Today’s post is from some new friends (Alanna and Jana – it’s great when new friends rhyme!) I met at the WordPress Conference this year. They speak my language of yoga and Chocolate, so naturally we hit it off immediately! I invite you to take a stroll over to their page Rejuvenate your Prana and tell them I say hi!
Could it almost be the start of another New Year? Along with the excitement of a fresh start and new possibilities comes the dreaded New Year’s Resolution! I, like many others, have fallen prey to this tradition. I have made myself a lofty goal or two that usually goes something like; This year I will lose 10 pounds or This year I will stop drinking coffee or This year I will not buy so many clothes! I would immediately start working on my goal by setting a date on which to start it – say sometime mid-February perhaps (I would need some time to prepare myself to start this plan)! Actually, it would give me just enough time to forget I ever made that goal and to go on my merry way right into the next year at which time I could start all over again!
So, why do we do this to ourselves? I like to believe that those of us who create resolutions are doing so because we are ‘resolving’ to be a better version of ourselves in the coming year. We would like to see ourselves grow, change and evolve as the years go by. There’s nothing wrong with that right? Maybe not – but perhaps there is a different way to approach the process; a kinder, gentler and more rewarding way.
We all have what we call “guilty pleasures”, things that we love but that we believe are in some way ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’. Maybe it’s chocolate or coffee or shoe shopping. When we deprive ourselves of these things by taking them away, we usually end up rebounding and eating more chocolate than ever or having two lattes a day instead of just one! Well, what if we were to take the guilt away leaving only the pleasure? Perhaps we could do the things that we would most deeply desire for ourselves, not what we think we should do or need to do!
So how do we do this? Well, I believe the key lies in creating balance and using our focus to our benefit. In yoga, when we bring our bodies into a balancing posture like “Tree Pose”, we first find our center (putting our weight onto one leg), bring our gaze to a focal point in front of us (allowing us to stay steady) and then start coming into the pose and finding our balance. This isn’t the end of the process though. To find our balance in the pose, we may find ourselves losing our balance, swaying to the right or left or needing to put our foot back down on the ground. So, we allow ourselves to rock back and forth, to sway, to lose our balance and then we just come back into the pose again, the same way we did the first time.
I believe that setting resolutions or goals for ourselves can look the same as practicing Tree Pose. First, we find our center; that is, we discover what it is we truly want for ourselves. Maybe this is more vibrant health or a more satisfying diet or to feel better in our bodies. Then we bring our focus to that goal by seeing what it is that that we can do to achieve this for ourselves. Perhaps it is by adding new foods to our diet that make us feel healthy and vibrant instead of focusing on taking other foods away. Doing this allows us to place our focus on what we want in our lives, not what we feel we must not have. Then we start to find our balance within this new way of living. We notice when the balance feels right and if it doesn’t or we lose our balance, we come back to the process by re-adjusting our focus. We may start to notice that the foods or other things that don’t fit with our true intention for ourselves start to fall away or are replaced by things that make us feel differently.
So, what do you desire for yourself in the coming year? How will you approach this intention in a way that leaves you feeling pleasure minus the guilt? We’d love to know!
Speaking of guilt-free pleasures, Jana has been whisk-deep in culinary experimentation as usual. Her obsession lately has been to create “clean” eating chocolate treats. So here is a recipe that comes directly to you from the Rejuvenate Your Prana Kitchen. We call it “Passion Pot de Creme” (a no bake version with layers of orange-mint chocolate and raw cashew cream). Sometimes life doesn’t always deliver, but this desert sure will!
For the chocolate pot de crème:
8 oz. of good quality semi-sweet chocolate (I used Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate chips – use your favorite kind)
2 tsp of orange zest (other options: ground coffee, cinnamon, etc.)
1 C of plain almond milk
½ C finely ground almond
1 tsp of vanilla extract
For the cashew cream:
1 C raw cashews (soaked in water for 30 minutes)
3 oz dates (soaked in water for 30 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Water as needed (use soaking water from the dates)
- For the pot de crème: melt chocolate in heat proof bowl (e.g. I placed the bowl in a shallow pan filled with water to create a double boiler)
- Mix orange zest in melted chocolate. Remove from heat.
- In a separate bowl, mix the almond milk, vanilla and ground almonds. Pour mixture into melted chocolate and whisk until evenly blended.
- Pour into 4 small ramekins. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The pot de crème should be thick and rich like pudding after refrigeration.
- Make the cashew cream: Drain water from cashews and place in a blender, add with dates and the soaking water and the vanilla (the amount of water added should be just enough to cover the solids). Taste and add more sweetener if desired (remember that the chocolate will be quite sweet so the cashew cream should have a milder taste).
- To assemble: Dollop cashew cream on top of chilled chocolate.
- Garnish with berries or chocolate shavings and serve chilled.
Happy New Year from Rejuvenate Your Prana!