Friday, January 31, 2014

First signs of Spring

Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year!   It is a beautiful day in Texas, and Sterling has a lot of energy for a walk.   

I was walking to the park and noticed the new branches on the trees, the first buds of spring and the soft fuzz that covers new growth.   I was thinking about how fragile new growth is while I was looking at the down fuzz that covers the branch pictured here.  

New growth needs to be treated with kindness and gentleness, it needs to be nourished and acknowledged.  Growth looks different to different people, it can be breaking a habit, losing weight, gaining a new skill, saying good bye to a loved one, leaving something or someone behind.  It doesn't matter if you acknowledge your own growth or someone in your life notices it, the point is we all need to take a step back get some prospective and notice how much we have grown and changed in the last (name your time period).   When things stop growing they die, and when we stop noticing our own growth we stop striving for it, we stop making personal excellence a habit.

Question to consider: What is an area of your life that you have nurtured in the last year?  What do you want to nurture and cultivate for the coming year?   In the past year I have focused on nurturing and healing myself.  In the coming year I want to share those experiences to help other people heal and grow themselves, in simple terms I want to contribute!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Number 15 and 23

Number 15 was to clean out the junk drawer.  This is the before photo, trust me it looks much better now, but my favorite thing is the drawer opens and closes easily again!
Number 23 was to finally clean our oven!   This was a task, and I think I need to get some harder scrubbing pads because it is not spic and span yet.  However it is much better than it was!   It is about little improvements. 


The Chinese New Year is coming and I was inspired to celebrate by cleaning the house from top to bottom.  I have been cleaning a lot this week, including washing our stairs by hand.  Upstairs is pretty much done, Adam needs to clean his desk and I need to remake the bed with the clean sheets and blankets.   Today and tomorrow I will be tackling downstairs.  

Question to consider: Do you celebrate the Chinese New Year?  What are your traditions?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Acceptance

A while ago Adam and I were at an adoption conference, this woman had talked and really opened her heart up in one of the sessions we were at.   When I saw her later I stopped her, and I tried to thank her for her story, the words simply got caught in my throat.   She gave me a hug and looked me in the eyes and said "I understand."   At the time it was the most beautiful phrase I had heard.  I remember even posting something about it on Facebook and I still think about that moment.   The gift that woman gave to me, she allowed me to just be me.

The past couple of weeks I have been driving myself crazy and have gotten caught up in a story, hence all the crazy cleaning and lots of running.  After realizing that I was getting caught in a vicious cycle I went to my teacher today to seek some guidance.  After some tears and a long conversation he told me "I love and accept you." 

On the drive home I did a lot of thinking about acceptance and how important it is to our mental health and well being.  Acceptance is about unconditional love, it is about saying "okay," to anything life throws at you.  Acceptance is not about condoning something, it is about understanding that a starving person will steal bread.   It is about understanding that every human being is divinity and meeting them where they are. 

I love this meaning in particular (yes I got it from wikipedia)  Acceptance is closely related to acquiescence derived from the Latin 'acquiÄ“scere'  which translates to: "to find rest in."  Acceptance allows you to close the book and really find some silence and peace in yourself.

Question to consider:  What do you need "to find rest in?"   I needed to accept myself and close the book on a story from my past that doesn't matter any more.  It is not who I am, more importantly it is not who I want to be.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Number 13 (16, 17, 18 and 19)

I have been a little behind in posting the new restaurants, so I am taking a break from cleaning the house to catch up!
Adam and I went with friends to Chapultepec Lupita, a mexican place near them.  It was cheap mexican food from a place that is open 24 hours a day.  The atmosphere made for some good people watching.

Adam and I needed a quick dinner before a lecture one night and we stopped by Thai Spice.  The scallop lo mein was exactly what we needed that night.  

Adam and I found ourselves with a lot of time to kill before Meditation on Wednesday and so we had dinner at Shade.  This soup was wonderful, everything tasted fresh.  It was a wonderful spontaneous date night, yeah for no traffic on a Wednesday night.

After Adam did some shopping on Friday night we went to the Tasting Room and shared some excellent truffle fries!   My meal here was a gourmet grilled cheese with some great soup. 

Back to cleaning the house!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Okay

Oops!  Guess this didn't publish yesterday...

I happen to be the sort of person who really likes plans.  I am working on this aspect of my personality and the universe is giving my plenty of practice.   (I think this is what happens when you ask for patience and trust, you get lots of practice with life not following your blueprint.)

Adam and I had plans to fly to Albuquerque this weekend to see family and meet our new niece.  The weather changed those plans.  Last night I got a text saying our flight was canceled, due to a winter storm.   It is for the best the roads were a mess this morning and I was happy to be snuggled up in bed.

Adam and I had a choice we could be upset that our plans were changed or we could just keep laughing and smiling.  So we still had a wonderful day!

Question to consider: Do you like the certainty of a plan or are you willing to go with whatever?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Things you don't expect to see

I took Sterling for a walk today and I saw something I didn't expect at the park, a pelican.  It was beautiful to watch.

A movie I watched recently had a wonderful line in it: " there are no ordinary moments."   Look around and you will probably see something you didn't expect.  Sometimes it is very subtle, so it requires you to be present.   There are also times like today, where the magic is huge and graceful!

Question to consider: What did you see today or this week that surprised you?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Blankets

I have been a little busy lately and completely forgot about updating my blog.  The days are flying by which is wonderful, and I am finding less and less time to just sit around and write.  Right now Sterling is playing with his ball while I sit on the floor and type.  I love watching him play with his ball; he just comes ALIVE.

It has been a little chilly in Texas lately, which means I start to pull out extra blankets.  I have been cuddling up with a lot of blankets that my grandmother made me.   So I decided to work on another blanket.  I have been teaching children how to crochet at my volunteer job, so I think it is time I had a project I was working on to show them some results.  

There really is inspiration everywhere, think of anything someone did for you and pay it forward.  If you can't knit or crochet, learn.   Or find another way to do something for someone that can never be repaid.   Create something from your heart, give someone else your time (leave your stories out of it).

Question to consider:  What will you create this week?   

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

Eye contact continued...

So I realized something this week during my experiment with eye contact.  I don't look myself in the eye at the mirror, in fact I rarely really take time to look at myself.   Yes, I take the time to style my hair or do my makeup, my vision is very focused on a small part of me at those moments.   When I am finally all put together I rarely take a second glance in the mirror and if I am going out for a special occasion I always rely on Adam's opinion.  

I have been taking time to really look myself in the eye when I'm standing at the mirror, I find it really difficult.  This isn't about analyzing or judging why it is difficult.  The fact is I want to be able to meet my own eyes in the mirror so I will practice it.  

Since I started noticing my lack of eye contact I realized something about my daily physical practice.   When I first started practicing by myself I would always bow at the end of my practice.  I was bowing and showing gratitude for my teachers, that was my intention.  I have now shifted that intention.

In one of my classes there was a discussion about what or who you are bowing to.  One idea was that you are bowing to the divine, the divine inside others AND the divine that is you.   You are bowing to yourself, to your divinity.   When I bow at the end of my practice now, I set the intention to feel my own divinty when I show gratitude for my teachers.  

Question to consider: When is the last time you felt the divine inside of yourself?   When is the last time you were amazed by your breath?     

 



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Beeswax Candle

I have recently started self defense classes at 5:00 in the morning two days a week.   I chose to get up super early before I have to leave so that I can do my daily Qigong practice.   (I have found I want to do this practice first thing in the morning, it puts me in a much better state.). 

Every morning I go upstairs and light this beeswax candle.  I look forward to its light and warmth during my practice.  It keeps me inspired to continue getting up early in the morning and start moving.

Question to consider: What do you look forward to in your mornings?  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Eye contact

I hear that three things are essential in determining what your state is: focus, physiology and language.  These three things form an eqilateral triangle, change one and the state one is in will change.  Just changing one of these things, can completely change your state and I have found when your state changes any puzzles you are dealing with can be seen with a new clarity.

There are plenty of places to go to learn about this special little triangle, seriously just google the topic.  Or even watch Tony Robbins talk about the importance of these three things in every moment.   

Today our teacher gave us homework for the week, to pick one of these things and up our game, center our practice, and pay attention.   So I spent a while considering which one to hone in on.   My yoga teacher always tells us you get more of whatever you put your attention on.  You get what you are looking for, if you believe the world is a loving and compassionate place you will find the loving and compassionate people in it.   

So what am I going to work on?   What is one thing that I can focus on?  I almost picked something easy, but what would be the point of doing something I am already practicing and something I am comfortable with.   So I am focusing on physiology.  How?   I am not good at looking people in the eye, in fact I am not comfortable looking people in the eye.  So for the next week I am going to look people in the eye, when I talk to them and when I listen.   

I am curious about the results of this experiment, so I will report again in one week.   

Question of the day: Is there a tiny adjustment you want to make in your focus, physiology or language?  Want to join me in breaking a pattern?   

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cashew sauce

I decided to get very creative with lunch today.  Adam has been wanting more and more vegetarian food and so I have been looking at a lot of different recipes and learning about how vegetarians and vegans eat and still manage to get all the essential nutrients.  I have been craving creamy alfredo pasta, but with all the sickness that has been going around I decided it is best to limit dairy for a little while.   Dairy makes me very congested and I seem to get sick more often if I eat a lot of it.  

So I decided to make a cashew cream sauce.  So I soaked cashews until they were kind of mushy (I didn't know it was better to use raw cashews and I only had roasted ones.)  and then bleaded them with some chicken broth, lemon juice and spices.  I heated the mixture on the stove until it thickened a little bit and then put it over some sauted kale and pasta.   I really enjoyed the meal.  It was fun to experiment with something new and completely out of my comfort zone.

Question to consider: What are some recipes or foods that you have been meaning to try that are outside your normal routine?   I think we are so lucky to live in an age where we can just type into google something we want to try and find ways to do it ourselves.  


Friday, January 10, 2014

Number 13 (15)

Adam and I ate at a new place on Saturday night.  We went to The Grove for a Adam's company party.  It was a very delightful evening the view was wonderful, the service was excellent and the food disappeared.  Adam and I had fun sampling food and dancing the night away.  I would like to go back someday when it isn't a special event to experience the difference.

Question to consider: What are your plans for the weekend?  I am looking forward to celebrating a friend's birthday and getting the house cleaned.



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Double Rainbow

The sky put on an amazing show this morning, from the sunrise to the rain to the rainbows and back to the rain.  It is always nice to remember that there can't be a rainbow without the rain.  I feel like there have been a lot of tears in my life lately, and I just need to look for the rainbows when I see them.   I don't want to miss these moments because I am stuck in my head.  

It made my day today when I posted a photo of the rainbow on Facebook that a lot of my friends in very different parts of the city remarked how they saw the rainbow too.  I am glad that people are taking the time to notice what is happening and not just being upset about the traffic and the rainy morning.  

All those friends were my inspiration today!  To see the beauty in every situation and from different angles.  

Question to consider:  What beauty did you notice today? 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Drawing a blank

The past couple of weeks I have been wrestling internally with this blog.  I feel like I have lost my focus a little bit.  I am not writing about what inspires me as much as I intended.  I am writing about what I am doing without always explaining where the inspiration came from.  Part of that is I am finding internally inspiration, and the other part is I am busy doing things, instead of thinking and writing about things.

It seems crazy that I am busier now than when I had a full time job.  But I am busier, I wake up earlier and stay up later.  I have learned to rest, and the pleasure of taking Sterling for a long walk.  I have been doing my physical practice in both the morning and evening, and no longer find myself watching the clock and worrying about getting to bed at a certain time.  

I have written before about what a crazy ride this past year has been.  But my teacher really pointed it out to me in class today how much has changed in the last year.  If a little bird had told me last year that in 2014 I would be planning a trip to Nepal, all by myself.  I would not have believed it was even possible.  I think back on all the things I have done in the last year and I can't wait to tackle the next hurdle.  It has all been building momentum.  I told Adam that I keep bracing for impact and waiting for the next tragedy.  Now I know that is all wrong, it is about building momentum and doing what needs to be done.  Showing myself that I can do more and go places I never dreamed.  I am stumbling around, but the more I stumble around, the more comfortable I am with it. The more I realize even when I fall I am still okay.  

"Fall seven times, get up eight."  

Question of the day:  What do you see as the biggest accomplishment in your life to date?   What gives you the momentum and drive to keep going?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cleaning up Christmas

I just finished vacuuming downstairs, and hope that I got every last fake pine needle.  I am usually a little sad when I put the tree away.  It brightens up the room so much.  But this year I am enjoying the clean and empty space.  I have been spending the last couple of days really getting rid of things so having an open space feels like freedom.  

My teacher talks about how winter is the time to store things, and I am constantly asking myself what am I storing and why?  I am craving a much simpler life and as I get ready for the adventures in the upcoming year I want to practice doing more with less.  

Adam and I store our Christmas stuff because it is a special time when we get to decorate out tree and our home.  I am storing so much other stuff for no reason, I am not only referring to material things.  I rehash stories and store emotions.  It is time to stop juggling so many balls and see what happens as things drop.  (I did this with Christmas cards this year, I decided not to do them.  I had a little more time to do other things and the world didn't end.) 

Question to consider: When do you take your holiday decorations down?  I usually wait until after the epiphany, to pack everything up.  This year I just wanted to get it done so I could tackle other things. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Blooming

Adam and I have this rose bush, that always blooms a single red rose in the winter time.  I was hoping the rose was going to open on Christmas, nature knew better.

Today the rose welcomed me home after a walk with Sterling.  The weather isn't too cold but the wind was brutal.  The rose felt like a reward for getting out in the world and moving.

I have been doing a lot of reading and internet research lately, so getting out and about was exactly what I needed.  I find it easy in the winter time to hide in my house and cook, read and write.  I tend to rest a lot. Sterling always inspires me to get moving, except when he comes and sleeps next to me during my meditation time.  

Question to consider: Do you spend more time indoors or outdoors in the winter?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014

It is a new year and it starts with a new moon.  I stood outside a little bit tonight to look at the stars, and there are plenty of stars to see.  

My wish this year for everyone is to remember that each of us is as bright and unique as each one of those stars.  We don't compare the stars to each other so why waste time comparing ourselves to others?

Last night we spent time talking about resolutions, I have not thought of a resolution for this year.  Today I just spent the day with people I love and I hope that this coming year holds more days of that.

Here is Adam's newest puzzle "cube," for some reason it made me think of the new year.  Everything is just a little mixed up and chaotic, but given a little time and action things will fall into place.  (Okay sometimes a lot of time and action!)

Question to consider: Do you have a new year's resolution?