Finding Meaningful Time – Cannon Beach Yoga Festival 2015

IMG_7679I have been fortunate enough to attend the Cannon Beach Yoga Festival for the last two years. This was my take away from last year and while it is short and sweet, it is still very important and spot on. Our breath is the most important tool that we have and it is what keeps us grounded and keeps us alive. This is something that I continue to try and remember on a daily basis, even though our breath is always with us it is sometimes difficult to use it as a tool and actually stop and take a breath before acting. But when we do, we can be even more present and mindful in whatever it is we are doing. What  I learned this year and what I will continue to explore when I am back in the “real world” is what to do and how to act – after taking that clarifying breath. What is it that lights me up? What is it that I am most passionate about? I have touched on this before and I am still working towards my goals, but what about in my day-to-day life? What about those short moments of time, how do I fill that space meaningfully?  This is the burning question. I am like a lot of other moms (and dads) that spend my day taking care of the others in my life. Which is something I love. I love my family and I love taking care of them, but there is a lot of extra time that they do not need caring for, but sometimes that time is choppy and disconnected, so how do I fill my time? I am sure you can guess: Facebook, organizing and replying to emails, surfing the internet, checking out Pinterest, picking up the house and so on and so forth. Not really meaningful time. Just time being used up. The goal now is to use this extra time that I have in a meaningful way. Yes, there will still be work to get done and emails to respond to, but if I don’t over think it I can usually get that work done pretty quickly and then I can make time for meaningful activities like: Writing (hey here I am – pat on the back!), reading, painting, meditating, calling a friend or relative that needs support or compassion, taking a walk, being in nature, cooking an amazing meal (if your kitchen is available to do that) and the list can go on and on, if I take the time to think about what makes me happy and lights me up, not just falling into my usual habits of looking at a screen.

I am so grateful to have had this weekend away to really help me on my path to find my IMG_7650passion. I learned so many great techniques from my Twists and Hips workshops with Brad Waites and I am looking forward to diving deeper into Sarahjoy Marsh’s new book that I bought over the weekend, Hope, Hunger & Healing. I am always so enlightened after attending a yoga retreat or festival and the real work that my good friend Jen and I always discuss on the last day of these types of events is “How do we keep this energy and spark going at home?” – and as I mention above, my goal is to stop and take a deep breath and really think about what is meaningful and what will bring me joy in the moment. Now, don’t get me wrong, I will still find time to browse Facebook & Pinterest, but my hope is that I can make more time for the more fulfilling activities as well.

Thanks for reading, until next time!

KG

Injuries Suck.

As I do with most the issues I struggle with, I write. Today, I am writing about my Facebook-20140605-112522recent injury. I have been dealing with a running injury for over a month now, and I just posted an article about it on BlogHer, you can find it here. I also want to say Thank You, to my husband, my friends and all the specialists that I have been working with for your help getting me through this, I will run again, and I will not beat myself up in the process.

 

What A Week – Dealing with Tragedy & Loss

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Mission Ridge Ski Area

I wrote an article for BlogHer today as a way to release some of the stress I have been feeling about the recent tragic events happening in our area. Starting last week with the KOMO 4 helicopter, then the tragic death of a local man at Mission Ridge and the ongoing tragedy of the landslide in Oso. Here is a link to the full article and how I remind myself that I need to be forever grateful for what I have and not live in the What If’s.

Cannon Beach Yoga Festival: My Take Away

cannon beachThis past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the Cannon Beach Yoga Festival. The festival was an intimate festival/retreat with amazing yoga teachers from all over. I practiced yoga and meditation with Annie Carpenter, Sarahjoy Marsh, Cyndi Lee and Kelly Ponzi. All amazing teachers who I learned so very much from. My main take away from this weekend was really about connecting with myself and what is around me. What I learned in each class, in different ways, was that our breath is really the most important tool we have. By focusing on our breath in any situation, whether its a difficult yoga position, a conflict with someone, driving in traffic, before you eat, any new situation, positive or negative, when you focus on your breath you are able to be mindful and intentional in what you are doing. And then, after you have taken your breath, the goal is to Be With What Is. No matter what comes up, the good, the bad or the ugly, we need to just accept where we are, because for whatever reason, that is what the universe has brought for you.

Why Oh Why…

Why oh why am I so obsessed with my weight? This is an interesting question that I lovingkindness_color1-1024x779struggle with every single day. Maybe I have too much time on my hands or maybe I am letting my hormones get the best of me. Either way, I am obsessed. I am obsessed about what I eat, and when to eat and what I am going to do for my work out, etc, etc, etc. I know that I should not be obsessed. My logical brain tells me that I am healthy, I look pretty good, my husband loves me and doesn’t want me to change a thing, but still, I am way too concerned about how I look, the way my butt looks in my pants and why I can’t make my thighs smaller. I have been trying to be good for a long time now (really for as long as I can remember), I use online trackers, I have talked to nutritionists, tracking my eating in a book, didn’t weigh myself for A WHOLE month (per the nutritionist’s recommendation) and yet the number on the scale did not change. Seriously. I really thought I was doing good, I really thought I was making progress. But yet, no progress, no change. I know I probably am not as good as I could be, really my problem is self control. I know what I should and should not eat, yet I still eat chips when we are skiing, I drink alcohol when I go out for a night, eat out way more than I should, and so on, it is an endless cycle. And really all I want is to feel good, happy and healthy in my own skin. I really just want to love my body and all my curves. Really what I want most in the world is for my two daughters NEVER to feel bad about their bodies, better yet, ALWAYS feel good about themselves! I also know that I need to model that behavior for them to learn it.

I have been reading a lot of articles this week, today I read this article and part of me thinks, wow what strength this lady has, first for not eating any food all day and then second for writing the article. I also enjoyed this video from the Today Show talking about how to Love your Selfie! It is so true. Why can’t we just come to terms and love the self we are in? Why is it so difficult? Maybe it comes from years and years of trying to be the best or achieve what someone else has. There are so many outside influences telling us what we should look like, how to lose weight fast, how to look like this girl and so on. As this is National Eating Disorder Week I decided I would just put this out there. I don’t have an eating disorder, my issue is really a self-image disorder. I love food too much not to eat it, I just need to figure out what the healthy balance for myself is and to come to terms with the body I have. I may never lose those extra 10-15 pounds, they may just be here with me and what I really need to do is remember some powerful lessons and words I have learned in my yoga classes: the first is Maitri (or Metta) which means Loving Kindness. Something that I strive to have for others and need to learn to have for myself. The second is Santosha which means Contentment or Satisfaction with what you have. Two very big lessons that will possibly take a lifetime to learn and make a daily habit. But as I write this (and post it) I am making the commitment to try and keep THESE lessons at the top of my head, instead of the number on the scale or how my butt looks.

Lola, L-O-L-A, Lola

Lola (1999-2013)

Lola (1999-2013)

Well, this has been a crappy week. We lost our kitty of 14 years today. This really has been one of the worst weeks I have known and I hope that writing about it will help me get through it a little easier. I knew this day was coming and anyone that has lost a pet knows how it feels, it sucks. We have had Lola since she was a kitty; we got her from the Humane Society when she was only a few weeks old and she has been our sweet, lovable, lazy, irritable, wonderful cat for all those years.  On Monday, when we got back from an overnight camping trip, our friend emailed to ask if all was okay with Lola, since she didn’t eat much while he was watching her. My email back was simple and casual and just said, yeah, she’s fine, she’s old and not eating much these days, nothing to worry about. But then, as I watched her walk through the house, I noticed that for a cat that wasn’t eating much she looked awfully fat and rounded through her belly. After Andrew and I talked about it we decided we should probably call the vet to just make sure everything was okay. Well, everything wasn’t okay. An ultrasound on her belly found that something was leaking fluid in her abdomen. Then we headed off to the emergency vet, more tests and waiting around and then back the next day for a more intense ultrasound.  When we got the ultrasound results back they told us it was fatal, either abdominal cancer (carcinomatosis) or feline infectious peritonitis. Neither of which is good. But as I took the call from the vet, I was following the girls around at the zoo and not really in a state to fully understand. They told me they could do a few more tests to determine exactly what it was, I told them to do that and bought us a little more time. Then we waited and waited another full day. During this day, Andrew and I had a lot of long discussions about what this meant and what we needed to know from the vet to determine what to do. What was her quality of life going to be? Was there any way to recover? How long does it take before she would die on her own? Was she in pain? And so on. Then on Wednesday as we are driving to our anniversary dinner (we got Lola the year we were married), we got the call we were dreading and waiting for with the final test results.  She did indeed have the carcinoma (cancer) that had metastasized through out her abdomen and other organs (I was glad to hear that this was not related at all to her last health issue back in February). As we asked all the questions, the answers became more apparent, she wasn’t going to make it and her quality of life was not good. She was in pain, she was not eating and she was ready to move on. But were we? But through the tears Andrew said something to me that really stuck and held true. She is in pain and we are in pain, and the best thing we can do is let her go. We went through with our anniversary dinner and I am sure the other patrons thought we were breaking up as we were both crying over our dinner. But the next morning, after a sleepless night I got up and called our vet and told them what we needed to do.

Nadia's card to Lola. At the top it says "I'm sorry you have to pass on" - then she wanted everyone to sign it.

Nadia’s card to Lola. At the top it says “I’m sorry you have to pass on” – then she wanted everyone to sign it.

Meanwhile we had to let the girls know what was happening. I took the phone call from the vet in the car, and we were all together. They heard my questions and saw me crying and knew something was wrong. Nadia, our 6 year old was very matter of fact, and thoughtful telling us that “Everyone has to pass on at some point” (she even made a card for Lola), Siena, 9, didn’t want to see me crying because that would make everyone else cry. Over the past few years, Lola never really warmed up to the girls so I don’t think they are as heart broken as Andrew and I, they are already asking about the next pet, but we have told them that is a long way off.

When I finally arrived at the vet this afternoon for our last visit, I cried the whole way there. Petting her through the carrier, feeling her shiver, as I think she knew what was going on. I told Andrew he didn’t need to come, I didn’t want him to rearrange his whole day for this and I felt I could handle it on my own (boy was I wrong). I took some deep breaths as I walked in and just hoped I could get right in to see the vet. There were a couple other people in the waiting room when I walked in with Lola in the carrier. I looked straight ahead and tried not to make eye contact with anyone, as I am sure I looked like a total mess. But of course, the nice lady next to me was admiring our beautiful cat. “Is that a Russian Blue?” she asked. “Yes”, I said, not in the mood to make small talk. Then she says, “Does she have a little cough?” that’s when I lost it. This poor lady did not know what she was getting into; I totally started bawling and had a hard time keeping it together. At that point, the receptionist scooted me into an examining room where I was able to hold Lola and cry alone. The nurses and the doctors at Magnolia Veterinary Hospital were so kind and sweet and caring. I held Lola as they gave her the medicine that helped her fall into her deep kitty sleep. And as I told the girls, they gave her the medicine to help her get to Kitty Heaven where she will be her old playful self. She can bask in the sun, play with fun toys, chase birds and bugs and be the healthy Lola we know and love.

Lola Lee Kitty Cat, you will be truly missed.

Moms’ Weekends Away – Good For The Whole Family!

There is no doubt that moms work hard. They spend the majority of their time making sure everyone in the family is taken care of, yet a lot of moms forget to take care of themselves. That’s why I think it is important for moms to get a weekend away every so often to have some time off and get a break from reality. Recently, I was lucky enough to get a little weekend away with some friends. I love traveling with my family, but every now and then it is nice to do something on your own or with your friends. For this recent trip, a group of girl friends from high school decided we needed to have a reunion in Vegas, after graduating over 20 years ago, it is nice to reconnect in “real life” with friends that you a haven’t heard from in years – other than on Facebook.

Ladies at Dinner in Vegas

Ladies at Dinner in Vegas

The ladies and I stayed in lovely suites at the Venetian Hotel and Casino, and it felt like a little slice of paradise. We sat by the pool in our rented cabana and did a lot of catching up, laughing and people watching! We enjoyed the nightlife (until 3 in the morning, which is pretty late for this mom!) and had a wonderful dinner at Valentino Las Vegas, sister restaurant to multiple James Beard Award-winner Piero Selvaggio’s world-renowned Valentino in Santa Monica

In the morning, I got up early and headed out to check out the fitness center and spa at the Canyon Ranch. For just $20 I was able to enjoy a 90-minute yoga class and all-day access to the amazing Aquavana spa, I was able to relax in the hot pools, steam rooms, herbal steam rooms, igloo and experiential rains. And because I got an all-day pass, I was able to head back in after sitting by the pool all day to recharge and get ready for our night out.

Las Vegas has a special place in my heart; when I turned 21, my mom, sisters, aunts, cousins and grandma all went down to celebrate and started a tradition that has lasted over 17 years with trips to Vegas and Palm Springs. Our family truly values our Girls’ Weekends! I know Vegas might not be everyone’s style; sometimes it might be nice to get away and have some quiet time and really reconnect with yourself.  There are so many resorts and spas to choose from and all will provide you with relaxation, balance, healthy food and activities. This list will give you an idea of the top rated spas all over America, from the folks at Travel & Leisure.

Pool at Miraval

Pool at Miraval

Two spas that have been recommended by friends of mine are Miraval and The Sanctuary, both are in Arizona, so the weather will be wonderful and both will leave you feeling relaxed, recharged and renewed. This type of weekend away will send you home as a new and enhanced woman.  When practicing yoga, meditation and other self-healing treatments and activities, you will learn skills that you can take home to your real life and help you get through the rough patches with ease. I have yet to visit a resort/spa like this but it is on my list, the big 4-0 is coming up pretty soon and I think this might be the perfect birthday gift to myself!

If you are more of an active Mom and want to move and laugh and really challenge yourself, you might be more interested in a weekend of surfing, hiking or learning a new skill. Last summer, some girl friends and I headed south to Oregon for Northwest Women’s Surf Camp – now I am hooked. The ladies and I are going back again this summer to learn some new skills. The camp includes all equipment (surfboard, wetsuit, boots, gloves, hood and helmet), nutritious organic catered lunch, beverages and snacks, morning Beach Yoga session, water-board-beach safety instruction, in-depth surf instruction both on land and two sessions in the water with coaches, a NWWSC T-shirt and our Camp Partners bag of gifts and info! And it’s not just for ladies; they have couples camps, family lessons and more.

Our Group with Northwest Women's Surf Camp

Our Group with Northwest Women’s Surf Camp

Yes, these weekends will take time to plan, a financial investment and some juggling of schedules with your partner, but in the end no matter what type of weekend you choose or even if you just take a day in your own city to recharge and escape, it will be worth it in the end to restore your well-being and keep you balanced throughout your days and beyond.

Oh Lord…What a Race!

Today I did my second, Lord Hill 10 Mile Trail Run, it was organized by the local running group, Evergreen Trail Runs. Andrew and I ran this race last year, he actually did the 50k (31 miles) and I did the 10 miler, I took my time last year and it took me about 2 hours and 20 minutes. This year, Andrew and I both did the 10 miler, and we brought Andrew’s brother Alex & his wife Anna along to experience the joy of Lord Hill.  I must say this run was tons of fun, trail runs are nice change of pace from regular street runs or city runs (although those have their own appeal too, like chocolate!  I get to do the Seattle Hot Chocolate 15k next weekend), this race you get to run through mossy green trees and narrow woody paths. Maybe part of the fun for me this year was that I shaved off 14 minutes off last years time, coming in at 2 hours and 6 minutes, or possibly it was the nice compliment from the woman running behind me; when I realized there were about 4 people behind me I figured I was holding up the group, I told her to go ahead and pass and she said, no thanks, you are setting a really great pace. Who me?

So, although I have some sore muscles (nothing a little yoga can’t fix) and some purple toe nails (nothing some dark polish can’t fix), I feel happy and content that I was able to get out into nature and run around like kid in the forest!

It’s actually pretty fun to get dirty on the trail, here are my shoes, before and after. Thank you to Dirty Girl Gaiters for keeping all the crap out of my socks and my shoes, only the outside got wet and messy!

beforeafter

And of course the post race meal and beverage is always a highlight of any race, this time we stopped by the Redhook Brewery for lunch. On a side note, this was my first race since I stopped eating gluten, and I have to say I really missed the post race beer. I also missed out on some of the snacks, for these smaller runs the aid station has real food, like pretzels, sandwiches with pb & nutella, and Cliff Bars. I was a little bummed to miss out on those snacks this year, but I did get fresh fruit at the aid sation & hot vegetable soup at the end of the race!

redhook I do reccomend trying a trail run for any runners out there, as I said before, it is a wonderful change of scenery and the community feeling of these races is a lot of fun! 

So, we will see where the next race takes us, until next time! kg

PSA: Yarn & Cats DO NOT Mix

catwithyarnYes, its an iconic image, the fun little kitty, frolicing with a ball of yarn for hours of fun, right? NO! We recently found out the hard way that any type of yarn play needs to be supervised. Especially when your cat is pushing 14 years old. Our little Lola had an emergency vet visit last weekend when my daughter asked the strange question: “Mom, why does Lola have a string coming out of her butt???”. Well, dear that is a perfectly legitimate question. Ugh! Yuk! Oh God, WTF?? We have some crafty little girls in our house and there is quite a bit of yarn lying around on the floor and spread all about, and I will admit, I did give Lola a ball of yarn as she was lying on the bed, thinking maybe that would get her to play a little (in her old age she needs some activity). Well, I didn’t expect her to EAT IT! And there in lies the problem, Lola ate the green yarn and in turn, it needed to come out. Although, she did get sick a few times we thought it was just a hairball, and then it came out the other end (sorry for the gorey details – but sometimes this stuff needs to be documented). When the yarn didn’t come out with a simple tug (GROSS!), we headed to the emergency vet – 7pm on a Friday, must have been a fun way for the vet to start her weekend too! After about an hour of so of “tests”,

LOLAxrays and other exams Lola got to come home. Now we have the fun task of giving her a pill 2x per day and as any cat or pet owner knows giving pills to animals is not a fun task.

Hopefully Lola will be just fine, we didn’t kill her with our yarn (although I certainly thought we did as I was driving her to the vet). But now we know, for next time, no more yarn for our kitty cat! And hopefully, this post will help other cat owners out there, so they never have to experience this themselves.

Day 5 Of My Cleanse

Well, as it turns out coffee is the hardest thing. I did anticipate it being hard, but it ends up to be really challenging when I am making coffee for my husband (yes, I am a sweet wife) and it smells so good. Instead I opt for green tea, which has some caffine in it so the coffee withdrawl headache has not really set in. What this is helping with is getting me to eat a real breakfast, before I would just have a cup of coffee which would fill me up, now I need to have something a little heartier, so I guess that is a good thing. Another aspect that has been challenging is the clutter clean out, I know it needs to be done but I just haven’t done it. I am not always thinking of it and over the last few days we have had a bunch of snow days and our schedules have been all turned around. In any event, as I mentioned in my last post, this is really about self control and taking out things that are not good for me. Which is why I am contemplating bringing coffee back. The last two days I have taken the bus into work and stopped at Starbucks. Yesterday was a decaf latte, today was a Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte – both very good, both without sugar or sweetner. The question is, which is better for me, a cup of coffee at home or stopping and spending money for a warm treat?  In the long run, its probably better just to have the coffee at home. I am considering bringing the coffee back on Monday, after one whole week without it. The idea for the cleanse was mainly self control, but also I was hoping to feel better too, possibly lose some weight, etc. For the most part I feel the same, I have lost maybe 1 pound, but I am proud of myself for resisting the urge to drink or eat sweets. Even with my husband’s birthday and all the snow days, lots of time on our hands and not one treat or indulgence. That’s pretty good self control. For next week and moving forward I am going to try my best to incorporate the clean out of the clutter and if I decide to bring coffee back, I will limit it to one cup a day and possibly take something else out, maybe white flour or carbs after noon. We will see how it goes. Until Next Time – thanks for reading, kg