As the holidays approach, I reflect on the past year and the new year. In 2022 I started practicing mindfulness and gratitude. Apparently, there is a “Science of Happiness”, and I am here for that journey. I’m working up to meditation and yoga … but that will happen mañana.

I promise I won’t get too WooWoo with you here! I’ve focused on my physical health by being mindful of what I put into my body and my mental health, by what I allow into my mind. I exercise more, I read more, I eat healthier (but still gotta work on that sweet tooth!).

Living in Puerto Peñasco allows me to practice being mindful and grateful of things large and small on a daily basis. Obviously living in a beach town is a dream come true. I feel so blessed and grateful every day. I walk on the beach several days a week to clear my mind and just enjoy the fresh air, the sound of the waves, the sand under my feet, and the seashells decorating the way. I also cannot say enough about the amazing community of people who live here. Everyone seems to pull together and help out their neighbors in tough times and celebrate together in joyful times.

Living in a small town in Mexico, four hours away from any large city, there is forced mindfulness of so many things I took for granted living in a large metropolitan area for 28 years. Challenges become gratitude. When I lived in Arizona, I was able to hit a button on my refrigerator and get a filtered glass of water with ice. Now, I have to go buy drinking water and ice which makes me appreciate the simple act of drinking water. There are very few chain restaurants or stores here, so “shopping local” is a must. I love knowing that every time I eat out (which is a lot) or most times I go shopping, I’m supporting local families. I love shopping at fruterías for fruits and vegetables, buying meats at carnicerías, and fresh shrimp from the fish markets. I’m also trying to buy smaller amounts, only what we need for a day or two, so nothing goes bad. Being mindful helps with being less wasteful.

One of the most significant changes I made is being very conscientious of what I take in on social media and cutting out the actual news media altogether for my sanity. I only vaguely know what is going on in the world by headlines I see online. On social media, I only follow inspiring posts and people. I have cut out as much negativity I possibly can. On Facebook, you can unfollow people without unfriending them and I’ve used this tool mercilessly. I mainly follow inspirational groups like The Law of Attraction, Buddhist Boot Camp, Becoming Minimalist, Simple Slow Lovely, Daily Dose of Happy. Social media is a fact of life now, but we can control what we see and block what we don’t need. Are there really hard things going on in the world right now? Absolutely. Does it do any good for me to get all worked up about things I cannot control? Nope. I work on doing things I can do make a difference, like being kind, compassionate, good deeds, and of course voting, because every vote does count and does make an impact in the world. I don’t hide my head in the sand, but I don’t show up to every argument I’m invited to anymore either. My personal growth has been hard but rewarding and I still have lots more work to do … Wishing everyone a Feliz Navidad … until 2023

Speaking of good deeds and making a difference….

Although donations are gladly accepted year-round, blankets, sweaters, socks, and shoes to keep warm are especially needed in the winter months. If you haven’t been to Rocky Point in November thru February, it’s cold!

Please consider taking some time to go through your closets, your drawers, your garage to find clothes that no longer fit, toys, school supplies, tools, books, DVD’s, etc. to bring down to Rocky Point on your next trip. There’s a great need here for items you don’t use anymore. Whatever isn’t needed can be sold or traded for something else. Tip: It’s best to bring down donations in suitcases, rather than trash bags or boxes, which can raise issues at the border. You can pack items in suitcases (pack a few heavy-duty trash bags inside too) or bring deconstructed boxes for once you get here.

You can bring donations to the Rocky Point Times office to be distributed to charitable organizations. There are children’s organizations, homes for the elderly, and animal shelters that rely solely on donations. If you don’t have extra cash to give during this time of year, you can still make a difference with food, clothes, cleaning supplies, soap, toiletries, diapers, non-perishable food. If you’re buying canned food, toilet paper, paper towels, bleach, etc. in bulk, bring some of it down to donate. The dollar store has lots of name brand soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. In town at Bodega Aurrera and Sam’s Club you can purchase a “pantry” filled with necessities to donate.