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Dear Kay,

So, yeah. Here’s a thing I did the other day that I had no intention of doing, and yet! I found it pleasant and helpful.

I came across it during pointless surfing.

I click on a post about the news that the film version of Downton Abbey has begun filming. Yay!

Then I click on a link to Michelle Dockery, the actor who plays Lady Mary. It was a photo of Michelle Dockery looking particularly awesome.

Off to Michelle Dockery’s Instagram feed.

Amid the party pix and photos with her stylist, she gives a shoutout to her sister, Louise Frances, who is a life coach.

Life coach? Hell, we all need a life coach: click.

Louise’s Instagram feed has a lot of affirmations, the sort of thing I typically argue with. “Live your best life.” Seriously? I’m just trying to get through Tuesday.

But she puts quotes in her Instagram feed that at first sound sort of starry eyed until you see whom she’s quoting. Albert Einstein. Roald Dahl. Maya Angelou. (I’ll forgive her the Tony Robbins quote.)

Her site is called Find What Makes You Glow, which of course, living in the South as I do, is really not hard for me to do. Going outside makes me glow. Sitting in my car makes me glow.

But the glow of my heart? My heart glows a lot, but it could certainly glow more. When I scrolled through her Instagram posts, I felt my cynicism falling away, the tremendous load of negativity that I seem to be hauling around these days like a bag of cement. The idea of positive thinking as a balm, as a means to navigate these days, really caught my attention.

So I clicked on one of her short visualizations, Protection Bubble Visualization.

It’s 4 minutes and 35 seconds of calm. You can’t knit to this. And it sounds a bit like Stuart Smalley, the Al Franken character from SNL ages ago.

But this brief sit affected me. Pretty sure my blood pressure dropped.

I’ve done meditation and centering prayer in the past, but never using any of the online meditation of visualization apps. Have any of you used online meditation apps? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Peace out, y’all!



PS Here’s Louise’s Self-care Calendar for September. It’s all so sweet and kind. I love this. Today’s suggestion: Get outside in nature. Think about that for a minute. It’s the most obvious idea in the world, but do we ever regret a walk in the woods?


  • Sweet and nope, i have never regretted a walk in the woods.

  • Hi Ann, I often haul around a heavy sack filled with negativity, fear, and worry. A meditation app. I’ve used is called Mindspace: It is pretty dang good. There are 100’s of meditations that focus on health or sleep, stress reduction, etc. Andy Puddicombe started it; he is a Buddhist monk. Andy has a TED talk here:
    Meditation does help me “lay my burden down.” Thanks for the post.
    Ann H
    p.s. Happy first day of fall!

  • I suffer from severe depression frequently and recently also had a partial knee replacement due to acute arthritis and limited mobility. My solution to the depression has always been textile crafts but I have just discovered a solution to the terminal depression and isolating myself. I have bought a miniature wire haired dachshund! Now I have no excuse for not going outside at least twice a day, and apart from the fact that he likes running off with my yarns the therapy is working. We go out and people talk to us and play with Harry and we will keep walking unless winter snow gets over 4 ft. in winter.

    • Congratulations on the acquisition your mini wirehair dachshund! I had a mini long hair dachshund given to me by a friend. She was a sweet thing but a diva!

    • I also have severe depression and it’s truly a pain. My dogs (actually down to one) bad habit, have kept me going. When Taggert was alive, he ruled the roost and I had no choice but to do what he wanted right now. My other Westie is the opposite in temperament. Harley could sleep all day and must have an enormous bladder. The sweetest temperament. Hang in there, promise yourself to go out every day and know that you aren’t alone.

    • Lovely. ❤

    • Karen, thank you so much for telling us about your Harry. It makes me smile to think of you two out and about, Harry scheming up his next yarn thievery, how good it feels to get out of our own heads.

    • Hooray for you and Harry! It’s wonderful to hear that you’re feeling better. My son has depression too.

    • Glad you and Harry have found a mutually rewarding relationship. Please give mindful meditation a try as well. It is beneficial in building resilience in those battling depression. All the best to you!

  • I started using the free Insight Timer app and absolutely love it!! Thousands of guided meditations it you can do their music only timers. There’s a Sleep Mode too.

    • I love the insight timer and Andrew Johnson’s power nap meditation is 30 minutes of rejuvenation with a Scottish accent. Love it!

    • Music! I hadn’t thought of a timer using music. That would be so lovely. Thank you for the heads up.

  • I love using the Calm app. Worth every penny

    • I will definitely check it out. Anything named Calm has to be a good idea . . . ; )

      • I second on the Calm app. Been using it almost two years. They have many diffferent meditations (7 days of stress, focus, happiness, etc) including bedtime stories and master classes that focus on specific topics by leaders in that field. When I meditate just 10-15 min with this app in the morning, somehow my day just seems less chaotic

  • I do this, and my live is more Easy. Thanks for remember me the importace that do ir. Hace a good day, have a good live. In India they do it, all the days.

    • Thank you, Maria Teresa! Wishing you a good day, too.

  • I use and finally subscribed to Head Space. It has different varieties of meditations and I always feel calm and ready to start my day.

    • Wow–that’s such a great way to begin a day. Thanks for the heads up re Head Space.

  • I have done a lot with meditation and positive thinking. This is the best. Thanks!

  • Wow! That calendar suggestion of changing “I have to” to “I get to” could be a life changer.

    • Wow is right. That’s amazing.

  • Hi Ann,
    I love all your posts but this one really touches me. Check out or BellaRuth Napersak on the web. She does wonderful guided meditations with a soothing voice that will make you feel safe. That’s a huge word for me because most of my life was unsafe. Thank you so much for this share.
    Blessings, Pam

    • And thanks to YOU for these resources to try. xoxooxo

  • You are my moment of calm❤️

    • Yep. Mine too.

      • AW YALL! xoxoxoxoxo and wishing you good knitting and maybe a nap today?

  • Do we ever regret a walk in the woods? When we come home covered with ticks, YES.

    • OK, and there was that time I went down the Fiery Gizzard Trail in bad tennis shoes and yeah, that totally sucked. Good point–Mother Nature can be a cruel mistress. But the trees! I think of trees as people, basically. Kindred folk, somehow. All in it together, you know?

      • Ann, if you think of trees as people, then (1) you’re right, and (2) you MUST read “The Overstory.” Best book I’ve read in years (and I read a lot!).

        • Also a non-fiction book: “The Hidden Life of Trees.” A real eye-opener!

  • Thank you so much for this wonderful post, Ann! I am reminded of a book that was called “You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought”. I never read it. The title initially stumped me. Over the years as I have gained some bits of wisdom here and there, I have gained a deeper understanding of the concept. It’s tough to put into practice the good news is we can always keep trying. Just like if we have to frog something three or four times, we can eventually get it right.

    Also brought to mind is something that I heard on the radio several months back. It seems that the part of our brain where negative thoughts are stored happens to be larger than the part of our brain where positive thoughts are stored (at least that is what was presented on the program). According to them, we really have to work at keeping the thoughts positive, where it’s just almost effortless to keep up with the negative ones.

    I would like to recommend “Music for Zen Meditation and Other Joys”. Although I don’t meditate, sometimes I would just put that cassette tape on, lie down and clear my mind as the music softly played. Then one day the tape broke. Much later I found it on YouTube and can now listen through my telephone. All is not lost…

    • That is my favorite meditation and relaxing music. My cassette was getting worn out so I happily found a CD of it some years ago. I’m glad to know its on YouTube as well. I’m catching up on my MDK posts since we lost power and internet for a week from the hurricane here in Wilmington. All the more reason for calming music!

  • I struggled with meditation until I realized that’s what I do when working with my yarns! Not perfect as always, but hey, ya gotta start somewhere. Much love abounds

    • Absolutely! I find that knitting is very meditative, especially garter stitch which is rhythmic and soothing. Also, different from garter stitch, would be the very complicated project that takes your whole concentration and focus, so that it keeps you in the present moment.

  • The “Simple Habit” app is great. A whole range of mindfulness meditations for a 5 minute fix. Start the day, waiting in a line, stressed out….

  • Try the Breethe app. Like it best. My subscription ends long after my 100th bday. Must hv done something wrong, but sure is worth it for the time I use it!

  • Like you, I’m suspicious of a lot of “affirmation” culture, but like you, I find the September calendar sweet and useful. It also made me laugh: Wednesday, Sept. 13, instructs you to “forgive someone you’re mad at.” The day after Rosh Hashanah and the beginning of the intermediate days of the Jewish High Holidays, when you’re supposed to go around apologizing to everyone you’ve wronged in the past year! Judaism seeping into mainstream culture! I love it. (And the High Holidays represent a very intense form of self-care.)

  • This is quite the departure from the usual post and I found it to be fun. Of course, my brain cells immediately went to a New Yorker cartoon from the Summer. It has two people in obvious distress in the water and a “ life coach “ on his life guard stand yelling out his life coach advice. Knitters have creative minds. Thanks for the apps. as we can always use some peace in our lives ❤️

  • My psychiatrist who is half my age and wonderful sent me two humorous websites for meditation, http://www.newyorker.con/humor/daily-shouts/a-guided-meditation-for-the-anxious-mind and
    I have only checked out the New Yorker site and it is worth it.

  • Moderate depression sufferer here. A friend recommended the free Insight Timer app to me a couple years ago when my husband’s health decline shifted into high gear. I love the guided meditations with voice and music. I have a constantly refined list of bookmarks. I’m a big fan of the Meditation for Depression by Franko Heke for getting my day started off in the right frame of mind and Davidji’s Our Power to Heal & Repair meditation for bedtime. I often use one of the 10 minute morning meditations to accompany my short morning yoga practice. The app lets you choose the length of time you have, male or female or no voice, music or no music, spiritual or religious or not; there are also paid courses available if you choose. Free for iPhone or android. No, I don’t work for them, I’m a fan who has used it to help me come out the other side of my husband’s difficult last years mentally and emotionally whole. Give it a shot, it’s free, what do you have to lose?

    • This one is new to me, and it sounds great. Thank you! Sending love. Xoxo

  • Just what I needed to see, Ann. Thank you.

  • I’ll add my recommendation for Insight Timer. It’s like a free university, with a huge selection of well-organized guided meditations and the timer option which lets you set the time, background sounds, etc for your own non-guided meditation. You’ll figure out which voices and styles appeal to you, as it is so personal. Just like knitting, it’s all about practice. Daily or near daily practice, even if it means only a few minutes, has been key. I like to alternate between guided and silent meditations depending on how frazzled or distracted I feel; also, much easier to let go of thoughts and sit still early in the day than later.

    Also very good: Jon Kabat Zinn’s meditation apps. I listen to those offline (perfect for relaxing in flight!)

  • You should check out Belleruth Naparstek’s guided imageries on I recommend them highly.

  • I never regret a walk in the woods, unless I’m bitten by a million mosquitoes.

  • Thank you, so peaceful and wonderufl!

  • Try the free app called Insight Timer. It has over 10.000 meditations, talks, etc so there’s something for everyone. It’s astounding what a few minutes can do.

  • I LOVE this stream! While I’m waiting for my 4 min & 35 sec of calm to download ….try the Headspace App,, it has great little meditation aids to get you through the day AND a good one for sleep.

  • I do that Downton Abbey thing, too…..have all the seasons dvds, books, tea….!! @@ Didn’t see any knitters or crocheters…..Lady Cora does some sort of embroidery, though.

  • I use the Five minute meditation on YouTube, the one where the bell sounds and dies away. I find it very helpful to start the day, long enough for me to remember to breathe and not rush to collect worries.

    My other practice is the labyrinth, though that’s weather dependent!

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