I really needed this today….Mindfulness approach for life..

I’ve been having days where I feel like I am spinning my wheels and getting no where… then today a blog I am registered with gave me the following:

A few weeks ago, I was racing out the front door with too many things in my hands and I shut the door. Instantly I knew I didn’t have my keys. Crap. Should I call Brian? I knew that if he came back, he’d be late for an important meeting that he was facilitating. Neighbor? No one has our key. I had an appointment – and I was late.
I sat on the steps for a moment and surprisingly, I started to tear up. “Pull it together, Lisa,” I said to myself. “What’s the big deal?” I said as I started to judge myself.

Isn’t this what we do when these moments of feeling broken arrive in our day, unplanned, and seemingly unprovoked? A word someone says sounds off putting. A gesture your partner makes leaves you feeling “not seen.” You drop off your kiddos at school and you feel a quiet sadness swim across your heart. And you say, “Pull it together?” or “What’s that all about?” But there’s something we can do in those moments of self-judgment…keep reading!

I called Brian. “I’ll race back and open the door,” he said.

But I didn’t want him to race. I’m sick of racing. I don’t want anyone in my family or anyone in this world to have to hurry – to amp up their nervous systems and stress out their adrenal glands.
With my face in my hands, I heard from within me, “I’m holding too much.”
I paused. Yes, I’m holding too much.

How many of us hold too much? Too much trying to get it all perfectly aligned, the kiddos getting along perfectly, a perfect meal schedule for the week? How many of us hold too many commitments? How many of us hold too much of other people’s stuff? How about running around too much?

In the moment I saw I was holding too much, that inner voice, that whisper of deep truth that you can’t deny, rose up from within me and I heard her loud and clear, “Hold only what matters, dear heart. Hold only what matters.”
Hold only what matters.

What matters?

It’s not trying to get it all perfect – sound perfect, cook perfect, parent perfect, have a perfect plan for…everything. It’s not being strong and “pushing through.” It’s not denying these “little griefs” that flood our hearts in the middle of running from one thing to the next. It’s definitely not hurrying.

Hold ONLY what matters.

I didn’t hear “Hold what really matters AND the crap that doesn’t.” I heard , “hold ONLY what matters.”
Sift out the stuff that doesn’t and stop doing it. Or limit it. Get focused on what does matter.

What do I need to hold? What really matters today?

Being true to my own heart. Pausing when my kiddos are around and looking at them. Letting go of old habits of relating, holding back, feeling “I’m in this all alone and it’s all up to me.” Shining – yes, shining. Writing the poetry on my heart. Eating nourishing foods. Making time to talk with my mom. Honoring my body and taking a nap this afternoon. Moving my body. And slowing down.

This is holding only what matters.

That’s a day well spent. That’s a lifetime well spent holding only what matters.


Dear ones, what if today you decide to “hold only what matters” and get rid of the other stuff?

The first thought might be, “but I can’t! I have to……” But ya know what, we CAN start looking at our lives and saying, “yes, I can.”

There are times when dinner matters – but getting it perfect doesn’t.

There are times when getting the dishes done matters – but doing that ALONG with trying to attend to 8 million others things doesn’t.

There are times when going grocery shopping matters – but doing it at a sprint doesn’t.

Let’s encourage each other to start making more time for holding only what matters – like pausing in our day, quitting the whole multi-tasking thing we are all addicted to, spending time just listening to our hearts, and spend time focused on our dear ones – really seeing them.

Here’s to holding ONLY what matters in YOUR life.

P.S. I’m so glad you are here! Welcome to my new website! I hope you feel nourished and resourced. Check out these poetic wrist wraps that I just started offering and mindful mamas all over (right here in Frederick, MD; Oregon, Canada, New York, DC, New Jersey, PA…) are wearing as everyday reminders to focus on what really matters.




© 2001 Tu Hoang

It is not easy to let go of our thoughts, feelings and tension as they arise. Commotion, distractions and other people requiring our attention surround us. We cannot always maintain a beginner’s mind and often we cannot afford to focus on our breathing because we are actively responding to something; this is especially true with first applying Zen techniques. But like everything else, continued practice allows us to live these techniques not just merely apply them.

One way to over come the initial hurdles of applying Zen in a busy day is to be Mindful; basically to be self-aware and self-monitoring with the aim of accepting all of the thoughts and feelings that arise in us without judging them or shutting them out.

When you are focused on your breathing, with a Beginner’s Mind you will sense feelings and thoughts arising. Focusing on your breathing will keep you centered, and with a Beginner’s Mind you will observe thoughts and feelings without judging them; rather let thoughts and feelings rise and subside while you pay attention but not cling to them.

In Zen, all that arises within us are natural; they are a result of what we are and how we are connected to the world. Our eyes, ears and nose sense the world; we perceive, conceptualize and feel because that is the statement of our body.

When we are mindful of anger, sadness, nervousness and joy we acknowledge them, welcome them when they appear but we do not cling to them. When we feel love or happiness we welcome these feelings. It should be the same with anger and nervousness. All these feelings are our mind, body and consciousness communicating to us. When we are mindful of them we can only become wiser and more insightful.

I may get nervous before a test. ‘I am nervous. Hello nervousness, how are you today? Glad to feel you again.’ Focused breathing keeps me centered. When the test begins my nervousness naturally subsides. ‘Farewell nervousness,’ and I am completely in tuned with the task at hand.

Do not try to resist or suppress your feelings. That only means you have turned your mind to them and are clinging to them even more. Let your feelings and thoughts. Be mindful of them. I find that as the situation dictates my distracting feelings and thoughts subside allowing me to respond unencumbered by the task at hand.

Focused breathing, Beginner’s Mind and Mindfulness are basic Zen practices. They are almost common sense but often we become mired in the complexities and details of every day living and lose sight of common sense wisdom. Zen is not a monastic way of life. The Zen ideal is to experience and embrace life experiences full on; not editing out the bad bits because there are no bad bits, just things are they are.

Baked Oatmeal Cupcakes To Go–Making these today more on this later..


(makes 24-25 cupcakes)

Adapted from: Cookie Dough Baked Oatmeal.

  • 5 cups rolled oats (400g)
  • 2 1/2 cups over-ripe mashed banana (For all substitutions, see nutrition link below) measured after mashing (600g)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 NuNaturals stevia packets (or omit and use 5 tbsp liquid sweetener of choice–such as pure maple syrup or agave–instead)
  • optional: 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 2/3 cups water (640g) (If using the liquid-sweetener option, scale water back by 1/3 cup.)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp oil (45g) (I really like coconut, but veg oil will also work. For lower-fat substitution notes, see nutrition link below.)
  • 2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • optional add-ins: cinnamon, shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, ground flax or wheat germ, raisins or other dried fruit, etc.

Preheat oven to 380 F, and line 24-25 cupcake tins. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir very well. In a separate bowl, combine and stir all wet ingredients (including banana). Mix wet into dry, then pour into the cupcake liners and bake 21 minutes. I also like to then broil for 1-2 minutes, but it’s optional. These oatmeal cakes can be eaten right away, or they can be frozen and reheated for an instant breakfast on a busy day.

Per cupcake:



Day 1 of the New Year..

Frustrations all around… ready for the new healthy eating part of my new year other than can’t food shop until Saturday along with my partner with these changes haven’t read the paperwork yet.. sigh..

Oh well.. off to the races… so far a protein shake that still has 23 carbs … the power and milk combo… sigh.. at least I still have 22 carbs in cycle one (breakfast/snack).. however it’s 1113am so the morning cycle is almost over..

After food shopping on Saturday I will be able to be on a schedule a little better… here’s hoping that this change works.. 🙂 Here’s to a better me!!

Food & a New Year…

Every year it’s a goal of mine to “lose weight”… I do fairly well in the first three months of the year then the next three months I start to slack off to the point that by the end of the year I am right back to where I was the previous year if not heavier…. it’s a battle and one that I apparently have been losing since 2002 and forward. Not saying that weight hasn’t always been a fight for me but it wasn’t until 2002 that I truly started to lose the war on my weight fight.. I am not going to sugar coat it no more.. I am “fat”.. not thick, not PHAT… just plain and simply  “fat” … it’s not to be mean nor harm any other female out there but it’s my truth… it stares me in the face every morning when I’m getting ready for work…. and there is so much more to this “war” pertaining to my weight.

I am a mom to a young daughter and I don’t want my daughter to have my unhealthy eating habits nor my unhealthy body image. I want to raise her to enjoy food but in moderation along with not viewing her weight as a means to beauty.. because women can be beautiful no matter the size as long as they are healthy… so my new journey against my “food addiction” will have to be walked lightly because I don’t want my daughter to view weight in the negative or to see me starving myself or weighting myself obsessively. I want to live to see my daughter grow up and do all the wonderful things in her life– first love, prom, first date, wedding day, grandchildren etc.. no life isn’t promised for tomorrow, even if I do “win” a battle or two pertaining to my weight but it’s not going to be because of weight that I am going to miss a moment of my daughter’s life… weight at some point is something that I can control…

Lastly, due to health issues that are now piling up as quickly as the  pounds have been over the years–such as high triglycerides, blood pressure increasing…along with being insulin resistant which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes among various other issues such as joint pain etc.. It’s time to harness in my addiction for food… I need to be a better example for myself, my spouse and especially my daughter…

This is going to be a hard journey for me… one that isn’t going to be easy because a person needs to eat to provide fuel to their body… it feels like it would be so much easier to be addicted to something else that a person could abstain from… food addiction is just not that easy– I have to re-teach myself healthy eating habits because I am a big emotion eater, I love comfort foods especially ones with lots of carbs &/or sugar and I have good memories of family time around the kitchen table eating… by no means is my addiction the result of anyone else’s fault but my own… I take full responsibility for the person I see in the mirror..

Well this is where I will be posting my struggles, challenges and triumphs…. at some point I hope to start running/walking in marathons once I have more energy etc.. so far my first steps on this journey– this blog, January Menu for dinners is almost complete along with purchased a small journal to jot down daily food intakes (which I hope to type here once a week along with favorite low carb, low fat and low salt recipes)…also met a nutritionist and will re-meet with him in a month and 10 days after 01/01/14…. hoping that I can correct my errors and reign in my addiction so that I may LIVE again.. this isn’t a matter of win or lose.. it’s a matter that I have to win because my life and those around me depend on me winning.. so here goes..