15 Personal Rights That Build a Confident Life

Frustrated with life? Early in my life, I realized my “niceness” made me a doormat. I railed against the injustice of trying to be a kind, productive, creative person, while feeling taken advantage of and not respected for my suggestions.

I learned that creating my choice of lifestyle, setting appropriate boundaries, speaking my truth without attacking others, and accepting that my personal choices won’t always be understood, all require assertiveness.

Assertiveness is not being pushy or mean. That’s aggression.

Assertiveness is taking charge of your life appropriately – in a way that brings preferred results. Assertive people have a clear sense of “Self”. You act and make choices to honor your Self. You speak and act in a manner that respects who you are, while at the same time acknowledging the other person has their own perspective. You set boundaries on how you are treated, yet don’t force your beliefs on others.

Few of us were raised to be assertive.

Most people fall into one of these three categories:

  1. One response to life is to be passive, allowing other people and outside circumstances to run our life.
  2. Another response is to be passive-aggressive, allowing others to run our life until we can’t take it anymore and then we subtly undermine them or explode in an outright attack.
  3. A third option is to aggressively ram through life, pushing our agenda on others.

Each of these three attitudes creates an energetic and relationship wake behind us that stirs up confusion and distrust. Yet let us not be hard on ourselves – it’s how we figured out to survive in this morass of human communication. As a child, we faced a chaotic, unfathomable world and did what we could to survive to adulthood. We aren’t stuck with that. We can re-create ourselves.

There is a fourth option: Assertiveness.

Assertive people-page-001Early in  life, I realized my “niceness” was making me a doormat. I determined to learn assertiveness through books and classes. In my search I came across a list of 15 assertiveness rights (in an article from Daytimer) that guided me through my personal life and professional career. Consider each carefully. Intentionally applying one at a time, determine to practice each assertiveness right. When you focus on one, you can count on life bringing you opportunities to apply it. When you feel complete with one, move on to the next. In time, assertiveness becomes natural, and the only way you want to live.

Assertive Rights

  • I have the right to be treated with courtesy and respect.
  • I have the right to have and express my own feelings and opinions.
  • I have the right to be listened to and to be taken seriously.
  • I have the right to set my own priorities.
  • I have the right to say NO without feeling guilty.
  • I have the right to ask for what I want.
  • I have the right to get what I pay for.
  • I have the right to make mistakes.
  • I have the right to assert myself even though I may inconvenience or hurt others.
  • I have the right to choose not to assert myself.
  • I have the right to disagree with others about an issue and still work positively with them.
  • I have the right to be myself and to be happy at all times under all circumstances.
  • I don’t need others’ approval for who I am.
  • I have the right to remain neutral, to accept things the way they are, and I don’t have to choose sides. I don’t have to have an opinion or position on everything.
  • I have the right to have some personal and private time and space for myself without having the approval of others.

Think this is too self-oriented? In my next post I list assertiveness rights of others. You’ll learn it is a balancing act of finding the boundary between your own needs as compared to what others need.

If you are passive in nature, assertiveness will feel pushy and aggressive to you.

If your nature is aggressive, assertiveness will feel wimpy and passive.

It’s a matter of changing by degrees until you feel comfortable with your new persona. When are you going to work with this? Today is a good day to begin.

Be Forewarned! When you begin acting more assertive, you will confuse people around you. They are used to you behaving as you did in the past. When you change behavior, they may temporarily increase dysfunctional behavior in response. Remain calm and continue your assertiveness practice. In time they will realize you are steady on your course and begin to respond differently. Remember, you are practicing a new skill. Don’t expect perfection from yourself. Expect to make mistakes; that’s how we learn. But do hold yourself accountable. The end result will be stronger self-esteem and confidence.

Take life into your own hands and make it happen. It’s your life. Lead it.

In my next post:  “The Other Person’s Bill of Rights”.

Following that, I will post practical action steps and challenges of getting started, including how to say “NO”, assertiveness practices, and much more.

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Why today is the right day to transform your life

When you are fed up with life the way it is, and finally ready to transform it, any day is the right day.

When is the ideal time to make changes in life? Right now. Today. This article includes practical steps to assist in making desired change. Since there is a full moon day today, it’s helpful to know that a full moon offers energy to clear out and relinquish all that is no longer useful. You can release old, stuck energy back to the infinite quantum field from whence it was originally manifested. Imagine the moon being filled up to the brim and it’s time to tip it over and empty it out. The same is true with life. You need to make room for newer, vital energies and opportunities to enter your life.

During the full moon, efforts to usher in change are supported and strengthened. You are fully supported right now to release the old and bring in the new. Whether you choose to intentionally participate is sort of irrelevant these days on planet Earth. Energies around us are making it happen anyway. So I’d suggest reviewing aspects of your life that are uncomfortable or unworkable, and choose to make changes in that area. On any day.

We frequently think of transformation as a spiritual experience.

While a shift in consciousness can move us to a new level of understanding, the catalyst lies in daily life. An event happens that forces us to look at life in a new way – frequently something traumatic. Yet the indicators, hints, subtle and not-so-subtle suggestions to make this shift have been present long before it happens. You are probably experiencing indicators to make life changes right now. But our tendency is to avoid this until life forces us, and then we say, “Life is so traumatic!” Did you know that life doesn’t have to be constantly traumatic? If you recognize promptings for change, and begin making the change, you participate with transformation, instead of resisting it.

Practical Steps toward Transformation:

The following suggestions start you on the road of working with instead of working against, transformation you desire in life.

1. On a clean page or sheet of paper, list key aspects of life that repeatedly cause problems.

A few areas to consider are: specific relationships, finances, spirituality, health, fitness, relaxation, parenting, work environment, co-workers, your house, the location you live in, your self-image…and more. Finding areas for change is easy; simply list whatever worries, stresses, irritates, angers, frightens, and discomforts you.

2. Choose one area for creating change. Only one.

Which area yells at you the loudest? Or which one, if improved, will positively affect several other areas? Start there.

3. Don’t be concerned about selecting the wrong area for change.

You can’t. Unworkability in your life is a woven tapestry; working on one thread pulls and tugs at them all. If a different area starts getting in your face, you’ll know to let go the one you chose so you can pick up the noisier one. Your higher wisdom knows what to work with, so listen to it. If you don’t know how, this exercise will begin to teach you.

4. On a second, fresh page, write your chosen area on the top.

5. List every obstacle you can think of that gets in the way of making this change.

Brainstorm here. Don’t judge what comes into your thoughts; simply write it down. When finished with this list (you can add new obstacles at any time), move to the next step.

6. Choose one obstacle to work with. Only one.

Circle it. For this part of the exercise, choose an obstacle that is easier to address. Choose one within your confidence level, or you know how to tackle it, or the timing is right. As with #2 and 3 above, working on one obstacle begins a cascading effect that assists in every area.

7. On a third, fresh page, write your chosen obstacle on the top.

8. List every action step you can take to resolve your chosen obstacle.

A few ideas might include: Have an important conversation with someone, or make a necessary phone call. Take a training class to learn a skill such as handling anger, parenting, or conflict resolution. Considerations could be to create a budget, go online to find out next semester’s college schedule, order a workout video, schedule a weekly family night at home, sign up for a taekwando class, find a counselor to help deal with emotional debris, or read online articles on setting personal boundaries. This list is endless! You can add to or adjust it anytime.

To know, larger print-page-001

9. Choose one obstacle-dissolving step and do it. Take the action.

Get up off your “not now, not today” tush and get on with your life. Your plan won’t make a bit of difference unless you act on it. Who is going to control your life, and create your destiny? No one else can walk this life your way. You are the creator, manager, and guide of your life. Not your parents, family, partner, friends, social pressure, teachers, wise advisors, or irrelevant childhood messages whirling around in your head. You are it.

10. Schedule a realistic deadline for your action step.

Work toward your goal, and if necessary, extend it a few times. After all, life happens along the way. But be careful that you aren’t making excuses. You may find new obstacles pop up. If so, take one of them as your new obstacle, and when it’s completed, return to your original one.

11. When you finish with one obstacle, choose another.

Keep at it until you’ve accomplished this shift in your life, and then return to step #1 and repeat the process with another area of life. Dance with this. If your current “project” loses steam, pick up another one to start fresh.

Final Thoughts:

“But I don’t have time!”

Lack of time is frequently listed as the primary obstacle to transformation. This is a false illusion. If you “don’t have time”, get firm with yourself and say “no” to the time-stealers that aren’t getting you anywhere. How many commitments do you have to please other people who are never satisfied regardless of what you offer? Who are you helping that could find help elsewhere? Does your house really have to look like a Martha Stewart video? Can you buy organic ghee instead of making your own? What commitments are you still living up to that were made at another time in your life – commitments that are no longer relevant today? Do you really need all the “stuff” that you move around and maintain? Can your family/partner/children/co-workers do more for themselves instead of depending on you? Are you maintaining a collection that long ago lost its charm?

Look around you. Everything in your environment is either an energy source, or energy drainer. Get rid of energy drainers, and your time will expand. If you still can’t find time, learn more about this by reading online, studying a book, or find SOME way to learn to say “no” so you can say “yes” to a fulfilling life.

Don’t rush this.

The first time I tackled my transformation this way, it took me 3 years to make it through my initial list. Then I sat down and created an entirely new one! As you transform, life brings you new opportunities for further expansion. It’s what makes life juicy!

When you begin to change, everything shifts around you.

This can be uncomfortable. It’s like shedding your old skin and growing new. When you transform – your life, relationships, and experience of living – transforms along with you. Life won’t look the same. Isn’t that what you have been saying you want?

The full moon won’t create a transformation for you. Fire ceremony, meditation, drumming, dancing, hallucinogenic drugs, and the plethora of aids out there won’t do it for you. Only you can do this.

Nothing changes until you change.

There is more information I could add, embellish, and explain, but this is a grand beginning. I say this with confidence because I’ve applied this consistently in my life and have learned to trust the results. Others have, too. For ongoing supportive articles and guidelines, “Follow” this blog (the Follow button is a bottom of right hand column), and “Like” my Ellie Hadsall’s Writing Facebook page. Contact me with subjects you’d like me to address in future articles and I’ll do that for you.

Take life into your own hands and make it happen. It’s your life. Lead it.

 

 

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Overwhelmed Today? Pick Up a Dish!

Does your day have you stymied? Are you exhausted before it begins? Maybe you woke up in a blue funk. Or have tons to do but no motivation to tackle it. Maybe you review your list and find it overwhelming, or so underwhelming it bores you to death.  Perhaps life is a mess and you are desperate to make it through just one more day. On such a day, self-talk becomes morose and only drags you deeper. What to do?

Sitting there feeling sorry for yourself won’t break the spell; it reinforces it. Calling a friend to commiserate helps you feel better, but doesn’t move you forward. This is the point at which many succumb to sleeping, or reach for an addiction to distract themselves from discomfort. Yet if you bravely seek to break the addiction barrier, or overcome depression which is reinforced by a sense of worthlessness, or are simply fed up with struggling to overcome inertia, try something new.

Pick up a dish.

dirty dishes in sink

Unfinished business, whether mental, emotional, or physical, nags at us. It drains energy and muddles our thoughts.

On this Thanksgiving day, the task facing us was overwhelming. Thanksgiving dinner was completed leaving everyone full and sleepy. Family members mysteriously disappeared with “important things to do” leaving Mom and me to clean up. She sighed, scooted back her chair to cross her legs, and lit up a cigarette. My gaze followed hers as she scanned the damage. Twelve years old, I could think of better things to do on a holiday but had no handy excuse that she would buy into.

Where to begin? Every inch of counter top was covered with dirty dishes. The sink was overfilled. Our holiday china needed replaced high up in the cupboard. The refrigerator was already stuffed and we needed to cram in yet more.

“Mom, what do you want me to do first?”

She shook her head, studying her cigarette. After a moment’s reflection, she suddenly suggested, as if divinely inspired. “Let’s each just pick up a dish.”

“What do you mean?”

“We will each pick up a dish and take it where it needs to go. That will lead to picking up another dish. If we keep picking up the next dish, we will eventually get it all done.”

How silly! I grabbed a plate and headed to the sink. To make room, I stacked cooking pans over on the stove. Before stacking them I needed to pour in water to soak off the debris. To get to the faucet, I gathered drinking glasses and silverware from the sink. The silverware was tossed into the soaking cook pots. Glasses went on the only open spot I could find, the window sill. I poured in fresh dishwater and added the plate. Then another plate and cup. Soon I was filling the dish rack with clean dishes, making countertop room for more. Next we knew, the kitchen was clean, dishes stored, and all was in order.

This works if you use it – guaranteed!

cleaned up dishes

Completing unfinished business, and getting it behind us, is a huge relief. We no longer carry that nagging “got to handle that” feeling that lingers in the periphery of our thoughts.

It works!  Pick up a dish. I’ve followed this advice for many an overwhelming day at home or work. When I pick up one dish to wash, one phone call to make, one bill to pay, one conversation that needs to happen, one item to handle, one folder to file, one email to respond to, one client to call, I overcome inertia and propel my energy forward. This avoids the usual agony of anticipating an overwhelming burden of things to do. Anyone can take just one step forward. Once you do, that momentum moves you to the next project.

As I follow this strategy, I accomplish more in less time. It removes my “attachment” to what needs to be done or how long it will take, shifting my action into a steady flow. Once in the flow, I relax and go along for the ride. Somewhere along the line I look with amazement at how much I’ve accomplished. This works with your computer or paperwork at the office, cleaning your car, children’s rooms, garage purging, and spring housecleaning (if anyone out there does this anymore?)

Create a new habit of accomplishment and overcome emotional passivity.

On a rough emotional day you may only complete two things, (and one of them might be reading an encouraging article online), but at the end of the day, that’s something to feel good about. Over a series of days, you can complete a significant number of tasks, leading you to feel better about yourself. Now when you take time to relax, you won’t feel guilty. You will have taken back some of your own power. You have created a personal history of achievement instead of a sense of worthlessness. No one else can do this for you. Do it for yourself. Do it to set an example for your children. Do it because you are worth the effort. In time, it won’t be an effort anymore – it will have become a new habit of accomplishment.

Don’t think about this too much.

Take the action. Don’t analyze it in light of advice you’ve heard on time management or organization. I’ve taught those classes; they have a proper place when working within organizations. Here, I’m talking about personal achievement in the privacy of your own relationships, office, garage, kitchen, or work space. Overcoming physical, mental, and emotional hurdles increases self-esteem and helps you feel strong. Be sure to listen to your inner dialogue throughout the day, weeding out negatives. Read Self Talk rules my day  – we will be addressing more ideas on this subject in upcoming posts.

One more thought – this article is focused on breaking loose from morose.  There are days when “action” isn’t the answer. Sometimes the wise thing to do is allow yourself to take a guilt-free nap, go on a walk, read a good book, watch a movie, or hang with a friend, disconnecting from the “shoulds” of life. That is another article!

My last piece of advice? Somewhere among the “dishes” you pick up, fill one with yummy ice cream, treat yourself to a reward, or toast yourself in the mirror. You’ve earned it.

Not sure how to take new action?

You’ll want to read You Gotta Act Differently to Get New Results.

Next Post: 15 Steps to Confident, Assertive Living.

Coming up: A series of posts with practical steps to address life issues.

Take life into your own hands and make it happen. It’s your life. Lead it.

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Self-talk rules my day

Do you ever listen to your Self-Talk? You know, that pesky thinking machine that churns repetitive thoughts around in circles. If you’ve learned to maintain positive self-talk, congratulations! Many people are stuck on the track of “I’m not good enough.”  “I’m not lovable.”  “I’m stupid.” “I’m not strong like other people.” “Everyone else has their life in order, while mine is disintegrating.”  “I’m tired of projecting as if everything in my life is fine, when I feel like $h*!”.

It’s been said that 90% of our thoughts are the same one’s we’ve had for years, simply re-arranged. Much like the old furniture we are tired of looking at, we move the pieces around in order to feel better for a while. But what if we threw out what no longer feels “right”? What if we made room for something better, something that feels more like the “me” we want to be?

Practical Steps can shift life.

Whew! Becoming who we want to be is a big order, but it can be done. This is what life is all about. I know others who have done it. I’ve done it. You may have done it a few times yourself, but at this moment you face a seemingly insurmountable “next step”. I’m going to share a series of practical action steps that can help. I’ll post them here on my blog, as well as on my “Ellie Hadsall’s Writing” Facebook page. If one practice helps you, I am delighted!  Share whatever you learn with friends. If one action step doesn’t help, check out the next one. Whatever you do, please seek answers somewhere, because wallowing around in misery is a waste of your life-time, and quickly drains away life force.

A client recently asked me, “Ellie, what is your self-talk?” It goes like this:

A Good Day:

“That robin woke me again, cheerfully singing outside the window. I feel great this morning, up at 5 AM! I’ll meditate, do my twenty minutes of yoga, five minutes of leg strengthening exercises, shower, drink a green smoothie and check my calendar. Looks like today I can settle in to write. I feel motivated and ideas are pouring through. I like who I am, love my family. My life is filled with old and new friends who care, who believe in me, and who are sincerely working to become even better people. This afternoon I’ll bake einkorn bread and make labels for my new batch of wine. How does it get any better than this?”

Negative self talk committee to shut upA Challenging Day

Aaaargh! I do NOT want to get up. That overly-zealous piece of wild poultry needs to sing outside someone else’s window! Whoops – I need to keep my thoughts straight; don’t let them go there. Right! I’ll follow my morning routine because it’s what works to keep me healthy and energized. If I do what works instead of what I “feel” like doing, it leads me to a better day. I am thankful to have learned practices to keep me on track. Yeah, yeah, let’s just get these marvelous requirements over with and get that cup of coffee; maybe two this morning. I’ll just have half a smoothie; I feel fat today. I need to starve myself for a few weeks to lose this extra poundage I gained since menopause.  Wait a minute – think this through. Yesterday I felt fine, and this is the same body, right? I have health, energy, and I eat real food. Like that pie I had for supper last night? Oh yeah, I did that, didn’t I? But, hey!, it’s good to enjoy life, too! Enjoying the five senses is a part of living the human experience. So long as I follow moderation, I do okay. Yes, so long as I don’t use that as an excuse. I manage to do what creates the best results – most of the time. It’s worked so far. If and when it doesn’t, I’ll adjust, as I have learned to do. Beliefs and patterns that no longer bring desired results, can be transformed. Now that’s better! But now what? Nothing motivates me today. I feel like sitting in a chair and staring like a zombie into space. I need a focus, something to do that gets me moving into the day. I’ll look at my list of tasks, and choose one to get started. That will get the ball rolling. Once I build momentum, I’ll feel good to have accomplished something. Then I’ll reward myself by going online for thirty minutes over the lunch hour to read something inspirational. Sigh. First order of business is to walk over to my list. Okay, now where do I start?

Some days will be overwhelming.

Opportunities from challenges-page-001 (2)I’ve yet to have every day run smoothly. I’ve learned to quit judging a day if it doesn’t, because life isn’t supposed to be smooth. Each day brings its own gifts. Some days flow by gracefully, allowing us to re-calibrate and take a break. Other days are overwhelming, choppy, uncoordinated, uninspiring, depressing, or erratic. I’ve learned that’s okay. What is important is how I respond the day’s events. My response can make things better, or worse. It’s working with my mental self-talk, beliefs, and habits on those days, that hones me into a better person and ultimately, into a wiser soul.

Next Post! How to take action on that “Okay, now where do I start?”

Take life into your own hands and make it happen. It’s your life. Lead it.

 

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Why Eat Weeds?

Don’t weed your yard; munch your way through it! -Ellie Hadsall

Definition of weed: “A plant that is not valued where it is growing; usually of vigorous growth.” If we value a wild plant, it is no longer a weed; instead it becomes a desired plant in Mother Nature’s garden.

If you have a yard, or access to an untreated natural field, you can:

  • Eat organic, non-GMO greens daily, for free!
  • Enjoy a full range of potent vitamins and minerals.
  • Gather plants with no need to water, weed, or tend.

Weeds we have enjoyed from “Mother Nature’s garden” are lambsquarter, amaranth, golden globe mallow, cheese mallow, dandelions, pepper grass, wild violets, poke salat (young leaves only), young sunflowers, many varieties of wild lettuce, London Rocket, sow thistle, flixweed,  and purslane. Search online for edible weeds in your area of the country. Always be sure you can identify them correctly, so you do not choose something that is poisonous, such as hemlock, which looks similar to wild carrots!

Weed London Rocket 1

Early spring London Rocket. Leaves and blossoms are edible.

You can live off yard “weeds” from spring through fall without needing to plant a garden. In some areas, cold-hardy weeds can thrive through the winter. For consumption, you need to practice organic, sustainable living so no harmful chemicals are present. At our recent Albuquerque home, nature provided sufficient plants to feed not only our family, but any open minded friends who loved culinary adventure. No, our yard did not look like an empty lot! In fact, it looked quite charming (in my biased opinion, and demonstrated by the genuinely enthusiastic response of visitors).

Weeds frequently contain a higher vitamin and mineral content than domesticated vegetables we grow in our gardens. For sure, they contain more vitality than commercially processed, stored, and transported vegetables.

In times of drought, food shortages, and financial crises, wild plants can help sustain us. They can be eaten fresh, frozen for later use, or dried to use in teas and soups, providing a vital source of vitamins and minerals. Weeds naturally grow where environment supports their health and vitality, thus they are well nourished. They adapt to climate and soil conditions, so that cultivation, expensive amendments, and special attention are not necessary. We spend billions of dollars annually to grow crops for our table, when nature offers a wide variety for free.

mid garden path w nook 1 DSCN0893

Our Albuquerque garden pathway with a mediation nook, surrounded by sunflowers which shade summer lettuce. green beans, and kale. Notice the wild purslane patch in foreground.

Some weeds are excellent companion plants for a garden. Wild plants are natural to an area, establishing where they instinctively find proper nutrition and sustenance. They enrich soil providing a vital environment for worms and microbes to thrive. When controlled, tall edible weeds such as lambsquarter, amaranth and sunflowers, provide shade to allow heat-sensitive vegetables, such as lettuce, to grow longer in the summer heat. These plants also loosen the soil so moisture soaks in more deeply, and they send roots deeply into the ground to pull minerals up toward the surface, in a form that is usable by garden plants with shallower root systems. Specific weeds, such as purslane, provide living green mulch to control other undesirable weeds.

Once wild plants emerge in the spring, you can maintain them in one area and weed them out in the rest of the yard.  To keep your supply going, as a plant species reaches maturity, allow some to go to seed for next year’s harvest. We retain an area of our garden for weeds, and allow occasional ones among other vegetables to provide the aforementioned benefits. For example, I have maintained a lambsquarter bed in the front yard where it thrived under a shady tree. I kept it trimmed to a 6-8 inch height by regular picking. If I couldn’t eat it fast enough, I trimmed it with a weed eater. When regularly harvested or trimmed back, weeds grow new branches with fresh leaves. This allows plenty for our consumption while providing a beautiful green ground cover.  A patch of purslane can thrive in the garden and an amaranth patch flourished one year near our compost heap.  Birds perch on larger weeds, and dine on the seeds.

banner, mullet flowers, 400x150,DSCN0833

Wild mullein. This is not edible, but the leaves can be steamed for relief of lung issues, or dried and smoked in a long-stemmed pipe to heal lungs.

Wild plants are beautiful and when blooming they are frequented by bees and butterflies.

As you pick the greens, be sure to thank them for their beauty, companionship, and service. Most taste best when picked in early morning or evening. Wash them in a pan so you can empty the washing water back into the yard to recycle and return floating critters such as worms or snails back to the soil. To store them in the fridge for later use, I spread washed greens evenly on a towel, roll it up and place it in the washing machine. Set it on the spin cycle; it removes moisture thoroughly.  Place spun-dry greens into a storage container and refrigerate up to a week. If you don’t have a washer, gently twist or press on the rolled towel to remove excess moisture. Pick extra ones for freezing. Dry leaves for future use as herbal teas or other remedies suggested for each plant.

Words of caution: when first eating wild greens, take it easy. You get greater nutritional benefit than with domestic plants, so you can eat less. If you experience diarrhea, cut back or only eat occasionally. Eventually your body will adjust and love you for it.

Weeds also have medicinal value. Our yard has included additional inedible weeds used for healing. Two found in our yard are mullein which is healing for lungs, and the common goat head sticker plant. Long disliked for the plethora of sharp sticker seeds it bears, this plant’s seeds can provide healing for the urinary tract. Every balanced ecological system holds within it healing remedies necessary to treat illnesses in that area.

For more ideas on cooking with wild greens: It’s Time to Eat Weeds, Dandelion Pancakes, Wild Green Muffins

Are you ready to try cooking with weeds, adding add richer nutrition to your diet? Take your life in hand and make it happen. It’s your life. Lead it.

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Summer Cooking with Lambsquarter and Wild Greens

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. – Doug Larson

Wild Greens are a gift from Mother Nature’s garden. They provide free, organic, highly nutritious options to summer cooking. As a girl, I was sent out to pick lambsquarter, poke salat, dandelion and wild violet leaves for family dinner. Wild greens are still one of my favorite vegetables, lambsquarter being the first on my list.

smoothie, wild green, dandelion, lambsquarter, mallow, banana, strawberry, honey, ginger, w dandelion muffin 2

Green smoothie with lambsquarter, and dandelion greens muffin.

Young plants offer the most tender taste, but even the end tips of mature plants, with their more pungent summer flavor, can add interest, and are rich in vitamins and minerals. Before picking any wild green, do your research and get the facts to assure you don’t eat something poisonous!!!!

I will post more articles to introduce recipes and photos to inspire you toward wild foraging (if you aren’t already a fanatic about it…)

This green smoothie includes lambsquarter, broccoli, banana, almonds, coconut oil, a chunk of ginger root, and warm water (ginger and warm/hot water aids in digesting raw foods). You can add raisins, dates, or honey to sweeten, but with the banana it’s plenty sweet already.

Options for Cooking with Wild Greens

  • Puree with any combo of fruit, veggies, nuts, seaweed, and oil for a nutritious smoothie.
  • Sauté alone or with other veggies.
  • Serve sautéed on rice or wrap them in a tortilla with beans, cheese, avocado and any other desired vegetable or meat.
  • Chop and add to soups.
  • Toss with cooked pasta, olive oil and vinegar for pasta salad.
  • Add to a mixed greens salad.

    greens, sauteed, plate w rice, tortilla 3

    Sautéed organic home-grown chard, lambsquarter, and onion on a gluten-free tortilla, sprinkled with chopped homegrown tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.

  • Substitute for spinach in any recipe.
  • Puree and add to muffins and breads.
  • Use your imagination!
  • Try this recipe for Wild Green Muffins
  • Or this recipe for Dandelion Pancakes
lambsquarter garden, jul 2016, nevada hse 2

Wild lambsquarter “garden” in our Fort Wayne side yard.

lambsquarter ground cover, DSCN0854

Lambsquarter “bed” under our large tree in Albuquerque, NM.

Whenever we move to a new home, I look for young lambsquarter plants in the spring. To keep them tender, I water them occasionally and harvest the tops, which encourages branching for harvesting new leaflets in the upcoming weeks. I allow a few to grow and go to seed, which assures my garden for the next year. It also survives well in dry conditions. Lambsquarter is an amazingly tough plant! It is one of the few plants that grows readily in shade as well as sun, so I am encouraging it to fill in space under this fur tree. With regular trimming and watering, it will eventually be an excellent ground cover. See the photo of a large lambsquarter patch under our huge fruitless mulberry tree in Albuquerque. I trimmed it with our weed eater, and friends were invited to come by to pick their own.

(A fun fact – Walter White’s home – from the series “Breaking Bad” – was right down the street on our block. He never came by to pick our weeds…)

My next post will be on the benefits of collecting wild greens.

In the meantime, take your life in hand and make it happen. It’s your life. Lead it!

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5 Reasons to Stop Complaining

1) No one wants to listen to it.

A problem is your issue, your emotional reaction, your dissatisfaction. Complaining about it to others stirs up their own angst that they prefer to avoid, thank you very much. They have enough turmoil in their own life without adding yours to it. Don’t verbally vomit your issues all over others; it destroys relationships.

2) It doesn’t change things.

When you complain, if the other person is the culprit, they quickly justify their actions in their own mind. They find ways to rationalize they are right, or to knock holes in your grievance. Complaining intensifies the issue instead of resolving it.

Don t Complain3) It focuses on negatives.

What you focus upon intensifies and expands. Once you place something on your complaint radar, your scope of observation finds it everywhere. It’s like getting a new car and suddenly you see that model everywhere. The same principle works with negatives. When a grievance is on your mind, your radar scans to find that problem existing everywhere, and then you can proudly “prove” that you are right and others are wrong.

4) Complaining is resisting “what is”.

Complaining is insisting something be different than what it actually is. “That woman held up our checkout lane with her coupons!” Yes, she sure did. And someone else is going to in the future, too. Those are facts. You can complain about it, but it still happens. If you relax and accept things that cannot be changed, you can expend energy in more enjoyable or helpful ways. Instead of complaining loudly to everyone around you, or purposefully spewing exaggerated negative body language, why not use the time to clear the old texts on your phone? Or think of a way to encourage the cashier, who is sure to be stressed that her line has slowed to a stop. “What we resist will persist; what we embrace will erase.”

5) Complainers have more health issues.

Looking for things that are wrong creates constant tension in your body. Positive, encouraging events are automatically deleted by your negative mental programming. It reinforces a sense of helplessness, lack of control, and feelings of depression. When you give up complaining, you find room in life for possibilities. Positive people live longer, have better relationships, and find life more fulfilling.

Choosing to not complain doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally commiserate with friends in mutual support, or seek resolution for situations that need resolved. It does mean you seek solutions, or accept that some things cannot be changed – but you have the power to adjust your life accordingly.

Action to take: Give up complaining for three weeks. Twenty-one days of a new practice can break a habit. When you find yourself complaining, let it go. Notice that problems get resolved without your griping, and often – more quickly. It’s your life. Lead it.

 

 

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