Meditation Series Update – Cultivating Calm

As you may recall, I registered to participate in Oprah & Deepak Chopra’s free Meditation Series, “Expanding Your Happiness”. The series was 21 days. I completed 15 days and then lost track. Overall, though, I enjoyed the experience, and I would happily do it again. Meditation, calm, relaxation, and the journey inward are all part of a practice, and for me it really does take practice. It wasn’t a perfect journey, but I enjoyed the days that I did put the effort in.

I thought I would share the 15 days’ worth of centering thoughts that were so helpful to me:

1. “happiness is my true nature”
2. “I am filled with spirit”
3. “I am peace”
4. “I am love”
5. “I am playful”
6. “hope lights my path”
7. “I am wholeness”
8. “we are here to enjoy”
9. “my actions have purpose”
10. “I am content just as I am”
11. “kindness expresses the gentleness of the soul”
12. “life makes me smile and laugh”
13. “I am thankful for all I have”
14. “my happiness energizes and inspires me”
15. “my happiness shines everywhere”

I’m slowly trying to cultivate more calm in my life, and that can mean a lot of things from sitting quietly without electronics to spending time in the garden to focusing on simple words to help me sleep. I also love Calm.com for a quick chill-out in the middle of a work day, and this great one-minute meditation video:

What do you do to ‘keep calm’ ?

Happy September!

From today until the end of 2015, I’m going to be working on 16 months’ worth of goals and self improvement. For the most part, this will include working on becoming very healthy, restructuring our finances to meet our 2016 goals of buying a house and being financially ready for TTC, making the most of my career, improving my emotional well-being (managing anxiety) and spending more time and effort reading and learning. My efforts in these areas will be the focus of the blog going forward.

I thought I would start today off by doing a little healthy food meal prep. Our garden has been offering some beautiful harvest recently and it’s a great time of year for cheap local produce.

I started the day off with some green juice- garden kale, garden cucumber, local zucchini, and local bell peppers.

Next I made a variation on eggplant parm – local eggplant, garden tomatoes and herbs, Ezekiel breading, and a basic cheese sauce (mozzarella, cheddar, cream cheese and egg – just trying to use what we have on hand).

Finally I made a roasted eggplant and pepper dip for chicken etc. with local eggplant, local and garden bell peppers (green and purple) and local jalapeno with lemon and butter.

sept1

My first priority on this journey is truly my health. It’s so true- where I slack, I lack. I look forward to putting better effort into taking care of myself, which will in turn allow me to succeed in my career, which will in turn propel our finances forward, which puts us closer to so many of our goals. If I don’t take the time and effort to take care of myself, I don’t get to see myself progressing. This is priority one.

Wake Up Smoothie

I am slowly working on cutting back caffeine, but meanwhile I do usually have a cup at least every other day and often one cup a day when I’m busy with work. This is a great way to get my coffee for the morning, it’s cool, refreshing and it includes breakfast! Perfect for a busy weekday morning!

Wake Up Smoothie (use as much of each as you see fit, I made enough to last through breakfast and lunch):

coffee (ice) cubes
frozen banana
frozen berries
good organic oats
cacao/cocoa powder
chia seeds
almond milk
water
{greens would be perfect here, I just happened to not have harvested the garden before making this this morning}

This is like having dessert for breakfast! It’s marvelous and totally versatile. You could add just about any of the usual smoothie suspects to this.

Don’t Quit

I had a moment last week. Many of us have had this moment. I saw a recent picture of myself and thought “Who IS that?” It just didn’t look like the me I want to be presenting to the world. I’ll admit, I was sad. I was embarrassed. I was even a little scared. Instead of getting lost in those feelings though, I decided to make a conscious decision to just channel the frustration. To get some momentum and keep using it. To let it motivate me. When you’re discouraged, it’s really easy to quit. Ultimately, though, it’s easier to continue than to start all over once the discouraged feelings wear off. I love this quote:

“if you hate having to start over again, don’t quit”

So, I’m taking little steps.

I have a few things working for me on this journey:

1. I know what to do. I know how to exercise, how to eat well, how to be positive and carry on.

2. I enjoy being active. Of course, it often feels like it’s easier not to, but when I do it, I enjoy it. I feel good about myself afterward. There’s a lot of good payoff there

3. I love healthy food. I enjoy many unhealthy foods too, but I’m an avid vegetable and culinary herb gardener, I’m pretty aware of and grateful for where my food comes from, and I truly love most healthy foods. It’s just about adding in more good stuff to crowd out the bad stuff (a sentiment I borrowed from the Hungry For Change documentary- highly recommended)

4. I know WHY I need to be healthy. I work in the medical field, I’m pretty connected to my inner self and to my future goals– all good motivators for a healthy life!

5. That photo serves as an EXCELLENT motivator to be thinking clearly and working hard on becoming a version of me that I’m happy and proud to present to the world.

And best of all, I have lots of support. I have a great network of family & friends who inspire and encourage me.

I’m just going to KEEP GOING!

five simple steps to healthier living

My husband and I are leaning into a healthier lifestyle. We’ve been on and off about healthy living, and right now we have some work to do. We’ve been moderately healthy, but we don’t always have good habits. We enjoy being active but are most often inactive. We enjoy healthy food but often eat too much unhealthy food. You get the idea. So right now we’re working on five simple things to lean us in to a healthier September (and beyond):

1. Get enough sleep

2.  Drink enough water

3. Eat enough fruits & vegetables

4. Take a multivitamin

5. Start walking regularly

* I know there is some debate out there about vitamins, and I’m not really interested in participating in that debate. The simple fact is that right now our diet is suboptimal. While we’re working on it, we have decided to supplement. That is a decision we feel good about.

The Importance of Work

 This is an exercise from my personal development binder outlining the purpose of working and working hard/working smart. Of course, work can mean any way you contribute in life and does not necessarily mean work for pay.

This is only my particular exercise about my particular work life {again, the only life I know how to live is my own}. This is not one size fits all – everyone’s list would be a little different. This is a wonderful exercise though, and I thought it was worth sharing. It really gives my career goals some weight when I get down to the MEANING behind them.

Because this is real life, I do not necessarily give my very best every single day, but this a helpful reminder of why I should be committed to doing just that. This is a good page in my binder to turn to when I’m feeling unmotivated or discouraged, and it helps me remember why my career goals are so very important. It’s a good, simple way to renew my focus.

Essentially the exercise is to answer the following questions:

 why bother setting goals to succeed in my career? what is my motivation? why is it important to do my best at work?

CAREER
Why I always strive to do great work:

To contribute to society: to participate in making the world better, to do something to help

For my loved ones: to contribute to our marriage by doing my part to help my husband, bear his burdens and make his life easier & to make my family & friends proud

For my coworkers: To make sure I am a valuable team member and the work load is fairly divided

For the clients: To be delivering a premium quality service for client satisfaction (and thus continued contracts)

For our financial freedom: to make money to finance our daily life and contribute to our financial goals/make our dreams come true

For my emotional health: To feel needed, to feel proud of the work I do, to relieve stress {“as a cure for worry, work”), to be confident

For my physical health: to be productive {which is essential for health & happiness}.

For my mental health: to keep growing and learning, to exercise my brain and stay sharp

To guard my character: I do my best work as a point of honor: to have a clear conscience, to sleep well knowing I have done my best, to honor my commitments, and to be glad to sign my name to my work reputation.

To show my gratitude: to make the most of this amazing work at home opportunity

To make the most of my time {don’t phone it in. we spend more time working than doing anything else- make sure that time is well spent}

To respect the training: to make my student loans and years of education count for something important

To invest in the future: so I will be prepared and qualified for and open to amazing future opportunities by growing my reputation, references, resume. {who knows what the future may hold?}

 

Happy Monday! What gives your work life meaning?