Monday, February 28, 2011

Mindful Monday : reflections and thoughts


I really love to just sit in a cafe and read and write. Lucky for me there are a couple of great ones near my home in North Portland. 

So, the end of February is here and I'm reflecting on what I did and did not do. This month has been a period of many endings, as well as new beginnings. I closed bloop oatmeal cart, but I have undertaken a consistent blog writing habit. I have been great about putting more fruit and vegetables into my mouth each day, but terrible about exercising on a consistent basis.

Regardless of what I have or have not done, I am increasingly aware of what I am choosing to do/ not do and spend my time on/ not spend my time on.

While I have been mindful about my actions and choices this past month, I am just learning the art of being mindful with my thoughts. Wow...that was a mouthful!

This March I plan to spend the next month observing my thoughts. This should be interesting.

Thought of the Day: What are the thoughts rolling around your mind lately?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

And now for your chance to support Portland art !

First of all I want to apologize for not posting last Friday..unfortunately I was pretty sick and did not get a chance to post. After lots of sleep, I feel much, much better.

I want to take the time to share something very special with you. My friend, and very talented artist and blogging buddy Erika Lee Sears is an oil painter from Portland, Oregon. She just launched a kickstarter project to create an artist residency in Hong Kong for two weeks.  At the end of this artistic journey, she will publish a coffee table and iPad book of her paintings, drawings, and photos.

For those of you who don't know, an artist residency is where an artist visits a location to isolate themselves away from their typical environment. It allows the artist to have the gift of time to create based on entirely new creative influences.

Check out her video below and give her some support! Every dollar makes a difference to make her dream come true! If you are unable to give $$$, spread the word via twitter, fb and your blog. This is your chance to support Portland art !

Thursday, February 24, 2011

love

I love him with all of my heart, soul and mind. To love him is my only job. And my love is so great that my mind turns to mush and my heart becomes a hologram.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Whatever Works

I just finished watching the Woody Allen film, Whatever Works. I love that movie, everything about it is so......Woody- with a little Larry David mixed in.

When I was a kid I would gather all the neighborhood kids and put on plays and shows. I lived in my imagination and created all sorts of "schools" and "stores." I bossed all the younger kids around giving them jobs or roles to play.Reflecting on this, I really wonder why those kids still hung out, my director style bordered on a dictatorship.

I once wrote and directed a play in my garage, complete with a soundtrack I dubbed on my cassette player off of the 95.7 oldies radio station, I created elaborate scenery made out of cardboard, and even had a concession stand where I sold popcorn. I remember working on this for hours and getting upset with the neighbor kid who had trouble memorizing her lines, most likely because she was four-years-old and couldn't  read yet. On opening day, I seem to remember that I had the garage door closed in between scenes more than I had it open for the show. My audience consisted of two sets of parents parked on folding chairs in the driveway.

Afterward, I remember my mom coming up to me and saying: "Katie, when the garage door was shut in between scenes I heard you say, shut up over and over; you really need to watch your mouth honey."

While I put on other shows in the neighborhood from time to time, I never again attempted to produce a show of that caliber again. Maybe I outgrew all that nonsense, or maybe I grew tired of managing so many personalities.

Reflecting back on all the situations I've found myself in, what works best for me is to work with  small groups of people.

Tip of the Day: Do whatever works

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mindful Monday :: cleaning house

The sun managed to peek it's head out in Portland this weekend and with it brought a renewed burst of productivity.

Matt and I were inspired to clean and organize our bedroom, a project that has been long over due since moving to our new house in North Portland. After a good three hours of wiping, trashing, organizing, cleaning and hanging we sat back and enjoyed our new bedroom.  It is amazing how good a well-organized space can make one feel!!

After we cleaned the bedroom, we started going crazy installing useful hooks throughout the room. We now have a place for my coat, my jewelry, Matt's bathrobe and all my girlie under garments. Our "hooking" frenzy led us to the bathroom where Matt installed hooks for our toothbrushes and razors. Each time I open the medicine cabinet I smile. 

Tip of Day: Put everything in it's right place and see how you will smile !

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Food Friday :: vegan food

For a vegan there are many times when it is unclear if a food is in fact free of animal products. The best solution to this is to eat at home and only eat whole foods. And while doable, this difficult for my lifestly as I like to enjoy dinners out with friends and family who are not vegan.

Here is my advice for determining if a food item is vegan: if it smells or looks like animal, don't eat it. Just kidding:)

ok, seriously, here goes: if you have doubts, and find yourself asking a million annoying questions, yet still can't determine if the dish is vegan, I say go for it, and my that I mean eat it!! Don't kill yourself (and those around you) wondering if the food is vegan or not. The bottom line is: can u live with it. If yes, then eat. If not, well- then keep on complaining.

Thought of the day: can you live with it?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Routine Mind

Every morning when the alarm goes off, there is a split second I feel nothing. And then the reality of getting up and starting my day hits me and immediately my mind comfortably sinks into a well-established routine that is deeply etched in my brain.

I spoon my boyfriend and we both mildly complain for two rounds of snooze. Then I get out of my bed and walk across the room to shut the window because I like to sleep in the cold. I think about socks at this point because the floorboards are freezing since the window has been open all night. I fish out some socks from my drawer and throw on some clothes.

I head for the bathroom where I put in my eyes, wash my face, and brush my teeth along with some other crap. At this point Matt joins me in the bathroom and we remind one another that we are sooo tired out loud.

I scurry across the house to the kitchen to grab my lunch from the fridge and heat up some hot water. Then
I grab my things, put on my shoes, pour my hot water, and Matt and I head out the door. This routine takes 20 minutes. And for every second of that 20 minutes, I repeat both aloud and in my head how cold and tired I am like a busted record. Matt usually joins in at the chorus.

Just for fun, tomorrow I am going to say how nice and warm it is in the house and how wide awake I am, over and over and over.

Tip of the Day: bust up your mind's routine.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

gracias, adios

Halfway through my junior year of high school I left the suburbs to study abroad in Costa Rica for a year. After a student orientation with the euro kids that bordered on, Girls Gone Wild, I was sent to live with my "host" family in a small town where no one spoke English, or at least a version of English that would be gratifying to a native speaker.

Well, that is not entirely true, occasionally my classmates would try out their English language abilities on me. They would say something like "fuke" and then break into hysterical fits of laughter.

I digress. For months I lived in my head, not understanding the conversations going on around me and secretly mad at my Spanish teachers for failing me so miserably. I coped by nodding my head even when I didn't understand because it was too tiring to have someone repeat themselves until I understood. This was especially true with jokes. I once had a Costa Rican "uncle" insist on trying to re-tell me the same jokes over and over until he thought I understood them. This still sticks out as one of the most painful nights of my
life, as he and I quickly became the joke of the night.

Slowly I started to pick up the language by mimicking the phrases of those around me. For instance, after every meal I noticed that my Costa Rican "sister" would pick up her plate when she finished and dump her plate in the sink. As she got up, she would say: gracias, adios. At least that is what I heard. Every night, I would follow her lead, pick up my plate, say "gracias, adios" and head for the kitchen with a big, shit-eating grin on my face.

At about the four month mark during my year-long stay, I finally got a handle on the language, at least coversationally. It was at that same point that I realized "gracias, adios" was really, "Gracias a Dios" (Thanks be to God).

What we hear, and what is, are often two different things entirely.

Thought of the Day: Gracias a Dios

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Get....Over....Yourself...

Perhaps the best piece of advice I ever got was from my mom. She simply stated: "get over youself" in her dry, emotionless voice. Somtimes her wisdom astounds me.

I don't remember the conversation behind her statement- which was more likely a self-absorbed monologue. I do remember immediately shutting up. Unfortunately for those who are close to me, I often forget this piece of advice. However, occasionally I am able to catch myself, caught in a web of whine, and remind myself how trivial everything in my life is in the grand scheme of this orb known as earth.

It is in these rare moments, that I see beyond the self and all is well.

Tip of the day: Get over yourself man.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mindful Monday :: cultivating destiny

I recently experienced an ancesteral healing and soul retrieval with shaman Christina Pratt.

One of the things I took away from that experience is that I need to be mindful and cultivate the bigger vision that is my life. For me this simply means the following:
-writing and reading more
-developing my spiritual side and contemplative life
-traveling and adventures
-being silly and crafty
-spending time with my best friends and family
-eating healthy and exercising

This also means not focusing my attention and energy on what isn't working- this is very difficult. I often find myself cranky and unwilling to participate in the life I have created for myself as I seem to chase after things I think I want.

An example of this is playing the violin. I desparately want to play the violin, however when it comes down to actually sitting down and practicing the violin, I cannot get myself motivated for the life of me.

An example of something that I want to do and am able to follow through with, is writing on this blog.

In order to cultivate a sense of destiny that feels right to the self, it is important to be able to distinguish between: what I want that provides me with a sense of peace, achievement and is doable (this blog) vs. what I want that sounds like fun or a good thing to do/ something I should want to do (playing the violin).

Sir Ken Robinson distinguishes between these two different versions of want in his book The Element. Check out an interview with the author on The Kathleen Show.
 
Tip of the day: Don't focus on what isn't working in your life. Find ways to cultivate your destiny and focus on the right wants in your life.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Food Friday :: oh yea!

I thought I would share a few of my own eating habits with you all today. As a vegan, and as you know, one of my goals is to eat greens everyday. I do this along with trying to eat more colors everyday, some fruit... Just generally more healthy.

Ok so here goes....

So most days I start my day with either a peppermint tea or a soy chai latte while I write my thoughts down for the day. Then I proceed to make myself a bowl of granola with soy yogurt and either prunes, bananas, apple or all three.

At around noon I dive into either a kale or spinach salad proceeded by some hummus. Mid-afternoon I either indulge in some fruit, a bar of some sort, some chocolate or nuts. By the end of the day I am starving and ready for a good home-cooked meal or some good vegan junk food, which lucky for me, is easy to find in Portland!

I recently deterred from full veganism on my 4 year anniversary ( <3!!!my boyfriend is not a vegan ) and I actually missed my mostly vegan existance. Since becoming a full vegan I feel lighter, less bloated and in general, just better!

Tip of the day: Experiment with your eating habits; how do you feel ?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm back!!!!

I did not post yesterday. The blond fox surprised me with a surprise visit to the Ace Hotel for our 4 year anniversary and my phone died, so I didn't have a chance.


Romantic relationships are crazy and I am grateful every day that I have found someone that is on the same "speed." basically, we are two peas in an edamame pod!

Yet while finding your perfect match , does not mean that you do not have work to make your relationship the bestest. I have found that to build a heautiful life together it is important for each partner to keep the other's best interests at the fore front of your mind, so as not to take one another for granted.

I Love you Matthew Hilliard!

Tip of the day: go slow and love will come!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

They say....

They say(who "they" is, I have long since forgotten) that knowledge is to "add" things to your life, and enlightenment is to "release" things from your life.

I find this to be very true.

However, I see an inbetween, which for most of us, is an existence where our minds are held hostage to the same repetitive thoughts playing over and over, like a CD on repeat. And we are comfortable, because this feedback loop is a survival mechanism which is only exacerbated with factory assembly lines, office jobs, credit cards, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter.

Thought of the day: When was the last time you added something meaningful to your life, or let go of something that isn't serving you anymore?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mindful Mondays : Just Breathe

I know this is going to sound over-simplified, but one of my favorite tricks for ultimate relaxation and feeling blissed out is to just  breathe - consciously.

For an unforgettable amazing experience, try this three times:
- Close your mouth.
- Breathe in deep through your nose - feel your breath fill your lungs and then your tummy. This should take about 7 seconds.
-Hold for 7 seconds. Feel your breath moving through your body. FYI - this is a funny feeling; almost like being under water.
- Force the air out of your belly first and then your lungs. Try to count to 14 before you breathe in again.

Repeat at least three times.

Feel your body smile:)

Tip of the Day: Just Breathe

Friday, February 4, 2011

Food Friday :: the absorbtion of vitamins

Today I learned something very interesting from my dietitian friend, Heidi.
In order to absorb vitamins, they must be taken with food. In fact, it is best to take your vitamins with your largest meal of the day, as vitamins need fat to be absorbed by the body.
So if you, like me, are an early morning vitamin taker, STOP and start taking your vitamins with lots of food.

Tip of the day: vitamins need food! Take your vitamins with your largest meal of the day, to absorb them properly.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Breathing and Releasing Mind-Thoughts

Yesterday, I posted on the subject of letting go. And while this
semi-easy to grasp mentally, it is very hard to do.

What I notice with myself, is that at any given moment
in a day, if I take the time to check in with
myself, I am surrounded with very old, habitual thought
patterns and ways of doing things that seem to circle
round and round.

When I realize this, I take a breath and release every thought in my mind.
I usually experience a moment of peaceful bliss that lasts about
one minute- just enough time for another cycle of the same, old, habitual
thoughts to kick in. If I remember, I repeat the breath and mind-thought release
process.

This is my practice and I hope that day I am able
to break my mind-thought patterns to experience
what lies within, live a wholehearted life and be filled with guidance
that travels at light speed around me.

Tip of day: Breathe, release, relax. Repeat. Over and over and over.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Change, Direction, Co-creation and The Speed of Light

The world is moving faster. Change is everywhere, but so is guidance. What have you been directed to do? Can you hear it?

Occasionally, we our directed to make a change immediately through a form of inspiration, an event, or innate knowing.

As the world around us changes and technology evolves and the way we connect with others and receive information changes, I like to think of each of us as divining rods that have the power and wisdom within to channel these new forms of communications with ease and grace to  become wholehearted, creative beings.

Two of my favorite people that I look to for inspiration on this subject are: Caroline Myss and Everett Bogue.

Everett Bogue is taking on the blogging world by storm. A self-described cybernetic yogi, ev is supporting mindfulness in the future of human/technological evolution. But not only that, he is leading and creating movements and is following a path of inspiration that is way beyond what most of us currently have the capacity to do. It is not that we all don't have this capability, it is just that we have not yet tapped into it. Check out a recent post on how blogging evolves.

In her book, Entering the Castle, Caroline Myss discusses the changes that are happening at light speed all around us. Truth moves at the speed of light and most of us don't have the capability to handle so much truth coming our way.  We prefer truth only if we can manipualate and control it.

To paraphrase Myss: the co-creative choice and power we have is devoted  to holding our world and history in place, rather than having the faith and spontaneous energy to respond to the guidance that flows in our lives at all times to create anew.

Reflecting on this, I have to wonder how many of my actions or reactions each day are tied to past experiences. How much of my life am I living in present time?

What I do know, is that when I am meditating or in a prayerful state of mind, or simply taking a moment out of my day to breathe and relax- that I am wholehearted, in present time, open and able to access guidance, if, and when it comes.

Are you the co-creator of your life? What are you holding on to?

Tip of the Day: Let everything go!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Getting Things Done

I have decided that February will be the month of getting things done and developing new habits.

I have agreed (with myself -hehe) to take on two major lifestyle changes this month:

1) Exercise daily for 30 minutes. For me this will involve one of three main activities: walking coupled with feats of strength, gym time, or yoga. FYI - feats of strength is a saying my friends came up with during a party to demonstrate their athletic abilities. Feats of strength can involve push ups, sit ups, pull ups, head stands and/ or crazy body contortions. 


2) No chips. As someone who pretty much eats only plants and plant-based food items, I find myself eating a lot of tortilla chips at parties and dinners where there is nothing for me to eat. In fact, I have occasionally made an entire meal of gnawing on chips much to my dismay. I am excited to share what I start eating instead, once I banish these salty, tasty delights from my mouth. 

Other plans of mine, inspired by the book, the Happiness Project, are listed below:
-Create a will with Matt
-Set up a guest bedroom/ office in the house 
-Get rid of half of my wardrobe

Thought of the day: What have you been procrastinating lately?