Share Heart-to-Heart Hugs

Around the world, humans are hugging loved ones liver to liver. Instead, let’s embrace heart to heart! Here is the technique. It has long been forgotten, and we are working to remind the world of heart-to-heart hugs.


Happy mother embracing and kissing her sonLean to the right. Bring together left shoulders to come together heart-to-heart, embrace one another, and share heart energy (add a kiss if you desire). When we hug heart to heart, our energy fields expand together.

Lead by raising your left arm and dipping your right arm. What happens when
you do this? In this time of creating a habit with the heart-to-heart hug, the other person may get thrown off balance, take a miss step, or stop in their tracks and beseech you with an inquisitive look.

If this happens, take a moment and explain that “this is a Heart-to-Heart Hug.”

njabuls-heart-to-heart-slowdanceLike a dance, this hug is choreographed by leading with left arm raised, taking a slight dip to the right, and embracing so that our hearts physically connect, sharing heart feelings; love, compassion, empathy.


This is a shift from our current habit of hugging with our right shoulders coming together. In this embrace we share the energy of our livers where our emotions of anger, resentment, and trauma are stored. No thank you!

Instead, let us come together in heartness, heart to heart. Connect and share appreciation with each other—hugging stimulates your nervous system, decreases loneliness, combats fear, increases self-esteem, defuses tension.

Open your heart to give and to receive. Linger in the embrace. Go through the moment of discomfort and allow your self to relax. Take a breath. Feel the gentle drumming of two hearts in a chord of accord.


“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” — Virginia Satir

A hug has an almost immediate impact on health, lowering heart rate and inducing a calming effect while also leading to an improved mood! Hugging is as beneficial for the person giving the hug as for the person receiving the hug due to the reciprocal nature of touch.

Your body produces oxytocin in response to physical touch. The neuropeptide oxytocin, released by your pituitary gland, is a naturally occurring hormone in your body with incredibly powerful, health-giving properties.


So, hugging is an incredible way to bond with others and to boost physical, and emotional, health. Make an effort to hug the people close to you and get hugs in return! Make every hug a hearty heart-to-heart hug.


Managing Stress & Making It Work

Seven No-Cost Stress Busters That Are Worth Your Time

It is saddening that many feel the need to trip out on drugs in order to “cope” with the stress of their day. One single mom defended that spending her last $10 on her fix was important to give her a break from the stress of not being able to make ends meet, to feed her children and take care of them.

Oh, dear, perhaps your choices are leading to your inability to feed your children—$10 can buy a loaf of bead and a jar of peanut butter, and a jug of milk. That’s many meals …

The need to rejuvenate is fully understood. And supported. However, when you look at your options and your resources, there are choices that would serve you better. Spend the money on food to feed your self and your family. And spend some time to refresh your soul. Here are seven of the many ways one can “escape” with a little time, and no money at all.

MOVE. Get in motion. Go for a walk. Dance in your room. Stretch or strike a yoga pose. March in place. Do jumping jacks! This will elevate your mood and help your health. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. They interact with receptors in your brain to reduce your perception of pain. This is a key benefit of regular physical activity. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body. That feeling is often accompanied by a bright outlook on life. Exercise also leads to improved self-esteem.

MIX IT UP. Get a new perspective. Rearrange your habits. Take a different route on errands. Straighten your closet or your room. Step back and ponder the patterns of your life—the daily routines that shape your existence. How could you tweak your routine to make your day more pleasant? A simple adjustment in a daily regimen can make a huge difference in your happiness.

MASTURBATE. Give yourself a hand. Love you. Escape in a moment of personal pleasure. When just thinking about sex, the brain releases dopamine, giving us a sense of pleasure. As we engage in sexual activity, endorphins are released, providing a sense of well-being. Learn to love yourself and you will be more open to love from others.

MAKE SOMETHING. Create a poem. Hum a new tune. Draw a picture of a daydream. Enjoy the journey as you manifest anew. Activities that put you into the “zone” slow your brain waves and stop the constant mind chatter. Whether it is cooking, painting, writing, sewing, gardening, photography, or working with clay, do something imaginative. Let it inspire you and lift your mood.

MEDITATE. Stop. Breathe. Ponder. Pray. And find a supportive mantra to repeat so you have this peace any time of the day. You can repeat a simple, neutral sound such as AUM for several minutes—or use a word or phrase with meaning to you (this can have stronger psychological impact). Close your eyes. Inhale through your nose. Exhale through your mouth. Ponder or say your word or phrase silently as you breathe out. When stray thoughts come by, gently release them. Continue focus on your mantra. Do this exercise for 10 to 15 minutes each day. Mindful self-compassion can relieve anxiety under conditions of chronic psychological pressure.

MELT DOWN. Cry. It can be therapeutic. It is one of the most cleansing experiences you can experience. Deep sobs open your chest and your diaphragm. This releases bound-up energy and helps to free your heart of muscular tension. A good cry will enhance oxygen delivery to your cells. And, crying stimulates release of neuro-chemicals in the brain that promote relaxation. Tears are also considered to be healing—evidence suggest that the nerve growth factor in tears has medicinal functions. In any case, a good cry feels like relief.

MEET UP. Get together with a friend. Swap stories. Laugh. Cry. Communicate your way to a brighter mood through connection. When we feel connected to another, we feel more calm. When a friend expresses support, sympathy, and compassion for your difficult situation, it reduces anxiety. This act of kindness goes a long way to relieve tension and provide a sense of comfort.

There are many more possibilities. Make time for yourself every day. Take a break from the info-stream and the constant press of info. Step back and look at the opportunities to serve your highest and best. Please share how you cope, productively, in times of stress.


Making Relationships Work

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. How do we honor the bonds that bind? John Gottman PhD has spent his lifetime studying marriage.  Based on his findings, he has culled seven essential keys to the success of a harmonious and long-lasting relationship.  Here are the principles espoused from:  Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

Maintain a love map. Love is in the details. Get familiar with those details. In your memory, create a detailed “love map” of relevant information about your significant other. A favorite movie, a current stress, a life dream. And share yours with them.

Foster fondness and admiration. Choose to see the best in your significant other. Embrace shortcomings with compassion. Show respect for each other. Hold a general positive view of each other.

Turn toward instead of away from one another. Relationships thrive in the day-to-day little things. Let your significant other know you value them. Show it regularly during the daily grind life. Encourage one another. Take time to listen and respond—even if it means postponing an important discussion till you can give it your attention.

Accept influence. Consider your significant other’s perspective and feelings. Make decisions together. Find the common ground. Let your partner influence you and share your influence, too. Honor and respect each other in the relationship.

Solve solvable conflicts. There are two types of problems: conflicts that can be resolved and perpetual problems that can’t. Determine which ones are which. Here are five steps for resolving conflict:

  • Start the conversation without criticism or contempt.
  • Make and receive repair attempts—actions or statements that reduce tension.
  • Soothe yourself and then your significant other. Admit when you are overwhelmed and take a 20-minute break (the time it takes for your body to calm down). When you’re calmed, offer soothing to your significant other. Ask each other what’s most comforting and do that.
  • Compromise. In conflict, always take your partner’s thoughts and feelings into consideration. Find common ground. List non-negotiable points. List what you can accept. Share these with each other. Find agreements, common goals, and feelings.
  • Be tolerant of each other’s faults. Compromise is possible when you accept your partner.

Cope with conflicts you can’t resolve. Manage perpetual problems by moving from gridlock to dialogue. Usually gridlock is due to unfulfilled dreams. It is a sign that life dreams aren’t being respected by each other. Realize  the importance of assisting each other in manifesting dreams. Talk through issues to build understanding.

Create shared meaning. Develop a culture with shared rituals. Appreciate your roles. Outline goals that align direction and vision. Understand what it means to be a part of the relationship.

Wow.  Think about it, this could also apply to friendships, parent-child relationships, employee relations, and etc…  some really helpful concepts.

Girls Night Out

Gathering with girlfriends is a cornucopia of goodness.  Here are a couple gems from the treasure of last night’s soiree.

  • Where we met: Figlio’s.
  • What we drank: Michael David Chardonnay and Hahn Pinot Noir.
  • What we ate: Polenta Fries and Calamari followed by seafood dinner plates.
  • How we solved the world’s woes: Collaborative conversation. And hugs.

The topics we covered were as diverse as the days we each have experienced between our memory making moments when we cross paths. Having forged our friendships in college, celebrated careerImages and weddings and children and adventures, we raise our glasses with gratitude for the here and now. And salt.

Two salts we praised for flavor and health benefits were Celtic Coarse Light Gray Sea Salt and Himalayan Pink Sea Salt to add minerals, texture and a pinch of panache to the food we enjoy. Salt Works offers a nice guide to artisan salts and offers a selection online. Or check out the food section at T J Maxx for a deal that makes trying something new so much easier.

Onward, we tackled the almighty question of “what do I want to be when I grow up.” For our selves. For our children. For those we advise. A wonderful resource employed by a few became the curio for us all. Aptitude testing is a great adventure that has helped shaped the career paths for our children (and it is never to late to give it a go). And we enjoy the conversation about our strengths, weakness, hopes and dreams.

So the evening wraps up with hugs and promises to keep in touch until we gather again. Girl friends. Women who are changing the world.


House Rules

House rules. When I visit others, I enjoy participating in the house rules. My friend Didem asks that we all take off our shoes upon crossing the threshold. She has a supply of house slippers available if desired. This is a wonderful custom except when I’m wearing long pants with heels and end up flat footed.

At my home, a rule of the house is that we consume food in the kitchen. Realize that there are times to break the rule (like popcorn with a movie or breakfast in bed), but day-to-day the rule is to eat at the table, the counter, or the bar overlooking the great room.

This honors my appreciation of mindful eating. It is from realizing that I could eat a row of cookies while looking at television and  wonder where the cookies went. Not to mention having to manage crumbs and morsels that fall upon the floor or furniture.

LOCAL YOKEL: Sweet Dreams and Other Precious Moments

Last night I kissed goodbye my 8 year old. Tucked in the sheets around him. Turned out the lights and finished my evening. This morning, I kissed hello my 9 year old. We talked about the wonderful memories we have of each age … I realize how we die to each day, emerging anew with advancing experience.

via LOCAL YOKEL: Sweet Dreams and Other Precious Moments.

What a revelation. We die to each day. Let us be mindful in the moment for it is everything and then gone.

Overwhelmed to Overjoyed, Over Easy

This morning I hit the snooze button just one more time. Took ten minutes away from the shuffle of getting out the door, but I enjoyed the warmth under the covers while I imagined magical moments in the day ahead.

Then my feet hit the floor. Did the revelry routine through the house. Patted the pup and asked him to wait for his breakfast (as I have delegated this task). After primping, I headed to the kitchen and put it in motion. The coffee pot purred, the tea kettle sang, the eggs were over easy and the toast popped up as I reached into the fridge for orange juice. I felt overwhelmed. STOP!

I took a deep breath. I thought to myself ‘I choose to see things differently.’ Aha! Like magic. I realized everything was coming together. I poured the tea for me, then a cup of coffee for my spouse; buttered the toast, scooped the eggs from the pan, splashed juice in the cups, sat down at the table and enjoyed a warm breakfast with my family.

The mess … swept up and put in place like a memento of a morning well executed. The morning – over easy. How was yours?

Time Travel

Setting goals can be daunting. Finding direction sometimes leaves me lost. Still, I must look to myself for my answers. And if I find a plan that works, I must share it in the hopes it will help you, too. So, here’s one to ponder.

If you could go through time and ask your self – many years in the future – a question, what would it be? Hmmm, I think mine would be “what should I start doing today to be on the ‘happy dance’ track?” She would know regrets. From her perch, could see opportunities I might overlook. In this interaction, I will see the me I wish to be and she will be my guide to getting there.

I could ask her about my career, my relationships, my spiritual self, my sense of style, even…. So imagine having this conversation. Listen to the advice from the future you – the you you aim to be.

Next, look back to your self, many years ago. Ask her what she needs. Send her some encouragement. Ask her what she thinks (and hear her praise for how well you handled things with the knowledge you had at the time). Find out what she would avoid going forward.

Come back to now. Look yourself in the mirror. Embrace today. It is the only one you have. Tomorrow you will morph one day closer into the you you aim to be.


School Lunch

Here it is … my attempt to provide my child with a balanced, nutritious, healthy lunch that will be fun to eat and socially acceptable among the lunchroom crowd.

Sometimes I include baby carrots – but otherwise I find vegetables most difficult to deliver (if only I could inspire a taste for V8). Some other common selections for the lunch box include: jerky (beef or turkey), pringles chips (a treat), peanuts, mixed nuts, pudding, granola bar, apple slices, dried fruit.

This one is packed with protein which I find helps support a focused attention span of a few more minutes than a more carb heavy selection.

What do you send to school for  your munchkin?