Sasee Magazine - January 2022

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January 2022

“It’s a new dawn It’s a new day It’s a new life for me & I’m feelin’ good” -Nina Simone

PruittHealth – Committed to Caring since 1969. For fifty years, PruittHealth has been providing professional health care services throughout the Southeast. Our focus is and always will be to provide quality care, stateof-the-art programs, skilled services and committed people. We, the PruittHealth family of providers, recognize the inherent value of our clients. Whether they are patients, residents, families, friends, volunteers, partners, or the communities in which we are located. We are committed to serving health care needs, gaining customer loyalty and maintaining satisfaction at the highest level. At every PruittHealth location, you will always find a smiling face and a helping hand, backed by the highest medical standards and treatments.

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Start making a difference. Recycle this publication.

Grinding Greens of the

No wreaths, please!!

You keep the ornaments.

Just bring us the tree.

December 26- January 29 The Horry County Solid Waste Authority encourages you to take one extra step to make the holidays green and bright - recycle your natural Christmas tree after the season. Simply remove all lights, decorations (including tinsel) and the tree stand. Then, bring your tree to a designated area to be chipped and recycled into free landscaping mulch. The mulch will be available to all citizens while supplies last. Bring your own container to collect the mulch. City residents of Conway, Surfside Beach, Loris and Aynor may place trees on the street curb for pick-up. Myrtle Beach city residents can leave trees curbside or visit the new drop off location at the Myrtle Beach Transfer Station at 10th Ave. N.

City residents of North Myrtle Beach may leave trees curbside or visit these drop off locations: Cherry Grove- Public parking lot at the intersection of Ocean Blvd. & Shorehaven Dr. (Near 19th Ave. N.) Crescent Beach- Parking lot across from the J. Bryan Floyd Community Center at 1030 Possum Trot Rd.

County residents outside of city limits may visit any of the 24 SWA Recycling & Convenience Centers located throughout the county.

“Rise & Shine” January 2022 Contents Volume 21, Issue 1

About the Cover Artist: Elena Kraft has been a passionate dancer since birth. She matured into a dance teacher, then a choreographer, and finally, a proud director of a dance school. She is inspired by movements, body language, and body control. It was not until the age of forty-five that she discovered her passion for art. Because she’s been dancing all of her life, she naturally moves within the framework of the art of dance, painting, and sculpture, which you can see in her figurative works. She started with charcoal pencils and pastels and now, she mainly works with acrylic, oil, resin, and clay. Elena likes to experiment with texture and various techniques as she tries to make her work as lively as possible. Her later works show more expression of her emotions. With the help of a splash technique and sculpture, the figurative pictures and sculptures receive an expressionist nuance as a background. The human body is the most complex and delicate, which is why most of her works depict it.

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Elise Angell: Inhale the Future, Exhale the Past by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson


Celebrating Ja-NO-ary by Rachel Remick


Shine Cafe by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson


Misty Elmore: Iron Sharpens Iron by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson


Journaling a Place at the Table by Rose Ann Sinay


Accepting my New Reality by Kim Hanson


Rachel Pitts: The Art of Success by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson


January 2022 Events

PAW L E Y S I S L AN D F E S T I VAL O F M U S I C & AR T P R E S E N T S T h e 2 0 2 2 L e e M i n t o n S i g n a t u re S e r i e s Allan Harris The Music of Nat King Cole February 9, 2022 • 7:00pm $35 per person Tony Bennett has called Allan “my favorite singer” and The New York Times’ Stephen Holden raves about “the protean talent that is Allan Harris.” Jazz vocalist, Allan Harris will be presenting his incredible tribute to Nat King Cole. The Village House will be set up as a NYC blues café with high top tables and chairs. Please join us for an intimate evening, listening to “The Music of Nat King Cole.”

Barron Ryan “Classic Meets Cool” February 17, 2022 • 7:00pm $20 per person Pianist, Barron Ryan’s love for music has always been divided as he grew up in a house filled with the sounds of artists ranging from Mozart to Michael Jackson. So when it comes to his own performing, he’s not content drawing on just one influence. He combines them all into a musical adventure that’s vintage yet fresh, historical yet hip, classic yet cool.

The Hall Sisters February 23, 2022 • 7:00pm $20 per person The Hall Sisters showcase their vocal and instrumental expertise and are often described as having the harmonic prowess of the Eagles and the soulful blend of the Carpenters, The Hall Sisters mix with the energy of country pop! Tickets can be purchased by credit card by calling 843-626-8911. Or you may call to reserve space (and pay Cash or check at the door).

Reservations required due to limited seating.

Cash Bar and Heavy Hors d’Oeuvres will be provided by The Village House.

All Performances at The Village House 13089 Ocean Hwy. Bld E, Pawleys Island

843-626-8911 for Tickets For Information

from the Editor On my best days, my morning routine is all about rising and shining. I like to rise with the sun, which in return helps me shine throughout the rest of my day. My favorite places to watch the sunrise are at the beach, my family’s inlet house, or Moore’s Park Landing. The park is only a ten-minute walk from where I live, so it’s a peaceful way to get some exercise in. Once I make it to my destination, I also take the opportunity to stretch. Something about the warmth of the sun on my skin while I move my body brings me comfort and a rush of tranquility. Regardless of where I view the dawn of the day, I always listen to music. This time frame is often accompanied by soft, yet mood-boosting melodies played from my “Up Girly” playlist. The combination of this set of tunes while surrounded by nature centers me and inspires my creativity. As far as a New Year’s resolution, I view every day as a new day to be the new you. I do believe that intention setting is a powerful tool if you stay consistent with your vision and committed to the actionable steps to achieve your goal. Affirmation building is another concept I have grown to understand that helps me on my not-so-good days, which is basically an expression of positivity. Affirmations can be written down, spoken out loud, or simply thoughts in your head. I engage in all forms, especially when I am trying to improve my perspective on a situation whether it be caused by someone else or revolved around my own self-doubt. Learning to forgive myself and let go of situations that are out of my control is a challenging mental and emotional exercise but is highly necessary for me to fully live in the moment. I am hopeful that my year of 2022 will be overflowing with quality time spent in the sunshine, with loved ones, and loving myself. I am excited to continue exploring wellness and balance in all aspects of my life and learning to trust the process. I will leave you with a quote that motivates me and grounds my soul when I need it most, “As above so below, as within so without!”

Publisher Delores Blount Sales & Marketing Director Susan Bryant Editor Sarah Elaine Hawkinson Account Executives Erica Schneider Gay Stackhouse Art Director Patrick Sullivan Contributing Photographer Chasing the Light Photography Web Developer Scott Konradt Accounting Gail Knowles Executive Publishers Jim Creel Bill Hennecy Suzette Rogers PO Box 1389, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576 fax 843-626-6452 • phone 843-626-8911 • Sasee is published monthly and distributed free along the Grand Strand. Submissions of articles and art are welcome. Visit our website for details on submission. Sasee is a Strand Media Group, Inc. publication. Copyright © 2022. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material, in part or in whole, prepared by Strand Media Group, Inc. and appearing within this publication is strictly prohibited. Title “Sasee” is registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

6 :: :: January 2022

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Elise Angell: Inhale the Future, Exhale the Past by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson

“I have always felt like I was misplaced at birth,” Elise explained, “because even though I did not grow up here, this is really where I feel at home.” She always wanted to live at the beach and she originally moved to the Grand Strand twenty-five years ago to open at the Palace Theatre where she played the violin with Kenny Rogers. Although Elise spent many years immersed in a dynamic span of careers, once she started practicing yoga, she instantly fell in love as it “grabbed ahold of her soul” and she just knew it was the new direction for her life. She decided to become an instructor and now has certifications in life coaching and health coaching as well. She coaches clients individually but also weaves many of the vital coaching concepts into her everyday yoga teachings. One yoga teaching that is particularly interesting for this time of year is intention setting. Many people are beginning their New Year’s resolutions, and for most yogis, a New Year’s resolution is just another day of intention setting. Elise explained, “While practicing yoga, we take time before and after every class to practice intention setting, which is done by bringing attention to a quality that you would like to emulate, on and off the mat. So, when New Year’s Day comes around, maybe I’ll pick a word that might resonate with me for the year, but with yoga, I feel like we are always setting intensions/resolutions every single day.” For three years, Elise has been the owner of Living Yoga and Wellness in Myrtle Beach, but she thinks of herself as the “current caretaker” as she will one day pass the company onto another to carry it forward. Her role is to be as open and inviting as possible to the community because she wants everyone who walks into her business to feel comfortable and ready to learn. For someone new to yoga, her advice is to look at yoga like a foreign language. “You are not going to learn everything in one day,” she said, “so you should not have expectations or judgments about it. Yoga is just another 10 :: :: January 2022

opportunity for you to learn about yourself and see where the path takes you.” Elise views herself as a suggestion, a facilitator, but what the practice of yoga reveals for someone personally, is what it’s all about, and it’s different for everyone. She explained, “When you are on your own mat and in your own space, it gives you an opportunity to listen to yourself and your needs. I have found that the students who practice yoga over an extended period of time, go through shifts and changes, and I have literally seen it happen. It’s really a cool thing to watch when the light goes on for someone and when they make the connection for themselves.” As far as a morning routine, Elise meditates and focuses on her breathing. “I feel like if I start my day in a calm, peaceful place, the probability that the rest of my day will continue that way, is pretty good,” she said, as she has been starting her day this way for fifteen years. Her quiet mornings also involve reading and crossword puzzles. When I asked her about the benefits of meditating, she replied “It was life-changing! When I first started, I thought, ‘What is the purpose? Why is my mind so busy?’ But that’s what the point is. Over time, I still have sessions where my mind is all over the place, but it’s part of the process. I have found that meditation really helps me be a better person - it grounds me. Learning how to deal with the ebb and flow, with the shift of how you want things to go and how they end up going, letting go of expectations and of things that are out of your control. It helps you become accepting and at peace with what is.” The everyday practice of yoga and meditation also brings a sense of affirmation building due to how the practice rewires the way your brain thinks. Elise believes it is very useful to think and speak positively to oneself. She practices this by releasing judgment, guilt, shame, blame, and learning to forgive. This was something that came with time for her and has been an easier transition as she has matured. She

used to be hard on herself (as most of us are) and had to learn how to speak to herself in a different manner. One of her teachings is, “Take those things you say to yourself and imagine saying it to the person beside you. You can’t, you wouldn’t, because it’s not kind. So, don’t say it to yourself. Whenever I catch myself thinking negatively, I’ll turn it around and say, ‘no girlfriend, give yourself some grace.’” Elise enjoys writing out her feelings as well. She does not write daily, but she does have a specific journal for her thoughts when the time approaches. She also has lots of notes written on pieces of paper everywhere. She is very tapped into music and has many playlists and genres she listens to depending on what she is doing at the time. Just as she expresses herself through writing and music, she also connects with herself through nature. She lives close to the ocean and appreciates the sounds of the waves, walking on the beach, and putting her toes in the sand. She also has a passion for gardening, “digging in the dirt and growing things, that’s my jam!” she exclaimed. Speaking of jam, another hobby she likes is cooking. She spends a lot of time in the kitchen creating recipes and working on her cookbook. Spending quality time focused on what she loves is a high priority for Elise and coming to the studio is very inspiring for her. Knowing that she is headed to a place she loves and sharing what she loves with others is plenty of motivation for her. She cherishes her studio and the way that it provides a space for people to collect. She feels that the practice of yoga brings true joy and happiness and that “the more you practice, connect, and understand yourself, the more you can start to make those subtle changes in your life that bring peace overall.” The most important thing Elise is telling her clients is to listen to their own bodies. She explained, “We are a map of our experiences. Everything we have is within us, and I feel like we are taught to look outside ourselves for the answers, but really, we have everything we need inside. Through the practice of yoga, you are able to find that. Because yoga is who I believe we are as humans, it taps into all of the parts of our beings. It allows us to be more aware, and every time I physically step onto the mat, it also works on the mental, emotional, and soulful aspects. They are all connected and through yoga, we get to truly understand ourselves.” Yoga is not something that Elise does - yoga is a way of life. On and off the mat, she chooses to live her life consciously and tries to constantly be present in all areas. She does not view yoga as just a physical movement, but as a living and loving, organic growth. Elise exclaimed, “Yoga and life are synonymous.” :: January 2022 :: 11

Celebrating Ja-NO-ary by Rachel Remick

In the middle of my holiday shopping this past year I took a moment at the bookstore to grab some books and look them over while sitting in the café sipping a peppermint mocha Frappuccino with extra whipped cream. One of the books I had chosen was Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. It had been on my list to read for quite some time, and in wanting to make 2022 most definitely a year of something after the challenges faced in both 2020 and 2021, “Yes” seemed a fitting purpose for the new year. Yet as I began to read, I found my mind wandering to all the other things that needed to get done, the many commitments I had made that were constantly looming at my back, hovering over my shoulder. In short, all the things I had said “yes” to. And because of them, I had to close my book, toss the Frappuccino into the trash can, and hurry to my latest dog appointment. After that, I had scheduled two meet and greets, a video chat with my critique group, dinner with a friend, and an afterhours sales meeting with a client. Because of everything I had said yes to, I now found myself in the regrettable position of saying no to the one person at the center of it all: me. I was doling out so many yeses that I was slowly starting to see my life lately had become one long succession of no’s, and I was applying that sentiment to the things that mattered most to me. No to phone calls with friends. No to a soak in the tub because the shower is more efficient. No to cooking on the stove because the microwave gets it done faster. No to lunch at an actual table with others because alone at my desk means I can eat and work. No to traveling home for Thanksgiving or Christmas because I have clients depending on me to watch their dogs while they visit their own families. I began to pay closer attention to my surroundings while out and about, observing the behaviors and effects of others around me, especially women. Most looked rushed, tired, impatient. Holiday time used to 12 :: :: January 2022

be something we would savor, enjoying not only the events themselves but the ritual of preparation. Now our lives are so hectic and planned that we need not only December, but also all of November and half of October to plan for it. What used to be the biggest homecooked meal of the year has now become a pre-ordered fully cooked turkey from Whole Foods and packed containers of vegetables and mashed potatoes. Trees now come fully trimmed and almost every retail outlet offers gift wrapping. We are so overscheduled that most of us don’t even go out shopping anymore; in between phone calls and paperwork we can order everything we need and have it shipped anywhere; we’ve even robbed ourselves of the experience of the actual gift exchange. I too was a “yesser” when it came to department store gift wrapping, as sitting on the floor of my living room and wrapping them myself was not an option. I had become too busy to even participate in one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I knew I could not take this practice into my new year. So, with much respect and apologies to Shonda, I am declaring January 2022 my month of just saying no. And I wholeheartedly suggest you join me. I hear your horrified gasps. Saying no? To my boss? My partner? My children? That extra helping of mashed potatoes? But if we are being completely honest with ourselves, how many times do we say yes when it is actually in our best interest to say no? Elton John sang about sorry being the hardest word; I’d like to propose that the hardest word is actually no. Is that because we feel deep down that a sincere no to others is indeed a yes to ourselves? And a yes to ourselves, we’ve been taught, is selfish. What kind of person are we if we can’t make cupcakes for the dance team fundraiser because we’d rather take a candlelit bath? Many times, we say yes because we’ve been told it is the polite thing to do. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by denying them something they feel they

need, but sometimes putting our own well-being and desires at the bottom of the to-do list is the easy way out. We don’t want to have to deal with the fallout of saying no, bearing the responsibility that comes with crushing someone’s expectations. That sounds extreme, doesn’t it? To believe that a simple no from us in response to a request has the power to cripple someone emotionally. Sure, a no is probably not what the asker is hoping for, but how beneficial to them is your forced yes? If delivered directly and with sincerity, a no can be liberating. Consider your own feelings every time a yes to someone else translates into what you need and want yet again taking a back seat. I’ve already started trying out this New Year’s resolution. Just yesterday when the barista making my peppermint mocha asked me if there was enough whipped cream on my drink, I smiled brightly and declared, “No.”

Rachel Remick lives in Florida, where she writes, swims, walks dogs and cheers on the Tampa Bay Lightning. A previous contributor to Sasee, her work has also appeared in Rosebud, The First Line and Chicken Soup for The Soul: Listen to Your Dreams.

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Gets Personal with

Leslie Wilson:

Executive Chef & Owner of Shine Café Originally built by a female architect in 1928, this house in the heart of Conway was originally the Chestnut family home, then opened as The Tourist Home (a boarding house mainly for Veterans), then a Tea Shop, and then a bridal shop, is now the home of Shine Café. Leslie opened her café in 2019 after she spent several years renovating the house as historically accurate. She has always loved old homes, cooking, and growing her own goods in her garden. “I grew up in a unique, old home and was always at my mom’s elbow in the kitchen wanting to taste new foods,” said Leslie. After she retired as a teacher to raise her children, she spent two decades cooking for the community, schools, nonprofits, and her church, which inspired her to open her own café someday. Shine Café not only offers delicious cuisine with flavor in every bite, but also local art, jewelry, and tea. The art is rotated every two months, so on the last Thursday of every other month, they offer artist meet and greet nights including live music and free wine and hors d’oeuvres. Upstairs, Shine has a space where they also offer massage therapy and yoga sessions. As a child, Leslie was diagnosed with severe scoliosis and was taught from a young age how vital it is to stretch and strengthen her muscles. She meditates, stretches, and exercises with yoga and Pilates every day. “Whenever I get home from work, I always stretch and as it calms me and releases tension throughout my body,

I am able to get better sleep,” Leslie continued, “people think they don’t have the strength to exercise, but really, you don’t have the strength not to - it’s important to just start because your body will only get worse the longer you wait.” Leslie’s morning routine begins at 6 a.m. when she gives thanks for the day, drinks her coffee, and heads to the café to prep for lunch. “I stay positive and productive by simply showing up to work because I genuinely enjoy cooking for others. It’s like I lined up to do what I love every single day,” Leslie explained, as she feels that her job is to raise everyone’s energy who comes into the café, whether it be a worker or a guest. She listens to music as she prepares for the day and plays different genres during restaurant hours such as classic guitar, jazz, and local artists’ CDs. New Year’s resolutions have never really been Leslie’s thing, but she is going to give it a go this year because she has been trying to heal her patches of very dry, rough skin. As a chef who is very aware of their nutrition intake, she knows something she is eating is affecting her – her love of bread and chocolate. As hard as it is to resist the fresh biscuits, focaccia and Challah bread they make, she is committed to cutting those items down to one serving a day. Luckily, the café offers several yummy, good-for-you options as well even the desserts that were voted the best in Conway by the Restaurant Guru. Leslie makes every dish with love, and the light within her shines as bright as her café. Be sure to check out their events as well as their catering information so you can add some of her home cooking with international flair to your next affair. With an interesting history and a cozy, artistic ambiance, make Shine Café your next local spot for “front porch sittin’ and sweet tea sippin’.”

14 :: :: January 2022


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Misty Elmore: Iron Sharpens Iron by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson

As Misty Elmore and her husband, Derek, transitioned from the mountains of Virginia to the beach life along the Grand Strand, they soon after transitioned from high school teachers into a new type of teaching – nutrition, fitness, and wellness. In November of 2020, the couple purchased an ISI Elite Training franchise in North Myrtle Beach, which is a group fitness gym that provides a family feel and strong accountability that many trainees need. ISI is compared to personal training in the way that each exercise has multiple modifications so that advanced clients can be challenged and those who are new or have a physical issue, are still able to achieve the same workout. In February of 2021, the Elmores opened the NMB Wellness Studio as a sister store because they understand that with fitness and training, there is always a need for flexibility and nutrition as well. “You can’t out-work your fork,” Misty said. The studio is also a great way to spend more oneon-one time with clients and understand their personal struggles, so they can give them the all-around support they need. The Wellness Studio offers stretch appointments, nutrition coaching, seminars, yoga instruction, and sports performance training for local athletes. As teachers and coaches, they have always wanted to help others grow and they were specifically drawn to this career field because of their athletic backgrounds. Misty taught English and coached softball while Derek taught computer science and coached basketball. They wanted to coach and mentor in a new way. Now, Misty is a sport and fitness nutrition specialist and is certified in mobility and flexibility while Derek is a sports performance specialist and is certified in personal fitness. 16 :: :: January 2022

“As an educator and lifelong learner, the opportunity to provide wellness advice for others is rewarding, especially for people who feel like it’s ‘too late’ for them, and you get that a lot. People who are over thirty often think, ‘oh I could’ve done it in my twenties, when I had more time, when I was more in shape, before I had kids, a career, etc.’ I love being able to help them learn what they can and cannot do and find their balance.” Misty explained. Everything is personalized because health and wellness are different for everyone. They personalize it by using a DNA test that provides a roadmap to someone’s genetics. The forty-page report includes specific details about someone’s personal vitamin deficiencies, macro suggestions, caffeine sensitivity, lactose tolerance, fitness and exercise guidelines, etc. Providing this information and guidance is so meaningful and adds significant value to one’s wellness. When I asked Misty what the most important thing was that she tells her clients, she replied, “EAT! More often than not, people are not eating enough. The majority of our clients do not get enough in their bodies to keep them sufficiently going. Our society has been engrained to think that eating less will help us lose weight, which is not the case. It’s WHAT you eat, especially if you’re working out. If you eat too little, your body is going to hold onto those calories and hold them as fat actually, and in order to lose fat, you have to know how your body responds to exercise and diet, which is the type of information we analyze through the DNA test and personalized vitamins.” For example, Misty’s DNA showed that she needs strength training with cardio bursts, making ISI a great workout for her. She also spends time riding her bike, running on the beach, and doing other exercises that get her heart rate up.

Thanks to the DNA testing, Misty’s morning routine has become better as well. She eats within thirty minutes of waking up to speed up her metabolism because she is battling an issue that causes her to hold onto water and have increased inflammation. Giving her body fuel right away, following her vitamin regimen, and getting in a workout before lunchtime is the perfect way for her to have a successful and healthy morning to start her day. Misty is a positive person but definitely receives extra motivation from running a business with her husband. Plus, knowing that she is making a difference for others and their wellness is a huge bonus. On most days, but especially stressful days, Misty takes time to focus on her breathing and center herself. She also practices affirmation building daily and enjoys helping others create the habit for themselves. She uses her role at work to speak a lot of her personal thoughts and emotions out loud. Sharing with others is a good way to connect with clients and she strongly believes emotions need to be set free. Talking emotions/thoughts through and working out are great ways to move through them. Another great way to express yourself is through music, which they both love. When you walk into the gym, you will most likely hear something from the ‘90s playing. Derek also listens to hard-core, inspirational podcasts, and Misty listens in for the good advice and makes the concepts more approachable to spread to her clients. In Misty’s eyes, new year’s resolutions can be helpful, but she also thinks, “Imagine where you could be on January 1st if you just started what you planned today or whatever day. One significant date or event does not necessarily define when you should start a goal to live better. It’s about quality of life, so why wait? And sometimes, if someone falters during their new year’s resolution early in, they will just give up whereas if you start whenever, it’s not surrounding this one thing with so much pressure.” As far as advice to someone new, Misty says, “Give yourself grace. You can’t make changes in a day, but every day is a good day to try to reach your goals.” The pillars of wellness are all tied together. The Elmores are successful because they understand how important it is to give equal attention to ALL elements. Misty explained, “Even if you are really focused on your physical workouts but having mental or emotional struggles, you’re not going to get where you want to be. What you feed your body and brain are connected to your overall wellness. Balance is key and we are here to help you discover yours.” :: January 2022 :: 17

Color of the Year 2022 Very Peri Pantone announced the 2022 color of the year as a periwinkle shade that exhibits a “spritely, joyous attitude that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expression.”

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Journaling a Place at the Table by Rose Ann Sinay

I’ve been journaling most of my life–even when I didn’t know there was a name for what I was doing. It was my way of making myself relevant in a household where children did as they were told without discussion. My siblings and I abided by the rules and kept the “why(s)” to ourselves. Discordant body language or words of disagreement could send us to our rooms, cause the forfeiture of dessert, or the loss of playtime. My first experience with personal writing came after being disciplined for the infraction of another one of the rules–we had to eat everything on our plates whether we liked it or not. My wrinkled nose and an unfavorable critique of my mother’s UN-caramelized (steamed) onions that looked distinctively like worms, left me sitting at the dining room table until each slimy ring had been consumed. I tried every way I could think of to eat the offending vegetable and gagged as soon as the fork passed my teeth. Finally, I came up with a plan–I discretely wrapped loops of the onion around several fingers and quickly stuffed them into my grimy white socks in one fell swoop. I shuddered as I flattened them the best I could under my anklets. I was jubilant as the last onion ring had been put to rest. The dishes were washed, dried, and put away–a perk of my solitary time at the table trying to make the awful onions disappear. Going straight to my room, I scraped the smelly ankle bracelet into one sock wiped my leg dry with the other. I folded them into each other and threw them into the back of my closet. I grabbed my notebook, and instead of doing my homework, I began to write. I made up several different titles for my forthcoming rant: I Hate Onions; How to Make Onions Disappear; and, How to Make A Steamed Onion Bracelet. For the next half hour, I wrote about the detestable vegetable. After listing as many cons as I could come up with, I expanded my writing to include how unfair it was to force me to consume something that made me sick just to think about. And, why, I wondered, didn’t I have a say about food I actually liked to eat. Was refusing to eat a yucky vegetable a crime, or just a rule of life that one must eat vile tasting food to be allowed to enjoy dessert? That was the beginning of my conversations with myself. I began writing my thoughts, my anger, my happy and unhappy moments in my notebook. I had a place to voice 20 :: :: January 2022

my opinions, and even as young as I was, I noticed when my opinions changed slightly to support my in-the-moment thoughts. When I had no pressing emotional issue occupying my preadolescent mind, I thought a lot about my day-to-day existence such as finally making it to the end of the monkey bars on my first attempt. Although I thought it was a major school ground achievement, I also wondered how many of the boys got a glimpse of my underwear as I swung from one rung to another. I stuck a pair of shorts in my bookbag to put on at recess–a direct result of those conversations with myself. I made lists of things and people that I liked and those that I didn’t. I was so brutally honest in my assessments I forced myself to find something good to say, as well. That took the most time and was, oddly, the most satisfying. My notebook was half-filled when my mother noticed the odor coming from my room. I was at school when she decided to do a deep cleaning of my closet where the smell was concentrated. By that time, there were several pairs of wadded socks filled with enough dried veggies to make a small soup: those detestable onions, the mealy Lima beans, and the shredded florets of cauliflower. When I arrived home that day the food-filled socks were sitting in a bowl on my bed. My notebook lay next to the bowl. My insides went cold. Not only were my actions exposed, but my notebook with all my innermost thoughts had been read by my mother. I waited for her to come into my room. I listened for stomping feet or a slamming door, but the house was quiet. I picked up my notebook to find a brown Naugahyde journal with a brass lock and key underneath. A note was attached with a piece of tape. Do not put food in your socks again. You must try a bite of any food you think you don’t like, but you don’t have to eat it all. My roast does not taste like shoe leather. I’m glad you conquered the monkey bars, but I’m even happier that you took your shorts to school. You write well, keep it up and use the dictionary. The Witch

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That night we had roast beef, corn, and mashed potatoes. I cleaned my plate. Today, I journal as often as I can. It’s a tool I use to make sense of an idea or simply understand the life that circles me. Journaling is the writers’ way of turning an intangible thought into . . . onions. You can feel the same dry crinkly robe that covers the purple, yellow, and white orbs of the same family, but each is so diverse in scent, texture, and taste. As I peel each layer away, I find something different or something similar. An onion is more than a vegetable to be chopped, cooked, or even, stashed in a sock. It can make you cry; it can add an interesting, intense flavor, and a sharp earthy aroma; or it can make you gag. The onions in your life have stories to tell. Focus, concentrate–try to find them.

Rose Ann Sinay is a freelance writer newly relocated to Connecticut. She continues to write about moments worth remembering, graciously provided by family and friends.

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Accepting my New Reality by Kim Hanson

In my 40’s, tired of the routine of the gym, I discovered yoga. I practiced an average of three to four times a week. Attracted by the sheer movement, the sweaty workout, and the social aspect, I paid no mind to “breath-work” or “meditation.” I just didn’t get it! All I craved was tough, physical exercise and flow-style yoga fit the bill. Loving vinyasa most of all, I screamed through sun salutations in a blur, the faster the better! Catherine, our earnest, thirty-something instructor would say, “Slow down, take a breath…in and out…between poses. Deliberate, unrushed movements are what we’re looking for.” She pretended to be speaking to the whole class, but I knew her comments were meant for me. I just smiled and carried on, never actually hearing her words. As I entered my sixth decade, many of my friends struggled with health issues. Bad knees, bad shoulders, bad hips. Chalking up their aches and pains to sedate-living, I admit to feeling a surge of smugness. “My workouts are killer,” I’d whisper to no one. “That will never happen to me.” Subtle changes began to manifest in my body. An ache developed in my left hip, lower back, and sacrum. At first, I ignored it. “Just a tweak,” I’d mutter. But, as I stubbornly continued my yoga routine, sharp, searing pain replaced the pleasant stretch I used to feel. The more I ignored the pain, the greater the ache. The harder I pressed, the more the ache spread. When I finally went to the doctor, full-blown sciatica nested on the left side of my body. The pain was persistent, throbbing in my QL (Quadratus Lumborum), left glute, and lower back. Intermittent stabs radiated down my left leg. I struggled to do any sequence of yoga poses, let alone continue with vinyasa. Back x-rays indicated osteoarthritis and some age-related, disk deterioration. Each morning, stiff and oh-so-sore, getting out of bed was a chore. I had to roll onto my right side, use my elbow as a tripod and spin off the edge. It gave me a headache! Ice, massages, and cold laser treatments offered some 22 :: :: January 2022

relief, but it was becoming blatantly obvious that things had to change. I couldn’t continue with the vigorous and challenging yoga practice I was used to…I had to gear down. Feeling sorry for myself, I was lost, a little whiney, hit by an avalanche of humility. Not surprisingly, my friends were not at all sympathetic. They said, “Why not do restorative yoga?” Or “Try gentle classes. There are yoga classes for 60+ you know!” Yes, I did know that…I just never thought those classes would be for me. Reluctantly I began to accept my situation. I half-heartedly attended restorative classes. I moped on the way to gentle classes. I pouted in yin yoga. At first, I’d throw in an out-ofsequence, challenging pose or two, like dramatically jumping to the front of my mat for no good reason. I wanted to show everyone that I could still do it. But no one cared. So, class by class, bit by bit, at the pace of a large, plump, old turtle, I caved. Three years passed. A deep sense of contentment began to sprout. I felt a shift in my universe. Appreciation for slow, deliberate movement found its way into my soul. I found solace in daily meditation. What a surprise! Visiting with my friends goes a little differently now. I joyfully join in the conversation when it turns to discussing our aches and pains. But no longer do I feel smug. Instead, I am humble. Grateful to have friends to visit with, grateful for this old-ish body and its ability to continue to move. Grateful to be living out my third act in peace and contentment.

Kim Hanson lives in Calgary with her husband of 45 years and their sweet little Maltese, Sophie. Her grandchildren, Jacob and Harlow, are her heart. As a writer who has come to the craft later in life, she tries to write every day, working in her home-based studio. All of her published writing can be seen on her website:

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Rachel Pitts: The Art of Success by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson

At the age of five, Rachel came home from her first dance class and announced, “Mommy, I am going to be a dancer!” When it was time for high school, she convinced her parents to send her to the Virginia School of the Arts to pursue her dance career. She worked very diligently and after graduation, she immediately started her professional career in Chicago, dancing with modern and jazz companies. She also had an exciting gig on a cruise ship as well as some movie and TV stage work in Montreal. She had a fun, healthy career of traveling and then eventually made her way to the Grand Strand in 1997 to work with Myrtle Beach’s Legends Theater. Later on, she received her real estate license and had a successful career, but she never lost sight of her true passions. Dance is her favorite form of fitness and as of August 2021, Rachel is the Artistic Director of Litchfield Dance Academy, located in Pawleys Island. “This very well thought out and cared for studio, thanks to Ilka Doubek, has been successful since 1995 and after my fifteen years of teaching for and learning from Ilka, I was so proud and finally ready to step into this position,” she continued, “and thankfully, Ilka is still teaching because she is such an asset. Having her as well as the help from her husband, Tom Fox has been a blessing during this transition!” Rachel has certifications in Progressing Ballet Technique, Pilates, Piyo, and other forms of functional corrective exercise modalities. She is also an Ultra-Fit Lifestyle personal trainer. From her studies at her dance school, she learned early on about how the human body moves and how to efficiently make all the kinesiology work, so her vast knowledge gave her the opportunity to be an inspiring personal trainer. As a fitness and health coach since 2012, Rachel explains that “being a personal trainer is so much more than counting reps. The nutrition side is huge, and so is understanding the right mindset. To me, that’s what Ultra-Fit lifestyle really means!” 26 :: :: January 2022

As a Level 3 Certified Mental Management Coach, she explains how a lot of the work for trainers, athletes, and anyone wanting to improve their health means doing work internally as well. Based on her studies of the Mental Management System, a structure that is used for Olympic athletes, statistics show how important it is to manage one’s mindset before, during, and after any and all tasks – a system that Rachel has carried into all aspects of her life. She explained, “Being healthy and fit is not just about the hour you spend at the gym - It’s the way you live your life by always seeking the best version of yourself. How you do one thing is how you do everything!” Wellness shows that all aspects must work together which is a teaching that Rachel is constantly explaining to her students and clients. When I asked what dance means to her, she replied, “Everything! There are impressive rewards found in the result of dance and the discipline found in the motion of dance. It’s a very cognitive sport along with the perks of physical fitness, creativity, teamwork, confidence, and critical thinking – especially when learning combinations and coordinating arms and legs. There’s a lot of research showing how substantial dance can be for diseases like Dementia and Parkinson’s, and it can also be a low-impact sport.” Rachel encourages everyone to try dancing and is sure that Litchfield Dance Academy has a suitable class for any level as they now offer adult ballet and hip-hop. Another component to dance that is so vital to one’s health (even if you are not a dancer) is stretching, and the benefits go far beyond just achieving flexibility. She explained, “I am not a doctor, but I do know how powerful the art of stretching is for the human body. You would be amazed how many people who have been told they need surgery for things such as carpal tunnel, knee surgery, etc., can actually solve their issues with stretching. It takes a lot of consistency because you are essentially untangling muscle fibers, but it is definitely a longer solution.” Whether you want to work

on stretching or any other physical or mental aspect of your life, Rachel lives by the motto that “consistency, repetition, and structure are always the key.” Consistency for Rachel starts with her morning routine. She puts her phone in the bathroom overnight, so that she has to physically get out of bed to turn off her alarm. She puts on her clothes that she already laid out the night before, takes her dog outside, and then takes her pre-workout supplement. After a few hours spent at the gym, she comes home to eat and journal. Part of the Mental Management System is to write down what you did, what you learned, and what you did well. She explained, “You are supposed to specifically focus on what you did well because doing so increases the probability of you performing well again. I believe there is real power in journaling and writing. It’s a well-known way to cope and untangle the emotions bouncing around in my head. I even jot thoughts down in my phone in between sets at the gym when I feel myself out of focus.” On top of journaling, Rachel is also into meditating and focusing on her breath while exercising. She uses the rhythm of her music to zone in. While her playlist is her favorite thing to listen to, she also enjoys audible books and podcasts. She suggests listening to Dave Asprey’s The Human Upgrade which is all about optimizing the human in all forms – physical fitness, nutrition, sleep, etc. Another podcast suggestion is actually one that Rachel produces with one of her friends called Women Your Mother Warned You About which caters to women in business who want and need support from other women who are also trying to break the glass ceiling. Being the creative that she is, Rachel is also working on writing a new book, but has already has one published titled, The Gift of Wreckage: Take Responsibility for your Amazing Life, which is all about taking the challenging parts of your past and instead of letting them control your future, using those hardships

as tools to catapult you into the next level of who you can become for the better. Rachel stays motivated by constantly setting goals and always having something in the future to drive her. For anyone trying to accomplish new goals, Rachel suggests making affirmation building a priority. In association with mental management, there’s a directive affirmation practice for when you want to shift a behavior. It must be very specific, and the actionable steps need to be done for twenty-one days in a row to become a real change. For example, one of her goals used to be to get up early in the morning, and now that she has accomplished that, she has moved on to others, but she always focuses on one goal at a time and uses detailed metrics to effectively master the goal. For the year 2022, Rachel’s personal goals involve her bodybuilding competitions. She is excited to switch into a new category that includes a lot of dance and control, the fitness division, and her first goal is to earn her pro card within this new division. For her business, she hopes to increase class enrollment as well as get started on her ultimate vision for the studio. She is hoping to start the Litchfield Arts Foundation and expand the studio by fully utilizing the space and land. She hopes to shape the studio into a place that nurtures artistic talent by bringing in regional and national creatives as well as establish Litchfield Dance Academy as a local, community spot to showcase all types of art. When Rachel puts her mind to work, she follows through by using all of her strength and passion to guide her, and that is the art of her success. :: January 2022 :: 27

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