“Life’s Blows Cannot Break A Person Whose Spirit is Warmed by the Fire of Enthusiasm”

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I had to share this amazing quote with all of my friends, family and followers today <3.

Life's blow will always be there and hit us from time to time. If your spirit is warmed by the fire of enthusiasm enough, life's blows won't break you. Today is a great day to start focusing more on making a life that YOU love. Doing this will create that fire for when life throws you its curve balls!! Remember, this is your life, so put your enthusiasm in making the very best of it every day! ❤

When “Letting Go” is Not Enough

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For the past week, I’ve started researching Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). I’ve become fascinated by the work that him and his colleagues have done and the medical research that has come out of it. If you want to look more into MBRS, please do at: http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/stress/index.aspx I’m actually taking a course in October in NYC to learn more about his program!

During my research of Jon Kabat-Zinn, I came across this saying he said, “It’s not a matter of letting go-you would if you could. Instead of “Let it go,” we should probably say “Let it be.” I read over the quote several times. (Realistically, probably more like 30 times!). I wanted his words to sink in. What I finally was able to make of his words was this…stop fighting, wishing and praying for the pain to go away, just let it be. Focus your energy more on what you have right now in this very moment and less on what you didn’t get in the past or what you think you can’t have in the future. Just be here today and in this moment right now.

For the past three years, I’ve been trying to let go of a lot. A lot of pain, betrayal, anger, etc., built up due to several events in my life during 2010. I’ve given so much energy (way tooo much energy) trying to get rid of all this and to fixing my heart, my spirit and my life. Looking at my life right now, I’ve come a damn long way from where I was in 2010 and I’ve truly been able to heal with the help of various outlets including self-help resources, mentors, family, friends, yoga, my support group and my loving boyfriend. I am so grateful for being blessed with all of this!

But now I’m ready to let it be. It makes perfect sense if you think about it. If we were able to just things go, it would be that easy. (I’m not talking about a bad day…we all can let that go during yoga, meditation, writing, etc.) But for the big stuff, the losses in life, the traumatic experiences, it’s not that easy – the stress, anxiety, pain, keeps coming back as we try to fight it away. Focusing our minds on removing or blocking it from our lives is just not working for most of us anymore.

Next time a negative/sad thought comes into our head, acknowledge it, maybe even write it down (that helps for me) and then go about your day. Don’t beat yourself, or continue to ask yourself why these thoughts keep coming up…they are coming up for a reason…stop fighting against them and try to just let them be. I’ll be working on this myself, each and every day going forward!

One last quick reminder for today: you are perfect just the way you are, right now in this very moment. You will heal; you find peace; you’re time will come; so for now let us all practice more on just letting it be.

EASY VEGGIE QUINOA LASAGNA

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My favorite food of all time is lasagna. I’m sure I’ll have a few followers that will agree with me! It’s my go to easy meal that I tend to cook whenever I have company over or have to bring a dish to a family/friend’s house.

Because of the new gluten-free craze, the health benefits of quinoa and most importantly my boyfriend’s celiac disease, I started experimenting with quinoa! What better way to enjoy this awesome grain then to incorporate into my favorite dish!! (Side note: this does not take into calories if you are watching those…this is a healthier comfort food recipe)
Here’s my version of quick quinoa veggie lasagna:

Ingredients
1 cup of uncooked quinoa
2 zucchinis or yellow squash (or one of each)*
2 stuffed cups of fresh baby spinach
1 jar of pasta sauce (I like to use vodka sauce – it gives it a different/yummy taste)
1 – 2 cups of ricotta cheese
1 bag of shredded mozzarella (12 oz bag)**
Approx. 1 tablespoon of “Trader Joes Everyday Seasoning” – (or a combination of salt, pepper, oregano) I don’t usually measure this out, I just eyeball it.

*You can use other veggies if you have them on hand. I’ve used asparagus, broccoli, peppers and even corn once! Zucchini/squash is my favorite though.
**You may need more cheese than this if you want it to be really cheesy.
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1. Place quinoa in a pot with two cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. (You can buy all types of flavored quinoa as well to add a kick to your lasagna.)
2. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
3. Rinse, peel and slice zucchini/squash into thin slices.
4. Mix ricotta cheese with “Trader Joes Everyday Seasoning” or your combination of salt, pepper, and oregano
5. In a greased baking dish, began layering the cooked quinoa, vodka sauce, ricotta cheese, *a little mozzarella cheese is optional in the layers*, zucchini/squash, and spinach.
6. Use the remaining bag(s) of mozzarella cheese to top of the lasagna
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes (or until all the cheese melts on top)
7. Let cool for five minutes.
8. ENJOY!!!

Where Do We Find Happiness?

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An excerpt from Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now. My yoga teacher read this during savasana one night and I thought it was a truly profound story. Enjoy…

“A beggar had been sitting by the side of a road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by. “Spare some change?” mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding out his old baseball cap. “I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger. Then he asked: “What’s that you are sitting on?” “Nothing,” replied the beggar. “Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.” “Ever looked inside?” asked the stranger. “No,” said the beggar. “What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.” “Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold.

I am that stranger who has nothing to give you and who is telling you to look inside. Not inside any box, as in the parable, but somewhere even closer: inside yourself.

“But I am not a beggar,” I can hear you say.

Those who have not found their true wealth, which is the radiant joy of Being and the deep, unshakable peace that comes with it, are beggars, even if they have great material wealth. They are looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love, while they have a treasure within that not only includes all those things but is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer” – Eckhart Tolle

So let’s start looking inside ourselves more often…our happiness and joy will be found inside our hearts not by a new car or a new dress. Our beauty is within us…we have all that we need right at this moment ❤

Let’s Add Some Self Love Into Our Goals

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Written by Kelly Higgins

“I’m too fat”
“I’m too skinny”
“I’m not pretty enough”
“I’m not fit enough”
“I want muscles here”
“I want my butt to look like hers”

Sound familiar? You are not alone; in fact, Brown University’s Health Education website did a study on college students which reported “74.4% of the normal-weight women stated that they thought about their weight or appearance “all the time” or “frequently.” But the women weren’t alone; the study also found that 46% of the normal-weight men surveyed responded the same way.”

How often do you think about your weight/appearance throughout your day? I know for myself, I think about my weight and reaching my goals countless times throughout my day. I wake up thinking that I didn’t eat enough calories yesterday and promise myself I will eat more today. At night I go to bed disappointed that I didn’t eat enough calories as I promised myself I would and the cycle continues. (I’m actually one of the small percentages of woman that are struggling with weight gain. To those that are living with my battle, you know exactly how hard this is).

We spend way too much time focusing on what is wrong with our bodies and not enough time focusing on how beautiful we really are. You are so much more amazingly beautiful, sexy and hot than you give yourself credit for!!

Here are few tips that I can offer to help bring some self love into your lives:

Add positive self love into your goals!

I keep a record in my journal of reaching my ideal weight in order to track my progress. When I don’t make any progress or fall back a step, I become so frustrated with myself almost to the point where I want to give up. So, I decided to add an extra highly attainable goal to my daily routine; some self love!

Along with your goal to reach your ideal weight, maintaining the right calories and your exercise schedule, add an extra bonus in there to tell yourself “I am beautiful” EVERY time you look in the mirror throughout the day. Write it down right next your goal for your day, week or month. This daily positive affirmation will help you begin to see how beautiful you are right now!

Say “thank you” and truly appreciate compliments you receive!

When your loved ones give you a compliment, listen to them and appreciate it. They love you and are telling you the truth. I woke up this morning feeling so aggravated with that number on the scale. As I was getting dressed for work my boyfriend looked at me and said, “I think you are beautiful just the way you are”. My response was “Thank you, but I would be happier if I just could put on 10 or 15 more pounds”. I totally disregarded his genuine statement and blew it off because I was too concerned about the thoughts in my head. Later in the morning, I really thought about what he said and sent him a text message thanking him for telling me I was beautiful that morning and always. I also added in a hot compliment about him!!

When a loved one gives you a compliment, stop for a moment, and really think about it. This person is being genuine and coming from their heart when they say things to you. They most likely have heard about your struggles and have seen the progress you have been making with your goals. Appreciate and listen to their compliments, smile, say thank you and realize that others are noticing the beauty YOU are creating!

Reward yourself with some pampering!

You’ve reached your goal for the week of working out 4 times at the gym or at the yoga studio (I’m a yoga nut so at least 15 minutes a day of yoga is my goal!), go reward yourself. You totally deserve it. Go get a massage, a mani/pedi, or a facial. Maybe a nice long relaxing bath with soothing oils and a good book…(yummy). For the men out there, treat yourself to game of golf or do something that you enjoy to relax!

If you know a yummy relaxing reward is all yours at the end of the week or month, pushing yourself to that goal will be so much more attainable!

Loving yourself is sometimes harder than the actually goal of reaching your ideal weight or seeing results of the muscles you want. Throughout your day, every time a negative thought of your body comes into your mind, remind yourself how beautiful you are just the way you are right now; the shedding or gaining of those pounds will come in time!

“The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see” – Dr. Robert Holden

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Written by Kelly Higgins

I received simple, yet life changing advice a few years ago from my counselor. She asked me to write down three things I was grateful for at the end of each day. This is my opportunity to spread her advice and share my personal experience as I feel like it could slowly change the world we live in, if each and every person practiced this simple exercise daily.

When life seems to be crashing down on you due to a bad day, a horrible month, or just a plain crappy year, how can you possibly say or write anything positive about the chain of events that are unfolding against you? We’ve all had times in our life where it seems like everything is going wrong making us blind to all the things that are actually perfectly right.

I forced myself to try this gratitude exercise and write down at least one thing that I was grateful for in each day. If I didn’t write it down, I said it to myself before I fell asleep at night. There were days where the only things I wrote or said was that I was grateful for taking a breath in the morning or having a pen and paper to be able to write. In my eyes, at the time, these were two pretty insignificant things I took for granted. Now I see that these are two amazing gifts that I am beyond grateful for every day! This daily practice will give you the ability to see how lucky you really are to have what you have and who you have in your life.

Looking back now, there were so many things I could have written down or said but I just couldn’t see them at the time. I chose to focus on the negative events and people in my life instead of the positive experiences and love that I was surrounded by every day. You have the choice to surround yourself with positive and loving people. You have the choice to let your mind and heart see and feel the good in each and every day of your life.

I began to see a change in my perception pretty shortly after starting this daily practice. My life is slowly transitioning from living a life where I felt like the world was against me to being grateful for the life I have.

Dr. Robert Holden, psychologist, writer and inspiration speaker states so remarkably, “The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see”. Be grateful for where you are right now in your life and all the love that surrounds you. Make sure to write or tell yourself what you are grateful for each and every day and see what changes you can bring to the world you see. ❤