Mindfulness as a Way to Heal

I am having a hungry day. Do you have days like that too? Do you find yourself having days when you just can’t seem to get enough food in you to feel full? When days like this happen to me, I often wonder what it is that I am really feeling. There is obviously some sort of emptiness that cannot seem to be filled or some corner of my mind looking for distraction.

I have eat an ample amount  of healthy and nutritious food today. I have kept my promise to myself to maintain my intermittent fasting. I have even felt tempted to drink alcohol or diet soda over this weekend, but stayed true to my healthy initiates. I even manage to get in 10,000 plus steps today and yesterday. I have not been complaint free. As the sun dips below the horizon and the stars start to blink into being, I am sipping a hot tea to stave off my hunger pains. Why is there this persistent need to eat today? Maybe I am hungrier because I walked the 10,000 steps and burned more calories? Perhaps as I sit alone in silence, watching the lights across the marina, I am board. These are both very valid explanations as to why I might be feeling the need to nibble on this and that.

There is also another possible explanation. I am just not good at quiet. I am extremely good at busyness. When I am being productive my mind is distracted. When I am sitting, quietly, it allows my past emotions and experiences to creep into the corners of my mind. I want to eat, drink, do something so that I do not have to acknowledge these uncomfortable things tickling my consciousness; as they slip and slide though the cobwebby recesses of my mind. Just dealing with them would make them go away and not seem so frightening anymore, but still my protective coping mechanisms say not today! Their time is coming though. They cannot creep through the shadows of my mind forever. I will not allow them to derail all the progress I am and have been making. Adventure Sister, Emy and I are planning our own private ‘silent’ retreat.

In the silence of 48 hours, which we are gifted ourselves, there will be no place for them to hide. The ability to run (as a distraction), to have to do this or that, will not be possible. I imagine there will be some very troublesome moments in the midst of this period of silence. I can guess that I will have a couple of very hungry days. I foresee growth coming to me though this; yet I know it will not all be easy. I know that much of it will feel very uncomfortable. I will just chalk it up to growing pains as I can feel my Spirit craving this experience. It just feels so right. When I come out on the other side, will I be markedly different? Probably not but I will be healthier!

These cravings and distractions seem to wave from the depths of me. They want to be noticed yet the protective part of myself is trying to keep them hidden away, like skeletons in the closets of my mind. Through silence and mindfulness, I will allow them to come into the light, because skeletons do not seem so frightening there.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find the time and space to let those past hurts come to the surface and move on, as if by magic.

*Photo taken in Sanford, FL at the marina.

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters

Stacy’s Blog
Emy’s Blog
Adventure Sister’s Facebook Page
Stacy’s Instagram
Emy’s Twitter
Adventure Sister’s Pinterest Board

 

Wisdom From An Ancestor

My great grandmother had a saying; “You will never be truly happy until you think more about others than you do yourself” – Ura McGurran. When you make choices in life, do you consider how they affect others? Maybe too much. Maybe so much that you are living your life for others and not taking care of yourself. So how do you strike a healthy balance? There is so much emphasis today on self care and putting ourself first. How can my great grandmother’s words still be relevant now? Let’s take a look at some self care activities and selfless acts and see where the common ground lies.

Do you feel guilty when you participate in self care activities? There is no real reason to feel guilty for caring for yourself. Do your self care activities hurt anyone? One really wonderful thing about self care, is that by doing it, you set a good example for others. A recent conversation I had with a friend, was about her feeling conflicted because something she needed to do for herself, was being viewed as selfish by her daughter. I encouraged her to go ahead and do it anyhow because, by doing so, she was setting an example for her daughter about taking care of herself and following her dreams. Her actions didn’t hurt anyone. In fact her actions help recharge her to further help others. Even when we take care of ourselves we can still be thinking of others and the example we are setting.

Selfless acts can also be a form of self care. My husband helps a friend rake his leaves, every year. He has never been asked to do this. There is no expectation that he does it. He just does it because he cares about his friend. The really good feeling he gets in his heart from helping out his buddy is a form of self care also. Selfless acts can also be a form of self care. Does this idea surprise you? It is possible to think more about others and still find happiness and balance in your life.

When we think about people who have inspired us as a world, we see that their acts brought them both happiness and purpose. People like Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama; show us how caring for others is also caring for ourselves. I assure you, that new outfit will help you feel great, but there is no greater joy than helping another and seeing the true appreciation in their eyes. When we help others do something they could not have done for themselves, a ripple goes out into the world. The movie “Pay It Forward” taught us this. It entertained us while sending a message that “random acts of kindness” are a form of self care. They help us feel good and shift the energy of the world higher.

By thinking more of others than we do ourselves, as my great grandmother so wisely shared with her children generations ago, we are also taking care of ourselves. By lending a hand to those in need, we can find happiness, change the world, and set an example for future generations.

Yes, please care for yourself. Treat yourself to quiet walk in a pretty place or take a nap when you are tired. But remember, true happiness can also come from helping others.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your life be filled with true happiness, as if by magic!

 

 

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters

Stacy’s Blog
Emy’s Blog
Adventure Sister’s Facebook Page
Stacy’s Instagram
Emy’s Twitter
Adventure Sister’s Pinterest Board

You Are Beautiful! Yes You!

I hear so many commercials on the radio and then see them in magazines for various ways to become beautiful. This magical weight loss pill or that amazing muscle building goo. Cool sculpting (I will be honest, I have no idea what that is or how it works) and laser hair removal. Why is it these types of products and services are so plentiful? Because we don’t feel like we’re good enough and those products cater to that. We are trying to win the favor of others and ourselves by how we look. I know that when my hair looks just right and I have on a snazzy outfit, I feel at the top of my game. But this is not what I am talking about. I am talking about how we try to change ourselves physically to feel better about ourselves.

I want you to know that you are beautiful just the way you are. You are! Beauty comes from the inside. I do not care if you have a scar on your face, a few extra pounds , or a unibrow. You are beautiful. Your radiance comes from inside. It has nothing to do with your outward appearance.

I can understand how easy it is to believe that loosing weight will make you feel happy. I was there once. I had gastric bypass surgery and lost over 100 pounds. I thought this would solve all my problems. It didn’t. I had to dig deep inside of myself and find the truth about me. That I am valuable as a person. That my beauty comes from the divine light that radiates from inside of me.  That loosing weight or another outward change would not make me any better of a person.

If you “fix” whatever it is you think is “wrong” with you, you will still feel the same about yourself. It won’t magically fix what is hurting inside of you. My recommendation to you is to work on healing that pain inside you. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love you! (I know it feels  and sounds funny – but it is worth it). Make a list about all of the things you really love about yourself. They can be physical but should also include your character as a person. If there are things in your character that you do not like,  work to change those. For example, I am on an adventure to stop complaining. It is a part of myself that could use a tune up. Other parts of your personality may not need to be changed but rather reframed. You just need to look at them in a different way. For example, many people might say I am pushy and bossy but I have come to understand this as being assertive and driven. I now love this aspect of myself.

Yes, I still diet. I am not, however, doing it because I think it will make me a better person or that people will like me more because of it. I am doing it because it is healthier for my body. Staying within a certain weight ensures that I can do the things I love to do, like kayaking, traveling, and riding roller coasters. Also having an awareness to when I eat and what I am eating, helps me tune into if I am eating to cover up some emotion that I do not want to deal with. It allows me to process that emotion rather than burying it under a pile of candy bar wrappers.

I really want you to understand that you are beautiful. You are worthy of a magical and  joyous life. You are enough just the way you are. You are capable of greatness. It matters not what you look like. Be proud of who you are. Embrace yourself and know that you deserve the best that life has to offer. If you feel the need to work on something, do so, but do it for the right reason and in the right way.  Because you are beautiful, exactly as you are.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you see your beauty as I see it, as if by magic.

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters

Stacy’s Blog
Emy’s Blog
Adventure Sister’s Facebook Page
Stacy’s Instagram
Emy’s Twitter
Adventure Sister’s Pinterest Board

Keeping Up With Healthy Initiatives When the Seasons Change

Healthy initiatives can seem energizing when you first start them. They give you hope of a better tomorrow and the good feeling in your heart of really doing something important for yourself. When Mother Nature sees fit to make changes in the seasons, it can throw a curve in your plans. Also seasonal holidays can seem like an excuse to no longer stay the course. Having a plan to combat these changes is the best way to not let them derail your progress.

If you follow my blog you probably know I have a number of healthy initiative all going at once. Taking Care of Me; Step By Step, is the blog that lays them all out if you are interested. My husband and I have been doing an excellent job getting our 10,000 steps in a day. We’re getting up and walking before work, then after work and again before bed, if we still need some more steps. This week we got snow here in MN. I wasn’t expecting it and upon waking discovered 3 inches of the pristine white stuff covering everything. I found it hard to want to get out an walk. I did eventually bundle up and head to the grocery store. I could have driven and it would have been quicker and warmer, but why not take care of 2 things at once. It was a nice sunny day. The bright sun reflected off the snow and I reflected on how to keep up with all that we are working on, despite time marching on.

I am a wonderful “justifier” and snow seems like a great reason to justify skipping a walk. Having a plan in place helps keep you on task. Just like with the intermittent fasting that we are working on. There is always a justified reason to not stay the course; family in town, a special gathering, or an appointment that throws a kink in things. Recently, when my brother visited, we met him early each morning for breakfast. I always look forward to this annual visit and our early morning breakfast and conversation. As his visit neared, I started to fret about what to do about the intermittent fasting and the fact the fact that I wait until 10am before I break my fast. In the end I had a conversation with my brother, who was gracious and understanding. I still met him for breakfast and I enjoyed a nice cup of hot tea, while we had our usual time together and great conversation. Having a plan helped me stay the course. I have so far lost 15.4 pounds by sticking to the intermittent fasting.

Finances is another healthy initiative we are working on. The holiday season is fast approaching. This is the time of year when people often try to spend money to show someone how much they love them. Buying someone a gift, that they may not need or want, will not necessarily communicate your love and appreciation of them. I encourage you to come up with a plan on how to handle this time of year. Start a savings account that you add to throughout the year. Set a budget for gifts and holiday groceries and stick to it. Find innovated ways to show your love and appreciation for those you care so dearly about. Start a conversation with your friends and family about other ways to celebrate your love and appreciation like agreeing to volunteer together as a family. Make an understanding about gifts and a cost limit. Give homemade gifts infused with good intentions and lots of love. There are so many options.

As soon as you decide to focus on a healthy initiative, something will come up to throw you off course. Try to think about what these things may be. Make a plan for them. Remember that healthy initiates are not things we do just for today or tomorrow. These are things we incorporate into our life an become our new standard of living. To ensure success at improving our life, we need to think about how to remain faithful to ourselves. We need to make ourselves a priority by having a plan to keep our momentum moving forward.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May all your plans come easily, so that you stay the course, and reach the goals you set for yourself, as if by magic.

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters

Stacy’s Blog
Emy’s Blog
Adventure Sister’s Facebook Page
Stacy’s Instagram
Emy’s Twitter
Adventure Sister’s Pinterest Board

 

 

Food As Medicine: How I Cook With the Intention of Good Health

I try to be intentional in what I eat and what I put into my body. I have chosen to be a pescatarian because I believe it is better for my health. Pescatarian just means I am a vegetarian who eats fish, dairy, and eggs.  I try and avoid processed sugar in my diet, whenever I can, because it causes me joint pain. I choose meals that are good for me and my family and the ingredients I use are chosen for their healthy properties, taste, and color. 

  • Eggs. They are good source of protein, contain vitamin B12 and selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant which may protect against heart disease and boost immunity. 
  • Tofu. Because I do not eat meat, tofu is a great source of protein. Additionally soy has cardiovascular benefits and is a natural estrogen replacement. 
  • Colorful veggies. The more different colored vegetables you put in your dishes the more different antioxidants you add to your meals. I chose veggies I use by the colors of other veggies in the dish. For example; If there is already a lot of green in the dish I usually pick a different colored bell pepper instead of green. They also make the dish look pretty,  and as my grandmother would say, how it looks is as important as how it tastes.
  • Mushrooms. They are cancer fighting powerhouses which have the added benefit of a healthy dose of Vitamin D, the ‘happiness’ vitamin.
  • Honey. Honey is antibacterial and adds sweetness, naturally. 
  • Spicy peppers. These stoke your metabolism. You can adjust how much you add according to taste. My husband does not like his food too spicy, so I add a little, just to increase the savoriness of the dish. 
  • Basil. This herb has healing properties. It also reduces stress and is an immune booster. 
  • Garlic. Helps prevent and fight illness. This powerful bulb has multiple healthy properties that also include reducing the chance of tooth decay and dementia (and keeps away the vampires, per my husband).
  • Love. Setting an intention of love and happiness while cooking infuses these energies into the dish. Good intentions always taste so good. 

These are example of the things I like to put into the food I cook for my family, friends, and myself.  Below is a delicious recipe using these items.  Always consider what you are putting into your cooking and body. Our food really does affect us. 

Thai Basil Stir Fry

with fried egg on top

2 tablespoons olive oil

egg for each serving

For Stir Fry

1 pack ‘firm’ tofu – drained and pressed

5 Thai chili peppers

Olive oil for frying and sautéing

1-2 tablespoon minced garlic

1 package of white mushrooms

1/2 red bell pepper cut in stripes

2 cups fresh green beans, snapped in half with ends removed. 

Sauce

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

2 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons water 

Add in at the end

1.5 Cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves.

Base

Cooked jasmine rice to serve as a base for the stir fry.

Putting it all together

Heat the oil. (you just need enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan). Cut up the Thai chillies and sauté in the oil. Once they are fully sautéed, remove and dispose. These give flavor to the oil and add a hint of heat without taking over the dish. More chillies can be used to increase the heat.

After the tofu has been drained, wrap it in paper towels and place on a plate with another plate and something, somewhat heavy, on top. This will press the extra liquid out of the tofu. Cut the tofu into chunks. Place in the hot oil. Cook over medium heat. No need to rush it. Let it take its time.  Occasionally ‘gently flip’ the tofu. You don’t want to break it up but have it stay in chunks. As this is cooking, add the garlic and continue to sauté. Next cut the mushrooms into quarters and add to the pan once the tofu has a light golden brown crust on it. Allow this to cook slowly while you mix the ingredients for the sauce in a separate bowl. Add the red bell peppers to the pan and stir ‘gently’ again. Pour the sauce over everything.  Add the green beans and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beans are bright green and warm all the way through. Keep your thoughts positive through the process. Play some fun music if that helps. Keep loving thoughts in your mind for those you are cooking for. 

In a separate pan fry the eggs, soft cooked are delicious, but how hard you cook the yokes is up to your preference. 

Serve stir fry over rice with the egg on top. 

Enjoy! 

Thank you fro reading my blog today. May you find it easy to put healthy food into your body, as if by magic.

** Photo credit goes to my husband who enjoyed the food so much he snapped a picture of it.

 

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters
Stacy’s Blog
Emy’s Blog
Adventure Sister’s Facebook Page
Stacy’s Instagram
Emy’s Twitter
Adventure Sister’s Pinterest Board
Emy For House Twitter
Emy For House Facebook Page

What is a Witch?

As Halloween grows near, we see many images of old women in pointy hats riding on brooms or leaning over bubbling cauldrons. It is all part of the fun, magical, and yes even scary imagery; that is part of this time of the year. My 4 year old granddaughter asked me the other day if bats and witches are real? I told her they are. She said she had never seen one so she didn’t think they were. If only she knew they walk amongst us. Ordinary people that you pass in the street, every day, may have a spiritual practice that you may refer to as Witchcraft, The Craft, or Wicca.

We have all heard of the past tragedies that were done to the young women in Salem, Europe, and many other places around the world because they were accused of witchcraft. So what is a Witch? Where does the fantasy end and the tradition begin. Past history has witches worshiping the Devil and practicing “Dark Magic”. Witches have been portrayed in movies like, The Wizard of Oz, Stardust, and The Witches of Eastwick, as well as TV shows like Bewitched. Some of the witches are good and some of them are bad in these shows.

I would say that is the same of real people as well, some are good and some are bad. Usually, those we considered bad, have damaged psyches, are going through some difficult experiences currently or have had very difficult things happen to them in their past. I would say, like with all people, most Witches are good.  They do not worship the Devil but rather the Earth and Nature; they see “spirit” in all things and understand that there is a balance to the way we interact with the world.

Most Witches, in the long ago past and still today; are healers. They use natural herbs in their magic, cooking, and potions. Like using some Lavender or Valerian to relax you or Echinacea to boost your immune system. Chamomile to help you sleep. They may practice various forms of energy healing; like Reiki or Hand on Healing. They may use crystals for their energetic properties. These Witches may also practice various forms of divination such as; reading tarot cards, mediumship or channel readings. They believe in the Power of Intention. Spell work is really just a way to put some ceremony behind their intentions.

There are many different types of Witches and belief systems among them. Some are solitary practitioners and others belong to groups who support each other through their spiritual growth. Some hold fast to ceremony’s past on from generation to generation and others make new ceremonies to suite their needs.

In the past, these woman, were the ones the people the village came to when someone was sick. Then they became prosecuted for being different. The others came to fear what they did not understand. Christianity started to paint the Witch as evil and dangerous. When in reality, these were mostly good hearted people who wanted to help their neighbors.

Think about the times you have turned to a nice cup of tea to calm your nerves, made some Chicken Noodle Soup to heal your sick family, or a time you called a friend who suddenly popped into your head. Only to find out they were going through something difficult and needed you. Call to mind the times you have set intentions for a positive outcome to a situation. We are all more similar than we are different.

So as the veil thins and Halloween approaches, keep in mind that witches walk among us. They are kind hearted ordinary people who see the sacredness in all things. Remember those things your grandmother passed down to you; to heal you family, keep you safe, and make life a bit more magical. After all, there is a little witch in all of us.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find your personal magical power, as if by magic.

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters
Stacy’s Blog
Emy’s Blog
Adventure Sister’s Facebook Page
Stacy’s Instagram
Emy’s Twitter
Adventure Sister’s Pinterest Board
Emy For House Twitter
Emy For House Facebook Page

OMG! Read This Book! It will take you places you didn’t know you need to go. (An update on my Complaint Free Adventure)

A recent post from a FaceBook Friend set me off on a journey I didn’t know I needed to go on. My other blog, Can You Go 21 Days in a Row Without Complaining?, explains the journey and how I found myself on it. Until I started this adventure, I had no idea how much I complained. Until I read the book, I did not correlate how complaining and focusing on what I did not want to happen, was stealing from me the opportunity to live my dreams.

I am about 2 weeks into my “Complaint Free World” Adventure. I’ve been using my cute little happy turtle bracelet to switch back and forth on my wrist every time I complain. The articles suggested this action as a way of bringing my complaining to my attention. I thought I could easily whip through the 21 days and be off to my next adventure. Nope. After 2 weeks I am still on day 1. Because I am struggling so much with this challenge, I decided to buy Will Bowen’s book, A Complaint Free World; How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted.

This book has taught me so much.

1 I am not alone in the fact that I complain “way” more than I realized.

2 I modeled this for my children and taught them to complain, as they grew up, without ever realizing it.

3 It is robbing me from living my dreams.

4 Complaining is contagious.

5 It does make for easy conversation starters.

6 I have a lot of work to do to become the best me I can be.

These are just a few of the lessons I have learned from reading the Will’s book. I felt it was necessary for me to read the book because I was wondering what was wrong with me that I could not make it “one day” without complaining. It was a comfort to me that even the author of the book, as well as most other people who go on this journey, find getting through one whole day complaint free, a struggle.

I continue to push on towards living a complaint free existence. I will continue switching my bracelet back and forth until the day I notice it has rested, undisturbed, on the same wrist for a whole day. I will then work towards going another and another day until I break this habit of complaining.

I am currently at the stage where I am starting to become aware of my complaints. Hopefully, soon, I will enter the stage where I stop them before they even cross my lips. Luckily, no switch of the bracket is required for unspoken complaints. I will strive to live my great grandmothers advice. “If you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all”, she would tell us.  Ura McGurran was so wise.  I am human; a work in progress that is striving towards practicing what I preach and in search of living my dreams.

I did decide to go to Will’s website and purchase the purple bracelets he sells for this challenge. I have been using my cute little turtle bracelet but, after hearing how many people broke brackets switching them back and forth, I decided a purple silicone bracelet would be a great idea. I really like my little turtle bracelet.

Will you join me on this adventure? Will you walk this journey towards a Complaint Free World with me? I hope so but make sure you bring a lot of bracelets if you do.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find yourself moving easily in the direction of your dreams, as if by magic.

Please Follow the Adventure Sisters
Stacy’s Blog
Emy’s Blog
Adventure Sister’s Facebook Page
Stacy’s Instagram
Emy’s Twitter
Adventure Sister’s Pinterest Board
Emy For House Twitter
Emy For House Facebook Page