29 July 2012

Yoga's Place in the Workplace: Part 3

Today I return to my "Yoga's Place in the Workplace" series with the second yama (character-building restraint) called satya. (Please see Part 1 and Part 2 if you're curious about the others.)

The Basics of the Second Yama: Truth

Satya essentially means being a person with integrity, or one who's truthful and authentic. Deep down, most people know that outright lying is wrong, but there are many more subtle ways one might struggle with being truthful and authentic, especially in some of the professional, information-based work cultures of today. We spend a lot of time at work and with our colleagues, and unfortunately it is all too common to find heaps of stress, overwork, and lightning fast change, all happening within highly-collaborative yet competitive and/or reward-based  performance systems. 

When to Speak Up

In Part 2 I talked a bit about finding your passion and discovering your personal values. Being true to your personal values while working within the context of your company's values is definitely part of being authentic. For example, if your values are in conflict with your company's and you come home from work feeling "icky" every day, can you really say you're living an authentic life? If your company has values that you firmly believe in but see being violated by colleagues on a daily basis, are you being authentic if you don't speak up? Alternatively, if you're currently seeking employment, you need to know your personal values and ask interviewers good questions to assess whether their company's values and culture are in alignment with yours before taking the job.

When to Keep Quiet

Although many of us have the best of intentions, we may have started sharing too much. (Just look at some of the stuff that shows up on Facebook!) We might think we're being helpful in passing timely, relevant information along or by responding to requests quickly, but it's important to be able to distinguish when it might be more beneficial to hold back and assess the situation more deeply before speaking or acting. The 1835 poem by Beth Day is a beautiful reminder of the questions one should ask before deciding whether or not to speak with another person:
If you are tempted to reveal
A tale to you someone has told
About another, make it pass
Before you speak, three gates of gold.
These narrow gates: First, "is it true?"
Then, "is it needful?" In your mind
Give truthful answer.  And the next
Is last and narrowest, "Is it kind?"
And if to reach your lips at last
It passes through these gateways three,
Then you may tell the tale, nor fear,
What result of speech may be.
I've often seen this written in the following summarized form (likely for easier remembering):
  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it necessary?
  3. Is it kind?
If one answers "no" to any of these questions, the words should not be said. I especially like the idea of the third question or gate, because it ties nicely back to ahimsa, the first yama I discussed. And while it may be a somewhat arbitrary decision, determining whether certain words are "necessary" makes one pause and consider whether they are superfluous. Given how much information we (especially those of us working in high-tech industries) are bombarded with on a daily basis, this question is particularly interesting and may help to reduce the information overload many of us currently suffer from!  

How to Speak When You Do

When we do speak, communicating consciously and with compassion is critical to maintaining good working relationships. Having a positive intent is a start, but it's not always enough. We may have a difficult message to deliver (such as in a performance review), or a challenging question to pose to someone who's worked hard on a project, but how we say the words always has an effect on the listener. Even when we are frustrated with a colleague, we need to remember that it's very likely they're doing the best they can, and keep in mind they may be working within certain constraints or dealing with specific issues we may not be not privy to. "Tone" in media like e-mails, IMs, and other virtual forums can be especially challenging, so it's a good practice to take a moment to read our written words (perhaps aloud) as if we were the recipient, to see if any of our own triggers or background feelings are coming through in a way we don't really want.

I also see authenticity as a quality that's related to brahmacharya (energy management), which I discussed a few weeks ago. To be authentic, for example, I feel as though we have to take on only the commitments we truly have the energy to follow through on. We need to do what we say we will by the time we agreed to, or be honest and let our colleagues know as soon as we realize we won't make it. To me, no response to a request doesn't feel good, and so I like to be sure to get back to folks in a timely fashion, even if it's just to communicate, "I'm sorry, I'm swamped right now but I hear you and I promise to get back to you when I can."

Taking Responsibility for What's In the Background

The most challenging concept of satya (for me personally) might be the concept of owning feelings. I think times have changed, and many now acknowledge that feelings do show up in the workplace. Following the guidelines I offered above can help in developing sensitivity to co-workers' feelings and make them feel safe, but what about our own feelings and how they impact how we respond to our work environments? If we have triggers based on past work or personal experiences, they can and do show up in the office. I don't believe there's any way to compartmentalize people. We are whole, and have to manage our various parts (perhaps differently) in each of our environments. Identifying what our triggers are ahead of time, cultivating self-awareness so we can detect when they are having an impact on our integrity or authenticity, and taking steps to manage our feelings and responses to colleagues when they trigger us can go a long way in keeping our work relationships rewarding and productive.  

Daily Practice

For me, the easiest technique for practicing satya has been to think about the three questions. Try it next time you're in the office, and let me know how you make out!

22 July 2012

Princesses, Queens, and Life's Evolving Questions

Today is my birthday.

When I was about to turn 30, several people asked me how I felt about this milestone day. And I remember feeling completely at peace and content about it. There were no concerns, no worries about getting older. In fact, I felt empowered moving out of my 20s. I had a stable job. I owned my own condo. I had friends and fun dances to go to several nights a week. If I stayed home, it was because I wanted to, not because I had no one to hang out with. For the first time in my life, I acknowledged that I could be happy without having to be in a relationship. And, I started to understand that if I happened to be in one, I still had some control and choice about things would go.

But now that I'm inching closer to the next big milestone, I find myself asking deeper, more challenging questions. Things like:

  • What is my contribution to the world? What is my true calling?
  • Have I really let go of all that doesn't serve me? How do I dissolve fear?
  • How can I be of more service to others? How can I inspire other people?
  • Is it possible to fully feel desire, yet live a life of healthy moderation?
  • Does risk taking necessitate giving up all semblance of stability?
  • How can I experience life more fully? How can I die free of regrets?
In addition to tooling around the city and checking out one too many vegan and gluten free restaurants, I went to New York this weekend to attend a workshop offered by Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. The workshop was fantastic and contained more valuable pieces of information than I could share here, but I think one facet is particularly relevant. Marc shared with a rapt audience two archetypes of female energy: the princess and the queen.

He described a princess as a woman between 0-30 years old who is young, and thus largely unknown to herself. She is in need of validation and protection from outside. She's susceptible to "spells", or influences from others' opinions and suggestions. Her own negative thought patterns and beliefs can put her to "sleep", or cause her to suppress her feminine energy for the sake of being accepted and loved by others. Meanwhile, a queen is a woman who's 50 or older, who is powerful, wise, self-assured, regal. She knows what she wants. She can take care of herself, yet knows when and how to let others help her. She serves and is served. She is equal parts stability and vulnerability. Women between the ages of 30-40 are considered "late princess", and those 40-50 are "queens in training."

One interesting thing about these archetypes is the high value our society puts on princesses, and how it tends to devalue queens. Being young and skinny is something most women these days strive for, especially as they start to age. Instead of thinking about how to move gracefully into queen territory, some women attempt to retain their princess-like position with extreme dieting, exercise, potions and creams, or in more extreme cases, surgeries. If they have daughters, they may compete with them in princess territory, rather than focus on setting a good example of what it is to be a queen. Instead of surrendering to the uncertain, chaotic flow of life and nature that characterizes our inherent feminine energy, we can get caught up in the masculine energies of goal setting, striving, and competition in an attempt to hang onto our youth. We may keep "doing" things to fight against and control nature, instead of "being" in our queenly bodies with Mona Lisa-like smiles of deep wisdom on our faces.

Since I'm in the "late princess" category, I'm now thinking more about this. Are the deeper questions I'm asking the beginnings of my transition from princess to queen? Can those of us in such transitions resist society's influences and companies' marketing efforts to re-claim some lost queenly value, so future generations of women can have more quality role models? Can part of my contribution to the world be done by embracing my female energy more fully? Would doing so have other affects on my historically masculine-energized way of living?

Women, what do you think? Are you a princess or a queen? Is the energy you encourage and own more feminine or masculine? What does the world need more of? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Happy days to you all,

15 July 2012

6 Common Barriers to Meditation, and How To Overcome Them

Since I started leading a weekly meditation group a few months ago, I've chatted with lots of folks about meditation--both those who are interested (but don't attend) as well as those who do (but don't meditate on their own). Throughout those conversations, I've discovered that people are aware of meditation's numerous health benefits, and seem to truly believe that meditation would help them better navigate their lives. So why aren't they able to create a regular meditation practice? Below, I describe 6 common challenges and provide advice about how to overcome each of them.
  1. "I've never meditated before, and I don't know how or where to start."
    There are countless resources online and in bookstores about meditation these days, which can be overwhelming when you're just starting out. My advice? Don't get paralyzed by all the choices, just try one and see how it goes. If it works for you, awesome. If it doesn't, move on to another one. Ask friends or colleagues who meditate regularly what they use or do. Some resources I've found particularly useful include: Meditation Made Possible (CD or MP3 download), Opening the Heart meditation (recording and transcript), Guided Meditations for Love and Wisdom (CD and audio download), Guided Mindfulness Meditation (CD), and Simply Being (iPhone/iPad app).

  2. "I can't find the time to meditate. I'm just too busy!"
    I used to believe this myself, and there are two ways I overcame this barrier.

    First, let go of the idea that you have to spend a lot of time meditating (10-15 minutes is sufficient). It's more important to meditate consistently for short periods of time than it is to do it for sporadic but long periods of time. Why? Because what you're really trying to do is create a new habit. Dr. Lally's research about habits and weight loss showed that behaviors are established after 66 consecutive instances, and that skipping days actually decreases the likelihood of the habit forming.

    Second, incorporate meditation into your existing morning routine. Adding the new habit next to habits you already have will not only help your brain establish more connections to the new activity, but the regularity of being in your home, before you get busy with the day's events, will help you explore meditation safely and trigger you to meditate more often than if you were to leave the time and place to chance. Just think, all you might need to do is wake up 10 minutes earlier, and walk to your favorite chair! (See How Changing Habits Will Help You Create the Life You Desire for more easy-to-read details about Lally's habit study.)

  3. "I'm terrible at meditation. My mind wanders all over the place when I meditate."
    The key here is to understand and accept the fact that "good" and "bad" are just judgments the mind makes. A meditation is never good or bad--it just is. Again, what's important is that you just do it. If you need to track something about meditation to measure "success", track the days you do it vs. the days you don't, regardless of how you think it went. 

    Also, it's critical that as a beginner meditator you have an object of focus--something you can concentrate on and bring your attention back to whenever your mind goes elsewhere. That point of focus can be the breath (that you notice without judgment, or count inhalations and exhalations of), a phrase or affirmation (mantra) you repeat to yourself, or music that you can really listen to with your full attention. Many of the resources I've listed under barrier #1 above use these objects to help meditators concentrate.

  4. "I can't stay awake during meditation."
    I think this is is a fantastic barrier, because it highlights other potential health concerns we need to be aware of and address.

    If you frequently fall asleep during meditation, it can mean that you aren't getting enough sleep at night (which according to the restorative theory of sleep, is critical time for our minds and bodies to recover from the emotional and physical stresses we put on them during the day). Our bodies know how much sleep they need, but we don't often pay attention, and we often override that internal wisdom.

    Falling asleep during meditation can also signal that you aren't incorporating enough relaxation / down time throughout your day. In other words, if you only relax deeply before going to sleep, your mind-body will only associate relaxation with sleep, and therefore sleep will be a natural outcome of meditation. Yoga Nidra, or "yogic sleep" is what we aim for in meditation--remaining conscious yet deeply relaxed at the same time. (There are guided CDs and audio programs specifically around Yoga Nidra: Vandita's Transform, Relax, & Rejuvinate is my favorite.)

  5. "I've tried meditation, but it had the opposite effect of what it's supposed to. It made me anxious!"
    Again, letting to of what meditation is "supposed to" make you feel is a part of this, but there's much more.

    Many people, including myself, like to stay busy. We distract ourselves with socializing, technology, work, hobbies, etc. Unfortunately, this is often because there's something in our pasts that we are trying to run away from, or something in our present that we don't want to feel. Slowing down makes space for fears, emotions, and uncomfortable feelings to emerge, and then we have a choice: do we panic and shut them back out, or do we face them head on?

    A technique I learned in my Kripalu Yoga training, "Breathe, Relax, Feel, Watch, and Allow", has been very helpful. If you view yourself as a compassionate observer and can stay with the discomfort for just a few moments, you'll notice that it eventually dissolves. The more you do this, the stronger you'll get, and you'll find it easier to stay with your difficult feelings the next time they arise. However, be patient with yourself too--it's OK to sit with the emotion only as long as you can--the trick is to go a bit further than you're comfortable with each time, strengthening yourself little by little.

  6. "It's uncomfortable for me to sit, or I just can't sit still in meditation."
    Personally, the most I can ever muster for seated meditation is a half lotus, and only with great effort. (One of my hips is really open, the other really tight.) And, if you think you need to be in lotus or even half lotus position to meditate, this is an unnecessary restraint you're putting on yourself.

    Easy pose (sukhasana) and Diamond pose (vajrasana) are two other common, and easier seated poses that are great for meditation. If you still find discomfort in these seated postures, try raising your hips higher than your knees using several cushions or blankets. I have found that both positions, especially easy pose, are much more comfortable for me the higher I am off the ground. If these don't work for you, try Well-being pose (svastikasana). If all else fails, you can sit in a chair to meditate! Just sit on the edge, ensuring that your spine is straight and elongated, rather than slouching against the back.

    If you have trouble sitting not because of physical limitations but because of your mental activity, try making walking the focus of your meditation instead. You can find more information and instructions for walking meditation in this article. The Guided Meditations for Love and Wisdom CD I reference above also has a nice walking meditation. 
The Chopra  Center is offering a 21-day Meditation Challenge starting this coming Monday. Join me!

08 July 2012

Yogi at a Dance Convention

After not having set foot on a West Coast Swing dance floor for about 3 months, this past weekend I attended Boston Dance Challenge. I started doing this dance 10 years ago because I had a lot of spare time after getting my Master's degree, and I loved how it made me feel physically and emotionally. Many studies have shown that dancing is good for your health, but I can also attribute dancing to making me more social and outgoing; like yoga, I believe it has played a large part in changing the deepest "me".

Part of the reason I haven't been dancing lately has been because I had felt like it was always a choice to go dance or pursue my yogic practices. There seemed to be too many things at odds with one another in each of these passions. For Ayurveda and yoga, I get up early, I eat light and clean, I practice mindfulness and compassion. For dancing, I stay up until Ayurveda would have me wake, food and alcoholic drinks are a prevalent and constant temptation, not to mention all the competition, ego, judgement, and cliques that are the norm. 

But since yoga is really about a way of living in the world (99% of which happens off the mat), I decided to use this weekend as a test: could I be a yogi while participating in the hobby I used to enjoy so much? Here's some highlights of how it went.

Friday Evening
  • 8:30 pm: I arrive at the hotel, pleased as punch that I have two, like-minded and considerate roommates with whom to share the weekend. Space in the room is respectfully shared from the moment I arrive. I feel content, and set an intention to have fun this weekend.
  • 9:30 pm: While watching the first competition, I catch myself judging other dancers, trying to select who's in first, second, or third place, and making comments to nearby friends / observers about outfits and dancing (good and not so good). I vow to just sit and enjoy watching others express themselves while doing something that gives them pleasure. 
  • 10 pm: I remember how to spot while social dancing (there's no spinning in yoga!). My former dance partner (a vegan neuro-muscular massage therapist who's tickled at my yogic transformation) asks me, "are you the same person?" I smile confidently as I reply, "No, I'm not." Friends encourage me to compete tomorrow, and I know I need to make a decision by the morning.
  • 11 pm: Having gotten up at 5am, I feel jet-lagged. I decide I've had a long day, and turn in. (Something unheard of at a dance event.)
  • 6:15 am: After initially waking at 4 am, I'm fine with this. I get up and do some yoga, meditate, and decide to compete.
  • 9 am: I start to second guess my decision to compete, thinking it won't be worth the hit to my self esteem. I observe this indecisiveness as a pattern as of late, realize it's not good for me, and choose to just own the decision I made instead of doubting it. I feel better.
  • 12 pm: I am proud of myself for maintaining phase 3 of my Buddha cleanse, eating the lunch I brought with me.
  • 1 pm: I have the pleasure of attending a workshop with Arjay Centeno & Jennifer DeLuca, who surprise and inspire me by talking all about how important the breath is while dancing because it calms the body and enables communication with your partner. They have us breathe deeply in, pause slightly at the top, and exhale through our movements. I'm so excited and grateful I almost can't contain myself. 
  • 3:15 pm: I spend the next several hours trying to find my full yogic breath while social dancing in between comps. Initially it's distracting, and I can't do that and keep my steps. But after a short time, I start to find it to be seriously grounding. Just what I need. I do feel as though my breath can breathe life into my dance!
  • 4:30 pm: My roommate and I rush to get ready for comps. We'd been chatting about this amazing rhythmic yoga flow and completely lost track of time. I have 3 really fun dances, where I breathe and feel comfortable in my body while on the competition floor. (Competing without freaking out has been an issue for me for as long as I've been doing these events.)
  • 5 pm: Some friends get called back for Novice semis. I quickly run to the restroom so I can be back in time to watch them dance. When I emerge from the stall, I see a wall of urinals and a close friend says, "Jen, you in the right place?" I panic and run out, amazed at how un-mindful I'd been. I continue this pattern by nearly sitting on a guy's lap when I get back into the ballroom because he'd taken my chair. My friends think all this is hysterical. 
  • 6:15 pm: A pro tells me and  a friend / fellow competitor that we looked good on the floor. I start to have hopes of making finals.
  • 7 pm: I realize once 5 of us arrive at the Green Land Cafe for dinner that I've screwed up the reservation and we don't have one. My friends are so kind (reminding me also of my earlier restroom mishap) and the restaurant is accommodating. I breathe with the discomfort of not being perfect, and try to accept that that's really OK.  My friends love me anyway.
  • 8 pm: I find out I'm only one of three other girls cut completely from the finals list. Part of me says, "of course, you haven't danced in 3 months, what do you expect?" Another part is sad and disappointed. Yet another is thrilled for my roommate, who did make the cut. Behind it all, my true Self is amazed I'm actually remembering my yoga training and starting to allow myself to feel each layer of my emotions.
  • 9 pm: I'm really tired. One of my roommates talks me out of breaking my Buddha cleanse with a coffee. I decide to do Viparita Karani instead, but never end up actually doing it.
  • 9:30 - 11 pm: I do battle with my "itty bitty shitty committee". My roommate tells me to dance with this advanced guy--I do, and while it was fine, I still feel like it was a "pity dance". When she wants to teach yoga with me at dance events, I wonder why. I want to eat something I shouldn't. I doubt my ability to be a good dancer, a good yoga teacher, to maintain a healthy body. I see a woman who I've had issues with in the past and this riles me up. I reluctantly dance with the beginner who keeps asking me, and wonder why on earth he's so persistent. Then suddenly I remember my intention for the weekend: FUN!
  • 11 pm: I'm exhausted again, but vow not to cave in and go to bed. Who knows when I'll be out dancing again, and darn it, I'm going to have fun!
  • 11:30 pm: I complain to a friend about the dude who's selling dance shoes, because he's been saying wacky things to me about buying something every time I pass his tables. Soon after I feel like maybe I could be more light-hearted about it.  
  • 12:30 am: I have good dances with old friends and new partners. I get a second wind. I focus on having a good time. I marvel at how applicable my Kripalu yoga training is: emotions really are just waves one has to ride; the amount of time between them just varies, as does their magnitude.
  • 2:30 am: I kindly explain to the beginner who has been asking me to dance repeatedly that I'm really flattered but there are a lot of people I haven't seen in awhile who I'd like to dance with. He takes it well, and I don't feel like I've been a dance snob.
  • 3:30 am: I'm tickled when a pro I like starts running around the social floor with a child-like grin on his face, cutting in on random couples and stealing followers for a few passes. They must be tickled too!
  • 4 am: I haven't been on the floor in about 45 minutes, and so I decide to call it a night. A respectable time for a dance event. I feel proud of myself.

  • 9 am: I wake after having had less than 5 hours of sleep, which I know is less than what my body needs. I see one of my roommates on her yoga mat, and get down on the floor myself. I hear her Ujjayi breathing and start my own short flow, listening to what my body needs me to pay attention to after all that dancing. I smile when I glance up and see we are in similar postures I feel very connected to her.
  • 10 am: Rather than getting anxious about having to leave the hotel room by the 11 am checkout time, the three of us work together perfectly to all get showers and pack up in time. I'm feeling even more grateful that these lovely people are in my life.
  • 11 am: After taking half my suitcase outside, I'm too enamored by the beautiful sunny day to spend it sitting or dancing in the ballroom. After checking with my roommate that she'd be OK with me missing her dance this afternoon, I say some other goodbyes. One couple tells me I should have taught a morning yoga class, and that they were not willing to go to the gym but would have done yoga; I agree and hope to offer something next year.
  • 3:30 pm: I write this blog, and feel like yes, I could do another dance event, AND balance it with keeping true to my yoga practices. In fact, as with anything else in life, YOGA JUST HELPS.
  • 7 pm: I find out my roommate placed 5th, and a dear friend came in 1st place. I text them both back with a big smile on my face, sending them my love as part of celebrating their success.

01 July 2012

Nourishing Myself Like a Buddha

The Inspiring Book
A few months ago, a fellow yogi was reading If the Buddha Came to Dinner. I was interested but reading some other things at the time, but a few weeks ago, I finally got around to buying my own copy.

The verdict? I think this is an excellent book and I highly recommend it. The first half explores what nourishment really is (hint: it's more than just food!), and potential to transform us not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Schatz' content aligns nicely with the Ayurvedic practices and seasonal eating I'd already been exploring, and also includes easy-to-understand diagrams about food combining. Quite frankly, this was a concept that used to intimidate me because I worried it was too complicated. (No more! :-) The first half also includes a simple cleanse that gives readers lots of freedom, both in how long to do each phase and in what to eat. The second part of the book contains fabulous, easy-to-make recipes that support good nutrition whether or not readers do the cleanse, and automatically follow the food combining principles.

Cleanse Basics & Initial Fears
Given that I have been having digestive issues of late, I was already considering completely eliminating dairy or gluten. So, the idea of this cleanse came at the perfect time. For the food part, it basically looks like this:
  • Phase 1: fruits and vegetables only
  • Phase 2: addition of grains (with vegetables), seeds and nuts (eaten separately)
  • Phase 3: addition of proteins (with vegetables, but not grains)
Being hypoglycemic my whole life, I've always been taught to eat lots and lots of protein, and as much as I've tried to deny it, I'm a carb junkie underneath. I worry about the sugar in fruit. The cynical part of me wondered how on earth would I survive on just fruits and vegetables! But, although I originally planned on doing an abbreviated version of the cleanse (each phase can be 2-6 days), I became curious about whether all of this fear was just in my mind.

A Week of Discovery
Monday was my start day, and I won't lie--it was rough! I thought I'd be fine because I eat healthy (no caffeine, processed foods, etc.) but the previous day my husband and I had celebrated his birthday, feasting (and instantly regretting!) really bad dim sum for lunch. Oh, and then I had a little bowl of real ice cream for the first time in ages (which was awesome!). So day one, I got a terrible headache and wave of tiredness a little after lunchtime; I decided the cleanse was doing its job. Things didn't improve, and I went to bed at 8pm. Here are some interesting takeaways from this day:
  • My stomach issues flared up--when I inhaled my food.
  • Being tired or upset with myself made me crave sweets
Fortunately, days two through six were much smoother. I:
  • Experienced more instances of eating too fast or un-mindfully causing my stomach issues
  • Noticed how I ate because the clock said to (overriding my body's wisdom about whether or not I was hungry)
  • Had nightmares that I considered to be good (i.e. psychic cleansing)
  • Talked myself out of a really cranky / annoyed mood, and felt really balanced after
  • Continued to be surprised at just how much water my body seems to need to be hydrated, and how thirst often masqueraded as hunger or showed up as a headache
  • Once again saw how boredom made me crave things
  • Allowed feelings of upset to run their course rather than try to push them away, and they seemed to dissipate easily
  • Realized that maybe my body and mind are more tired that I allow myself to feel
Most of these I already knew on some level, reminding me of Autobiography in Five Short Chapters. However, I had to really restrain myself about ending the last item with an exclamation point.

The other thing I want to point out is that with this cleanse, I did nothing different about my workouts. Actually, that's not true. Every day I've run, I've run further, and easier (though that might also be because of yoga).  I expected that the lack of protein would be a real problem, and turns out if was just another figment of my imagination.

So How About That Fruit?
While Schatz' hash browns with avocado slices were also something I never thought I could eat for breakfast, they held me just fine, and so for two of the six days, I tried a fruit bowl for breakfast instead. I had a bowl of 1/2 apple, 1/2 pear, 1/2 banana and a sprinkling of dried currants. I eat breakfast between 8-8:30 am every day, and wouldn't you know it, that held me until lunch, which happened to be 12:45 that particular day! It's amazing what tricks the mind can play on us.

Surrendering to Whatever is Next
Today I began phase two, and honestly I am a little nervous about adding grains. Schatz encourages readers to pay attention to how they feel two to three hours afterwards, to see if grains fuel the body or contribute to cravings. I like having the opportunity for heightened awareness that phase one provided, and plan to take advantage of it. I'm also worried about the seeds and nuts, because I love their crunchy texture and did miss them a few times during phase one. I guess time will tell whether these fears are justified, or just more of my mind playing tricks on me. :-)