Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I thought I knew all of the low fat raw vegan teachers out there, but Swayze was kind enough to introduce me to a few new ones in this post.

Chris Kendall, what a ball of joy. I aspire to enjoy my bananas as much as he does, and his precious little niece made me laugh harder than I've laughed in a long time.

I loved reading Ellen Livingston's account of fasting in Costa Rica with Doug Graham, and I had a big a-ha moment when I read this passage...

"I begin to turn further inward today, and become uncomfortably aware of how much in my life I have identified with the emotion of sadness, and the experience of suffering. This has become a part of me that does not want to leave easily. It's been my companion, however self-destructive; sadness and suffering have become experiences that I can deeply connect with, and their depth has often given me a welcome experience of aliveness. What I want now is to feel that aliveness, that depth of emotion, through joy instead of through sorrow. I want joy, happiness, peace, easefulness, restfulness, vibrancy, and health to be my constant companions now. I am not afraid of sorrow and suffering, I just want to release my lingering identity with them and make more room for joy to be dominant."

Ellen Livingston

Yes, exactly! Somehow this inner part of me that clings to the identity of suffering does not believe I can survive without her. "It's a cruel world," she warns. "You'll get your heart broken."

I think it's worth the risk.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This Emotional Life

I watched and enjoyed a portion of this PBS documentary tonight that discussed happiness.

One of the topics discussed was resilience. They interviewed Bob Schumaker who was shot down over Vietnam and spent 8 years as a POW. He was tortured and held in solitary confinement for almost 3 years. He discussed all of the ways he stayed sane and optimistic through a horrible trauma.

First, he dreamed. One of his main dreams was of the house he planned to build for his wife and baby son when he returned. He worked and reworked the plans in his mind, down to how many nails and how many square feet of plywood he would use. After his release, he built it.

Even though he was prevented from being with other prisoners, they developed a tap code so they could communicate through the walls. He demonstrates this amazing system here. The POWs even went so far as to teach one another classes using the tap codes on everything from French to music to television repair. The social support was vital to getting through the horrors of being imprisoned. Without the tap code, the POWs would have gone mad, or worse.

Bob said he would have not changed his experience for anything, despite the pain. He said he never gave up or doubted that he would come through it. He said he never regretted the time that he lost or what he suffered because he learned so much about himself through the experience. After his release, he had a happy marriage and a great relationship with his son (who he never met until he was 8 years old), and just loved life. His facial expressions and tone of voice clearly reflected his happiness.

And if he can do it, why can't I?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Old tapes

Some of you may remember which teacher it was who used to tell us that the "old tapes" running through our heads sometimes led to getting stuck in behaviors we want to change. I know some of you reading this aren't old enough to remember cassette tapes. LOL! But I find it a useful and accurate metaphor for what I experience at times.

Despite my incredible progress in so many areas, a lot of my old tapes are still running. After a strong start to the new year, I have slid back to the point where I found myself eating all kinds of crap yesterday, including dairy.

The new tape says, one meal at a time, start now. But the old tape says, you are a failure and you always will be. The new tape says, look at how far you've come and all you've improved. The old tape says, it's been years and you are still rehashing the same old crap.

When I feel like this, I have repetitive dreams where I have an important task to complete. Usually, in the dream, I have a class to teach or an appointment to keep. I find myself in a large building where I am wandering about, unable to find the room that I am supposed to be in. In another version of the dream, I don't have the proper materials or I can't find my glasses and am totally blind. The dream goes on and on, while I try and try to complete my task, with no success. Sometimes this dream is combined with a dream I have when I am stuffy and mouth-breathing. In this dream I have a large wad of gum stuck to my back teeth. I try to remove it, but I can only get bits and pieces. I pull piece after piece of sticky gum out, but still a large wad remains. I wake up feeling anxious, unrested and very thirsty.

Ok, my lovely friends, now is your cue to send me lots of love and encouragement. Thanks!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Things that Make Me Happy

Thanks to Tina at Terra Bites, Christopher at Berry Boy, Elijah at Overcoming Epilepsy and Kim at A Fruity Endeavor for nominating me for this fun award. I have been kinda crabby for the past two days, and I needed this little pick-me-up!

Ten things that Make Me Happy (in no particular order)

1) My husband and kids. Every day they show me love and appreciation (even if it's mixed in with aggravation) and every day at least one of them makes me laugh out loud. And if you every find you're needing adoration, just be a mommy to a 9 month old. When you come in the room, he will light up with the biggest smile, as if you are the greatest person on Earth and he is experiencing bliss just seeing you. He will hug you and snuggle you and want to be with you all the time. I am very lucky to have my little Qian and I don't forget it, even when I'm tired.

2) The Naked Food Cafe. I don't think I could be home alone in this cold weather eating naked food without the support of Connie and all the wonderful people at the NFC. It is a fun, positive, interesting place.

3) Sunshine. Even in winter, nothing is so wonderful as the bright, cheerful glow of the sun.

4) Our new MP3 player and subscription to Rhapsody. My husband and I gave ourselves this gift for Christmas and it has provided hours of fun and entertainment. I have made upbeat playlists to motivate me to walk, jump on the rebounder, and dance with the baby. With Rhapsody, we can experiment and find all kinds of music from all over the world.

5) Fresh, ripe, sweet, juicy fruit. MMmmmmmmmmmmm! And of course, eating fresh off the tree or or the bush can't be beat.

6) Exercise. Nothing bounces my mood through the roof better than getting my heart rate up a bit. Walking outdoors is one of my favorite. Bouncing on the rebounder makes me feel like a Tigger. And dancing fills my heart with joy and love.

7) Reading. I love to meet new people and transport myself to another time or place. I love to learn and explore new ideas. And all without leaving the comfort of my home or spending a dime (thanks to an awesome library system).

8) Gardening. I'm already starting to window shop for the varieties I want to try this year. I love growing unusual fruits and veggies that I can't buy in the store.

9) The Farmers Market. I love meeting other people who love growing and eating fresh healthy food. All of the colors and varieties, and the experience of interacting with and supporting the people growing the food directly. The whole atmosphere of a Farmers Market feels so alive and wonderful.

10) The blogosphere. So many people, so many perspectives. It is so fun to read everyone's stories and thoughts, see their lives. I have to be careful or I can spend my entire day just reading blogs.

If you have read this far and you haven't made your happy list yet, consider yourself nominated. Write it ASAP! By the time you hit number 5, you'll be feeling FANTASTIC.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Celebrating the New Year of the New Me!

I am ready for big things in 2010 and have started out the New Year living my intentions.

January 1st, I fasted on water with the lovely folks at the Naked Food Cafe. I have been enjoying lovely fruits and greens since then. I even served tater tots, a long-time cheat food, to my family today without popping a single one in my mouth. And I didn't feel disappointed at all. They actually kinda stink.

I got a cheapy little electric orange juicer yesterday and we made our first yummy OJ today. My 10 year-old set it up for me and read the directions, and he and the girls did a lot of the juicing while I made the rest of the dinner. Fun and delicious! It was easy to go through 8 lbs. of oranges in one meal, however, which brought up some of my fears about money and the price of feeding my family quality food. Deep breath. Letting it go for right now.

After only 3 days without salt and other junk, I am already feeling a lot less achey and bloated than I usually do. I had fun rebounding vigorously for 30 minutes, as I recovered from my respiratory illness much more easily. However, I have had a little bit of trouble with the timing and quantity of my food, so I am undereating and a bit hungry. Not to worry. I have ripe bananas and frozen raspberries, so I will have a nice big meal for breakfast and get back on track. I also have lots of Barhi dates. Mmmm.

After some research, including this article by Don Bennett, I decided that our family are all going to take a Vitamin D supplement. I am not thrilled about this, but have decided that it is the best we can do for our health in our current location. I have been dreaming a lot about our future tropical paradise where I will grow fruit trees and bask in the glorious rays of the sun year-round. (Hear that, universe?)

I am so happy to have my family and friends, especially the lovely online raw community I have found through this blog, and to celebrate the reawakening of my hope and joy in this lovely New Year.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I have this nasty little habit. I focus on all the things I haven't accomplished or succeeded at. If I have a list of 10 things I want to get done, and I do 8 of them, I feel disappointed and obsess about how I could fail to accomplish those last 2 items. Not surprisingly, I have gotten to the point where I feel afraid to name an intention, set a goal, or make a to-do list, because I am afraid I will "fail."

Isn't it ironic that even now, telling you about my bad habit of focusing on the negative, I am focusing on the negative. LOL!

So, here's to not having any New Year's Resolutions. Here's to finding ways to enjoy, celebrate, and feel good all the time. Here's to being present with my decisions in every moment, without shame or guilt. Happy 2010!