Wednesday, March 14, 2012

No Better TIme Than NOW.

As humans, we tend to wait until rock bottom, or unbearable, or obese, or death-bed sick before we make a move to make a change. This applies to mental health, physical well being, careers, relationships. It applies to everything in our existence. Why is this? What is it that triggers the snowball effect veering unstably toward relative rock bottom, which often times is the only catalyst for evolvement away from the negative, unhealthy behaviors? It's shocking, in retrospect, that an earlier adjustment wasn't made. But in the midst of the high speed chase toward worse, we can't see beyond our peripheral horse blinders (or even right in front of our faces for that matter). It's perplexing.

Because of a handful of recent circumstances at The Carter House and beyond, I've pondered this a lot lately. Is it that we're satisfied with mediocrity instead of optimal circumstances? I really just don't want to believe that. Or are we innately terrified of change so we just 'deal' until that inevitable, unstoppable tipping point in one direction or another makes the choice for us?

I certainly don't know the answer but I am working to understand myself as I relate to this conundrum of a topic, and ideally evolve AWAY from this pattern. Even by a degree or so would be progress. Keeping perspective, looking outside of ones own self, fearing change less, and accepting advice from others are three key tactics for me.

Back in January I posted about seizing the day and wanting to stop TALKING about doing, and just DO.  All related to the fear of change and waiting until something out of your control takes over to make a decision for you...alllll related.

XOXO & until next time!

SOMETHING I ADORE RIGHT NOW -- (as I try to blog more often again, this is a little section I'm adding to most posts)

Sesame Seed Butter. NOMS! Check out all of the benefits of sesame seeds! SUPER DUPER tasty, to boot! I've been enjoying it as a snack lately on a banana or an apple. By itself, even! Give it a go. It's a tad expensive compared to good ol' fashioned PB but worth it. Lasts much longer, too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Crazy Cat, Goku.


A concept I've been thinking about of late...BEvolve. Not sure that I actually made this up (but I refuse to Googlie-Googlie it because if it does exists I might feel stupid and then in-turn not blog about it when it's just too important and top of mind for me to ignore).

Basically & broken down, it's the combination of BEING and EVOLVING and doing them SIMULTANEOUSLY. Innately as the person I am, I easily focus on the next thing (posted about this multiple times before) instead of experiencing the now... the present ... what's in front of my face. It's hard to successfully do when you're an anal, type A, planner like myself. Virtually impossible. VIRTUALLY, I said, not ENTIRELY.

Certain activities help me with this practice of just BEING, the first part of our made up conjugation:

- Morning sun sals while the coffee brews from the kitchen & my meditation Pandora station plays softly from my iPhone.

- Aerial Yoga on Saturday mornings, floating effortlessly above the grounded studio floor.

- Even fitness challenges at the gym with my workout group - how long can you hold a plank? You have absolutely no choice but to just focus and breathe during a test like that.

There's a theme here - Physical Activity. You have to focus on the task at hand during any kind of work out. You have to experience the move & perfect the move. You have to be 100% aware of your surroundings and your body. It's part of the allure, I'm sure. It's part of the reason an entire industry is booming with individuals joining gyms; trying new, innovative work outs and classes; wanting to be on the forefront of the next big thing. Whether it's going for a brisk Winter run, taking on a 107 degree Bikram class, or just committing to 30 minutes on an Arch Trainer, that time is yours and it's yours to just BE. Minds will wander inevitably but for me and of recent, I generally zone out and get to a place where the focus isn't on what's in (or not in) the fridge for dinner & if we have enough cat food to last the week. It's attentive to exactly what I'm doing... how many tricep dips can I push to? That sweat burns my eyes. Five more sets of stairs. What is this pain in my knee during jump squats? Feeling. Experiencing. Noticing.

As for the second part of our conjunction...EVOLVE...this is even more complex than it's friend, BEING. It's a process in itself and a long-term one at that. People are ever changing --- maybe not at the core of their person --- but we definitely change as we grow and learn and move around the earth, meeting new people and trying new things, realizing who we actually are and what that even means. And more importantly, when will it change again? And will I be BE there to experience it before it does.

AND BAM...that's where to two words meet. While we're IN a spot, BE IN THAT SPOT before it changes, inevitably. Try to not wish it away or change it. Try to accept it & learn from it, most importantly. Not an easy task, I know. Just something to consider especially if you're an admitted control freak like myself. :)

This was a bit deep so I hope you hung in there with me. Yes, there's a good chance some deep, contemplative nor'easter sweeping up from South Florida has taken me away to another realm (blame my mom and check out her awesome new blog if you have a chance & are up for some existential thoughts But either way, it's interesting to think about and notice about your own self. Trying to do both and really BEvolve as the best Emily I can be while I have my time here = Ultimate goal.

Now, don't go Googling my new word and ruin this for me ;)


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hiya, 2012

What does 2012 bring? Hopefully not a whole bunch of wonky fear about the end of the world. Hopefully more of along the lines of this pretty neat school of thought, brought to you by me but via Yoga On York on this 3rd day of January, 2012:

2012 begins tomorrow and it is one of the most talked about years in our history. It’s the end of the Mayan calendar but the dawn of a new beginning. Many believe we are making a conscious shift to a more spiritual realm and moving forward into a new paradigm as we enter this new age of awareness and enlightenment.

Well faaaantastic! I prefer this theory to it's evil Armageddon-step-sister version ANY day. Whatever helps you sleep at night, right? 

But seriously, lets have a whole lot of awareness and new beginnings, and perhaps a whole lot less of over analyzation (wherever possible), and sad playlists (A'HEM!),  and indecision. For me, I'd like to not be so "one day I'll do this" and "one day I'll be able to do that but not until this other thing happens because it would just be too much and I don't have the money or I don't have the time." NO. JUST NO, EMILY. It's not time or's called BALLS. For once, say "This is what I want and here's how I'm going to get it." Take the damn reins, woman! 

So, that's my plan. Short, fitting post for this new year because I plan on getting back to the basics. Keep it simple and set some meaningful, perhaps not so easy-to-attain-but-totally-worth-it goals that will better your year, life, self. 

Also, give Aerial Yoga at Yoga on York a try and soak in all the goodness the instructors have to share with you during those 90 minutes of "floating above the earth". It's worth it & not as scary as it sounds!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mindful eating with a pinch of thanks on the side.

Next week's food frenzy holiday hits us hard and right in our waistlines. After reading a friend's blog this morning I took something important from it that I am going to try my darndest to take with me into this coming Thursday's Thanksgiving feast.

Mindful Eating.

Yes, the gravy is delicious and the pies delectable and the stuffing rich. They have always been and will always be. The first thought is to inhale. GORGE. Taste the tastes of the season like we've never tasted them before. Refill our plate round 2, 3, 4, because, "Hey. It's a holiday and that's what we do". This is also when our pant buttons will ping off at an alarming speed, taking out grandmas best china and anyone standing in it's path.

So, instead of over-stuffing with sausage stuffing, take a second and do the following ... First look at your plate (hopefully filled with the holiday flavors you adore but at smart portions and one round allotments only). Then take a deep breath ... smell the cinnamon mashed sweet potatoes, the garlic roasted brussel sprouts, the steaming, fresh cornbread, the just-carved turkey breast ... whatever it is that never fails to land before you on Thanksgiving. Smell it with the deepest of appreciative breaths. Then say thank you...maybe out loud, maybe not. Just be sure to say thank you. Here we are with so much available and at our greedy little fingertips. This is our time to give thanks. Before we indulge on the richness the season brings. Before bottle of red #3 is opened and we can't tell turkey from tofurkey. ]

Eat mindfully that day. Enjoy each bite -- the sites, the smells, the tastes, the textures. You'll develop a new appreciation for your foods this way.  It's a much more enjoyable experience and most times, you'll eat LESS because you're SATISFIED. Yep, I said it.

More details about Mindful Eating (thanks to the fabulous Megan Rogers! are below for your reference and practice as we head into the most wonderful (& highest calorie) time of the year. Lets all try to NOT gain that standard 10 lbs 'they' say the average American packs on between Halloween and New Years (& between their butt and gut!). Shall we?

Gobble, Gobble, Ya'll!


Sight: Look at your food and imagine you are a Martian scientist. You just arrived on Earth and have never seen this food before. Look at it carefully without naming it. Can you see the water, the rain and the sunlight within the food?

Smell: Bring the food up to your nose. Without naming the scent, experience smelling the food, and then describe what you smell.

Physiological reaction: Now focus on what is going on in your mouth. Begin to notice that saliva is produced, even though you haven't yet put the food in your mouth. Notice the mind/body phenomenon and how the senses respond to the anticipation of food being eaten.

Touch: Now explore how the food feels. Without naming the sensation, just experience touching your food.

Motion and movement: How is it that your hand knows how to move the food directly to the lips? As you bring the food up to your mouth, notice what happens next. The mouth receives the food. Nothing goes into the mouth without it being received. And who or what is doing the receiving? The tongue. Observe what the tongue does with it. How does it get the food between the teeth? It's amazing that the tongue is so skilled, and that such a remarkable muscle can actually receive food and then know what to do with it every time.

Taste: After becoming aware of the food in your mouth, start biting into it very slowly. Then begin to chew. Notice that the tongue decides which side of the mouth it's going to chew on. Give all your attention to your mouth and take a few bites. Then stop to experience what's happening. What is happening is invariably an explosion of taste. Express what's going on. Be really specific. What is the experience? Is it sweet or sour or juicy? There are hundreds of words to describe the experience of tasting.

Texture: As you continue to chew the tastes change, as does the consistency. At a certain point you will become aware of the texture of the food because the taste has mostly passed. If the texture causes aversion, you may want to swallow it, but try to keep it in your mouth.

Swallow: Don't swallow it yet. Stay with the impatience and the inborn impulse to swallow. Do not swallow until you detect the impulse to do so. And then observe what is involved in getting the food over to the place where it's going to be swallowed. When you detect the impulse to swallow, follow it down into the stomach, feel your whole body and acknowledge that your body is now exactly one bite heavier.

Breath: Next, pause for a moment or two, and see if you can taste your breath in a similar way. Bring the same quality of attention to the breath that you gave to seeing, feeling, smelling and tasting the food.

Silence: Be silent. By this point, you understand something of what meditation is. It is doing what we do all the time, except we're doing it with attention: directed, moment-to-moment, nonjudgmental attention.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Favorite Weekend Moments...

A Tuesday Picture Story.

Our NC visitors arrived this weekend and we had a very special time. Some of my favorite weekends of the year are when Dad & Patsy are in town. Low key, Carter House hangin'. That's what it's about. I am thankful to have a home that allows for these kind of memories to be made. So very thankful. 

Thursday counts as weekend right? Darts & Flying Dog Porter @ Liam Flynn's Ale House. 
Grandpa's post-bath feeding.
Cozy living room opens up the floor for good conversations.
OK not really a 'favorite weekend memory' at the ER circa 2:30am. But the Koalas in Space hospital gown was awesome.
Sick Buggy Needs Rest.

Uncle J took over. I had to pee.
Hours of focus. And a lot of wine.
First time in a swing. Didn't quite get the concept.

Breakfast w Grandpa.
BIG bite.

"What you lookin' at tiger??"

Go Dawgs! Watching the UGA game together in matching outfits. 
A nice fall walk @ Herring Run. It's no Burningtown but pretty good for Baltimore City!
No caption needed.
LOOONG kitty.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Shout-out.

Since June 2011 (the 14th to be exact). I've realized my potential as a strong, fit 28 year old woman (ROAR!). A feeling that was slowly fleeting over the last 3-4 years. Yes, coincidentally around the time I met my now husband. Hey - it happens! You get comfy and you get familiar and you get routine'd and you get?? Chubby. Ding, ding, ding we have a winner!! Or, you over indulge, as I also did, resulting in????? You got it... Double-chub!

Clothes might still 'fit' and pictures might still look 'ok', but you know deep down...well...shit's changing. You have a few options: 1) Get out in front of it. Get off your ass. Create a calorie deficit in order to drop. "Stay hungry". or B) Say screw it and abuse the Monday night Burger special, Taco Tuesday, Wingday Wednesday (mmmmm forever a weakness of mine) and Thirsty Thursday 2 for 1 pumpkin ales. We all know the latter's not REALLY an option though. At least not forever. And not for all of us.

MODERATION. BALANCE. Yup. Words we've all spoken and tried to live. Can be easier said than done. And until I met my influencer, they were words that I struggled to make daily realities.

This brief, later-than-usual post (we all know I need my sleep and a LOT of it) is meant to do whatever it can to thank a very special woman, trainer and now friend of mine. She inspires and energizes and positively influences hundreds of people - both men and women alike -  at the gym, online, in her own family, and I'd bet just in the everyday lives of strangers that randomly and thankfully cross her blazing path. She helps many, just like me, realize their own potential physically, mentally, emotionally,... life potential in general...and it's extremely powerful. So powerful its been tough to not blog about it on the daily to be honest (beyond FB, Twitter, etc.).

Thank you, Charlie. Thanks for effecting permanent change & for bringing it like you do every day.