The Future is Now

Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now. -Mattie Stepanek

I used to live in a world of somedays. There were so many things I wanted to do, but I had a hundred excuses for why I couldn’t do any of them.

“I’d love to spend a couple of hours writing in a coffee shop” I’d say to myself, “but I don’t have a laptop (and then- my laptop is too heavy) or the money to treat myself to a coffee. Not to mention nothing to say!” I thought of it as a nice, yet impossible, dream.

I had so many of those dreams and desires. What it all boiled down to was this: by waiting for everything to be perfect before I ever got started, I’d dug myself into a comfortable little rut. Sure, I was bored from lack of stimulation, and the walls were so close I couldn’t move, but getting out of it was going to require some work.

So I stayed in my rut and dreamed about all the amazing things I was going to do… someday. Inertia is serious business.

It’s not exactly like I woke up one morning and just decided to start living my dreams. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two years reading, writing, meditating, and growing. So in a way it is like I woke up one morning and overcame my inertia.

I used one of my old standby methods; I picked a couple things. And then I did them. Achievement unlocked.

Feels good, doesn't it?
Feels good, doesn’t it?

I still have dreams that I’m putting off, of course. Doing all of the things I want to do would require me to be in several places at once. Now that I’ve found a way to work some of my dreams into my life* I no longer feel confined by things I’m not able to do right now.


*For example, I spent some time on the beach this morning, and then wrote this blog post on the patio of my favorite local coffee shop. Sure, my laptop is heavy (and let’s get real- nowhere near as awesome as my desktop), but I still manage to drag it out at least once a week.

A Challenge I Could Do

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. -Michael Jordan

I am running longer and farther than I ever thought I was capable of, and it’s an amazing feeling. I expected training for a 10K would challenge me both mentally and physically.

The challenge I didn’t expect is not to my lungs, legs, heart, or will to carry on. It’s to my resolve to be kind to myself.

This morning’s run was the start of a new week, and it was tough. There’s a disclaimer at the beginning of the 10K trainer that these runs are supposed to be challenging, and to not be surprised if you have to repeat them before you’re ready to move on.

Intellectually I can accept that.

It presented me with a dilemma this morning. I had just moved into the next round of intervals and it became pretty apparent during my second 15 minute stretch that I was going to have a very, very hard time finishing the third one.

As I pushed myself physically, I was going to have to try to find the line between doing as much as I was capable of, and not pushing myself too hard. I don’t like leaving things unfinished, you see. I am apparently very susceptible to the sunk cost fallacy.

It wasn’t until this morning that I realized I was challenging my self-kindness at all. I knew I had reached the point it was time to stop when my form really started to suffer. To run those final 3.5 minutes of that last interval wouldn’t have been kind or healthy for me, it was going to be too much.

I get a lot of satisfaction from finishing a run and making progress toward my 2015 goal. Today I got a lot of satisfaction from finding my limit and not going over it. Today I was testing my capacity for self-love, and I passed the test.

I can’t wait to test myself again on Thursday!

road-908176_1280

 

So This is a “Monday”

If I concentrate on the past, I think I can remember a time when there was a consistent “ugh”-ness about Mondays.

I’ve been self-employed for a good while now though, so I kind of forgot that having “a case of the Mondays” is a thing.

Then today happened. Sometime between slogging along hauling my laundry backpack (it was only 15 lbs this week!) and laptop along a sidewalk that had been torn up, the blog post that just wasn’t working, and the millionth time I got tangled up in something I started telling myself that I was having a Monday.

The 1,000,001 time I got tangled up in a chord (you think I’m being figurative, but that number might be actual) and used my new favorite phrase- which is definitely not allowed on this blog- I finally called myself out on it.

Well, sort of.

What I really did was embrace all the nonsense, laugh and buy myself a big jar of coconut butter. Which I am about to go to town on.

Tomorrow is Tuesday, and therefor a new opportunity to have a good day.

A Bittersweet Day

Inhale: 1, 2 Exhale: 1, 2, 3 It’s somewhere around 6:30 am. I’ve been out here for a while and I have a couple miles left to go. I never wear a watch, so time moves strangely. Really, it’s as though I’m out of the time stream entirely. All I can feel are my feet […]

And You Can Sing Along

Coming home from a medical appointment yesterday, I did something I haven’t done in a long, long time: I sang along with my music as I walked down the street.

I still vividly remember the last time I did this. (Annnnd I’m about to date myself, good thing my about page already has that listed!) I was at the farmer’s market with my mom, listening to a Paula Abdul tape in my Walkman.

I think this is the one I had.
I think this is the one I had.

I was so excited to be alive to hear music that I loved, I was singing along out of pure enthusiasm for the moment and for my life. Here was my mom’s reaction:

You shouldn’t sing out loud in public. Especially with music other people can’t hear. You sound terrible.

Thanks, Mom.

The criticism stuck though, I spent many years thinking how bad it would be if I sang in public. So I shoved down that little spontaneous part of me who wants to sing along with an awesome song as I walk down the street.

Then, yesterday, I finally allowed myself to reconnect with that spontaneous and joyful reaction to really feeling a song. I heard those old, hurtful words in my head and just let them go.

Yesterday I reclaimed the silly part of me who sings and dances to music only I can hear while I walk down the street. Not for anyone else. For myself. For the joy of just being alive.

I found this picture from 2014 recently. That's me singing and playing my guitar. Also, I still have that shirt.
I found this old picture recently. That’s me singing and playing my guitar. Also, I still have that shirt.

How about you? Anything you’d like to reclaim today?


If you’re wondering about the song, it was “A Murder of One” by Counting Crows (Yup, still dating myself.) It begins with one of my favorite lyrics of all time:

Blue morning, blue morning, wrapped in strands of fist and bone.

Finally, yes, the post title is another Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference.

You’re Taking Notes, Right?

I can’t believe we’re already on the 8th Adventuring on a Budget post. How the heck did that happen? I’m pretty sure it’s only been a couple months since I set out to “prove” that a wellness lifestyle is not just for the privileged.

I also can’t believe that I am only now covering one of the most important parts of improving your personal wellness: keeping a journal (or 4 or 5 like I do, or is it 6?).

How can you possibly keep track of how your wellness is evolving if you aren’t writing it down? How can you science without data? Maybe you have perfect recall, which is awesome, but for the rest of us it’s a good idea to write things down.

I use my journals for almost anything. I write down business/blog ideas, I write out a daily mantra, I plan my schedule, write down what I’m grateful for, and of course, write down how things are going with my latest resolution. I also write poems and essay outlines.

I’m honestly not sure how I used to manage.

Keeping a journal was a chore for me at first. 750words helped me get over that initial hump. I loved that it analyzed my daily writing to give me cool pie charts showing my attitude, emotions, etc. Pie charts with bright, happy colors even! It got me into the habit of writing things down every day and I haven’t looked back.

Where you start is up to you. You don’t *need* pretty, pretty pie charts and word analysis to get value for your efforts. Like with pretty much everything else I’ve written about, consistency is key to getting the results you want.

Do you already keep a journal? If not, what would it take for you to start?

 

 

Was it really a failure?

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

My blogging streak continues! Ahem.

Last Sunday was supposed to be a pretty long run for me. I hadn’t managed to stick to my ideal schedule, but it should have been okay.

Except that last Saturday night was a birthday/going away party for one of my favorite colleagues, so I both had some wine and stayed out too late. Then, of course, my sleep was more disrupted than usual.

It all added up to me deciding to forget my training regimen and just do a straight 2.5 mile run.

Did I mention that this was my first run with my new running shoes? No? Well, that was happening too.

Somewhere between 1.5 and two miles (I’ll never know because I forgot to turn on my GPS, it really was a hum-dinger of a morning) I just… hit a wall. So I walked for 2 minutes and then finished up the last half mile at a decent clip.

There was a time in my life when I would have internalized this as failure. It would have become a giant mental club to further beat myself into the ground with. “Look how worthless you are, you can’t even go for a run. Why did you stay out late with friends and drink wine anyway? It’s like you want to fail, failure.”

That was a long time ago* though.

This last Sunday, my mental dialogue was more like this: “Huh. That didn’t go as planned. Whatever, I’m gonna go eat some brunch. I can’t wait to try again on Tuesday!”

There was no judgement or self-recrimination. I didn’t get lost in a narrative about how much I stink. I just used it as fuel to try again next time and moved on with my day. That right there? That is progress. That is a wellness adventure.

This morning was my next scheduled run, and I went out and crushed it.

There will be other things that won’t go as planned, it’ll happen a lot. I’m not concerned though, I know it’s not a failure, it’s an opportunity.

How about you? Do you have any stories you’d like to share?

The flower that blooms in adversity...
The flower that blooms in adversity…

 


*Not really, it’s probably only been a few months since I was able to fully internalize that I am made of as much awesome as everyone else I know.

Link: Demystifying Massage Terms

My awesome massage therapist has an awesome blog. Rebecca is a fabulous LMT and one of my best friends (normally not really advisable, but we are both Boundary Superstars).

She recently decided to start writing explanations for some of the things massage therapists say that can leave our clients kind of, well, confused. That’s no good.

What the heck does that mean?
What the heck does that mean?

I’ll bet that at least a few of you have experienced this before. Even if you haven’t, Rebecca’s a really talented writer. Go on, you’ll be entertained at least!

She takes on undressing here and breathing here. Enjoy!

Forget Perfection and Make it Work!

Recently, I outlined what a perfect morning routine looks like to me, and how I planned to start implementing it right away. That’s all well and good on a morning when I’m working from home, but what about when I’m in the office? Here’s some things you might not know about me:

  1. I have a long commute, on a good day I can get to and from work in just under an hour. On a bad day, 90+ minutes.
  2. I use public transportation, and it takes two trains, buses, or a combination to get me from Chi to Evanston with waits for each, plus just under two miles of walking (each way). My actual time on any given train or bus is generally less than 20 minutes (less than 10 on the purple line).

So, I definitely get how difficult it can be to fit in self-care in the morning!

Today “should” have been a 45-minute run followed by stretching and a moderately long seated meditation. Only I had a client first thing, and there’s no way I’m getting up at 5:00 am. Not gonna happen.

This morning wasn’t going to be perfect, but there was still time for better self-care than just a quick mindfulness meditation. I did 10 minutes of yoga while my yerba mate steeped, and then I drank the tea on my yoga mat and wrote in a journal.

In which our intrepid heroine attempts parallel feet at Howard terminal while waiting for the train
In which our intrepid heroine attempts parallel feet at Howard terminal while waiting for the train

Then I got creative. I had almost 10 minutes to wait for each train this morning; a perfect opportunity to practice Tadasana!* My yoga teacher likes to say that Tadasana, “is an everything pose, or a nothing pose”. I like to use the time I spend waiting for my train to arrive to make it an everything pose.

It’s this kind of flexibility that leads to better self-care. If you wait for everything to be perfect, you’re never going to get started.

How about you? Any clever ways you sneak in some extra care on busy days?


*This is not an endorsement for yoga journal and I am not a yoga teacher. I cannot overstate how strongly I believe that yoga should be learned in person from a qualified professional.

 

 

Cashew Whipped Cream

I received a request for this recipe recently, I love requests!

Last summer one of my best friends quit eating refined sugar. We were having a girl’s night in (watching NuWho, no doubt). I made my favorite vegan chili recipe, she was bringing dessert.

Well, I wanted to contribute something sweet. Why keep things simple, right? So I decided to make a vegan whipped topping* for the fruit she was bringing.

Cashew Whipped Cream:

1 C cashews (soaked 6-8 hours)

2-3 fresh dates, quartered

1 tsp vanilla (look for one with no added sugar!)

water as needed

instructions: Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender (or food processor) and blend on high until the mixture is really smooth and creamy. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes before serving.


*This tasted really good, but I wouldn’t make it now. I have been avoiding dates since I drastically reduced my fructose intake. If I did it again I would try using stevia or possibly coconut butter. Honestly though? I don’t really crave dessert dessert anymore.