shallow water. Ideally for small kids. Access to water is through stairs, which is a bit annoying. Lots of shallow water but no sun umbrellas in the area of shallow water. So either brings yours, or sit quite far from the shallow water (not suitable for parents who want to watch their kids and being in the shadow at the same time).
Cleanliness of water Quite dirty water, seaweeds, mixture of sand, shells and pebbles. Cannot see the floor. Very clean water. Can see the large stones at the bottom. Quite tolerable clean water, not perfect but cleaner than in Izola beach.

As shown in the table above, different beaches have different properties and advantages. If you travel with very small kids or babies, you obviously don’t need a sea trampoline. However, if your family is a mixture of swimmers, ice-cream lovers, breast-feeding individuals and breast-milking individuals, pizza and wi-fi carvers – then you will need a versatile  choice of options. My choice falls on Strunjan and here is why:

First, it has a lot of shadow – for those who are not planning to bake themselves watching for kids.

Second, it has two tolerable cafes – which is not tremendously much but quite enough for an average family.

Third, it has excellent sea trampoline, which can attract a teenager for about 2 hours and leave you, mom, totally for yourself or yourself and babies. Empirically proven, trampolines are good for mental health since teenage kids don’t get bored and don’t make their parents go bananas.

Fourth, it has easy access to very shallow water with no waves. There are no sand, true, but the stones are slippery, big and not scratchy (still, would recommend beach shoes). The shallow water is ideal for young kids or kids who don’t know how to swim, or moms who don’t know how to swim with babies on their arms.

To me, there four components form the ideal beach for a diverse family with different interests, ages, tastes and expectations.

Slovenian beach
Trampoline on Izola Beach (outside of water)
Slovenian beach
Portoroz beach
Strunjan sea trampoline (with diving options for good swimmers)

Slovenian beach

dream

Draw the dream

What do moms dream about?

Are there only casual things?

What are casual things anyway?

This question of dreams and their nature has occurred to the author of this post while she was visualizing of material stuff. Yes, many people do that, but how many people dream of a specific thing, on a regular basis, drawing and visualizing the desired object?

Dreaming occurs more often than we notice. On one day it happens in mini-waves and sometimes in large storms of energetic turbulence somewhere between the hypophysis and hypothalamus.

Here are my rules about dreaming (= wanting something):

If a dream seems weird, wrong or meaningless – think about it.

Never despise the smallest dream, because every dream is meaningful, even if its meaning is minuscule or seems to be wrong at the moment. There is no such thing as “dreamed it by mistake”. There is no such thing as “wrong dream”,  as long as take responsibility for the idea created in your head. Some dreams makes mom blush, feel angry with herself, feel ashamed and perplexed. The most important rule – I never turn my back to it, never bury it somewhere deep and try to forget. This will not work in the long run. I turn my whole self to the ugly dream, be it whatever it is, and take it apart piece-by-piece.By most times it’s not easy, not natural or intuitive. The strongest desire is to slip away from this shameful mental x-ray. But once exposed to light, the disgrace disappears by magic, the vision dissolves and the memories of it become a bleak shadow.

Be responsible for your dream

My dream is my exclusive creation. No one can take it, borrow it or steal it. I cannot lose it as long I’m conscious of what’s going on in my head (can be tricky). I am the sole master of my conscious dreams.

Recognize the character of a dream

Dreams, like humans, own different traits. Some dreams are lazy. They drift by showing no signs of interest, not even trying to demonstrate their best side. Some dreams are active and responsive, offering solutions and ways of fulfillment. Buzzy fantasies. They are ready to cooperate, ready to be put into words and drawings, to be hanged on the wall as posters and to be looked at.

Dream with intention.

Dream are plans-to-be. Dreaming is mental labor. It must be done in a disciplined and organized manner. Otherwise they make little sense and become a huge waste of energy. Guinea pigs can dream with no purpose, meaning or intention. No one cares (if any guinea pig is reading this, please accept my apologies).Humans, however, that consider themselves sapiens,  cannot allow such barbarous misuse of power. Steady dreaming with specific intention creates a surge of energy that must not be underestimated. Those who tried it, know.

One dream at a time, please.

Spreading energy to many directions at the same time will lead nowhere. Something good may happen, but as a matter of coincidence. Creating a hierarchy, a list, a schedule and working on it consistently one idea at a time might sound boring, but it isn’t. Visualizing a fantasy, drawing it, bringing it to life is a creative and vital process. It can never be boring, since it’s your prodigious brainchild, a voice from the core, a call of the inner sense. This process is quite breathtaking and must be forged with respect, care and extreme attention to details since details matter most.

pretending

Stop pretending it is important when it isn’t

Pretending something is important to you just because it seems to be important to others is a highly misleading way of life. There are things considered to be important and substantial. Considered by whom? By the society, mamas and papas, teachers and preachers, friends and their mothers, brothers and sisters, authors and their granddads and many more.

Fresh moms, like I used to be once (I can still be refreshed), tend to fall into the trap of pretending something is important, because they were told it is important. For example,: you should always have breakfast, you should not go to sleep after midnight, kids should be sleeping by 8 p.m. and wake up accordingly, oatmeal is good, being angry is bad,  green tea is good smile when you say hello and so on and so forth. This list looks like a swollen jaw: it’s big, ugly and you don’t want to look at it. Well, I don’t know about you but I know that I don’t want to look at it. Because I no longer want to pretend that something is important when in fact it is not.

There are things that are valuable to me. My list, however, is elegant and shiny like a diamond ring. It’s not even a list, just a few things that turn in my head like a merry-go-round. Something like this: keep the balcony door closed when kids are unattended. Change socks. Eat fresh. Drink clean water. Breath.

Don’t lie to yourself about what is important

pretending

I remember when my first child was two I always put her to sleep around 22.00. It  was the convenient time for our family – we could enjoy the evening together, I didn’t have to be “half-asleep” after putting her to sleep at 20.00 just to find out at 20.30 that I’m already too sleepy for anything. I could dive with her at 22.00 for a full night’s sleep. She made her sleeping hours because a 2-year old doesn’t have to get up to work, and kindergartens are flexible with arrival time. I got my sleeping hours. Everyone was happy, until I discovered that I’m doing it all wrong and children must go to sleep at 20.00 otherwise… (you put the scary things that happen otherwise). Nobody could explain me why kids have to go to sleep early, it was stated more like an axiom.

The main disadvantage of being a young mom

Since I was a young mom and took advice to heart, I honestly did my best to ruin my schedule to shift the bedtime two hours earlier. It even worked once, and I was almost proud by my educational and parental achievements. Only it did not work for long and soon we were back to the old convenient regime. When the number of kids grew, however, the bedtime hour became, unlike before, something that matters. And it has naturally shifted to a mutually acceptable hour like 21.00 (plus bedtime stories and night conversations, but let’s not count that now for the sake of this brilliant example). Things have settled naturally when the time was right. 

This example had taught me a lesson, something I have been carrying with me all through the years. It’s so obvious, self-explanatory and yet – so many fall into the trap of trying to be “normal”. I myself was shocked when I discovered that a relative of mine (child, at that time) used to go to sleep at 1-2 a.m. during summer vacation. But then I caught myself being in this “shocked” state and said: hey, weren’t you the one, at the time, claiming to have learned the lesson that “to each his own”? After these words, my “shock” has killed itself at once.

When is it pretending and when is it real?

pretending

This is the question I’ve been asking myself – how do I know it is really important? How do I know I am pretending something is important? The answer is, again, so simple it’s a shame to write and I will do it nonetheless: it’s the mom’s intuition that tells her what really matters. It’s the reaction of the child to certain events and changes. It’s the overall  family atmosphere that changes for the good or for the bad.

Pretending it is important to wake up veeery early

For example: my children do not wake up easily in the morning on school days (let’s talk about it?) And the next big questions is: how important is it to wake them at 6.00 a.m. so they have “proper” morning with breakfast and all the other things that honest people do in the morning? If put another 30 minutes of sleep on one scale and breakfast and other organizational stuff on the other – what will weigh more?

Most parents I know do wake their kids early enough (at least about 40 minutes before going out of the house). Or at least this is the official version of most parents I know (I don’t really visit their houses at 6 a.m. to check things out). Therefore, my big doubt was – am I doing anything wrong when I dress my kids right in bed, help them brush their teeth on the way out and give them snacks instead of breakfast to devour while waiting for the bus?

Had it been 7 years earlier, I would have followed the common advice and would torture my kids with the commonly acceptable practices of morning routines. Since I am more aware of things now, I do what’s best for them. By the way, there is no need brag about it on every corner (bragging and sharing personal information will only lead  others  to misjudge, misunderstand, misinterpret and all the other “mis…”).  Since – to each his own.

What are the benefits of not pretending?

The benefits are immerse. The best part of living life in a comfy mode is, that benefits flow on you immediately. You don’t have to wait until the end of the year for dividends. Life turned out to be miraculously easy and almost fun when I started tailoring  and customizing every little bit of life according to my preferences. It works like magic and yet, it is nothing but a tedious conscious routine. Pretending that something is important to me while it isn’t is a huge vacuum hole that sucks life energy into nowhere.

However, only living by my own rules is not enough: I need to know, deep inside me, that what I’m doing is really good and has the best possible influence. Otherwise, it’s easy to go astray and shift back to the “acceptable” mode, blend with the crowd, start losing energy and individuality and, eventually, suffer from “cruelties” of life.

As a bottom line: each moment is a door to wisdom and truth. Pretending means taking a step back. Being true to oneself at least on milestones is a leap forward. It is vital to remind to oneself why I am doing it and whether this thing or another  (small things like waking up and big things like choosing a country to live in) derived from a conscious choice. Consciousness and affection, once again, yes.

allocation of energy

Allocation of Energy – how to learn the skill?

Every mom knows when her energy boils down to emptiness. This familiar feeling when nothing matters anymore. It’s ok when is happens once in a while, can be even fun, in a way. But not when it becomes an unfriendly routine. Not when there are kids to take care of. Allocation of energy is a far-reaching strategy and tactics, that every mom must master (three times “m” is a pure coincidence).  Why? Because mom’s energy supply is limited, at least this is how it is known to me at this point of existence. I haven’t yet found an endless channel of abundant power and, therefore, I get greedy when it comes to my very own energetic resources.

Allocation of energy – says it all

There is no recipe for harmony.

However, the author of this blog is sharing her own, checked and proven ways to maintain balance of energies.

The key word is – right allocation of energy.

As I’ve  written here and in another post, the energy supply is limited. Therefore, mom should be extremely careful when she chooses to invest her energy in this thing or another. She is not a super-hero (only sometimes) and, therefore, must keep a finger on the pulse of everything – when to act and when to rest.

Allocation of energy means, that mom:

  • makes a billion of micro-decisions every few seconds.
  • keeps cool and weighs her words, intonation and decibels.
  • uses mental tools to supervise the situation (with kids, her tiredness, mess etc.)
  • knows when to let things go.
  • smells herself burning from fatigue and runs away into the chambers seconds before the explosion.
  • controls the expression of her face (eyes especially), her mimics and never fakes a smile.

There are these and many more. Today I discovered something: my kids can maintain their quarrels perfectly well, they can figure what was wrong, how to share and how to find a solution. It was an amazing experience to watch and learn from. And this too, is allocation of energy when I spare forces for other things rather than control their every step and every fight.

How to learn the skill of allocation?

It’s not a quick trick and it’s not something that one can learn from another. It’s a transcendental experience and comes from daily practice.

Still, there are a few basic questions that mom should ask herself  as guidelines:

Do I need to rest or can I go on?

Grabbing a 15-minute nap is always, always, always a blessing. I do it on every possible occasion and this way of allocating my resources works perfectly well. I rarely get a “normal” 8-hour night sleep but rather steal these short nappy moments that save me. This way I can not only “function” but even do luxurious things like knitting, cooking specialties, practice yoga and smile.

Do I really need to do what I do right now or is there a better plan?

Moms often run on autopilot and it’s completely normal. There is a ton of “autopilot” things for a mom to do, like laundry, picking up kids and so on. However, the automatic lifestyle might bring a mom to an unpleasant state when she starts doing everything on autopilot. Here is the turning point when a mom must ask herself – the soup that I’m cooking at the moment, the homework that I’m trying to help my child with, the windows that I suddenly decided to clean – is it all a part of my conscious choice or is it another output of the endless recursion of my autopilot life?

Do I feel pain or discomfort in any part of my body right now?

This is a very important element of mom’s healthy routine.  Moms tend to neglect themselves until they’re half dead, because there are other important things to do first, right? But my body is the working machine and it must work well. Listening to one’s body and catching its signals before it’s too late should be happening on the background in a continuous mode. Not only during meditation. (Or ,in other words: a healthy mom should be living in a meditative mode at all times). When any tiny discomfort is felt it may be a sign to act or not to act: to take a rest, to stretch joints, to take 5 deep breaths, to shake off thoughts (literally, shake your head and body, it helps), or many other movements that moms find useful. The worst thing to do is to ignore the signs of discomfort and postpone the activity for a “better time”.

Is there any particular disturbing thought making circles in my head?

Thoughts are like small tricky monkeys, jumping around, pretending to be nice. They control our thinking apparatus through inner dialogue, silently. Without knocking and asking for permission. Recognizing a disturbing thought is a halfway to heaven success. When a mom is not reading her thoughts but only acting emotionally she is at risk of getting involved in horrible situations: quarrels, fights, exhaustion, strong distaste of life and even depression. All that, only because there was something that was bothering her apriori but she was not aware. She only took the emotional output of the yucky thought and streamed (screamed?) with it. Bad, bad choice.

The author of this blog suggests her method – but as a suggestion only .  Gently massage the central point of your chest (right where the fourth chakrah is, for those who know) with the index, the middle and the ring fingers. If your inner state of mind is calm, you should not be feeling any intensive emotions. However, if this gentle massage arises stronger feelings and you seem to enjoy it immensely, it is a sign that something is disrupted and should be brought back to balance. Then do it. Keep on massaging the area until you don’t feel the need for it anymore. Nothing tricky, only requires attention and consistency.

Here is a recommended video by Danica McKellar, who is sharing her views on how to stay aware and make conscious choices. I advise to start watching from minute 2:20

 

first, second, third

Transformer-mom: first, second, third

First, second, third – this post is not about these brave moms who bring children with a very small difference of 1-2 years. My reality is different, I had had the time to taste the essence of motherhood with every child for a few years. And my way of accepting and rejecting has been changing dramatically as years flew by.

First things first

First child – take him, somebody, let me sleep. Please, I want to sleep. I want to do some shopping therapy. Make money. Blog, go out, be stylish, slim, pretty and fresh. Will my baby ever grow up? I want to do everything except being the 24-hour mom. This new mom uses every opportunity to sneak, evade and crawl away to get some fresh air. I look for nannies, private kindergartens, after-kindergartens activities – then I realize I want to be a good mom and it frustrates me even more. A vicious cycle with only one way out – understanding what I really want from life.

First child – there is so much hidden meaning in these two words. Lots of emotions, expectations, disappointment, frustration and joy. Rushing about between trying to be an ideal mom and wanting to escape to the nearest moon from the hassle. Asking myself – was I conscious when I made the decision to thrust myself into this spinning-wheel? Looking at the wheels of the stroller (pun intended) when walking and thinking that I must be somewhere on that wheel: being smashed and crushed every few minutes, getting up just to be crushed once again in a never-ending series called parenthood.

Middle Finger

Second child. O.K., this is hard. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. It’s not even close to what it felt like with the first one, when I could get some morning sleep and afternoon nap. I can’t handle this. I can’t handle two small creatures running, shouting, breaking things and driving me insane. All I can do is look out of the window and feel jealous of the young girls who can go shopping hands-free. Yoga doesn’t help: I still don’t like the way I look and I am not calm. NOT CALM AT ALL! I still want to make money, to look good, to have enough sleep, to have some time for myself. I want to stretch time. But it is impossible. And I’m going totally insane. It’s amazing I can still function, smile, talk, run tasks and even make some money. I spend sleepless nights sending energies into the monitor, pretending I’m making a career. Time cannot stretch beyond itself and even the horrible sleepless nights spent in working end. And I’m a sponge. No time or energy for the two sweetest individuals who crave my attention. The feeling of guilt is far behind me, I did what I felt the right thing to do at the moment. But…

Third time is magic

Third child – what a blessing! Every moment is a gift. How come I am so relaxed, confident and happy? Where do I find the time to blog, to take care of myself, to have enough sleep (ehhh?…) to look good and feel even better? I wish I had started with the third one right away. Is it the timing? The age? The experience? Life conditions? Different environment? Or is it me and my inner world, having changed so drastically, that handling three of them plus a million of other tasks seems almost a routine pleasure?

 

the feeling of guilt

The feeling of guilt

The feeling of guilt is something every mom experiences once in a while. Mom that prospers in an office, stay-at-home mom that makes (or bakes?) doughnuts for the entire class on a special event, and mom who doesn’t do both. It’s only a matter of degree, how far is each mom willing to go and kill herself for doing something wrong or not doing something right.The root of this feeling, though, lays far beyond “mom’s feeling of guilt”. It’s more of an overall, overwhelming feeling of guilt, something that is dragged from the childhood, from bad education, from bad examples and bad teachers. But in this post I am going to focus on the feeling of guilt that grows in mom’s head, which is related to her children.

Where does the feeling of guilt come from?

Lack of self-appreciation

The feeling of guilt comes with lack of self appreciation. Lack of self appreciation comes with negative emotions. Negative emotions come with tasteless thoughts. Tasteless thoughts come with lack of consciousness (who let them in? Have you? Or have they made their way in with no permission?)

The feeling of guilt grows exponentially as a result of physical and emotional exhaustion. When nothing shines inside, when there are no ideas, no dreams and no energy. All there is are these kids running and jumping around.  And there are all the others: other moms, grand-moms, friends, unknown agents advisers and tons of other energy-suckers who have the best intentions (beware, beware, beware!) to help the poor, unqualified mom to manage her shaky life. All these unwanted guests add weight to the feeling of guilt like a huge, rotten cherry on the top of a sour cream on a outdated cookie. You got the metaphor.

Broken pattern

For the first time in her life mom has tried something new. She deeps her toes in cold water: a new job, a new project, a new dress (toes?) – it does not matter what it is. Mom, who has previously dedicated all her time most of her time to her kids suddenly takes a leap aside. Her kids, at that time, stay with the nanny, the grandma, the husband, the partner, the cat – anyone, who, naturally, is not qualified enough to treat them as they deserve to be treated (it’s all in mom’s head, definitely).

Another example is when moms scream break their patterns of behavior.For example, I see myself as a calm and caring mom. Therefore, occasional outbursts can make me feel really bad about myself. How could a meditating, balanced and conscious mom like myself break down, shout at her kids and send them to bed right away? Yep, these things happen to the calmest moms.

Secret Pride

Pride is in a way related to the previous reason – breaking the behavioral pattern. Some moms consider themselves flawless and feel secretly proud about themselves. Something they would, typically, never admit. Whether they do or do not fully acknowledge their secret pride, it is still there.Once the image of the perfect mom is distorted, for whatever reason, mom feels devastated to an extent. She has less reason to be proud of herself. She has come down from the Olympus to the harsh reality – she is the ordinary, human mom now. Ouch.

 

Why is it important to get rid of the feeling of guilt?

 

The feeling of guilt is like a worm, eating the mom from the inside. It does not let her concentrate on what is really going on at the moment. It throws her to the past over and over again, sucks her energy in gallons and adds pain and agony to what has already been experienced. Therefore, in order to make the right conclusions and go on with life, it is vitally important to cut any slightest feeling of guilt. Learn the lesson – yes. Eat myself up about it – no.

 

Techniques to kill the feeling of guilt.

There have been many teachers in my life who said “get inside this pain, feel it to the bones and then it will disappear”. Well, it does not work for me, or at least has not worked so far. Once I plunge into the pain, it becomes a never-ending story of chewing the agonizing gum of upsetting memories.

So here are my personal techniques, and maybe, they will work for you too. Consistency, as always, is the secret weapon that makes things work.

Here is what I tell myself on the rare occasions when feeling of guilt strikes me (not necessarily in this order):

 

  1. I might have been wrong as I see it now. But back then I reacted as my mind told me. I was conscious of myself (was I?), and this outburst was completely in time. Life is still good.
  2. Children know their mom is human and she gets angry. I am not a raging mom on a permanent basis. The way I expressed myself was not perfect, but it happened so. Let it be.
  3. This outburst was a good lesson for me. I let it happen because I was tired and exhausted. The lesson I have learned is – plan my day in a better way. Let myself have some more time alone. Save more energy for the evening when everybody is more tired and things might heat up.

And the most important mantra: I am still the very good mom. There will be tomorrow when we’ll have the chance to start a new day with the lessons learned. My children have learned their lesson and I have learned mine.

 

morning without coffee

Effective ways to wake up in the morning without coffee

Morning without coffee. Does it seem reasonable or does it sound like a nightmare? In one of my previous posts I pointed out  my position regarding coffee. Today it is even more simple – I say no to any drugs, medications or products that let me borrow some energy for a short time (with interest to pay back later). Interest, in this case, means the feeling of tiredness that soon follows the caffeine injection. In this post I share my insight on how to wake up in the morning and feel good about myself and everything around, without coffee. Coffee lovers, coffee addicts – this one is not for you.

Over some time I have perfected a few simple but very constructive tips that work great for me  (only considering that I have had at least 6 hours of sleep the night before… otherwise nothing really works much). Happy morning without coffee is quite possible; as time goes by and you establish some healthy routines, you may even find out that energy flows in a magical way into the very center of what used to be a ball of perpetual pain – the morning headache.

Tip #1: Lemon Water

Or how they position it in caffes – “home made lemonade”.

Get two glasses of warm lemon water right when you get up on your feet. If warm sounds disgusting, read it as “cool”.

How to make lemon water?

There are two ways: either squeeze or put a small piece of a lemon (not more than a quarter) into a 200 ml. glass of clean water.

Tip #2: Head, shoulders, knees and toes

You can’t run away from exercises.  Morning without coffee means activity. Any kind of stretching, literally, for three minutes. I do not follow any special guidelines, my intuition leads me to the right movements. One day it is hands up in the air, the other day, it may be feet on my ears and so on. You get the point. Consistency is king.

Here are some tips on different kinds of stretching:

  • Joints: make circles with your wrists and feet. Turn your neck in slow circles to both directions (don’t forget to breath when your head is backwards). It is best to make at least 3 circles to both directions. One body area that we never pay attention to is our wrists. As a typing mom, I think it is crucial to stretch our wrists and hand fingers.
  • Neck and Shoulders: Another good and effective stretching is rising up your shoulders as the “I don’t know gesture”. This simple exercise has proven to be extremely effective for me since I can do it -guess where – in front of my computer.
  • Waist – hands on hips or hula-hoop. Music. Make movements to any direction. I think, music makes the key role here, so choose something, that makes you want to dance and spin around.

Right now, while sitting in front of my monitor and typing all that I have simultaneously completed nearly all stretching exercises I have recommended here (except waist), almost without breaking the flow of typing.

Tip #3: Breath

Do three large breaths in and out. Amazing, how we forget to breathe deeply at least once a day, and even more amazing how three simple breaths inject morning energy into our sleepy bodies. So, stand in front of a big window, watch the cars, the dogs, the birds, flying saucers or whatever you can see from your observing point, and do one, two, three large breaths in and out. You can raise your hands every time you breathe in and bring them down every time you breathe out.

Tip #4 (the hardest): Morning without coffee means  morning without smart devices

Don’t touch any smart device (your head doesn’t count) before you really wake up. Morning without coffee also means morning without instant access to smart devices. Don’t check your emails in bed (alas!), don’t even check the weather before you have done the water and the air injection. I have a rule of thumb – my phone wakes up at least 15 minutes later than I do, and so far, my phone had no objections regarding that.

Tip #5: Compromise… if not coffee then something else.

Last, but not least. I said morning without coffee, but what if the body requires something sweeter than a carrot, something that reminds liquid (not a cucumber juice), and something that resembles coffee by smell and color? What if it’s just too hard, on some days, to say total no to coffee?

Cacao

Cacao is associated with children, but it stopped being that way for me once I re-discovered how great it tastes.  Better use organic and/or  bio cacao powder, but I, personally, find the instant one delicious (against all my “rules”, oh well). I’m not going to mention any particular brand here since I haven’t decided myself yet. Go with what tastes best, it’s just one cup once in a while. Not a big deal.

Lately, I have discovered my own personal way of making morning without coffee even better – I melt chocolate (the chocolate bars they sell for baking) in a small amount of water. Sometimes I add some cacao powder to make it taste a bit bitter, and sometimes it’s only the chocolate. Sugar is not needed at all.

Green tea

Another drink you can consume is green tea. I prefer making tea in a small fancy pot (2 cups). If you drinking it from a regular cup use a very small amount of tea, and if you are using tea from a bag, I suggest not holding the bag in hot water over two minutes. The tea flavor becomes too strong. Of course, it’s very personal and you should experiment until you find your best flavor-time ratio.

Dog-rose tea

A powerful source of energy, tastes good both as hot and cold. Tastes delicious, can be drank without sugar or cookies or anything, because of its unique flavor. Better buy dried rose hips (sold in pharmacies or tea shops) and brew with nearly-boiling water. Another option is to cover the berries with cool, clean water on the evening before you go to sleep, and the drink will be ready in the morning (you can add some honey, it will taste even better).

Have I forgotten any tips? I might have, or I might be not aware, that some other ways exist. Let me know in comments what works for you (other than coffee) to get yourself to your feet in the morning.

life scenario

Life Scenario that is being rewritten

What is life scenario anyway? Who composes the script, who decides which way it will unfold? And the most important question: can life scenario ever be rewritten? Can it be shifted the way I want it to run? Can I change my role in it? Can I remove certain people and invite others? Can I really make things happen?

The following review is based on my recent acquaintance with the book “Busting Loose from the money game” by Robert Scheinfeld. This is my unique estimation and, therefore, may differ from other opinions, assessments and conclusions.

A breathtaking journey into the life scenario.

I see this book as a breathtaking journey to one’s deepest self. When assembled together as one segment Robert Scheinfeld’s words form a masterpiece. I see its main point focusing on life scenario that is being crafted (by whom? how exactly? This is what the author of this book is giving an answer to. Not just analyzing or philosophizing, but providing an eye-opening technique). At first glance (especially considering the title) it may seem like “another book” about the you-can-do-it thing. But it is not. Its content is SO much more profound than title promises. It’s much more sophisticated and yet, the strategy offered is so breathtakingly straightforward. The author uses clear words, transparent metaphors and this what makes the book so staggering – its striking simplicity, and its ability to get in touch with the reader. It’s like I’m sitting in some room and listening to the author narrating the words to me in person.

Striking and to the point. Not just another you-can-do-it book.

The author of this post is a meditating mom with a baggage of experience. Therefore, it’s really hard to blow her mind with just another book. However, this book became the missing piece of the puzzle, the complementary to the meditation, the milestone, the stroke or whatever you may call it. The topic of the book is not new – life scenario concept is an old tale. However, in the “Busting Loose from The Money Game”, Robert Scheinfeld has outlined the human potential from such a unique viewpoint, emphasizing creation and achievements from a new angle making it completely prodigious.

This is the reason why she – still carried by a mixture of joy, relief and surprise  – recommends this book to those who are ready. I bought it as an eBook on Google Books first, but then decided I should have it at home as a paper book.

How to read this book?

Whether this is your first book in the genre, or you have already been familiar with literature of this type before – the idea is to dive deeply into the content with trust. Otherwise, there is no sense beginning in the first place. This is not a novel or science fiction. These are guidelines. Skeptic moms, tired moms, moms who’ve “had it all”, moms who have no time to read from the first page to the last page (and this is exactly how this book should be read) – all these moms ought to swipe everything aside when getting acquainted with the idea of this book. I, personally, couldn’t read it at once. I had to digest every chapter for a few days, then move on. The reading pace is up to you, but the most important thing, in my opinion, is be consistent and advance as slowly as needed – word by word.

What is so different about “Busting Loose from the money game” compared to literature of the same genre?

Since everything is a matter of personal perspective, the author of this post, obviously, shares her own impressions.

No Nonsense Language

This book is written in extremely captivating, no-nonsense language. There is no attempt to impress the reader with unnecessary lingual sophistication, with excessive metaphors, with shocking exaggerated facts or anything of that kind. The content is extremely straightforward and to the point. The book is divided into chapters and each chapter has one or several Key-points. The main thought of a chapter or its part is concentrated in the key-point (which is one-two sentences).

No “Homeworks” or Brainstorming Assignments

Another appealing side of the book – it has no “homeworks” or assignmnets of any kind to be done by the reader (like brainstorming, writing things down on a piece of paper and so on). I am usually too lazy for these written assignments and I was grateful, that this book did not include any psycho tasks.

Extremely Well Structured

The book is extremely structured. It leads the reader step-by-step to the entire picture. It arises curiosity, excitement and the desire to move on. Since I felt that I can’t take more than one chapter per day, I had to depress my desire to bite off more than I can chew. But other readers may feel quite the opposite – that they have to run through quickly once and then move slowly for the second time. Regardless of your reading style, the book’s clear structure helps building your emotional and cognitive understanding and trust to the author.

Stories from Real Life

Personal examples – this is my favorite part – when the author shares personal experience and the way these are affecting their life. My blog is built exactly in the same way – I share only information I, personally, know (meaning, felt and experienced empirically). The real stories shared by the author are the best example of how things demonstrated in the book really work.

As a conclusion – the changes brought by reading and practicing are already being felt (and I am still in process of re-reading the last pages). The result of these changes is unknown and the timing of whatever is going to happen is also unknown. Which is something I couldn’t care less about. Getting exposed to this book may shake the usual picture of the world, may leave a memorable trace and fundamentally shift the track of commonly accepted thoughts, ideas and the conventional perception of the so-called daily life.

Knock loose thoughts that spoil the magic

Bad mood can be reached in seconds. But does a mom want it? How to knock thoughts loose? Thoughts that can spoil a sunny day, a romantic evening, a relaxing afternoon? I call these thoughts – laundry thought – and here you will learn, from my perspective, about the hidden danger in these seemingly harmless mental wanderings.

What are “laundry thoughts” and how to knock them loose? First, it’s important to recognize the wrong mental objects that appear in mom’s head at the wrong time: a cooking pot… a broom… carpet with scattered toys… speckled socks. You get the point. 

Imagine a mom walking home on a magic spring evening. Cool, refreshing breeze, full moon, twilight. Amazing night, and she does not even have a stroller to push, or loads of grocery shopping or anything like that. That mom is in the most romantic mood, which can be spoiled with just a hint of a thought. Let’s not spoil that mood, and here, in this post I am writing (from experience, of course), how to say “no” and knock thoughts loose. 

The worst thoughts to spoil a happy mom’s mood are thoughts about the mess at home. The laundry. The dishes. The homework. The laundry again (the wet, the dry, and the one in the machine). The unprepared dinner (even if for tomorrow, but why not think about it in advance). The toys, generously spread all over the place. The small Lego parts, waiting for the bare feet at the night time…

These redundant thoughts clamber into mom’s head in the most natural way, like undesired guests who call in the least appropriate moment.

So, just like you would say “no” to unwanted guests (unless they bring food with them), you can say “no” to unwelcome thoughts. Here is how I think about it: “These thoughts came to steal my energy, to spoil my magic, to gnaw from my happiness. I knock thoughts loose right away, I send them away on a speed train, I clean my consciousness from them with a magic broom. 

Awareness is the king

If a mom is aware enough of what’s going on she will chase them off, free her mind from the unnecessary cognitive activity, from the vain trouble-solving process (because it’s not actually solving anything), from the painful process of rewinding the dirty laundry of her life in a mixing bowl called “head” by a machine called “mind”. Once a mom is aware she will easily knock these thoughts loose. 

I know, that people like guidelines and lists, so here I prepared a short and comprehensive guidelines on how to recognize, avoid and knock loose thoughts that spoil the magic. 

Step 1: Knock thoughts loose – recognize when it starts

It’s the hardest and the most important step. Because once you catch the thought from its very beginning, you can get over it more easily. Tracking thoughts should be a mom’s healthy habit, something she does on a regular basis. When the “laundry” thought creeps in on a magic night with a sky full of start, a conscious mom has two ways to handle it: either she smiles to herself and says “No. This is not happening because I don’t want it to happen.” Another way is, if the thought brings a great degree of embarrassment or unpleasantness – mom can boil a little, then – puff – let it out. 

And here we come to step two:

Step 2: Knock thoughts loose: cut and replace the “laundry thoughts” by “magic thoughts”

Cutting thoughts to zero thoughts, stopping the process and staying alive is, in my opinion, kinda impossible. The author of this post surely cannot just hang in there not thinking about anything at all (though she tries and maybe some day she will do it). Therefore, the easier way to do it, for now, is to REPLACE the “laundry” thought by a “magic” thought. Something good that matters. Something positive that seems good for real (not something a mom has read in a book or seen in a movie). A wish to come true, an old dream – anything that brings the authentic, good vibes. Don’t try to fool yourself, don’t fake it – the thoughts should be about something that matters and it is the key point here. Otherwise, you simply won’t believe yourself and the trick won’t work.

Step 3: Focus, count, repeat.

It’s vital to focus on this positive thread, be it anything that makes you feel vigorous, powerful and happy. Breathing and counting works great, but if it sounds boring just walking out there counting and focusing you may try other technique. For example, repeating words that matter, words that help knock the laundry thoughts loose from your mind. I say to myself sometimes: “the sky is blue, the breeze is fresh, isn’t it a miracle that I can walk like this, watch these blooming trees, this graceful architecture, these fascinating cars. Isn’t it awesome that I can breath, smile, enjoy good food, listen to music, watch movies, read books, paint, dance, stretch, jump and feel good about myself?

Once it becomes a habit you don’t need to do the counting work anymore. Things happen naturally, you learn to stay focused on what YOU pick from the diversity of the world. You watch the movie you choose and you knock the awful thoughts loose in a wink of eye.

avoid back pain

Avoid back pain – 5 minutes per day

Hello, I am your back and I am in pain.

How to avoid back pain with just 5 minutes per day and some minor effort? How to fend off the creepy feeling of your spine nearly breaking by the end of the day?

Do you ever know what your spine is through while you don’t even feel it? Every time I curve sit near my laptop, every time I bend in the wrong way, every time I have to lift something heavy my child – there are little bells ringing “My back, my back, my back! It hurts, it hurts, it hurts!”

All the exercises and techniques I show here are super short and dense. Just like in the post about breathing techniques – also here, you can learn to avoid back pain significantly with an activity that will steal 5-7 minutes from your schedule.

Is it even possible to completely avoid back pain?

Yes and no. Yes – if you train for at least 30 minutes every day in the right manner (better with an instructor or guided by a video). No – if you skip the practice, neglect and dismiss the first symptoms of  discomfort and only use heating pillows to put under your back before going to sleep.

Every mom knows what pack pain is. Some moms do something about it, others neglect it and wait until it strikes them hard one day. Avoiding back pain on early stages is one of the best things a mom can do for herself and her children. 

Busy females who run banks, raise twelve kids, maintain apartments and have to carry water from the river every day definitely have no time for classic yoga, Pilates, swimming and a bunch of other healthy things. The author of this post is a buzzy busy mom who only finds time to blog and take long showers, but never the time for a proper work out.

Therefore, here is one great exercise that anyone can do without special training. All you need is a mat or a carpet to sit and roll on. It takes about 5 minutes but makes a huge positive change to the back. No more wailing about lack of time!

Here is how it goes:

Step 1: Sit down, bend your knees and hug them with your arms. Your back can be straight but it’s ok if your back is slightly curved.

Step2: Pull your knees to your chest, keep on holding them with your hands. Your feet can be crossed or parallel – I prefer mine to be crossed, but it is up to you.

Step 3: Gently push yourself down on the back, while your legs are crossed in the air, your hands supporting them. All your movements should be slow and careful.

Step 4: Roll back until you are back to the initial sitting position. Your hands are hugging your legs all the time. Are you feeling ok? If there is dizziness you should drink some water and sit still for a while.

Step 5: Repeat the rolling back and forth, this time try to stay on your spine for a longer time while rocking back and forth. If you hear “bones cracking”, it’s ok. This is the way of my back to thank me after a long day of no exercise.

When rolling forth, you do not have to reach the initial sitting position every time. Touching the floor (or the mat) with your toes is enough, though you can reach a fulling sitting position if you want to. I prefer not to, as it causes my head to spin. I prefer my back-and-forth movements to have a shorter amplitude.

Step 6: By the end of the rock-n-roll sit straight again, gently release your arms from your legs. Stretch your legs forward or to the sides and bend to the right and to the left. Touch the toes of each leg with your hands, as much as possible.

Avoid back pain in a more creative way

For ingenious moms are bored to just roll back and forth, here is a twist in the scenario: every time you land back try to move your body a bit to the right or to the left (once you picked a side, stick to it). Every time you lift up try to move your body again to the opposite side. For example: every time I roll down I land slighty to the left, every time I move up I move slightly to the right. Repeat the same way with every rock.

At some point you will be able to make an entire 180 degree turn using the ups-and-downs!

The same exercise can be done in a slightly different way. Instead of rolling back and forth on your spine, you can roll from side to side. Legs are held by your arms, and you are using the stomach and the back muscles to move your body from left to right and vice versa.