Mindfulness for relaxation

“Consciously aware in the present moment without judgment.”

Self-care is an essential step to overall wellness.  Being consciously aware in the present moment without judging your experience is something that we overlook when we are continuously preparing or reacting.  Our busy lives have conditioned us always to think ahead or be hyper-prepared for action instead of relaxing and just taking in a moment.

Let’s filter out the forecasting and start being mindful of the details that are happening here and now.  Reconnecting with life, by seeking out simplicity and awareness – finding our peace within. Over-thinking it will have you missing the point, as you don’t need to be religious or on a spiritual journey to practice mindfulness.  It’s just focusing on the present, leaving worry about the future or “what ifs” and accepting that there is no right or wrong way to be mindful.

How is mindfulness relaxing?

When you tune out worries and live in the present moment, you are taking out the static and allowing your mind to rest.  It’s not going to fix your anxiety, or change your negative feelings altogether, what it will do is give you a moment to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and happenings of what is happening one moment in time. The continuous bombardment with media and everyday distractions can be debilitating at times, it’s those distractions that can stop you from experiencing very simple joys in life.

Meditation or mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a form of meditation.  The most significant difference is mindfulness is taking a moment and redirecting your focus to what is happening right now.  It’s not fighting what is happening, or trying to change the way we feel; instead, it is acceptance of a moment without judgment.  Human nature is we want to change things – mindfulness is allowing you to let things be as they are and accepting that moment.

Empowering.

Once you find that you can practice mindfulness, you will feel liberated and empowered.  It’s not something you master, instead, it’s something you practice. Making mindfulness a habit can be a form of self-care and helps us take control over what we are feeling and how we react.

It’s easier than you think.

Most anyone can develop the skill of mindfulness and find an inner sense of calm. Making a habit of this can increase confidence, self-esteem and even contribute to compassion for people around us – and for ourselves.  We are so often worried about tomorrow, or dwelling on the past. Practicing mindfulness can make us more aware of others and how they feel – fostering empathy and empowering us to help those around us.

Where to start?

Find a quiet place and close your eyes.   Try starting by grounding yourself; this helps when you need to calm yourself and relax.

  1. 5 things you can see
  2. 4 things you can feel
  3. 3 things that you can hear
  4. 2 things you can smell
  5. 1 thing you can taste

The easiest way to follow through is to put it on your schedule and make it a habit.  Take a few minutes each day to ground yourself to a calm and relaxed baseline.

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Forever seeking to be heard.

For a brief time that I remember – my mother truly escaped herself & the confines of her mind and the limitations that it imposed on her being – this was many years ago. It’s when that freedom ended again that I had decided that I needed to explore and to be free and never be trapped by my own mind and the fear of all the limitations that life, other peoples opinions, and this false set of rules that age builds like a massive wall – like a prison.

My mother struggled with depression and anxiety, and the drugs that she was told kept her feelings normal.  When she died of cancer this past year – I haven’t wanted to really talk about it – because cancer wasn’t the thing that I felt killed her.  I went to one of her oncology appointments after she was diagnosed.   The day before this appointment we had a very long talk about what she wanted… she had already been through some chemo at this point with no results.  Yet we sat there with the doctor to discuss her options going forward.  As the doctor was talking, her eyes glassed over as I could see her giving up and going back into whatever everyone else wants.  The Doctor stopped talking and my mother clearly said she did NOT want any more chemo.   See – the chemo that they were trying was not proven in any way to help my mom’s type of cancer but the Doctor said we should still try it.  But as she spoke those words I do NOT want any more chemo… nobody in that room heard her except for me.  They may have heard her words, but they quickly dismissed them as un-true or not valid.  The Doctor immediately pipped up saying that by not continuing to at least try with chemo it was like she was committing suicide.

MY HEART STOPPED WHEN I HEARD THOSE WORDS OUT OF THE DOCTORS MOUTH…. and I was screaming the top of my lungs from the inside that he had no right to say that and this was NOT anything like suicide… all that I muttered out was “I don’t agree with that statement at all” and then I squeezed my mom’s hand and told her “that isn’t true, and you make your own choice”.  It was the most unprofessional thing I have ever heard and I will hear his voice ringing in my head for the rest of my life.  He played the bully.  He did not know her, and did not understand that she did have an opinion and a reason for her opinion – and that everyone has a right to choose for themselves.  He pushed off her feelings of not wanting to continue with chemo as her depression talking.  I don’t care how many cancer patients he has been through – he not ONCE asked her why she felt that way or tried to consider her feelings or understand that what she wanted actually had thought and purpose behind them.  He boasted that “if it worked” instead of 3-6 months to live she could live 6 months -5 years longer.

STOP. But at what cost?  Why wasn’t this part of the conversation? Why was everyone pushing off her feelings as invalid? Because she suffered from depression?

My mother describing her cancer to me is one of the most grueling horror stories I’ve ever seen.  But… it wasn’t much different than what I pictured when she talked about her depression.  She spoke to me about this dark hand that was reaching up from inside her and crushing all of her organs so much so that she couldn’t speak and nobody could see this or hear her screaming for relief.  Her voice didn’t matter – all that mattered is she needed to make as many people happy as possible.  Her pain didn’t matter.  Her voice didn’t matter.  Her thoughts didn’t matter.

She talked about her death like this all my life – she even had told me how old she was going to be when she died – and she was right.  The last two months of her life were miserable, she wasn’t eating well, she wasn’t sleeping well… and all she said was I do NOT want any more chemo.  She continued with the chemo because her Doctor and others said she had to at least try once more.  She died 2 months after our meeting with her Doctor (with the additional chemo treatment).

I know this will be very disturbing to people and will be upsetting to others.  My point in sharing is we need to become better listeners… and not just to a persons choice or reply – but to understand what is bringing another person to their choices.  Not just for major things like  life and death decisions – but LIVING decisions.  We don’t all have to agree, and we don’t all have the answers – but listening to understand means that you value that person.  Valuing their methods or madness to any decision affords that person value in themselves.

My mom was a strong woman that had many hard life situations to deal with from a very young age.  MY MOM WAS AN ARTIST, A THOUGHT FILLED WOMAN, A SURVIVOR, A LISTENER…. she was just finally broken because she had to be strong for too long.  She has given me strength to make life decisions that are best for me, and the strength to know that falling down means nothing if you get back up.  I will forever be a  seeker – and spend my time enjoying the journey instead of focusing on an end.   ~love you mom

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Artist: Sandra Cragin                                                                   Title: Listening

 

 

In memory of my grandpa

As I got the call this morning that my grandpa had passed, you can’t help but remember all the little things.  I remember stories being told to me about him (good and bad), and this is what I have – and it could be truth or not – as much of this is from when I was a young kid; so who knows if what I remember is fact – but it’s how I remember it.

He use to make my grandma cringe….  yeah – every time he would walk past her it would poke her or grab her neck and she would say “knock it off dicky.”  He was fairly quiet until he wasn’t.  He had a sawmill/lumberyard and we (meaning the cousins) would play and climb the logs and play around the saws and search for the stray cats hiding in the logs until he would come out and holler at the top of his lungs – getottahere!  I think he did it less because he didn’t want us playing for safety reasons, and more because he loved to see us all run and scatter for fear of getting in trouble because we weren’t suppose to play in there.

Every dinner that we ever had at my grandparents house was followed by grandpa going to the recliner and taking a nap and taking over the TV with western movies.  We would sometimes pester him until he took a swat at us…. and parents would be shushing us or telling us to play outside; but more than once I saw him grinning… because he took pleasure in watching us squirm and hustle.

He had a pig named BOOF BOOF.  It was a 200 year old pig… well not really… he butchered it every year and got a new one, but it always had the same name every year and every get together it was an event to go see how freakishly huge the pig was.  Then he would pick one or two of us and drape us over the gate telling us he was feeding us to the pig… until we squealed, and he got a huge grin on his face.  He would grunt at us more than he would speak, but you knew when he was happy or amused.

He was a little evil (ok maybe more than a little), as he got a huge kick out of making the dogs scream… by pulling their ears until they yelped.  I never said he was perfectly nice – again – he was most pleased by getting a reaction out of others, human or animal.  He had a couple geese later than were quite mean… possibly because he hassled them – and yet for some reason no matter how much torture went on, we all loved him just the same – even the animals.

He would take us on tractor rides – or whatever fun farm thing he had to ride around in.  Would go pick blackberries occasionally, and when I was really young he would help me find walking stick bugs around their house.

He was a logger all his life that was allergic to bees…. how that all works I don’t know – but obviously he lived to be 89 so either someone was telling me a fib or he was just damn lucky. He couldn’t read – and nobody really spoke of it, but when he got cards or there was something to read he would have my grandma or one of his kids, or us read things to him.  He ran a successful business despite this shortcoming (or because my grandmother ran the show really).  He built log cabins, and when he was in the hospital years ago with gall stones passing – I bought him a stack of timber house magazines… and sat with him for a couple hours… we didn’t speak more than two words.  All he did was grunt smile and say neeno, yet you could tell he was happy I was there.

He loved his slot machines – and many times father’s day was spent at a casino.  Yes… all of us, even the kids… (not so regulated back then).   My grandma passed some years prior to this – but both of them were awesome and playing cards and dice was just something you learned young in my family.  If you served him he loved it – make him breakfast or dinner and you got to the top of his list.  He loved his money so much that he buried it all in jars…. and my grandma had a map of the treasure… to my knowledge he had dug it all up and spent it all after my grandma passed… but good for him!

Mance got the brunt of my grandpa’s sass… because my grandpa loved to trick people into taking a shot of 151 Bacardi.  They felt compelled with his peer pressure to do a shot with him; unknowing that it wasn’t just a normal shot and he would giggle with pride like a child when they did the shot and then saw the burn of it on their faces.

He was not always nice to others that I love dearly, personally I think that my grandma held him together and made him a better man and once she passed he had lost the glue in his life.  But I prefer to remember that I have a lot of amazing memories of him.

I got his sass, and his stubborn nature – I’ll take that.  My last grandparent has passed.

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TUTUS AT THE PARK – June 2014

Tutu session

The warm weather has me anxious to get some tutus outdoors.  So we are having a free tutu day at a location in Boulder, CO on June 8th, 2014 from 9am-2pm!   We dance, we play, and of course try on some custom tutus by Kimber Cyr of Kim’s Designs.    If you have a little ballerina, or just a princess that loves her some tutus and pearls, then give us a call to set up your time.  The day is very limited on times available, so please call or e-mail us as soon as you can!  It’s photographs of your little ladies that they will be talking about for days, weeks, months and years to come!!!!

Contact us for your appointment:

jennyb@fototails.com

or call us at (720)566-9770

The experience that end with portraits.

Plan a portrait calendar

Busy is the word, and I always suggest taking time each year to plan a portrait calendars.  It doesn’t matter what time of year you start this, but taking a look at where you are in life with your family/children and making a decision on when professional portraits are best each year is a great way to get those memories at a time that works best for you and for your budget.

Here are some great times and milestones that will mean the most to catch with professional photography:

1st year: Maternity, Birth-3 weeks, When your child starts sitting up, when your child stands, first birthday

Youth: Formal portraits yearly(if you would rather have beautiful images vs. school photographs), Awards and recognition portraits when they have major accomplishments (this is confidence building).

Yearly: Family portraits, children’s favorite interests portraits, special outfits for holidays or from special family members, siblings portraits.  Parents… the most un-photographed couple and it is one of the most important to your children~make time for formal portraits of just the two of you every few years at least.

Generation portraits: children with parents and grandparents, mother or father & child portraits, grandparents with grandchildren, and formal portraits of grandparents.

For you:  Update business portraits every 2 years (yes, get rid of the HS photos on your LinkedIn page!lol),  make-over or boudoir portraits because we all need to feel extra special once in a while – and we also need something to look back at to remember what we were like – and your children will cherish photos of you throughout the years too.

Wedding: Yes of course – but also consider formal portraits with your gown when you have made some time and space without the hustle and bustle of the wedding day.

Love: Celebrate… anniversary, birthday ~special places & memories.

And although I could go on and on ~ start picking through the most important things for you on this list and start plugging them into your personal calendar and making your appointments… you can always re-schedule closer to a schedule date.. but if it’s not on your calendar then life gets busy and these very important times get pushed aside.  Make it real, and set up your portrait calendar.

Need help?  We have a yearly portrait planning date at the studio – it’s absolutely free, and booking with us personally is not required.  I just want to help you get on track to great memories that don’t go missed!

Contact us for details:  info@fototails.comJeanine_Thurston_Z_001

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Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

Celebrate your valentine styled.

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LOVE VALENTINE SESSIONS

Painted feet, and crowns, vintage cards, hugs and kisses… we are making these Valentine’s sessions all about the love and loves of your life.  Fully styled set that will be beautiful and fun for kids, couples, or families – and the PERFECT images to customize some Valentine’s Day Cards too!

WE HAVE GREAT THINGS FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, AND FOR COUPLES TOO!  ALSO MAKES A GREAT “SAVE THE DATE” SESSION FOR WEDDING COUPLES!

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January 22nd (a Wednesday) from 10am-2pm

January 26th (a Sunday) from 9:30am-2:30pm

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OPTION 1 – HUGS & KISSES
$99 mini-session.
30 minute session + $50 print credit

OPTION 2 – ALL HEARTS
$250
1 hour session
2-digital files
$50 print credit

to book your appointment call 720-566-9770

or e-mail us at jennyb@fototails.com

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Know that a bad day is just a day.

Know that everyone has bad days.

Know that you are not alone.

Know that no matter how bad you may think your day is, tomorrow is a new day with a fresh beginning.

Know that no matter how ugly you feel, everyone has beauty inside and out – because nobody on this planet is like you.  As much as we are all the same, we are also like nobody else in this world and what makes us unique is what makes us beautiful.  

Know that when you are having a good day, that another may not ~ so offer a smile and understanding whenever you can.

Know that your voice always matters to someone.

 

 

Helpers.

When I was a kid, I was instructed to run across a street to help an elderly women cross the street.  If I saw a neighbor hauling in groceries – told to go help them carry in their groceries.  When someone came home, I was to jump up and run out to the car to see if someone needed help bringing anything into the house.  You don’t just hold the door open for the person is directly behind you for them to follow you in, you actually hold the door and let the person behind you in first.  When you are in a grocery line, if someone only has a few items, you allow them to go in front of you.  When you are crossing the street and you see a car coming up or one waiting for you at a cross walk you pick up the pace and run/quick walk at minimum to get across the street faster so that they can continue on their way.  You drive in the slow lane and only go in to the middle or fast lane to pass others.

Does any of this ring a bell?  Last week I decided to take a week to observe, at my disappointment – people didn’t pick up the pace to cross the street, in face they didn’t even acknowledge I was a car waiting with even a glance… it was like I wasn’t even there.  When I bring home groceries, nobody runs out to help me carry anything in,  the young man at the gym didn’t even hold the first door (although my youngest did rush ahead of him and held the door for him – have to give him credit).

As adults I think many have become a bit lazy about concern for others ahead of ourselves.  I tell my children to always look for the Helpers.  There are always Helpers, but now more than ever I feel like I need to work on this with even my own children.  Being aware of our surroundings, and others in need is so important and even I have lost track of that at times.

2014 can be the year we bring more Helpers back.  Here is how you can help.

1. When you use a crosswalk and a car has stopped for you… pick up your pace & wave – they just may have somewhere important to go.

2. When you hear one of your family members come home, send your kids out or yourself to at least ask if they need any help.

3. Take an extra 20 minutes and shovel some of your neighbor’s sidewalk when you are doing yours.

4. Hold the door for another.

Seems simple right?

List some other really simple things that may make another’s life easier or show care for someone that you may not even know.  Not elaborate… SIMPLE… that any or all of us could do.

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

VALENTINE: for the love of life

LOVE VALENTINE SESSIONS

Painted feet, and crowns, vintage cards, hugs and kisses… we are making these Valentine’s sessions all about the love and loves of your life.  Fully styled set that will be beautiful and fun for kids, couples, or families – and the PERFECT images to customize some Valentine’s Day Cards too!

__________________________________________

January 22nd (a Wednesday) from 10am-2pm

January 26th (a Sunday) from 9:30am-2:30pm

__________________________________________

OPTION 1 – HUGS & KISSES
$99 mini-session.
30 minute session + $50 print credit

OPTION 2 – ALL HEARTS
$250
1 hour session
2-digital files
$50 print credit

to book your appointment call 720-566-9770

or e-mail us at jennyb@fototails.com

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