Finding Peace Through Meditation:

Stress has become one of those ‘things’ we think we simply have to live with. Some stress can be beneficial in motivating our “mind, body and spirit” to complete certain activities or meet the challenges we face in our every day lives. However, not all stress is good stress and people are searching for answers to help them conquer it. Many have found yoga to be a very effective way to reduce stress and work towards finding inner peace.

We can look at stress on two levels. The micro level is the individual stress from daily living and our own environments. On the macro level, we have the economy, overpopulation, global warming, obesity, disease, and those things that impact us externally, within society at large. All of these factors and variables begin to impede our “mind, body and spirit” and daily functioning. If we are not careful then our negative stress levels begin to increase.

What are we to do? How do we strive towards finding inner peace? And what exactly is having inner peace?

Most would define inner peace as a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep our “mind, body and spirit” strong in the face of discord or stress. Generally, stress would be the opposite of peace when dealing with the mind, which directly connects to our physical body. Stress comes from the unanswered, unsolved and difficult situations that seem to have no answer or no solution to the mind.

In order for us finding inner peace we have to be true to others and ourselves about what is important. Most importantly, it is important to look at life through an honest lens to see what is important, unimportant or knowing what we cannot change. Yoga teaches us to meditate and develop a connection with our “mind, body and spirit”. When meditating, the goal is to shed the excesses and worries of the day, and begin to focus internally; first with regulating our breathing patterns, and releasing the tensions from the body.

As with the majority of meditations, to begin this meditation first find somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed for ten to twenty minutes.

Sit comfortably with good posture. You may wish to sit in the lotus position, with your legs folded, or you may kneel

Cup your hands together on your lap with the palms facing upwards. Lightly touch your thumbs together.

Focus your mind on your breathing. Specifically, focus on the area between your nose and your lips. Observe your breath coming and going through this area

You will notice that thoughts occupy your mind from time to time. This is okay. You do not need to resist the thoughts, but you should not attach to them or dwell on them either. Simply recognise that you are experiencing a thought and return your focus to your breathing.

You may wish to add a mantra to this practice. A mantra is a phrase that produces specifically feelings. For instance, a simple mantra might be “I am calm and at peace.” Recite this mantra, either out loud or in your mind, as you continue to focus on your breath.

Continue this practice for ten to twenty minutes. You will find your mind opening and your body and mind relaxing.

 

MEMORIAL DAY!

This U.S. federal holiday is observed on the last Monday of May to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the military. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEMORIAL DAY AND VETERANS DAY?

On both Memorial Day and Veterans Day, it’s customary to spend time remembering and honoring the countless veterans who have served the United States throughout the country’s history. However, there is a distinction between the two holidays:

  • Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. In other words, the purpose of Memorial Day is to memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  We spend time remembering those who lost their lives and could not come home, reflecting on their service and why we have the luxury and freedom that we enjoy today. We might consider how we can support and safeguard their grieving families and loved ones who are left behind.
     
  • Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL who served—in wartime or peacetime—regardless of whether they died or survived. Veterans Day is always observed officially on November 11, regardless of the day of the week on which it falls.

 

    MEMORIAL DAY FACTS AND HISTORY

Traditionally, on Memorial Day (U.S.), people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries.  A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

The custom of honoring ancestors by cleaning cemeteries and decorating graves is an ancient and worldwide tradition, but the specific origin of Memorial Day—or Decoration Day, as it was first known—is unclear.

In early rural America, this duty was usually performed in late summer and was an occasion for family reunions and picnics. After the Civil War, America’s need for a secular, patriotic ceremony to honor its military dead became prominent, as monuments to fallen soldiers were erected and dedicated, and ceremonies centering on the decoration of soldiers’ graves were held in towns and cities throughout the nation.

After World War I, the day expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.

A Lasting Legacy

No less than 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, and states observed the holiday on different dates. In 1971, Memorial Day became a national holiday by an act of Congress; it is now celebrated annually on the last Monday in May.

Since it all started with the Civil War, you might want to brush up on your knowledge of this event by visiting the Library of Congress Civil War collection, which includes more than a thousand photographs from the time.

THANK YOU TO THE FALLEN.

From everyone here at BAILEY PARK, we would like say thank you to those men and women who paid the ultimate price. We will always remember the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes. We are deeply grateful. 

In remembering the fallen, we also honor their loved ones: spouses, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends. There really aren’t proper words, but we do live in gratitude each and everyday for the precious gift that they have given to us.

Summertime

Nothing makes me smile more than thinking about Summertime.  It’s the images in my memory of being a youngster riding bikes with my friends, jumping off a tire into the creek, having an ice cream cone before calling it a day. 

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930’s 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s !!

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we
rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from it.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren’t overweight because…

WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING !

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day.

And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down
the hill, only to find out we’d forgotten about brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD’s, no surround-sound or CD’s, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms!


WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no
lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate mud pies made from dirt.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays,

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang
the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!        The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to Deal With It All!

So, my Bailey Park Friends, what great memories can you share with me of your growing up days…?   I would love to hear your stories!

Ready, Set, Swim!

Swimming for seniors.  What a great article I just read over the weekend.

Swimming is a low impact sport that works all the major muscle groups in the body.

With indoor pools accessible to most, seniors can enjoy swimming year round without concern about water temperature or weather conditions.

Studies have shown that seniors who participate in aqua-aerobics (walking and dancing in the water) increase strength in their quadriceps, hamstrings and upper body.

There is less strain on joint and ligaments so less chance of injury with this type of activity.

Water walking is another form of aqua aerobics.  According to the National Center for Health Statistics, only 32% of American Seniors exercise on a daily basis despite knowing that exercise is the main element to keep the body fit and prevent all types of physical and mental decline.  Improve this statistic.  SWIM!

5 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR LUCK

1) Surround yourself with optimistic, mentally tough people.
I tell my clients to pretend luck doesn’t exist. Lucky people are just people who don’t stop until
they succeed. Overemphasizing external factors outside your control is the quickest way to lose
motivation. The most successful people I know are mentally tough enough to maintain
optimism over the long term, despite the setbacks that occur (and they will—trust me!). they
also tend to be friends with each other, so one of the best hacks for boosting your luck is to
spend time with positive, resilient people. —Karla Starr, Professional Life Coach
2) Recognize that you are lucky already.
Luck is the lens through which you see the world. The simple act of noticing the blessings in
your life can make you feel like the luckiest person alive. Take the Bewitched episode where
Darrin receives a “lucky” charm. There’s actually no spell on the charm, but because Darrin
believes he’s lucky, he feels more confident and notices one good thing happening after
another. Use Darrin’s sitcom situation to inform your own reality: If you wake up and tell
yourself you’re going to have an amazing day, you’ll likely ride a wave of serendipity too.
—Ken Carter, PhD…Emory University

3) Prepare, prepare, prepare…..
Luck has this otherworldly, mythical air, but it boils down to preparation. When an opportunity
comes along and you’re ready to receive it, that’s when luck happens. In Irish folklore, a young
warrior’s first task was to catch a hare, and then he’d walk into battle wearing the rabbit’s foot
around his neck. It wasn’t a magical lucky charm; it was a reminder that he could get home
safely because of his hard work and preparation. —Mark O’Gearain, Experience Manager
National Leprechaun Museum
4) Refocus your Attention.
Where your attention goes, energy flows. So if you ask yourself, “Why do I have such crappy
luck?” rest assured that your subconscious will deliver all sorts of reasons. When you complain
about the challenges life throws at you, all that energy is wasted. Instead, pose a more
beneficial question, such as “What steps can I take to improve this situation?” You’ll increase
your luck by no longer engaging in past behaviors or unhealthy patterns and by focusing on
what is working. When you allow less-than-ideal situations to get under your skin, you push
yourself farther from your own rainbow. —Shama Dhanani, Meditation Teacher
5) Have Faith in the Cyclical Nature of Life.
There are times when we feel lucky and everything falls into place. When luck is nowhere to be
found, we can feel stuck in the mud. Most people think luck is random, but there is energy in
our environment that flows in predictable cycles, influencing the situations we draw into our
lives. Through classical feng shui, we gain awareness of when and how these cycles affect us
and use elemental strategies to improve our “luck.” You can take advantage of unfavorable

cycles to learn, grow, deepen your faith, and strengthen who you are. That way, when good
cycles roll around, you’ll be in a better position to bring opportunities to a higher level of
fruition. —Cynthia Lee Chan, Feng Shui Instructor

Seniors and Pets: Health Benefits and Challenges

A BUDDY TO SHARE A morsel of food with, a walking companion, a mischievous friend and a profound comfort. Older adults reap great benefit from caring for dogs, cats or other household animals. Pets may provide a talisman against lonelinessisolation and inactivity. Study after study show the good pets can do.

Walking and Well-Being

“Let’s take a walk!” For most dogs, pulling out a leash is a sure way to set their tails wagging. For many seniors, having a dog is great motivation to get moving. And the biggest health boost comes to dog-walking owners who have the strongest bonds with their pets, according to a study in the October issue of the journal The Gerontologist.

Positive effects tied to active pet ownership included lower body mass index, fewer reported doctor visits and less sedentary time, according to findings. 

Dog owners who walked their dogs showed the best health results. Non-dog owners landed somewhere in the middle. Surprisingly, the worst off were senior dog owners who did not walk their dogs. This last group reported less physical activity, more mobility limitations, more doctor visits and more chronic conditions than others in the study.

Regular sniff-and-explore walks could indicate better bonding with pets than a dogged focus on distance. Participants who dog-walked farther in a shorter time were less likely to be bonded with their pets than those who covered less ground at a more leisurely pace.

“Part of the bonding variable includes talking with others about your dog,” says study author Angela Curl, an assistant professor with the department of family science and social work at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. “Perhaps people who are highly bonded are stopping to talk to others – pet owners and non-pet owners – and don’t walk so far.”

More attached owners could be better attuned to their dog’s health concerns, Curl says. As for the health of dog owners, people in the study with fewer chronic conditions were more likely to walk their dogs and do so more days of the week.

If you’re thinking about getting a dog as a walking companion, take both of your energy levels into account, Curl suggests. “You have to make sure you have a good match with a pet,” she says. “A dog who hates dog-walking is not a good health benefit. Some dogs don’t . If you have to drag your dog, that’s not a motivator.”

On the other end of the spectrum, with a super-strong German shepherd or boxer who walks you, outings could feel more like a struggle than a pleasure. If your balance is shaky, risk of falling is another consideration.

At any age, having a pet takes some planning. As an owner, think about finding a backup for pet care in case of sudden illness, Curl suggests. “My grandmother went into the hospital once and she didn’t call us to say she was in an accident,” she recalls. “She called to tell us the dog needed to be taken care of.”

Sickness and Strain

As people age, their pets age right along with them – on a sharper, uneven curve. The familiar formula that dogs age at a rate of seven human years for each “dog year” isn’t accurate, according to the senior pet page on the American Veterinary Medical Association website.

A 7-year-old dog compares to a human of 44 to 56 years, according to the AVMA. But three years later, that 10-year-old dog could compare in health anywhere from a 56- to a 78-year-old human. As for felines, 15 cat years translates to 78 human years, health-wise.

Older pets are vulnerable to arthritis. Their sight and hearing often fade. For owners who may themselves be frail, it’s hard to cope with a heavy Labrador who’s suffering from hip dysplasia. Aging pets can develop cancer or heart, kidney or liver disease. The reality is most pet owners will eventually see their animals through sickness and disability. That can take a heavy emotional toll.

Owners can suffer from sleeplessness and despair as they struggle to meet the needs of an ailing animal who can’t tell them what’s wrong. In some respects, the experience is similar to taking care of an ailing family member.

“It’s extremely important that we don’t minimize human caregiving,” Spitznagel notes. “If you’re taking care of a parent with dementia or a spouse who’s had a stroke, we’re really not trying to equate that .” However, she adds, “It’s important to be aware that pet caregiver stress exists, and have a sense of what it is.”

Sometimes, pet owners could use a little help from their human friends. If the burden of caring for a sick pet becomes too much, ask people around you for help, Spitznagel advises: “Make sure to surround yourself with people who can be supportive, whether that’s emotional support, or more day-to-day, boots-on-the-ground support.”

When distress builds to the point that it interferes with day-to-day function, it’s time to think about talking to a professional, such as a counselor or psychologist, Spitznagel says. Still, she adds, “Even when somebody’s experiencing burden, there can also be tremendous benefit from having a pet.”

Shrimp Scampi with Pasta

Have you noticed more and more people cooking on their own these days?

I’m not one to cook (I’m more of a supporter of restaurants), but here an easy thought for a quick meal:

 

Shrimp Scampi with Pasta

Prep:  20 Minutes      Cook:  20 Minutes     Ready in:  40 Minutes

 

Recipe By:JustJen

“Well-rounded seafood and pasta dish. Good with any pasta; angel hair is less filling.”

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package linguine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pinch kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook linguine in boiling water until nearly tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes in the hot butter and oil until shallots are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Season shrimp with kosher salt and black pepper; add to the skillet and cook until pink, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove shrimp from skillet and keep warm.
  3. Pour white wine and lemon juice into skillet and bring to a boil while scraping the browned bits of food off of the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in skillet, stir 2 tablespoons olive oil into butter mixture, and bring to a simmer. Toss linguine, shrimp, and parsley in the butter mixture until coated; season with salt and black pepper. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil to serve.

 

 

HEALTHY YOU!

WHICH HAS MORE SALT?

Question 1:  Grocery store popcorn                       OR                     Grocery Store Rotisserie Chicken

Answer:  The chicken.  Rotisserie chicken is often injected with salt water to make it more flavorful; as a result, this chicken has around 320 milligrams (mg) of sodium, compared with 75 mg for the popcorn.  For a healthier meal, bake at home—but avoid buying chicken that’s been “enhanced” with broth, which boosts sodium levels.

Question 2:  Club Soda                                         OR                        Roasted Salted Almonds

Answer:  Many club sodas have 95 to 115 mg of sodium, versus 85 mg for the nuts.  The soda contains baking soda and table salt, explains nutritionist Jennifer Glockner, creator of the e-book series Smartee Plate.  Glockner suggests that you swap out club soda for a sparkling water with only 1 mg of sodium per ounce.

Question 3:  Prego Basil Pesto Italian Sauce       OR            Prego Tomato Basil Garlic Italian Sauce

Answer:  The pesto has more than twice the sodium (590 mg vs 210 mg), says Allison Knott, a registered dietitian in New York City.  “If you’re looking for a lower-sodium sauce, choose tomato based. Add cooked vegetables to further lower sodium per serving.”

Question 4:  Subway Oven Roasted Chicken        OR                        Subway 6-inch Oven Roasted

                       Breast on Spinach Wrap                                                   Chicken Sandwich

Answer:  The wrap—with 1,350 mg of sodium. “Much of the sodium difference is attributed to the difference in bread,” Knott observes.  The spinach wrap alone has 780 mg of sodium—more than the amount in the entire chicken sandwich (560 mg).

By Lisa Haney for AARP The Magazine, February/March 2020

Italy’s Hidden Gems

Six years ago I came to Florence from my home in Boston for a short stay that turned permanent after I fell in love with my now husband, Rami, a Florentine.  I fell for the country, too, and still find it breathtaking.  

But the beauty isn’t the only thing that makes me gasp.  Sometimes it’s the effort needed to get around—while climbing the streets in Tuscan hill towns, scaling towers without elevators or navigating the throngs of tourists in ancient cities.  

Yet if you explore beyond those crowded, hard-to-navigate destinations, you’ll find quiet villages with unique personalities.  It feels like discovering the “real” Italy (particularly in the off-season). These are two of my favorite easy getaways north of Tuscany, places where just getting around doesn’t wear me out.

Parma

This small town in the Po Valley—just two hours north of Florence (between Bologna and Milan) — is, in winter, often enveloped in a delightful velvet fog.  The cuisine is exceptional. Having a plate of freshly sliced Parma ham and Parmesan cheese is a heavenly decadence I haven’t been able to replicate elsewhere.  My favorite piazza, Piazza del Duomo, boasts the cathedral of Parma, dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and featuring lavish frescoes and a beautiful pink-marble octagonal baptistry.  The peaceful streets are flat, nicely paved and easy to stroll.

Bolzano

Drive a few hours north of Parma and you’ll start to see the Dolomites looming in the distance, then the city of Bolzano, nestled into a valley about an hour from the Austrian border.  

The South Tyrol region has roots in Germanic culture, so when Rami and I crave wurstel, beer and an Alpine experience, this is where we go.  Bolzano’s Italian-style pastel houses offer a tinge of Austrian architecture, creating a fairy-tale feel. The mood is especially magical during the holiday season, when the piazzas transform into a sprawling Christmas market, wooden stalls overflowing with handcrafted ornaments and hot mulled wine.  Bolzano, like Parma, has no steeply inclined streets to contend with.

And you don’t have to go on a hike to get a view of the gorgeous region from above; take a cable car for a panoramic overlook of Bolzano and the nearby mountains.

(written by Lisa Harvey for AARP Magazine, February/March 2020)

Working out with Billy Dee

  (How a screen icon rebuilt his ‘Star Wars’ body) 

When he was younger, Billy Dee Williams worked out on his own.  But when he heard he’d been cast in the new Star Wars moving, the 82-year-old performer decided to hire a pro to help him get back into fighting-the-Galactic-Empire shape.  Williams started seeing the L.A. trainer Gunnar Peterson three times a week, and the actor says the sessions have taught him a lot about exercising with an older body.

“Working out is so much different now than it was when I first played Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back, in 1980,” he notes.  “It’s more difficult to move in an efficient way.” His present workouts “keep things streamlined” by combining weights, cardio and stretching in each session, he says.  That mix has had results: Since 2018, Williams has lost 25 pounds and increased his range of motion.

One motivation booster is exercising around people who inspire him.  “I see guys like Jimmy Caan (the actor, now 79) working out at the gym, and that keeps me going,” he adds.  Williams has also taken steps to make it easier to stay active at home, such as putting a stationary bicycle in his bedroom.  “I ride it every day for 30 to 60 minutes. I can’t avoid it.”

Of course, he has the same aches and pains many of us do, including arthritis and a disc problem in his lower back.  He consulted a doctor to make sure his workouts wouldn’t exacerbate his joint issues. With that assurance, he’s been able to exercise despite the aches.  “I just had to convince myself that exercise isn’t a choice, that it’s as routine as eating breakfast,” he explains. “I don’t even think of it as pain. I call it discomfort.  Eventually, I found that staying active alleviates the issue.” 

A diet rich in fish, chicken and vegetables helped him lose weight, he says, but “you also need a reward to stay on track.  Mine’s a little fruit sorbet with some vodka in it, after dinner.”

Finding a routine he can stick to has been “a kind of spiritual awakening,” he continues.  “Burning off energy can be very centering. It helps me keep on the positive path.”

by Michael Easter for AARP Magazine

Which of the following situations can cause your brain to shrink?

  1. High Blood Pressure
  2. Starvation
  3. Pregnancy
  4. All of the above

ANSWER:  D. Gray matter, the stuff that makes up the outer layer of your brain, tends to shrink with age.  It also diminishes in response to diabetes, obesity and smoking. That’s bad, because people who have more of the stuff tend to have better judgment, stronger cognitive abilities and more positive moods.  But here’s the good news: Although your brain can shrink, it can also grow. Studies show that exercise, meditation and learning can all increase gray matter.

ADVICE:  Move it or Lose It

Researchers from Chicago’s Rush University College of Nursing found that older adults (average age: 81) who logged the most physical activity had the most gray matter in their brain.  Activities included exercise plus routine tasks such as gardening and housecleaning. If you need a specific goal, aim for three aerobic workouts a week. In a second study, subjects ages 64 to 78 who worked out that much for six months experienced improvements in their brain’s processing speed and long-term memory.
(written by Clint Carter for AARP The Magazine, December 2019/January 2020)