Category Archives: Mind+Body

Try #21 New Restaurants: Marla’s Caribbean

So who’s been to Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine in South Minneapolis?

This little corner restaurant is been in the neighborhood since 2005, but I only discovered it this year, and boy do I wish I would have found this gem sooner! The owner Marla – who can be seen flitting around the restaurant nightly – puts out cooked-to-order Jamaican-Indian fusion dishes that will known your socks off!

A few weeks ago Remy and I took my mom and grandma out for dinner at Marla’s and we all had a wonderful time. Then a few days later we had to go again with our good friends Laura and Sarah! If you check it out be sure to try the “Da-Bulls” appetizer… it’s impossible to explain, but completely melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

Check out the accolades they’ve racked up!
Best Cheap Eats – City Pages 2008
Best Caribbean Restaurant – City Pages 2009
#4 -100 Favorite Dishes – City Pages 2010
Best Takeout – City Pages 2010
#4 – 100 Local Tastes – City Pages 2011
Best Takeout – City Pages 2011
Best Caribbean Restaurant – MPLS ST.PAUL MAG 2012
EP. 180 BIG TIME FLAVOR Featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri – 2013
Best of Restaurants – MPLS ST.PAUL MAG Picked by Andrew Zimmern 2014

Keep in mind that the jerk and the curry at Marla’s are smokin’ hot, so if you prefer your food with a Scandinavian (lack of) spice level then order yours extra mild!

Advertisements

Discover #28 ways meditation improves your life: Turn off the autopilot

                 ~ Day 20 ~
~ Friday, January 2nd, 2015 ~
Turn your car into a mobile classroom, a university on wheels.
– Brian Tracy

Cheyenne-
Completely my anchor habit for 20 minutes. I meditated on the qualities I need to become, repeating them 3 times each. Did back bending poses from Om Yoga. Held bridge pose, and bridge pose with one leg up both for 10 breaths. Finally held my headstand for a full 10 breaths!

Today’s action: Identify some passive time in your daily routine that you can put to better use,  be it by meditating, being mindful, focusing on gratitude or solving problems, or listening to something educational or uplifting. Then get set up, whatever that entails: downloading podcasts to your iPod, learning a meditation routine, etc., so that beginning today or tomorrow, you can start putting that passive-mind time to good use.

I already spend my time meditating during my drives to and from work! I shouldn’t be too proud, it’s not like I do it every day. But I recently mentioned to my partner Remy that I would like to focus more on meditating while driving. I said, “I feel like I spend more time being mindful than I do driving mindlessly on my way to work, but on my drive home I spend more time distracted by far. Isn’t that interesting? I’ve been trying to be more focussed and sustained in my meditation during my drives, because I feel like I do have some mental energy to expend. When do you have “autopilot” time that you could be using in a focused way?

I’ve also been listening to books on tape since October, including The People’s History of the United States, which I’ve really been enjoying.  It’s a history from the people’s perspective, the subjugated and oppressed rather than the conquerors. The story is inspiring, sad, empowering, and uplifting.  Back to Wake Up – 31 days to take charge of your life, I really like Matt Frazier’s encouragement to balance productivity and down-time. He says, “Again, I’m not overlooking the necessity to “just be” sometimes…” which is important to remember. He isn’t encouraging us to spend every single moment being productive, he is encouraging us to be mindful of how we spend our time – be it meditating, or listening to an audiobook or music. Most people need more “just be” time, and I really respect a plan that encourages time to just be with yourself.

Discover #27 ways yoga improves your life: savasana

                        ~ Day 17 ~
~ Tuesday, December 30th, 2014 ~
 Identify & Destroy Procrastination
Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters.
– Pandora Poikilos

Cheyenne-
Completed my anchor habit for 15 minutes. Did Standing Poses from Om Yoga. 2 minutes meditation, 10 minutes yoga, 3 minutes savasana meditation. Savasana meditation after yoga has been feeling so good lately.

Do you end your personal yoga or yoga class with a savasana meditation? It’s wonderful. You can practice this pose in bed at night to help you get to sleep too. You simply lie down on your back with your palms facing up, letting your feet fall apart, and you can focus on your breathing, or you can  focus your attention on each part of your body slowly from your feet to your head. It can be very relaxing, but it is also a very challenging pose.

Savasana, or corpse pose, is practice for death. It is very easy for them in to wonder during corpse pose. It may wander to an earlier time in your day and relive a conversation or jump forward to things you need to accomplish. Then come the worry that you might have said something wrong, or your might forget that thing you need to get done. Sitting with that discomfort is where the real magic takes place. After a while you will have a thought that you enjoy, or perhaps dislike, and you won’t want to stop having it for whatever reason. This is were the rubber really meets the road: once you realize your mind has wandered, bring it back to your breathing, or your body, and come back to savasana.

Commitment:
If I gave up my iPad time (except for Wake Up), and limited my chatting and TV time to 30 minutes per day I could save 5 hours per day, which is 35 hours per week, 140 hours per month, and 1680 hours per year. That’s a whole 70 days of my year.

I could really use 70 days to commit to my business, finances, and future. And I bet you could too! Who doesn’t need 70 days? My goal is that by the end of the January 2015 I will limit my TV watching and smoking time to 30 minutes per day, and I will not use the iPad except to do Wake Up and whatever else I choose to do intentionally for 1 hour each day.

What do you spend too much unconscious or conscious time doing each day? What could you use that time for instead? Are you ready to be intentional about how you live your life? Comment below. ❤

Discover #28 ways meditation improves your life: Trash Your To-Do List!

                ~ Day 15 ~
~ Sunday, December 28th, 2014 ~
Kill Your To-Do and To-Read Lists

Cheyenne-
Completed my anchor habit for 30 minutes. Sitting meditation for 2 minutes to begin, followed by 4 minutes of warm up poses. Did restorative yoga poses from Om Yoga for 24 minutes. Read “What Now” by Ann Patchett during my poses and got to page 40!

I’ve been feeling a strong sense of joy and accomplishment this weekend. I got caught up on both my weekend tasks and am totally on track for the week! I also got a little over an hour of housework done, and read an entire short book: What Now? By Ann Patchett! Feeling super productive and proud of Remy for being so productive, responsible, self-disciplined, and mindful too! We’ve gotten to spend a lot of time together since getting back from visiting family, and I’m feeling super close!

Started my creativity brainstorming habit today and brainstormed for 30 minutes.

Tonight before bed I spent thirty minutes cleaning up the study and readying my new meditation space for daily practice. Next I spent 35 minutes mindfully writing the qualities of the person I need to become on notecards and sticking them to the wall where I can see them. Then I meditated on the qualities for 15 minutes. I repeated each phrase “I am… ” ten times and pictured myself embodying that quality. Got tired at the end but finished anyway.

Did my new habit for the first time today: creativity brainstorming. On Day 12 I scheduled new habits and today was my first day to do creative exercises. I didn’t get to it until today, but I did about an hour of it today! See creativity journal for more.

Today’s action: It doesn’t matter what form your list takes; the solution is the same.

Kill your list.

Really. Trash it all. If you can’t bring yourself to do something so extreme, ruthlessly cross off items that don’t interest you anymore. In the case of reading, ask yourself: which would be more exciting, going to the store or the library to choose a new book, or reading one from your current backlog? If it’s starting a new one, you can guess what I’m going to tell you to do.

The best to-do list has one item on it. Three max. If something is important and lasting, you’ll remember it. It’ll make its way onto your list. Use today to look at your lists, and if you can’t throw them out completely, at least limit them drastically. Your creativity, curiosity, productivity, and enthusiasm about life will all thank you.

I can’t believe I trashed my to do list! It was really difficult for my type-A personality, and I’ll admit I didn’t trash it entirely… but I did slim it down to three items, and I feel great!

Keepers

  1. SPIRAL Collective
  2. Twin Cities Doula Project
  3. Aerial class
  4. DharmaCore
  5. Wed/Sat Yoga class at Svasti
  6. Dinners with Remy
  7. Daily TV time Taper off: 2 hours per day to 1 show/movie per day
  8. Daily yoga
  9. Daily meditation
  10. Weekly “chore day”
  11. Reading Circle
  12. Queer Vegan Dinner

Discover #28 ways meditation improves your life: Letting Go

                ~ Day 14 ~
~Saturday, December 27th, 2014 ~
       Take Back Your Time
No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH, or no.
– Derek Sivers

Cheyenne-
Caught up on all my Wake Up tasks for week (I didn’t do anything but journal since Monday). Completed my anchor habit for 35 minutes today. 8 minutes sitting meditation followed by 27 minutes of yoga. During meditation I reached a wonderful state of relaxation and mental clarity within the first 5 minutes. Even though I only got 7 hours of sleep last night I felt alert and well-rested. When, after a few minutes, my mind did go off on a tangent, it was about the birth I attended recently.

Within the past week was my first ever birth as a doula, and it was beautiful. Mom was a first-timer, and I was right there with her for every contraction. It was a wonderful birth and I left the parents very satisfied with me, and more importantly, their own efforts. But what drew me away from my meditation was one small thing that I had said during the birth; in response to her question, “They don’t really do episiotomies anymore do they? Wonder why not?” I said, “it’s better to tear than to be cut because it will heal better”. Seemed innocuous early on in labor but by the end, after an epidural caused her to have to push for 2+ hours, and she wasn’t getting the baby out she did end up getting and episiotomy. I wondered today if this might have in any way contributed to a negative birth experience for her. I thought about how I didn’t want to express judgments like this again, which reminded me that this is a learning process, and I thought, “I am already becoming a better doula.” Then I gently let go of these thoughts and went back to my meditation.

This is what meditating truly is – or so I am finally learning. Meditating is not about forgoing thought, the absence of thought, or the idea that thinking is “bad” and you are a “bad” meditator for thinking. Mindfulness is simply being aware of our thoughts. And when possible, not simply getting caught up in the endless flow of thoughts. We are so caught up in our day-to-day that we are almost always riding our thoughts from one to the next, without ever stepping back and looking at the wave of thoughts we’re riding. Are we acting or reacting? Are we thinking mostly of the future, present, or past? Are we irritable? Impatient? Happy? Relaxed? Stressed? When we don’t take the time to sit and be with our thoughts then we can become a slave to both our thoughts and the emotions they incite. Many of my friends are slaves to their everyday thoughts. I too am a slave to my strong emotions, and when one of these strong feelings – such as anger – comes over me I am often unable to resist the urge to convey a spiteful tone or say something disrespectful.  Meditating is like practice for releasing your emotions in more effective ways. Sitting and releasing your need to follow your thoughts where they lead you can increase your ability to act and react mindfully in challenging situations. How can we ever hope to calm ourselves down when we are enraged if we can’t even resist the urge to get up and write down a thought we have while we’re meditating? Practice letting go is practice for life.

Once I found a deep state of relaxation again for a couple minutes I gently brought my awareness outward and started to do my yoga very mindfully. It was a wonderful. Long, slow routine today. Did Inversions from Om Yoga. Held my headstand for 10 full breathes.

 

Today’s action: Take out a piece of paper and, down the left side, list out every existing time commitment you can think of that you’ve made to other people. This list should include:

✦ Standing coffee, lunch, and dinner dates
✦ Weekly or daily phone calls
✦ Meetup groups
✦ Exercise appointments
✦ Clubs in which you participate
✦ Sports or coaching you do
✦ Any work-outside-of-work appointments
✦ Any TV shows you consistently watch

Once you’ve got what you think is a complete list, make another column on the right side of the page. This is your “keep” list. One by one, go down your list of commitments and decide if this commitment really deserves to take up your precious time, and if it fits in with the image of the person you’re committed to becoming. If it does — and some certainly will — write it down in the “keep” list. But for each commitment that doesn’t belong in your life, axe it.
-Matt Frazier

Commitments

  1. SPIRAL Collective
  2. Twin Cities Doula Project
  3. Aerial class
  4. DharmaCore
  5. Wed/Sat Yoga class at Svasti
  6. Dinners with Remy
  7. Daily TV time
  8. Daily yoga
  9. Daily meditation
  10. Weekly “chore day”
  11. Reading Circle
  12. Queer Vegan Dinner

Discover #28 ways meditation improves your life: Weekly Planning & Review Process

                ~ Day 13 ~
~Friday, December 26th, 2014 ~
  Weekly Planning and Review
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
– Abraham Lincoln

Cheyenne-
Completed my anchor habit for 27 minutes today. 6 minutes meditation followed by 21 minutes of yoga. Started with sitting meditation on my new gift from Remy! He got me a zafu and zabuton for Christmas! They are too beautiful, I feel spoiled. Then did daily warmup, followed by Back Bend poses from Om Yoga. Chanted Om before and after. Felt solid.

I need a Passion Planner! This Kickstarter started by a 24 year old woman raised over $650,000. Her idea was to integrate daily/weekly planning with life planning, goals setting, and prioritizing. It’s really quite cool!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/angeliatrinidad/passion-planner-the-one-place-for-all-your-thought/widget/video.html

Today’s action: Schedule your weekly planning and review session by setting up reminders and choosing a trigger activity that you do each week close to the time you’d like to do the session. If that session is scheduled for today, go for it!

1. Goal [write down your main goal statement with deadline here — it’s good to constantly remind yourself of what you’re aiming for]
2. Victories from last week
3. What went wrong last week
4. What you learned last week — meaning what you’ll do differently to correct the failures, and any other insights you had, memorable quotes you came across, etc.
5. What you’re committed to accomplishing in the next week (three items seems to be a good number, but it could be more or less depending on a lot of factors)
– Matt Frazier, No Meat Athlete

Weekly Planning & Review

  1. Goal: Get finances under control and start saving*
  2. Victories: This week I paid my final payment on my Dominican loan. I spent some time (20 minutes) updating the budget. I demonstrated that I am hard-working and responsible.
  3. Room for Improvement: I did not do my stated goals which were to pay bills and make a credit card payment. I also didn’t research business/nonprofit models. I could have demonstrated more organization and determination.
  4. What I’ve Learned: I didn’t pay bills that are due or credit cards because I wanted to get the budget updated first, which is often something I will put off paying bills and credit cards to do. That is something that can get in my way. I asked Remy for his help in updating the budget. He agreed to input his spending into the budget once a week.
  5. Next Week Commitments:
    Pay due bills and make a credit card payment.
    Start using our accounts correctly: get direct deposit updated and $250 from each paycheck should go in spending, this will limit our spending better.
    Get The Passion Planner

______

  1. Goal: Participate in a 3 or 10 day meditation retreat
  2. Victories: Attended DharmaCore weekly sitting meditation. Meditated 5 days at home this week. Researched Common Ground Meditation Center. I demonstrated mindfulness, compassion, patience, and strength.
  3. Room for Improvement: Skipped meditation on Wednesday and Thursday (Christmas eve and day) and excused it because it was the holidays. I could have been more determined and disciplined.
  4. What I’ve Learned: The times that I need to practice meditation the most are also the times I’m most likely to skip them. I skipped meditation Wednesday and Thursday because I was busy and traveling and stressed, but I think if I had made time to sit anyway I would have had a better time.
  5. Next Week Commitments:
    I will meditate every day
    I will act mindfully or patiently in at least 3 situations that are challenging for me.

______

  1. Goal: Get DONA Certification
  2. Victories: I have much to be grateful for this week. This week I attended not only my first ever birth, but I collected all the paperwork and surveys from mom, nurse, and doctor! I was there for a little over 10 hours and I feel extremely grateful the parents for letting me take part in their birth. Even though I felt more than a little unsure at times, I managed to get all good evaluations on my surveys! I left the family breastfeeding with their newborn and all of us satisfied with the experience.
  3. Room for Improvement: I did not read my DONA packet carefully before printing 3 surveys for moms, and no surveys for doctors or nurses. Turns out I’ll need three for each birth instead of three total. I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to count this birth, but everything worked out perfectly in the end.
  4. What I’ve Learned: I need to be very careful about how I set up labor intensive parents expectations. I’m already learning how they may rely on me as a source of information even if I don’t report myself to be an expert. Luckily mom was very flexible and did not seem to mind any unexpected procedures that occurred during her birth, but otherwise my comment about her pushing, and my comment about episiotomies could have made her feel negatively about her birth experience.
  5. Next Week Commitments:
    Reread my DONA packet more carefully.
    Write Birth Essay
    Print more surveys when you go back to work.
    Finish the entire book The Birth Partner.

______

  1. Goal: Arrange personal sperm donors
  2. Victories: I invited donor to dinner on Friday, January 2nd, 2015.
  3. Room for Improvement: My friend and donor had a rough holiday, and wanted to hang out on Friday. I told him I was going shopping and he came to the same mall! I didn’t really spend that much time with him because I felt rushed by the birth I’d be attending later. I rushed off to buy groceries without saying goodbye. I really need to make sure I’m cultivating my friendships and not ever blowing the people that I love off.
  4. What I’ve Learned: This may be a lengthy process, so I definitely want to start with a solid foundation.
  5. Next Week Commitments:
    Take donor out to dinner!

______

  1. Goal: Read 12 books
  2. Victories: I read a few pages of The Birth Partner during the birth I attended. I demonstrated patience and strength.
  3. Room for Improvement: I could have made more time to read. I could have demonstrated more responsibility and self-discipline.
  4. What I’ve Learned: No one is going to get these books read but me!
  5. Next Week Commitments:
    Read What Now?
    Finish The Birth Partner

Discover #27 ways yoga improves your life: Partner Yoga

                 ~ Day 12 ~
~ Thursday, December 25th, 2014 ~
      Choose and Schedule
       Habits that Help You

Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap character; Sow a characters and you reap a destiny.
– Samuel Smiles

Cheyenne-
Happy Christmas Day! Completed my anchor habit for 10 minutes today. I’m easing myself back into my commitments firmly but gently. I didn’t do Om Yoga today, and I didn’t meditate, but I did do a flow I made up with my partner who was having a headache, we did some downward dogs, some vinyasas through chaturanga to upward dog, some triangle poses, and ended with a headstand for as long as we could hold it. We also tried some partner poses.

You remember flying like superman on your dads legs when you were a kid?

Yeah. Same thing. It was very playful and fun – not at all about technique or working up a heavy sweat. It was a great way to spend time together… We were laughing, helping each other, and having a great time! We needed that after the drive from my family’s house. I love my family to death, and this was one of the best Christmas’s in my memory, but traveling and staying with family is always stressful and sleeping in another bed is never as restful. When you travel on your vacation, it can definitely feel like you need a vacation after your vacation!

Today’s action: Decide on the most important new habits that will help you become the person you need to be to achieve your goals. Then put their start dates onto your calendar, or another place where you’ll be reminded of them and have a few days’ notice when it’s time to start a new one.

http://www.fitbodyhq.com/yoga/10-perfect-poses-partner-yoga/
http://www.fitbodyhq.com/yoga/10-perfect-poses-partner-yoga/

New Habits

  1. Practice yoga every day.     –     Started December 2nd, 2014
  2. Practice sitting meditation every day.    –     Started Monday, December 22nd, 2014

  3. Creativity brainstorming 5 minutes every day
    Start Sunday, December 28th, 2014
  1. Take my temperature/prepare for baby I every day
    Start Thursday, January 1st, 2015
  1. Read, learn, or do something doula related for 10 minutes every day.
    Start Sunday, January 4th, 2015
  1. Daily finance work (weekly finance check-ins)
    Start Sunday, January 11th, 2015
  1. Plan for my business for 10 minutes every day
    Start Sunday, January 18th, 2015
  1. Read 30 minutes (before bed) every day
    Start Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Discover #28 ways meditation improves your life: Daily Sitting

                 ~ Day 10 ~
~ Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014 ~
        Get Wise to Your “Why’s”
Reason come first. Answers come second.
– Tony Robbins

Cheyenne-

Completed my anchor habit today for about 5 minutes (didn’t time it today). I did standing poses from Om Yoga. Chanted a little bit before and meditated in savasana for a couple minutes. Didn’t have a lot of time before work but it felt good to get it done.

I have added meditation to my anchor habit, and it has felt great to meditate daily. Today I meditated after yoga, and I also meditated for at least 5 minutes while driving, I’ve only been doing it for a couple days but I already feel the benefit. I like the idea of equanimity meditation, the metaphor of a still pond in the face of the wind. I would like to go into this holiday with family free of expectation, because the holidays can be such a time of pressure and expectation.

Today’s action:

For each of your one-year goals, write a paragraph about why you are so committed to making it happen (in the case of the one-year goals that are stepping stones to longer-term goals, you can combine the short- and long-term goal since the why’s will be similar). Make sure you describe the following three things, with as much emotion as possible:

1. Why you’re utterly determined to achieve this goal — for whom, for what?

2. What will happen if you don’t follow through (make this one painful, and really let yourself feel that pain)

3. Why you know you absolutely can make it happen — and get excited about that!

Alternatively, create a huge list of your reasons for each goal. I personally find that writing paragraphs stirs up more emotion than a list — and that’s the purpose here — but choose the approach that works best for you (or do both).

Why’s

Get finances under control and start saving – open a space – buy a house

I am a late bloomer to the realization that finances are the foundation to everything. I have spent most of my young adult life rejecting the narrative of saving and frugality imparted to me by my dad growing up. I seem to have forgotten many of the lessons he painstakingly taught me during my adolescence about not a accruing credit card debt, managing my money, and being thrifty. Somehow since moving back from Chicago Remy and I have never paid off our credit cards. This makes me feel shame even though I don’t believe money is all important. I have wavered almost constantly in my relationship to money: wanting more, not wanting to get stressed about it, getting stressed about it anyway… And while I was agonizing over these things I forgot that it does take careful financial planning to make your dreams come true. I need to improve my credit score to be able to apply for loans, and I’ll need loans to start my space. I’ll need a loan to buy a house someday. I realized through making and prioritizing my short and long term goals that my life calling will not bring me fame and fortune, my calling is to serve community and make enough money to live comfortably. I don’t see myself ever making more than $40-50,000 per year at most. So I will always need to be mindful about my finances, so that I can be responsible with my income and not fret about money all the time.

If I don’t follow through with getting my finances taken care of – which means paying off credit cards and making regular payments on our student loans – and start saving, I’ll never raise the money to go to yoga teacher training, to meditation training, get my DONA certification, or put down a down payment on a house. I’ll become even more financially stressed if I have a baby and my finances aren’t under control. I absolutely know that I can do this becaus Leos are determined, confident, and ambitious. If I believe in myself and hold myself accountable I can achieve anything, in high school I got amazing grades, was super involved, and excelled at everything it felt like, it would feel great to feel that way again. All I need to do is exercise a little restraint in the short term and I’ll get what I want in the long term: a space, a baby, a house, time to travel, and lots of joy in life, I already have so much joy, and I can’t wait to cultivate more!

Yoga Certification – open a space
Meditation certification – open a space

I love yoga. My daily practice is important to me . I could never list the benefits of a lifelong yoga and meditation practice. I want everyone to become aquainted with yoga in their life, and I hope that many choose to make practice a part of their lives in one form or another. I want to contribute to a more intentional, mindful, spiritual, and active world. Being active was something I loved about working at MPIRG, and it helped me realize that I want to be active in my career. I want to help people believe that everyone can do yoga. I want to help people. I would love to just start teaching yoga right now, but I wouldn’t be any good. I need to complete yoga teacher training so that I can truly serve my students, not to mention so I can depend my practice. Yoga certification and meditation certification

Get DONA Doula Certification – open a space

I am determined to complete my certification because of the experience I will gain and the help it will be for my doula business. I want to become more than a trained doula, I want to be a well-informed, and experienced doula with education to back up my career. I like to learn, and the parents that I work with deserve for me to be knowledgable. The first of many steps in my journey to be a doula is to understand the technical and literal aspects of pregnancy and birth. I am excited to take a childbirth education class and a breastfeeding class, and I’m excited to write my birth essays. There is a lot of knowledge I can get from the books I will need to read, and the experience of three births will give me some foundation of understanding for birth itself. The DONA certification will give me additional credentials for my doula business

Arrange personal sperm donors – have a baby

Why do I want to have a baby? That’s an impossible question. I want to have a baby because the sky is blue, because there are rainbows, and because I think my puppies would love them. I want to have a baby because they are beautiful, I love human beings and believe in their innate capacity for goodness. I want to have a baby because I think I could be a good mom if I work really hard. I want to have a baby because I think I can be an even better parent than my parents were. I want to have a baby because I think more people like me should have babies in the world. Before I come off sounding arrogant, I don’t mean to say and it is me who is special, I guess I mean my values. I want my child to be their own person, but I also want to show them how wonderful veganism can be, how great being queer is, how freeing gender can be and how constraining sometimes, I want to be honest with them about how the world really is, and I want to teach them yoga, art, music, sports, and theater. I also want to go through the experience of birth at least once. There are many reasons to have a baby, and if I don’t or can’t have one, I can try to adopt or foster. I can also do LGBT host home either way someday hopefully. I know if I put my mind to it I can probably have a baby.

Read 12 books – read all the books we own

Why am I absolutely determined to read all the books we own? Because I’ve helped shlep them all over hell in all our moved, and I’ll be damned if I kept them around to not read them! I moved these books from University Ave, to 8th St SE, to a storage unit, to 37th Ave S, to Chicago, and most recently to 16th Ave S. They were heavy, if I don’t get to read them I’ll be pissed, so I better just read them. If I read 12 per year I’ll read 120 books in 10 years, which should get me pretty close! Woo! Let’s do it!

Discover #28 ways meditation improves your life: DharmaCore Queer Meditation

~ Day 2 ~
~ Monday, December 15th, 2014 ~
Success Journal
A life worth living is a life worth recording
– Jim Rohn

Today’s action:
Find or set up a journal, and write the first entry. That first entry can be as simple as a note that you did your habit today, but even better would be a short, written commitment to yourself that you’re going to do all 31 days of this program, no matter what, and why that’s so important to you.
– Matt Frazier

Cheyenne-
Completed my anchor habit for 10 minutes. Did sun salutations sequence from Om Yoga. Here is an example of sun salutations.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f8f/62905883/files/2015/01/img_0643.jpg

I woke up late today and didn’t have time to complete my anchor habit this morning. Monday morning are always a challenge. I stay up too late on Sunday night and then I snooze until 7am, only giving me 30 minutes to get ready. When I realized I didn’t have time for even 5 minutes of yoga before heading out for the day, I felt worried that I might not get to it today. Luckily during a break at work I was able to complete my anchor habit. I did 5 minutes of yoga in my office. I was even interrupted halfway through by a coworker, and afterwards I didn’t want to finish. But it was only a minute and thirty seconds, so I held myself accountable to my full five minutes and finished. I also discovered another new pose that’s great for glutes, it’s called temple pose. I only held it for 8 breathes twice and my butt already feels sore.

Went to DharmaCore Queer Meditation group again. I’ve been going since the beginning of October and it’s been great. I love the community of mindful people and I always find it easier to focus the mind during group practice. I’ve heard that it’s good to practice in community every once in a while to boost your energy for the ritual. I find I already look forward to going once a week.

Every other week we do a silent meditation then a guided meditation, and this week we did guided meditation for 30 minutes. This was followed by the usual discussion. I felt distracted by the guide and my mind kept drifting to being present in my physical body. I did eat quickly and then rush to get there quickly, perhaps I was physically stressed. I eventually did follow the guide though the meditation, but not until the very end. In the discussion we talked about the 4 Brahmaviharas, or mental abodes. These are known as loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. The guide and the speaker Jeffry spoke most about empathetic joy, which is the ability to feel happy for what brings others joy. The guided meditation instructed us first to think about what brings us joy, and wish for this love to continue, and to grow, and to never end. Then we were guided to think of someone close to us and wish them the same. Lastly we were told to think of someone with whom we have a difficult relationship with, and wish them the same.

Jeffrey mentioned a story about peasants wishing joy to a jeweled man on a golden elephant parading through town. One person asked if there are people such as the man on the elephant who misuse their power and wealth, do they deserve for us to wish them more of that? I found I shared this persons sentiment, until Jeffrey said that it’s not about wishing them more wealth or power. He explained, “Even someone like George Bush, that a lot of people would say abused his power, is a human being who desires to avoid suffering and to find joy. When he sits down and drinks a cup of coffee or eats a dessert he truly enjoys, he is human. That is the joy we are wishing him.” This shifted my perspective completely. Everyone deserves 5 minutes of joy each day, and time to be alone with themselves for at least 5 minutes a day, free from distractions. Unfortunately too few of us actually get it.

Discover #27 ways yoga improves your life: My Anchor Habit

Today Remy and I official started a 31 day challenge to start a new good habit and set life goals! The book is called:

Wake Up!
31 Days & Actions to Take Charge of Your Life

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f8f/62905883/files/2015/01/img_0641.jpg
It’s by author Matt Frazier, the No Meat Athlete. Today was Day 1.

~ Day 1 ~
~ Sunday, December 14th, 2014 ~
Create Your Anchor Habit

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f8f/62905883/files/2015/01/img_0640.jpg
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.
– Jim Ryun

Today’s action: Create your anchor habit, commit to a start date, and set the conditions for success.

Your job today is to give yourself the gift of developing that important, but not urgent, daily habit that would fulfill you the most. Not just because you think it would make someone else happy, but because it’s something you love to do.

Helpful Hints: Be specific about what you’ll do and for how much time each day (remember, start small!). Identify a trigger, post reminders, add some accountability, and do whatever else will destroy the barriers to getting started… Then, tomorrow – or today, if you just can’t wait – start your new habit, and do it each day after that.
– Matt Frazier

Remy and I “started” our 31 day challenge for the first time on Tuesday, December 2nd. I chose yoga as my anchor habit on Day 1. Completed my anchor habit for 10-15 minutes today. Did Inversions sequence from Om Yoga.

Yoga was an easy choice because it’s an opportunity for exercise and it improves my mental clarity, relaxation, focus, and attention. The book Wake Up recommends starting on a Sunday, and we didn’t start on that day, so we opted to follow its recommendation that we simply continue our anchor habit each day until the next Sunday. Even though we started on a Tuesday and I successfully completed my anchor habit each day, by Sunday I forgot to read Day 2, so I missed my opportunity to move on. I simply opted to do my anchor habit each day again, and while I skipped my anchor habit on 2 days that week, I never skipped 2 days in a row. It’s important to me to not miss more than one day before getting back to my new anchor habit!

Today I started over again! I completed my anchor habit this morning. I love this Om Yoga book! Even though it’s Sunday, I decided to do the Saturday workout – inversions. I love it when I find a new pose that I’ve never done before. Today it was the L-shaped handstand I did against the wall. I love strengthening the poses I already know, but let’s be honest, newer is always exciting-er!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f8f/62905883/files/2015/01/img_0642.png