Friday, May 31, 2013

I Did It!

The Alcohol-Free experiment is complete.  I made it 31 days without a drop of alcohol.  I'm feeling a mix of pride, contentment and surprise.  I knew that I could do it, but I'm astonished that it actually wasn't that hard.  The month went by fast, and I have even gone a few extra dry days.  Tonight I'm planning to enjoy a glass of wine at dinner with friends.  That one glass will now be it's own mini-experiment since my system is clean.  It's funny how any sort of deprivation makes the next bite or sip of that item absolutely heavenly.  I came across this same idea recently in a captivating book called Wild.  The author, Cheryl Strayed, decided to hike the Pacific Coast Trail alone for months.  In her case, she has limited access to basic necessities like water and food.  It's fascinating to watch her experience unfold.  In a way, the hike is her own type of experiment.  At this point in my reading, she is killing it.  I'm rooting for her as she battles her demons and conquers this gruelling challenge.  Like Cheryl, I'm realizing that we can surprise ourselves with our own capabilities... if only we take the chance and dive in.  Ready, GO!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Permission to Party

Today is Day 27 of the Alcohol-Free experiment.  It has been surprisingly easy for me to resist.  I was around alcohol last night, and the thing that struck me most was the smell.  We all know that tequila has a potent smell, but it felt like I walked into a tequila cloud when I entered the kitchen.  It had never smelled that strong to me before.  Yes, it was a little enticing because I love margaritas.  But on the other hand, it made me reconsider what that fiery liquid would do inside my body.  I opted for a cranberry and soda with a big squeeze of lime.  Just having something in my hand helps me feel like I still get to participate and be social.

It's true that a lot of the silly stories and crazy adventures from the past include alcohol.  And that's OK.  It's funny to remember back on the times when we let our guard down and just let loose.  Now I'm practicing how to relax and do that without the alcohol.  My boyfriend can tell you that I sometimes don't know how to relax.  I'll buzz around the house cleaning, doing laundry, making calls, cooking food when I could just sit down and hang out.  As I mentioned in my last post, I'm ready for a party, and I'm giving myself permission to party without the alcohol.  Permission granted!

Here are the other ways I'm allowing myself to relax and unwind:
1. baths with Epsom salts and a magazine (favorites: Real Simple and the Oprah Magazine)
2. reading and eating popcorn in bed (so naughty)
3. meditation
4. exercising in the gym in my building
5. going out to eat with friends (on deck this week: Plum)
6. buying flowers at the farmers market with Kevin
7. getting vegan ice cream and sitting at the park (favorites: coconut chocolate chunk from Molly Moon's and sorbet at Cupcake Royale)
8. watching New Girl, Mindy Project and Million Dollar Listing (look who has a TV now!)
9. going to the movies
10. walking around my beautiful city (I love you, Seattle!)

As I cruise through the last few days of this experiment, I'm feeling grateful for this opportunity to reconnect with myself and cut through the haze.  Have you ever tried giving up alcohol?  What worked for you?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Need a Party!

I sit here laughing as I write this because I just realized that I need to cut loose.  I have been so strict with myself lately that I'm strangling all the fun out of my life.  No gluten, no alcohol, too much work, too many's enough to drive a girl crazy.  I am officially inviting fun back into my life.  Too many rules is suffocating.  I am reconnecting with the medium path and finding any excuse to giggle, do a dance and be silly.  Bring it on, Universe!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Secret to Clear Skin

As I'm wrapping up Week Two of the Alcohol-Free experiment, I'm realizing that the best way to avoid alcohol is to keep myself super busy with other projects.  Since I'm starting my business, teaching, being a landlord, being a daughter, being a girlfriend, working out and cooking healthy foods, alcohol hasn't been part of my schedule.  I have missed a few parties because of all this schedule craziness, but I'm realizing that the moments that mean the most to me are usually time spent one-on-one with good friends.  The conversation is meaningful, and I leave feeling really happy.  I had an amazing lunch with my friend, Trina, at Cafe Flora.  Its vegetarian yumminess didn't necessitate a cocktail.  I also had Kiara over for appetizers and mimosas (left over from Mother's Day brunch).  My champagne flute was full of orange juice.  My drinking or not-drinking doesn't really matter when the friendships are solid. 

Last week I even celebrated Stacy at Oliver's Twist with a rhubarb tarragon lemonade.  Ummm...yes please!  The conversation and business brainstorm kept me plenty satisfied and entertained. 

Do I miss drinking?  Sometimes, yes.  A glass of chilled white wine on a hot day.  A margarita on Cinco de Mayo.  But what I don't miss are the hangovers, pimples, messed up sleep schedule and exhaustion.  In fact, my skin has never looked better.  All this clean blood flowing from my happy liver is really starting to show.  Or maybe it's all in my head.  Either way, I'm busy, challenged and feeling good.  I'll drink to that!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Feeling inspired?

I had a meeting with my principal (boss) this morning after a surprise drop-in observation this week. Of course when I saw her walk in with the iPad, I knew it was game time. I didn't change my lesson (much), but everything feels so different when you know you're being observed. We had a great conversation this morning, and she gave me some good feedback about setting diverse learning objectives for different kids based on needs. As she left, I realized that I was just "coached" in a caring and supportive way. And it felt good. I implemented a few of her ideas this morning and the students loved it! They love choice, specialized small group instruction and feeling like they're getting something special. We all want to feel special, heard and appreciated. My principal did that for me, and I passed the love along to my students. Maybe this new teacher evaluation pilot isn't so bad after all.

This all got me thinking... What does it take to feel inspired? I know it takes energy and willingness. A Course in Miracles states that willingness is everything. Am I willing to be inspired and take action towards positive changes? Do I have persistence and dedication to seeking out new challenges and experiences or do I only operate in my comfort zone? Am I willing to look like a dope and fail a few times before succeeding? Absolutely! Come check out the weirdo over here. That's me!

My principal doesn't take credit for my feelings of inspiration, but just keeps cheering me on. That's what I want to offer my students, friends, family and clients. Feeling inspired is like floating around on a happy cloud of energy and motivation. What makes you feel inspired? How do you get yourself unstuck when nothing feels inspiring? I want to hear from you!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Replace instead of eliminate

Week one of my alcohol-free experiment has been a big success.  I didn't drink at all this week, but there were definitely some moments when I wanted to.  I witnessed myself wanting a drink at times when I felt stressed or overwhelmed.  It was as though I wanted to self-medicate with a glass of wine or a cocktail to "take the edge off."  Instead, I choose to breathe through it, feel uncomfortable and make a different choice.  After my very first day at my new office, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and exhausted.  Instead of the wine, I reached for a cup of comforting, warm soup.  The healthy nourishment did help me feel cozy and more relaxed.  That replacement offered the comfort I was searching for.

On Cinco de Mayo, I was waiting for friends to arrive and wanted to join the festivities with a margarita.  Instead, I had a refreshing virgin mojito that still provided the festive, sweet treat I was craving.  When my friends started to arrive, I was able to relax, chat and enjoy the music.  Dancing and socializing with good friends makes alcohol irrelevant.  I see that I sometimes want to fill the "gaps" or the uncomfortable moments with a straw and a sip.

At a dinner out, I had a grapefruit San Pellegrino.  It was bubbly and delicious, but at 150 calories and 35 grams of sugar, it may not be the healthiest alternative out there.  It seems that soda water with lime is a good way to sip on something with a little flavor, but not bombard my body with sugar.

As I head into Week Two of this challenge, I'm feeling confident and proud.  I feel like I'm really "walking my talk" as an Ayurveda Health Coach and yogini.  It's all a practice of self-study and learning.  I am happy to be taking my health seriously and noticing the benefits.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Month Twelve: Alcohol Free

I've had this blog for over 4 years now, and it's taken me that long to tackle this month's experiment.  Some of my readers may not even know that my blog started as a series of one-month lifestyle challenges.  Each month I dabbled in a new goal.  These experiments give me a reason to research and experience first-hand different ways of living.  Here's the summary:

Month One: Vegetarianism
Month Two: Shopping-Free
Month Three: Caffeine-Free
Month Four: No High Heels
Month Five: Gluten-free
Month Six: Pants-Free
Month Seven: Cell phone-Free
Month Eight: Blog-Free
Month Nine: All Things Ayurveda
Month Ten: Chi Running
Month Eleven: Finding Free

And now finally, Month Twelve: Alcohol Free.  I'm not sure why it took me this long to be willing to give up alcohol for 30 days.  It just always seemed like the wrong time.  I always have a wedding coming up, a holiday coming up, a birthday coming up, whatever.  These excuses have now taken the back seat because I recently started taking an anti-inflammatory for my knee that is really tough on the liver and kidneys.  Now I finally have a good reason to not drink.  Combining alcohol with this medication would be dangerous for my body and overall health.  I have a feeling that some interesting insights will come up this month.  Bring it on!