On the Sillyside of the Street

IMG_7041

Beary on the Common

There’s been a lot of justifiable seriousness to women’s conversations lately, aka the entire year, aka a lifetime. The relentless triggering of past trauma is a drain on our energies and real block to forward momentum in our lives. Sometimes no amount of mindful techniques, nature walks or power boot camp gym time will work for very long. If you can’t sit still for spa-like self care, what’s the alternative?

IMG_0181

Lizzie and Me

That’s when it’s time for a walk on the sillyside. This is a free practice- it needs no alcohol, chocolate, expensive clothes or elaborate props. Sustained laughter with a willing companion who can see the humor in the ordinary is the most valuable commodity. Being able to have a whimsical or offbeat take on the travails of daily life is a skill vastly underrated in the competitive world adults must dwell in.

IMG_3957

Pottery Magic

Women today are very careful to project the professionalism that creates the proper boundary in a world too eager to capitalize on weakness, shortcomings and embarrassing moments for personal gain. When can we relax when social occasions can turn into one up-womanship with questions about how many children, work responsibilities, hours on the job, number of high profile clients, etc.

Please, must we go there?

IMG_6985

King Arthur Flour on the Road — biggest spatula?

A trusted friend who knows how to laugh with you rather than at you is the most precious commodity today. I have a dear friend who always greets my phone call with smile in her voice. The occasional costume opportunity or themed party food are embraced with exuberance. We feel safe dropping our guard and quickly our conversation becomes high volume, punctuated with hearty laughs. When we get into the car for a road trip oftentimes we are laughing so much we miss our exit and have to double back or take elaborate detours. Turning our latest family concerns or work frustrations into humorous anecdotes allows us to gain perspective and move into a more joyful frame of mind.

A quirky sense of gentle fun is often stock-in-trade in the children’s book world. Childhood favorites have the advantage of being familiar and yielding fresh insights. Ann Hood illustrates this well in her memoir, Morningstar. Treasured books from young childhood have a special pleasure. When we long for a kinder, simpler world we can find it again in the wonder of experiencing the world with new eyes. Very often it’s stories about animals embodying human traits that give a child permission to be true to themselves. One favorite such book is The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Sometimes it’s about reaching for the future, as in Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. By connecting to the values we teach children we can restore our sense of hope for the future of the adult world to come.

Joyfully,

Claire

P.S. When December arrives I’ll be in line to see the animated version of Leaf’s tale, Ferdinand. How will it compare to the 1938 Disney classic, Ferdinand the Bull?

What’s your favorite sillyside practice??

#sillyside         IMG_6883

Book covers from publishers. Photos by Claire Mauro

 

Advertisements

How to Fill Your Bucket

MatunuckRI

Labor Day Weekend is almost here. Looking ahead to the turn of the season means most of us shake off the sand and fold up the beach towels. I’m not much of beach lounger myself but I do love walking along the surf’s edge. Fortunate am I to combine beach walking this summer with multiple reunions with dear friends and family. We visited 5 different beaches in 5 east coast states this summer! It is rare occurrence for us to have so much activity and one that coincided with the cosmic event of the solar eclipse. Believe me I cherish each and every memory, stored up to examine again and again in winter.

Belmar1957

One thing I observed about kids and the beach, the play is pretty similar today to when we were kids. Remember that sand pail and shovel you used on the beach as a child? How many different ways did you use that? Not just for sand that’s for sure. It can hold lots of beach flotsam and seawater, the precious bits and pieces to later spark shards of memory. In my mind’s eye I see the roll of the waves, hear the sounds of the surf and cries of gulls, and feel the sand between my toes, smell the briny shoreline. Remember when the shells and stones, mermaids purses, dried seaweed, and driftwood festooned your bedroom and littered the back porch?

MatunukStones

Maybe today you don’t use the bucket, maybe you should. We’re all familiar with the Bucket List, a popular term, made more ubiquitous by the 2007 film, for that list of things to do before you die. It’s no small thing to be made aware of your mortality in such a way. To “kick the bucket” is a bravado term for dying, one that invokes the image of cowboys expressing gallows humor, i.e., that detached coolness in the face of dire odds.

A bucket list is so much better if it motivates individuals beyond their fears and daily to-do lists, spurring them to positive action for their own well-being.

 

FenwickDE

Whether you see your glass half full or half empty right now, I recommend a different kind of bucket. Not the end-times container but one we can carry every day. It’s the container of our core beliefs, a reminder of what we value, and how to put those beliefs into action. Have you thought about yours lately? Why not cultivate a commitment to altruism, the selfless concern for the well-being of others?

Prosocial action is good for you, and good for all. This is how we grow resilience in the face of stress, by reaching out in our own small ways as best we can. We are all neighbors after all and recent events in Charlottesville and across Texas illustrate that in the most graphic and dire ways.

NationalSeashoreCapeCod

Robert F. Kennedy  said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest  walls of oppression and resistance.”
BelmarNJ

 

In the waning days of summer, ask yourself: What are my core beliefs? How can I bring actions for our common good into greater alignment with my daily life?

Close your eyes and listen to the waves, see if you can hear your answer.

MatunukSurf

 

Be Well — Safe Holiday Weekend to ALL

Claire

 

 

All Photos Claire Mauro

Winds of Change

actofkindness
A Big Thank You to all who read along with The Parsley Way. The winds of change are blowing and even we are affected. With Chris stepping away for a while Claire will be re-evaluating the site, its aims and the content.

Creativity, Kindness and Nurturing continue to be the foundation on which our wellness practices are built. I hope we’ve illustrated some pleasing ways to bring them into your life. Maybe you’ve experimented and found a new and satisfying practice. Maybe you’ve re-discovered or re-invigorated a long-standing interest. It’s OK to take time at the beginning of the year to be discerning. Notice where you are directing your attention. Ask: what actually calls to me, enlivens my day, lifts up my perspective?

Use all your senses to get the most pleasure from your day. Take comfort in the familiar tasks and delight in the unexpected. Yes, delight — the unexpected may introduce friction into your well-ordered existence but it also opens an opportunity. Embrace it! And breathe deep.

2017, Happy New Year!

Gift Guide – A Heartwarming Tale

merry-and-bright

Gift Guides are a popular way to streamline your holiday shopping at this time of year. So here at the Parsley Way I wanted to share one of the ways our family combined wellness and gifts this year.

Pet adoption is an anytime option, particularly if you are flexible with your choices. As a cat lover I love all kitties, baby animals being universally adorable. Selecting one for your family is another matter. So many questions come to mind and should. If you are an experienced cat owner then you may have concerns based on past experience, such as disposition, health and behavior patterns. Or you may be concerned as new pet owner about the myriad responsibilities and whether you are up to the task. You’re right to be concerned! Pets should never be treated as disposable gift items.

Our family raised Tangerine, our orange persian x tabby from a kitten. We even met his mother and siblings! And he lived 20 years, a much-cherished companion to our son and a comfort to all of us. The thought of “replacing” Tangerine was not automatic; our grief was as strong as our pet love.

Tangerine at 20
Tangerine at 20

When I started to consider a cat again, as it often turns out by the law of attraction, feral cats appeared in our yard in late summer. Mama and babies stayed for several days and just as I was contemplating taking in the entire family, mama cat moved them on. I took this as further proof I should consider adoption. Did you know? –You can visit shelters and rescue sites online to see what pets are available. Local veterinarians can guide you too. For a short time we had a nearby Cat Café, but alas, they closed before I could meet my pet match!
lizzie-alert
After several missed opportunities, during the past month I knew I had to move forward no matter what. I contacted a network of cat rescuers and sure enough within days I had a list of current pets seeking new homes. Calamity befalls perfectly nice pets and they face homeless shelters and potentially the remainder of their lives in cages. This was the case with our Miss Lizzie. When I heard her story—living alone in an empty home after the death of her elderly owner and the adoption of her feline companion, well, I took one look at her photo and was smitten. The rescue worker quickly followed up on my interest by providing a video and then a meeting was arranged. The rescue worker assured us there was no obligation; I should base my decision on a feeling of connection with the cat. It was so sad to see this lovely, friendly cat in an abandoned home. She had a neighborly caretaker to be sure, but no family routine. It’s a match!
img_8119
A month later we are happily growing used to one another, finding delight in our daily life together. We were provided with a health record and a regular check in with the rescue worker to monitor our adjustment to each other. I’m pleased to say Ms Lizzie performed all her necessary cat business the first evening, eating a meal, using her litter box and finding a comfy bed on a familiar pillow on a window seat. Since the first days we’ve introduced age appropriate food, presented her with cat toy options and lavished her with as much attention as she is willing to accept. She’s a curious, well-mannered and altogether independent Miss who will seek out her own activities or consent to play with us. And WE are pretty well trained already too. She will drink from a water bowl but prefers a running stream. The first time she jumped into the shower was quite a surprise! Now she will wait for one of us by the bathroom door and we will open a tap to run a trickle for her. I think she must have a bit of fisher cat in her Tabby bloodline!

The Nimbus 2000 of cat toys
The Nimbus 2000 of cat toys

We’ve hit the jackpot with Ms Lizzie for sure! We’re grounded in our daily life by the loving caregiving and pet companionship, a mutual relationship! Her soothing purr is beneficial for our health; keeping her well feed and cared for is good for hers. Her constant inspection of our home is a mouse deterrent and good feng shui, too. She moves the stagnant chi with her attention to the nooks and crannies of our home, delighting us with her independent spirit, love of play and expert attention to repose. Our new addition to the family proves to “tend and befriend” is a good antidote to what ails you. May you be well this season!

Mizz Lizzie Among the Pines
Mizz Lizzie Among the Pines

Dive Right In

Window on My World
Window on My World

That was fast! In the last 2 weeks we’ve seen the leaves on the trees pop open like umbrellas in a downpour and our weather is veering back and forth from rain to sunny heat. Our zucchini and cucumber plants appear to be growing so fast there are noticeable changes in leaf size and number from morning to evening. Nature, always in transition, is flexing its “becoming” muscle again! Continue reading

Habits Worth Cultivating

Mount Vernon kitchen garden
Mount Vernon kitchen garden

Every three months is a great time to assess our goals, take note of what we’ve achieved and reset our intentions for the next quarter and the year overall. How are you doing?

Take a look at your regular habits. Do they need an update? Here at The Parsley Way we have clearly defined regular practices that we advocate for wellness. The question is, do these practices help you maintain a sense of wellbeing that contributes to your overall productivity and meeting your goals? Continue reading