Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
|White chocolate & raspberry macarons from McCrossen's (made in house by their French pastry chef!)|
|Birds on a wire (taken with my iphone/instagram app)|
|Valentine's Day flowers|
|Pretty pink and yellow tulips to invoke spring|
|Homemade pumpkin muffin-cakes with sweet cream cheese frosting|
Friday, February 17, 2012
|Photo courtesy http://luckyloom1.wordpress.com/tag/yoga/|
... for totally kicking my ass. Literally. I've never in my life felt so sore in areas I didn't know I had. It also didn't help that I was partnered with a 6 foot something tall yoga dude 3x my size. (Imagine doing downward dog with someone else using the small of your back as the floor for their downward dog.) Even though it was difficult (we couldn't talk the entire time while getting into and out of the poses) and awkward (uhh, hello complete stranger, let's just twist our bodies into pretzels together before I even know your name...) - it was also awesome. We were instructed to be aware of how we communicate in subtle and not-so subtle ways with others and learn how to trust both ourselves and the other person. Yoga poses are challenging on their own, but when you have to do the pose in harmony with a whole other human being? Forget about control. Forget about anything you think you know. You have to just trust. You have to trust something deeper than yourself and also something deeper than the other person. I think they call this grace.
Luckily my partner was really kind and patient. At one point when the two of us were doing chair pose (facing eachother, stretching our arms out and grabbing eachother's wrists using the resistance of eachother's weight to lean back into the pose) my partner said to me,
"You know, the more you just lean back and pull on my arms, the easier it is for me."
WOW. What a concept. That the more we trust and rely on others, the easier it is for them to be themselves and do what they need to do? The more we trust others, the more things just work?
Then when we did chair pose a second time facing back to back and basically using eachother's back's as one would a wall, I again had difficulty in allowing myself to lean against him and put all of my weight into his back. Since I wasn't trusting him we couldn't do the pose. The instructor came over to us and observed. Finally he said, "you can trust him. He can handle you." As soon as the instructor said this, I leaned back into my my partners back and our equal reliance on eachother allowed us to drop into the chair pose. The more we relied on eachother, the stronger we became. Even though my experiences with the poses were much different and more difficult (because doing them with someone else was totally new to me), a lot of poses were actually surprisingly easier when I had someone else to rely on.
It was such a great learning experience - with the added bonus of a massage and workout all in one.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Just so you know, Theraflu...
At all. Especially not when you're at work trying to create business plans in excel. You might start to feel like your cubicle is floating in outer space. You might even say some strange things to your coworkers. You might, for some odd reason, start watching Jerry McGuire on youtube while trying to complete said business plans. They should honestly put that on the warning label. Or maybe it's there. Or maybe they just assume that when your throat feels like a swollen balloon, you are probably at home resting and not pounding coffee/tea trying to be productive...
Other things that should also never be mixed?
- Snow and rain, otherwise known as "snraining" like the cute little mixture we had today (why God, just why?)
- Toddlers and tiaras. Or toddlers and energy drinks. (This is just so wrong on sooooo many levels I don't even know where to begin.)
- Whipped cream and vodka. Or bubble gum and vodka? I don't get it. It's like how when you were little and you went to the dentist you thought the bubble-gum flavored fluoride tooth mask would somehow be more bearable than the no flavor or mint versions. Only it was 100,000 times worse. If you're straight-up-rubbing-alcohol-potato-based-vodka, don't pretend to be bubblegum. Marlon Brando wouldn't pretend to be Barney, would he?
- Batteries and microwaves. I learned this one the hard-knocks way when I was 9 and tried to defrost some batteries that were in my Home Alone detective pen. I mean, they were cold... so it made sense...
- Me and ikea furniture directions. Now that is entertaining.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Epsom Salt Bath
Pictures of polar bears and wolves playing
A funny movie from a friend who wants to see you laugh
(*or a funny friend who always makes you laugh!)
Other cures: quinoa and greens, a strict 10 o'clock bedtime, Gertrude Hawk chocolate, reggae music, Poley
Monday, February 6, 2012
"Furthermore we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us -- the labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world." - Joseph Campbell
Not only is that my favorite Joseph Cambell quote from his book "Hero With a Thousand Faces" and not only is it the quote Mastin Kipp put into today's Daily Love, but it also references one of my favorite things ever: the labrynth. When I went to Kripalu last fall for Geneen Roth's "Women, Food and God" workshop, during our free time in between sessions we were given the opportunity to do various activities that Kripalu offers its guests. When I saw "labrynth walk" on the schedule, I laughed out loud and imagined David Bowie leading me by the hand in some lame-o forest trail. I decided to do it anyway since I was eager to get outside for some fresh air.
What ensued was probably one of the most transformative experiences of my life. The labrynth was on the top of the hill of Kripalu's rolling green landscapes inWestern Massachussetts and overlooked a beautiful lake. The guide explained to us that labrynths are man-made, elaborate, circular paths that date back to Ancient Greece. According to Wikipedia, it is a "single, non-branching path, which leads [in]to [and out of] the center." From far away a labrynth actually looks similar to the structure of the human brain.
Our directions were simple, we were told to remove our shoes and socks, wait about 5 minutes once the person in front of us started walking, and were reminded to walk slowly and with an intention. The entire time that I was walking towards the center of the labrynth I was thinking, "this is so stupid," "why am I even doing this?" "why am I here?" "I should be doing something else"." On top of these thoughts I was also obsessing over an issue close my heart. My brain was whipping itself up into a frenzy of disturbing thoughts, making me feel anxious, worried, angry at myself and annoyed. Each step I took felt like magnetic lead weights were hanging on the sole's of my feet. But something happened as I walked more and more and got closer to the center. I began to feel my energy shifting, the iron-clad grip of my negative thoughts started to loosen. I recognized after a while that the same obsessive thoughts were playing in my head like a broken record. Something in me, something deeper than thoughts, recognized that this negative song was playing in my head like an old tape stuck in the boombox with the button jammed on "repeat." I guess subconsciously something in me didn't want to listen that negative song anymore and as I neared the center of the labrynth, I didn't have the energy to listen to something so draining. I wanted to sit and feel the breeze, smell the air and breathe.
At the center of the labrynth there was a small area for prayer where a buddha statue sat, decorated in colorful flags. Around it were slips of paper and various meaningful objects people had placed at the buddha's feet. There were a handful of people seated around the buddha statue in a circle. One woman was doing yoga poses, another was kneeled with her head in her hands, another man was in lotus pose with his eyes closed, and a few others were getting up to leave to make the trek back out of the labrynth. I sat at the base of the statue, facing the lake and scanning my eyes across the little offerings of flowers, leaves, trinkets, ribbons and slips of paper.
The center of the labrynth had such a peaceful and meaningful energy about it. Sitting there I remember feeling a breeze blow gently by, rustling the colored flags and leaves on the trees around us. Without understanding why or for what reason, hot tears started streaming down my face. An old prayer that I had read once in highschool came to my mind.
"Relieve me, Lord, from the bondage of myself."
I sat there for a while just breathing and being present with the emotions stirring within me and with the emotions of those around me. I began to pray for the people sitting beside me, for the women in the workshop, for every living being who was suffering in the bondage of their own thoughts. I felt an enormous well of compassion open up inside of me that swallowed me - and everyone and everything around me - whole.
When I felt ready, I got up and walked slowly out of labrynth, unwinding out of it the way I had wound myself into it. Walking into the center was like spiraling inward into my own personal hell-den of thoughts. I was winding myself up with negative thoughts, the way a tyrannical 2 year old winds up a toy jack-in-the-box. When I got into the center, I had reached my limit of winding in and the jack JUMPED out of the box with no warning. I know this is an odd metaphor but I guess the "jack" in this case would be God. God popped out of the center. God popped out of the center of me! And it was beautiful and surprising and oddly.... peaceful. Walking out of and unwinding from the center of the labrynth was the opposite of walking into it and winding in. Instead of obsessing and ruminating and running in circles in my own mind, I felt calmed and present, accepted and accepting, assured and awakened. My brain stopped running the show and I surrendered to something greater. There was a slow and steady sense of peace that streamed through my whole body like warm, flowing liquid gold.
Similar to the literal labrynth I just described is the labrynth that I think Joseph Campbell may be describing in the quote that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. The "labrynth" can also be a metaphor of our life's journey - sometimes scary and unknown, sometimes seemingly boring and meaningless, sometimes alone and sometimes with others. But as Joseph said we need not be afraid because the heroes of all time have gone before us, we are not the first ones to walk the path and we are certainly not the last. The path is the path we all walk, we walk it by ourselves and at the same time we are with the entire world because each of us is equal. We are different and the same. We are no better or worse than anyone else. And our paths and journeys and experiences with others will always surprise us in the most beautiful and unexpected ways. When we think we have someone figuired out, we will realize that we have no clue what that person is truly like or what is going on with them. When we think we will have an experience that will be awful and excruciating, we may find that we are given a strength we didn't know we had. And when we think we'll be bored to death, we may find that exploring the boredom may lead us to an exciting breakthrough we have never felt before and may never feel again.
The only thing we can expect from life is that it will constantly and consistently amaze us. (Get it, a-maze us? Cause a labrynth is like a maze ;)
|Hang these felt hearts around her bedroom|
|Bring her breakfast in bed: warm coffee, peppery scrambled eggs & buttered toast|
|Place a bouquet of red roses and white orchids in her bathroom|
|Hand her this little Love anklet and these Jcrew pumps (in wild berry)|
|Send a bouqet of her favorite flowers to her at work|
|And of course, finish off the night with dinner out and some special lingerie|
This past weekend at my friend and her boyfriend's party, I was talking to a guy who wanted my opinion about what to do for his girlfriend for Valentine's Day. She lives in New York and he lives in Philly and so far he had planned to send a dozen roses to her office, surprise her by driving up to New York to take her out to dinner and give her 2 tickets for a hot air balloon ride with champagne. I told him he had pretty much nailed it, but that I would give it some extra thought. And since Valentine's Day is also her birthday, I decided to put this little list together. So, Steve, this is for you.
*Psst, girls, we don't have to wait for a guy to get any of these things for us... we can always do these things for ourselves ;)
Thursday, February 2, 2012
NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO
- a literal translation -
"DEVOTION TO THE MYSTIC LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT THRU SOUND"
daimoku of the lotus sutra - nichiren daishonin buddhism
"Lonely Boy" - The Black Keys
"Rambling Man" - Laura Marling
"Pursuit of Happiness - Kid Cudi cover" - Lissie
"The Grass Harp" - Silje Nes
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
And in case you were wondering, ki's is kilos of cocaine...
I have a huge secret crush on Wyclef and T.I. Which is apparently not so secret now...
Even an 11 year old can understand why genetically modified food, CAFOs and processed foods made with preservatives and stabilizers from genetically modified corn are no good for us. Yes, that's why in the European Union it's THE LAW that companies spell out specifically if they use genetically modified foods. And that's why those companies fail/don't exist - because no one, if given the information and choice, would want to put into their bodies the product of weird science and something that's totally against nature. Now, if only our policy makers and elected officials could grow a pair, flip the bird at the multinational corporations who profit from genetic engineering, and tell the pharmaceutical corporations who profit from us getting sick to back the %$#@ off... I might have an inch of faith in our political system.
In case this sounds like Chinese to you, I would highly suggest reading this article by a man named Dr. Mercola who has studied extensively on the topic of health and our government.
P.S. - unless it's local or USDA certified organic it has probably been genetically modified in some way. Eat the foods on the perimeters of the grocery aisle (also known as the foods that look like they came from the ground.) And whenever possible, buy organic.