We Eloped 40 Years Ago

Len and I eloped on St. Patrick’s Day forty years ago. My parents were less than thrilled, but they soon discovered that he’s a terrific guy and ended up loving him as much as they loved me. 

People often ask us the recipe for our success. The secret is in the way we express our love. Here’s a list of our favorite ingredients:

  • Mutual respect
  • Intentional kindness
  • Active listening
  • Forgiveness
  • Quality individual time, balanced with quality together time
  • Personal hobbies, balanced with mutual interests
  • Laughter. Definitely laughter!

What’s your favorite relationship ingredient?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Pick Me Up

Living in a historic district, we get to walk past grand old mansions and quaint cottages regularly. One of my favorites has a hay bale hauler near the peak of its roof.

Hay bale hauler

In the family stories passed down to my sister and me, we’ve heard that one time, our maternal grandfather’s wedding ring got caught on part of a hay bale hauler, and he hung there until they could “reel him in.” Not an ideal pick-me-up.

Laughter, especially that of my granddaughter, instantly picks me up, lifts my spirit. 

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What lifts your spirit?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Henny Penny

Standing in the driveway waiting for Len to come home, I had the eerie feeling that I was being watched, so I turned around. At first glance, I didn’t see anyone. Upon closer inspection, this is what I saw:

When she saw me see her see me (yes, you read that right), she let out a shriek, “The sky is falling!” At least, that’s how I translated it.

That moment made me laugh. I’m glad I didn’t miss it.

“The moment is where our life takes place. We miss the moment—we miss life.” — John Daido Loori, author of Zen Photography

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What recent moment are you glad you didn’t miss?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Game On!

Len is the recipient of a gorgeous bocci ball set from Heineken (yes, the beer people — don’t ask). A super cool gift because we happen to live just two blocks from a park that boasts a beautiful bocci ball court.

IMG_7996

Studies show that play for adults — not just children — isn’t a frivolous use of time. In fact, play is a vital component to health and wellbeing. Just a few of the many benefits include:

  • Stress relief. Endorphins (one of the brain’s feel-good chemicals) are released during play.
  • Connection. Shared laughter promotes a playful disposition and boosts our relationship with others.
  • Enhanced brain function. Play stimulates creativity and can even help to stave off depression.
  • Physical vibrancy. Play promotes vitality (energy) and stamina (endurance).

When was the last time you played?

© Laurie Buchanan

Find me on Twitter @TuesWithLaurie
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Laughing Buddha

It’s still too early to plant flowers in the terra cotta pots by our front door, but we can tell that spring is just around the corner. Regardless of the weather, our year-round resident — Laughing Buddha — greets us with his buoyant body language and effervescent smile that never fails to trigger a chuckle.

IMG_7554

Anatomically speaking, we all know that the most important bone in our body is the Funny Bone. For full health benefits, it’s imperative to exercise it on a regular basis.

Scientific studies show that humor stimulates the brain’s reward center in the same ways as sex and chocolate. In turn, this reward center secretes two hormones into the brain:  dopamine and serotonin. Also known as “happiness molecules,” these anti-stress chemicals are associated with the feeling of happiness.

As we grow older, the production of these chemicals in the body decreases, so laughing becomes all the more important with increasing age.

When was the last time your funny bone got a workout?

© Laurie Buchanan

Find me on Twitter @TuesWithLaurie
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The Spiritual Practice of Play

During lunch with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in April 2012, one of the things he shared was that he learns best when he laughs.

Our spirits need celebration! What feels joyful to us encourages us along the path of personal growth and expansion.

“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” — Michael Pritchard

Play is the exuberant expression of our being, it fuels our joy and wonder. Play provides the energetic space we need to feel alive; it taps into unlimited possibility, inspiring us; it resides at the heart of our creativity and our most carefree moments of devotion. Play is a powerful way to feed our soul.

When was the last time you stepped into the transformational space of play?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence

M is for Mindfulness

Pay attention to the small stuff - lichen on a tree

Pay attention to the small stuff - Lichen on a tree, John Muir Woods, WI

Dust motes, ladybugs, lichen…

In her book Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility, Dr. Ellen Langer had this to say about mindfulness as it pertains to health:

The simple act of noticing new things—is crucial to our health in several ways. First, when we’re mindless, we ignore all the ways we could exercise control over our health. We turn that control over to the medical world alone and accept limits, which closes us off to the power of possibility.”

In my experience, mindfulness is an agent of transformation and healing.

Mindfulness is simple, but it’s not easy. Mindfulness is the open-hearted energy of being aware—now, right now—in the present moment. It’s the daily cultivation—practice—of touching life deeply. To be mindful is to be present with, and sensitive to, the people we’re with and the things we’re doing, whether it’s raking leaves, washing laundry, brushing our teeth, or peeling potatoes.

At a presentation given by Jon Kabat-Zinn he said:

“Mindfulness points to being aware of, and paying attention to, the moment in which we find ourselves. Our past is gone and our future isn’t here yet. What exists between them is the present moment; the link that holds what was and what will be.”

That brief teaching in mindfulness changed my life.

Mindfulness is our capacity to be fully present in our own life, to be fully aware of what we’re doing as we’re doing it. As we develop our awareness, an inner stillness naturally grows. In this case, stillness doesn’t necessarily mean without motion. Rather, it means to be free from inner tumult; to be tranquil. When we function from a place of tranquility we’re better able to embrace the world and better equipped to respond wisely and lovingly.

It’s my perspective that mindfulness is more than paying attention, it’s paying intention.

Paying attention engages the mind.
Paying intention additionally engages the will. 

Intention is beautifully illustrated in a story that my friend “B” shared with me. She said:

“I used to be part of a dinner book club where each month the group members would contribute a dish for dinner and after what was always a wonderful meal, we discussed an agreed upon book. 

“One month, Debbie’s food offering was a loaf of Challah bread. As we were eating it and praising her efforts, she told us that as she kneaded the bread, she chanted our names; as she braided the bread, she said intentions for the well-being of each person who would later be partaking of the bread.  I remember how honored I was when she told us this.”

When you’re mindful, do you pay attention or intention?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved.