“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
That's pretty much what this blog is all about. I keep trying this & that, over & over again, until I settle on something that works! (Groundhog Day: We Keep Living the Same Day Over and Over Again Until We Get It Right!)
After a Year of Experimenting--What's Working, What's Not?
- Howard White's Power of Hello. This has morphed into The Power of Talking to Strangers. I never was a shrinking violet, but now I absolutely talk to anyone, everywhere, if they seem approachable & interesting--if I overhear a stranger talking about something I want to know more about--if they're using or eating or buying or reading or even wearing something I want to know more about!
I talk to people coming into my library who seem interesting--and I ask questions.
I talk to people I don't know at my gym who are discussing recipes, politics, travel, health tips, movies, books, plays & bargains.
I write well known people if I have a question, or to express appreciation for what they've written or said. And often they write back.
It's pretty easy to tell who is approachable & who isn't. I respect people's privacy & time & I pay attention to their body language.
Prime example of the Power of Talking to Strangers: I few months back I introduced myself to Ann Esselstyn (Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's wife, heart healthy recipe creator & teacher) to let her know how many readers have accessed my posts about Dr. Esselstyn (Yes, You Can Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease - But Are You Up For The Challenge? Let Dr. Esselstyn Convince You and I'm Going to Miss My Olive Oil - Who Knew It Wasn't So Healthy After All? Drs. Esselstyn, Ornish, Vogel & Rudel Did)--and today I'm having lunch at her house. (*Update--I had to cancel--I'm truly snowed in. Darn!)
I've met so many new & fascinating people this year--folks who have moved from being just a familiar face into friends--all because of the Power of Talking to Strangers.
- T. Colin Campbell of "The China Study" Pays a Visit - Does This Mean I Have to Become a Vegan? I think all my friends assume I'm a vegan now, but I'm really not. I stand by what I wrote back in March 19, 2008.
I can see trying to make even better choices during the week-more salads, hearty soups and incorporating "green smoothies". I definitely eat too many (not any more!) "fractionated" soy products, and probably too many foods my great-grandmother wouldn't recognize.
I'm leaning towards my oldest son's dietary approach. He's a "non-militant" flexible vegetarian during the week, but on weekends, especially when socializing, he'll eat everything! I kind of like that!
Update 1: My tastes have just changed naturally over the year. I won't say that I never eat animal protein anymore, but it's very rare. I've kind of lost the craving for cheese, ice cream, beef & chicken. I still occasionally eat tuna, salmon, kefir & turkey, and an occasional special cheese. I've dropped most of the fake soy products & I've moved over to using tofu, tempeh and seitan on occasion when I want a "meat substitute". My new favorites are beans, greens, green smoothies, hearty soups, squash, quinoa, mangoes & cauliflower. Cooking & trying new recipes are my hobbies & I find some of my best recipes on Martha Rose Shulman's Recipes for Health series in the NYT & Susan's Food Blogga Blog (but you have to look for the healthy ones on her blog)
Update 2: I ditched the sugary stuff--cookies, cakes, ice cream, & candy on January 1, 2009. It's been over 3 weeks now, & as the experts say, "I've lost my craving!". And 3 pounds!
Update 3: I still stand by my February 24, 2008 post: My Top 12 Super Food Favorites. What I Eat Almost Everyday. I rarely eat oatmeal anymore for breakfast now that I make my green smoothies--it's just too much to eat. The greens, berries, citrus & flax are now going right into my morning smoothies. V-8 is history--I'm making my own fresh V-8!
Update 4: In case you are wondering--I feel fantastic! I've got more energy, more stamina, think more clearly, haven't had a cold, need less sleep & have a positive outlook. Yeah sure, it's all subjective & anecdotal, but I'm not complaining. Knock-on-wood. Pooh-Pooh.
Here are just a few of the new skills I've mastered this year:
Using IPOD NANO & ITunes to download amazing podcasts
Switching from a PC to a MAC
Writing a blog, learning HTML, importing photos, uploading videos, importing widgets, getting indexed on Google, following techie instructions & asking tech support for help. I've got readers from faraway Thailand, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Japan, India, Brazil, Israel, Italy, France and even Pakistan
Getting a new cellphone & learning to text message--learning how to IChat--which is like video-conferencing on the computer
Using Google Calendar
Frequently submitting comments to the New York Times
Trying new recipes every week--using fresh herbs--cooking beans from scratch
1. “The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
2. "May our lives go well, may we be happy, may our dreams come true. May we stay awake and alert, may we stay friendly, may we stay amazed." Sylvia Boorstein (side note: I've never met Sylvia, but I'm a huge fan of her books. In March my husband & I are going to week-long meditation retreat co-led by Sylvia. I'm so looking forward to it!)
3. From the late Randy Pausch - What Kids & Grown-Ups Need to Know-My Top Picks from the New York Times Contest
* Dream Big
* Ask for what you want
* Dare to take a risk
* Look for the best in everybody. If you wait long enough, people will surprise & impress you.
* Make time for what matters
* Let kids be themselves
4. "Rather than dismissing ourselves as unchangeable creatures of habit, we can instead direct our own change by consciously developing new habits. In fact, the more new things we try - the more we step outside our comfort zone -- the more inherently creative we become, both in the workplace and in our personal lives." Janet Rae-Dupree in "Can You Become a Creature of New Habits?"