Category Archives: Fixing me

See the Journey

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A cool desert breeze kissed my cheek as I tightened the cap on the silver glitter pen and gazed down at my handiwork. Laid out on the picnic table amongst paper scraps and art supplies was dense collage of yogic symbols, animals, ancient temples and enticing foods -my first visioning board. My guru, Valma Brenton, who was heading up the yoga teacher training in Baja, Mexico, explained that this collage would help me achieve my dreams by seeing them. Since then, I have used this visioning technique as a catalyst for a lifestyle of traveling, writing and practicing yoga.

This is a picture of the visioning board I created:

 

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What made this visioning exercise so powerful was the combination of yoga and the creative process.

Neuroscience teaches that the more synapsis that connect in our brains the better we learn something. When we participate in an activity that uses all three ways in which we learn  (visual – seeing, auditory – hearing, and kinetic – doing) the concept is more entrenched in the brain. Add the remaining senses (smell and taste) and POW! even better learning occurs.

Using yoga and art together dramatically increases the number of synapsis that connect resulting in some powerful “magic”.

Visioning can be used for changing behaviors, reaching a goal or attracting something into your life.

I have personally used this tool to:

  • land a gig as a ghost writer for a really interesting book
  • nab a spot on a junket to Tibet
  • manifest my yoga teacher training
  • bring more joy into my life
  • conquer fears
  • be a better parent, friend, human being.

In an upcoming blog I will explain why the combination of yoga and art makes so much sense.

Until then…

Namaste,

Mary

 

 

 

Cyrano: a window into my own insecurities

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I went to see Cyrano de Bergerac at the American Shakespeare Center last night.  It was a fantastic production which included a performance of a lifetime for ASC regular actor, John Harrell.  I was so moved by his portrayal of the role, the  beauty of the  play’s translation by Anthony Burgess and the subject matter of the plot that I awoke crying.  Please know that I am rarely thus moved by a play but some of my emotional outburst has to do with my own frustrating, debilitating insecurities about relationships in general but primarily romantic ones.

The title character, Cyrano, is in love with his beautiful and intelligent cousin, Roxanne.  Though he is an exceptional wordsmith with a lightening wit and phenomenal swordsman, he feels that because he has an unusually big nose, that she could never love him. So instead of putting himself out on an emotional limb and pursuing his dream girl, he agrees to woo her with his words for the handsome, Christian (a fellow soldier) with whom Roxanne is infatuated. The soul bearing beauty of Cyrano’s words win Roxanne who marries Christian while believing he is the master of expression.  The two men are instantly sent to war and Cyrano writes gorgeous letters to Roxanne on behalf of Christian which make her fall even more in love to the point of realizing that the soul of this man exceeds any possible physical beauty .  Too late does Roxanne come to learn that she really loves Cyrano and everyone is sad for the loss of joy that could have been between them.

In many ways I am like Cyrano.  It is so obvious that he must take the risk to experience real love and yet despite his gifts and bravery in battle, he cannot bring himself to claim the love that is being offered him.  He is a big ass chicken.  His insecurity about his looks prevents him from taking the risk and therefore both he and Roxanne suffer.

I am a big ass chicken too.  I am so fearful of rejection and pain that I put up walls of judgment that keep people at a distance.  At least this has been my historical behavior.  I have worked hard and continue to work to become a better person in order to be confident enough to learn to identify and invite the right kind of people into my life. I can only do this by taking relationships slowly, having healthy boundaries and striving to express my needs, thoughts and desires in clear, respectful ways.  This does not sit well with all people but then that makes it easy to weed out the type of person who should remain on the outside of my personal relationship wall. I am not perfect at this but I am at least trying.

What has triggered this burst of emotional turmoil? I have been seeing someone who has a great deal of potential to share a long term relationship and I am moving from a space of whining about wishing that that could happen to the possibility of actually having someone in my life so I AM FREAKING OUT. A perfectly normal reaction to such an adjustment I am sure.  And most likely all I needed to do what write this blog and get it out of my system so I can continue to inch forward.

 

One thing I am sure about though is I don’t want to by a Cyrano in terms of being my own worst enemy when it comes to a love connection so I must learn to take the risk one way or another.   Wish me luck.

 

John Harrell as Cyrano, Sara Hymes as Roxanne and Patrick Midgley as Christian in ASC's production of Cyrano de Bergerac

John Harrell as Cyrano, Sara Hymes as Roxanne and Patrick Midgley as Christian in ASC’s production of Cyrano de Bergerac

PS: If you like theatre or even if you don’t and you like a good story, I strongly encourage you to make your way to Staunton, Va to the American Shakespeare Center to see this production of Cyrano de Bergerac. For information click here.

Kicking the bucket: One good way to explore and celebrate the self

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The sugar coated Mid-Atlantic whizzes by as I savor the last blueberry muffin I snatched for travel food from the Kripalu lunch buffet line yesterday afternoon.  It is the type of winter that people will talk about and compare to other severe winters for years to come – long, cold and snow covered – and I am observing its effects from Connecticut to Central Virginia from a slush streaked Amtrak passenger train window. Why would this warm weather loving Southerner venture to the frost-bitten North in mid-February of all times of year?  To fill my spirit with yoga and community while checking off a bucket list item-  TRY CROSS COUNTRY SKIING.

As my regular readers know I am experiencing a dating dry spell, admittedly, a tad self-imposed yet still a current state of affairs.  When I say, “self-imposed” I mean in the sense that I am avoiding the internet as a source for potential dates but certainly if someone popped up in life that interested me, I would be open to dating them.  At any rate…What should a single person who is in search of a soul-mate do when soul-mate material is out of immediate sight range?  My answer: Do stuff that fills your spirit and manifests love in ways other than romantically.

This past weekend I did just that- I went to Kripalu, (a big yoga and mindfulness retreat center near Lenox, Ma)  to participate in a workshop called: “Cross-Country Skiing and Yoga Retreat” which was hosted by the graceful and endlessly patient, Shrila Leslie Luppino and the vivacious yet zen, Evelyn Gonzalez. I went with my High School chum, Prudence (not her real name), who needs yoga to balance out her stressful Manhattan Investment Banker lifestyle. In many ways, Prudence and I  are polar opposites. Just sit in a car with us while we try to choose what music to listen to and you will understand- it’s Kenny G vs Foster the People. If we were characters in a Jane Austin novel it would be titled, “Cents and Sensuality”. Yet, against all odds, the mysterious synchronicity of our yin and yang personalities has created a friendship that has stood the test of time and when we are together hilarity ensues. There was also a collection of some really accomplished, smart, rowdy women with a few husbands in tow who were there to test themselves in ways they failed to previously imagine.

Due to snowstorm PAX ( a totally stupid name for a disruptive event like a snowstorm btw), I was a day late leaving Charlottesville so Candace met me at the train station in Stamford and we drove up to Lenox in the late afternoon.  We arrived at Kripalu just in time to partake in a lovely buffet dinner of organic yumminess that is a signature aspect of the Kripalu experience.  Once sated, we popped down to the opening session of our workshop to meet each other, practice some yoga and get oriented to the weekend schedule.  We were asked to share our favorite snow stories.  Oddly both of mine had to do with the first few flakes falling from the sky.  The next morning was similar.  Shrila divided us into groups according to ability beginners, intermediates and advanced cross country skiers.  Prudence is a downhill person.  She has skied in some of the best resorts in the world . This would be her fifth try at cross-country. I, on the other hand, have skied downhill only a handful of times on the soft low swells of mountains in Virginia. The closest I  had ever come to cross-country skiing was an abysmal attempt at exercise on a Nordic Trak which more closely resembled a puppy’s first attempt at walking on ice than required  gazelle-like movement.

During the morning Sivasana, the resting yoga position that  traditionally ends an asana practice, Evelyn asked us to let go of expectation and remember to be compassionately present for ourselves throughout the day. “Tell yourself, I will never ever leave you,” she said.

Yoga teaches us compassion through self love and nurturing.  Humans, particularly those of us who live in the Western cultures,  have a tendency to become overly self critical. As adults, we want to be perfect at something from the first try whether it is on a first date, the first time we recite a monolog (Shout out to Evelyn) or our first time on skis. We forget that half the fun of life is the journey from the first step onward- the growth that is most rewarding and really, when you think about it, perfection is the moment when we let go of  judging, comparing, criticism and expectation and simply experience the flow of something, accepting it for what it is and being in the moment.

Easier said….., right?

Learning to cross-country ski is a fantastic medium for applying these yogic principles. Naturally, I thought I was destined for a challenge free day when I clicked into my skis with ease and made a few practice glides across a small, flat training course on the Kripalu property during the morning section of the class. But humility would find me in the afternoon as I fell eight to ten times (with my entire class watching) as I attempted to ski down a tiny hill on a nearby golf course turned cross-country ski track.  At mid- point, after fall number 5 or so, I just broke down into belly laughs so hard I could barely get back to my feet where my left ski promptly slid out from under me and I hit the soft snow again. “This really sucks,” I thought, ” but I am going to get down this hill one way or another.” Later, I learned the problems with my technique and the stickiness of the snow that caused my awkward decent, giving me some gleam of hope that I might become competent at this sport at some point.

All that afternoon, it seemed that just as I found the sweet spot, the place where I was looking ahead, heart open to the world, remembering to glide and toss my hands to the correct level I would loose it and make some ugly, jerking move to keep from falling.  Shrila, who instructed the beginner group, skied with me for a few minutes.  I was so jealous of her balletic smooth movements and incredible level of fitness so more to sooth bruised ego rather than satisfy any actual curiosity I asked her how long she had been Nordic skiing.  “Over twenty years,” she replied. “Good,” I said, “I have been doing this for only a couple of hours.” At that moment I realized I needed to stop comparing my beginner self to experts just like people who are new to yoga in my yoga classes who compare themselves to intermediate or advanced yogis and get frustrated.  We are each on our own path so judging and comparing are a waste of precious energy.

Cross-country is a very aerobic, athletic sport and after two rounds of the course both Prudence and I were done for the day.  My clothing, wet on the outside from falling so many times down the snow covered hill and sweat soaked from the inside from sweating, made a visit to the warm dry tavern  for a glass of red wine a welcome change from the 29 degree snowy outdoors. Several women from the workshop soon joined us and the sisterhood of the Rowdy Yoginis began. Each woman was there to grow in the knowledge of yoga or skiing or both.

I find “seekers” to be the most interesting people.  They always have inspirational stories of travel, their work or their personal lives that teach me something. One woman was a surgeon, one a world traveler who had recently returned from Burma, a small group were celebrating their 50th Birthdays (as were me and Prudence) while another was celebrating her 26 plus year marriage with her husband.

Yummy Stretchy yoga with Evelyn in the evening was much appreciated. I was too tired to attend the screening of a cross-country ski film that night.  I went to bed around 8:30pm where my body began to engage in a war between exhaustion and sore muscles that kept me tossing for an hour until I took a holistic sleeping aid to knock me out. Prudence summed things up when she said, “I am having the realization that I am not twenty any more.” Yup. We have exchanged youth for wisdom and wisdom apparently uses different muscles than cross-country.

We started with yoga in the morning to help us center and prepare our mind/bodies for the day.  I was a little intimidated because we would be out on an actual cross-country trail at Notchview and the image of my embarrassing previous day hill experience was still resonating.  Both Eveylyn and Shrila reminded us to let go of those emotions that were not serving us.  “Set an intention then release expectation,” is what Guru Valma would say.

Notchview is a gorgeous preserved area for all types of Nordic skiing and snowshoeing about 45 minutes from Kripalu.  We took a big yellow school bus there.  Prudence bumped up to the intermediate group which was helpful in curbing my competitive nature.  The beginners spent the first part of the day learning how to go down hills- I only fell once post proper instruction btw. But one woman in our group fell almost constantly.  It seemed she spent as much time not he ground as standing but she had a terrific attitude. She would just pop up with a smile a keep going.  My new idol! This is the attitude I must adapt for dating.

Another indomitable spirit was the assistant to the beginner group, Beth.  Beth is in her 70’s or 80’s and could out energize the Bunny on the battery commercial.  But the best part about Beth is how her inner light beams out of her like rays of warm comforting sunshine.  She is alive. She exudes joy for life like a toddle full of wonder at a first snowfall.

Post lunch which consisted of sandwiches we had packed in the morning, the newbies hit the trail again and did some actual skiing.  Conditions were perfect.  Sunny cloudless skies, 19 degree temps, plenty of snow on professionally groomed trails. The woods looked like a backdrop for a Currier and Ives card with globs of snow topping evergreen branches gently bending them in homage to the season.  Crisp air and the scent of pine needles kissed the senses. Breath became synonymous with movement. The meditation began. Swish, swish, swish, swish in time to inhale, exhale, head up, hands back, stride and glide.

About 3/4’s of the way through my muscles were in such pain I thought I might not make it. But I did. Screaming quads and all.

Yummy stretchy yoga with extended Sivasana saved me from even more discomfort than I can imagine. Then after a sumptuous Kripalu dinner which included wonderful conversation with Evelyn, Shrila , Prudence, in a flash of typical celebratory brilliance, booked down to the local grocery and purchased the best bottle of sparkling wine she could find to toast our birthdays and ski triumphs.  Since ice is unavailable at Kripalu (alcohol consumption is discouraged. Ooops.) and bubbles should be chilled, a trash can was emptied of its plastic bag and filled with snow to fashion an ice bucket.  We crowded onto one of the twin beds in the room, sipped sparkling wine and watched episode 8 of Downton Abbey thoughtfully downloaded from iTunes days before – the perfect apres ski for two middle aged women. During the opening credits, Candace raised her glass, “To the Rowdy Yoginis!” I added, “I hold the vision they have many more enlightening adventures together- or better!”

The next day the group shared about their experiences.  I was so grateful for how supportive everyone had been, cheering me on when I hit the snow, congratulating me when I hit a good stride. Sharing insights, stories and water on the trail. Love was everywhere.

Take aways from the weekend:

1. I checked something off my bucket list. YIPPY!

2. It is important to show compassion for yourself especially when trying something for the first time.

3. It is OK for me to be me and go at my own pace despite what other people do or think.

4. Everyone is our teacher and we are theirs.

5. I made some new Rowdy Yogini friends.

I am in Virginia now.  The 15 inches of snow that fell a few days ago has shrunk to about three and there are many grassy patches now.  The temperature in Charlottesville is predicted to be in the upper 50’s tomorrow.  Winter might be over for us at this point but maybe, if I’m lucky, I can give this new to me sport one more try before the season is over in my geographic area. But even if my new found love for  cross-country skiing has to wait to be expressed until next winter, I can exercise the other love lessons I learned on the trails.

Opening the Door to Love

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Last summer I wrote about a trip to Spain that fed my spirit (and ego- a tad) and how important I think travel is as a means for instigating a state of presence.  Click here to read the first installment of Spanish Holiday: Part of the Boys of Summer Series.

This summer I have been working on a book about Ayruveda, the yogic path for health and long life, incorporating Ayurvedic practices into my daily schedule while participating in Depak Chopra and Oprah’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge: Miraculous Relationships  AND I checked off a bucket list item by traveling to Tibet.  All of these activities have been feeding my spirit and helping me grow in the understanding of the abundance of love that surrounds me in my life.  The better I learn to love myself, the better able I am to be compassionate towards, patient with and loving of everyone else.  I am better able to love myself through the self-care techniques I am learning from Ayurveda and by calming my mind with yoga, mediation, pranayama (breathing exercises) and eating healthfully. The world is becoming an eternal summer of 1969 where I am finally emerging from the fear and anxiety that has prevented me from truly connecting with people for most of my life.  Every person I come in contact with of late seems to be an opportunity to connect- even if it is just for a fleeting moment.

It is all very exciting.

I feel like I am finally ready- REALLY ready- to look for a lifelong love partner.

I promise to write about the Tibetan adventure in the coming months.  It was an amazing journey of self discovery, surprising and stimulating on so many levels. I left Charlottesville alone and returned with seven new best friends, my new tribe.

But I wanted to share information about a dream trip to India hosted by my Guru, Valma Brenton as soon as possible.  If you have ever wanted to go to India or just want to experience what I am talking about when I say traveling is like being in a constant state of mindfulness, you may want to explore this trip further.  Valma is a remarkable woman, teacher and leader.  Oh, and before I forget this trip is for women only (sorry guys- that is the way Valma rolls.  She feels that some  women simply feel safer in a group of women).

Here is the information about her trip to India:

HERIZEN INDIA SPIRITUAL YOGA ADVENTURE

Feel free to pass this along to everyone you know.

Money blog coming soon…

Best,

Mary

In Attendance: the first function where your ex brings his new love

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Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote in the film version of THE HELP

Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote in the film version of
THE HELP

I am about to experience one of the most challenging situations a single, divorced woman can face:

Attending the first event where the ex brings their new significant other.

When I fist got *H2’s email informing me that “Girlfriend” would be attending an event I would also be attending, (Yes, he delivered the information by email rather than in person or over the phone because that is the sort of person he is -which explains a lot.) I was astonished.  Firstly, because the last time we talked about Girlfriend they had broken up so I was broadsided by the mere mention of her presence in his life.  Although his relationship status is really none of my business, it does affect our daughter and how relationships are interpreted particularly if she will be associating with any significant others.  In other words, it is helpful for me to know what is going on so I can be the best support for out daughter I can be.  She may have questions that need answering and it is ideal to be prepared.

Secondly, this will be the first time Girlfriend and I have attended the same social function.

Following astonishment, I experienced anger, dismay, amusement and maybe, just maybe, a pinch of jealousy culminating in one giant, “Are you kidding me?” sort of reaction.  Naturally, I did some research to determine which of these feelings were normal in this situation and which were unique to me.  According to Cathy Meyer for About.com in an article titled, Tips to Help You Process Negative Emotions When Your Ex-Spouse Starts Dating, I learned that most of what I felt was normal. Jealousy and feelings of betrayal are described by Meyer as par for the course.  People with a long history of being together sort of get it stuck somewhere that this person belongs to them in a way.  Seeing them with someone else triggers those old perceptions which then need to be dealt with properly.  Dealing with them includes recognizing that the relationship you had cannot be duplicated because each couple is special because people bring different characteristics. Once you can remember what was special then you can remember why it didn’t work, focus on being your best self and living your life to its fullest potential.  Let it go.

I was able to process all of that fairly quickly (a matter of a few hours) then came the part that was a tad more challenging.  The event Girlfriend has chosen to attend is a charity function I am organizing for our daughter’s school (to clarify, the child of H2). H2, who lives in another city about 110 miles away is playing a key role in the production of this huge event and will be working long hours before, during and following the event.  Girlfriend will be coming from at least the same distance and a different city, I assume is expecting to spend time with H2.  H2 and I will be working many hours together in a manner in which we are accustomed which does not include Girlfriend.  We will be relating to each other in a way that might, on the surface, be threatening to Girlfriend who has let loose her insecurity of her status with H2 more than once in the form of verbal abuse towards me.

Personally, if I were going to be at a function with my date’s ex present for the first time, I would choose a different sort of occasion. Walking into a room full of strangers, far away from my support group, on the other woman’s turf when she is a focal point of attention and my date will be distracted by his job throughout the evening seems like the recipe for a rough emotional ride. Something smaller and more intimate representing more neutral turf would be a better choice in my opinion. Of course, if I were driving over 100 miles to visit with my sweetie after not seeing him for weeks I would want to know that we were spending the whole time together rather than a few short hours -but hey, that’s me.

Post astonishment and brief personal processing, my concern went to the quality of the event and H2’s commitment to supporting the school.  I responded to his email with my concern asking if he felt he could be focused and committed to the task at hand while Girlfriend, was chomping at the bit to spend time with him.  He failed to comment.

It then occurred to me (and here is where the amusement came in) that Girlfriend likes to drink (At least that is my impression after a string of FB messages she sent to me full of slanderous pot shots followed by a half- assed apology claiming she was drunk at the time which was then followed by another string of crazy rantings when I failed to immediately respond. I have since blocked her.) and H2 likes to spend money.  This is a charity event and the success of it hinges on people who like to spend money.  People are more likely to spend money when they are drunk so they are likely to be great contributors to the bottom line.

I emailed him again something to this effect:

Of course,Girlfriend is welcomed to come. Please make sure she has lots of cash for drinks and raffle tickets and access to your bidder number for the Silent and Live auctions.

I feel really good now.  Confident and easeful. I am moving on, making the best of my life by helping to make this fundraiser I am chairing a success, happy that he will be happy enjoying this event the way he likes without me bitching about how much he spent the next day because as long as he is paying support and his life insurance it is non of my business how he spends his money any longer.

Plus someone drinking under the kind of pressure that Girlfriend will be under at such a function may offer some priceless moments like the scene in The Help where Celia Foote gets trashed at the society event and barfs at a key moment.

I give myself permission to step back and enjoy the show without expectation or attachment.  It feels liberating.

Another hurdle overcome.

One more step in the direction of my own happiness.

 

 

*H2 = Ex-husband #2

 

Spoiling Myself: The Stunning Sound of Silence

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As part of spoiling myself for the holidays, I attended a five day silent retreat at Yogaville in Buckingham County, Virginia.  Yogaville, I am told, is the largest Ashram in the United States with 200 residents and thousands of day and retreat/workshop visitors every year.  It was founded by Swami Satchidananda who was first invited to the United States from India by the artist, Peter Max and gave the opening dedication at Woodstock.

Swami Satchidananda prescribed a spiritual path called Integral Yoga which supports the idea that there is only one Truth in the Universe but there are many paths to finding that truth.  Thus Integral Yoga embraces the celebration of all religious faiths.

I decided to go on the five day silent retreat offered at New Years for several reasons:

1. The challenge of being silent.

2. To investigate how silence would affect me.

3. To live a yogic lifestyle of holistic health as a cleansing practice for mind and body.

4. As a way of preparing for the coming year and a rebirth of sorts into the second half of my life (I will have my 50th Birthday in February).

5. Because it fit into  both me and my friend, Christina’s, schedules.

Although I was not silent for the five days (we chanted, sang and I spoke out of habit a couple of times), it was a powerful experience that I will savor.  I will blogging about it more for VIRGINIA LIVING in collaboration with an article I wrote about Mindfulness in Virginia that will be published in their March/April issue. In terms of dating here is what happened:

  • In listening to only the thoughts in my own head, I realized that it felt better to clear my mind of thoughts about dating or relationships.  I am actually able to think and respond better if I think less about the whole thing. I was much more calm.
  • Avoiding men altogether was refreshing.
  • There were two men there that intrigued me.  One was wearing a wedding ring and left before we were released from silence so I never got his name or his story.  He, Christina and I went hiking one day – without talking- and then he was like our buddy the rest of the time.  I was so curious about why he was there and what his story was but I guess I must leave it up to fate and have faith that if it is important for me to know I will get the info some how. The other man was checked out by Christina before we went into silence.  He was a teacher from another state and he was single.  I worked very hard to avoid any engagement with him during the retreat as I felt it important to keep my focus on my and to be respectful of allowing him his own reflective space.  When it was over I gave him my contact info.  Turns out his relationship situation is a little more complicated than I originally thought (Ugh!) so I guess I’ve just made another friend until there is more clarity.

I found the experience of Silence to be nurturing spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically and recommend it to anyone who would like to have some space to identify and expunge things that are no longer serving them in any/all aspects of their life and maybe plan some cool things to do next.

Other things I did in preparation for the new year:

1. Set some goals and made a “vision” plan with pictures cut out from magazines and some journaling in a special note book.

2. Shared with my children that I want to nurture and grow our bond as a family and made a plan for that.

3. Started taking some action to achieve my goals for the year.

I also continued spoiling myself  through the last day of Christmas (Jan. 6) with long walks with my dog while she was visiting, sleeping in (I spent one whole day in bed – that was truly decadent), meditating longer, shopping for myself, taking my children on a ski outing, seeing some movies, dressing a little nicer, soaking in the hot tub, baking cookies and giving them away,  making time to read books, dancing and going to see the season premier of Downton Abbey on the big screen at a local theatre.

What might you do to spoil yourself a bit today?

Hari Om and Happy New Year!

Mary

Christina and me with the LOTUS Temple of All Faiths in the background.

Christina and me with the LOTUS Temple of All Faiths in the background.

What to do While in Dating Limbo: (a new series) Eat Sweets for Breakie

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Life in dating limbo can be super horrific or absolutely fabulous depending on your outlook. Dating Limbo meaning: that space where you are refraining from dating either by choice or attrition.  If you haven’t figured it out already, I am back in dating limbo myself,  my foray into dating someone ended in short order (my therapist says I am being healthfully picky- great!  That won’t get me kissed on New Year’s Eve but whatever.) So what to do?  It is the holidays and after that I am working full time on a charity event until the end of February so I think it is best I just lay low.  But rather than whining about being dateless I have decided to take this time to focus on me.  I will have a future blog post talking about that in a bit more detail but as I do that I will be writing about it from time to time.

One thing I am excited about at anytime is food and nutrition.  Everyone knows it is important to eat right.  Eating right helps to keep one’s body functioning perfectly which in turn helps to prevent icky diseases, keeps one feeling fabulous and looking totally hot – all good things, right?

In general, I eat a pretty good diet of organic and mostly non-processed foods, take zero drugs and drink alcohol only occasionally and then I have a two drink maximum limit.   I consider this one of the keys to my excellent health.  According to my last physical examination by an MD (which would count as my last physical examination by anyone. Ugh!) I have the health of someone half my age and fairly low body fat levels even though I eat real butter and indulge in sweets on pretty much a daily basis.

So I was thrilled to read an article in the August issue of Oprah magazine (Yeah, I know I am a little behind in my reading) titled, Could the Breakfast of Weight Loss Champions Be…Dessert?  that described research demonstrating that eating sweets at breakfast is likely to help one loose weight and keep it off.  For many years I have chosen to eat my sweets by 4:00pm and preferably earlier in order to work off the calories before bedtime.  I have often enjoyed a piece of pie or a cupcake right after breakfast.  Now, in  a research study in Israel, agrees with this theory.

Here is a part of Gina Roberts-Grey’s article featuring data from a study by Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz:

In the study, two groups of overweight and obese people were instructed to consume the same number of calories daily (1,400 for women, 1,600 for men); the difference was that one group ate a modest breakfast each morning, while the other went all out with a high-calorie (600), high-carb (60 grams), high-protein (45 grams) meal that included a sugary treat. (Imagine a scramble of cottage cheese and eggs—two with the yolk, one without—on whole grain toast, an eight-ounce container of low-fat yogurt on the side, plus a fudge brownie.)

After eight months, the dessert-at-breakfast group had lost an average of 38 more pounds per person than the traditional dieters. An interesting twist occurred halfway through the study: During the first 16 weeks, both groups dropped about the same amount of weight. But over the next 16 weeks, the big-breakfast eaters continued to slim down (losing another 15 pounds) while the small-breakfast eaters gained back more than 75 percent of the weight they’d lost. Why? They’d started to cheat—which makes sense given that they reported feeling hungrier and had higher levels of the appetite hormone ghrelin.

(Read more: http://www.oprah.com/health/Dessert-for-Breakfast-to-Lose-Weight#ixzz2ErKdocPJ)

YEAH!! Permission from Oprah to eat dessert at breakfast!  I am all over that!  So, I decided to try a recipe for breakfast bars that have chocolate chips in them (YUM!) called No-Bake Chocolate Almond Oat Bars. After all, eating right is part of focusing on me, taking care of myself, doing things that are good for me, right?

OMG! These bars are delicious, very east to make nutrition packed excuse to eat sweets in the AM.  Here is the recipe:

Makes 16 bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 goji berries
  • 1 cup rolled oats

Directions

Heat honey, coconut oil, almond butter, sea salt, vanilla and cinnamon in a saucepan over low heat.

Combine chopped almonds, chopped walnuts, dark chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, goji berries and rolled oats in a bowl.

Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Press into a greased 8″ x 8″ pan and refrigerate until hardened. Cut into 16 bars.

For more sweets in the morning from Oprah Magazine click Here.

Another favorite breakfast (eaten mostly in summer) at my house is what I lovingly call Yogini Breakfast because I learned these recipes while d0ing my yoga teacher training at Clarananda with Valma Brenton in the desert of Baja Mexico.  (For more about Valma’s offerings and her company Herizen Adventures for Women click here.) She will be releasing a cook book soon with, I believe, a picture of yours truly on the front cover.

Yogini Breakfast consists of a  Banana Chocolate Almond Smoothie and a coated rice cake.

Recipes:

Chocolate Almond Smoothie for 1

1/2 cup of plain yogurt (I use goat’s milk yogurt which I think is better for you than cow’s milk which contains casein)

1 tbls of honey (local organic if possible)

1 +1/2 cups of Chocolate almond milk

1 frozen banana

Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy! 🙂

 

Yogi “Toast”

1 plain rice cake

nut butter (peanut, sunflower seed butter, cashew or almond butter)

honey (ideally local organic)

Spread nut butter over rice cake and drizzle with honey.

 

Enjoy your yogini breakfast with green tea.  I drink decaf because it suits my dosha (Ayurvedic constitution) and because caffein makes be crazy.

I think I will try the Chocolate Zucchini Bread from the Oprah magazine  article next.  Wow, I am really enjoying this focusing on me stuff!

 

PS: If you try these recipes, let me know what you think.

M