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Be The Light

"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."

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That is my life philosophy. Lately I've been attempting to take that a step further and attempting to become that light. Quite literally in fact. My husband, Brian & I are hosting a yoga+salsa dancing fundraiser this week on Friday, November 3rd.

We will be doing yoga and salsa dancing to raise funds to bring the still much needed life saving supplies and solar lighting to the people of Puerto Rico. Literally lighting up our spirits and helping to bring light into the darkness.

Photo from @alisonthompsonofficial

Photo from @alisonthompsonofficial

It is projects like these that have had the ALL GOOD THINGS blog on hiatus. What better way to bring it back! After all, ALL GOOD THINGS was born out of the idea to bring more happiness, health and hope into the world. Why not light, in all it's forms, be part of that too!

Please contact me or leave a comment below if you would like share how you are lighting up the world or if you would like to help support our cause. Together we can help one another and create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.

Until next time...

Here's to enjoying your life, spreading the light and ALL GOOD THINGS my friends!

With so much love and gratitude,

Mary

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Connect to Your Core

Connect to your core and you’ll find strength, Act from your core and you’ll move mountains. - Gabriella Goddard

Getting to the core of things. That’s been my focus lately. Actually for quite some time now.
Turning inward. Finding & strengthening my center, my core.

Core in every sense of the word - physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.

It’s a complex and beautiful journey. At times it can feel like five steps forward, five steps back. Other times it feels great. My spirits soar. I feel so strong and secure I literally, physically can float my feet above my head, or mentally handle anything that comes my way during the day with a peace and equanimity I thought was only possible for monks and those living off the grid, somewhere in the sweet serenity of nature.

While I ADORE the mountains and will head back to them soon (I’m coming for you Yosemite and Banff) the yoga & meditation practice I have dedicated myself to over the past 2 years has helped me find my core even while living in the ever expanding cement and concrete landscape of my sweet home, Chicago.

When I am through with my practice, whether it’s yoga, meditation (also prayer time for me), or both, I can find my core more easily. That unshakable place inside that speaks the truth to me in all circumstances. This is the internal compass I tap into. The guidance that helps carry me when I begin to feel flustered, frustrated or fearful. Taking this time regularly for myself everyday (in whatever form my body needs that day) is the place I find true strength. MY core. The one that knows when its right to keep pushing through or to pause & take a step back. Thhe one that believes more than doubts. Has faith more than fear, and reminds me that often the strongest action we can take is surrender.

My mother, a devout Catholic spiritual director, who would have celebrated her birthday today, used this word surrender so often. I didn’t understand years ago, but I’m beginning to now. Surrender is not weakness. Surrender is finding your center. Knowing who you really are, your true strength and bravely taking actions that match that. Essentially living from your core.

That type of living led my husband and I up to the mountains last year, and will again this year. It’s led me to explore yoga and mediation and work and play in new ways. It’s helped me dream bigger, feel more energized and alive than I ever have been while maintaining a sense of calm happiness all along. It has also led me to change the name of my Sunday yoga class to Core Vinyasa, a blend of yoga goodness intentionally focused on building the qualities of strength and surrender. It has even led me to know that the best thing for this blog at this time is to make it a monthly, rather than a weekly thing. At least for now (new projects are a brewin'). This act of surrender, straight from my core is needed to keep allowing more goodness and growth in.

So now I want to know - What connects you to your core? What actions are your internal compass guiding you toward? Be brave and share your thoughts here! I and all of the ALL GOOD THINGS community are here to help cheer you on!

Until next time. . .

Here's to enjoying your life & ALL GOOD THINGS my friends!

XOXO,

Mary

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Greens on the Go

Changing routines and habits can be hard, especially when it comes to food. We all have tastes and textures we prefer, but sometimes our bodies need something different to feel and perform their best. That's why about 7 years ago I began experimenting with different "green drink" recipes.

At first it wasn't easy. I didn't like how it tasted and thought I had to stick to just the recipe to keep feeling the health benefits. Basically I dreaded it and my husband thought I was nuts, torturing us to consume these concoctions daily. Then, a friend told me about the Conscious Cleanse. Now, I'm not a fan of cleanses, but I gave this site a gander and was pleasantly surprised. It's choc full of really delicious, healthy recipes and tons of options for "green drink" smoothies!

Over the years I've mixed and matched ingredients from the guide below. I'm happy to report Brian & I eagerly gulp these down everyday now! We even crave them if we're away from home too long. Quite the accomplishment considering Brian would not eat fruits or veggies when I first met him.

Keeping things simple and easy we keep this taped inside our kitchen cabinet right next to the blender.

Keeping things simple and easy we keep this taped inside our kitchen cabinet right next to the blender.

I like to make my green drinks so I can take them on the go. I usually make a batch for 4 servings and put them in the fridge. My husband & I each have one everyday, so this lasts us 2 days. They're perfect to have as a mini meal, mid-day snack, along with lunch, or something to hold you over right before dinner so you don't eat everything in site as soon as you get home.

Lately this has been our go-to combination:

Pictured: Green chard, flax seed meal, coconut water, chopped mango & pineapple, I don't measure anymore. Basically I just fill the blender with fruit & coconut water first, then flax seed, followed by as much greens as I can fit in. Next I cover it all with more regular water. Our finished drink is more like a juice than a smoothie. Chia seeds go into each individual serving last.

Pictured: Green chard, flax seed meal, coconut water, chopped mango & pineapple, I don't measure anymore. Basically I just fill the blender with fruit & coconut water first, then flax seed, followed by as much greens as I can fit in. Next I cover it all with more regular water. Our finished drink is more like a juice than a smoothie. Chia seeds go into each individual serving last.

Pro tip: If you like the idea of making your drinks ahead of time and you're adding chia seed, which is outstanding for you by the way, DO NOT BLEND IT. Blend everything else together first. Then, put your chia seeds in each container. Give each one a good shake and place in the fridge. I learned the hard way blending the chia seed thickens things A LOT in a short amount of time. Try it if you like that sort of thing, but just know letting it sit in the fridge overnight it will thicken up so much the texture will be more like pudding than a drink.

So, whaddya think? Will you give green drinks a try? If so, let me know! I'd love to hear how it goes and if you have any other everyday, go-to healthy recipes too! Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

Cheers to eating healthy, feeling healthy & drinking green!

Until next time. . .

Here's to enjoying your life & ALL GOOD THINGS my friends!

XOXO,

Mary

P.S. Click here if you'd like more good-for-you, tasty recipes from the Conscious Cleanse.

P.P.S. We use a VItaMix blender. It is absolutely amazing and has lasted for years. Well worth the $$$.

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A Rich Life

He who knows he has enough is rich.

- Lao Tzu

What makes your life rich? That was the question I asked my students this past Friday, St. Patrick's Day. There was only one caveat. "It can't be money." Then they listed an item on each "gold" coin filling up their pots of gold. This was one happy beginning to my weekend.

These kiddos not only had an easy time filling their pots seeing just how rich their lives are, they had fun. You could literally feel the happiness in the room as they wrote and shared and glued. It was a special moment & lesson I hope to always remember.
I carried this focus with me as the weekend went on. It was a combination of ups and downs and choices. Ultimately an exercise in living out a line I wrote in my new year's dare: I dare you to not be burdened by what you "should" do but instead live in the space of what you're meant to do.


Click here if you'd like to read the full New Year's dare.


Life's journey the past 2 1/2 years has led my husband and me down a path of exploring new interests, living a different kind of day to day than we planned and adjusting to a new financial experience. At times we've been apprehensive and scared. Heck, we've even doubted what we were doing at times, and felt less than successful. But, somehow in following what truly fills us up we've found more happiness and abundance than we dreamed we could. We just have to keep our focus in check. We've always had enough. Enough for ourselves and to share with others. The sacrifices that come with making our new way is better than okay. It's great and fulfilling us in so many ways!

These photos show just a few moments highlighting special times this weekend connecting with those we love & exploring new interests. :) Click here to check out Brian's latest podcast!

In fact, sitting in the dark right before watching my lovely friend, Helen, perform in a magnificent play on Sunday, Brian turned to me and said with some of the deepest sincerity I've ever heard in his voice, or seen in his eyes, "I love our life. It's full of everything I've wanted. It's better than I imagined in such different & unexpected ways. It's incredible." I looked at him with a satisfaction I truly cannot put into word and smiled. Then the show began.

Click the link below to learn more about this awesome show! It runs through April 1st.

Click the link below to learn more about this awesome show! It runs through April 1st.

So after 2 1/2 years of figuring out this newness what do we have to show for it? Lots of new adventures, stories and friendships, deeper connections with old friends and family and most of all happy hearts. Yes, there have been bumps in the road, but nothing that can slow down our drive to continue living life in a way that fills us up with much more satisfaction than anything money can buy. We've intentionally followed our hearts, supported each other, worked hard and continually chosen to spend our time in ways that matter most to us, ultimately leading us to feel we are living a rich life!

Which leads me to ask - What fills you up and makes your life rich? What do you count as your true fortunes in life? List them out and see how happy you begin to feel. Can you do at least one thing this week to make more time for those people and things that matter most to you? Let me know what your ideas are, if you try it out and how it goes. I'd love if you'd share some of your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Until next time. . .

Here's to enjoying your life & ALL GOOD THINGS my friends!

XOXO,

Mary

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