Enjoy The Ride

I remember driving to Florida from our home in New York and just wanting to get there already. My father rushed us at the rest areas and never wanted to stop. I counted seconds and miles and time would drag on. I couldn’t wait for the car ride to be over. This thinking pattern quickly oozed into other areas of my life. I couldn’t wait to be 16, then 21. I couldn’t wait to graduate. I wanted my high school diploma, my bachelors degree, and then it was my masters. I zoomed from one goal to the next, always rushing towards my desired end result. However, in all the rushing and gaining I forgot to slow down and enjoy the ride. I could have enjoyed the extra time for coloring, viewing the barns and horses outside the window, or using the time to talk with my family but i was too focused on the end game. Struggle and striving felt normal. I never realized the journey should be relished as much as the destination. Everyone says we will look back and wish we had known this or that and I think this what I think about the most.

When I was in school I thought good grades were the point, actually learning something wasn’t as important as a perfect 4.0. Same thing on future road trips, vacations, and learning processes. The goal had been the be all end all and I just wanted to achieve, to have enough money, to get there. Slowly, through relationships, teachers, and books I have learned the huge mistake I was making. Focused on goals, I was forgetting to enjoy the process. The process by the way, is life. The goals, the gold stars, the mile markers, the accolades and recognition feel great for a moment but we deserve more than feeling great for a moment. They are simply exclamations at the end of a sentence or chapter, they are not the story. The story is where the meat is, the good stuff. Awards, licenses, and degrees are just paper and metal that someone gave a meaning. Meeting new people, making new friends, learning new lessons and the growth I experienced through the struggles and challenges. It was all happening along the way whether I met a goal or didn’t. Those are the things I really cherish. Wherever you are, whatever you’re currently working towards, I hope you are able to sit back and enjoy the process. Appreciate everything you have already accomplished and all that you have. The road you are on right now, your current journey, it’s leading you somewhere wonderful, but don’t forget the wonderful that is going on right now.

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Answered Dreams

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some people who face reality; and then there are some that turn one into another” -Douglas H. Everret

I was fifteen the first time I had acupuncture and it wasn’t long after my first appointment that I decided the things I learned during my one hour appointments were immensely more interesting than what I was learning in school. I loved the circular and holistic thinking.  One day the acupuncturist took a book off the shelf and I have been studying the medicine ever since. The years seemed to drag by until I finally graduated with my Master’s in Acupuncture, became licensed, and was able to practice the medicine myself. It had been ten years in the making, a dream I strived for and thought about everyday. I finally had done it! I was an acupuncturist!

 Shortly after another thought occured to me. Now what?

What do you do when you have been working towards a singular goal for so long and  you actually achieve it?

I had no idea what to do with myself even as I began practicing and living my acupuncture dream. I knew I wanted to be better, I knew I wanted to know more, do more, create more, help more people, and expand my knowledge. However, without any new real goal I felt lost. Others around me my age were still working towards their dreams and I found myself longing to focus on something. I wanted to be excited about working towards and achieving my next. I didn’t want to float around or get too comfortable. Terrified of becoming stagnant I took a cooking class, a dance class,  karate and art lessons. I enjoyed them all but I needed something more. Knowing what I wanted was far easier than not knowing. Not knowing required a lot of letting go, which at the time made me very uncomfortable. It took me a while to realize that once you achieve a dream, you are allowed to have another one. It didn’t mean I wasn’t content with my previous achievements or current life situation. Dreaming and  current contentment can coexist. SO, I needed a new dream, okay. It wasn’t greedy or self-centered or throwing away my previous accomplishment. Dreams keep us expanding and growing and the search for the next one can be as enjoyable as knowing. There are so many things to explore, try, and learn. Think big, think small, it doesn’t really matter, do both. But always keep dreaming.

Some people dream of their wedding day their whole life and then feel a huge let down after they get married. Some people dream of kids, a certain award, a published book, landing a certain role, or making a certain amount of money. However, sometimes the idea of achieving our dreams seems impossible and so we feel a bit of shock when they do come true. There will be gratitude, of course, but then a new search must begin and sometimes the unknowing can be a struggle. Sometimes achieving our dreams doesn’t feel the way we expected it to. We have to realize that are dreams are not the end goals but the beginning of something new. We always need to fuel our creative fire, we can always be achieving, we are always living life.

A few years later I have several new dreams I am working towards and I am lucky enough to know what it feels like to have a dream actually come true. It was a great learning process. I hope you are dreaming, that you continue to dream, that your dreams come true. Your life is full of infinite possibility, opportunities, and growth.

 

 

Winter Wisdom

“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”  ~Ruth Stout

Winter in the North-East has been mild this year. I can count on my hands the number of times I have had to get the scraper out in the morning and de-ice the windshield. After last year’s torrent of unrelenting freezing cold temperatures and weekly snowstorms I can’t help but be grateful even as I worry about any agricultural repercussions. Winter conjures up fantasies like reading by the fire with a cup of tea or cuddling with a loved one indoors while snowflakes sprinkle down outside the window. How lucky most of us are to be able to have an escape from the wind and cold. To have shelter, hot water, sweaters, mittens and mugs of hot cocoa.

Today we have luxuries like heat  so we are not as attuned to the seasonal shifts but our bodies respond whether we are conscious of it or not. Winter is a time for reflection, rest, replenishment, and awareness. Have you noticed yourself wanting to spend more time at home? Expending less energy and more time looking inward? These are the movements of winter. Winter is a time of preparation and planning because soon we will shift into the frenzied momentum of Spring.

For optimum health this time of year use warming spices like ginger, garlic, cinnamon and clove. The diet should be nourishing and substantial. Focus on whole grains, less fruit, and steamed and baked vegetables. Use a humidifier to keep lungs and nasal passages moist to help prevent illness. Prepare warm teas and stews. For breakfast I like quinoa topped with pumpkin seed milk, flax, nuts and cinnamon. Winter in Eastern medicine is the time of water, the kidneys, the bladder, and wisdom. Try to nurture these aspects of yourself this time of year. When we are in balance with winter we keep warm, sleep well, preserve and give. When we are out of balance there is lack of rest, fear, frustration, late nights and hoarding. Explore indoor activities, meditation, and other forms of relaxation. Prepare yourself for all that you want and the activity and movement that is coming.

Why Do Parents Force Feed Their Kids Garbage?

“If you finish your chicken nuggets and french fries you can have a chocolate sundae.”

Excuse me, what? Why?

Raising a child is difficult. One of the hardest jobs in the world. However, sometimes I cannot help but notice when observing people with their children the habits they encourage. It leaves me a little confused and disappointed when parents force feed triglycerides and trans fats to their four and five-year olds for the sake of convenience, ease, or whatever other reason. Would you ever encourage yourself to eat a bunch of fried, processed crap and then reward yourself for it? Do people remember how difficult growing up can be? Do people remember how cruel the kids can be to the overweight and the acned? If you promote unhealthy eating at an early age you are paving a road of hardship for your child. It is much easier to start and stay healthy than to try to recover from the illness of obesity, diabetes and the other possible harmful outcomes of a poor diet. You want them to succeed and to be happy, you want the absolute best for them. You do everything in your power to make sure they are well-rounded, well-educated, well spoken, well dressed, and you give them every opportunity possible for growth and achievement. You invest in their futures by sending them to school, saving so they can go to college, taking them to martial arts, ballet, and music class. Do not forget the impact the eating habits you instill in them now are equally as important. These habits will carry over into how they look, how they feel and how they act. These habits will prove a valuable life skill. They will affect them not only now but well into adulthood.

People talk about cost and convenience and again I will bring up priorities. You can pay now or you can later. Paying a little extra for the fruit, vegetables, and whole grains for you and your children is a worthwhile investment. Much better than having to pay  for the office visits, possible tests, and medications. Shop the perrimeter of the store, look for sales, and buy what is in season to keep costs low and benefits high. Create wonderful memories with your children in the kitchen with the color and variety of the produce you bring home.  Learn with them. Prepare new recipes or create your own together. Make a game out of it. The health of your children is worth the small extra effort.

The food you eat in the here and now is important, but the food that was put into your body as a child has greatly influenced your growing, your cravings, your immune system,  your health and your eating habits today. The food you eat today will impact how you feel tomorrow. The food you eat this week will influence how you feel the next week. Same goes for the food you eat this month and its influence on next month and the food you eat this season and how you will feel in the next season and on and on it goes. There is no disconnect, not between you and your food, nor between you and your mind, or  you and your body.

Being True to You

“Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself-and thus make yourself indispensable.” Andre Gide

I wish I was good at sports involving hand-eye coordination but when I play volleyball I usually get hit in the head. My grandmother tells me stories of when I was little. “You used to try so hard, you would swing that bat and you could just not hit that ball. You would try and try but you missed it every time. You would come crying to me and bury your face in my legs and ask for help. No matter what we did or tried you could just not hit that ball.” The fact that I am that bad is embarrassing on a number of levels. I tried to shoot hoops at the gym a couple of weeks ago and was about 3 for 50. Although, I did win a game of ladder-ball once…maybe I’m just not good with things that are completely round. If you play tennis or ping-pong with me just be happy if I manage to get the ball back to your side of the net. Adding in all the rules will just leave us both more than frustrated. I’m not the only one with this problem. My girlfriend tried to become a golfer but when she accidentally hit her husband in the head with the club while taking a swing she called it quits. He couldn’t talk to her for three hours after, he tried not to be mad, but he said it just hurt too much.

We all have things that we excel at and things that do not come so easily to us. Obviously I have no natural talent for softball, basketball, or volleyball. We all have things we enjoy doing and things that we dread. So why do we sometimes pursue the things that go against our grain?

I have given up the dream of being an amazing tennis, volleyball, softball, or kickball player. If I’m honest with myself when I was trying to improve my skills in those areas it wasn’t so much for me as it was because I wanted to fit in or because I liked the idea of being good at those things. Looking at it further I also realize that pursuing them provided more frustration than joy. Sports with balls aren’t my thing and I am just going to have to learn to be okay with that.

Sometimes instead of trying to pursue things that don’t bring us joy we give up the things that do. I love to travel and last year I tried to take a break from it. I wanted to be responsible, save up, stick around, be a home-body. People kept telling me how good it would be for me. It wasn’t two months before I had my first panic attack and another month before I booked a one way ticket. Traveling brings me so much joy and trying to go against that sent me into illness. Staying true to myself not only keeps me happy, it keeps me healthy.

I see people try to change themselves to appear more attractive or fulfill a role in a relationship. Compromise is one thing, but you can’t throw yourself away. Eventually the real you will come out and no one will be happy. Why not have someone love the real you to being with?

Be honest about who you are, not just with those around you, but with yourself. Pursue the things that bring you joy without listening to what others tell you is the right thing for you to do. Try new things, learn new things, but if after a few tries it isn’t bringing you joy, give it up! If you love cooking, cook more! But if you hate cooking don’t apply for a job as a chef. Don’t let society, or anything dictate what your role should be, what you should be good at, or what you choose to pursue. In the end if you pursue what you love, you will be very good at it and you will be able to share something magnificent with the world.

The Power of Words

“Sticks and Stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you”

The expression has good intentions, a consoling phrase used to make kids being bullied at school feel better. However, I couldn’t relate to the sentiment then and  it has even less meaning for me today. I have had broken bones and they healed relatively easily without much conscious effort on my part. My body took care of it. I also don’t remember exactly how it felt or how much pain it brought. I cannot say the same about the hurtful things that have been said to me or about me. I remember those words well and if I’m not careful with my thoughts I can still conjure up their sting. I had to do some living and learning before I was able to let many of their accompanying reactions go. Words like “you’re not good enough, you will never make it, you’re stupid, you’re ugly, and I couldn’t bring myself to love you,” have a way of creeping in under the skin and resurfacing when other obstacles arise. Words are powerful and so we must be careful what we say. You never know how they will impact others or for how long. Each word has its own vibrational energy that can bring you and others up or down.

The happier I become the more I realize the following: A cruel word could never be spoken by someone who was truly happy. The happier you are the happier you want to continue to feel and the happier you want others to feel. I also realize now that whatever you put out into the world is what you will get back. You cannot be happy and have negative words for another, not even in your thoughts. Knowing this has given me a different perspective and taken away power from the negative words that have been delivered my way. How miserable and sad someone must be if they aim to bring others harm or feelings of pain or to even use hurtful words.

Masara Emoto conducted experiments studying how words, emotions, music, and prayer seem to affect the crystallizing structure of water. He found that loving words and prayers made the water crystallize in a beautiful way and angry words made the water look…well, ugly.  Relate that to the fact that human beings are anywhere from 50%-80% water. Could beautiful words make us more beautiful? I like the idea of that possibility.

Imagine living in a world where everyone around you used loving, supporting, caring words. If every time you failed someone was there with words of encouragement. If everyday, everywhere you went the phrases and words surrounding you were I love you, You are so beautiful, You are so smart, You are the most amazing person. Imagine what the world would accomplish if we all supported each other.

Use positive words on the outside and the inside. Make sure they are abundant in the majority of your speech and thoughts. You never know how a kind word may impact and change someone’s day, week, or life. And that someone, it may just be you. What a gift to give yourself, to give good words. The more good words you give, the more you will receive back and on and on it goes. Bringing us closer and closer to more wonderful, more happiness, and more love.

Special Delivery: Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass: The Goddess in the Greenhouse.

Can you imagine my excitement yesterday when 140 oz of wheatgrass was delivered to my door? 70 days of increased energy and wellness at my fingertips! The joy I felt for the addition to my freezer officially pushed me the category of health-nut.

High in chlorophyll, beta carotene, and antioxidants this plant is praised by health addicts around the world for its potential health benefits which include immune boosting power, gray hair prevention,  detoxifying action, and improvement in digestion, blood, and skin condition. Amazing right? No wonder it has created such such a buzz. Juice bars are queuing into what for them could be substantial potential profits.

The health claims surrounding wheatgrass are controversial. Enough scientific research hasn’t been done to prove any of the claims (although studies on benefits to colon health seem promising.)  But after talking to many that seem to have benefited from the stuff, I decided to give it a shot. (That’s a wheatgrass pun for those of you who missed it… laugh now, you shoot wheatgrass juice back similar to tequila, well, kind of. Anyway, get it?…Well, whatever, I’m not a comedian…). So I conducted an experiment on myself. I have been throwing back the green liquid everyday for a little over a month now.

Here is what my self-experiment concluded. I love this stuff. One, because it appeals to my vanity.  My skin does look better, my hair is healthier and fuller, and I have more energy. I didn’t look that bad before, but I would say there is marked improvement. The claim that this could all be the placebo effect? I don’t agree but I also don’t care. If I, along with many people around the world, think that downing 2oz of this green stuff will make me feel better and I do,  I really only care about the fact that I do feel better. Eating green things in general just always seems to be a good idea, and this stuff is REALLY GREEN.

 If you have a grass allergy, then no, wheatgrass won’t be for you. If you think enough research hasn’t been done, then don’t drink it. I am just sharing my experience. If it worked for me, maybe it will help someone else. Wheatgrass is just one of the many things I do to keep myself feeling healthy, happy, and beautiful. Put it next to exercise, other healthy eating habits, breathing exercises, good friends, positive thinking, and laughing, learning and growing as often as possible. All of it is important. So if you don’t want to try wheatgrass, try something else.

I suggest writing down the things or habits that you do that seem to have a positive effect on your life. For whatever reason, many times we lose these habits and have to circle back to them. Having a list  will give you a good place to start when you veer off into other not so positive habits that leave you feeling not so healthy, happy, or beautiful. Think back to a time in your life when you felt really healthy. What were your habits at the time? What were you focused on? Can you bring any of those things into your life right now?

Anyway, meet me at the bar. I’ll be there at happy hour throwing back 2oz. of  the green goods. Cheers!