I’m always amazed by the profound wisdom that can be found in the most random places in life. There’s a book at the yoga studio where I teach filled with positive quotes. Every now and then I flip through it and I swear I come across the EXACT quote that I need to see at that EXACT moment. What’s even funnier is the origin of the quote at times. I have to laugh every time I come across this particular quote as it comes from Bill Murray’s character in the movie Groundhog Day. He says, “No matter what happens tomorrow, for the rest of my life, I’m happy now.” I have gone on to see that this is not the exact quote from the movie but this amended version works wonders on me.
First off, we are worriers. We worry about what is to come, what will happen if this or that, and more. We have absolutely no idea what will come in the next minute, hour, month or year and yet we invest so much time feeling anxious over what is to come. Another thing we tend to do is lose sight of what we truly have right now because we are too focused on the ‘if I only lose 10 pounds…” or the ‘if I only made more money…” and so on. We have a hard time being content with what is going on in the exact moment. Maybe this isn’t true for you, and if it isn’t, please share your secret because we would all love to know!
We rob ourselves of being happy in this moment because we hold on to the chance that if a and b happen, then life will be even better and then we can be happy. But what really happens? Well, it’s usually one of two things. One, we never really get what we think we want. That dream job doesn’t come around or we don’t lose the last five pounds so now we are stuck in the “I didn’t get what I want, so that’s why I’m so unhappy” mentality. Two, we do actually get what we want but find that it hasn’t brought us the extreme joy we anticipated after a bit of time and so now we set our eyes on something new that we think will surely be the answer.
So what is so bad about right now? This exact moment in time. (Now it’s quite possible that at this very moment you may be going through one of the roughest experiences in your life so if that is the case, just keep breathing.) But for most of us, what is really keeping us from being happy RIGHT NOW? Am I breathing? Do I have a roof over my head? Do I have access to food and water? Is there someone, even if it is only one person, in my life that truly loves me and accepts me exactly the way I am? These questions seem so simple and yet these are the things we forget when we begin to fret about trivial matters that we often have no control over. These are the things that lose focus of when we use up much of our day letting anxiety get the best of us.
I know all about this. There are still times when I allow my troubles to keep me awake at night. There was a time when I spent so much time worrying about getting that “perfect body” that I never found time to fall in love with who I am or to appreciate the beauty that is me. It consumed my every waking moment at times. And you know what? When I did lose that 5 pounds, I wasn’t a single bit happier and I was still worrying about the same exact thing.
So at what point do we finally say enough is enough? Perhaps a simple exercise can help bring you to reality. Sit down and make a list of all of your “I am’s.” Take about 5-10 minutes to jot them down.
I am a sister.
I am a friend.
I am a teacher.
I am an aunt.
I am a believer.
I am a daughter.
I am a mother.
I am a fighter…
And so on.
Read over your list a few times. Maybe even circle or star the things that are most important to you. Notice the tense that these statements are written in. They are in the present tense. These are not things that you hope to or aspire to be. This is what you are right now. In this very moment you are a sister, a friend, a teacher, a believer… You are all of these things. And after you see all of these things on your list, how can you NOT be happy right now? When you focus on what you are, then it’s hard to spend so much time thinking about what you are not or what you lack in your life.
Keep your list somewhere that it can be easily seen in case you need a little reminder. We tend to easily forget how much we really do have so you may need a daily reminder. When our mind starts to go back to the train of thoughts that tell us what we don’t have or the constant anxiety and chatter of the mind won’t leave us alone, come back to the now. Come back to what you are right now. And when this doesn’t seem to do the trick, then bring it all back to good old Phil in Groundhog Day and say, “No matter what happens tomorrow, for the rest of my life, I’m happy now.” And repeat it over and over and over again!
Ok, we have taken some time to nourish ourselves mentally today so now it’s time to nourish ourselves physically. I have found a few meals around town that I have really gotten into at different restaurants. The thing I don’t like? The price. I have fallen madly in love with a salad near my work that costs a whopping $13.00. I could easily make ten of these salads at home for the same price. So I have been working on creating a version of the recipe that I can make at home and save some money as well. This recipe is a chickpea, avocado salad. All I usually have to see is the word avocado and I am sold so this one is a no brainer for me.
I was going to add parsley to the salad the first time around, but I decided to use cilantro instead and I am really glad that I did. You could easily go for the parsley if you prefer it, but the cilantro was a hit for me. This salad is packed with protein and fiber. Also, it can easily be made vegan by just skipping the feta or just adding your own favorite vegan cheese. It’s gluten free as well. Also, I tried to make the recipe so that it can easily be halved if you are not serving a large crowd. It didn’t last long in my house and I am sure it won’t last long in yours either!
Chickpea, Avocado, Tomato Salad
- 2 ripe avocados cut into one inch cubes
- 2 cans chickpeas BPA free
- 1/2 cup red onion diced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes cut in halves
- 1 English cucumber chopped
- 1/4 c red wine vinegar
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 cups baby arugula
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 2-3 dashes of crushed red pepper optional
- juice of half a lemon
- crumbled Feta for topping
- sea salt and crushed pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients except the feta cheese into large mixing bowl. Toss until combined.
- Add feta when serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.