Or how to avoid a grumpy path…
By way of introduction
I’m very seldom in a foul mood, but late yesterday afternoon I spent 20 minutes stuck in traffic in the supermarket car park, after I’d spent too many hours in front of my laptop, without a break. I scowled. I cursed. Not at other people, but myself. For not listening to either my rational mind, which had told me that 4.30pm on the day before Easter was not the smartest time, or my intuition which had hollered “Woop! Woop! Pull up!” as we motored towards the supermarket.
Forty minutes later, as I dropped the three items I’d bought on the kitchen table, my evening could have gone either way. I could have eaten too much potato (Irish ancestry), watched crappy television and stayed grumpy. Or not….
Three very simple things
Three very simple things prevented me from continuing on my grumpy path.
The first thing I did, before any further grumpiness and lethargy could set in, was to head out for for a walk in the botanical gardens. The second was half an hour of yoga. The third was assembling a delicious salad, from a fridge and fruit bowl full of fresh local produce.
Three women you should know more about
I have three women to thank for helping me make a happier and healthier choice remarkably easily.
Marianne Elliot and 30 Days of Yoga
After years of occasional yoga classes, in October last year I took part in Marianne Elliot’s 30 Days of Yoga course.
Marianne Elliott is a change-maker, a human rights advocate, a yoga teacher and a writer. She is the creator of 30 days of yoga: an online course to establish a regular home practice of yoga and to build a kinder relationship with your own body. She is currently writing a memoir about her life as a UN peacekeeper in Afghanistan. And as of today, she is now a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
In Marianne’s own words, “30 days of yoga is an online program designed to give you everything you need to begin (or restart) a regular practice of yoga in the comfort of your own home. All you need to bring is the intention to give yourself what you need and the willingness to be a bit kinder to yourself than you might generally be.”
One of the key lessons I’ve learned from 30 Days of Yoga is the benefit of simply showing up on the mat. Carving out some space and time for embodied practice. Even if only for 10 minutes. In ways I find difficult to articulate, it has has become an essential ingredient in my recipe for self-nourishment. It has strengthened my body and my intuition. And I have no doubt that because of Marianne’s course, and the practice I have embedded into my daily life as a result, I am more attuned to my self. The decision to go for a walk in the gardens I can link directly to time on the mat.
To experience a taste of what Marianne has to offer, I suggest you start here with her Free Easy-Breezy Do-It-In-Your-Chair Yoga Class http://marianne-elliott.com/easy-breezy-do-it-in-your-chair-yoga/
Nicola Cranfield and Brooklyn Kitchen
I met Nicola a couple of months ago and soon afterwards invited her to speak at a NourisHer evening. After years as a corporate accountant, interior design and extensive travel, Nicola has established the Brooklyn Kitchen in Wellington and is following her bliss coaching people in healthy living, particularly food and wellbeing. You can learn more about Nicola and the services she offers through the Brooklyn Kitchen by clicking on her logo, but the key learning I’ve taken away from my conversations with Nicola, is the importance of tuning into how you respond to food.
As Nicola points out, there is a sea of information on food and health and diets out there, and what works for you may not work for me. However what will work for me (and you), is paying attention. For example, I love fresh, warm French baguette and yet I know that my tummy doesn’t. It’s not that I’m allergic to gluten, but I don’t digest the bread easily. The intolerance wouldn’t necessarily stop me from enjoying a slice if I was sitting in a cafe in Paris, but faced with a choice between quinoa salad for lunch and a baguette with cheese, I’ll go for the salad.
As is also the case with Marianne, what Nicola does with warmth, wisdom and kindness, is suggest that we pay a little more attention to ourselves. And she is able to give very sensible pieces of advice which are easy to digest and won’t weigh you down.
And so, when I stood in the kitchen yesterday evening, listening to my mind-body, knowing that it needed to walk and stretch, I also knew that the food I ate would directly affect my mood. Quite simply, I would feel better, lighter, happier, after eating a salad. Which brings me to the third woman who helped me avoid a grumpy path.
Jo Freeman and Urban Harvest
In the spirit of transparency, let me say that I spend half of my week working with Jo, marketing Urban Harvest, the online fresh food market she founded here in Wellington just over a year ago. But might I also point out that I was a customer before I became a contractor!
As a woman with a tremendous amount on her own plate (family, voluntary work, a one year old business) Jo is her own target market. She knows, only too well, how important it is to source local good food easily. With every cell in her being, Jo believes in Urban Harvest’s mantra ‘feeding you well, saving you time, making life simple’.
And so do I. I love food. A perfect holiday for me is one which includes wandering through farmers’ markets. But for most of the year I’m not on holiday and my days are full. I actually don’t want to even really think about food. I want to go home and know that I have the ingredients with which to whip up something fresh, nutritious and delicious, pronto.
Rock on, Urban Harvest. Thanks to Jo, and the courage she had in founding Urban Harvest (in a recession, I might add), once a week I take home with me a big red chiller bag full of fresh produce. Most weeks, it contains a dozen free range eggs, the organic fruit & vege box, gluten free bread, fresh fish and a treat. I may well have devoured the treat earlier in the week, but the kitchen was still bountiful last night and in the serene wake of yoga, a salad all but assembled itself in front of me.
Authentic with a capital A
If my purpose has a recipe, I suspect it’s this: discover, create, connect, communicate, nourish. Or something to that affect.
It has been a joy discovering Jo and Marianne and Nicola. I consider myself to be very lucky indeed that each week I work with Jo. And that most weeks, I walk with Marianne and drink tea with Nicola. These women walk their talk, each is in her element.
Knowing these women nourishes me. Connecting you with them, so that they may also nourish you, nourishes me too.