Monday, August 29, 2011

Food Revolution

Over the past month or so there's been a major food revolution going on in my home.

You might remember me posting a story about my hubby's trip to the doctor and his slightly elevated cholesterol levels.  Or you might not.

Anyhoo, instead of filling the prescription we decided that diet and exercise would be worth a try.

To be quite honest I was thrilled with the high cholesterol diagnosis, I'd been trying (and failing miserably) to convince hubby and the boys to give vegetarianism a go, that they wouldn't starve without meat in their diets (although my middle son decided to become vegetarian on his own over a year ago).

So this high cholesterol thing was going to work in my favor AND it totally has!

For the first 3 weeks I put us both on a raw food only diet (okay, I snuck a few latte's and snacks here and there when he wasn't looking).  The first complaint I got was that he felt hungry all the time, I had heard this might happen and reinforced that he can eat as much as he wants as long as it is raw fruits, veggies and nuts.  This seemed to do the trick.

Within the first two weeks I saw a difference in his energy level, his smile was brighter and he was always in a really good mood.  Awesome!

Around week 3 we headed to the cottage and because there wasn't adequate cold storage for alot of the veggies, I did what I could with what I had, we did end up eating a few meals of fresh fish and the odd burger, but always had either sliced raw veggies or a vegetarian side dish to go with it.

What amazed me was that on week 3 people were noticing a difference in his body!  We ran into a guy at the cottage who we see maybe once per year and he immediately commented on hubby's weight loss! 

For me I've noticed an increase in clarity and intuition, as well as a slight slimming of the body.  I'll be honest and tell you that I eat bread at least once per day, I just can't seem to kick my PB&J addiction!

Other than my daily bread, we are no longer indulging in processed foods like salad dressings, packaged snacks, etc. unless it's an 'emergency' (as in I haven't done groceries for a while and we're desperate).

As of right now we are eating 1/2 raw and 1/2 cooked vegetarian meals.  Hubby is loving this new food lifestyle and is sticking to it like glue, he's loving the benefits of how it makes him feel and is anxious to go to the doctor again soon to see what his weight loss has been. 

He now gets comments all the time on the changes in his body and everytime someone compliments him it just makes him more determined to keep going.

The one thing I think is really funny is he is now a huge advocate for raw/vegetarian lifestyle, he tells everyone about what he's doing and why and how it's making him feel.

Amazing!  Who would've thunk that this meat eating man would be so happy as a veggie eater?

What comes next....

Last night's emotional explosion allowed me to release a ton of pent up energy, but at the expense of my family, their friends and their carefree Sunday evening plans.

So what comes next?

I went to bed last night in tears hoping for a good nights sleep and a better morning.

This morning the sun is shining, I'm feeling really groggy; emotional explosions tend to make me feel hung over and drowsy the next day and I have my apology all thought out.

The apology part is really important for me.  I know I behaved badly (like a 3 year old deciding a temper tantrum might get her the toy she really really wants) and after a nights sleep I can see that my feelings of inappreciation and disrespect were off the mark and my mental/physical exhaustion was what prompted me to feel that way in the first place.

Plus, my imagination had convinced me that the ongoings of my family yesterday were all a conspiracy to drive me off the deep end.  Oh that silly imagination!

The truth is I set myself up for this meltdown all week, running here and there, meeting deadlines, filling my mind with moments other than the one I was in, spreading myself too thin with each moment adding to the ticking time bomb that was developing inside of me.

So why apologize to the kids?  Won't that make me look weak?  Won't that make me look wrong?

Um, no.  To both of those.

Apologizing to our kids when we feel remorseful about what's transpired shows them how to do the same in similar circumstances.  It shows them that we are humans too and that we're learning as we go and sometimes we do things we have to apologize for.  It gives us an opportunity to sit down and talk with our kids about our feelings, to bring about greater understanding of what just happened.

Admitting we made a mistake or that we were wrong brings us closer to our kids.  It doesn't give them some invisible power over us, rather it empowers them to take responsibility for their actions when the time comes.

So don't hold back on the apologies when it comes to your kids.  Let them see your humanness, let them see that you can make a mistake but that you know how to correct it and make it right again.  It might just bring you closer together.  Imagine that!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Did you feel that?

I just exploded...

I swear it was a 9.9 on the richter (sp?) scale!

Thankfully no one is bleeding....  or worse!

Just some bruised ego's and a teenager whose friends now think I have lost my mind... 

Although these friends might have already been aware of my mindlessness...

This happens to me every once in a while.  It's like I am a rubber band that has been stretched and stretched and stretched until it can't stretch anymore and it just snaps!

This is not the person I want my children (or their friends) to see.  However, in this moment it's who I am.

Crazy mom.  Wild woman.  Cry baby extraordinaire!

I tried to stave it off by sitting in a nice hot bath and turning up the meditation tunes as loud as I could...

But alas.  Serenity wasn't meant to be.

There were many factors to this evenings explosion.  Many, many, many factors.  None of which are unfamiliar to mom's and women everywhere!

Maybe I shoulda brought the wine bottle down to the tub with me?

Oh well...  there's always next time....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Practice of Acceptance

What if you were to accept every single thing that has happened or is happening in your life right now?

By accepting I mean looking at any given situation and understanding that it is happening, or that it has already happened and leave it at that.  No judgement, no trying to control or manipulate the outcome.  Simply allowing that situation to be just as it is.

Does this sound like giving up to you?  Does this sound like being cowardly?  Does it sound like laziness?

It might to some.

To me it sounds like a stress free, peaceful way of going about life.

Take a moment to think of the one thing that is happening in your life right now that is occupying space in your mind and heart, dominates your thoughts and has you awake at night.

What have you done thus far to deal with this situation? 

Is that working?

I'm going to guess that it hasn't. 

What I have noticed in the past when I have tried to control or manipulate the outcome of a situation is that the situation got worse, it got more intense and was prolonged.  It is in these moments that I need to remind myself that 'what we resist, persists'.

The opposite of resistance is acceptance.

We stumble on acceptance because we haven't practiced using it a whole lot.  Life & society tells us to work hard towards a solution, fight to the death so to speak (some people take this one literally).

By accepting something you aren't giving up.  You aren't condoning bad behaviour.  You don't have to like what is happening.  By accepting something you are saying 'I choose a life free from stress over a life full of tension and anxiety'.

Accepting what is does not mean we relieve ourselves of responsibility.  You don't rack up thousands of dollars worth of debt and then say "oh well, I guess I just have to accept it" and not make any motions towards paying that debt back.  What you can do is choose not to worry about said debt, it's already happened, it's already there, that's the reality of the situation and then you take responsibility for it.

Debt doesn't go away if you stick your head in the sand and misbehaving children don't develop a better attitude if mom or dad constantly have their battle gear on.

When I think of acceptance I instantly get a visualization of a door opening.  In the moment when acceptance occurs, a weight is lifted, our breathing gets deeper we feel more relaxed, it is in that moment when opportunities come that will be tailored to your getting the situation resolved.

Have you ever tried to reason with a screaming child?  This is what non-acceptance is like, it's like talking to a brick wall and expecting wisdom in return.  It gets you no where.

It's easy to confuse yourself though and say that you are accepting when behind the scenes you are still working at undermining others, manipulating outcomes and judging situations.  You'll know your acceptance level hasn't hit the mark if you are experiencing the same resistance.

Practice makes perfect though so don't give up.  Keep accepting, even the smallest moments of acceptance can create huge opportunity and change.



Monday, August 22, 2011

If you want something you've never had....

Do something you've never done....

This is one of my all time favourite quotes!  I was reminded of it this afternoon while speaking with a client.

We are all striving towards healthier relationships.  We all just want to be happy and accepted.  We all just want to be loved and appreciated.  Am I right?

So what if your relationships don't look like that?  Maybe some do, but some don't.  Maybe all of them are pretty equal but could use a little boost.

Well then, you might want to try something you've never done before.

Years ago I heard a woman speak about relationships and about affecting change through what she called "energy bank accounts".

The idea was to fill other people's energy bank accounts with positivity and love instead of anger, jealousy, etc.

A simple yet powerful idea that many of us don't even know we are doing each day.

How many of us become miserable when we are around a chronic complainer?  How many of us become enthusiastic about life when we spend time with an optimistic person with a positive, bright outlook on life?  This is energy at work.  The energy we put out makes a huge difference on the people in our lives!

It was during the time that I heard this speech that I was experiencing lots of negativity in my marriage.  My husband wasn't happy with his work and found it difficult to turn the work stuff off once he was home.  After a while it became so that we just weren't that excited to see him at the end of the day, it was affecting our relationship and his relationship with our children.  I had to do something and I remembered the energy bank account.

I decided then that I would spend 5-10 minutes everyday thinking about my husband in a loving, encouraging and appreciative way.  This was at times very difficult as things were not good in our home at the time and there was little I felt I could appreciate about his presence in my life.  But still I would spend that time each day.

I noticed immediately that his attitude was more positive, upbeat and welcoming on the days I had spent that 5-10 minutes thinking of him in a positive light.  On the days that I forgot it was a totally different story.

I also noticed my attitude becoming more positive and loving towards him.  Even on the days he was cranky!

What I was doing was filling his energy bank account with positive energy and it was counterbalancing the negative energy he was receiving at work.

When we walk around all day with our energy bank accounts overflowing with negativity it is easy to attract chaos, turmoil and undesirable life circumstances.

When our energy bank accounts are filled with positive energy we are more likely to remain balanced and react to situations more peacefully.

What I believe happens is that as you are fillling someone else's energy account, you are also filling your own.  The more positive that goes in the more the negative is filtered out and the better you will feel.

Sometimes we complain to our friends about our kids, spouses, coworkers and employers without thinking about it, but this energy is being sent directly into that persons energy account to be used by them at the perfect moment.

Think of the worst day you've ever had.  Now picture yourself making energy withdrawals on that day, if you were already having a bad day and you had lots of negative deposits in your account, your energy would draw on that negativity because it would be a vibrational match to how you are feeling.  Now if you had been filling that account with positive energy you may have started your day on the wrong foot, but would quickly be able to balance it out and bring about the positive to make it much better because your bank account would have positive energy to draw upon.

Try it for yourself and see what kind of positive changes you can affect.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Time for the annual 'cottage trip book review'

I'm just back from 2 glorious weeks of vacation at our Northern Ontario cottage.  I know there are so many more 'important' things I need to be doing (like the 10 piles of laundry I have scattered on the laundry room floor).  But if there is anything I have learned from years of cottaging it is not to expect too much of myself the first day or two back. 

It was a busy couple of weeks.  We managed to get the cottage painted and enjoyed many rainy days lounging, reading and relaxing.

I didn't get as much reading done as I normally do on my northern getaway, but the books I did get in were totally worth it and reminded me that I am always guided to just what I need when I need it.

First up; Alicia Silverstone's "The Kind Diet".  I saw this book at the local Indigo store and thought it looked interesting, lucky for me the local library had a copy!  Since switching up our diet a little, kicking processed foods to the curb and eating more raw foods I thought it would be a great idea to look into how others are doing it.  Alicia's all about veganism, she talks alot about the impact our diet has on our environment and discusses the positive changes that could take place globally if we were all a little more conscious about what we eat.  Although, she's not a raw foodie, her recipes are all delicious looking, packed with nutrients and environmentally friendly.  This is a book I will be purchasing to have on my recipe book shelf.  Definitely!

Helene Cooper's 'The House at Sugar Beach'.  A young girl's account of what life was like, raised in Monrovia in a 22 room mansion by the sea in the 70's.  Her family flees to the USA when Liberia erupts into civil war and she begins her journey as an American citizen, how she becomes a valued media correspondent and her journey back to Liberia 23 years after the fact.
Cooper's ancestors are traced back to the first ship of freeman to set sail from New York to Monrovia in 1820, so this book is also chalk full of history (which is exactly the way I like to learn my history).
Definitely a worthy read.

'Stealing Buddha's Dinner' by Bich Minh Nguyen.  The entire book is about a young Vietnamese girl who comes of age in Grand Rapids, Michigan and relates food of every flavour to her upbringing and her journey.  I found it interesting how Nguyen related every experience to the food, whether it was celebration or tragedy, it was all about the food.  A few times I found myself putting the book away because it was making me hungry for all the junk food I had packed for the kids. 
This story put into perspective what it would be like for an immigrant.  The things they would have to adjust to, the social aspects, the difference in cultures and the abundance of food!  All things we all take for granted.

'Mandela's Way Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love and Courage' by Richard Stengel.  There's just something about Nelson Mandela that draws me in and this book might just be my favourite of all I read on vacation.
Stengel shares stories of intimate time spent with Mandela and shares what was learned and how Mandela handled each situation. 
I love a book that gives me an opportunity to reflect upon my own life, my own character and how I could make a positive difference in my world.  Stengel writes in such a way that it feels like you are getting to know his subject more deeply and intimately.  A truly inspiring read!

Last but certainly not least, 'Mother Teresa's Secret Fire' by Joseph Langford.  As much as I like to reflect when I read, I also like to get down to the nitty gritty right away and to do this you need to start on Chapter 8 of this book.  Once I got to the point of the message Langford wanted to convey I found myself being affected deeply by his words and found it much easier to take in the message.
This book is a tad bit religious, I was hoping for more simplistic material as Mother Teresa was a simple (and at the same time profoundly deep) woman.
Who Mother Teresa was, what she encountered, her love of Jesus and faith in God is something we can all have.  She wasn't born with all of this divine connection, it grew inside of her and her faith grew out of that.  She reminds us that Jesus has deep love for us, for who we are RIGHT now.  We need not wait to become something different or better than we already are to receive and feel divine Love.  A great read for anyone wanting confirmation of their worthiness on this planet, or who simply wants to know more about what made this amazing woman tick.

Well, that's it, the 'cottage trip book review'.

If you read any of these or have read them, I'd love to hear what you thought!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jumping off the grid!

In just 2 more sleeps I will be on my way to the great North to spend 2 relaxing weeks living in my pyjamas and reading the tower of books I have selected to keep me company during that time.

Deep breath.

I can hardly wait.

Just thinking about the sun reflecting off the lake and the sound of the tree leaves rustling in the breeze is making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

This year's trip to the cottage, marks another first in our life.  It's the first time we'll be bringing my son's girlfriend with us.

It's really the only way we can get his 17 year old butt up there.  And seeing as we are really hoping that he is working full time next summer, this may be the last time he gets a vacation with us for a little while.

Heading to the cottage means jumping off the technological grid.  No hydro, no phone service, no people (well except the ones that you bring with you).  Just me and the family enjoying the sun, the fishing, the game nights and of course the homemade popcorn and hobo pies!

If I could snap my fingers and magically make it Saturday I would! 

This vacation is well deserved and I plan to milk every last moment out of it and come back to you all refreshed and ready to take on the world (again)!

Don't miss me too much!  2 weeks isn't THAT long :)