I Am Writing This From The Floor

I am laying on my back on my yoga mat with a knit blanket over my torso, writing these words after a restorative yoga practice this morning. And the message that came through to me today is: guided.

I can’t help but feel guided lately. Guided to trust. Guided to align. Guided to breathe. Guided to release. Guided to slow down. Guided to soften my worries. Guided to love.

Sometimes when unexpected things come up, it’s because we are being guided by divine love. At least, that’s how I choose to see it. Don’t make things more difficult than they need to be. Everything will be okay.

Catch ya on the flip side,
Mary

Are You Connected to the Ground in Which You Walk Upon?

Today’s theme was floor. One thing I have noticed about myself is that my mind never stops. Living so much in my head jumping from thought to thought to thought can be exhausting.

One of the reasons I am on a break from Instagram, deactivated Facebook again, deleted my Twitter account a year and a half ago, and never bothered to make a Snapchat, is because I know myself, and I know what technology is capable of doing to the human mind. These mediums can be wonderful tools, but for me personally, there are consequences to using them. I have to be super mindful and super balanced with how I approach use. These platforms are purposefully designed to be addictive.

This look within has been good for me so far, but it also has brought up something: a longing for community and deeper connections. One of the main pillars of health of those who live long and healthy lives is having community.

In a way, I think this was the value, or perhaps perceived value, that social media gave/at times still gives me. It’s quick connection – a quick tap into communication at a distance. There are certainly upsides and downsides to that too.

I notice that the lines are easily blurred between feeling valued, connected, and validated by way of communicating with friends online and not really getting much out of those interactions at all. Much of it is superficial. Much of it is short and fast. And with a quick click, I liked your photo, and with a speedy scroll, on to the next message and the next and the next. Consume, consume, consume. And tack on all the never-ending messages of all the products and services we ‘need’ to be happy, to simplify, to be beautiful, to be better. Is this the way? Is this valuable? Is it helpful? Is it necessary?

So what happens if we peel that all away? Well, for me, that means I need to be with myself more, in that mind that never stops. And maybe that’s why I need to slow down and just exist without too many distractions more than ever.

I believe part of the reason why I turn to snacking or comfort eating when I am “bored” or “lonely” is because I am really hungry for connection in that moment, a meaningful conversation. I am also really hungry for grounding myself and living in the moment – not tomorrow, not yesterday, but right now.

Most of the time, I live in the future in my mind. And today’s yoga practice of connecting to the floor was surprisingly helpful.

Find community. Ground yourself. Love and live today.

Catch ya on the flip side,
Mary

Mental Flexibility

Today’s yoga theme was flexibility. This got me thinking about how flexible I am (or not) when unexpected obstacles arise or when I’m in an environment with circumstances outside of my control. How flexible am I to adapt to unique situations or a blip in my own expectations?

For me, this yoga practice is quite emotionally and spiritually self-reflective. I am typically an impulsive person within certain aspects of my life, and I have always known that this is a weakness for me. As I reflect, and work on expanding my mind, taking more pauses, and not rushing through things, I am realizing that achieving more mental flexibility is not only possible for me – it’s necessary. 

Pause. Wait. Breathe. Think it through. You will be okay. Expand.

Catch ya on the flip side,
Mary

I Trust

Most often, letting go is simple but yet it’s quite difficult. Letting go of physical and emotional ties can be scary and bring up fear and doubt. We hold on to the familiar comfort of what we know (or think we know), because it is easier than breaking the routine and changing. But what’s on the other side of that?

Today’s yoga theme was trust. During my meditation, I reflected on how I trust my body, I trust myself, I trust God, and I trust the universe. I trust.

When in doubt, remember, you are never alone. Trust.

Love and light,
Mary

Love, Acceptance, & 30 Days of Yoga

Love, Acceptance, & 30 Days of Yoga

Happy New Year!

I took a leap (albeit a small one, but an important one), and decided to do 30 days of yoga this January 2018. Yoga with Adriene is hosting a free yoga journey called True, and I invite you to participate, if that speaks to you.

Today, January 2nd, was day one, and it was my first yoga practice in a long time. After moving and breathing for just 24 minutes, I can say two things definitively:

1. Hell yes.
2. Adriene’s style is refreshing and authentic. I really like her teaching approach, and I feel blessed to have found her channel.

As I was meditating on my intention, a theme emerged that will guide me in 2018: Love and Acceptance.

Today’s yoga theme was motive. For what seems like my whole existence, I have been too focused on the result or the expectation of the result, rather than nurturing the act itself. This could be big things like body image and physical performance or little things like brushing my teeth.

But presently, my motive or true desire to act is to embody love and acceptance for myself and others and spread that energy to anyone who needs it. (And I know a lot of us need it.)

For me, acceptance is twofold. It’s about accepting myself as I am and knowing that I am enough, and also accepting situations I cannot change.

I cannot control external circumstances or the actions of others, but I can look within more, breathe more and let go more, and within that, I can live more freely and peacefully.

Love and light,
Mary

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Microwave Lava Cake

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Microwave Lava Cake

I cannot recall a time in my life when chocolate and peanut butter were not a good idea. And today is no exception, because I have a healthy, mostly whole foods version of a microwave lava cake that you could eat for dessert or… wait for it… even breakfast. I know. Can you imagine starting your day with a chocolate peanut butter lava cake that you can just pop in the microwave? Lazy cooks rejoice!

If you are looking for something that tastes like a fluffy, decadent, overly sweet dessert, this is not the recipe for you. This is meant to be a healthy version of a treat – something that packs nutrition and satisfaction into a super quick dish. If you’re used to molten chocolate cake from Chili’s, this will most likely disappoint you. But if you’re ready to try a healthy version that you can eat as often as your heart desires, well here it is. 

Ingredients:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 tsp baking powder
dash of sea salt
dash of cinnamon
1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp cococa powder
1/2 a large spotty banana
1 tbsp vegan chocolate chips
1/2 tsp water
1 T natural peanut butter

Instructions:
1. Put all ingredients except for the chocolate chips, water, and peanut butter into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the chocolate batter into a microwave-safe ramekin or mug.

2. Place the chocolate chips into the center of the ramekin and gently press down into the batter with a spoon, making sure the chocolate batter covers the chocolate chips.

3. Sprinkle the top of the batter with a few drops of water. This will help to make the center have a molten-like texture once cooked.

4. Place the dish in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Note: Microwave ovens greatly vary. I recommend checking it at the one minute and 20 second mark. And you might even need to microwave it for up to 3 minutes, depending. The edges should be firmly cooked and the center should be slightly on the more gooey side, but still cooked through.

5. Remove from the microwave and place the peanut butter on top and it will melt into the warm chocolate treat.

Enjoy!

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What I Learned from Deactivating Facebook for One Year

What I Learned from Deactivating Facebook for One Year

14 months ago, I deactivated my Facebook account and completely deleted my professional page as well. I also deleted some other social media accounts and refused to use others. You can read about why here: Why I deactivated Facebook and how you can too, if you want to.

Now that over a year has past, I was recently inspired to rebrand my website and start creating more, but with even more intention and authenticity – newer content that can continue to serve others while simultaneously awakening my own spirit by trying new things and exuding more of my personality by way of peppering my humor into my writings and videos. So Sprout and Blossom evolved into Mary Blossoms (like cherry blossoms, get it?). ::thank you. thank you::

Copy of Mary Blossoms 2

With that said, I am so happy that I did take a 14-month hiatus from Facebook, but my decision to reactivate my account and create a new Mary Blossoms page, was primarily so I can continue to stay current in my field (I teach digital media courses) and so I can reconnect in that special superficial way (snide remarks are fun) to the people who I enjoy having in my circle. Facebook is also a great sort of rolodex for contacts and quick, local info. You know, if I want to find out the best place to get a smoothie, I know I can get 50 opinions in 50 seconds. How incredibly helpful for combating decision fatigue.

Facebook has its benefits, and it certainly has its drawbacks. But now I know I will certainly be more mindful with how I use the platform and keep in mind its utility.

So without any further ado, here it is…

WHAT I LEARNED FROM DEACTIVATING FACEBOOK FOR ONE YEAR:

  1. No one will remember your birthday.
    I have to say, it was probably the saddest birthday of my adult life. (I’m kidding.) Some people remembered my birthday, but that’s only because it happens to fall on the anniversary date of a national tragedy. Even so, my birthday was certainly a lot quieter. It was very sweet of the close family and friends who remembered, despite my Facebook absence. But a small part of me missed getting 150 notifications, half of them from people who I don’t know. Nothing says birthday bliss like reading the same generic messages from strangers over and over again. Am I right?
  2. You will not remember anyone’s birthday.
    I realized how bad I actually am at recalling important dates. My friend Ilene was like Rain Man. You could tell her any date in the past and she could actually tell you the day of the week it fell on. Me, not so much. I’m lucky if I can remember what day of the week it is. And confession: Every new year is a horror for me with the year changing. For a good month and a half, I desperately expend an absurd amount of focus and energy trying to remember to write down the correct year each day. “199 …dammit!” “2016 …son of a!” Part of me thinks this could be the reason some people contract the flu in the winter. It’s too taxing.
  3. Politics and Religion: Destroying friendships since 1999
    I had the good fortune of deactivating Facebook during a heated political election, and I’m glad I did. I ended up finding out through the grapevine that friendships were disintegrating left and right and people were unnecessarily cruel to one another. Because we all know that posting overly opinionated material online converts your opposition the majority of the time. ::cough::
  4. Facebook can be a tool or a time-suck. Pick your poison.
    There is an abundance of inaccurate information that gets circulated and regurgitated online. Some of the most ridiculous, poorly researched content I have ever read was on that platform, and I am dumber for it. And then there are the time-wasters. It’s easy to get sucked into the matrix. By the way, which Saved by the Bell character are you?
  5. Most people are drunk on narcissism.
    There’s really not too much I need to say here except that when it comes to,… wait. Hold on a sec. Can you take twenty or so pictures of me posing next to this tree? The lighting is good. Make sure to get the flowers in the background though. This will make a great post. I love photos as much as I love validation.
  6. Life goes on.
    Facebook is more convenient for people to use than cultivating and nurturing a few meaningful relationships in real life. Bear with me. Since we all know 500+ people now and since anything we could ever want to know about is on Godfather Google, our brains / attention spans have only been conditioned to handle so much. It really is information overload. With that said, when I chose to get off of Facebook, I made an effort to try to reach out to close friends more. It wasn’t always reciprocated, but the experience made me realize just how much things can be superficial. I also learned what is important to me, and what is not. Cute cat photos are not important to me. But puppy photos are.

In the end, this was a useful 14-month social experiment for me. Facebook is just a tool. A tool can be used in a multitude of ways. It’s when we let a tool control our lives that it becomes destructive. I just found/find the site mostly annoying and time-wasting, but the fault was also in how I was using it. For me now, I have unsubscribed and unfollowed just about every page and lots of individuals who I really didn’t know too. I have simplified my newsfeed and am much more mindful and intentional with the relationships in my life but also the types of content I want to take in.

The beauty of it, is you can take a break from social media as an experiment any time or you can simply clean up your account a bit and unfollow and simplify, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just tired of it. Sometimes it helps to take a step back from things to view them with fresh eyes.

And yes, I will share this article on my newly revived Facebook page. Because what would any good piece of writing be unless it’s saturated in irony.

Catch you on the flip side,
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