Monthly Archives: December 2015

Appreciating Simple Things

On the 10th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me

APPRECIATING SIMPLE THINGS.

 

10_simple_things

Oh boy! It’s been busy, hey? Travel, family, friends, food, drinks, gifts — there are so many things happening at once that we blink and Christmas is over. By now we might be calming down from the flurry of all we had been getting ready for for weeks.

When it’s all over there is pause, quiet. After our recent busy-ness, we might find ourselves gravitating to a space of finally appreciating the small things. We might spend an entire day lounging around to enjoy our new gifts or watching mindless movies. Or, maybe we reflect on an impromptu conversation that turned out awesome, a new discovery about a loved one to help deepen our connection, or maybe simple foods as a contrast to abundant rich food over the past couple days.

Personally, I am enjoying these simple things: sinking in to my new feng shui book, having nothing I “must” to do, no time constraints, and looking forward to watching a Packer game today with my dear friend.

Your turn! What simple things are you enjoying now that Christmas is over?

Sing it back down….

9 Phew, I found my grounding
8 Time and space for breathing
I might be over-spending
6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
AND
1 Permission for my authenticity

Phew, I found my grounding

9_Grounding

On the 9th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me,

PHEW, I FOUND MY GROUNDING.
Phew! Breathing actually works, hey? The power of staying still and breathing is super underrated. I mean, we live in a a world that keeps us addicted to busy-ness. We try to move as fast as possible to accomplish as much as we can with the least amount of effort. This speed and lack of adherence creates increased vata for everyone as we become totally ungrounded. By the way, putting in effort is also underrated. Books do not get written without effort…just sayin.
Here’s something to remember: When we stop, the world actually doesn’t! The world will keep spinning even if we slow down or stop. Slowing down is necessary. If we keep grounded and consistent our daily practices of good breath, quality food, heartfelt love, sound sleep, and putting in good effort work, that’s enough in a day.
My favorite quote is “There is more strength in surrender than there is in forging ahead.”  So this holiday and in the new year ahead, let’s sloooow down and ground.

Time and Space for Breathing

8_Breathe

On the 8th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…

TIME AND SPACE FOR BREATHING

In the midst of holiday busy-ness, party-ness, giving-ness, cooking-ness, mailing-ness, spending-ness, decorating-ness, traffic-ness, etc., many of us feel overwhelmed and exhausted before the holiday celebrations even get here!

One of the fastest ways to calm, ground, and nourish ourselves is by (wait for it…) breathing. Yep, that’s it. Our two lovely little nostrils are the fastest passageways to the mind, so breathing slowly tells our mind, “It’s all good. We got this.” And the mind relays that message to the rest of the body so we can fully relax. Let’s make some time to breathe today.

Today, please find 5-10 minutes (use a timer if you want) to sit down in a chair, feet flat on the floor, back straight, eyes closed, palms facing upward on your lap. Just breathe slowly through the nose (mouth closed) until the timer goes off.

Let me know how you feel afterwards :) xo!

And let’s take it back down…

I might be over-spending
6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
1 Permission for my authenticity

I Might Be Overspending

7_Overspend

On the 7th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…

I MIGHT BE OVERSPENDING.

Here’s the truth. Nobody wants you to go broke buying presents — they just don’t. More than anything they want time with you. Consider presents that offer an experience instead of a physical object. An experience could be something focus on one or more of the five senses: hear, see, touch, taste, smell. For example, treat your sister to a yoga class together (touch/hear) and enjoy warm tea (taste) afterwards. Or, do at-home mani’s (touch) while watching Love Actually (see) with yummy snacks (taste). Or, take the dude in your life on a hike (see) or out for pizza (taste) at his favorite place. Possibilities are endless — they are kind of like little dates with the people you love most! And who doesn’t like a date?

That said, sometimes handing them a heartfelt gift to open is so much fun! If you would rather get gifts, set a “below-your-means” (or you can easily overspend. keep it low.) budget, divide the monetary love, and stop when you reach budget. You will feel awesome about how thoughtful/creative you can be with a small budget.

My favorite story about saving money at Christmas was when I had just moved to San Francisco in 2003. There was no way I could afford presents for everyone. So, I bought 1 case (12 bottles) of 2 Buck Chuck ($2 per bottle) wine, which cost $24. Then, I bought several cookie cutters in the shape of a boat, a bridge, a tower, a trolley, a bus, victorian house, seal, a fairy (oh yes I did!), etc., — all little pieces out of a scene from San Francisco.

I made an extra-sturdy, wrap-around duct tape handle and brought the case of wine on plane as my free carry on. When I got to Wisconsin, I made the cookies. Each person got a mix of fancily decorated San Francisco sugar cookies and a bottle of 2 Buck. My family had never heard of 2 Buck and thought $2 for a bottle of wine was pretty funny. They loved their gifts and the cookies turned out to be a conversation piece as I walked through what each of them meant to me. *everyone cheers* The end.

My advice is to keep it simple! Straight from the heart. We really don’t need more “stuff” and you don’t need to go broke. Release expectations and just give a little something that says, “Hey! I love you!” xo!

And let’s take it back down…

6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
1 Permission for my authenticity

E-gads I’m Overeating!

6_Overeat

On the 6th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me,

E-GADS I’M OVEREATING!

…Eeep despite our awesome knowledge and best intentions about mindfully eat healthy for our dosha, SOMEtimes during the holidays, we just over eat. Or, we just eat a lot of sweets. Or, maybe a lot of cheese. Or maybe the olive and pickle platter (salt) is our downfall. Each person will have some kind of tantalizing vice they can’t wait to get their mits on during holiday.

Um, I’m not going to take that away from you, nor am I going to make you feel bad about it.

That goes for you too. If you overate or ate the “wrong” things, please do not judge or scold yourself. You were probably having fun. You were probably momentarily swept away by celebrating love, generosity, laughter, spirit and joy — which is not a bad thing! Heck, even if you snuck some extra chocolates at the “snack area” (by the printer?) at work, I only hope that you SAVOR-ed every single one of them as they melted in your mouth. And I hope you said to yourself, “DANG that was good.” Because THAT is mindful eating.

I am not going to list “10 Ayurvedic Tips to Losing Holiday Pounds” Nope. That’s not how we roll here. What if, you just sit and notice how you feel instead of super-fast trying to fix it? That is, being in our body and experiencing it. What if we told ourselves, “Well, these are not the results I wanted obviously, but man that was fun. And! I know myself and the tools I have to get back to balance. On we go…” Our knee jerk reaction often is, “Gah! Get these pounds off and fast! Like, in 2 days!” But that’s such a rough message to send ourselves and makes us just feel…BAD. No sense in that. Be kinder. If we feel extra heaviness, of course we want to get back to feeling lighter, but let us do so in loving kindness to ourselves.

Here are MonicaB’s gentle loving tips about overeating during holiday:
• I hope you payed enough attention to savor it all
• No judging
• You can eat light or fast until you are hungry again
• You can move your body a little extra
• If you indulge one day, have much less the next day (keeps the balance!)
• If you indulge for an entire week, put a special focus on mindful eating and moving your body for the next week or two

And a Monica B full on confession: I plan on eating those green Cornflake wreaths made with marshmallows and decorated with red hots. Like so…

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 8.28.01 PM

They might be the most Un-Ayurvedic thing I could put in my body. Green food coloring, people! My mom makes them with love. I look forward to them. I eat them once a year and I love the sh*t out of every bite. I’ll stay balanced because 90% of what I eat is high quality and balancing for my dosha, so these sugary little do-dads won’t have a long term effect. But I will freak out (every time) when my poop is green.

 

And sing it back down…

5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices
3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
1 Permission for my authenticity

Oops, Too Many Cocktails!

5_Cocktails

On the 5th day of Ayurveda, my spirit gave to me…

OOPS, TOO MANY COCKTAILS!

Well so much for using your wisdom to make right choices, hey? Hehe. Just kidding. During the holidays it’s easy to throw caution to the wind as we enjoy an abundance of food and drink with people we love. Because we are so busy socializing and having fun, our mind is likely not in our food and also not paying attention to how many “spirits” we’ve had. We usually don’t know we’ve over done it until it’s too late and then we feel like junk.

To avoid too many cocktails: Start the evening off with one or two mocktails (see below) or sparkling waters before your first glass of wine or cocktail. This way, your mind stays clear in the beginning of the night. The main reason why we over-drink is because alcohol causes our mind to get lax and then we lose adherence to make right choices and follow through with right action. We totally lose our wisdom. Ever do anything dumb while drunk? Right. See? No wisdom. But, if we allow ourselves 1 or 2 drinks over the course of a night, we are more likely to take is slow, savor and enjoy. Space it out with water or a mocktail in between. You will feel SO good about honoring your modern Ayurvedic self without feeling like you’re missing out. And! The next day you’ll feel awesome.

Mocktail ideas: Experiment! It’s part of the fun and for maximum festivity, serve mocktails in a fancy glass. Note: These mocktails are not Ayurvedic necessarily, they are just alternatives to alcohol with ingredients likely found at parties or a bar. In Ayurveda, we don’t strive for perfection, we strive for “better.”
Warm apple cider. Heat in a pot with cinnamon sticks & a few cloves. Strain & enjoy. You can also add honey if needed. Garnish w/one cinnamon stick.
Cranberry w/splash of orange juice and top with seltzer. Have with or without ice. Garnish with an orange slice or float 3 little crannies in the glass.
Pomegranate juice, dash of orange juice. For optional fizz: Top with seltzer
Pomegranate or cranberry juice mixed w/ginger ale
Grapefruit juice, splash of cran, & seltzer. Dip a lemon wedge in sugar for garnish :)
MY FAVORITE: Cranberry juice with seltzer and a lime. mm!!

Ginger ale will give fizz and sweetness. Seltzer just adds fizz. Orange juice ads sweetness, pineapple juice is also good for that, very sweet. Pomegranate and cranberries are astringent, soaks up and cools down heat.

And counting it back down…
Wisdom for right choices
Staying in the present
A path for evolving
AND
Permission for my authenticity

 

Wisdom for Right Choices

4_Wisdom

On the 4th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me,

4) WISDOM FOR RIGHT CHOICES
3) Staying in the present
2) A path for evolving
and
1) Permission for my authenticity

As some of you know from readying my book, In Your Elements (Ooooo…TODAY 12/13 is the LAST DAY FOR 10% off! use code MC8RC2WV), one of the most powerful tools we have as an intelligent being is full ownership over our own choices. Our choices our so powerful, in fact, that making the wrong choices is actually one, out of only three, causes for disease.

The excerpt below is from my book on how lucky we have to have our wisdom and why we should listen to it.

From In Your Elements: “There is a wise, little part of our mind called buddhi (boo-DEE). Buddhi is our inner wisdom, kind of like the “good angel” sitting on our shoulder whispering the right things to do in your ear. Our buddhi always helps us adhere to choices that would be best for us, whether big or small. When we listen to our buddhi we feel accomplished, are highly productive and are more likely to make the right choices by following through with right action.

If we do not listen to our budhhi, we will not make the right choices, which is the root cause of all kinds of problems. There’s a waterfall effect for bad- choice-making as one thing leads to another. Let’s walk through two examples together 1) when we do not listen to our buddi and 2) when we do.

You did not listen to your buddhi
Let me be dramatic for a sec. After a wonderfully tantalizing meal, you are full, but the food was so good you want a second helping. Buddhi says, “One helping is enough or you will feel overfull.” You know you don’t need a second helping, but it was just so tasty! Against buddhi’s advice, you have more food anyway. That second serving pushed you into a food coma and now you are too lethargic to take your 30-minute evening walk. Instead, you veg in front of the TV watching House Hunters. You feel a bit disappointed in yourself and are irritated by small closets being a deal breaker, so you watch more TV (Shark Tank, anyone?) and you still feel very full. Since the TV is an addicting little bugger, you might stay up past your 10 p.m. Ayurvedic bedtime. As the night goes on, you get snacky. Buddhi says, “Don’t do it! Just go to bed!” But you reach for the chocolates anyway because your sweet tooth is calling for it. Besides, you already screwed up the night so who cares. You get a sugar surge, so you stay up even later and have restless sleep because of the caffeine in the chocolates. You have a hard time waking up the next morning because your belly is still full from the night before. And then you wake up feeling like physical junk from too much food, guilt from watching too much TV and staying up too late. And all because you made the wrong choices ­­­­­— this was nobody else’s fault.

You listened to your buddhi
Now let’s say, you listened to your buddhi and only had one delicious helping at dinner. You felt physically nourished and had enough energy to clean up the kitchen and reward yourself by enjoying a leisurely evening walk outside at sunset. The walk refreshed you because you were out in nature able to enjoy some down time after a long day. Perhaps you even experienced something interesting on your walk, which may have sparked a nice conversation with a loved one when you got home. When there is downtime, our mind relaxes and we have pause. When we have pause, new ideas have a window to enter. Maybe you still watch House Hunters but limit to one episode because you know you can get sucked into TV for hours. After one episode, you have had your fill of small closets being a deal breaker and turn to a favorite book, knitting project, phone call to a friend or journal before bed.

Notice the difference of this scenario vs. the first one!?
Like night and day! Each of your awesome choices influenced the next awesome choice. Once we start choosing and doing the right things, we will feel increasingly fabulous and we will want to do it more and more! However, the same happens if you make the wrong choices. It can easily end up in a domino effect of bad choices and then we feel like junk. We will not be perfect in our decision-making but at any time we derail, we can stop and make a better choice.”

Staying Present

3_Present_site

 

On the 3rd day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me,

STAYING IN THE PRESENT,
A path for evoloving,
and
Permission for my authenticity

The best way to slow down time is staying present in whatever we are doing at the time (Anyone ever play Scrabble for 3 hours? Time never ends. And with Scrabble, at least for me, not in a good way. I will never play that game again. zzzz. I digress…). Conversely, the fastest way to speed up time is to spend a ton of time multi-tasking, online or on smart phones. *zip!* Time gone. Our spirit loves it when we fully experience the present and take the time to *INHALE* and absorb our surroundings. *exhale*

One of my favorite pieces of advice to couples on their wedding day is to take several moments to pause, be completely present, and take it all in. Taking a breath to look around at their friends and family having fun in their honor is an experience they will never forget. But if they move too quickly, they will miss it. Taking conscious pauses sloooooows time doooooown so we can fully immerse ourselves and remember the moment.

Holidays are similar. Some of us are really good at slowing down to decorate, spend time picking out the perfect gifts, and carefully craft recipes for the dinner menu. Others of us race until we are so tired that we fall on our face in bed with our contacts in and shoes on. Too much speed, noise and agitation overtime can leave our spirit starving (and our body-minds exhausted). The spirit likes to savor life, sometimes through experience and sometimes simply as observer.

So, keep it simple. During meals (or appetizers!) take time to chew well, letting the yummy food and drinks dance on your tastebuds. Look into the eyes of the person you are talking to and instead of jumping to what you want to say next, listen and respond. Take a minute to enjoy the fire in the fireplace (good therapy for the eyes too). Slow down on streets with holiday lights and enjoy the sparkles.

Slowing down to experience simple joys is what being in the spirit and of the spirit, is all about. xo!

A Path for Evolving

 

2_Path

On the 2nd day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me...
A PATH FOR EVOLVING
and
Permission for my authenticity.

Our spirit is on a path to evolve. There are lessons to learn in our time here on earth as we face obstacles, heartbreaks, disappointments, and major struggles — it’s all part of the path. In the moment, we might not understand why the difficulties arise as we work through our emotions and tears, but once we look backwards, the lessons become clear.

The path is definitely not always smooth (sometimes it seems to disappear — I’m lost!) and we can’t see the end of it either, but we can be confident that if we keep walking, we will evolve as we are meant to. It’s also important to remember that the goal is not to chase the destination, it is simply to “be” and experience all the nuances of the path.

So, “Thank you, path for evolving me! Thank you for the challenges, blessings, and all the lumpy things. Because I am spirit, I am paying attention, ready to grow and I know the not-so-good things happen so that I can learn. I look forward to all you have to show me.”

Permission for my Authenticity

1_Permission_site

 

In the SPIRIT of the holidays, welcome to day 1 of the 12 days of Ayurveda.

On the 1st day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…
PERMISSION FOR MY AUTHENTICITY

Ayurveda is the only healing method that recognizes and honors us as completely unique individuals.

Now, there are many guidelines in Ayurveda including an Ayurvedic daily routine, eating for our dosha and proper food combinations. There are massage and therapy techniques that are to be performed in a methodical way. And, of course, there are the cleanses that take expert knowledge to bring customized healing to each person.

So, sure. All those things are true. On the other hand, Ayurveda also arrives in the space where we don’t have to “know” much at all, except ourselves. The biggest healing often comes from paying attention and looking inside because that will give us more information than anyone else. Only you know, “When I eat this food, I get heartburn” or “When I go for 20-minute morning jogs, I feel awesome afterwards!” Or, “When I have coffee every day, I can’t poop.” or “When I eat a lot of vegetables, I feel light and clear-minded.” These experiences that run through our heads are the signposts to our unique health. No book, no class, no method, nothing external will tell us how we feel. It lives in US.

How many times have you gone to a friend for advice and when they give you their words of wisdom your response is, “Yeah, deep down, I know that.” They might not even tell us something new, they just validate what we already feel. When we say, “deep down” that is spirit. It talks to us all the time and delivers information through our mind and body, we just have to relax and listen.

So. You are more powerful than you think. Your spirit is always talking to you, unique you. Listen to it. XO!

The 12 Days of Ayurveda

12_days_ayur

Ayurveda encompasses mind, body and spirit, right? Yep! We probably spend the most of our time trying to nurture, improve, or heal our body as we focus on, “What should I eat?” and “What is the best exercise for me?” Our mind usually comes in second place like, “How can I relieve stress?” or, “I should probably meditate sometimes…” But how often do we focus on truly living through the spirit? Not as often. And spirit is important. Spirit is our pure essence, our infinite being, our light. It is the answer to, “Who am I?” I am spirit (so hum).

So in thinking about the holiday season (since we are totally in the throes now), I noticed a thread of commonality weaving through us. During this time of year more-so than any other, we actually talk about spirit! The word “spirit” is used all the time as we feel “spirited” and “get in the spirit.” We have a “spirit of believing” and the “spirit of giving.” We are even prone to drinking too many “spirits“! With the flip of a switch during the holiday season, our spirit begins to soar through kindness, love, celebration, compassion and generosity as all of these awesome positive emotions become the focus. Whether we are religious or not religious, spirit transcends as we want to join in the spirit with everyone else — because it feels awesome. Our spirit tells us so.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the holidays can bring physical and emotional challenges that affect our spirit too. The holidays can add a laundry list of extra things to do, might include stressful travel schedules, and bring out a rollercoaster of emotions. Gah! And then you shake your fist and say, “Arg, the Holidays!” So, it’s not all roses and we know that. But if we asked our spirits, I think they would love to believe in magic that brings us all closer.

In light (yes, pun!) of Hanukkah starting and Christmas around the corner, I would love to honor our spirits during the holidays this year with a little somethin’ special.

Tomorrow will start The 12 days of Ayurveda. And it goes a little somethin like this, “On the first day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…” Whee! So for 12 days there will be a little something special for you to use in your life and, especially during the holidays.

Now, if you want, you can sing to the tune of “The 12 days of Christmas.” It works (and yes, I sang them all out loud. If you are good maybe I’ll do a video). Or, you don’t have to. This is spirit, people! No rules and anything goes as long as it’s full purity of heart. LOVE YOU! I hope you have fun with this! *blowing kisses*

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