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’ttastelikechicken.com 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.

Having a Beginner’s Mindset

Howdy, Y’all! How was your summer? For some of you readers it may still feel like summer, regardless of what the calendar says. Summer is one of the busiest times in the mountains of the Pacific and Inland Northwest. Gorgeous weather calls to come tiptoe on the mountain ridges and float along the river, the garden needs tending, the mules get fat and sassy on the green pasture grass, friends and family come to visit. Yes, summer is a whirlwind of activity up here!

There are a few reasons for why it has been so long since I shared any of the goings-ons with you. Besides all the activity that is summer, I want to remodel this blog site and I got so caught up in trying to figure out how the finished product would look that I did not actually start the project. I have heard it called many things but analysis paralysis is one I will use. You know how it is, you want to do something but do not have any idea how to do it or maybe even how you want it to look when you are finished. That is why we hire professionals, because they can have so many ideas and experience and move wishful thinking into action. Alas, hiring a professional web designer is not an expense I can incur and so it went, round and round.

Delightfully, I spent time with my daughter recently who did a reading for me with these cool Animal Spirit cards.

These are the spirit cards that Erika brought. Such lovely packaging!

A reading consists of shuffling the deck, spreading it out face down, and choosing cards. We like to wave our hand over the cards until it feels like one of the cards “calls” to select it. Then you look up the card in the accompanying book that describes what the card can mean in life and how that value would appear if you are in balance or out of balance. I find it a fun way to share time together and interact sans screen.

Actually we did two readings for me, each about a week apart. Both said the same thing essentially: creativity is about starting, just do the work, start where you are, it is not the finished product that requires focus but rather it is the process of working that is important.

Below is a shot of the cards from my second reading. These cards are not about telling the future. I think what they do is help you get over yourself and the blockades you put up. They can be a tool to help you open to possibilities that your heart is longing for. It was interesting, however, in that when we started this second reading and I shuffled the deck, the cards drawn were similar to the reading that had been done immediately prior, including this spider card (the center card). I decided to reshuffle the deck and try again.  First card drawn was the spider card, something that surprised Erika and me and caused Erika to comment that I obviously was not getting out of that message! The spider’s message is to focus on the expression of creativity, not on the finished product. It is hard not to also get the message that we each weave our own web of life. Am I weaving the web I desire?

The three cards from my second reading.

We were able to include a dear family member in the fun via video chat. Don’t you love technology?!?!

Video chat card reading, you can participate in the fun even if you are not in the room!

If you want to take a look at the cards or buy some, here is a link you can use. If you follow it and make a purchase, I will get a small commission and it won’t cost you any extra. The Animal Spirit cards are quite beautifully drawn and the book that describes each card is well written.

Such lovely drawings of real and imagined animals

Isn’t that interesting? I have had on my mind how to revamp this blog but have been stuck because I do not know how or what I want. I feel the interface is clunky. I have tried to envision how to make it more polished and interesting and I cannot figure that out; perhaps because I am not a web designer. Instead I am just going to start messing around and try different things. It will be an experiment in process-driven work rather than results-driven, just like the cards suggest. Sometimes it may be icky, maybe even break down, and sometimes it might get a little better. I have to accept being a beginner and not being great.

Consider it experimental art, perhaps. Have you ever been to an experimental art show? They are not always enjoyable. One show I went to consisted of a guy walking up and down the alley of a warehouse with a cow head. Not a skull, the full head with skin and eyes and gore at the neck. As he paced the alleyway he was muttering and then hollering words that were incomprehensible to me, perhaps because I was in my head trying to figure out where a person gets hold of a freshly decapitated bovine noggin in the middle of Houston. And also I was staying back to avoid the blood and gore that would fling out from the cow neck when the artist (and the bitchy part of me writes that as “artist” but the professional in me would never be so crass), back to what I was saying, when the artist would fling the cow head around to make some point. Art is cool, pleading with the dry cleaner to get the cow blood stains out of your blouse is not cool. And yet, of the many art shows attended, this icky one stands out most strongly and is the one I chose to relate to you. I have no idea what happened to that guy or those other people in the audience over these past many years but I know that I was inspired. If that guy can get up there and be insane and repulsive, then maybe that gives me freedom to do the same in my own way. No dry cleaner needed.

It can be hard to be a beginner. To not know exactly what you are doing, or how to do it. It can be exhausting, too, because everything, every detail and action is consciously considered. Once you get good at something it just flows. It becomes easy and it feels good to do well without working so hard. I think as we get older we become intimidated by the idea of starting over. The idea of not being good at something, of not knowing what to do and how to proceed several steps up the road, it can be overwhelming. Well, it is overwhelming when one tries to foretell the future and see the end before even beginning. No wonder I have been dragging my tail, that is a lot of weight to bear!
I have also been trying to figure out what this blog is about. In trying to get the professional and polished vision I thought maybe I should narrow the focus to specific content. After tossing around lots of ideas: travel, outdoors, food, healthy living, it was apparent that no single idea was resonating. I have decided that, at this time at least, the blog will just be about whatever is on my mind and agenda. (That is agenda as in calendar and what I am doing that week, not agenda as in take over the world)

I hope your summer was wonderful. I cannot wait to share all the late-summer and fall stuff with you! Hope you are hungry, the next post is about food! That is something I do know well!

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