Category Archives: Mind

I Might Be Overspending

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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!

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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…

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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

Wisdom for Right Choices

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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

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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

 

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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

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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

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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*

10% off my book, In Your Elements, thru 12/13 (Sunday)! Use the code: MC8RC2WV

 

Scoop yourself out of an emotional rut

Emotional_Rut

Ever feel kinda “off?” Like, maybe your life is quite awesome but without reason you feel dragged down, in the pits, disengaged, or checked-out? My friend Erin recently had this problem and emailed me about it. She asked if I ever felt that way, too…um, schhhhyeah…pretty sure we all have. I gave my friend some insights worth sharing for anyone else out there who needs to be scooped out of their rut.

10 tips to scoop you out of a rut quickly:

  1. Kapalbhati, a yoga breathing exercise, can instantly help move and clear your energy.
  2. Drink a few glasses of water (on an empty stomach). You might just be dehydrated!
  3. Make a large batch of kitchari and have it for lunch and dinner for a couple of days.
  4. Write a gratitude list with at least 25 gratitudeez on it.
  5. Get IN water, like a bath, pool, or hot tub. Water is a natural soother.
  6. Yoga practice, along with those in-and-exhales.
  7. Aromatherapy with your favorite essential oils or candle.
  8. Get into nature. Turn off the computer, go outside.
  9. Smile. A smile actually tells our brain that we are happy. Fake it ‘til you make it.
  10. Do something nice for someone else. A compliment or a smile will make someone else feel good and because we are all connected, you will feel good, too. It’s like the best game of ping-pong ever.

Remember too, that a rut isn’t always bad (as long as it doesn’t last too long). It could be some heavy energy sitting on us. Maybe it’s old energy from the past or negative energy we’ve absorbed from other people? Simply put, we might be hanging on to stuff you don’t need or that isn’t ours. The stillness could actually give introspection on an area in our life that needs to be fixed and, that we might not otherwise notice while when we are noisy and busy.

See? Sometimes we need darkness and slowness. Remember our friends sattva, rajas and tamas? Darkness is tamas and it’s needed sometimes so that we can evolve. Even tulip bulbs need to be tossed in the closet for a while before they can bloom again. Just because we feel a little down or heavy doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate your life. It may be as simple as needing to shed some heavy energy and/or take rest. Where there is surrender, you find strength. 

In Your Elements Launch Party

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If you missed it, you can catch the recording!

Ideas to par-TAY:

• Gather your yoga peeps and listen online at the studio
• Get together with friends or family, huddle around the computer online together (take turns sharing the chat box!)
• Put on your fanciest dress or comfiest head-to-toe fleece
• Get your fingies ready to type at me to share insights and ask questions
• Put on fuzzy socks, turn on the computer and dance-skate across your hardwood floor (triple bonus: listen, workout, clean the floor. That’s for you, vatas)

Buy_book_here

Behind the Scenes

What’s in front of the stage? Monica Bloom wrote a book! And the world can see it! Yay!

Behind the scenes? In mid-September just as the book was finalizing, my dog Blossom was diagnosed with liver failure at only 6 years old. Four weeks later, she died on Friday October 16th around 1:15 a.m.

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I’m not sharing this story to make you feel sorry for me or my dog. There were lessons and miracles along the journey that are too precious to keep to myself. It is my hope that for anyone else living between two extremes (great joy! heart breaking sadness.) that we begin to honor our raw sadness without feeling guilty for feeling joy in between (or vice versa).

While working on the book’s final touches, staying up way too late, dealing with some pretty big transitions at the day-job and turning 40, we were told Blossom was in end stage liver failure and they were not sure how long she would live. September 18th, one day before my 40th birthday, we cancelled our trip to the mountains and stayed home where I cried and hugged her the entire day and night. When I woke up on my birthday, I saw her eyes — those sweet sparkle eyes. I thanked her for being around today. My heart was full and grateful — she was still here and that was the best birthday gift ever. Lesson 1: Live now. Every day, every moment is a gift.

Ok but, I’m a healer so… I can heal her, right?! Yes! Because life is full of miracles and she was going to be one of them. Trying to manifest the shit out of some serious healing, I tried some ayurvedic herbs, I fed her “magic” sweet potatoes, I wrote in my journal how she would heal, I did energy work on her at night, I begged her to stay strong. She kept declining. She refused to eat. Her poop turned the color of tar. Lesson 2: Surrender. All beings have their path. I cannot fix everything.

I thought it was unfair and “couldn’t be!” because she was only 6. Lesson 3: Not all creatures live to be old.

After another visit to the vet, we had her abdomen drained for the 3rd time (she was about 1/2 full of fluid in body weight while her body was very very skinny from not eating) and I knew it would be the last time. Lesson 4: I gave her permission.

I told her that I would rely on her eyes to tell me everything and when she was ready to go, I would just know. Every morning when she got out of her bed, I locked in on her eyes. I thanked her for being here, “It’s great to see you,” I would say. A day and a half before she died, one of her eyes started to close. Her other eye started to look a bit weak also. Only when I didn’t have her eyes, was I able to fully see how uncomfortable she was in her body. Lesson 5: Be prepared to get what you ask for, but it might be delivered in an unexpected way.

Blossom was trying to sleep standing up because she could not breathe well while lying down. She kept coming to us for pets and sat there with her eyes closed. It was time. We took her to the vet at 12 a.m. on October 16th with our 4-year old (we don’t have family close by). We gave Blossom a big family group hug and we all cried. My husband and daughter waited in the car and I carried Blossom inside. Lesson 6: Little kids can handle tough information if it is delivered delicately in truth and from the heart.

The vet supported our decision. She asked if I wanted to stay with Blossom the whole time and without hesitation I said yes. Lesson 7: The purity of spirit gives strength I didn’t know I had.

We were in a little sanctuary of a room, totally peaceful and in the middle of the night. I held her face to mine and heard her breathing in my ear (so hum so hum so hum). I felt her body relax and it was the most comfortable I had seen her in weeks. I felt her instant gratitude. I felt her last exhale (hummm) on my cheek and felt her last heartbeat. She was grateful for everything and so was I. Lesson 8: One of the things I fear the most (death) became one of the most beautiful and peaceful experiences I’ve ever had.

When we drove away, I saw Blossom in my mind (heart?) running and running, tail wagging like crazy, tongue hanging out, smiling. The message I got was, “I’m happy Mom! I’m having a great time here! Thank you!”

First thing in the morning, my daughter wanted to draw Blossom, so she made this beautiful picture. When I asked her what the yellow was she said, “It’s light, Mama!”

Blossom_light

Another little miracle happened when our other dog, Matty, was lying in his bed. They usually slept right next to each other. And look…two little rainbows.

Rainbows

Between the tears, worry, anxiety, and sadness, there were bursts of excitement about my book, but it all made me realize that this is all about LIFE. Such a precious thing and also so raw. But you know what? In my meditations now, I see Blossom’s smiling face — she is wearing one of those doggie backpacks — I put books in it. And I say, “GO BLOSSOM GO!” I see her RUNNING FAST like the little bullet she was and she takes my books around the world for me (tearing up now as I write).

GoBlossomGo

Good girl, Blossom, good girl. We love you.

Recipe for Life!

We create our recipe for life everyday! A little of this, a little of that and it shapes our day. What are you currently filling your day with? What does your recipe look like? The key is to fill your days and life with the things that make you feel BEST and do it often. Enjoy this little article on a Recipe For Life. xo!

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If you make a big pot of tomato sauce from scratch, do you taste test it to make sure it’s good? Sure. And if it’s not good, you adjust right? Add a little more salt, pepper or garlic. Maybe a smidge of sugar or extra basil. Perhaps it needs oregano! And you putz around adding things and testing until you have your pot o’sauce exactly how you like it! You might write it down as a recipe and use it for future.

For those pittas who will write to me because they can’t stand tomatoes —-> What about a guacamole? Maybe a little more lime or salt is needed to make it taste just how you like it. And tomato-free, of course!

My point is before you make a large batch of anything, you will test it. If you absolutely love it and look forward to having it again, you might even craft a little recipe.

The SAME THING relates to our life! You’ve heard of recipes for happiness, so how about a recipe for life! Your recipe for life, that is, because everybody is different ya know. In Ayurveda, we try things — a dash of this, a dabble of that, but the base (like the tomatoes or avocados) should stay the same, which is the daily routine and balancing our dosha(s). Added “ingredients” are various ways to exercise, all kinds of food choices, and ways to manage our stress. When we put together ingredients that work for us, we feel it! So maybe we add our favorite exercise, our go-to meals and daily meditation to our life’s recipe. We know that when we do those things, we will feel awesome.

Conversely we might test some things out that might not work for our happy life recipe. Like, “Do red peppers really give me heartburn? Lemme try and see…Yes, yes they do give me heartburn.” But with every miss, there is a learning behind it.

So don’t be afraid to test things out as you craft your recipe. This is life-long learning! Try some things and if they suit you, write it down so you remember! My book In Your Elements is FULL of stuff you can refer back to. It helps you craft your life and build your recipe for healing and happiness.

Do any of you have a “go-to” life recipe that you use? I’ll share mine – here it is: morning walk/jog before sunrise, meditation on the bus, light yoga in the evening, write gratitude list before bed. If I miss any of those things daily, I feel a bit off. If I miss those things for a week, I feel very off. If I miss those things for a month (it has happened), I feel completely out of my skin, I am easily irritable, I cry a lot and feel overall saddness. The beauty is, I know exactly how to get out of it — the recipe!

Now YOUR TURN! Tell us some stories about what’s in YOUR recipe of life! You go! I’ll hang out while you do compile your list… xoxo!

IN YOUR ELEMENTS is here!

IN YOUR ELEMENTS IS HERE! 

 

Cover

EEEYAAAH!!!!! THE BOOK IS DONE!

Who’s going to hold hands and jump up and down with me?! Who’s coming over to my house? Where are you people when I NEED you!? ;) You guys, after 1 1/2 years, my Ayurvedic book is COMPLETE! READY FOR THE WORLD! *high kick* *clap hands* *shake booty*

BUY IT HERE.

In Your Elements: A Blooming Ayurvedic Guide to Creating Your Best Life is a vibrant mix of Ayurvedic wisdom, humor and practicality all rolled into one book. In Your Elements was created for those of us who believe in the power of the individual and that true health stems from within.

My lovely book walks you through fundamental Ayurvedic foundations and includes over 70 questions, exercises and oodles of tips to help you along the journey. The whole book is a customized look at your life including, your daily routine, dosha quiz, menus, recipes, home therapies, exercise recommendations and more! As a bonus, Yoga teachers and Ayurvedic practitioners will LOVE this book for their classes and clients, respectively.

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So Monica B, what’s next?
We are going to have a proper launch party webinar in October with yours truly as the host. I’ll do a little chat, we will have book give-aways, I’ll answer any questions and we will have a PAR-TAY together online. That is coming SOON so keep your peepers out and be ready to “woohoo!” Oh! And if you have not signed up for my newsletter yet, definitely do that.

For now, go buy the book! Love it up. Share with friends. There will be SO MUCH MORE very soon! XOXOX! Monica B

 

Shifts in Perspective


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Ya’ll know I have a day job and a very long commute, for the past 3 years. On Tuesday, my train was delayed. Arg! Irritated! It happens a lot! Then found out someone had jumped in front of it (again). My soul sunk and my edge softened.

Shift in perspective. While I felt a sting in my heart, I also took immediate action. I bolted from the train station to catch the bus instead – because I needed to get home. I was literally sprinting across San Francisco (heart burning, legs like noodles, sweat dripping between boobs, shoulder cramping from my purse with laptop) and I made it on time! As I saw the bus pulling out, I waved my arms for the bus to wait, but the bus driver waved a finger at me – the bus was too full. And it left. By now I knew it would take me 2.5-3 hours to get home. Sweaty, out of breath, defeated. F. 2-3 hours…

So many were stranded and heading to the bus and I said to the woman behind me, “Well, it sucks, but someone jumped…so I think there are other people having a much worse night than we are.” And she said, “Yeah, perspective.” With tears in my eyes (out of sadness for them and heart-rocking gratitude for what I have), I ran a list of gratitude for everything in my life and sent a big blessing to all those in pain.

Another shift in perspective. At the same time, a co-worker was complaining on FB about the train and commute. I let her know it was because someone had jumped…to try and help her perspective too. She said I was a better person than she was and that she was not sympathetic to someone who jumps during rush hour and makes her miss time with her kids. Hm. Different perspective and clearly she was pissed. I was no longer upset. I wondered how my shift in perspective actually benefited my mind and body by reducing the stress I felt. And wondered if and for how long her stress levels stayed escalated. Perspective shift: I remain peaceful and therefore more healthy.

So yesterday, the train was delayed AGAIN due to police activity (omg, what is the lesson?!). As my head filled with all the reasons why I hate the commute and all the things it takes away from me, I crammed like a sardine into the train. My gray Target t-shirt showed my sweat rings under my pits and sweat soaking in the front of my shirt. F this. I was so mad. But I was glad I was wearing sneakers.

At the train station transfer, there was a super long line again, my saving grace mantra often is, “20 more minutes, only 20 more minutes..I can do this. It’s a blip on the radar.” When I crammed on the 2nd train, I saw a woman I used to ride with years ago. She is in a wheelchair and doesn’t have any arms or legs. Perspective shift: I am awashed with gratitude, peace and admiration. I’ve always admired her style as she looks so put together all the time wearing beautiful blouses and skirts. She carries a slight smile and her hair is a sassy-red color. Her comment yesterday to someone was, “It’s definitely more crowded than usual.” and then she shrugged and smiled. I smiled. She had a lightness I did not have, but she rubbed off on me. I wear a gray Target t-shirt (to work! And no I don’t work at a gym) while this woman dresses like she cares. Perspective shift: Make the most of what I have and SHOW it.

At that moment, a nice guy offered me a seat. I asked if he was sure and he said he had been sitting all day. I thanked him. Perspective shift: People give gifts just at the right time, I always have a net. Always. I sat down and got tears in my eyes. Tears because I was so tired. Tears because I hate my commute. Tears because if I had my commuting time back, I could do more with Ayurveda — I feel blocked in so many ways. Tears because I was disappointed in my bad attitude while this woman just presses on with grace, successfully. Tears out of admiration for her — she clearly faces many more obstacles each day than I do — yet she rocks it. I wondered if she ever complained. I wondered what the hell I had to complain about. I felt icky and ashamed about my trivial irritations. Yet, I have a right to feel how I’m going to feel. And sometimes two bad commutes in a week puts us over the edge.

I got home and cried while hugging my husband. So many things running through my head and the biggest is: GET YOUR BOOK DONE, MONICA. YOU HAVE A BIG JOB TO DO IN AYURVEDA. THE WORLD NEEDS THIS GIFT. SHOW IT. We are finessing final details now…and yes it’s taking a little longer. But I want it to shine like that woman on the train and not settle for a gray t-shirt. If it takes me a few minutes longer to do it, I will. Love you, Monica B.

Grouch-o-rama?

GROUCH-o-RAMA!! Why for? Are you unnecessarily grouchy or tired? Ask yourself if you had too many “spirits” this weekend. Too many spirits can quickly dampen our own spirit. If that’s the case, drink lots of extra water, have lots of fresh fruit and veggies (no meat!), do some pranayam (alternate nostril breathing, or long and deep ‘so hum‘) and write a gratitude list to set your energy on higher ground. XO!

(yes I’m still writing my book)

Ayurvedic Cleanse

Ayurvedic_cleanse

Heyo! I’ve been getting a string of questions from several of you around a common theme: An Ayurvedic Cleanse.

Let me ask, do you know why a cleanse is important? {have a think}

It’s important because we use our bodies every single day and without taking time to clean it and nourish it, it will start to break down in places. It’s kind of like a car. If we don’t give our cars oil changes, tune-ups, and repair small problems as they come up, the damages later would be very costly (and much worse). Same with our bods! We breathe things, see things, smell things, our skin absorbs things, we eat things, we get emotionally affected by things…and over time all those “things” stick on us and clog our bods and minds. As a daily habit, sleeping is good to restore the body and so is eating the right foods. But even with those two things in place, we still need to take time to cleanse at least once a year and/or as the seasons change because our body is in constant use!

The biggest reason for cleansing is to get rid of any ama that has built up over time AND to rebuild our agni (digestive fire) to a powerful state. Remember, mal-functiong agni is reponsible for 90% of all disease! That’s a mighty statement and GOSH is it true! Ama is – sticky, thick, white goo – a blockage which hinders our bodies, minds, and emotional well being. It’s basically a collection of old food-stuffs (old emotional-stuffs too!). We want to make sure our energy is running smooth and clear from head to toe so we can be our very best and brightest selves.

Time to clean it out. Alright, let’s do this. Below are instructions for a light kitchari cleanse and then a deeper kitchari cleanse with herbs, detox tea, and warm oils for massage.

Cleanse 1) A kitchari cleanse.

This simple kitchari cleanse can be done any time you need it! Simply commit to 3-7 days of eating a monodiet of kitchari. How do you know if you “need” it? Are you feeling any ickiness in your mind, body, guts, joints, mood, etc.,? Eat some kichari for a few days and you should start to feel better. Any anger, irritability, anxiety, worry, sadness, should start to lighten and dissipate. Any feelings of heaviness, bloating, indigestion, or constipation will go away. Any cloudiness of mind, confusion, uncertainty, or indecisiveness will start to gain clarity. Hooray!

How to do it?
• Make a nice batch of kitchari <—recipe! If you want one-stop shopping, you can buy the Ayurvedic Cleanse Kit from Banyan Botanicals
• Sip ginger tea in the morning. If you are hungry, have some kichari. If not, sip ginger tea and/or hot water (can add lemon) until you feel hungry.
• Have kitchari for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
• If your tongue is pink, add ghee to the top (vatas and pittas can have a nice amount of ghee, kaphas have less). If your tongue is not pink (yet, it will be soon), wait to add extra ghee until your tongue is pink.
• You can sip herbal (caffeine free) teas during the day and have as much water as you like
• If you are very hungry between meals, have a piece of fruit (banana, peeled apple or pear, berries) and some tea
• Be sure to fill up during meals and have as much kitchari as you like.
• Do this for 3-7 days. You can journal how you feel along the way!

After the cleanse (just as important as the cleanse itself!)
It is important to slowly rebuild agni to be good and strong. So don’t say, “Yay! My cleanse is over! I’m going out for steak and wine and chocolate cake!” No no no, don’t do that ;) If you eat normally right after the cleanse, agni won’t be strong enough and you will start building up ama right away. I suggest to have liquid soup with veggies the next day. Next day have soup with rice or noodles. Next day have rice and veggies. Next day you can start eating normally. See that? A little step-by-step process to eating normal again. HINT: Do this with ANY cleanse, even if it’s not this one. It’s really important!!

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Cleanse 2) The deeper cleanse is not quite panchakarma (more on that soon, too much for this post), but it’s about as good as you can get by doing it from home.

For this one the Deluxe Ayurvedic Cleanse Kit has everything you need. You can even download their little booklet on Ayurvedic Cleansing too. Or, you can compile your own items for the cleanse. This cleanse includes detox tea, herbs, and daily head to toe self massage with sesame oil.
• Follow the same instructions as above (they also have instructions) but you’ll be including massage, herbs, and the tea

When you are doing cleanses (even just a short one for 3 days), remember to RELAX. Make time and space for it. This is a cleanse for the mind and spirit and emotions just as it is for the body. If you cannot take off a day or two from work, be sure to unplug, unwind, and spend some time relaxing. Walks are good. Yoga is good. Intense exercise is not good. No tv or computer, books instead. Nice music, candles, warm socks, incense, sunsets, windows open…are all good things. NOURISH.

Yeah? What questions can I answer for you about cleansing? HAPPY AYURVEDIC SPRING CLEANING! XOXO!

Seasonal Bloom: Kapha

kapha_2013_iconHAPPY Kapha Season! Kapha season goes from late winter through spring, and the time is now! If you have already read the seasonal bloom in the past, maybe take another look! And then pass it along to a friend :)

NEW inside this one, I created a kapha playlist! That’s right, music to shake your booty to while spring cleaning. Nothing better to get a kapha moving than some great tunes! *shake it!*

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE KAPHA SEASONAL BLOOM HERE

I also ask that in return for reading, absorbing and hopefully loving the information, that you share this with at least three of your friends or family. We ALL need more Ayurveda in our lives. It’s my passion, it’s my life’s work and I am grateful I can share this with you. Please share with more people so my reach gets larger!

Cabin Fever

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For many of you, it’s winter and it’s not going away any time soon. A former midwesterner myself, I understand winters can be very very very long. Once holiday celebration and football season is over, winter can be a drag. Worse, it feels like it should be almost spring (Target doesn’t help by displaying the bathing suits immediately inside the front doors), but in reality, spring is at least four months away. Until at least April. And sometimes even in April you can’t wear short sleeves…which sucks. I’m not trying to be a downer, I’m empathizing and anyone in the midwest or east coast knows I speak the truth. Sledding is really only appealing until January and then…we want to wear shorts. I get it. Cabin Fever.

So let’s talk about something that might catch us while we are in the “cabin,” a little thing called S.A.D. (Seasonal Affected Disorder). Do you know what it is? It basically means that because of the cold, dry air, lack of light, too much time spent indoors, and nature that isn’t exactly “alive” and…we get depressed. This is the reason so many snowbirds get out of dodge by leaving for a couple months and so many others take a good vacation between January and March. We are governed by the nature around us and when that nature is lifeless, we often feel the same.

Now, there is nothing we can do about the weather, but there are some things we can do to make ourselves feel a bit better in the interim. Afterall, nothing lasts forever, even an ultra crappy winter. Chin up, that’s the good news! Other good news is, you have a bright light inside, so don’t forget to use that as your utmost power while in the cabin.

Here are some ideas to stay HAPPY instead of S.A.D.:
Go to the sun. Plan one good vacation and at least one long weekend between January and April so that you have little things to look forward to. It’s imperative to get to the sun and relax. This is life, use your vacation time.
Light it up! Fireplaces and candles bring heat and light.
Eat foods for your mood.
Oil massage. Warm oil and touch keeps our vata calm, giving us a sense of peace. Not to mention, oils are completely nourishing for winter skin. Best if used before a shower so the water doesn’t dry the skin out even more. You’ll feel like a bebe! Use almond (pitta), sesame (vata) or sunflower (kapha) oils from our good friends at Banyan Botanicals!
Keep your hands and feet warm! If they are cold it will make the rest of you cold, ankles too! Tip: put your socks over the end of a blowdryer, warm them up, and quick put on feet!
Head, shoulders, knees, and toes. Knees and toes. Literally! Breaking up the day with short bursts of exercise or just some good deep breaths will increase prana (life breath) and that’s what you need!
Aromatherapy. It can be any scent that makes you happy but some ideas are: lavender, sandalwood, jasmine, gardenia, grapefruit, ylang ylang. Put on your wrists, drop on the floor of your shower, add to baths, add in a diffuser.
Vitamin D supplements. Those can be helpful.
Sit in a warm bath, hot tub, steam room, or sauna. Baths are good for all doshas. Hot tub and steam rooms are best for vata. Sauna is good for kapha. Pitta…feel these out, they all might be too hot for you.
Buy fresh cut flowers or plant bulbs in a colorful pot indoors. Paperwhites, hyacinths, or tulips bring nature indoors.
Play great music. Harry Belafonte is fun music for dreary days.
Take classes in something you love. You have the time! It will give you something to look forward to each week for a certain amount of time, making the dregs move by faster and get you out of the cabin.
Be with friends, family and loved ones. Your heart will light up and stay warm when you have love in your life.

Mood Food

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Hey! Did you know that the food you choose directly affects your mood? Maybe you did, cause you are so Ayurvedically smart (if so, permission to *high kick* with pride!). You should know that every morsel we put into our body has energy connected to it. Consider it mood food. Yessiree that energy is what we ingest and therefore what we become. If foods we eat are made from bummer ingredients, we are going to feel like the world is one big bummer. Flip that and instead if we eat lively, fresh foods, we are going to feel lively and fresh. You might be thinking that’s a really literal way of assessing food, but man, it’s totally true.

Do you remember our friends sattva, rajas and tamas? In Ayurveda, these are the trigunas or three qualities, of the mind (download the chart). A quick recap, sattvic foods are pure harmony and help us make right choices. Rajasic foods create turbulence, competition, and are goal-oriented. Tamasic foods create darkness, stagnation, and lifelessness. Download this handy dandy list of sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic foods for reference. Just as important as foods right for your dosha, are the trigunas of the foods. Our food MUST be high quality – it’s essential!! We are built of the stuff!

Foods that are highly sattvic are veggies, fruits, and grains. Notice anything these foods have in common? They all come from plants! Plants are always happy, they have no emotions or stresses. They know that the sun will come out, rain will give them a drink and they grow while they reach for the stars. Pretty great, right? Wouldn’t you like to be like that too? Me too. Happy and reachin’ for the stars, I say!

Now! Let’s look at the other side. Foods that are highly tamasic are red meat, alcohol, canned, stale foods. These foods have no life. They have never seen sun, or if they have, the prana they had originally has been processed-to-death. Literally to death. For a second, let’s look at meat. Are animals always happy? Not necessarily. Do they live in the sun? Mmmm…they might, but not guaranteed. Animals have emotions, fears, stresses, anxiety and panic. Whatever life that animal lived, we eat it. True for us, if we eat those animals that lived under stress, we will become the same. Please make sure your meat comes from happy animals. And if you aren’t sure, don’t eat it.

SO! What foods create good moods? Plants! Veggies! Grains! Fruits! Ghee from happy cows (<– like from my man Sandeep! They’ve been making grass-fed ghee for generations!). AND, dairy if it comes from a good place. Always buy full fat and local organic dairy, if possible. In addition to foods, make sure to drink plenty of water. Plants wither and animals throw their water dish around when there’s not enough! Your body withers too, but your mood will be affected first, as a warning sign. Aren’t our bodies so smart to give us warning signs? Love the bodies. So, be thankful for being an evolved being who gets moody enough to know that you’re not eating the right things :) Incorporate more happy foods, full of sun, nourished by water and nature will give you peace, happiness, and innate knowing that all is well.

Who has questions!?!? xoxoxo!

Give from the Heart

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A reminder to pull gifts from the heart, not the pocketbook. Give presents because you know the receiver will love it. Don’t buy gifts to spend a certain amount of money on someone to make the exchange “even.” Sometimes we do that, hey? But here’s the thing, buyers’ remorse will hit in January when you get those credit card bills so remember to use your buddhi (wisdom!) when shopping so you don’t feel bad later! Nobody wants you to go broke on gifts, and you can do a lot with a little. One Christmas when I was struggling with money, I bought my family a case of Two-Buck Chuck wine from California and brought it back to WI as my carry-on. For $24 I had presents for all my family, I also included home made San Francisco cookies (a bridge, cable car, city-scape, victorian house, etc.,) that I decorated and gave with the wine. Combined, I had fun cookies, a bottle of wine, and cute wrappings for 12 people. My family LOVED it.  Give experiences, give homemade, give small (don’t give someone else clutter), give from local shops/artists, give something you can do with your receiver – remember, they love YOU.

A Chance of Flurries

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Who’s feeling a bit flurried during the holidays, raise your hands! Wow, too many to count! Let’s talk about why you feel the way you do. The season is vata, but you already knew that. On top of it we are in the thick of the holidays AND it’s dark and cold. The dark makes it hard for us to wake up and we get tired earlier at night too. Then there’s all this extra stuff to do like parties, shopping, time with family/friends, and cooking. So! There’s 4x more stuff going on than normal and we have about 1/2 the energy. Awesome. It’s also cold outside in many places. So! There’s a lot to do in a short amount of time, with less energy, shorter days, and we are house-bound due to the weather. Frick. Not only that but the dark, the cold, and the busy-ness leaves little gusto or time to exercise. No outlet for stress. Bummer! Oh and then there’s all this extra food/candy at work, parties, and cocktails in a 4-week time span too, and since we don’t have time to exercise, it’s nearly impossible to escape without holiday poundage! With all these things adding up, no wonder we are stressballs a flurry during the holidays! Wah.

Don’t cry. I’m not telling you these things to bum you out. No way. My intent is to SHOW you exactly what’s going on during this time of year. You are not crazy or lazy, so that’s the good news. Hurrah! These natural forces (dark, cold, shorter days) flow against our desired rapid pace of Christmas completion. During the flurry, I have some quick Ayurvedic tips to keep the holidays happy and I will trickle them in over the next couple weeks.

Ready? Here’s the first one:
Keep your sleep. The stuff will get done (and if it doesn’t, it wasn’t that important). You need sleep to keep your immunity strong, your emotions in tact, your mind sharp, and your skin looking perky as possible. If you keep your “bed by 10” Ayurvedic rule, you will have more energy and gusto the next day to get everything done. Trust me! You need sleep or you’ll get sick!