meditation motivation

Oh hey, yeah, it’s super trendy and that usually annoys me a little, but meditation is pretty magical.

In this day and age, I think it’s an even more important tool now to help with improving our mental health. Every moment we’re surrounding by media. Technology is always waiting at our fingertips to give our brains new ideas and concepts. We can barely think our own thoughts anymore without some kind of outside influence.

I am not going to lie and say I meditate every day or really even on a set schedule, however, when I set aside time to sit quietly and do nothing, shifts happen in my life.

There are so many resources out there today to help you but you honestly don’t need a single thing to get started.

This summer I started meditating outside and it’s been nice but you can do it anywhere that feels right. If I’m feeling extra fancy I’ll light a candle and maybe hold a crystal or two.  It’s not necessary though! It’s too easy for me to skip it because it’s not the “perfect” time or setup. (What is that trait? Perfectionism or just an excuse to procrastinate?  That’s a mystery for another time.) Literally, you can meditate anywhere without a single prop.

Anyway, it depends on my mood what type of meditation I feel like doing.

Ways to meditate:

Solo – In your car, bedroom, on a park bench…Use headphones with music if you want but it’s not necessary unless you’re trying to tune out some outside noise. I suggest just instrumental music; lyrics usually make me think too much. I’m a dork and love movie soundtracks (Legends of the Fall…swoon) and Jim Brickman.

During exercise – Any cardio is great for this, I think because of the repetitive motion, like running, walking, biking, ellipticalling…that’s a word, right? I rarely wear headphones when running (unless I’m going for speed on a gym treadmill. I like the music for a motivation boost!) and it’s such great thinking time. It’s not classic meditation but it’s mind-clearing time where I come up with a lot of solutions to things I’ve been mulling over.

Group meditation – look around for events on Facebook.  A couple places in my area that have meditations now and then are The Salt Lounge, Bldg 7 Yoga, and Integrative Healing Arts. At first I thought this might be strange, sitting silently in a room with a bunch of people, but it’s usually been great. There’s a different energy when you’re all together.

Apps – If you can’t tear yourself away from your phone, you might like an app to help you get started with meditation. I’ve heard great things about the Headspace app!

YouTube – I’ve been known to search randomly on YouTube for meditations.  There are thousands out there but it can also be a little overwhelming.  I recommend listening to the first few seconds of one before committing. I def. can’t stand certain people’s voices or overall vibes and have to switch to a new one asap!

Journaling – I wasn’t sure if I should include this as a type since it’s a little more active but I think it’s an excellent practice and can definitely be meditative. If you’re not used to writing, start with a prompt. Soon you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to write from your heart, not your mind. Cliché but true.

It’s seriously about just quieting your thoughts for a few minutes. I get clarity, and weirdly, feel more energized after I meditate. Sometimes I’ll do it in bed and then realize I’m a little more awake!  Not really what I was going for then, but it’s amazing at what just sitting still does for me.

If you’re not sure where to start, do this: Set a timer for 5 minutes. Close your eyes and just notice your thoughts. Don’t try to get rid of them or change them, just notice how they come up and how they flow away and onto the next one. There’s no forcing your brain to be quiet, it’s more the action of letting go of the thought, not trying to understand it. Once your timer goes off, just go about your day. See if sitting quietly gets a little easier after each time you do it.

There will oddly be times where I crave it now. Sometimes I just want to grab a notebook and write some random thoughts. Anyway I do it is time well spent.

I’d love to hear your experiences meditating or why you haven’t gotten in to it before!

~Whitney

 

 

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Autumn Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (GF!)

Happy Monday morning!

I’m all about the Christmas vibes already.  Got my first holiday Starbucks cup of the season and felt like a tiny child, ready for Santa.

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I’ve been meal prepping for the holidays, all geared up to bake all the recipes I can.

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I’m in love with these flowers I got at the farmer’s market for $5!  They’re cute and just what I want to see when I walk in the front door.

img_6255.jpgLet’s start things off fresh with some fall-inspired breakfast treats.  I wanted pancakes, and I wasn’t feeling my protein versions.  They are great most of them time but really don’t compare to the real thing.  However, I didn’t feel like eating the original, white flour recipe that only keeps me full for about an hour.

Fuji apples make me drool.  They’re always so sweet and crisp and I wanted them in breakfast.

IMG_6269Oh, and I had some brown rice flour I’ve been meaning to use up so they just so happened to be gluten free and fabulous.

These pancakes are soft and fluffy and are the perfect recipe to prep the night before for a Fall brunch or prep for the week’s breakfast like I did.  I loosely based mine off this recipe.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes – Gluten Free

Makes about 6 pancakes

1 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup almond milk 

2 eggs

1 flax egg (1 tbs ground flax seed soaked in 2 tbs water – takes about 90 seconds)

1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

2 tsp honey – I used raw

1 tsp cinnamon

1 chopped apple – I like keeping the skin on but you could peel it!

  • Whisk eggs together with flax egg
  • Add milk
  • Add in melted coconut oil
  • Add honey, salt, and baking soda
  • Whisk in flour until there are no lumps
  • Cover bowl and refrigerate at least an hour or overnight
  • Spray pan and cook on stovetop at medium heat, flipping once.
  • Enjoy topped with sliced apples, 1 tsp butter, and 1 tsp maple syrup per 2 pancakesimg_6286.jpg.

This same recipe would be great with blueberries or chocolate chips too!  Let me know if you try them, please!

What are you favorite pancake mix-ins?

~Whitney Victoria

 

 

Tigers Eye Tuesdays

It’s okay.  I ran today.  That’s what I need to share with you guys.  It’s tough to convince yourself after weeks (possibly months…whoops!) of not running that it’s a good idea again.  I had this moment sitting at my desk that I just knew I needed to get outside. My gear was in my car so I headed to my first choice trail.  I always carry pepper spray on the paths and don’t wear headphones.  I have more control over my thoughts without music blaring in my ears and I like to be aware of my surroundings.  It was just 2 miles but I felt alive and accomplished afterward.  Something that helps me with motivation and protection on a regular basis is tigers eye.  So….IMG_5389.JPG

I’m back with some crystal clarity.

Tigers Eye has been one of my faves when I was little and had a rock collection.  There are a few types but I’m mostly referring to the most common today Golden Tigers Eye.   It’s goldish brown and has a stripe running through it that looks like the “eye of the tiger.”  It’s mystical.  That stripe seems to move with the light.

I wear this bracelet probably 5-7 days a week.  My mom made if for me and I love the energy infused in it.  It’s a little reminder I’m strong and protected everytime I see or feel it.fullsizeoutput_1da7I thought it was a good choice to highlight this stone in October because this month is about stepping into your greatness and getting clear on your true desires.

Tigers Eye

Quick Stats:

  • Element: Fire
  • Astrological association: Capricorn
  • Chakra: Solar Plexus
  • Message: Embrace your personal power
  • Properties:
    • Good luck
    • Protection
    • Clarity and inner focus
    • Courage and determination
    • Prosperity

I love this description.  I want to be a Radiant Warrior.

Lori A Andrus | Step into your sacred Path

Here’s more insight from Energy Muse.

Use Tiger’s Eye healing properties to focus on your prey, form your strategy of attack, and wait for the perfect moment to pounce. Tigers might be the largest feline in the world, but they still allow lions to be kings of the jungle. Channeling a powerful medicine, Tiger’s Eye crystal healing properties teaches us to live with integrity by encouraging the balance of power. Instead of competing with others to stay on top, Tiger’s Eye allows us to climb that career mountain and aim for the stars on our own terms.

This stone is straight up fierce and I need a little of that in my life.  I didn’t realize until doing some research for this post how closely the stone’s name is tied to the animal.  I have gained an even greater appreciation for it now.  Tigers are so mysterious and beautiful, stalking their prey, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce.  They’re rare and terrifying and captivating.  Now, you don’t have to “believe” in crystal healing to get something out if this. Maybe you want some new style ideas.  I picked a few tigers eye pieces that inspire me.

Bracelet 
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Loafers 
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Tank 
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Layered necklacep294117_2
Pendulum necklace

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Bomber Jacket fullsizeoutput_1da1

Be fierce and stand in your power.

~Whitney Victoria

Make it Happen: New Moon Manifesting

My morning mental capacity was used up by brainstorming Halloween costumers.  It’s not my absolute favorite holiday but it’s a chance to dress up that I refuse to miss.  I love when I have multiple plans so I can have two costumes, tailored to the event…  I have no shame in looking cute and not 100% authentic. I’m so torn between one that’s probably going to be on every other little girl and college coed, and another character that no one will get.  Who knows what I’ll end up wearing!

On to more timely things…

September 19 “the new moon will arrive in Virgo, 27 degrees. All new moons open a portal of energy in which you have two weeks to take action.” (AstrologyZone)

I’m in manifesting mode tonight!  Virgo is about healing the mind, body and soul.  Being kind to ourselves and knowing we have the answers if we listen to ourselves is power.  (Intuitive Astrology)IMG_7884

It’s appropriate that I pulled the Ace of Swords from Rock Star Crystals in NYC.  This card is about mental clarity.  Exactly what I’ll need for this week. It also stands for courage.  In short, this is the meaning: “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”  Aces trump all other cards in a reading, giving it a positive vibe.

Last new moon I went to a meditation and wrote down some intentions before we meditated.  It was around 10am but it actually doesn’t matter since the moon’s energy is there regardless of day or night. Then we went to brunch and discussed our individual experiences.  That’s my kind of a day date.

“Happily, the perfect new moon will arrive in Virgo on September 19, and all the little planets will be there to greet the magnificent moon and her partner, the Sun. This new moon will unlock your luck being brought from the five heavenly bodies clustered there. The moves you make quickly, in the ten days following that new moon, will color the six months to follow.”

“A new moon represents the end of one cycle and the beginning of another new 28 day cycle. The new moon on September 20 is the first new moon since the total solar eclipse on August 21. Eclipses mark the beginning of a six-month phase with certain goals or aims.  Each new moon within the eclipse cycle represents a new stage of development of your long-term goals.”

You can be an over-achiever and do an entire ritual if you please.  Try this.  Or, you can just jot down some dreams you wish to create.  The moon’s working OT for you so you don’t have to go to a ton of trouble!

This is one of the best descriptions I’ve read describing the difference between the New Moon and the Full Moon.  “The new Moon has a more inward feel, has a void or empty quality, and therefore can be frightening to those not comfortable with uncertainty. Can you learn to trust the dark? It’s the moment when the old passes away and the new is not yet here. That’s why it’s a powerful time for sending out your prayer, wishes, desires to the Universe.” – source

**I had to share this great article on smudging and using sage that I found today from Spiritual Gangster’s blog.

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(Source)

Happy Manifesting!

~Whitney Victoria

 

 

Broadway Baby

It’s funny how it’s just getting into peak Oatmeal Season and i’m over it.  Of course, that’s a thing I just made up but you know what I mean.  It’s fall and winter when you traditionally think about eating warm oatmeal that’s hearty and comforting.  If you’re anything like my family, growing up, we would have the instant packs of Quaker oats in maple brown sugar.  If I was really lucky, I’d get the dinosaur kind with dino eggs that dissolved in the hot water.  Man, I loved those.  That was the best because I’m pretty sure the flavor was brown sugar anyway!  So I got the brown sugar plus the amazing hatching eggs.  What a joy.  I always say I have food tastes at both ends of the spectrum;  I’m either all about clean eating or I have some kids’ food with tons of colored dyes and eight forms of sugar.  You know, the ones that list corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, pure cane sugar, natural sweetener, etc. all as separate ingredients high on the list.  I don’t have that stuff often at all but it does make me happy to enjoy once in awhile.

After all, you are talking to the girl who regularly lists rainbow sprinkles as her favorite food.

BAYSIDE CANDY RAINBOW SPRINKLES, 1LB I’d apologize for the oatmeal soliloquy but I quite enjoyed it.  The show must go on!

After years of just walking by, I finally made it to Broadway.  It was something that was always put off because there wasn’t the right musical or the price was too high or it was sold-out, whatever.  Then in March of this year I saw a headline that Bette Midler was going to be the lead in Hello Dolly! and it all seemed to fit.

Started out at the bus station with a massive coffee. IMG_7843

On the way home, we had time to kill in Port Authority…

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IMG_7966We had brunch at Friedman’s and it was delicious.  I love doing research to find good food.  I was searching for a place with good reviews and gluten-free brunch which is no small feat, even in NYC. Friedman’s fit the bill!

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I shared a peach Bellini because it was necessary.  What’s brunch without it?

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I had an egg white omelette with herbed fries and toast.  The toast came with rich raspberry butter that I could eat a tub full!

We hit a crystal shop a few blocks away because we had some time between our meal and the show!  More on that this week!

Hello Dolly! has two shows on Saturdays so we hit the matinee since we would be there for only one day.  It was actually stressful when I bought the tickets to make sure I got a performance with Bette.  Another actress (who’ve I heard is amazing too!) splits it with her and the times/dates were so random it was difficult to figure out.  I even checked last week to make sure but there wasn’t anything I could do about it by then anyway.  David Hyde Pierce (you know, Niles from Frasier?) was Horace Vandergelder.  He was a treat.

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We waited in line for a few minutes while the doors opened but that gave us time for prime photo ops!

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Shubert Theatre was beautiful inside too.  The history that went down there…!

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The energy from the audience was so unexpected!  I never thought the crowd would be that into the show.  I cried 3 times…during songs and when the audience would clap as Bette came on stage.  Beautiful moments like those make me tear up more than sad news so I shouldn’t be too surprised but this was spectacular.  I actually forgot how much this musical is about appreciating the little things and looking for signs.  The costumes, the sets, the music.  It was magical.  I’m going back at least yearly to see other shows because I just have to.  Anastasia is on right now and that could be a contender.  I had the soundtrack on cassette tape and now every song!

Our playbills even came with a postcard!  I do love a free gift.  #humblebrag

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I’m officially obsessed with Broadway and can’t believe it’s taken me 28 years to get there.  It was worth it.

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“Isn’t the world full of wonderful things!?”

 

Therapy Sesh: Rose Quartz

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PC: which-crystal-are-you-most-connected-to 

Okay, so crystals are trendy.  They may be very 2017 but most have been around forever…like for real.  (Shungite is 2 billion years old!)  I’m not one to jump on bandwagons…seriously.  I had this aversion to doing what everyone else was doing since elementary school.  When the other kids loved SpaceJam, I thought it was stupid, just out of principal.    I hate that I love you can buy them at Target now…Anyway, I LOVE crystals.  They’re gorgeous, make amazing jewelry, and can basically heal the world.

Healing properties or no, most crystals are beautiful to look at and comforting to hold.   Since they can be a little overwhelming when you’re new to the game, I’m going to do a series and highlight one crystal per post and delve into the specifics slowly.

I thought I’d start with one of my favorites:

Rose Quartz:

  • pale pink – the shade was even named one of Pantone’s Colors of the Year for 2016
  • universal love – give and receive love
  • heal a broken heart
  • balance
  • peace & calm
  • self-acceptance

*Tip: Rose quartz fades so don’t keep it in the sun!

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Massive chunk I keep on my dresser.  

How to use:

  • Carry it with you!  Put it in your pocket, shove it in your bra, whatever.
  • Wear some jewelry.
  • Hold during meditation.
  • Put a piece under your pillow for peaceful sleep.

Rose quartz is great for everything and everyone.  Head to your local new age store and buy some right now.  Do it. You’ll love it.

Now here are some rose quartz pieces I’m currently drooling over:

Are you new to crystals?  Have you ever tried rose quartz?