Category Archives: Stuff I Like

Weekly Musings: Wisdom, Change, and What I’m Reading

Weekly Musings – A summary of the week’s highs, lows, and in betweens…

Wisdom

I subscribe to a gazillion sites and get the associated emails, which usually leads me to unsubscribing, because of the sheer volume of mail I get. But, one site I continue to subscribe to (after a few years, including paying for the electronic magazine subscription) is tricycle.org, which sends a Daily Dharma with a quote straight to my inbox. I like these daily messages, because I can quickly scan the quote (I mean it’s 1-2 sentences) and see if I want to read more (click on the link) or not. Yes, this is a Buddhist magazine/site, but you don’t have to be Buddhist (I’m not) to enjoy the words of wisdom and reflective essays on the site.

Here are some examples of Daily Dharmas:

“My practice is teaching me to embrace imperfection: to have compassion for all the ways things haven’t turned out as I’d planned, in my body and in my life; for the way things keep falling apart, and failing, and breaking down. It’s less about fixing things and more about learning to be present for exactly what is.” Anne Cushman, Living from the Inside Out

“When I walk into my fear, practice there, sit upright in the middle of it, completely open to the experience, with no expectation of the outcome, anything is possible.” Judith Randall, The Hidden Lamp

“On the spiritual path, there’s nothing to get, and everything to get rid of. . . . The first thing to let go of is trying to get love, and instead to give it. That’s the secret of the spiritual path.” Ayya Kemah, What is Love?

Change

My life is in the midst of enormous change. Big, old, scary, in your face change both in my work life and in my personal life.

On a lark, I sent a post to HealthyPlace.com, knowing that they are a mental health website with blogs, and they pay for blog posts. Well, they liked my post and they offered me a contract to write for their Living a Blissful Life blog. As you can probably guess from its title, the blog is aligned with my own message – connecting with others to share our common experience, in my case my struggle with depression and growth out of the darkness and into the light, and grow to our fullest potential. I’m psyched to get more practice writing, I’m challenged by having a hard deadline to meet, and I’m pleased to have someone else editing my work. Of course, this job is more work on top of the rest of my crazy, full life, but it’s moving me in the direction of my dreams, becoming a paid writer, so overall it’s a great thing.

Silke Morin Living a Blissful Life blog

Home: We are working on leaving Munich. Yes, you read that correctly. Can you just see me doing my happy dance? It’s been 5 years of living abroad and it’s time to move back to the States. In my opinion, it’s past due. So, we’re doing what we need to do to make an international move happen. This means lots of transition (my daughter’s school, my husband’s job) and a lot of unknowns (when? where? how?), which I’m not very good at dealing with. I’m trying to learning to live with the uncertainty, with not having a plan that goes on my timeline or in my way. Letting go of my need to control those aspects is hard for me. It’s anxiety provoking, but I’m getting there, even if at infinitesimally small steps.

What I’m Reading Right Now

I just finished reading It Ain’t so Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas (disclaimer: Firoozeh is a very good friend of mine and I love her and her work). The book shares the experience of a child who immigrates from Iran to California in the late 1970s. The main character is trying to fit in and be accepted in her new homeland, which is difficult enough by itself  given that she’s entering middle school, but is complicated by the Iran-US hostage crisis of 1979. Suddenly, Zomorod and her family, 7500 miles removed from Iran, are viewed through an anti-Iranian lens.

This book is classified as a children’s book,  but it contains an important message for everyone. It highlights the need for kindness and tolerance. We all need to be reminded to do this. Remember my recent post about choosing to practice love? Distrusting and hating entire groups of people because they are different from us or because of the actions of a few radicals in the group is the foundation of bigotry. Kindness, people, practice it. And read this book.

It Aint So Awful Falafel

Those are my musings. What about you?

What did you tell yourself this week to inspire you, motivate you, or help you on your path? What words of wisdom has someone else (through reading, a podcast, a talk) shared with you? What are you grateful for in your life? What are you struggling with? Feel free to share here.

 

Weekly Musings

Weekly Musings is my summary of the week’s highs, lows, and in betweens. There’s always some of each.

 

Spring Break 2016

I went on vacation for 2 weeks, and it was fabulous.

After a week in Colorado, where I traveled for work and ended up getting sick with allergies (or a cold or the flu, or I don’t know what), I returned to Germany and, almost immediately, the whole family flew off and spent 13 days gallivanting about the UK. The length of the trip was due in large part to the enormous savings we initially made by staying with our generous friends in London and York for a total of 8 nights. (Thank you, Darcy and Emma’s family!) Of course we made up for those savings later by staying in an 11th century castle (now hotel) and a 17th century prison (now hotel). Let’s just say that the upgrade from peeing in a bucket to peeing in a flushing toilet brings the price of a room up dramatically.

The good news is that the hubs and I only got into 1 fight on this trip, which is quite possibly a new record. It happened half way through the trip when I was starving, and, instead of feeding me, we went on one of those double decker tour buses. For an hour. In the wind. And the cold. Did I mention I was starving before we left?

When we got back to the hotel, my husband worked on trying to find a great fish and chips place, which led to us wandering for blocks between our hotel and one pub then the next (NOTE: the pubs in the UK, while seemingly restaurants, do not allow children after certain hours, like 6pm!). I got hangry. Super hangry. And then before my full fledged breakdown on the streets of Dublin happened, we ended up at an “American” diner with a menu that could have been straight from a TGI Friday’s. We ate burgers and fries and didn’t speak to each other during the entire meal.

But, it’s all good. We made up the next day once my husband came to the realization that one cannot rationalize with a hangry wife. Just gotta stuff some food in her face right then and there.

My parents took me to see castles and cathedrals for Spring Break, but all I really wanted to do was cartwheels in the park!

My parents took me to see castles and cathedrals for Spring Break, but all I really wanted to do was cartwheels in the park!

 

What I’m Into Right Now

I’m reading 2 books – No Mud, No Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh and Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff. I’m also participating in the Deepak/Oprah 21 Day Meditation Experience on Shedding the Weight – Mind, Body, and Spirit. The overall message is the same, and it has to do with suffering, which doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or somebody died. It can mean you’re mad at your spouse or you’re upset about screwing up something at work or you’re just feeling restless and off.

Both authors (and the meditation series) are clear about 1 thing. All peace comes from within; it isn’t dependent upon external factors. Therefore, every person can transform his or her own suffering. Obviously, it takes work, but here’s how you can start. First, acknowledge the suffering, as opposed to ignoring or resisting it. Second, recognize that suffering does happen. No one is immune or leads a charmed life where it doesn’t happen; it’s something that we all experience. It’s part of being human. Finally, when you are suffering, practice self-compassion. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Treat yourself kindly.

In addition to those 3 steps, here are two mantras I really like that you can repeat to yourself to help you. The first is for inspiration/intention at the beginning of the day and the other is for whenever you need some self-love.

Waking up this morning, I smile.

I have twenty-four hours to live.

May I live them deeply.

May I learn to look at the beings around me with the eyes of compassion.

Thich Nhat Hanh

This is a moment of suffering.

Suffering is part of life.

May I be kind to myself in this moment.

May I give myself the compassion I need.

Kristin Neff

 

Those are my weekly musings, and what about you?

What did you tell yourself this week to inspire you, motivate you, or help you on your path?What words of wisdom has someone else (through reading, a podcast, a talk) shared with you?What are you grateful for in your life?

 

Weekly Musings

Weekly Musings – A summary of the week’s highs, lows, and in betweens…

I think there’s a theme this week, and it’s self-care. What I’ve been reading and what I’ve been doing seem to be focused on just that. I’ve been nourishing my mind and my body, and it feels great. It’s not totally habit yet, and it doesn’t permeate all aspects of my life, but I’m working on it.

 

What I’m Reading Right Now:

The Art of Flourishing– A New East-West Approach to Staying Sane and Finding Love in an Insane World by Jeffrey Rubin, PhD (2011)

I first heard Rubin, a clinical psychologist, speak as a guest on The One You Feed podcast. I like that he utilizes both Eastern and Western philosophies in his own life and in his psychotherapy practice and that he subscribes to the advice to use what works for you, ignore what doesn’t, and do your best. That’s a good rule of thumb.

Rubin’s book is divided into 2 sections, Planting the Seeds of Self-Care and Cultivating the Garden of Love. The chapters are practical world scenarios for how we sabotage ourselves and how we can realistically increase our ability to flourish, which Rubin defines as focusing “on internal emotional awareness, insight, and transformation” and “just doing the best we can given imperfect and even undesirable circumstances.”

Living with Intent– My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace, and Joy by Mallika Chopra (2015). I mean the title says it all, doesn’t it? Chopra is the daughter of, yes, that other Chopra. She created intent.com as a way for people to share their aspirations and support one another in manifesting them (love this!) and despite being heir to the Enlightenment Throne, she comes across in the book like a regular person – a professional, a mom, a wife, and someone eats too many cupcakes and doesn’t exercise enough. Even though she knows intellectually what she needs to do to “feed herself,” she’s struggling to find time to do it. Just like me and you.

Both books offer practical strategies and exercises to try to achieve emotional awareness, purpose, and joy. For example, in the chapter titled Nurture in the Chopra book, Chopra suggests trying these things: reconnect with an old friend or family member, think of a task you’ve been avoiding and enlist someone’s help to get it done, make a list of what you would do if you could focus totally on your physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. These are activities that will help you nurture yourself. Self-Care is important!

 

What I Just Finished Doing:

Another detox. This was a 10 day detox outlined by Dr. Mark Hyman in The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet. I first heard Hyman, Director of Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, speak on On Being about the transformation in medicine from treating disease to promoting health and what he said really resonated with me. As someone who works in the scientific metabolism research field, a lot of what he writes about makes sense (on a general level) in terms of our Western diet of processed food with high sugar content and the role it plays in inflammation and diseases so rampant in our culture (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer).

What I like most about this detox (like the last one I did) is that it addresses the whole person – mind and body – and focuses on promoting health above all. In addition to changing diet (no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no processed food, no added sugars, no alcohol, no caffeine), you focus on mental and physical health. For 10 days, you eat really clean foods that don’t spike blood sugar or trigger inflammation (which is the basis for so many diseases we suffer from). For 10 days, you exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. For 10 days, you practice relaxation. For 10 days, you meditate and journal. I absolutely believe diet and health and spirit and health are inextricably linked, and this detox is a great starting point to get yourself on track (or reset yourself if you’ve fallen off the wagon).

Even though I didn’t follow everything to the letter of the law (I introduced caffeine back after Day 3 and I didn’t take nightly baths with essential oils because I am not a bath person), I felt 100% better by Day 4 (I’m not going to lie, the first few days were rough). I lost weight. My tummy pooch went away. I slept great. I woke up feeling refreshed. I felt so good by the end of the 10 days that I’ve decided to eat according to the guidelines in general.

Prioritize self-care

 

What’s Not Working:

(Honestly, I’ve deleted this section already in writing this post, because it’s so hard for me to talk about, but I’m taking Brené Brown’s words to heart about shame resistance. I will stay ashamed of my drinking until I name it, talk about it, own my story, and tell my story. So here it goes…again.)

While this week has been all about self-care, I continue to struggle in one area…my relationship with alcohol. So far this year, the frequency has improved but the volume has not. What I mean is, I am drinking pretty infrequently these days (maybe once or twice a week max, and some weeks not at all), but when I do drink, I still drink a lot. A LOT. So, I’m putting this out into the Universe and hope you all will help keep me accountable. I know it’s not healthy. It’s not physically healthy for me and it’s not healthy for my personal relationships. So, here’s my self-care intention with respect to drinking. May I be aware that drinking is an area for self-sabotage, so that I do what’s best for me, that which does not cause me to suffer.

Thanks for listening.

 

Those are my musings. What about you?

  • What did you listen to or experience this week that inspired you, motivated you, or helped you on your path?
  • What brings you happiness and purpose?
  • What isn’t working? What made you mad or sad or say, “Life sucks!!”?

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-Week Musings

What I’m mulling over right now.

I am feeling out of sorts about my desire to move back to the States. Honestly, the gun violence, the indignant intolerance toward people who are not like us (Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric), the 2 party political stalemate…it’s frightening to me. And, I’m torn. On the one hand, I feel isolated and family/friend-less in Germany, where the customs are different and the language barrier makes things difficult. I want to return to the States. I mean I’ve been ranting about it for years. Literally. But at then same time, I don’t know if I want to raise my daughter in that mentality and culture (of gun violence and indignant intolerance).

Then I remember that I am my daughter’s most influential teacher, and I have to model what it is I want her to learn about relating the world. And when I recognize that, I know that I need to be joyful and grateful, more compassionate and connected. Because, when I exist in that space, I am happier and I feel a greater sense of purpose guiding me. Suddenly, I’m not overwhelmed by the situation in the States. I’m not depressed about everything. Joy and gratitude and compassion and connection form my happy place. It’s not a glass of wine. It’s not a TV show. It’s not buying something I don’t need. It’s not ignoring reality. My happy place is embracing life and being more loving toward every being on this planet.

Which reminds me of a currently popular FB post. It’s a Holiday To Do List written by Kate Dalebout of TheBeautyBean.com. While she wrote it specifically for maintaining sanity/ensuring self-care during the holidays, I think it works independent of season. It’s  a To Do List for Life, in my opinion. 

Courtesy of Kate Dalebout of thebeautybean.com

Courtesy of Kate Dalebout of thebeautybean.com

Best podcasts I’ve listened to:

I listened to each of these podcasts twice this week. They both resonated in powerful but different ways.

The Evolution of Medicine. Are you a health care professional (doctor, nurse, therapist)? Have you ever seen a health care professional? Have you ever been sick? Have you ever been well? Do you belong to a community? Do you want to be your best self? If you answered yes to any of these questions, LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST. It is about the shifting and expanding the focus of medicine from disease to health. It is about healing the whole self and how we do that. It is an inspiring and transformational 45 minutes.

Relating Wisely with Imperfection In this podcast, Buddhist psychologist Tara Brach talks about reducing the often automatic snowball cycle of anxiety, anger, and/or self-judgment that many of us find ourselves in from time to time. When you start to experience one of these non-productive thought patterns, Brach suggests going through these 3 steps.

  • Name the feeling. “Right now, I feel anxious.”
  • Note the physical manifestations of the feeling. “My heart is racing. My breathing is rapid.”
  • Be compassionate toward yourself. Think about what would you say to your child if he or she expressed those feelings, and tell yourself the same thing. “Self, you’re going to be okay. Breathe deeply. Take 5 minutes to decompress.”

When you are able to become more cognizant of what you’re experiencing when it first happens, before you engage in the habitual cycle, you can better deal with the experience.

 

Quotes

I have a book entitled “Shit Happens So Get Over it.” It’s a small book of quotes (related to the title) and I sat and read it during my meditation today. Here are some funny and inspiring  quotes to tell yourself when life is difficult.

There are days when it takes all you’ve got just to keep up with the losers. ~Robert Orben (speechwriter for Gerald Ford)

Since the house is on fire, let us warm ourselves. ~Italian proverb

Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. ~Voltaire (French philosopher)

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour. ~Anonymous

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. ~Frank A. Clark (American politician)

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. ~Anne Bradstreet (poet)

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall. ~Confucius (Chinese politician and philosopher)

The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. ~Samuel Adams (American statesman and philosopher)

Shit Happens

 

Those are my musings. What about you?

  • What did you listen to or experience this week that inspired you, motivated you, or helped you on your path?
  • What mental state do you inhabit that brings you happiness and purpose?

 

 

Weekly Musings

I know it’s only Thursday, so the week’s not over yet, but I’ve been such a slacker wrt to posting  in August and September. Well, that’s what 4 weeks of vacation can do to you. Or that’s what it did to me. Luckily, I’ve been inspired by my friend Leah who posts on her blog very frequently (even on vacation!). Check out Leah’s blog about the fit life and hear her talk at the 2015 Listen To Your Mother Austin show. Leah is funny, smart, and fit. We should all be so blessed.

 

This week’s musings – A summary of the week’s highs, lows, and in betweens…

Mantras I spoke this week:

  • May peace begin with me, in my heart.
  • May I redeem myself and reclaim what is inherently good, those life values I want to make manifest.
  • May I be fully present in this moment, pausing to make sure I am giving my full attention to it.
  • May I greet each day as an opportunity to be my best self, a platform for beginning anew.

This week, I was focused on changing the things inside me that hold me back from being who I want to be. I know that all positive (or negative) change begins with me, and I need to use each moment of each day to remember that and act on it, to continually improve and grow myself.

 

Shindig on the Green in Asheville, these are some of my fab friends who visited.

Shindig on the Green in Asheville. These are some of my fab friends who visited. I LOVE girlfriend time!

 

Best podcasts I listened to this week:

  • On Being interview with Mike Rose, an education researcher at UCLA. He discusses school systems, vocational tracking, and meaningful work. Wow. I can’t say enough about how important it is to have school reform that helps every child reach his or her full potential, whatever that might be.
  • Ted Radio Hour show on Transformation. First of all, I just discovered that this was a podcast. I love it because it combines similar Ted Talks into 1 show and clips from the talks are interspersed with interviews with the speakers. Given all my mantras this week about using each moment to best your best, this show was particularly inspiring.

 

Best blog I just discovered:

Okay, I’m late to the game, but because I subscribe to Leo Babauta’s blog Zen Habits, I read about Scott Dinsmore (unfortunately what I read was that Scott died this week) and his blog Live Your Legend. So, I checked out the blog, and it’s awesome, all about discovering what you’re really passionate about turning that passion into your every day reality, in work and life.

 

From my hike to Skinny Dip Falls, Pisgah National Forest

Leaving Skinny Dip Falls, Pisgah National Forest. The Blue Ridge Mountains are purty.

 

Gratitude this week:

  • Vacation. I spent the past 4 weeks at my mom’s 2nd home in Asheville, North Carolina. I did lots of sleeping in, lots of eating out, and the perfect amount of laughing and shopping with girlfriends. I read a lot of books. I wrote (a little). I got to hear Old Time music (my mom plays fiddle and bass) and Honky Tonk music (my stepdad plays pedal steel guitar and banjo). I went on beautiful hikes, and I spent some quality time with my amazing mom. My heart is full. Truly.
  • Vacation is great, but being back home after 4 weeks of being gone is even better. Sometimes all you need to make everything okay in the world is to sleep in your own bed and snuggle with a child.
  • Work. My job is pretty great. I work from home, the hours are flexible, and the pay is good. I get to meet amazing scientists and read (and edit) lots of scientific papers that challenge me.
  • My husband. I got 9 days by myself in the States because my  husband came back to Germany with our daughter for the sole purpose of allowing me a much needed break from everything. I’m glad I get to share my life with him. He’s pretty awesome.

 

Me and my Amazing Mom.

Me and mom. Photo courtesy of my talented cousin Mario who now lives (and photographs) in Asheville.

 

Those are my musings. What about you?

  • What did you tell yourself this week to inspire you, motivate you, or help you on your path?
  • What words of wisdom has someone else (through reading, a podcast, a talk) shared with you?
  • What are you grateful for in your life?

 

 

Weekly Musings

A summary of the week’s highs, lows, and in betweens…

Mantras I spoke this week:

  • May I set up the conditions that will help me be successful in my intentions.
  • May I remember all the good things people have given me in my life (smiles that brightened my day, anecdotes that made me laugh, words that encouraged me, money that helped when I really needed it) and Pay It Forward.
  • May I do the work I need to do in order to live an intentional and purposeful life, rooted in my deepest values.
  • May I continue to awaken myself.

This week was a lot of reminders to bring forth my best self, who is always present but needs some prodding on (most) occasions to be manifested.

 

Best podcasts I listened to this week:

  • On Being interview with Mirabai Bush. I listened to this episode after I posted Road Tripping Through Life, but it’s kinda the same thing. Living a contemplative life – there are many different paths. There isn’t just one way to do it and to awaken your truest, best self. Find your path.
  • Good Life Project interview with Kara Yar Khan. This is a great interview to inspire you to be grateful for all the wondrous miracles of your life. It’s not just about having the fanciest car or the cutest shoes. It’s about being happy with what you have, loving your life, and living to the fullest.

 

My Wrist of Intentions:

These bracelets are my daily notes to self. I bought the Love bracelet a while back and made the other two this week. These bracelets don’t come off (okay, they can, but I haven’t taken them off). They run with me, shower with me, sleep with me, do everything with me. And every time I look at my wrist, I’m reminded of some very important truths/life lessons.

My Wrist of Intentions

 

Gratitude this week:

  • Deepak/Oprah 21-Day Meditation Experience. The current meditation series is Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude. Love.
  • Relationship Harmony. My husband and I are working on our relationship dynamics (which were in a state of total suckiness) and I’m amazed how little effort it has taken on both our parts to be more loving, kind, and compassionate with each other.
  • Pay It Forward project. Over the past year, I sent gifts to 6 women friends/acquaintances of mine. Some big, some small, all were thought out and sent with love. What a phenomenal experience for me.
  • Running on Wood Mulch. I went for a run today and city workers had laid down wood mulch in part of the Englischer Garten. I have never run on mulch before, but it was so soft and springy. And it smelled so earthy. It was in a part of the park right by the surfers, with a green canopy of tree coverage. I seriously had a “Wow, happiness!” moment.
  • Girlfriend Love. I get to see several of my closest friends in August. One is coming to visit in 10 days. And then a few days after she and her family leave, I’ll fly to the States for a month (thank you, sweet baby Jesus!). I won’t go to Texas but to my mom’s other home in North Carolina, where a couple of my friends are flying from Texas to see me. It will be like grown up girl camp for a week, and I can’t wait!

 

That’s what I’m musing about this week. What about you?

  • What did you tell yourself this week to inspire you, motivate you, or help you on your path?
  • What words of wisdom has someone else (through reading, a podcast, a talk) shared with you?
  • What are you grateful for in your life?

 

 

Random Things on the Web I Dig Right Now (April 2015)

Have a great day image

Image courtesy of kakisky (morguefile.com)

  1. The Greater Good Science Center 

The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), part of UC-Berkeley, sponsors research on what I would collectively call positive psychology. It also provides resources from this research – reader friendly articles, videos, free online courses, and original research articles – to the general public. Using the core themes of gratitude, altruism, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, happiness, and mindfulness, the GGSC is a wealth of science-based information on how to live a more meaningful life. Since I am all Up With Me! and a science nerd, I’m totally into this.

I’m not really sure how I first came across the GGSC website, but some time last year I noticed they were offering a free, online Science of Happiness course, and I signed up. I was in a mental space where I needed to be thinking about and improving my well being and working on my emotional resilience. This course helped me stay on course. It was 8 weeks of video lectures, readings, quizzes and tests, and a class forum. In other words, it took time, but it was worth it as I gained some  new insights and tools tools for how to be happy independent of any external condition.

Check it out and see if the GGSC doesn’t offer something for you.

 

  1. University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine and Department of Family Medicine’s Detoxification to Promote Health Program

First, let me say that I have never ever done a cleanse or a detox in my life. I am incredibly wary of “diets” that require you to buy special supplements, eat only 1 thing, or last for longer than my will power (which is to say not long). Besides the fact that I don’t think there are any scientific data to support that detox cleanses actually do anything for the body. Having said all that, I just spent 2 weeks in the States completely overindulging in Mexican food and alcohol. I was feeling tired, bloated, and gross before the trip was over, and I knew I needed some kind of detox when I got back to Germany.

So I poked around on the interwebs and found this 7-day, self-guided detox created and used by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine (read: my idea of a pretty credible source). The diet component of this detox is basically the following: eat vegan and cut out caffeine, alcohol, and added sugar for 7 days. That seems both rational and do-able, especially since I have mostly cut out caffeine because of my perimenopausal madness. The regimen also recommends getting 2 enemas during those 7 days  (oh, hell no!) and using a sauna and/or getting massages (oh, hell yes!).

But, what I really love about this detox is that it addresses the mind as well as the body. In addition to the diet component, the detox encourages exercise, self-reflection, and journaling as part of the cleanse. Even better, the website provides self-reflection writing exercises (55 pages worth) and meditation guides. It’s free therapy and a spa in one. I’m sold.

I’m currently on Day 4 of the plan, so I’ll check back in with y’all later and let you know how I fared when it’s all over. Right now, I need to schedule a massage.

Veggies image

Image courtesy of MaxStraeten (morguefile.com)

I’m All Out There – Mental and Physical Stretch Marks and All

A few months ago, I started this blog with a scheduling goal of posting 2-3 times a week. Well, with my full time job working on myself, the full time job that actually pays me a salary, plus raising my 6 year old and sustaining a marriage, within 2 months, I changed my goal to something slightly more realistic, posting once a week. Then I went on vacation. Last week, week 1 of vacation, I managed to write a post, but now this week is almost over and I’ve posted nothing.

Then…epic save. My very first every guest post submission was accepted on MindBodyGreen, and it’s live today. Yay me!

When I started the blog, I contacted about 50 people with whom I shared the site. I didn’t email everyone I know, didn’t tell all my family members, didn’t post on Facebook, and certainly didn’t bring it up at work. Honestly, I was nervous, because I was putting it all out there. You all know that. I write about the darkest times of my depression, my 2 hospitalizations, and my drinking. I even posted a photo of my stretch-marked stomach, for crying out loud. Do I want everyone seeing that? My life challenges are recorded, on the Internet, in perpetuity. Given the small number of people who know my blog, who know me, I was okay with that exposure.

True, I also talk about my growth, personal transformation, and self-nourishing practices, but that’s not the scary stuff. That’s the good stuff. Well, life isn’t always made of good stuff. There are lots of times when it’s really hard and times when it really sucks. And I think it’s important that we talk about those times just as much as we talk about the other times. If we don’t, then how do we ever feel connected? How do we ever know we’re not alone when we’re going through what we’re going through?

So now my real name and real picture are out there and associated with the blog. My mental and physical stretch marks are available for all to see. And, that’s okay, because this is what I write about. This is who I am, and, I’m sharing it with y’all (and  everyone else on Earth).

 

Random Things on the Web I Dig Right Now (February 2015)

1. On Being with Krista Tippett http://onbeing.org/

I subscribe to this podcast but read the blog, too. It is amazing public radio, y’all! Where else can you listen to conversations with Rabbi Lawrence Kushner on Kabbalah, Thich Nhat Hanh on meditation with police officers, Paulo Coelho on pilgrimages, Rosanne Cash on music and quantum mechanics, Desmond Tutu on his understanding of God, or Maya Angelou on courage? Nowhere else. Honestly, the guests are phenomenally interesting and the the topics thought provoking. After I listen to a show, I feel like my brain has been stretched, and that’s a great thing.

 

2. Open Sit http://opensit.com/

I do almost everything alone. I run alone. I work alone. I meditate alone. But I am such an extrovert, a total social being, so I’m always looking for groups. Given that speaking English, not German, is a pre-requisite for me, local groups I can join are few and far between, my living in Germany and all. Anyway, I was looking for an online meditation group when I stumbled upon Open Sit. It has become my virtual sangha. On this site, you can set a goal for yourself for meditation (mine is 20 minutes every day). You can comment on your sits and share those comments with others. You can comment on other people’s sits. Or you can just keep it to yourself. It’s been great for me to reach out and find a community of practitioners who use different styles, have different lives, and yet come together for this experience. Love.

 

3. Women for Sobriety http://womenforsobriety.org

For someone who has a challenging relationship with alcohol and a strong tendency toward agnosticism, I just can’t do AA. I went for about a month last summer while I was trying to get right with my internal goddess. Y’all, I went to a meeting every single day of the week for a month. But I could not drink their Kool-Aid, or, in this case, their bad coffee. (Note: I had no problem stuffing their cookies down my throat.) So I quit AA, threw away the Big Book (which I found outdated, misogynistic, and, therefore, pretty offensive) and, like meditation, looked for an online support group. I found Women for Sobriety, WFS. Their “steps” are affirmations, which, unlike those of AA, don’t mention God or character faults. Instead, the WFS affirmations (which are copyrighted, but you can find them here) are all Up With Me!, which you know I love. These statements have nothing to do with alcohol per se; they are about self empowerment. So print them out and read them to yourself everyday. Then go on with your bad self!

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[That’s me drinking wine in Paris. I look really freaking glamorous (you know in black and white and in Paris) but sometimes it’s hard for me to stop at that 1 glass of wine and, that’s why I sometimes visit WFS and get empowered to be my best self. My best self can have 1 or 2 glasses of wine and be done.]