Fall. Behind?

Happy Autumn!

Last night, as I attempted to fall asleep I was kept awake for the first time in months by bits and pieces of a “blog in waiting” tumbling around in my head.  I felt delighted, and somewhat daunted, at the prospect of composing an entry after so much time since the last had passed.  However, I committed, then and there,  to using this newly found hour of daylight savings time to hop back on the horse and give it a go.  I then wondered, as I often do, why it is that doing what should be familiar can sometimes feel so foreign?

I can’t speak for any of you, but I can tell you with great certainly and zero shame that I’ve been “falling” behind long before the hands on the clock turned back.  The past few months have found me salmon fishing the great lake of Michigan, front and centre at a sold out Avett Brothers show in St. Louis, poolside on a rooftop deck at the hip and happening Magnolia Hotel (sipping mojitos, of course), and most recently, 4 wheelin’ the snow-covered terrain of Labrador City.  You’ll never hear me complain about my career, it takes me away to places I might never visit to do things I might never have done.  However, it takes me away.

You need not jet off to a far away place to experience the culmination of things left undone; life takes us away.  As the leaves begin to turn, and days become more crisp, we contemplate when to take on the task of packing up the swimsuits and hauling out the sweaters.  We choose to fill our days doing whatever it is we enjoy with people we love and putting off the inevitable tasks of preparing for winter for another, less glorious, day… and rightly so!  anything so precious as   With the weather being as unpredictable as it’s been (at least on the East Coast), we marvel aloud at how fortunate we are to have the sun shining on us (“t-shirts in November?  ‘Magine!”), while quietly revisiting our views on global warming (yes. it’s happening).

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

Then, all of a sudden, somewhere in between apple picking and wood piling, it happens – the first snowflake falls and the Christmas decorations rear their ugly heads (don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas more than the next guy but see no sense in preparing two months for one day – that being said, preparation isn’t a strong suit of mine, which, come to think about it, is what I’m writing about – I digress).

This fall season has found me cleaning the boat for storage after purchasing Halloween candy for “trick-or -treaters”.  Putting away flip-flops while dressed in wool socks, and wondering how every thing and thought that should have a place in my home and head has managed to pile up around me!  This fall season has found me undoubtedly, behind.  Run for the hills!?  Maybe.  Or just grab a rake.

When life becomes just a little to complicated, it’s time to do one thing, and one thing only…. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid)!

When you don’t know what to do, do what you know.  I know how to rake.  I enjoy it.  I revel in the feeling of accomplishment that comes over me as my beautifully littered lawn is once again clean and green.  I feel my sense of contentment growing with each bag of leaves I fill to the top, knot, and place neatly beside the house.  Weird?  Maybe, but I’ll bet you know exactly what feeling I’m talking about.  Be it painting the living room, shovelling snow, or organizing the sock drawer – it makes total sense to me to engage in behaviour with a guaranteed success rate of 100% when I might be feeling just a little less than that.

As I partake in this somewhat mindless task (realizing that mindless tasks often encourage the most constructive thought, and are rarely mindless at all), I contemplate my surroundings.  I noticed the bare branches on the trees, not to mention the leaves still falling and landing where I had already raked (no big deal), and for the first time ever, I thought it odd that as humans we tend to stockpile, layer, and bundle up this time of year, while mother nature is in the process of shedding her leaves and making more space.  I wondered why we save “spring cleaning” for spring?

I had an idea! Why not use this extra hour (before the change sets in and it still feels “extra”), to make space; to take a lesson from the trees and let go of what we no longer need to make room for what we may.

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

Give away that sweater you’ve hauled out of your fall clothes bin year after year without wearing it once; it’s never going to fit you like it used to!

Put that ice cream maker you just “had to have” in the pile for goodwill – remember you’re only attempt in using it was an epic fail, plus you don’t do dairy anymore!

Make a plan to take a lesson to learn to play the guitar that’s sitting in the corner that you begged your parents to get you for your birthday (at age 33 when you should be well over asking for things for your birthday, by the way), or lend it to someone who will!

If you’re a dude, which you most likely are not if you’ve managed to get this far into my ramblings, you don’t need 3 whipper snippers and 6 screwdrivers with the same head – downsize!

UN – stock pile, I say!  Make way!

As this season falls behind, I plan to get ahead!  Wait… I’m getting carried away.  As this season falls behind, I hope to catch up.  There.  That’s more realistic.

As I sit here in front of the fire, tea in hand and bulldog snoring beside me, I feel a weight lifting as I sign off on an enjoyable “activity turned task due to negligence”, thinking “there, that wasn’t so bad”.. as we often do after persevering through whatever it is we’ve been putting off.  I realize that what’s most critical to our well-being often times gets put to the bottom of our list, and that if we placed it at the top most things that follow would just “fall” into place.

I decide I won’t wait another year for mother nature to turn back the hands of time to convince me I have more of it.  I encourage you to do the same.

Happily,

Candace

Mick knows what’s up.

The Attitude of Gratitude

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer Sunset in Lab City

I can recall times in my life when my light has burned dim; can’t we all?  I can recall times when my light has gone out and I didn’t even notice.  It intrigues me to think about how well we can see in the dark; or at least how well we think we can.

A few months ago, I was half way through what I would consider to be the most challenging contract of my speaking career to date in the city of Labrador: 10 days.  16 speeches. 1 iron ore mine. 500 miners (90% men, the manliest of men, at that)! … and then lil’ ole me on a quest to change the hearts, minds, attitudes, and behaviors of this crew mainly consisting of old dogs who appeared to have no interest in learning new tricks.

Did I have “watt” it would take (energy wise, as this attempt at a pun would suggest), to get the job done? (… oh yes I did)!

After a few days in I thought I had found a spot on the dial where signal was coming through clear. I had a sense of what stories had the ability to connect and affect (i.e. anything related to how my incident affected my dad), as well as which ones didn’t (like the time I spend $400.00 at Sacks on Tory Burch gladiator style pumps without even trying them on my artificial limb, only to find out months later that they were much higher than the 4 inches required for me to actually walk in them… oh, this reminds me, I have a pair of Tory Burch gladiator style pumps for sale, never worn and gladiators are so still in this season :) Having said that, while men may not be interested in shoes, they do tend to enjoy legs, and there were no objections to me showing off the replacement to the limb I had lost in a “suitable for the situation” black stiletto.  In fact,  one fine gentleman with kind eyes and a gruff voice offered me the assurance that “you’d never know it was fake” and that it looked “damn good enough to up on stage on a Friday night in Fermont”….(I later found out that strippers are what’s on stage on Friday night in Fermont, in any event, that was his way of giving me an honest to goodness compliment and that was how I took it :)

These guys wanted to talk about things like lock out procedures, didn’t they?  They wanted to discuss the challenges of using the right to refuse unsafe work, surely! These guys weren’t interested in me going all “Oprah” on their asses with regard to changing the world through things like meditation (which I need to get back into), positive energy exchange, and let’s not forget, the “law of attraction”…. or were they?

It’s been said, and it’s true.  You cannot judge a book by its cover.  After spending 2 hours sharing my story and engaging in some pretty intense “nuts and bolts” discussion regarding the safety culture at said mine, the room cleared out.  I managed to get full participation on an “If you see something, say something” chant (that’s a little motto of mine), complete with fist pumps and high fives from about half the fellas.  There were some handshakes and hugs.  Some “good jobs” and “thank you’s” murmured during the shuffle as safety goggles and hard hats were put back on.  Done for another day.  I was exhausted (as I always am after a speech), and pleased overall with the afternoon session.

It was only after I had put on my jacket and gathered my things to leave that I had noticed  one man stayed behind.  As a speaker, it’s natural to find a face or two in the audience to visit from time to time, someone who is engaged and most likely without even knowing it, offering you reassurance.  He was one of the people I had established early in my presentation as an “anchor”.   He was about my age, and even in (maybe especially in) his coveralls and work gear, was very attractive.  He approached me in a somewhat cautious and shy manner and said “can I ask you a question”.  In the millisecond that it took me to respond that “yes, of course”, he could, I had already decided that I would accept his offer to go on a fabulous dinner date…

While my mind went immediately to my closet to consider what I had brought to Lab City and put together my outfit, my thought to be potential suitor interrupted my wardrobe planning and simply said “are you grateful?” (I really didn’t have anything packed to wear to dinner anyway :)

“Was I grateful”? I silently and rhetorically asked myself with an inside voice spoken with a tone that would indicate an obvious “yes” response.  I mean, come on!  I’m a motivational speaker for heaven’s sake!  It’s my “thing”; it’s what I “am”.  Of course I was grateful, not to mention positive, and happy, and fearless, and encouraging… you had to be all of those things to do what I do, didn’t you?

This wonderful person (lets call him “awesome guy”)  then proceeded to share a story with me about a really difficult place he found himself living in his life.  He risked losing his family, his job, his house, and was quite certain he had already lost himself.  I found out that this “anchor” of mine whose eyes I connected with to confirm that he was “seeing” my point had actually been “seeing” right through me.  What was going on behind the scenes in my life was very different from what was taking place on stage, and what terrified me was that I didn’t know the difference between the two. When the curtains closed and the lights went down, I found myself in a very dark place; literally and figuratively.  He saw it, why didn’t I?

I was lost.  I was in what Dr. Seuss would call a “slump”.  “And when you’re in a Slump you’re not in for much fun.  Un-slumping yourself is not easily done” …Dr. Seuss, 

Not easily, no!  But possibly so.  Sometimes the most effective solutions in life are the most simple; dare I say often?

…so, back to awesome guy and his question.  “Yes”, I replied, “I am grateful”.  He told me he assumed that I was and proceed to share his thoughts on the matter with.  “Grateful isn’t just something that you can “be”, he said slowly and assuredly,  “being grateful is something you have to “do””.  He told me that he would have felt like he was taking something away from me if he didn’t share with me the simple action that set the wheels in motion for taking his life in a whole new direction.  The challenge: 5 things you’re grateful for.  Everyday.  Before you get out of bed.  From here on in.

Did I believe him when he said that such simple action could have such a profound effect on one’s life?  I’m not sure I even questioned it, quite frankly.  All I was certain of was that awesome guy seemed to be on to something, and I didn’t feel like I had anything to lose.  Challenge Accepted.

You never know what the one thing is you might say or do in the run of a day that could save a life, or change it forever” Candace Carnahan.

I’m sorry if it’s in bad taste to quote yourself in your own blog, but I couldn’t find anything anyone else has said online that was more suited to describe what awesome guy did for me that day by having the courage to care enough to share something with me that I needed to hear.

I’ve been doing my “gratefuls” every morning from that day on  and I know for certain that gratitude welcomes greatness.

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life.  Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary” Margaret Cousins

Attitude is everything in life.  I begin each day with the attitude of gratitude towards the spark who rekindled the light in my life that had darkened (that’s you awesome guy).  To that I add 5 more things and allow myself the time to really “feel” my appreciation for each one. I begin my list before my head leaves the pillow, and often times I fall back asleep on grateful thing 2 or 3 and have to start all over again….

Eleanor Rigby (not the Beatles song, my bulldog) makes the list pretty much every day since she’s usually right beside me and I’d feel badly leaving her out; in that case I try to do an extra; fortunately it isn’t a challenge at all.

"Stayed in bed extra this morning"

Todays Gratefuls

1) Eleanor Rigby.

2) My friend Ryan who came to visit last night even though he had to work early when I told him I had the “blues” and responded with “well sweetie, I think it’s hard to feeling anything but f%@cking blue, when it’s grey outside”. :) love.

3) Going home for the weekend and having Easter dinner (which we’re going out for the first time… pretty big deal, I know!) with my dad who I have all to myself because no one else is home.  I’m going to pick the fanciest of fancy places for dining that Miramichi has to offer!

Street Festival with Dad, Ybor City, Florida

4) My comfy bed.

5) Yesterdays therapeutic massage. Thank you, Amy.

6) The coconut and pineapple smoothie that was on the agenda for breakfast.

…. now you go.

Happily,

Candace

Two, for One?

… Happy Valentines Day!

I’ve been looking forward to today since my visit to the spa last week, when I walked in for an eyebrow wax and was greeted by an array of Aveda products, packaged and wrapped with enticing bows and ribbons and topped off with red hearts that said 2 for 1… (obviously they we referring to 2 for the price of 1, whereas I just took it as 2 for me :)  As it just so happens, I’m single this year!  When I looked at the 2 for 1 sign, my immediate  thought was “yes please”… I could use both the foot therapy (which is really a deal, considering I only use half as much), and the hand therapy… don’t mind if I do!  By the time this piece is finished you may be asking yourself if there is any additional type of “therapy” I may require above and beyond luxurious lotion for my appendages; joking!

As I sashayed from reception into the waiting room, I was feeling a little lighter and maybe even a tad giddy; a feeling I normally associate with excessive “juicing” in lieu of solid food.  It took me a moment to identify the source of my mood shift and I realized that my spirit had elevated at the prospect of planning a full on, blow out valentines day celebration for one!  Why not?

I sat down to a cup of herbal, surrounded by relaxing music and being warmed by the fire and picked up the pink, polka doted  menu filled with all sorts of delightful  “romance packages” and “specials for lovers”!   Suggestions to “treat her”, “treat him” or “celebrate your love together by way of your choice of  2 for me, opps, I mean 2 for 1 spa services!  I then retraced my steps through the downtown core and realized that the city was peppered with all sorts of  delightful deals for lovers that I had overlooked, like “2 can dine for something 99″,  begging the question “what does one do for dinner”?  Down a sleeve of Premium Plus crackers and call it a night?  I think not!

Everybody has their view on this day dedicated to love (I’m sure most of your friends have let you know how they really feel about it, good or bad,  via Facebook already ).  I have friends who are in love, and have been together longer than I’ve been in all of my relationships combined.  I love to hear about the surprises they have planned for each other, mainly just because I like knowing secrets about great stuff happening ahead of time.  Good on them!  Keep it up.  Being around people in love makes me happy :)

I have friends who may not always have had the luxury of loving who they truly were meant to love but have either changed games, or  switched teams all together, and want to squeeze every ounce out of every second on a day devoted solely to love.  For some of these friends, everyday is Valentines day, and I think that’s just great.

Then I come across the ladies on the street or in the shop who say things like “you go girl!” or “who needs a man”? as I hand over the “2 hour massage for couples” coupon, and indicate that both hours will be reserved for me.  Reactions like this would indicate to me that deep down, these ladies have it in their heads that I’m coming in to bask in some sort of lovers scorn, or in a cry of “I am woman, hear me roar”,  when really I’m in it for the relaxation, champagne, essential oils and chocolate.  A cute masseuse would be a welcomed bonus, of course :)   It’s been my experience that women who shout out things like this just a little to enthusiastically, with the offer of a “high-5″  are typically dealing with recently having been “wronged” and are a little too amped on “girl power” for my liking; to each their own.

On the other hand, I have friends who will declare today is “lame”, and who’ve turned down my invitation to join me in getting dressed up and hitting the town for dinner tonight.  My response to one friend was “why do you want to stay home alone all evening being sad”? (This is not assuming that staying home is synonymous with being sad, this is just the temperature I was reading from the conversation)  She looked at me with mischievous smile, one eyebrow raised and said “maybe being sad makes me happy, how do you know”?  Good point.  How do I know?

All any of us every really knows when it comes to matters of the heart, and life in general, is what we know, and in my experience that changes on a day-to-day basis.

"Call Me"

What I know to be true is that I love Valentines Day!  I always have.  I remember reminding my mom and dad around the end of January to save an empty Tide detergent box that would soon be transferred into my “love” mailbox.  I would decorate it from top to bottom in tin foil, shiny side out, of course, and plaster it with hearts, ribbons and all things frilly, using the good part of a glue stick to ensure that all of my flare would stick!  I would then finish it off with plastering a heart shaped doily with my name written across the centre in big, pink bubble letters.  CANDACE.  There. Surly no one would make the mistake of delivering a Valentine intended for me to anyone else.

Feeling satisfied, I would grab a pair of extra fancy “indoor shoes” (think pink, patent leather), to go with my red hoop skirt and my favorite bubble gum pink “I HEART LOUISIANA”  T- Shirt(heart in red glitter).  My mother always advised against me wearing that outfit; something about red and pink and “clashing”…. I disregarded her fashion advice and made my way to the bus looking like some sorry of human disco ball in all of my pink and red, shimmery, shiny glory.  I was ready for the sock hop!  Look out boys!

After securing my “mailbox” to the side of my desk with an unnecessarily excessive amount of masking tape (wasting, Mrs. Colpaugh would scold), I would prance around home room, twirling my skirt and swinging my ponytail as I dropped of cards and candy hearts with messages that we carefully selected for each recipient. “Be Mine” and “So Fine” were in heavy rotation in those days. I would wait in anticipation to see if the boy I liked the most would head in my direction with the “biggest” valentine; and he would (remember how there was always one that was bigger than all the rest in those books of punch outs we used to get when we were little… remember?  Was that just another one of societies sneaky ways of peddling monogamy in stages of elementary? Nah… couldn’t have been :).

My elementary on again off again boyfriend was from up the road  and his name was Chauncey.   He would arrive at school with a book bag full of  stuffed teddy bears and various pieces of jewellery that I”m sure were on “lend” from his mothers collection, and even though we were only 7 he always referred to me as “darlin'”.  I would return home with a book bag full of tokens of love by way of Chaunce (as I called him) and a few cards left unopened (like the one from the girl who didn’t like me and only gave me a valentine at all “because her mother made her”.  A fact that she couldn’t wait to share with me.  Oh… those were the days.

The days of kissing Chauncy behind the oak tree at recess have long passed, however for some reason, whether I’m in a romantic relationship or not, I still feel a lot like that girl in the red hoop skirt when Valentines day rolls around, albeit a bit taller and hopefully much wiser.

The Ghosts of Valentines Past.  Surprises that have arrived via the recognizable and oh so cherished “little blue box” (… “and I said, what about, Breakfast at Tiffany’s”).   Others have been carved out of wood and required no wrapping at all (a flower that would never die “for the girl who loved flowers”…that was one is still my favourite).  They’ve been dinners, and theatre shows, vacations in Napa, and hikes to the camp.  If I’m to be honest, which I am, they’ve also been a few forced celebrations that have ended up in major disaster; no amount of pretty bows and ribbons can wrap up a relationship you’re not meant to be in and make it look pretty.

There have been a few Feburary 14ths that have come and gone where the only Valentine I received was by way of my dad, who never forgets (Thanks Dad!).  I”m sure he’ll be calling me soon and telling me to go treat myself to something nice,considering he’s in Florida… that phone will probably ring any minute now…(she checks the phone to make sure the line is working)… any second, I can feel it ;) LOL

I know that one of the reasons that some people dislike the holiday so much is because they’re on their own, but wish they weren’t.  We’ve all been there.  Or maybe there not on their own and wish they were.  Yep, been there too.  Others just dislike anything perceived as sappy and gooey in general.  And then there are the naysayers, the ones that go on and on about an occasion that’s meant to be fun and toss out words like “ridiculous” and  “commercialized” with a scowl  and great disdain…  The Cadbury Easter Bunny has been hip hoping her  eggs to a store near you since mid January.  Commercialized?  What holiday isn’t.  Let’s lighten up, I say!

What I’ve come to discover so early into this new year, most likely by way of “The Callenge” is that I love being good to myself. It makes me what to be good to others. I love how it makes me feel to feed my soul and my heart with love that is all-encompassing.  I love my friends.  I love my dog.  I love my family.  I love tea.  I love the newest Radiohead album.  I love wool socks.  I love my freedom.  I love my sheets!  I love cashews, dammit.  Cashews!  I love the exciting prospect and surprise of who I may love next!  With so much love to put out into the universe for all things big and small, why on earth wouldn’t I want to go all out on the one day a year dedicated to just that?  I can’t think of a reason either!

Katherine Hepburn once said the “Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything”.

This year, being happily single, I can spend my time preparing for what I’d like to give, rather than what I might be expecting to get , which I’m pretty sure is nothing, making the timing on these oh so profound realizations just perfect :)

Signing off happily, and with the words of 30 Rock’s, Jenna Maroney “I love you, Myself”  ;)

Candace

Bump In The Road?

Does a bump in the road necessarily have to throw you off course from your ultimate destination?  Can it serve as a wake up; a reminder that you’re still travelling to a destination you have yet to reach?  Must a wrong turn be synonymous with frustration?  Is getting lost, really losing at all?

In preparation for commencing the journey that is “the Challenge”(see previous blog for details), I had actually mapped out a path for the up and coming month and in it, included a few bumps in the road. I planned for them, thinking it best not to unexpect the expected.  I was of the mind that if I scheduled myself to go off course, the detour wouldn’t lead to considerable disappointment or cause for concern.  I was planning in advance to stray from the course, knowing that this allowance was the only way I could conceive beginning the trek at all.

Back on the Beet and Feelin' Great Fruit Juice

Taking on such a “Challenge”, a complete lifestyle presto chango, is actually quite simple when you have the luxury of making it your full time job, as I have. This month for me is void of business travel.  I’m basking in it! Before I know it, I will  once again be living out of a suitcase and spending more time with my head in the clouds, than I do with my feet on the ground…literally speaking, of course ;).  The past few weeks have required me to do work in my soy candle lit, cozy office, or in front of the fireplace on my divine, down filled, chaise.  I’ve had ample time to search websites and blogs like VeganDad, to persuse and ponder new recipes (like spicy Kale chips @ilovemydehydrator) and make my daily shopping list so I can saunter to Aura Whole Foods to discuss my recipes! I chat to Sue and the other girls expressing my curiosity about things I haven’t tried before (think Tempeh).  Aura is like the best kind of retail therapy there is for me! I’m totally elated the moment I walk in to load up on fruit, veg, and all things nut.  Weird?  Maybe.

Following my grocery stop, I coast on down to YogaNirava for a class. Walking into that space is like walking into a big, warm, hug.  A hug that offers peace, love, support, and suburbly kick ass Pad Thai (more on this in a bit).  I engage in my practice with any one of the phenomal teachers at the studio, and I walk out feeling centred, balanced, relaxed, and then float to my warm and bright little home.  I spend the evening listening to the CBC,  preparing dinner, possibility whipping up a batch of soup for the week or taking my bulldog Eleanor for a walk to visit with a friend or two before a hopping first into a bubble bath and then into my king sized, feather filled, cloud of a bed, and call it a day.

As I sit here writing this, I think “gosh, that really sounds lovely.  I’m so fortunate”.  And it is.  And I am.

This is how I would continue on in life to infinity if it were possible.  I believe to a certain degree that it may be… a certain degree.

Eventually, something or someone, will come in contact with the bubble you’ve inserted yourself in and cause it to burst!  This doesn’t have to be a “bad” thing, however it may end up leaving you feel a little vulnerable, and more exposed to hustle and bustle that is the ‘real world”.  Let’s say that sooner or later, you’ll be faced with a challenge within your challenge.

My charted bump in the road arrived a half an hour late into Bangor via La Guardia.  I had a friend who had planned a visit, long before the “Challenge” began.  As the start date grew closer and consequently, the date of the visit, I found myself wondering how on earth was I going to survive on sprouts, beans, and ginger tea while planning a weekend with a good ol’ boy from Long Island who would sooner starve than eat a sprout!?  A feeling of hindrance was imminent.

Not unlike many of life’s “roadblocks”, this was one was self constructed.  Did I have to have a Bud Light (so American) with lunch at the pub?  Could a make a vegan homemade ravioli (dough from scratch and all) for a dinner party that would suit the expectations of my company, who are accustomed to dining chez moi on many a noodle, basking in a heavy cream sauce, con carne?  Could I hunker down for movies and take out pizza; pizza sans fromage?  I had decided that the answer to all of these questions was, no.  I could not.  Looking back, did I really need to be so concerned or conflicted about any of it?  No, I did not.  Would New York, or any of my day to day entourage, consisting of my very well dressed boyfriends who would much rather shop than shovel and have no problem letting me know when my outfit it “all wrong”, notice or care if I sipped on a strawberry smooth in leui of Shiraz?  Maybe a little, but not near as much as I seemed to.

But that’s what tends to happen when doing what nurtures us, what is best for us, and what is a little bit new to us, is for a set date on the calendar, or a blocked off timeline.  We get nervous at the possibility of any deterrent that may spiral us back into our old habits, undue all of the good work we’ve accomplished,  and regress on the the progress we’ve made.  For some of us, the “Challenge” is to quit smoking, stop drinking, refrain from biting our nails, or commit to running a marathon.  For others, the “Challenge” may involve being kinder to people, expressing more gratitude, or volunteering more of our time.

Regardless of who you are or the journey your on, you can bet your bottom dollar that any road you may choose will be laden with bumps (…especially the one less travelled by).  Smooth sailing requires extremely specific and perfect conditions… not to mention a sailboat :)

I ate some cheese, more than I planned (the creamy stilton purchased from Fredericton’s own Boyce Farmers Market served as the base of a beautiful cream sauce for the ravioli).  I drank some wine, much more than I planned (it went so well with the pizza and pasta)…  and I felt a little guilty (but not too guilty).

The fun filled weekend came to an end and my friend and I set out to the city of bright lights and big sights, otherwise known as Bangor (joking), so he could catch a flight home the next day.   A pit stop in Woodstock somehow led us to the covered bridge in Heartland (photo opt), and then upon retuning to the highway, I somehow led us most of the way to Edmundston, in the complete opposite direction of the Portland boarder where we were meant to cross.  A bump in the road, indeed!  We were lost.  He’s never been to Canada eh!  He assumed as one would, that a girl who spend the majority of her life in the little province of NB could be trusted to head to the boarder without incident.  What’s that saying again?  Oh yeah.. “To assume makes an ass of you and me”.  Yes, that’s the one.  We stopped for directions, rerouted our trip, made peace with the fact that the 3 hour journey  had more than doubled in time.

We crossed the border in Fairfield, Maine,  and within minutes crossed paths with a horse and buggy, drawn by the Amish residents of the community… it was the first of many to come!  Little did I know that my friend was completely enthralled with Amish Country, and it appeared that was exactly where we were! Our wrong turn has actually sent us in exactly the right direction to finish off a a fantastic weekend watching the sun set across a desert of blowing snow.  Unreal.

Most often in life the road less travelled takes a little bit longer and can be slightly or significanlty more difficult to manoeuvre; this I know to be true.
Of this I am also certain: regardless of whichever way the wind may blow us we must “always believe that something wonderful is about to happen”… quotebites.com

Something Wonderful

…and that sometimes hitting a “bump in the road” is just the shake up you need to get you back “on the wagon” on the path your meant to follow…again.
Happily,
Candace

Back on the Wagon, Maine

The “Challenge”

"Apples and Carrots and Beets, OH MY!"

It’s been exactly one week since I, along with many others in the city, and Yoga Nirvana community, embarked on the “30 Day Challenge”.  After returning to my home from the holidays, I ate a little healthier, exercised a little more, and drank a little less.  I was feeling the need to do something different, nothing necessary drastic, but just different.

I was contemplating travelling somewhere overseas to Bali or India and visiting a retreat or resort of some sort (my vision for said sojourn was fuzzy at best), to recharge my batteries in preparation for a stellar 2012.  I was checking out flights, and places to stay.  Weighing my options through discussions with friends who had been here and there, and putting my feelers out to find out who was going where in the up and coming months.  Little did I know that such a grandiose voyage was unnecessary… (at least for the time being)!

So…I’m  “creepin'” around on Facebook, as “creepers” often do (I can’t stand that term; I sit here contemplating something more appropriate and much to my dismay…nothing comes to mind), and checked out the Yoga Nirvana group to see what was new and exciting and found the “Challenge” I was searching for, right underneath my nose (pun intended, but maybe not so obvious.. I was on my IPad:):

Dear Yogis,

“The Nirvana 30 Day Challenge” begins Monday January 16th! 

The challenge will run until Valentine’s Day.
We will celebrate the challenge with a private party at Nirvana!
The party will have live music, hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and prizes! 

The challenge will entail doing yoga everyday for a month either at: Nirvana, home, or other studios here in Fredericton or abroad.
The challenge will also entail participating in a vegetarian diet, no alcohol, recreational drugs, no coffee, no dairy, and no smoking.

This challenge is an opportunity to truly feel your best!

Wishing you all bliss…

Drop in or call to sign up!

Namaste,

Jonas

This sounded like an invitation to a party I wanted to attend!.  An opportunity to show some restraint, stretch a little more, and give me an excuse to spend extensive amounts of time in the kitchen (I love to cook); all with the support and camaraderie of  my friends and community.  As fantastic as this all sounded, I was still somewhat hesitant to commit.  I was still enjoying a steak off the grill and salmon on a plank, savouring a morning latte, and noshing on “cheese please”, on a somewhat regular basis; substituting all of  these ingredients in my recipe for life seemed somewhat daunting.   I scanned my calendar to check on my travel for business, any up and coming parties or dinner dates, and basically any temptations in general that might throw me off my course and increase my chances for “failure”.  I contemplated, and then I remembered that this year was supposed to be about “balance” for me.  Wasn’t it a better idea to commit to something and give it your best shot, than not to bother at all?  Could I really consider it a “failure” if I missed a day or two of downward dog, or had a sip of wine?  I decided, no, I could not.

So… it’s Monday, day 8.  I haven’t swayed from the “Challenge” for even a fraction of an inch (although I spent a little more time than suggested in “child’s pose” at yesterdays class).  My fridge is full of homemade, organic, vegan goodness that I’ve prepared with the company of countless episodes of Randy Bachmans’ “Vinyl Tap”.  My drawers (including the “junk” drawer) have never been so organized, and I’ve even made headway on preparing income tax “stuff” for my accountant (albeit, it’s for the 2010 tax year… baby steps).  I feel like a million damn dollars, and by the buzz in the air at class each and every day (“love in” breathe, “peace out” breathe via Jonas), I’m not alone!

I’ve come a long way since last Monday (Day 1) when I came home to prepare dinner, took one look at a bowl of soaking beans and opted to save the cooking until the morning and dined on an apple and cashew butter!  Regardless as to whether your on a cleanse or challenge, or maybe just need a little more “chickpea” in your life, here are a few of the recipes I rocked this week for you to try out!

Happily,

Candace

Rocking Roasted Garlic Hummus

This is Martha Stewart’s recipe… I just add a bulb of roasted garlic.  Caramelized onions are amazing as well… you can add them into the hummus, or serve them as a side with it!  Adapted from Homemade Hummus @ www.marthasterwart.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • One bulb of roasted garlic 

Directions

  1. Reserving 1/4 cup liquid, rinse and drain 2 cans chickpeas. Place chickpeas and reserved liquid in a food processor. Add 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup tahini, well stirred, 2 garlic cloves, chopped, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt. Process until smooth.

…. Homemade Mezza Platter!  Complete with sprout salad, topped with Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing, compliments of “Oh She Glows”

     Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing

     Adapted from Tahini-Lemon Dressing.

       yield: about a cup

Ingredients:

  •        1/4 cup Tahini
  •        2 garlic cloves
  •        1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  •        1/4 cup Nutritional yeast or a bit more, to taste
  •        2-4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  •        1 tsp kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  •  Directions:

1. In a food processor, add all ingredients and process until smooth. Makes just under 1 cup.

…. If you’re feeling ambitious, try out some Baked Falafel!  You can make a batch and store to crisp up in the oven as part of dinner or for a snack. Check out www.weeatreal.com, for more awesome concoctions!

Last, but most certainly, not least… a treat for your tastebuds (I didn’t believe it til I tried it… Parships?  Really?) …  my favourite juice of the week, as found in the “THE BIG BOOK OF JUICES” by Natalie Savona.

  

"Apples & Neeps"

    APPLES & NEEPS

3 parships

3 apples

1/2 lime (I squeeze it in after the juice is made)

3 sprigs of fresh mint (I wasn’t sure about the mint, but I just threw it in the juice in between the parsnips and apples

   ENJOY!!! :)

Hello world!

After careful consideration, not to mention contemplation towards dedication, I’ve finally decided to take the pen off the paper!  Welcome to my blog!

For years I’ve had a “love/don’t love so much” relationship with my journal.  Some were bound by suede, some leather, filled with pages of artisan paper that invited the ink to sink in and absorb your every word, thought, and emotion.  I loved opening them, closing them, displaying them on bookshelves, and of course, writing in them.  I loved glueing in boarding pass stubs, dried flowers, and concert tickets… Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, to name just a few.  I loved watching them expand and grow thick, becoming difficult to close,  with memories and memorabilia of travel and and adventure, or maybe just pages filled with simple, quiet thoughts pondered on the porch at the cottage.  I love reading them over, and over again from time to time, and thinking that if they were stories about someone else’s  life, I ‘d be interested in seeing what happened next.  On the other hand, what I love a little less is how my journals, sitting on my shelves or by my bed, often serve as a subtle reminder that for whatever reason, I’m not engaging in life in a way that is inspiring me to write, and later on, reminisce.  (note:  journal entries significantly decreased after changing gears and attempting to embark on a new chapter in my life in a more compact, sleeker “moleskin” version of the “journal”… not near as comfy as what I was familiar with and judging by the empty pages, clearly not for me…to each their own)!

In keeping with “changing gears”; a few months ago I took the plunge and switched from my trusty old HP laptop, to a big beautiful IMAC for my office.  The transition was so daunting for a luddite such as myself that I avoided my office for at least a week.  For the record I have “IEverything” and rather than sync my life in general, I still carry around my old school appointment book.  Where was my music (not just the stuff I bought on ITunes)?  Where were my photos (not just the ones I managed to sync off my iPhone)? Where were my documents, how could I open them, and more importantly, how in the hell could I create a new one?!  Another week must have passed before I managed to plough (very lightly and slowly) through my resistance to “change” and google search “word for IMAC”; I purchased and successfully downloaded the program in less than 10 mins… small victories.

The week moves along and with a little more confidence and a bit less frustration, I spend more time at my desk.  I find a few tunes, sort a few pics, shoot off a few docs, and then one night after a few glasses of Merlot,  I walk bravely into my office (maybe with a little one, two, sidestep) and sit down to write what would be my first “computer” journal entry since 1990, when I poured my deepest secrets out to my Commodor 64 after watching an episode of Doogie Howser, MD. and thinking he was the coolest dude ever with his curly hair and end of the day “reflections” (you remember the ones).  I then decided to go back to my diary with the lock and key, in case my Mom and Dad read what I wrote (I was all of 12 years old, and I’m sure it was scandalous;)!

Back to 2012.  As we’re all well aware, the “New Year “can bring light and encouragement to ideas that have been simmering on the back burner, goals left unattained, and promises to yourself that you’ve spoken and broken coutless times over.  I’m the sort who doesn’t’ normally wait for the “new year” to get all geared up about brilliant ideas, a healthier lifestyle, or travelling to somewhere half way around the world to explore or attempt to save it.  I get geared up like that on any given Monday, on any given month.  While I live my life with good intentions, and with an overall positive, adventurous and, healthy  disposition…  I’ll be honest and tell you that in the past, more than a few of  my “big ideas” have fallen flat before leaving the gate.

So this year, as I have in years past, I resolved not to make any resolution beginning on January 1st.  Instead I decided to figure out where I most needed balance and consistency in my life, and to put the necessary effort forth to find it.

With tea in hand, and sunlight pouring in my office, I sit here, entering day 4 of a cleanse and yoga challenge, feeling vibrate and content as I sign off on a blog I was a terrified to begin.  For the moment I can say with almost complete certainty… which is as certain as it gets for me… that I at least feel as though I’m heading down a path I haven’t travelled on in a long while; or maybe ever before?  In any event, I’m game!

I look forward to continued journeys and new directions, and sharing what comes along with you.

The weeks to come bring the creation of a new limb (www.candacecarnahan.com), further investigation and experimentation into eating vegan/vegetarian, and more and more yoga (more as in like everyday) @ Yoga Nirvana!  Tune in to check out recipes for phenemonal baked falafel, rocking roasted garlic hummus… and a step by step chronicle of having a prosthetic limb created, pun intended….

Signing off happily, and with huge gratitude to my buddy Mitch (a.k.a my social media guru) for his encouragement and tech support… mostly his tech support ;)

Candace