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!

 

 

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/

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Moving Forward

Close scrutiny will show that most ‘crisis situations’ are opportunities to either advance, or stay where you are. -Maxwell Maltz

Take action! An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intention. -Dr. Steve Maraboli

 

There’s a crazy intersection in the city near where I live called Kelley Square. There is traffic coming and going from all directions, with no traffic light or signs whatsoever. This area is known for its absolute chaos; there is even a Facebook page called I survived Kelley Square.

The first time I drove through this intersection, I was sure I just hadn’t seen the traffic signs. Anxiety set in as I tried to stay focused on what was in front of me while simultaneously noticing the traffic at my rear and all around me, and keeping my eyes peeled for that elusive yield sign.

The second time I drove through, a week or so later, I felt my heart beating quickly as I approached the intersection. I held out hope that there actually were traffic rules here and that I would grasp what they were this time around. But the second time was just like the first.

After going through Kelley Square three or four times, I finally asked someone who lived in the city,  What are the rules for Kelley Square?

Answer: There are none. You just take your opening, and go for it. Keep moving if you can. Only hesitate if you have to.

And so it goes.

I have high hopes for this new year. Health and fitness and writing and reaching goals.

And I’m not gonna lie, I am just fine with the holidays being over.

They were fun!

Joyous!

And I’m so over them now.

Isn’t everyone?
Is anyone ever left wanting more?

I don’t know.

But I get a sprint in my step as I am packing up the Christmas tree.

I was just so ready for a regular old month. I love regular old months, because there is room for surprises, progress, stillness, ideas. Writing.

The start of a brand new year.

Moving forward.

It’s going to be a good year.

A lot is going to happen. A lot already has.

Our middle daughter got engaged!

My husband has a Fitbit.  If you have one, or live with someone who has one, then you know why this is news. It goes everywhere with him.  It even sleeps with us.

I learned to cross country ski. More accurately, I learned to get up after falling. But it was something new, and new is synonymous with forward motion.

I’m going to compete in the Moth Story GrandSLAM. I hear it’s going to take place in March, finally, one year after my story slam win, but I’m still waiting for confirmation. Also awaiting the theme.

The following month, I am going to speak at a convention for marriage and family therapists about my book!

I am finishing said book. This year. No excuses. Because life doesn’t go on forever, you know. It just keeps moving forward, with or without us.

I cannot say I’ve mastered Kelley Square, and in fact it still scares me. But I see it a little differently now. Instead of chaos, I see people moving forward whenever they can.  Every driver is responsible for herself, but with a keen awareness of others around her.

Maybe that’s not so crazy after all.

Happy 2016.

 

 

 

 

The Mystery of Ideas

images treeI cannot think of any better time of year to contemplate the mystery of ideas.  For at least a moment, but preferably for a lifetime, I am asking you to consider the possibility that ideas and inspiration may come from an inexplicable source, from something divine and alive, perhaps from your own soul or as some may say, even from God Herself.  An idea can come out of a desperate plea or, more often,  from a simple opening  created in stillness.

However you choose to think about the concept of ideas that come to us, or through us, there is this universal truth: we all get them. 

But we most definitely do not always notice them, or invite them, or act on them. I think that much of the time we swat them away like flies. Why? I guess we are often too busy, too comfortable, too skeptical, too insecure, or just too darn attached to inertia. It’s just easier to ignore an idea than to engage in it.

In her newest book, Big Magic : Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert has this to say about ideas:

Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way…is through collaboration with a human partner.

Ideas can be as varied as the people who host them, but I am talking about the creative ideas that spur us to make something new, or change something old. An idea may come as a whisper or it may include a bodily sensation such as excitement mixed with nervousness. And when you’re truly lucky, the idea may grip you with such force that there is only one way to go with it: forward.

 We are all creative beings after all, and I think we are just happier when we are creating something, even if it just a clever and satisfying tweak to our environment or routine, but especially when it is something even bigger.

So how can we invite ideas, the kind of another realm, the ones that bring joy and change and creations of all kinds?

Well since you asked, here’s my answer based on my own experiences as well as a boatload of reading on the topic (because it intrigues me to no end).

Eliminate Chaos.  Eliminate all of it, or as much as you can. Clear the decks, because ideas prefer a clear path. They cannot reach you if they are tripping over the clutter in and around you. Clean up the mess, literally and figuratively, and ideas will stand a chance of getting your attention.

For the love of ideas, Take Care of Yourself. You know what to do. Eat well, sleep well, get exercise, keep a reasonable schedule.

Pay Attention. When you receive that idea, don’t swat it away. It may hang around for a while, and you may get another chance at it, but eventually it will give up on you and move on. We’re all going to miss out on some ideas, but don’t let them all get away; especially not the big, scary ones, because those are rare and amazing. The bigger the commitment, the bigger the payoff.

 Follow Your Curiosities. Every new invention, creation, positive change or idea started with a question. What about this? What if..? What really happened?  What if I tried that? I wonder who, what , where…? Consider that your curiosities are gifts, leading you somewhere new. I don’t care if you are ninety years old, we all have curiosities. Have the conversation, take the new road, ask the darn questions. Even when it is inconvenient or unsettling or out of your comfort zone, don’t accept what you know as all you want to know. Allow curiosity. Follow it. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it brought the human to life.

 Take Your Ideas Seriously. Please.  I don’t mean in a rigid, stoic sort of way. I mean consider them. Play with them. Don’t be quick to dismiss them. Ideas come to us for a reason. Focus on it. Obsess over it if you have that luxury, but at least commune with an idea in a consistent manner, as soon as you can. Devote yourself to an idea and watch it grow. Be afraid if you must, but do it anyway. Make mistakes, ask for help, feel silly trying, inconvenience someone, but follow that damn idea. It’s yours.

That’s the best I’ve got.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and most of all, I hope you enjoy the mystery. Love the mystery. Leave some room for a new idea, and pull it close. It chose you.

Simplifying = getting sh*t done

20151130_124530Simplifying is not for nothing, folks.

Simplifying means getting sh*t done.

It means you have more time and space and freedom to spend on what is important to you.

Whether you simplify your diet, your routine, your home or your schedule, you will reap the rewards.

And here is my favorite reward:

Creative projects coming to fruition! 

I am in the process of editing my book. I love this part. It is a lot of work, but I get to apply my love for organizing to the whole process.  I printed out a hard copy because I find it easier to edit this way. I can spread chapters out across my table, move things around, write notes in red ink and feel the weight of my project, literally. All the pages I see represent not only what I’ve gotten done, but all the things I chose to let go of in order to focus on this.

I’ve made the decision that I will get this book ready for publication, no matter what it takes. That is a good feeling. Not having it out in the world is simply not an option for me. I will spend any amount of time and effort that is required. End of story.

 

What we focus on..

It is day five of no sugar and so far the abstinence thing is working as planned.   If thoughts of sugar come to mind, I release them. I just don’t focus on it, because the option of having any is off the table, so it consumes exactly none of my energy. I did dream about desserts though, as in a vivid- feature- movie of decadent options, but when daylight came, it was steel cut oatmeal for this girl. And I have plenty of delicious and healthy options to be giddy about that don’t involve sweets (cacao flavored green smoothies! caprese salads!  Thai food!)

Focusing on what I do want in my life, rather than what I don’t want, always works best.

I know the whole “what you focus on expands” can sound so new-agey and like a modern day tagline, but really it is quantum physics and ancient wisdom and it just works this way whether we care that it does or not. So it behooves us to care.

Except when it comes to the most impersonal things such as weather. I don’t particularly want snow, but I know it’ll keep coming, like it does each winter, like it or not. So I’ve decided this year I just won’t focus on how much I don’t like the cold. I’ll dress for it and I’ll notice how the sun turns the tree branches into glistening silver beams after a snowfall. I won’t exactly embrace it, but I’ll surrender to it. My aim is to  accept it without fuss. After all, I choose to live in New England, so put up or get out, right?

indexI was home alone during the last snowfall, and although my husband had arranged to have someone come do the snow blowing for me, but I simply decided I was no longer afraid of the damn contraption and cleared the driveway myself. And this time I did not shred the buried newspaper into five billion tiny pieces, expelling them across the yard and out into street, causing a news storm. This time was better. The snow blower, for me, was emblematic of making peace with winter. I believed the task was very doable, and so it was.

Which is why, as I am pouring so much time and energy into completing my book, which is a slower and more difficult process than I ever imagined, I cannot, will not,  give too much focus to the thought   Please don’t let me write a book that sucks.

Instead I invite the thought : I am willing to put in all the time and effort required to make this as good as it can be.

Better yet, I just write.

I perplex myself with how I can get so happy over such small things as coconut oil and amazon prime, and yet still want such big things  like a best seller of course. But okay, I will settle for just a reasonably successful book that resonates with enough readers as to consider it worthwhile.

Ah well, all of life is both risky and harmless, so why should this be any different? It feels big and at the same time  just a blip in the big scheme of the universe, so carry on.

And while busy churning thoughts into words that people may or may not ever read, I give little thought to politics these days, or even news for that matter, shredded paper aside. I have never been overly focused on politics and I take in only as much news as I need in order to know what’s going on in the world, and to form an opinion. Lately, though, I am even sick of my own opinion. Focusing on it only leaves me frustrated or dissatisfied. I’d  rather create something I can add to the world, however meagerly, than spin all the stuff that I have no control over around in my head until I end up right back where I started.

Simplifying has brought me clarity.  Sugar was probably the last junk I needed to clear out of my life. Actually, no, I’m sure something else will reveal itself in time, likely a habit or mindset or something else that I awaken to that leaves me wondering how could I have thought that? Or why do I do that?

In the meantime, rather than focusing on what I don’t like or want, I try to keep asking the right questions. What do I want? What would work best? Then I put my focus there, my energy there, and watch it grow.