Real Simple: How to singletask your way to success and sanity

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Despite the fact that today we pride ourselves on being a culture of multi-taskers, I myself am anything but. For me, multitasking is the art of messing up several things at once. But we all know – and perhaps secretly despise – the woman who can seemingly do it all. And seamlessly, at that! Yes, she’s the one who gets up at 5 a.m., sprints to the gym, then showers, answers all her e-mails, fixes her family a breakfast of steel cut oatmeal with flaxseeds and warm organic maple syrup and is ready to go to the office as soon as she drives her two equally perfect children to school. Her male counterpart is just as Type A and accomplished. Not only does he hold down a high-powered day job, but he is a nationally ranked squash player and on weekends writes poetry when not competing in an Ironman Triathlon. In a pinch, he can re-shingle his roof.

One morning, many moons ago, I decided that I, too, could do it all. On that particular day, I also made my family oatmeal for breakfast and carefully chose my husband’s suit and tie. And as soon as I rushed my older sons off to the bus and took my little girl to nursery school, I hopped in the car and gave him door-to-door service to his office.

An hour later, all missions accomplished, I returned to my office and started to write my column with still plenty of time left to meet my deadline. I sat back in the chair and let out a large self-satisfied sigh, thinking to myself, Who said you can’t do it all? Just then the phone rang. Continue reading

A New Hot Button: Consciousness-Driven Evolution

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Science is meant to be the opposite of a belief system. No one underlined this point more securely than Charles Darwin, who devised a theory of evolution that defied the strongest belief of his time, the all but universal belief in the bible version of the origins of man. The fossil record supported a notion contrary to the Bible, that creation was a process, not a single event dictated by a divine Creator. Despite a century and a half of proof that Darwin was right, taking God out of evolution still sticks in the throat of many people.

Pollsters find, to the dismay of trained scientists, that God remains in play for many when it comes to our origins. For example, a 2013 Pew Research poll found that one-third of respondents believe that human beings have always existed in their present form. When broken down by religion, this anti-Darwin, pro-Bible view is held by 64% of white evangelical Protestants and 50% of black Protestants broken down by political party, only 43% of Republicans believe that human beings evolved over time versus 67% of Democrats and 65% of independents. Continue reading

Party Like a Colonist: the Original 4th of July

This weekend is the 4th of July! It usually means fireworks, BBQs, and red, white & blue.
It can get pretty wild, but the truth is it’s nothing compared to cannon fire, burning effigies, and melting statues down into bullets like the original colonists. We love this retelling by History Channel of the original 4th of July party!
How do you celebrate Independence Day?

Yoga for Hope coming this Fall!

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In 2004, I traveled to India for the first time. During my month-long exploration, I found myself enchanted by the colors, spirituality, and rich cultural heritage of the country, and simultaneously shocked by the poverty, especially in the slums of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), my first destination.

I resolved to make a difference…

Then, on only my second day in India, I stumbled across The HOPE Foundation, an NGO founded by Maureen Forrest, an Irish woman who believes that her life “belongs to the whole community.” HOPE has many fantastic programs to help the most abandoned and destitute residents of Kolkata: Its street kids and slum dwellers. I visited their hospital, which serves the poorest of the poor; their free medical clinic located in the slums; a restaurant where HOPE residents learn to cook, serve, and run the business; the skill center where people with no employment opportunities can train in media and fashion; and two of the homes where street kids come to live and learn. Continue reading

Land of the Free: Quotes About Freedom

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On July 4th, the United States celebrates it’s independence and birth as a new nation more than 200 years ago. Relatively young when it comes to nation, this country has been having a conversation about what freedom means and looks like since it’s inception.

Is freedom the right to do whatever you want?
Is it a home with a white picket fence?
Is it an idea or a philosophy?
We turn to great thinkers of our time and ask what freedom meant to them: Continue reading

Secret of Adulthood: If We’re Too Tired to Do Anything Except TV or Internet, Go to Sleep

IfYoureTooTiredToDoAnythingTVInternet_124902-300x382From Further Secrets of Adulthood: If we’re too tired to do anything except watch TV or cruise the internet, go to sleep.

Agree, disagree?

I have to admit, I struggle sometimes to remember this Secret of Adulthood.  I don’t have trouble getting off the internet, but sometimes I watch TV because I feel too tired to read. Continue reading

Eating Clean, Healing From a Decade of Chronic Illness & a Simple Summer Beet Salad

Beet Salad Amie Valpone

My lifestyle is all about clean eating; enjoying fresh, whole and organic foods – not processed foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce. It’s about eating what makes you feel good. It’s not about eating bowls of kale every day because you’ve heard it’s good for you. And it’s not about being skinny. That’s not what being healthy is about. Being healthy IS about balance and happiness. I don’t put a label on myself; I’m not vegan or vegetarian or paleo. I eat what my body wants and what feels good, obviously steering clear of processed foods and incorporating lots of healthy fats in every meal along with protein and fiber. I eat clean because of my chronic health story and because my body reacts severely if I accidentally eat foods that don’t agree with me such as gluten, dairy, sugar and soy. When I removed these foods and starting eating organic, I felt amazing. It’s incredible what happens and how your perspective on life changes when you go through such a traumatic health experience alone. Eating clean can be very simple and it can be done with just a few minor changes. Continue reading

Put Yourself First

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Why putting yourself first is the best choice for everyone.

We all experience moments when we feel torn between doing what we desire, and doing what we think is in the best interest of another. Sometimes we forget that those that love us also want what is best for us, and the best thing we can do is set the tone by making self-care a priority. Here’s what I mean…

I found myself in an interesting position this morning. I planned on taking a yoga class this morning, which I love and feel is an important component of my self-care on all levels. But last night my boyfriend and I got into an intense discussion, which left me feeling worried for him, wanting to care for him and make it all better. When I woke-up I found myself torn between my desire to go to class, and a thought that I should stay in bed and make sure he felt cared for.

It’s not as though an extra-long cuddle was in any way unappealing to me, yet I projected my mind a couple hours ahead, and could feel a nagging sense of disappointment that I didn’t stick to my plan to go to class. And not because I wanted to adhere to the plan, but because I could feel how badly my body wanted a led yoga session. Yet I still felt torn…and guilty. Continue reading

With Compassion: The Act of Loving the World

Compassion is a buzz word we’ve heard more and more in recent days. Is it a home run for marketing campaigns, or is it a real, important attribute that is finally getting the limelight it deserves?

These days, we are honestly in need of a deeper understanding of what it means to love, care, even notice one another. This is why it is so encouraging to see things like Deepak Chopra, Gabby Bernstein and friends leading a global meditation for compassion on July 11th. In honor of his 80th birthday, the Dalai Lama is hosting the Global Compassion Summit to inspire compassionate acts in our global community. These are opportunities to join with others asking the question “what about me? how can I help?” Continue reading

Why We Shouldn’t Reward Ourselves for Good Habits–With One Exception.

carrotasreward5 reasons why rewards can be very dangerous for habit-formation.

Of the 21 strategies that I identify, that we can use to make or break our habits, the Strategy of Reward was one of the most difficult for me to understand.

In large part, because the lesson is: be very wary of using rewards to master habits!

Why? It sounds so sensible to reward yourself for sticking to a good habit. But it turns out that rewards are very, very tricky to use well.

Why? Continue reading

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