california

monthly challenge iii: yoga is my boring place

20161225_131102

Twice in my life, yoga has made an outstanding impact.  I’m not a fitness geek; I’m not competitive and sometimes I’m not even sure if I’m goal-oriented.  I just mosey along and do what I like and move on when it satisfies me.  Or, more likely, when it doesn’t.  I first found yoga in college: in the free fitness center that was always under construction.  You had to walk down to the basement and through all the dudes bulking up in front of the mirror walls to get to the back corner, windowless room where you could finally – finally – get away from it all.  The instructors were fellow students, none of whom I was familiar with, so it was accessible and private.  I went to yoga every day.  I would get up in the early mornings before class to make a session that had fewer than five people.  The sequences were almost always the same, so I could simultaneously anticipate and let go.  Sometimes my best friend and roommate would be on the mat next to me.  Sometimes I’d convince a fella or two to try it out.  Mostly I just went there to be anonymous and stretch my body.

It was challenging.  I was constantly trying to contort my limbs into shapes I’d never seen before, use muscles I never felt before, sink my heart like I’d never before been asked to do.  I thought I knew what yoga was.

IMG_1262

My second year in Denver, a sweet coworker invited me to try out her yoga studio.  She warned me it was a little different, but I couldn’t imagine what she was talking about.  That first day in a sunny studio in Golden, CO, I found myself.  I mean, I found my body.  I’d been practicing yoga for maybe five years by then, and the minute I followed the carefully articulated instructions for alignment, it was like the moment you slip on the perfect pair of pants; the moment you taste that sweet potato white bean soup and think you’ve never had something so precisely delicious before.  I parallel parked my hips and pressed my head back into my hand and something clicked within me that had never been sparked before.  It was the Bowspring.

20161225_130430

If you’ve heard me talk about yoga in the last few years, you undoubtedly know about the Bowspring.  I’m obsessed.  It contradicts some of the most widely taught concepts in modern yoga and, for those who have tried the technique around die hard yogis, you know it’s sort of scandalous.  Anyway, it changed my body and my life.  During one of the most grueling times of my adult life (see previous post), it provided a grounding experience and allowed me to focus on something other than the desperate girl inside of me trying to understand her life.  Everything around me was mental and driving me crazy, but Bowspring was something tangible; I could control it, I could invite it in, and it felt damn good.  Leaving my studio, which is the flagship studio for the Bowspring technique (and I do not take it lightly that I was able to study under the founders of the alignment), was one of the hardest things about leaving Denver.  I knew my relationship to Bowspring as I had come to know it was over.

The Bowspring alignment has colored nearly every other physical aspect of my life — from sitting in a chair to riding a bike to playing with the dog.  That’s what it’s meant for; to put us back into our ancient animal shape to promote lightness of being and boundless energy.  But my home practice was lacking, because it is challenging work and my self-discipline is challenged by everything I let myself get distracted by at home.  I never have enough time, I tell myself.  And then, when the postures themselves get tough, I miss having someone encourage me on.  There’s nothing like the Bowspring out West.  In fact, because people out here are so serious about their yoga, alignment is really rather strict and particular.  I found one lovely teacher in San Diego who was familiar with the Bowspring.  I was able to chat with her after taking a class and at her encouragement I decided to try a local studio in town just to get back on the mat.  Thus, the monthly challenge of yoga every damn day (or most days, at least).

IMG_0580

It was going okay at first.  I definitely needed a place to go in the evenings when some things were stirring up personally.  Everyone at the studio was nice and I was able to tell them I do my own thing.  They were interested in hearing more, but the minute I started explaining it their faces would fall; they were an “alignment-based” studio and I quickly felt that there was no place for “doing my own thing.”  Then I thought, Maybe I’ll try their alignment and get back to the yoga I knew before Bowspring.  I was so tight in my hamstrings, because Bowspring doesn’t to forward folds and straight knees in order to keep the desired curve in the lower back.  I didn’t particularly enjoy doing the moves or even my modifications and I didn’t find it very challenging, other than fighting the pain – yes, pain – trying to stretch out my hamstrings.  The physical practice wasn’t shaping up to be something I wanted to spend my time doing.

Then I zeroed in on something else yoga teachers are prone to do: speak very spiritually and very heady.  To push my discomfort into the background, I tried to focus on what they were offering.  During one particularly taxing yin class, I found everything that came out of the instructor’s mouth to be completely … trite.  I think there’s an important truth to be heard when we’re in that bitter space in our own minds.  When Judgmental Bre turns up the volume, I’ve been trying not to stuff her down.  I don’t enjoy being a negative person and if I share these thoughts it’s almost exclusively with my mother, who is like talking to an older, wiser version of myself in the mirror.  But I learn a lot about myself by tuning into those sour thoughts.  Particularly, I have learned some of my triggers (so they can be dealt with) and exposed things that really don’t feed my soul (so that I can move on).  This is incredibly important for me because by now we know I stayed in a job that made me incredibly unhappy for six months too long and for very few reasons that could hardly be interpreted as well-thought-out.

IMG_1243

So, I’m standing on my yoga mat after a sequence of sun salutations instructed entirely by the corresponding sanskrit names for each of the poses and the teacher attempts to connect with each one of us as she says something she hopes we’ll find moving.  My affect is flat, heart sunk, mind blank of all thoughts except one: This is so boring.

In that moment, I knew I didn’t have to do this.  I didn’t have to come to California for sun and fun and waste my time in a mental state like this.  They didn’t deserve that poor energy, either.  I started to wonder when yoga stopped being “my thing,” and I realized it didn’t matter.  We are constantly changing and evolving and we know this, and yet we still try to stuff ourselves into pristine little shapes.  I definitely always thought yoga was in line with my lifestyle, and who is a mindful, fit woman these days if she is not a yogi?

In a spare moment, I googled “yoga is boring” just to see what would come up.  I found tons of click bait articles about how to make yoga not boring, or how to push past the boredom into enlightenment.  Really?  If you don’t like a thing, don’t do it!  Why do we need to convince ourselves it’s worth doing?  The thing that annoys me about the wellness industry these days is that they forget that everyone is an individual collection of energy and cellular activity.  Meditation is not for everyone, although it brings satisfying results to many.  Giant green smoothies, magic elixir dusts, warm lemon water in the morning, raw food, whatever this week’s trend is DOESN’T HAVE TO BE FOR YOU.  I like to try a thing, evaluate it, decide whether or not it’s worth my time, and either explore it some more or ditch it outright.  I don’t love meditation, and I don’t love yoga.  There; I’ve come clean.

20161225_133434

I still love the Bowspring, though, and if I truly desire to have it and all it’s personal benefits in my life, I’ll find a way to make it work.  I also love walking, and riding my bike, and crawling around on the floor with the pup.  I like going upside down and doing back bends and, most of all, eating food that makes me feel good.  Somewhere out there, yoga is someone’s self-care.  It’s okay that I’d rather talk to the dog, or my mom, or myself.

Advertisements

change is my signature scent

IMG_1434

I always seem to forget anniversaries.

A year and a few days ago I quit my soul-sucking job on a whim.  Amazing that it had to be on a whim.  I knew it had hollowed me out and would continue to do so.  But I had a plan: I would stick it out for the two-year mark, which coincided with my lease ending, which coincided with my brother’s lease ending, which, we decided, was the perfect time for a cross-country move.  I’ve never thought about it as my rock-bottom moment, even though I often recount how I’d become the most basic representation of a human: merely breathing and moving my body to remind myself that I was alive, because every day seemed like a failure and nothing – not live-in friends or soulmate coworkers or the juiciest genre-bending yoga – could fill in the gaping hole of my heart.  I have to say I’ve had worse times where hopelessness arrived without coping skills, and Denver was nothing if not a playground for my coping skills.  But coping skills exist for our survival, and just like our cortisol and adrenaline, they’re not meant to sustain us for long periods of time.  So I supposed I did hit rock bottom.  I crashed, and on the other end of the phone were my beautiful parents who scrubbed the person right back into me when they reminded me that my path is my path, and I can change it whenever I want to.  I could change!  Of course; I’d almost forgotten my signature scent.

IMG_1431

Though I’m completely bored of modern yoga (that’s for another post), one of the most poignant concepts that actually means something when I draw upon it in everyday life is the idea that there is nothing I have to be, nowhere I have to go.  It’s different, that kind of perspective.  We don’t like to be nothing.  We millenials and adrenaline junkies and people-out-seeking-joy need to be BIG and INSPIRED and POWERFUL and EVERYWHERE.  But I can’t be those things if I’m not first grounded.  And I’ll probably spend half my life trying to get grounded, because there’s such a weird energy on this planet right now, and I’m just trying not to get knocked sideways every day.  One of the best things I ever did for myself was to quit.  I was trying to avoid failure by not quitting, but then my mom reminded me: “Why do you need to win at this?  You don’t like this.  You don’t want to do this.  Why do you have to make it another year if you never plan to do this again in your life?”  WOW.  Wake up call.  There is nothing I have to be, nowhere I have to go.

Two weeks later I moved into my parent’s home.  Within a week of breathing in the Iowa summer air, I was human again.  In fact, I was bursting.  Feelings were coming to the surface that I hadn’t felt in months.  Days went by without being at the constant helm of irritation.  Finally, I was the light burning on the wick again, rather than the stamper, the smoke.

IMG_1438IMG_1413

By the end of the summer, Jared and I had made the days-long journey to a random, secluded, small town on the West Coast.  It wasn’t our dream town but it was nearby, and it’s served us both in ways we likely didn’t anticipate.  My life looks nothing like I thought it would at age 25.  I mean, I was (and still am) probably over-exposed to FRIENDS, but I always thought my daily life would circle around my closest friends in an urban environment.  I didn’t think most of my acquaintances and confidants would be twice my age.  I often can’t believe that I work in a conservative, old-school office and push paper for people who’ve never heard of environmental conservation.  I never dreamed I’d be living with my brother, or rather successfully sweet talking the rest of the BKK clan into reconvening out West.

IMG_1409

I don’t get to the beach near as much as I would like.  We’re kind of freaking out because this state is not very dog-friendly and the impending apartment hunt will NOT be fun.  Scaling back on high stress work makes it all the more challenging to plan for a move to our dream city.  There are so many what-ifs and unknowns in our future that the planner in me still purses her lips sometimes.  BUT: somehow I’ve convinced myself to let certain things unfold as they may, to not push them too hard lest old wounds be exposed, to open the windows and let the breeze be enough, to cultivate our home so our introversion is not as pitiful, and to enjoy the friendship of those who cherish spending time with me despite our age differences.

A year ago, I was just desperate to leave my old life behind.  I had few expectations for what this California life would be like, and that’s probably allowed the panic to stay at bay for most of these last eight months.  This summer will be most telling of how the future will unfold, and I, in all the uncertainty, seem to have nothing but underlying optimism.  Take that, anxiety.  Take that.

IMG_1325IMG_1340IMG_1388 (1)IMG_1401

i said i would

fullsizerender

It’s like I’m on the verge of my future.  I sit at the edge of my seat, broad face into the sun, the breeze.

There’s a whole world out there, wide and silent.  The moment you’re celebrating a birthday in a dark, moody bar someone else is running for their life down a dusty dirt road.  The flames go up for a stranger halfway around the world while you’re cozy inside listening to the rain beat down the window.  There is a constant balancing of energy, weight pulled this way and that, echoing times past and present and just near enough upon which to exhale.  Meanings and signs and symbols and explanations and possibilities can all be found but do they ultimately exist?  Can I face the world and the continuation of time if there’s no reason for it all?  Can I turn my back if there is?

fullsizerender_3

It’s the rainy season here.  In my past lives it was an inconvenience but here, it’s everyone’s sigh of relief.  How perspective can change everything.  I wonder how I so easily absorb into the soil upon which I step.  When I was so decidedly an urbanite on the gritty Chicago streets.  When I lazed away in Rome, smoked up in Denver, suburban mommed for my parents and brothers in Iowa.  And now, here, what?  In this small town that gets smaller as the days go on.  I’ve said it over and over again how much I’m enjoying it here, but my heart still yearns for the city life; I’m always craving something.

fullsizerender_2fullsizerender_1fullsizerender_4

1. BREAKFAST: Chocolate chia strawberry protein mousse with a base of coconut milk.  It was last night’s dinner and quite filling, but fermented overnight in the fridge due to the probiotic-rich protein powder.  It wasn’t the worst thing, but my coworker did comment on its funky smell and all the “weird” things I eat!   coconut milk | coconut water | protein powder | frozen strawberries | maple syrup | chia seeds | pink salt | cacao powder | vanilla | cinnamon

2. MIDMORNING SNACK: Last week was unfairly doughnut-heavy at the office, so I brought a monochromatic fruit salad to offset the junk.  Mangoes are my absolutely favorite fruit lately and pineapple is always a winner.  Featuring a serving bowl I stole (inherited) from my grandma after her funeral in December.

3.  LUNCH: Roasted butternut squash, blackened sweet peppers, steamed baby greens, and a fried egg.  Seasoned with ginger, pink salt, pepper, and ground mustard.  

4.  SWEET BITE: Here’s an easy snack trick for when you don’t plan ahead and make a hundred energy balls for the freezer (because you’d eat them all on the first day anyway).  Combine nut butter, rolled oats, vanilla, salt, cinnamon in a bowl and mix.  Add chocolate if you have it.  A deconstructed energy ball.  

5.  DINNER: Savory grits made with lotsa buttah, and a hash of sauteed vegetables, including rainbow carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, shiitake mushrooms, and baby greens.  Seasoned with coconut aminos, hot sauce, paprika, pink salt, black pepper, and chili powder.  The grits come together very simply by cooking non-GMO cornmeal with water, butter and salt in a small saucepan, like you would oatmeal.  

fu-un

img_0630

We are currently nursing a post-yoga turmeric tonic.  At lunchtime, we slammed ginger lemon shots.  One of us is sick, another feels it coming on and a third (me) feels the subtleties shifting inside me raising a flag.  Two days ago I was out of sync with the universe; or at least that’s how it felt.  I told my coworkers to look out, because I’d woken up on the wrong side of the bed.  We laughed and they joked with me and, ultimately, everything was fine.  But anytime the phone rang I was irritated.  And as if I was being plotted against, everyone on the other end of the line had dementia and a thick accent.  The stapler wanted to see me use my fine motor skills AND my upper body strength (to no avail).  My kimono with the cute little fringe on the bottom kept snagging on everything and cartoonishly pulling me backwards, knocking over chairs and signs and generally drawing attention to myself.  (Eye roll.)  I was in a funk, my head hurt, and a dear friend mentioned that she usually gets that way when she’s getting sick and her body is busy fighting for her.  I wondered; it reminded me of the Pixar movie about feelings and how, when certain ones were preoccupied, or one was left alone in the control room, things leaned precariously in one direction.

img_0817

I’m constantly striving to remain balanced in my health – physically and mentally and otherworldly – and I generally have a sense of why things are off-kilter.  And I have a wonderful community around me, including folks far far away, to set me upright when I’m tipping over.  What of people who don’t find themselves in the way of self-awareness?  What of people who don’t have social supports, or at least not ones that can help them get to where they want to go?  Side note: There’s been a rather widespread conversation about the homeless population in my small town and it has me fizzled.  I’m not doing anything in the way of direct service to that community, as I did for years in other cities.  But people’s ideas about homelessness and “what to do about it” still get my gills (seriously, colloquialisms are highly encouraged here…).  More on that another day.

img_0597

You know what I was thinking today?  That I’m having fun.  I’m having fun at my job – the office from the seventies that does everything by-the-book and with oh-so-much civil comedy.  I’m having more fun at the Y than I did when I worked there, yoga-ing with my brother and goofing around with my old coworkers.  I’m having fun with the dog (big surprise) and I’m reading a really good book and knitting a new project and going on a date.  And today I got revenge on that stapler by banishing it to the stock room.  Sometimes it’s right and necessary to set up our demons in a cool dark corner where they don’t mold or cook themselves but just set and wait until someone is willing to tinker around and fix them.

img_0622img_0624img_0543

  1. A girl and her dog at enjoying the brightness before the sunset.
  2. A sort of baba ghanoush (originally posted on my instagram) created on the fly by pureeing a whole burnt eggplant with a roasted red pepper and some salt, pepper, and good California olive oil.  A heavy sprinkle of paprika and it becomes a meal for dipping turmeric-roasted potatoes and baby greens (which I do eat with my fingers…)
  3. Dog contemplates forest.
  4. Dog contemplates old building at the local mission site.
  5. Dog finds fresh water.  Dog does not understand why people have to drink bottled water or why cities have to contaminate their water sources with poison.
  6. Dog wishes he could’ve eaten this: spaghetti squash with the leftover Christmas turkey (steamed in parchment paper to keep it juicy), whiskey-caramelized onions, a mashed up California veggie burger, and a creamy vegan sauce made with pantry staples like almond milk and tapioca starch, happy powder (nutritional yeast) and other spices.  Topped with avocado.  THIS was decadence.

teeny tiny

img_0774

I drove myself up to San Luis Obispo yesterday because I have this thing – this condition – where I need to be on the road. I have a history of cabin fever. On multiple occasions when I was living in Colorado, I would sneak into my car and pull onto the interstate, and off again when it felt right. There was never a destination other than anywhere but where I was before; anything but stagnant. I’d remember little shops I wanted to find; I’d frantically search for French bakeries and vista points. In Chicago, I didn’t have a car, so I would get on the L and ride until I got claustrophobic. Then I would get off and walk until I got hungry. I don’t usually pack snacks so I’ll have every excuse to eat at new-to-me places wherever I end up. I’ve only been living in this small California town for about five months, and certainly have not seen everything there is to see here. But the smallness settles in quickly and gives the illusion that I have.

img_0720

It’s probably going to be a while before I give myself a break for not ADVENTURING more. I mean, I adventure all the time.  I suppose it’s all relative; I find just as much discovery and exhilaration roasting a whole eggplant over an open flame on the gas range in my tiny apartment as I do at the top of a mountain.  More even, because the results are edible!

img_0708

But listen: my biggest accomplishment this week was finally purchasing a pair (two!) of jeans that actually fit me. My biggest hurdle is figuring out how to hang this new frame with those bastardly little command strips that don’t seem to want to stick to my walls. My second biggest challenge is trying to overcome the constant craving for donuts that’s been riding strong seemingly since I moved out here (so random!). I tried to make some myself, but they need serious work. At least the homemade chocolate glaze was top notch.  And they’re cute as a button!

img_0759img_0764img_0782img_0801img_0790

around

img_0699

I’ve been taking to the sauna each day after work.  It’s been cold enough here (re: windy) for me to pull out my winter coat heralded from the blizzard days.  It only works because I always feel like I have a lower core body temperature than most.  (Is that physically possible?  Mildly concerning?)  We just discovered a coat closet at work stuffed up with brooms and a vacuum and one of those metal dollies, which tells you how little people don jackets here.  Okay, earlier this week it was in the 70s and I was in heaven, at the beach, glimpsing summer on the milky horizon.  Either way, I’m grateful for both kinds of days.  And I get to be now, since wretched weather isn’t the norm.  The best is pattering rainfall on my bedroom window, the one just above my plebeian floor mattress, as I fall asleep or fall awake.  Somehow the rain scatters at the thought of sunlight and gives us our time to turn our face upwards, reveling in the treasure of the nightly rainfall.  All without living in the sticky, salty tropics.  All without living in the bitter, biting midwest.  I am starting to miss the city so much; always something to do and some place new to explore.  But I know I need to be here now, to finally hear what my breath sounds like without the mask of everything I put on before.

I keep trying to carve out time in the evening for things I think should qualify as “personal time,” including book reading, loom knitting, journaling, yoga-ing.  But I always seem to end up in the kitchen.  Today I played around with charred eggplant, homemade hairspray, cookies, dog treats.  I cannot deny that that is my restoration, my meditation, my happy place.  So often we try to mold ourselves to be “better versions of ourselves” when in fact, we were at the core, living it all along.  I’m all about personal growth and challenging the self, but there’s a call for near-daily realignment with our soul; glimpsed most often in the rituals we conduct naturally.  I want to be an avid reader again, but now the pages of the most interesting story seem to fall open in the cast-iron skillet, in conversations with my brother, snuggles with the puppy, and strong cups of tea.

img_0692

Where this fails on the glamorous front, it should win breakfast awards.  I think by this point I’ve really honed in on my CHOPPED skills and started to embrace that I enjoy most what I throw together myself and end up more pleasantly surprised than I do following someone else’s recipe.  When people give their own dishes high accolades and they don’t always live up, I’m usually left thinking I could’ve done it better if I’d just followed my own creative jolts (raise your hand if you’re a narcissist!).  I do the exact same thing which is why I’ve tried to steer clear of offering up actual recipes and more just suggestions and glimpses into my meals and creative processes, since I can tell you I LOVED something but I can’t expect you’ll love it too.  As my mom always tells me, I have different tastebuds.  (And my tastebuds are the BEST!)

coconut milk | frozen strawberries | maple syrup | Dandy Blend | protein powder | pink salt –> blended to pudding consistency and refrigerated

img_0695

I’m PREEEETTTY SURE I can digest that cow’s milk butter better than those vegan legumes (I think they’re yellow split peas but not 100% sure (they were hand-me-downs)).  It’s so frustrating when you eat a whole foods diet – almost 100% plants – and you still have times when you don’t feel like your body is functioning properly.  There’s all kinds of tips and tricks to make things more digestible, but believe me, I’ve tried a ton of them and they don’t work for my lifestyle and my body.  I’m cutting out beans, legumes, and other high FODMAP foods for the month of February to see if I notice a change.  Will keep you posted.

img_0697

Look at that stack of fresh, raw veggies!  What a rainbow on a gloomy, rainy afternoon.  Sometimes I get to be such a pro at pantry-based meals that I just CRAVE fresh produce.  I’ve been eating a ton of cooked soups and stews, too, lately, so one night I up and took myself to the grocery store and put every raw vegetable in the cart that was calling my name.  Easter egg radishes, sweet peppers, zucchini squash, rainbow carrots featured next to that hummus recipe from Ottolenghi I’ve been talking about.  It’s also likely a huge source of my digestive issues this week but it was gooooooood.

img_0702

Up until last week I worked at the gym where we are currently members.  It was great at times, but mostly it wasn’t the (non-profit) political structure in which I wanted to be involved.  I’m so grateful for my time there because it really stretched me to interact with my new community, and now even when I pop in just to use the sauna it feels like an event because I have to stop and talk to EVERYONE.  Also, it’s given me some liberties that someone like me needs because otherwise I’m just too introverted and would rather stay home.  I mean, if shutting myself up in the sauna solo for thirty minutes isn’t introverted, I don’t know what is…

fullsizerender

On a whim, while whipping up homemade hairspray and purposefully burning eggplant, I tossed together these tahini cookies. If molasses was my flavor of Winter 2016, tahini is Spring 2017.  These are hinted with tangerine oil and a little bit of orange-y chocolate frosting.  All from scratch, of course.  Off camera, I also blended up molasses, peanut butter, and coconut oil and froze in little pucks for the wolf pup.  He hangs around our culinary adventures so often and I try to always give him a taste, but he rarely dines.  Those are a special treat just for him and he loves them!

year 25

By chance, my birthday falls at the tail end of the year.

20161225_133431

The last time I remember wanting to be an age forever, I was sixteen. Well, actually, I was newly 17, hiding in my bed hoping to avoid the garish numeral now tacked alongside my identity. My friend came bearing polar bear-shaped frosted sugar cookies and we stayed nestled in my bedroom oasis, binge-watching Friends, until my mother came to coax me out to a celebratory dinner. And that was it. My life as I knew it was over. I didn’t want to be 18. I didn’t want to be 19 or 20 or the godforsaken 21. I stumbled through birthdays year after year, hoping my friends would forget them, trying not to celebrate the passage of time. There were other things that marked my lifetime. Studying abroad, graduating college, deaths of loved ones, moving to a new city. Birthdays; what are they good for anyway?

And then I woke up suddenly and I was 25. I was reminded that my birthday coincides with the end of the year and subsequently the beginning of a new year. I already felt a tug of wantingness for the new year, like it will be MY YEAR.  The Breakout Kid.  The Bad Kid Breakout Kid. I’m calling it: Year 25. When I made the move to California, it came with many inspiring thoughts and ideas, but the magic wore off quickly when logistical complications set in. How was I going to make money? Where were we going to live? How long would we live there? Should I see a therapist? How often should I make it to the beach? Or go hiking? Why did I leave my family and friends, again? The newness of “figuring it all out” overtook me and I succumbed to it. Not in a negative way, per se. I was adamant about “getting my shit together” so I could feel stable enough to utilize my free time to try out new hobbies, rekindle old ones, and take advantage of this new path in life. And now, those things are fulfilled, and playtime can begin!

img_0295

Year 25 is for Sridaiva, beaches, local travel, some not-so-local travel, new hobbies, good books, and taking action. I am no longer going to be afraid of my future. I will let go of my food insecurity and money insecurity and latch onto adventure and having enough.  I won’t make excuses. I will first try, and then try again, and if necessary, try something else. I’ve spent too much of my short life saying I wasn’t ready for x, y, and z. I don’t know that I’m any more prepared, but the zing in my heart is a new element that wasn’t there before or hasn’t been there in a long time. The things that hold me back are only my things; my ruminations and self-depreciation and unwillingness to forgive. I’ve felt the good vibes creeping in for quite some time now, but I think it really hit me on my birthday this year, and even more so on day one of Year 25. I’m ready to break the chains that keep me bound to my demons, use my hands more, create something in which to take pride, live with more inspired generosity and kindness, and spring forward into my future.

20161225_130430

Here are some simple questions I am contemplating as I set my intentions for Year 25, and some small to-dos that can start to steer you in the right direction.

TOPIC: Health, Money, Business, Employment, Hobbies, etc

GOAL: What would I like to manifest / bring to fruition this year?

FIRST STEP: What can I do today to begin working toward my goal?

MILESTONES/DEADLINES: When shall I complete the goal? When shall I complete the first step? What might big next steps / mini-goals look like and when should they be completed?

POSITIVE ENERGY / INTENTION: Why am I pursuing this goal? What will it bring to my life? How can I remain focused, engaged, and optimistic about my goal despite any challenges?

Try this:

  • Create a weekly schedule and, just as you would mark in time for work, exercise, and events, mark time for keeping up with the budget, exploring new hobbies, and little things to help you reach your goals (like batch cooking, blogging, journaling, meditating, etc)
  • Clear out your physical space to help clear your mental space: It’s catching on, but why? Minimalism is not just an interior design format; it’s a way of life. If you are less cluttered and attached to things at home, you can free up mental space to spend time dreaming, creating, playing, and less time stressing over poor exhibitions of physical labors (i.e. spilt milk). On New Years Eve, as part of my cleansing ritual, I spent time reorganizing my closet. It meant two trips to the store to figure out exactly what I needed, spending money I had been talking myself out of spending for a long time, and pressuring myself to remain economical while in the store. Once the project was complete, however, I could breathe a huge sigh of cleaning-induced relief. I no longer had to fret about what was behind that closet door. One physical change like that may help me clear out my mental demons and unforgiving ruminations on the past.
  • Post-holiday cleanse: I’m not trying to steer everyone toward a juice cleanse post-holiday festivities. Particularly in the ayurvedic tradition, cleansing in the light, dry, VATA time of year isn’t necessarily beneficial to your overall wellbeing. But we can simplify our diets. Warming soups with small sides of protein, green smoothies, warm elixirs, and water water water are a great place to start. Personally, I’m on a sugar cleanse, so I’m even keeping the fruits at bay. It’s all greens and vegetables over here.
  • Take some time off from planning. This is a big one for me, since I love to plan and will always be planning until it’s time to actually do something, which of course I’ve likely procrastinated due to all the planning. It’s nice to lose myself in a project, book, movie, or culinary venture. I always seem to put planning and cleaning above actually doing and living, so this year my intention is to get to the action part a little quicker. I’m planning to not plan. Classic Bre.

20161225_131028img_028320161226_11574920161225_133116img_0287