A New Year – A New Beginning

A New Year - A New BeginningThis year flew by and my resolution last year of filling my life with happy moments proved beneficial as most of 2016 was a struggle with my health and sometimes it took a lot of effort to see a happy moment in a jungle of pain and difficulties. But I persisted and things are looking up, so I will start the New Year with optimism and faith.

My resolution for 2017 is to put a highlight into every day, something that brings joy and makes me happy. I started this before the holiday season and it really works. An uplifting phone call, visit with a dear friend, a delightful meal, just a little time with myself, playing with Romeo, reading a good book, and the list goes on.

What did I learn from 2016? Being kind and patient with myself, which for a driven person like me was a big lesson to learn. And then I feel much gratitude for the love and support of my husband, the compassion of dear friends, and the dedicated care of my health team. I also became aware of what is important and what is just frills which come and go. I certainly experienced a life lesson this past year.

My wish for you is that you realize how special you are. It is so easy to forget with the busy life styles most people live, but loving yourself is the foundation for loving others. Being patient and compassionate with yourself will allow you to show the same to others. Just taking a little time for a daily meditation and going within may do wonders. Look at this New Year like a new beginning. Visualize a black board showing the year 2016 with all that happened in your life – the good and the not so good! Forgive yourself and others, and then take a sponge and erase it all. A new blackboard for the New Year, a great moment filled with much promise. Enjoy 2017 to the fullest. Make it your year and remember always that you are special.

Happy New Year!

 

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCoking.com

Christmas Spirit

Christmas SpiritThe Christmas Spirit is not something one can define in a few words and then present it as the truth for everyone. We are all different with individual emotions and thoughts, and the Christmas Spirit is a very personal experience.

What I can say is what it represents for me. It starts with the decorations creating a vibrational surrounding which touches me deeply, reviving memories and bringing joy and happiness. Then it continues with giving gifts to loved ones and also those who are lonely and forgotten. It wakes up memories of growing up with little, but nevertheless having my mother instill in me at a most tender age that one always gives and that there are always people who have less. It made me feel good knowing that another little girl or boy would enjoy my gift and my Christmas Spirit was born.

Christmas has always been a special holiday for me, and this year I am especially grateful that I am able to celebrate and to enjoy the season. We didn’t put a tree up because Romeo would have thought it a personal challenge to see how many ornaments he could break in a minute. But the house is very inviting and festive, and I love to meditate in the glow of the candles and feel joy and peace entering my soul. That’s what the Christmas Spirit means to me – love, joy and peace in my heart and the willingness to share this blessing with others.

It would be wonderful to hear about your Christmas Spirit and what brings you joy and happiness.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

Meditation

MeditationUnder “Food For Thought” on the NotJustCooking.com website, I wrote some time ago about Prayer and Meditation, that essentially Prayer is asking and Meditation is listening. I believe very strongly in this but we often forget to listen after our prayers. It is only in the stillness of the mind that we can hear an answer. It is not necessarily a voice; it can be an intuition, a feeling, or just a vibrational awareness.

Meditation is a very important part of wellbeing, it helps us to find balance and to release unwanted thoughts and feelings. When I taught yoga years ago, I always ended my lesson with a meditation. My students loved it. I gave a brief guided meditation followed by music and breathing. I believe that to feel whole one needs to address the body and the mind.

Meditation has been practiced since antiquity and there are multiple traditions and ways. We are all different and are not attracted by the same things. That’s why we have to find the discipline which speaks to us and which allows us to relax and let resistance go. It really doesn’t matter if you like guided meditations, complete silence or music. You might want to lie down, sit comfortably or even engage in a walking meditation. One thing is important and doesn’t change: you have to be comfortable, breath deeply and regularly and let unwanted thoughts and feeling flow away. Watch them but don’t hold on or think about them. Breathe deeply and invite better feeling thoughts. The more you practice, the easier it gets, and then the day comes when you can meditate under any circumstances. Just the breathing will help you not overreact to an unwanted situation. For example, clearing your mind and attracting positive thoughts will assist you in not responding to or mishandling a challenge. This is not a traditional meditation, but I use it when necessary in congested and frustrating traffic, in a meeting when things become too emotional, just to mention a couple. But you cannot forget to follow up later with a deep meditation so you can release the stragglers, which might have lodged in your mind without your noticing them.

I will always remember a meditation practice that a yogi I worked with used when he was traveling. He settled in his seat in the airplane, closed his hand into a fist during take off and very slowly, one couldn’t see the movement, opened the fist and his hand was fully open when the plane landed. It was mind-boggling, and although I tried it many times, I was never able to even come close.

Meditation can become your constant companion and assist you in maintaining your balance and wellbeing more easily, no matter what!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving 2016Like every year, Thanksgiving will be a special occasion for me to give appreciation and thanks. It has been a very difficult year health-wise and I have much gratitude in my heart for the wonderful medical care I am receiving, for Steve who is a rock, and for Romeo who joined us in 2016. We will have a very simple Thanksgiving. The turkey has shrunk into a Cornish Hen as it will just be the three of us – Steve, Romeo and myself. The accompanying dishes will be few, since I am very limited with what I can eat, but everything will be prepared with love and I am really looking forward to it.

Thanksgiving is an “acquired” holiday for me not having observed it in Europe, but I quickly made it my personal gratitude celebration. Most years we had guests over or we were invited, and then there were years when we were traveling internationally, but we always made it an occasion to be grateful for our blessings.

There are too many people close to my heart to mention them individually. But I know you will feel that I am including you in my Thanksgiving celebration. However, there were three special ladies that made a big difference in my life and I would like to mention each this Thanksgiving.

First, there was my Mother, a deep altruist and a remarkable woman. She taught me from my earliest years on how to give and to be grateful for what I had. She died when I was 17, and I will always regret not having the opportunity to know her as an adult, and to spoil and take care of her. But my heart is filled with gratitude for the time she spent with me. She taught me so much and asked for so little.

And then there was my “Second Mother”, my mother’s best friend, who took my mother’s place after she died. She was a quiet lady who loved our little family, and I remember her kindness fondly. I never heard her say an unpleasant word, and she was a pillar when my family turned on me after my mother died. She will always have a special place in my heart.

And the third lady was my Mother-in-Law, who was always kind and loving to me. I enjoyed traveling with her, and her visits were always a delight. When she decided to move closer to us after we moved to Tucson, Steve and I were happy and grateful to make her last years pleasant and enjoyable.

I am thankful to have these three remarkable women in my life who were true role models and loving cheerleaders.

We will go down memory lane this Thanksgiving, and I will send my love and appreciation to all the special people in my life. I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Smiling

SmilingI wrote earlier this year about Happy Moments, and today I want to add Smiling. Smiles are important and bring us an immediate, positive change and make us feel better.

I have decided to smile no matter what. Sometimes I forget, but when I realize that my mouth is tending down and my thoughts are gloomy, I put a smile on my face and consciously change my thoughts. I smile at people I pass on my way, and it is amazing how most of them will smile back at me. I consider their smiles as a gift and treasure them immensely. No words have to be exchanged, just a smile is all it takes to bring a change. I look at it like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. The more rays, the fewer clouds and pretty soon my sky is sunny and all is well.

It all starts with lifting the corners of your mouth and putting a smile on your face. You immediately feel a change in how you feel. It is still a cloudy day, but it brings hope the sun will break through and disperse the dark clouds.

While writing this blog I have had a smile on my face that I hope you can feel as you are reading. The sun is coming through and my heart is beginning to sing.

Smiles are free, and they are a gift you can give to anyone. When I feel that I need more help than just putting a smile on my face, I add a mantra. I repeat it a few times and together with my smile my attitude changes and I am in full sunshine and feel blessed. Here is the mantra I like to use, but please compose your own. Your mantra should have meaning to you and can consist of just a few words or a sentence or rhyme like below. The key is that you can repeat it with feeling.

I let resistance go,
And love and wellness flow.
I am, I am, I am.
I am one with God my Source.
I am.

You can sing it, say it aloud, or just repeat it in your mind. It is powerful and helps you find balance and harmony.

Life is worth living to the fullest. Troublesome things happen, but it is up to you to get yourself back to a smooth and happy place. Smiling helps!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

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