We are in the final 2 weeks of 2016 and while many of us have our finger poised over the reset button for January 1st, I hit the reset button many, many times throughout the year. And today, I just hit it again. Well, last night.
Yesterday I posted about my personal winter guide and how I manage to not crack apart and turn into sand during these dry, dark months. The outside is important, but even more important is the inside: our mind, our spirit, our organs and general functions of the body. We often forget that the outside is only as good as how the inside operates and that is what I am hitting the reset button.
My diet is the best it has ever been in my life, but something is off. This time of year I gravitate toward foods that are not the best, loaded in cheese – aka fat – and sugar because treats are abundant around Christmas. While I have not “over done” anything in these areas, I feel a general sense of heaviness. The rest button pressed today is a button to lighten up.
Reset my diet in a way that limits those oh-so-tasty, fattening and sugary foods that slows down digestion; get to bed earlier and work on getting a quality night’s rest; get back into my full workout routine (which has been sporadic at best); meditate daily and free my mind through writing.
Eating a meal, alone, without a book, cell phone, or crochet needles is unnatural for so many of us in the 21st century.
I am currently enrolled in an 8-week Mindfulness Meditation course and one of the first lessons was mindful eating. Now, I’m not one for eating in complete silence, counting the number of chews and feeling every textured nuance, but I do agree eating without doing something else is important. I’m no expert at this by any means. In fact, I started to really try this out this week during my lunch break. My lunch hour is my sanctuary hour. It is the hour I can close out the entire world and all the people in it and just be with me. So why rush through it? Why clutter our eyes and ears with junk when most of us put thought into what we put in our mouths?
I believe it is a fish-out-of-water feeling to eat and only eat at meal times because we are always plugged into the news cycle. And to do something alone is like being naked! This week I made a solid effort to sit at lunch and really eat. I did respond to a text message that popped up, but I did not scan blogs, scan the news, watch anything on Netflix. Eating is a time to nourish our bodies and what we take in our eyes and ears at that time, I believe, is also being digested.
My experience this week has been great. Today, for example, I had soup and a salad. It took me 35 minutes to eat it. If I were watching something, I’m sure I would have finished the final bite at the 15 or 20 minute mark.
When we eat distracted we miss our meals and the gratitude of how lucky we are to know where our meals are coming from, the fresh food we have at our finger tips. We completely miss out on the mental rejuvenation we need in the middle of our workdays to help us tackle the second half of our days. We pittbulldoze past an entire free hour where we have no obligations to anyone but our stomachs.
Why let someone cyberspace rob you of those precious 60 minutes?
Do I always eat without watching TV or reading? No way. Sometimes that hour is when I can do those things uninterrupted. But lunch is the time where I can. And therefore, I should. We owe it to our minds and bodies to give them at least one mindful meal.
Not to sound cliche, but this Fall has been one of transitions. At the end of September, there were some things churning in my brain and spirit craving a reformation. I hit a point of feeling like a failure and without any map to tell me how to get out of the detour. And I did what I usually do: [pit]bulldoze past it on the outside, but on the inside there was a nagging voice, tugging at my heart saying, “There’s got to be more…”
After a few weeks of trying to ignore that voice thinking it wasn’t worth listening to, I had an intervention with myself. I signed up for an 8-week Mindfulness & Stress Reduction Class, I set out a goal to find a new job by December 31st, to really take my meditation seriously, in order to get out of this funk. One of the sources of my funk was being turned down for a role with my company. I was told I was perfect in every aspect but missing a key piece of experience. Needless to say, I was bummed. My goal of December 31st was ripped out from under me and I had to redirect. After about 2 weeks of that usual self-pitty, I picked myself up and kept going.
I dedicated more effort to my mindfulness practice – on and off the cushion or yoga mat – and really worked hard to know and believe that being turned down for this role was opening the door to another. That my “job” was to be happy.
A few days later I got a call from a person within the company who I was working with on a project. He said he suggested me to another person for an open role. After 3 interviews and a lesson in patience, I am happy to report I was offered another, even better position at my current company that I start December 16th.
Which leads me to my first favorite; Kundalini Meditation and Yoga. I did the following meditation every day for 40-days and it really helped me mentally. It wasn’t about me “getting something” but more about getting to feeling good in general. I highly suggest you try it. It is only 11 minutes and I swear you will feel so much better.
Speaking of Feeling Better, I also listened to the reading of Just Be Glad. This was written and published in 1912. Here is the audio reading that I used. It is so inspiring and reminds you that “all things gather where life is a song.”
As the 40-day Kirtan Kriya came to a close, I wanted more. I searched and found some excellent You Tube channels and play lists of Kundalini Yoga. Below are my current favorites. I am doing the 40-day program with Kundalini Lounge: along with Kimilla’s. Both are excellent!
On another note, in 2016 I discovered the phenomenon of Minimalism and Simple Living. Now, I’m not a huge fan of the empty room, white walls and all white furniture, dishes and rugs, but I do love the idea of only keeping what you love and keeping a clean open space. It’s more of the lifestyle rather than the decor that I like so much. With that I have culled my makeup routine down to 4 steps. Yes, four.
my favorite foundation is IT Cosmetics CC cream and the powder to set. i’ve been using this since early this year and it is by far the best I have ever tried!
And I mean this literally. Not spiritually or emotionally. Where are you investing your money?
As women, we aren’t really encouraged to save, invest or think of our future as much as men are. I am making a broad statement here, of course, but hear me out a little. If you are a woman reading this, chances are you were never really encouraged to save for retirement, our children’s education, our education, until it’s almost too late. I was lucky enough to learn very early how bad credit cards are. In fact, my first boyfriend got a store credit card and within 3 months, he maxed it out and owed $1,500. To a STORE. At 17, $1,500 is a lot of money to pay off. It is a lot of money now, but especially at the innocent age of 17. When I saw the level of stress he was under getting the monthly statement, how quickly his part time paycheck would disappear, I vowed to never ever ever get into credit card debt.
I got a credit card at the age of 20 and it was a Shaw’s Jeweler card. I think my limit was $200 and I bought an $80 bracelet. It took me a few pay checks to clear that $80 but it got me started on establishing credit and then I opened a Capital One card. My limit again was pretty low, but I never ever maxed it out. In fact, I considered my “credit card limit” to be half of what the card company said. So if it was $300, my limit was $150.
Being smart with credit cards is something that is not talked about enough to young people. It seems so many people get in over their heads, swiping their cards without really understanding what damage they are doing; not just to their credit but to their future and their daily sanity. The habit of spend, spend, spend is what we learn. The concept of investing is more about investing in “good skin care,” “a high quality purse or coat,” or “a holy grail foundation.”
I am again making a grand statement and of course this is a stereotype, but when you turn on the TV, women are being told to invest in things that depreciate and do not have long term positive impact on our lives and the lives of our future generations. Good skin is great, but what is the ROI?
I’m beginning to research investing and was inspired by SugarMamma.tv to get serious about my financial future. I also like Rachel Cruze. I inspire you to do the same : both men and women!
One of my favorite YouTubers, Melissa Alexendra, recently posted a video on her Top 10 Feel Good Favs for a Bad Day. I was inspired to share mine. Be sure to leave a comment to let me know some of yours!
Movie It goes without saying that anything with Jim Carrey in it is my feel good go to. I remember when I got an expander (a hunk of metal put in the roof of my mouth to expand it….yeah…) to prep for getting braces, I called my dad crying about how much it hurt, how uncomfortable it was and he said, “Go watch a Jim Carrey movie; you’ll feel better.” So I popped in Ace Ventura 2 in the VCR (Oh yes…) and it took my focus from my mouth discomfort to Jim. He has been my hero since his days on In Living Color and I still love and admire him to this day. He is a talented artist, always gives me a rush of excitement when I see him on TV, and he is also a deep thinker. This talk alone will show you how deep his mind and spirit goes and his amazing talent in painting. My others are: Weekend at Bernies, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Tommy Boy. Anything that makes me laugh out loud.
Item to Wear: Fitted Tees and tank tops are super comfortable. I also like that I can dress them up for work by wearing a blazer or cardigan, clean, go out and do shopping or tasks. They are not binding and I feel free!
Beverage Cabernet Sauvignon and Coffee. These need no explanation!
Music I listen to a lot of instrumental music that are New Age or international. Right now, my favorite CD (yes, I still use CDs) is Land of Gold by Anoushka Shankar. It is so lovely. I also love Native American flute, Spanish guitar, and house music. My guilty pleasures are still the Spice Girls and Geri Halliwell, No shame
Book When I need a spiritual pick-me-up I go to “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching” by Thich Nhat Hanh. Is is so detailed and thorough yet so manageable and inspiring. I also recently discovered and love Mindfulness on the Run by Dr. Chantel Hofstee. A very user-friendly guide to daily mindful actions. She really breaks it down in a way that is perfect for everyone. There are drawings and charts and great for all ages . Others are: “For the Record” by Geri Halliwell; Lessons from Madame Chic / At Home with Madame Chic by Jennifer Scott, “How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are” (this is a tongue-in-cheek book that really made me laugh), “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff at Work” by the late Richard Carlson, Ph.D. Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl (puts my problems in perspective! What a beautiful spirit she was…); Some brain/science books: “The Mood Cure” and “Your Brain at Work” and “Messages for Lightworkers” by my friend and spiritual mentor Patricia Hawse. As for fiction, “Chocolat” is a book I read every year around Lent/Easter. if you know the story, it will make sense why. 🙂
Activity Drawing and sketching. it puts me into a place of quiet and concentration like nothing else.
Food Cheesecake. That is all. 🙂
Quote I’m not really a “quote person.” I will hear them and think, “That’s nice” but I don’t keep a collection of them. My inspiring quotes are more like mantras or daily thoughts to have a good day or little reminders when things get too “heady.” One is when someone is annoying me I think, “That is THEIR lack of mindfulness.” it reminds me that I am not responsible for their behavior and it should have no direct impact on my mood or thoughts. This isn’t to say people do not piss me off or get on my nerves, but once I realize someone is annoying, I try to remember that.