Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Reminder to Myself

"Obstacles are necessary for success . . . as in all careers
of importance, victory comes only after many struggles and
countless defeats. Yet each struggle, each defeat, sharpens
your skills and strengths, your courage and your endurance,
your ability and your confidence and thus each obstacle is a
comrade-in-arms forcing you to become better . . . or quit.
Each rebuff is an opportunity to move forward; turn away from
them, avoid them, and you throw away your future."
~ Og Mandino ~

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pardon Me, I'm Coming Through

What could I accomplish if I got out of my own way?  And more importantly, what's with the self-sabotage?

One of my goals lately has been to stop using the word should.  I have to admit, it's not going very well.  "I should get out of bed and do yoga.  I should start writing -a blog, a story, a journal entry, anything.  I should go through that pile of mail.  I should do the numerous "get organized" house projects I have been waiting for winter to accomplish.  Guess what?  Winter is halfway over, and the projects are still not complete."  With this tape playing in my head all day, it's no wonder I was feeling sorry for myself and lacked the motivation to do anything.

After some introspection this evening, I realized that the only thing stopping me from doing all of these things was myself.  I didn't have to wait for or depend on anyone else, I just had to make the conscious decision to get moving.  That thought on it's own actually helped me accomplish a few things.  Then I had a bit of a revelation while I was discussing my situation with a friend.  It still amazes me that I can ponder a situation all day long in my head, and it is not until I actually engage my brain to talk about the issue that the answer suddenly becomes crystal clear.

As a child, we hear from various sources that we are not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, etc.  I am lucky enough as an adult to only have one person that still talks to me that way.  That person is me.   By not accomplishing tasks I feel I "should" be doing, I am unwittingly keeping that same old message of unworthiness playing in my head.  Why do I feel the need to put myself down when no one else is?  I have no idea.  Maybe to keep myself stuck?  Or is it the fear of what I could accomplish if I got out of my own way?  I guess the fact that I am conscious of what I am doing is a good first step.

During the discussion with my friend, I also remembered something useful that would have helped me all day long had I remembered it earlier.  I had an intense reiki session with two of my friends last night.  When it was my turn, they worked on my solar plexus chakra (self esteem and ego), and my sacral chakra (control, guilt, creativity).  I released some major issues I was holding on to.  So much so that the recurring thought that kept running through my head afterwards was "I am confident."  I have never in my life said or felt those three words regarding myself.  What I conveniently forgot was that the day after a session like that, I need to be kind to myself.  Relax and be gentle.  Moving that amount of energy and those kind of long held beliefs takes an adjustment period, and it was normal for me to be out of sorts today.

Part of my fear today was that I was sliding back into a period of unproductive malaise.  After some thought redirection, I realized that instead of the start of a downward spiral this could be the first day of my ascension.  Out of the ashes of the control freak, guilt ridden, low self esteem person I was yesterday, rises the self confident person I have always wished I could be.  Sounds good.  Now I just have to make myself believe it.

Friday, January 21, 2011


My entire life I have been afraid of failing.  I have always been an overachiever, going above and beyond what was required of me so that I didn't have to deal with failure.  When I decided I wanted to become a pilot, failure was never an option.  I did whatever I had to do to succeed.  I never had a Plan B, because the thought of not accomplishing Plan A never even crossed my mind.

Does that mean everything worked out perfectly for me and exactly the way I planned it?  Of course not.  What it means is that when something happened that was outside my control (or within my control such as a bad choice or decision), I used it as an opportunity for growth.  Instead of letting it derail my Success Express, I learned from it and moved on.

By expecting nothing but success, I was unconsciously using the Law Of Attraction.  I was creating a positive outcome for myself, because I was only thinking about the positive goal I wanted to create.  I did not spend time focusing on what I didn't want to have happen.  Sometimes by focusing on what we don't want, we inadvertently draw those exact things towards us.

My positive thoughts about becoming a pilot have served me well.  I have a great job, some would say one of the best jobs in the airline industry.  And yet I find myself unfulfilled.  I am feeling called to start something new.  To help people through my writing.  And the thought of that is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.  Over the past few years, my fear of failing has somehow overtaken my ability to envision only success.  Whether it be age, wisdom, or fear, I find myself in the position of being afraid of the unknown.  I had to write the previous paragraphs to remind myself that what I accomplished once can easily be accomplished again with the right attitude.

I mentioned to a friend of mine that my fear of failing as a writer was starting to hold me back.  She then asked what I considered failure.   I said that I felt like a failure if I didn't accomplish my goals, or if I didn't finish what I had set out to do.  She told me to replace the word fail with learn or evolve.  Instead of thinking I've failed, realize that I have learned something from the experience.  If I did not achieve the goal, maybe it wasn't the right goal in the first place.  By having the courage to show up and make the effort, I have evolved and changed the experience into what it was meant to be for me to grow.  In her mind, the only way to fail is to not try.

One of my current goals is to release judgement of myself and others.  My own opinions make a situation good or bad - without them the situation just is.  The labels that I give something, either good or bad, are what affect my feelings towards the situation.  If I remove my judgements regarding failing, and realize that it is neither good nor bad, there is no reason to fear it anymore.

If I start something new and it doesn't go according to plan, then I take the lesson and the evolution and I move on.  If I go back to my teenage attitude of invincibility, then I will accomplish whatever it is I set out to do anyway.  Focus on what I want, instead of what I want to avoid.  And if there is no Plan B, then Plan A has to work.  And Plan A is looking better and better all the time.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Yoga and Ayurveda

I first started practicing yoga about 10 years ago, and have practiced on a sporadic basis since then.  My intro to yoga was a cross between power yoga and hot yoga, and it was one of the best workouts I have ever had.  My body is not usually limber; I cannot even bend over and touch my toes.  After attending yoga classes on a regular basis, I felt a lot like gumby.  This gave me the motivation to continue, because I didn't want to lose my newfound flexibility.

Flash forward 10 years to my yoga session yesterday.  This yoga session was meant to be restorative, contemplative, and relaxing.  There are certain poses that help bring the doshas back into balance, and several of them I had already been intuitively practicing.  It still amazes me how the body knows what to do if we quiet the mind and listen.

Before we started the session, I mentioned that I had been feeling chilled frequently.  I am always cold, but this was a different kind of cold.  Normally, my hands and feet are like ice cubes when I am cold.  I am required to wear socks to bed and keep my hands off of my husband until they warm up, to give you an idea of how cold I can get.

Lately I have been feeling chilled just through my torso, even when the rest of me is warm.  The yoga teacher informed me that a vata imbalance lodges in the spine, which was probably causing me to feel chilled.  The poses we were going to work on would loosen up the spine, which is something I have always had trouble with anyway.  I have never been able to do a backbend, even as a child.  My spine seems to move in one solid mass, from my neck to my waist.

I also mentioned that I wanted to work on my posture.  I have always been tall, and as a child I compensated for towering over my classmates by slumping my shoulders.  Never a popular kid, I didn't want to draw any more attention to myself than necessary.  Lately when I walk past a mirror, I am appalled at how slumped my shoulders are.  It feels as if I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, and it is almost too much effort to hold them back.

The yoga instructor focused a lot on my core, the area in the stomach close to the navel.  I had heard this term before, although I must admit I never really understood it.  She told me to imagine pulling my stomach in through my back.  The trick is to be firm but not tense, which takes some practice.  The area in the back behind the belly button is associated with will power.  When I started focusing on holding my stomach in this way an incredible thing happened.  My shoulders immediately went back and it was almost impossible to slouch.  Normally after attempting to hold my shoulders back for about a minute, it was so uncomfortable I would give up.  But by focusing on my stomach instead, the shoulders became a mere afterthought.  And I can handle a little burn in my stomach, I like the thought of flattening it while strengthening it.  A win win situation all the way around.

This yoga session was not the hard core workout I was used to, but I must admit I enjoyed it immensely.  In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I was able to get out of bed an hour early this morning and practice again.  An hour early - on a Saturday.  Previously unheard of.  I guess there is a reason Ayurveda has been around for 5000 years.  I'm glad I'm finally catching on.

More About Ayurveda

I've discussed my Ayurvedic experiences thus far in other posts, but I'll try and condense it here for those of you that don't read my blog regularly.  (Although you should!).

Ayurveda is defined in the dictionary as the ancient Hindu science of health and medicine.  Started over 5000 years ago in India and currently practiced there, it is slowly starting to catch on in the United States.  According to Ayurveda, there are 3 doshas within the body that make up our constitution - vata, pitta, and kapha.  Each must be balanced to have good health, and an imbalance causes illness.

When I had my Ayurvedic consultation last month, I was told I was constitutionally pitta with a vata imbalance.  The vata imbalance is caused by years of traveling, which aggravates vata.  The Ayurvedic doctor prescribed several things for me, most of which are a huge challenge to the western lifestyle.  Luckily for me, I was doing a lot of these things already.

A panchakarma was recommended, which is a detox program to rev up digestion and balance the doshas.  My panchakarma was a three day series of massage and dietary restrictions.  I wrote about my experience in this entry.  Panchakarma.  And the more positive follow up here.  Panchakarma results. The dietary restrictions were to ease the load on the digestive system, and increase the digestive fire.  It worked, because I was hungry all of the time.  I was used to dietary restrictions from working with the nutritionist last year, so although it was difficult it didn't mess with my head too much.  Unlike the other poor girl who was doing a panchakarma at the same time.  I thought she was going to have a full on mutiny when she was told to stop eating yogurt. (Sour, cold, difficult to digest).

Diet-wise, the Dr. recommended room temperature drinks, mostly vegetarian meals, and cooked food instead of raw.  No yogurt or spicy food.  All of this was to ease the load on my digestive system.  She also recommended meditation, self massage, and yoga.

I was scheduled for two private yoga sessions, the first of which I had yesterday. My intent for this post was to write about the yoga.  Since I've taken up most of the post describing Ayurveda, I will write about yoga in the next post.  Ahh, the dreaded TO BE CONTINUED..........

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Take Time to Savor the Flavor

I have been making an effort this year to eat more consciously.  Paying more attention to the food I put in my mouth, and appreciating the enormous effort it takes just to get the food on my plate.  The planting, harvesting, packaging, shipping, preparation - it's a major event just to make a plate of food.  Lately I've been about halfway through my meal before I remember to be thankful.  That's ok, eventually if I do that enough maybe I'll remember it at the beginning of the meal.

The thing I'm having the hardest time with is trying not to multi-task while I eat.  Especially if I'm eating alone, I look at that time as a way to catch up on things like my e-mail or a time to pay bills.  Now that I'm actually trying to pay attention to eating and only eating, it's hard not to feel guilty.  Sometimes it feels like I'm wasting the time in between bites by not doing something else.

I've noticed that the food tastes much better when I'm not distracted.  It makes me realize how often I don't even taste what I am eating.  The other day we were at the Indian buffet (although stuffet would be a better description).  I was shoveling mango pudding into my mouth like someone was about to take my plate away from me.  When I realized I was doing this, I consciously slowed down.  I put a very small spoonful of pudding in my mouth and closed my eyes.  It was amazing how much better the dessert tasted.

I've been trying this approach with all kinds of sweets lately.  In the past, I have never understood the point of mini chocolates or candy bars.  Instead of eating one and being satisfied, the minute size was just an excuse for me to eat 5 or 6 of them.  It was easy just to pop the whole thing in my mouth, but then the pleasure was over much too soon.  What I am now trying to do is take incredibly small bites of dessert, and really pay attention to the taste of the food.  

I know it sounds crazy, but give this a try.  The next time you have dessert, take a giant mouthful and eat it like you normally do.  Then take a tiny bite, close your eyes, and really savor the flavor of the food before you swallow it.  Notice a difference?  I do.  Even if you don't, the site of you closing your eyes at the dinner table and concentrating on your food will at least entertain your family.  Bon Appetit!

Friday, January 7, 2011

To Eat, Or Not to Eat, Or What to Eat - That is the Question

I've spent a lot of time this past year learning about health, food, nutrition and allergies.  I've worked with several specialists, and each one seems to contradict the one before.  Here are some examples.

Nutritionist - says avoid wheat and dairy, eat only raw nuts, lots of sea vegetables and raw green drinks - prescribes an herb that the acupuncturist says not to take

Acupuncturist (who I have worked with longer than anyone) - says avoid dairy, very bad except for yogurt - wheat ok - says not to take the herb the natural health doctor has prescribed 

Natural health doctor - told me I was sensitive to wheat, dairy, and mold - we're working on getting rid of the sensitivity, but I don't know what the process is called.  Also has me completely paranoid about my son's vaccinations, but that is another blog.

Ayurvedic Indian Doctor - wheat is fine, dairy is fine if it's warm or at room temperature, no sea vegetables (not local), no raw foods for now (difficult to digest), roasted nuts are better than raw.

I guess what I'm going to do is take bits and pieces from everyone's suggestions, and trust my intuition about what to eat.  In the past I have craved things that are exactly what I should be eating for their healing properties at the right time.  Intuitively, I think the sea vegetables are fine, I like the raw nuts better, and I don't think the wheat makes me feel great.  Cheese is a definite no no, much as I love it.  But just like anything, you learn to live without it.  I remember when I first decided to become a vegetarian, I thought I'd never stop craving meat.  Now I can't imagine eating it again.  The same thing happened when I gave up cheese.  I thought I would never enjoy food again, as most of what I ate was either smothered with cheese or served with a side of cheese.  

The Indian Dr. says that once we get rid of the toxins in my body then I should be able to eat anything without the allergic reaction.  Since my allergies started at age 30 and worsened every year ( after several years of not being a healthy vegetarian), I think maybe she's right.  She says that the reason most people have a problem with dairy is that they eat/drink it cold right out of the fridge.  I don't remember why, but she said if you warm it first it shouldn't be a problem.  Right now I'm trying an Ayurveda suggestion that has worked wonders for my sleep.  I drink a glass of warm milk with 1/2 teaspoon of ghee and a pinch of turmeric right before bed each night.  Ghee is the Indian miracle food, and turmeric is so good for you I want to put it on everything.

Each night I have had this to drink, I have slept straight through the night and the alarm clock barely wakes me up.  Previously, I would often wake in the middle of the night to get up and use the bathroom.  Last night I was in the hotel and I didn't have milk.  I thought I was tired enough to sleep without it, but I slept very fitfully last night, waking up several times.  Give it a try if you have trouble sleeping, I'd be interested to hear if it works for you.

Am I sorry that I have worked with several different people that all give me different suggestions?  Absolutely not.  I learn something from each and every one of them.  It's now up to me to figure out what works for me and what doesn't.  And the benefit to all of this is that I'm learning to trust my intuition more.  It always amazes me when I start craving and eating xxxxx, and then I go to the acupuncturist and she says, "try eating xxxxx for your condition."  The body really does know what it needs if we learn how to tune in and listen.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I'm trying to curb my facebook addiction, but it's not working because I have such inspirational friends.  First the haiku by my friend Mike, and now a quote from the book "Ask and it is Given" from my friend Stephanie.

"Worrying is using your imagination to create something you do not want."

And another favorite of mine, though I don't know who to quote it to -

"Worry is negative prayer."

So stop worrying, and start drawing positive things towards you!  Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year's Haiku

A haiku by one of my friends that inspired me today.

before the sunrise
light is already shining
waken to your own

by Mike Deaton

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bring on the Joy in 2011

Happy New Year.  May 2011 bring you health, joy, peace, love and hugs.  I know it will be a great year for me, because that's what I intend to manifest for myself and my family.

Last year we made a family list of what we were thankful for in 2009.  It was really interesting to read back over the list this year.  Some of the entries were serious, like being thankful for the outcome of a very bad car accident involving my mom, 3 year old son, and 5 year old niece.  Then there were the silly entries, like doorknobs and Myth Busters.

This year we did the thankful list again for 2010.  The silly entries were things like belly button fluff and Winter Solstice beer ( and Moo hoo, and Bell's Double Cream Stout, etc. etc.)  I'll let you guess which input belonged to my 4 year old and which one belonged to my husband.

We also added a new list this year - things we intend to manifest in 2011.  The entries were things like; finding some direction in life, learning to play the drums, planting blueberries and seeing the Aurora Borealis.  I really enjoyed sharing this special time with my husband and son.  Sometimes life gets so busy that we don't have time to share our hopes and dreams and gratitude with the ones we love. This was the perfect opportunity to do that, and a great way to spend an evening.

This exercise was a great way to reminisce about some forgotten past moments, and to set our intentions for all we plan to accomplish in the future.  That being said, I've just come up with something else I'm adding to my manifestation list.  The ability to live in the present moment, and enjoy this time right now.  Because right now, everything is just fine.  Blessings for a wonderful 2011.

Apologies to Panchakarma

Expectation.  Sometimes it can really screw you up.  I'm realizing now that my disappointment with my Panchakarma was all based on my expectations.

I recently read an article by someone that had experienced a Panchakarma with the same practitioner that was doing mine.  The reason I didn't think I was getting any results has just occurred to me.  It's because I kept comparing my experience to his.  Each body is different, so each will respond to this process in a different way.  Just because he was expelling a lot of toxin through his GI tract and I wasn't, doesn't mean it didn't work for me.

The fact that the steam tent was my favorite part of every day (and I normally hate to sweat), should tell me that I was probably removing toxins that way.  The last day the therapist put her hand on my stomach and made a comment that surprised me.  There is an artery that runs through the stomach, and she said she had never felt one pulsate the way that mine was.  Thanks to my son's Christmas present (the They Might Be Giants science cd), I realized that this was another way my body was expelling toxins.  (  The Bloodmobile, my son's favorite song on the album)

When I started the Panchakarma, I was advised that the first 2 days might be exhausting.  I was also told that this process could bring up some emotional "toxins", and that by the third day I would start to feel better.  I thought I was feeling just fine the first two days, just a little tired, but now I realize I was definitely in a negative place.

I also realized that even though I didn't have any "Hallelujah - come to Jesus - I am healed" moments, there were definitely some subtle shifts happening in my body.  For instance, the fact that I was sleeping like the dead.  I normally get up at least once a night to go to the bathroom.  The last few nights I have slept straight thru the night, and I didn't even hear my son get out of bed.  A highly unusual occurrence for me.  I also haven't had the usual "can't think of the word I want/ where are my keys/ clumsies" that have been a part of every day life for a while.  I was also hungry all the time, which was explained as a change in my "digestive fire."  AGNI - (Digestive Fire) description

Here's another great example of a subtle change in memory.  When I couldn't get the above link to work with copy and paste, I remembered how to do it another way.  My husband has shown me half a dozen times how to do it this other way, but I can never remember.  I'm also suddenly motivated to do certain projects I have been procrastinating about for a month.  And I'm getting them done in record time.  Could this all be a coincidence?  Would I have been motivated with the New Year to do this stuff anyway?  Maybe.  I guess time will tell. All I can say is that I am noticing subtle differences, and I am much happier with the results today than I was on Thursday.

Is this something I will do again?  I think so.  Spring and fall are the best times to do a panchakarma.  Since a five day regimen was recommended to me and I only did three, I think I might go back and do the extra two days in the spring.  Why not spring clean my body along with the house?  Two days of warm oil massage sounds like a great way to say goodbye to winter.  Now how could that be a bad thing?