BRALESS IN BOSTON

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We’ve all been there. Braless in Boston. Maybe you haven’t really been braless in Boston but you have been vulnerable at some time in your life, maybe many times. Vulnerability is an opporunity to open up or close up tight. I’ve spent the last 7 months ‘fighting” breast cancer (the whole “fighting”, “warrior”, “brave” thing will be addressed in another post). A whole lot of that time is very hazy but I think the important things are really beginning to crystalize for me.

On October 16, 2014, I was called back for a mammogram to look at an “area of interest” that showed up on a routine breast MRI. I sat in the inner waiting area at the Avon Breast Center / Massachusetts General Hospital for my biopsy thinking, they should really serve wine and cheese here. Here we are, each woman sitting braless and wrapped in a hospital johnnie, waiting for the ok to get dressed or come with us for a closer look. No one speaks. We all just sit there in our own cloud of thoughts and fears.  Maybe if we had a cocktail, we’d open up, say hello, how are you, could you please pass the cheese?

An elderly woman was wheeled into that waiting room and plopped right in the middle of all of us. She was clearly hearing impaired because she spoke so loudly and each nurse had to speak twice as loud to her. There was her story, blurted out for all of us to hear. She said that she had breast cancer twice before and she just knew there was something now.  She loudly listed her diagnosis, years, treatments and loss of her husband.  Every fear I was sitting with just completely voiced by this spunky, well dressed, wheelchair bound, practically deaf woman.

Could someone PLEASE give her a glass of Chardonnay?  

It felt so bizarre. A room full of what I’m sure were amazing, strong, interesting, remarkable woman but we sat silent, barely glancing at each other. I wondered how many times my own mother and mother-in-law sat in a room silently listening to their own fears. We had something to offer each other, conversation, comfort, and experience.  This is how this website will evolve and why my caringbridge site was written the way it was. I know that sharing my experience honestly and openly not only strengthens me but also may just empower or comfort another.  It isn’t all about cancer.  It is about having a human experience, wherever life brings you.

It’s been a journey over these months of surgery, chemo, doctor’s appointments, hair loss, sickness, friendship, family, and camaraderie, highest of highs and low lows but here I am. I am still sharing what this has meant to me. I am grateful for all of it. Without the crappiest parts, I would not have what I have today.  People walk this journey every day, in many, many different ways.  The past 7 months have changed me.  I am more open to speak to that woman or man sitting on pins and needles next to me.  I am also willing to share my experience to help another.

Stay tuned and next time you are sitting braless (literally or figuratively), clutching your pocketbook, frantically texting your go-to friend for crisis , look at the woman/man sitting next to you or across from you. Send some love whether silently or in your conversation. You will ease their wait and definitely ease your own.

Thank you for being here!  Love, Carlene

By |April 30th, 2015|Yoga|0 Comments|

The Boston Marathon Scarf Project

The marathon was a beautiful, sunny, warm April day.  So, why was I wearing a scarf??

That blue and yellow scarf was given to Matt the day before the marathon.  The Old South Church on the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston St in Boston (just beyond the marathon finish line) gave out more than 7,000 of them!  The scarves were made all over the world and in almost every state in the US, sent to the church where they were blessed and given out to the runners!  Volunteers stood in front of the church passing out the scarves for days.  Easter Sunday, walking around Boston, you could see a sea of all different blue and gold scarves.  Complete strangers were coming up to Matt wishing him good luck and God’s blessing for the marathon.

We attended Easter mass at the Old South Church.  The priest handed them out to non-runners and asked that they placed it around the neck of a runner with a prayer for safety and a great run!  Our daughter,Chloe, placed the scarf around Matt’s neck which he wore all day on Easter  Sunday.  On Marathon Monday, I placed that scarf around my neck as I waited for Matt to reach us at mile 25.

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If you knit, you understand.  When I knit a gift for someone, that person is warmly in my thoughts while I am doing it.   I am grateful for the time, effort and care they put into that scarf.  We felt it!  It reminded me of the power of being of service to others and how powerful an act of kindness can be.

Thank you to Ginny, Pat, Myrtle, Carmella, Jean, Elaine, Nancy, and Lee Ann.  Your scarves provided comfort, love and inspiration!  Love, Carlene

By |April 30th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

Peace in the Present Moment

The Boston Marathon 2014 is complete.  Matt made his best time in 12 marathons, blew away our fundraising goal for Dana Farber Marathon Challenge and it was a peaceful, sunny, memorable day.  I have never run the marathon.  Each year, someone on the course inspires me with their determination, perseverance or possibly a Wonder Woman costume with a tutu and I think, I should do that!  That thought quickly fades and I am happy to cheer on my husband from the sidelines, he is the Marathon Man in our house!  Who knew back in my college days of “watching” the marathon from Whiskey’s on Boylston Street that it would come to have so much meaning in my life.

April 14, 2013 on the car ride home from Boston, I can’t say I was surprised when Matt stated his plan was to run again.  Deep down I would expect nothing less from him and I had no energy to argue after hours of not being able to find him during the chaos of that day.  I secretly hoped he’d just forget to train.  The past year has been one of his quiet determination after being stopped just minutes from the finish line. I wrote That Was My Warrior II as a way to process the marathon day last year.  I learned this year, this marathon day, peace in the present moment.  True peace is in the present moment.  Each time my memory was stirred, my heart fluttered or my pulse quickened as I was brought back to the events of last year, I said to myself, “ be HERE now”.  When I am in the present, I am not reliving stories from the past or trying to predict the future.  Although I am proud of my very first blog post,  That Was My Warrior II , it is now just a story from the past.  This Marathon Monday, I chose to experience the marathon in the present moment, reminding myself to “be here now”.

Cheering Section! Nephews Aidan, Cole, Sister in Law Lisa, Chloe and me.

Cheering Section! Nephews Aidan, Cole, Sister in Law Lisa, Chloe and me.

Mile 25!

Mile 25!

Sending a big thank you for the encouragement, love and support of friends, coworkers, family, neighbors and people we have never met.  Thank you to all who supported our fundraising efforts for Dana Farber and who shared precious names of the people close to their hearts who are fighting or have lost their battle to cancer.  There were too many names to fit on his shirt this year so we wrote almost 175 names on a piece of paper he carried.  Matt carried those names all 26.2 miles but more importantly, the meaning they have, carried him.

Wishing you peace in the present moment.  Love, Carlene

By |April 28th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

SeacoastPowerYoga 10 Day Green Drink Challenge Recipes

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Why wait for Jan 1st to begin feeling healthier and taking the steps you need to incorporate some healthy new habits into your life.  We are holding a 10 day green drink challenge at the yoga studio where I teach.  I am using this post as a place to keep all our recipes for easy access.  Feel free to join by adding one green drink into your day.  Follow the link below to join the group and continue to get recipes and tips for the 10 days.  Smoothies require a blender and juices require a juicer.

https://www.facebook.com/events/252632508227540/

 

JUICE

GREEN MORNING JUICE ~ juicer needed (makes one large glass) (see video on FB page)

5-8 leaves KALE (remove thickest part of the stalk/down low)

1 CUCUMBER (peel if not organic, otherwise leave the peel on)

1 head of ROMAINE (cut bottom off)

2-4 stalks of CELERY

1 GREEN APPLE (cored/not peeled)

1 LEMON (peeled)

1/2 inch piece of GINGER (optional)

Send all ingredients thru the juicer and drink immediately. Ideally, fruits and veggies are organic. Peel non-organic produce. Enjoy the liquid sunshine!

 

MAKE JUICE NOT WAR GREEN JUICE (juicer)
 from kriscarr.com

2 large cucumbers (peeled, if not organic)

A big fistful of kale and romaine
(or spinach, chard, etc.)

4 – 5 stalks celery

1 – 2 big broccoli stems (adds sweetness)

1 – 2 pears or green apples (optional)

 

KIWI JUICE (juicer)

6 kiwis peeled

6 celery stalks

1 pear
(kids might like this simple sweet juice)

 

IMMUNITY BOOSTER JUICE

2 stalks celery

2 carrots

1 clove garlic

1 green apple

1/2 piece ginger

1/2 lemon

 

GREEN GODDESS JUICE  from Crazy Sexy Kitchen, Kris Carr

2 stems broccoli

1 cucumber

1 green pepper

2 sprigs fresh parsley  (parsley should be avoided during pregnancy and in cases of kidney inflamation)

 

SMOOTHIE RECIPES

GREEN SMOOTHIE ~ Blender (I love this smoothie as a light lunch or an afternoon snack)

8 leaves KALE

2 handfuls of BABY SPINACH

1 frozen BANANA (I keep a bag of peeled, frozen bananas in my freeze

2-4 pieces frozen PINEAPPLE (cut and freeze fresh pineapple in large chunks)

handful RAW WALNUTS OR CASHEWS

coconut water and ice

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth consistency. Delicious!

 

I love this one! MANGO BASIL GREEN SMOOTHIE (blender)

8 ounces almond milk

2 – 4 leaves of kale
 (stalks removed)

½ cup frozen mango

5 – 6 basil leaves

1 slice of lemon

Prep and wash all produce.  Blend and serve.

 

 GREEN COLADA SMOOTHIE from Crazy Sexy Kitchen, Kris Carr

2 cups cashew or any kind of nut milk

1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks

1 orange peeled

1 frozen banana

1/2 baby spinach

Ice, Blend and serve

 

 

By |December 2nd, 2013|Health|0 Comments|

To BE or not to BE…

To_Be_Or_Not_To_Be____by_lateatnine

BE.

DO.

HAVE.

Three words that pack a lot of power and can transform your life.

What do you want more of in your life?  We are all pretty clear on the “HAVES”.  I want to have better relationships, I want to have more time, patience, adventure, excitement, fulfillment at work … fill in the blank.  I know I am pretty clear on what I want to have.  One of my big “haves” is that I want to have a peaceful home.  I want it to be a place where my family feels safe, nurtured and supported.  A place that they want to bring their friends, filled with joy, laughter and love.  I can see exactly what that looks like.  The issue is that I’ve skipped all the way to the “HAVE”.  I must start with the “BE”.

If I want a peaceful home with all the qualities I just listed, I need to “be” that first.  We think we have to wait for the right time, environment and circumstance to have all that we want.  That isn’t true and that time is not coming!  The good news is when I start with how I am showing up in the situation, I can see exactly why I do or don’t have what I want.

When I hold this “want” so tightly, I am controlling, perfectionistic and uptight about everything from homework being done to the perfect dinner, clean house, chores done.  This is usually anything but peaceful in my own body/mind and how I am interacting with my family.  I am looking to all the wrong things for my own peace and a peaceful, joyful home.  ‘

I really just keep checking back when I hear that inner voice say… I wish I had…blah blah.  That is my want, loud and clear.  Now I ask, “How am I being?”  If I want more time, how am I showing up in this moment?  If I want more affection, am I being affectionate?  If I want more ease, am I at ease?  If I want more respect, am I being respectful?

Be.

Do.

Have.

That is a powerful equation for me!  As soon as I back up to the BE, the DO is clear, and the HAVE will begin to show up!  Try it!

Thank you for reading and may you BE all that you desire!

Love Carlene

By |November 18th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

Did she say Yoga or Yogurt??

She looked at me from her mat and said, “If we can do this wheel for 20 seconds, I can handle that test tomorrow, NO PROBLEM!”  We both popped up into wheel and began counting together with the class.  Honestly, I could have held it forever after my daughter looked at me from her mat.  Now, don’t get any romantic notions that she and I practice yoga together regularly or talk for hours on end about the power of yoga. She basically asked me “how much longer?” most of the class.  She is 14.  I’m not sure why, on that day, she agreed to come to yoga with me.  I ask all the time.  My invitation is usually met with an eye roll and a definite “NO”.  This particular night a few things came perfectly clear to me.  Keep trying.  Intentions are powerful stuff, when you set your intention for something greater than yourself, you can move mountains!  You can take what you do on your mat and empower your entire life!

The next morning we sat in the parking lot, my daughter was headed in for a 3+ hour test.  Right on cue,   “I can’t do this!  Lets just go home and reschedule the test.  Please, I can’t do this.”  The panic in her face was real and now typically translates into my own silent panic in my gut and the center of my chest.  There is what we call a “nervous Nellie” gene in our family and I seem to have passed it on to my daughter in full force.  I reassured her, and then remembered what she said to me the night before from her mat.  I looked at her and said, “You held a wheel for 20 seconds!  We never hold it for that long!  This is your wheel!”  No lie, it still required some poking, prodding and a lot of reassurance to get her into the test but she did it.  It was my wheel too.  I could have stayed there all night, for no reason other than it was for her.  She needed to see that we could do this pose that may be out of our comfort zone, breathe through that moment of panic and accomplish something that our first instinct may have been to say no to.

Here is my simple yoga recipe for today.  Try it out next time you step on your mat, open the door to your office, begin cooking the same dinner you have made 1,000 times… you get the picture, it works everywhere.

  • Set your intention.  Decide that you are doing this for something or someone greater than yourself.  We’ve all had those moments of “WOW, I don’t know how I did that!”  It’s because we were doing it for a greater purpose.
  • Keep coming back to that intention.  Stop, breathe, let your mind be quiet and clear, reaffirm that intention.
  • Dream big.  Dreams don’t need to be small, safe or judged.  Reach for it!

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Wow… one Friday night hour of power and I am completely reinvigorated in my teaching and practice!  Truth … I did have to take her out for frozen yogurt after yoga.  That was part of the deal.  I agreed as long as she didn’t tell anyone… she did, she told everyone.

Wishing you health, happiness and whatever it takes for a little yoga…maybe even a frozen yogurt!

Love, Carlene

By |October 14th, 2013|Yoga|0 Comments|

Juicing and Blending ~ 101

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The sun is shining and the veggies are fresh!!!  Now is a great time to dust off that blender or juicer and finally experiment.  I am definitely not a nutritionist and not particularly proud of the damage I can do to a bag of Lays potato chips.  What I do know is that when I eat whole, clean foods and stay as close to Mother Nature as possible, I feel so much better physically and mentally!

Here is a quick 101 on the differences and benefits of Juicing v. Blending.  I will also share my two favorite recipes.

Juicing removes the fiber from fruits and vegetables, leaving behind nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body.  Juicing is good for digestive health, curbs your appetite and increases your veggie diversity.  Your body is constantly moving on a scale from alkaline to acidic.  A glass of green juice in the am brings you right to alkaline.  A more alkaline system promotes healthy weight, skin, reduces sugar cravings and enhances overall health.  Juicing will boost your immune system, help your body resist and fight infections, reduce high blood pressure and high levels of bad cholesterol.  I use a Breville juicer.

Don’t pollute the juice!… The best time of day to have a green juice is in the am.  You have been fasting all night and your system is empty and ready to absorb all the nutrients.  It’s best to have an empty stomach and not to introduce food, coffee, tea, etc for at least 30-60 minutes so your body gets the max benefit from all that green goodness.

Blending smoothies leaves all the fiber and nutrients in your drink.  Smoothies are nutrient dense, hydrating, easy to make, and can work as a meal replacement.  Blending smoothies with the proper ingredients can give all the same benefits that juicing does to varying degrees.  Blending is definitely more filling and will deliver more calories.  The consistency when blending is a thick, frozen drink while juicing gives you a thin liquid.  I use a Vitamix blender for smoothies.

Here are my two go to recipes;

GREEN MORNING JUICE (makes one large glass)green-juice

  • 5-8 leaves KALE
  • 1 CUCUMBER (peel if not organic, otherwise leave the peel on)
  • 1 head of ROMAINE (cut bottom off)
  • 2-4 stalks of CELERY
  • 1 GREEN APPLE (cored)
  • 1 LEMON (peeled)
  • Send all ingredients thru the juicer and drink immediately.  Ideally, fruits and veggies are organic.  Peel non-organic produce.  Enjoy the liquid sunshine!

 

GREEN SMOOTHIE (I love this smoothie as a light lunch or an afternoon snack)glowinggreensmoothiemainjpg

  • 8 leaves KALE
  • 1 frozen BANANA (I keep a bag of peeled, frozen bananas in my freezer)
  • 2-4 pieces frozen PINEAPPLE (cut and freeze fresh pineapple in large chunks)
  • handful RAW WALNUTS OR CASHEWS
  • coconut water
  • ice
  • Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth consistency.  Delicious!

Here are some more resources online;

http://kriscarr.com/

http://healthandwellnessjunkie.com/

Just think of all the crazy foods you’ve tried!  Fried Oreos?  Worm in the tequila?  Foods with a shelf life of years instead of days?  Give this a try.  You will be amazed at how you feel, how your cravings change and all the options you have for juicing and blending!

Wishing you health, happiness, yoga and a big green juice every morning!

Love, Carlene

 

 

 

Book Club ~ The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

I’ve read some pretty powerful books over the last few years.  They have fueled the fire of transformation in my way of thinking.  What I’ve noticed in looking back at what I’ve learned so far is the simplicity of it all.  The messages that have been the most meaningful and transformative have been so simple.  I love the freedom that a simple shift in thinking can give.  The yoga studio where I teach http://seacoastpoweryoga.com/ recently launched a book club.  The book club is a great opportunity to share these simple messages of peace, personal power and transformation.  Our first book was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Four Agreements

Freedom.  That is the word I use to describe this book.  The messages are simple, remembering and applying them is the challenge.  It is a choice, each day in each moment.  I highly recommend this book.  I will share a little bit about it here.

Agreement #1: Be Impeccable With Your Word.

Simply stated, this means to speak with integrity, say what you mean and use the power of your words in the direction of truth and love.  Words are powerful whether we speak them out loud or quietly direct them at ourselves.  Notice how often your words are not impeccable.  Notice how often your thoughts and words aren’t coming from a place of love either directed at yourself or someone else.  Each time you notice, a simple shift can occur.

Agreement #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally.

Whoa!  If that doesn’t give you freedom, I don’t know what will!  What others say and do is a projection of their own reality.  Nothing another person does is because of you and nothing you do is because of anyone else.  When you don’t take anything personally, you are free from the opinions and actions of others.  Each person lives in their own story, when we tie our happiness to the reactions, acceptance, love, approval of another we are projecting ourselves into that other persons “story”.

Agreement #3: Don’t Make Assumptions.

When you communicate clearly, honestly in the direction of love and truth you avoid misunderstandings that cause turmoil and sadness.  If you are impeccable with your word and taking nothing personally, there is no need to make assumptions.

Agreement #4: Always Do Your Best.

Simple.  This doesn’t mean that any of this will be perfect or that you should strive for perfection.  It is a work in progress, each moment of each day.  Always do your best to me means, gentle reminders to come back to the simple agreements of Love and Truth.  When you work from honesty and love, all the pieces fall peacefully into place.

Can you tell I loved this book?  This is a book that I could read over and over again, and I have!  Believe me, the messages are beautiful to read and think about in the abstract but applying it to everyday life is a challenge!  Noticing all the instances when I am not impeccable with my word, when I am taking so much personally, when I freely make assumptions about others and when I am taking the easy road is a big eye opener.  We spend so much time wrapped up in our own thoughts.  Why not inject some positive thinking, love, deep down honesty and truth directed both at ourselves and toward others?  When I show up in my life from this place, I begin to notice that everyone around me is showing up in the same way.

Wishing you all this and more!  Love ~ Carlene

Welcome to Health ~ Happiness ~ Yoga

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Thank you for reading!  Love Carlene

I’ve been everywhere but HERE!

This past week was filled with milestones.  My two children ended their 6th and 7th grade school years, we watched as friends moved up from 8th grade to high school, and we have a ringside seat to graduation, senior prom and college prep festivities for a very special friend.  These are all wonderful accomplishments and moments to cherish.

So why am I so sad?

I have been on the verge of or full-fledged sobbing at any given moment over the past few weeks.  What is wrong with me?  I even took a pregnancy test (God, NO!) the other day thinking I must be a mess for some hormonal reason!

The truth is, I’ve been living everywhere but in the PRESENT.

I’ve relived every moment I can remember of babies, chubby cheeked toddlers, each grade, each milestone, wondering if I did everything I could to prepare them for this next stage of their lives.  I’ve wondered if I rushed us through all those magical moments trying to be the perfect mom and wife.  I’ve wished I could go back and snuggle, read a book for the hundredth time over, clean a dirty face full of melted ice cream or step on a random Lego while comforting a midnight bad dream.

I’ve worried about everything from drugs, alcohol, and pregnancy, to heartbreak, schoolwork, college, driving, friendships, economy, and jobs!  Don’t judge the list, I’ve read some of your Facebook posts; I’m not the only one!  I’ve crossed over to a new stage of parenting and I’m kicking and screaming on the inside.  We all know, based on my previous posts, I do like to have control.  I’m working on this but WOW, did I just get a big dose of “practice what you preach”!

Funny, the advice you give others is usually the most important advice you can give to yourself.

My daughter and I were having a conversation about moving into 8th grade.  She has some amazing opportunities in front of her and we’ve really been pushing her to dive in.  Her attitude has been less than enthusiastic about anything and finally she confided in me that she just doesn’t want to move on.  “ I don’t want anything to change, I like how things are right now in 7th grade.” she said. These are big changes for her too.  She was also reliving the past and fearful about her future.  My advice to her was, when you get there, you will be ready.  There is no need to worry about 8th grade and miss the summer fun.  Enjoy what is right in front of you!  … Ok, hammer over the head… Enjoy what is right in front of you!  I’m not doing that either!  I am so resistant to these big changes and so fearful of all the unknowns I am not enjoying what is right in front of me.

I’m not 100% sure of how I will accomplish this but I know it’s pretty important.  These are the moments.  Just take them one by one.  Stay present to the beauty, challenge, messiness, love, and emotion that are happening right NOW.be-here-now

Wishing you health, happiness, yoga and PEACE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT! Love, Carlene

By the way, I’m not pregnant!