Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Mantra: Funk Off

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: Tell your funk to Funk Off. Then bake some scrumptious (gluten free) cookies.
I have been in a serious funk lately and I'm ready to tell it to Funk Off. It's odd, how you can be so happy for a stretch of time and then, out of nowhere, the sadness creeps up on you and covers you in it's sheath of misery.

For a while now I haven't been feeling like myself. I haven't felt like the light inside has reached my eyes- like it's been too dim, as if my own little bulb of happiness was burning out. I've definitely been sad before like any normal person can be, but this time has been different. This time I really let things get to me to such a degree that I didn't want to get out of bed, I didn't want to care, I didn't want to try. I gave up, internally, while outwardly I kept plugging along. I haven't been in a comfortable place inside and it's for a variety of reasons (work, school, trying to continually do too much) and I let these reasons be my Everything. I labeled all of the good things in life that have kept me happy and grounded as Nothing.

I've been focusing on the wrong things.

In conjunction with my funk, I felt as if I had "lost" myself, which is truly an odd concept when you really think about it. One can never lose themselves. We really just get lost inside ourselves with thoughts, feelings, and lack of actions that we want to take, should take, need to take- but don't.

For a while there I fought the sadness. I tried everything I could think of at first which, lamely,  involved a lot of complaining.  I even went away on a vacation to Indonesia where I very much planned to have a Balinese Healer heal the gloom right out of me, all Eat, Pray, Love style. Unfortunately, he was busy and I didn't get to see him (which, sadly, made me think that maybe I wasn't meant to be healed). The vacation in itself was fabulous, but it didn't make me feel any better as vacations normally do. In fact, the whole time I was gone I was inwardly freaking out about having to return back home to all the dreaded things that were waiting for me. I may have even had nightmares. That's how stressed I am, or was, or kind-of still am. Something is changing inside of me, though.

My first few days back were filled with anxiety. I was giving into all of the doom and gloom fairly easily until I remembered something very important: I have complete control over my life. So, I decided to do something about the doom and gloom: I did happy things. I took action.

I went to Barnes and Noble and got a book, The Happiness Project. I called my old therapist and said I needed to talk. I sat down and started looking for new job opportunities. I talked to my mentors at work and they gave me sage career advice which I employed immediately. I started to give myself little pieces of hope, here and there.

By the end of what felt like a very long week, I felt tremendously better. It's funny how quickly things can change when you remember that, whether or not it feels like it at the time, you're in control of your life.

It's empowering.

It's awesome.

It gives you strength.

Also, I baked cookies- the most delicious gluten free chocolate chip cookies I've ever made and then I ate them, guilt free, while I watched a chick flick and let myself feel all my feelings.

I'm not 100% completely back to my "normal" cheery, care-free self, but I'm on my way. I've remembered the light. I feel warm inside again and I will not let myself lose that. I will not let life steam roll me. This is MY LIFE, after all. I will take charge of it.

Thank you for being patient with me while I escaped for a couple of weeks (mentally and physically) and figured myself out. If any of you are feeling funked up too, I recommend reminding yourself daily that you are in control of yourself, your attitude, and the path that you walk on. It may not feel that way, but ultimately you are. You can leave, change, start all over, or try something new anytime you want. We all can. We just tend to forget that.

And now...cookies.

King Arthur Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

You know how many gluten free things don't taste the same as regular things? And how we all get used to it and, after awhile, forget what good can taste like? Well these taste like real chocolate chip cookies.  Yes, you read that correctly. They're soft and gooey and melt in your mouth fabulous. I haven't been this excited about cookies in a really, really, really long time.

You can find the King Arthur flour mixes at your grocery stores or at this link. The recipe is on the back and below for you as well (right from their site). I altered it slightly...olive oil in place of the butter...and I only used 1 cup of Enjoy Life chocolate chips when the recipe calls for 1-3 cups. That is a LOT of chocolate chips. Even 3/4 to 1/2 a cup would be plenty. Trust me. Some of my cookies were 99% chocolate chips.

And yes, those were just as delicious.


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

1) In a large bowl, combine the sugars, butter, shortening, salt, vanilla and almond extracts, vinegar, and baking soda, beating until smooth and creamy.

2) Beat in the egg, again beating till smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
3) Mix in the flour, then the chips.
4) Use a spoon (or a tablespoon cookie scoop) to scoop 1 1/4" balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2" between them on all sides; they'll spread.
5) Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 minutes, till their edges are chestnut brown and their tops are light golden brown, almost blonde. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan till they've set enough to move without breaking. Repeat with the remaining dough.


Image 1 via Pinterest
Image 2 personal picture
Image 3 via King Arthur

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