BRIGHTSPARK7's SparkPeople Blog BRIGHTSPARK7's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community The time is now On Friday, a dear friend died. My heart has broken open into a new level of commitment to living without limits, full embodiment of my most cherished values. She was and is an amazing soul, a kindred spirit. <BR> So here I am again, after three years away from Sparkpeople. <BR> I used to think it was about embodying the light, regardless of the body. Now I see that the body is condensed light. How could I not love that? So now, the mission is to be love. <BR> <BR> I wrote this poem for my ... Sun, 29 Nov 2015 21:17:39 EST Today's walk The hubs and I walked three miles around the neighborhood today. The wild cherries and ornamental plums are in bloom here in Northern California. It got blustery and really windy at one point and I wanted to take the shortcut home. Having a walking buddy kept me going. As we rounded the corner a flovk of robins crossed our path, darting among the bushes, hopping along the path, flitting through the tree branches. Cheerful. I was filled with wonder to see them migrating through our community a... Sun, 19 Feb 2012 00:16:35 EST On the scale after a week A week passed without weighing myself. I'm glad I didn't check the scale every day. No change. I'm holding steady. Exceeded my walking goal today. <BR> Wed, 20 Jul 2011 23:26:35 EST To weigh or not to weigh? The past: I've been at a plateau for over three months. I have been weighing myself daily. <BR> The present: I have decided to not weigh myself for the rest of the summer and shift my relationship with my body. Less criticism, more acceptance. <BR> The future: I am in awe of all the things my body can do, and the miraculous way it supports me. I celebrate my health daily. I am in a state of wonder in relationship to my body. <BR> <BR> I still plan on wearing my pedometer and walking tall.... Wed, 13 Jul 2011 01:08:52 EST Start of a new streak I was listening to an interview with one of my favorite authors, Marci Shimoff, whose book, "Love for no reason," came out earlier this year. She suggested asking yourself a question throughout the day. "What's the most loving thing I can do for myself right now?" Or another version of the question is, "What's the most loving way I can be with myself right now?" <BR> I felt more prompted to be more loving to myself today and started a new streak of working out ten minutes a day. I'll do yoga... Fri, 3 Jun 2011 00:39:31 EST Expanding truth in my life I came across this marvelous quote from Mahatma Gandhi today: <BR> <BR> "Your beliefs become your thoughts. <BR> Your thoughts become your words. <BR> Your words become your actions. <BR> Your actions become your habits. <BR> Your habits become your values. <BR> Your values become your destiny." <BR> <BR> He is a teacher for me, showing me how one man can make a difference in the evolution of the world. My goals are modest in comparison. But I'm a fan of Gandhi's concept of soul-force... Sun, 29 May 2011 20:35:57 EST Mother's Day Flowers <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Roses, stock, carnations and daisies! My favorites from my daughter, with love. <BR> <BR> And a message in dominoes: <BR> <link> </link> Sun, 8 May 2011 22:35:45 EST Two pounds down for April so far Six more days to the end of April and the goal-setter in me is wondering if the scale is going down another pound. It can happen. <BR> <BR> Last week's theme was being wholehearted in exercising, eating, in working, and in relationships. Logging food on the tracker while also paying attention to how I feel is really working for me. Last night, I felt hungry at around 9:30pm and I usually have a rule not to eat a couple of hours before going to bed. My food tracker reported that I was under ... Sun, 24 Apr 2011 16:36:35 EST On being wholehearted I've been mulling it over for a couple of days -- what it is to be wholehearted about my choices -- and the concept is still evolving. So far, I've been observing how I feel about my activities. Can I get fully behind what I'm doing, be in integrity with a thing, whether it's a food choice, exercise, a choice at work, or in relationship? <BR> <BR> I've seen Duke being wholehearted when it's time to go for a walk. He pants with eagerness and his entire body wags from the tip of his tail to h... Mon, 18 Apr 2011 01:38:25 EST Monday's notes on life, struggle, and order 1329 Calories <BR> 14566 steps. <BR> <BR> It was a sad day at the hospital today, so many patients in pain. May they be free from suffering and be restored to health. I talked it over with the hubs when we went for our evening walk. He said how important it is to take care of yourself so you can be of service to others. The sad place in my heart didn't shift. As I sit here writing, though, I also remember the bravery I saw. And resilience, the will to go on. In reality, there are as many di... Tue, 12 Apr 2011 01:02:23 EST Experimenting with no sugar for a day <BR> Calories: 1268 <BR> Steps: 9626 <BR> <BR> My experiment to give up sugar for a day went really well -- considering I hadn't prepared my pantry or fridge for this specific challenge. I had made some wise shopping choices at the weekend, so I had plenty of fruits and veggies. I read the ingredients on the nonfat greek yogurt and found that it listed sugar -- so I had to forgo that. My intention was to refine my own tastebuds by going without the extra sweetener -- to explore the actual t... Fri, 8 Apr 2011 00:18:35 EST Quality in, Quality Out 1340 Calories <BR> 12825 steps <BR> <BR> Advanced planning really helps. I took my favorite green drink to work with me today. That helped me stay away from the free chocolates. I felt I was nurturing myself with each flavorful sip. For tomorrow, I have some organic strawberries and blueberries which I plan on eating with cottage cheese. The tracker tells me I need to eat more protein. <BR> <BR> This evening the wind was blowing but we put on our warm coats and went for a walk. Our walks g... Thu, 7 Apr 2011 00:18:36 EST Weight ticker down a pound this morning Weight: 131 pounds <BR> Calories: 1300 <BR> Steps: 8215 <BR> <BR> <BR> The scale was a pound lower this morning so I amended my weight ticker, since I record all changes. What will it be in the morning? We'll see. <BR> <BR> Our evening walk was cut short since it got cold and windy and hubs was in his shirtsleeves. Fortunately, I had walked earlier in the day and hubs had a lunch time walk too. Still, I'd like to walk more tomorrow. <BR> <BR> My Poetry Circle met this afternoon. This is... Wed, 6 Apr 2011 01:29:16 EST Celebrating the colors of Spring at the Holi Festival 1500 Calories <BR> <BR> On Sunday, the hubs and I went to a fundraiser celebrating the colors of Spring, the traditional festival of Holi, a sacred and fun day for people of Indian origin. It was fabulous to have a festival that was not centered around food. There was music and dancing. It was held in a field on the campus of Stanford University. The major activity is putting colored powder on people, as a symbol of blossoming with the season. It also celebrates the victory of light over dar... Mon, 4 Apr 2011 13:29:41 EST What can we celebrate today? 1246 Calories <BR> 13155 steps <BR> <BR> What can I celebrate today? <BR> <BR> The sun shone and I put my lemon pickle out on the brick wall to catch the rays. I have two gallon-sized glass jars full of chopped spiced lemons. They sat in the sun for about five hours. The glass was warm when I brought them inside, toward the evening. I have to thank WATERMELLEN for a link she gave me a couple of weeks ago, when I was looking for inspiration. The lemons are juicy, fragrant and seedless. This... Sat, 2 Apr 2011 00:44:30 EST Last day of March 2011 Ten pounds from goal weight. <BR> 1380 calories today. <BR> 11389 steps. <BR> <BR> Reviewing the month: It's been great. Two weeks ago I started tracking nutrition again, and that is supporting wiser choices day by day. I'm feeling really motivated to reach my goal weight, improve my cholesterol numbers, look better and feel great. Blogging my steps is helping me stay on track, so I plan on doing that more consistently. <BR> <BR> It was also a successful month for my work. I've been wor... Thu, 31 Mar 2011 23:36:39 EST Getting better day by day Ate within calorie range today: 1198 calories. I made some healthier choices today, including a tablespoon of flaxseed oil. In the middle of the afternoon, I was volunteering at the hospital and noticed how thirsty I was. I took the time to go to the cafeteria and get myself a bottle of chilled water. I didn't choose the high-calorie green tea soda. It did cross my mind that I liked the flavor of that but I generally stay away from sodas. There was a vitamin water in the cooler. I read the in... Wed, 30 Mar 2011 23:47:06 EST Back on track After using the nutirtion tracker faithfully for ten days, I let three days pass without tracking. Today, I logged everything I ate. Total calories 1248. And walked 9568 steps. <BR> <BR> The calories weren't all healthy. I ate (and logged) four mini donuts -- 110 calories each. Sometimes, I just crave sweets. I came across some information today that eating more omega 3s helps to stop the craving for sweets and carbs. Fish oil and flaxseed oil are both rich in omega 3s. I have some flaxseed... Tue, 29 Mar 2011 23:24:27 EST After tracking nutrition for a week I stayed within my calorie range this week, eating between 1200 and 1420 most days. I am shocked to find that brown rice is so high in calories. It's one of my staples, and my typical portion is about two cups, twice the recommended serving size. I'm logging it and working on reducing the portion, too. <BR> One of my challenges is getting enough protein. Spurred by the tracker, I bought some hummus, cottage cheese and nonfat greek yogurt today. The other vegetarian option is to make a stock ... Sun, 20 Mar 2011 22:30:21 EST Back to tracking food A friend said that being even five pounds overweight shows some lack of awareness, in emotions, eating, or exercise habits. I'm about ten to twelve pounds from my goal weight. Generally, I'm quite forgiving of myself and take the gentle approach to change my habits. Also, I believe we can have the awareness but our body hasn't caught up with our vision yet. It takes time for it to catch up. <BR> The nutrition tracker is definitely an aid to awareness. And accountability to myself, and my vis... Sun, 13 Mar 2011 16:25:55 EST Doing what works I've been away from Spark for over a month. Last night, lying awake I realized it was time to come back. I have a healthier vision for my body and I want to make it happen. It looks like this: my weight is in the low 120s. I am making wise and enjoyable food choices: Fueling myself for a high performance zest-filled life. My jaw is firm and defined, my stomach concave. I have stamina, endurance, flexibility and strength. I am at my radiant best. <BR> The plan that works for me is to track fo... Tue, 1 Mar 2011 23:50:05 EST Heaven on earth "When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives, but are grateful for the abundance that is present…we experience heaven on Earth." Kate Nowak. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> My gratitudes today include: <BR> <BR> The company of others on the bright path <BR> Radiance supporting the flourishing of all life <BR> Honey nut cheerios crunchy with cold milk <BR> The color purple <BR> Cooking with my hubs <BR> He chops, ... Sat, 18 Sep 2010 16:41:05 EST Body memory and appetite. I had an interesting realization around hunger and appetite this weekend. <BR> <BR> My husband and I went out to lunch at a lovely soup and salad bar. I ate just enough to feel full and satisfied and then found myself thinking about the tapioca pudding for dessert. I filled a tiny bowl and brought it to the table, conflicted, because I was really quite full and I'm doing my best to eat intuitively, honoring my body's signals of satiety. After a couple of spoons, I eperienced a visceral mem... Sun, 5 Sep 2010 19:54:41 EST It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood Don't you love Mr. Rogers? I love the way he used to sing his songs, with so much gentleness and serenity. I've just come back from exploring my neighborhood. It's the middle of the afternoon, so not many people around. Saw one gardener gathering trash and a woman walking two toy dogs, one of them circling around her on a stretchy leash. <BR> The sprinkler system started spurting water on the path. <img src=""> <BR> It's set on a timer t... Fri, 13 Aug 2010 19:50:28 EST Awareness, choices, results It's amazing that so many months have passed since my last blog. All is well in my world. My weight has been stable at around 130 lbs for about four months. Happily in my size 8 jeans, two sizes down from where I was this time last year. <BR> I've been trying an experiment to eat intuitively and mindfully -- without using the food tracker. I did track for about three months and that taught me where I needed to make adjustments. I still count how many cups I've had to drink, and how many frui... Sun, 8 Aug 2010 23:46:17 EST Releasing emotions to find peace again -- no more emotional eating First of all, thank you dear Sparkle friends for your comforting comments on my last blog about Duke's trip to the vet. I was grieving over what I perceived as the loss of his health, aging. He is twelve ... times seven makes him 84 in human years. I was able to release my grief and feel joyful again. Play with him and enjoy him as he is. The time we have left is precious. <BR> <BR> I used the Sedona method to feel and release my grief, to return to my joyful, peaceful self. With any emotio... Tue, 20 Apr 2010 21:11:23 EST Walking without my friend Duke. It has been quite a week. We took Duke to the vet for X-Rays and he has been diagnosed with mild arthritis. The symptoms, painful stiff walking, come and go. He is 84 in human years, but still a puppy in the way he sometimes comes bounding up to me, ever ready to go for a walk. His enthusiasm has not waned. Now that he is the senior in our family, I've been reflecting on some of the things I've learned from him over the years. <BR> <BR> When he was a puppy, we used to live at the edge of ce... Fri, 16 Apr 2010 18:21:41 EST Response to ten for ten challenge. Game on! I'm inspired by Spark friends VALERIEMAHA and FRACTALMYTH to plan out my next ten days. I'm going on a trip to the UK after that. Myth has a ten for ten challenge. Ten daily activities to be implemented ten days in a row. The goal is to achieve at least 75%. I've chosen activities that are on my growing edges, areas where I see maximum reward for a small step taken and opportunities to practice mindfulness in contemplation and in action. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 11 Apr 2010 17:53:44 EST Just walking I've just come back from my walk. Alone. In the evenings, while it's still light, the hubs and I usually take the dog for a mile and half loop. At the weekends, we have been known to go twice that distance or more. What can I say, the competitor in me likes to brag about numbers! Well, no bragging at the moment. Only thankfulness for taking myself out, by the hand, as it were, and strolling around the neighborhood. <BR> <BR> I saw three people. A man sitting in his front yard on a plastic ... Wed, 31 Mar 2010 18:26:31 EST Let's find a Way today The following poem spoke to me, this morning. Even when the news of suffering comes, a Way forward is being found -- I am assured of this. May my world be blessed with grace and peace. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Piglet's Song <BR> <BR> Let's find a Way today, <BR> that can take us to tomorrow. <BR> We'll follow that Way, <BR> A Way like flowing water. <BR> Let's leave behind, <BR> the things that do not matter. <BR> And we'll t... Tue, 30 Mar 2010 12:17:42 EST On being alone ... and together The following photograph of Shri Swami Satchidananda arrived in my email box today, from the "The Golden Present," along with a daily message. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Here's the message and there are no copyright issues on this -- it's okay to share it. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> Since Then I Am Never Alone <BR> <BR> Question: There are times when I feel very deep loneliness that no friend, family member or lover can seem to satisfy... Fri, 26 Mar 2010 13:10:46 EST A guest in the garden The hubs and I were weeding the garden, when I caught sight of our guest, hiding by the wood fence. A common garden snail ... yet it was an uncommon moment. We glimpsed one another, the snail and I. And the following poem wrote itself. Atman is a sanskrit word for that mysterious part of us that is immortal, the soul. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Atman <BR> <BR> My friend <BR> gave himself away <BR> when he scurried <BR> into his shel... Tue, 23 Mar 2010 12:43:21 EST Sowing seeds of positivity It's the first day of spring. There are tiny green puffs of apricots blushing on the tree. The bees came out early this year and worked their tiny wings magically all over it, so that the flowers could become fruit. The hydrangeas were like sticks of dead wood a few weeks ago; now, leaf green shoots are spouting with renewed life. The daffodils are waning and that's okay, too -- the natural cycles of the garden fulfilling themselves. I have been pondering today. What seeds of success do I wan... Sat, 20 Mar 2010 20:35:15 EST Woo Hoo! Cholesterol is DOWN! Four months on Spark and I'm happy to report the results of my blood test today showed my cholesterol is back in the healthy range. Yeah! <BR> <BR> What helped me get here? <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I re-educated myself with the nutrition tracker and fitness tracker, logging daily, walking a minimum of five miles most days, eating within my calorie range. I actually eat more now than I used to, funnily enough ... more fruits and veg... Thu, 18 Mar 2010 19:53:45 EST Work is love made visible "Work is love made visible." Khalil Gibran. <BR> <BR> What did I work on today? <BR> I have cooked a meal to share with friends. We are waiting for the doorbell to ring. The house is gleaming and polished, thanks to hubs pitching in. Two casserole dishes hot in the oven. All vegetarian. <BR> <BR> My mother planted cilantro in the garden a couple of years ago. It has reseeded itself each year. The sun shone on its green leaves all day. I clipped some off and have chopped it finely int... Sat, 13 Mar 2010 22:01:31 EST Tuesday's walk into spring Here's my poem for the day: <BR> And yes, I wrote it. <BR> <BR> Walk <BR> <BR> Step by step <BR> Courage to face <BR> the unknown. <BR> Friendly smile. <BR> "Ola!" <BR> A cadence of light <BR> in the eyes. <BR> <BR> Under the canopied shade <BR> of a gnarled tree <BR> a red waistcoated <BR> robin <BR> herald of spring. <BR> <BR> <BR> Accomplishments and gratitudes today: <BR> <BR> Six errands done this morning. <BR> <BR> Planned and emailed agenda for tomorrow's meeting. <BR> ... Tue, 9 Mar 2010 20:03:21 EST Monday's gratitudes - a few of 'em Shopped and stocked up with nutritious and delicious things to eat today, granola bars, yogurt cheese, cinnamon oatmeal. Mound of organic apples, oranges, bananas. <BR> <BR> Did some yoga, shoulder openers and core lifting. Nice warm glow from doing this and plan to do it every day this week. Reward: buy flowers next Monday. <BR> <BR> Instead of volunteering at the school today, stayed home and cherished myself for a change. Made a priority list of self-care items for the week. Put it in ... Mon, 8 Mar 2010 20:07:05 EST Sunday at home 1.5 mile walk today. <BR> <BR> GOD LIGHT <BR> Clouds, beams of sunlight <BR> shining down to the earth. <BR> Neighbors playing, walking. <BR> Hummingbird resting <BR> on pink spring blossom. <BR> Exquisite nature. <BR> To be unique is a precious and wonderful offering. <BR> <BR> <BR> REPORT <BR> Plenty of water to drink today. <BR> I did some weeding. DH mowed the lawn and pruned. We each have our precious unique ways. Cooked veggie and beans mix. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> Poem from "... Sun, 7 Mar 2010 20:45:07 EST Catching up I jogged a little today. <BR> Felt what's possible. <BR> Caught up with <BR> my Self. <BR> <BR> <BR> The following quote from The Spark, by Chris Downie: <BR> <BR> "Character is the foundation of personal leadership, a set of behavior traits - mostly learned -that define what sort of individual you are. <BR> When you set off on a great adventure, you need a compass to guide the way, and that is what character provides. <BR> Developing these traits is key to keeping your fire going a... Sat, 6 Mar 2010 21:09:06 EST A walk It was raining and sprinkled a few drops on me. <BR> No umbrella. <BR> The sun came into me <BR> then and spoke <BR> a word. <BR> I listened <BR> and stood <BR> my ground. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> Om Shanti Om. <BR> <BR> Wed, 3 Mar 2010 16:29:55 EST Grateful We went for a walk around the neighborhood, and walked longer than I thought we could. Nearly four miles this morning. Part of the trail was along the edge of the woods. Duke loves chomping on the wild green grasses that grow there. We were blessed to see so many of God's creatures, songbirds of all kinds. A snail on the path. A tiny insect came and sat on my spectacle lens. <BR> <BR> I'm grateful for a doctor's appointment yesterday. My mental symptoms returned this past week. Too much inw... Sat, 20 Feb 2010 14:43:55 EST After three months ... view from the edge <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Three months have passed since I joined Spark. Good time for a review, to ask myself some frank questions and see where we're headed ... before embarking again. <BR> <BR> Good questions are tools of revelation. They can take us to the edge, where light meets shadow and brighten our lives. Some years ago, I worked with a spiritual teacher at a Benedictine monastery who taught me three good questions to ask. <BR> <B... Tue, 16 Feb 2010 21:11:18 EST Love frees Who am I really? Am I this body? This mind? Something more? What do you think? <BR> <BR> I came across the following sentence on someone's Spark page and it has provoked ripples of thought for a couple of days. <BR> <BR> "The Physical is the Mental is the Spiritual!" <BR> <BR> Do you agree? Or disagree? <BR> <BR> Sure, it's all energy. But we must be careful lest we extrapolate that the body is the mind is the spirit. The body-mind is a field of energy which is localized in time and s... Sun, 14 Feb 2010 21:29:56 EST Marvelous error Just came home from a wonderful evening with women friends. We shared mind, body and spirit goals, chocolate (small portions of the good stuff), and poetry. Before I go off to bed, I wanted to post this. <BR> <BR> A few years ago, a woman who has been an inspiration and mentor to me read me a poem. I've never forgotten it. Even now, I can hear her voice slowly enunciating the words, allowing them to fall drop by drop into my heart. You may know it: "Last night as I was sleeping" by Anthony... Thu, 11 Feb 2010 03:33:19 EST As far as possible without surrender A Spark friend posted part of this poem on her blog today (Valeriemaha) and I wanted to read the rest of it ... again ... and again. It had been a while since I originally read it and I"m glad to find it again, today. So here it is. With deep gratitude to the author, Max Ehrmann, for a north star to steer by. <BR> <BR> <BR> Desiderata <BR> <BR> Go placidly amid the noise and haste, <BR> and remember what peace there may be in silence. <BR> As far as possible without surrender <BR> be on ... Fri, 15 Jan 2010 18:35:00 EST On this journey of becoming more beautiful, what is beauty? When I use the word Beauty, I think of timeless beauty, the shine in your eyes, the elegance of the essence of you, being yourself, disarming. <BR> <BR> Khalil Gibran has this to say: <BR> And a poet said, Speak to us of Beauty. <BR> And he answered: <BR> Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide? <BR> And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech? <BR> <BR> The aggrieved and the injured say, "Beauty is... Mon, 28 Dec 2009 19:24:21 EST To be human is to become visible To be human <BR> is to become visible, <BR> while carrying <BR> what is hidden <BR> as a gift to others. <BR> <BR> -- David Whyte <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> I have been contemplating the last few days <BR> what is visible about me, <BR> and what is invisible, <BR> and I have resolved <BR> to reveal my true self <BR> a little more <BR> each day. <BR> <BR> That is my way <BR> of embracing the mystery <BR> I am and sharing it <BR> with others. <BR> <BR> -- Usha Sun, 27 Dec 2009 20:04:44 EST Fierce courtesy The connection to the Friend <BR> is secret and very fragile. <BR> <BR> The image of that friendship <BR> is in how YOU love, the grace <BR> <BR> and delicacy, the subtle talking <BR> together, in full prostration, <BR> <BR> outside of time. When you're <BR> there, remember the fierce <BR> <BR> courtesy of the one with you. <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks Sun, 20 Dec 2009 17:37:57 EST Take rest Take rest. A field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. <BR> Ovid, Roman poet. Sun, 13 Dec 2009 14:28:14 EST Mind, body and spirit Mind <BR> I'm thankful for a sharp, clear mind that helps me be my best self in the world. I know who I am, and that is a miracle in itself. Sometimes, my mind gets caught up with imagination or memories. May I use my imagination and my memories in a positive, life-affirming way. <BR> <BR> Body <BR> I am blessed with a wise body that carries out so many tasks on my behalf, each and every day. Even when I'm asleep, I'm breathing and digesting and restoring the vitality in my tissues and orga... Fri, 11 Dec 2009 19:43:40 EST