Friday, January 8, 2010

Beauty is in the little things

I think one of the easiest ways to enjoy life is to appreciate the little things, and by little things, I mean the things we would otherwise take for granted, the things we pass by every day and overlook, the things other people just shrug at and say 'yeah, what about it?'. Those things.

During the summer of my second year in college, I was had the amazing opportunity to study at the Queen's International Study Center, aka. Herstmonceux Castle. Where I got to spend my days going to class walking through the English countryside (in the spring when all the flowers were blooming), taking drama classes held in an mid-15th-century ballroom, and hold baby ducks in my hands that I saw grow up for a season on the castle grounds. Every day, I'd wake up in my dorm and think "I can't believe I'm here." I'd take it all in like a baby takes in life (I probably looked like it too), but never ever ever for the whole six weeks did I ever get bored of being in this little hollow in the middle of nowhere. I was so shocked by a couple of other students I overheard once who by the end of two weeks would joke about how they "were sooo over the castle", and wanted to go back to a more cosmopolitan life. When you are privileged, when you are blessed by your God or the Universe, take it in, be grateful for it, appreciate it, and really live it to its fullest. I know I did.

While living in a castle for six weeks seems a really obvious thing to be able to think isawesome, I had a similar experience today when I had to go to the Library of Congress to do some research for a professor. Now, pretty much anyone with some need to research can get a card and just go in... but why leave it at that? The first time I had to go last year, I sat in the main reading room of the Jefferson building, totally geeking out that I was on 'official business' at the LC... and the best part is, I still do. Every time I get to go there, I don't let it become mundane, or just a task I can later check off my to do list. I sit there thinking, "hey, National Treasure was filmed here" or "people come from all over the world to visit this place, and I'm here to do work". Not only do I get a kick out of feeling very serious, it makes my work at the LC so much more enjoyable, especially when I have to idle sometimes for an hour for a request to be filled. So whatever you do, just take a moment to appreciate where you, or enjoy the conversation you had with the check out person at the grocery store, or the kid that smiled at you on the bus, whatever...

My mini-cleanse was someone disturbed by my work today since we're not allowed to eat at the LC, so I had a mid-day food fast which made me really hungry when I got home (which thus ensued in eating too many dried nuts, fruits & seeds... gotta remember to eat fruit when I'm hungry not the denser stuff). Here was the breakdown:

1. Woke up around 8:50am and had a big glass of warm lemon water (can't say I'm a huge fan of those)

2. Had my breakfast smoothie around 10am which was a blend of strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry with spirulina, macca, and mesquite

3. Smuggled two dried apricots in the LC reading room so snacked on those around noon


4. Left the LC around 1:45pm when I was finally able to eat the juiciest gala apple ever


5. Don't read cookbooks when you're hungry! I was reading Jeremy Safron's The Raw Truth on the bus, and got home ravenous by 2:30pm. I had 1 tbsp super food mix of my superfood mix, 1 dried fig, pumpkin seeds & cranberries, raw cracker with raw PB&J, and a couple of the seaweed crackers (also found out why I was so hungry later, because it's that time of the month again...)


6. Right after that proceeded to make a raw carob cake with avocado carob frosting, which I of course had to test-taste while making it (too much dried food all at once... didn't feel so great afterwards). It's chilling in the refrigerator right now (haha, that sounds like it's just having a good time, which I hope it is, really)


6. At 5 pm had a cauliflower, carrot, ginger 'soup' (with herbs and black pepper) from the Vitamix in preparation for our acro-yoga class


7. Had 1/2 orange post-yoga at 7:30pm, which is a little past my optimal eating time, but it's 1/2 orange, really...


8. Now I'm sitting here, sipping on my daily herbal tea which is lemon balm, lavendar, oat straw


Workout of the Day:

1.5 hours of acro-yoga, which was actually disappointingly not that great a workout (last time I was literally sweating buckets... does that mean I'm getting healthier?)

100 crunches


Recipe of the Day:

My Jonesin' for Carob Cake with Frosting:

1. Blend 1 C ground soaked (and dehyrdated) walnuts + cashews, 1 heaping tbsp of carob, date paste of 5 dates, a dash of salt

2. add a little extra agave nectar if the mix is too dry

3. For frosting, blend 1/2 avocado (or more) with agave nectar and carob

4. Chill and don't be tempted to eat the whole thing!


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