yoga, down dog, 40 Days to Personal Revolution

40 Days- End Week 5 and Start Week 6

From Centering to Triumph!

Wow, can you believe the past 5 weeks have gone by so fast? Time does that, it continues on whether we are paying attention or not. I think that is why it is silly when someone says, “I wish I could ________ but I am too old now.” The world will continue to turn so go ahead and plant that acorn now. Not tomorrow, not yesterday, right now. As we have learned, right now is the only chance we have to do anything.

This chapter on Week Six may be my favorite. I appreciate Baron’s vulnerability in sharing how he came to learn what a real man is, how it takes “more strength to connect to people than to control them…” because this is so counter to what our culture speaks. He also reminds us to appreciate and celebrate every breakthrough, every time the light shines a little more on our experience of the world we need to find gratitude for the enlightenment. As we come to the close of this 40 Days program we are reminded that it “is not the end of anything. It is only the beginning of a flexible life.” I have been reading this book, The Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D (it is on sale right now, too!) in which he discusses the biochemical effects of thoughts and beliefs. It is a scientific book written in a very easy-to-read format. We know there are epigenetic effects on DNA, this book begins to describe the “link between mind and matter.” Perhaps this flexibility of thought can change our bodies as well as minds!

Speaking of flexible, how was your yoga practice? Mine was going pretty good and then I found myself mid-week with tremendous muscle spasms and an inability to move due this darned herniated disc issue. I am the very opposite of flexible right now! I have a tendency to want to fix things, to try this exercise, that therapy, whatever… all just to make the pain go away and let me get back to living life on my terms. I have stuff to do, for goodness sake! There is also a niggling worry that maybe I will always be this way, unable to move, jump, twist, or even sit for a couple of hours. I am having to really put into practice the lesson of living centered, in this moment and not imagining the future, and especially of not thinking of my body as in need of “fixing.” I am using the lessons from previous weeks, Equanimity and Restoration, to allow my body to be as it is, to let the recurring pain speak and to really listen to what it has to say rather than jumping from one fix to another trying to quell it. Who knows, maybe there is a deeper lesson in this discomfort. Or maybe not. Equanimity means I will let it be and not flip out or get depressed. What a nice chance to practice the lessons further!

How was this week’s Balancing Diet for you? Any insight into your relationship with food, by chance? Wow, I could see, really see, how sensitive my body is to dairy and sugar this week. I moved into some more normal-for-me eating habits and could feel the difference. Most enlightening was the effect sugar has on my mood. I simply cannot handle a sugary or high grain-carb breakfast. I can enjoy fluffy pancakes, muffins, or toast as long as there is a quality protein. These things are so obvious but when you have habits or cravings, the obvious doesn’t matter. I love bread. I make whole grain toast and muffins but still I have to manage portion size to keep my body and mood on an even keel. I know this and am glad to have been reminded of how important it is, especially just before these upcoming holidays that tend to be laden with heavy foods and tons of carbs and starches. I remember as a young teenager eating stuffing sandwiches after Thanksgiving! Well, no more of that! I will take what I learned into my TRIUMPH week and beyond by having several meals, especially lunches, be similar to those fruit fast meals. This can help arrest the tendency to slide back into old and unhelpful habits by serving as a reminder of how good you felt during your mini-cleanse.  

Have you started using some of the meditation practices all through the day to stay centered? It is amazing how many times a day I realize I have not been completely HERE and instead had my head somewhere else. Those also happened to be the times I would misplace items or do the classic walk into a room and have to ask “What was I looking for?” These frequent mini-meditation practices go a long way to keeping us centered. I do not want to be that person who is happy and content only when sitting on the meditation mat, I want to bring that serenity into every moment of life. The practice of staying grounded and non-reactive is especially helpful during the holidays, whether at a family gathering or managing the stress of expectations that come during this time. It may just be time to let certain traditions go and replace them with new, healthier habits. Meditation helps guide the way.

How were your Excavation Questions and journaling? Do you trust yourself and your inner voice? That can be such a hard thing to do, especially if it seems to be counter to societal expectations and norms. Is there something calling to you, a little song in your heart that wants to be heard? What would it take to give voice to this heart-song? Just as important, what price do you pay to keep the song quiet and unheard? Can you be fully attentive and present when talking with your loved ones? What would it take to do so? I remember how challenging it was sometimes to work all day and then come home and just want to decompress but the family demands made that hard. I began to enjoy the drive home as *my* time and rarely even listened to the radio. Hitting traffic just meant a little more me-time. This reframing totally changed my experience of traffic from one of stress to one of peace and enjoyment. What can you do to reframe a situation to be more fully present and happy?

All-righty, my fellow 40 Dayers! Let’s keep up the great work! See you back here in just 5 more days!!!!

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40 Days- end of Week 4, start of Week 5

Wow, more than halfway through! How did your fruit fast go? Enlightening in so many ways, am I right? Naturally, there were some temptations but I knew enough to head a few of them off at the pass. Like this birthday cake that has been sitting on the counter. A couple layers of freezer wrap and a freezer door between me and it should silence that chocolate siren song. I will admit that the day before I started the fast I had a bit of a refrigerator Mardi Gras and indulged in things that were yummy and “needed” to be eaten. Or drank. No alcohol on the fruit fast since it has to be fresh fruit, not fermented.

Chocolate cake siren song SILENCED!

 I think my body would enjoy eating this light fare for quite a bit longer. I certainly enjoyed the simple meal prep. None of that, “what should I fix for dinner,” stuff. I know what is for dinner and can decide how I want to mix it up. My savvy daughter reminded me that guacamole can be made to fit the fruit fast. Last night I had my regular salad and a bowl of guac and I was stuffed!

I actually love how simple this style of eating can be. I have a lot of other things on my mind right now and simple food is such a relief. When you are managing situations that may or may not have a positive resolution it is so nice to know that at least dinner will work out the way it is supposed to. No wondering if the sauce will thicken, the middle will cook before the outside burns, if eating half a block of cheese is really that bad… (yes, it is, and yes, we have all done it), simple fruit fast meals let you relax. And you get to feel great about taking such good care of your temple-body for three days. What a great reset!

Delish! Zucchini noodles and jalapeno slices make this *feel* like a #realmeal

I will be carrying some of the fruit fast meals into my regular eating. I think a lunch of zucchini noodles is perfect. It fills me up and no after-meal sleepiness.

Lunch on the go, apples, tomato, cucumber, zucchini, pomegranate.

I have always loved carbs in the form of breads, crackers, and noodles. Having to bake gluten-free with all those processed flours has not been very appealing because I feel like crap an hour or so after eating. I am going to figure out how to do more whole-grain and add more fruit to my baked goods so I can feel this light when I go back to “regular” eating. For me, this fast has been one to help me push the reset button on eating. To be fair, I actually eat pretty healthy as compared to a typical American diet but I indulge in things that are good only for my taste buds too frequently. Like cheese. I love cheese so much I would marry it. My biggest challenge with cheese is how animals are treated in the industry. I was talking with my savvy daughter about cheese and my fantasy of having my own cow to make my own cheese. Then I would know she was treated well. Maybe goats would be easier, though.

I digress, as usual. Back to our topic. Restoration. Did those excavation questions bring up anything for you? Did you find any old ideas that no longer serve you? Are you ready to let it go? That is such a strange question on the outside. “Are you ready to let go of the things that hold you back, that keep you trapped, that prevent you from blooming?” What a silly question! Of course I am, why do you think I am doing this whole 40 day thing?

We are doing this 40 day thing because it is NOT easy to let go. The old ideas and stories are frequently a cornerstone of our identity. Many times we are not even conscious of how we are driven by those old stories. Recognizing them is the first step in releasing them. Meditation is the tool to recognition. It helps you recognize those false stories and beliefs and also helps you recognize who you really are. Tara Brach has a great meditation that has you imagine yourself 20 years from now and who that person is and how they interact with who you are now. Give this a try for a mini-meditation today. You don’t need to label anything about future you and present you, just feel how the interaction goes. Sometimes words limit our learning about the greater truths. We take unfathomable truths and try to make them fit into neat boxes of learning, naturally that is impossible. We can only understand small parts of the whole. Because of this, I suggest we not even bother trying to understand intellectually. Just feel what is and go from there. Our practice is to know the difference between moving forward under divine guidance and being driven by old fears and habits. I suspect this takes at least one lifetime.

The theme for this coming week is Centering. Our focus is to be and stay present in our daily life. Having practiced this a few times I can say that while it is grand to decide to be centered on every moment of your life, it is nigh on impossible. I recommend picking one or two times in your day that you will be 100% present. For me it will be when I brush my teeth and during meals. Phones are a huge distraction from the present so during these times my phone will be in a different room. I suspect the tooth brushing could become a meditation of sorts if I adhere to this centering action this week.

I will work to be conscientious of staying present in other moments of the day, as well, but anchoring to these two spots will give me pause. It is in the pause that everything is possible and God can be heard. That is my experience, anyway.

Big hug, my fellow 40 Dayer! Through ups and downs, we are making amazing progress in the very act of capital-B Becoming. Ride the ups and the downs, it is what makes us human. Oh, and I will be forthcoming and admit I didn’t journal from Tuesday through Thursday of this past week. No reason other than I didn’t do it first thing in the morning. For whatever reason, that is my struggle to do the daily journaling. I know what to do (first thing in the morning) and yet I skip that frequently. Looks like maybe this won’t be my last 40 Days journey! But that bridge will be crossed when it comes up.

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40 Days- Ending Week 3 and Starting Week 4

Equanimity and Restoration

How was your week? Were you able to focus on staying calm and non-reactive? Did you get many opportunities to practice Equanimity? Have you noticed any physical signals in your body that you are having a reaction rather than action? For me, when I feel a tightness in my chest and throat is a signal that I am beginning to move into a reactive state. Have you noticed any link between what you eat and drink and how well you stay in a balanced state of mind?  Like so many people, I love coffee. Yet I notice that caffeine can make me feel jittery, anxious, and irritable. Not a really great way to start the day. I found this coffee on Amazon that is the best decaf coffee ever and what a cute name, No Fun Jo! I prefer to drink it black to savor the depth of flavor and I make it 1 cup at a time using this little pour-over. I don’t bother with special filters, preferring either my permanent coffee filter as you can see here, even though it is a size larger than the pour-over, or making do with a paper towel. Minimalists can’t have everything.

All the delicious flavor without the anxiety.

There are many fancier pour-overs but I love being able to throw this into my bag when traveling without fear of breaking it. Lessening my caffeine intake certainly assists in maintaining equanimity for me. How about you? What have you found serves you best in your path?

Here is my favorite coffee set up. Click the links to learn more about them on Amazon. As usual, if you make a purchase from my link it will not cost you one cent more and Amazon tosses a few cents my way. (This is a required disclaimer on every post, btw.)

OKAY! This coming week is themed Restoration. Show of hands, who here is actually good about restoring when your body says it needs it? I know, hardly anyone does until we start feeling on the brink of collapse. Some of us push until we are exhausted mentally, physically, have stressed the relationships with those we love, and have even ignored our pets as we collapse each night in a quivering heap. So this week we will focus on restoring. I like to differentiate restore from relax. Restore is active and purposeful, it has a bigger view than the immediate fix and holds sway over instant gratification.

My biggest challenge to restore is sleep. I am not a good sleeper, never have been according to my mom who put up with a sleepless infant. I do all the things one is supposed to do regarding exercise, screen time, etc. Either I have trouble falling asleep or I sleep for a few hours then wake up for a few hours. I used to fret over this and kept trying to fix it. Now I allow the sleeplessness and use the time for what I call “beditation” which is mediation in bed. If I fall asleep, fabulous! If I do not fall asleep then I have gotten lots of meditation practice in. The end result is the same, I am tired and less able to focus mentally the next day but at least now I am not fighting the inevitable. Having been enmeshed in a struggle, I can definitely say that putting down the struggle and just letting it be is easier and has to be healthier.

During this week of Restoration we do get to do my favorite fast- the 3 day fruit fast. So why a food fast at all? Many of us have a difficult-at-times relationship with food. This fast will shake that up a bit and begin to shed light on how you use food in ways other than to nourish your body. You are not required to do anything about this relationship with food other than notice it. I do think that this week in particular it is good to bring multiple short meditation moments into your daily routine. There are tons of guided meditations. I really like this one by Jack Kornfield. I have used it since 2017 and, while it took a few moments for me to get used to his voice perhaps because most of my other guided meditations have been led by women, however the meditations were and are amazing. When I have a moment of craving I use a meditation to get really interested in the craving. Do not try and fight against it, we are working on restoring not tearing down.

Here is how I plan to eat during my cleanse. Yes, not all of these are fruits, it is true. But this is what works great for me at this time. Check out my foraged food post on rose hips to see an addition to the typical apple/banana/berry fruits that I will be eating.

Zucchini noodles with lemon-apple juice dressing. I love using this zoodler. Seriously, I like this so much I have one at home and one in my camper.
Grapefruit,lettuce, avocado salad with lime because taking the time to arrange a lovely salad infuses the food with love
Apple slices, carrot coins, and berries on a bed of spinach with a squeeze of lemon as much as you want to eat, eat. No limits to the amount of raw leaves in my opinion.

I will be eating the apples, bananas, grapefruits etc that are hanging out in the fruit bowl. Yet at least one meal a day will be composed.

Wow, did you really read this far? I want to give you a tool to experiment with during this restoration week. It just might be that you need to restore more than your physical body. You may find that there is something hurt inside and through this intense period of self-care and love that you make a space for that perhaps ancient hurt to rear its head a little. If this is the case, use what you have been learning in your meditations to hold a little space for it. Allow unconditionally. Just for 3 minutes. You are not broken or damaged. Try this journaling technique that is adapted from John Bradshaw’s book, Homecoming. Sit in a quiet meditative space and allow 20 breaths with loving focus on each breath. Next, in your dominant hand (for me it is my right hand) write in your journal something like, “Hello, (your name). How are you today?” Move the pen to your non-dominant hand (my left) and write whatever flows out of you. You can allow a back and forth conversation for a few minutes but remember not to get too technical, analytical, or explanatory. You want to create a space where the little voice inside can speak openly about anything and you will allow unconditionally. If you find you tense up or are no longer present with that little voice, restore the openness with loving quiet. Do this for a few minutes and then finish with a 20 breath round of maitri meditation*.

I will be thinking of you during this coming week of Restoration. Take care of yourself, Darling. And remember we are all in this together, even though it sometimes feels otherwise.

*What is maitri meditation? In short you breathe in your pain or hurt with an allowing and accepting heart, then you breathe out love and compassion for you and for all beings who share this same hurt. Pema Chodron is a wonderful teacher in many forms of meditation, especially because she admits that she has a busy mind and meditation is a challenge for her. Her honesty and authenticity is so welcoming! I have several of her books and CDs, this one is a favorite and will teach you how to do mini-maitri meditations.

journaling, personal growth

40 Days- check in for end of week 2

journaling, personal growth
Early morning is the best time to journal. Sitting by the window watching dawn wake the land is so promising.

Hello! How is your Personal Revolution going? If this is your first time doing the 40 days, you may have been excited to start, then wobbled a bit on incorporating the program in its entirety. Journaling, yoga, maybe a change in eating practices, meditation, all these things are probably new to your regular daily routine. Maybe you do some of them at times but all four at the same time for an extended period of time, it is a lot of change! I would say do not be hard on yourself if you falter. Get started again. I believe when we are trying to make a change, whether it is change a habit that is no longer desired (notice I did not say bad habit) or add a habit that is desired, you must attach the change to something that is already stable. And a reward system is not bad, either.

For example, I have a hard time incorporating daily journaling into my life right now. I will do the weekly excavation questions in a day or two and then “forget” to do my own daily journaling. Is it because I do not have anything specific to write about? No, it is because I keep thinking I will get to it later. This morning I have already spent time on yoga and meditation and eating a good breakfast. I want to get on with my day. I make excuses like, “Oh, it is partly sunny and not too windy, I have some outside work to do before the rain comes,” or “I am almost out of gluten-free bread, I really need to get that mixed up, I will journal while it is rising.” Lots of excuses but the truth is, I have the time. I spend it on other things. That is the truth. I have been feeling lonely so I check social media quite frequently as a way of feeling connected. I bet if I just sat down and journaled instead of checking FB that it would take the same amount of time. I want the quick fix, though. But that new lovely journaling book reminds me of my commitment to myself.

One of the funny things that happens when you make a decision to address an issue in yourself is the universe seems to come in and test your mettle and also maybe “help” you along. The first week is about Presence and coming into your body and boy, did I get some help in that! My herniated disk flared up and I have been in pain and restricted movement. I was definitely aware of my body! There was no way I could do the yoga practice as described. Instead of foregoing the practice, I adjusted and made a 5 minute practice that I could do several times a day as a way of enticing that disk to quiet down. I learned to adapt and meet the needs of this body at this time. That is perhaps the very essence of this lesson. The second week was a lesson about Vitality. I won’t go into the challenges I faced last week but I learned that my old stories can show up and sap my vitality. I learned how important Presence is in being authentic to my real self regardless of how the day’s events may go.

So this week the lesson is Equanimity. I will be honest, my first thought this morning when I read that was, “Oh shit.” I know that equanimity is a practice of not being over-taken by thoughts, that it is recognizing the ephemeral nature of thoughts and feelings and letting them come and go without fixating on them. I will be diligent in this practice of breathing in and letting go every moment. As Eckhart Tolle says, “Die to the past every moment.” And yes, I do not look forward to the lesson the universe will bring me to make sure I have learned about equanimity. It is okay to feel trepidation, to be tired of being tested and to still summon the courage to sally forth gaily into the experience. Or not so gaily, that is okay, too.

I’m thinking my reward for journaling each day will be a treat of gummy bears. I really like those chewy guys and only eat them on road trips. I have been known to eat a whole bag of gummy bears in one sitting so I will pick some up today and let you know how it goes. Maybe this time will be different.

Here are a few things I have been eating to incorporate more vitality into my week. Two brand new things that have made a huge change in my energy level are using blended cottage cheese in place of many creamy ingredients. My savvy daughter told me about this trick with cottage cheese and I was disbelieving but willing to try it. I placed a 16 oz container into my Vitamix and hit blend. The result is somewhere between sour cream, plain yogurt, and cottage cheese in flavor. I used it in many things this past week, healthy muffins (I will share the recipe once I get it perfected with measurements but as a teaser, it uses cottage cheese and chick peas!), deviled eggs, and a healthy alfredo sauce for steamed broccoli using cashews, cottage cheese, and about a teaspoon of parmesan per serving. Below you can see the evolved-alfredo, the eggs, a bean sprout salad, and quinoa-stuffed peppers.

A healthy alternative to alfredo and mayo, blended cottage cheese is my new go-to

I have also been using up those hibiscus flowers in several beverages, hot and cold. Below is a simple tea made from the hibiscus and lavender. It is important to use organic culinary lavender in your food and Kate’s Naturals (the link above) is a great source.

Hibiscus and lavender tea is my new favorite treat!

And the weirdest food I tried had to be this.

banana "bacon"
Vegan “bacon” made from banana skin. So weird and yet so good!

Yes, this was the absolute weirdest thing I have ever tried. It was brought to my attention by my friend through her Facebook share of a post at itdoesn’ on banana peel bacon. What the hell? Well, why not? I spend the extra money for organic bananas, why throw that skin away? I am here to tell you, this crazy thing is yummy! I will play with it more in the near future while perfecting my crazy healthy muffin recipe and get back to ya.

Disclaimer: the Amazon links above will take you to the products I have purchased and recommend. If you follow my link and make a purchase, it will not cost you anything extra and I will get a small commission for pointing you in their direction.

Hibiscus Enchiladas- Two Ways

Hibiscus enchiladas are the bomb. Once you try these vegetarian delights, you will want to serve them to everyone! Who knew those lovely flowers could do so much?

This dish was begat by the gift of some dried hibiscus flowers. Other than tea, what does one do with these things? My savvy daughter sent me a link to where there are several recipes using hibiscus for more than just tea! I was inspired by the enchiladas recipe and have since added hibiscus enchiladas to my repertoire of favorites. And by “repertoire of favorites” I mean I no longer follow an exact recipe and these enchies become tailored to whatever my mood at the time desires. Sometimes I am “eating clean” and light and fresh fare that is colorful, uber-healthy, and gourmet. Would that I lived every day this way, filled with verve and vibrancy but the truth is that sometimes I have a bad day or rough week and I want comfort food. For me, comfort food is kind of heavy, it tends to be heavily sauced, have more than one kind of cheese in it, and it may tend toward mono-chromatic.

So here are two versions of the same Hibiscus Enchiladas, one for when you are on top of the world and the other for when the world has been riding your ass all week.

For both recipes you will need:

  • 6-8 corn tortillas
  • 1 Cup organic hibiscus flowers
  • 1 can chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 15 oz can chopped tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • Chopped onions and garlic, I do about ¾ cup of chopped onion and 3-4 cloves of garlic, then divide it between the sauce and the enchiladas
  • Julienned veggies of your choice to make about 1 to 1.5 cups(carrots, zucchini, potato, jicama, spinach, kale, swiss chard, yellow squash, and/or anything in the fridge that needs to be eaten). I tend to err on the side of too much veggie because the left overs can be saved for a quick addition to scrambled eggs or soup or as a sandwich filling so feel free to saute up extra to cook once-eat twice.
  • Cheese(s) of your choice (cotija, feta, cheddar, Monterey jack, cottage cheese are some suggestions)

*You may wish to add jalapenos into the veggie mix if you like a bit of heat.

Depending on the tortilla size and the amount of veggies you stuff into each, this makes about 6 healthy enchiladas which is 2 servings in my opinion but could serve 3 if you had lots of sides or were a light eater. If you are making the comfort enchilada version, it serves 4-6 people

Soak 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers in 2 cups hot water (as if making tea) for 30 minutes or longer. Drain and reserve the liquid for tea or for margaritas (see suggestion below for hibiscus cocktail recipes).

Thoroughly rinse the rehydrated flowers to remove any grit and set aside.

Meanwhile for the enchilada sauce (actually, start this first so it can develop the flavor), over medium heat saute onions and garlic and the chopped tomatoes, cut up 1 or 2 of the chipotle peppers and 2 -4 teaspoons of the adobo sauce and add to the mix with  1 tablespoon of chili powder (or not if you want a fresher, lighter flavor), some cumin, oregano, salt and pepper all to taste and cook about 15 minutes. Blend smooth in a blender. In a clean pot place some oil and heat, then add the sauce like you were going to saute it. Let cook about 15 minutes. It may seem like a hassle to re-cook the sauce but it really makes a difference in the flavor. Take it off the heat and keep it warm while preparing the remaining recipe.

To prepare the enchiladas:

For healthy enchiladas, saute onions until translucent. Next add garlic and stir around a moment until fragrant, then add the julienned veggies and hibiscus flowers and saute. Add 1 teaspoon cumin, ¾ teaspoon coriander, ½ teaspoon oregano, and salt/pepper to taste. I sometimes add some jalapeno slices to this mix as well. Saute until veggies are soft but still colorful and then keep warm until ready to make enchiladas

Place small amount of oil in skillet and heat corn tortillas on medium heat for 30 seconds to soften, placing on paper towel-lined plate. This heating also intensifies the flavor of the tortillas.

Assemble by placing a scant ¼ cup of the veggie mix onto a tortilla and roll up and place on serving plate. Top with enchilada sauce, avocado slices, sour cream or plain yogurt, and a sprinkle of the cheese of your choice.

Healthy Hibiscus Enchiladas with avocado and plain yogurt served with orange and candied jalapeno slices. Hibiscus margarita to round out the meal. Leave out the yogurt for a vegan version.

For comfort enchiladas, follow the vegetable saute and tortilla prep as for healthy enchiladas. Assemble in an oiled 8×10 (or so) baking dish that has a smear of enchilada sauce on the bottom of it by placing 2 tablespoons of veggie mix and 1 tablespoon of cheese (I like cottage cheese and Monterey jack mixed together). Roll up and place rolled-side down in baking dish, pour the enchilada sauce over and cover with cheese. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes before serving. You can use this time to mix up a cocktail with that hibiscus tea.

Hibiscus enchiladas comfort style. I was half-way through dinner when I realized I had forgotten to take a picture of the plated dinner. I really needed that “hug from the inside” this day!

For a yummy beverage, you can fix these cocktails or leave the alcohol out for a nice mocktail.

Hibiscus Margarita- place 1/3 cup of the reserved hibiscus tea into a glass, add 1T simple syrup, about ½ a lime of fresh juice, and a shot of tequila (gold or anejo is my preference). Adjust to taste, then add ice cubes. I like to float or place on rim some candied jalapenos. I tried adding one of the hibiscus flowers to the drink but it really just looked like a dead baby squid rather than a glorious flower.

Hibiscus and Huckleberry-Infused Vodka sparkler- pour about 1/2 cup of hibiscus tea into a glass, add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar and stir to dissolve, then add a shot of huckleberry-infused vodka, a few ice cubes, and fill glass with sparkling water. I love my SodaStream to have sparkling water whenever I want without creating more plastic bottles to deal with.

Wondering what to serve alongside the enchiladas? For the healthy enchilada sides, I’ve made salads. My favorite salad, of which there is no picture I am sad to say, had a base of romaine and tomato, then alternating slices of grapefruit and avocado and in the center were some cooked carrots with a raspberry-chipotle glaze. Dressing was grapefruit juice, olive oil and seasonings. To make the carrots, cook carrot coins in small amount of water until done. Add some real raspberry jam and some of the chipotle pepper in the pot and stir over heat until it reduces into a glaze. For the comfort enchilada sides I go simple and do a cucumber and tomato salad (and maybe a second cocktail). A little of Aura Cacia’s Chill Pill essential oil on the wrist also helps soothe the soul.

Give these a try and let me know what you think! Did you do the healthy version or the comfort version? If you buy the hibiscus flowers from the above Amazon link (or any other items that are linked in this or my other posts) it will not cost you anything extra and I will make a small commission that will let me make up other recipes to use up that bag of hibiscus! That is how the Amazon affiliate thingy works, I get a few cents for pointing you in their direction.

40 Days Week One Menu

Sunset on the Oregon desert is so inspiring

40 Days Menu

The next 40 days are not about restriction. Rather, it is about actually freeing the spirit that is inside. We all have developed coping mechanisms, some conscious and some unconscious, that may no longer serve us. I believe we each have the innate guidance of God within us. We know what is right but sometimes that little voice can get lost in the tumult of our daily life.

What am I going to eat?

What am I going to eat? This is pretty much the first thought that crosses my mind on any adventure. Food is a big THING for many of us. We eat things we know do not serve our bodies well and yet we still do it. Why? Why is there the struggle of what we should do against what we want? Regardless of body shape, I am confident that every person alive has felt this struggle, whether it is with food or exercise.

Sometimes I do things even when I know they are not a good idea.

When starting on any journey one must have a destination in mind. In the case of this personal journey it can be called setting an intention. Answer these questions:

  • Why am I setting this goal?
  • What do I commit to doing to achieve the goal?
  • How do I believe achievement of this goal will affect my life?

 My intention (why I am setting this goal) for this 40 Days to Personal Revolution is to live in the flow of life. To me this means that I will move with the cycles that occur in every day, that I will accept without reservation these cycles and  listen (how I believe achieving the goal will affect me). I know that refusal to accept what is causes suffering, sadness, disconnection, and emptiness. I know that trying to “fix” these feelings from the outside is at best only temporary. Actually, there is nothing that needs to be fixed. I am perfect right now. Can you say that to yourself during your meditations this week (what I am committing to doing to achieve this goal)? If something comes up for you, and sheesh, it is coming up for me even as I write this, can you just let it come up? Can you breathe in and imagine a large and welcoming space for that feeling? Maybe you name the feeling, maybe you don’t. But do not explain it, do not justify it, just accept it with an open and loving heart. If feelings come up in your body, like for me it is a tightness in my throat and chest, hold those body feelings in the same open space of absolute acceptance. At the end of this week, let’s see how this experience of complete acceptance has worked.

Ah, so it would seem with the title of this post that I promised a menu. When I started this writing my intention was to research all the recipes and menus I have saved over the years to find those that would fit into my preconceived idea of what I should eat during this conscious personal journey. Now I see that the menu is not one of edible food, at least not at this time. The menu is one of spiritual food. The theme for the first week is of Presence. Coming into your body. It is about waking up.

Now THIS is a good thing! Fresh from the garden.

Still, I am Susan, a person who likes to plan and research and organize because it makes me feel more comfortable. I like knowing that I have healthy food choices and sometimes I like not having to decide what is for dinner because the menu has already been set for the week. Sometimes trying to decide at 5:00 what to have for dinner results in just wanting a glass of wine and some nachos or a bowl of cereal. I do not think that is bad but I do not want to live life in default mode. So, what are some of the things I will eat this coming week? For dinners I think Hibiscus Enchiladas will be nice, and how about Frito Pie and something tofu based, like a marinated tofu steak. Lunches may be leftovers from dinner with a fruit and small salad. Breakfasts will be yogurt, pea protein smoothies, and egg tacos. There, I have fulfilled that mission. I will share the recipes as they occur. I hope you will share with me your food choices! And share also your spiritual menu, if you will.

Yes, guacamole is healthy for body and soul!

Religious discussion: At times I will quote the Christian Bible but the truths written in the Bible are also true in every other religion and I may also quote the Buddha. Truth does not change. I know the Christian Bible best, having studied it, but I cannot call myself a Christian within the tenets of current Christian religion beliefs because I do not subscribe to them. I do not believe you have to be a Christian to know God and to know truth. I identify as spiritual because of this. If you like the religious quotes, cool, if you do not, just skim over that part.

yoga, down dog, 40 Days to Personal Revolution

Are You Ready for a Personal Revolution?

40 Days to Personal Revolution

yoga, down dog, 40 Days to Personal Revolution
Getting down, dog.

Who wants to kick start healthy living and habits? Who knows that the holiday season is just around the corner and our healthy self-care habits, those few of us who do it regularly enough to call it a habit, who knows those habits will get tossed to the side like a used green tea bag? And who would like to get into a healthier mental and emotional place before the stress of the holidays?

Me too!!!

Starting this Sunday, October 13, 2019, I am going to follow the program in Baron Baptiste’s book, 40 Days to Personal Revolution. I will put notes on social media and on my blog about what I am doing and how it is working out, the things that are easy, the things that are hard. And YOU can do it with me! Some of you may belong to a yoga studio that does these programs and lucky you! For those of us who do not have a studio or community to share this process, let us make an online community. I have done the 40 days program twice with a studio in Houston, Texas and I have done it twice on my own. I can tell you unequivocally that on my own was quite wishy-washy and with a community it was radical and awesome. It turns out that introverts still need to be around people for some things and even highly sensitive people need community, they just need to be more thoughtful of the community in which they participate.

So why am I putting this online in the first place? I will be honest, I am having a hard time finding my community out here. I am sure they exist and I will dig them up somehow, I have not given up. In the meantime, I will make use of my resources and social media is one of them. There are great things that can be achieved through the connection of Facebook and Instagram and a sense of community through digital expression is one of them. I believe we all need physical connections but for those times that actual presence is not possible, digital presence is doable. I was reminded of this truth this morning when my daughter called me. I have been feeling down the last few days due to loneliness and feeling like I may never have any true and soulful friendships here and had expressed this feeling to her yesterday. Her call today to talk about it and say, “I have been thinking about this and it hurts me that you are hurting,” or something to that effect made me cry a few tears of relief at being heard and being loved. It made me realize that even though she is not here in physical presence that she was able to project that love and care through our use of technology.

Are you in exactly the place you want to be? Do you show love and care for your body the way you want to? Do you show love and care for your own unique humanness and for the people around you in the manner you want to? Do you have the closeness to God, the Universe, Presence or whatever you call it, do you have the closeness that you desire? If you can answer yes to all these then YOU should write a book! If you, like me, are sometimes doing pretty good on these three aspects and sometimes life happens and they fall apart, then join me in this 40 Days and let’s build ourselves and each other back up!

The things you may want to have to get started:

The book, 40 Days to Personal Revolution by Baron Baptiste. You can buy it here on Amazon or at most yoga studios and bookstores


A yoga mat. You can make do with a rug but there is something holy and sacred about rolling out your mat and stepping on it. There are lots of mats from the basic to the superb. I started out with a cheap mat from a discount store until I was gifted an awesome Manduka mat. You do what works for you


A journal. You will have to write every day. Yes, it may seem like a commitment but that is why we are doing this, to commit to creating the best for our one unique life. Just do it. You can use a basic composition notebook or a lovely journal and pen. Whatever resonates for you. I am getting this one because I love how the nautical journey look resonates with this personal journey


This might seem strange but you will want a quality chef’s knife and paring knife. Why this? Because you are going to be eating a lot more fruits and veggies these next few weeks and cutting them up should not be a chore, it should be easy. This Global knife set is fantastic. Stays sharp, even when I would put it in the dishwasher. (gasp!)  Maybe get a new cutting board, too. Food is holy, make that your mantra this next few weeks.

I’ll mention some other things in the upcoming posts that I have used in the past that helped me. If you have any suggestions, let me know! I am looking forward to sharing this revolutionary journey with you! See you on the mat and in the kitchen.


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