Paying the Sleep Mafia

Beauty SleepIt has been a solid week of me making the effort to get to sleep earlier, and I’m starting to feel the difference. A little.

It’s been quite an effort on my part this past week to have the lights out by 10:00 pm, my self-imposed bedtime.  I’ve had to re-think how much I can accomplish each night when I get home from work, and how many extra-curricular activities I am going to schedule for myself and my family. I’ve had to decide exactly what my priorities are – is it more important to me that I write in my journal, or watch the video I borrowed from the library so i can return it on time?

I’ve been diligent and conscious of each of these decisions all week and for the first few days, it just wasn’t enough.  In fact, after two days of going to bed earlier, it was even harder to get up the next morning! I felt like the sleep mafia had come and demanded payment all at once for all the sleep I had ever missed. I even moved my meditation time back 20 minutes so I could catch a few more zzzzz’s.

Now, a full week in, it is a little easier to wake up, though on Sunday when I didn’t have to be awake at a certain time, inertia tied me to the bed extra long. 🙂

We don’t always realize how important something like sleep is until it starts making a noticeable effect on our daily life. For me that amounted to increased difficulty getting up in the morning, and low energy throughout the day. Then, what really triggered me to take action: I could not focus during my daily meditation.  My mind flitted from one thing to another, or I fell back to sleep.

I’m going to continue this week to get to bed as close to 10:00 pm as i can, though it will be interesting with the conference I am going to this weekend for work. I’m determined to keep the sleep mafia, and more importantly, my body, happy though.

Some good advice that a friend once gave me, and that has not always been easy to follow: “Listen to your body.  And then do what it says!”

Blessings,

Mary

I AM a Powerful Manifestor!

I just got back from my water aerobics class.  This isn’t really big news, I know.  But it is for me, because the pool was supposed to close for renovations last Friday.

Almost three weeks ago, I sat down with a couple of friends to set some goals for ourselves for the rest of the month.  I introduced them to Raymond Aaron’s Monthly Mentor goal setting program.  I don’t make any money from endorsing this program; I just believe it is an excellent system for making progress toward your goals.

I haven’t used it myself in quite some time.  So it was good for me to introduce it to my friends, and have others to support and be supported by in moving forward. One of the goals I set for myself was to start going to water aerobics again.  I set myself a goal of  attending a minimum of two classes, a target of three classes, and my outrageous goal for myself was attending five classes.  I thought I had three weeks to acheive this.

Then I found out that the pool was closing June 25th for maintenance and renovations.  So I had only two weeks to acheive my goal! I made the comment several times that I was disappointed that just as I was getting back into going to the classes, the pool was closing and I would not be able to keep up the momentum I was creating for myself.  I pushed myself in my schedule, and I managed to get to five classes in two weeks!

At class last Friday morning, it was announced that the pool would be open for four more weeks.  The architect needed more time.  The fitness schedule would be quite limited, but the deep water class I attend is on at the time I prefer to attend, and on the three days of the week I attend.

However indirectly, I told the Universe that I wanted to continue with water aerobics, and the Universe provided the opportunity for me!

This isn’t the only experience I have had of manifesting I have had recently, but it is one of the most obvious.  What I observe about myself in this situation, is that I did not directly ask the Universe to keep the pool open.  I took action, going to the deep water class at every opportunity in my schedule.  I enjoyed the feeling of working out, and I expressed disappointment at the thought of not continuing.

I find I am often challenged in the manifestation process by not taking action, or by getting stuck in the feeling of what I don’t want.  Or I manifest unconsciously.  I don’t always consciously choose what I want to create in my life.  Between The Peaceful Woman’s Inspired Living Coaching series, and getting back into utilizing the MAINLY goal setting system, I am working on becoming more conscious of being a co-creator of my life.  I am creating my reality in alignment with my intentions and desires.  I AM a powerful manifestor, and I am so grateful!

What tools do you use to set goals and stay focused on your visions?

Blessings,

Mary

Auntie Lyn’s Raw Breakfast

Last week I mentioned my raw breakfast, so I thought I would share the recipe and some of the benefits.

This raw breakfast recipe is a very simple way to shed those extra pounds and get down to your ideal weight. My Auntie Lyn told me about it several times, but I always shrugged it off. To be honest, it didn’t sound very tasty!

Now I eat it every morning (at least when I remember to start it).  I’ve lost 10 pounds, and kept it off, without changing my diet or exercising any more than I did before. I get tons of compliments on how great I look! And it is simple.  The hardest part is remembering to start it before bed.

Here’s what you need to make your raw breakfast:
• one handful of raw seeds (I use a mixture of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds)
• 4-5 raw nuts (like almonds or cashews)
• 1/3 cup raw oats (that’s the long-cooking oats)
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least an hour, overnight is better.

IMPORTANT! DRAIN BEFORE EATING!

I try to use organic ingredients when I can, because I don’t like the thought of having extra chemicals with my breakfast.

I know, it may not sound great, but you get used to it. When I first started eating it, I threw in some dried cranberries for zip. After a month or so, I started using bee pollen instead of the cranberries. Now I sprinkle some cinnamon on it, and throw in some fresh or frozen fruit.

So what are the benefits of a raw breakfast, and why does it help you lose weight?

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds have been used throughout history to enhance energy – a great reason to have them as part of your raw breakfast! Who can’t use extra energy in the morning?

Native Americans and other herbalists have used sunflower seeds as a diuretic, for constipation, chest pain, or ulcers, to treat worms, and to improve eyesight. Recently, they have been recommended for use for people with high blood pressure or cardiovascular problems with good success.

Raw sunflower seeds are higher in nutrition than roasted and definitely better than salted seeds. Raw sunflower seeds are very high in potassium and low in sodium, a balance sorely needed by most of us these days with so many salty foods available. One cup of sunflower seeds contains more than 1,300 mg of potassium and only 4 mg of sodium. This is likely very helpful as a diuretic or for people who already take diuretics, to help replace some potassium. The high amount of oil in sunflower seeds as polyunsaturated fats, essential linoleic acid, and vitamin E is also helpful in reducing cholesterol levels and improving or preventing cardiovascular disease.

When sunflower seeds (or any raw nuts or seeds) are soaked overnight, it makes them more digestible and alkaline-forming. Essentially, soaking starts the sprouting process, or bio-activates them, and makes the nutrients more available to your body. I’ll talk more about the importance of alkalinity on another page.

Pumpkin Seeds

These are best known for their concentration of zinc and their use in the treatment and prevention of male prostate problems. Pumpkin seeds have also been used in treatment of intestinal worms. They are good source of protein and contain a good balance of amino acids. Their fat content, mostly unsaturated, is over 50 percent of the seeds.

Raw pumpkin seeds are also very high in iron, calcium and phosphorus, with some magnesium and copper. Like sunflower seeds, they also contain vitamin E and essential fatty acids, and so the two make a good mix in the raw breakfast. There is a mix of B vitamins, with niacin being the richest.

Almonds

When raw almonds are the first thing in your stomach after arising, they set the hydrochloric acid tolerance for the day, providing all-day protein digestion. When almonds are eaten first as part of your raw breakfast, they are efficiently digested since stomach acids are concentrated after the nightly fast. (If you leave hydrochloric acid alone in your stomach, the saliva and hydrochloric acid would become toxic.) In other words, almonds have an alkalizing effect on the body.

When soaked, raw almonds act as protein plus nitrogen. This protein helps your blood sugar stabilize throughout the rest of the day. Eat one almond per ten pounds of body weight, more if you want to gain weight and less if you want to lose weight.

The flavonoids found in almond skins team up with the vitamin E found in their meat to more than double the antioxidant punch. Twenty potent antioxidant flavonoids were identified in almond skins, some of which are well known as major contributors to the health benefits derived from other foods, such as the catechins found in green tea, and naringenin, which is found in grapefruit.

Oats

Low in fat and high in fibre, oats have a low glycaemic index (GI) that ensures a slow and sustained release of energy. Oats are also rich in vitamin B6, which is believed to help guard against depression. They are also an excellent source of iron, dietary fiber and thiamin. They contain antioxidants that are believed to protect the circulatory system from diseases such as arteriosclerosis, which affects the arterial blood vessel.

Soaking the raw oats, just like with the raw nuts and seeds, makes them easier to digest, and makes the nutrients more available to your body.

On top of all this, here’s what the American Cancer Society has to say about the benefits of oats:

1. Insoluble fiber’s cancer-fighting properties are due to the fact that it attacks certain bile acids, reducing their toxicity.

2. Soluble fiber may reduce LDL cholesterol without lowering HDL cholesterol. LDL is bad; HDL is good.

3. Soluble fiber slows down the digestion of starch. This may be beneficial to diabetics because, when you slow down the digestion of starch, you avoid the sharp rises in your blood sugar level that usually occur following a meal.

4. It has been found that those who eat more oats are less likely to develop heart disease, a disease that is currently widespread in the United States.

5. The phytochemicals in oat may also have cancer-fighting properties.

6. Oats are a good source of many nutrients including vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium. Oats are also a good source of protein.

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There you have it. I may not be a raw foodist, but I am sold on the raw breakfast!

Blessings,

Mary

The Pain of Discipline vs. the Pain of Regret

I have several practices that I do on a regular basis: yoga, journal writing, and meditation. Over the holidays, and the time leading up to the holidays, my discipline at maintaining these practices has been slipping. As someone with a history of procrastination, I have had any number of reasons (read: excuses) as to why I cannot do any or all of them. Since I practice first thing in the morning, and right before bed, many of my excuses revolve around sleep.

“I stayed up too late last night, so I ‘m going to sleep a little later this morning.”

“I feel a cold coming on, so I am going to rest more to fight it off.”

“I have to finish reading this book so I can get it back to the library.”

Thinking of these three practices (yoga, meditation and journal writing), it can be difficult to measure the effects of doing or not doing them.  If I don’t brush my teeth before bed, it’s easy to relate that to furry teeth and horrible morning breath when I wake up.  If I don’t put my raw breakfast on to soak before I go to bed, I have to have something else to eat in the morning. But is the late afternoon headache coming on because I didn’t do yoga, or because I didn’t drink enough water today?  And am I irritable because I didn’t write in my journal or meditate last night, or because my hormones are changing with the onset of my moon time?

And then there is the guilt.  I made a commitment to myself to practice yoga at least three times a week, and to journal and meditate before bed at least 5 times a week.  If I can’t keep my commitments to myself, how trustworthy am I?  And if I am not keeping my commitments, I am not in alignment, and I am not attracting the things I want into my life.

Why did I make these commitments in the first place?  Yoga helps keep me flexible and is a good way of combating chronic plain.  Writing in my journal and meditating help me stay balanced emotionally, and help me feel calm and peaceful.  I am able to stay focused longer and accomplish more.  And frankly, I don’t like what I become when I am not practicing.

So while it may always seem easier to follow an excuse and not get up for yoga, or short myself on meditation time so I can get back into whatever book I am reading, I almost always end up regretting the decision.  Discipline is much more challenging to maintain, but it is so much easier to live with than the regret of not following the discipline.

Keep this in mind as you make your New Year’s Resolutions, if you partake in that ritual.  Will you be self-disciplined enough to keep your commitment?

Blessings,

Mary

PS. How do I best impart this lesson, which has taken me over 30 years to understand (and I still haven’t gotten it perfect!), to my young sons? 🙂