The start of 2018 brought to mind the concept and practice of gratitude. I practiced something of a gratitude journal and after some time realized gratitude is more of an attitude, a frame of mind, a form of consciousness. With the continual practice of placing focus on a more positive frame of mind, I noticed being grateful helps build strength towards being inspired.
As the sun sets on 2018, I’m taking stock of all the amazing things that happened and all that I learned. The challenging experiences I take note and consider how I can improve and learn. Every challenge in life is a test of what you really stand for-
Tomorrow, the first day of the year, I’ll take extra time to meditate and reflect on my intentions for 2019. Happy new year!
At a cycle class I taught last week just after American Thanksgiving, I shared that now is the time to be extra serious about workouts. We all enjoy some extra food and drink during the upcoming festive season. Being sure to make time for exercise is an important step to staying healthy. This way January is a fresh new year without any major work such as weight loss required.
In other words the best weight loss program is prevention. Many life changes/circumstances can result in weight gain. However, the holiday season is an easily avoidable situation if we carve out the time to keep up with workouts, eating healthy while not at celebrations, and getting high quality sleep. Yes, you will skip some workouts. My recommendation is to maintain the greater majority of your activity level. For example, if you usually are active or work out 20 times/month, make a commitment to yourself to do at least 15 workouts in December. This is Making Life Good formula for enjoying the holidays and staying in shape. Cheers!
I celebrated my birthday recently by choosing a Wayne Dyer book for myself. I chose Real Magic and I have been loving the book. Essentially the message is we can experience real magic in our lives by choosing to align with our invisible spiritual selves first and foremost. Another way to understand this is to develop our intuition and use it to guide us.
Intuition is visible and invisible information experienced in the body as sensations that guide us. The discernment and application of knowledge through all of our senses and mind in combination with any extra information we perceive/sense is the effective use of intuition. Our first impressions are quite useful as a marker of our intuition. Be it a person or life situation, using our first impression as guidance can be helpful.
I discussed crystal balls and tarot cards at my last yoga class. I believe these are tools that can be used as guidance for yourself. We cannot know the future, however, we can clarify what our intentions are, which will guide us in the right direction. Developing your intuition through trusting it and taking appropriate action guides your spiritual growth to help you find the best path for yourself.
After a cycle class recently at the Toronto Athletic Club I found myself stepping in and giving food recommendations to an out of town guest who needed some healthy food soon. That gave me the idea to share my picks for lunch in the downtown core.
My favourite spot is the hot table at Mcewan for the variety of absolutely delicious food. It is the best self serve hot/cold bar I have tried yet. I like to fill a box with whatever catches my fancy. Their jerk chicken is the best! I much prefer getting there before 12pm, as the selection is best with a shorter line to pay. As lunch hour goes on, the selection dwindles.
TD Centre 66 Wellington St W http://mcewan.mcewangroup.ca
I have really enjoyed Greenbox ever since it was introduced to me by a friend this summer. The grab and go boxed salads are delicious. I also enjoy the variety of bowls they serve. The recipes are developed by the owner and I recently tried the hazelnut energy ball, all very good!
200 University Ave https://greenboxexpress.ca
Assembly Chefs Food Hall is another interesting option. Think of it as a food court with great food. Little Dailo is always a good choice
111 Richmond St W https://www.assemblychefshall.com
Forno Cultura has the most delicious cookies and sweets(I love the pistachio amaretti and apricot pastry) The grab and go sandwiches are hearty and tasty
First Canadian Place 100 King St W https://www.fornocultura.com/#first-canadian-place
I also enjoy Copper Branch as an option for tasty vegan food. The fries are particularly good here.
199 Bay St https://eatcopperbranch.com
Recently I was asked what my most important value(s) are. It was a great question and I had to say it was my word. I’ve written a couple pieces over the past 6 years that reference the habit of saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Or being mindful of your speech. What we say can be meaningless or hugely meaningful. It is a powerful choice we can make. The concept is referenced in the bible-‘in the beginning was the word’
In Buddhism, the concept is right speech. Right speech can be practiced by asking the questions of: is it true? is it necessary? is it kind? can it be heard?
Before we speak. This is a level of mindfulness that brings about compassionate communication that is bound to bring positive change to the world-
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.
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-
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.
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:
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.