It’s Summer time, do you know where your toes are?

 

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I love when the universe sends me a message, even when it comes with an ouch! I was assembling a shelf last weekend and dropped a heavy-duty wheel attachment that glanced off my middle toe—on my “good” foot. Even though my toe throbbed non-stop for 24 hours I had to laugh. I’d been thinking hard about my summer goals and juggling those expectations with the siren call of outdoor adventures. I’m well aware of how push-pull of demands from outside can derail my focus and I was determined to stay on task. But experience has taught me the body has a way of “talking over” the voices of others. Pay attention! Yes it’s the barefoot season, with the summer solstice arriving at 12:24 a.m. on Wednesday June 21. Temps are in the 90s after our prolonged cold spring rains. Summer in New England is heating up.

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING

A dear friend once came to visit and taught me a powerful lesson about stillness. In the heat of the day, after she had traveled so far, why not just sit together?? With the fan lazily moving overhead and the windows open wide we sat in companionable silence on the porch and gradually, with no outside interruption, words poured forth. Keeping perfectly still was a release, a rescue of sorts. So maybe this summer, in the heat of the day, just stop with the busyness. Sit in stillness – not for 30 seconds- try 5 minutes. As you stretch your awareness, instead of your movements causing a breeze you’ll be able to detect the movement of air around you. Be still another 5 minutes and you will begin to feel cool. You will actually have greater clarity to then get up and continue if you must—you might even shift your awareness of what is truly important.

 

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WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY?

It’s Travel Time. Road trips restore us by putting the horizon just beyond our windshield. Our car becomes a magic chariot, decanting us into a new landscape. In summer an old growth forest becomes a sandy shoreline; suburban sprawl a charming historic wharf; city streets a mountain retreat. Such was the case for my husband and I this past week. After days of endless inland rain we emerged into a sunny Wellfleet afternoon on the Cape.

 

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THE MUNDANE BECOMES SUBLIME

The daily catch of seafood and locally grown produce led the day. Our outlook brightened with the sun, and I noticed how we see each other differently across a table of nature’s bounty, enjoying the moment without regard for the tasks and chores and nagging questions left behind at home. The simple pleasures unfolded with a meal well-prepared, with engaging and artful hosting and the vibrant setting where all guests were made to feel welcome.

 

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REMEMBER TO PLAY TOGETHER

Within the shared moments, across the sand or across a table, new possibilities emerge. Mingled on the fresh scent of the breeze off the ocean that day was a tantalizing suggestion of new opportunity and renewed promise. O, Spring does lead to Summer! — in relationships as well as the progress of the seasons.

STAY CURIOUS

Walking on the sand we test the icy water. And leave some footprints to wash away when we leave. Despite the impermanence of our day excursion we feel more grounded, finding a respite from events beyond our view. As the day winds down we’re filled with the hope that lingers in the slowly setting sun.

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FOLLOW THE CURRENT

The beauty of stillness is that you can take it with you anywhere. Whether you embrace every invitation or not, when you work hard and play hard too, the interval in between becomes an important component of a healthy balanced life.

 

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Book of the Month: Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein

This is a gorgeous book for an imperfect time. There are lessons on the beauty and serenity inherent in the everyday, especially in the natural, slightly used and in need of repair. Charming collages combine with haiku creating a multidimensional experience for the reader. The text’s gentle prodding cultivates curiosity in both young and old.

A Bit of Movement:

Toes are in the spotlight in a summer weather, and I’m not talking about a fresh pedicure. How’s your toe alignment? Now that barefoot season is upon us, it’s the perfect time create an exercise habit for your toes. .A little Toe Yoga can set you up for a great day of fun in the sun.

Chris and I have teamed up for a sequence to start your day off on the right foot!

Stretches: Don’t just swing out of bed and start moving—take time to feel the surface beneath your feet. Notice the points of contact from toe to heel, then push off.

Stop at the kitchen counter while you prep your morning wake up drink- and  stretch your toes by lifting up from the heels.

Alignments: Sit and weave your fingers between your toes, shaking hands with your foot. Then hand-in-foot circle the ankle too.

Foot prints: Capitalize on this foot awareness by pressing your feet into your mat as you rise up into the warrior pose. Feel the power of your calves and thighs respond to this supportive grounding. You have enhanced the value of your workout by cultivating a strong and mindful base.

Something to Wear: Yoga Toes Sandals

Something for Fun: Foot Art – henna tattoos for the feet

Something Soothing: Foot Reflexology

Happy Summer Solstice to All!

Chris and Claire

Text Photos Claire Mauro

Yoga Photos Chris Primavera

Arancini,  Ceraldi

purrfect

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Habits Worth Cultivating

Mount Vernon kitchen garden
Mount Vernon kitchen garden

Every three months is a great time to assess our goals, take note of what we’ve achieved and reset our intentions for the next quarter and the year overall. How are you doing?

Take a look at your regular habits. Do they need an update? Here at The Parsley Way we have clearly defined regular practices that we advocate for wellness. The question is, do these practices help you maintain a sense of wellbeing that contributes to your overall productivity and meeting your goals? Continue reading

How to Build Resiliency into Your Life

pumpkin walkThis is the time of year when we start hearing about the many ways that we can strengthen our immune systems. We are assaulted with ads for vaccines that help ensure we don’t get sick. Even I am guilty of ending every post with the words, “Be Well”. It’s stated as a command, as if you were completely in the driver’s seat in regard to your health.

Moose HillBut we all know there are many variables that determine our well being. When you go for your annual check-up some physicians will ask, “Are you wearing your seatbelt?” or “Does your home have smoke detectors?”. I always think this is a little strange, yet it’s true that we can do many things to increase the odds of living a safe and healthy life. Factors such as age, gender and genetics are for the most part unalterable, so let’s focus on the things we can control. Continue reading

Moving Into Stillness, the Benefits of Yin Yoga

meditative yoga statueYin Yoga is relatively new to the Yoga scene. It cannot boast of a thousand year tradition. But this deeper practice involving postures that are held anywhere from 3 to 20 minutes has been building a following for close to 50 years now. Naturally it is grounded in the principles of Patanjali and the postures are identical to what we know today, as Yoga. Yet Yin Yoga is a more inner, meditative form. Continue reading

Mindfulness, A Real Brain Changer

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats“He was a curious observer, nothing more.” This quote from the novel The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan Philipp-Sendker, speaks directly to Mindfulness. Blindness forces the main character, Tin Win, to develop his other senses. He relies on his extraordinary hearing to help him make his way in the world. Simply put, Tin Win pays attention. The practice of Mindfulness Meditation trains us to do just that. We learn to pay attention to the quality of our thoughts. We focus on the breath, the sounds and the sensations in the body. Continue reading

Has Don Draper Found The Real Thing?

Spoiler Alert! In case you didn’t catch the Season Finale of Mad Men, you may want to stop here. But I am fairly confident that most of you Mad Men fans have seen it by now. I’m not going to go into a long critique on the Final Show; there’s plenty of that out there already. But as a Yoga teacher and student I was pleased with the story’s message.

jon-hamm-weighs-in-on-interpretation-of-mad-men-final-scenesThroughout the series, Don Draper spirals downward both physically and emotionally. By the last season he hates himself and continues to indulge in multiple addictions before ending up at a California Yoga Retreat. This is not Don! He’s cynical about the whole thing and anxious to find a way out as he struggles to sit in Lotus pose with his regular haircut, oxford shirt and khakis. The audience is confused. Is this a story of redemption or will Don take his own life, as foreshadowed in the credits every week? Continue reading