Monday Morsels 3/10/14

How To Live Your Life in Flow State

Happy Monday, wellness people! While perusing my Facebook feed last week, I came across a brilliant image that presented this idea called the “flow state’, which is defined as the state in which you reach a balance between two things:

  • Being happy in the now
  • Having a vision of the future

You are most productive and effective when in this “flow state”.

I love everything about this image, from the lingo (blisscipline, Brules), to its core values.

It really speaks to me. Since quitting my old job last year, I have enrolled in a holistic nutrition school, started this blog, and landed a newer, better job at a really great company. My life has been a bit of a juggling act, but I have never been happier with where I am in my life both personally and professionally. At times, I do find myself overwhelmed.  There are so many directions I want to take, and I question whether I should be pursuing the paths that I am. However, giving myself fully–my time, my energy–to my passions in life, as tiring as it can be, energizes, fulfills, and excites me.

This visual puts things into perspective and reminds me that I’m on the right path.

If you’re curious, the visual above is based on Vishen Lakhiani‘s brilliant talk called “Why Happiness is the New Productivity”. It is worth your time and I highly recommend watching it here.

In the spirit of “trusting the journey”, I want to leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs.

In 2005, a cousin of mine graduated from Stanford which was the same year that Steve Job’s was a guest speaker. I was fortunate enough to hear his speech. Something he said that day always stuck with me:

 …you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. – Steve Jobs

Love and light,

vm

Monday Morsels 2/10/14

As Valentine’s Day rolls in, I thought it would be fitting for this edition of Monday Morsels to discuss…are you ready for it?

Hacking the Secret to Long Term Desire

I saw a very thought-provoking video on YouTube the other day by Shots of Awe aka Jason Silva.

In this video, Jason Silva summarizes Esther Perel’s TED Talk which explores the keys to long-term desire. Esther Perel is a world-renowned therapist, speaker and author.

Takeaways:

  • Most people are attracted to their partners when they are able to view them as a self-sustaining person rather than one half of themselves.
  • You must create space to maintain desire. Perel describes it as looking at your partner from a comfortable distance. You know this person deeply, yet momentarily, they appear a bit mysterious.

So how do you maintain this comfortable space and mystery? And how do you ensure that you are a self-sustaining individual?

An individual can do this by staying connected to their unique identity which is comprised of their own passions, interests, friends, family, and goals.

It can be quite easy to lose your identity in a relationship as you might find yourself wanting to revolve your life around your partner. (I know I’ve definitely done this.)  Staying connected to your own identity makes you a more well-rounded, self-sustaining, fulfilled, and interesting person, which ultimately enriches your life as a couple and is just plain attractive.

I’ve only scratched the surface of Esther Perel’s very thought-provoking TED Talk. You can watch it here.

DIY Raw Strawberry Cream Truffles

Why buy overpriced Valentine’s day chocolate when you can make your own at home? Kassie of Cloudy Apples on YouTube shared a great recipe for raw strawberry cream truffles which include super clean ingredients such as raw almonds, dates, cacao powder, sea salt, and coconut oil. They look delicious. See?


You can find her detailed recipe here.

Enjoy,

vm

Monday Morsels 2/3/14

Happy February and welcome to another edition of Monday Morsels!

Does anyone else like to watch Groundhog Day when February rolls around? Is it really just me?

How do you not love Punxsutawney Phil?

This edition of Monday Morsels is about self-authenticity and the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment.

Quitting my corporate job and deciding to go back to school to study holistic nutrition was one of the most life-altering, challenging, and rewarding decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Up until this point, I lived my life trying to fulfill the standards and expectations that others set for me. Deep down inside, I always knew that I wasn’t being honest with myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that I became relatively successful taking that road, and the challenges that accompanied it have molded me into the person I am today. However, living with authenticity feels incredibly powerful. I draw such energy and joy in pursuing my own dreams.

What’s driving you in your life? Does your career fulfill and excite you? If not, why? Is there something else you’ve always wanted to pursue but are hesitant to?

Are you living to fulfill someone else’s dream, or are you living to fulfill your own dreams?

These two articles really inspired and motivated me. They hit home and I hope you draw some inspiration from them too.

click here:

I Took A Pay Cut To Pursue My Dream

and here:

The Asian American Quarter-Life Crisis

Goal Setting for the New Year

Happy New Year! How have the first few weeks of 2014 been treating you? They’ve been great to me so far. I got back in touch with old friends who I had not seen in a long time. This past weekend, I attended Chris Kresser‘s book signing for the launch of Your Personal Paleo Code.  I’m currently reading it and am so excited for this book’s release as it has the potential to transform so many lives. Stay tuned for a book review post.

New Years Eve was spent low key. My boyfriend went almost an entire year without getting sick, and then in the final days of 2013, he came down with a really bad cold. Figures, right?

On New Years Day, we sat down together and recapped the most memorable events of 2013, and what our goals and aspirations are for the new year. It was my idea, and I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but I feel like big things will happen in 2014, and they won’t just happen on their own. I have to put plans into action and develop habits that will contribute to developing those plans. He was completely open to doing this exercise with me–and just as a side note–I feel incredibly lucky to have a partner in life whom I can discuss absolutely anything and everything with. Not to toot our own horn (*toot, toot*), but I feel like our open lines of communication make us a strong and healthy couple. At any given moment, we know where the other person stands, and if we don’t know? We just ask. Communication is key and it makes us even more supportive of each other’s plans and ambitions. I cherish this because I know that not every couple has this, and like all good things in life, it takes work.

I want to share some tips on goal setting for the new year. These tips are very simple, but can make all the difference.

1. Set goals that are measurable.

You’re setting yourself up for failure if your goal is “to exercise more”. That goal does not allow you to keep yourself accountable. Instead, set a goal that is measurable, such as “exercise four times each week”. The simple measurement of “four times each week” provides a benchmark, and doesn’t allow you to get lazy with your goal. You know very well if you hit four workouts or not. Thus, you know if you failed or if you succeeded, and exactly how much harder you need to work if you have fallen off track.

2. Tell someone about your goal.

By communicating your goals, you are creating a support system for yourself, and are simultaneously having that person’s knowledge of your goal keep you accountable. It’s embarrassing to declare an elaborate goal but have nothing to show for it in the end, isn’t it? It’s not enough to set a goal and keep it a secret. At our weakest moments, we will think, “that’s too hard”, “I don’t have enough time”, “I wasn’t being serious when I made that goal”, or “there’s always next year”. Your support system can lift you up when you are down and can remind you of what’s really important to you.  And honestly, at least for me, the potential embarrassment of having nothing to show for is a pretty good motivator.

3. Set realistic goals.

Make sure what you’re striving for is actually feasible given the constraints of time, money, and other factors. Start off by thinking about your ultimate goal, and then break it down by considering what it will take to get there. How many months will it take? What certain things need to happen in order for you to get there? Do you have to meet the right contacts? How will you meet them? Do you need to have x amount of money? How much energy and time will you need to devote to it on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis? This information will be helpful in successfully setting and meeting your goals.

4. Reevaluate your goals in predetermined time frames.

Keep tabs on yourself by formally sitting down and evaluating how you’re doing. This might be a good time to tweak (not twerk, that’s something different) some of your goals.

Personally, I plan to evaluate myself on a monthly basis just by reviewing my goals and progress on my own. On a quarterly basis, I plan to talk to my boyfriend about our goals individually and as a couple and how we’re doing, much like we did on January 1st of this year.

A Few of My Goals

I won’t reveal all my goals with you, Internet friend, but here are just a few:

  • I will devote my time and energy to this blog. It’s something I really love as a creative outlet and something that reinforces my values and the path that I am on. Be prepared to see at least six posts each month from me. Boom, it’s out there.
  • Read one book every two months. Some of you might be like, “Really? That’s it?”  Yes, really.  I typically don’t make time to properly sit down and read a book during my free time. But I am going to change that.  Baby steps.
  • Attend A Night For Green Beauty.  Last year’s event was held in September in NYC hosted by La Bella Figura. It was an event that brought green beauty bloggers and green beauty lovers together in support of a common cause.  Here’s what The La Bella Figura team had to say about the event:

“A Night For Green Beauty is what we decided to call our revolutionary concept because we feel the time for clean, non-toxic beauty products is now and we want to celebrate how far we’ve come and how it’s no longer just about the fear of parabens, chemicals or other scary stuff, but about quality, effectiveness and glamour back on your vanity table and in your handbags. The days of patchouli scented everything are gone and now we’re delving into luxurious face oils made with fair trade and organic fruit and vegetable oils, rich creams and efficacious face masks that bring radiance and health back to lackluster skin just as well or even better as the conventional products we’ve been using for ages.”

Nontoxic beauty and skin care have become passions of mine and it would be a dream to hang out with like-minded ladies, such as Katie, Britanie, and Garcy.

What are your goals for the new year?

Times that the universe conspired to help me

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. ” – Paulo Coelho

I was 20 when I first heard this powerful quote. It was the summer after I had finished my sophomore year of college and I took up a sales job which often came with several inspirational self-improvement type of talks from management. During these sales meetings, I ate these talks right up. These type of quotes fired me up for the first time in my life not only because they were inspiring, but because time after time, I found truth in them. And I found trust and accountability in myself as well as pride in my own efforts. Once I established my goals, and went full throttle and fully applied myself towards achieving them, I eventually reached my goals. Along the way, I experienced quite a few too-good-to-be-true “magical” moments. Ones that really did feel like the universe was conspiring to help me.

Eight years later (spoiler alert: I’m 28), I’m rediscovering this quote at a very fitting point in my life. As I had mentioned in my previous post, 2013 has been the most difficult year of my life. I became very ill with Histamine Intolerance along with SIBO and a cryptosporidium gut infection, all of which wreaked havoc on my adrenals and hormones. I’ll get into my condition more another day, as it is not my main focus in today’s post.

The point that I’m attempting to reach is that in this very scary and dark point in my life, I was forced to reevaluate my entire life. At first, the reevaluation was about food intake, sleep sufficiency, stress reduction, and questioning the intense exercise I had been doing regularly while sleep deprived. Then it got deeper. Am I happy? Do I feel fulfilled? If not, why? Was my corporate accounting job stressing me out to the point of illness? I was definitely happy in my personal life, and I kept answering “no” to that last question. Truthfully, it wasn’t a stressful job. I felt like I knew exactly what I was doing, and that I was good at what I was doing all while working towards a financially stable career. But day in and day out, I wasn’t satisfied with how I was spending my time. I looked back at the 8 hours of account reconciliation and journal entry posting and felt so unsatisfied that I was hunched over at a computer all day not contributing to something that I truly valued in life. I started to realize that most days, I wouldn’t say more than three peeps to anyone. I had a sneaking suspicion that I might be meant for something else in life.

Meanwhile, no doctor or allergist could explain to me why I was experiencing borderline anaphylactic shock reactions to certain foods, why I often felt faint, why I had trouble breathing, why I got persistent head aches, or why I couldn’t sleep most nights even though I felt like a zombie at work most days. I had to roll up my sleeves, wipe my tears of fear and frustration away, and google my heart out. One night, unable to sleep due to massive chest pains and heartburn, I googled my way on over to an article Chris Kresser wrote on Histamine Intolerance. I made a mental check mark next to nearly every symptom he mentioned. Order was restored in my universe once again, and I breathed a sigh of relief and may have even cried a joyful tear. However, that joy didn’t last. I was still very sick and still had to treat myself through implementing a very restrictive and tricky diet (as the only effective treatment known today is a drastic change in diet). It was clear that I HAD to contact Chris Kresser to seek out his help. Little did I know, that in a very ill market of people who have no idea where to turn, he is the guy that is highly in demand. I got put on a waiting list with an estimated wait time of four months or more (aka an eternity, at the time).

I got lucky and was seen in three months. During those three months, I dove deeper into learning about food intolerance, gut flora imbalance, intestinal pathogens, the GAPS diet, the SCD diet, why Paleo works, the Low Histamine Chef, the blood brain barrier, leaky gut syndrome, adrenal fatigue, probiotics, SIBO, stress management, meditation, yoga, wellness, grassfed beef, pastured eggs, bone broth, ghee, etc etc. Due to the nature of a low histamine diet, my life revolved around what I was going to cook and eat for my next meal. Slowly but surely, my symptoms weakened. I began to sleep soundly after years of grogginess and sleep deprivation. And above all else, I experienced the healing power of food.

Fast forward to today, eight months later, I’m still ill, but getting better every day. I quit my accounting gig and am pursuing a career change to holistic nutrition. Quitting my job was equal parts incredibly liberating and incredibly frightening. I’m walking away from a financially stable career and starting another career that offers no promise of success?? Despite my fears, I had to jump ship. I had been through too much, learned too much, became passionate about too much to ignore my innermost desires to help others who are experiencing what I was.

School starts Spring of 2014. In the meantime, I am working towards my CPA license while working part time. It’s still scary to think about what I will do once I become a certified nutrition consultant. There are many unknowns. How will I start my business? Will I join an existing practice first? Who will I work with? Will it pay the bills? I know it won’t be easy. But I know I will figure it out.

I have been immersing myself in reading up on holistic nutrition and following the work of those who I admire in the industry to learn of how they got started. One fateful day, I was listening to the Balanced Bites podcast and the guest interviewee was a woman who had nearly the exact same background as me! Former accountant turned nutrition coach. After listening to the interview, my main take away was “Wow, what a coincidence. If she can do it, so can I”.

A week later, I listened to a talk on YouTube given by Ramit Sethi about how to get your dream job. A facebook friend of mine ‘liked’ the talk, and I clicked on the link because the topic was relevant to my current situation. His talk was all about taking charge of your destiny. Not about applying for jobs, sending out resumes, and hoping for a call back. But about contacting people, connecting with people directly, and carving a path for yourself. That same day, I sent out a handful of emails to nutrition professionals who I admire in the industry asking if they had any internship opportunities available. Among these professionals was the woman who was featured on the Balanced Bites podcast I had listened to a week earlier. To my delight, she replied very warmly, seemed to like my story, and appeared genuinely surprised at how similar our backgrounds were. We met today and got along quite well. She is revamping her business offerings and is happy to bring me on board to experience and help with the process of it!

I can’t stress in words how elated I am to know that I took the initiative, made a few decisions, and as a result, worlds collided, stars aligned, and a great opportunity was born.

I thought I was going to limit this post to one cheesy quote. But here’s another one: Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I don’t necessarily believe in fate. But I do believe that happy coincidences or lucky chances occur in life. You just have to pay attention and be prepared for these moments in order for them to work in your favor. In no way do I feel like I’ve made it yet, but I feel as though I’ve taken the first step on my new career path in holistic nutrition. I’m excited for what’s to come.

I’m going to file this one under “times that the universe conspired to help me”.