Last night, I attended a benefit workshop called Pursuit of Happiness with Kurt Johnsen. He’s the founder of American Power Yoga, and has done a lot of work/learning in things like energy balance, tai chi, kung fu…and even astral travel (which sounds wonderful to me!). I enjoyed the two-hour talk very much, and identified with everything he said as he talked about how we are not our bodies, but we’re our permanent souls using our temporary bodies (paraphrased). He also mentioned that happiness is a choice, and that our challenges are opportunities.
As he talked, I realized that much of what he was saying are the exact things (in different words) that I say to my stressed out, unhappy, unhealthy clients.
- When you’re stressed or mad, it affects you and your health but it doesn’t change the situation.
- Energy comes from the sun. Eat foods that are grown by the sun, or eat animals that ate the foods grown by the sun.
- Lose the labels – once you label something you can’t see it anymore. (good, bad, vegetarian, smart, pessimist…you get the idea).
- Quit multi-tasking.
- Seek out challenges—this is where real change happens.
Kurt told a story about the day his mother died, when he and his sister needed to go into her room at the hospital and say goodbye to her before she passed. He talked about how even years later, they speak about that day and the process they went through to face that challenge. And how their mother dying was not “good” or “bad” …they both changed because of it.
It threw me directly back to October 28/29, 2003, when my sister died. Of course, that situation, especially the crisis portion, never felt good. There were tears and shock, and the horror for me at 3am calling my parents’ dead cell phone as they drove to Rochester where my sister was supposed to be airlifted to (but was too unstable to make the trip), and the nurse in the ER finally telling me illegally (HIPAA and all) that my sister had died. That the baby was in trouble. That they had no idea where my parents were.
Really, it’s hard for me to not label that night as “bad.” In fact, I just took a break after typing that to hyperventilate for a second.
But you know what? Once the crisis was in the past, the process (the real challenge) of dealing with life without Jen (which is ongoing) is not something I can label “bad.” And it kind of makes me upset to admit that—because my ego really wants to label it as “bad.”
It’s a challenge. One that I did not choose, but a challenge nevertheless.
My Mom and I made a pact back then, in 2003. We decided that although we couldn’t mend the broken fairy tale, we would take advantage of every opportunity that came from this situation. We had to, or really, there would be no point to life. If your sister/daughter can die in the middle of night when you thought she was just going to become a Mother, then the whole game of life changes in an instant. Actually, it changes in every instant—it’s just not always that dramatic or impactful.
We also made a pact to look at life as a game. After all, can it really be that serious?
One opportunity I’ve capitalized on is in regards to food—I became a nutrition teacher and a lifestyle design coach, helping people learn about food and adopt healthier habits in a positive way.
So, today, I thought I would just share those thoughts with you because they were refreshed in my head after last night’s workshop (I would love to sit down over coffee and chat about it too, if you’re in the neighborhood).
And then I thought I’d share with you another simple recipe. It’s easy and not complex at all—in fact, it’s barely a recipe. But for me, it’s an opportunity to make a small mess in the kitchen for a few minutes and yield a big gain in enjoyment. And really, what else is life about?
Don’t let the messes faze you, and enjoy every delicious bite. Then share it with people–let them enjoy too.
Shamrock Coconut Cream Mousse
1 8oz container coconut cream (refrigerated, with the separated liquid poured off)
3 droppers full of vanilla stevia (or 2 tbsp other sweetener—adjust to taste)
1/8 tsp mint extract
1/8 tsp green food coloring (I used organic forest green color…and had to add a few drops of yellow to lighten it)
Put half of this blended green mixture into another bowl and set aside.
Add 2 tsp dark cocoa powder to the remaining mixture and mix until fully blended.
Serve in a 6oz mason jar, layered, with cacao nibs or chocolate chips.
I love this because it tastes amazing (and reminds me of Shamrock shakes), and because it’s full of wonderful health-promoting medium chain fatty acids, superfood chocolate, and it’s void of sugar!
If you get full, put the lid on to store in the fridge till lunch (I mean, that is if you’re like me and you make this for breakfast).
How do you turn challenges into opportunities?
I hope your weekend is as wonderful as Shamrock Mousse!