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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Parenting- a mix of zen and unzen

I have been reading a book over break all about finding your center, being zen, blah blah blah.  So I woke up this morning ready to live a very zen life. 

I was zen until...6:22 when my first child busted in the bathroom while I was trying to pee.  I have officially meditated for 35 seconds.  I screamed at my youngest and told her that I would drop her off at the nearest orphanage if she didn't stop sticking her tongue out at me.  In fact, I have counted five interruptions since I have started writing this blog.  Yeah, I got this zen thing down. 

Now, in trying to be "zen" I am trying not to be critical and judgemental of my failures to be zen.  I have enough of that from family, friends, and random strangers at the grocery store.  As if my own self-criticism weren't harsh enough, parents have to deal with parenting tips from others and my two favorite statements:

"I would NEVER let MY kid do that" and "MY kids NEVER did that."

When I encounter these statements I have come up with very peaceful, zen replies:
"Everyone parents differently" and "Wow.  That's really amazing. You should hold a parenting seminar."   (My unzen thoughts are usually "Bullshit and go fuck yourself.")

Parenting is the most challenging thing that I have ever done.  It is physically and emotionally draining.  It makes you question every single decision you make.  It makes you hate your partner, hate your children, hate your family/friends/that bitch at the grocery store, and hate yourself (usually momentarily, sometimes for weeks at a time).   But for every unzen moment I have had today, I have had moments of holding my child and eye gazing with her.  I got to talk a friend through a tough parenting moment where she just needed to be listened to and not criticized.  And I know that later tonight I will watch my husband with my children and feel completely whole for 35 seconds before the fighting starts over who gets to cuddle where. 

I am a parent 100% of the time.  There is not a lot of down time for meditation. And just when you relax for the night, someone coughs or pukes.  I am hoping to to be zen for 10% of the day tomorrow and I'm pretty sure my best chance to meditate is when I take a shower.  Although that is never a guarantee, I am going to keep trying.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Limitations+ doubt = bullshit

One of my best friends totally inspired me today.  She told me that instead of making resolutions this year, she is not going to set limitations for herself.

I love this.  In fact, I'm obsessed with it's simplistic brilliance. How many times do we get wrapped up in shoulds, woulds, cant's and wont's?  Resolutions often have undertones of negativity that just don't serve us.  Instead of thinking in these terms, it seems to be much more productive to focus our energy on believing in ourselves, believing in our capabilities, shutting down those doubting voices in our heads, and live without fear of failure.

Repeat after me:  I will not set limitations for myself.

I am choosing to cop my friend's style this year and live without limits.  I am going to truly believe in myself, in the universe, and in the wonderful people in my life and know that they will take me where I need to go at the pace that I am meant to be going.  I am going to manifest all of the beautiful things I can for myself and the incredible people in my life. Most importantly, instead of focusing on fears and anxiety, I am going to shift my thoughts to fearlessness and positivity.   I will work hard to get all of the things I want out of my life that I have either consciously or unconsciously have been afraid to see come to fruition.  

2012 is going to be the year of NO LIMITS! 


Monday, December 26, 2011

A Christmas Miracle

I have chosen to surround myself with wonderful, positive, generous people.  Life is too short to hang with assholes.  Although time and busy schedules often separate us, it amazes me how some of my friends know exactly what I need and when I need it, even if they are unaware of the impact of their actions/words.  The highlight of my Christmas this year was not only getting to see a good friend that I have not been able to spend nearly enough time with this year, but to experience her absolute selflessness and how connected we really are.

Christmas Eve morning, Nate and I were checking out Molly's favorite boots and realized that they were pretty much done for the year.  In fact, both of the girls were in dire need of new boots. My good friend texted me early that afternoon asking if she could stop by with gifts for the kids.  When she stopped by she busted out... UGG Boots for the girls.  It was truly a Christmas miracle.  Not only did the girls get the boots they desperately needed, but she bought them The Creme de la Creme of boots.  I was absolutely blown away- not only by her generosity- but that she knew (without knowing) exactly what we needed and when we needed it.  Some would consider this a coincidence, but I am too much of a new age hippie to believe that nonsense.

I call that being in tune. 

Thank you to my friend, who has been there for me through thick and thin, and is truly generous to everyone in her life, including my children.  She is someone who gives without expectations.  A person like her is rare and unique and I am so lucky to have her in my life.

I love you

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The year in Crossfit

About one year ago, I walked into Crossfit Inspire in Frasier, PA for the first time.  I remember walking into the "box," not knowing anyone (except Dylan, the person who got me started- THANK YOU), seeing the prescribed workout on the board, and almost shitting my pants.  I am a former college athlete and before starting Crossfit, would have considered myself in pretty good shape.

That all changed.

One year ago I remember telling my coach, Darin, that I have never done a pull up and would probably never do one.  That day, with the help of a band, I did ten.  Today I did 14 without a band.  I am an almost 32 year old woman who has two kids and am in better shape today than I have ever been in my life.

In one year, I have challenged myself to face fears.  I have scaled walls.  I have done GHD situps, I have done box jumps, I have bench pressed, dead lifted, squat snatched and lifted heavy, heavy weights- sometimes close to, if not more than my own body weight.  I ran a 10 mile race and smashed my goal time.  I (kind of) did a Dragon Boat race. 

I have watched my body change. Not in the "oooooh! I'm so skinny, now" but in the "ooooh!  I'm strong as shit, now!"  The confidence from seeing new, strong muscles has been way more gratifying than the exhausting challenge of dieting to see sharp hipbones.  Now I'm building the body that I want, not the body that others think I should have.

I have looked at other people with such respect and admiration.  Seeing them push themselves and then having the self-awareness and grace to take a step back when need be has been beautiful to observe.  I have seen all shapes, sizes, fitness levels, ages, and genders kick ass, take names, and then take them again.

I have a new team.  As someone who has always been on a team my entire life, I feel like this was something that was really missing in my adult life.  I missed practices, competition, and the bond that comes from being with team mates.  Now I have that again. I have to force myself to take rest days because if meeting the challenges of the workout wasn't incentive enough, getting to seeing my buddies and what they have accomplished makes it really difficult to take a day off.  Today, when I did pull ups for the first time without a band, I was obviously excited, but I also had the joy of sharing it with my friends/team mates, who were just as thrilled as I was. 

So if I sound passionate about this, I am.  I love it.  This has been probably the best part of 2011 for me and has helped me cope with stress, hard ships, deaths of friends and family, and the trauma of being dumped into the Schuylkill river during the Dragon Boat Race (hahaha). 

I am always willing to introduce you to Crossfit.  Do yourselves a favor and take me up on it. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nate is great

I am on my 6th day all vegan and mostly raw.  It always amazes me how good I feel when I am living this way.  Not only physically, but mentally.  I don't operate with hang ups and guilt.  It is really nice to free myself of those demons.

I have to give some serious shout outs and props to my husband.  Nate was my inspiration in becoming a vegetarian many, many years ago and becoming so passionate about nutrition.  He has been helping me out the last couple of weekends with the grocery shopping.  The reasons being two-fold:  1) I ALWAYS go WAY over budget and 2) to take something off my insane to-do list. 

Here is why he is awesome.  When Nate came home from the store on Sunday, I helped him to unpack the groceries.  I noticed that there was only one animal product- butter.  Nate did not pick up any meat, eggs, or other dairy products in a silent, manly show of support for me.  It really meant a lot and I called him out on his super sensitivity right away despite his effort to be stoic about it.  He told me that he understands how important this decision is to me and that having meat in the house is too big of a temptation. 

Nate also had a very insightful point for me.  I was making too much out of food.  Whether it was raw, paleo, or regular old food, I have been over thinking it, trying to make it gourmet, and not focusing on just eating for function.  I have been making food WAY too complicated.  All of those years of watching Food Network has made me feel like I have to be the nutritional Giada at every meal.  He is helping me take the pressure off myself and off the household by just fixing a healthy, uncomplicated vegan dinner that everyone enjoys. 

On Sunday, it was as simple as brown rice, some veggies, a little sesame oil, and some Nama Shoya.  It was uncomplicated, delicious and everyone- even the kids- enjoyed it. 

I am really, really grateful for my supportive, wonderful husband.  He loves my brand of crazy like no other. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Finding peace

This blog is for me to be honest with you and honest with myself.  Now that my school schedule is mellowing out, I've had a little more time to myself to focus on what is real to me and what I really want.  I think about what makes me feel peaceful and what makes me feel turmoil.

So once again, I find myself inspired to give this vegan thing a go again.  The funny thing that has shifted in me this time is a little different than what has moved me in the past.  Before, it was all about my own health.  This time it's not only about my health, but the health of others, including animals.  I watched Food, Inc. with my husband one night last week.  I would recommend watching it.  I enjoyed it, but to be honest, it didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know.  The thing that caused my shift was in a scene where a farmer on a family non-factory farm shoved a chicken in a shoot thing and slit its' throat.  It was quick, and probably the best method of death for that chicken, but it really bothered me.  I've been ruminating on it, and haven't eaten meat since I saw it.

Violence really bothers me.  For those of you who know me, I cannot watch horror movies, not because of blood and gore, but because I cannot watch people (and apparently animals) being hurt.  When I was a kid, my dad would stab the pumpkin we were carving for Halloween and scream like he was hurting it to be funny.  Even that bothered my little sensitive heart. 

So I've made a fo' real decision to move forward.  To be peaceful.  To make changes based on that peace and to achieve optimal health.  If I have candida flare ups, I know to eat more avocados, greens, and green juices and less fruits.

I keep having this number of one year in my head.  My intuition says that if I make it a year, I can change.  So that is how shit is going to go.  I'm going vegan for one year.  Today is day one of year one.  I will keep you posted.  Please keep me in your thoughts, prayers, and manifestations.  I really need your positive energy and support.  In fact, I'm begging for it. 

It's early, so here is what I've consumed today for those interested
shot of wheatgrass, lime, cayenne pepper, and stevia in 10oz water
8 oz green juice
3 celery sticks and peanut butter (2.5 tbspn)

Lunch will probably be a protein smoothie and dinner probably a salad with avocado and olive oil.  Maybe a Larabar in there somewhere. 

Every time I have gone back and forth I have learned something new and have made progress.  I am really hoping to find peace and wisdom through this process and that on December 1, 2012, I will be blogging that I made it one whole year as a vegan!

For those of you looking for some detox ideas, here is a great website I am starting to promote: