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Green With LOVE

The heart is the home base of everything. It is a source for the love- giving and receiving. Its energetic counterpart is the fourth chakra, the heart chakra (Anahata), all located at chest center partner to the heart and lungs. If there is a block or imbalance with the heart chakra, physical issues with the heart and lungs occur: hypertension, respiratory ailments, or upper back and shoulder pain, emotional insensitivity, depression, sadness, resentment, or dependency on outside stimuli may be a temptation to cope (drugs, alcohol, food, etc). When in balance, openly giving, receiving, and feeling love flourish. Compassion grows. Holding space for others can occur, without taking on their experience. Letting go of living in the past is released: sadness, resentment. We can live in the present- forgive, move forward from a place of emotional empowerment.
heart chakra
The Heart Chakra is the link between the first three chakras: 1st- Root (safety, security); 2nd- Sacral (creativity, sexuality); 3rd- Solar Plexus (personal power, identity); and the three higher chakras: 5th- Throat (expression); 6th- Third Eye (intuition); and the 7th- Crown, (relationship to spirit).

Heart health is vital for our physical well being. Without proper spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health, everything becomes imbalances. Nutrition in specific plays a vital role. Chakras 1-3 are fueled by protein, fats, and carbohydrates. The heart thrives on macronutrients, especially those found in green vegetables. The vibrational energy from greens nourishes our growth, expansiveness, and ability to open in all directions. Parsley in particular, has the very high concentration of chlorophyl- a potent disease fighter. I eat it to reap the benefits of blood purification, blood vessel health, and antioxidant. It is an ingredient I incorporate into everything from smoothies, salads, soups, sauces, and of course, as a garnish that I love to eat. Something to consider next time you prepare a plate is that foods that share colors with the chakras, carry energy that activates or balances them. When I learned this, I looked at my meals in a whole new light.

Here are some ideas for green vegetables good for the heart. I’ve also included green fruits and herbs as they deliver heart goodness as well. Choose non-gmo and organic for your heart and for mother earth:
green veggie heartavocados, green apples, grapes, pears, kiwi, arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, collards, dandelion greens, green onions, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, peas, peppers, snap peas, spinach, sprouts, watercress, and zucchini.

Below is a recipe that I make as my homage to mine and your heart. A little over two years ago, my dad had a massive heart attack, caused by stress and lifestyle choices. His heart was severely damaged. We were told that it would be a tough road ahead and survival after the incident was not in his favor. It has been everything but easy for my family and in specific, my dad. From the time it has happened, he has made huge choices that get credit for surviving. I dedicate this to my Pops and from my heart to yours. The recipe is vegan, dairy, and gluten-free, but the ingredients can easily be customized to include parmesean cheese and whole wheat pasta instead of nutritional yeast and rice pasta or soba noodles. I hope you enjoy this. Salud!

GREEN WITH LOVE KALE PARSLEY PESTO & PASTA

kale parsley pesto

 

Pesto:
Kale, 1 bunch (curly, lacinato, yogi’s choice), destemmed & prepped into smaller pieces.
Flat Leaf Parsley leaves, 1 bunch
Raw Walnuts, 1 cup
Garlic Cloves- 4
Nutritional Yeast, 1 cup
2 Lemons, juiced
Olive Oil, 1- 1.5 cups
Salt, 1/2 tsp
Pepper, 1 tsp
Red Pepper flakes, good pinch (optional)

 

kale parsley pesto & pasta

 

 

Pasta:
Rice noodle pasta, or Soba Noodles
Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, drained & chopped
Broccoli crowns + stems, 2 Cups, chopped
Lg Carrots, 2 (peeled)
Olives (yogis choice), rough chopped
Pasta water or chicken broth, 1/4 Cup

Equipment:
Blendtec, Vitamix, Food processor, or strong blender*
Large pot
Pasta strainer
Small size prep bowl (for carrots)
Tongs

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Pesto:
1) In a blender, add in this order: kale, parsley, walnuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice about a 1/2 cup of the olive oil, salt, pepper, and optional red pepper flakes. Pulse this together a few times to break down all the roughage.

2) Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of blender jar [while the blender is off].

3) Add in the remainder of the olive oil. I use the ‘Sauces’ setting on my Blendtec. Allow Blendtec to run its course. For regular blenders, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to find the equivalent.

4) Pour into mason jar. Enjoy right away or store in the fridge. It will keep for some time. Each time you use some from the jar, pour olive oil on top to prevent the pesto from turning brown from exposure to air. You will need about 1 cup of pesto for the pasta recipe.

Pasta:
1) Prepare pasta according to package instructions.

2) While pasta is cooking, shave carrots with a vegetable peeler into a prep bowl and set aside.

3) Drain and rinse pasta. Reserve some of the water used to cook pasta.

4) In the pot used to prepare pasta, add in a olive oil or coconut oil. Add in broccoli and lightly heat through for a few minutes. Cook longer if you prefer it not so raw.
Remove the broccoli from the heat to your bowl of carrots you have set aside.
Remove the pot off the hot burner you just cooked on.

5) Add the pasta, carrots, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives to the pasta. Add the reserved pasta water or broth to the pasta to help pull apart the pesto. Toss gently with a tongs until the pesto has become saucy and the veggies are dispersed evenly. Serve and eat right away!

Tip: I almost always add in extra greens to this dish. I usually take about a cup of chopped greens: arugula (fav!) or spinach and fold that into my personal plate of of pasta.

I measure my pasta portion according to an ayurvedic eating tip I learned from my friend, Melina Meza. Take your hands to prayer (anjali mudra or palm to palm), then open your hands and make a bowl shape. This is the portion I use as a guideline. I don’t include the additional greens I added, only because they are so small in terms of volume, but so nutritionally potent.

 

 

Food Is Yoga Practice

Good food is yoga practice…

I think that its a safe assumption to make that food is a strong cord among us equally as we understand how energy is universal. It nourishes, comforts, connects us to our environment, is part of traditions. For me, it is important that the food I eat tastes good and is grown in an ethical and natural way. Not laced with pesticides, grown in a greenhouse. I use this as an opportunity to correlate ahimsa to more than just how we treat our bodies while we practice or living beings with heart beats. What about our communities and environments. Extending this to the communal bigger picture shows up everywhere, especially our food choices. I thoroughly enjoy and am grateful to practice mindfulness when I reach for the squash I will use for my meal, and acknowledge that someone planted and grew this, picked it, transported it from their land, and finally arrived on my table. Its an amazing process that happens and I am grateful for the opportunity to eat really great healthy food and support the local economy one bite at a time.

I love summer for the main reason of taking advantage of the delicious foods that are abundant and local. The farmer’s markets are packed with an rainbow array of locally grown produce. I try to go every Saturday to supplement my weekly produce plan: what is not grown at our home, we get from our CSA home delivery. Then, what is not in the CSA delivery, is supplemented by the farmer’s market that I shop at every Saturday after the weekly “Rad Runners” (yogi-runners), group. We have coffee on the “Square”, then hit up the resident farmer’s market. I look forward to this every week. Its my favorite way to begin a weekend, foster community, and support the local agri-community. I love the Marietta Farmer’s Market. I’m grateful it’s close to home which makes it even better. Check the Farmer’s Market locator to explore other markets too. Super Cool.

heirloom tomatoes from 'the Square' heirloom tomatoes from ‘the Square’

Here is a Moon Flower varietal I bought a couple weeks ago. Its huge, gorgeous, and a perineal- which is awesome as I’m all about low maintenance. Low maintenance keeps it simple and lends to creating more personal time. Buddha comes to mind as he would open-eye meditate outdoors, staring into fauna. I love the idea of mindful appreciation of nature and have been inspired to take a seat outdoors.
Moonflower Moonflower
Farmer’s Markets are everywhere and popping up in smaller towns. I find the smaller towns have great markets because they tend to be near or in areas that have more land and have access to farms. The offering are streamlined representing the farms in the area. Just be aware to check if the goods grown are pesticide free and organic. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve pulled over to farm stands on road trips, seduced by the eye-candy fruits and veggies grown in that locale, only to be disappointed to learn that food was not organic or local. (I’ve been at farm stands where the produce sold, had stickers on it labeling from other countries. This is another topic in itself because factors included could be, but not limited to economical, import/exportations, low crop yields… topics for another 100 blog post topics…) I digress…


The lovely bounties have been the source of inspiration in my kitchen from smoothies, green juices, and salads to name a few. Here are some of the recipes to share. All the measurements are guestimations. Feel free to try them out and share what you think, tweak them to suit, or if you have your own ideas… Post your comments and let me know. I’m curious… Good food is yoga practice.

Super Green Salad
Super Green Salad
You will love this salad! Its a raw, delicious vitamin on a plate. This salad was inspired by the Emerald City Salad I used to eat every day. I have tweaked it below and continue to do so. This can be a main dish or a side. Its even better the next day when all of the flavors meld more. I also tweak the ingredients, depending on what I have on hand. Also a good way to mix it up and make this more versatile, which I love creative ways to get greens in my day. Prepare all the veggies & wild rice, then toss in a large salad bowl. Pour the dressing, toss again. Done. Serves 4-6

Lacinato Kale, 1 bunch, chopped

Red Chard, 1 bunch, chopped

Red & Yellow Bell Pepper, ½ – 1 each, sliced

1 Carrot, shaved (use a veggie slicer)

1 Fennel bulb, sliced

½ Red Onion, thinly sliced

1 cup of cooked Wild Rice

Dressing:

2 garlic cloves, minced

½  cup of Olive Oil

⅓ cup of fresh-squeezed Lemon juice (adjust the lemon & tamari to taste)

⅓ cup of GF Tamari

Green Cocunut Smoothie
Green Coconut Smoothie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love having a green smoothie in the mornings. I love the texture from the coconut, it satiates, the taste and smell of the freshness from the orange and strawberries wake up my mouth. I don’t really measure, so here are the guestimations. I do change up the fruit I use. I always use kale or some leafy greens as a back up when I’m out. I’ve experimented with lettuce. Its good, but kale is way better in my opinion. Tweak, drink, enjoy!

4 oz aloe water

med orange peeled (try to keep the pith. optional & lemon is a good swap)

1/2 ripe banana (buy a bunch, chop, freeze for on hand recipe use)

5 strawberries (or whatever berries you have. Blackberries are so good).

1/3 cup of dry unsweetened coconut flakes

Big handful of lacinato kale

Add a good amount of ice to your liking.

Add the ingredients in the order listed, [to not burn out your blender], to your blender. I don’t add sweetener, but if you do, this would be the moment. This will take all of 10 mindful min to prep and make. Spend 20 enjoying the green smoothie.

Herbs & supplements are optional additions that I love to enhance my smoothies with. You may not need them; consult with your local naturopath or health food store expert for the proper amounts if needed:

local bee pollen

astragalus powder

acerola powder

maca powder

 

 

Heart To Heart

I had planned to dedicate February to the heart. Not just because Valentine’s Day happens to be in February, or that February is Heart Awareness month, but invite conversation around different experiences that we have. It didn’t go down the way I was envisioning because on January 22nd, 2013, my sweet Pops had a heart attack bringing new meaning to heart awareness on every level and ironically paving the way into the February heart theme in a very surreal and ironic way. I left for Seattle the next day to be with my parents. My sister flew in from Houston; older brother from Brooklyn; my little brother & sis-n-law live there, so they were holding down the fort until we got there.
Mt Rainier

Mt Rainier

I won’t go into all the details of the layers involved with this experience, but I will share some of the take aways that I am still digesting. Here I go…

I have always bowed deeply to this hard working machine known as the heart, with our lungs basically tying the hold for me. Besides it actually doing the main job to keep everything running in our bodies, I am forever amazed of how sensitive and equally strong our heart is. We can enhance it by increasing physical activity; nourishment, medicine and fuel through food. What we put into our bodies is literally what we are made of. I think of our body as this shell. We are predisposed to many things depending on our heritage for starters- there’s no escaping that one. We have to choice to entertain what we are born with or not.

There is nothing that we put into ourselves that won’t manifest into something else down the road whether its something healthy- aiding in increasing longevity, or something not beneficial. The ‘not beneficial’ part… lets just focus on this one for a sec before moving on…

Up until January, I would allow myself to indulge almost every day in chocolate. (Gasp!) I justified it with how great it is for you: the benefits of lowering LDL, antioxidant-rich flavonoids, and the euphoric mood boost I get. The only thing is, most of us, including me, have a little too much sometimes… every day… A little too much of one thing means a little of something else somewhere else, like if you eat enough of it and your body gets used to burning less fuel than what you ingest, you may experience a little muffin-top action. The biggest thing that I understand clearly, is that our organs, our little mini-machines in our body, are constantly working to process and they get worn out. The constant inundation of sugar for example… You may be thin, not carry excess weight, and seem to ‘afford’ the extra morsels, but what about the affect of our pancreas? The constant and unnecessary action of insulin constantly being released to reign our body back to equilibrium.

Acerola & Maca Cacao Cups
Acerola & Maca Cacao Cups

This lesson is something that was a constant theme while I was away. Could my dad have had a heart attack because of the way he cared for his body, or could it be from how we live our lives? Both. For sure. Its called stress and we all entertain it in many ways, not just food.

 

We know how stress affects our lives when we are not able to manage our responsibilities, but have you ever checked in on your heart to see how it is responding in those present moments? Try it. Try it when you are in conversation- positive or challenging and tune into your heart. How are you breathing? Many of us commute. Tune in while driving- especially those moments that you get passed unexpectedly, tune in to see how you feel. Hot, erratic, did your middle finger start to unravel, and your teeth begin to touch your bottom lip to offer up a well-rounded, f-bomb?

What about when you are happy? Bring yourself back to when you first started dating your sweetheart, or for you padres out there, held your child for the first time? Remember how you felt? All of that counts for conditioning your heart to where it is right now. Nothing, absolutely nothing, doesn’t affect the heart- or come from it.

Padres taking in the moment, post first cardiac follow up
Padres taking in the moment, post first cardiac follow up

Only 30 [continuous] minutes of cardio exercise is the general consensus for raising your heart rate and increasing your cardiovascular health. Compared to what we demand of our body to accomplish our daily grind, this is a modest request from our heart. Walking briskly, running or jogging, jog-walking (for those of you who want-to-love-running-but-secretly-don’t), swimming- summer is coming!, & of course yoga- vinyasa styles of yoga in specific. But, since I touched on moderation above, the same goes with our exercise. Definitely exercise, but not cross the line past the loosely used, ‘edge’. Shift your perspective to making the goal to give your heart a good flush. I have adopted this mind-set more when I am trail running eliminating other traditional ‘goals’, i.e., duration of time, finishing a specific trail. Besides this, I made peace long ago with the fact that I am not a competitive runner. Keeping the intention of the heart while I run which allows me to find the joy in the beauty that I am running in, not just through.

Skip this next paragraph if you get offended easily. A warning that I am standing on my favorite podium and you may not be interested… 🙂

I am a very strong advocate for whole foods. Not the store, (though I do go there), but whole foods, like an actual apple versus one that was pulverized, given preservatives, thickening agents, and a shiny plastic wrapping. I put in a full effort on a daily basis to understand where my food comes from. I’m not talking about my CSA delivery or Whole Foods. I’m not even talking about the farmers, (whom I am so grateful to), but the ground it came out of and if it was hosed with chemicals or not. Pesticides is what is liberally referenced, but chemicals are what they are, and they are not good for you. I am no food scientist or nutritionist, but a passionate constituent and ayurvedic student who loves to nerd-out on topics like these. I know there are many out there that don’t think about specifics like this, but if I would have one request, its to start to… Just a touch. For yourself, your kids, your family, each other. If there was a specific reason within this, maybe because just like how you exercise your heart, what you put in your body matters also. Notice a withered plant next time after you water it. It rehydrates, is more alert, and does it’s selfless duty of being presentable, radiating its inner beauty while cleaning the air around it. Think of your body this way. Food is straight up nutrition and our body responds the same way a plant does. Eat whole foods- foods that aren’t packaged- especially the ‘healthy’ kinds, such as ‘whole food’ bars, (Lara, Raw Revolution, etc). Eat a piece of fruit. In its whole form, the entire fruit is digestible and recognizable by your body to break it down and use it 100%. The bars may be digestible, but they are still processed and not fresh. (I actually made up a small batch recipe for Lara ‘like’ bars. They turned out awesome; I knew what ingredients were in it, and they were made with love, not a machine. Email me if you want the recipe). Being part of the process is also priceless. The quality goes up just because you are going slowly. I experience this every morning during my coffee ritual. My coffee becomes this sacred thing and I end up nursing it to maintain that perfect warm temperature up until the very last drop.

my coffee god
My coffee god

The last point I’ll put out there is having control over my food/fuel, is really practicing food mindfulness. I feel aligned because I understand my food- where it is sourced and if its processed. My ‘processing’ is done in the kitchen with my cutting board, knives, and Blendtec, (worth the investment. Its amazing.) By taking a stand for my food values, I am not contributing to the industry we have become accustomed to. For me, its a pleasant, ‘F you’, to the food standards in place by corporations whose best interests are not in our best interests. What goes in my body is healthful not harmful and keeps me away from the other corporations known as the ‘health care system’. That said, I am human, so when I do choose to veer from this, I’m well aware that I am allowing this to happen. I don’t beat myself up for the occasional indulgence, but I do understand that veering off too often will be humbling down the road.

For those of you who skipped the above paragraph, welcome back!

The last thing I’d like to express is my gratitude for my family and friends.

My dad, mom > ‘Mamacita’, brothers, sister, basically-blood-sis-n-law, baby niece, and extended family. My family rocks- plain and simple. With my dad’s heart attack, we were tested and all stepped up. From the time we got the call about my pops, without question, us kids, hopped on planes and showed up: hospital shifts, in-care home shifts, everything assistants, and acted/ as caregivers from nursing, occupational/physical therapy, mental support, learning Medicare, (not going there), the whole package. While we were all together, we worked so very hard to do the above, while shielding my parents from this backdrop so they could focus and embark on the very involved healing process. We had our moments where the adrenals were in high gear. My sister, an avid marathoner didn’t run for 2 weeks. I didn’t do a lick of physical yoga asana. The only yoga I did was stopping- which felt like every 5 minutes, to close my eyes, focus on breathing, the sound of my heart pounding the inside of my chest wall, and literally saying to myself, ‘deep breath, deep breath’. I was truly present though it felt like I was dreaming. My wise, yogi Uncle told me in conversation, ‘we are never given what we can not handle’. This became my mantra and still hits my heart strong.

My friends are also my family and they continue to prove it to me everyday. While I was gone, the yoga studio I teach at had my back. Studio Directors, Julie & Rachel, basically told me I couldn’t teach later that morning [that I got the call]. Julie tapped her inner “mama bear” and told me how it was. I’m grateful to you, Jewels, for being my southern ‘mamacita’. Rachel, thanks for calling me in between classes, subbing, and carpool. You guys are my girls. My yoga teacher brothers and sisters, karma yogis, students, and my friends were there for me as well. While I was away, it was always perfect timing when reading the sweet notes and voice messages of love and support- especially those late 2am mornings when I really was needing a little something. No expectation of a return message, just pure, authentic love coming from my peeps. That love filled the voids I was feeling while I was away and kept me strong. I love you all. Thank you for this gift.

dedicated to my family & friends

 

 

‘we are never given what we can not handle’

 

Dedicated to my family & friends

Before I end, I want to dedicate a recipe I made to the heart, everyone who supported me, those who have been affected by heart issues, and of course, my super awesome, sweet Pops. From one heart to another..

Lovingly yours,

~isabelle

(I don’t measure, except for the dressing. Make the amount you would make for yourself & times it by the number of peeps. Scale up or down for the veggies. All ingredients are organic of course, and this is gluten-free).

Carrot Ginger Awesomeness dressing
Carrot Ginger Awesomeness dressing

Raw Carrot Ginger dressing:

1 Carrot, grated
2″ piece of Ginger, peeled & minced
1 tsp of Agave
2 TBS Brown Rice Vinegar
1/2 lemon, squeezed
2 tsp of Gluten-free Tamari
2 tsp of Toasted Sesame Oil
Sea salt, a pinch

So easy: put everything in a blender, puree, and prepare to be in love with this. You will be so happy. 🙂

Avocado Maitake salad
Avocado Maitake salad

Avocado Maitake Salad: 

Romaine lettuce, rolled & cut 1″ wide
Lacinato Kale, rolled and julienned
Carrot, peeled, then peeled into strips
Red onion, thinly sliced
Broccollettes, steamed or raw
Green or red cabbage, cut super thin
Avocado, diced
Gomasaio, optional, but so good
Brown rice spaghetti pasta

1. Prepare the rice pasta, cool in an ice-bath, drain, and set aside.
2. Toss the salad with the Carrot Ginger dressing. Have your veggies ready to go in a salad bowl, along with your dressing.
3. Top with avocado & gomasaio. My hubby loves this with grilled chicken marinated in seasame oil, chili, salt, & pepper.

Isabelle Casey

 

 

 

 

 

Less Is More

So, every new year, like many, I set an intention. My intention for 2012 didn’t actually come to me until I was well into the year because I basically lacked the integrity needed around setting a single intention that I would commit to for the entire year. The year got going and I found myself busy as usual, packing in everything. I was still intention-less, or unintentional. I began to notice in my everyday conversations with friends and family a constant theme, ‘there’s no time’, & ‘I’m too busy’. I was not an exception. What do you mean, you/I don’t have time? This is an excuse, plain & simple. We navigate our lives and make time for what we want. Everything is a choice. Everything. Its interesting how when one wants something to happen, time will miraculously appear. Before I share what my focus will be this year, I’ll share with you what I intended last year…

Last year, I decided that this was going to be the year to create more abundance. Not focusing on what I have, but how to create more space, which ultimately creates more time. To me abundance boils down to time. Not just as a unit of measurement, but quality time. Like the kind where every little moment counts. I got to this intention from my experience of what I learned and how I felt from 2011. For those of you who don’t know me, I was a ‘yes’ girl back then. I said yes to taking on more: teaching, new job opportunities, hobbies, you name it, I wanted to do it, & I for the most part, not only did it, but I killed it. I taught a packed schedule, managed a business; I was on the go all the time. My life functioned from my Blackberry. I was so scheduled that even my personal yoga practice had a dedicated time slot or else I wouldn’t do it. Like Pavlov’s dog, my phone vibrated, I ran to pick it up to see who was calling, or what the next thing was on my plate that day. At the end of every day, I was spent. I would actually pride myself in the fact that I could fall asleep easily, when really I was so exhausted that I would slip into a deep sleep coma until the time I needed to wake the next day. (Good thing for alarm clocks). No bueno.

My Pavlov’s dog, Cesar, a.k.a. ‘Cesardo’, or ‘Tedarto’

That summer, I bought a hammock and installed it in my backyard. I laid in the hammock when I had time, but I began to notice it was a weekly event. I stared at it more from my kitchen window than I was actually in it. I did not like what I had created. I realized that my hammock is more than a place to rest. It reminded me that in order to make it even possible to lay in it, I would have to create space in my life. Staring at my hammock from my kitchen window was not helping me create more time. It was just reminding me that everything in my life that I had invited in was happening really fast. Days were flying by. I traveled a bunch, but mostly to teach workshops. I hadn’t been back to visit my family & friends in Seattle in a couple years. I allowed my life to be dictated by things and deadlines. It was time to make a change.

How? I pondered, procrastinated, meditated, procrastinated some more. Finally, I set an intention of how I wanted to create an abundance of time every day moving forward. In order to do so, I knew I had to let a lot of things go and put into practice learning how to say ‘no’ more, so I could say ‘yes’ to myself and the things I wanted in my life that truly feed me. One day while washing dishes, staring out my window, pretending I was laying in my hammock, my mind was flooded with sweet childhood memories of growing up in Florida.

Hammock-asana with my homie, Ethan

Hammock-asana with my homie, Ethan

Summer days felt long and were steamy-hot. I played outside all day with my siblings and friends: building forts, swimming in the ocean, daily ‘missions’ in the orange groves; the world was truly my oyster. I would think about how there was so much time in a day, so many days in a week, so many weeks in a month, so many months in a season. Summer couldn’t finish fast enough for me to get back to school. At a time where I felt tortured by the abundance of time, I also realized I was really present then as a child to the moment I was living in– no wonder the days took forever to finish. Now, as an adult who succeeded in creating a busy lifestyle, I really wanted to get back to having longer days, more time for whatever I needed and wanted to do, and most important to me, have the time to do absolutely nothing. I wanted to lay in my hammock.

Childhood fun circa 1984

Here’s how I started…
I first began by organizing my time by doing simple things like consolidating my errands to a weekly event. I set a measurable goal of laying in my hammock 1 hour a day, i.e. ‘hammock-asana’. If I could get into the hammock that day, I knew that I had succeeded.

Next, let the purging begin…
Closets were purged of excess. I did this cool thing that I think I learned from a guest I saw on Oprah years ago, I think. Anyway, when I wore something in my closet, it was rehung up with the hanger in reverse. After 2 months, the clothes that were hanging in the original position were clearly the ones I didn’t wear, I tossed into a pile to let go. Now when I look in my closet, I see copious amounts of wall that used to be covered up by clothing and space in between what’s hanging up.
I also had a ridiculous amount of yoga wear– to the point where I could actually divide my closet into categories for the seasons & sub-categories depending on style of yoga. Ridiculous, I know. (Damn you lululemon! Why do you have to make pants that don’t slide off your butt when you bend over, or give you camel-toe?!). My dresser drawers now glide shut, my closet has enough, (though I can part with more. Stay tuned for closet purge part deaux). This motivated me to do more…

I went through every nook & cranny of my home, room by room, closet by closet, letting go of things that were taking up space. If I hadn’t touched it in 3 months, out it went. Every day, I would place the things I was purging into a pile in my basement. I rediscovered things like a karaoke machine that my sister said I just had to have for my college graduation. To her defense, we did have a rockin’ good time with it at the mercy of our captive audience family… for like 6 hours- no joke! Poor guys. 🙂 I learned that the more stuff I had, the more time was robbed tending to the maintenance of them. Not a way I want to spend my time.

We began a weekly local food co-op home delivery service, scaling quite a bit back on the regular farmer’s market & Whole Paycheck run that usually would end up being upwards of a 2 hr process, (drive to & from, plus cruising the aisles to hunt and gather). Now, every Thursday, I look forward to the beautiful organic, local, & seasonal bounty that arrives at my front door and the 2 extra hours per week I get back. Now I can take the time I gained back and invest it into cooking more- another passion of mine. Sweet.

Some of my creations gifted from the garden & co-op delivery

Taking the time to cook food is more meaningful. I notice things like the tastes and texture, how my mouth salivates when I chew. The smells. Its an amazing process and going slow, like real slow from start to finish, makes me get more present.

Though I personally only watched the tube for the local news, cooking shows, movies, even with the t.v. in the room turned off, it still felt like a tempting energetic magnet. After lobbying my soccer fiend husband to cancel cable, (go Barcelona!), we cut the Comcast cord. Now we’ve been cable-less for a good 7 months & it is awesome. We not only have extra funds to tuck away, we also aren’t wasting any time sitting in front of a mind-less box. We didn’t stop with the t.v…

The yard was next. We planted only fruits, herbs, & veggies that were Georgia natives & from the zone we lived in. That meant we still indulged in our love of playing in the dirt, but we weren’t wasting our time & resources growing things that were high maintenance or were what we hoped would grow– essentially taking away time. (I have accepted the fact I can’t grow avocados. Sniff, sniff).

My garden

I also took a long deep look at who I was surrounding myself with. This was a huge one and not an easy one. I let go of toxic relationships and situations that lacked the mutual support necessary in having a healthy relationship. I was putting in energy to create resolve in situations  where resolve was a not a reciprocal goal. I made some changes and ‘cleaned house’. The result: more time to invest in those whom I want to share my life with as well as make myself a priority again.

As a result of letting go, I made it to my hammock- almost every day. (Yes, there were days it didn’t happen for sure). But, the effort I put forth into the practice of creating abundance is invaluable and keeps me present to what I want to create in my life.

So, that was last year in a nutshell. I’m not really done with creating more abundance as it will always be something that demands concerted effort. That said, I am more practiced at creating abundance and I am committed to carving out time for my intention this year… to be more vulnerable… Sharing through writing, making mistakes, (lessons in disguise), and allowing myself to be full-on supported by those I love and love me. Please share what your intention is this year in the comments below. Here’s to a happy, prosperous, and vulnerable new year! Salud!