Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 will be a luminous year

Abdu'l-Baha visited the Fourth Unitarian Church (Flatbush, Brooklyn) 
“This is a new cycle of human power. All the horizons of the world are luminous.” ~ 'Abdu'l-Bahá
Today, New Year's Eve, I've been reflecting on how excited I am for 2012....and thankful for the blessings of 2011.

2011 was a great year.....ran my first marathon at 3:40, my husband and I celebrated our 1st anniversary, I revisted Tanzania after 4 years and I also had the opportunity to travel to Chile and Dominican Republic.

2012 will be even better. It's the 100 year anniversary of `Abdu'l-Bahá's (the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Baha'i faith) visit to America plus in June we will travel to Haifa, Israel for Baha'i pilgrimage.

'Abdu'l-Bahá traveled across America in 1912 giving talks on the need of unity among the races, equality between women and men, a balance of material and spiritual progress and international peace. While much of the discussion of the day involved the political requisites to peace, 'Abdu'l-Bahá focused on social and spiritual issues, linking universal peace with such topics as women's suffrage, a world tribunal, collective security, the necessity of religious unity and the need for justice.

Check out this article in the Huffington Post, 2012: A Special Year for American Baha'is
also this movie trailer for Luminous Journey: `Abdu'l-Bahá in America, 1912. 

Interesting fact I just learned....American Baha'is had provided money for 'Abdu'l-Bahá to sail on the Titanic. However, He asked instead that the funds be given to the poor and chose to travel on a more modest ship to New York in April 1912. THANK GOODNESS He was not on that tragic ship.

Note on the picture: 'Abdu'l-Bahá traveled to many places in Brooklyn including the Fourth Unitarian Church which was within walking distance from where I live :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Vegan Nog

Tried out two vegan "egg" nogs this week.....

Since we liked the Coconut Nog better we used that one for drinking and made vegan french toast with the Soy Nog. Earth Balance's recipe was absolutely delicious. 

Vegan French Toast
Ingredients: Serves 6
2 very ripe bananas
2 cups Earth Balance® Organic Soy Nog
1 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. vegan butter or oil, divided
12 slices day-old multigrain bread

Blend first four ingredients in a blender. Pour into a shallow bowl.
Melt 2 Tbs. Buttery Spread in pan over medium heat.
Dip bread into mixture, so both sides are covered.
Cook both sides until golden brown. Repeat until the bread is gone.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Long Run - a book on recovery and the power of the human spirit

Last weekend I read Matt Long's The Long Run and I teared up dozens of times. The book is about Matt Long's recovery after a 20-ton bus hit him, sucking him under it. "In the 18 months before the accident, he had competed in more than 20 events including several triathlons and marathons and had qualified for running’s most prestigious race, the Boston Marathon. After the accident, his doctor told him he’d be lucky if he could even walk without a cane. The Long Run is an emotional and incredibly honest story about Matt’s determination to fight through fear, despair, loneliness, and intense physical and psychological pain to regain the life he once had. The book chronicles Matt’s road to recovery as he teaches himself to walk again and, a mere three years later, to run in the 2008 New York City Marathon."

My scar
 I've been reflecting on why this book had such an impact on me. I think it's because it hit WAY too close to home, though a much smaller scale than Matt's trauma. In 2009 my appendix burst but a negligent doctor sent me home with a UTI diagnosis. Days of me living with a ruptured appendix without knowing it resulted in doctors having to take out not only my appendix but parts of my small & large intestine as well. I couldn't eat anything for several days. They couldn't close me up because the infection was so severe (hence the scar). And I was in the hospital for 11 days. When I was discharged I could barely walk without assistance. It took me months until I could run again.

I remember those dark days where I thought I would never be able to run at a "fast" pace again. I remember the depression I felt at just being in the hospital for 11 days. So while reading this book I was taking the emotions from my ordeal and then magnifying it by 20x to begin to understand what Matt overcame to run a marathon 3 years after he almost died......amazing what the human body and spirit is capable of!

All runners and anyone who has ever had to overcome a physical challenge should definitely read this book. And while you're at it check out Matt Long's I Will foundation.

Mission: The I WILL FOUNDATION is a non-profit organization established to help people, with the will to work hard, overcome adversity and challenges caused by life altering illness or traumatic injury. Our primary goal is to provide motivational and inspirational support through hands on training, coaching, and financial support when necessary. We believe the will to survive and accomplish all tasks, great and small, is present in all of us whether we recognize it or not. If you have the desire to live your life to the fullest, we can help you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rock out!

I break out into spontaneous dance and/or song at random points everyday (as my husband can attest). Sometimes this includes free-styling a song about whatever I am doing/thinking at the time....other times it's lyrics to a song in my head or dancing to music playing in the background.

Anis Mojgani
Anis Mojgani's poem "Direct Order" is the essence of my "rocking out" tendencies. I discovered this spoken word poet 6 years ago and feel in love with his raw creative words and content. He's awarding winning (1st place at the National Individual Poetry Slam in 2005 and 2006, 1st at 2007 World Cup Poetry Slam).

You have been given a direct order to rock the f*** out….Rock out like you get paid to disturb the peace…Rock out like the plane is going down, there are 120 people on board, and 121 parachutes…. Rock out like the mangos are in season….Rock out like this was the last weekend, like these were the last words, like you don’t ever want to forget how. ~ Anis Mojgani

Your instructions for the day:
Step #1 Watch this video for "Direct Order"
Step #2 Put on a song and rock out (or even better rock out to the music in your mind/spirit)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yoga flipped is running

I have a love/hate relationship with advertising (mostly I dislike it)…..but every once and awhile I come across an ad I love because it really speaks to me, is unique/creative or has a great message.

I saw this Lululemon Athletica ad in Running World’s January 2012 issue and couldn’t stop starring at it….there’s a woman doing a yoga headstand but flipped it looks like she’s running! Brilliant! Last year I practiced Vinyasa yoga regularly (and plan to restart this winter). It was a great counterbalance to my weekly running mileage…..the yin and yang…the flip-side ;)  
 the tiny words read as “I was running into a strong wind during the tail end of the Toronto marathon. Struggling with the pain, I tapped into my yoga practice to focus on the energy of the crowd and cleared my mind with a mantra. I placed 8th female overall.” ~ Ambassador Katherine Moore