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Who’s in Your 5?

You might have heard the popular quote from Jim Rohn “you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.”  I don’t necessarily believe this to be an absolute, but I find it an interesting idea to consider.  And an interesting way to look at my own circle of influence.

What feels most true about that statement is that people in my life influence me, in ways I notice and in subtle ways that I don’t always notice.  And when I am being intentional about directing my path, it really helps me to be intentional about who I am “listening” to.   Especially because, I’ve got to be honest, I’m impressionable.  Perhaps sometimes extremely impressionable.  (I’m the girl who can see a Drake’s truck on the highway and suddenly crave a Ring Ding.)

So, it stands to reason that if I committed to a healthy lifestyle with loads of personal growth and discovery, I would want to have an inner circle with similar commitments, ideally people who are succeeding at these endeavors more than I am.   Which is great.  But sometimes I don’t get enough face time with these genius powerful gurus and I find myself lost in other influences (some might argue that we are living in a consumer driven, immediate gratification time at the moment).  That’s where, for me, social media has come to the rescue.  I intentionally seek and follow people on social media who are speaking my language and already doing the things that I most want to do myself.

It’s works so well for me that it’s a subtle form of brain washing, and I have to remind myself that not “everybody” is having kale for breakfast, making daily gratitude lists and doing yoga, just the people I am following.  I love that my Instagram feed is awash in delicious whole food, inspirational quotes, yoga poses, people in nature, and small businesses succeeding one customer at a time.

And I gotta be honest, even when I’m not loving the way I’m feeling or fitting into my favorite winter clothes, if I’m seeing lots of posts about comfort food and glasses of wine, it’s pretty easy for me to pull the wool over my eyes and keep on doing what I’m doing.  However, when my Facebook is full of posts from some of the people I like best talking about being on day 3, and 5 and 7 and 14 of a cleanse, detox, or health make over, I start to get the itch.  They’re talking my language and they’re calling me home.  (If you’re reading between the lines here, you might have guessed that I’m about to embark on a cleanse, you probably will be hearing more about that in the weeks to come.)

The way I see it, I’ve got big plans and it serves me best to line myself up for success in every way I again, working with all that’s available to me today.  Social media support isn’t replacing the ‘real’ people in my life, and it never will.  However, why not keep my channel turned to what I most want to see and hear?

Who are you listening to? Are they telling you what you need to hear to further your goals and dreams?

 

 

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Get Behind Me

fear

Funny thing how when I take a firm stand on reaching for some big outrageous goals and a deeper richer life, all kinds of stuff comes out of the woodwork to drag me back.  I don’t know about you, but when that happens to me I can sometimes consider it as a ‘sign’ that I’m going the wrong way and decide to curl up in bed and hide from the world to make other, less bold, plans for myself.

Thing is, I know in my gut that I’m making the wrong call and listening to the wrong voices when that happens. But it doesn’t make it any easier to push ahead.  Happily for me I am getting better and better at reaching out to my support network when I falter.  Not that long ago, I used to only falter in secret, behind closed doors, WAY harder to pick myself up when I’m all alone and in the dark.  Not that bringing my struggles to the light is all that easy either, but the bright side of that is that I have the opportunity to continue on with the course I’ve set for myself, rather than turn around and go back the way I came.

Over the past couple days there’s been a lot of noise in my head.  Lot’s of chatter that started with real deflaters like “who do you think you are to…” , “you can’t even…”, “there’s no way to…”, “look at the mess you make…”, “you don’t have…” and on and on and on.  It felt like the hits were coming too fast to catch hold of, disprove or reason with – it felt like I was sinking.  Fear was trying to run the show.

That’s when I remembered what a dear friend said to me recently when we discussed these sort of internal saboteurs.  She said to tell them to “get behind me”.  I’ve heard these words spoken in a commanding voice during a sermon and when I heard them from my friend, they came through in that same strong voice.  What feels really right about simply telling all of that nonsense to “get behind me” is that it frees me from having an internal debate with myself when those thoughts come up.  I’m not pretending that all of that junk isn’t there – it’s there, but it’s not getting in my way, I’m not walking around it, it is getting behind me and I am moving on.

I am not a biblical scholar but part of the strength of “get behind me” for me comes from it’s biblical context.  Jesus tells Satan to “get thee behind me”. (Luke 4:5-8).  And right now, when I’m feeling like I have some big work to do, thinking of those saboteur voices as the devil/Satan trying to hold me back and slow me down infuses me with much more vim and vigor to plow ahead.

So get behind me – and put it all behind you – and do something really amazing!

Are you finding roadblocks in the way of your January dreams and goals? How are you overcoming them?

 

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One Word

reach

(spoiler – it takes me more than 600 words to talk about my one word)

Choosing a single word as a place on which to stand for a year is a way for me to focus on a theme and carry it into all aspects of my life. In my coaching work, I would refer to it as a perspective.  Selecting a word is about selecting a new perspective/a new lens through which I can choose to look at my life, my choices and my experiences.  And at the same time the single word is also a beacon, a bright reminder of where I want my focus to be, where I am headed.

That being said, committing to a single word can feel confining and no amount of ‘thinking’ of my 2014 word was getting me anywhere over the past two weeks.  And then, this year’s word ‘fell’ on me, just landed in my awareness when I wasn’t really looking for it.  It was written in my mind’s eye in large deep pink block letters:

REACH

As soon as I saw it, I knew it was my word because it soothed a sense of being lost, almost lonely, that I had been walking around with.  And then… it got even better.  A dear friend and mentor of mine (who is also the one who introduced the one word concept to me several years ago), Sherri Wear, recommended looking up my word in the dictionary, which I did, even though I “knew” what reach meant.  Guess what? Here’s what I found:

 REACH, verb

1. To stretch out or put forth (a body part); extend  

2. To touch or grasp by stretching out or extending  

3. To arrive at; attain: reached a conclusion 

4. a. To succeed in getting in contact with or communicating with

    b. To succeed in having an effect on

Before looking up the word, I had only been thinking about it in terms of the first two meanings, the stretching and grasping business.  The next two meanings blew me away and really upped the ante on 2014.  Because yes, I am absolutely ready to reach out to people, reach for things, to extend myself, to stretch myself for my goals, even to stretch my goals.  Already that’s great meaty stuff that I’m scared to death of excited about for myself.  And then – looking at meanings three and four there is a whole bigger game at play.  Not just reaching for my goals but attaining them, not just reaching out to people but communicating with and having an effect on people, the community, the world.  Not just reaching but arriving. Reaching fulfillment, greatness, abundance, success.  YES – that’s a word I can stand on this year.

I am ready and I want to REACH – reach out, reach up, reach people,make connections, gather knowledge, take risks, light a fire inside people, lead people, go for and attain all the blessings and good that are in the field of possibilities.This year as I plot my course, I will be doing it through the lens of REACH, keeping in mind all of it’s meanings.  Which means asking myself questions like:

  • If I were to reach, what would I do next?
  • Who do I want to reach?
  • Where do I want to reach?
  • How big of a reach do I want?

And that’s just the beginning. I imagine I’ll be doing some stretching in more ways than one.  I can’t wait to see where it goes!  And I want to send out a special thank you to Jodi Zaugg who midwifed this blog post and my first major reach of 2014 into being.

Did you pick a word for 2014? How do you anticipate it will shape your year? Did looking up it’s definition change the game for you?

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Almond Milk Excitement

It doesn’t take much to get me excited.  I remind myself most of a puppy, a slightly overeager, joyful, curious, really loving puppy.  And when I discover something new that I love, I just can’t wait to share it with everyone.  This blog is in no small part my outlet for sparing my family and close friends from my nonstop effusive rants doing just that.

While doing the sugar detox last week, I had a follow up doctors appointment to review the results of some blood work I had done last month.  As it turns out, I have quite a few things going on, among which Lyme disease is back in force with some Bartonella, Babesiosis, and walking pneumonia thrown in.  All of which has triggered some high Epstein Barr results. It is nice to have an explanation for my fatigue and is reassuring that the doctor had a treatment protocol that combines traditional, homeopathic and herbal medicines at the ready.   To support myself during treatment I will be continuing with a no sugar, no dairy, no grain lifestyle.  Thankfully I was feeling so great from my week long sugar detox that that felt like a super easy decision.

Now, none of this news is very exciting, however what IS exciting is figuring out how I am going to have fun with  this new regimen.  For instance, I’d like to be able to treat myself with a cup of coffee once in a while, and I enjoy my coffee with skim milk.  One friend suggested that I adjust to having my occasional cup of coffee black, which I think I will try.  However, I wanted options, so I thought I would try my hand at making almond milk.  The almond milk that I have seen on the shelves didn’t taste that great to me, and had way more ingredients then seemed necessary.

I had a recipe that a friend had recently emailed me, all of the ingredients in the house, and some time between things on Saturday to give it a whirl.  What I didn’t have was a nut milk bag, but once I had decided I wanted to make almond milk, I was determined.  I couldn’t think of a local friend that might have a nut milk bag just hanging around to be borrowed (Note to local friends – I have ordered one, so I’m the person you can call from now on if you’re in this predicament).  I did have some cheesecloth, so I decided that I would make it work.

The basic recipe is super simple and super delicious, plus the whole experience was very satisfying.

Insanely Delicious Almond Milk

almond milk

  • 2 cups almonds (soaked for 3-5 hours)
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 dates (pit removed)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 drop of almond extract

Put all of the above in your Vitamix and blend on high for 2 minutes.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Strain.

For those of you who, like me, are completely new to this rodeo, here are some additional bits of information from my experience this weekend.  This recipe completely fills a Vitamix, so if you’re using a different high powered blender, consider halving the recipe or making it in two batches.  I strained small amounts at a time.  The blended mixture is a thick liquid, so to extract most of the liquid through the cheesecloth I squeezed and twisted the cheesecloth.  Twisting the cheesecloth was a mistake, as it tore and much like a pastry bag began to extrude the almond pulp/paste.  The squeezing was the most fun part, because the milk smelled delicious and it was amazing how much milk there was even when the pulp looked dry.  Plan ahead and have something you want to eat your almond milk with ready to go as soon as you’re done, as well as something to store your almond milk in the refrigerator.

I had so much fun making the almond milk that the fact that it was absolutely delicious was an added bonus.  I decided to have dessert for dinner and made myself a huge bowl with what I had on hand, which was chopped mango and strawberry, walnuts, soaked Mila, bee pollen and cinnamon all drenched in almond milk.  It was completely insanely delicious.  I wasn’t patient enough to style the bowl before I took the picture, so this messy picture is a sign of a delicious meal :-)

mana bowl

Ever since, when people ask what’s new I have been replying with “I made almond milk, it is super crazy delicious.” And sometimes even when people simply make eye contact say hi I have the same response, because I’m excitable.  And it’s way more interesting than talking about the latest blood test results.

Are you going to make yourself some almond milk?  What has you excited right now that you want to share with everyone?

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Faking It

pesto pasta

Zucchini “Fettucini” with Pesto

I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time “faking it until I can make it.”  Lately  I have noticed that I’ve been doing some faking with my “get up and go”.  I find myself waking up and having thoughts about just going back to sleep (or getting the boys off to school then diving back into bed for an early morning nap, which I’ve never done I sometimes do).  And on the mornings when I entertain that thought process as I make breakfast and empty the dishwasher and feed the dog and pack lunches, I feel pretty miserable and all of those tasks feel heavy and the rest of my day tends to follow suit.  On the mornings that I banish those thoughts from my head when (or before) my feet hit the floor even though especially because I don’t feel like it and put a smile on my face, everything is a little different. I enjoy my morning small talk with my boys as I take care of the morning routine, which feels like an accomplishment as opposed to drudgery.  The thoughts in my head, as opposed to being ‘sleep, sleep, sleep’ are focused on the present moment, the still warm glasses I am placing in the cabinet, the smell of eggs (not my favorite) as I peel a hard boiled one for my son, the sound of rain on the kitchen window and the groggy blank stare of my son as I ask him about what he has on his schedule for the day.  If I stopped to give it some thought (or if magically I found out the the day was cancelled and the whole world had the day off) I would notice probably that I’m still a bit sleepy and that I’d love to be back in my cozy bed.  But if I don’t entertain those thoughts, if I simply replace them with thoughts of the present moment, somewhere around the time the boys have headed off to school I find that I am ready for my day as well and the bed is no longer appealing.  What’s more, it can actually get better than that.  On the days that I choose to “go big” and replace those sleepy thoughts with some really juicy thoughts about how grateful I am to have these boys and this dog and how excited I am to see what the day has to offer me – the process is accelerated and I’ve “made it” by the time I walk into the kitchen.

Faking it is like placing an order at a restaurant.  I describe what I want by my thoughts and then it is served to me as my mood/outlook/approach to the moment.  If I want to feel groggy and unmotivated, then I think groggy and unmotivated thoughts.  But if I want to feel motivated and alive and in love with my life (which is my version of heaven) then I think thoughts that match those feelings.  Not only do I feel better – but my feelings shape my actions and my day is more in line with where I want to be.  I know that I am pretty good at faking it because sometimes a groggy child will complain to me that I just don’t understand, they are really sleepy this morning and can’t possibly move any quicker.  I do completely understand, but I’m in the middle of faking it until I can’t understand because I feel so alive and ready for my day.

The first couple days of this sugar detox definitely were faking it kind of days.  When I focused on what I ‘wanted but couldn’t have’ I was not a happy woman.  I might have been really justified in not being happy – lot’s of people would agree with me and commiserate with me, however I didn’t want to feel like that, even with ‘good’ reason.  So I practiced faking it – and for me that meant focusing on the food that I “got to eat”.

This recipe definitely tops the list in the “got to eat” category because it was a fun one to make,  was easy to make for a quick lunch, and it really did fake my mind into feeling like a hearty ‘pasta’ dish.

Zucchini “Fettucini” with Pesto – serves 4 for lunch or as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pine nuts, pre-soaked and then drained
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 4 medium zucchini, peeled (if organic, you can leave the skin on)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

Combine pine nuts through olive oil in a blender until well blended and smooth.  Add additional olive oil if necessary to achieve desired consistency.

And next comes the magic “faking it” part – cut your zucchini into fettucini.

zucchini

Using a mandolin or cheese slicer slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin strips.  After the zucchini has been sliced, stack the strips on top of each other and then cut the strips lengthwise into fettucini sized strips of zucchini.  Plate the zucchini strips and top with the cherry tomatoes and then pesto.  This looks so much like pasta when plated with pesto and tomatoes, even slightly chilled this feels less like a salad and more like a side dish.

Do you find that “faking it” helps you get where you want to go? What’s your favorite “fake” food?

 

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