lifestyle

Experience vs Viewing the Experience

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I have this vision of myself, standing on a cliff in Ireland.  The waves crashing below, the storm clouds rolling in and the wind swirling around me.  I put my arms out and for a long moment, I am completely experiencing.  The sounds, the feelings, the energy, the emotions.  I know no past and I don’t care about the future, I am completely submerged in the moment.  Call it a meditation or a daydream. I use this vision quite often.

Every day we are viewing experiences.  Watching other people’s lives on television or on our phones.  Driving somewhere and watching the buildings and trees go by.  These are all experiences, yes, but experiences that we are viewing rather than actually experiencing.  It’s a subtle difference but all the difference it makes.

In the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert writes about driving in car and having the windshield completely block you from the experience versus driving on a motorcycle and actually being able to experience the drive, the wind, the sunshine, the rain.  It’s the perfect analogy for experience versus viewing the experience.

Where in your life can you start to fully experience, be fully in the moment.  Multitasking is great, but it completely voids you of the moment.  Wash dishes, and only wash dishes.  Go to the gym and leave you phone in the locker.  Be completely there.  It’s so simple, but so rewarding.

Lots of Love,
Brittany

lifestyle

Feminist as F#ck

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When I was 13 I had an article published in our county newspaper about equal rights for women in the military. I didn’t realize it then but I was already a feminist.  Let me be clear here and say that at 13, I had no idea what a feminist was.  I was purely witnessing and hearing about imbalanced treatment and it was making me see red.  And even at the age of 13, I needed to express that the only way I knew how, by writing a public article in the hopes of changing even just one person’s thought on equal rights.

Flash forward to 2011, someone said to me “oh god, are you one of those feminists?”. I didn’t know how to respond because I’ve never thought of myself in that way.  I’ve never had to put a label on the way I felt.  Was I a Feminist?  Heck. Yes. However back then, being a Feminist had a negative tone surrounding it, even though it was just a few short years ago.  Celebrities, Public Figures and Influencers were holding strong to the “I’m not a feminist” line, and as such so were the people.  I responded to him by saying something along the lines of “yes, of course I am!” and he then said nothing and abruptly walked away.  Buh Bye.

Jump to current day and you have Beyoncé singing in front of a jumbo screen with the words “Feminist” on it. And not so secretly, my heart skips a beat.  I’m quickly seeing Feminism become trendy.  From new books on being a feminist, to t-shirts, to fashionable websites, to celebrities all declaring “Yes, I am a Feminist”.  Yes, I am a strong woman. Yes, I can do masculine things as a woman.  Yes, I should be treated and paid equal.

A Feminist doesn’t look a certain way, we don’t hate every man that ever walked the earth, and we don’t think we are better than anyone else. We believe in equality, we believe in protection against rape, assault and harassment, we believe in your daughter, mother, grandmother, aunt, girlfriend and wife.

Yes, I’m Feminist as F#ck and you should be too.

 

Bookworm? Check out these books:

Feminist Fight Club

We Should All Be Feminists

We Were Feminists Once

Living My Life

 

 

lifestyle

Face Your Fears Like a Kid

fullsizerenderLike many of you are familiar with, this week was the start of a new school year. I was lucky enough to be able to get my 6 year old niece ready for her first day of 2nd grade.  Like all new beginnings, she was nervous.

She normally isn’t the nervous type; she’ll walk up to any kid and ask to play, she’ll dance ballet and tap in front of a hundred people and she’ll even tell adults to face their fears and congratulate them when they do. So it was weird to see her nervous about starting school.

Secretly, I was watching her and learning from her. I noticed these three main steps and even used them this week when I was faced with a situation that I was extremely nervous about.

Step One: Zone Out.  She knew the bus came at 8:00, so for the downtime we had in the morning she didn’t want to talk to me or do anything except zone out.  She watched tv and kept her mind off of what she was nervous about.

Step Two: Tell your peers you are nervous.  We walked to the bus stop and shortly after saying hi to the friends she knew, she giggled and told them she was nervous.  I’m pretty sure they all sighed with relief knowing that they were all nervous and in it together.

Step Three: Go for it. When the bus came, she didn’t even say goodbye to me, she just ran right up to the opened doors.  No delaying the inevitable, she just went for it and didn’t look back (until of course I called her name to take her picture).

She taught me that sometimes we need to take things back to nature. Back to when we were a kid and did things the way we felt like they needed to be done and not the way society has taught us.

Get back to your inner child and do what feels natural to you.

Lifestyle

lifestyle

What Your Smoothies Are Missing

I go through various stages of loving and not loving smoothies. But when I’m in love, I’m nearly stalker-ish about them.

  1. They are super quick and easy to make
  2. You can jam pack them with foods that aren’t that tasty on their own
  3. The variety of flavors you can go with are endless

I could go one, but I’m sure you already know how great they can be.

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Chances are your smoothies consist of some sort of dark leafy greens, fruit, protein powder, and maybe some veggies.  That’s pretty much the standard.

But allow me to introduce you to the magical world of powders.  Each one of these are packed with their own almost supernatural properties that will take your smoothies to a whole other level.

Maca Root Powder:

Let me be real with you here.  This is the number one powder you need to be including in your smoothie, especially for all the women out there.  Maca root helps to increase libido, improve memory function, increase energy and endurance, boosts immune system, helps with depression, menstrual and menopause symptoms, female hormone imbalance and a whole laundry list of more.

Spirulina Powder:

A good spirulina powder is mostly made up of 50% or more protein. It’s a great source of iron, essential amino acids, has amazing anti-inflammatory properties and can help ease PMS symptoms.  It is also known to remove toxins from the blood, increase immune system and aids in the fat burning process during exercise.

Psyllium Husk:

Let’s just go there.  This is a fiber, aka laxative. It soaks up the water in your gut making it easier to go to the bathroom, without producing flatulence.  Psyllium also helps with cholesterol levels, overall heart health and blood sugar levels as well as keeping you feeling fuller for longer.

You can find these in most foods stores like Wegman’s or Whole Foods.  I also love these companies you can order from online. Essential Living Foods makes great powder blends, I just got this one a few days ago and love it. Sun Potion is another great company that sells the powders themselves or as blends.  The key here is to make sure you purchase high quality powders for the most added benefits to your smoothies.

Lifting, yoga

5 Kettlebell Exercises to Improve Your Yoga Practice

Yoga is all about balance. Everything you do on the right side, you also do on the left side. Every peak pose has a counterbalance pose, like shoulderstand to fish. It’s an equally designed flow to make you stable and whole.

However, I often find that yoga practitioners have too much lower body flexibility and not enough lower body strength. If you have open hips and a lot of flexibility it’s so easy to sink into a pose like extended side angle and just hang out there like it’s no big deal. But that’s not yoga in its truest form. There is no activation there.

When we can start to add strength into our movements, we can start to activate and engage different muscles in our bodies and find that perfect balance of strength and flexibility. In extended side angle we can begin by pressing into our heels to activate our quads and hamstrings, this will take some pressure out of the hip and bring the line of energy up rather than down. When we start to activate muscles and focus on the line of energy you’re creating, the practice as a whole completely shifts into something truly amazing. I always say, it’s one thing to just show up to your mat, put your body in the positions and just hang out, sure you’ll get some benefit to that. But it’s a whole other world of a practice when you begin to let the poses work for you by using alignment and engaging muscles.

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Enter kettlebells, my new found love. KB’s are extremely versatile and I highly suggest you go and purchase one for your house. You can find one at any sporting goods store and I’ve even seen them at TJMaxx. And as much as I love going to the gym, I’m still pretty lazy. I like each one of my exercises to work multiple muscles at a time, not just one. KB’s are amazing for whole body training.

Here are 5 kettlebell exercises to improve your yoga practice from standing poses, to arm balances to funky variations of all sorts:

  • KB Walking Lunges – Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves
    If you have one KB, hold it right in front of your chest. If you have two KB’s hold one in each hand alongside of you. For an added ab bonus, hold different weighted KB’s in each hand.
  • KB Swings – Hamstrings, Glutes, Shoulders, Calves, Lower Back
    I prefer to hold the KB with both hands however this link shows it with one hand.
  • KB Russian Twists – Abs, Lower back
  • KB Goblet Squats – Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Shoulders
  • KB Figure 8’s – Abs, Glutes, Hamstrings, Shoulders

Give them a try and have fun!