Monday, August 31, 2015


Sometimes unemployment doesn't suck.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Trader Joe's Yes Please List

Trader Joe's feeds me almost exclusively these days. Here's my YES list:

1. Mini chocolate chip brownie cups! Add a table spoon of water and put in over for 45 seconds. Remarkably delicious considering the ease of preparation.

2. Gluten free pancakes. I love these skinny toaster pancakes. My friend Brenda, did not like them. I was shocked!

3. Pub cheese. I like the horseradish pub cheese. Addicting. Can't be good for you good.

4. Frozen margarita pizza. Delish for frozen pizza

5. Pesto tortellini bowl. Great to take to work for lunch.

6. Three layer humus. Sometimes hard to find at TJ's.

7. Reduced guilt pita chips with sea salt. Mmnnn

8. Peanut butter filled pretzels and even more decadent, chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels. I love the chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels but they are dangerous! And also, melty.

9. Chocolate covered potato chips. The perfect combo of sweet and salty. A must have for that time of the month.

10. Goat milk brie. It's a stronger flavor than regular brie and great on their water crackers

11. Chicken tikki masala. Another favorite of mine for lunch. Add in their naan and you have a big meal.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

3 Apps I use on the regular

1. White Noise. Only it's not just white noise, it's all sorts of soothing sounds plus white noise. I think I got it originally for free from Starbucks but it's well worth a few dollars. I use it everyday, twice a day. I sleep to "Stream Water Flowing" every night and meditate to "Tibetan Singing Bowl." There's a huge catalog of sounds and they offer new ones periodically to download for free. It has a timer or you can set it to stop at a certain time. I would sometimes use at work too to drown out co-workers chatting. One of the white noises that particularly works for me is "Airplane travel."

2. Breathe. Also known as Stop, Breathe, & Think. I tried out several meditation apps and this is by far my favorite. The free meditations/visualizations are  less than 10 minutes long and very calming. Has the added bonus of helping you track your mood. There are a couple in-app purchases if you would like longer forms of the meditations but they are not necessary to fully enjoy the app.

3. Evernote. I'm still learning how to get the most out of Evernote but what I am mostly using it for right now is making lists, and taking photos of my notes and having them stored all in one place. It can read my hand written notes and makes them searchable. So, for example, I had handwritten notes I had taken at a resume writing class. I took a photo of those notes in Evernote and then was able search Evernote on my phone for the word "resume" it it pulled up the photo of my notes when I didn't have my notebook with me.  My understanding is that if you take the time to learn how to use Evernote you can use it to organize your entire life.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

everything is gonna be okay

Even though you may not be getting what you want, when you want or how you want it, trust that you are getting what you need, when you need it and how you need to get it. This theme of trust came up in my class tonight. 

For example, you don't get the job you wanted and are very disappointed. Later you realize that by not being offered the job, you were able to care for a family member in need. You were where you needed to be when you needed to be there as a result. After fulfilling your role as support for someone in need, your dream job falls in your lap.

When you don't trust that everything is as it should be, you end up holding tightly to what you think you want, and focus on what you don't have. This causes needless suffering. It also makes you get in your own way. 

In trusting that everything is as it should be, you remove yourself as the obstacle.
I struggle with this. I am the obstacle. I make things hard for me. I make them hard for me because I resist what it is and focus my energies on what i think I want and what I don't have.

I worry about my future. My worry is based on my fears, which are based on my limiting beliefs, which are based on evidence I've collected over my life proving I am unsafe, I am unworthy, I am not good enough, I am not smart enough and I can't do it. I feel anxious, paralyzed, stagnate.

But what if I decide to channel my energy into the trust that I am going to be okay and everything is as it should be and I am exactly where I need to be instead of worry? 

Well. Then I feel less anxious, less paralyzed with indecision. I will get out of my own way. I will suffer less. I will not make fear based decisions. I'll be open and available for good things to come to me in my future.

The second theme that emerged from sharing in my class is that we all carry baggage that does not serve our greater good. This  baggage can be from our childhood, our parents, past relationships, traumas and so on. Learning to release that which doesn't serve you is hard. It takes a lot of unlearning and letting go of limiting beliefs and then replacing and re-learning more expansive and positive beliefs.

So we have a choice. We can hold on tightly to what is weighing us down and anchoring us to a place we no longer wish to be. Or we can let go of the baggage in order to move forward, grow, break unhealthy patterns, or just be okay with ourselves.

Letting go of that which no longer serves you requires much trust. Trust in ourselves and trust that everything will be okay if we let it. And it will be.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Zen and the art of the backstroke

I recently took up swimming after some injuries prevented me from running regularly. Swimming is a form of exercise (I think) most people have a hard time talking themselves into. At least, I did.

There's the whole having a to wear a swimsuit in public issue, getting your hair wet, shaving your legs, sunblock, and a whole host of problems for women associated with showing most of your skin while looking like a drowned rat. Basically, there's a lot more involved going to the pool than going to a regular gym (sweats, shoes, hat, if you haven't washed your hair in a while, and you are good to go).

I was nervous and reluctant to try swimming for all the reasons listed above so I signed up for swimming lessons. It did the trick and I've begun going to the pool regularly to swim laps. I feel good afterwards and I sleep SO hard after a swim session.

It's still not my favorite form of exercise. Swimming laps is hard to get jazzed about. The freestyle (or crawl) stroke is really difficult for me. Just one lap of 25 meters had me out of breath. But I've been sticking to it. And, I'm learning to focus on the little positives about swimming.

One of the little positives for me is the backstroke as a breather or cooldown. I remember loving the backstroke as a kid. There's something so relaxing about it. For one thing, there's no panicking about breathing. Your nose and mouth are free to breath whenever you like, so that helps. But my favorite thing about it is staring up at the sky and watching the clouds go by. I love it.

There's something so unhurried and elegant about the backstroke. I kinda feel like Esther Williams in a technicolor musical while backstroking.

It's hard to worry about what's going on in your life when you are focused on not ramming your head into the end of the pool while channeling Esther Williams.

If only I could figure out how to do a damn flip turn I think I would do the backstroke for tens of minutes (that's a lot), I enjoy it so much.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My favorite sea creature: the bat ray

My favorite sea critter is the bat ray. When I was in high school I volunteered at a nature interpretive center in Chula Vista. I spent most of my time at the petting pool where there were rays (barbs trimmed) and leopard sharks. The bat rays were always my favorite to watch. They are so serene, elegant and graceful as they glide through the water. And SO soft to the touch. I love seeing them in their natural environment (and my neighborhood). It makes me happy.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Power in Numbers

I have never liked working in groups. My social anxiety, shyness, needing to please and be invisible at the same time made group projects way too stressful for me. So while group therapy had been suggested to me a couple times in the past (thanks HMO healthcare) I was like hell-to-the-no.

Fast forward many years and I have found myself somewhat unwittingly engaging in support group-esque classes. And low and behold- it's kinda helpful. Okay, really helpful.

My first experience with this was with my meditation class. I ended up spending three months with the same group learning about mindfulness meditation. We really got to know each other and opened up a lot about our struggles.

I also signed up for a personal empowerment class only knowing that it was a weekly class that incorporated meditation, healing and intuitive psychics. What I ended up experiencing was, well, group therapy. For real though. Mostly women and one guy from all walks of life and ages...and we all had problems. All sorts of different problems. And all sorts of emotional scars to work through.
And everyone is making progress slogging through those emotional scars and problems. It's pretty cool.

The group dynamic works- if you are open to it. I can't really put my finger on what it is about being in a group setting that has catapulted my recovery. Maybe it's just the support or being around like minded people. Maybe there's some sort of synergistic effect of the learning process as we wrestle with the gremlins in our heads. I do learn from the other's sharing on their progress, ah ha moments, sticky wickets, highs and lows, etc.

I leave these classes feeling better than when I entered. I can't explain why. I just do.