Tag Archives: giving thanks

Fall: Time to Celebrate How Far We’ve Come This Year!

With the fall equinox just a week behind us, it already feels like we’re deep into fall.  The equinox is one of my favorite times of the year, with a perfect balance of light and dark in the day. Now, the days are getting shorter,the leaves are turning and we’ve had to turn on the heat every night this week. Oh, also, we’ve already had many people bitching about the cold weather on facebook (what are you guys going to do when it snows?) ,

I’ve always loved fall. I love the colors, the back to school energy, the fact that Halloween (my favorite holiday) is right around the corner! I also love the return of scarves, my favorite clothing item!! My studies this year have given me an even greater appreciation of the turning of the seasons, and what they represent. The fall equinox is a harvest festival, when we get to reap the seeds we’ve sown throughout the year. It’s a fantastic time to take a minute to appreciate all the work you’ve done, and honor how far you’ve come.

I woke up the day after the Equinox with a very deep knowing that I am going to write a book about this year. It’s actually going to be my next project. I’ve always had the idea that I would write about this experience in the back of my mind but it didn’t occur to me that the prime time to do it will be right after I complete the year, while it’s fresh.

It’s an exciting feeling. When I think about it, I can feel this energy coursing through me. I’m sure it’s going to be a pain in the butt, but writing is a book is definitely on my bucket list. I was always just waiting till the time was right and I had something to say. Well, it’s been such a hell of a year so far, I have lots to talk about, and the year ain’t over yet. More adventures are just around the corner. But I’ve traveled all over the world, and deep into my inner landscape. I’m confident that I have some interesting stories to share. I also think it will be an amazing opportunity to really digest and appreciate the crazy amount of growth as a person I’ve had this year. Thinking back and reflecting on things isn’t my forte, so this will be an additional layer of growth for me personally. I’m sure the insights I’ve gained this year will be deepened through the process of recollecting and reflection.

Even though it’s not usually in my nature to stop and reflect, I’ve been guided through the process throughout these last few weeks in some of the classes I’m taking. It’s been incredible and exhilarating to look back at what I’ve done this last year seeing how I’ve grown and developed, and what I’ve learned.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to do the same today.

Look at where you were at  the beginning of the year. What have you accomplished? What have you learned? How have you grown? Take some time to pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you’ve put in! In fact, let me pat you on the back too. You’ve done a great job my friend. Even if you’ve had a rough time of it, you’re surviving, learning and most importantly, you’re still breathing, so you have the chance to integrate all you’ve learned as you go forward.

Earth school is tough. Just the fact that you’re here makes you a brave warrior soul, slogging it out in this dense energy in order to learn and grow for your soul’s evolution.

Let’s celebrate that together!

 Me Last year at Hawrelak park by Stephanie Toast
Me Last year at Hawrelak park by Stephanie Toast

Culinary Gratitude

Food and I are on good terms nowadays.

These last few months of really listening to my body has (inevitably) lead me to healthier choices and I’ve stopped eating foods that disagree with me. It’s really nice to sit down to a meal without feeling conflicted about eating it, and it’s even nicer to not feel guilty after eating.  After years of fighting with my body and my conscience about food, it feels really good to feel good about what I’m putting inside me. I’ve always been a comfort and stress eater, and I’ve always loved food of all kinds, but not all of them loved me back (specifically wheat, dairy and refined sugar).

I’m not gonna lie. It  was hard to imagine giving up certain foods… I knew for years that my body wasn’t as OK with dairy as I pretended it was, but it didn’t make me feel as bad as wheat did, so I ignored that fact. I also didn’t want to live without ice cream but once I really started to pay attention to what foods made me feel good and nourished, it got easier. Once I cleaned up my eating, every time I chose to eat something my body didn’t like, I felt awful! I mean, physically just awful. My stomach protested and I felt gross. I won’t go into the details, but suffice to say, it was stinky.  Since I really hate feeling gross, the negative reinforcement has been super effective!

It’s taken 30 years, but I finally (for the most part) I pretty much only crave foods that make me feel good instead of terrible! I’m okay switching out dairy for coconut milk ice cream and sorbets, and to just go with goat cheese instead of cow’s milk cheeses. I’ve developed a taste for raw chocolate and fruit is sweet enough to satisfy me as dessert. I do need a certain amount of fat in a meal though, or I feel completely unsatisfied.

I’ve also started expressing my gratitude to my food. It’s come naturally as I’ve started to really appreciate how nourishing the right foods are to me, but I was inspired when I ate with a women in Bali who took a few seconds to bless her food before eating it. I know it’s a time honored tradition to bless food before eating it, but it’s one that I thought was kind of stupid when I was younger. Probably because it delayed the meal and I was usually eager to dive right in! I didn’t like to contemplate what I was about to eat and I’m sure part of that was because I was ignoring messages about how food was making me feel. I used to sneak food as a kid, especially chocolate and biscuits. I knew what I was doing was wrong on several levels, but sneaking it made me feel like I was getting away with something.

Now I try to remember to bless everything I eat. It’s a practice that really has been helping me with mindfulness.  I hold my hands close to the food, sending love and gratitude into it. Sometimes I use Reiki energy, and sometimes I silently say a prayer of thanks. Taking a few seconds to really pay attention to my food before I shove it into my face forces me to slow down and appreciate it. I’m pretty sure it makes it taste better too. Or maybe that’s just a function of slowing down long enough to really taste it. Either way, I’m grateful.