Monday, July 27, 2009

In what direction are you heading?

In what direction are you heading?   This is a question that keeps popping up for me and has been on the forefront of my mind for quite some time now.  When I ask myself this question it forces me to consider the steps I'm taking on a daily basis to reach my goals.   First of all....I need clarity on that....what are my goals....... why are they important and am I turned in the direction of them.  When I reach for something I want whatever it is.... it is always oriented towards my  quest for feeling good.   When asked we can all come up with goals that we are all striving to achieve.  Some examples of  goals would  be needing to lose 2o lbs., managing ones' anger, lowering cholesterol, running a marathon, incorporating more relaxation into one's day, learning to knit and so on.   So at any given time you can stop and ask which direction am I heading?

Human nature is a funny thing especially  when things are going well and we're feeling tuned in, tapped in and turned on....we just revel in the good feeling of it all...but when things aren't going well, if we're sick, unhappy, disappointed, overwhelmed and all those harder feelings is what often brings us to our knees and forces us to pause and take time to reflect.   Thank goodness for the contrast because it literally propels us to change if and only if  we do the work. What is the work?

If you are like me I want this to be as easy as possible.....and I think in the long run it really is once we come to one simple realization and that is that there really is no easy way out and no quick pill to swallow, it does indeed take effort but half the battle is just accepting the work as opposed to being in  resistance mode.    The work is different for everyone.    So let's paint a scenario've decided that you haven't been getting enough rest lately..... you've come to that conclusion because you're feeling low energy, irritable, resentful of the family, the house needs cleaning,  you haven't had time to go grocery  shopping etc. etc.   You know you need rest and yet you just keep pushing and now you  have to rest because now you're really sick with a bad cough so all you can do is go to bed.  As an adult you know intellectually all the right things you should do to stay healthy and on top of your game but somewhere in there things broke down and you were led off course.....and that's when we're forced to look at the direction we're headed.

The bad news suddenly becomes  good news because now you have time to think and make adjustments to point you back in the right direction. Change is in the air once again and that's also good news.    A good exercise that I'm regularly trying to employ  is envisioning the end result of my goal.  For instance if I'm sick  obviously I'd like to be well so instead of wasting time worrying about the outcome .....I start seeing myself as a very healthy woman ....I'm visualizing myself strong and vibrant filled with energy for the things I want to accomplish.   During a  recent time of exhaustion and depression I remember  seeing every single meal I've yet to pay for, prepare and  clean up after and with that feeling came total despair and I was stopped in my tracks.   Today while contemplating this post I had a rather happy thought about the same subject but in it I visualized all the new ways I've yet to discover to pay for, prepare and clean up after meals.  This simple change of thought pattern created a very different feeling in my spirit.   Once I changed my thought process the task became easier.

The work is really about  being present, focused and consciously aware.  This exercise is simply asking yourself the question quite I heading in the right direction?   When you are in your car you are rarely just going out for a joy ride......driving around usually have a destination and you are always oriented towards that and when you are going the wrong way you can usually tell pretty soon and then you simply steer the car back in the right direction.   Hopefully the intention of one's life should be like that .....always striving to go in the right least that's the idea.  As you're driving your car there are roadsigns and if we don't heed the signs we can pretty much count on getting in an accident or getting a speeding ticket, hopefully just a minor wake up call.  Does this sound familiar?   Sometimes we don't listen to the signs along the way and we crash.  This really is quite a good metaphor for life.

So you can use your inner compass and ask yourself at any moment......... is this thought I'm thinking, is this action, is this job, is this food choice bringing me in the direction of my goals? And then you make the adjustment necessary to get back on track.....whether it be.....meal planning, going for a walk, moving away from the computer, doing something fun or spending time with your loved ones for example.  Whatever it may be only you will know where and what is needed to get you there and if you don't know then consult a trusted friend, expert, or me and most assuredly you will turn in the direction of your dreams.

For a long time now I've been wanting to share this recipe with you.  I got this recipe from a book my daughter Gabrielle checked out of the library,
Your Organic Kitchen by Jesse Ziff Cool. It was such a great book I ended up purchasing it used from Amazon. The recipe has become a standard and it's so easy I don't even follow the recipe anymore and they always turn out delicious.   They can be served as you would serve a typical burger or just with a melange of veggies which is how I eat them.  They are great leftover for lunch the next day and can even be made up ahead of time and frozen for later use.

Ingredients for Turkey Burgers:

1# ground turkey breast
1 small red onion, finely minced
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

In a large bowl, combine all 5 ingredients.  Shape into 4 burgers.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Ingredients for Melange: 

1 red onion, sliced in strips
1 # mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp. olive oil
sea salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet.  Saute onions and mushrooms until 
caramelized, sprinkling with salt and pepper.   Remove from pan
and place in bowl.   Cook the burgers in the same skillet for 10 minutes,
turning once, or until no longer pink.   Serve with the veggies.

Enjoy the burger recipe and as the great poet Thoreau has said, " 
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!"

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer Fun

Ah, the long  days of summer have arrived and with them the mode of  "fun in the sun", vacation time, time off, family reunions and the list goes on. Summer at the least conjures up fun and carefree memories of summers past,  mostly childhood  memories of happy summer days with no school, nonstop playing and absolute fun.

How many recent memories can you recall when you felt totally happy with no inhibitions whatsoever, thoroughly and hopelessly enjoying yourself with no thought of the past or future, and completely lost to the joy of the moment?  Recently (almost 2 months ago) I went out to dinner with 3 girlfriends.  I was feeling down during that time yet being in the company of these women friends changed my mood completely.  We laughed so hard that night that I literally felt as if I had come back to life.   When I got home I noticed my heart was beating with more vigor and it was as if all the cells in my body were vibrating from all the fun. It truly felt like my metabolism had sped up and that a distinct change had occured within me.  It is interesting to note that the word metabolism comes from the Greek and means "to change."

I talk alot about metabolism in my work promoting therapeutic lifestyle changes, especially in relationship to body composition and weight reduction and how increasing the metabolism helps burn fat.  It is fact that since muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in the body that increasing muscle mass is important in speeding the metabolism and  that a movement program is imperative to do just that.   But I had  this major  'aha' moment after my girlfriend evening when I felt the physical change in my metabolism simply by having fun!  This also made me think about kids and how their whole life revolves around having fun and most healthy kids have very active metabolisms.  Thus, having fun is absolutely essential to maintaining a healthy and lively metabolism.

I suggest that in the next few days that you take some time to become aware of the people, places, events and activities that quicken your metabolism.  Have you ever noticed feelings of anticipation when driving to a friend's house that you almost can't wait to get there? or how you can't wait to sit down and read the next delicious chapter in your book? or what about looking forward to......(fill in the blank)?   What things excite you and bring you feelings of joy and pleasant anticipation?

The other day my son and I had the loveliest summer afternoon visiting friends, offroading in my Kia, swimming in their pond, picking peaches, then driving home along the beautiful rolling countryside.  I came home that day so enlivened and with a brightly humming metabolism......and in my inbox there was a link to a recipe idea for baked peaches from my Italian cooking cool is that?

Lisa's Baked Peaches ( my version of hers)

medium firm ripe peaches, cut in half, pit removed
almonds, chopped fine
vanilla or almond extract, dash
apple juice concentrate, to moisten
Mix the last five ingredients together.  Stuff and mound on peach halves.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until done.
Serve and enjoy!

Peach Salsa

2 ripe medium peaches, peeled
1 T olive oil
1 T fresh lime juice
1/4  finely chopped red onion
1/2  diced red or green pepper
1 T fresh cilantro
1 t finely minced jalapeno pepper (opt.)
1 t seasalt
fresh ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients and let marinate a few hours before serving. Serve over grilled fish, chicken,
lamb or enjoy with  black beans and other mexican recipes.

Will you take the challenge?
I  invite you to go a little deeper with the thrust of this post and I challenge you to use this metabolism quickening exercise as a way to sharpen your focus and clarify your goals....seeing them so crystal clear and making them so extremely desirable that you absolutely can not fail to achieve them.  Let me know what comes of this....... and I ask you also to consult the child within while taking this challenge....always and forever asking how can I have more fun?

The Hallmark card appropriately and fittingly  reads:
"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?"                                       Satchel Paige

                       Having fun in the sun,