Letting Go of Limitations

Limiting beliefs are thoughts that we have that hold us back in some way. If I believe that I am afraid of the dark, for example, and I held that belief for most of my life, then I respond to darkness with fear. My body carries out what my mind believes. My brain looks for proof to validate the belief, finding reasons to hold on to what I believe. 

I have intentionally freed myself from the beliefs that I held, that truly did constrain me. Over the years, as old beliefs were revealed, I challenged them, finding them to be untrue, and released them. What this journey provided was a deep, and oft times unsettling, look into my soul and psyche. The more I uncovered and released, the deeper I went, until I encountered core beliefs from my childhood. Most of these fears that I held as truths centered around how I perceived that the world worked, and who I was. 

As I entered this healing journey, embracing a plant based diet, I have encountered the limited beliefs of others. It has been interesting to listen to people tell me that they too want to be healthier…and then hear them present all the reasons (insert “beliefs” here) for why they can’t. I understand. I do. And I know this is part of their growth and journey, to recognize that they are limiting themselves. 

Lest I think I have no more limiting beliefs, I was reminded that I still do! Anthony William, whose book Medical Medium has inspired me to greater health, extols the benefits of radishes. This little root vegetable has properties that include being antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer and diuretic. It is high in vitamin C and folic acid. It is excellent for sinus congestion, flu and colds, aids in digestion, and helps to dispel stones from the gall bladder and cleanses the kidneys. 

There are even more benefits. And it is easy to see that radishes are a great source of healthy goodness. Except…I don’t like radishes. All my life I’ve said that I hate radishes. I pick them out of restaurant salads and I’ve never purchased them. 

I realized today that what I had here was another limiting belief, staring me down. It seems small, and insignificant, but it is a belief that is holding me back, nonetheless, keeping me from eating a food that is very good for me. 

I decided to challenge the belief that I did not like radishes. 

I bought the smallest bunch of radishes that I could find, because I hate throwing food away. If I did not, indeed, like radishes, I wouldn’t be wasting much. I added sliced radishes to a bowl of chopped lettuce, diced avocado, and cherry tomatoes from my prized tomato plant. I carried in salt and a tall glass of water, in case I needed to hide the flavor or wash the radishes down quickly. 

And….I liked them. I really liked them. This vegetable that I vowed to never eat was crunchy and delicious. Perhaps as a child, I ate a bad radish. Perhaps it requires a more mature palette. I only know that I believed radishes were bad. And acted on that belief all of my life. I challenged that belief, and found it to be untrue. I replaced the old belief with a new one…I like radishes. 

If I had eaten a radish and still disliked it, that would have been okay too. At least I would have tested my belief. 

I love this thing called Life…this journey. I love how I am given opportunities to learn more and more about myself…and grow. Even small experiences teach big lessons. And lead me on to other truths. 

Like…I’ve always said I don’t like turnips either. I’ve never even eaten a turnip. You know why? They look like radishes! Big radishes. 

Guess what limiting belief I’ll be challenging next…and what food I will eat? 

Happy Birthday Greg

This gorgeous fall day was perfect for celebrating a birthday and setting off on an adventure. Greg did both! Last year he purchased a motorcycle, after wanting to own another one for years. He took the bike on its maiden voyage last fall, making a loop through several states. This year as summer was fading away and cooler days and evenings appeared, Greg felt again the call of the open road. 

Following the tradition for birthdays this year, I looked up Greg’s name:

“Greg, you are introspective, prophetic, philosophical, and soul searching, and you can also be analytical, critical and opinionated. You think deeply and clearly, have an air of mystery, and can be solitary and secretive. You are versatile and have the ability to learn easily.

You seek freedom and opportunities to enjoy life. You are adventurous and willing to take risks to achieve your objectives. New ways and new experiences won’t satisfy your restless nature for long, therefore let one adventure lead you to another. You are honest and fair, because you know that this is the only way to receive justice and honesty from other people. Your personal growth is vital to you, and it is difficult to be tied down by rules and obligations. Your restless spirit might best thrive in a field of work that meets your demand for action and adventure.” 

I’ve known Greg for more than 40 years, and those words describe him well. He is a philosopher, a life long learner, and introspective. He is a deep thinker, who tends to vocalize his thoughts so that he can better process them. Greg also has a good sense of humor that helps him to find the light in challenging situations. 

Our kids and grandkids are blessed to have him as Dad and Papa. Greg invests in the lives of his family, both financially and with his time. Even though they are adults with their own families, he checks in frequently with the children, showing interest in what they are doing. They know, and I know, that during times of celebrations and times of sorrow, this man offers his quiet presence and strength. 

I love the last paragraph about Greg’s adventurous nature. As a wild youth, he was indeed a risk taker, and a seeker of exciting new adventures. Greg and I have had long conversations about what happens as we step into adulthood. As we grow older we tend to take less risks, hesitating to set off on adventures, thinking too much about what can go wrong in life, rather than what can go right.  We begin to lose who we are, trading adventures for safety. 

I’ve watched Greg grow and challenge himself these last few years as he questions who he is and what he wants to do. Buying a motorcycle wasn’t so much about taking risks as it was about remembering who he is.  He seeks freedom as he rides down the highway, freedom to be fully who he is, freedom to live a joy filled, adventurous life. 

I’m proud of him for having the courage to reclaim a bit of that wild man who knew no fear. I’m excited for him as he searches deeply in his soul for answers to questions that only he can answer. This adventure that he set off on this morning is a way for him to discover more about who he is and what makes his heart sing. 

Following his heart as it leads him down the road and into nature touches Greg’s restless spirit and brings peace. As his soul grows quiet, his awareness raises in appreciation for the beauty around him and in his life. I can’t think of a better way for this biker dude to spend his birthday, than riding off on a such a quest. 

Happy birthday, Greg. Enjoy your adventure…on your bike and in life. Love you!

Lessons from a Tomato Plant

I’ve shared previously about my volunteer tomato plant that appeared in my garden. I haven’t grown veggies in my backyard for years and years. When this plant caught my eye, it was about six inches tall. I recognized the leaves, however I pinched one, just to be sure. The unmistakable aroma confirmed my suspicion. 

I believe a bird flying by must have given me this gift. And a gift it has been. I let the plant co-exist with my flowers and it has grown and produced an abundance of cherry tomatoes. Having embraced a plant based diet this summer, it was amazing to me that this symbol of health “randomly” popped up. 

I chose to let the tomato plant grow naturally, without staking it or caging it. I kept weeds away, watered it occasionally between rain showers and let it be wild, stretching toward the sun. It also stretched out along the ground. This tomato plant is massive, vining out 15 feet or more, in two directions. It is healthy, lush, exuberant in its wildness, and heavily laden with ripening fruit. 

I have come to appreciate this little tomato plant that could. I love its wildness. I love that left free to grow, without being pruned or staked or caged, the plant has become beautiful and fruitful and totally and absolutely what it was created to be…a producer of delicious tomatoes. 

I am grateful for the deep truths that this sprawling plant has taught me: I am capable of tremendous growth when I dwell in freedom. As I allow myself to be who I am created to be, I naturally produce fruit in my life, to offer to others. Untamed wildness is a good thing. It is not only acceptable to take up space and grow healthy and vibrant, it is desirable. 

While other plants in my garden are slowing down and dying back, my tomato plant is thriving. Frost will eventually claim it. But in the meantime, it continues to flourish and produce. I am so glad that this plant found its way into my garden…and into my life. 

1000 Days of Writing

I am celebrating a big milestone today! With the completion of this blog post, I have written for 1000 consecutive days. If you are doing the math, thats 2 years, 8 months and 26 days of writing….and counting. 

This is a huge accomplishment for me, beating my former record for number of consecutive days of writing. That old record was…four days. Yes. As in 1…2…3…4 days…quit. 

This is how the journey unfolded. 

In July of 2013, I attended a Keller Williams workshop in Kansas City, MO. The company founder, Gary Keller, spoke about doing the ONE thing. Sharing from his own experiences as an entrepreneur, he explained that it takes 66 days to create a new habit. Practicing that  ONE thing daily is essential to forming a discipline. 

Gary asked each of us to write down the ONE thing that we deeply desired to do, and then he encouraged us to commit to doing that thing daily, to create a new habit. I was at a workshop sponsored by the biggest real estate company in the US. I was, and am still, a realtor. I know many people wrote down real estate related goals to focus on mastering, one day, one step at a time. 
Not me. 

I wrote down Writing. That afternoon I committed myself to writing, every day, for the next 66 days. I had been contemplating the direction my life was going. And I felt ready to return to a former passion of mine. My desire was to create the discipline of daily writing. 

I was excited. I was determined. I wrote for exactly four days. The problem was, I didn’t have a purpose for writing. 

What I love about that experience was that in spite of my apparent failure, the desire to write every day had been acknowledged and the thought went out. The Divine responded. 

A few months later my word for 2014 had been given to me – Beyond. With the word came the realization that I needed to focus on moving beyond my comfort zone. But how was I to do that? 

I’ve shared many times how life works for me. I ask a question. I get an answer. Shortly after I asked about living in a beyond kind of way, I read online about Lu Ann Cahn, author of I Dare Me. Lu Ann’s book chronicled how she got out of a rut in her life, by experiencing something new every day for a year. 

There! There it was! The way was shown to me, the path laid out before me, that would move me beyond my comfort zone. I bought and read Lu Ann’s book, and decided to have my own Year of Firsts. As 2013 wound down, I prepared to kick off the new year by doing things I’d never done before. It seemed natural to keep track of my daily firsts. The Going Beyond blog was launched, as a way of remembering what I had done and to ensure accountability. 

At the end of 2014 I had experienced 365 new things AND I had written 365 blog posts. I wrote, every day. What I couldn’t do before, I was able to accomplish now because I had a purpose connected to the act of writing. 

My Year of Firsts transitioned into a Year of Journeys and then flowed into a Year of Surrenders. And still, I am writing, every day. Writing has indeed become a habit, one that brings me great joy. 

Along the way, I have made wonderful new friends, met other amazing writers and bloggers, and found my voice. I am excited about next year and the direction my writing is going. And it all began with the challenge to find the ONE thing that I most wanted to do…and committing to doing that ONE thing every day. 

I am grateful to Gary Keller. And I am full of gratitude for the Divine for guiding me to the perfect manifestation of my desire. Here’s to the next 1000 days of writing. 

Happy Birthday Mom

Today was my mom’s birthday. Because it was also Sunday, my sister Debbie was able to join my sister Linda and me in celebrating this special woman. Mom selected Golden Corral for her birthday lunch. Our stepdad Walter, Linda’s granddaughter London, my daughter Adriel and her fiancé Nate joined us as well, turning the luncheon into a full fledged party!

We had a fun lunch, dining buffet style, chatting and laughing. London took photos, moving around the table, capturing selfies. Mom has joined me in pursuing a healthier way of eating. The buffet offered fresh salad fixings and plenty of steamed or sautéed veggies for our meals. There was the obligatory dessert bar present, which we skipped. 

I looked up Mom’s name:

“Patricia, you have a powerful way of expressing yourself, either through speaking or writing. You enjoy studying and doing research for your creative projects. You are clever, clear-sighted and intelligent, bold, independent and curious. Once you decide on a course of action, you stay on that path until you achieve your goal. 

You seek freedom, and seize opportunities to enjoy life. You love to go places and have new experiences. You are very adventurous and willing to take risks to achieve your objectives. New places and new experiences don’t satisfy your restless nature for long. One adventure leads you to another. You are honest and fair, because you know that this is the only way to receive justice and honesty from other people. Your personal growth is vital to you, and you choose not to be tied down by too many rules and obligations. You make your own way in life. 

Those words paint an accurate picture of my mom. She is extremely creative, in many different ways, finding artistic expression through drawing, sewing, gardening, repurposing and do it yourself projects. However, she is a born story teller. When my sisters and I were young the best bedtime stories were the ones Mom told. 

Later she began to write stories, rather than tell them verbally. She is a sucessful author, having penned several children’s chapter books and contributed to collections such as the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I am positive that my own desire to write flowed to me from my mother. 

Two of Mom’s books

Mom is truly a self motivated person and a strong woman with a clear idea of who she is and what she wants to do. Her cleverness and intelligence have served her well. She has owned and operated a variety of businesses, including a pizza restaurant and a family video rental store. 

When she retired from working she indulged her passions for writing and traveling. Mom has a gypsy spirit that fuels her longing to see the world and experience new things. This adventuress has traveled throughout the US in an RV and across much of Europe. I am excited that next year I will get to travel with my mother, sisters and niece on an amazing adventure. 

Halloween fun. 

Mom has always been my champion and my encourager. I continue to learn from her, by way of her words and her example. She’s had a tough year, health wise, and yet she keeps going. I had the privilege of accompanying her this week to various doctors’ appointments. I appreciated that she trusted me with this part of her journey. Listening to her and to the doctors, I determined to walk alongside her, in the role of teacher this time, showing her new ways to care for herself and her health. 

It’s time for me to be her champion, her encourager, and to lead by example. Mom has made the commitment to embrace a healthier lifestyle, particularly by eating a plant based diet. I am honored to walk with her on this new adventure. She has lots of places yet to go, and more stories still to tell. 

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you!

Seasoned Baked Potato Wedges 

I was excited to try this recipe tonight. Once I completed the 28 day healing cleanse and added cooked veggies back into my diet, potatoes have been a staple. Several times a week I have a plain baked potato for lunch or dinner. And baked potatoes are what I order if I eat in a restaurant. I’ve come to appreciate the homey flavor, and nutrition, of a potato simply seasoned with sea salt and pepper. 

However, I’m really enjoying trying new recipes and being creative with my food. These seasoned baked potato wedges are a healthy alternative to fries. This recipe is from errenskitchen.com

The potato wedges were super easy to prepare. I used olive oil in the recipe, rather than low fat cooking spray. And I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Foil coated with cooking spray would work too. 

Before baking. 

Oh my! These were good! I baked them for 32 minutes, without turning. I turned the oven off while I finished meal prep, allowing the wedges to remain hot. 

I partnered the potato wedges with homemade marinara sauce, a spoonful of vegan chili and half an avocado. This was the perfect Saturday night meal, and it was all plant based. 

 I realized tonight that my desire to cook more, and be creative, is manifesting now in this way. That thrills me. Put a desire out there. The Divine brings it into reality. The important thing is staying open to what shows up in my life by remaining unattached to how its all going to unfold. 

Surrender. It is an exciting way to journey. 

The Magic in Everything

I had an unexpected surprise today. I got to spend a couple of hours with my granddaughter Aubrey. I was missing her, and apparently she was missing me. And the Divine took care of bringing us together. 

This child…she makes me laugh and brings me great joy. I love her perspective on life and the world. We talked our way through a number of interesting topics in our brief time together. 

I learn from Aubrey, although she is unaware that she teaches me important lessons. Today I was reminded to enjoy the little things because they add up to a great day. 

Aubrey: This was the best day ever in second grade!

Me: Why? What happened today? 

Aubrey: We had popsicles and a kid had a birthday so there were lots of treats! 

I learned that distraction is useful if one is unsure of her reading skills. 

Me: How is the reading going with your assigned kindergartener?

Aubrey: I get nervous about it. If I’m not sure about a word I talk to her. I say “Hey, look at these pictures!”

I learned today that conversations can be sung. That it’s never too early to create birthday and Christmas wish lists. That the best day for a kid to eliminate sugar from his or her diet is the day after Halloween. That it’s important to leave a written thank you to the waitress along with a generous tip. 

I love the magic, the lightness of being, that shows up in my life whenever any of my grandchildren are present. They understand how magical life really is. It’s not only good for me to see the world with fresh eyes, it’s necessary. I am so grateful for Dayan, Jonathan, Joey, Oliver and Aubrey. They inspire me to look at everything differently. They love with all their hearts. I love them just as freely and completely in return. 

Chee Vai Tang wrote, “If we all could see the world through the eyes of a child, we would see the magic in everything.” 

I do see. It is magical. 

Healthy Comfort Food

The words “healthy” and “comfort food” don’t normally go together. However, the dinner I prepared tonight is worthy of the label. I haven’t eaten pasta since I began a plant based diet. Because I also avoid wheat (gluten) and corn (GMO), I have not had regular pasta or the gluten free version, which is usually a corn product. 

Anthony William recently featured a recipe that used brown rice pasta. I was excited! I didn’t know there was such a product. When I found a bag of elbow macaroni made from brown rice, a couple of days ago at my neighborhood grocery store, I purchased it with the intention of trying a healthy pasta dish. 

I adapted a simple to make, basic spaghetti sauce, using healthy ingredients and fresh basil from my garden. Here is the recipe:

I love using herbs from my garden. Next time I make this sauce I will switch out the dried oregano for fresh, which I also grow. As the spaghetti sauce simmered and the pasta cooked using a low energy method (bring water and pasta to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes then turn off heat and cover pan for 18 minutes) I stepped out into the garden to water plants in containers and watch the sun set. 

The kitchen smelled wonderful as I stepped back inside. My dinner was ready. 

And it was scrumptious. I liked the brown rice pasta which has a subtly different flavor. However I found that an improvement. And the spaghetti sauce was amazing. It has just the right amount of seasoning. 

I tucked a tiny sprig of fresh basil into a generous portion of macaroni with spaghetti sauce and savored my meal. I have plenty of left over sauce to spoon over more brown rice pasta or to create a delicious new recipe with.

I am loving this healthy way of nurturing myself. 

A Day of Peace and Gratitude

I loved the conjunction today of two globally recognized holidays. September 21 is International Day of Peace and World Gratitude Day. I stayed mindful of both as I moved through a full day. 

International Day of Peace is a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The day was first celebrated in 1982. 

To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters in New York City. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as “a reminder of the human cost of war”. The inscription on its side reads, “Long live absolute world peace”. 

World Gratitude Day allows both individuals and organizations to celebrate gratitude in a variety of ways. This unique holiday began in 1965 in Hawaii when an international gathering decided that it would be a good idea to have one day per year to formally express gratitude and appreciation for the many wonderful things to be found in the world. 

The benefits of having time in one’s life for gratitude, appreciation and positive reflection have become increasingly apparent. The hope of the founders of World Gratitude Day is that by taking time, one day a year, to reflect on the many amazing things we have in our lives, it would positively impact our well-being and make us happier, more contented people.

I had the opportunity to ask two of my grandsons to share their thoughts with me about peace. Jonathan, age 11, thought that those who create problems, rather than promote peace, should be isolated from others. Being very tech savvy, he suggested that such individuals could only communicate with others via technology. They would, essentially, remain in a large scale “time out” until they learned to live in harmony with others. 

And Dayan, who is 17 years old, answered with great wisdom and deep insight beyond his years. I’d like for him to develop his ideas in an essay. However his basic principle was that countries learn to govern themselves and their regions, without relying on the world’s superpowers. 

Dayan touched my heart. He told me that he sees what I am doing this year…living in surrender, going with the flow and remaining open to what the Divine and Life brings to me…as the foundation for peace. We discussed how resistance takes us out of the flow and ultimately creates defensiveness. Peace, we agreed, must begin within us and then flow outward. 

I observed today how gratitude and peace support each other and together, contribute to my joy and wellbeing, which then impacts others around me. Peace and gratitude within me creates peace and more to be grateful for, outwardly. 

I enjoyed conversations around the topic of peace with both boys, which took place with them individually. Dayan and I spent time together after school. And tonight I had dinner with Jonathan and took him shopping for his birthday. I loved both of their out of the box, big ideas. These young men are the future. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we will keep getting what we’ve always gotten. I appreciated their fresh and honest perspectives. 

They give me hope for world peace in the future. And for that, I am grateful. 

Happy Birthday Jonathan

Today is grandson Jonathan’s 11th birthday. The family celebrated Saturday, having fun at a local Y where kids could run and jump and throw themselves into a huge foam pit. I snapped pics that afternoon, to share in today’s birthday blog post. 

Plants vs Zombies is one of Jonathan’s favorite  video games, and it made a fun party theme. From the cake to the piñata to the cutouts, stuffed figures and invitations, zombies and plants ruled the room. My daughter Elissa made adorable party invitations for Jonathan to take to school. He was very proud of those invites. If a child knew in advance that he or she would not be able to attend the party, Jonathan politely asked for the invitation back. He didn’t want those works of art going into the trash! I love that he thinks so creatively!  

Here’s what I found when I looked up Jonathan’s name:

“Jonathan, you are bluntly honest, good natured, brilliant and inventive,  full of grand ideas. You are courageous, determined, original and creative. You have leadership abilities, especially when you desire to rally people around a particular cause. You have so many ideas that sometimes  you do not care to finish what you start, and may leave details to others. You can do well in positions of authority, and you will prosper most in intellectual, creative or professional fields. You are a bold thinker. 

You look for opportunities to achieve financial and emotional security. You are basically a peacemaker, wanting everyone to get along. You understand the law of harmony and desire to balance your life with those around you. You may feel incomplete without someone to share your love, ideas, wealth or work with. You have developed your intuition and can rely on your instincts. You can live a life of great happiness if you stay true to who you are.”

I see Jonathan in those words! This bright young man understands much about who he is and the gifts that he has to offer to the world. He is inventive, creative and generates a steady stream of clever ideas. One of the things that I most appreciate about Jonathan is his fearlessness in carrying out his ideas. If his plans go well, great! If his plans don’t come together the way he envisioned them, he adapts, or scraps the plan and begins again. 

He does appreciate peace and harmony in his life. That’s the environment he thrives in. Jonathan loves his family, enjoys having a close circle of friends, and converses well with his peers and with adults. I love to listen to him as he shares about his lastest creative endeavor and what’s going on in his life. 

One of the ways that Jonathan expresses who he is, is through his YouTube channel. His fearlessness extends to being in front of a camera. He is totally relaxed and at ease as he narrates his moves through a game or tries out mystery jelly beans for his audience. I admire his creativity and his dedication to his art. 

Recently Jonathan invited me to join him in front of the camera, a guest appearance on his Classy Guy YouTube program. He planned the show, which involved creating an iconic cupcake from a game called Five Nights at Freddy’s. I chose to set aside my reluctance of being filmed, and enter into this amazing child’s world. Jonathan made that easy. We had a fun afternoon, and the cupcakes were a delicious success. 

I look forward to seeing where this young man goes in life. I know that he will choose his own path, find his own way, and enjoy the journey, traveling as his authentic self. Great happiness will be his, indeed. I have no doubts. 

Happy birthday, Jonathan. I love you!