Have you ever had to stop short on the road because a squirrel darted in front of your car and then just stood there, frozen, staring at you?  It’s as if the squirrel doesn’t know whether to run to the right or run to the left, but knows it needs to run and it needs to run fast.  But the confusion is so paralyzing, it just keeps standing in the middle of the road, terrified, causing you to have to drive around it or wait a few minutes until it finally figures out which way to turn.

Do you ever feel that way?  Like you know you need to move, but you’re not sure in which direction? Or you know where you need to go, but you’re not sure how to get there?

On Monday I got stuck.  It felt as if the universe was determined to prevent me from moving forward.  I tried to pay bills, and my online banking account was not letting me log in.  Three hours and dozens of phone calls later, I tried to blog about staying cool under pressure, and wordpress was telling me that my account had expired (it hadn’t).  I went to wrap a gift – no tape.  Tried to make soup – no onions. It was just one of those days.

All of this frustration left me unmotivated – stuck right where I was and unable to move forward.  If you’ve ever felt this way, here is a three-step guide to how to move on:

1.  Figure out what is holding you back. When you are in a rush to move forward, the last thing you probably want to do is take a step backward.  But it’s important to evaluate what is holding you back, so you can develop strategies that will help you tackle these things and get them out of your way.  In order to reach your goals, you need to make space for them to materialize.  Write down all of the things that you feel are preventing you from reaching your goals.  What makes you feel like you can’t move forward?  What do you wish weren’t the case, so you could move on?  Next to each item, write five ways you can get past that item.

2.  Before you try to tackle the thoughts you wrote down next to each item, take a deep breath and find some motivation.  What pulls you forward?  Who can you connect with and what activities can you practice that will help you get out of the doldrums?  For me, running is a way I nourish my body and give it the energy it needs to move forward.  I also look to my friends for motivation.  I read my friend Jen’s blog for inspirational tips on how to live life to the fullest and be my authentic self ( really spoke to me), and I connect with other female entrepreneurs through a group my friend founded, .  All of these things help pull me forward.

3.  Next, set some small, attainable goals that will move you closer to getting what’s in your way out of your way and achieving the bigger picture.  The key word here is attainable.  Sometimes we can be our own worst critics.  If you set expectations for yourself that are too high, you’ll only be disappointed and hard on yourself.  As my friend Karen put it this afternoon, we often want me time – we are our favorite people to be around – and yet we can be so mean to ourselves, we spend the entire time yelling at ourselves and being critical. Take a deep breath and treat yourself like you would a mentee or friend.  You’ll be happier, more productive and more successful for it.

Don't get stuck! Figure out what's in your way, seek inspiration and set small goals to move yourself forward.

Filed under , , , , ,

This is a Mark Bittman recipe that I found on one of my favorite blog’s, Heidi Swanson’s .  It is so simple and SO delicious.  You don’t even need to cook the millet first – you just throw it all together in one bowl, and what comes out of the oven is warm, sweet and nourishing.  Enjoy!

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup millet

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup fresh cranberries

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon minced sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

1 cup vegetable stock or water, warmed*

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds or coarsely chopped hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a 2-quart casserole, a large gratin dish, or a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil.

Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the millet and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden, about 3 minutes (note: don’t overdo it). Spread in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Scatter the squash or pumpkin cubes and the cranberries on top of the millet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the sage and drizzle with syrup. Carefully pour the warmed stock over all (note: you may want to try 1/2 cup stock & 1/2 cup low-fat cream). Cover tightly with foil and bake without disturbing, for 45 minutes.

Carefully uncover and turn the oven to 400F. As discreetly as possible, sneak a taste and adjust the seasoning. If it looks too dry, add a spoonful or two of water or stock. (note: This is key! The millet should be close to being cooked through at this point, if not you need to add liquid and keep it moist and cooking – I used another 1/4 cup+ of stock here). Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top, and return the dish to the oven. Bake until the mixture bubbles and the top is browned (note: and the millet is cooked through), another 10 minutes or so. Serve piping hot or at room temperature.

Serves 4 to 6

Filed under , ,

If you live anywhere along the east coast of the U.S., chances are you were either snowed in earlier this week or have a snow day ahead of you!

Here are my FIVE favorite tips for how to “weather” the snow storm in a healthy way, so you don’t get cabin fever, the munchies or that gross “I can’t stand to be in this house” feeling:

1)  Have you stocked up on TONS of fresh fruits and veggies?  You can have as many of these as you want, and if you get the snow snack-attack that usually comes with a storm, it’s nice to have some baby carrots with low-fat dip, fugi apples, grapes and oranges to munch on.

2)  Do you have tea, coffee, reduced-calorie hot chocolate, and ingredients to make a good soup? Check out my site for some good, simple, quick soup recipes.

3)  Have you made it to the gym in preparation for a day or two when you may not be able to make it there?  If you have, great!  If not, try to incorporate some movement into your day this afternoon so you don’t feel sluggish tonight and tomorrow.

4)  Do you have lots of activities at home to keep your attention, so you don’t get bored and start snacking?  Think board or Wii games, art projects, good books and movies, pets to play with and good company.

5)  Do you have some warm snow gear? Remember that the snow can be FUN!  Put on those snow pants and go for a walk, shovel or build a snowman.  You’ll burn hundreds of calories and have a lot of fun, just like when you were a little kid.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Enjoy!

 

Filed under

If every year you make a New Year’s resolution that’s lost and forgotten by President’s Day, check out my list below of 100 ways you can make your goals this year become a reality, once and for all.

No more deprivation, self-criticism, or kicking yourself on Valentine’s Day because you haven’t yet lost those 10 pounds.  When you make your New Year’s resolution this year, consider following some of the recommendations below to set goals that are truly attainable and work on them throughout the year.  You will be able to build the life you always imagined for yourself.  And if you find you need some help, email me for a free New Year’s resolution session.  I will help you get your life on track and headed in a direction that you’ve always dreamed of.

  1. Make a list of everything you want.
  2. Set reasonable goals.
  3. Pamper yourself.
  4. Embrace imperfection.
  5. Appreciate and thank people.
  6. Draw a picture or make a collage that depicts your goals and display it somewhere prominent.
  7. Adorn your body with clothes and accessories that make you feel comfortable and beautiful.
  8. Don’t worry about what others think.
  9. Trust your gut.  If there is a voice inside saying, “I know this sounds crazy, but…” turn up the volume.
  10. Consider “you” an investment, and invest in yourself.
  11. Surround yourself with your biggest fans.
  12. Keep a gratitude journal.
  13. Connect with a community that shares your profession, religion or hobby.
  14. Forgive others.
  15. Ask for forgiveness.
  16. Have faith.
  17. Make one new friend (or get in touch with an old one) each week.
  18. Treat your body like a temple.
  19. Put it out there.  Tell everyone you know what you want.
  20. Make a list of the things holding you back in the left-hand column of a chart, and in the right-hand column, jot down three ways you will overcome each challenge.  Throw out the left-hand column and post the right on your refrigerator.
  21. Go the extra mile.
  22. Be yourself.
  23. Take a communications vacation.  One night a week, turn off the phone, blackberry, computer and TV.
  24. Rid your life of activities that drain your energy.
  25. Live like you’re dying.
  26. Express love.
  27. Recognize regrets, learn from them and let them go.
  28. Throw out three things a day that you don’t need.
  29. Do one thing that gets you out of your comfort zone every day.
  30. Reward yourself and celebrate successes.
  31. Show up.
  32. Make space in your life for success, both physically and emotionally.
  33. Do what you loved to do when you were five (pet dogs, run in the rain, etc.)
  34. Get rid of toxic people and relationships.
  35. Schedule “you time” each week.
  36. Exercise.  Getting daily movement will give you energy that fuels you forward.
  37. Build a “you” brand.
  38. Take three long, deep breaths every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed.
  39. Drink water to keep your body clean and hydrated.
  40. Keep in touch.
  41. Eat the highest quality whole foods you can find.
  42. Eat only until you are 80% full.
  43. Create a clean, peaceful and organized home and work environment.
  44. Be patient.
  45. Forgive yourself.
  46. Create a board of directors for your life and seek their input frequently.
  47. Fire the voice in your head that puts you down or tells you you can’t.
  48. Practice self-care.
  49. Put yourself in “you school” by assigning yourself books, classes and movies you can learn from.
  50. Keep a journal, and use it to see what progress you are making on your goals.
  51. Ask for help.
  52. Help someone else.
  53. Write down three things you achieved each night before you go to bed.
  54. Don’t take things too seriously.
  55. Surround yourself with people who propel you forward.
  56. Make a financial plan that will enable you to reach your goals.
  57. Be bad. Rid yourself of societal pressures and expectations and replace your Blackberry with a bubble bath.
  58. Be the boss of your life – and be a good boss.  Give yourself bonuses and time off, and be flexible.
  59. Believe in yourself.  If you don’t, who will?  Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.
  60. Push yourself to work a little bit harder than you think you can.
  61. Accept compliments.
  62. Think outside of the box.
  63. Volunteer.
  64. Break bad habits by replacing them with new, positive ones.
  65. Be persistent.
  66. Don’t judge others or yourself.
  67. Make time for hobbies you love.
  68. Take vacations.
  69. Find a key learning from every experience.
  70. Have lots of sex.  The act of intimacy reduces stress and boots self esteem and immunities.
  71. For one week, say “yes” to every opportunity that comes your way.
  72. Listen to and respect your body.
  73. Find the loneliest person in the room when you’re at a party and approach them.  You will meet someone interesting and make someone’s day.
  74. Take a risk at least once a week.
  75. Find a mentor who has what you want and learn from them.
  76. Go to sleep.  Let your body rejuvenate.
  77. Go on the absolutely delicious diet.  Only eat things that truly nourish and satisfy you.
  78. Write a personal mission statement.
  79. Get in touch with your roots.
  80. Write down your biggest success from last year.  Consider what worked and learn from it.
  81. Write down your biggest failure from last year.  Consider what didn’t work and learn from it.
  82. Slow down and be thoughtful.
  83. Write down what you hope to achieve in the next month, three months, six months and twelve months.
  84. Reward yourself.  Keep a list of rewards and check them off as you reach your goals.
  85. Be honest with yourself and with others.
  86. Embrace change, even if it’s uncomfortable.
  87. Eat mindfully. Give your food your undivided attention.
  88. Get fresh air several times a day.
  89. Write down the qualities you love in your friends and family and strive to emulate them.
  90. Don’t compare yourself with others. Remember that you are on your own path.
  91. Seek inspiration from people, cultures and places that are different from you.
  92. Dress the part.
  93. Prepare for what you want as if it is definitely happening.
  94. Try to have fun in everything you do.
  95. Celebrate success.
  96. Create a stress tool box.  Compile a list of things you can do when you feel stress coming on.
  97. Create a happiness tool box.  Compile a list of things you can do when you are blue to lift your spirits.
  98. Once in a while, splurge and indulge in life’s pleasures.
  99. Do at least one thing each day for yourself.
  100. Always try your best.

Filed under , , , , , ,

When the weather is as cold as it’s been, do you find yourself raiding your pantry for anything and everything that contains carbs and fat?  If you think you’re hungrier when your cooped up inside during the winter, you’re not crazy – you really are.  Our bodies are smart, and in order to keep us warm and nourished during the cold winter months, they often crave things that will keep them full and satiated.

Instead of trying to satisfy these cravings with unsatisfying sugar-laden and simple-carb snacks, give your body whole foods that will balance it while keeping it warm and full.  This rustic french green lentil soup has a wonderful earthy taste and is warm, simple and inexpensive.  Enjoy!

Rustic French Green Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

About 2 cups of finely chopped Kale (I tear the leaves from the center vein and throw them in)

28 ounces (about 3 1/2 cups) of roasted tomatoes (I use canned tomatoes)

2 stalks celery, sliced

2 teaspoons of sea salt

one onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika

pinch of cinnamon

2 cups of French green lentils

6 cups of broth (for the lentils), plus 2 or more cups for the soup

2 tablespoons of olive oil

0% Greek yogurt

Preparation:

Bring 6 cups of broth to a steady low boil. Add 2 cups of lentils to the broth and continue to boil for about 25 minutes.

While the lentils are boiling, get another saucepan for the soup (it will need to hold about 6 cups of liquid, and add olive oil and onions and saute for a few minutes on medium heat.

Drain the lentils from the water and then add them to the onions, along with the tomatoes, celery and kale.

Season with salt, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, paprika, and anything else you would like.

Add 2 cups of broth to the soup mixture, and bring it all to a medium simmer. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes. You may want more broth depending on how much water the roasted tomatoes contributed to the mix.

Top with some 0% plain greek yogurt and enjoy!  Serve with a rustic bold French red wine.

Filed under , , , ,

How to enjoy Thanksgiving and not gain the holiday 10

This article originally appeared in the November issue of the Rittenhouse Sq Revue.

Giving Thanks:  How to Be Truly Nourished This Thanksgiving

Did you know that according to some research, the average American consumes approximately 3,000 calories during Thanksgiving dinner?  That’s more calories than most people need during the entire day.  Add in a few hundred extra calories each day following Thanksgiving as the leftovers disappear, and most people are almost guaranteed to begin a few months of steady, holiday weight gain with their Thanksgiving meal.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.  Thanksgiving is meant to be a celebration of the autumn harvest, and a time when we nourish ourselves with whole food from the earth.  It’s also a time to celebrate things that we are thankful for and that truly nourish us – our friends, our family and all of the blessings in our lives that bring us joy and happiness on a daily basis.

So why do we overeat so much at Thanksgiving dinner?  For some people, it’s simply about not paying attention to how much they are eating.  We can be so busy preparing the meal, running around the den with our nieces and nephews and catching up with family and friends that we forget to pay attention to when we’re full.  For some, it may be because they’ve deprived themselves of their favorite foods as a way to “save up” for the holiday, and in turn, they binge when they finally get to dinner.

But let’s face it – what would Thanksgiving be without grandma’s turkey, dad’s mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie?  Here are some tips for staying healthy this Thanksgiving while still enjoying all of the delicious and comforting treats the holiday offers.

Don’t:

“Save” your calories for dinner.  When we skip meals, our bodies go into starvation mode, and begin thinking that they need to cling to whatever calories we give them when we do eventually eat.  This leads to a sluggish metabolism and a voracious appetite at dinner that will cause you to overeat.

Deprive yourself of your favorite family dishes.  If you love pumpkin pie, have some.  Life is too short not to!  But keep portion sizes in check.  Have three bites of the pie, and then fill up on fruit and a nice cup of coffee or a glass of wine for dessert.  By “crowding out” some of the calories and fat from the pie with fruit, you will save hundreds of calories and leave the table feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.

Eat until you are really full.  It takes approximately 15 minutes for our bodies to send us signals that we are full after we eat, so by the time we realize it, we may have already overdone it.  Practice mindful eating by putting your fork down between bites, fully chewing all of your food, and paying attention to the sight, smell, taste and texture of each bite.

Do:

Have a healthy Thanksgiving Day.  Have a good breakfast and a light lunch filled with fruit, vegetables and whole grains.  Take a walk or jog around Rittenhouse Square, or treat one of your nieces or cousins to a nature walk in one of the parks in the area.  Getting some fresh air and exercise will increase your metabolism and help you work up an appetite for dinner.

Bring your own healthy dish to dinner.  Everyone needs something they can eat a large amount of and fill their plate with.  Have some fun with the amazing seasonal produce we have available to us in our area.  How about a pureed soup with Kennett Square mushrooms? Or a big, fresh arugala salad with peaches and dried cranberries?  Take your favorite flavors from the season and turn them into healthy holiday dishes.  Who knows, you might start a new family tradition!

Consider what your “primary foods” are.  What are the things that truly feed you?  Is it looking at family photos and reminiscing about old times?  Is it spending time with your favorite uncle?  Get up from the table and remember what Thanksgiving is really all about – giving thanks.

And here’s a great, easy recipe to bring to your dinner…

Roasted Autumn Vegetables

Roasting seasonal vegetables is a great way to celebrate fall flavors.  Use local produce from a Pennsylvania or New Jersey farm, and your veggies will be packed with even more nutrients and taste.  This is a great side dish to bring to your traditional Thanksgiving meal (hint -–it can even be made the day before).  It will leave you feeling filled with grounding energy.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Chop up 4-6 cups of any of the vegetables below:

Carrots – cut into large chunks, or baby carrots

Parsnips – cut into large cunks

Broccoli – cut into large pieces

Cauliflower – cut into large pieces

Red onion – cut into thick slices

Eggplant – cut into two-inch cubes

Potatoes – cut into large chunks

Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, a few minced garlic cloves, and a dash of balsamic vinegar.  Place in a baking dish and bake for 45 minutes.  Can be served hot, room temperature or cold.

Need some help staying on track during the holidays?  Email me for a free consultation.

1 Comment

Filed under , ,

5 Steps to Ending Emotional Eating

Ladies, what is with this week?

I must have heard half a dozen women within the past few days tell me that they are struggling with emotional eating.

Is it possible that the stars are aligned in a way that is making all females on earth crave bread and chocolate?  Are we all PMSing at the same time? (Sorry, guys, but this does tend to be an issue primarily for my female friends).

Even I found myself in a snack slump yesterday, mindlessly munching on terrible things.

So, which came first, the bad food or the bad mood?  Either way, here is how to end this cycle before the holidays hit and we’re all really in trouble:

1.  Forget about every moment up until now.  What you ate last night or this morning is irrelevant.  What matters is what you do now.  Stop punishing yourself for whatever you’ve been punishing yourself for and move on.  Let it go.  Now is a new moment.

2.  If you’ve ever read ‘s books or heard her speak, you know that she always says that “how we eat tells all,” and that “our bodies are getting something emotionally” from the snacking or eating, or we wouldn’t be doing it.  I couldn’t agree with her more.  Our bodies are very smart, and they tell us when we need things.  So what are you getting from your eating? Comfort? Stress relief? Happiness?  Once we understand what you’re getting from this, then we can fulfill that need in another way.

3.  Help your body understand that life is not an emergency.  If you’re angry, stressed, tired, sad, or all of the above (all common emotional eating triggers), your body has likely been in a constant fight or flight mode, and therefor is clinging on to every calorie you give it, storing up for when the emergency gets worse.  (Click here to read more about s Ayurvedic remedies to calm our bodies down).  Breath is one way to do this.  According to Dr. Andrew Weil, breath is the most powerful way we have to communicate with our body and send a message that it is time to calm down.  Click here for a deep breathing technique from Dr. Weil.  Practice some self care.  Take a moment and do something that lets your body know that it is time to relax.

4.  Find a way to get what you were getting from the snacking in another activity.  If your primary foods are out of whack (your career, relationships, spirituality, exercise), then your eating will be too.  Is happiness what’s missing?  Call a friend that makes you happy.  Are you bored?  Pursue a hobby you miss doing.  Are you stressed?  Get a manicure or take a bubble bath.

5.  Do a cleanse.  By “cleanse,” I don’t mean one of those expensive kits you can find everywhere now that promises your body will be detoxified if you drink weird tea and don’t eat for five days.  By “cleanse,” I mean that you should try to incorporate both a spiritual and culinary practice that helps your body move on.  To cleanse yourself emotionally, do some writing exercises and then tear them up or burn them.  Pray.  Go for a run and stomp out negative energy.  To cleanse yourself physically, drink as much water with lemon (both hot and cold) as possible and go on a whole foods cleanse.  What is a whole foods cleanse?  Eat only things that walked, swam or grew that were prepared by kind people that you know.  It’s that simple. Make sure it is all extraordinarily delicious and the highest-quality food you can find.  You are a very special person, and you deserve it. Given half a chance, your body will heal itself.

If you’re reading this and need some more support, email me and I’d be happy to give you a complimentary “back on track” session ($85 value).

Sending you lots of hugs!

Sheri

PS – I had an opportunity to learn directly from Geneen Roth, Dr. Weil and John Douillard – they were all teachers at my school (I know, AMAZING!!)  Ask me about the if you’re interested in learning more.

"The best thing you've ever done for me is to help me take my life less seriously...it's only life after all..." Go relax, have some fun, stop beating yourself up and take a deep breath. You can handle it - whatever "it" is. Now is a new moment. :) .

 

1 Comment

Filed under , , , , , , , ,

How to Breathe

This article originally appeared in the October issue of the Rittenhouse Sq Revue.  To read the magazine in its entirety, click For more stress management tips and a free 1-hour health consultation, .

Hiking Camelback Mountain in Arizona. Even if you're not surrounded by beautiful mountains, a breath of fresh air can do a lot of good!

“Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours.”  – Swedish Proverb

When was the last time you took a breathing break?

We take lunch breaks, smoking breaks…bathroom breaks.  But have you ever just excused yourself from your meeting or engagement and stepped outside to take a quick breath of fresh air?

“Our lives are incredibly stressful and demanding,” said Dr. Michael Baime, Director of the Penn Program for Mindfulness at the University of Pennsylvania.  “Our system is built to protect us from danger, but is not meant to help us multitask and keep so many balls in the air at one time.”

According to Dr. Baime, when we are faced with more than we can comfortably handle we begin to contract, and our ability to breathe – emotionally, spiritually and physically – is greatly inhibited.

“This contraction holds us down, and makes it harder for us to open our hearts, and to feel beauty, sympathy, caring and love.”

Instead, we just feel anxious.

You know that feeling.  You have four tasks at hand, and all you can think about is how much else you have to do.  We are so busy working, talking, eating, drinking and emailing – and all at once – that it can be very difficult to take a minute to slow down.

Our inability to take a step back and manage our stress has become so pervasive that it has contributed to the larger health issues we are experiencing in the U.S. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, world-renowned Harvard medical doctor and integrative nutritionist, we have a health crisis in the U.S. that, unless we drastically change our ways, will lead to “certain collapse of our economy and our health system.”  Eating whole foods, focusing on prevention of disease and recognizing the importance of physical activity are among the ways Dr. Weil believes we can reverse the negative health trends in the U.S.

But in all of his years of medicine, do you know what he considers to be the “single most effective medical intervention” we have available to us today?  That’s right – breathing.

”Breath is key to healthy living.  It’s the connection between our conscious and our unconscious mind, and is the master of our central nervous system,” Dr. Weil said.

Dr. Weil recommends practicing this simple breathing technique once in the morning when you wake up and once in the evening before you go to sleep:

Breathe in for 4 counts through your nose.  Hold for 7 counts.  Exhale for 8 counts through your mouth.  Repeat four times.

This simple exercise can help you find calm in even the most chaotic moments.  But in order to create a true change in your life, “the most important thing to do is to pick something that works for you – whether it is playing piano, playing with your grandchildren, or looking at the sky,” Dr. Dame said.

“People have been practicing mindfulness techniques for thousands of years, and they are proven to work.  Just be patient with yourself, and when you’re feeling anxious or stressed, let it sit with you for a moment.  Cultivate a little bit of acceptance, and then let go of it.  If you make mindfulness a choice, you will appreciate living more fully and will experience more sanity amidst all of the craziness.”

So what are you waiting for?  Take a deep, long breath of this fresh, fall air and give yourself a chance to find calm.  You deserve it.

3 Comments

Filed under , , ,

Taking a risk

I thought I would share the reading below from my school lecture at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition this week.  If you are going through a big life change, feel one is coming on, or are contemplating taking a risk, keep reading.  I found it inspiring and hope you do to.  The original author is unknown.

Sometimes, I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments, I’m hurdling across space between the trapeze bars.

Mostly, I spend my time hanging on for dear life to the trapeze bar of the moment. It carries me along a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I’m in control. I know most of the right questions, and even some of the right answers. But once in a while, as I’m merrily, or not so merrily, swinging along, I look ahead of me into the distance, and what do I see?

I see another trapeze bar looking at me. It’s empty. And I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart-of-hearts I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present well-known bar, to move to the new one.

Each time it happens, I hope—no, I pray—that I won’t have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place, I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moments in time I must hurtle across space before I can grab the new bar. Each time I do this I am filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all my previous hurdles I have always made it.

Each time, I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless basin between the bars. But I do it anyway. I must.

Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call faith. No guarantees, no net, no insurance, but we do it anyway because hanging on to that old bar is no longer an option. And so, for what seems to be an eternity, but actually lasts a microsecond.

I soar across the dark void called “the past is over, the future is not yet here.” It’s called a transition. I have come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs.

I have noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a “no-thing,” a no-place between places. Sure, the old trapeze bar was real, and as for the new one coming towards me, I hope that’s real too. But the void in between? That’s just a scary, confusing, disorienting nowhere that must be gotten through as fast and as unconsciously as possible. What a shame!

I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are the illusions we dream up to not notice the void. Yes, with all the fear that can accompany transitions, they are still the most vibrant, growth-filled, passionate moments in our lives.

And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to “hang out” in the transition zone between the trapeze bars. Allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens.

It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening.

Hurdling through the void, we just may learn to fly.

2 Comments

Filed under , , ,

Carrots, friends and other roots

This fall has me thinking a lot about roots.

Last weekend I made my favorite autumn roasted vegetables (recipe below).  These are a staple in my house during the fall, and are a great way to enjoy the beautiful root vegetables that are available this time of year.

According to the theory of , the energetic qualities of food affect both our spiritual and physical health.  Beyond the calories and nutrients that are in our food is the energy that went into growing, picking, cooking and preparing it.  Root vegetables are very grounding.

What else in your life is grounding?  This fall has found me connecting with my roots.  A meeting brought my back to the University of Maryland’s campus, which I haven’t visited since I drove away the day after my graduation six years ago.  A wedding brought me back to Atlanta, where I spent one wonderful year following my time in undergraduate school.  And as a wonderful birthday gift, my father hosted me and my two best girlfriends (or should I say three…Gianna, who is almost 1 and pictured above, is a new addition to our trio), in August.  There is nothing like my best girlfriends to remind me where I came from and where I am going.

Where are your roots?  What roots do you miss that have you not connected with recently?  Take some time this season to get back in touch, and ground yourself with what really matters.

Autumn Roasted Vegetables

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Chop up 4-6 cups of any of the vegetables below:

Carrots – cut into large chunks, or baby carrots

Parsnips – cut into large chunks

Broccoli – cut into large pieces

Cauliflower – cut into large pieces

Red onion – cut into thick slices

Eggplant – cut into two-inch cubes

Potatoes – cut into large chunks

Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, a few minced garlic cloves, and a dash of balsamic vinegar.  Place in a baking dish and bake for 45 minutes.  Can be served hot, room temperature or cold.

 

Take advantage of your farmer's market before it closes for the season!

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under , , , ,