Thursday, March 29, 2012

100 Days of Focusing on Health: Day 19 (moving meditation)

Later today I have a sitting meditation class, but this morning I will try and focus on walking meditation. Since the weather is nice, I'll head down to the Phoenix Park labyrinth after I drop my boys off at school. Perhaps walking this outer path will help me also on my inner path. It will be a peaceful way to start the day.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

100 Days of Focusing on Health: Day 18 (Crossroads)

We all have times in our life that feel important. This is one of those times for me. I feel like I am making some changes in my life that are carrying me down a different path than before. These are good choices, but there is an inertia that resists change. The crossroads are full of symbology, a place of waiting and a place of choice. The god Hermes,son of Zeus and god of travel, was reputed to linger at the crossroads. I feel very strongly that I am at a crossroads in my life. The choices I make now will determine the road I travel.

Am I willing to make hard choices? Am I willing to commit to the hard road? When you choose a road, you leave another way of being behind. Then of course, there is the promise of the road ahead.

In most cultures it is a significant place of meeting with transcendent powers (gods, spirits, the dead). It is often close to the symbolic content of the door, since the crossroads can also symbolize the necessary transition to the new (from one phase of life to another; from life to death). To win the favor of the gods or spirits, obelisks, altars, or stones were erected, or inscriptions were placed at crossroads. Practically everywhere in Europe crossroads were also regarded as the meeting place of witches and evil demons. For this reason, Christians have erected at crossroads crosses, chapels, and statues of the Madonna and the saints. Among many African tribes the symbolism of the crossroads plays a significant role in ritual acts. In Greek mythology Oedipus slays his father at a crossroads. The Greeks made sacrifices to a goddess of the (three-way) fork in the road who was often represented in triple form: Hecate, goddess of ghosts and magic, who was also closely associated with the realm of the dead. The statue of Hermes, the psychopomp (spirit guide) stood guard at crossroads and forks in the road.

(Above is an excerpt from the entry for Crossroads in "The Herder Symbol Dictionary."
Translated by Boris Matthews. Chiron Publications, Wilmette, Illinois.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

100 Days of Focusing on Health: Day 17

I've changed the title of my blog theme to focusing on health. The focus of this writing exercise for me is to build a healthy lifestyle built around mindfullness. I want to make healthy choices for my mind, body, and spirit. This will lead to healthy habits, but I think that will be the second step. It takes time to build habits, and right now I am developing the focus and attention to health.

Perhaps I can report at the end of this exercise what healthy changes and habits have manifested from this focus on health.

This week my intention is to pack balanced/healthy lunches for myself and the boys with more vegetables and raw foods. I also want to think about the cooperative process of what I put into my body and why. Where is the balance between pleasure in eating and the over balance of eating for distraction, boredom, or to fill an emotional need? What are the other ways in which I can reward myself? What are the other ways in which I can be filled/find enjoyment? (Poetry, beauty, walking in nature, writing and reading...)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits- Day 16

Today my intention is to drop my shoulders! My chiropractor back in Georgia always told me that I need to do that and now my new chiropractor keeps advising it. I don't need to carry the world on my back like a turtle. I need to release my stress and move fluidly through my day.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits- Day 15

Today my intention has been to slow down. Too often the hurry of a day takes over everything and leads to poor choices and reactive thinking. As much as possible, I want to leave space in my mind for thinking, reflecting, and processing before I jump to a conclusion or action. There is not always time for this type of thinking, but I am reminded that if I give myself space and time - my thoughts and actions will reflect more positively on my values and "who I am."

In meditation class today, I was wrestling the monkey mind. I found a recurring question coming into my thoughts. "What is important to me?" My mind settled when I realized it was that moment that was important. On this day let this present moment be sufficient. Let this present moment be all that it can be.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits: Day 14

My intention today was to get through the burn. Who knew that doing the breast stroke and exercising in a pool for an hour and a half was going to kill me more than zumba or kickboxing. It is a whole different muscle set. Today I can feel most of my back muscles and my legs complaining. Yet we went back to the pool today for round two. I'm also trying to get Kiernan to practice swimming. Both boys need to strengthen their swimming skills, as apparently do I!

I'm proud that I went back for day two. Tommorow will be day 3 of swimming. Maybe one day I can look this cool...

Monday, March 19, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits- Day 13

Today's intention is to go with the flow of Spring Break! The boys really want to swim a lot this week, and I can't argue with that. So I'll be pulling out the bathing suit, once I can find it amid all of our packing bins. Luckily the YMCA has a generous free swim schedule this week!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits- Day 12

Today's intention is to keep it real! I can build more activity and exercise into my everday life. Exercise for me often entails an elaborate gym class. I like to be worn out by Zumba or kickboxing or blissed out by yoga. Now that the weather is nice, there are more options for activity. Our family took a walk in the nice breezy evening air. We got to see some soon to be budding flowers and lots of leafy trees. It has been wonderful to enjoy this rare warm March in Wisconsin.

I don't have to schedule exercise at the gym for it to happen. This morning I did a few leg stretches before getting out of bed. I am sure I can find ways to make activity happen outside of a formal environment. It will help me keep exercise going, even when I'm too busy for a scheduled gym class.

Friday, March 16, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits- Day 11

Today's intention is to remember the healthy place of silence. Silence is the balm to all the noise that disturbs our calm and focus. Yesterday I had the great gift to meditate in Rev. Virginia Wolf's meditation class at UUC. I felt like my entire world was reset by connecting with my breathing and settling into the silence. There are very few moments of true silence in my day or when it is okay for me not to speak. Silence is one more essential habit to health and balance.

Words by Tim Haley

Amid all the noise in our lives,
we take this moment to sit in silence --
to give thanks for another day;
to give thanks for all those in our lives
who have brought us warmth and love;
to give thanks for the gift of life.
We know we are on our pilgrimage here but a brief moment in time.
Let us open ourselves, here, now,
to the process of becoming more whole --
of living more fully;
of giving and forgiving more freely;
of understanding more completely
the meaning of our lives here on this earth.

I've got a link to a sermon I did recently about silence. I was inspired first by a wonderfully written sermon by the Rev. Marti Keller on the subject matter of this book.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits- Day Ten

Day 10 is all about keeping up with the habits I've begun. I have a bottle of water on my desk and I brought my lunch to the office today. Lunch consisted of an orange, granola, sunflower seeds, and minestrone soup.

I have to be patient with the process of letting all of these habits do their work. Each day I stick to my intentions and focus on overall health, I am on the right path. It is a day by day journey of focusing on the big picture of happiness and a healthy life.

Monday, March 12, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits- Day Nine

This day's healthy habit focus is finding healthy rewards. I remember too often having food rewards as a child and have used this mindset as an excuse for eating extra sugary goodies. There are other rewards that do not sabotage my exercise and health goals in the same way. I love books, and a trip to the bookstore is a very great treat. I also love magnetic bookmarks for my non-digital books.

Instead of rewarding myself with a cookie or chocolate, I will think of another choice.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits- Day Eight

Last night at our congregation we had a teal hymnal sing along after a pancake supper. The songs were lively and interesting, but a challenge in their complexity and rhthym. We had fun practicing the different parts and learning together. It felt great to join my voice with others and express the feeling and words of these deep songs. Yesterday, I made the choice to write and submit an article to the local paper rather than go to the gym. I wrestled with my desire to express myself and my other equal need for physical expression.

I want to be intentional about the habit of expression. Too often we bottle up things for another day and a better time. I don't want to shove away my creativity and silence my voice because my "to do" list is too long. I want to sing with others, express my feelings, and also find time to kickbox. Is this too much to ask? There must be a balance in there somewhere.

So today's healthy habit focus is expression...finding the balance in that!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits- Day Seven

You will notice that these "100 Days" posts will not be sequential - demonstrating another healthy habit of observing sabbath time. When I took my yoga class on Monday, I felt very connected to my feet. We don't really pay our feet much attention, yet they support us and carry us through the world.

My teacher begins yoga classes by encouraging her students to rub their feet. We rub an essential oil into our feet and toes. Then we begin to stretch and massage each foot, paying attention to tensions and the condition of our feet. This is a very simple act, but it feels like supreme self-care. I am trying to build this habit of paying attention to the body that supports me, and giving it the care it needs.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits- Day Six

Goal - 25% of my diet being raw foods.

I have been a vegetarian for over a year now. It has been something I've slowly moved towards over the years and I made the final commitment over Thanksgiving 2010. Becoming a vegetarian means that I need to eat more vegetables, not simply consume more pasta or processed foods. I've been increasing raw foods in my diet and my current goal is for raw food to be twenty-five percent of my diet.

Raw foods are simply fruits, vegetables, seeds, and other unprocessed, uncooked natural foods. I've been eating more fruit, nuts, salad, and raw vegetables as my snacks and with my main meals. Today I ate grapefruit, mixed greens salad, a banana, and some granola along with my favorite hummus and other vegetarian standbys.

With eating more raw food, I feel more connected to what I'm eating. It isn't some artifical flavor, sweetner, or red dye number 8000. Raw foods require less preparation and are easy to pack into a lunch or a snack at work. It fits into the simple lifestyle that I am trying to move towards.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits- Day Five:

When you are struggling with stress in your day - find your calm. Without the availability of a really good yoga class, my way to do that is to go to the library or local book store and find a good book. I love to sink into the quiet library atmosphere and wander down aisles of books until the right one calls my name. I walk around with my bag of books like a treasure hunter with a nose for gold. Of all material things, books are truly the greatest treasure for me. I love to re-read my favorite authors and discover new plots, adventures, and worlds in my new book finds.

I have a stack of books waiting right now...

Friday, March 2, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits - Day Four:

Make time for love! Tonight we are going on a date night. We will be going out to Shanghai Bistro and also to see Into The Woods at the University.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

100 Days of Healthy Habits Day Three:

Pack a lunch! You save money, eat more balanced foods, and create less consumer waste.