I often think about this relentless striving to be more, do more and to continue to better ourselves. The beginning of each year is a time when this message becomes excessively loud. The “how to” of creating a “new you” is E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.
Of course I believe in self development and growth, because that forms part of the work I do in my clinical practice, yet this message of striving to become a new version of ourselves feels like it carries an undertone of unworthiness to me. Why else would we want to be a NEW version of ourselves? Are we trying to eradicate the very truth that we are actually worthy human beings just by being here?
One of my ambitions last year was to attend a 9 day Vipassana retreat, which I was very blessed to actually achieve. I have done a couple of shorter silent meditation retreats in the past, so this time I had a fair idea of what to expect. What I didn’t expect though was the intense tiredness I felt for the first few days. Every spare moment, in between the formal sittings, I took naps. I meditated, ate and rested. It took a few days before I actually had enough energy and desire to go for some longer walks. My body was tired because my mind was so full and had been so overstimulated. The thing is, it is only in this intentional stillness that I can really notice how much my mind is racing.
Though I don’t consider myself someone who is extreme, doing something as radical as spending time in silence and meditating for hours over the course of a week has been one of the best forms of resting and recovering for me. I know this is not for everyone and you have to find what works for you, of course. Going on retreat where the outside stimuli is virtual nil has been the only way for me to completely let go. It’s not easy, but it has been possible, and so rewarding.
With this experience freshly in my mind one of my intentions for 2019 is definitely to let go more, to be more present and to allow my life to unfold more than me constantly pushing and striving. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have ambitions for things I’d like to happen, places I’d like to see and conversations I want to have, it just means that I am more open than attached to outcome. Basically I am taking more of a curious approach this year. Let’s see what will happen!
Before I move on to sharing my first recipe of this year, a green smoothie with some seasonal ingredients, I want to circle back to the self development topic. If we stop striving for being some different version of ourselves then what? Should we just give up on the self development project altogether?
I like to think about self development work more like a homecoming. A way to really get to know ourselves and to develop the skills, resilience and courage to live our lives on our own terms. To be able to be more of whom we are, rather than what society think we should be. So any tools and practices that helps us returning home to ourselves, to peel of all the layers of expectations and external driven motivations get my vote.
If you want to spend this year getting curious about your strengths and weaknesses, about what makes you tick and about what brings you joy, just know that I will be here cheering you on all the way. Just know that regardless of what you do, or don’t do, you are still enough and worthy just by being you.
So now to this recipe. Yeah, posting a green smoothie recipe in January does feel a little like playing into the hands of Diet Culture, but I also know that my body craves fresh foods and greens after all the holiday foods. However, when we’ve given ourselves full permission to enjoy all foods and eat (at least mostly) from a place of attunement, having a green smoothie doesn’t HAVE to mean that we are jumping on the diet bandwagon.
I have to admit that cold smoothies in cold weather is not my usual go to either, but this seasonal combination is so delicious and having a smoothie is a quick and easy way to consume something green, when you are craving it!
Apple & Kale Green Smoothie (For The Winter Season)
1 small apple, core removed & roughly chopped into chunks
1 small banana or 2 Medjool dates
A few leaves of green kale, stems removed & roughly chopped – I used cavolo nero here.
1 tbsp protein powder of choice – I tend to use an unflavoured pea protein – optional
100 ml full fat coconut milk
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
150 ml soy milk or other plant milk of choice
Place all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. If you are using dates, don’t forget to remove the stones!
I personally like my smoothies at room temperature, but if you like them colder you can either use frozen banana slices in place of the fresh banana or ad some ice. Just make sure your blender can handle it. Enjoy!
So it’s a New Year! Exciting? Yes! Isn’t every day we wake up a new beginning and with new possibilities to create something different, though? Or an opportunity to simply carry on as we are? It’s just that this time of the year the end of the old and the possibilities of the new is more apparent, with all the ceremonies and celebrations and other shenanigans on the 31st of Dec.
At an estimated guess, I would say some of the most blogged about topics in the month of January is: how to set great New Years resolutions for the year ahead or probably detoxing! Detoxing is a big topic really, WHEN you expolore beyond sensational headlines AND if you want to do it in a safe way. Of course it is also something our bodies do every day. If our liver and kidneys stop working, we are in serious trouble. That said, taking good care of ourselves and limit the amount of burden we place on those vital organs, is always a good idea. Limiting or cutting out cigarettes and alcohol is a pretty good place to start… But here, this post wasn’t suppose to be about Detoxing!
So on to the real subject matter of this post; Goals or dreams or wishes or intentions or what ever you wish to call your New Years resolutions this year, that’s what I intended to write about. A quick check in the Thesaurus shows a couple of suitable synonyms for the world RESOLUTION. Words, with quiet widespread meanings, like; decision, courage, declaration, intent, willpower, perseverance and tenacity are all synonyms for resolution. Perhaps the main ones which properly describes the true meaning of the word is DETERMINATION and STRONG WILLED. Usually it’s those last two words which determines the type of New Years resolutions we set, why we work so hard to achieve them and why we sometimes fail at it anyway. Somehow though, after a few week, perseverance always seems to have been left out in the cold…
The opposite or resolution is laziness, indecisiveness and fear. All those things which can easily stop us from setting the goals and intentions we really want or achieve the things we are really dreaming of. Indecisiveness often comes from lack of clarity. Sometimes working on finding that clarity is the very first step to take if you wish to change.
Ok, so we may be in the middle of January already, and you may already have set your goals for the year and may be well on your away to achieving them already. Or you may still be in struggling finding some clarity in what you truly want to focus on this year. Just before the end of the year I came across an amazing tool, which can help SO MUCH with the clarity aspect of setting intentions and goals for the year ahead, which are truly aligned with your core desires. You can download the brilliant printout to get clarity on your dreams and desires over here
So have you thought about your dreams, wishes and intentions for 2015? Sometimes we set lofty goals of “getting fit & healthy”. These are great end results. Or even more so the results of a process. But that’s just it. Taking the first steps on the journey of getting fit and healthy will require some specific action steps. So put these action steps down on your plan. Getting fit(er) will probably require some added form of movement in your daily life. Again make it realistic and make it a process that you can build on gradually. If you are currently spending most evenings on the couch in front of the TV, signing up for some crazy Cross-Fit challenges may be a little too far outside your comfort zone. That said, do sign up to something that require you to stretch a little (I’m not necessarily talking about Yoga here). Do something that is a little challenging to where you are right now. But if you want to be able to stick to it longterm, make sure you choose something which also brings joy into your life. We are meant to have fun!
If you are already fit and active, set a higher goal. Again, think about what would stretch you outside that famous comfort zone. Set a goal that feels ambitious and a little scary. Something that you would like to do or achieve but are not 100% fully sure you’d be able for, yet not so far outside your abilities that you are setting yourself up for a failure. Achieving something you hardly ever thought possible is just an amazing feeling and a huge part of personal growth and development.
It’s the same with eating healthy really. Doing massive overhauls on our lifestyles is tough and to be honest those dramatic changes usually only come about as a result of circumstances well outside our control. I would argue that when we are in control of making changes to our life ourselves, it is a lot smarter to do it in small bits. As a process. Check in with yourself to see where you are at. What part of your food habits need to change? Is it the quality of the food you eat? Is it your relationship with it? Or do you simply need to take the time to learn a couple of new recipes to increase the variation of food you eat? Get some clarity on what it is you want to change and why, then proceed to write down what action steps you need to take to make it happen. And then Just Do It! In the end of the day, JUST thinking about your goals won’t make a blind bit of difference (even though it is a fundamental part of the process). At some point you will HAVE TO TAKE ACTION, if you want to make a change. Or if you desire something different from what you currently have.
One of my favourite quotes are “No Change, No Change”. Ponder that. Don’t let your past hold you back either. Simply chose again.
As well as planning and focusing on all the things we want to achieve in the months (and years!) ahead it is equally as important to stop and reflect over what we have actually done and achieved in the past 12 months. I find sometimes, that by doing that, it can take the sting out of any overwhelm, fear or doubts that creep in from time to time. It’s all to easy to keep moving the goalpost so quickly that it feels like we are not getting anywhere or that we are not making any progress and then we allow those doubts and fears to consume us and as a result give up. Don’t do that! Instead make a list of all the positive things that you have achieved in 2014. Even if it turned out to be a tough year, full of adversities, still if you are reading this then chances are you are at least alive. Remind yourself that you are good enough. You are worthy of success (in all areas of your life) and you are beautiful right here and right now.
For me personally, 2014 was a crazy year. In a positive way. Yet pretty exhausting with all the pushing and stretching outside my comfort zone. Until some of it became like a new normal. I certainly faced some fears and proceeded to do it anyway. Eventually though, it all took its toll and taking a complete break between Christmas and New Year was so necessary. It seems to have done wonders 🙂
This year I’ve decided to do less with more focus. Rather than trying to juggling 10 project at the time I’m going to focus on doing one (or perhaps two… Or maybe three…) at the time. I simply feel I will be so much more productive that way. Focus on just the one thing at the time is a pretty big challenge for me, who gets both distracted and bored quiet easily. So I’m hoping now that I’ve put out it out there, I’ll be more likely to hold myself accountable!
As for the blog, I’m hoping it will grow in 2015. As always a big thank you to all of you who do read my ramblings already. It means alot. I’ve decided to throw in a non-recipe blog post about once a month about something health related or about mindset or what ever might surface. I have also decided that this year I will cook more from the beautiful cookbooks I already have, even though I am fairly certain there will be more additions to my collection. I can think of about three titles already, which I’m keen to get! So I will be sharing some new favourites from the treasures of my bookshelves this year. So well, that should keep the blogging going pretty well. I will of course also share some of my own ideas and recipes, too many of them in my head already. And hopefully there will be opportunities to do some guest blog swaps too throughout the year so, please come back again for a visit 🙂
What are your dreams / visions / goals / intentions from 2015? If you feel like sharing helps you stay aligned and accountable, I would love to hear all about your aspirations. Perhaps we can all check back in by Dec 31st to see how it went?