Roll with it!

Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and you just have to roll with it. When I started this blog I had visions of really transforming my life through a health and wellness journey. This was going to define my “chapter 3” (life after the kids leave) Well, as usual, life happened. In the last few months I have traveled more than I have in the past 4 years. All the things that I had laid out in my head just haven’t happened, but something even more important has happened. I have had some amazing moments with my family and I have accepted that life is happening now. During all these travels I have continued to experiment with Ayurveda, yoga & meditation, and I have read every chance I could get. Though it has not been as I had planned, it has been good! I have learned things about myself and those around me, but most importantly I have come to accept that if I waste time lamenting over what I didn’t accomplish, I will miss out on all that I did. So… from this point on I have no plan! I will continue to work on improving my health, but I will not try to figure out what should come next in my life. Instead, I will take each day as it presents itself, live it and see where I end up. I will try to keep a journal here as it unfolds, but not sure what that means; once a day, a week a month. I guess time will tell;)

 

Finding My Way!

So I have been finding my way down this ayurveda path for two months. I am definitely learning a lot, seeing results and feeling better. This is clearly not a one and done formula though. Ayurveda requires you to pay attention to your body and environment, and then make adjustments as your body, environment and seasons change.

I think the key for me is to learn about my individual constitution. When I met with my ayurveda practitioner I found out that I am a Pitta-Vata. I have been doing a lot of research on the characteristics of both the Pitta and Vata doshas. Pitta is associated with the elements of fire and water. Vata is associated with air and ether. If you would like a general overview of each of the doshas check out this post from Anthea’s Ayurveda and Beyond. It gives good general information to start off with.

I have found that Vata and Pitta are opposite in many ways. This makes it easy for me to figure out when something is out of balance. When I am feeling scattered and unable to complete a thought or anxious I know that my Vata is probably running a little high. I do things to calm and ground myself. I have found warm oil massage, meditation, or a nice cup of jasmine tea will make a difference. On the other hand if I am feeling angry, itching, or breaking out in a rash then my Pitta has taken over. Then I know I need to cool myself down with some meditation, cucumber water, or some gentle yoga.

I am becoming much more in tune with what is going on in my body and mind. I am starting to settle into this journey and truly believe that with yoga, meditation and ayurveda I am not only going to improve my health, but the quality of my life. I am just getting started and know there is sooo much to learn!

Getting into Ayurveda

I spent most of January nursing my wounded thumb and not accomplishing much on this wellness journey.  I did manage to make it to the Ayurveda practitioner late in the month. I had tried meeting with a practitioner twice before with not so great results. Both times I left feeling confused and uninspired. That lead me to purchase a few books on Ayurveda. I was sure I could figure it out. Well that didn’t last long. I was left confused, overwhelmed and quickly lost interest. I decided to give it one more shot and asked my favorite yoga teacher if she knew of a practitioner she would recommend. She excitedly had a name to share. I held on to the name for a while before I finally set up the appointment. This delay and all of my earlier unsuccessful attempts at making changes now makes a whole lot more sense to me. That January visit was such a different experience. I left inspired, excited and ready to stumble! Yes, I said stumble. After spending a few hours with this amazing Ayurveda man I had a much gentler approach to me, not to mention a little more understanding. This would truly be a journey. Unlike all the MANY things I have tried before there were no rules just suggestions based on my Dosha. I needed to start small, give it time to work and then readjust to meet my needs.

So the first step was to find out my Dosha. My Ayurveda practitioner, Larry, sent me a series of questions to help determine my dosha, much more in-depth than the ones I had seen before. I brought my answers to our first meeting. We spent a great deal of time talking about my tendencies and the problems I was having. It was laundry list; shingles, pain and numbness in muscles and joints, unexplained rashes, fatigue, weight gain, frequent colds and congestions. I know it is ridiculous but I feel ashamed when I share these issues with people. Sometimes friends and doctors look at me like I am crazy. It leaves me feeling like it has to be my fault. If I had better willpower I could stick to the programs I have tried and I wouldn’t have all these issue, or worse yet it is just all in my head. But this time it was different. Larry was great. He listened with no judgment. He asked questions, took my pulse, looked at my eyes, tongue and fingernails.

Larry explained that in Ayurveda there are 3 doshas; Pitta, Kapha and Vata. Each dosha has different tendencies that when they become aggravated can lead to inflammation and illness. The doshas can be effected by the seasons, the foods we eat, and the habits we keep. Every person is born with an individual combination of these doshas. So the goal is to find out what my dosha was and what it is currently, to see what is aggravated in my system. I know it sounds far-fetched, but I chose this path and I was determined to give it my best shot. I needed to have 100% buy in and give it time to work. Larry used the information from my questionnaire, our conversation, and my physical appearance to determine my dosha. He explained that I am a Pitta-Vata and that both doshas were aggravated. Larry felt that my first priority was to calm the Vata.

Larry gave me several handouts and some words of advice. First and foremost be kind to myself. He explained that there are many aspects to Ayurveda and it will be easy to get overwhelmed, and based on my doshas I have tendencies to take on too much and burn myself out. Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! 47 years of experience with myself said Larry knows his stuff! That was the first moment of many times I was left thinking, “This stuff sounds crazy, but it is makes sense!” Larry suggested I read over the suggestions and choose a few things that sound good to me and start there. He also told me that based on my imbalances I would benefit greatly from getting some routines and self-care into my day. I was to give the changes a month or two and then comeback to check in with Larry to make adjustments and maybe add a few more things if I am ready.

Ayurveda has suggestions on eating, sleeping, waking, meditation, self-care, etc. based on each dosha. When I got home I went over the handouts Larry had given me and start looking through the books I already had. I also started some Pintrest boards because there was just too much information to digest all at once.  You can check out my Ayurveda, yoga and meditation boards if you click on my Pintrest link. While getting started I had several ding,ding,ding moments that motivated me to stay focused and start small. I decided that I would focus on my habits Sunday night through Friday morning. I would give myself some leeway when it came to weekends and travel. I also told myself that shit happens. If I get off course to let it go and just get back on track as soon as possible.

So here is my initial list:

  1. Start a morning routine.
    1. Get up at the same time everyday before 6:00. I went with 5:15
    2. Scrape my tongue, floss, brush and oil pull.
    3. Clear my nasal passages with a netty pot or navage.
  2. Take daily vitamins and herbs.
    1. B complex
    2. Ashwangandha
    3. Omega Oil
    4. Tumeric
    5. Aloe
    6. Astragalus
    7. Elderberry Juice
  3. Start each morning with hot water, 2t. apple cider vinegar, and half a lemon.
  4. Take quiet time each morning for meditation and reading.
  5. Begin to make adjustments to food by increasing organic whole foods and consuming less processed foods.

So these are the things I am working on. I am making progress and am feeling less anxiety, less pain and more energy and adaptability to what life throws my way. It is a start and I am still excited:0)

 

Book Basket

I love to read! I read for fun and for information. I think taking time to read is the greatest gift I can give to myself, and quite frankly not something I do for myself enough. So, I have decided to make reading part of my journey. Once a week  I will post my Book Basket and talk about what books I have in my basket and links to my Goodreads reviews of the books I have finished.

So this is my basket for the upcoming week. I finished Power Your Happy last week. I enjoyed the book and think it will be a great college graduation gift for my daughter in a few years. If you would like to see more of my thoughts on Power Your Happy you can follow the link to my Goodreads review.

I have not started Radical Beauty or Truly Madly Guilty yet but maybe I can get them started this week. I have been reading Meditations from the Mat alomost every day for the past week or so. I read one passage each day in the morning before I meditate. I find them very calming and thoughtful and the perfect way to focus on mindfulness before I attempt to meditate. I am new to meditation and still find it hard to quiet my “monkey mind”. These short daily thoughts seem to help.

I am also currently reading Buddha’s Brain. I started this one before I officially committed to this wellness journey. I picked it up last year at the bookstore while waiting for my daughter one day. The cover and title caught my eye. It is an interesting combination of mindfulness practices with the science of the brain. There is a great deal of science in the book to help explain why mindfulness works as well as suggested practices to improve your overall wellness. Sometimes the “science language” gets a little heavy and I have to read a passage more than once, but I am definitely getting benefits from it. At the end of each chapter they have a concise recap, which is nice for clarification. I read a little every morning after meditation before everyone else in the house gets up. Some days I only get a page in, but I look forward to it. ❤ 🙂

Until next week, Take time to Read!

Taking the First Step

Wow, this has not gotten off to the start I had envisioned in my head. At the end of 2016, sick of being sick, I decided that 2017 was going to be the year I changed it all. I was going to start a journey to wellness; commit to daily yoga, meditation and learn all that I could about Ayurveda. I was going to do all this while continuing with life as I know it and blog about it every day. In my head, this new adventure would bring me wellness and clarity.I would feel great and know precisely what I am meant to do in my looming chapter 3. It was perfect, what could go wrong?

As I sit here on February 27th writing my first blog post I have to laugh at myself. I am not sure why I thought I would wake up on January 1 of 2017 and be a completely different person than the  one I have been for the last 47 years. You see, I have had hundreds of great ideas and new plans over the years that never quite come to fruition. I really don’t think I am all that different from most people. I know there are those people we see all over the internet and social media that just wake up one day or are born with this amazing gift of knowing what to do and the drive to do it. Unfortunately, I am not one of those. Don’t get me wrong, I know I have lots of great thoughts, ideas and instincts. I just get lost in the details of things. I get so caught up in how to do something “right” I don’t get a lot done, and while I am tangled in the details of one idea another one floats by. And yes you guessed it. . . I am off in a new direction. Yes, I am one of those!

Since the start of the year on top of being lost in the details of this “life changing journey” I have had a few stones in my path that have taken me off course. On New Year’s Eve I sliced off part of my thumb while preparing amazing snacks for our celebration. I learned a few things from that experience: I will never use a mandolin again. When you chop off nerves, it really hurts and takes a long time to heal. I use my thumb much more than I ever imagined. We had a family emergency that pulled me out-of-town for a few days. We passed around a horrible could for a month. In addition to these unexpected challenges we had life; a long weekend college visit, house hold upkeep and the ever constant high school drama. During all of this I did make it to an initial visit with a wonderful Ayurveda practitioner. I did do some yoga, meditation and reading. I did get the blog set up, although I have spent most of my hours changing the layout back and forth and never really finding that perfect one. Countless hours were spent trying to figure out how to add widgets, whatzits, categories and tags with no results to show for it. I stressed over where I would get pictures to put with posts. I really was spinning off course. I lost sight of the fact that none of that really matters if you haven’t shared anything! So I have abandoned the details. I am going to focus on the meat. For this adventure that will be the yoga, meditation, reading, writing and Ayurveda. I am guessing the other will work itself out eventually. 😉

The bottom line is that nothing has gone as planned, and that is ok! I know this project will be different, because I am different already. I am not beating myself up. Through this process I have already learned that I am a caregiver, my family will always come first. If they need me, the rest will have to wait. I am interested in many things, but I  get easily distracted. This is who I am. That doesn’t mean I give up and accept not achieving my goal. It means going to live and learn, make adjustments, move forward and see where this journey takes me.

Well. . . I took the first step! See you next time,

Laura Lee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crafting a life after they have left the nest

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