Mind & Body Wellness: Preparing for Death

Mind and Body Wellness Preparing for Death by Beth Hemmila

Fall is when the whole of nature collaborates in the decaying process, preparing for its transition into winter and setting intentions for rebirth next spring. Here I've collected some my favorite quotes and tools for preparing for death -- a transition from one way of being to another. Sometimes what we experience is a metaphorical death in our lives that comes from growth or change, other times we lose someone we love or are preparing for our own death. Whatever your circumstance, life, death, and rebirth are a continual process, and in between each of these stages are transitions, places of preparation, that we can nurture and honor.

...death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. 
- Steve Jobs

The art of living well and the art of dying well are one.
- Epicurus (Greek philosopher, 342?-270 BCE)

What do dying people teach us? They teach us how to live.
- Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD

4 Qualities of Living
  1. Meaning
  2. Forgiveness
  3. Relationships
  4. Hope

4 Tasks for Living and Dying
  1. Understanding and transforming suffering
  2. Making a connection, healing relationships, and letting go
  3. Preparing spiritually for death
  4. Finding meaning in life


Mind and Body Wellness: Embracing Transitions

MInd and Body Wellness Embracing Transitions by Beth Hemmila

I struggle with transitions. In fact, I often dread going on vacation and making that journey between home and my final destination. I don't enjoy the uncertainty, challenges that arise, and the awkwardness I feel being away from what I know best.

Nevertheless, I believe the moments in our lives that prove to be the most life-changing are transitions. These transitional periods require an inner strength that embraces our fragility and fear. It's these transitions, where we are slogging through our own personal psychology and meeting up with the uncomfortable parts of ourselves where we stretch, grow, and shine our light in new ways.

More importantly, transitions are when we call for help and are heard by strangers, friends, and something greater than ourselves. During transitions we let go of being an 'I' and remember we are always part of a 'We.'

Starting in September, I returned to teaching art in middle school. Some people ask why I want to teach art at the middle school level, and I'm never quite sure how to explain it. All I can figure out is that I feel called to be with this particular group of kids because they are experiencing one of the most fragile transitions life demands of us. Moving from childhood to young adult is beautiful and painful all at the same time, and I appreciate the opportunity to witness and support this bridge they are walking across.

From childhood up to our death, we will be making transitions: falling in and out of relationship, changing careers and identities, moving to a different home, losing loved ones and jobs, dealing with the aging process, and making peace with our death. In these poignant moments we can choose to embrace our vulnerability, reach out to those who can offer guidance, and develop skills to be present and help others when they are making these transitions too.


Etsy Shop Help: Grow Your Business Through Word of Mouth

Etsy Shop Help Grow Your Business Through Word of Mouth by Beth Hemmila

If you are an Etsy shop owner, the most cost effective way of growing your business is word of mouth. This can be done locally, but it can also happen on a geographically larger scale as you become linked to more and more communities through social media.

Genuinely connecting within communities and offering help to others is a powerful way to build supportive relationships which will naturally nurture your business.

Here are some questions to ask yourself in regards to growing business relationships locally and digitally.

  1. What are my existing communities? Locally? Digitally? (Draw a map of your communities and show how they connect.)
  2. How can I best serve others? 
  3. What do I offer to my existing communities?
  4. What help can I provide within my communities?
  5. What skills do I have which match the needs of potential new communities?
  6. What new communities would I like to be a part of?
  7. How can my communities intersect and benefit from each other?
  8. Who are the people in my life that help me connect with others and share information between communities?
  9. Who do I want to learn from?
  10. What expertise do I possess that others want to learn from? How can I share this expertise?


Mind & Body Wellness: Synergy & Yoga

Mind and Body Wellness Synergy and Yoga by Beth Hemmila

I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone's heart. I could hear the human noise 
we sat there making. Not one of us moving. Not even when the room went dark. 
- Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

One of my favorite reasons for doing yoga as a group is that feeling of working together in unison. This kind of collective action creates an indescribable energy in the room. It creates synergy where the combination of many parts into a whole is more powerful than if the pieces were left alone.

Participants don't speak during a Bikram yoga class -- only the teacher. However, through our bodies moving in time with each other and the feeling of our hearts beating as one, you can sense the power of our human noise and that together as a group we are crafting love.


Etsy Shop Help: Effective Time Management for a Home Based Business

Etsy Shop Help Effective Time Management for a Home Based Business by Beth Hemmila

When you own an Etsy shop and it's your sole business that you work from home, it's up to you to effectively manage your time. Ultimately managing your time will be a key ingredient in  determining how successful you are at your business.

Use a Calendar
In the beginning, I tried using an electronic version of a calendar for Hint Jewelry. I used Google's gmail calendar because I had used Outlook so religiously in my last job; however, for some reason the electronic calendar never worked for me. Instead for the past 6 years, I have used a physical day planner that lets me scribble down notes. I like the physicality of my calendar, and how it feels like a journal where I jot down creative ideas and plans. Whatever you prefer, electronic or paper, make sure it's accessible, and you use it daily to plan ahead for your business.

Set Time Limits on Digital Information
You can waste a lot of valuable work time surfing the Internet or interacting on social media if you don't come up with concrete parameters for how you are going to utilize the Web. Write down a marketing plan for how long you are going to spend reading news, blogging, and connecting on social media. I set daily time limits for 15 -30 minutes so I don't lose track of what's most important in my life. These time limits also encourage me to create genuine and meaningful connections on digital media. If you struggle to stick to these time limitations, use a timer to keep you on track.

Create a Daily Agenda
In your calendar have at least 3 things you want to accomplish for the day and then do them. Make sure they are doable, but also include harder and harder tasks that you have been avoiding so you start creating momentum. I have a "Procrastination List." These are things I don't feel skilled at doing or have know clue where to start. I promise myself I will complete at least one of these tasks from the list per week so I stop avoiding them. By giving myself a week to complete each of these seemingly impossible tasks, I make them less overwhelming.

Create a Daily Routine
If you work from home, you need to set a routine for when to get up in the morning and when you end for the day. In the beginning, it might feel good to have a flexible schedule where you can wake up at 11am and then end the day at 9pm, but this will eventually lead to time being squandered on unnecessary things. Set a schedule for how best you work and then stick to it. This routine will help you stay motivated and focused. Also, by coming up with an end time you will allow yourself rest and recuperation.

Reduce, Eliminate, or Delegate Tasks
Evaluate your business for tasks that are taking up too much of your time. Is there some way you can reduce, eliminate, or delegate tasks? Can you reduce the amount of time it takes to package something? Can you eliminate certain products that aren't working or cost too much money and time? Can you delegate marketing, advertising, or manufacturing to outside sources?

Set Long Range Goals & Work Incrementally
Look ahead 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 1 year with your business. What do you want to be doing? What are your long range goals? What projects do you want to complete? What tasks will be important? What marketing plans need to be put in place? Be sure to look ahead and plan strategically how you will be accomplishing these goals. Work incrementally on these goals so you don't become overwhelmed and continually ask yourself: "What are the next steps?"


Mind & Body Wellness: The Power of the Group

Mind and Body Wellness The Power of the Group by Beth Hemmila

Many times I hike alone. However, recently, while hiking, I ran into a group of people I know from Reno and hooked up with them to discover a more challenging part of the trail -- something I wouldn't have attempted alone.

When we were climbing up a steep embankment, I began to doubt that I could safely make it back down. Experiencing some panic, I turned around and told the guy behind me, "I'm going back because this feels beyond my skill set."

Everyone in the group started protesting and the guy said to me, "That's what the group is for -- to help you do things you can't do alone."

Sometimes I forget about the power of the group, and what we can do for each other. Using the strength of the group can help you overcome mental and emotional hurdles that wouldn't be possible alone. At the same time, you can give another person encouragement to help push them beyond their perceived limits.

That day I continued on with the group, and people did lend me a hand when I needed help getting down. However, the most important thing I took away is how grateful I am for all the groups, my various life families, that have supported me, helped me stretch beyond what I thought was possible, and modeled a kind of generosity that I have only begun to give back.

Learning to trust in the power of the group to overcome obstacles is one of the most important human connections we can cultivate throughout our lives. May you continue to help others and find support for yourself in the power of the group.


Etsy Shop Help: Top 10 Brainstorming Moments

Etsy Shop Help Top 10 Brainstorming Moments by Beth Hemmila

Everyone is creative and many times we discount the act of brainstorming, generating an idea as a form of creativity. But the act of pondering something and coming up with a variety of ideas or solutions is inherently creative.

One of the most exciting things about being the owner of an Etsy shop is you get to do a lot of brainstorming to develop new products, marketing ideas, sales pitches, blogging articles, logistical solutions, and resources.

Here are my top 10 moments when I'm more open to receiving creative information. I'm guessing it's different for everyone, so if you're a new Etsy shop owner, you might want to take some time to think about what environments and situations help you feel more creative.

  1. Dreams
  2. Hiking
  3. Yoga
  4. Cooking
  5. Showering
  6. Biking
  7. Driving in the car
  8. Talking to friends
  9. Playing games with friends
  10. Swimming

Here is another list of Top Ten Idea Generating Moments from Charles "Chic" Thompson, author of What a Great Idea. This list is based on research.

  1. Showering
  2. Shaving
  3. Commuting to work
  4. Falling asleep or waking up
  5. In a meeting
  6. Reading
  7. Exercise
  8. Waking in the middle of the night
  9. Listening to a church sermon
  10. Performing manual labor


Mind & Body Wellness: Looking for Mentors

Mind and Body Wellness Looking for Mentors by Beth Hemmila

When the student is ready the master appears.
- Buddhist Proverb

One of the challenges of hiking in the mountains is that the path isn't always clear. Extensive rock faces and boulders obscure the landscape, and you can't always tell which way to go.

This is when I start looking for cairns -- small piles of rocks that act like signposts for confused travelers. I think of a series of cairns as a breadcrumb trail left behind by people who went before me. 

Symbolically, in the landscape of your own life you might find these cairns dotting the way for you -- information that will help navigate the path.

Whether you call them masters, teachers, spiritual guides, or mentors, they all have one thing in common -- through work, experience, and insight they hold wisdom that can help you on your journey.

Sometimes we like to travel alone, testing our knowledge and seeing what it's like to be a maverick; however, when you're feeling lost and confused, and don't know which way to turn, like looking for cairns on a path, seek out mentors who can offer courage and help point the way.


Camping & Hiking Nevada's Ruby Mountains

Camping and Hiking Nevada's Ruby Mountains by Beth Hemmila

Ever since moving to Nevada, I've wanted to visit the Ruby Mountains. Last weekend I took a spontaneous road trip and camped at Thomas Canyon in the Ruby Mountains of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. What took me so long?

Camping and Hiking Nevada's Ruby Mountains by Beth Hemmila

The Ruby Mountains are considered Nevada's answer to Yosemite, and they aren't kidding. This place is gorgeous! Every view is jaw-dropping. The best part about this Nevada secret -- it isn't overrun with crowds of people so it still has sense of wilderness.

Camping Thomas Canyon and Hiking Nevada's Ruby Mountains by Beth Hemmila

Thomas Canyon Campground is intimate too. Nestled along creek beds, I was lucky enough to snag a campsite along the water's edge.

Camping Thomas Canyon and Hiking Nevada's Ruby Mountains by Beth Hemmila

The campground is characterized by aspen trees, wildflowers, and lots of little critters. I spent one day just relaxing in private cove by the creek, taking dips in the cool water, watching birds, and reading a book.

Camping and Hiking Nevada's Ruby Mountains by Beth Hemmila

Even though I only had the weekend, I still got to do a couple of hikes. The most spectacular one was hiking the Ruby Crest trail.

Camping and Hiking Ruby Crest Trail Lamoille Lake Nevada's Ruby Mountains by Beth Hemmila

Easy enough for all ages and abilities, the Ruby Crest trail offers a glimpse of meadows, creeks, wildflowers, and alpine lakes. This is a picture of Lamoille Lake -- a place that was worth stopping by for a swim and picnic lunch.

A couple days was not enough time, so I will definitely be coming back to the Ruby Mountains next year.

Little Unknown Facts about the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
  • 6.3 million acres (the largest national forest in the contiguous United States)
  • Nevada is the most mountainous state in the contiguous United States
  • The forest encompasses 80,000-100,000 archeological sites


Mind & Body Wellness: Heating up Your Life

Mind and Body Wellness: Heat a Catalyst for Change by Beth Hemmila

In Bikram yoga, the room is heated to 105 degrees, which can feel pretty hot. When I started doing Bikram yoga 10 years ago, the heat took center stage. How am I going to deal with the heat? How am I going to make it through class? Where's the coolest spot in the room? What can I do to make it easier? The heat was one of my greatest distractions from truly understanding yoga.

In the beginning, heat was my obstacle to being fully present in body, mind, and spirit. However, because the heat feels like an extreme physical challenge I didn't realize until deeper into my practice that it's really a psychological barrier.

It took me a long time to break down this mental wall. I'd like to say it only took a couple years, but I'm guessing it wasn't until I did my 120 Day Yoga Challenge (6 years into my practice) that I actually stopped using heat as a mental and emotional distraction.

Over time as my mind continually searched for a way to escape the heat, to realize there was none, I learned to pull my consciousness into my body -- a deeper place where there is no pain or suffering only peace. In this kind of meditative state, you are still present and aware of the room and its challenges, but by drawing your consciousness into your hara (belly), you see the world from a place of non-reaction.

I imagine the whole of life as a yoga room. Moreover, the challenges we are presented with such as waiting, adapting, and losing are the same as the heat found in the yoga room. Emotional, physical, and psychological discomfort heats up your life and sets it on fire.

Being a creature of comfort, I like to avoid heating up my life as much as possible; however, to grow and evolve into something new, like an alchemist in the lab, you need to add flame to your life and embrace this catalyst as an agent of change.

Just like the heat of the yoga room broke down my mental barriers and helped me discover the peace inside suffering, every day the heat in your life is doing exactly the same thing if you let it.


Free Jewelry Making Tutorial: How to Cut Designs in Metal Sheet Using a Jewelers Saw

One of the top ten skills to acquire in metalsmithing or jewelry making is how to saw and cut designs in metal sheet. This is a quick, simple Howcast video by jewelry designer Courtney Gray that will teach you how to cut out a shape in metal.


MInd & Body Wellness: Meeting Each Other Where We Are

All real living is meeting.
- Martin Buber, I and Thou

While hiking, you never know who you're going to meet on the path -- people young and old, dogs, horses, bikers, etc. It's always a surprise.

Invariably I'll miss a turn off, and a stranger will appear to help point me in the right direction. Or alternatively, I'll pull out my map to show someone how get back on track. The path is one of friendliness places to be.

This quote from Martin Buber's I and Thou is one I've contemplated over the last several years because it feels rooted in our humanness. Every day we meet new people and experiences, and that point of intersection is our life.

One of the hardest parts of meeting each other is recognizing that though we may be crossing paths in the same time and space, our emotional, mental, and spiritual baggage that we carry affects our perception of things. 

To meet each other exactly where we are takes the courage to drop our baggage, put our perceptions in neutral, and accept the other exactly as they are. 

We are all who we need to be at each meeting point in time and space. And when we find the willingness to drop our judgments of good or bad, we then naturally encounter a kind of openness, friendliness, and helpfulness found on the path.