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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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August 21, 2019

Back to School, Back to Basics

When we break it down, practicing healthy habits is rather elementary. It can also seem rather complicated. Since school is back in session, I figured

August 15, 2019

The All or None Syndrome

Ever experience Pause Button Mentality? Perhaps during the holidays, your birthday, after vacation, when work gets crazy, or kids go back to school? H

August 8, 2019

Lessons from Nature, and Grounding

We must be moving into fall, as school supplies are in the sale ads. Didn’t summer vacation just get rolling? As I look around, I see many of my lil

August 1, 2019

Creative, Easy, Grilling Ideas

Summer is for taking it easy, and that includes mealtime. Lately, Mr. Non-Compliant and I have been playing with food. Our latest game: How much can w

July 18, 2019

Happy National Ice Cream Month

The year was 1984. President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day. This ye

July 11, 2019

How to Bok Choy

Summer is adventure time. With the abundance of various fruits and vegetables available at grocery stores and farmers markets, there is no reason to b

July 4, 2019

Relax and Enjoy

Welcome to the dog days of summer and simple eating. Unlike winter, when those crock pot soups and stews hit the spot, we are now in the season of lig

June 27, 2019

Atomic Habits

My current summer (now that it’s official!) read is “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. I’m working on improving a few of mine—slowly—one at a

June 13, 2019

Ten of My Best Tips

Q. What to blog about when I have too many ideas flying around my brain and I simply am not able to choose? A. Tips that cover a variety of topics, wi

June 6, 2019

The Joys of June…and Strawberries

Along with June come some fun celebrations. Besides the new season of life celebrated by many graduates (and parents, now free of tuition payments), a

The Magic of Passion and Purpose

Health is a priceless commodity. While food and exercise are at the top of the list of contributing to good health, passion and purpose are right up there alongside them.

So, while I’m all about eating lots of vegetables and going to the gym, today I’m focusing on passion and purpose.

Imagine that you have a job that really lights you up—the kind of job that when your feet hit the floor every morning, you are over-the-moon excited to see where the day will lead.

It’s a job that requires making tough decisions, however, it’s one that you feel called to do. You meet and connect with people on a daily basis. In spite of the ups and downs, since no job is free of the roller coaster ride, you absolutely love it.

Then in a single day, it’s over. You’re done.

Some of you have been in this place, and may be there right now. The business of your dreams didn’t make it, or you’ve been let go due to downsizing…or you’re an elected official that didn’t get the votes.

As the spouse of a recently UNelected official who absolutely loved his job and didn’t get the votes, it’s painful. It’s also very public.

It’s tough to be told you cannot do what you love any longer. AND, it’s tough to know that you’re not doing the thing that lights you up.

Today, are you living a life that fulfills your passion and purpose?  

Yes, even in the midst of this busy Christmas season.

I left my job in the pharmacy in 2011 to pursue a calling that led me here. Some days, I’m not sure exactly where “here” even is. It’s that roller coaster ride—and I love it.

Life is short. If you’re not doing the thing that lights you up, why not?

On a recent call with my coach, I had to decide what I was committed to in the coming year.

I’m committed to showing up powerfully for you. As your coach, I’ll help you get back on that roller coaster, even if you aren’t sure whether it’s heading up or down—and especially when you’re too scared to get on at all.

I’ve been there. I get it. And I’m stronger because of it.  

I’d love to help you discover possibility. It’s part of the magic of the season. If you don’t believe me, watch “The Santa Clause” or “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or your favorite Christmas classic.

Believe in the magic of passion and purpose.

Christmas blessings and love,
Carol

 “There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”– Nelson Mandela

Consistency, Perseverance, and Toasted Almonds

‘Tis the season to be jolly. So…what if you’re not feeling it?

Some days I’m not. Some days I’d rather stay in bed with the covers pulled over my head.

Sometimes our lives don’t mimic those happy Hallmark Christmas movies with the seemingly perfect endings. Happy couple, cute dog, every light working on the tree.

Wouldn’t it be sweet if we could sometimes rewrite our movie script?    

It’s tough when along with the joyful festivities of the season comes loss; loss of a loved one, job, relationship, pet, health, identity. The list goes on.

The stress of December takes a toll. It can be a challenge to persevere when instead of sending a bowl of lemons, life sends a gigantic lemon tree. But wait. The commercials tell us that we are supposed to be HAPPY!

This is when it is easier to be consistent. It is easier to show up each day and simply do those tasks that are habit—the ones you don’t need to think about.

Recently, in dealing with one of those lemon trees, I felt consistently sad. There was nothing I could do to cheer up and make that old-fashioned lemonade we hear about in the cliché. I just needed time.

It was in this consistent bummer of a mood that I chose to persevere with routine. My logic: If I could get through those things that I didn’t need to think too hard about, perhaps one day I’d get to the other side.

It worked. I trusted the process of consistency and perseverance, and I’m happy to report that I am in much brighter spirits. Falalalala. And, thank you for the prayers.

I know many people who are in a sad place due to one or more of the aforementioned reasons, and the holidays only make it worse.

During this season of Christmas, may we be consistent in showing loving kindness, whether it be to the clerk at Kohl’s, the driver that cut us off, or the friend who lost their loved one.

We may be helping them exchange that lemon tree for a Christmas tree—even if it is the Charlie Brown variety.

 

Toasted Almonds

In a large skillet over low heat, melt about 2 tablespoons of unrefined, organic virgin coconut oil. Add 2 cups of raw almonds. Sauté for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Watch closely so they don’t burn. You will hear some popping as the almonds are toasting. Remove from heat and put on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb the oil. Salt to taste. With all the flavored salts on the market, you could have fun experimenting. For chocolate almonds, after salting, sprinkle some cocoa or cacao powder on while still warm. Stir to coat. Once the nuts have cooled, store in an airtight container. Caution: the chocolate almonds are not sweet.

Tip: When buying large bags of nuts, store in the freezer so they don’t become rancid. Keep smaller quantities in the refrigerator for snacking.

 

“Christmas gift suggestions:

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”

— Oren Arnold, American novelist

Slow Down to Speed Up

This mantra seems counterintuitive, especially since there are only 19 days until Christmas. Yet, it hit me during a recent time of stillness.

It also reminded me of a book I’d read years ago, “Be Quick—But Don’t Hurry!” by Andrew Hill with John Wooden.

I can hear you now, gasping for air because there is SO MUCH TO DO. Relax. Breathe. Slow down. You’ll get more accomplished.

How many times have you been rushing and set the car keys down, only to forget where you put them? Or, you had your cell phone just a minute ago, where is it now?

In our haste to hurry or speed up, we waste precious time.  

 This also happens to me when I don’t do a simple task (taking 5 minutes or less) in the moment that it shows up. I’ll spend more time thinking about it than if I had just done it immediately. I’m practicing the “Do It Now” principle. (Fold the laundry, sort the mail, write the thank you, etc.)

I’ve also been distracted in the kitchen when measuring an ingredient, hurried, then wondered if I’d measured correctly. UGH!

Need I go on?

The more we hurry, the more stress and anxiety we experience. The result is poor sleep, hormone imbalances, a lack of energy, frustration, cold or flu, and sometimes—a few extra pounds.

Slow down. Spend a few moments in quiet solitude each day. You will be calmer; you will have more clarity about what is most important; you won’t appear crazy, even if you have doubts on occasion. (We all do.)

You will experience more joy and fulfillment because you are taking the time to enjoy each moment. This goes for the decorating, choosing that special gift for each person on your list, and even eating your favorite holiday treats.

The season of Advent, these four weeks leading up to Christmas, is a time of waiting. We wait with hope  for Christ’s coming. Children wait impatiently for Santa to deliver the goods. Adults can’t wait until it’s over. ‘Tis the season! 

Take a few extra minutes today and slow down. Be quick in knowing what it is you need to be attentive to, then methodically go about getting it done–But don’t hurry.

Make your plan. Work your plan. Have fun, doing the best you can.

“Keep calm and enjoy Christmas.”

 

Always Do Something

It’s time to embrace imperfection. Yes, you read that correctly. Today, we are going to consider doing some things imperfectly, rather than not doing them at all.

It is about now that the seasonal roller coaster ride begins. It lets up, oh, sometime in February—or July. What often accompanies this roller coaster ride (also known as “real life”) is what one of my mentors, Dr. John Berardi, refers to as “pause-button mentality.”

Examples of this phenomenon go something like this:

*”With all the parties in December, I may as well wait until January to start my health and fitness program. It will be one of my resolutions.”

*”I’ll go to the gym once my job settles down, the kids finish their __________ season, and I get my mom moved into her condo.”

*”It will be easier to eat better meals once the holidays are over. With all the baking, card writing, shopping and decorating, I have NO time.”

*”I was going to start eating more vegetables this week, until I remembered it’s my Birth Month. So many of my friends like to take me to lunch, I can’t possibly consider doing such a crazy thing until NEXT month!” (I’ve used this one before…can you believe it?)

Do any of these stories sound familiar? Okay, perhaps they aren’t exact—you get the picture. For the record: I am guilty of playing the pause-button game. Also for the record: It doesn’t work very well.

We all like to start over, begin again, and erase the slate clean. So do I. The problem: Hitting the pause button delays us living our life and playing full out.

Say your “ideal” routine includes nicely balanced meals every evening, your favorite workouts 5 days a week, quiet prayer/meditative time daily, 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and a good dose of family and social time mixed in with work. Perfect!

We all know that what we plan in life and what happens are usually not the same. We have to take the good stuff along with the not-so-good stuff.

Short term, we can stick with a regimented plan, which is why there are lots of 30-day programs. Life may allow us to get away with a fairly “perfect” 30 days. Then what?

Here’s an alternative to hoping for perfect. Always do something. Pausing the button on various aspects of our life when things get out of whack only leads to regret, and sometimes a more difficult road in the future.

If you are unable to get in your typical workouts, take a 10-minute walk at some point in your day. It will bring mental and physical benefits. Can you get to the gym at least twice a week instead of five? Stay for thirty minutes instead of an hour?

So you can’t get in your wonderfully balanced meals every evening, eat a salad once a day and do the best you can. If you must resort to drive-thru, skip the soda and fries. Practice doing just a little bit better. A little bit better is awesome!

And all those holiday parties? Choose a few of the “healthier” options, drink lots of water, and go for those decadent treats only when they are AMAZING!

Living your best life is not about having lots of willpower, or constantly denying yourself the fun of parties, friends and great food. This game is about developing the skills to hang in there and do what you can, even when you really want to pause. It’s knowing that life is always going to happen, no matter how well you plan.

Embrace the imperfection of doing something. Always.

“Fitness in the context of real human life is just like the rest of life. We’re all just doing the best we can in challenging, complicated circumstances. We are all living messy, imperfect lives. We are all human. If we can just keep moving forward, no matter what happens, no pause buttons, no do-overs, we win the game.”—Dr. John Berardi