Category Archives: Retreat

JUST ME AND SOME SOUP!

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I was in the process of making tomato ūüćÖ¬†soup when the thought hit me that life is indeed good. ¬†When this revelation came (and I have that revelation often), I could clearly see that it is something special about remaining mindful and in the moment as you complete any task. ¬†My taking the steps to create a heartwarming pot of soup wasn’t lost on this point.

I didn’t have a television on nor did I feel compelled to turn on any music. ¬†It was just me, a pot, a knife, a spoon, some tomatoes, chicken broth and a picture window in my kitchen that allowed me the blessing of looking onto my backyard as I prepared my dish.

First, I did a rough chop of eight Roma Tomatoes; I diced some fresh garlic (about 3 cloves — I just love garlic) and I slivered about 6 sprigs of fresh basil. ¬†I poured the chicken broth into my pot, added everything else and slowly simmered that pot of what was clearly becoming a concoction of deliciousness.

I have to admit that the most exciting part of making my tomato soup is pulling out my hand emulsifier to thicken it.  Somehow I feel like a real chef when I use it.

However, the most memorable part of the process was how consciously aware I was of every chop and every stir. ¬†The blessing was being present every step of the way. I didn’t hurry through my soup making; I wasn’t thinking ahead about changing the linen on my bed, and I wasn’t thinking about solving any problems at the office. ¬†I just lost myself in the task at hand — Making Soup!

AND THAT I’M CONVINCED IS THE KEY TO HAPPINESS!

#thisidoforme

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MAKE 2018 THE YEAR THAT YOU COMMIT TO RADICAL SELF-CARE!

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Like so many of Ann Lamott’s powerful insights and quotes, I especially like this one because it propelled me to look at self-care as a radical act.

No longer of the mindset that taking care of myself is an act of selfishness, I now see it as high level activism. ¬†“Why?” you ask.

Simple — because unless we feed our bodies energetic food, our minds powerful fodder and surround ourselves with nutrient-rich people who support us and call us out when necessary, we can be of little benefit to others nor have a true impact on our world.

Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that being a sacrificial lamb earns us a place in the pantheon of sainthood.

Here’s to a life of radicalism! ¬†Happy New You!

 

 

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LET’S GET REAL, LADIES ARE YOU REALLY TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF?

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Let’s face it, we put up a good front when it comes to keeping it all together. We like to feel good about multi-tasking (the experts say we women are good at that), ¬†about having a list, schedules and a synchronized routine for getting through life. We get a high from ticking off the boxes on our well crafted lists, and we can recite sequentially everything we “accomplished” that day.

What we won’t admit to is how damn tired we are. We convince ourselves that as long as we got all our errands done, our household tasks completed and we got that promotion or some recognition at work, we have it all under control. Do we, though?

If you have a family, when  was the last time you announced to family members upon arriving home from work that before you do anything (aside from an extreme emergency) for anyone, you are going to take 20 minutes in a room alone to meditate, unwind in the tub, sip a glass of wine or have a pleasant exchange with those in your household expressing why you are so glad to see them after a long and hard day?

If you are single, like myself, when was the last time you ate a meal without talking on the telephone?  Did you remember later what you even ate?

Even if you did perform some perfunctory self care, of these things, how much of it did you savor? Do you remember what it felt like?  Or did you do the usual by rushing through it so you could get to the next thing?

I am slowly learning that if I complete all my tasks, but I’m not present during the process, especially when im just trying to get to and rush to the next thing, I’m doing myself an injustice.

We have done this for so long that we think this level of functioning is normal. ¬†So today I commit to doing it differently. ¬†Yes, I will still maintain my lists, but I won’t trip when everything on it doesn’t get checked off.

I often say that I love myself, but when I don’t take time to breathe and tune into my relationships with people, I have to question that. ¬†After all, life is about the people in it, not how succinctly we got through the day.

I’m making the commitment to do it not better, quickly ¬†and efficiently, but with great care and more importantly — LOVE.

 

 

Traveling to Be Still

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Traveling to Be Still

Do you hear that? ¬†Of course not — I’m in Oka, a little area about 45 minutes away from Montreal, Canada. I have been to Montreal on two other occasions, and each time my hotel accommodations allowed me to be smack dab in the middle of the city. I have always had easy access to shopping, restaurants, and a boat load of fun. The Botanical Gardens, St. Catherine Street and The 1976 Olympic Village – these are just a few attractions that represent Montreal.

Oka, wow! ¬†To be in Oka. I am here for a business meeting on behalf of an organization where I serve on the Board of Directors. In all honesty, aside from this meeting, there is no way that I would be here. However, I am glad my travels this time didn’t take me to the heart of Montreal.

Here in Oka, I can really hear myself think. I am breathing air not mixed with fumes. Here in Oka (I know it sounds like a song), I am surrounded by a lushness of green, compost bins and great walking surfaces ideal for rigorous hiking.

I have never been one for camping — too many bugs, mosquitoes galore and no big box stores close enough to distract me from uninterrupted peace — but this place makes me forget all of that and causes me to JUST BE STILL. It’s still enough to actually recognize that there is a side of me that really enjoys spending time with nature — still enough to look out of my window and stare at a beautiful Peony (even if it is surrounded by ants). Still enough to be still for a change.

Ahh, Oka! #thisidoforme