11 Jan 2017

Happy New Year: And So It Begins

Happy New Year And So It Begins on vickiarcher.com

I have missed you.


The holidays passed, not in a whirlwind of tinsel and cheer but in a slow rolling, easy kind of way.

It was a different Christmas for us this year, away from the traditional and the familiar, spent in the warm hues of an island paradise.

Yes, we missed home and all the trappings but the freedom, both mental and physical, to let the year go in a gentle and relaxed fashion was as therapeutic as it gets.

 

 

 

I am home with a whole new mind-set.

Not brand new resolutions because they might set me on a path to disappointment. This year I want to focus on “growth” and a “refresh” in every area of life. I don’t want to fill my head with unrealistic expectations or stress myself along the road to failure; I want to look at the year as an expansion, as a time to grow all the good and refresh what is already in place.

 

I want to make the time count.

I am old enough to understand every second is precious and should never be taken for granted. Using time wisely is an art and I want to work on that. I don’t want to look back with wishful thinking and regret time wasted. This is the one thing we can make sure of. This is a year to DO. Small wishes or impossible dreams, there is no time to lose.

 

Over the holidays I started reading for pleasure again.

I left the computer idle, the iPad uncharged, the Facebook page unattended, the emails unopened and read fiction. I am confident my almost digital detox has given me mental clarity and a refreshed mind-set. It was hard to push down my day-to-day habits, to leave behind connectivity in favour of my own imagination but I managed. Now I feel in reverse; I am slow and gawky on the keyboard, like a teenager getting ready for a date. I am expectant but unsure; I am ready but tentative. Here goes.

 

Deep down I trust the break and I am committed to finding the balance between work and play. Why is my default position one or the other? This year I want to find equilibrium; equal doses of everything.

 

 

 

I cannot believe I am about to write this sentence. I started yoga.

Finally after years of umming and arring I am committed. It took an incredible Ayurvedic Doctor, an island escape and a body with an embarrassing lack of flexibility to push me over the edge.

 

Yoga has been something I am always meaning to do. I see the benefits on others and I am well intentioned but before now, I never made it. There was always time in the future to learn a pose and go with “the flow”. The time is now. Now I see stretching, in the discipline of choice, as a non-negotiable. It is not easy for me, I won’t say it is a pleasure but afterwards it makes me feel like a whole new me. I am stronger, more agile and most importantly relaxed. I can breathe.


Yoga will be a part of my fitness routine for now and evermore. I know I am speaking to many who are much smarter and have been practising for years and yes, please say I told you so.

 

 

I am making small changes, nothing revolutionary. I’m not unrealistic but I do hope to work on what’s already in play and I am excited to see what this brings.

I have so many plans and yet none of them fixed. Let’s grow together and make our great greater.

 

It’s easy when we have each other. xv



image, levis.com, the revel

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32 Comments

Mimi Gregor

I love yoga! Not only does it keep me flexible and improve my balance, but it calms my mind. Congrats on starting it!

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Vicki

I can do with a calmer mind, Mimi… yes… I am happy to be late to the party but at least there ;)

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Taste of France

Good for you! Yoga is a wonderful practice. Having a good teacher is key–and by good I mean the right fit for you and your temperament. Personally I don’t like overly sporty yoga nor overly spiritual yoga. I had a teacher who took it slow, and who made it spiritual through that slowness, rather than saying, “OK, let’s all meditate now!”
I’m lucky to be very flexible, still doing the splits in my 50s. But it isn’t just luck; it’s practice. And it’s letting go, not resisting the pain, not tightening up against it. To me the pull of stretching feels a lot like the hurts-so-good feel of a deep massage. And like massage, it works best when you melt into it. I imagine my muscles are like butter or chocolate, melting in a warm pan.

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Vicki

I love this analogy!
yes.. me too.. not so good with the meditation and better with the “slowing” down…
I will take your advice with me.. Thank you :)

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Ann

I predict you’ll be so happy you started to practice yoga this year. :) I’m a “yoga veteran” of 7 only months. And it’s already made very obvious changes in my body and my perspective. The changes have been slow and all in positive directions. It’s now just part of my life. I hope your practice proves to be a source of good things for you, too. :)

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Vicki

Thank you Ann… I am sure it will and I can already see after a few weeks a noticeable difference… I must continue and not become way laid or lazy in this European winter…

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Alexis

I am so happy to hear this! Yoga changed my life, body and mind! I hope you keep your commitment long enough that you don’t need a commitment anymore. It will be just part of your life.

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Lisa DeNunzio

Vicki, Vicki, we have missed you. Your ability to see life with its fundamental beauty and poignancy makes me smile. Balance has always been important to me (I am a Libra) and yet Yoga has never called to me – or perhaps I have not been listening. Glad to have you back!!!

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Vicki

It never called to me either Lisa.. but I realised that my flexibility or the lack thereof was not doing me any favours… so bending and stretching I will be :)

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Christine

We too were away- makes coming back a little surreal but def already thinking forward to warmth and sunshine! Any fiction books from your break worth recommending?? I actually read Christmas books in the sun and sand. One was incredibly tiresome about empty nesting (learned how NOT to be as that stage quickly approaches) and one hilarious killer ‘elf’ romp that has me looking up more from the same author.

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Vicki

Nothing wildly mind bending Christine… a lot of adventure, travel fiction.. to get me inspired for this year :)

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Linda B

Bravo, Vicki! I’m so glad that you had that wonderful holiday, and it is so lovely to see you back here.

I did yoga for a while way back in college, and have dipped a toe in again a few times in the past 40 years. But I keep thinking that I want to truly make it a practice again. Thanks for the inspiring nudge! I have to admit though that for now, it still feels like my life is too full to add one more thing. I have to get over this. . .

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Vicki

I am adding it in and taking time out elsewhere, Linda…
I might make it a lunchtime habit… and make my girls come too!
We will all be bending and stretching all over the place :)

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Leslie

Vicki – wonderful news to hear you are trying yoga! Every day is different with ones body and you learn gratefulness over time. The flexibility does come but the greatest gift to me has been the inner calm and happiness within. I met 8 amazing ladies in a yoga class and we decided to from a book club 5 years ago – still going strong. Their wisdom and advice has been invaluable and changed my life – all because of yoga. Be open and see where you go.

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Jillayne

A friend suggested yoga to me almost 16 years ago when I was having terrible hip and back pain. I started simply, either a 20 minute morning or evening practice and have since continued with it, not regularly or daily, though I’ve tried, but often. The other day during my favourite morning practice I realized if there was one thing that has influenced me the most, set me out on wonderful paths, it has been yoga.
It gave me pause, allowed me to consider – made space within me… I live in a greater understanding. Presence, awareness, acceptance… all of those have been heightened, certainly, but it is the “gentling” of me and my life that has been the most surprising. I feel all the urgencies you speak of, as I slide to the other side of mid-fifties, but I don’t want to regret even if a thing is regrettable. I’m not sure that’s possible though, but it does help me make better decisions!

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Our French Oasis

I started yoga about ten years ago and have never looked back. My girls often come come with me, it has been the most incredible stress buster for our eldest whilst in her final year at University and an incredible stretching tool for our ten year old who plays a vast amount of tennis. Yoga really is for all ages and I firmly believe that by keeping it up on a regular basis it is something we can continue as we get older, whilst keeping us fit, supple and focusing the mind.

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Stephanie

Oh My Goodness Vicki I am so proud and jealous of you! YOGA…My SECRET Passion…I have ALWAYS wanted to try it… I work out with a personal trainer three times a week but I feel I just don’t have the flexibility to get up and down that yoga desires. Now that YOU are my INSPIRATION I may just give it a try! My friends that do yoga have a certain serenity about them…something I would ❤️ to have more of in my own life! Loving your Instagram posts on your recent visit to “Paradise” and St Remy. Thank you!

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Wendy Going Forward

My yoga journey started 9 years ago when my back went out. With in 1 month I was better than ever. Now I practice daily. Everything I have learned in the past 9 years I have learned from yoga. I now have patience ( certainly never had that before), can live in the moment, mindfulness and flexibility. A 91 year old yogi told me “we are only as young as our spine and our mind”. I fully believe this now! It is a journey, enjoy!

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Wendy Going Forward

Oh, I practice 3 types of yoga, vinyasa flow ( lots of movement!), Hatha ( a bit “softer” slower) and yin ( relaxing stretches, like a massage!). All are wonderful.
Welcome back, you were missed!

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Kathleen

Good for you ! I am 64 and I started yoga @ 2 years ago, twice e week. I really didn’t like it for 6 months then liked it only a tiny bit for 6 more months. It’s hard. I wasn’t as strong or flexible as I thought. Now I LOVE it and wish I could take class more than twice a week but it’s a location/Time issue so maybe when I retire I can get a few more classes in a week. I don’t do well with home dvds. Keep us up to date on this endeavor. I wish I had started 20 years ago ! Bisous

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Ainsivalavie

This year is my year to finally get a grip on my diet..not necessarily eliminating anything put pushing back on the sweets, white carbs and red meat and making room for more plant based meals. I have been doing it for a few days and have already noted a difference. I feel calmer! My belly is less bloated and I am not craving those Christmas delicacies that so generously filled my stocking:)
Yoga has always intrigued me so I am happy you are taking the plunge. I am exploring a type of exercise out of Canada called Essentrics. It was developed by Miranda Esmond-White who was a ballet dancer. The practice takes from Pilates and yoga with lots of stretching and strengthening. Miranda has written a book called Aging Backwards (she is in her 60’s and twenty somethings should envy that body!) I like that she addresses the three big issues of the aging body: Flexibility, Strength and Balance and her speaking voice is very soothing (grating voices are off my radar this year too:) Check out her web site http://www.essentrics.com for inspiration.(I don’t know the lady at all but I am so impressed with her work)
Have a Happy and Healthy New Year

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Missi

Great timing! Like, Ainsivalavie, I am watching Miranda Esmond-White too and love her! I will check out her site today. I like the freedom of following her on my television vs. going to a studio. I have seen a change in only a week! I am also banning soda, chocolate, wine, dairy and other problem foods from diet, not to lose weight but for my tummy health. Oh, and I’m saying ‘no’ to things when a ‘yes’ means I’ll be a stressed out mess! Happy 2017!!!

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Vicki Ford

I think many of us are carefully considering what sort of life we need to lead for 2017, and especially to make each moment count. Reading and focusing on something for an extended period is very good for the soul and also for the physical brain as well. To quote Dr Caroline Leaf from her book Switch on Your Brain, “Deep intellectual thinking improves connections within and between nerve networks, specifically in the front part of the brain and between the front and middle parts”. The latest scientific studies show that extensive multi taskinging is not good for us long term as it decreases our attention and we are less able to focus on our thought habits. Anothet current book is The Life Plan by Shannah Kennedy. For me this year it seems the focus is about clarity and structure of thought and the empowerment that will bring. A commitment 6 months to pilates will continue. My trainer is an ex dancer with incredible experience and training and a wonderful ability to conduct an intuitive session based on your body’s needs. He picks it as you walk in rhe door. My lifestyle changes this year will see the inclusion of the Danish lifestyle qualities called Hygge. Its all about simplicity, cosiness, comfort, nature, nuturing and quality meaningful time with people. The Happiness Institute have rsearched why Denmark is apparently the happiest nation on earth. I bought and began reading a book on the topic for the holidays but gave it to someone who needed a little inspiration and encouragement! I think we all do at times. But buying books for oneself is a great privilege and a special honour by way of self-investing. Wishing everyone a year of focus and clarity, joy peace and beauty. May we use our hand hearts and minds to sow peace and love to all humanity.

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Susie Martin

Great to have you back Vicki! I have been missing your enthusiasm & inspiration so what a wonderful way to start the new year. Yoga is fabulous in so many ways and so too is meditation. I love them both & dabbled with both over the past few years. The trick is to be disciplined enough to slow down & make time for both -even just a few minutes of meditation makes a difference. Looking forward to taking on this challenge together. XX

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Jennifer Lively

Vicki: I loved learning that you are abandoning hard to follow resolutions for something more in tune with our every day life style…focusing on “Growth” and “refreshing” all aspects of you life. Yoga, which I’ve been practicing for several years, will definitely help you achieve them. I keep going back to the importance of breathing and stretching, which I gave so little thought to when I was younger. I so enjoy reading your blog! It’s full of gumption and savoir faire!

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Nancy

I taught yoga many years ago but gave it up because I traveled so much at the time. Now I just do it for me. I highly encourage you to just take your time and enjoy the results. Being from Canada too, I have heard a lot of good things about Essentrics. Missed getting your posts – glad you are back and that you had a wonderful break.

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Lisa H

So glad to see your post and so pleased to hear you were able to disconnect over the holidays. I love that you have found yoga. It has been a regular part of my life for over 7 years. Don’t over think it. It will win you over slowly over time. You will wonder why you didn’t start sooner. Best wishes for a year filled with unbridled promise….

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Olympia

Beautifully said! Here, here to everything. Especially making time count. It’s so easy to become preoccupied, vowing to get back to this or that some other time. My word is ‘fearlessness’. I want to focus on exactly what I want and staying true to that; to myself. Loved your words, Vicki and I’m all for being there for each other. Happy New Year! xx

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Sharon Corona

Welcome to my world. I decided to add yoga to years of weight training, boxing and a bit of cardio, because my body was as tight as a knot. My goal is flexibility so that I don’t break. Right now I have to laugh as I try to fold my body over or attempt to elongate my torso. Thank you for all the healthful articles and the great,off the wall fashion pictures moderated by sensible choices. I too treasure a black turtle neck. Thanks for helping me keep in touch with France and so much more.

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Anita Rivera

Dearest Vicki, good morning! Late again here…I am preparing for final exams at school.

You are SO right about the “digital detox” and what it can do for us. To put away the social media and little by little no longer make it the priority is cleansing. To read a book, to engage in outdoor activities, to fill our minds with classic work is to respect our minds and intelligence. As a teacher, I’ve struggled with my students using on-line sources for research and learning. My argument is that many of those sources have not been edited with the care and time of published works. The same goes for news information and the quality of reading material. To pick up a good book, to read good fiction I think requires looking away from the computer and giving our minds a chance to ponder using our imaginations.

Bravo my friend. Enjoy yourself!

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