Sunday, June 30, 2013

Monday Mantra: Shake the Self-Doubt

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Shake the self-doubt

Next week I embark on a little adventure called Turning 30 Years Old. While most people dread this day, I have been looking forward to it my whole life. When I was little, when I was younger, I never felt like I fit in correctly with the rest of the world. I always felt old and different and kind of out of place. Each year that has brought me closer to this has been one I've looked forward to. To finally be the age you've felt all along is a nice thing, if you ask me.

Turning any age makes you reflect on things - decisions, mistakes, The Should've-Would've-Could've's.  Lately, I've been thinking about the self doubt and fear that have held me back over the years. The thoughts of I'm not good enough, talented enough, smart enough.

If you've been a reader of mine for a while you know there have been many things I've wanted to do in my pursuit of When I Grow Up. A lot have been unrealistic like, oh, wanting to be a pirate. But there was one thing I loved before I knew about anything else and that was architecture.

When I was a little girl I would dream of houses. Big, amazing, fantastic houses with color and light and floor plans unrealistic to what we know of today. And when I would wake, I would draw out those  plans in a sketch book so that one day I could build them when I became an architect. I had hundreds of them. Hundreds of dreams to build. But that day never came. I never let it.

It wasn't always like that, though. I let myself try. Once.

When I was in high school I was so certain of my future in this field that I convinced my school to let me take two classes at the same time in the mornings. Half of the hour I would be in my required morning class and the other half I would be in a drafting class. In that class I met my friend, Brian, who helped me learn all the tricks and tools of drafting. My teacher even let me take the software and download it on my home computer to practice because hand drawing a floor plan and doing it on the computer were two very different things, I came to find out. But I was elated, excited, on my way to being the next Frank Lloyd Wright. Until the day I talked to my advisement counselor at school.

I was figuring out where to go to college and what I needed to become an architect and it turned out I needed a lot of math classes. A lot, a lot. And math and I had never been very good friends. Even though now I know that after a lot of studying I'm sure I could've conquered it, all of my self-doubt, all of my negative I can't do this talk crept in and I let it take over what I loved. I let it convince me that I would never make it as an architect. That I would never be good enough, talented enough, smart enough.

I've never again tried to rekindle that old dream of mine. I let it die that day. Sometimes though, after a vivid dream of some beautiful house I still sketch it out and imagine what it would've been like to actually make my paper come to life.

Looking back over the ages, what I can say I've learned beyond all else is this: Self doubt is fear. Fear is the contrast of love. And anything that is the opposite of love - while not bad or wrong or terrible - is, however,  something I no longer want holding me back. I will not let myself shrink back from the light of that which I love.

I'm letting go of fear and doubt and holding on to what I want to be, do, create in this world.

What will you do?


Image via Pinterest

Monday, June 24, 2013

In the World of Wellness: News You Need

Wellness is a term widely used that has multiple meanings around health and positive life style changes leading to well-being. Here we will use the term "wellness" as a means of defining a life free from disease as well as a way to explore alternative medicines, what they offer, and what this could mean for you.

Every month I'll do a post on a health and wellness related topic. This will give you a chance to explore other options, become informed, and make the best overall decision for your own well-being.

In the World of Wellness: News you need

Unfortunateley, I am feeling more than a bit under the weather friends, and due to that this is going to be a less than stellar post. I didn't want to leave you without anything though, so here are some links I recently received in my email that are important to your mental, emotional, and physical well being.

First off, a blog post from Martha Beck on How to Deal with Transition. I don't know about you, but I've had more than my fair share of transition lately, so I found this one to be particularly interesting. It also fits along very nicely with my current focus on Commanding Your Time.

Here's a blip (blurb? blop?) from the article:

Emma is a poster girl for Newton’s first law of motion: Once she starts doing something, she just keeps doing it until acted upon by some external force. Each day when Emma’s alarm clock rings, she drowsily hits the snooze button several times. The shower, when she finally gets there, is so steamy and fragrant, she lingers twice as long as strictly necessary. She dresses hurriedly, only to check the mirror and change. And so it goes: Coffee savoring takes 15 minutes; lipstick experimentation, five minutes; car key searching, another 10. Emma often arrives at the office late—but that’s okay, because once there, she works into the night, until an external force in the form of her frustrated husband calls to see if she’s alive. Emma stays up late to offer compensatory companionship, ensuring that in the morning, when the alarm clock rings, she’ll be too tired to get up.
People either think Emma is an inconsiderate laggard or they shrug off her chronic difficulty making transitions, give her lavish time cushions, and judge her based on anything but punctuality.
There’s a key difference between people who become irritated with Emma and those who share Emma’s inability to segue from one thing to the next.
For more, click here!

And some news on the foods you consume. These are interesting, I promise.

Rated G: Chipotle Labels GMO Ingredients

Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald's


Image via TakePart

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Monday Mantra: Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam: I will either find a way or make one

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned in the past how stubborn I Well, I am. Really stubborn. And because I also have a gluten allergy, I am limited in what I can and can't eat. So when I found out Famous Dave's has the most delicious burnt ends possibly ever (sorry to everyone from Kansas who had the best burnt ends formerly), and that I can't eat them, I had to find a way to make them myself. Stubborn + Determined = GF Burnt Ends. Yay!

This brisket recipe all by itself is awesome. I've made this many, many times and always with a resounding YUM from all who eat it. In fact, this is often a requested item, so just in that all by itself you know you've got something good here. All you have to do is take that and do a little more work to get your delicious burnt ends. And while this does take some serious time, it is worth it.

Gluten Free Burnt Ends
Get yo'self a Brisket and your favorite GF BBQ sauce, and get to cooking! 

Ingredients for Brisket:
1 four-pound untrimmed brisket
1 tablespoon of salt
1.5 tablespoons of black pepper
1 teaspoon chipotle/chili pepper
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1 onion cut into slivers
1/2 cup of GF soy sauce 
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup broth

1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
2. Mix together the salt, black pepper, chipotle (or as Jack from Jack in the Box says, Chip-a-top-lay) and diced garlic, and rub all over your brisket (more heavily on the meatier side but also a bit on the fat side as well). Allow the brisket to come to room temperature.
3. In a large roasting pan, add the slivered onions, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, and water.
4. Place the brisket in the pan, fat side up.
5. Cover the pan tightly with first parchment paper, then aluminum foil, and bake in the oven for four hours.  Continue cooking for another hour, or roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes per pound.
6. Take the brisket out of the should be tender to the touch. Let it sit out of the pan for half an hour.

To turn your brisket into burnt ends (this is how I did it, anyway):
1. Trim the hard fat and soft fat from the meat, leaving on some of the meat for that little extra oomph
2. Take what you just trimmed and chop it up. Put it in an oven safe dish and cover with your favorite BBQ sauce. Cover with parchment paper and foil, as before. 
3. Bake on 250 degrees for an additional 30-45 minutes (you will want to adjust this depending on how crunchy or tender you want these. I did 30 minutes and they were tender, but I would've liked more crunch)
4. When they reach your texture of choice, let them cool and cover with additional BBQ sauce as needed.

The leftover meat from the brisket can be eaten right away, or you can keep it warm to serve with the burnt ends.

I found the original version of this next recipe on Tasting Table, but as I'm not a big fan of regular white potatoes and several other ingredients that it called for, I modified it. A lot. This is the strangest tasting potato salad you will ever eat. It's also delicious. I had multiple thumbs up from the guys on this one, so you know that's a good sign since there were "green things" aka vegetables in here. My only suggestion would be to maybe leave the snap peas out. I like them by themselves more than I do in this salad. Also a reminder, whenever you're buying additional ingredients (like  the Dijon mustard or the soy sauce) make sure everything is 100% gluten free.

WTF Sweet Potato Salad
Taken and modified from Tasting Table

Ingredients for Dressing:
1/4 cup plus two TBSP's veganaise 
1 TSP garlic seasoning
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 TSP dijon mustard
1/8 TSP tabasco sauce
1/4 TSP paprika
1/4 TSP cumin
1/4 - 1/2 TSP black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 TSP sea salt
1 TSP soy sauce

Ingredients for the Salad:
2 large eggs
2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 cup snap peas, ends trimmed
6 ounces ham, diced (GF of course, but also preferably nitrate free)
1 red bell pepper diced
1 yellow bell pepper diced
2 celery stalks thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped dill pickles
2 TSP's extra virgin olive oil

1. Make the dressing: In a medium bowl whisk together the veganaise, garlic, lemon, mustard, Tabasco, paprika, cumin, black pepper, soy sauce, and sea salt. 
2. Hard boil your eggs in a medium saucepan over high heat for 15 mins. Immediately (this is the key to easy shell peeling) put them in ice cold water with ice. When they are cool enough to handle, roll them on the counter and crack the shell, the peel away, then dice them up.
3. Bring a large pot of water to boil on high heat. Add the potatoes and boil for 20-30 mins, or until tender. Use a fork to check them (it should easily puncture the potatoes). Turn off the heat and add the snap peas to the hot water to cook. Leave them in for 2 mins, then remove the potatoes and the peas. Cool them under cold running water. Cut the potatoes into small bites. I removed the skins, but do as you please with that. Chop up the snap peas.
4. Put the potatoes, eggs, snap peas, ham, bell pepper, celery, and dill pickles into a large bowl. Add the dressing and mix well. Add a little more salt, pepper, and veganaise if you want a creamier salad. 


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Monday Mantra: Command Your Time- Part 2

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Slow it down

On a recent flight home, I read an article in the Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine by David Hochman titled Not So Fast. In it, he describes his month long  adventure, Slowvember as it was called, with his family of slowing things down, connecting with people personally instead of through technology, and getting outside and enjoying the world instead of plopping down in front of a Facebook page for hours on end.

To ensure he and his family stayed on track, he created the S-L-O-W principles:

S- Savor: Appreciating time rather than counting it down. His example for this was instead of rushing through bath time with his kids, he was imagining what it would be like 10 years from now looking back on the fun moments of them making bubble beards in the tub. He would miss those joyous moments, so he wanted to savor in them now.

L- Listen to your inner clock: Because the world we live in is super fast, super busy, we tend to push ourselves towards that level of intensity too, even when our bodies and our minds don't want to or need to go that fast. His idea here was to take the "one-thing-at-a-time" approach. Instead of eating dinner while watching TV, they would provide all of their attention at dinner time to the people involved and the things they had to say.

O- Others before technology: I loved this one. No divided attention between your phone and a person. He took this task on so seriously that he said no social networking for the month- a full disconnect to ensure human interaction is happening. He even cited a that a study showed Americans spending 53.5 BILLION minutes on Facebook alone in May of 2011. That's a lot of minutes in just one month.

W- Will it matter a year from now?: His example was one that was so valid it brought tears to my eyes. His aging father had mentioned to him that Cirque du Soleil was in town and that "it would be nice to see it" with him and his grandson. Because his father suffers from Parkinson's disease, Hochman's immediate reaction was to not go because of the complications of getting everyone there and the overall expense. However, when he applied his "Will it matter a year from now?" principle, he realized that this time spent would be more valuable than most. That this time spent to create this memory together would matter many years to come.

When Hochman and his family first started on their little adventure, they ended up cutting things out only to replace them with new time consumers. He ended up meeting with Carl Honore, apparently the King of Slow, who said, "One of the ironies is we're impatient about how we slow down...people say 'My life's too fast, ' so they sign up for yoga, meditation, and expect to have the inner calm of the Dalai Lama by Saturday afternoon."

Hochman went on to discover some interesting things in his Slowvember month. He enjoyed saying "no" to things that he would normally say "yes" to out of concern of rejecting something or someone. His time became valuable to him, to his family, to their new way of life. He found that it was much easier to really listen and talk to people, to really connect with them, something that cannot truly be done through texting or Facebook.

One night, he and his family even had a big dinner with their close friends and family, and spent the whole day prepping, cooking, talking, and sharing in the making of memories of this slow and satisfying meal. At the close of his personal slow study, he found that he would miss the month that lay behind him, but that he had created habits of slowness that would stay with him for those busy times to come.

He also mentioned that there are Slow Cities in our good 'ole US of A, where those living there make a "conscious effort to chat, stroll, sip, linger, and otherwise ease their way around town rather than just trudge." Fascinating, if you ask me. Those cities have to meet 61 Slow Standards, along with a few other requirements, to be recognized as an official Slow City. I can tell you right now, I do not live in a Slow City but I have been to one and the quality of life is better...easier, less stressful, wonderful.

I was so enthralled with his article that I permanently borrowed the magazine (please don't arrest me, I paid for the flight after all) so I could reference it for you and for myself later in life, if ever I forget what's really important.

Along with this article, in a recent class project, my team and I researched the psychological effects of Facebook use. Our findings were fascinating. Multiple research studies done by Cyberpsychology, as well as other psychology resources, found that Facebook use leads to depression, anxiety, withdrawal, and loneliness. Since most of the posts people put on their pages are happy, successful ones - someone got a new job, went on vacation, got married - those reading them who are not having these experiences feel left out, behind schedule, or like their life is off track and lacking in good things. Even without that being a key concern, Facebook is, as we all know, a huge waste of time (good and bad, depending). Next time you realize you've just spent an hour on Facebook when you could've been spending time with a loved one, remember the "Will this matter a year from now?" principle and I'm sure you'll have the answer you need on what you need to do next.

Slowness is something generations to come may never know if we don't make a habit of finding the slow path to satisfaction. Truly and effectively connecting with people may be lost if all we do is rely on social networking to reach out and minimize our in-person interactions. Time well spent is time spent on those things that matter, years from now. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to try out a slower way of life.

The full article by David Hochman can be found here for your reading pleasure. 

Would you ever implement a Slowvember in your house?


Related Post:
(Not a) Monday Mantra (but I'll explain): Command Your Time- Part 1

Image via Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Monday Mantra: Let The Light In

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Let the light in

"When the sun is shining in the sky, no matter how tight you close your eyes, the light is still there"
-Mary Bruce

Today I realized that lately I've had my eyes shut too tightly, too much.

I've been living in a place of stress, of fear, of not caring or of caring too much. I've been living in a place of comparisons and judgement, and at the end of the day what this all adds up to is that I've gotten lost in my own darkness.

I am your typical overachiever. I want it all, I want it yesterday, and I want to be awesome at it, whatever it is. And when I'm not, when I fall less than short of perfect (which happens, oh, a lot) I panic. Quietly, internally, I am screaming from the inside out. 

If I can sum all of this up, it's that as I continue to grow up and grow old, I get lost in what I believe in and what I want, with what the world believes in and what the world wants. I get stuck between logic and belief. For example, I just decided to go back to college because logically it makes sense. Logically, the world wants you to have a piece of paper saying you achieved this and this and this. Logically, I get it. What I struggle with is what I believe I'm meant to do and if this is really the right way to get there, the right place, the right path.

The problem is I want to do a lot of things with my life. I want to be a naturopathic doctor, I want to travel around the world and write stories of the people I meet and the places I've been, and I want to be a pirate sometimes thanks to Johnny Depp. There are people who make a living doing the things they love - I want to be one of those people - but I get lost in fear and in confusion of the "right way" to get there, and I get stuck. I shut my eyes.

I let logic overpower my gut instincts and every time I do that, I lose. Every single time I've done that in life, I've lost. It's time for me to open my eyes. It's time for me to trust myself again and believe, regardless of what the world thinks, that I am making the right decisions for me.

I'm not sure if the choices I'm making today are the right ones, but I have to go back to the belief that, no matter what I choose, my life will turn out exactly the way it's supposed to. Nothing I do today, tomorrow, or next year is going to change the path that is meant for me. What will make a difference - in my stress levels, my happiness, my inner light- is how I choose to feel about each and every step I take on this path called my life. 

I am choosing to let the light in.

Who's with me?

Image via warmatrix