Category Archives: New York State

Message from ZVRS

A Meditation Walk

“Let’s take a meditation walk,” my mom suggested when she was visiting earlier this week.

That sounded neat.

“What is it?” I asked.

My mom said it’s when you take a walk in nature while meditating on a word or phrase. As you walk you don’t necessarily seek out specific things, but you do open yourself up to whatever gifts or lessons nature has to teach.

My mom, dad, and I all piled on our coats and boots and headed out into the woods. When we passed the woodshed, we discussed logs. When we passed the garden, we discussed vegetables. We talked about family and food and the gorgeous day. Before long we had finished the loop. Not exactly meditative. Oh, well. We still enjoyed each other’s company and the crisp air of nightfall. That’s priceless in itself.

Meditation walks are probably best when each individual wanders off on his or her own path. This morning I threw on sweatpants and headed outside. I was still wearing my pajama top. I had yet to comb my hair or eat. But I wanted to be outdoors first thing.

I choose to meditate on the words: “I will rejoice and be glad in this day.” The wind brushed against me with affection. The pines played a rustling tune. The sky offered colors of deep blue. The sun poured forth armfuls of warmth. I don’t know what this day will bring, but good or bad, happy or sad, easy or tough, I rejoice in its beauty.Š

The Practice of Pause

In the most recent issue of Newsweek magazine, Robert J. Samuelson wrote a column titled The Sad Fate of the Comma.

He says:

I have always liked commas, but I seem to be in a shrinking minority. The comma is in retreat, though it is not yet extinct. In text messages and e-mails, commas appear infrequently, and then often by accident (someone hits the wrong key). Even on the printed page, commas are dwindling. Many standard uses from my childhood (after, for example, an introductory prepositional phrase) have become optional or, worse, have been ditched. If all this involved only grammar, I might let it lie. But the comma’s sad fate is, I think, a metaphor for something larger: how we deal with the frantic, can’t-wait-a-minute nature of modern life. The comma is, after all, a small sign that flashes PAUSE. It tells the reader to slow down, think a bit, and then move on. We don’t have time for that. No pauses allowed.

My husband came home from work a few hours after I read the article and mentioned that a yoga instructor had visited his office as part of their Wellness Program.

“Did you learn anything?” I asked.

He said he learned that if people took ten minutes out of their day to sit quietly and relax, scientific studies show stress levels reduce drastically. In other words, he learned it’s important to pause.

He had a worksheet from the Mind/Body Medical Institute. Click here for the full set of instructions, but in a nutshell it simply says to sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe (the easy part), as you clear your mind of active thoughts (the hard part).

Summers seems like an especially good time to incorporate the practice of pause because schedules can get so busy. You might be thinking: “That’s precisely the problem. I’m so busy I don’t have time to relax for 10 minutes.” But as the yoga instructor who visited my husband’s office mentions on her website, pausing will calm you down and clear your mind for better decision-making, ultimately giving you much more time.     Š

Yoga Wagon

Kerplunk!

I fell off the yoga wagon.

Haven’t been to a class in over two weeks. My life is shifting right now, causing my schedule to bumble around. First, my spouse and I are preparing to move to Virginia. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from where we are now, but we still need to pack up and load every dish, book, and piece of furniture. I’ve been donating stuff and shredding files like crazy. I started playing tennis again, and I’m adding a writing class as well as a writing workshop to my week. Not to mention my freelancing is picking up, I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen due to Clean Eating, and my husband and I are dealing with the emotional turmoil of fertility issues as we try to start a family. The yoga studio is a good 30-minute drive from my house. No wonder I haven’t been making it over there lately.

I remember when I was a law student I was particularly stressed out one semester. At the time I was debating adopting a puppy. “Try to minimize the stress in your life,” my parents cautioned. I adopted the puppy anyway, but I thought it was good advice. Even though I’m excited about the events in my life (moving, taking a class, more work assignments), change takes its toll. What can I do to minimize the stress?

I let go of a column that I enjoyed writing but that didn’t pay. I asked my husband to take over some of the dinner duties (grilled salmon, yum!). My parents are going to help with the move. Also, there is a yoga studio that is closer to my current place. I’ll try it out next time. I feel calmer already.Š

Mozzarella, Sun Dried Tomato and Kalamata Olive on Wasa Crispbread

Ingredients

2 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
4 teaspoons sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, chopped
½ tablespoon pine nuts
2 teaspoons Kalamata olives, pitted, sliced lengthwise into quarters
1 tablespoon fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 pieces WASA Multigrain Crispbread (may substitute any WASA variety)

Directions

Toast pine nuts in small skillet until lightly browned, set aside.
Place 1 ounce mozzarella on each crispbread.
Sprinkle with ½ tablespoon of basil, 2 teaspoons sun dried tomatoes, 1 teaspoon Kalamata olives, ¼ teaspoon pine nuts. Serve immediately.

TIP: Substitute any nuts for pine nuts. Substitute feta cheese for mozzarella if desired.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 279
Total Fat 14 g
Saturated Fat 6 g
Cholesterol 36 mg
Sodium 584 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25 g
Dietary Fiber 5 g
Protein 17 g
Calcium 456 mg

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