Gratitude List 2014 – Week One

The first Sunday of 2014 has found me sitting in the cool of the air-conditioned house watching animated movies and eating banana and dried pineapple cookies. After my two long runs last week I am now in the official tapering phase of my Cadbury 2014 Half Marathon training. That tapering totally includes eating cookies and singing along to Disney songs.

The first week of 2014 has given me plenty of time to reflect on all that I was grateful for in 2013 and how I wanted to continue my weekly Nourished Life Gratitude Lists this year. My weekly reflections throughout 2013 increased my awareness of all the things I have to be grateful for everyday. I was reminded to keep my eyes open to the smallest of blessings and let my heart be touched by whatever beauty the universe offered to me that day.

In 2014 I will be continuing my Nourished Life Gratitude Lists and I am encouraging you all to join in with me. Take some time everyday to reflect on one thing that you are grateful for that day. It could be something that happens to you first thing in the morning. It might only be later that night that you realise something tiny and wonderful has happened to you. It only takes five minutes, but it gives so much more than that. At the end of every week, every month, when you look back over your everyday gratitude lists you begin to understand the magnitude of happiness and contentment with your life you can generate by simply taking the time to look around and be grateful for the simple things. Seek abundance in the everyday and make your life a thoroughly nourished one. Let me know in the comments below (or on twitter @amychatwin) if you are going to gratitude list along with me.

Here it is, Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 Week One:

Wednesday: I am grateful for a slow start to 2014. Chris and I woke up late and made our way into 2014 slowly. There was no need to rush and so we procured some nourishing foods (we have slightly different definitions sometimes) and spent the day indulging in our passions of reading (me) and gaming (him). I am grateful that I got to spend the first day of the new year with my darling.

healthy start

Thursday: My first run of the year! I did my last long run before the half marathon – 15 kilometres finished off with a bike ride and some weights. I am grateful that I am feeling so strong this year after the health challenges of 2013. I am also grateful that I got to come home and read on the couch and have a long afternoon nap. Gotta love summer holidays.

Friday: Today I am grateful that I got to spend the whole day with my little sister. Jess and I went for a morning walk and then escaped the climbing temperatures and watched Lord of the Rings while she worked on a catering job and I provided ‘emotional support’ (by eating the chocolate buttercream leftovers).

breakfast with Jess 2_1Saturday: Today’s temperatures hit a record high! We recorded 46.1 degrees at our house! Luckily we have air-conditioning, a fridge full of cool drinks, and ice cream in the freezer. I was grateful to be able to go for my run at the gym and then go to the movies in the afternoon with Chris. We saw American Hustle and I can only recommend it. I really do enjoy a movie that tells a meaty story and leaves you guessing until the very end. I am grateful for good storytellers.

Sunday: Sunday is my day of rest and after today’s sleep in, slow breakfast with my Mum, talking to Chris about important life stuff and doing some baking, I feel well rested indeed. I am grateful that I got to spend Sunday with my family and very grateful to my Mum for helping me to figure out some grown-up financial stuff too.

This week holds many exciting things. Early in the week I am planning to do some writing, get my head around all the awesome things ahead this year, and visit with some friends. And on Friday Chris and I leave for Hobart!

Tell me, what has the first week of 2014 brought for you to be grateful for? Are you going to join in the 2014 Gratitude List challenge with me?


Monday Mantra: Plan B is Okay!

I have never failed a class, an exam, a course. I completed five years of a university degree that wasn’t quite the right fit because simply couldn’t quit. (I wouldn’t give up that time for anything of course; those years brought me my best friend Casey, and all the good things that have blossomed out of that friendship.)

This semester I took on a business subject in the course of my master’s degree. I thought it would be a good challenge, a way to stretch my neurons out of their comfort zone, and experience the growth that comes from such a venture. We are supposed to challenge ourselves in order to change we are told.

But sometimes a challenge isn’t right; sometimes we try to force ourselves outside our comfort zone and the challenge isn’t something that will help us grow, it just brings around frustration, stress, and unnecessary pain. I wasn’t quite sure when I first signed up for this class. I was already undecided when I walked into the first class, but I decided to stick it out because I’d made a commitment and cracked open the text book. Week after week my uncertainty grew; the course didn’t seem to be adding anything to the direction I want to take my career in.

Today I sat down to work on an assignment, and I realised that this class wasn’t making me happy (not just the assignment either). Believe me, I know that not all university classes are roses, sunshine, and lollipops – this isn’t my first rodeo after all. I took up my post-graduate studies as a way to extend my career, to move into a different sphere adjacent to my current position, to charge of my life again, and -most importantly – to make myself happy.

Another path is open to me, and withdrawing from this subject would mean I could pursue this path in the next semester of university. Quitting is not something that comes easily to me, and I am brilliant at the ‘self-shame guilt game’. I need to learn that when my Plan A fails there is no shame in taking Plan B, because sometimes Plan B is the right way to go.

So, dear reader, when have you tried Plan A, then had to move onto Plan B? Or Plan C/D/E/F? 

How do you cope with moving on from a challenge, or leaving Plan A behind?

Spring cleaning: the mind

My enthusiasm for spring has wound its way through my last few posts. They are peppered with references for my love of clear skies, new flowers, bright sunshine, warmer days, and the promising bounty of the season. Another part of spring that I am fond of is spring cleaning. Although I tend to accumulate a lot of stuff (especially books and papers), I actually do enjoy a good clearing out. Shedding the weight of possessions that keep us rooted in past worries is a rebirth that does not have to be reserved for the turn of the season. A few weeks ago I set out on a mission to throw out some old magazines and paperwork that was no longer of any use, and to make room for the magazines that I just can’t seem to stop buying.

Amidst the old university documents (I really don’t need another paper I wrote on nutrition for kidney disease, do I?), assorted recipes (safely filed away now), and screen-printed Google maps for places I now know off by heart, I found evidence of heartbreak. Evidence of malice, punishment, and depression. Documents from an oppressor. Namely, me.

I have had a long and complex relationship with food. There have been stages in my life where it was comfort, and stages where I controlled it to achieve my weight goals. There were times when I used bingeing or restriction as a punishment. As each piece of paper, each record of that time, hit the bottom of the recycling bin I felt a weight lift from my shoulders, a cloud’s shadow blow away from the sun.

Now, with spring and its spirit of new beginnings making a bright and promising start, I feel the need to share my story. Expose the stages I have been through in my quest to live in harmony with food and my body. There is a common irony that many food bloggers have had issues with food, and it is true that many of us choose to share our journey online. Now I too wish to share my story, not necessarily in the pursuit of helping other people (although that would be a nice side benefit) but rather to commit in a public space, to the final clearing out of these cobwebs that have haunted me for so long. To shed the weight not only from my body, but to finally own where I am in my journey, the peace I have achieved and the challenges that I still face with what I put on my plate.

A confession. An absolution. A commitment.

So stay with me over the next few days while I tell you a story. The journey of a girl who circled her way around loving food with some challenges on the way.

I have called it ‘The 5 Fs of my food relationship':

  1. Family and food
  2. Full of food
  3. Fitness and food
  4. Fear of food
  5. Friends with food

Please, leave comments, and questions, and (if you feel comfortable) your life experiences, in the comments section below each post. Part of a thoroughly nourished life is taking the time to weed the garden in time for the new season’s growth, so here I go.

Change [part one]: Two Sides to the Coin

I have a tumultuous relationship with change. The usual modus operandi of Amy is to shy away from change, to resist forward movement with all my being, and cement my feet into the spot I am in. I settle for the long term.

However, there are other times when I forge ahead. Run into places where angels fear to tread. Make seismic shifts in my lifestyle and big decisions without over-analysing the situation beforehand.  This from the woman who takes ten minutes to decide between muesli and porridge for breakfast. Yep.

After a few big changes in my life over the past twelve months (some by choice, others most definitely out of my control), and some serious mental work to get through them and out the other side; I decided that I want to understand my relationship with change. Whether I like it or not, life is going to keep advancing, bending and flexing in different directions. Arthur Schopenhauer said ‘change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal’. I want to be able to adapt to the inevitable changes in my life. To move with and through each change healthily. To treat change as an opportunity rather than a threat.

To live a thoroughly nourished life I believe it is essential to seek the areas in your life that require extra encouragement to thrive. To feel out the dormant roots and foster them to grow. This growth might be painful, in fact in most cases it will be, but persistence and passion are rewarded with the sweetest fruits of labour: a life authentically yours.

Over the next few weeks I will be tackling each stage of change (in the uber sexy sounding transtheoretical model of change), and looking at how I can approach each stage in a healthy manner. What I need to do, ask, say, and act out, in order to make the most of change opportunities to grow my life, while remaining true to myself.

Dear readers, how do you approach changes in your life? Do you feel that you have a healthy relationship with change, and dealing with what comes about in your life?

Movement Monday

Today a new hot yoga studio opened up in my neighbourhood.

Today I decided it was time for a new challenge.

I have found that the best way for me to grow, and discover all the hidden parts of my person, is to find a cliff edge, walk right up, and jump off.

In this way, I have found a way to do more than just exist.

I am a runner. For the next couple of weeks I will take the challenge of yoga.

Who knows what I might find. A new way to be thoroughly nourished? A new way to express myself? A new community of healthy minded people?

A new movement.