2016

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

Savor

Four elements of savoring an experience: "Basking (receiving praise and congratulations), Thanksgiving (expressing gratitude for blessings), Marveling (losing the self in the wonder of the moment), and Luxuriating (indulging the senses)". This excerpt, which immediately resonated with me when I read it, is from the course manual of the training I am participating in through WellCoaches.

Of these, Marveling is most common to me--I am often mesmerized by the rich details of my life--whether it be during an outing that has me immersed in nature, or the joy of sharing love with family. Standing still, Luxuriating in the sensory responses of the small features of the experience brings me to gratitude. Thanksgiving for the earthy smells or the sound of the wind in the trees, the birdsong along my journey, and the color of the moss plumped up after a rain, or for the radiance of a loved one's smile, the warm touch of a friend's hand on mine, the laughter of a child, and the witness of kindness shared. The element of Basking is what remains elusive to me; not because I am not aware of its presence in my life, but because receiving praise and congratulations it is a squirmy time for me. It's not easy  for me to graciously accept positive feedback. I will readily admit, however, that it sure feels yummy when a happy comment is shared about a workshop I have given, or a blog post I have written, or an act of compassion that I have been blessed to be a part of.

I endeavor to expand my professional skill set, to grow as a woman who contributes to the planet, to deepen my connection with my community, and to maintain an open heart throughout each day. I will  embrace Basking. Bring it on--praise and congratulations is welcome.

A Calm Within the Storm

A marvelous occurrence: 5 + inches of rain has fallen within the past 72 hours. It's not so much the ferocious storm that has made this time special, as it is the calm and slow pace that I gave myself permission to create and enjoy in the midst of the storm.

Friday's plans for a snowshoe outing were canceled due to weather and suddenly, on Thursday night I realized that I had a weekday looming--without commitments!

Admittedly, my mind went to all the work-related items I could accomplish! Eight hours of unexpected and suddenly available time can create the space for many To Do tasks to be checked off the list. I thought about it for just a moment when my next thought was NO! Just hang out. Take advantage of the day and of the storm and stay warm, dry, and quiet--right at home.

At that moment, I gave myself permission to just be.

For the past 72 hours, I have not gone out of the house, except to take Grace for a walk. Twice a day for the past three days, I have donned my rain-gear and enjoyed a 1/2 hour of bliss--walking through the storm, cozy and warm in winter clothes, experiencing the fierce wind and rain, senses stimulated by the sights, sounds, and smells of the storm, and I'd return home with a joyful heart and a smiling dog.

I've sat quietly and have felt grateful for that quiet. I have baked dozens of mini-loaves of cranberry and coconut-pumpkin bread to be shared next week as holiday love. I have savored the aromas wafting from my kitchen. I have watched the flames in the woodstove. I have made soup and roasted squash. I have had fun on FaceBook and yes, I have even answered a few emails. I have watched the great trees bend and sway in the powerful winds. I have enjoyed seeing the birds braving the elements to stay well-fed from the feeders. I have slowed down.

I gave myself permission to be calm within the storm.

What is REAL food, really?

Eating real food simply means making choices from plant and animal foods that have been cultivated using methods that are minimally intrusive. Choosing vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes and beans, and animal proteins that have not been exposed to man-made chemicals, food coloring, or GMO techniques in the planting, growing, or post-harvest stages further defines REAL food.

All foods are available in this healthful, nourishing, and delicious REAL form. All foods are available in a less healthful, less nourishing, and perhaps less delicious PROCESSED form as well. I am not talking about organic so much as I am referring to foods that, once taken from the land and are being made ready for market, have been laden with salt and other sodium-based preservatives and flavorings, added food dyes, sugars (both real and artificial varieties), and fats--simply to "enhance" the shelf life, flavor, and marketability.

Sometimes REAL food may seem to be a bit more expensive at the grocery store than the more processed version; if this is your perspective, I urge you to consider the long-term expense of your health and well-being...investing your resources and forethought into bringing home health promoting foods as opposed to health depleting foods--now--will provide a benefit to you in the future.

Imagine this: a small plate that is filled 1/2 with fabulous veggies, 1/4 with a whole grain or other starch, and 1/4 with a sustainably raised animal protein. And then, for dessert: a baked pear, a 2-inch square of apple crisp, or a 1/3 cup serving of whole milk organic ice cream...Yum!

Making a conscious decision to avoid commercially processed meats (filled with colorings and high doses of sodium, not to mention growth hormones and antibiotics), veggies and fruits that have sweeteners, salt, or preservatives added, and factory-made desserts loaded with high fructose corn syrup and/or partially hydrogenated oils will get you on the road to eating REAL food. Travel wisely!

Hoppin’ for a Happy Holiday

Gift yourself big this season with the intention of moving your body in some way, everyday! You can bring balance to this hectic time of year by taking time each day to ramp up your heart rate and respiratory effort, work up a light sweat, and move the big muscles in your body to elevate your energy level, mood, and stamina.

The faster-paced schedules, fitting in many more activities than usual, as well as parties and goodies everywhere, can raise the level of catecholamines (stress hormones) in your system, leading to fatigue and irritability, for which routine physical activity is a perfect antidote!

It doesn't have to be an Olympic effort...going for a walk is the most fun and accessible activity, and the price is right! Don't let winter weather get in the way--walk up and down stairs for several minutes, or find a stationary bike to ride or a treadmill to walk on; you get the idea!

Just Do It, as they say. Hoppin' for a Happy Holiday will be the best gift you receive!

Free Hugs…

The farmer's market at the Embarcadero in San Francisco is spectacular! Anytime we are visiting the city, our Saturday morning includes a round-about walk that lands us in the midst of the the most dazzling display of organic veggies, fruit, breads, flowers, cheeses, nuts, and so much more...and today we sampled all of it, including free hugs.

We saw these two young adults coming towards us on the crowded sidewalk, and the young man caught my eye and smiled...and asked, "Would you like a free hug"? There was only one answer, and yes it was a yummy hug, during which he told me that he and his friend were simply sharing the love. Simple, joyous, and oh so sweet.

Ahhhh, a Guided Imagery session

In the midst of a busy day, intent on my To Do list, I sat down to create a guided imagery .mp3 for a client. Admittedly--and ironically--I was a bit frazzled as I settled in for the task at hand. With my own eyes closed, I invited her to do the same...and proceeded to drop in to a restorative and calming place of quiet relaxation.

Through guided imagery, brain chemistry is changed, resulting in our becoming more receptive to the positive images that are evoked in the guiding. When our brains are consistently invited to imagine positive situations such as calm, confidence, success, peacefulness, joy, and the myriad of happy emotions available to us, it becomes familiar with positivity. The path of least resistance shifts to healthful, forward-moving thoughts, actions, and responses while letting go of barriers such as anxiety, doubt,  and resistance. Taking just a few moments each day to sit with an intention to quiet our busy brain becomes an amazing opportunity to manifest our best selves!

Twelve minutes later, I was gently bringing my client, via the recording, to express self-gratitude for her willingness to gift herself the time to practice a quieting session, then to gently open her eyes, look around the room, and move with graciousness through her day. And that is just what I did...

“Robin brings dedication, focus, passion, and intellect to whatever endeavor she is pursuing. She does not just talk about good health, she practices it thoroughly every day of her life. When she talks to clients about healthy lifestyle choices, they are able to see the effects of healthy choices by observing the woman in front of them!”
Arthur S., Client

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