Being Inspired, being happy

The past few weeks I have found myself giving the unsolicited advice of making sure to take time on a daily basis to take care of yourself by being around or doing something that inspires you. The literal meaning of the word inspire is to breathe in-when we take in ideas that come to us in sparks and act upon them, we can learn the path of our spirit. Day by day, step by step we live our true purpose. Being happy and fulfilled in life is a lot easier when we are fuelled by what really inspires us and live aligned with our spirit, as our true self.

Live From Daryl’s House

Attending the Daryl Hall and John Oates concert this month was a major source of inspiration. I joined a dear friend and her mom to enjoy music they have been long time fans of. I knew some of the music of Daryl Hall and John Oates having owned their Essential double cd for many years. She’s Gone was a favourite on first listen and they mention in the album jacket that the song is the finest they wrote together.

Before the concert, I took the time to watch Behind the Music and discovered many interesting things most important being the internet show Live From Daryl’s House. The claim was the duo have benefitted more that any other 80s act from the internet. This piqued my curiosity and clips of the show were aired at the concert as well. In addition, Daryl Hall formed a friendship with Pat Monahan of Train as a result of the show and are touring together, performing songs together.

I got on my computer the next day and checked out http://www.livefromdarylshouse.com

The show is so brilliant in how it showcases creative collaboration and musical talent new and old I couldn’t stop watching and wondered where I had been the past decade to miss it!! I have always been interested in music and even more so now that I’m teaching indoor cycle regularly. For many years now I have felt that most pop music I hear on the radio is made in a lab and I prefer older music. Live from Daryl’s House is a statement that music made by humans together is very much alive and appreciated.

What has inspired me the most from my journey into the musical world and story behind Daryl Hall and John Oates is the unwavering dedication they each have to their craft. Here I am celebrating 18 years of being in the field of health and wellness and I aspire to continue and dedicate myself for the rest of my life. We all need to make our music in making life good-

 

Social media-unrealistic

I have social media accounts facebook, instagram and twitter. I have been meditating on what it all means for some time and I am drawing the conclusion that social media sets up unrealistic expectations for real life. Kim Kardasian is apparently an ‘influencer’, and that is hard for me to understand…it seems to me that she insidiously sells fashion or procedures of the moment and she makes being fake normal.

I have been off social media for nearly 2 weeks and I notice how much more time I have for myself and my original creative endeavours. I also notice that spending time on social media creates unrealistic expectations especially in terms of our appearance. Why is it that women are held to the standard of having no wrinkles and being a certain size??

I think it is important to reflect upon what standards we are holding ourselves to and the influences in our lives. I believe it is always better to follow our own path and live for ourselves to be who we really are.

 

Recipe: Lemon Poppy Seed Mini Muffins

A classmate at school introduced me to these delicious lemony bites, a healthy treat. It took some repeated experiments and here is the recipe I like most:

2 eggs

Juice of 2 lemons or slightly more, depending on size and juice

2-3 tablespoons honey

Zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, lemon juice, honey and coconut oil. In a small bowl, mix together coconut flour, poppy seeds, baking soda and lemon zest. Add flour mixture to liquid ingredients, mix with a wooden spoon until blended. Spoon into a silicone mini muffin pan. Bake for around 20 min or until tops of muffins are light gold. Allow to cool and enjoy. Optimal lemon flavour is usually the next day. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

Recipe: Creamy Hummus

Hummus is a great healthy snack to have on hand at anytime. Being so busy balancing school and work, I had to set a goal to prepare food for myself, otherwise it is a diet of too much pizza and other takeout. Hummus is really helpful to have on hand as a satisfying small meal.

Hummus can easily be purchased at any grocery store, however, homemade from scratch is so much better. The key is cooking the chickpeas yourself, which delivers superior taste and texture. I have no idea how to make tahini, so I buy jars of tahini. I have no attachment to organic tahini, I use both types. In my experience so far, the tahini that is made from imported ingredients and sold in ethnic shops makes for a smoother hummus.

Here is the original recipe that inspired me to write and share another hummus recipe:
https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/creamy-hummus-with-cumin

Creamy Hummus

For Chickpeas: 1 cup dry chickpeas (soaked overnight in water with 1 tsp baking soda)

2 cloves garlic, jalapeno(whole with top cut off), bay leaf, 1 sprig rosemary(optional)

After chickpeas have been soaked overnight, rinse in a strainer and place chickpeas into a pot with water covering by about 2 inches. Add garlic, jalapeño, bay and rosemary. Bring water and chickpeas to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer until chickpeas are soft, 30-45 min. Discard garlic, jalapeño, bay leaf, and rosemary. Drain and rinse chickpeas, reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid.

For Hummus:

1 clove garlic, slivered

Juice of 1-2 lemons and 1 lime

1/2 cup tahini

Cooked chickpeas(approx 2.5-3 cups)

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp sea salt

Place lemon juice and garlic in food processor and allow garlic to sit in the lemon/lime juice for about 5 min to soften the bite of the raw garlic. Add tahini to lemon juice and garlic, 1/2 of the salt, process until smooth. Add chickpeas, cumin and remaining salt, process until smooth, stopping to scrape sides of the bowl as needed. Check that the texture of the hummus is smooth and creamy. If it seems thick, add a little cooking liquid to improve texture. Adjust salt and or lemon juice to taste, enjoy with crackers, vegetables, in a sandwich or in a bowl as a sauce garnish. Hummus will keep in the fridge for up to a week. This hummus also freezes well.

 

 

 

Positive Accounting

This month, I found myself giving advice to a client to be sure she focuses on counting her successes/wins on a weekly basis rather than how far off she is from her ultimate goal. I named the practice positive accounting, as in counting the positives. Every day is a new day and we have the opportunity to choose our experience.

I need to complete 900 clinical hours in order to graduate from the program as a traditional chinese medicine practitioner. At first 900 hours seemed daunting, plus I set the goal of graduating in 2019. This month I started to focus on the steps I have taken and it just feels better. I am still a good distance from the end, however, I feel as though I am making progress all the time when I focus on the steps I am taking.

Positive accounting very much ties in with the gratitude practice I started in January. Accounting for the positives reminds us we always have what we need to keep moving towards our dreams, goals and inspirations. Not only are we on the right path, we are well on our way to where we need to go.

 

 

Gratitude Practice

Having a gratitude journal has been in my consciousness for several years. In that time, I have practiced gratitude informally and inconsistently. A colleague and friend Erin Phelan encourages us all to have a gratitude practice at her spin class. I got more serious about the practice last year with her enthusiastic encouragement.

At the start of 2018, it became an intention and goal that I will note things I am grateful for each day in my journal. So far it has been an amazing experience. Taking a few minutes each day to reflect on gratitude is the perfect combination of meditation, reflection, positive thinking, prayer, humility, and spirituality. What are the effects? I am finding that the practice of gratitude helps me to focus on the positive direction I can take and to let go of various stressful events much more easily. It feels like contentment and the middle ground is becoming easier to find, which is great news in making life good!

2017 reflections, gratitude and goals

2017 was a year full of discovery and growth for me with many highlights. A couple weeks ago, a client mentioned wanting to make New Years resolutions for 2018. I suggested that he reflect and take stock of all the accomplishments and positive experiences of 2017, make note of the areas that need improvement, which will guide him towards goals to work on for 2018.

Willpower is like a muscle that will fatigue, so when we approach any change of behaviour, it is best to align with what you really want rather than to resolve to change something drastically. Put in other terms finding unconditional acceptance and love for yourself will make any change possible.

I am practicing what I preach today by reflecting, taking stock with gratitude for all the accomplishments and wonderful experiences of 2017. I’m making note of the needs improvement areas and will meditate on and set goals for 2018. Happy new year to all!

Chasing Excellence

My great friend Kathryn is a Crossfit enthusiast. The book Chasing Excellence caught my eye at her house, and she gave me a copy for my birthday. Little did I know it was a book written by Crossfit coach Ben Bergeron and my curiosity was piqued enough to watch every event of the 2017 Crossfit Games.

My exercise habit and program took on a new level of commitment when I was told this summer: ‘You need a trainer’. I took on the challenge and the effects have been immensely positive for my strength and well being in every way. This week I watched this video, which contains some of the best training advice I have come across:

Training with Intention  Ben Bergeron

I have inadvertently followed Ben Bergeron’s recommended ratio of 45% practice, 45% training and 10% competition and have seen amazing progress in my training as a result. His book Chasing Excellence was a great read that places building character first. I agree with him wholeheartedly. It is so important to know what kind of person you want to be. Our physical attributes and accomplishments can change all the time-it is how we handle challenges that build our character.

 

 

Halloween-Who will you be?

I have so many feelings around Halloween. I love seeing little kids, babies and adults in costumes. I love the enthusiasm that people have in anticipation of dressing up. I loved getting lots of candy as a kid. I saw some awesome decorated houses on my walk home and felt a little magic in the air. This year I started colouring a skull drawing in celebration which helped me realize the creative potential of Halloween. The occasion can bring out our creativity and is a great opportunity to ponder the awesome life question of who do I want to be-what kind of a human do I want to be?

As a health professional, I love sugar more than most. I do not view sugar as a villain, and I openly share my love for sweets. However, I quit halloween candy about 10 years ago. I developed an innocent Halloween candy addiction when I bought some for our studio, clients brought in their extra candy and there was a bowl right by our door. I started eating little pieces of chocolate and candy around 10am and every couple hours until the end of the day. After a couple weeks I noticed I had a habit of eating candy that was hard to break. Most importantly, I noticed I was eating a lot of candy that I didn’t really love. It was a simple choice to make when I considered what sweets I truly enjoy eating, so Halloween candy has been off my list. I will eat a piece if a child offers me some from their stash and just the one piece. I had almost forgotten that I quit buying/eating halloween candy until I started reflecting on halloween. What memories do we choose to hold onto?

A couple nights ago, I came across these powerful words in a Paulo Coehlo book:

[It’s not a question of hope in the future. It’s a question of recreating your past.

If you have a past that dissatisfies you, forget it now. Imagine a new story of your life, and believe it. Concentrate only on those moments in which you achieved what you desired, and this strength will help you accomplish what you want.]

 

So on Halloween or any given day we can be who want to be-