June 24, 2010


During my formative years, I was one of those unique individuals who actually enjoyed school. From the social aspects, to the classes, to the Trapper Keepers (side note: with the current revitalization of all that is the 80s, why has the Trapper Keeper not made an emergence? someone should make that happen.) and other supplies, school was somewhere I felt comfortable -- a place where I thrived. And, honestly, not much has changed from those days, which would explain my relentless pursuance of degrees and certifications and my constant reading of non-fiction. And, although I savor/savored the ancillary aspects of school and classes, ultimately it comes down to the fact that I just really enjoy learning.

However, the avenues of courses in which I routinely participate tend to involve some means to an end, whether it be the aforementioned certificates and degrees or the achieving of an objective goal (this may be apparent, but I also flourish on setting and meeting goals). While my intention is not to discount these, as I have learned a great deal and achieved much through the journey of the courses, I recently recognized that the classes and courses and books were not providing me with something I have been seeking -- inner spiritual growth.

As a resolution to my current situation, I enrolled in an e-course of a different sort -- one which does not involve a grade or a certificate of completion, but instead comes with a purpose of expanding creativity and the examination of self. The course does entail assignments, but this "omwork" has nothing to do with reading a textbook or completing a multiple-choice quiz, but instead requires such tasks as journal writing, creating a morning routine (beyond the snooze button, coffee and rushing out the door) and practicing yoga -- all done on a daily basis.

The course, which spans a six-week period, began today as I listened to the first podcast at lunch, diligently taking notes (not required). I felt immediately inspired as the instructor outlined the topics for the first week -- mindfulness, meditation, yogic breathing and the eight limbs of yoga -- and even more so when I took the time to begin my first omwork assignment. I anticipate this journey to be acutely personal, so therefore will spare you the intimate details on this blog as it progresses -- I will leave that to my journal. And, while it is impractical for me to take the next six weeks to focus solely on this class and me, I am going to put forth a considerable amount of effort and time to explore the tranquilista lifestyle. Cursory updates forthcoming.

Speaking of growth, my first delivery from door-to-door organics arrived today. Below is just a sampling of its contents. Yum!

June 18, 2010

abdicating all-or-nothing

I am internally conflicted. Yes, I realize that is an ultra-loaded statement. And, yes, it could be argued that most of the human population could probably make a similar assertion. However, for the purposes of this post, I will focus on issue that is currently providing the most contention -- to eat or not to eat (meat, that is).

Sparing the details, there are a number of reasons I choose/chose/will choose to forgo meat products as a part of my calorie intake. One of the principal catalysts being my health. Along those same lines, I also prefer to eat foods in their most natural state, or at least those that are non-chemically "enhanced," modified or manufactured.

Truthfully, the concern extends much farther than what will be on my dinner plate this evening. I struggle with not only what will nourish me on the inside, but also, the products I use on my outer self. For instance, using cosmetics sans parabens, cleaning with environmentally-friendly products, etc. For me, the omnivore-herbivore conflict goes hand-in-hand with this.

The natural school of thought is not a contemporary concept. Growing up in a house where my mother would take us to visit the "witch doctor," feed us Barleygreen, bake with whole wheat flour and order products from a food co-op, instilled in me is the basis of doing things the natural way.

One of my main enemies is the all-or-nothing thought process -- again, a concept of which many others can relate. Few aspects of human behavior are absolute. Yet, as a culture, how many times do we use the words "always" and "never?" I find myself relating this type of thinking to what I eat and the products I use. In the past, I have gone back and forth with buying natural products and those containing the undesirables, just as I have done with the choices of my food, only to "give up" because I was tired of the restrictions.

Enter Michale Pollan's rationalization: Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.

Personally, I think Pollan's is an ideal solution -- one which can be extended into other areas of life and one of which I'm going to subscribe. It eliminates the all-or-nothing mentality and advocates for a healthier attitude. Although I will still prefer vegetarian options, I am going to allow myself to enjoy a naturally-raised chicken breast once in a while. And, while the majority of my cosmetics may free of parabens and sulfates, it will take a firing squad to force me to renounce my favorite mascara, which doesn't fall under the previous category. With that being said, I am also going to ensure that the food I do ingest is of a higher quality, with the first step being my placing an order with Door to Door Organics.

I can't end this post without acknowledging my college roommate, Mary, whom I was able to visit this week during my stay in Minneapolis and who continues to inspire and educate me in the areas of health and the environment, and has been doing so since we met at McIntyre Hall in the fall of 2001. Thanks, Mary.

One of the most amazing women I know and a very dear friend -- me and Mary during my visit to Minneapolis this week. 

June 7, 2010

6,260 miles down . . .

It is not surprising that with all the traveling in which I have been engaged, there have been more than a few sacrifices, including my blog. And, although currently back in D-town, I am doing my best to prioritize my time between work, running (did I mention I'm training for a 1/2 marathon?), the Jaycees,  other personal commitments (softball, retaining my sanity) and the tasks of unpacking, doing laundry and repacking -- all of which aren't leaving much time for anything else. Therefore, this blog will be short and sweet.

The good news is my travels thus far have been excellent, including the most recent trip to New Orleans and my impending trip to Minneapolis will complete the May/June travel-palooza of 2010. I'm expecting the trip to the City of Lakes to follow suite of the previous trips, with the following planned -- a two-day pre-conference stay with my college roommate, a first-time attendance at the CCA Institute, where I'm sure to meet many great people; and, a Rockies v Twins game at the new Target Field. The journey continues -- 6,260 miles down, 1,830 to go.

Above, Bourbon Street with Tonya, Andrea and Jen; having a blast with Erin, Jen and Seth; and left, hanging out with Andrea, Amy, Mike and Jen at the U.S. Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Americans awards ceremony.

June 2, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

This Wordless Wednesday post is brought to you by an amazing artist, whom I discovered during my weekend meanderings in downtown Denver. The above sketch is titled, "Dance Floor Kiss" and is by the very talented J.D. Hillberry. I loved the sketch so much that I purchased a copy for myself. However, for as much as "Dance Floor Kiss" tugs at my heartstrings, it is really one of the more simple pieces in Hillberry's collection. For a full understanding of just how gifted he is, please check out the artist's other sketches at his Web site: www.jdhillberry.com/