No Sweat


I was once ridiculed for admitting my favor and love of a particular gas station. “Why a gas station?” you may wonder as my finger-pointing friend did. What’s so great about a gas station that you openly admit you love it? A gas station?

If you must know, it is a brand of gas stations, not just one, and that brand is Racetrac. As an often lone female traveler I appreciate how their pumps are lit up like an operating theater at all hours. Their bathrooms are nearly always immaculate and they have a bank of fountain drink options – from the sickening sweet, unrealistic color variety to freshly brewed tea and coffee – to please the pickiest of fountain drink connoisseurs. Their employees are generally well trained and personable. Oh, and, the newest locations have self-serve frozen yogurt, so…

I am sharing this with you because I now find myself compelled to profess my ardor for yet another unsung hero: deodorant.

Let me explain. I, like many of my friends, have been searching for that perfect natural alternative to the paraben and aluminum based mega-brands. I don’t mind sweating, but I’m not too fond of stinking and nearly every natural brand has left me wilting like 10 day old kale within hours.

I have many friends who make their own everything, from soaps and lip balms to lotions and deodorant. And I’ve tried them all. I love supporting my friends and buying local and organic, but let’s be honest, not stinking by noon trumps being a virtuous friend.

Enter Native. While recently down the rabbit hole known as Facebook, I stumbled up on a blog (the likes of which I have not been able to find since) that rated 5 natural deodorants for women. I read the whole thing then went with their number one pick: Native.

I clicked the link to the Native site and selected the three pack for $30, free shipping.

I know this sounds like an ad, product endorsement, and I guess it is, but I am so happy with this stick of lavender rose joy that I can’t stop sharing it. As someone on the menopause spectrum living in middle Florida, the search and the struggle is real.

Try it or don’t, I felt it my civic duty to share. I think you’ll be very pleased. Let me know if you order it and how much you love it.



It’s been a week since I put myself on restriction. I found myself scrolling endlessly through Facebook liking and reposting copious videos of adorable animals doing silly things and inspiring folks talking about consciousness.

It wasn’t the worst way to spend my time, but it felt like I was cheating myself somehow.

In just one week a lot of my tendencies and beliefs have been revealed to me. I notice when I want to check out. It’s often when I am thinking creatively, problem solving. I’ll reach for a distraction, my phone, a piece of chocolate, something to break up the knot of thought I can’t seem to get past.

I’ve also noticed my propensity toward multi-tasking. Women, I believe, are genetically predisposed to a certain level of activity with divided attention. What with the baby producing, cooking, cleaning and working and all.

Still, this isn’t permission to go overboard.

I cannot seem to just watch TV. (I realize this isn’t a “real” problem, but it has shone a light on an annoying habit.) If the TV is on I am inclined to do some sort of activity in tandem. Eating, ironing clothes, scrolling. It has to be mindless, which means it’s probably not necessary. It’s very Pavlovian. I do not have this tendency while engaged in conversation or reading. TV on, do something additional.

This bit about the TV had me wondering too, about how much I really like the shows I record. Or did we just see one once and think it looked pretty good so habit has us watch the rest? This will become apparent soon enough.

I made a few decisions based on the insight provided by engaging in social media less. And I have laid the ground rules that I hope will continue after the month-long diet.

Here’s the short list:

  • I have removed notifications from my phone for FB, Instagram and several other apps. No more seductive red circles.
  • I no longer scroll on FB. (I do have to go on periodically for specific groups and business.)
  • I respond only to direct messaging or queries in the groups I host or business related pages. Again, on Facebook.
  • I post only through WordPress and Instagram – usually one blog and one or two photos a day.
  • I am ditching cable completely. I have ordered an antennae and will be making that swtich this month.
  • I have been writing every day.
  • I am spending more time outside. (Unitl it’s a thousand degrees – coming soon.)
  • I no longer start sentences, “Did you see that article/video/post on Facebook…?”

Most notably I feel a lot less urgency. Sometimes this feels good, sometimes I wonder what I should be doing with myself. I always find something. I have time to read the books on the teetering stacks surround me. I am sorting through old family photos – tons of them – to create books and remember stories. The house is clean.

So far there is no downside to less phone. But then it’s only been a week.


On Restriction

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I am putting myself on restriction, just short of a social media fast. I have promised myself I would take the month of May off from social media. Realizing I use certain streams for my business, I adjusted the terms and conditions of my imaginary contract to grant me limited access to Facebook only for the purposes of promoting events for the yoga studio.

My name is Allison and I am a Facebook video addict. I mean, come on: sloths, otters, motivational up-and-comers, forward thinkers, Ted talks?! And what about all those baby pictures, alpacas, silly chickens and people who need me?

But it has to stop. For now. I find myself losing up to 3 hours a day.

What I could do with those 3 hours! What could I do?

The time wasted in the morning could be spent on my yoga mat or wandering the early morning streets of my neighborhood hunting critters big and small. My mid-morning/early afternoon stretch could be spent writing and my evening hour could be spent in actual conversation or reading something inspirational. Or honestly watching recorded shows with my full attention. Do I even like these shows enough to watch them without distraction? I’ll let you know.

So, May is Blog-a-Day month for me. WordPress is a form of social media, it’s true, but it somehow seems more noble. And I can’t seem to stop myself from snapping photos of magical Florida nature or, full disclosure, my cat (oh my, I’ve become such a cliché) so I will still utilize Instagram.

But neither of these platforms seem to demand as much of my time as the book of face. I will post my blogs to FB in some of the groups I belong to and even my feed on occasion, and I will share my Instagram captures with FB as well. But I will not be drawn in by that tiny red circle glaring at me from the corner of the F square on my phone, declaring how many people love me and are anxiously awaiting my attention and reply.

We’ll see how it goes.

I really, I mean honestly, want to finish writing my book on India. So, some of my found time will be spent jittery and disheveled in the corners of coffee shops nearby. And on days under 90 degrees, perhaps on my back patio, where I will no doubt be distracted by the fauna flitting and skittering about in my back yard.

I also have two houses stuffed into one right now and would love to continue purging and organizing that back to one manageable space. This is the year of the purge for me.

It is day one, but I am hopeful I can create this shift and come June, if I’ve behaved, I may just allow myself access to the wonders of Facebook again.

For now, you can find me on Instagram @allisonswanderland. Or at one of my two blogs: – for stories of nature, travel and talking animals or this one, for musings on all things that make life magical like: minimalism, zero waste, food stuffs and philosophy.

I know I’m assuming you care, it’s okay if you don’t. But I’d love to hear from you in the comments on the blogs or Instagram. Or even Facebook, just don’t expect a response until June 1.

21 Day Challenge – Day 7 – Priorities

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Today I have been plowing through one thing to get to the next. I am deeply immersed in the practice of busyness. It’s actually work and I often do work on the weekends in exchange for long lunches and coffee with friends during the week. But it is so beautiful out it just makes me want to weep. I have the entire house opened and I’m enjoying the fragrances, breezes and continually singing of wind chimes.

It is my nature to “get stuff done.” And it doesn’t always serve me. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t born with this desire to check things off a list; I don’t recall a chalk board with little squares hanging in my bedroom as a child. Perhaps it is not so much my nature as a skill I developed to succeed.

It has served me well and continues to for the most part. But when I am mentally perusing my imaginary list while in Yoga Nidra, there’s a problem. I feel it in my body. I’m stuck on an inhale. When I’m done – which I think we’ve established will be never – I’ll exhale.

I lose the present moment. Even if I am engaged in something I don’t find stimulating, relaxing or otherwise enjoyable I want to be in it. Laundry, “the project,” cleaning my home, driving to the store. I’m suffering horribly today from Shiny Thing Syndrome. And it’s all in my head.

I read a Facebook post recently that said something like; Replace the thought, “I don’t have time,” with “It’s not a priority.” Reframes things a little. It feels perfectly okay to say, “Laundry isn’t a priority.” But it is considerably more difficult to tell a loved one, “Talking to you right now isn’t a priority.” That stings.

The lesson for me today is to slow down. Just be present. My inclination is create a process so that I can be present. Maybe stop every hour on the hour and take a deep breath, go outside and chill for five minutes. Or maybe I could have a cup o f tea at 10 AM and 3 PM to relax. Or schedule myself blocks of time. See? Shiny Thing Syndrome. There it goes taking me away. I’m ridiculous.

One practice I may add, which will increase my H.Q. (happiness quotient), is determining each morning what that One thing is I really want to do. I usually use this magical thing as a reward for getting the “stuff” done.  But there is always more stuff to do. And I deny myself the reward or it becomes just one more thing to get done.

Instead, I will make whatever it is I land on as my happy place my priority.  Maybe that means doing it first. Enjoying it with the freshness and newness of the day. Or it could be a welcome break in the day or a way to wind down in the evening.

The to do list is cellular at this point. As my cells regenerate over 7 years perhaps this need will slough off with the epithelials revealing new present living cells. But until that time I can use the priority tactic to plan my day. And as I begin to tell someone I don’t have time, or look at the number on my ringing phone and groan, I’ll check it against that priority yard stick as well.

Another little reminder: Wherever you are, be all there. Working on it.

[Photo: Trying to capture the pretty purple flower with the wind blowing was a test in patience and presence.],

21 Day Challenge – Day 3 – Wrap Up

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Day 3. Is this really even a challenge? It’s amazing to me what a clear intention, a shift in perception and support from amazing strong women can do.

I have immersed myself in the Facebook group that sprang to life, because of that first blog, like it’s my job. It is so difficult to describe this group and what happens there without using words like enchanted and magical.

All I have to do is think about the openness and readiness with which people share their vulnerabilities and unconditional love and tears of gratitude well up.

This was not at all what I expected to be writing about day after day during this challenge. I thought I’d struggle for clever ways to say I took a yoga class and went to the gym. I had no idea I was going to fall in love.

I keep using the word support, but not one of us has asked another how their 21 day challenge is going. Many are sharing but I haven’t really noticed references back to their specific challenges. It’s bigger than that now. It’s a mini-movement. It’s a commitment to upliftment in others and in so doing we are made lighter and brighter. It is through sharing our light that our own grows stronger.

That’s the support. It is non-specific yet to the point. It is being there. It is holding space. And, dare I say it? It is magical.

For the record I have effortlessly met all my daily goals. It’s no longer an option. It is my responsibility.  Keep the lamp lit. Share it.

[Photo: As I was about to leave the house this morning, running late already, Larry, my husband called to let me know there were “tons of white birds” at the pond in front of the police station. So naturally I had to go. (Sorry Darlene 🙂 They were flying back and forth like they were playing red rover. Try as I might I couldn’t quite capture them in flight without a little blur. Maybe they’ll be there tomorrow…]