Metta Float – Metta WTF?!

So my good friend Joy – if I haven’t mentioned her before in a blog post – she is the Thelma to my Louise, my sister from another mother, someone who understands a piece of me that is unexplainable in words but deeply feels, anyways, she suggested for our Christmas girls day out that we do a float at this place in Bethlehem that she had been to before called Metta Float.

Now I have been to spas, I have floated, but never in a dark room in salt water all to myself for an entire hour.  And it sounded totally appealing.

The place is super duper cute and we had a coffee from one of my favorite coffee spots before.  The outside of it looks like a submarine and then when we walked inside it smelled amazing and I especially loved this christmas tree made out of a ladder with lights strung around it and then topped with a gorgeous angel.  Already, I was in the mood of Christmas.  Not the hustle and bustle but the spirit and love and stillness of it all.  The awe on a child’s face when they see the tree star light up and they just stand staring up at it for countless moments.  I highly doubt they are like us adults thinking about all we have to do, who we may have forgotten or the little children that have nothing and how to help or maybe the pecan pie they ate too much of.  No, they stare in awe and admiration and total stillness.

I wasn’t the best first floatee as I did not watch the demonstration video at home so I watched it in the waiting room as we prepared.  The video was informative and I am glad I listened because I especially seemed to listen to this part.  The video instructed me to tilt my head back into the water so that the water came to touch around my brow line – this would help find the natural curvature of the spine.  Now in my yoga teacher training we have been learning a lot about the natural curvature of the spine because well most of us go through life – jacking it up in some shape or form and I think this leads to a lot of alignment, stress, trauma/emotionally held issues.  We can’t let go easily.  Atleast I know I can’t – esp since having a child, moving twice, switching careers, and recently a miscarriage.  I know I am holding on to shit.  I know I haven’t slowed down enough to feel some shit.  I press on.  Because that is what I have been told all my life.  But yet from my own learnings – I know I have to keep going at a pace that allows me to feel, process, and digest life and sometimes life is hard, sometimes it throws you curves, knocks you down and returns you to rest.  And I know I sometimes stand in my own way of doing this. 

Anyways, so I also didn’t bring anything with me to take out my contacts so the lovely owner let me borrow a contact lens case and solution and I proceed to room number 1 downstairs.  Joy is right next to me.  We both go in.  I put on my swim cap which she was right did nothing but I thought it would protect my newly gotten highlights.  I thought my hair stylist did an amazing job last time and I was concerned.  It had been four months since I had gotten my hair did and I wanted to relish my new highlights.   Anyways I shower off and enter the tub as directed and find the knob to signal floating time begin and music cease.  It becomes pitch black.  I float for a bit – as I have stated before I love floating – had just done some in the ocean in aruba but this was me in a tub in a dark room.  So then my brain starts to think like what if I can’t find the knob, what if it gets deeper and someone comes and grabs me from beneath, what if I fall asleep and don’t hear the music come back on?  Crazy thoughts right?! But we are in crazy times.  So I thought them and then came back to my breath, how good it felt to be weightless and how much my physical body could reeeee-lax.  And then I started to think about my spine and the natural curvature that was being supported and the sympathetic curves that we experience – I felt them.  Then I started to play with turning my hands and arms one way and then the other and then I rested a bit more.  Then I started to notice some funky stuff – my spine wanted to go in all sorts of directions – swaying to the left and right, engaging fullest upright every muscle engaged type stuff, it was very interesting what my body wanted to do and how crazy my mind thought my body may be.  Then I started to get chilly. I had no idea how much time was left but it felt like it had been a while.  I kinda wished I had set my phone alarm so I knew if I could make it to the end and hold my full bladder that I know had become aware of and needed to release as well.   So I tried to relax but at some point I weighed the pros and cons of why I was trying to stay in the water if I was physically uncomfy (cold) and needed to pee.  I thought to myself what if I fully relax and do let go and urinate in the tub.  That isn’t good for anyone.  I kinda laughed at how silly I was being, that I wasn’t failing by not making it to the full time of my float and I found the knob, the lights came on and I got up.

Woah, I was woozy. Like not totally in my body yet.  And I couldn’t see as I had taken my contacts out.  I showered but apparently not enough to get all of the salt off because I think I wanted to exit the room too fast.  It was like I needed fresh air.  So I put my clothes on and exit my room to go to where the mirrors are so I can fix my face, put in my contacts and dry my hair.  I noticed there was caked on salt everywhere.  My ears, around my eyes, my neck.  Oops.  So I tried to get what I could and make myself presentable knowing that I couldn’t wait to shower again once I returned home.  Then this other guy comes out from his room and one of the workers asked him how it was and the guy simply says “I get the best sleep in there” and I am thinking to myself dude – I just had a bajillion things happen during my float and you slept?  wtf? He must be healed and I am a jacked up mess.  Wait a minute.  Calm that thought. I am a beautiful human being in the process of processing some super real shit.  I am strong, unique, child of God – really trying to harness this voice recently when the other one enters. 

We paid and then we walked outside and I let out what needed to come out but for whatever reason I couldn’t do it in there.  I cried.  I let what needed to come up – come up.  I had a release.  I am not saying I am fully healed as I think we are all in a constant state of healing -especially right now but what I am saying is that it worked! And that I would totes do it again.  It wasn’t easy.   I think the second time will get better now that I know the room, the layout, to bring my own contacts and to not drink coffee right before.

I think when times are changing as they are right now, when things in life get tough, to be held by the water and rocked as if you were a baby, to sit in stillness with your life, helps you take a step back from all that other stuff – the drive, the motivation, the press forward.  It balances me.  It grounds me.  It soothes me.  It revives me.  It lets even my spine return to its MOST natural curvatures and just float away for a while……

Thank you Joy! Sometimes it takes that one special friend to know exactly what ya need.

 

And I must say it’s 24 hours post float and my body feels incredibly open and I had an amazing workout this morn!!

 

I am thankful this Thanksgiving

All this month, in all of my classes, all of my quotes have been about gratitude.

I can tell you even sharing quotes on gratitude makes me happier.  Most of them set my heart at ease that we all have something, something to be thankful for – we can start with the air we breathe and our health.  And if I find an extra moment in my day to actually take a breath in whilst thinking about this full concept of abundance and gratitude coming from within, my shoulders automatically relax a little, my face softens, and my heart feels full.  I feel more whole and connected rather than weighted or bogged down.

So during my dog walk today, my thoughts started churning on writing a letter of gratitude for all that I am thankful for thus far this year.  There is a but.  I am challenging myself to include the struggles.  I am currently reading Jay Shetty’s Think like a Monk book and I was drawn to this part about how our lives are an interwoven tapestry of both highs and lows, goods and bads, wins and losses, challenges and periods of ease, etc etc.  And we can’t have that feeling of fullness without having had moments of empty.

So here goes:

I am thankful for having this extra time with my family.  I am thankful for the moments in which we struggled to enjoy the simpler moments and instead we overcomplicated things, because it often drew us back together.  I am thankful for the attention that has been drawn to the race issues in America as well as the time for internal reflection on what one defines as the character they want in a US President.  I am thankful for my neighbors with which we have exchanged food, smiles, check-ins, and waves.  I am thankful for my dogs that have provided numerous snuggles and been amazing walking companions, and the occasional annoyance (mostly the puppy when she chews something she shouldn’t).  I am thankful for the tradition of “take out Fridays” and the restaurants that have worked so hard to stay open and provide yummy food.  I am thankful to the schools and Kira’s teacher who have worked so hard to try to stay open and be of support to the parents.  I am thankful to my body’s ability to get pregnant, the small amount of time I had with this beautiful life inside of me,  and to the doctors and nurses who took care of me that night as Stan and I said goodbye to her in our own way.  They held my hand while I cried and treated me with such care and compassion.  I am thankful to her for giving me this poem that came through me after she left.  I am thankful for my mom’s daily mail to remind us how thankful our children will be for this extra time together and to arrange video chats now and again with drawing contests for the kids often holiday themed.  I am thankful for all the studios I teach and take yoga class at and for my online community.  I am thankful for the gymnastics center Kira goes to that has stayed open and provided a spot for Kira to jump around and be free. I am thankful for the emotions that have come up during this, even the periods of anxiety or tears for no reason because I KNOW that after it was felt, it was released, and I was thankful to no longer have to carry it. I am thankful for online church, to God, and to all the stars that light up that sky every night as well as the sun that rises every morning.

I am thankful.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Now you try?!

 

 

To Chant or not to Chant? That is the question…today

So I have decided to take my 300 hr teacher training online with Brett Larkin and I am super excited.

I have already received the manuals and am going through all of the bridge material.  I was signed up to go to Thailand this past May (pre Covid) for my 300 hr teacher training and that got cancelled for obvious travel restriction reasons.  I debated delaying a year out but something led me to instead go this route.  I knew Kira would be hybrid schooling for a while and I could study whilst she studies and maintain my current teaching schedule.

One of the first recorded calls I watched was Brett asking the teachers in training their views and feelings on chanting and I thought this would be a good thing to blog about because for me, it has been a process for me to really come to terms with my thoughts on and at times, sticking points in solidifying what my beliefs are and not allowing myself to be boxed in or caving to the fear of judgement.  Sort of like the previous blog post I wrote about getting rid of the lines in your sandbox.  When I first came to take yoga classes – the studio that I went to did do some om’ing and chanting.   My first exposure to this was that it sounded different and was “odd”.  This is my first reaction to anything different after 30 years of doing things maybe from generally one point of view.  But what I noticed was that using my voice, releasing the fear of how I sounded or how “cooky” some might think it is, I always had a relaxing or calming effect and I was able to stay more focused for longer afterwards.  So to learn the physical pluses to chanting or having a chanting practice just confirmed what I had already felt.  That I wasn’t “crazy”.  Can listening to music or singing provide the same? For sure! But this was something I could also do and it was empowering to use my voice and feel the vibration within as it was created and as the breath sustained it while I truly let go.

Also, different sounds resonate with different chakras or parts of the body so it makes sense that when we become stuck or stiff in life – the breath and the spine do as well and sound can help clear them out.  Different languages make different sounds.  I remember thinking German was very clear the throat and almost forceful to me whilst other languages I felt were a bit more poetic or rolled off the tongue.   Experiencing different sounds became a way for me to get curious about how they resonated with me…. in a deeper way just like trying different foods or exploring new places for the first time.

So, first there are anatomical reasons to chant or reasons the body benefits and likes it.   It creates vasopressin which stimulates the pituitary and release endorphins, triggers relaxation, and slows the breath and elongates the exhale which helps release tension and emotional baggage held within the body sometimes in effort to “be strong” or “push forward”.   Who doesn’t need some of that from time to time?  Energetically it brings people together, unites the class, helps students find their voice, and creates a space for you on your mat that is maybe different than your outside world – special, sacred.  Clear from the matrix.

Now, enter religious beliefs.  I once encountered a church that when I asked about teaching yoga at a “Women’s Bazaar” where women from the church were going to be sharing their services and goods – I was questioned on things I said during class.  I was shown a passage in the bible that basically said while God is not a jealous God, he doesn’t want us to turn away from him.  I felt the judgement specifically to what I was teaching and if I was “cheating” on “my” God.  And I prayed about this.  The conclusion I came to was that God had given me gifts and Yoga had come into my life and taught me a great deal about the person within.  The person without fear who was at peace and great health after practicing yoga, the person who believed in healing, the person who knew when she was full – she could help fill others and when she was empty – she needed to create space and to reconnect to her source.  A source that ultimately doesn’t want to divide.  A source rooted in love for all beings.  Once I was comfortable in my decision, albeit it was hard to be questioned on such a personal topic, I felt better about Om’ing in class.

Another example of this cultural appropriation in my life was living in Switzerland as an American.  There were many things I loved about living in Switzerland and habits or things that I picked up whilst living there.  Some have stuck with me and who knows if its a forever change or like an accent can get lost.  I also learned things from different cultures while there as it was quite a diverse population.  And sometimes I would meet people who I couldn’t even pinpoint where they were from as they had attributes of different places, different stops on their journey.  At the root of us or of religion is love.  Love for thyself, love for they neighbor, love for the environment etc.  Are things always harmonious…no!  But by chanting I learn to connect with the vocal vibration of a centered self so that when things get hard or challenging, I can communicate in a way to both be heard and to listen.  I have only become richer from studying other cultures, practices, food, and travel.  The perspective becomes broadened, the stories created, and the exploration of “new” ness never ending because there is always something to be learned, something to be gotten, something to be given, something to be taken away, and maybe some things that don’t fit or don’t fit right now and therefore forgotten for a little.  It’s a journey.  I firmly believe chanting and sound can help aid in an internal awareness that helps live an outwardly healthier life.

 

 

The Social Dilemna

My hubs and I recently watched the movie Social Dilemna which we had both heard of and seen talked about on none other than social media.

I have to say I was disturbed, concerned, intrigued, and felt like some of it confirmed a lot of what I had been feeling or thinking since returning back to the United States about a year and a half ago.

Something is different or off and I can’t help but think this loss of natural rhythm and humanity is at the hands of computers.  I don’t believe anyone involved had ill intentions when creating and I don’t discount the many positives that have come from it, I am writing a blog here….  I do think it is being used and abused though, just like an alcohol or drug addiction.  We have lost touched and this leads to feeling “unwell”.  It also leads to a future problem –  if parents are unwell and out of touch and connected to the matrix – how can they possibly parent the next generation?  I have been into yoga and mindfulness for the past 10 years and having my daughter has been the best teacher to remaining in the present moment and to approaching life with complete and utter attention to the thing you are doing or the person you are with.  She doesn’t allow herself to be distracted or attached but there is a draw to the computer/ipad/tv that if I left it in her hands for hours on ends, she would become reliant.  And if she becomes reliant on a clicking process that is quite fast – does this deduct from her critical thinking skills and her creativity?! By golly gee – I believe yes!  I noticed at a young age that often she would be most creative or play on her own after coming indoors.  It was like the fresh air and nature sparked something in her that was grounded, alive, and beautiful.  She also spoke her best German when she was engaged in outdoor play.  I have taught some of my best yoga classes outside.  I have had moments of epiphany on walks or hikes.  When we only exist inside the matrix – we become connected to something other than nature and the entire state of being becomes that much more unnatural.

Burnout, substance abuse, and mental health are all problems that we face today.  Why do we use?  Why do we search so bad to feel “good”?  Why do we lack energy?  Is it because it is being zapped by something we aren’t supposed to rely on so much.  Now some can say diet and exercise which I also believe holds true.  You eat too much processed food and don’t get enough exercise, water and nature you may start to feel just that – processed. 

So how do we turn back yet go forward?  The first step to overcoming any addiction is to ADMIT IT.   How do we turn away?  How do we reconnect and stay connected to something more spiritual than artificial intelligence.  And do we as a society value the monetary gains from AI OVER our HEALTH and WELLNESS??!!  Where are we heading and can we work to pivot a bit, back to FB and social media being like that of cake or chocolate, it’s for special occassions.  Is this dilemna a product of being a citizen of an affluent country?  Power and financial stability are definitely things to strive for but at WHAT COST?  I don’t know but if I look around…if I truly look at what people are posting, how regularly, and the amount of anger and negative emotion behind a lot of it – this doesn’t feel right or healthy or connected.  It feels like a place to get bought or sold, search for belonging, get a pat on the back but pretty void of actual human connection.   The feed is too saturated to even keep up or sustain a healthy relationship on.  It’s meant to be an extra, an entertainment.

So before we all spread ourselves too thin becoming part of a wide entangled web of chaotic messaging, please take time to disconnect.  Nourish your most important relationships first – yourself, your loved ones, your work, your food, and some good ole’ fashion fun.  I don’t know whether government will eventually regulate these companies but we each can do our part.  Everyone is on their own path to remaining WELL and creating a sustaining breath of life.

 

 

 

Ways to Fall in Love with Fall ……..yet again

Not sure about you but I feel like with this season change, I am reminded of the reunion of certain things that I associate with the fall. 

It’s a time of transition and a precursor to the winter which is a time of restoration and digestion of the year’s events.  And this year has been quite a doozy.  I do believe deep down that this corona experience has united a lot of us in a human way that wouldn’t have been possible without something this hard.  I know sometimes the glass looks like it’s being shattered and people are being torn apart – BUT I have faith that it is in a much bigger effort to lead us back together.

I have watched as people tear apart what has been done, what should have been done, what could have been done and am left with the reminder that I don’t have total control of life.  I never did and I never will.  The only thing I have control over is my body, my mind, my thoughts, my relationships, my communication, my faith, my family, my nourishment, my work.  So I chose to continue to work on me, knowing that that ME affects the WE.

So I know that what I ingest right now (food, media, exercise, entertainment) etc has to be those things that keep me fueled well.  One of the things a season change can bring is newness.  A happy reunion with pumpkin spices, Halloween decor, colorful leaves, slightly cooler temps, warm fires – things I didn’t get to see this summer but here they are again.  To light me.  To fuel me.  To keep me full and well.  To steady me during turbulent times.  To help me renew & recharge.

Here are a few ideas on ways to fall in love with fall again if you haven’t already planned some fun ways to flow with the transition. Don’t fight the change….invite the new.

  1. Bring some fall decor into your home – whether its a pillow or a fall scented candle – this does NOT have to be expensive.  It can even be hand made.
  2. Take 5 minutes to check out the falling leaves on the trees or maybe collect some leaves from nature.  Don’t let fall flow by without taking it in – watching leaves fall is super meditative! 3 minutes a day does wonders.
  3. Go apple picking – another invitation to connect to nature and create something in the kitchen afterwards.  I definitely remember the smell of fresh made apple pie in the oven from when I was young and if you are worried about your waistline – I posted some healthier apple crisp options
  4. Pumpkin Picking – find a new place to go this year and get your annual Halloween Pumpkin and have a carving event.  This is another chance to ignite the flow in you by maybe finding a new pattern to carve or a new place to put your pumpkin or a new way to decorate it.  Maybe even create a neighborhood contest – we are all in this together. 
  5. Purchase some fall boots – our footsies have been out all summer or at least mine have and nothing excites me more than when jeans and boots come back on the street.  My old boots were quite old so I ordered some new ones to keep my feet comfy, protected, warm, and cozy.
  6. Keep your body movin’ – The season change can mean colder weather so making sure you have muscle to keep you warm and that you are moving and circulating your blood flow is uber important.  If you are a yogi – now is a good time for grounding postures, balancing poses, and some digestive twists.
  7. Get your furry friend a Halloween costume – this was the best 12.99 I spent recently and can’t wait to show you what Matilda is going to be!   
  8. Fall Football – the football season does offer community and cheering which utilizes the vocal chords and can unite the peeps.  This year is different, less peeps in the crowds and lots of talk of testing but there are still games to be had and magic to watch on that field.
  9. Give BACK – listed last but totally not least – sometimes the year flies by and you reach the end and unless you have ongoing donations set up – sometimes I look back and maybe got “so busy” that I forgot to give.  Again, this doesn’t have to be in the form of money.  Reflect on those around that have supported you this year.  Send them a note.  Write them a letter.  Better yet – call them.  Or go through your summer clothes and maybe chose to give away a few things or make a donation to an organization that you think is doing some good work right now.

I hope these ideas find you well!

 

Fall-y Apple Crisp

So, it’s fall ya’ll….and this means the weather starts to get a little more cool and crisp, the days a little shorter light wise, and the start of the holiday trifecta is upon us (for those that celebrate these holidays).

First comes back to school season which I guess isn’t technically a holiday but for us moms – it is typically the celebration of a feat of surviving another summer of keeping the kids occupied, happy, and minimally injured while keeping ourselves sane.  Unfortunately this year, not everyone is sending them back off to school but atlas – I am enjoying the back to school displays in stores and the excitement that surrounds new school supplies and a new year of new growth and new learning.  Then comes Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Christmas season of lights and jolly.

Now as it turns fall – I also start to think of apple picking.  I have enjoyed this every year since Kira was born.  There is nothing like picking your own apples, sampling some and coming home to make a crisp or hot apple pie.  I thought I would share some ideas on a health-ier version of an apple crisp that you can use those hand picked apples for!

First, I peeled and sliced up about 5 apples into bite size bits.  The bite size is key so you can smother all of your toppings and coat each one to be popped into the mouth for a decadent treat sure to keep the doc away as the saying does go.  Then you place them in a glass oven pan and smother them with melted vanilla ghee.  Now yours may come already melted – depending on the temp of your house but pour a good amount over top and rub the apples all around.  This was the first year I used vanilla because I didn’t know it existed until I did Action Jacquelyn’s Fit Action Plan recently and this vanilla ghee is yum.  Plus ghee is easier on the body to digest and provides healthy fats to lubricate us especially during the drier months of winter.  Then I sprinkled cinnamon all over the top and some arrow root powder to thicken (not too much).  Then again using clean hands – rub your apples all up in this concoction.

Now – here is where it gets creative.  Ideas abound.  This time I added granola that I bought from Jody – an amazing baker in my area who makes homemade granolas in a variety of flavors.

Some other ideas that came to mind are dark chocolate morsels, regular oatmeal, coconut sprinkles, maybe some chopped up seasonal figs, peanut butter, or maybe some choc sprinkles…..play around!  Because you are omitting the typical heavy crust on the pie – it is already a healthier version so adding a bit of something to sweeten it – I think is A-oh-kay.

Then you bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees F and remove from the oven to cool. Can be dopped with a dollup of coconut cream or home made whipping cream or enjoyed as is.

Write me if you try or have anymore creative cool topping ideas.   I hope this finds you staying WELL!!

 

 

Self Compassion during Covid

So I don’t know about you but Covid and the Quarantine and mask wearing have all caused me to be more curious with myself and my internal processing of life, priorities, and how to stay strong and continue to move forward during a time when many are talking about what’s crumbling, what’s wrong, and what we can’t do and how life as we knew it before is over.

 

Couldn’t that be a good thing? If we have compassion towards what is actually happening within and around us, I think we can be hopeful for the future.  I don’t know about you but Covid has kind of evened the playing ground in one regard – it’ll touch any age, any race, any social status, any family, any country and therefore we have something blatantly in common that is being talked about almost daily even if you are avoiding the news and health is maybe being pushed to a priority over say maybe wealth?  I mean the mask is staring everyone in the face.  So what happens when we see the commonness in people we maybe thought we were so different from?…..human compassion grows if we allow it.  Gratitude for this life, for our breath, for our neighbor, and hopefully for our country/world.  Gratitude for different jobs that maybe didn’t receive much recognition before.  Recognition that we share the same space, breathe the same air, and right now are enduring a shift that is asking us to rebuild our roots and strengthen our foundation.

A lot of the tasks, places, and day -to -day hustle came to a halt.  And as my structure around me crumbled, I was reminded of what is soooo important, always has and always will – my inner world and my thought process.  Now is a perfect time to keep building on that.  Does it take work? Does it take looking at my pain? Does it involve some crying? Does it involve being vulnerable? Yes Yes and Yes and yet, it is also so very freeing.

As the structure around me has crumbled, new possibilities have also arose.  Can we continue to have compassion for our individual processes.  How different we are in that some are fighting for Disney to remain open whilst others are fighting for schools and some are fighting for social justice?  Yet – what are we all fighting for?  Acceptance of the now, perceived quality of life, and confidence for our ability to rise above and move forward.  Sounds like a worthy fight, if it starts within.

One of the things that has really helped me recently is taking this course through Mindfulschools.org on Self Compassion for Educators.  Right now I am guessing there are a lot of parents and teachers probably struggling with finding time for their thoughts and themselves while caring for others.  Parenting has become a 24/7 job with the addition of teacher assistant/tech support while teaching has become a huge transition to teaching online that is foreign to some whilst the mental weight of going back to a population of people that are the largest germ spreaders known to man.  (And also the greatest love and light spreaders in my opinion).  Teachers also deal with the parents who for some, again their energy is frantic right now.  So how can self compassion help us who are in this together?

I have been practicing mindfulness and meditation for about 10 years but this process I found added an element of human connection that lacks sometimes in the tech era.  It humanizes what we as individuals are feeling to our neighbor, to our community, to our country, and to our world.  It stops you from staring at one tree and broadens your perspective to see the entire forest and how deeply intertwined those roots are indeed.  The practice went like this.  You start by thinking of a negative emotion that you have had recently.  Maybe a feeling of being alone, isolated, sad, mad, frustrated, etc.  And you sit with that emotion trying not to listen to any voices that encourage you to push it away, move on, or not feel.  You feel it to the fullest.  You feel it’s physical presence in your body.  You can even do a body scan to pinpoint exactly where you feel it.  And then, this is the part I loved – you relate it to the human experience as not JUST YOU or something you did or something you deserve BUT instead as part of all of us and part of life.  And that when we continuously refuse to “go there” – we build walls.  Walls that we think are protecting us but in actuality are driving us further apart.  Walls that need to be broken down by self awareness, mindful communication, acceptance, and presence.

So please know whatever you are feeling during this time, the best way to the other side of it is through honoring it and honoring the ability that you have to work with it and to be here right now exactly as you are.  I think when we put a little humanness to it, a little understanding, we can remain mindful in what is the best way to go about moving forward.  Pick something that will nurture you in a sustainable manner rather than temporarily remove the pain.  Build your better self.  One step at a time.  One breath of compassion and gratitude at a time.  And maybe just maybe – we will look back at this struggle – as a pivotal step forward for all of us.  Things may seem like they are burning now, self destructing, etc – check inside – start there.

I can also say when I take the time to practice self compassion – it is so much harder to turn towards hate/blame with both myself and with other people. And even if I have a moment of discord or frustration – I know what I need to do to wash my heart clean, take a pause, and view that other  “side” or person as a person living in this same world maybe fighting some of the same battles but taking a different approach or having a slip up and that I can give myself and them space.  Stay true, stay humble, stay hungry, stay kind, stay connected.

 

 

 

Shrimp in a Bacon Blanket?

Yes.  So recently I have been realizing that my dietary tendencies gravitate towards more fruits and veg and not necessarily enough sources of protein or meat.

So I have been forced in this Fit Action plan by Action Jacqueln to really dive into my meat consumption, relationship to meat, and realizing that meat (grass fed and taken care of) offers many health benefits.  AND is tasty!

As my experimentation continues to spark curiousity and creativity in me as well as venturing to parts of the grocery store that I haven’t been to in a while – I made this dinner the other night that was summery, simple, and delicious so I thought I would share.

I don’t know why but shrimp for me seem to be a summer thang.  So I purchased some shrimp which I rubbed with ghee (clarified butter for those of you that don’t know) and some garlic salt.  Then I let it sit in the fridge for a bit.  Using some no sugar bacon (which can be challenging to find but I guarantee you it is out there), I took the shrimp out and wrapped a piece of bacon around each.  For half the shrimp I added a layer of no sugar mustard (also available but must read labels and contents) between the shrimp and the blanket of bacon.  Then I cooked them in the over for 15 minutes and removed.  For some color and added protein packed punch I added a cut up hard boiled egg.  The entire meal was both filling and tasty.

You could even drizzle some olive oil atop or a few herbs of choice for some more yum, flavor and color.  This is another recipe that one could get uber creative and come up with some variations on.

As always, hope this recipe finds you WELL.

Becky

 

 

Family Fun at the Drive-in?

So even when times are rocky – it is still ever important to carve out time for F.U.N.  So whilst sitting in a movie theatre right up next to a bunch of people indoors is not an option – viewing movies from your car is!!

I finally got to check out Becky’s Drive-in in Walnutport, PA and it combined a lot of elements that make for a nice night out.  First, fresh summer air.  You can sit in your car with the windows down and seats reclined or you can lay a blanket out in front of your car picnic style.  Either way you get to breathe in fresh air whilst you are entertained and get to chat with whomever you came with.  Second, “theatre like food” or the ability to bring from home.  So since childhood theatre outings, the food has not changed in my opinion.  Popcorn goes with movies and takes me back to that kid like feeling.  And I didn’t even have to consume it.  The smell alone catapulted me back.  I made myself dinner that I brought from home as I am on this Action Jacquelyn fit action plan and didn’t want to cheat.  But the smells and the sights filled me with happy memories.  They connected me to my inner kid who sometimes gets stuck deep down trying to spend too much time adulting.  Next, the big screen and old movies.  Whenever I decided to explore giving up something I love – the benefit is that eventual happy reunion and greater appreciation for what it brings.  That night Mean Girls & Clueless were showing – two movies that were popular almost 15+ years ago and I haven’t seen since.  And watching something on a big screen is different than watching at home.  Watching with people on that one large screen is like all taking a moment to stare at the sun as something we share and have in common.  It’s bonding at its best.  Another plus – seeing the family and the family friendly touches like kids rides and people dressed up as life-size soft serve.

Now, this particular weekend was even more special because it was their 74th anniversary and I love recognition of love.  74 is a big number.  Before the movie started – there was a short video showing the evolution of Becky’s, the family history, and the thought of what this place has been doing for years to help provide FUN to the community.  And after that – there were fireworks!  As the fireworks started – I said to Stan is it over already? And then little did I know – more and more and more boomers came to light up the sky, spark our ears, and direct everyone’s attention upward.  They were beautiful.

So if you are feeling some quarantine blues and have been working overtime whether at your job or parenting or a bit of both – make sure you are carving out some time to plan some nights o’ fun within the realms of what can be done right now.  The cars were all 6 feet apart and masks were required for the potty and the potty was being cleaned regularly.

Thank you Becky’s for making the weekend one to remember!

 

 

Part-ay your way to more confidence!

So last night I had the pleasure of attending a Confidence Cards Party hosted by the lovely Hannah Bennett and put on by Dr. Lyz from Visionistas by Design.

Dr Lyz is a Licensed Psychologist in Nazareth PA and Hannah is a senior at Bloomsburg College studying to be a Psychologist.  I also know Hannah on a personal level as I met her through her beautiful mother and good friend, Joy.  Dr Lyz created the Visionistas by Design series as a place for women to get together, share their experiences, connect, inspire, and increase awareness to psychological concepts that affect our well being, relationships, and energy.

I personally think that when people are mean to each other, verbally or physically (whether its woman to woman, child to child, adult to child,  man to man, or man to woman) – it typically stems from something inside that is “off” and maybe they haven’t found the desire to yet look within or the ability to handle their emotions first before approaching someone else and building healthy relationships and communication that ultimately  contain conflict, resolution, unity, growth and love.  To me, faith and confidence are an inner fight not an outer fix yet we live in a world that may sell us stuff to fix ourselves or boost our confidence ALL THE TIME.

Personally, I have struggled for years with body image and acceptance and have finally hit a turning point about 6 or 7 years ago (both cancer and having a baby helped me lean into this) – where my internal world matters a lot more than my external world.  And my inner gifts are there to share despite what my external world looks like.  Do I want to build a better body? Sure.  Do I sometimes see my greys – sure.  And I work on myself every day.  But I work on it from the inside out and from a place of love and nourishment not punishment.

I remember a priest once describing God’s love as this cloak he puts over you.  One of protection, of light, of acceptance, and of joy for who you are.  He went on to say that sometimes that is what a husband provides to his wife.  And as independent as I am, I found that when I moved to Switzerland leaving my job and old identity behind, I found comfort when he was there with me to meet new people and explore new places.  Was it empowering to do some of this alone – for sure! But was there also something very amazing and very human – that we could be that cloak at times for one another, if we let ourselves be vulnerable and let each other in to our dark.   However, I also realized that the more I strengthened the person under that cloak – the less I had to rely on him or others and the more I could provide that cloak to those in need.  This was pivotal.

And so strengthening I have worked on now for years and I can also say it has helped in my marriage.  I remember Stan and I watching Brene Brown on Netflix talk about her and her husband on vacation getting into a spat in the middle of a lake because they were both going through their own individual blame and shame game at the same time which is a recipe for an argument.  Yet they had the tools to address what they were feeling with one another after they calmed down and could see how off they were in their interpretation of the exchange.  That feels so much healthier than calling one another names, insulting each other, or saying things that may hurt.

So the party was about strengthening our cloaks by making this little book of inspiring quotes to remind us how wonderful we are, how beautiful life is, and how even though we have struggles – we are resilient.  Hannah went over some key tips on taking care of ourselves during COVID and as the world opens up because there WILL BE social anxiety experienced.  We haven’t hung out in a while in large groups.  We have had time to sit on our own or with our family and for some of us it has been life changing and strengthening and for some of us – it has been dark and weakening and maybe for some – a bit of both.

We shared quotes and played music and got our creative juices flowing TOGETHER.  Hannah used these adorable fruit coasters to put hers on and I used scrap book paper I found in my basement and tied them together with a curly ribbon.  Another woman clothes pinned her cards to a cute little string to hang in her art studio and pull down one when she needs to.  I even found this pic using lights!

And boy – do I love Christmas lights.  Since some of the quotes had to do with super hero’s that typically wear cloaks or capes – I had some extra time whilst on the call (I looked up my quotes previously) – I drew these two pics of Joy and I as our own super heroines.  This may sounds super cheezy to some but I love me some cheeze. 

Words of affirmation is my love language so finding quotes to talk to myself in this way – I find amazingly healing, empowering, human, a way to face my suffering and overall – right up my alley.  You can keep this “confidence card book” in your purse for anytime you need a boost.  It’s a bit different than a pill or soda or a piece of chocolate.   I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite quotes that I found.  Feel free to comment and share yours!

 

“Letting go is the hardest asana.”

“See the beauty and grace in the world around you.  Recognize it and appreciate it.  Then see the beauty in yourself.” – Kino MacGregor

“You alone are enough.  You have nothing to prove to anyone.” – Maya Angelou

“Be Yourself.  Everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde

 

Please check out future virtual events sponsored by Visionistas by Design on Instagram @visionistasbydesign

and Hannah @ hannahbennett99