Companion Gardening Plants that Thrive Together

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We all appreciate companions in our lives, people who journey alongside, encouraging and supporting us. Plants, it turns out, enjoy a form of companionship as well.

Companion gardening is the practice of planting specific plants close together, for the mutual benefit of both. Our grandparents and great grandparents understood that plants thrive better when certain combinations are tucked into the ground together. I’m learning more about this helpful process.

Companion gardening, plants that thrive together, offers a list to try out in your own backyard or garden space.

Companion Gardening Plants that Thrive Together title meme

The Benefits of Companion Gardening

Tom Maloney, horticulture educator for Penn State Extension, says

“The theory behind companion planting is that certain plants may help each other take up nutrients, improve pest management, or attract pollinators.”

Flowering herbs and plants attract pollinators such as butterflies, bees, wasps and birds that improve the growth and yield of certain vegetables. Other strong smelling flowers or herbs help to deter pests such as beetles or aphids. Large leafy vegetables provide shade for smaller plants or give climbers support. While sprawling plants like okra or squash help keep weeds from springing up.

Try the following companion gardening plants that thrive together.

Cabbage and Chamomile

What a surprise this pairing presents! The flowering herb, known for its relaxing properties as a tea, draws beneficial insects to the cabbage plant.

In the fall, chop up any remaining chamomile, if you can bear to part with it yourself, and scatter the pieces over the vegetable garden to enrich the soil.

Tomatoes and Basil

This is a classic companion gardening combo and for good reason.

Basil and tomato plants share nutrients in the soil. The fragrant herb improves the flavor of the tomato plant and its strong scent, which I absolutely love, keeps pests away. Plus, experienced vegetable gardeners swear that they harvest more tomatoes when they companion plant them with basil.

Let some of the basil plants flower, to bring in those important pollinators.

Companion Gardening Plants that Thrive Together tomatoes and basil
Companion gardening plants that thrive together – tomatoes and basil

Tomatoes and Lettuce

Extend their growing season by planting lettuce crops, which prefer cooler temperatures, among taller tomato plants. The tomato plants shade the lettuce and help to protect them from too much sunlight.

Lettuce and Chives or Garlic

Those pesky aphids don’t like strongly scented herbs such as chives or garlic. Interplant chives or garlic with lettuce to protect their tender leaves. Consider adding the flower alyssum as well. It’s tiny white flowers attract beneficial insects. Or allow the chives to flower.

Companion Gardening Plants that Thrive Together chives and lettuce
Companion gardening plants that thrive together – lettuce and garlic

Radishes and Carrots

Since both of these are root vegetables, you’d think that they might compete for the same nutrients. However, radishes mature quickly and don’t grow as deeply in the soil.

Carrots mature more slowly and put down a longer taproot, drawing their nutrients from a different space.

Corn and Pole Beans and Squash or Pumpkins

This method of companion planting originated with Native Americans, who called it the Three Sisters.

Corn provides a framework for the beans to climb on. Beans convert nitrogen in the air into a form the plants use in the soil. And the squash or pumpkins sprawl out with their large leaves, preventing weeds from springing up and competing for nutrients.

Companion Gardening Plants that Thrive Together three sisters
Companion gardening plants that thrive together – corn, beans and squash

Melons and Flowering Herbs

Melons need pollinators to produce their fruit. Plant flowering herbs nearby to draw them in. Great herb choices include dill, fennel, thyme, mint or parsley. Provide a framework for melons to climb upon or give them plenty of space for the vines to sprawl naturally.

Broccoli and Calendula

The calendula plants produce a sticky substance on their stems that attract aphids and trap them. Planting the flowers near broccoli and related plants such as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and collards, keeps aphids under control.

Plus, ladybugs are attracted to the calendula flowers. And they love to dine on aphids.

Companion Gardening Plants that Thrive Together broccoli and calendula
Companion gardening plants that thrive together – broccoli and calendula

Cucumbers and Nasturtium

Grow cucumbers up a trellis or platform and plant colorful nasturtium beneath them.

The scent of the flowers repels damaging insects while the colorful flowers attract pollinators.

Summer Squash and Marigolds

Similarly, planting nasturtium or marigolds with summer squashes such as yellow squash or zucchini helps protect those plants. Aphids and beetles are repelled by the unique scents of these flowers.

Marigolds enhance the growth of other garden favorites such as basil, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, gourds, kale, potatoes, squash and tomatoes. Or pair them with melons as a way to deter beetles. Do not plant marigolds near beans.

Companion Gardening Plants that Thrive Together squash and nasturtium
Companion gardening plants that thrive together – squash and nasturtium

Flowers that Pair Well Together

If you love flowers like I do, you might enjoy pairing these flowers together, in containers or your garden space.

  • black eyed Susans with garden phlox or coneflowers
  • daylilies with yarrow or lavendar
  • bee balm with Russian sage
  • daffodils with irises
  • shasta daisies with coneflowers

Need help coming up with a garden plan? Check out free garden plans HERE.

I hope you discovered fresh ideas for companion gardening! We all like a win/win situation. Flowers, herbs and vegetables benefit from such favorable arrangements as well.

Have you tried companion gardening? What pairings benefited your plants the most?

Companion Gardening

Check out these posts from the Backyard Gardening Series:

7 Summer Gardening Tasks

10 Low Maintenance Annuals to Grow

6 Ways to Personalize Your Garden

Gardening Helps from Amazon:

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

Create Your Own Compost

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Composting is the process of decomposing organic material into a soil conditioner. Added to enrich soil, this nutrient rich humus restores vitality and helps plants grow. Plus, it’s good for the environment. Composting recycles kitchen and yard waste, diverting as much as 30% from the garbage can and landfills.

It’s simple to create your own compost, using a bin or container.

Create Your Own Compost title meme

Creating a Composting Bin

Several methods exist for creating simple composting bins.

Drill holes around the base of a heavy duty garbage can. Add organic material to the bin and stir every two weeks.

Build a simple box from wooden boards or slats. Make it at least 3 feet square and no more than waist high. Set it on bare ground, to encourage insects and earthworms to burrow in. If wild animals or the neighbor’s dogs getting into the bin is a concern, add chicken wire or pig wire to the top. Add organic material and stir to aerate every two weeks.

There are more elaborate systems out there that incorporate three bins for mixing, turning and storing. These aren’t necessary however if that design appeals to you, go for it! Google composting bins or search on Pinterest for ideas.

Or you can purchase composting bins from garden centers. If you don’t have the simple tools to build one, this is a quick option to get you started.

Create Your Own Compost
Create your own compost – my simple DIY wooden bin.

What Goes Into the Compost Bin?

Once your composting bin is set up, start adding kitchen and garden waste. The trick is to balance “green” waste such as vegetable and fruit scraps with “brown” material such as dry leaves, newspapers and cardboard. This is important because green materials supply nitrogen to the mix while brown materials are rich in carbon. Carbon feeds the organisms that break down the scraps and nitrogen builds the cell structure of the newly formed soil enrichment.

The compost pile also needs oxygen and water. Without oxygen the pile will simply rot and smell. Moisture helps the organic material break down. Sprinkle the compost frequently if it hasn’t rained. And stir up the compost as it breaks down, to help air move through the mixture.

Earthworms are welcome allies to the compost pile as they help to aerate and break down matter. I have TONS of huge earthworms in my garden. I toss some into the compost pile as I weed and undercover them.

Create Your Own Compost earthworms
Earthworms are welcome allies in the compost bin

Green, Nitrogen Rich Waste to Add

The healthy compost pile needs more carbon than nitrogen in the mix. Too much nitrogen creates a dense, smelly mixture that decomposes too slowly. The bulkiness of carbon material helps oxygen move through the mixture and nourishes the organisms living there.

A good rule of thumb is one third green nitrogen waste to two thirds brown carbon materials.

Create Your Own Compost scraps
Create your own compost – scraps

Check out these lists of green and brown materials

Brown/Carbon Materials to Add:

  • wood chips, pellets, bark
  • straw or hay
  • shrub, tree trimmings
  • shredded paper including newspapers
  • cardboard, torn into strips
  • pine needles (use in moderation)
  • leaves, chopped or shredded is best, or create a separate pile for leaves
  • dryer lint (best if from natural materials)
  • corn cobs, stalks
Create Your Own Compost newspapers
Create your own compost – newspapers

Green/Nitrogen Material to Add:

  • tea leaves and paper tea bags
  • table scraps
  • seaweed and kelp
  • lawn and garden weeds, that have not gone to seed
  • grass clippings
  • green leaves
  • garden plants that have not died of disease
  • fruit and vegetable scraps
  • flower cuttings
  • coffee grounds (earthworms love these) and coffee filters
  • eggshells (which are really more neutral)
Create Your Own Compost saving scraps
Create your own compost – saving scraps

Don’t Add These Materials:

  • meat, bones, fish, dairy products
  • fats, cooking oils, grease
  • perennial or diseased plants
  • dog, cat or human poop or cat litter
  • black walnut leaves
  • machine or chain oils
  • sawdust unless it’s clean and then add sparingly
  • plastics
  • plastic coated paper or cardboard
  • anything treated with pesticides
  • charcoal

Tips to Create a Successful Compost

A few additional tips as you create your own compost.

Collect food, fruit and vegetable scraps in the house. I use a 21 cup plastic container that I already had on hand. Any container with a lid works. Because I am plant based, I can easily fill up my container in a day so I empty it every evening. When adding organic scraps, toss in carbon materials too such as newspapers, cardboard or leaves.

I love making my own veggie broth so most of my vegetable scraps go into containers in the freezer for this purpose. However I use the leftovers from juicing and blemished produce or veggies past their prime for composting.

Chop larger yard and garden wastes, to help them break down more quickly. And leaves and grass are excellent for the compost, however don’t add them in thick layers or they will clump together, slowing down aeration.

Use a spading fork to turn the mixture every week or two. If organic matter isn’t breaking down, add more green material and keep the pile moist.

If the compost pile is too wet and smelly, add more brown material and turn the mixture more frequently.

Create Your Own Compost
Create your own compost – after a month or so, this compost is coming along nicely

How to Use Your Compost

Your compost is ready to use when it looks and smells like dirt! This can take a couple of months or more, depending on what’s in your mixture.

Incorporate your rich new compost into garden beds or sprinkle it on top of the ground. Compost isn’t a replacement for soil but an amendment that nurtures it and your plants.

It’s that easy to create your own compost! Feel good about enriching your garden and easing the burden of wastes on landfills. And if you have any questions, ask in the comments.

Recycle or Compost

Other Posts in the Backyard Garden Series:

Create a Meditation Area in Your Garden

Six Ways to Personalize Your Garden

10 Super Easy Perennials to Grow

Gardening Finds from Amazon:


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

In this post, I want to share with you about aligning with your sacred yes. I define the term as that which makes your heart sing and your face light up when you talk about it. It’s your purpose, your passion, the reason you are here on this earth as the creation that you are. Put even more simply, it’s whatever makes you say YES! with great enthusiasm.

Monthly I chat with people about this topic. I’ve found that many aren’t sure what their sacred yes is, much less how to align with it. Here are some ways to discover what your purpose is…and how to better align with it.

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes title meme

Defining Alignment

Alignment is defined as “bringing something into a straight line or an easy agreement.” We are most familiar with spinal alignment associated with visits to the chiropractor. She adjusts the spine to bring it into alignment, for optimal health. As many people know, when the spine is out of alignment, we can experience pain.

On a deeper level, alignment means “discovering the essence of your being and the values by which you live”. We can live out of alignment with that essence of being or purpose. When our outer lives are out of sync with our inner lives, we live in pain as well.

Symptoms of living out of alignment include fear, loneliness, boredom, apathy, depression, confusion, restlessness, an identity crisis, feeling lost in life and and experiencing lack of motivation.

As we move into alignment, matching our desires or sacred yes with our actions and outer life, we shift into joy, peace, creativity, flow, excitement, happiness and fulfillment. We experience winks from the Divine, synchronicities and signs as guideposts that we are on the right life path.

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes
Aligning with your sacred YES

Discovering Your Sacred Yes

So how can you discover what your sacred yes is? How do you know what your life purpose is? That’s part of the joy in the journey, discovering who we are and why we are here.

Consider these ways to learn what makes your heart sing and your face light up.

Live as Your Authentic Self

This is an important aspect of life’s journey…discovering who you are created to be and embracing that self. It seems easy and yet remembering who we are and in turn, why we are here, often appears elusive.

I believe children know, or at least live closer to their passions. Kids know what they like and don’t like. They connect with their gifts more naturally.

One of the most simple ways to align with your sacred yes is to embrace your unique gifts and talents. You instinctively do so when young. And yet, as you grow, you often lose that sense of self due the influence of others in you life. Parents or grandparents may attempt to steer you toward a different purpose. Or teachers may not understand what your gift truly is and dismiss it. Classmates may ridicule you for displaying you gift or, lacking understanding, they bully or pressure you to behave like everyone else.

Some of the saddest conversations I have with adults are those that reveal how they abandoned their dreams due to the opinions of others. The man who loved trees became an attorney because his parents discouraged him from a career as a forest ranger. And the woman who longed to be a ballet dancer grew too tall and too big, she was told. Both lost their way in life, disconnected from their truest selves.

Embracing Your Inner Child

The best way to discover your authentic self is to uncover that inner child, removing all the layers accumulated over the years that hid the gifts you were born with. How have you tried to fit in? Listening to others’ opinions about who you were, when did you silence your voice? What talents did you pack away, because others told you that you weren’t good enough? Pleasing others, when did you stop pleasing yourself?

Answering these questions, looking through photographs of your childhood, remembering what you loved as a child and hoped to do as an adult help you to reconnect with your authentic self. Be kind to yourself, as you dig deeper. Parent your inner child, if necessary. Practice extreme self care. Journal. And above all, wholeheartedly embrace that inner child and those gifts. Complete acceptance goes a long way toward helping you step into the person you are created to be.

Aligning with Your Sacred Self childhood
Aligning with your sacred yes – connecting with your inner child

Go Beyond Fear

While removing those accumulated layers, on the way to reconnecting with your inner child, it is common to encounter fear. Most often, in fact, the thing that keeps us from attempting that journey in the first place is the fear of what we will find.

Fear surrounds our hearts in layers as well. Keep going. Keep digging deeper. The fear of being alone is really a fear of connecting deeply with ourselves. My fear of the dark turned out to be a fear of accepting who I am and my intuitive gifts.

Once we see fear for what it really is, a form of protection, then we can face it. We don’t have to banish fear. Acknowledging it, thanking it for the protection offered and releasing it allows fear to bow and step aside.

Beyond fear, we find aspects of ourselves that we abandoned or locked away long ago. When my fear stepped aside, I found my inner child waiting, patiently. I connected again with playfulness and creativity and my desire to express myself through writing. And I recognized my intuitive abilities as gifts rather than a curse to hide away. For the first time in my life, I fully accepted myself exactly as I was, gifts, quirks and all. Doing so brought restoration and healing and alignment with my sacred yes.

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes fear
Aligning with your sacred yes – releasing fear

Connect with Intuition

Although some are more so than others, everyone is intuitive. Call it instinct, gut response or a knowing, intuition is your inner guidance system.

Intuition allows us to know something directly without analytic reasoning. It creates a bridge between the conscious and subconscious parts of the mind and also between instinct and reason.

Learn to listen to your intuition. It becomes a deep knowing that goes beyond understanding, guiding you unerringly toward your purpose.

Free writing is a great way to tap into your intuition. Playing “random” games helps to build trust in your instincts. Meditation and energy work keep your energy centers open and your mind, body and spirit balanced.

Why is intuition important in aligning with your sacred yes? Because that powerful sense of instinctive knowing keeps you connected to your passions. When you know that you know, you are not easily persuaded to step out of alignment. You come to recognize what that alignment feels like, much as you know the rightness of your vertebrae lining up. Joy, peace and happiness replace uncertainty, anxiety and sadness. Moving out of alignment creates pain as a clue that something needs attention. Your intuition picks up on the subtle shifts before your emotions or body do. Pay attention to it.

I call it a disturbance in my spider sense, that feeling that something isn’t quite right in the web of reality around me. It is my signal to pause and go within and see what is pulling me out of alignment.

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes intuition
Aligning with your sacred yes – intuition

Engaging Imagination

Imagination is an important part of aligning with  your sacred yes. Further defining what your unique purpose is involves following curiosity, imaginative play and creativity.

Try new things, to better understand what lights up your soul and what doesn’t. Paint, crochet, sing, travel. If somethings catches and holds your interest, continue to explore it. Writer and speaker Elizabeth Gilbert calls this the flight of the hummingbird. Hummingbirds, she says, flit from flower to flower, trying this and trying that. She shares:

“As a hummingbird person, you bring an idea from here to over here, where you learn something else and you weave it in, then you take it here to the next thing you do. Faithfully continue to follow the trail of the hummingbird and you just might look up and realize ‘I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.'”

Allow your imagination to open opportunities and bring possibilities. Play. Create many different things. Follow curiosity. Your sacred yes will appear.

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes imagination
Aligning with your sacred yes – imagination

Sparking Joy

I love the phrase sparking joy, popularized by organizational expert, Marie Kondo.  When something sparks joy, it provides a little thrill of excitement. My granddaughter Aubrey called the feeling “ringing her bell” when she was tiny.

You know you are aligning with your sacred yes when you experience incredible joy. A feeling of intense pleasure and happiness, joy is a high level vibrational energy.

Joy begets gratitude. Aligning with your sacred YES invites joy and gratitude into your life, two powerful feelings akin to unconditional love.

When gratitude bubbles effortlessly from you, when “thank you” is your continual prayer, then you know you are living in alignment with your purpose. You are living as your authentic self.

As a method of confirming your sacred yes, pay attention to your feelings. What are you doing, when joy overflows your heart? What gratitudes do you express? Write them down, in a journal or your daily planner. Watch for patterns.

Are you most grateful and joyful when writing? Drawing? Baking goodies for others? Does teaching or helping others obtain greater health spark joy?

On the contrary, feelings of anxiety, dread or obligation are indicators you are moving away from your sacred yes. Of course we all have responsibilities and chores that do not spark joy. However, living a life that primarily brings those lower energy feelings reveals a life out of alignment.

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes joy
Aligning with your sacred yes – what sparks joy?

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes

I hope you have a better idea of what your sacred yes is.

My life shifted dramatically, once I moved into alignment, with my outer reality matching who I am and my purpose for being here. I am aware enough that I immediately feel the difference, when something pulls me out of alignment. Rather than circumstances and situations defining me, my strong sense of self and my belief in what I am doing guides me.

As my journey continues, I gain more clarity. Living life beyond the edges is so much more than a tagline for my blog. Going beyond is what I am here to do, so that others know that they too can live life beyond the edges of their own comfort zones, limiting beliefs and fears.

Are you living in alignment with your sacred yes?

Aligning with Your Sacred Yes
Living in alignment with my Sacred Yes!  I am a Dreamer shirt available HERE.

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Where’d You Go Bernadette Movie Review

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I missed Where’d You Go Bernadette when it played at the theater. However, the preview I saw before another film stayed with me. I appreciate Cate Blanchett as an actress. And the story line intrigued me.

Last weekend I watched this enchanting film via Amazon Prime. Check out my review!

Where'd You Go Bernadette title meme

Where’d You Go Bernadette Cast

This comedy drama stars Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Emma Nelson, Kristen Wiig and Laurence Fishburne. Richard Linklater directed Where’d You Go Bernadette and co-wrote the screenplay, based on the novel written by Maria Semple. The movie carries a PG-13 rating, for occasional strong language, and has a run time of 1 hour and 49 minutes.

 

Where'd You Go Bernadette family
Where’d You Go Bernadette – the family

Defining Motherhood

Bernadette (Blanchett) is an involved, loving mother completely devoted to her daughter Bee (Nelson). After experiencing difficulty getting pregnant and then a premature birth, Bernadette abandons a promising career in architecture to focus on raising her daughter with husband Elgie (Crudup).

As Bee considers leaving her little family to attend prep school out east, Bernadette realizes how much she’s shunned society and how small her world has become. She’s disconnected from Elgie, who spends long hours working as a developer for Microsoft. And she’s at odds with her neighbor Audrey (Wiig) who views Bernadette as an eccentric.

Where'd You Go Bernadette Elgie
Where’d You Go Bernadette – Elgie (Billy Crudup)

Trip to Antarctica

Before Bee leaves for prep school, she convinces her parents to take her on a trip to Antarctica. Although she wants to please her daughter, Bernadette hates the idea of being around other people, especially on board a cruise ship. She turns over all travel arrangements to her virtual assistant, whom she frequently rants to, and ultimately considers staying home. The stress over the upcoming trip keeps her awake at night and on edge.

Meeting with her old college professor, Paul Jellenik (Fishburne), Bernadette pours out her feelings. Paul listens patiently and then suggests that perhaps Bernadette needs to get back to work, pursuing her passion by creating buildings. Because, it is obvious to Paul that Bernadette’s life has stalled out. The big rundown schoolhouse that Bernadette and Elgie bought, to transform into their dream home, sits partially finished. That house visually represents her life and career. They both held great promise and yet Bernadette placed them on hold.

Where'd You Go Bernadette
Cate Blanchett in Where’d You Go Bernadette

Awakened

Concerned about his wife’s erratic behavior, Elgie secretly meets with a therapist and plans an intervention for Bernadette. She slips away, literally running away from home. On a whim, she heads to Antarctica alone. Discovering her whereabouts, Elgie and Bee follow.

In the Antarctic, helping a scientist take water samples, Bernadette learns that the old research station is scheduled for demolition. Her creativity stirring, Bernadette offers to design the new structure. For the first time in a very long time, Bernadette feels excited about a creative idea. Gaining acceptance as the architect isn’t guaranteed and there is her family to consider, however, Bernadette pursues her desire.

As they track her down, Elgie realizes he’s less than supportive of Bernadette. And Bee reconsiders leaving for prep school. All three discover, in their own ways, that sometimes life needs to fall apart, before a better life can come together.

Where'd You Go Bernadette hug
Group hug in Where’d You Go Bernadette

My Thoughts on Where’d You Go Bernadette

This film falls under the “quirky” category for me…and I love quirky! It is humorous. I enjoy seeing actors in different types of roles and Cate nails this performance. And yet, Where’d You Go Bernadette is so much more than a comedy.

The family dynamics seem so exemplary of many today. Distance exists between the couple. And one parent overly focuses on the child. Bernadette takes parenting to extremes, believing she must sacrifice everything else, as a show of gratitude for having a child at all.

In doing so, she completely loses the most important parts of herself. Bee’s impending departure for prep school and the discomfort of the trip to Antarctica become mirrors that show Bernadette just how much she’s disconnected, not from society and her spouse, but from herself.

And that’s the inspiring message in this film. Sacrificing yourself for your children is not as important as showing those kids how to truly live, fully and with passion. We all want our kids to live their best lives. We must model what that looks like.

Where’d you go Bernadette? Deeply inward to find yourself again. It’s a journey so worth taking.

Where'd You Go Bernadette Antarctica

Check out these other reviews of Cate Blanchett films:

Cinderella

Thor: Ragnorok

Blue Jasmine

You can find the movie and the novel by clicking on photos below:

 

Purchase or rent.

 

 

Novel

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Smartr Skin

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Thank you to Smartr Skin for sending me product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

 

My skin care routine is very simple. I eat a healthy diet and drink lots of water and herbal teas, knowing skin care begins from within. I clean my face twice a day with a Norwex microfiber cloth and warm water. And for years I’ve used a face serum that I make myself, from coconut oil, essential oils, vitamin E and raw organic honey.

So when Smartr Skin contacted me, about trying two of their skin care products, I did my research before saying yes. I immediately appreciated that their products are vegan, cruelty free and paraban and phthalate free as well. Plus, the inclusion of natural ingredients impressed me.

I received Smartr Skin Eye Treament and the Moisturizer. After trying them for several weeks, these are my results and my honest opinion.

Smartr Skin title meme

A Better Idea for Skin Care

Smartr Skin is a physician created line of skin care products. The company embraces a whole-person view of health. They believe that feeling healthy and confident is a result of caring for the whole self…body, mind and spirit.

They also believe that smarter, higher quality ingredients lead to better results. Therefore, they’ve created custom formulations from clean ingredients that nourish the skin, from the inside out.

Smartr Skin cruelty free products
Smartr Skin cruelty free products. Graphic from company website.

Smartr Skin Eye Treatment

This lightweight, deionized water based lotion absorbs easily and quickly into the delicate skin in the eye area. A small drop goes a long way, without leaving behind a greasy residue.

The lotion is unscented and rich with superior anti-aging ingredients such as aloe vera gel, hydrolyzed rice bran protein, and extracts of grape, cucumber, pineapple, passion flower and lemon.

Use Smartr Skin Eye Treatment morning and evening to minimize the appearance of dark circles, puffy bags and wrinkles beneath the eyes. This silky formula firms and lifts, while helping fresh new skin cells to form.

Smartr Skin Begins with Eye Treatment
Smartr Skin begins with Eye Treatment

My Results Using Smartr Skin Eye Treatment

As a teen I first began paying special attention to the delicate under eye area. Over the years, I’ve used a variety of lotions and serums. This area around the eyes is the first to show signs of aging. My desire is to age gracefully. However, taking excellent care of my skin is important to me as well.

I’m finding, I can do both!

I love the Smartr Skin Eye Treatment. The lotion smooths easily onto the under eye area and the lids. A small amount covers the lids and under eye area and I smooth the remainder over my forehead.

This luscious treatment firms and smooths the skin. I can see and feel the difference . My skin feels soft and yet toned, and drinks this lotion up.

Smartr Skin Eye Treatment
Smoothing on a drop of Smartr Skin Eye Treatment. No makeup yet.

Smartr Skin Moisturizer

This gentle, rich formula hydrates the skin, locking in moisture for a healthy, glowing complexion without clogging pores. Great for all skin types, the moisturizer repairs sunspots, eases dry patches and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles, crow’s feet and fine lines.

The superior ingredients in Smartr Skin Moisturizer include sweet almond oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, aloe vera gel, and extracts of avocado, carrot root, cucumber, ginseng root and linden tree leaf.

Use the moisturizer morning and evening on the entire face, neck and chest to improve skin’s ability to retain moisture, and to reduce inflammation and protect from free radicals.

Smartr Skin Moisturizer
Hydrate with Smartr Skin Moisturizer.

My Results Using Smartr Skin Moisturizer

I appreciate the moisturizer as well as the eye treatment. The lotion is so creamy and lightweight, absorbing quickly into the skin.

My routine the last few weeks is to clean and gently dry my skin and then apply the eye treatment around my eyes and upward onto my forehead. As it absorbs I brush my teeth and get ready for bed or for the day, depending on whether it is evening or morning. I then smooth on a small amount of moisturizer, paying attention to my cheeks and the skin around my mouth. Any remaining lotion goes on my neck and upper chest.

I still use my homemade serum on my lips. To give the Smartr Skin products a fair try, I have not used my serum otherwise. Honestly, I love how my skin looks and feels, using these amazing products. My complexion seems clearer and brighter and my skin is more toned and resilient. And I’m grateful for the natural ingredients and the cruelty free practices.

Not only do I intend to keep using these two products, I want to try more of the Smartr Skin line, including the Vitamin C Serum and the Jade Roller for the Face.

The skin is the body’s largest organ…and often the most neglected. If healthy skin is important to you, like it is to me, check out the Smartr Skin products, for men and for women, on their website HERE.

Smartr Skin Healthier Skin
Smartr Skin means healthier skin. Both products used and a small amount of BOOM makeup applied.

Pick up the Trio Bundle

This bundle includes Vitamin C Serum, Moisturizer and Eye Treatment, for a special sale price!

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Dropping Keys

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A poem by 14th century Persian poet, Hafiz, snagged my attention recently. Known as “Dropping Keys”, the poem initially halted my scrolling because of the imagery. The key is my symbol for the year, a visual representation of how curiosity unlocks doors. Whenever I see my symbol, it is an energetic tap on the shoulder to pay attention to something important.

While the original wording uses the masculine pronoun throughout the poem, the version I saw used the feminine instead, which resonated deeply with me.

Below is the short poem, Dropping Keys, and the unpacking of my thoughts about it.

Dropping Keys title meme

Dropping Keys Poem

The small woman

Builds cages for everyone

She knows,

While the Sage,

Who has to duck her head

When the moon is low,

Keeps dropping keys all night long

For the

Beautiful

Rowdy

Prisoners.

Hafiz

Those powerful words make my heart beat a little faster, every time I read them. An increased heart rate is another aspect of my personal guidance system that brings my attention to something significant. I’ve sat with this poem for several weeks, reading it daily and allowing it to speak to me.

Here is the unpacking of the meaning, for me. Perhaps the poem will connect with you as well.

Living Small Lives

The small woman builds cages for everyone she knows.

The person living small, male or female, is one who attempts to control life and others. Fear and lack of trust keep her vision blindered and her breath shallow. She can’t see that beyond the fear and distrust there is a bigger perspective, a bigger life, available.

Thus the small woman attempts to control life as best she can. To make it more manageable, she builds cages for everyone she knows. Putting people into cages isolates them, undermines their abilities and reduces their impact. It’s an attempt to keep others small, for the small person wants people to be like her.

One of the most common ways to cage another is to belittle them. Have you thought about where that word comes from? Belittle…be little…means to make someone seem small and unimportant. It’s a word Thomas Jefferson coined, that originally meant to “diminish in size”.

The small woman, or man, belittles another with labeling, manipulation and imposed limitations.

“You are too much…too stupid…not attractive enough.” “I want you to remain quiet…to please me…to learn to fit in.” “You can’t do that…you aren’t capable…you don’t belong.”

Dropping Keys cage
Dropping keys…to the caged

Living in Cages

We might grow accustomed to living in cages, for a time. There is a false sense of security there. However, whether another cages us or we build those cages ourselves, the end result is that we stop growing. The outside world keeps going while time slows down for the imprisoned.

We aren’t meant to live small, caged lives. Eventually the spirit rebels against the constraints, the smallness, and yearns for a bigger existence. Rowdiness overcomes us.

I love that word. Rowdy is a noisy and disorderly desire to overthrow restraints. Rowdiness is the soul flexing, readying itself for growth. That restlessness we see in zoo or circus animals, as they pace back and forth in their cages? That’s what the caged soul begins to do, pace in restlessness as it seeks a way out.

Rowdiness questions, tests boundaries and pushes against the smallness. The beautiful rowdy prisoner watches for a key to drop.

Dropping Keys of freedom
Dropping keys…of freedom

Freedom to Live a Bigger Life

I know what living in a cage feels like. By choice, I remained in one for many years. Fear formed the bars of my cage as I allowed others to say how I would live and what I would do or would not do. I lost my voice and my smallness nearly made me invisible.

How grateful I am, for the rowdiness that crept in as my soul bumped against the edges of beyond. How thankful I am, for the keys that dropped to me.

Authors, speakers, films, music, ordinary people living extraordinary lives…all dropped keys to me. What I found, as I at last stepped to the door of my cage, keys in hand, is that the door was never locked. The keys opened up my soul, rather than the cage. They helped me recognize the fear guarding my door. Once I named it and overcame it, the cage collapsed. It could not contain me any longer.

The beauty of leaving the cage is that growth happens immediately. And that growth continues, as long as we remain aware of the callings within us. We can’t return to that cage, ever. We’ve outgrown it. We don’t fit anymore.

Dropping Keys unlocked door
Dropping keys…the door was never locked.

Becoming the Sage

While the Sage, who has to duck her head when the moon is low, keeps dropping keys all night long for the beautiful, rowdy prisoners.

In contrast to the small woman who cages, the sage frees those beautiful rowdy prisoners.

A sage is one who gains wisdom through reflection and experience. She’s lived enough life to figure out who she is and why she is here, and she’s busted out of that cage that kept her small.

The sage grows, sees with a bigger perspective and lives in an expansive way. She’s found her voice, found her purpose, discovered her passions and banished her fears. The sage doesn’t care what others think of her or say about her, and she never, ever allows another to cage her again.

As she journeys, the sage drops keys of freedom by fully existing as her wild, raw and beautiful self, showing the caged that life is so much bigger than that which constrains them. She uses her voice and creates art, music, poems, books, blog posts and films that stir the soul into rowdiness.

She is unapologetic about who she is and where she is going. Is she perfect? No, she is still growing and learning and following curiosity. But she is free. And that spirit of freedom is contagious. It too, is a key.

This is Your Key

If life feels small to you…if your soul is stirring and longing for something bigger to embrace…consider this post your key. The door to the cage isn’t locked…however, grasping the key gives you hope to hold on to as it propels you beyond.

I’ve realized recently that the whole concept of “going beyond”, that I’ve been given, is part of my purpose here on earth. I’m called to go beyond, and in doing so, I’m instructed to take others with me. Or rather, I’m called to set others free, so they can find their own way beyond…fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Go and live a big life, as the one you are created to be.

Does this make me a sage? Maybe. It is a role that is new to me and yet one I’ve been journeying toward for a while. Journey now with me, for as long as you want. There is a big, wide existence for all of us to explore and experience.

Dropping Keys sage
Dropping keys…a sage in a tartan.

Check out this cool book from Amazon:

 

Click on photo to order book.

 

 

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The App That Helps Your Life Shine

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Thank you to SHINE for gifting me the premium Shine App for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Apps are available for everything. Need help planning meals, selling used clothes, entertaining the kids, learning a new language? There’s an app for that.

When I received an email with an invitation to experience the Shine app, the subject line caught my attention.

New Year’s Goals? This top-rated app makes you 3x more likely to achieve them.

This is a life shifting year for me. My goals are BIG. My goals are many! If there’s an app that offers a greater likelihood of reaching those goals, I’m all in.

There is one. Let me introduce you to the app that helps your life Shine!

The App That Helps Your Life Shine title meme

Meet the Founders

Shine was founded in New York in 2016 by Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi. Marah and Naomi met at work and decided to create the Shine app after experiencing the benefits of supporting and encouraging each other through the stress and anxiety that can accompany life. They believe in making support for mental and emotional health available and easily accessible for all.

Their creation is built around the additional belief that we are stronger when we take care of ourselves, together. Today Shine’s global community numbers more than 4 million individuals in 189 countries. It is the largest and most diverse group of people practicing daily self care.

I have the powers
The app that helps your life shine – affirmations

What Does the Shine App Do?

Shine is for anyone who desires inspiration on a daily basis. The app supports mental and emotional health and offers encouragement for reaching goals, practicing self love and self care and forming new habits that shift mindset, all in a non-judgmental way. This isn’t a kick in the butt approach. Rather, it is a let us walk alongside each other journey.

With Shine receive daily self care strategies, support from a diverse community and access to an audio library of 500+ original meditations, bedtime stories and soothing music to help lower stress and anxiety.

The App That Helps Your Life Shine
The app that helps your life shine – question of the day

Shine App Details

Here’s what you need to know about the app:

Availability and Pricing

Find Shine in the App Store for iOS or in Google Play Store for Android.

Shine is free to download and offers two memberships: free and Shine Premium. The cost for Shine Premium is $53.99 for a year membership or $11.99 for a monthly one.

The Free Membership Benefits

  • read the Daily Shine and participate in the exercises
  • discuss questions with the community
  • listen to a Daily Shine episode
  • log a gratitude daily
  • listen to free meditations throughout the week
  • explore free offerings in the library such as morning, afternoon and evening quick hitters

Shine Premium Benefits

  • read Daily Shine and participate in the exercises
  • full access to 500+ audio tracks in the library including meditations, music and bedtime stories
  • log your mood each day and receive recommended content based on how you are feeling
  • save favorite messages and meditations to build your own tool kit
  • real time advice
  • receive an invitation to join the Shine Squad, a private invite-only community, to deepen connections and get real time support

Learn more and download the app by visiting this LINK

The App That Helps Your Life Shine intention
The app that helps your life shine – intentions

My Experience with the App that Helps Your Life Shine

I’ll start by saying, I love this app. It is perfectly in alignment with who I am and who I am becoming. It doesn’t require huge chunks of time to incorporate the app into my daily life. The exercises, meditations and audios are all under 10 minutes.

I appreciate the daily check in feature which asks what I want to focus on, allows me to write out a gratitude and supports me by offering a post to read or an audio to listen to. There are weekly challenges to take part in, if I so desire, discussion questions that connect me to the community and affirmations and meditations to support me on my journey.

Today featured articles and audios on growth, learning styles and giving myself permission to experience a learning curve, if necessary. It was the perfect way to start my busy day!

This afternoon I listened to the Midday Mood audio. It guided me through movements and breathing exercises that grounded me and energized me for the rest of the day.

Tonight I’ll listen to Evening Vibes to calm my brain and soothe me toward sleep. All of these are included in the free membership. I can also listen to a bedtime story, ambient music or a meditation as part of the Shine Premium membership.

The app is helping me reach my goals by supporting who I am exactly where I am on my journey, encouraging me to be kind and patient with myself and giving me the mindset tools I need to succeed in life and in business.

The Daily Shine
The Daily Shine

Try Out This Amazing App

Are you looking for a simple yet highly effective way to receive support and encouragement on a daily basis? Do you appreciate the convenience of an app on your phone? Then the Shine App is for you. Give the free membership a try. Or jump right in and receive access to the vast library of helpful materials.

Let the app that helps your life shine assist you in broadcasting your light for all to see. The world needs your great heart and your bright light. Imagine what we can all do, shining brillianty together.

Shine App Logo

From your computer download the Shine App HERE.

On your cell phone go HERE.

 

 

 

 

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Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower?

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Am I the only one who wonders this? Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? Seriously, the majority of my big ideas, my creative ideas and solutions to challenges come to me as I shower. Is it the flow of water? Is it the solitude? Or am I imagining a connection?

Allowing curiosity to guide me, I researched to discover the answer to my question. As it turns out, there are reasons why creativity sparks while we shower.

Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower title meme

Creating an Environment for Creativity

Several factors come together in the shower, creating the perfect environment for flashes of creativity, ahas and problem solving.

I’ve noticed that there are four scenarios that ramp up the creative sections of my brain. Ranking them from least likely to spark creativity to most likely, they are:

  • driving alone in the car
  • when I’m in the alpha state between sleep and wakefulness, and similarly, when I’m in a relaxed, meditative state
  • walking in nature, alone
  • showering

The commonalities between those scenarios are solitude, no distractions, a relaxed state of mind and genuine happiness. Take away any of those factors and I am much less likely to come up with something clever or profound.

That’s why driving in the car is less conducive to creativity. On a gorgeous day, when traffic is light, my music is playing and I don’t have pressing appointments or a need for speed, my mind generates wonderful ideas. Throw in heavy rain, backed up traffic and urgency and I get nothing. In fact, I’m so focused on driving or weather conditions that music is a distraction that must be silenced.

And that is another consideration. The more intensely we focus on creativity or coming up with solutions, the more evasive they might become.

We’ve all experienced trying to remember a name or wracking our brains for information that eludes us. We give up and go into the kitchen to bake cupcakes and suddenly, 15 minutes later, the name or the info pops into our heads. When we stop trying so hard, what we seek surfaces.

Here are the reasons a shower helps as well.

Creativity

Solitude in the Shower

Admittedly, we are not always alone in the shower. It’s no surprise that creativity tends to avoid us during shared showers. However, showering alone creates the first step in ramping up creativity.

There’s no one else to listen to, tend to, carry on conversations with. We can sing if we feel like it, talk to ourselves or simply savor the silence. Alone we disconnect from everyone and everything else for a few minutes, except for the spray of hot water and the routine of shampooing hair and scrubbing skin.

Additionally, while showering we are not scrolling through Facebook or answering texts or posting to Instagram. Our outer world narrows down while our inner awareness and consciousness expands, creating the perfect incubator for fresh ideas.

And in that shower stall, we are less likely to encounter distractions.

Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? Solitude creates space for creativity to emerge.

Free From Distractions

The small shower space insulates us from the outside world for a short time. Distractions that shift our attention disappear. This frees the mind to roam and flit from idea to idea, which is a great way to birth something amazing. Free from distractions, the brain gathers thoughts and ideas and connects them in interesting new ways.

The subconscious that busied itself problem solving can surface as the mind wanders, bringing solutions into awareness for consideration.

And the shower is an excellent location for daydreaming.  It’s the perfect time to wonder “what if?” and follow curiosity to see where it leads. With no one to judge our thoughts or ridicule our ideas, we can dream big and relax into the realm of unlimited possibilities.

No Distractions
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? No distractions.

A Relaxed State of Mind

The sound and warmth of the water, the clean scent of shampoo and the simple routine of showering soothe the mind into a relaxed state. The prefrontal cortex…the brain’s command center for decisions, goals and behavior…relaxes, clearing away old thought pathways while creating new ones.

Ideas arise that the conscious mind might otherwise dismiss. Crazy ideas, outrageous flashes of creativity and huge, scary possibilities form. The more we open to the “what ifs”, the bigger the ideas get.

I personally believe that the flow of water contributes to generating ideas while we are in a relaxed state of mind. Flowing water surrounds us in positive energy. It’s why the ocean inspires and waterfalls energize. In that small shower space, with water flowing over us, the mind that is open and relaxed is receptive to creativity.

When we are relaxed the brain responds by increasing the happiness factor.

Why Do Creative Ideas Come to Us in the Shower relaxation
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? We experience a relaxed state of mind.

Increased Happiness

While it’s not the strongest source of creativity, higher levels of happiness do spark creativity. Warm, relaxing showers encourage the brain to release the feel-good happiness hormone, dopamine. The more dopamine flowing through us, the more creative we become.

Dopamine also triggers alpha waves that ripple through the brain. They appear to increase creativity levels. And as a bonus, that blast of dopamine creates euphoria. When we are euphoric, we feel like we can pursue and develop creative ideas, even the wilds ones that push us beyond our comfort zones.

Happiness
Why do creative ideas come to us in the shower? We feel happy.

Capturing Creative Ideas

I love that the idea for this post came to me in the shower. The questions that accompanied the idea activated curiosity, which led me to answers.

It’s important to act on the ideas we receive. Muse loves an active partner to co-create with. Capture ideas and look through them often, expanding on them until one takes hold and compels action.

My favorite form of keeping track of ideas is a simple notebook. I fill pages with all manner of creative ideas. As they develop and become goals or intentions, I transfer them into my planner and add them to digital vision boards.

I also use the voice dictation feature on my phone to capture ideas when I’m driving and the notes app is handy too. A small journal on my bedside table allows me to jot down ideas that arrive in the middle of the night.

Researching for this post, I discovered a wonderful item called Aqua Notes. These waterproof notepads with pens mount in the shower! Never lose a wonderful idea again.

Barry Kaufman, a cognitive scientist and co-author of “Wired to Create” , found during a study that 72% of the population receive creative ideas in the shower.

I am in that 72%. Are you? What’s the best creative idea you’ve had while showering?

 

Click on image to order your Aqua Notepad!

 

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Developing a Curiosity Mindset

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Curiosity, the strong desire to learn something, is a worthy trait to develop. Perhaps because curiosity is my word for the year, or perhaps because I’m naturally a curious person, my thoughts often turn to this characteristic.

Why is curiosity an excellent companion for life’s journey?

What a great question! It reveals a curious mind. Read on to learn the answer and for tips on developing a curiosity mindset.

Developing a Curiosity Mindset title meme

Why Develop Curiosity?

Curiosity is considered a genius trait. Many inventors, artists and creatives, such as Einstein and da Vinci, exhibit intelligence combined with insatiable curiosity. Is curiosity limited to a few?

No, we can develop the sense of curiosity all of us enjoyed as children. We are born, curious. Watch a child at play or listen to them, asking myriad questions. Curiosity is part of our nature.

Why, as adults, is it important to reconnect with curiosity and develop it?

  • Curiosity keeps the mind active and sharp. Asking questions, seeking answers and exploring new ideas all expand reasoning abilities, perspectives and awareness.
  • The brain signals the release of dopamine, a feel good chemical, when we encounter new experiences. We feel happier when following curiosity. And curious people experience positive emotions more frequently, greater satisfaction with life and lower levels of anxiety .
  • Curiosity increases powers of observation. The brain makes new pathways as we gather information and connect it in fresh ways. Not surprisingly, curiosity also fosters learning and academic achievement.
  • Adventures are born when we follow curiosity to see where it leads. And it opens doors to amazing possibilities. A life lived with a curiosity mindset is fun, exciting and never dull.
Developing a Curiosity Mindset Adventures
Blessed are the curious, for they will have adventures. Dayan in Paris.

Developing a Curiosity Mindset

Try these suggestions for developing a curiosity mindset.

Say Yes, Instead of No

Something happens to us as adults. Growing up, many of us lose the sense of adventure we once enjoyed, when an opportunity arises. It is too easy to quickly reply no when something new presents itself or we want to be careful and weigh all the pros and cons.

Try saying yes more often. Instead of overthinking opportunities or playful creative projects, say yes and see what happens. Yes opens us up to receive more. Yes frees us. Saying no stops action and closes us down.

Of course certain situations require a negative answer. However, answer with a yes as often as you can and life will shift, dramatically.

Play

One of the most important traits I’ve reconnected with in the last ten years is the ability to play. Playing lightens moods, boosts creativity and sparks curiosity. It is no surprise that children engage so frequently in make believe while they play. They are acting out of curiosity and learning while playing.

Color, draw and paint. Get out the board games or better yet, make up new games to play. Use imagination to make believe. Stumped for ideas? Watch children at play and take notes!

Developing a Curiosity Mindset Play
Developing a Curiosity Mindset – play. During my outrageous birthday activities, I spent the night in a blanket tent in my office. It was fun!

Stay Open

One of my favorite mantras is “open to everything, attached to nothing”. A closed mind, heart or perspective severely limits curiosity. If we think we know everything already, we have no need for curiosity. An open mind and heart naturally question and then seek answers. When we remain unattached to outcomes as we question and seek, our curiosity can lead us far indeed.

So many of my adventures and playful games ignite my curiosity and lead me to exciting discoveries. A good example is the 62 Outrageous Things to Do for My 62nd Birthday. I’m still reaping extraordinary benefits from following curiosity as I enjoyed new experiences.

Wonderment

Staying open inspires wonderment. And wonder, in turn, births the desire to discover. Ask why, how, who, when, what if and I wonder what would happen if I did this? A curious mind generates an endless sense of wonderment about the world, the universe, ourselves, other people and those BIG questions about existence and purpose.

Allow curiosity to fuel wonderment and then go where the questions lead. Recently I took a jump rocket to my grandchildren to try out, for a brand. It was simple fun, jumping on the pump to launch the rocket into the air. The kids enjoyed seeing how high they could make the rocket go. What I love most is that after I left, two of the kids continued to play, adapting the launch sequence, making their own rocket and creating a funny video to showcase their work. What a fine example of curiosity driven wonderment!

Developing a Curiosity Mindset Wonder
Developing a Curiosity Mindset – Wonderment

Read Widely and Watch a Variety of Films

We all enjoy favorite genres in books and movies. Developing a curiosity mindset is furthered by expanding reading and viewing selections beyond the usual. If you typically read fiction, switch to non-fiction for the next book. If comedies are your favorite, try a documentary or a sci-fi film.

Moving away from the usual sparks curiosity by capturing interest or creating a desire to know more. Watching a historical drama always leads me to Google. Curiosity compels me to fact check and see if that amazing scene has any historical truth to it. And that in turn may lead me to a book at the library about the topic. I love the trails I follow, chasing after curiosity. There’s no telling how far it will go and what I will learn.

Try New Experiences

Don’t be afraid to try many experiences as you journey through life. Dabble in this. Take a class in that. Flit from art medium to art medium. There are certainly times to focus on one thing. Just don’t limit yourself and stay there too long. We create ruts when we do the same things, in the same ways, for a long time. Boredom sets in. Creativity is stifled. We lose interest.

Trying new experiences is what launched my blogging journey in 2014 and how grateful I am.  I continue to allow curiosity to guide my writing and my life.

Are you curious about painting? Gardening? Deep sea diving? Experience whatever you wonder about. If you love it, stay with it. If you don’t love it, no harm done. Move on.

Try New Experiences
Developing a Curiosity Mindset – Try New Things
Jonathan acted in plays and sang in musicals. Now he plays the sax in the band. And, that’s not the first instrument he tried. Don’t be afraid to try many things.

Go Beyond

The sentence that currently shapes my life is this one: Living life beyond the edges of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. It’s become the tag line for my Cindy Goes Beyond blog.

Going beyond is the path to greater curiosity. Fear stops so many things, including creativity and curiosity. Limiting beliefs keep us stuck in patterns from our pasts. And comfort zones…those keep us safe, we think, and dull. If we are afraid to go beyond what we know, then we won’t make it past that self imposed boundary.

Replace fears and judgments with curiosity.

Allow curiosity a trial run. Follow it in a new direction that begins with the question “what if?” and see where you end up. When you feel uncomfortable, pause, consider why the discomfort is there, and then go slightly beyond it.

Here’s an example: You eat the same foods all the time. Curiosity taps you on the shoulder and you wonder what a dragon fruit tastes like. Comfort Zone tells you not to bother. You don’t know how to prepare a dragon fruit and you probably won’t like it anyway. Curiosity beckons. Going beyond means watching a YouTube video about cutting up the fruit, making a purchase and creating a dragon fruit smoothie, which you love. Curiosity says, “I wonder what else we could try?”. And off you go, on another new adventure. Those adventures don’t ever have to stop.

Follow Curiosity When it Beckons

Following curiosity is one of my favorite life experiences. I don’t usually know where the path goes after it disappears around the bend and what I’ll encounter along the way. How freeing it is not to know. Having to know everything before you go, stops you from ever going.

Developing a curiosity mindset means following curiosity, whether it is to Google, into nature, to the library or to another country. Trust. Follow. Explore. You will discover treasures.

Following curiosity
Following curiosity leads to discovering treasures, such as this painted rock.

Travel

Travel is following curiosity on a big scale. Going beyond your neighborhood, your town, your state or your country to explore new places is a life changing experience.

Seeing the way other people live, tasting new foods, hearing a different accent, dialect or language, feeling the sun on your skin on the other side of the world expands the heart and mind in massive ways. I believe that travel enriches our lives, increases wonderment and creates empathy for others.

And travel is addictive.

Curiosity whispers to me constantly and points toward a distant land. I want to follow. I desire to go beyond my boundaries. Staying open and unattached, I take step after step beyond the edges, with travel as my lofty goal.

Are You Developing a Curiosity Mindset?

When I realized curiosity was my word for 2020, I expressed great delight. I’ve always been a curious person, although for many years fear kept me caged. That is no longer true. I love following curiosity and going ever beyond, growing and shifting into the person I am  meant to be, one adventure, one experience at a time. This year is already taking me far beyond. There truly is no telling how far I’ll go! Listen to my song for this year, to get that reference.

Are you a curious person? How are you developing a curiosity mindset?

Developing a Curiosity Mindset Travel
Developing a Curiosity Mindset – Travel. At Heathrow Airport, London, England.

Check out these books on curiosity:

 


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JoJo Rabbit Movie Review

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

During the weeks leading up to the 92nd Academy Awards, I enjoyed watching all of the Best Picture nominated films. Nine outstanding films offered nine important messages about society, determination, war, peace, acceptance and inclusion. For a brief summary of each worthy film and to discover which one won the Oscar, in case you don’t know, read my post Best Picture Winner.

I found truths to appreciate about all nine films. Joker impacted me the greatest, with its bleak portrayal of a man struggling to find his place in society. This film though, JoJo Rabbit, really pulled me in to the story and stayed with me. So much so, that I want to share a more in-depth review.

This is a spoiler free review of the unique film, JoJo Rabbit, an anti-hate satire that uses dark humor to pierce the heart, and lodge there.

JoJo Rabbit title meme 2

JoJo Rabbit Cast

This history inspired drama, with comedic overtones, stars Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johannson, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant and Archie Yates.

The screenplay, written by Taika Waititi, was inspired by the novel “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens. Waititi won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and the film received five more Academy nominations, including Best Picture. JoJo Rabbit carries a PG-13 rating, for moderate profanity, intense scenes and mild violence, and has a run time of 1 hour and 49 minutes.

JoJo Rabbit JoJo and Yorkie
Best friends, JoJo and Yorkie
Imaginary friend
JoJo Rabbit and his imaginary friend.

JoJo’s Big Dream

Ten year old JoJo Betzler (Davis) lives with his mother Rosie (Johannson) in a little town in Germany during WWII. His father is absent, fighting in another country, leaving JoJo the little man of the house while his mother works to provide for them.

Often left on his own, JoJo longs for connection and a cause to fight for. More than anything, this earnest and patriotic boy wants a place in Hitler’s Nazi army. He idolizes the Fuhrer so much that Adolf (Waititi) appears as JoJo’s imaginary friend. JoJo poses his many questions to Hitler and in return, the Fuhrer offers advice and commentary on the boy’s life, cheering him on when necessary.

And it is often necessary. JoJo and his best friend Yorki (Yates) dwell on the fringes when they attend a training camp for Hitler youth. Led by Captain Klezendorf (Rockwell), his second in command Finkel (Allen) and Fraulein Rahm (Wilson) the camp employs unusual techniques to teach their young comrades obedience, loyalty and intolerance.

Although JoJo strives for excellence, the older boys torment him. He earns the nickname, JoJo Rabbit, when he refuses to kill a rabbit on command. After he runs off into the woods, Hitler appears to offer a pep talk. He tells JoJo that rabbits possess excellent qualities such as speed and sends the boy sprinting back into camp.

JoJo leaps into the circle of boys as Captain Klezendorf holds aloft a live grenade. Full of adrenaline fueled courage, JoJo grabs the grenade and dashes off with it, barely tossing it before it explodes. That’s the end of youth camp for JoJo, who returns home to recover from his serious injuries.

JoJo Rabbit mother and son
The bond between mother and son.

The Secret Upstairs

JoJo recovers slowly from the accident, which leaves him with scars on his face and a limp. Feeling he’s ugly now, the lonely boy seeks seclusion at home. Even Hitler’s chats don’t cheer him up.

Rosie uses humor and a mother’s love to pull her son out of his isolation. They ride bicycles and take long walks together. She attempts to broaden his perspective by speaking truthfully about the war efforts.

“The Reich is dying. We’re going to lose the war and then what are you going to do, hmm? Life is a gift. We must celebrate it. We have to dance to show God we are grateful to be alive.”

At home alone one day, JoJo hears suspicious noises upstairs. Stealthily tracking down the sounds, he pauses outside his sister’s room. She passed away recently. Her bedroom remains untouched. Unexpectedly, JoJo discovers a young woman, Elsa (McKenzie) secreted away behind a false wall. Hidden there by Rosie, JoJo is shocked to learn Elsa is Jewish.

Everything JoJo learned about the Jewish race appears to be wrong. Elsa doesn’t have horns or evil intentions. Although he and Hitler plot to get rid of her initially, JoJo decides to write a book about the Jewish people, with Elsa supplying the information. The more the boy learns from Elsa, the more confused he becomes. She seems nice. And like him, she spends a great deal of time alone. A friendship blossoms between them.

When the gestapo shows up at the house, led by Captain Deertz (Merchant), JoJo no longer wants to rid himself of Elsa. Instead, like his mother, he seeks to protect her. How much longer will they be able to do so? And at what risk?

JoJo Rabbit group meeting

Elsa
Elsa, living life hidden away.

My Thoughts on JoJo Rabbit

I attended the viewing for this film with no idea of the story line, beyond the Germany setting during WWII. In fact, it’s likely I would have missed this movie had it not received a Best Picture nomination, deeming it “not my style of film”. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to change my opinion.

This is a quirky, oddly hilarious at times, completely heart-warming film with amazing portrayals by a talented cast. I can’t praise it enough. From the strange relationship between JoJo and Hitler to the tender one between mother and son to the growing friendship between German boy and Jewish girl, this movie captivated me. I laughed and I teared up. And at one point I wanted to wail with sorrow. While JoJo Rabbit appears lighthearted on the surface, it impacts the heart deeply and it broadens the mind.

I love Waititi’s brilliance as a screenplay writer, director and actor. He moved me and unsettled me. I eager anticipate anything else he creates.

JoJo Rabbit Taika Waititi
Taika Waititi is from New Zealand.

The Takeaway

The scene that I cannot forget is near the end of the movie. The town is under attack as the war draws to a close. Fraulein Rahm thrusts rifles into the hands of young boys with these instructions: “Shoot anyone that doesn’t look like us.”

I can’t forget that line. Shoot anyone…kill anyone…that doesn’t look like us. One can easily substitute other words. Ridicule anyone…ignore anyone…bully anyone…attempt to control anyone…hurt anyone…shame anyone…that doesn’t look like us.

With a single line Waititi powerfully reminds us of what it means to be human and to love humanity, whether they look like us, like me, like you, or not. Movies like JoJo Rabbit give me hope that we are growing, and can continue to, even though we have a long journey yet ahead.

Let me know if you’ve seen this unforgettable film and share your thoughts.

JoJo Rabbit anti hate satire
An anti-hate satire

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