Archive | October, 2011

Day 304: the sweet hauntings of a pretty pink pooch

31 Oct

This is either one cold puppy hiding under the blanket or a dog that wants to masquerade as Pepto Bismol for Halloween.  Or, maybe cotton candy.  Or the Pink Panther.

Actually, it’s Pup’s favorite spot to be on a cold night, under a blanket, preferably on your lap.  All 60 pounds of him.

But, we don’t mind.
It’s probably the sweetest feeling in the world, those puppy dog eyes that beg to be loved, hugged, or rubbed a little behind the ears.

And, I will happily settle for the love and licks from this pink puppy ~ especially since there will be no candy for this girl on Halloween.

The candy and chocolate that I love(d) no longer seem to haunt me.
Sure, there are days I just want a taste of something chocolatey, or gooey or brownie-like. And, yes, it’s hard to pass up decadent dessert at a beautiful restaurant (yes, that’s you Alchemy!).

But, the more I live off sweet street, the more I turn to my real life for sweetness.

It may be a national day of sweet treat celebrations around here, but I resolve to keep my pledge and keep taking good care of my body by avoiding the sugar, candy and chocolate.

Instead, tonight, I will fill myself with joy.
Starting with a high five from a 60 pound pink pooch.

Happy Halloween, wherever it finds your ghouls and goblins tonight.
May your life be filled with as much sweetness as an overflowing Halloween basket.

And, then some.

Day 303: you can do anything – even when the internet doesn’t work

30 Oct

As I have said before: you can do anything. Even when it doesn’t feel like it. (Gasp! Even when the Internet goes down.) This may not be perfect but it’s posted and I’m keeping my promise.

There are days when everything seems to go wrong. Like almost running out of gas, and the Internet not working, and accidentally deleting all the movies on my computer.

Yes, this was (still is) my day.

There are worse scenarios of course (like the book I am reading: Man’s Search For Meaning and it’s details of living with, through and beyond Nazi concentration camps.)

There is always a worst case scenario, right?

At least there was a gas station within a few miles. There is thankfully Rob Berkley to help with my computer woes. And, at the very least there is this thing called an iPhone
that has 3G even when the island has apparently lost all connection with the Internet.

Day 302: the hidden masterpiece

29 Oct

I love to paint.
Don’t pick up my brushes very often, anymore, but when I was in college I took advantage of every art class I could sign up for — and still receive the allotted credits to graduate.

In one art class we learned to manipulate the layers of oil paint, which is where I discovered I loved painting with those stinky varnished oils.

They are completely forgiving.

Paint a skin tone a little too orange?
No problem. Just paint over it.

Paint a forest but you really want a field?
With the flip of the wrist and a little more paint – gone!

Just like that the painted problem disappears.

There have been times when I wished my problems in real life could be painted over just as easily, including disease, death, divorce and painful scenarios that were just drug out too long.

With the whoosh of a brush and a dab of paint we could all just say, hey, look the other way –  it never happened!

But, as with life, the layers of old paint always remain on canvas.

With new technology the art world has been able to “see” the first layers of paint underneath what we know as the masterpiece. And, most important, we can “see” what the master covered up.

With each new day of this promise, I am learning to see my layers as just that — the hidden work underneath a masterpiece that is still in process of evolving, learning, and becoming.

True, some days seem to stretch my canvas a little too much.
But, I find solace in knowing even the most trained, most talented and those dubbed “Master” made mistakes, changed their minds, and started over — until, the masterpiece appeared.

Day 301: f*ing friday :: fright

28 Oct

TGIF.
Today continues the weekly series, F*ing Fridays, which will coincidentally occur on Friday. I mentioned some of my favorite F words back on Day 5, including: Fearless, Fabulous, Fine, Fun, Faith, Freedom, Forgiveness, to name a Few.

Last week I dove into the word Flower.

Today’s F*ing Friday is dedicated to the word:
Fright

As in, never fear.

Halloween is almost here.
Soon there will trick-or-treating, apple bobbing and jack-o-lanterns lining the streets.

I always loved Halloween, seeing it as less of a night of fright and more as a giant excuse to play dress up.

What was your first Halloween costume?

My first memory of Halloween is asking my mom if I could go as a “Movie Star”.  In Mama Sling’s wonderful way, she jumped right in, opened the door to her closet and helped me create an assemble that included dress up shoes, a puffy platinum blond wig from her beauty school dropout days, a fun and frilly dress, and one pair of bonafide movie star over-sized sunglasses.

It was as glam as it gets for the 7-year-old set.
And, I loved every minute of it.

To play with clothes AND consume gobs of candy all in one day?
Dreamy.

The older I got the more creative my costumes became, including an attempt as a life-sized Chicken.

(Don’t ask me where that idea came from.)

All I remember was an entire afternoon spent cutting white fabric and watching my parents sew an enormous white jumper that could fit old newspapers as stuffing.  Add bright orange leggings, a felt beak, and two floppy flippers on my feet — and voila! — a chicken was hatched.

Later on, post college, I had a blond ambition tour a few years running, including Madonna (think cone bra and pony tail), Gwyneth Paltrow in full-on pink Oscar attire and Martha Stewart in stripes — prison stripes, that is.

I suppose it’s no surprise I showed a proclivity towards clothes instead of horror shows around this time of year. Aren’t day dreams way more inviting and safe?

I chalk it up to having too many frightful experiences in real life, including living in the shadow of cancer, grieving the loss of my mother, and dealing with the aftermath of squashed dreams.

And, I suppose it’s no surprise that one of the side effects of The Promise 365 is it’s uncanny nature to unearth my own deepest fears.  I think that’s what happens when you start paying attention and become more aware of what’s inside, instead of what’s out.

I’m learning the scariest things in life really are “all in your head”:  like the fear of taking a chance, going for it, taking that leap, making a change, or giving that deep seated-dream an f*ing chance.

Sure, the first steps are scary.
But the results are way better tasting than a gob candy.
And, never fear, they last longer too.

Day 300: it’s hot! hot! hot!

27 Oct

I love sweet treats.
And for the past few months (actually, most of this year!) I haven’t been downing my daily mochas in order to give up my addiction to sugar and caffeine — make that my 3-a-day mocha treats.

But, today, in celebration of Day 300 (whoooo hoooo!) I found a new treat.  It’s sugar free, caffeine free and full of that chocolate taste I adore.

This afternoon while working over here at Women on Fire, I looked up at Debbie and said in my most stuffy headed, cough-y and sinus-y, sniff-ly voice: All I really want is a hot chocolate.

Immediately she jumped up from her computer with a devilish grin and told me to stay put. She would be right back.

I wondered just what she could be making…

Upon her return she handed me a warm and yummy smelling hot chocolate.

“What did you put in this?” I questioned her beaming face.

The ingredient list was perfect — cocao powder, almond milk and just a splash of decaf coffee, enough to give it a little body without the zing.  It’s the closest I’ve come to comfort food in taking care of my body and it’s food cravings.

And, maybe, that was just what I needed to kick this cold.
My breathing has already improved and this sinus infection seems to be better already.

Maybe that is the power of comfort food?
If chicken soup can be for the soul, why can’t hot chocolate be for the body?

Either way, it was a hot! hot! hot! way to ring in Day 300.
And, me likey.

Day 299: on the eve of 300

26 Oct

Today I counted up 299 days of this promise, which means, even more exciting news: tomorrow will be Day 300.

It’s hard to believe.
Well, it’s easy to believe when I look back at the day-to-day path of this process, but, still, I can hardly believe tomorrow begins the 65 day count down.

It makes me want to celebrate.

And, maybe I will, in a small and meaningful way.  Because even though I know this isn’t over until I greet 365 days, I do feel good about making this small milestone.

Isn’t it the little milestones that get us through?

Whether it’s not drinking coffee for five days straight, or just getting my body out of bed today, (even though my head feels like it’s about to fall off) or saying no to desserts at each and every meal so I can say yes to my low sugar pledge — it’s tracking these little milestones that make me feel good.

And, I know it’s that happy dance I do inside that makes me want to continue, push forward, keep going.

Last night, Debbie Phillips shared 7 Strategies for Living Your Dreams Like a Woman on Fire in her live chat.  And, one of the strategies — did you already guess it? — was, Do you celebrate your success and achievements? Do you celebrate when you’ve set a goal and accomplished something you’ve been working toward?

Tomorrow, I will celebrate Day 300.

But, today, I celebrate just getting out of bed, drinking lots of water and green tea and taking it easy with a slow pace as I clear this head cold.

Oh, and one more thing…
Today, I celebrated my favorite slippers.
They aren’t new but they are warm, cozy and comforting to my body and soul.
And, I wore them all day long.

Day 298: spa rah rah! i miss the spa!

25 Oct

I miss the spa!
Maybe it’s because my head cold is getting the best of me today. Or maybe I miss the food.

Either way, sniffle, sniffle.

I just spent 15 minutes on SpaFinder dreaming about other spas to visit someday, when I found this: a free pamphlet on Ayurveda practices from The Raj Spa.

With each word I read, I am brought right back to the lavender and calmness of Lake Austin Spa Resort (which I visited just last week with Debbie while we were working for Women on Fire of course!).

I suppose the teachings of Ayurveda remind me of the spa because we were up early, fed well, out in nature, exercised on water, gave our bodies lots of nourishment and self-care and then, of course, slipped into bed at a reasonable hour.

It seems like our morning hike through the Texas Hill Country (pictured below) was just yesterday, so it’s hard for me to believe it was really a week ago.

And, I suppose that’s the hardest part of returning home — figuring out exactly how to incorporate the spa lifestyle that I love into my own lifestyle, and those pesky things called day-to-day habits.

I suppose it could be as easy as starting my day with a morning walk in nature?
Or getting to bed early?

Here’s a pretty good schedule if you ask me — a sample daily routine from the Ayurveda download explaining the impact of each dosha:

2:00 AM to 6:00 AM
Vata active
Awake before 6:00 AM
Good for meditation

6:00 AM to 10:AM
Kapha active
Good for exercise
Avoid sleeping into this period

10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Pitta active
Digestion is strongest
Largest meal at lunch (12:30)

2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Vata active
Tendency for tiredness
Herbal tea & spices in water or milk
Rejuvenate with meditation

6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Kapha active
Evening walk
To bed before 10 PM

10:00 PM to 2:00 AM
Pitta active
Metabolic housecleaning strong
Sleep for best purification

Maybe, I’ll add some of this insight to my schedule.
Well, maybe, tomorrow. I think I have an appointment with Nyquil tonight.

If you’re looking for a spa in your area, here’s a fun place to start — check out SpaFinder’s deals site at Spa Rah Rah which gives discounts on spas and wellness centers across the country.

Plus, If you want to learn more about Ayurveda, the free download from The Raj Spa is here.

I’ll be over here sniffling and spa dreaming…
xo~Jamie

Day 297: cold and comfort

24 Oct

My head is pounding.
My head is playing a double feature called The Revenge of the Common Cold and Sinus Infection.  It seems to find me whenever I travel on multiple airplanes in one week.

Or, maybe, I could have picked it up from this total cutey pie in Dallas — my Happy Pill, Luka (posing as a pirate for Halloween, ARRRGH!)

That by far, is my most favorite way to catch a cold: with the little ones in my life that I totally love and adore. And, I would take a little sinus infection any day to get to see, hug and laugh with this little one.

Sitting here with my head cold, I am reminded of when I was a little girl and Mama Sling would comfort me by rocking me in her chair or making me a piping hot cup of tea with honey.

Or, my favorite, that spoonful of cherry flavored cough medicine — medicine that tastes like candy!

These days I prefer sleeping in or a good steam shower to calm my cold.
But, boy, if my mom were around I bet I would still let her rock me to sleep in her chair.

Love and care.
It may be the best cure for what ails us.
ARRRGH!

Day 296: a road trip for the body and soul

23 Oct

I slept next to this contraption once at Boston Logan Airport.
All night long it went Cling! Ping! Ding! Whoosh! Whack.

It was during a holiday with my trusted traveling buddies Laura and Lisa. We were road tripping between Boston and New York during Thanksgiving Break in order to do our patriotic duty of walking the Freedom Trail and witnessing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade all in one week.

We were sophomores in college and back then it made total logical sense to sleep in the airport instead of pay for a hotel room (since we had early morning flights).

All night long I heard the inner workings of the art installation as I tried to wrap my six-foot frame into some sort of slumber between two arm rests of the pleather airport lounge seat.

All night long it went Cling! Ping! Ding! Whoosh! Whack.

Today as I sat next to this same contraption at Logan’s Terminal E, I thought to myself — I will never do that again.

I’m discovering there’s a lot of things I would never do again.  But, back then, it was exciting to spend a night in a foreign city — at the airport!

Actually, it was more than exciting, it was daring.

Everything about that trip was daring for three 19 year-old women from small agricultural towns.  We rode buses and subways and planes through the great North East. We booked a (seedy) hotel room in Times Square.  (I have no idea HOW we found a HOTEL ROOM back then without the INTERNET.  But we did.)

We froze in arctic wind tunnels in the shadows of New York City sky scrapers as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floated before our very eyes.  At least, that is, until we couldn’t take the bitter cold anymore and then huddled all together in the doorway of a luxury hotel under outdoor heaters.

We ran through the streets of New York laughing and giggling. With wide eyes and big hearts we tried our best to fit in.

We thought we were so sophisticated.
We laughed like school girls.

We made our way through by sensing and seeing and asking for directions.

At stop lights and intersections we instinctively followed the crowd.
“They go. We go!” We screamed to each other following native New Yorkers into the street without (GASP!) that familiar blinking walk signal.

Like I said, it was daring.

Other road trips took Laura, Lisa and I to Chicago, SeattleAlabama and the Gulf of Mexico.  With each new adventure we grew bigger as the world became smaller.

As I sat next to that same old contraption, chiming and clinking in the airport today, I was whooshed back in time to a younger, risk-taking version of myself.

It occurred to me that the journey I am on this year, during this promise, isn’t all that different from the adventures and risks I took back then.

This road trip is taking me in a different direction of course, one more inward than out.  But, in a way, it is allowing me to grow bigger while the world appears to be smaller with each and every step.

And, in much the same way, I am making my way through this head/heart/body & soul road trip by sensing and seeing and asking for directions.

In the process, I have cleaned up my food act, learned to meditate, traded cookies for green smoothies, and powered through yoga.

I have discovered I shop for emotional reasons far beyond my conscious awareness.

But, more than anything, I am learning how to touch the surface of my soul and hear the voice of my mother again.  Like the tip of an iceberg there is still so much more to discover.

Who would have thought not shopping could bring me so many riches?

And, that thought alone, makes the light bulb inside my head go Cling! Ping! Ding! Whoosh! Whack.

Day 295: trick or treat, smell my feet

22 Oct

There are a few things I took home from the spa this week.

For one, the lovely lavender scented body lotion, shampoo and body wash samples.
For two, a life’s lesson in the soul.

And, finally, (leave it to me!) the brand new pair of shoes that comes standard with each hotel room.

Hey, they were free, and comfy, and totally packable, and beach ready, and, and…

I can make excuses all day long about why I need a new pair of shoes.
Even those that are complementary.

But, I have to say, when I wear these shoes and look down at my feet, all I see is relaxation, peaceful serenity and a small bit of bliss.  It’s like a mini transport back to the spa, with my toes poking out.

If shoes are what cushion our path, then I must admit, I am pretty satisfied wearing these rubber soles that reek of lavender on my feet.

I might just keep them around for those times when stress inevitably sets in.  What a gentle reminder to take a deep breathe, relax and be mindful.

As the saying goes…

Trick or treat.
Smell my feet.

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