Friday, January 29, 2010

Discipline (even on the crappy days)

Hello Dear Readers!

It has been too long since my last blog post... I have been working on some special projects these past few weeks, but they are wrapping up now and I am looking forward to getting back to my "regular" schedule.

I began drafting this blog post in my mind last Saturday during Spinning class...

It all started when I woke up last Saturday feeling not so hot and discovered a giant cold sore on my lip. I feel like everyone has their own unique physical manifestation of stress and this is mine for sure. Lovely, eh? Needless to say, I wanted to crawl right back into my comfy bed and whine to my husband about my stressful life. But I didn't. I got ready and went to the studio to teach.

After class I was still feeling pretty crappy and I spotted some leftover cupcakes just calling to me to chug them down along with my cup of decaf. But I didn't. I had organic yogurt and a banana instead.

Then I really wanted to crawl back into bed and feel sorry for myself. But I didn't. I hauled myself over to the YMCA for a 75 minute Spinning class.

As the instructor was yelling at us, "Push it, push it, push it. I said PUSH IT," I started thinking about discipline or what we yogis call tapas.

Discipline for me is about returning to my practices - whether they be eating healthy foods, meditating, practicing yoga on the mat or off, or exercising - not just when I feel like it, but even when I don't.

However, I also think it is hugely important to be responsive to our needs and gentle with ourselves. To balance effort and surrender. For example, I'm writing this post from my bed on a Friday afternoon when I had intended to go for a run, pick up my new contacts, stop at the bank, etc.

So how does one decide whether to stay in bed or cajole yourself up and out? To indulge in the cupcake or eat the banana? To run or to nap? There is no easy answer.

This is something I continue to struggle with myself, but I have found that taking the time to really tap into myself before deciding helps me to know what I really need in that given moment. For me this a two-fold process. First, I aim to regularly engage in activities that help me reconnect within, such as practicing yoga, journaling, and taking Artist Dates. Second, when I find myself having a crappy day I try to carve out a few quiet moments to decipher what I really need.

Yesterday as I driving 100+ miles at 6am in the midst of lake-effect snow and white-out conditions I started to whine to myself about the situation I found myself in. "This sucks. The weather has been great all week and now it is awful on the day I have to drive for work. I'm scared. I can't see anything. I don't want to do this. I'm tired." You get the point...

I just happened to be listening to a Tranquility du Jour podcast on "Being Buddha-ful" and Kimberly was talking about how the crappy days are our teachers, even if we are not in the mood for the lesson. So I decided to transform the story I was telling myself (a SARK-ism). To return to the practice of mindfulness and simply observe what was happening without judgment. I reminded myself that I was in a tough situation, but that suffering was optional. I loosened my grip on the steering wheel a bit, stop trying to rush (a futile effort), and conceded I would arrive when I arrived. I began to feel more relaxed. I was thankful to have the opportunity to listen to a podcast. I sipped my hot coffee. I noticed the sun rising. And it made the difference in terms of how the rest of my day went. Just like last week when I dragged myself to Spinning. I felt better afterwards. And just like today when I am feeling better after an hour spent doing nothing.

Again I think of discipline as returning to the practices I am committed to for growth. And I am practicing tuning into what I need to be my best self and doing my best to respond to that, whether it be cupcakes or bananas.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yummy (Quick & Easy) Eats

I do not consider myself much of a domestic diva, but sometimes when the mood is right I will attempt to concoct a meal!

Tonight was such a night! After venturing out for my weekly yoga class, I arrived home tres hungry. Together the hubby and I cooked up some salmon cakes with lemon dill yogurt sauce and a lovely spinach salad. I'm certainly no dietitian, but I think this was a pretty healthy meal! We didn't use a recipe. We just made it up as we went, but it turned out pretty good!

Salmon Cakes

1 can of wild caught salmon (the farmed stuff is not so good for you, more here)
a bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 organic egg
some breadcrumbs
garlic, minced (preferably fresh)
about 1/4 of a white onion, minced
about 1/4 of a green pepper, minced

Over medium heat, saute the EVOO, garlic, onion, and green pepper for a few minutes. Just enough to bring out the flavors and soften the veggies a bit. In a medium-sized bowl, combine salmon, sauteed mixture, egg, and breadcrumbs. Stir until well mixed. It should be a good consistency so that you can form the patties. Sorry... I'm sure there is a specific cooking word, but I have no idea. Now add some EVOO to your pan and cook the patties for about 10 minutes or until cooked through, flipping halfway through the cooking time.

Wow I feel like I am really butchering these instructions. I guess I don't need to point out that I have never before attempted to convey cooking instructions through the written word...

Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce

1 cup organic nonfat plain yogurt
zest of 1/2 lemon
parsley to taste
dill to taste

Combine ingredients and stir. That was easy, huh!?!

Spinach Salad

organic baby spinach
crumbled blue cheese
sunflowers seeds

Combine ingredients & dress with Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing.


I wish I would have taken a picture before we ate! Everything looked so pretty and tasted so good! Who knows maybe I will try cooking again sooner rather than later!

Photo credit

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Settling into January

I am slowing settling into January.

I've decided that my focus for the year will be Joyful Abundance. To me this means being present with all of the wonderful things in my life. As I've written about before, abundance is so much more than money. Already this week I have noted heaps of joyful abundance in my life: an attached garage when there is two feet of snow outside, my 1.5 mile commute to the office, a hot cup of peppermint tea, the freedom to spend Monday morning at the gym, a long hot shower on a cold day, two strangers pushing my car out of a snowbank, a warm sweater from Anthropologie gifted to me by the hubby, a hot lunch of homemade vegetable soup, a snowblower fairy that cleared the driveway and sidewalks at my office before I arrived. There is so much to be thankful for once we started truly observing our world and all the little fabulous things in it!

With joyful abundance in mind, here are my January Goals:
  • Celebrate Gramma's birthday
  • Celebrate niece's 3rd birthday
  • Celebrate Meg's 12th Birthday (OMG) by planning & executing two fabulous parties
  • Plan & facilitate Chakra 3 Workshop at studio
  • Prepare & deliver in-service on students with ADHD for staff at local high school
  • Prepare syllabus for Introduction to Psychology at NCCC & meet new class
  • Date night with the hubby to see It's Complicated
  • Enjoy yoga class at local studio at least once per week
  • Attend spinning class at YMCA at least once per week
  • Listen to the sweet sound of children singing at Meg's enrichment concert
  • Savor a night away with bff's at the first ever Babyette (think sophisticated bachelorette party post-baby)
  • Celebrate the baptism of beautiful daughter of one of bff's
  • Travel for a 1-day consultation project
  • Teach yoga 4 times per week at studio
  • See at least 6 clients per week
  • Finally catch up on accounting for all 3 businesses
  • Step foot onto the treadmill at least once per week
  • Sit down to meditate at least once per week
  • Ponder family vacation for this spring/summer
  • Prepare for Do Yoga. Do Good. Book Club in February
  • Clean out my closet (carried over from my Solstice plans)
  • Choose dates to run Women's Wellness Circle again
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