Finding the fun in healthy

It seems to me that aligning body, mind and soul is the ultimate goal of everyone, consciously or not. When out of alignment, our bodies tell us so. We feel lethargic, over-stressed or uninspired.

When in alignment, we feel vibrancy, energy, peace and creativity.

How do we align?

Perhaps we each have our own way. There are so many ways. We can start with our thoughts, or our environment.

Or we can start with the body.

Moving the body.

Feeding the body well.

20160826_175534 (1)

Tangy Lentil Salad

 

I promised myself that turning fifty would be the catalyst for becoming the healthiest I’ve ever been.  And I’ve got to say, the journey is a blast. I’m seriously having the most fun on the path to good health than I’ve ever had.

Fun is the answer!

facebook_1472724379117For me, that means trying new and healthy recipes, sometimes mimicking those I’ve enjoyed in restaurants. Fun is visiting a new juice bar with my daughters, researching the best blender to purchase, reading some of Jason Vale’s books just for fun and then getting inspired by his near perfect health. https://www.amazon.com/Jason-Vale/e/B0034IZDB6/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1472730018&sr=8-2-ent

Fun is a long walk with my husband or a new playlist for my solo jog.

It’s my favorite yoga class or paddling a kayak under a beautiful blue sky.

It’s a pile of books to read that feeds my mind and distracts me from the sugar I am not ingesting.

It’s having all the energy I need to be as productive as I want to be. I love love love this.

Being productive feels fun. 

Fun is writing  when the words  are  flowing, finally, after a bout of writer’s block. What is writer’s block anyhow? I think it’s just like any other energy block; remove the sludge in all its forms and open the channels.

Flow.

Momentum.

Health.

Inspiration. 

It’s basically free and fun and feels fantastic. 

 

Opening the creative conduit, aligning with the purest energy that is ours for the taking, is a far better buzz than I will ever get from the best margarita ever made. And I do like margaritas.

It’s lighter than stuff.

Sweeter than chocolate.

Good for the body= clarity for the mind=joy for the soul.

Oh joy!

 

 

The imperfect juice fast

Although I’ve always thought that an important component in decluttering is to clean the body, it has taken me to age fifty to finally do a juice cleanse, and only a one day one at that.

I figured I’d start small- I can do just about anything for one day! And I wasn’t looking for any dramatic shift in health or habits, but rather just a simple, quick and efficient rebooting of my body’s energy.

Since I don’t own a juicer and didn’t think my current once-every-fifty-years schedule of juicing was adequate incentive to purchase one, I was happy to hear about a locally owned juice bar: http://purejuz.net/

 

I ordered my one day juice cleanse 24 hours in advance, and the next day I left Pure Juz with five mason jars labeled and ready to be consumed, in a specific order.

20160728_071926Here is what they contained (12 oz each & very palpable):

#1 cucumber, apple, lemon, celery and parsley

#2 cucumber, carrots, beet, celery

#3 apple, celery. Lemon, romaine, kale

#4 apple,lemon,romaine, spinach, parsley

#5 pear, celery, lemon, ginger

On the morning of the juice fast, I still had my one cup of coffee. I need that burst of caffeine to get my running sneakers on.   This made it not a total juice fast, but I was okay with that. I wasn’t  aiming perfection, just a moderate detoxifying.

I was advised to drink water all day long (even though I’d be consuming 60 ounces of juice) and to eat raw nuts or whole fruits or veggies if I got too hungry.  And guess what? I got too hungry.

So I ate some raw nuts.

And two scrambled eggs.

I was not your model juice faster. Perhaps I should call this the Juice Not-So-Fast. 

But despite it being an imperfect and brief juice fast, I learned a couple things:

Feeding my cells nearly 60 ounces of vegetable juice gives them a happy buzz that surely has health benefits.

and   I can indeed get through an entire day without any processed sugar or gluten and feel better for it.

I felt lighter and clearer and the desire to maintain this energy carried into the next day, and the next.

Plus  I get to keep the mason jars.

A clean getaway.

 

 

 

Time management with a simple timer

20160706_112252When I was in college, and our apartment got very messy, my four roommates and I would occasionally call a “mad minute”.  We would set a timer and blast some music, then run around putting things away. Being five girls that felt we had better things to do than keep our apartment clean, this was an effective and painless way to make it presentable. With a timer set, we knew the cleaning up session had a definite ending, and therefore we were all willing to jump right into the task.

Decades later, I’ve rediscovered the power of a simple timer. As we all know, starting something is often the hardest part.  It takes our brains anywhere from five to twenty minutes to be fully immersed in a task. Up until then, it’s a bit of a struggle; we’re resisting, our minds are elsewhere, and if feels a bit like slogging through mud- thick, heavy, and not very enjoyable.

Several minutes into the task though, we are fully engaged, in the flow, and unaware of time passing.

I bought myself a timer that I keep on my writing desk. When I am resistant to sitting down to write, or more often these days to edit, I use the timer. I just have to do it until the sand runs through. When time is up, I’m free to go.

What usually happens is that once the time is up, I am fully into the process and don’t want to stop right then.

But I could stop, because time is up. Knowing this is what gets me started.

The timer can be used for almost any task: cleaning up, going through paperwork, writing, studying, or exercising. I’ve even seen timers for kids’ teeth brushing. They are two minute timers shaped like little teeth with smiley faces . Clever!

I ordered my timer on amazon.com where there are a multitude of timers that range from   $5 to $50.  They come in all colors, and there are vintage styles, cherry finish, hand-blown glass, crystal and benzaro metal timers. You can find a timer from one minute to an hour. I chose a thirty minute one.

It is fun to pick one out that serves your style and needs. Or maybe it’s just me. I have a thing for timers. What else takes up such little space, looks appealing, and can pack such a punch in the time management area of life?

What ever it is you don’t feel like doing, just do it. 

Better yet, time it.

 

 

50 days ’til 50

In fifty days, I will turn fifty.

Let me just say that I loved my forties. I still feel like I belong in my forties.  Warm and comfortable, cloaked around me, forty-nine is a good fit.  I’m not ready to shed it, to stand shivering at the threshold of a new decade.

Fifty does not sound natural to me, not at all. It sounds like an age someone else turns. I’d rather not claim that birthday, thank you anyway.

But of course there’s no choice. So rather than arriving at my fiftieth year with my heels dug in tight, I’ve got to prove to myself it doesn’t have to suck, not even a little.

It can be graceful and powerful.

It can in fact, be even better than forty-nine.

I know it’s up to me to make that so.

I know the best antidote to aging is just to keep getting better. Live better, eat better, do better, and feel better.

Be brave.

Do our best.

Shed the layers.

Another birthday reminds me that there is no more time to waste.

I will not watch the video of Horambe the gorilla again, in horror.

Nor will I watch another interview of Trump, with equal horror.

Or spend energy loathing anything that I cannot control.

Or generally waste copious amounts of time.

I will not accumulate unnecessary stuff.

I don’t have room for any of that, in my mental or physical space.

I’ve got stuff to do.

Words to write.  Things to say. People to love.

 

20160608_134237.jpgYesterday I went through our book shelves and finally parted with all of the books from my children’s adolescence.

Then I organized my writing books and afterwards claimed a spare room, tucked away in our basement.

I wasn’t sure how this new space would feel, because I‘ve gotten used to writing in our dining room. I can see out the window there; an animal, a neighbor, the school bus stopping across the street. I see when the mail arrives and when someone is coming to the door. If someone else is home, I see them, hear them, and engage in conversation.  My dog meanders over to his food, my husband makes his lunch.

It feels different in this new room, something like meditation, when I settle in. I don’t hear any sounds other than the humming of a dehumidifier. I see nothing in front of me but my words.

Seclusion is like a carpet laid out for my thoughts, an easy place to fall.

It is uncensored by the density of movement or noise.

Inviting to the soul.

It feels right.

And maybe that’s what will happen with turning fifty.

Maybe it will just feel right.

 

 

Yesterday’s post: https://musingsimplicity.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/love-and-choices/

 

 

 

 

 

Love and Choices

13239029_10209299243580885_6529252908657338580_nTime is marching on a little too quickly these days.  It’s nearly summer and I hardly remember spring, except for my middle daughter’s wedding, the highlight. She and her fiance chose to have a small, private wedding which took place outdoors. It was beautiful and special and a perfect reflection of their love for each other. My daughter’s mother-in-law captured all of it on  video, including the sisters’ speeches which made my heart swell nearly as much as the ceremony did. I’m waiting to receive  the link to this video to share with family and friends who were not in attendance.

And speaking of missing family members, when we first heard of their desire for a very small wedding, I felt a twinge of disappointment. What about all our loved ones who would not be there? But I think we’ve raised our children to “think outside the box” when it’s right for them, and this was one of those times. So in time, I usually feel a sense of relief when they exercise this right. I like to know they are doing what they think is right for them.

One thing I’ve learned from parenthood is how little I know. We can love them a lot and listen to them a lot and guide them, but ultimately it is encouraging our kids to follow their own inner guidance that is the true task of parenthood.

My youngest daughter told me that some of the best words I ever said to her were these:

I don’t know.

It’s your life to live.  What do you think? 

She said it left her with a sense of empowerment and excitement about her own life.

It’s a good reminder. I’m just a parent. Our children are each on their own unique journeys. I don’t want to play God with that.

I love you  and I don’t know.  A suitable parenting mantra, I think.

And the  one and only piece of advice I recall ever giving my daughters about love was this:

Choose someone who loves you a lot.

Life throws enough curve balls and challenges. Your love life doesn’t have to be one of them.

***

Tomorrow is fifty days before my fiftieth birthday, which has inspired me to write exactly that post, tomorrow.(50 Days ’til 50). I considered a series, posting each day leading up to this birthday, but alas need to spend the time editing my memoir which I promised myself would be much more polished by the big 5-0.

Always having to make choices with time; such is life. But getting older makes me increasingly aware of this- that I am in fact making a choice at any given moment.   I guess conscious choosing  is a byproduct of adulting. Maybe that’s all life really is; one choice after the next. Even when things happen to us, we still get to choose, what now?

See you tomorrow!

P.S. *Please visit the site of Sarabeth Matilsky, a most adventurous mom of four. In her latest letter, she takes us through the decision to sell her home and travel with her family, and  details  the massive clearing out that took place.  In a very short amount of time, she got rid of 95% of her family’s possessions. Bam. Now that is how you get it done:  www.lifeisapalindrome.com

Clearing a path for the good stuff

If you take care of the small things, the big things take care of themselves. You can gain more control over your life by paying closer attention to the little things.  –Emily Dickinson

What are the little things?

Drinking water.

Getting enough sleep.

Decluttering.

Eating a healthy meal.

Keeping only what you love.

Breathing deeply.

Exercising.

Replacing the button.

Cleaning out the fridge.

Hanging the picture.

Buying the stamps.

Thinking the good thought.

Doing the paperwork.

Planting the vegetables.

Saying the kind word.

Donating the stuff.

Pausing.

 What are the big things?

Inspiration.

Clarity.

Insight.

Healing.

Hope.

Decision.

Peace.

Fulfillment.

Joy.

Freedom.

Success.

Love.

Creativity.

Truth.

Ideas.

Courage.

How does taking care of the little things lead to the big things?

Everything in this entire universe is made up of energy. Food, thoughts, stuff, etc.  This is not a new phenomenon. This is not a New Age theory or an unscientific guess. This has been true for all of eternity.

Einstein reported that “..both the physical plane of our reality of matter and the abstract reality of our mind are made up of energy patterns.”  Every cell, thing, thought, word and morsel of food has a vibrational frequency.

There is positive energy and negative energy and neutral energy. All of it is easy to decipher. How do you feel after eating something? Doing something? Saying something? Thinking something? Being in a particular environment? What adds to your energy, heightens your vibration, and what takes away from it?

Doing the small things cleans up your energy, raising it in order to attract the energy of the the  bigger things. Like attracts like.  Doing the small things creates a magnet for the bigger things. It opens up a pathway. It unblocks us and sets us free to discover our limitlessness.

How simple is that? Just do the small things. One by one. Day by day. Moment by moment.

Clear a path to the big things. You can feel it.

Making room for the big stuff.

But I wasn’t finished with yesterday

Contrary to the proverb, March came in like a lamb and out like a lion this year in New England.  Hopes for an early spring were dashed by late snowfall.

Its a good excuse to put off spring cleaning though, and hunker down like an indoor cat to get more writing done.

Last month’s writing workshop in Boston left me with more valuable information and connections than I could have hoped for. Besides, hearing and talking about books and writing all weekend long, with other people who wanted nothing more than to talk about books and writing, was glorious.

In addition, I received the encouragement and resources to go ahead and get my book proposal done.  A book propossal is easily a fifteen page document, and I was  looking forward to starting the process.  But with the culmination of any significant event, like the weekend workshop, I needed time to digest before moving on.

It’s like having a gourmet meal;  upon finishing, we don’t immediately move on to the next meal. That’s how life can feel; the good, the bad and the mediocre all have to be absorbed, and preferably  with adequate time in between. I prefer to feel like I’m having a fine dining experience, or at a delectable buffet, rather than being a pig at the trough.

When I’m overstuffed, I feel a little sick, uncomfortable, rushed. I want to assimilate everything at a pace that feels natural, and preferably write about some of it. For me, writing it down really cinches the experience.

But upon returning from the writer’s workshop, it was time to prepare for a Moth story GrandSLAM.  I was thrilled to get to participate in this next stage of the Moth and wanted to give it my best. At the same time, it was difficult to keep feelings of fear at bay. I told very few people that it was coming up. Writing a story down is one thing, with many chances for corrections and rewrites, but live storytelling is quite another experience altogether.

Fortunately, it went well and was a great, albeit nerve-wracking, experience. Besides telling my story, I got to hear eight other fabulous stories, each of them unique.

My only regret was the ten second brain freeze I had on stage. Well my husband says it was only ten seconds. Another storyteller said it was ‘forgiveable, no big deal’. Maybe they are being kind. It felt like an eternity to me. The silent space, as brief as it may have been, was long enough for thoughts to rush in. Thoughts like these:

Oh no, Im not speaking. 

If I don’t speak now, things could end very, very badly.

I could pass out and have to be carried off the stage.

I thought my period was almost over. Why am I suddenly gushing blood down there?

Am I hemorrhaging?

Speak! 

Moments like this making me grateful for any trauma or setback  that I have suffered in the past. I know I’m resilient.

That mental space of even if the worst happens I will survive comes in handy when on the brink of utter failure or humiliation.  In a way, it makes you untouchable. It stops the bleeding.

Seconds later (or was it minutes?) I harnessed my story from my hijacked mind, and it flowed out, thank God. As usual the audience was wonderful, but the most touching comment came from a young man who looked to be about eighteen.

“I needed to hear that story. Thank you”, he said, which made the preparation and the nerves and the harrowing brain freeze all worthwhile.

So as I have been assimilating the events of the past month, I have gotten behind on some things like emails and phone calls and laundry and blogging and editing.  But I’m catching up now, and ready to take on the book proposal, and hoping I can get it done as quickly and as surely as the sun is melting the snow.

I am reminded of a time when one of my daughters was in Kindergarten.  She appeared to be daydreaming intead of preparing for the day. I told her it was time to get ready for school today.

Exasperated, she responded with this:

But I wasn’t finished with yesterday! 

And I knew exactly what she meant.

Overstuffed.