Posts tagged ‘Martha Beck’

February 28, 2014

I’ve Got to Get Away!

this way out

Hi, Friends! It’s Brooke here. Is busyness overtaking your life? Are you constantly weary and running on empty? We all have so much to juggle that we barely have time to breathe. If you can get away on a vacation, sweet! But what if your schedule or your wallet is a bit pinched? You don’t need a whole week away at a 5-star resort to get some peace in your life, though it would be a great start! Here’s my personal plan for getting away, if only for a little while.

1. Nature

Happy, hot, and muggy in Mexico!

Happy, hot, and muggy in Mexico!

Go where the wild things are. Go where you can take a deep breath and actually smell the air. Find the wind, search the wide open sky, find some water, or surround yourself with your favorite kind of plant therapy. To a nature-starved soul trapped in the city, even the greenhouse at Home Depot is warm, loamy, and vibrant. I could never articulate why my soul resonated so deeply with watching a fire burning in my fireplace or standing on the deck of a cruise ship, gazing at the horizon as the wind whipped my hair and the waves  broke below me. Then I found Martha Beck’s description of the soothing power of nature in The Joy Diet: “If your body is tired, seek out some fluidly moving part of nature: a fireplace, a river, a field of wind-blown wheat, a thundering surf. Watching and listening to the patterned disorder of the universe is one of the deep soul’s favorite pastimes.” Lovely . . .

2. Loved Ones

My sister, Paige, and I--love her so!!

My sister, Paige, and I–love her so!!

Find the person or people you love the most and just marinate in the happiness they bring you. You don’t have to do anything or go anywhere, unless doing so will bring you joy. My heart bubbles over in the presence of loved ones—it is therapy like none other for the craziness in my life. When I’m with people I treasure, I love to linger and no amount of time is ever enough. You know the quote, “Parting is such sweet sorrow . . .”? Absolutely true!

3. Animals

animal collage

Seek out some animal friends ASAP! If you love creatures like I do, there’s nothing that makes me more deliriously happy than petting an animal. Some people go crazy for (human) babies—for me, it’s animals. If I can’t touch a creature, I’m begrudgingly content just to watch them. My favorite hotel in Miami, The Biltmore, is famous for its two beautiful, old-fashioned finch aviaries. These cages are in the lobby, are home to at least 20 finches, and are the first things you see when you step into this glorious hotel. If you’ve not heard the sounds finches make, the tiny chirps are soft, constant, and sweet. I could watch and listen to those winged charmers for hours—so very soothing.

4. Free Time

If you are a spontaneous sort like me, having time unplanned is a precious thing. Having an end point at the end of a stretch of time (even for something fun) makes me feel boxed in and anxious. So, on a recent trip to see my sister and her family, we found ourselves momentarily without plans and it was heavenly. When you keep time unmarked by expectation, 1) you can relax and simply be and 2) you leave room for unexpected joys. We enjoyed our free time by visiting, chilling out, reading, and then lucky for me—a puppy play date happened! See, you never know what will happen when you relax your grip on life! 🙂

5. Joy Reading

A few of my favorite things . . .

A few of my favorite things . . .

This seems to be an obvious choice, but for hyper-achieving, busy people, setting down whatever instructional, educational thing you doing can be the first step to getting away for a bit. I’m always studying or preparing for something, and of course there’s never enough time in the day to do everything. So, when I need to escape, I pick up my favorite books that make me laugh and am transported.

This list is my go-to plan for escaping for a little while and regaining some sanity and joy. What do you do to find some peace in your life? I’d love to know! Find me at Brooke@healthyhousewives.com.

May your weekend be blessed and filled with joy,

Brooke

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March 9, 2013

Feed Your Mind

green apple and books

Hi, there! It’s Brooke. As you know, wellness comes in many forms. When we think of health, we usually jump straight to the physical (regular exercise, good nutrition, and abundant sleep). But total wellness involves a balance of all aspects of our lives—physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, and vocational. By balance, I mean the correct combination of each of these things that results in an authentic life. You know how good it feels when you’re firing on all these cylinders? I recall these groovy times, and I try to return to them again and again, like a homing pigeon. One of my very favorite ways to find my center is to retreat to a quiet place and break out a book. My love of reading fulfills almost every form of wellness, and I’m betting that it does for many of you. For me, reading fills me up when I am low. It fires my creative spirit and feeds my hungry brain. Reading helps me find myself, to discover clues to who I really am. I usually have about 4 books going at a time, which could signal an active, curious mind or ongoing mental illness. But it’s just how I roll! I’d love to share several of my current favorites with you, and if you have any fabulous books to recommend, please share! FYI: Links to each of these books are at the bottom.

Power Eating Cover

1. Power Eating (3rd edition) by Susan Kleiner: I discovered this book several years ago when I was just beginning to learn about clean eating and strength training. It absolutely blew my mind! It taught me that food is much more than just something you eat or share with loved ones—it’s fuel for the strong, powerful machine that is your body. And for a skinny gal like me aspiring to pack on beautiful muscles and curves, finding this treasure was indeed a giddy experience. Even better, Dr. Kleiner includes a whole section on sports nutrition for vegetarian athletes. I actually felt like my lifestyle was understood and respected rather than just shoved behind the typical information on how to be a healthy carnivore. Like a baby duckling that imprints on the first creature she sees, I base my love of sports nutrition and the science of bodybuilding on this book, and I will be forever grateful to Susan Kleiner for inspiring me and changing my world.

Crazy Sexy diet

2. Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It! by Kris Carr: This book came out almost 2 years ago, and I’d been flirting with it on and off for a while now. I admit, the title intrigued me—who doesn’t want to be crazy sexy?!? I’d pick it up in the bookstore, page through it, think about it, and then set it down again. Recently, I picked it up again and this time it really spoke to me. It had always been the same packet of awesomeness, but now I was ready to hear its message. Ten years ago, Kris Carr was a 31-year-old actress who discovered after months of feeling bad that no, she did not a have a typical hangover, but a rare, incurable liver cancer! So, she took this devastating news and became her own health advocate, learning everything she could about healing her life, body, and soul. She directed and starred in Crazy Sexy Cancer, a documentary of how she searched for a cure but instead found a resplendent life. Ten years later, she has created a global wellness revolution that advocates health and healing through a vegetarian, low-glycemic lifestyle; compassionate, mindful eating (involving lots of green juices and smoothies); and care of the soul through journaling, meditation, and prayer. But what I love the most is Kris Carr’s spirit and passion to inspire people by positivity, joy, humor, and power. This book virtually pulses with it. Just look at the title! I’m thrilled to be a new member of her tribe.

Expecting adam

3. Expecting Adam by Martha Beck: Now, this book is very special. How many of you have ever finished a book, and then immediately started it over again? That’s exactly what happened to me here, and I’m not even kidding. I’m actually on Read #3 now! Martha Beck is a celebrated therapist, life coach, best-selling author, and one of my very favorite “she-roes.” I absolutely adore her humor and eloquence and honesty. This magical, mystical book launched Martha’s career as a passionate advocate of healing the world, one person at a time. More than 20 years ago, Martha and her husband were extremely intelligent, high-achieving, hard-driving perfectionists pursuing their PhD’s after surviving both their undergraduate and master’s programs—all at Harvard. Human frailty and lives guided by passion and spirit were not well received by the logic-driven intellegencia, and that was just fine by the Becks. Then they found out that their second baby was going to have Down syndrome, and their expectations for the “perfect” family were turned upside down. And what blessing that became. This book is a beautifully written, intimate walk through Martha’s life during this time as she discovers that we are surrounded by angels seen and unseen every day; that a powerful, loving force connects us all and has a sharp sense of humor; and that you don’t have to be perfect to be loved. I highly recommend all of her books, especially if you are a seeker and a healer.

My year with eleanor

4. My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock: This one is a charmer, and dare I admit it again, another book I finished and immediately began again. I couldn’t help myself. After an unexpected downsizing, Noelle Hancock (a Texas girl like myself who I’m convinced I’d be friends with if we ever met!) takes the opportunity of a jobless year to live her Year of Fear. Inspired by her personal heroine, Eleanor Roosevelt, and her famous quote “Do one thing every day that scares you,” Noelle faces down the many things that give her pause, cause concern, or scare her witless. Her account is hysterical, genuine, poignant, and delightful as she weaves Eleanor’s own story throughout her own adventures. Could you do one thing every day that frightens you? Yikes! I still don’t have a good answer for this, but I truly loved going along for the ride.

Power Eating: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/power-eating-3rd-edition-susan-kleiner/1101445870?ean=9780736066983

Crazy Sexy Diet: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/crazy-sexy-diet-kris-carr/1100038563?ean=9780762777938

Expecting Adam: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/expecting-adam-martha-beck/1103141176?ean=9780307719645

My Year With Eleanor: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-year-with-eleanor-noelle-hancock/1100567891?ean=9780061875014

I hope these lovely books inspire you as they did me, and I’d love to hear about your favorites. Have a great weekend!

~ Brooke