Categories: Kristin's Earlier Blogs, About Kristin
There is a yoga meditation practice called breath counting. In this practice, one simply sits comfortably with attention and awareness focused on the edges of the nostrils, where the breath is exhaled. The practice involves breathing in and out quietly, focusing on that point. With each exhalation, begin counting one... two... three... and so on up to ten. All mental attention is focused completely on counting. Once ten is reached, begin again.
Sounds easy, right? However... many people discover that after the number two or three... thoughts and other mental distractions begin to creep in. When one’s mind notices these distractions, just start over ...counting again.... beginning with one. In their first year of practicing this form of meditation, most people never get beyond four or five before the thoughts begin creeping in. And always, it’s... back to one.
Such a great metaphor to use in life... back to one... if you know what your “one” is. Fortunately for BTDer’s, our one is clearly defined, and we each have our own individual variations as well. My one involves food, rest, exercise, creativity, time spent with others, time with myself. And being a B, it is crucial that all are in balance with each other. If one of the elements gets way off kilter, it can skew the whole lot. When that happens, misery is sure to ensue.
For instance...in the realm of food choices, I always feel So Much Better when I keep flour products to a bare minimum. I know I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. For me. And when I choose unconsciously in the grain department, my thinking becomes foggy, distracted. I lose my count. And then it’s back to one. No guilt, no berating myself. Simply, back to one. To begin again... a new day, hour, minute... one...
What is your one? What is your foundation for healthy living? How do you know when you lose your focus? Through thoughts, feelings, sensations? These have been important questions for me to reflect on. I don’t get quite as distracted as I used to. I can count for longer now, most of the time. But distraction, and straying from our health goals and desires is a part of the journey. I am going through a phase in my life currently where I seem to never get beyond the number one before I lose my concentration. Life is like that sometimes. But no guilt, no failure. Simply... back to one.
To begin... yet again...
It seems inevitable, that at the start of the school year, my children come down with some type of upper respiratory infection. When my youngest was having his bout with the virus, he requested some chicken soup. So, I trotted off to the HFS and picked up a couple of cans of rather pricey soup and brought them home. In opening the cans, I was shocked and dismayed at the contents… a couple of pieces of chicken and a mushy, I assume vegetable?? or two… I couldn’t believe I paid close to 3 bucks a can for that swill! “Heck… I can do better for this and a lot cheaper too”, I thought to myself.
So I began heading toward the door to buy ingredients for homemade chicken soup. But then… whoa… wait a minute here… would I be able to resist eating homemade chicken soup? It was my mother’s recipe… reminiscent of all that nurturing wonderfulness that only a mother’s soup can provide. No… I better make it turkey soup… if I can find fresh or thawed free-range turkey somewhere this time of year.
Fortunately for me, Whole Foods did have a rather large half of thawed turkey breast available. Even though chicken would have been much cheaper, I went with the turkey. My son is an A non-secretor… turkey is beneficial for him. Plus… I found out that at this Whole Foods, they usually thaw one or two turkeys a day and if I call the night before, I can request whatever part of the turkey I want and they will hold it for me. Excellent… I love turkey thighs! Also… good to know that their “fresh” turkey is previously frozen.
So back at home and I felt rather silly dropping a turkey breast into a pot of boiling water rather than roasting it first… but my son needed soup so into the soup pot it went. I usually make turkey soup with the carcass of the turkey so I wasn’t sure how flavorful the broth would be. Not as rich… but it was surprisingly good. And the amount of turkey meat that was on that breast… made it worth every penny. I got a huge pot of the meatiest turkey soup I have ever made.
Which was a very good thing because… yes, I came down with the virus too. It has been several years since I have had a bad URI. I was so grateful I had made that pot of turkey soup… so wonderfully nourishing when feeling under the weather.
Worth every penny… and more…
Not too long ago, I went for the last hike of the season to Josephine Falls, one of my favorite hikes up a narrow little cañon. The trailhead is located on a one way dirt road that is closed to traffic 6 months out of the year. We almost didn’t make it up to the cañon as we have had torrential rains in August and the road had severe ruttage as a result. If I could have turned around, I would have. But… like so many things in life… the only way out was through. So we bumped and banged our way along (again… just like life…) until we finally reached the trailhead. The trail begins in a little wooded glen next to Bear Creek and climbs steeply up a ridge a short way later, and this climb continues to the end of the trail.
This trail, like so many trails in Colorado, was once a road back in the homesteading days. It is always remarkable to be hiking in what looks like a remote, inaccessible area by modern standards, only to stumble upon cabin ruins from an old homesteader. One of my favorite unexpected ruins is the old Jack Rabbit Lodge, off of Dome Rock Trail (now closed half of the year for spring lambing of Bighorn sheep). Jack Rabbit was a private resort for fishing, hunting, and “other” sports… with the obligatory brothel out back. It is located on the bank of a stream that must be forded several times. Often, this stream is running so fast and so deep that the only way to cross is on horseback.
But the most amazing thing about all the ruins on the trails is the stories that go with them. And many of the most colorful, steadfast characters of the “Wild West” were indeed… women. That’s right… women… many of them widows with a brood of children to raise to boot. I am amazed at the wits it would take to survive on one’s own as a single woman in the west, eking out a living on an isolated homestead with few neighbors, often masquerading as a man just to survive. The fortitude of these women I find so inspirational. It makes me realize, with all our comforts and convenience, just how soft we’ve become…. and how very far removed we are from the fantastic efforts of just basic survival.
One of the things I like best about this trail is the story it tells… the storms it has weathered. Literally. Several years ago, there was a severe ice storm that felled many trees and made the trail impassable for many months. This single storm changed the entire face of the cañon, and the trail up it, as well as the creek down it. At present, the trail tells the story of the drought we have endured for the past 8 years. There is a section of the trail I call 'the ghost trees' as clearly half to two thirds of each tree has died, with only the top branches still green and pulsating with life. The lower half of the trees looked like bared skeletons stripped of skin, flesh, and muscle. And yet… these trees continue to endure…
I took a few photos on this last hike of the season for Josephine Falls. Click here to view some of the photos (you can click on any picture to enlarge... however... then the entire page will need to reload once again...). The falls are quite unusual as they can only be seen in the distance, except for the lower portion of the last fall. The drought is clearly seen in many of the pictures with sun-bleached tree skeletons dotting the hillsides. The aspens were indeed quaking as they do in even the softest of breezes. Although still summer, with wild flowers still in bloom, the first kiss of autumn has arrived too. But it is the sky… the deep sea blue of sky that touches my heart this time of year.
Until next time…
I do love this time of year, summer ebbing into autumn. Here in the southern Rockies, the leaves have begun to turn on some of the trees and shrubbery in the high country, the air has a wisp of coolness to it, the sun no longer burning hot in the deep sea of sky…
For those of you who read the BTD forums, yes, I did go white-water rafting with my family on my birthday; it was awesome! My father-in-law joined us as well. My youngest son was almost popped out of the boat going through some rough and steep rapids but fortunately he fell into the boat instead of out of it. We went out for dinner that evening as part of the celebration… we rarely eat out. It is interesting in ordering a meal as a B; I seldom need to ask for substitutions. But I always feel somewhat funny requesting baked potato instead of wild rice… and quite frankly, I would prefer the rice. I think I still have that ingrained belief that wild rice is a better carb choice than potato, even though it is an avoid for B secretors. I suppose that in most commercial wild rice blends, there is very little actual “wild” rice, but I still feel better choosing a neutral over an avoid.
My A-non son started middle school last week and part of sixth grade orientation was a free school lunch… no need to bring lunches on that day. My son was very distraught and remarked how sick those school lunches make him feel. So we consoled him… realized that there was no place for him to keep a sack lunch handy on that day… gave him snacks that would fit in his pockets and sent him on his way. What did he have for lunch that day? … fried chicken fingers and French fries. A very costly "free" lunch by our standards.
Today, for the first time in months, I went out to garden. It was so lovely being outside leisurely in the late summer sun. Of course at this point, there is no garden really to tend but lots of weeds to pull. I don’t know what it is about pulling weeds but it always brings me home to myself. And it is so satisfying to clear a portion of garden that is overgrown with weeds. As the patch of weed-free garden soil emerges, the cleared space also helps to free the clutter in my mind that invariably accumulates there….
Later for dinner, we had buffalo patties on the grill, along with a large salad. I placed a small piece of butter in each patty to help keep it moist as lean buffalo can be quite dry. They were fabulous! I did not used to like buffalo but it has grown on me. My O son, of course, has always loved buffalo meat.
Lucky boys I have. The A got his wish and is a non-secretor. Now I can relax a little over all the lamb and turkey that child devours. And the O is very relieved to discover that he is a secretor. I am too, he eats several apples a day... it would be hard for him to relinquish those, as well as some of the other constraints of the O nonnie recommendations. So we are a household of two A non-secretors, an O secretor and a B secretor. A little bit easier now for meal planning... and I have noticed that I have reduced my carbs and increased my intake of protein and veggies as a result which is healthier for me, too.
We recently went to see the Chihuly exhibit at our local Fine Arts Center. I was prepared to be disappointed with the exhibit but was quite surprised at how moved I was by it. The next day we took our boys to see it too. I think it is important to expose them to a working artist gaining notoriety in his lifetime who is also having such an impact on the world of blown glass. So fantastic to see his pieces live, in a gallery, perfectly lit as light is such an important element in viewing glass. And how as an artist he pushes the envelope of his medium in size, scale, shape, presentation...
But the color... oh the colors!! Unbelievably vibrant, pulsating colors. Truly speaking to the heart of a B with all those incredible colors. Dale Chihuly was influenced in his early career by Native American artifacts, particularly weaving and basketry. Our Fine Arts Center has an extensive collection of Southwestern art and exhibited his pieces in conjunction with several Navajo blankets and exquisite baskets... quite a wonderful presentation.
But my favorite part of the exhibit was Dale Chihuly’s paintings. As he no longer blows glass and is more of a director of his works rather than a producer, he has turned to painting as a creative outlet. A whole gallery full of his paintings from floor to ceiling of the most colorful works I have ever seen... full of bright whimsy and his characteristic style seen in his designs for glass.
Viewing this exhibit reminded me, once again, of the importance of color for myself (if you saw my living room, you’d know... trust me...) and for many B’s too, I think. If you ever get a chance to see his work... it really is worth it just from the color perspective.
And if you find yourself in a dull moment remember to look for the color in it. It will give your heart wings.