Friday, December 31, 2010

calming the holiday belly is really in the mind

After almost 55 total hours of driving to and from the east coast I am finally nestled back into my cozy apartment. The piles of things that blocked our view of the back windshield is now sitting in the middle of my living room floor, my dining room table, my kitchen counter space, my couch, and scattered in other inconvenient places. It's disorganized (and yes this makes me crazy) but it means that I'm home now and can get things back in order the way I like them. But clutter aside, first and foremost order means FOOD!

My poor empty vegetable drawer and more importantly my poor aching belly. Its been stretched and bloated and tortured mercilessly by none other than yours truly. No one forced holiday food down my throat and no one held me at gun point. I personally made the choice to eat sugar, food with processed white flour, dairy, and eggs. And to be quite honest, I have no regrets. But I do have a tired and grumpy belly.

It's 11:00am and I've already had a light breakfast, some fruit  and another small snack. On a normal day in my life this would suffice,  but today my stretched out tummy is saying "hey! where are all the carb loaded, salty, heavy treats you've been feeding me 5 times a day? I'm hungry here!" And to this, I politely reply: "'ve had your tea and your miso soup and your large green apple and even some brown it's 11:00am and this is a lot more than I usually feed you by now so you should be thankful and now you will have to wait until lunch." Belly continues to grumble grumpily at me. And I choose to ignore her. She's so cranky sometimes!

But as I said before, I don't regret my holiday choices. I normally don't have much of a sweet tooth, so this is my time where I indulge in Christmas cookies, candy canes, pancakes and french toast, and a myriad of other desserts and chocolates. And it goes further than sweets. In my normally dairy free kitchen, where cheese does not exist I have little temptation and interaction with this joyous treat. But at Christmas I turn into a cheese-freak, seeking it out any chance I get. There's warm brie, and sliced cheddar, and shredded cheese on the nachos we made while watching the Patriots game. And once my taste buds get even just a smidgeon of a taste, I'm hooked for the entire duration of the visit home. I melt it on toast, I eat it with crackers, I steal bites of it in between meals. I eat string cheese, and cream cheese, and smoked cheese, and cheesy pizza. And I eat it knowing that my kitchen back home will not tolerate its presence so it's okay. The insanity will have to stop. Right?

So here I sit. At a total stalemate. Mind craving some peaceful and natural food, body looking for something else entirely. Something that resembles a little more of what I splurged on for so many blessed days in a row. But as I believe in all aspects of life, mind wins. Mind always wins. And my mind says it's time to defrag, decheese, desweet, and reboot!

And your mind can do it too. You can say no to the left over sweets (or you can put them in the freezer and just have a little when the time is right) you can tell your friend that you don't want to go out for that pizza today, you can politely decline the holiday left overs from friends and family! You can say no! Your mind is strong.

I thought I would share with you what I've been eating today. I'm not telling you that these foods will cure your holiday hangover. I don't think they have magical powers and certainly not everyone will enjoy them. But I share them with you so you know that a) you're not alone in your post holiday belly misery and b) you have a friend in me if you're looking to have some natural and tummy soothing treats to get you back on track. So here's the menu for the day....oh boy, mind over belly...mind over belly...mind over belly (just keep saying it!)

-1 cup of ginger tea (I drink yogi tea but if I'm out you can actually just slice up some pieces of fresh ginger and let them soak in your mug for 5 minutes before spooning them out!)
-1 mug full of miso soup with toasted sunflower seeds (recipe to follow)

Snack #1
Large green apple

Snack #2
1/2 brown rice with 1 tbsp edamame, 1tbsp toasted sunflower seeds, and 1tbsp raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Lunch: Okay this was a tough one. On my first day back when I'm all excited to eat healthy, I'm needing to go on a business lunch. These are normally not a big deal but it can be quite hard to stay natural and healthy in many restaurants! Luckily, it's a sushi place so I just got a couple of sushi rolls and some salad.

Snack#3 more rice, edamame and seeds

Dinner: A sweet potato baked in the oven, Miso soup with sunflower seeds, and for my husband who always needs something sweet after a meal a whole fruit popsicle!

Now this is really not a lot of food. I keep fruit leathers ready and clementines accessible. But I try to remember that I'm not going to starve if I eat lightly for a day or two. Nothing bad will happen. I will not crumble. And really I am happy and excited to be kind to my body once again.

Here are the recipes to the soup and the taosted seeds. If you want to join me I'm happy to help!

bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil
Add several pieces of wakami (seaweed from the health food store)
Add one bunch of Udon Noodles
Cook on low heat until noodles are cooked all the way through (about 10 minutes)
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of a light miso (I use yellow) and 1 1/2 teaspoons of dark miso (I use brown rice) to a small cup. Spoon out some of the boiling liquid into the cup and stir until miso has dissolved.
Add the miso mixture into the pot and turn off heat immediately

Sunflower Seeds:
pour sunflower seeds into a dry frying pan so that none are overlapping. Put pan on medium heat. Seeds will begind to make a popping sounds. Shift them around with a spatula until all are golden brown. Take off heat. Add a couple splashes of soy sauce or tamari (gluten free) and mix around quickly to coat all the seeds. Keep them stored in a jar or container in the refrigerator. They make a good snack or a perfect topping for soup.

So if you feel bad for your poor belly, find some healthy, natural, whole foods that will sooth and make it feel happy again. Your belly can't stay mad at you forever. And let me know what you're doing to combat the holiday hangover! Till next time!

BPositive and BFriendly to your belly!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

when the weather outside is frightful

I realize I took a bit of a hiatus this past week. Mainly because I spent 25 hours in the car driving to my lovely hometown in the northeast. It's been days of family, love and lots of food (and currently tons of snow!) And today I just have to sit back and take a moment to feel so thankful for how much I have in my life that is good. It's easy to get rapped up in the stress of the holidays and the little things that inevitably irritate us when we all come together in the same house for multiple days. But what outweighs everything is the thankfulness I have for all my family both old and new. This will be a short entry because I plan to live in the moment and go and play scrabble and watch family guy with all my brother and sister in laws but I thought I'd take a moment to share my thankfulness and help you remember yours. What are you thankful for today?

BPositive and happy holidays!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

ideas and realities

"All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea." -Napoleon Hill

Do you ever have moments where these creative, dynamic, and inspiring ideas come into your head? Sometimes its in the shower, or while working out, or in my case on a really long car ride home.

Now how many of these ideas just, poof! disappear? If you're most people, then poof! poof! poof..for most of our lives even! Now if you're like me, and you're a disciplined person, you get things done, you stick to your task list, and you're on time with your tasks, you'd think realizing an idea would not be rocket science. But a "big vision" realized into a dynamite actuality, requires a lot more than just discipline and chipping away at small tasks. 

I am currently swimming uncharted waters, where everything is new, everyday is unexpected, and there is almost no consistency in my daily tasks (which sometimes makes me crazy!) Important things come up that require attention at any given notice and what I've learned to be of utmost importance in the past is now often obsolete. In other words, the last 6 months have completely and utterly rocked my world.

Now there are many details that can support a lot of these statements, but frankly they will bore you and may be hard to relate to, as you are not me. However, I feel that this "world rocking" life I am currently living and the growth it has produced in myself is worthy of a little blog lesson.

Today's Lesson:
The initial steps to turning visions into realities

Let me go back to the Napoleon Hill quote above because I believe that this is a true statement but an incomplete one. Yes, the idea is the starting point, but then what? What next? How to we realize this idea? Are we driven enough to do so? Do we have the discipline? Do we have ability to push through discomfort, over and over again to actually come out on the other side?

From a budding entrepreneur's mind to your ears if you choose to listen, here's what I suggest initially. And I need to heed my own advice because I have yet to do this with my "big vision" from my car ride yesterday!

1. Just write down what you saw in your head. Some of us see in pictures. Others in words. Others in colors and so on and so forth. But write it down, draw it, sketch it, record it on a device. Date it! Just get it down so that you can remember what that vision looked like when it initially popped into your head.
Now very important: Don't get bogged down with what will be hard about this vision's actualization, what might bring you discomfort, what seems nearly impossible, and the logistics behind how this will even work. These things will hold you down like a ton of bricks and they will just take the inspirational wind right out of you! Besides...this is future stuff! You need to focus on the present and that is simply recording your vision and staying excited about it.

2. Don't be embarrassed of, ashamed of, or hold back on your vision. Sometimes the "big visions" we see in our heads don't immediately translate to something another human can comprehend. This does not mean it's a bad vision or a stupid idea! In fact it probably means you're a genius filled with what my best friend B affectionately calls "creative vomit" ;) sounds gross...but is really a compliment! I have this problem a lot. I have difficulty saying things out loud in a coherent way and therefore when I have a good idea I am afraid to say it out loud to anyone. And ultimately I squash it myself before it even has a chance to be something great because I'm afraid others will think it's ridiculous. But who cares what other people think anyway right? And obviously, talk to people who are thinkers* like you. If you talk to a zombie**, you're just asking for negativity and I can't feel bad for you!

3. Here's your action step: Start by listing just 1 task that brings you discomfort in your vision: maybe it's knowing you will have to make phone calls, or write a letter to a celebrity, or create an LLC which you've never done before. Just list it. It's not happening yet. But it's a reality.
      ex) Without sharing my "big vision" just yet my reality task will include walking around down town and speaking with all the local galleries, art associations, and artists in town and acquiring a position to "shadow" or mentor under a business owner in the arts for just one day a week. Now this terrifies me! Because it means a)I have to go talk to people I don't know b)I have to put myself out there for possible rejection and c) I know nothing about business in the arts and I have to convince someone to let me learn from them and take up their precious time. But ultimately, while this is a scary reality, its also a concrete task.  And since it's uncomfortable it will be my first step in growing forward toward realizing my vision. It's my first step away from the pages of my journal and the thoughts in my head. And for my own benefit and possibly yours I am writing this task down on a promise card for you to see and hold me to.

This is my pocket promise to myself that in the next three weeks these things will get done. I will carry it with me wherever I go and each time I reach for my chap stick or my keys it will be there reminding me of my promise to myself. And now I have all of you to remind me as well :)

So if you have an idea that you want to be a reality. do something! Yes, it all starts with the idea but what do we really have that's tangible if it never leaves our head. And if you want to make a promise to yourself to get something done don't be afraid to leave me a comment about it and I'll hold you to it! It's a promise :)

As always friends, BPositive and Be active!!!

Some of my terminology if you're confused:

*Thinker: A thinker is someone who does not see the world as black and white. They challenge the ideals of our society and don't accept things for what they are. Thinkers don't wait for things to happen, they create opportunity and create success and happiness for themselves. Thinkers will always survive because there is no situation they won't find their way out of.

**Zombie: A Zombie is basically the opposite of a thinker and we all know, not just one, but hundreds! We come in contact with them everyday. They are pushed around by societal rules and regulations, they let things get them down and affect them to the point of not being able to get back up again. They don't think outside the box. They are usually the ones that tell you you're "crazy" when really you're just living your life and feeling alive! They are constant skeptics and don't often try a lot of new things. They are not bad people, but they sure won't help you be successful. You may even be related to Zombies or have them as friends. You don't have to get rid of them but I caution you not to talk to them about you rockin' "thinker" ideas! They will give you negativity almost 100% of the time.

Creative Vomit (Thanks B!): I'll give you some example of my previous creative vomit so you can conclude for yourself. B was leaving on a trip to Spain for an extended stay and I wanted to give her something that was useful, handmade by yours truly, and extremely technologically advanced. I designed a remote control that could literally do anything! It has a crystal ball button to see the future, a healthy button to remind her to make good choices, and a key button to unlock any tucked away issue in her life. This is advanced stuff! And it's total Creative Vomit. A picture may be the only way for you to understand. B I hope it's ok if I share this with the world. I am not ashamed! even came with a manual


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

When people tell you you're crazy

...then you're probably doing something right.

As usually my morning run inspired this entry: I woke up to find my room chilled and ice cold and checked the thermometer on the phone only to find that it's 3 degrees outside. My running clothes were already folded and ready to go (yes I'm one of those people that puts out there clothes for the next day the night before) and there was a part of my brain that said DON'T DO IT. Don't go running this morning. It's dangerous. There may be ice. You'll get sick. People will think you are crazy....

ahh, people will think I am crazy. There is a notion that I hear all too often. If I had a thought bubble hanging out above my head I think that sentence would appear inside of it about 7 times a day! People will think I'm crazy. Those of you who know me are laughing because my life is fairly unorthodox... but in all seriousness, do these words not have an effect on us?

Back to my running epiphany...

So, before I set out, in two pairs of pants, underarmor, a flecce, a sweatshirt, two pairs of gloves, a balaclava and a hat, I was already told  by someone in person that I was crazy and I had my first crazy thought bubble of the day floating around my warmly dressed head. 

But i had no impending doom, no fear, no shame or embarrassment. In fact I was just filled with excitement and adventure and drive. I run in all weather and I'm proud of it. I pop negative thought bubbles. Pop, pop, pop! 

And in the end I've never had a more empowered run!! and it got me thinking about the other choices we make in our lives. Do we really want to make life choices based on what other people think is good or bad for us? 

Well I sure don't! I run in 3 degrees. I left a job with good pay and benefits to live like a nomad in my tent.  When I was a teenager I would used my savings and spend it all on a travel experience to see the world. And now I'm an entrepreneur. And surely I'll expound on that another time. 

But for now I really encourage people to visit that "you're crazy" thought bubble. Don't ignore it. Hear it and decide what's right for you. "your crazy" may be just the thing you need to hear to do something amazing!

I would love to hear what "crazy" decisions y'all have made (I'm writing to you from Tulsa,OK so I'm allowed to say y'all) so write some comments and share! You know there's at least one person in the world that doesn't think you're crazy! 

Till next time y'all (promise that's the last time I'll say it) 

Remember to BPositive! And be crazy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

You can't make me feel that way

How many times in your life have you said "you made me angry," "you made me sad" or even "you're making me very happy right now?" I tend to use this terminology pretty often although it's far from what I believe.

For the few years that I worked in the psychology field, I learned from countless interactions with pre-adolescents, that no one can make us feel any particular way. I used to talk with kids about how other people may do hurtful things, which lead to an emotion, and ultimately an action. But it is up to us to choose the emotion and choose the appropriate action. For kids bullying was almost always the issue. One child made another child angry by taking something from them, calling them a name, or talking behind their back. And inevitably the targeted child would be hurt, upset and angry. And while as an adult you can empathize and feel that the targeted child's feelings are justified, we have to use our ability to separate and compartmentalize to help the targeted child understand that they have a choice to make. They can a) be the target; let the bully see them cry, hurt the bully back in some way, or just wallow and be unhappy because of the incident or b) they can choose not to let what the bully does upset them to the point of self destruction and/or the destruction of others.

Now I'm not at all saying it's unacceptable to cry, scream, vent to a friend, talk to someone who will be understanding, etc. But there has to come a point where we move on right? Or else wouldn't we forever be a target?

I think any adult can relate to this. Recently I've been feeling sorry for myself and frankly, that is just the ugliest thing I can imagine. I let negativity from people all around me hurt me in many ways. Sometimes I find myself looking for negativity to justify my feelings of frustration and self pity! Bleh bleh bleh! But, as I write about it, I can see some perspective. It's like reverting back to a bullied child only there is no bully. I'll let a tone in my husband's voice make me cry, a negative comment from a client make me fume, I even let computer complications make me shake with anger. And honestly as I look at it now it all seems really crazy. But in the moment I'm lost in those emotions and forgetting that I have choice.

Well this morning I chose to write this blog in lieu of sitting on the couch and crying or being angry for the rest of the day. I'm choosing to use my emotions to help myself grow and maybe help some of you feel like someone else understands what you're going through. Don't let other people determine how you feel. If you're like my friend K, you may be helping people day in and day out. People with medical conditions, families of people with medical conditions, and doctors that rely on your every move. It's ok to have a hard day but those people should never determine your happiness. Simply, you have a choice.

If you're tired of feeling sorry for yourself like I am, take the reins today and do something about it. Be a strong person who has control of their emotions. If you need to cry and be sad, then own it and be sad. But not because anyone made you sad, just because you need to be for a little while! There's no shame in that. If you want to feel confident, then own it and do something for yourself because you deserve it.  It's up to you.

The interesting thing about this seemingly simple concept, is it's not at all simple. Initially it's harder to take ownership of your own emotions and shy away from blaming others. It's really hard! Because when things ultimately get tough, who is there to blame but yourself? But on the flip side when things are gloriously perfect...then it's all you baby! 25 I'm still practicing that concept. I hope I'm not alone?

Have a confident day in whatever YOU are feeling.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Patience and presence

I often talk to friends and family about living presently and in the moment. This concept just makes so much sense to me...that is, when it is about other people's lives. I preach it, I believe it, I say it over and over again to myself and to others. So why is it so hard to live presently???

Frankly, in my opinion, patience is not a virtue. It's a bitch. I struggle with it constantly! Even as I type this blog, I'm considering what to do for dinner later, how I still need to finish the Thank You notes from my wedding gifts, and how nice it will be to put on some sweatpants, listen to music and just knit later when I get home! Yet, I'm sitting here on a stool, at a table, on a lap top and I am alive! Living, breathing, thinking, creating...ALIVE! So why can't I be happy with that? It's down right frustrating!

As usual my wise friend M and all the wise people she has in her life offered me a really important thought yesterday. And it made me realize how much this pertains to my life right now and most everyone else's at any given moment.

M writes:

"This is from my friend Janice.

'A waiting person is a patient person. The word 'patience' implies the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Impatient people expect the real thing to happen somewhere else, and therefore they want to get away from the present situation and go elsewhere. For them, the moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are, waiting.'


I read this over and over again. The piece that was most striking to me was how "impatient people expect the real thing to happen elsewhere, and therefore they want to get away from the present situation and go elsewhere." I realized that this is me. This describes me perfectly. When I'm at the office working, I wish I were working from home. When I'm working from home, I feel lonely and wish I were in the office. When I'm inside, I'm dying to be on a run outdoors. When I'm out running, I'm just waiting until it's over so I can finish my daily tasks and routines. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. This is no way to live! My life right now may not be my ideal life, but it's a beautiful life! I get to create on a daily basis. I have a loving husband who dreams big and works hard and loves me unconditionally. I work in an atmosphere of free thinkers with no boundaries and limitations. I have health and strength and fitness like I've never had before. This is a great life and I'm missing it!

So how do we slow down? How do we savor the good moments? How do we learn to appreciate the beauty in the sad moments? 

Again it sort of hit me while on a run today. It was getting dark so I knew I didn't have long to be outside and the temperature was only 30 degrees so my desire to be outside was not so intense. I ran only for about 33 minutes but in those 33 minutes I managed to think about a million things: the stress of work, frustration with my messy house and the lack of time to clean it, anger that the day didn't do as expected, excitement about going home in a few weeks for Christmas, anxiety that I don't know when we'll be leaving, uncertainty about finances, etc etc etc... Oh my goodness! Running is supposed to relieve stress. My word! When the run was finished I couldn't bring myself to get into the car. The park was empty, the trees bare, the squirrels were rustling in the dead leaves and I was alone. All I wanted was to revel in this aloneness. I wasn't ready to see my husband. I wasn't ready for the warm heat of the car and I didn't want to get right into the traffic. I had an opportunity right in front of me to seize some time to myself and really relish in it. 

Now I don't think there is a formula to this. I think it's about taking advantage of those moments to be present even if your natural instinct is to go home and put on the TV or drown out the quiet with the radio. So this time, I used this moment to tell myself that everything is ok. It's ok to be scared. It's ok to be uncertain. And it's ok to sit and feel these things. It's ok to stare at the barren trees even when I could be on my way home and "saving time." It's ok to laugh at the swans and geese all lined up in a row and marvel in their symbiosis. These moments are important because they remind you that life continues to happen even when you are not looking. So I took the time to look. And my heavy bag of stress felt lighter. And all it took was 20 minutes with the swans and geese. My mind felt peaceful and suddenly I could handle things more calmly and peacefully. 

I'm not here to tell you that my winter escapade fixed everything. These feelings have a ways of revisiting us over and over again with a rigorous monotony. 

But lets face it, as humans isn't  monotony necessary to really learn life lessons? Each day I am reminded of patience and why it is so critical to success and happiness. These daily visits help me practice and become a more patient and present person.  My husband and I even took time out of our work day to remind ourselves of why we are on the path that we are on. Why it is so important sometimes to go into tunnel vision and not become distracted by what others are doing around you.  And he said something really wise that helped me understand my emotions a little better.

He said we often use our free time to ponder why it is that we don't get more free time. And if we just really focused on one thing at a time, our work time would be more productive, our rest time would be more restful, and we'd feel a lot less longing for one or the other! My, what a concept! task right now is to stay focused. When I'm writing my blog, all I'm doing is writing my blog :)

one last nugget to ponder.... a quote by a really wise man, in my opinion...

"The poor, the unsuccessful, the unhappy, the unhealthy are the ones who use the word tomorrow the most."
Robert Kiyosaki

Today I challenge you to be patient, be present and Bpositive!