Eat Mindfully the Length of One Song

My Mindful Meal

This week, I was a speaker on my favorite topic; Putting the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First for Ventura SCORE, this wonderful nonprofit organization that provides mentorship for small business owners from retired business executives who donate their time. The topic was of course on Work-Life Balance. I am curious to know what that means for you? What do you conjure up when you hear those words?

Anyway, we were three speakers, each with 30 minutes to share on our topic. What I found wonderful was how, the lineup had been decided even before any of us had submit our topics, and yet we were lined up exactly in the right order that you would want to hear the content we all delivered.

Speaker 1: Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
Speaker 2: Living Your Life to Your Fullest Potential (all about different ways to harmoniously balance stress/long work ours etc.)
Speaker 3: ME! Putting the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First

I will admit, I was nervous. Now, I have LOVED public speaking for over a decade, and can talk in any sized room whether it be 3 people or 300 people. BUT, I was still nervous. I’ve been a fundraiser for so long, that I can speak on that topic ad nauseum, but until lately my forum for speaking about Oxygen Mask has been all virtual/digital. You’ve all heard me go on about it here, if you know me personally, you have heard me share face to face, one to one, if we are friends on social media, or if follow my page The Breathing Space on Facebook then you have heard me talk about this.

This was only the second time that I had spoken about this to a live audience and had never done the presentation along with the slides I prepared; only because they asked me for slides! hahahah!!

Anyway, I had decided that I would just go up and be me. And it turns out, that when I have an audience, I can be a ham, I can be funnier than I think I am in real life, and I can totally be myself. The response was wonderful; people were laughing, participating, sharing and asking questions. What more can a speaker want?

OK, so what has this to do with the title?

That afternoon, I went to Namaste Spiceland to get chai and a simple lunch. As I was waiting for my meal of daal, roti, sabji I tuned into the music that they were playing over the speakers. It was of this deep voice, the voice of Amitabh Bachchan – India’s most iconic movie star whose stardom transcends generations. I couldn’t follow along with the Hindi, but just that sound of his voice, and the words that I couldn’t make out, but recognized from the movie that I loved so much as a child. My food arrived, and I sat enjoying it, savoring the hot, sweet spiced milk chai absorbed in the music of my youth. I didn’t realize the impact of that music on my soul, till I started to tear up as I listened to the soothing voice of my favorite Bollywood star. The food, the music, being surrounded by familiar smells, sounds and sights of my childhood and youth; I was completely immersed.

So what has this to do with the presentation that evening on Oxygen Mask?

So glad you asked. Let me tell you.

As we were talking about Mindful Minutes, I asked for examples of how they could incorporate what we were discussing into their own lives. How can you incorporate mindfulness into your over-committed days someone raised her hand and volunteered; when you eat, just eat. Just savor the foods, don’t talk, don’t watch TV, don’t work, worse of all, don’t drive!

YES! I exclaimed! YES indeed.

And I was able to recount my afternoon experience of my mini trip to India through all my senses.

Believe me when I tell you, if I am not with a donor or a potential donor, most afternoons my lunch is a protein shake drunk at my desk. I work right through lunch; but not because I am trying to over work – because I allow myself to leave work earlier as a result. It’s worth the trade off to be with my kids earlier.

But here’s what I really want to share. Yes, life is busy. Yes eating at the table is a luxury.

But what if you did that once or twice a week, JUST for the duration of ONE SONG (2-3 minutes)? Imagine this – you get to pick out your favorite song/s and then just as you sit to eat, you turn on the music — and allow yourself to be immersed in the experience of food and music.

So today’s call to action for you is to see if you can, just even once sit still and eat, for the duration of one song (remember it’s just 2-3 minutes) before you jump up to do 15 other things.

Will you write and tell me if you try this?

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Day 12: 30 days to fit

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” ~Siddartha Guatama Buddha

Could not wait to have my Arbonne chocolate protein shake this morning! I really really love my breakfast routine. With 20g of vegan protein and only 9g of sugar it’s a really sweet deal! (no pun intended). I cut the sweet, by adding lemon (little trick i learned) and salty almonds along with all my other green/red/blue goodness. (veges and fruit).

I did the same for lunch today too! I ran around with the kids – remembered to drink more water than yesterday, although still not as much!

Today, I took my kids to Casa Pacifica – it’s a nonprofit children’s shelter. Every time my daughter receives a new toy/gift, she knows she has to pick out one of her existing toys to give away to ‘the children who have no mommies and daddies.’ This is a ritual I started before she was old enough to realize, but not old enough to be receiving gifts galore! And as she has gotten older, this tradition has become so much more important. We live in such a privileged world…we are lucky to be able to give our children the best we can – but growing up as I did in India, a stone’s throw from one of the largest slums in South Bombay – I was never too far removed from abject poverty and the reminder that we are not all provided for equally. I have firmly believed that every child in the US should be made to do a semester abroad in a third world country before being allowed to graduate high school. However, being a parent now – I can see how that would be a really difficult thing to do – to send your child off into such a different world…although there are many who do…perhaps not at such a young age. So my compromise was to start my kids early on down the path to philanthropy. On Christmas morning, along with all the gifts under the tree, sits an empty cardboard box – for every gift opened, a toy goes into the box. This will also include at least ONE cherished and loved toy – so as not to only give away things that are meaningless to her.

Anyway – we ran home – quickly changed gears and then head out to lunch at McDonalds – their treat for the day…and I knew I wasn’t going to eat there…so I made myself yep – another Arbonne chocolate protein shake for lunch. MMMMM.

Dinner…ok well – I blew it BIG TIME! My parents wanted to go to Toppers Pizza. I promised myself…1/2 glass beer (stuck to that…Newcastle on draft is delicious) and one slice of the BBQ chicken pizza – i even ate a small salad to fill up on before the pizza arrived. But, I think because breakfast and lunch and no snacks had made up the early part of the day – I was ravenous, the pizza was piping hot and delicious with fresh cilantro which I cannot resist…and I ended up eating 3 slices!!! again – dairy/gluten…two no nos. Yesterday I read something on Facebook that someone had posted…a link to show that gluten/wheat has an opioid effect – ie. the more you eat, the more you want to eat….and it totally made sense. Since that day two days ago of that ONE slice of Mexican pizza – I have slid totally downhill in the gluten and dairy department! I did beat myself up a bit, but got over it quickly…realizing that I am NOT gluten intolerant – I have no reason to be totally gluten free, and that managing the intake of wheat products to a level where it is minuscule and appreciated will make it a lot more fun than cutting it out completely! And so, that’s my realization/rationalization for the day! This is after all an attempt at a better healthier lifestyle and not a diet after which any weight I have lost comes rushing back on! I want to create something sustainable, that I can do for life.

It’s late – my son did the whole 4am wake up till nearly 6.30am, after which I had to be up again in an hour…so I’m off to bed.

A bientot!

Who Are Your True Friends?

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I saw this quote on Pinterest and it got me thinking about a recent exchange that I had with someone I considered a true friend. I haven’t known her too long– just a couple years – and yet there was something about her that made us just ‘click.’ For a while we managed to spend a fair amount of time hanging out in spite of the many responsibilities we both had in our respective lives. Then life got busier for both of us- and I realized that I wanted to downsize my life and focus my priorities on just a few things – essentially I stripped my schedule to barebones to open up time for the spiritual and professional exploration that came along with my 40th birthday this February. (Midlife crisis?)

Anyway something happened and she felt slighted and unimportant. She left me a voice message to tell me this. I spent three days agonizing over this- partly indignant (Doesn’t she know how busy this mom of two, professional entrepreneur, wife, daughter, sister is?), partly confused (my longest and closest friends are those I haven’t spoken to in over a year and yet when we talk we can pick up where we left off as if we talk daily- doesn’t she understand true friendship doesn’t have physical boundaries?), and partly resigned (if she can’t accept what I can offer then this relationship has run it’s course).

So in turn I wrote a lengthy email- explaining pretty much what I just said here – and ended with wishing her nothing but the best and all my love and good wishes. I thought to talk to her personally but I always do better with letters and always resorted to pen and paper (before email) for the weighty conversations where I want to think before I speak so I don’t put my foot in my mouth.

Even though I wrote that email with the best intentions- it didn’t sit well with me – reality is that I take my friendships seriously – even if I don’t show up physically for them and I guess she had come to mean more than I realized.

I reached out to her – she responded that she too still cared. I said I’d like to talk in person and she concurred. Her schedule and mine prevented us from doing it immediately. I left a message for her to call me to schedule something — I’m still waiting…

This got me thinking a lot about friendships and relationships in general – I realized again that my closest friends I have known since grade and high school in India. Months and even years can go by and we might not talk– we may even forget each others’ birthdays but somehow – just somehow that doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is that our hearts are connected and when I think of these friends or when we do talk- the familiarity, comfort and connection is as powerful and strong as though we are in touch daily.

True friendship is truly not measured in the physical time you spend together- rather in the bond that your hearts form that link you beyond just word and action. It’s hard to pin down, but I think you know what I mean…Don’t you?

How do you measure true friendship?