“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it” – Osho-
Coming into the month of November means that the holidays are just around the corner. In my work with many patients and students, I hear more than anything else how stressful the holidays are and how difficult family relationships can be.
Part of the journey through life involves coming into close proximity with others, and with ourselves. Even though we all seek meaningful connections, we also often avoid closeness and intimacy because it can be scary to our ego-self, making it feel vulnerable and threatened. When that happens, we turn off and disconnect emotionally. We retreat into our false, separate self as a defense mechanism. We suffer when we feel out of control in our closest relationships. Where there is chaos or loss of control, we often disconnect. Getting back into connection with ourselves will bring us back into connections with others and we can enjoy the warm rich relationships we so desire. (From Oprah and Depak Chopra’s meditation series).
To prevent disconnection this month and next, look inward to your own self. Be in touch with your own wants and desires, and exercise the muscle of communication. Speak to your family and loved ones with your heart. Be open. Be receptive.
Update on Jay
Remember my client from Costa Rica last month, Jay?
I know so far he has quit smoking, I will be catching up with him in a few days to see how he is feeling. With just a few moments of stillness, everyday miracles happen.
During the holidays, many of us are so busy that we don’t even have time (or we think we don’t have time) to take a deep breath. But pranayama, the formal practice of controlling the breath, is essential to good health. In fact, pranayama literally means, “to extend the vital life force,” or prana. While the best way to practice pranayama is under the guidance of an experienced teacher, here is one practice that will support the parasympathetic nervous system, quiet your mind and focus your attention.
Basic Breath Awareness – this gentle introduction to diaphragmatic breathing teaches you how to breathe more fully and consciously.
Benefits – Quiets and calms the entire nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety and improves self-awareness.
Try it – At least once a day, at any time.
How to – Lie comfortably on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor about hip-distance apart. Place a palm on your abdomen and breathe comfortably for a few moments, noticing the quality of your breath. Does the breath feel tense? Strained? Uneven? Shallow? Simply observe the breath without any judgment. Then gradually begin to make your breathing as relaxed and smooth as possible, introducing a slight pause after each in-breath and out-breath. Once the breath feels relaxed and comfortable, notice the movement of the body. As you inhale, the abdomen naturally expands; as you exhale, feel the slight contraction of the abdomen. In a gentle way, try to actively expand the abdomen on the inhale and contract the abdomen on the exhale to support the natural movement of the diaphragm and experience the pleasure of giving yourself a full relaxed breath. Continue the practice for 6 – 12 breaths.
Recipe of the Month: Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies from Betty Crocker
2/3 c refined coconut oil, melted
2/3 c vegan granulated sugar
2/3 c packed vegan brown sugar
1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt 1 10 oz. bag vegan semisweet chocolate chips
1. Heat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix coconut oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until well mixed. Stir in almond milk and vanilla.
2. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until dough forms. Stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Bake 11 – 14 minutes or until edges are light brown and tops look set.