Tomorrow is the first of June, which up until I did the math a moment ago I thought marked the halfway point of the year. Turns out we are only 5/12ths of the way through the year, but that won’t stop me from reflecting on how I have been working on my One Word for 2013, Fuel.
A morning smoothie
I plan to avoid going into too much detail about my efforts to repopulate my intestines with good bacteria, but I need to start this list with the probiotic-heavy smoothies that have become my morning ritual. I usually start with a base of either yogurt or kefir with banana, and add some frozen fruit and non-dairy “milk” of one type or another. Depending on what’s around I might through in kale or other greens, flaxseed, or protein powder. Since I eat lunch early it gets me through the morning, and it is very easy on my empty belly.
Some supplements (but few other pills!)
Sorry to bring up the bacteria again, but I also take a daily probiotic. I buy that and an Omega-3 supplement at Trader Joe’s and toss them back with my regular prescription anti-inflammatories when I’m getting ready in the morning. I also take children’s vitamins, much to everyone’s amusement, because adult vitamins don’t agree with me. Perhaps more importantly, I cut out a few “maintenance” pills that I had been taking mindlessly for years. Now I only medicate my allergies or reflux if I’m feeling symptoms, and I feel great not stuffing myself with meds every morning. In particular, going off the reflux meds helped my digestion a great deal.
After finishing my second master’s degree and reading War and Peace in short order, I took a break of about a year from much reading other than magazines and blogs. A few months ago I realized that pleasure reading was missing from my routine and I started borrowing books from coworkers and from the library again. Focusing on literature makes me feel much better than fooling around on my iPad in the evening, and gives me something to talk about with fellow readers.
Time with friends
I still don’t schedule enough of this, though it becomes easier when the days are longer this time of year. In the past five months I have gone with friends to lectures, concerts, walks, fitness classes, coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even though I get tired in the evenings, and even though my routine of weekend travel can stress me out, making time for people reminds me that I am a true extrovert: one who is energized by interacting with others.
Running and yoga
Though I have been running in some capacity for many years, I only added yoga to my regimen in the last few years. I have written so much about how good it makes me feel to push myself in this way that I can’t even think of what I should say here about it. If you are not a regular practicioner of sweating and stretching, please give it a try. You don’t know what you’re missing.
I make an effort to write often, but my writing is usually something that is meant for the public, such as posts here or guest posts. Once in a while – though still not frequently enough – I have tried to do some good old fashioned private journaling, just for me. Though it’s fine to write for an audience, it’s good for me to write for myself sometimes.
One major source of fuel in the last five months was the 8-day silent retreat I went on in February. To simply rest and to focus on my relationship with God (particularly what that relationship looks like after a time of so much transition) was enormously satisfying and energizing. Outside of the retreat house, my prayer might take the form of something else on this list – sharing a meal, writing, or reading. I’m learning that even though I have to think about what goes into my body, the other fuel I can’t live without is the awareness of God’s presence that I find when I make time for prayer.
Any other suggestions for good fuel for the body, mind, and soul? How have you been fueling yourself these last five months?
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