I have always loved spontaneous road trips. I travelled quite a bit with my parents growing up and I have continued that tradition with my children. I have been to 41 states in the U.S., but most of my trips are much closer to home, Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati is a fantastic and interesting city in and of itself.
Fun Facts About Cincinnati:
Cincinnati is known for it’s unique chili (Skyline Chili)
It is known for Flying Pigs which comes from the meat packing industry of the early 1900’s and the Flying Pig Marathon takes place the first Sunday of every May
Greater’s Ice Cream is a favorite. You can find chocolate chips the size of a half dollar, maybe bigger.
The airport is 15 minutes from downtown and even though it is named The Cincinnati Northern Ky International Airport it is in fact located in Northern Kentucky
Cincinnati is booming with local breweries including my favorite 50 West
Cincinnati is ultra conservative, but is starting to change a bit in the last five years
Vine Street (OTR) and The Banks are drawing suburbanites downtown for great food, drinks and people watching.
Anywhere you need to go is basically a 20 minute drive or less
The first question you will be asked is where you went to HS. Yes, I agree we have far more important and interesting things to discuss, but from what I understand it is a common question in St. Louis as well.
The best part is “Cincinnati is an hour flight or a day’s drive from 60% of the US population.” According to CincinnatiUSA.com
So, It is very drivable from a few of my favorite spots. My boyfriend recently pointed out that we should explore things that our own city is famous for as well as enjoy short getaways. He has opened my eyes up and I have never enjoyed life more. I have literally lived my entire life here with the exception of a couple years of college in Michigan. We have finally been to the top of Carew Tower, Cincinnati’s tallest building with an observation deck, and we have also experienced several epic getaway adventures that I would love to share with you.
Our most recent trip was to Dayton this past weekend. It all began with instagram posts from Old Scratch Pizza that made me drool every time. Their food looked simply amazing and those of you who know me know that there is little that I enjoy more than delicious vegetarian food. So, Saturday morning, while Chris was driving Uber we texted about ideas for the night. I suggested we take my son and road trip to Dayton ( 45 minutes north) overnight to enjoy Old Scratch Pizza and then go to Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm. He loved the idea and we left around 2:00 P.M..
Dayton is an easy drive up 75N. We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard University location at UD. It was the perfect location for us, but there are other Marriott hotels closer to Downtown if you are not up for decent walks. This courtyard offered both an indoor pool and hot tub.
We arrived, checked in, and then soon after we began our 2 mile walk to Old Scratch Pizza. There were sidewalks and it was a peaceful walk along the river. We did pass several homeless people, but we never felt unsafe. Old Scratch pizza did NOT disappoint. There was a short line as we arrived but at 4:30 it was too early for us to order dinner. We grabbed a beer, an orange soda for Corwin, played a few video games and intermittently watched the college football games. When we were ready to order the line was out the door. Boy was it worth it though. It was refreshing to see so many vegetarian and vegan items on the menu. Corwin had a Caesar salad which was honestly not his favorite, but Chris and I split the Mushroom Pizza that was absolutely amazing. I would return in an instant. I now understand the long line, but do not let it keep you from experiencing this gem! After walking back to the hotel we enjoyed the pool. Well, we enjoyed watching Corwin and how fast he could swim strokes back and fourth while we were too full to do much but enjoy each others laughter and company.
Sunday we woke up and hit the local Panera. After we got our order we sat in the car and googled directions to our next location. Of course Aullwood Center and Farm was not open and did not open until 1 PM. So…. We did what any adventurous family would do, yes an alternate plan. The Art Institute also did not open until later in the day so as crazy flexible fun people we visited the Dayton Air-force Museum. What an absolutely amazing place. And, the best part is, it is absolutely free! We wondered around and refreshed our history lessons and knowledge. I was amazed at how much I had forgotten and also pleasantly surprised with how much my son knew.
There is much more to do in Dayton and we look forward to returning to visit the Art Institute and also some of the breweries and other fun attractions.
My Top Five Short Road Trips from Cincinnati:
Yellow Springs is roughly an hour from Cincinnati, just east of Dayton. It is an eclectic town with fun shops, restaurants, and hiking trails. Air B&B is the best bet for lodging.
Lexington, Ky is 1.5 hours south of Cincinnati and has incredible restaurants including Carson’s, Keeneland runs four weeks in the fall and four weeks in the spring, and there is hiking near by.
Red River Gorge is about 3 hours south. Although a little further drive it is definitely worth it. There are several small motels, but we have always camped. Miguels pizza is a great stop after an awesome hike.
Columbus, Ohio is 1.5 hours north on I 71. It is one of my all time favorite cities. The Short North district offers tasty bars and restaurants, German Village is fun to stroll around and look at beautiful old homes, Easton mall is about 15 from downtown and also has great places to eat and shop, but most are chains.
Clifty Falls, Indiana was about 2 hours from Cincinnati. Beautiful hiking and quaint town. We chose to camp and hike.
Do you live near Cincinnati? If so I would love to hear about fun new ideas for places to visit so please comment below! If you make it to town let us know and maybe it would be fun to connect in person! Wherever you are try to fully enjoy your home town and do not be afraid to branch out and explore neighboring towns. Our next goal for what to explore in Cincinnati is Taft Museum, one more place Chris and I have never been.
Thanks for taking the time to read this long blog. If you found it helpful or interesting please scroll down under the hashtags and hit the little heart to give this some love. Meanwhile we wish you an inspiring start to your new week!
P. S. Stay tuned for next week’s blog about Unconditional Love. Fairy tale endings and lasting happiness truly do exist.
Are You Sabotaging Your Happiness?
We often sabotage our happiness, wierd huh? Yes indeed we sabotage happy relationships and even our futures. Why we do this is based on sub concious thoughts that were planted in our minds as young children. Everything that we react and respond to is based on our personal experiences. I have seen it in three of my personal relationships where my guy either cheated or ran out of fear or expectations that I did not and could not meet. It was not until my therapist pointed it out that I finally was freed from sadness, guilt and shame.
Expectations are the root of heartache and yet most if not all of us have expectations. We have self imposed expectations, expectations for others, and others have expectations for us. We tend to have high expectations in relationships; both that they will last long term and for details to which I will return in a bit. We have high expectations for our personal success, parenting, and even reputation. To set ourselves up for success we need to understand the difference between expectations and realistic goals and values. It is a great trait to be self disciplined, but everything is filtered through our personal experiences in life. It is critical to be aware, accept the situation as it is knowing some, in fact most, things are out of our control, and forgive yourself.
Change Your Mindset~ Change Your Outcome
Change is never easy, but it is worth it. Without change we become stagnant and die. Once we learn to respond rather than react we can approach all situations with positivity. The Law of Attraction itself would agree that when we are capable of surrendering our expectations and responding positively great things will come. When you find yourself attached to an outcome, pause, breathe, and observe how you feel. If you feel stress, tension, or resentment adjust your mindset. Chances are if you are angry or disappointed you had the wrong motive in the first place.It is no joke learning to let go. Anyone who says they live completely free from expectation is kidding themselves, but we can all try a bit harder which will lead to increased happiness and decreased stress. Changing our mind set requires us to remain present. You hear many wise people and sages preaching about the power of now and that is because setting expectations is future based and blinds us of possibilities unfolding in the present moment.
If you want your husband to buy you flowers and he doesn’t. This creates dissapointment. The poor guy likely has no clue how badly you wanted the flowers. But your resentment will grow. Learn to use The Five Love Languages to communicate better. There may be things he wants too and he may feel the same dissapointment. Meanwhile, learn to buy yourself flowers. I mentioned earlier that expectations can seem impossible in relationships so try to communicate respectfully and openly with your partner.
If you agree to meet friends at a public event. I definitely struggle with anxiety so showing up alone at crowded venues makes me nervous, but allow yourself options. For example; maybe you have to park far away. You could consider turning around and going home or take an uber. If you cannot find your friends consider just being present and enjoying the event solo.
If you are working hard and expect a raise. Consider the fact that a raise may not be financially possible even though the company appreciates your hard work. Evaluate if you are doing what you love.
Living yoga is not just a physical practice on the mat. It is a disciplined way of living as perscribed by the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali thousands of years ago. It takes daily practice both on and off the mat, but the goal is to reach enlightmenment, or ultimate bliss. Sounds good, right? Of course, but like all things great it does not come easy. Aparigraha is the 5th Yama in the 8 limbs of yoga. It means non possessiveness both physically and mentally. We live in a society plagued with the desire for more. But, it goes back to the principle that our expieriences are each personal. Someone who lives in poverty and has no roof over their head would be ecstatic with running water let alone a hot bath. Someone on the other hand who is affluent may turn their nose us at a Courtyard instead of a Ritz. Everything is relative and yet we all self impose expectations. When we see what and who we need verses what we do not we are then aware and able to move forward free from outcome. When we can observe each situation free from judement it opens to the door to unlimited possibilities.
We can never truly posses anything that is not meant to be ours. Jeleousy is a dangerous game where we never win. Envy is similar. So let go of outcomes and possessions. Live from a heart centered place rather than an ego driven one. Take only what you truly need. Give love when you can and take some when your cup is low. When we have faith that the universe provides what we need when we need it the stress dissipates and life becomes abundant. As you enjoy the autumn leaves and all their glorious color remind yourself that just as their leaves fall we too need to let go.
Peace and Joy,
Who Are You? This seems like a straight forward question, right? Yet, many of you reading this will struggle to answer it. You might give me responses that refer to your title or the "contracts" that you signed long before you were born, such as I am a strong compassionate woman, a mom, a daughter and a yoga instructor. Those would be my superficial answers. However, what I am really asking is what is your life’s purpose? Some may be fortunate to have the answer and be pursuing their life's purpose, yet others struggle to even know what they are passionate about.
Ever wonder why we start things with great enthusiasm, but do not see it through or finish? It is because we are not committed. We are not committed because we do not know our purpose. What if I could tell you your life's purpose? No, I am not a fortune teller, but the one thing we all have in common is the desire to become the best versions of ourselves. THAT is our true purpose. From there we can follow our passions and find our secondary purpose. For me facilitating yoga classes and teaching mindfulness as a way to help others grow into the best version of themselves is my secondary purpose. For you it may be teaching sailing, doing advertising, working in real estate, or becoming a chef. What are you good at doing that you love and are passionate about? Pursue your passions and you will find your purpose.
The Importance of Community
Wanderlust is, by definition, “the strong desire to travel about,” according to dictionary.com. We travel not to escape our daily lives, but because we crave connection and new experiences. Travel connects us with new cultural experiences and beauty. We have the innate need to grow and learn in order to reach the best version of ourselves. There are 5 Blue Zones around the world and it is said that people live longer in those zones. One very important thing that people in blue zones have in common is a shared cultural bond, or the feeling of being truly connected to their community, family and friends. This gives them a true sense of belonging and each person knows their purpose in their “tribe”.
How to Get in Touch With Your SELF
- Yoga: Through our physical practice on the mat we develop an awareness of self that then carries off of the mat and into daily life.
- Meditation: Meditation allows us to quiet the mind. As a result we are able to connect with our inner being. When we silence the constant chatter in our minds, the answers that we seek come and clarity arises
- Connection: Connecting with like minded people gives us the courage to persevere, a feeling of belonging and the positive energy to thrive.
Wanderlust 108 is a traveling yoga oriented event that is the only spiritual triathalon in the US. It begins with an optional 5K run/walk, then 90 minutes of yoga accompanied by world renowned DJ’s and ends with a 30 minute guided mediatation. It is the ultimate opportunity to come together as a community around shared interests and values, and practice yoga as a large radiant collective.
What is the Symbolism Behind the Numbers 108?
1 represents unity. We share a common humanity despite our external differences.
0 represents wholeness. Like a circle, we are unbroken and complete.
8 represents unlimited possibilities and the symbol of infinity. We are all on a journey to our personal true north.
Coming to Cincinnati Oct 6, 2018
Wanderlust 108 is coming to Cincinnati this October for the first time ever. I personally believe it is going to be one of Cincinnati's and Northern Kentucky’s best events ever. I hope that you will join in the fun and help raise the energy.
My daughter and I traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina last year to experience Wanderlust 108 and I still remember it as if it was yesterday. We laughed, we pushed our edge and we loved every single minute of it. I am not an avid runner so we did a combination of walking and running for the 5K. Adidas sponsors this event and they do an amazing job with a professional athlete who not only warms up the crowd for the 5K, but also pumps you up with enormous excitement. The emcee and DJ also add even more enthusiasm. I remember looking to the strangers around me and feeling my heart race and tears of joy well up in my eyes. I was super proud to be a part of such a compassionate event. And now, it is coming to us! Can you imagine my joy overflowing once again? You can read more about my experience at Wanderlust last year and receive a discount on selected tickets to Wanderlust 108 in Cincinnati at my other website, which is YogaFitBoutique.com.
To our many wonderful readers in Seattle, your Wanderlust 108 event is coming up soon on May 19th. I am telling you it is worth traveling to if you do not have a Wanderlust 108 event in your area. I am proud to be an official Studio Partner for Cincinnati through Yoga Fit Boutique of Wanderlust 108 this year, and I personally invite you to join me and the thousands of other passionate people who will come together in celebration of becoming our best selves.
Congratulations to Wanderlust on becoming a B-Corp!!!! This organization is all about sustainability, community and transforming lives. B Corporations are required to meet rigorous standards of social and envirnmental preformance, accountability and transparency. I am so proud to be a part of this amazing organization now more than ever!
Whether you plan to attend Wanderlust 108 or not, choose to live a compassionate life while always striving toward becoming the best version of yourself. Wanderlust in a way symbolizes our journey inward toward self growth and transformation. And as many of you know who are on a spiritual path in life, the greatest journey that you can ever take is the one inward to the self where the universe exists within you!
Peace & Love,
P.S. - Click here to register for Wanderlust 108 in Cincinnati and receive a 10% discount for the two Tier A ticket options via my special YogaFitBoutique code. Click NOW because this event will sell out. In fact, the Wanderlust + (RED) Charity Bundle tickets have already sold out! My special offer is good for the Tier A $39.08 tickets, which get you into all three events, as well as bonus activities. The $29.08 tickets give you access to the yoga & meditation portions of the event only. I highly recommend attending all three events! Furthermore, $1.08 from each ticket sold will be donated to RED, The Global Fund to Fight Aids. Feel free to sign up to walk as a group with Rooted Yoga and Yoga Fit Boutique!
Are you on time all of the time, most of the time or never? Hmmmm…. Be honest. If you struggle with time management what, is it that prevents you from being places on time? Do you try to fit too much in? We are all busy people living in a busy world. But, some of us make a point of showing up early or at least on time and others are perpetually late. Awareness is critical is resolving the problem.
Why Are You Late?
First: Be aware of why you are late. Once we are aware we can change our process and progress towards better habits.
Next: realize that being on time is a form of respect. Once you embrace this it is difficult to be late.
Finally: Prioritize what you need to do and when so that you make time for the people who are most important in your life. Be where you say you are going to be on time or early and realize that it is a direct reflection of your character.
Being on time is simply a common courtesy. Everyone is busy and being late quite honestly is selfish. Now, occasionally there are circumstances that cannot be helped such, as a traffic accident or an emergency, we are not talking about normal traffic that you should have allowed time for. If you must be late do not panic, forgive yourself and stay calm, call or notify the person or people you are meeting as soon as you realize that you will not be on time. This way they can use the time to the best of their ability, as well.
Mindfulness will help you stay on time
Being mindful of your tasks, as well as what time it is will help you stay focussed and on time. Occasionally, but rarely, things may come up that will derail you. For the most part though, you are in control. Show people the person who you are. Show up. Practice awareness, acceptance and forgiveness. This means being aware of when and where you need to be. Leave in plenty of time to allow for traffic and parking. Accept stressful situations for what they are, listen to calming music and use car rides to make hands free phone calls or enjoy good music. Finally, if you are occasionally late, apologize to the person you were late for and forgive yourself.
When you are mindful of being on time, people will respect you and consider you a considerate and respectful person. Being on time is sadly a rare quality today and time is money. So, show up and respect time of other people, after all they are busy, too. Only speak when you have something positive to add to their life and listen with full reverence.
Slow down the pace. It sounds counter intuitive when trying to be on time, but when we slow down and become mindful, rather than living in robot go mode, we are better able to be productive, on time, think clear, and achieve our goals concisely.
Peace & Light,
P.S. - Meditation helps create concentration, clarity and calmness, which will help you stay on task and on time so head on over to my other blog at A TotalSoulfulJourney. com and read my latest blog on The Powerful Benefits of Meditation and How to Get Started.
My Health Quest
I have always been active and healthy. I was fortunate to be born with a great metabolism and no major health problems. I became a vegetarian 9 years ago after attending The World Peace Yoga Conference in Loveland, Ohio. I listened to several speakers talk about the benefits of a plant based diet, as well as the negative affects of factory farming and the meat industry in general. I came to the conclusion that giving up the little bit of meat I ate would be easy for me. I allowed my family to make their own decisions on what they chose to eat. Slowly after watching documentaries such as Food Inc and Forks Over Knives, they too chose a vegetarian lifestyle with an occasional exception for fish.
From Vegetarian to Vegan Diet
A month or so ago I decided to take my journey one step further and give plant based living, or a vegan diet, a try. I blogged about it one week in and now I would like to follow up because it takes 21 days to both make and break a habit. For me, cheese was the hardest thing to give up. I fell off the wagon even before that first week was over if you recall my blog. But, that is all part of the process; awareness, acceptance, and forgiveness. We are only human and when we set out to try to better ourselves, we need to be gentle in the process.
As it turns out, a full plant based diet is not as hard as I thought it would be. The hardest part really is the judgment and negativity that you sadly receive from friends and family who do not know how to feed you or receive your new found lifestyle. I wish that others could leave it alone and not judge, especially when we are not pushing anything on them. We are simply trying to live what we believe to be the healthiest most conscious life possible as proven by medical doctors countless times.
There Are No Right or Wrong's, Everyone is Different
Needless to say, I will not continue a full plant based diet. I DO consider it by far the most healthy way to eat and live. However, I am low weight and I feel that eating small amounts of organic grass fed eggs and cheese will not hurt me. I am going to stick with the Hellmann's Vegan Mayo I found though because I liked it equally as much as regular mayo! I strongly believe everyone needs to be highly aware of what they eat and how it affects them. Then, they need to follow a diet and lifestyle that best fuels their energy and needs. Be healthy by being conscious of what you are doing and how it affects both you and the planet. Also be kind and most importantly whatever diet and lifestyle you choose please do not judge others. I highly recommend eating as many natural whole organic foods as you can and buy locally grown produce when possible. Avoid processed foods and GMO foods. Do what is right for you and stand strong for you believe in.
So, I will leave you with my findings, which include vegan friendly restaurants in Cincinnati, as well as in Palm Springs where I spent a week during my my month on a vegan diet. I'll also share some of my favorite foods and tried and true recipes. Should you decide to give this a try I would recommend talking with your physician. Taking a B-12 vitamin supplement is generally recommended and you will need to be sure to balance your nutrients and listen to your body if you feel weak or lethargic.
My Top Three Vegan Friendly Restaurants in Cincinnati/Northern KY
1. Loving Hut - Loving Hut has many vegan options. You can get a variety of vegan burgers, wraps, and panini's as well as salads, but as you know, sometimes we get tired of salad. I ordered the American panini which has vegan tofurkey, organic coleslaw with vegan mayo, pickles, banana peppers, organic mustard, vegan cheez, vegan mayo, and is served with organic corn chips. I don't claim that it's healthy, but it sure was a yummy party in my mouth and it was all vegan and organic!
2. Coppin’s Restaurant & Bar In Covington is not necessarily known as a vegan or vegetarian place which makes it great when you eat with friends or family who have not converted yet. I ordered the Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich which was wonderful and healthy served with avocado. For Dinner they offer a nice Roasted Vegetable Plate.
3. Stonecreek - Stonecreek in Montgomery just moved to a new location down the street from the old location. They have an amazing house salad that truly needs little to no dressing as it is zest on its own topped with a delicious spiced bruschetta tomato topping; healthy, light and delicious! They also offer an amazing squash Wellington that they just added to their menu. I have not had it yet but I look forward to trying it!
Top Three Vegan Friendly Restaurants in Palm Springs:
1. Nature’s Health Food & Cafe - Vegan/vegetarian food and juice bar - I had an amazing Philly cheese steak sandwich with vegan cheese. You would never know it was vegan!
2. Raw Remedy Juice Bar - I had the cold killer shot which is made with ginger, garlic, carrot, and pineapple~ So spicy and flavorful! I was a little under the weather and this packed the punch I needed.
3. Loco Charlie's Mexican Grill - I had the shrimp fajita without the shrimp... haha. They have an impressive salsa bar too! Absolutely fresh and flavorful, yet light and healthy tasting.
MEALS THAT I ATE DURING MY MONTH OF PLANT BASED LIVING:
Ever heard of jackfruit? It comes fresh and canned. BBQ Jackfruit tacos are da' bombdiggity.
I do not advocate consuming too much processed food, however, the Quorn Vegan Chik'n Patties are a great "go to" for a hearty homemade sandwich.
Ahhh.... the yummy Philly Cheese Steak from Nature's Health Food & Cafe in Palm Springs. Let me just tell you how incredible this was.....
When you eat out, do not be afraid to ask for simple modifications. I ordered the eggplant parmesan and asked for no cheese. It was absolutely delicious and more than satisfying.
Avocado toast with lime juice and a little salt and fresh fruit is an ideal breakfast before a morning of hiking.
Simple salad of shredded beets & carrots drizzled with basil olive oil with Leon juice and a little salt pairs well with organic humus (I topped it with turmeric, smoked paprika, and crushed red pepper), and greek olives.
Gnocci with sun-dried tomato pesto and tossed salad with vegan thousand island dressing.
Homemade strawberry jam on 21 grain organic vegan toast with fresh berries is an excellent start to the day.
PS, What are your go to vegetarian or Vegan recipes? Join me on Pinterest @LibbyMcAvoy and @TotalSoulfulJourney to try some of my favorite recipes
What do you fear? Do you fear dying? Many people do. Fear is not real. It is dreamed up by the ego and our overly active minds. Some people even say that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. When you look at it this way, you may realize that the only thing that we have to fear is fear itself. When you have the courage to push past your fears, to face them head on and live with a heart of love and good intentions you will feel wonderful and find the abundance that you deserve.
I know because I lived most of my life trapped by fear. There is nothing worse than feeling trapped. I was SUCH a fraidy cat starting at a young age even though nothing truly bad ever even happened to me with the exception the one time that my sister played a trick on me. She once hid under my bed when I was roughly seven making scratching sounds as she talked in a scary voice. My doberman growled and I remember being so frozen in fear that I could not even yell for my parents. When I finally gather the courage to run to my parents for help, "sweet little" Mandy (my big sister) quickly snuck back to her bed where she pretended to be sleeping. That is my earliest memory of fear. All a hoax, you see. There was nothing to fear at all. Our minds will play terrible tricks on us if we allow them to do so.
The mind is powerful. It must be trained just like any muscle in the body. We must think positively and tell ourselves what we are truly capable of overcoming. We must also practice awareness to determine what is real and what is and an illusion.
Later in life I wanted to attend yoga classes. I had done yoga before and knew how much I enjoyed it, however, having the courage to start taking yoga classes again was not as easy as I thought it would be. I would drive into the parking lot and if it appeared to be full I would literally drive away paralyzed in fear that the class was indeed full. I somehow felt that I did not belong and that I did not know what I was doing. My self esteem was so low and I was not even aware that this was the reason for the fear that was holding me back.
You see, that is where it all begins. Improvement begins with awareness. Once I was aware of what was holding me back I grabbed a friend and eventually pushed through my fear. I not only went to classes on my own, but I also completed yoga teacher training and opened my own studio. I have since led over 3000 classes and two teacher training sessions to train other instructors. I travel and lead corporate yoga, workshops and retreats, as well. Recently while working with the Avon Corporation, I had to push through yet another set of fears; the fear of being hooked up to a wireless microphone and telling my story in front of hundreds of people and then teaching to a diverse group people (some in chairs and some on mats). After the first few seconds on stage and seeing all of the smiling faces looking back at me, I knew that I was not only Ok, I was actually living my dream.
Life is a journey not a marathon. It is about taking baby steps to know and love ourselves, and to grow into the best versions of ourselves. We may hit many bumps in the road, but those obstacles are there to teach us and to help us grow. We learn through our mistakes and challenges. What is important is to first be aware so that we can change what we do not like. Change, after all, is what helps us to grow. Next, we have to practice acceptance free from judgement. Finally we have to forgive, first ourselves and then all of those who have wronged us in life so that we can move forward toward our greatest destiny.
Sometimes it is the biggest obstacles that propel us forward and unlock us from the fear that holds us back. Last week I was given the opportunity to audition for TEDx Cincinnati. Giving a TED talk is a life dream of mine. I applied last year and did not get in. This year I was ready. I was still shaking in my boots with fear, but I knew I had to stand up and use my voice to awaken, inspire and empower others who have not found their voices yet. When you believe so deeply in your mission, nothing can hold you back. So I am super proud of myself for pushing through my fear.
One hundred and fifty people auditioned and only twenty of us were given the chance to give a 2.5 minute audition. I prayed that I would go first so that I could listen to other presenters and enjoy what they were offering, but of course I was number 16. I tried so hard to listen to the other presenters as their speeches were gripping and inspiring, but I my mind was focused on trying to remember my own speech and I was so incredibly nervous. I was simply trying not to cry. We lined up in front of the stage after the intermission. I listened intently to a speech or two and then everything was blurry as I reread my written speech to myself. I carried my papers nervously to the stage. As soon as I stood under the lights and said my first sentence I felt an odd calm. A divine presence came over me and it was as if the universe was naturally speaking through me. What I had originally dreaded I was truly enjoying. I was offering my heart and my soul to the world. In telling my story I was freeing myself from fear. More importantly I felt that if my words touched and inspired just one other person in the audience, the whole process that brought me to that stage and all of the terrible anxiety that I faced that evening would all be worthwhile.
Each time that we climb to the peak of a mountain it feels exhilarating. The balance, however, is that every high is followed by a low. The valleys in life are there to help us to appreciate the highs. This appreciation gives us more momentum and courage to move forward toward the higher mountains that we may face in the future. I now know, that the TEDx audition was just a start for me. I know that my purpose is to help spread conscious awareness through my yoga philosophy of awareness, acceptance, and forgiveness so that others can overcome the intimidating obstacles in their lives. All things are possible when we believe and let go of the fears that hold us back from achieving our true greatness.
Gratefully & Courageously Yours,
Libby Shively McAvoy
P.S. - If you enjoyed this article, then please check out my latest post on my other blog about the importance of "acceptance" at TotalSoulfulJourney.com
What you eat has a big impact on how you feel both physically and mentally. We need to eat foods that fuel our body and help provide brain power, as well. Foods high in sugars, high fructose corn syrup, salts, and saturated fats can literally make our bodies crash. Processed and genetically modified foods should be avoided at all costs. From there, there are still many food choices we face each day.
I adopted a vegetarian diet about nine years ago after reading and studying books such as John Robbins', “The Food Revolution” (this book can be purchased through the bookstore on my website) and many other great ones on the topic of nutrition and wellness. I feel better than ever and I believe that my skin looks better too. I never ate much meat to begin with so it was not terribly difficult for me. For those of you how enjoy meat, but are considering switching to a plant based diet for your health, or because you care about the welfare of animals and the environment, there are some great meat alternatives available today for those times when you are craving it. I will provide recommendations at the bottom of this article.
I am now taking my commitment to my health one step further by giving an all plant based diet a try. Some people call this eating vegan. I prefer calling it a plant based diet for two reasons. To truly be vegan is hardcore (congrats to all of my super disciplined vegan friends out there! I think its awesome), but it means no leather, no wool, no silk, no honey, as well as dairy or eggs. The other thing is that I do not believe in is forcing a way of eating on anyone and I think there is a bit of negativity (perhaps mostly due to misunderstanding) attached to the word vegan because many (again, NOT all) are extreme activists. So, I am on a month long trial run to see if eating all plant based makes me feel any better. I will, however, withhold my right to return to eating organic butter, cheese and eggs if this is not working for me after a month.
It is not easy for me to give up these three main things to go from vegetarian to totally plant based. It is amazing how many recipes call for eggs for example. But, I am tracking everything that I eat and want to share with you some of my favorite recipes and ideas so far to keep it healthy, fun, and simple. After all, if you are consuming all pastas or pretzels to fill you up, you will not receive the necessary nutrients. You do need to do a little research, which is why I am here to help.
The biggest question I get asked is how do you get enough protein? Excellent question, but it is absolutely not a problem. There are similar questions & concerns about calcium. I will list a few foods below:
Sources of Protein in Grams
Sources of Calcium in Milligrams
So, my fears leading into this new self challenge were really the thought of giving up my yummy cheese and how to avoid mayonaise that I use often use on sandwhiches, in coleslaws and in salad dressings... There is a vegan mayo called Vegenaise that I had tried a while back, but it sure did not taste like my yummy Hellman's REAL Mayo. Guess what? To my most pleasant surprise I went to my local Kroger recently and with all of the regular Mayo’s there it was, my new favorite product! It was like a light beaming down from heaven onto the Hellmann's Vegan Mayo! YES! They did it and it tastes exactly the same in my humble opinion. Ok, so one worry crossed off! There is also a vegan butter called Earth Balance that is a spread. I prefer to use olive and coconut oil most of the time, but it is a good option to keep on hand.
To get started on my plant based journey, I first researched vegan recipes on Pinterest. It is an excellent resource and allows you to view the recipe on your phone if you stop at the store unexpectantly and need to know what ingredients to pick up. So I stocked up on organic humus (I really liked the Simple Truth Original organic), lots of fresh organic fruits snd veggies, flatbread wraps, and Dave’s Killer 21 grain bread (if you have not tried it i HIGHLY recommend it). Not all bread is vegan (or plant based) so i urge you to take a minute to read lables. Organic is always preffered to avoid the toxic pesticides, herbicides and GMO's that could be harmful to your health.
Next, I headed home. I put everything away and decided to get my Cuisinart out and shred four carrots, two beets, and some cabbage. I would use some that day for lunch and package the rest up for convenient use throughout the week. I with these fresh ingredients, I made an incredibly flavorful wrap for my lunch that day. That night I made vegan chili using the Quorn Brand meatless crumbles.
Below is an account of what i ate my first full plant based week
Sunday: ( yes i was feeling a bit spicy 😂)
breakfast- organic fig bar
lunch- 7 grain “chicken” soft taco with salsa
dinner- 1 portabello taco and one corn taco, lots of salsa and guacamole
breakfast- fig bar
lunch- veggie wrap with carrot, beets, spinach, sunflower seeds, humus and red cabbage slaw
breakfast- grapes, raspberries, and vegan banana bread
lunch- wrap with hummus, carrots, beets mixed w a little basil oil, and spinach
dinner- leftover chili
breakfast- banana bread and more fruit
lunch- veggie sushi from Fusion
dinner- veggie pizza ( zucchini, peas, red pepper, carrot, onion, banana peppers, and broccoli) no cheese from Mio’s Pizza
breakfast- fig bar
lunch- leftover pizza
dinner- sticky asian cauliflower, coconut rice, and edamame
breakfast- fig bar
lunch- sandwhich on 21 grain bread with hummus, carrot, and vegan mayo
dinner- pretzles, bread and CHEESE (I fell off the wagon, but felt it was necessary to be honest and keep this real)
If you decide to give this challenge a try or even give up meat and step into vegetarianism, please consider the five following tips:
1. Research the nutrients in different foods.
2. Eat your rainbow. The more colorfully you are eating, the bigger variety of vitamins and minerals you are receiving.
3. Practice my yoga philosophy of awareness, acceptance and forgiveness. By this I mean be aware of what you eat and how you feel. Listen to your body and to your intuition. Accept yourself where you are. This “diet” is not for everyone and that is Ok. Finally, any improvements that you make to your lifestyle should be applauded. If you fall off of the wagon and have a cheat meal occassionslly it is OK, just start fresh the next day and try not to give up.
4. Make this committment to yourself with a friend so that you can hold each other accountable.
5. Find recipes that excite you, but that are approachable. Keep it simple, but be sure to eat a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
It is said that by eating plant based you have zero chance of heart problems, according to Dr Mark Furman (you may enjoy Dr Furman's book, "Eat to Live," which is available in my Amazon book store). So I am giving this a try. I do not believe in being pushy about my diet or my lifestyle, I simply want to share with you what works for me. I will be doing a similar blog at the end of the month on my new website totalsoulfuljourney.com chronicling things that worked for me, what did not work, where to eat plant based in Cincinnati, and more of my favorite recipes. So please stay tuned.
A few things that you might want to know that no one else will probably tell you. One, if your stomach acid is low your urine may be pink after eating beets- do not panic! Simply drink some lemon water to balance your PH. If your urine is pink and you have not consumed beets then you should consult your physician. Also, if you adopt a plant based diet cold turkey, pardon the expression, you may experience some bloating or stomach aches at first. This is due to an adjustment in your natural gut bacteria. The body will naturally adjust, but you can also take a probiotic to help the process.
In Conclusion, I reccomend eating mostly fresh organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans for great sources of protein. There are faux meat products which may sound strange when you have chosen to give up eating meat, but it is nice when you miss the texture. I used the meatless crumbles in my chili recipe photographed above. You can use the faux chicken in any chicken casserole recipes you have. So, I do not recommend eating it often, as it is processed, but occasionally it does work well and is still lower in fat and cholesterol that real meat and no living creature is harmed.
Peace, Love, and Happy Eating,
P.S. I have included the links to the recipes for the banana bread and sticky cauliflower if you click the blue words it will take you there. If YOU have favorite vegan or plant based recipes I would love to hear from you in the comment box below! Lets do this together!
As we practice awareness we move into a state of acceptance. In this state of acceptance we learn to let go of outcomes or attachment to what will be, and instead we learn to observe or simply witness free from judgement. Live in the now with what is and simplify life.
When you free yourself from attachment, you are able to live a happy life. You no longer feel stuck or “married” to a specific ending. Feeling stuck or trapped is a very negative feeling and most of the time, sadly, we do it to ourselves.
Attachment is really about fear, ego and dependency. When we are living with attachments, whether it is to things, to people or whatever, we are living in a negative place.
WE aspire to live a positive life. To raise the vibration we need to live from a place of love. Love allows us endless possibilities free from attachment, guilt, shame and fear… Love allows us to grow into our best selves and into oneness with the universe free from all attachment, which is a state of ultimate enlightenment.
In Ashtanga Yoga we practice the 8 limbs of yoga. Part of the 8 limbs are the Yamas & Niyamas. The 5th Yama is Aparigraha, which means non- attachment or non possessiveness. This means to not be attached to outcomes, to not take more than you need and to not live with jealousy in regard to yourself and the world around you.
The Sanskrit word, Parinamavada, is the teaching that everything is in a constant state of flux. Everything changes and when we embrace this, just as we embrace the trees losing their leaves in the fall and the flowers blooming in spring, we know that life is cyclical. When we let go of outcomes and accept what is, we embrace our freedom.
APARIGRAHA! Shout it out loud and embrace the concept of non-attachment! Let go and feel the resulting freedom. There is nothing to worry about and nothing to fear. Stay in the present moment. Allow what may come to come and let go of what no longer serves your higher purpose. Do not take more than you need. Do not eat more than you need. Apply this concept to every aspect of your life.
Attachment holds us back because we do not want to accept change and yet change is inevitable. Change is transformation and growth. Take love for example. Many people cling to the person who they love out of the fear of losing them, which can create a self fulfilling prophecy. Instead, embrace the concept of setting that person free. If you truly love that person free from attachment and they love you, they will want to stay. Placing restrictions will make them feel trapped and imprisoned, which takes us back to that negative cycle which no one enjoys. So, give love, give away all that you can and it will all come back to you! That is a key to the Law of Attraction!
P.S. - Yoga is so much more than a physical practice on the mat. It is the journey of the self through the self to the self. Please check out my new website www.TOTALSOULFULJOURNEY.COM for more helpful articles and grow with us in a like minded community of positive people. We are launching this website next week and I am so excited for you to see it!
There will never be a perfect time. Embrace the uncertainties and imperfections of life and go after your goals and dreams right now. The Power of Now, as described by Eckhart Tolle, describes the present moment as all that we really have. If you think about what you want and research it too long, suddenly the days whittle by and time is wasted. Just start! You do not have to be perfect or have it all figured out! Learn as you go! Strive for progress rather than perfection. Life is a journey. Once we get started with what we want to learn or do, like launching a new business, the momentum of the action builds and carries us through.
Stop creating excuses and start creating opportunities for yourself. Live a life based on love rather than fear. Love yourself enough to allow yourself to start living each day to the fullest. Conquer your small goals, your medium goals and eventually your big goals! You are capable of more than you even think is possible. The mind is a powerful muscle and when trained properly it becomes extremely strong.
Are you living a third dimension life (3D) like most people, caught up in worldly pressures, fears and limitations? Have you ever considered moving up to the 5th dimension where all things are interconnected and possible? In the 5D there are no boundaries. There is essentially no beginning and no ending. Therefore, there is nothing to fear or to hold you back from living your best life.
So go for your dreams. Start today by taking baby steps because our actions ultimately create our outcomes!
Start by declaring your dream! Forget about how you are going to make it happen and just start. Do not let anything stop you. Roadblocks will come along your path, but do not let them slow you down. What if you only had three months left to live? Would you view things the same way? Would you still move as slowly toward your dreams? Would you do things differently? I would urge you to live that way everyday; passionately in pursuit of all that you desire.
Manifesting a dream means creating new healthy habits and breaking hold patterns. You do this through self awareness. It may take time, acceptance and honesty, but if you are true to yourself all is possible. Determination Baby!
Find supportive people who can help hold you accountable and attain your dreams. You are worth it! 2018 holds incredible promise, but it is through your action that the magic will happen. The Universe will conspire to make your dreams come true once you place your intentions into action and start to live them.
Sending you all my very best wishes and energy for your forward momentum.
With momentum and excitement,
Each new day we wake and it is essentially a reset button, a chance to start anew. And as we approach the New Year, this is truly an exciting opportunity. Each year you hear people setting New Year's resolutions, but what does that mean anyway? And… why do most people fail at their newly set promises after one short month?
I personally believe that the problem is two pronged. Part one is that we set resolutions or goals from our egos rather than our souls. What does that mean? When you live from the ego you do things to please others because it is somewhat expected of you. When you live from your soul you do what FEELS good to you and what brings you true joy from within. The other part is that we set goals based on what we feel society deems acceptable, and this is often in opposition to the calling of our souls.
So, when you set your intentions to go to the gym three times a week, or to lose ten pounds, or to stop eating desserts, or to give up fried foods… these resolutions often do not last because deep down they do not satisfy your soul. You do not want to go to the gym because you want to workout, you go because ultimately you want to be loved and accepted by others and you feel that losing weight and being fit will get you that result. That is the subconscious mind at work. Therefore, the more realistic New Year's resolution would be to work on loving yourself and self acceptance. Working out may be a part of that. The same can be said about improving your eating habits, but the desire to change has to come from within yourself.
When setting New Year's resolutions, I would encourage you to look at them as separate goals for the year ahead rather than one big thing. For example; set small easily attainable goals, medium size goals, and then perhaps one really big goal. Giving yourself some challenges is good because it is through the challenges that we grow, but we also want to set ourselves up to succeed. We want the new year to truly be a chance to grow into the best version of ourselves to date. You will not stop growing at the end of 2018, this is a beautiful life long journey. It is about learning what worked in 2017 and what you could do a little better. For 2018 visualize the new things that you want to try, the exciting places you want to visit and the ways that you can contribute to make the world a tiny bit better.
The easy part is setting intentions or goals. The hard part is following through with them. The magic happens through our actions. So once you set your intentions, find friends or mentors who will hold you accountable. Manifest your intentions by writing them down and taking action toward them each day. Another great idea that was given to me by a friend is to hang sticky note reminders to yourself on the bathroom mirror (maybe to love yourself), or on your refrigerator (to make wise decisions), and in your car (to release the road rage, and use the time in your car to relax through music or comedy or maybe just quiet reflection). Regardless, these little kind reminders to are a fantastic way to stay on track and they really do work!
I am incredibly grateful for 2017. It was NOT my best year. In fact it was rather difficult and I am definitely ready to move forward. I know that 2018 is going to be amazing! My personal resolutions for this coming year are to eat plant based, sleep more regularly, organize my home better, waste less food, give my time serving others (volunteering), travel to new places and to grow my online business, which will include videos and yoga tutorials. Those are my BIG goals : )
Whatever your New Year Resolution may be, remember most importantly to practice:
- Awareness each day: How are you feeling, check in and see how your goals are going….
- Acceptance: If you fall off track a day or a week do not give up! Simply start over or where you are, it is NEVER too late! Be gentle with yourself.
- Forgiveness: IF you fall off track, get derailed or decide to change course, forgive yourself first and foremost. You are allowed to change your mind.
Always F.L.Y. (First Love Yourself)
It is with great gratitude, love and excitement that I wish you all a Happy New Year full of health, love, happiness and abundance. May all of your dreams come true!
Peace & Love,
P.S. - Please help me raise the vibration as we close on 2017 and welcome 2018 and share your New Year's resolutions, goals & intentions for the year ahead in the comment section below. By writing them down we are putting them into motion and therefore into action. Thank you for helping me on my journey! Together as a community, I know we will soar to new heights in 2018!
Do you BELIEVE? This is a common question that is asked to children this time of year and it most often refers to their belief in Santa Claus. But the magic is really so much deeper and more important than that. It is also about believing in the magic of all things being possible. For children at Christmas, it is the hope that they might get a gift that would otherwise never be possible.
I want to shift to reality now and ask you to pause and reflect on the word, BELIEVE…. What does it mean to you as an adult? Not just this holiday season, but anytime that you see this beautiful word. What does it personally say to you? Please take a minute to think about it and even consider writing a few thoughts down on paper.
This is one of my very favorite words. It symbolizes magic and hope. At Christmas it is the hope that magic and faith will be restored for children and that peace will be brought to the world in a quiet gentle way. But, it is really so much bigger than that! There are miracles occurring around you every minute of every day, however, we are all too often too busy and unaware of them. Believe, believe in the magic within yourself! That my friends is the greatest gift of all! You have all that you need within yourself! You have all of the answers and all of the magic, the light, the love, the faith already. Sometimes your light is dimmed a bit and sometimes it is extinguished all together, and yet that one word BELIEVE is there as a reminder to never ever give up. It is never to late to reignite your fire within, to start over, to rewrite your ending and believe in the magic of your life. Believe in miracles, because they really DO exist!
Great things are coming in 2018! So take one more moment to reflect upon 2017, to give thanks for all of the good memories that you made and to set your intentions for the things that you would like to accomplish in 2018. It is good to set some small goals and some bigger goals. Set yourself up for success, but also give yourself some challenges to work toward. You are capable of more than you may know. It is through the challenges of life that we grow and become the best versions of ourselves.
So if you have a BELIEVE sign out for he holidays, consider keeping it up throughout this winter. And if you do not, that’s ok, but when you see this word stop and pause and let it serve as a reminder of all of the magic and the possibilities that could be coming your way.
Tis the season to BELIEVE. Believe in the power of love, believe in the magic within, believe in creating the life you love, believe in yourself, believe in acceptance, believe in endless possibilities, believe in happiness, believe in forgiveness, believe in peace, believe, believe, believe……
Faith and Hope,
P.S. - If your light has gone out or you see someone whose has, reach out. WE all need to practice awareness and give love when we can to help people who are feeling hopeless, and ask for love when we need a little light ourselves. Sometimes in our culture it is hard to ask for help. It can make us feel too vulnerable, but it is also natural to feel depleted from time to time. We are all in this together. If you feel like you have no one to fill your cup, a yoga studio is always an accepting place where you will feel very positive energy. Never give up.
Do you ever come home at the end of the day and your house just feels lonely? Do you miss having a special someone around? A dog makes the perfect best friend. They are always excited to see you, they never talk back, and they are as loyal as it gets. Some dogs are easier to house train and train in general, depending on the breed and how old the dog is when you adopt it, but the process itself can be a fun bonding time as well!
Do your research when considering a dog. Choose the one that fits your lifestyle and activity level. Some dogs shed more than others, some require less maintenance and some are even hypoallergenic. Each dog, much like humans, has a unique personality. Visit the dog before deciding and be sure it is a good fit. Please commit to trying to keep this beautiful new companion and give it its FUR-ever home. Do not choose a dog based on the cuteness in a movie, for example there was a demand for Dalmatians after 101 Dalmatians, but that is not the dog for everyone. Do your research and avoid the hassle and sadness of returning a newly adopted dog when you suddenly realize that it does not have the right temperament for you. Also be sure that the dog is suitable for your kids and the other animals in your household if that is in your plan…
In addition, make sure that you stop at the pet store and get a few chew toys to avoid the loss of your favorite shoes and treasured belongings. Dogs love to chew on things and they are very content when they know what is theirs. Also try to give them a special space, perhaps a dog bed or a crate, in the room you most often hang out in where they feel a part of your family's life, but can comfortably retreat to while you are eating, watching tv and when the doorbell rings. In our house we named the dog bed “spot” and at first tethered our new dog to a leash in his “spot" with lots of treats and toys so he associated it as being a good place for him. Now he willingly goes there… at least sometimes, but he is still a puppy and training takes time. Just remember that YOU are the alpha.
Your dog will provide you with great companionship. He or she will even hold you accountable for going on regular walks or runs, give you lots of snuggle time and will always be willing to protect you, yes even the little guys will do their best.
Consider adopting a dog from the shelter. Mixed breed dogs need homes and are some of the very most grateful dogs that you can imagine. I have rescued many dogs and I can tell you they have all been very well trained, easy going, loyal and loving.
I now own my first full bred Bernese Mountain Dog and he is truly special in his own right. But, all dogs earn a special place in our hearts. They try so hard to earn our love when really maybe it should be the other way around? Maybe if humans were more like dogs the world would be a more loving, accepting and better place!
Playfully Your Pet Lover,
Thank you Bubba for a year of joy that will last a lifetime....
P.S. - Dogs are usually discounted for adoption for the holidays, so now is a great time to adopt a pet. It will be the gift that will continue to give love for many years to come! If you have any questions about adopting a dog, please feel free to reach out and message me! I would be happy to help!
The holidays can be joyous, but they can also be the cause of tremendous stress. This holiday season, put a little soul into your step. Too much time is spent shopping, fighting the crowds and suddenly our stress levels go up. There is a lot of pressure behind gift giving. Your kids want things that are often more than you can afford and yet you hate to disappoint them. In some instances we overextend our budgets, which creates unnecessary stress and resentment all for the latest toy or gaming system that will be quickly forgotten and replaced with a new version within months. We start buying things for people without putting much thought into it just for the sake of crossing it off our to do lists. It almost feels obligatory to give "Aunt Suzy" a gift, so we send a coffee cake. But maybe Suzy is on a diet or does not even want to eat the cake. Now she feels stressed because you sent a cake that she feels that she needs to eat out of guilt. Why do we do this? What is it all about?
The real meaning behind this holiday is the miracle that a baby was born. It is indeed a birthday celebration, but the materialism and commercialism have gotten blown so far out of proportion that rather than it bringing us joy, they often cause us stress. Did we get the right thing? Will "Aunt Suzy" like it?
We also blow through the opening of Christmas presents and then often face a period of feeling let down, after which leads to self pity…. Wondering why your loved one did not get you the gift that really would have meant a lot to you, or that one thing that you really wanted... Please, take a moment to pause and reflect this holiday season. Really think about the difference between giving from obligation and giving from your heart. When we give from a place of pure love and give only with purpose, the gift will always be well received. It will be a gift of love and joy!
Consider surrendering from the attachment to things. The idea that less is more is very fulfilling. When I find the perfect gift for someone that I know is just sooo exciting, it does not matter to me if it is just a three dollar pair of socks or a major gift. It is all about the true JOY of giving without a single thought of what I may or may not get in return.
The older I get, the less I want and need. I realize that things do not bring lasting happiness. What really brings me joy are the people I am surrounded with and the wonderful memories that we make together. It truly is more about who is around the tree than what is under the tree. Our worth is not based on THINGS, it is based on memories, love and gratitude.
So, pause and slow down. Breathe deeply and think of the people who have absolutely nothing this Christmas. Perhaps the best gift of all is giving your time to help out at a shelter, or donating a warm coat to someone in need? Teach your children to appreciate the lights, the meals and the special times that we spend together. Appreciate the little things rather than always wanting more. This is not only a Christmas sentiment, but something that matters all year round. Practice gratitude for what you do have and for your love. It is also ok to change your holiday traditions. We often get stuck in our ways of celebrating, but as our children grow up, consider allowing your traditions to evolve. The truth is that the holiday atmosphere changes as our children grow into young adults and presents naturally become less of a focus. So take the pressure off of yourself and go back to enjoying life.
Accept what is in each moment, be aware of your surroundings, as well as your words and actions. Practice kindness and spread holiday cheer. After all, as long as you are on the “NICE” list… you have nothing to fret about.
Do not get your tinsel in a tangle. Enjoy the holiday season! Winter is a time of restoration for our bodies and our souls before emerging stronger in the spring. Rest, enjoy a good book or good music, pull out some board games and enjoy what you have rather than wanting more.
Peace & Joy,
P.S. - Also remember and hold space for the people whose hearts ache more than normal during the holidays. It can be an emotionally painful and sometimes lonely time. Consider reaching out and including friends and neighbors in your family celebrations throughout the season. Remember the saying, "it takes a village," well it truly does and tis the season to give, but the gift of love, not things.
Have you ever been addicted to something? Have you ever suffered extreme loss? What about fears? Do you fear anything so much that it haunts you or shuts you down? There is a song on the radio that made me realize that love is just as powerful as any drug out there (watch the video below). Music is powerful. It can trigger memories, feelings and instincts. Love, however, takes you to your highest high and also your lowest low. You put your faith and trust in your significant other and sometimes with no warning you are left alone. This causes feelings of abandonment and insecurity. It causes us to close down and a little piece of us dies. Losing a loved one in a relationship is a huge cause of stress, whether it is a long term relationship or a marriage. You share memories, laughter, and intimacy with that person. Those memories are triggered for a long time to come and unfortunately cannot be turned off easily, which makes it difficult to move forward and to love again. But surrenduring to what is and knowing when to walk away is key! It allows you to open the door for what may be.
Now, lets talk about the ego. It is extremely important to keep the ego in check when going through difficult times during a breakup. We go through every range of emotions from sadness to anger and everything in between. But, compassion is critical. Compassion is your desire to alleviate the suffering of others, or your feeling of sympathy toward others. In the case of a breakup, compassion toward your Ex can be difficult, but when we set the ego aside and realize why we loved that person to begin with it is a little easier. Try to maintain compassion. In the end you will feel better for it. Positivity attracts positivity. Your heart will heal faster as a result. Remember, always forgive and rise above. Holding grudges only hurts you more in the end.
So, grab a spoon and a pint of ice cream. Binge watch your favorite Netflix shows for a day and then get outside and go for a hike. Reconnect with the things you love to do. Stay plugged into your friends and family. This might be hard if you shared mutual friends, but make the effort. If need be have open communication with your Ex about how and when you will see friends so that you do not awkwardly show up at the same place at the same time. Respect each other as you move on. Sometimes zero communication, at least for a brief period, is easier. Other times treating each other as business partners helps the transition. You will find what works best. Please just watch what you say because although words can be forgiven, they cannot be forgotten and it is easy to say things we do not mean when our emotions are elevated.
You WILL be ok despite the fact that you don’t feel like it at the moment. Everything feels better when you are in love. Do not close down to the possibility of loving again. When we hit rock bottom, we bounce back up and sometimes twice as high, meaning we end up with a better ending. You are the author and the architect of your life. So, write a new chapter. Add new characters. Try new things. Remember, you have a purpose and you are worth it. Keep moving forward and don’t lose your way. All of our roadblocks, bumps and bruises make us stronger, build our character, and give depth to our soul. They help give meaning to our lives and help us to better understand others, which help us to connect.
F.L.Y. First love yourself. Spend some time alone. Prepare yourself for your next true love by fully loving yourself. Make as many self improvements as you can. Be very honest about what went wrong in your previous relationship ~ sometimes we can improve and sometimes we cannot, but it is always good to be aware. Accept the situation, forgive yourself and your EX, and when you are ready move forward with excitement and full compassion. The heart is resilient and will love again. It is the ego that will hold you back.
With love and acceptance,
Are you amongst the majority of us who ate far to much and indulged in rich foods, desserts and probably a beverage too many over the last couple days? And to think… the holiday parties are only getting started! Do not worry. Seriously, it is ok to indulge and feast every now and then. There is no shame in enjoying a delicious meal. No need to starve yourself for the next week. In fact, that will never work. Balance and moderation are key. Forgive yourself and move on just like anything else in life. Practice awareness of how you are feeling. Then, as you eat leftovers and attend parties moving into the season, practice awareness with portion control and choices of what you are eating.
For now, the damage is done, so to speak. Accept it and enjoy it. Get outside this weekend and get moving. Once you take control of your body you will feel better. Maybe you put up holiday lights, go for a hike, rake leaves and if you are lucky enough to be somewhere with snow maybe you go skiing… the possibilities are endless. As long as you are having fun, then exercise becomes easy and the guilt melts away.
Hold yourself accountable. Start a journal this holiday season. Write down what you eat at each event. Record how you feel that night. Then, write how you feel the next day. Be sure to include any movement you are getting and how you feel with that. This will help track your progress both positive and negative. Know that it is OK to sometimes admit that we are not perfect. We strive for progress NOT perfection. Perfection is no fun anyway, lol.
Enjoy yourself! Life is too short not to. But, set yourself up for success. The holidays do not need to weigh you down, quite literally, but instead should inspire you to become the very best version of yourself. With each sparkling light you see this season, let that be a reminder of the light within you. Put religion aside and see the beauty of your spiritual commonality. We are really all the same. We strive to be accepted, to be loved, to be needed and appreciated, to be happy, to be free, to be joyful and abundant. So, all differences aside, be you, eat what you want, exercise, and shine bright for all to see.
Peace, Love and Light to you all,
At birth, the very first thing you do is gasp for your first breath. Your breath is your life force and energy flowing throughout your body. Being mindful of our “in breath” and our “out breath” connects the body and the mind. When we feel stressed, angry or anxious, our breath tends to be rapid and shallow depriving us of sufficient oxygen. This is when we need to practice THE PAUSE, and direct our attention to our breath.
In the 8 Limbs of Yoga as described in the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, Pranayama or breath life force is described as a tool to help us reach a higher level of concentration and connection with the self. There are many styles of breath work and in India, for example, people take classes specifically for breath work because it is highly regarded as part of their health and vitality. I use Ujaii Breathing in my yoga classes and many times I incorporate other techniques.
This style of breathing will increase the heat in your body, which helps create flexibility in your yoga and other athletic practices, but you can use Ujaii breath anytime. Breathe in deeply through your nose and then breathe out deeply through your nose. Continue breathing in through the nose and out through the nose simply observing the effects. That is all there is to it. It is one of the simpler breathing techniques. You can add a slight pause after your inhale and after your exhale if you want to take it a little further into breath retention.
By practicing Ujaii Breathing where we inhale through the nose deeply and exhale through the nose deeply, we are able to slow and deepen the breath. This calms the parasympathetic nervous system and thus relieves stress and improves our mood. As the holiday season approaches, use this breathing technique to relieve stress and tension.
Draw awareness into your breath and into your body language when you are stressed, anxious, nervous or angry, and then when you are happy, relaxed and at ease. Notice how you hold your hands, your posture, your shoulders and your breath. When we are relaxed our breath tends to be fuller and deeper, which oxygenates our blood and our brains, lowers blood pressure, and stabilizes our bodies.
Your breath allows you to pause and respond rather than react. Your breath is your gift of life. It gives you the path to mindfulness. Your breath connects your body, mind and soul. You are in control of your breath even when you are in control of nothing else in this life.
Breathe in, breathe out, all is here, all is now, all is well….
P.S. - Breathwork has long been known to reduce stress and improve the quality of life. Dr. Andrew Weil has proven many breathing techniques that you can learn at this link: https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/meditation-inspiration/the-art-and-science-of-breathing/
Whether you have been single a long time or recently suffered a break up the holidays can be a very difficult and even traumatic time. All the cheery music may make you turn your radio off for a bit even. I get it. But, I have a few tips that will help you make this holiday season better!
1. Pick and choose which events you go to. In other words it is ok to decline invitations if you are not feeling up to being “on” or if you know it’s an event your ex is likely to attend. However, try not to isolate and go completely into a turtle shell.
2. Choose a few new traditions this year. Allow yourself to do something for yourself that will give your holidays new meaning and give you a sense of purpose like volunteering at a soup kitchen or a toy drive! This will allow you to step away from your own grief and feel grateful for what you do have.
3. Connect with nature. Even if you live somewhere cold please bundle up and get outside. Trust me on this- I don’t like cold weather, but the lesson nature teaches us is that everything is temporary. Appreciate the seasons, appreciate the holidays, find the spirit within you that is very much alive. Soon enough the next season will come.
4. Practice my yoga philosophy of awareness, acceptance and forgiveness. Be aware of how you are feeling, what you are eating and drinking, how you are sleeping, how you are speaking, and then accept how you are feeling. Find a song that makes you feel good. Turn it up loud and dance. Laugh, cry, whatever you need to do to set your spirit free! Then forgive your past and forgive yourself. Everything will be ok. Your future is bright.
The holidays are a time time of celebration. That is hard to accept when you are going through a hard time. If this is your first year alone it may seem unbearable. Please, breathe. Try to find a friend or family member to spend the holiday with. Maybe go to a movie or watch a movie that can serve as a distraction. The first year is always the hardest.
The key when going through changes in relationships is to also accept changes in celebrations of holidays. Be respectful of one another in attendance of parties ( possibly coordinate who will attend what). If you are close with your ex’s family give space during the break up and let them know you would like to maintain a relationship if possible after things settle down. If the breakup is new around the holidays it is fine to send an email explaining to friends and family that you are no longer together but you are not ready to talk about it yet. This way you can comfortably attend the parties without awkward conversations that may end in tears.
I hope your holidays get back in back in full swing soon. May you be blessed with love, hope, peace, and cheer.
Ps... consider getting a pet for yourself. They will hold you accountable and provide unconditional love 😉
Whether it is a sunny day or a cloudy day, choose to create your own sunshine through positive thoughts. With your eyes closed before you are even fully awake in the morning, imagine the most beautiful sunny day that you can remember and just take a few breaths. Allow that warmth to fill your body.
Positive thoughts first thing in the morning lead to a positive day. Before you even get out of bed in the morning practice gratitude. Think of a person and close your eyes and think of things that person does that you are grateful for. Perhaps even consider keeping a collage of pictures near your bed of people near and dear, and pets that you are grateful for. Each day you can hold someone new in mind. Then, take a minute to stretch and practice gratitude for yourself. Taking these steps first thing in the morning sets the tone for your day. When you are faced with frustrating obstacles like a traffic jam or a long shopping line throughout your day, use that time to practice gratitude. Hold space again for someone or something that you are particularly grateful for. Allow a smile to span your beautiful face. Open your eyes and look around. This will shift your energy from a negative state to a positive state of being.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our busy worlds that we forget to take notice of the lives around us. Practicing gratitude helps us reconnect and grounds us. Once we reconnect we are able to realize how good it feels to be alive.
Get out into nature. Wonder at the trees. Take notice of the colors, the layers of the flower petals, the different chirps of the bird singing, the size of the acorns this season. Practice gratitude for all that mother nature provides for us.
Then look at the people around you. Take notice of who smiles and who is busy looking at their phone, who looks sad or angry. You see, every day may not be great, but there is something great in every day when our eyes, or more importantly our hearts and souls are open to seeing it. When we live with eyes wide open and hearts wide open and practice gratitude, doors open and abundance is there for us because that is the Law of Attraction. Begin your day this way and direct your thoughts in the direction of your goals. Good things will come to you.
Keep it simple. Keep it positive. Keep it clean. Keep it loving.
PS, This is a particularly wonderful time of year to start your gratitude practice as we approach Thanksgiving. Maybe consider starting a gratitude jar where each family member can contribute one thing each day that they are grateful for another person and sign your name. Fold it up and put it in the jar. Then on thanksgiving, before or after dinner, take time as a family to read each gratitude note out loud. Watch the energy rise as you all learn new things you are grateful for about each other. You can also do this other times of the year.
I am sooo grateful this season for each day, for each person I share my life with, and for each breath. I am grateful for laughter, for love, and for the seasons of change.
Yes sun worshiping is real and it is actually very logical, as well as being an ancient practice. In yoga you hear about Sun Salutations, or the Sankrit term, Surya Namaskar. Surya is sun. Nama means to bow to or adore. We stand at the front of our mat with our hands together at our hearts center in the same position as we typically start and end our practice with namaste mudra, which translates into the divine light in me honors and sees the divine light within you. So, as we move through the Sun Salutations we take our arms up toward the heavens and then we bow forward turning our awareness inward and committing to our health and to our higher awareness. With each movement we aspire to gain wisdom and knowledge and to become the best versions of ourselves. It really is a prayer in motion.
There are 12 postures within a Sun Salutation, which is also symbolic because there are 12 Sanskrit terms for the word sun. Moving through these 12 postures in consecutive sequence in repetition warms & energizes the body. Sun Salutations engage the core, stretch the hamstrings and loosen the shoulders. They improve circulation, massage internal organs and promote overall health. So you can use sun salutations as an excellent warm up, or start to your yoga or workout session. Or when you are short on time and energy, it can be used as your minimum daily go to for giving you a total body workout.
Sun Salutations can be beautifully adapted for your personal needs and can even be done from a chair. When practiced at a slower pace they provide a calming grounding effect, and when practiced at a faster pace they provide a good cardiovascular workout and can provide weight loss.
Why start the day day with Sun Salutations? Yoga was developed over 5000 years ago by ancient Sages in India who believed each part of the body was linked to some part of the natural world. The solar plexus (located behind the belly button) is said to be connected to the sun and associated with our emotional well being and intuition. We practice Sun Salutations first thing in the morning to clear our minds, gain calmness for the day ahead and to heighten our intuition.
Lets face it, we all love a little sunshine. It feels good and makes us happy. The sun grows our fruits, vegetables and flowers. It also creates light, and as we know that light helps us conquer our fears, so salute the sun. Practice Sun Salutations each day and feel yourself growing stronger, your light illuminating brighter and the warmth glowing within you. Make time for this important practice every single day. It only takes 15-20 minutes to do a proper 3-5 Sun Salutations A and Sun Salutations B sequence and you will greatly appreciate the many benefits that you will discover through this practice.
Sun Salutation A:
Inhale taking your arms up
Exhale bowing forward
inhale halfway up straight spine
exhale hands to earth, step back to plank and lower yoga push up
inhale upward dog
exhale downward dog (hold 3-5 breaths)
~work to get your heals toward the earth
~relax your ears between your arms
~let all the busy thoughts of the day and week go as you breathe in through your nose & out through your nose
Inhale look to your thumbs
Exhale to the front of the mat
Repeat 3 to 5 times
Sun Salutation B:
Inhale sweep arms down and up as you come into chair pose
Exhale forward fold straightening legs
Inhale halfway up, look to horizon
Exhale hands to earth and hop back to Chaturanga (yoga push up)
Inhale heart to the sky
Exhale hips up and back to down dog
Inhale right foot to right thumb, Warrior One
Exhale Down Dog
Inhale Left Foot to Left Thumb, Warrior One
Exhale Down Dog stay here and re connect with your breath
Relax your neck & shoulders
Consider scissoring your heels, pressing one heel at a time to the earth and lifting the opposite heel
Inhale look to your thumbs
exhale hop to the front of your mat
Repeat 3-5 times
Wishing you all an inspiring start to your week!
P.S. If you have questions about how to get started in your practice, how to modify postures or if you would like personal, private or corporate lessons, please contact me via email: email@example.com. I would be happy to travel and I always love to connect. Namaste!