Author Archives: toryjnash

{Inspired Quote}

Happy Monday everyone!  To inspire your week, some photography and wise words.  I hope it sets just the right tone for this new week’s beginning.
Life doesn't have to be perfect

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{Practice} Gratitude

Welcome to our Friday ritual!  A moment to pause and practice gratitude, recognizing the seemingly simple and ordinary moments that make up an extraordinarily beautiful life.  I hope that you are inspired to look back on your week and find these moments as well.  Feel free to share your list in the comments.

Venice graffiti

This week I am grateful for

* a long lingering conversation over pots of tea with my dear friend * cyclones of leaves * the gentle, and sometimes not so gentle, encouragement of all my friends * an afternoon of sewing * a bright crescent moon against an inky black sky * filling my new little shelf with my favorite old books  *

{from my kitchen} Individual Plum Cobblers with Spiced Biscuits

When it comes to food, I wholeheartedly endorse Julia Child’s advice.  “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”  That means that braised kale and roasted Brussels sprouts appear in my kitchen with more regularity than desserts do.  But to keep all that moderation in check, my desserts often make a reappearance at breakfast the next morning.
Individual Plum Cobblers Ingredients

These plum cobblers are the perfect example.  But, they too, exhibit a bit of moderation in their own right.  They have just enough sugar to get the juices from the plums flowing without masking the flavor of the fruit.  I inject a bit more nutritional value into the typical biscuit topping by swapping whole wheat flour for some of the white flour.  I add ground flax seeds in lieu of all butter.  Then to add the flavors of fall I use two of my favorite spices: cinnamon and cardamom.  Add to that the individual serving size and I think I’ve perfected moderation.  So much so that there is not a single bit of guilt as I enjoy one for dessert…and then one the next morning for breakfast alongside my steaming mug of Earl Gray tea.  Bon appetit!

Individual Plum Cobblers

Individual Plum Cobblers Recipe

{Practice} Gratitude

Welcome to our Friday ritual!  A moment to pause and practice gratitude, recognizing the seemingly simple and ordinary moments that make up an extraordinarily beautiful life.  I hope that you are inspired to look back on your week and find these moments as well.  Feel free to share your list in the comments.

3369455262_6e41d97cd5_bThis week I am grateful for

* sitting outside with the sun warming my back * trees ablaze with red leaves * my first yoga practice in my new little space * winding back roads that encourage me to slow down and savor the views * a  favorite old song on the radio * blissful faces at the end of class  *

Pratipaksha Bhavana

In the last week I’ve been gently, or not so gently, reminded of a really lovely concept in yoga philosophy.  Let me back up and explain.

I’ve been undertaking some home improvement projects in what will become my practice space and home office.  The projects are mostly of the do it yourself type.  And it’s not been going well.  It took forever to get the new flooring installed.  The old wall color could be seen through my beautiful new wallpaper.  The table legs didn’t fit my intended table tops.  The local big box home improvement store was out of every supply I needed and when I asked for help finding alternatives the guy shrugged his shoulders and walked away.  I couldn’t get the plan B table top up the stairs.  The relatively new can of paint I planned to use on the Plan B table top was completely rusted closed.  After painting my new baseboards I accidently peeled back a large corner of wallpaper.  My drill died.

All this happened despite carefully planning out my little DIY projects so that as little disruption and mess to my daily life and the rest of my house would occur.  That didn’t work out so well.  With each setback the negative thoughts flowed even more freely.  “Why am I bothering?  This will never look as good as I imagined!  And now I’ve wasted all this time and money.  Everybody at the hardware store is a jerk.  This is all their fault for being out of what I needed for my projects!”

Downward the thoughts spiraled leaving me annoyed, impatient, and unpleasant.

Then, from out of nowhere, the words pratipaksha bhavana floated to the surface of my consciousness.

Pratipaksha bhavana comes from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  In Sutra II.33* it is instructed,

“When presented with disquieting thoughts or feelings, cultivate an opposite, elevated attitude.” 

In other words don’t let your negative thoughts run away with you.  Instead change your attitude.  Right.  I think it is safe to say I wasn’t doing that.  Not one little bit.

There was no way I could change the situations I was finding myself in.  I couldn’t bring a dead drill back to life.  I couldn’t force the table legs to fit on the table tops (though, boy, did I try).  I couldn’t make the store have in stock what I needed.  The only thing I could control was my reaction to these situations.  It wasn’t anyone or anything causing me to be annoyed or impatient or unpleasant, it was me.

I needed to find a healthy dose of pratipaksha bhavana.  It was becoming very hard to find an elevated attitude while staring at a pile of unfinished projects.   So to begin the process of changing my negative thoughts, I had to change my environment.  That started by getting myself out of the house, into nature, with a friend.  Fresh air, a still river, and the colors of changing leaves conspired together to clear my head and bring everything back into perspective.

I decided I would replace annoyance with delight that I have been able to find creative solutions to my (so called) problems.  I would replace impatience with giddy anticipation of the first sight of my finished space.  I would replace unpleasantness with kindness towards myself by abandoning my random self-imposed timeline.

As a result, things are moving along much more smoothly now.  I’m actually finding joy in the process of sanding, priming, painting, assembling, and on and on.  Things are coming together just as they should.  Because not only am I supposed to be working towards a new space, I’m also supposed to be working towards living my yoga more fully every day.   And that is exactly what this adventure in DIY has helped me to do.

*Translation from The Secret Power of Yoga by Nischala Joy Devi