Sedona, Arizona

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Sedona, Arizona

“Wow Even the rocks in Sedona meditate!” Ilchi Lee

Plan to be amazed.  As the sun started to set, the red rocks started to glow in the light.  We sat on the hotel terrace restaurant with Mexican food and margaritas, watching the color of the sky change with rocks. I would have forgotten that there was a Corona virus except for the masked waiters. 

As you drive through the mountains to enter the town, you can clearly see the outlines of Sedona because of the distinct shift between the typical brown/beige desert surroundings to the intense red color of these rocks.  

 We had a very different  trip planned the week everything closed for quarantine in March to the Mii Amo spa in Sedona.

This time we were masked and social distancing so the spa was out of the question for us.  Everyone else was using it. The most dramatic red rocks of Sedona’s Boynton Canyon  set the tone for an experience beyond compare.

  Enchantment Resort is a little pricey but there isn’t a more beautiful hotel to stay in.

When we arrived it was crowded and no one was wearing masks, except the staff. It felt unsafe as far as the virus was concerned. All the rooms have beautiful views of the red rocks so just hanging out on your terrace is amazing. The rooms are “casitas” and have both a kitchenette with a table and an outdoor table and grill. You have different options for  room service both cooked and ‘raw” if you want to do it yourself.  Somehow with all the different hikes, spa treatments and activities that they have,  we were able to avoid crowds of people and eat in all the restaurants at off hours, hike, walk and feel safe.  Doing yoga, qi gong and meditation on the terrace facing the red rocks was a spiritual experience.

  The Bf was off hiking and mountain biking.

The activities at Enchantment were limited because of safety. There were no large classes or group hikes. You had to hike on your own or hire a private guide.

Our guide was George, a 76 year old Apache who started the mountain biking experience and cut many of the trails that people hike on.

There was no one more concerned with masks and social distancing than George – except for me. He was horrified by all the hikers who don’t wear masks.

With his Apache spirit he guided them away from us and made us wait for the air to clear when a group passed by.

It was a special treat to see “The land of the red skin” with him.

And then there are the stars. Sedona has strict rules about lighting at night because the skies are ablaze with stars. Being a city girl, the night skies are one of the marvelous splendors of the area. 

We will definitely come back to Sedona to have the full experience when this is over. But during these uncertain times, finding beauty is a necessity. 

Stay safe,

JAZ

Things I Have Learned from Yoga, Qi Gong and Tai Chi

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Things I Have Learned from Yoga, Qi Gong and Tai Chi

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. “Eckhart Tolle

There are many studies about how Yoga, QI Gong (a form of Tai Chi) and Tai Chi can improve your health. People have been doing it for thousands of years so it must have some benefits. I’ve been doing it regularly in quarantine and have not had any of my usual health problems so there might be something to it. Here is what I have learned so far.

Look at everything-not just one thing.
Did you ever notice how people can look at the same thing and see something totally different? Learning to see something from all sides, without judgement, to see beyond our own assumptions is something to strive for – especially the way the world is now.

Change hands-change responsibilities.
You can’t change your circumstances but you can change how you look at them.

Is a balance posture strength or submission?
We look for balance to live a life of quality. A balance posture requires steady feet, a steady mind and a sense of weight control. It isn’t one thing. It takes both strength and letting go to balance in the posture and in life.

Your speed does not matter. How far forward you can go does not matter. Forward is Forward. Your speed at doing anything is personal. Sometimes a slower pace will get you further. There’s always a pace you’d rather be experiencing, but it might not be what’s really happening right now.

You are not going to master every movement in one day, master what you can in a day and just keep doing it. Persistence is the only guarantee to master anything. Feeling defeated is also part of mastery.

Focus on the movement not the results. Whether good or bad the focus is always on the action itself. As humans we are not always satisfied with our present circumstances. We believe that only through results can we secure a pathway for a better future. Things in life may not actually turn out the way you want to. Be happy that you are working to achieve your goal.

Breathe in and out and be available to what unfolds.
We don’t always have to have a plan.

Move slowly with intention.
It is true that ”slow and steady” wins the race. You won’t miss out on anything by doing it mindfully.

We do the same thing day after day. Each day is a different day and each side is a different side. There is always more to be found by exploring the same thing over and over.

Where can we let go? Sometimes you have to let go because things are too heavy to carry with you. It can take just as much strength to let go as to hold on.

When two or more gather together, the practice is more powerful.This comes from the Bible. “When two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” We find it in Mathew 18:20 .The idea that is commonly promoted is that if there are two or more people gathered together who agree on something, and they ask God for it in prayer, then he will answer their request. Sounds like a plan. We can use all the help we can get these days. We are better, together.

Stay safe,

JAZ

The  Best And Worst Thing About Quarantine With A Little Help From My Friends

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The  Best And Worst Thing About Quarantine With A Little Help From My Friends

“The best way out is always through.”  Robert Frost

BEST: I’m doing qi gong, yoga and meditation and a beach walk every day. It is helping my anxiety and I sleep great. WORST:  I cancelled two trips and I’m not traveling.  JZ

BEST is cleaning my desk, watching great tv and finally finishing a series. WORST is not being able to hug & kiss my kids, missing my friends and working out in a gym! EH

BEST is being with my dog 24/7. WORST is cooking three meals a day for my husband. SR

 BEST is that I don’t have to get dressed up and put on makeup to go to work. WORST is not going out to eat, to the movies, a play or concert with friends and not having home cooked Sunday dinners with my kids.  Oh and not having my housekeeper!  JL

BEST is pretty easy.  My immediate family and girlfriend are here all day.  WORST is my fears for people who are facing huge problems  and also some personal health fears.  Just thinking about the worst list makes me sense my blood pressure increasing.  LA

BEST is catching up with friends and relatives virtually. Also more time for reading, Spring cleaning and watching Netflix. WORST is not going to movies, the Grove, shopping, church, and hugging friends. EM

BEST:  As an extrovert, I was delightfully surprised to find that I no longer suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), because there’s not much to Miss Out on.  Instead, I can be fully present and do one thing at a time. WORST: My husband has “underlying health conditions” that make true isolation necessary for him, which means I have to be extremely careful, too.  So my time outside is limited. LM

BEST is getting a lot of sleep, having the time to try new recipes and beauty products and catching up on movies.WORST is being alone, stuck at home and not seeing, hugging or kissing friends and family. It is worrying about losing jobs, money and the future. NC

BEST is remembering what I am thankful for.  WORST is thinking that I will never travel again.TN

BEST is eating good food and watching good movies and TV shows.WORST is not seeing my friends and getting fat. DB

BEST is the confirmation that I definitely married the person in the world I would most like to be quarantined with. WORST is the constant low-level non-specific anxiety.  LO

BEST  is that I am finally getting rid of shit in my house.WORST is that I can’t spend time with my mom.This Sunday is her 95th Birthday. SF

BEST  is spending all this time with my boyfriend, just the two of us.WORST  (aside from missing personal grooming – Brazilian wax, fillers etc) is not getting together with friends for a meal. CL

BEST is getting to sleep later in the morning  and reading the whole NY Times. I’m even doing the Friday and Saturday crossword puzzles.  Also, having the time to reconnect with people in my life that I haven’t seen or heard from in a long time.WORST is that I miss seeing the people in my life. Zoom just doesn’t cut it after a while. HM

BEST is slowing down and having time to do a new project.WORST is isolation. MU

 BEST is that life is way simpler and more meaningful. Time is slower and faster and I am more aware of how precious life is and that what really matters most doesn’t need a new pair of shoes, dress or anything else to make it special.WORST is not being able to touch, hug and kiss family and friends. My daughter is pregnant and I worry about her. DG

 BEST Being with my family all the time.WORST Being with my family all the time MA

BEST is learning to cook.WORST is having the Corona Virus. AA

Thanks for the help.

Stay Safe,

JAZ

Corona Days

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Corona Days

“She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.”  Zelda Fitzgerald

It is twenty something days in. I often lose track of what day of the week it is as every day is the same. I’ve developed a bit of a corona schedule for my day. They are not always  in this order and sometimes I mix it up – nor do I always get up at 8. 

8:00  Breakfast and internet time. I try to work on my blog for a bit but not traveling makes it more difficult. Play some scrabble. 

9:30  ZOOM Yoga every Friday with Michelle Azar Aron or her face book yoga  on other days.  I haven’t done yoga in a year and a half and I can feel it. I try to switch off every other day with Pilates so it doesn’t hurt so much.

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/351065504?pwd=SnV3UzIxd2xVNS9ieUp0aGtHNkJWQT09

Meeting ID: 351 065 504 Password: 914811

11:00 Tai Chi / Qi Gong with Olivia Rosewood. Olivia is doing a 15 minute Qi Gong Tai Chi warm up which is a great way to start the day. 

https://www.facebook.com/oliviarosewood

11:30 if I can get it to work, I do another twenty minutes of QI Gong breathing  with Samuel Barnes on his face book page .

12:00  Spend time brushing my dogs hair because he is starting to get matted and dreadlocks are forming. After, we go out on the deck and run around. Today i spoke to a nice man at Mobile Groomers who told me what tools and shampoo to buy to detangle my dog and taught me what to do. This should be interesting.  He felt that cutting the nails and expressing  the anal glands was above my skill level. He was right. Soon I will learn how to color my own hair.

12:30 Lunch  is whatever we have in the house. It usually involves peanut butter.

1:00 I am taking this Yale class online.. It is an interesting time to be taking it but when do you have this kind of time? It is called The Science Of Well Being and I’m really enjoying it. I spend one to two hours a day on it.

https://www.businessinsider.com/coursera-yale-science-of-wellbeing-free-course-review-overview

2:00 This  is a good time to get  dressed or at least change into a different pair of sweat pants,  clean up the house and make the bed.

3:00 We go for a walk with the dog on the beach or  the Speedway. The Speedway is less windy but more crowded with bikers and skateboarders. It is easier to navigate the six feet thing there than on our less crowded but very narrow streets. Everyday we have more  and more quarantine gear. Almost everyone is wearing masks now. The bikers freak me out because they come so close. It feels good to get out of the house. 

4:30 Meditate for half an hour. 

5:30 Treadmill and some TV for half an hour. We don’t walk so fast because I have a little dog who likes to stop a lot.  I’m binge watching the Gilmore Girls- anything light  and mindless to avoid the constant corona virus news coverage. 

6:00 Check in on family and friends – some I haven’t seen in a long time but I find myself thinking about people and wondering how they are doing.

7:00 Dinner.  The BF has taken on the quarantine cooking challenge and our dinners are always creative and delicious. We have made it more interesting by comparing dinners with a couple of friends. It is not supposed to be a competition but…… We are also trying to support our favorite restaurants that are still open by doing some take out.

9:00 TV and Reading. Three seasons of Silicon Valley and Unorthodox. Now we are watching Top Chef.  I have read Angle Of Repose and currently Americanah. 

We have started Corona Catering for our respective kids. It is nice to do something for someone else during this time. There  is a lot of me time. But instead of hair, skin and nails it is more about calming my brain, being grateful and being in the present. I wonder what changes I will make in my life and what new habits I will  take with me when this is over. 

Stay Safe,

JAZ

Anxiety And The Dog

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Anxiety And The Dog

“When you hear hoofbeats coming down the street, think horse – not zebra.”J.C.Peters

My dog Banksy and I both have anxiety. I can’t decide if that makes him the best dog or the worst dog for me. We live in Venice with a lot of scooters, bikes and dogs running free on the beach. He is fine as long as I carry him. I don’t think that he is well equipped with coping mechanisms.

Banksy is very excited to go in the car because it means he is not being left to fend for himself alone. Every time he gets in the car he has a panic attack. The heavy breathing, panting and crying begins. He is in the car a lot. If i open the window and he can look out, it is better. Is he claustrophobic as well?

Banksy also has a lot of fears of things that don’t really present any harm to him. At the moment he is afraid to walk on the wood floors in the house. He must have slipped and now the light reflection looks to him like we are on thin ice. If he has to walk he does it very slowly and carefully. I have to walk first to show him that its safe. Today we came home and the plumber was in the house. He wouldn’t walk in and ran down the stairs as if to say “Save yourself.” I realize now that all the barking he does when someone comes over is really just him falling into psychological chaos.

I have different fears but just as strong. Writing is a way to accept and work through the turbulences of life. Mindfulness helps – being in the here and now keeps my thoughts from looping down a bottomless pit to nowhere. Deep breathing, Qi Gong and sunset on the beach help a lot.

The funny thing about Banksy is that he can’t ask me what’s wrong but he knows when I’m in trouble and will shower me with affection to let me know things will be OK. If I begin to panic, I just look down and there is a wagging tail ready to distract me from my anxiety trigger. He also knows that I will pick him up if he is scared. The bond between someone and their dog is unique. We may be two completely different species, but we have a mutual understanding that we will take care of each other.

Fly safe,

JAZ