Self-talk

Goodness. Half-way through the week already. How’s your self-talk? Your inner voice. The critic. The devil on your shoulder. I call my inner voice, the super chatty I-have-something-to-say-about-everything voice, the terrorist. And for some reason I also refer to him as a he. As a him. Whatever. This guy reeks havoc on me. He is seriously the biggest meany, jerky jerk. And he’s me. And I’m him.
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Beyond that, he’s a liar. Like, clinical. He lies to me all of the time. And pokes and pokes and pokes. An example: the other day I was at yoga and class was pretty full. The owners (or at least the people I think are the owners) of the yoga studio set up their mats right next to me. So I’m thinking alright…yeah…you know…I got this (in my head it looks like I’m at the gym about to lift something heavy, jumping up and down, working out the kinks in my neck, flexing, but really I’m just sitting on a yoga mat zen-like) and then the terrorist joins in and starts saying crap like THEY ARE LOOKING AT YOU THEY THINK YOU SUCK THEY CAN TELL YOU’VE NEVER DONE THIS POSE BEFORE YOU SUCK DID YOU HEAR ABOUT HOW YOU SUCK and so on. I know, deep in my core, that he’s full of crap, but I still can’t help but feel that feeling. Fear. What if they kick me out due to sheer suckiness? What if they don’t like me? What if…? Fear makes us put our heads down, ball up, and cease to exist. We step back and stop participating; stop singing, painting, playing, writing, dreaming, living.
aaaaaargh
I fight my terrorist in a couple different ways. One, if I’m by myself, I will yell–out loud–not a word or anything, just a long yelly noise to drown him out. It’s like I startle him (me) into closing (stopping) his (my) mouth (thoughts). And it works, interestingly. It works better when followed by some deep breathing, maybe a count to ten, maybe some self-forgiveness. There is lots of breathing in yoga, so I was able to process through that negativity pretty efficiently and then I was able to say I forgive you, Mel, and I love you. Saying those things to myself doesn’t stop the terrorist, but it gives me a really sturdy feeling in my core. That sturdiness is a knowing…and I’m guessing you probably know what I mean. You just know.

Dyslexie

You have to check this out:

A font (Dyslexie) designed for dyslexics, by a dyslexic, Christian Boer. Go to the website, learn more, and even download the font. Meaning, you have the ability to read everything in dyslexie. After you download it, of course. And it’s free. Free! What a gift.

PB & Honey Granola

Here is my first recipe of the year (and ever), with a goal of no refined sugar–a general rule–and an overall goal of being healthy and delicious. I’ve been making this recipe consistently for a few months and it still wins. Like, I don’t spend time searching “best simple granola” anymore. No sugar, just honey. Go for the local, raw stuff for extra points. Healthy fats, peanut butter and coconut oil. Oats. Simple and good.

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I like to eat raw food as much as possible. One, as I’m sure you’ve heard in your lifetime, uncooked food is more nutritious. Two, I’m lazy. It’s way easier to eat a carrot than to cook a carrot and then eat it. You know? When it comes to this granola I often chop up an entire apple, throw in a big handful of almonds and pecans, and top with granola and milk.

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PB & Honey Granola
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  2. 1/4 cup coconut oil
  3. 1/4 cup honey
  4. 3 cups rolled oats
  5. Additional tastiness: apple, banana, berries, nuts, seeds, cacao nibs, coconut...
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 340.
  2. 2. In a saucepan over low heat, stir the pb, coconut oil, and honey together until combined.
  3. 3. In a large bowl throw in the oats, dump in the wet, and stir everything together.
  4. 4. Spread evenly on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  5. 5. Bake for 15 minutes, stir (don't skip this part!), bake for four more minutes or until golden brown.
  6. 6. Allow to cool completely, right there on the pan.
  7. 7. Eat. I like mine with an entire apple, chopped, a big handful of almonds and pecans, and milk.
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Melissa Fannin http://melissafannin.com/
 

Fail

Click play. Read on.

Last week I resolved to blog twice a week and, well, I didn’t. I think we can count that one as a fail. Failures happen. All of the time. And we move forward. Last night, in fact, I had started this blog:

Want to know a really cool antidepressant? Wash the dishes. For real. That pile of gnarly, dirty dishes in the kitchen is a depressant, but as soon as you wash them or fill the dishwasher and press start–boom–a little dose of happy hits the brain. Check it out.

Me? I have dishes in the kitchen right now and I really, really, really, really, really don’t want to go in there and wash them (depressant). Yet I know as soon as I get in there and get it over with I will feel better (antidepressant).

I got that far and went to bed. Didn’t do the dishes. Didn’t finish the blog. Fail, fail. Failure, man, at least it gives a place from which to grow. I don’t expect to be perfect, but I do plan to keep going, just like a human.

Resolutions

All right all right all right.

Last time I was here I resolved to blog at least twice a week. That’s one. So far so good.

Clean language. This is a new way for me to look at language, brought to my attention by Alexa Nehter. I found her website, I don’t know, looking for recipes or something. She’s a yoga instructor and surfer and, what appears to be, a really good liver of life. In a recent blog she wrote, “I learned it’s important to be mindful of my language. No matter what my mind is doing, I aim to remember to speak the language of love and contribution.” The language of love and contribution; it makes so much sense. If the words coming out of my mouth have little daggers on them, it is not a contribution to the environment. I feel a little (a little) like this:

Idea three: reduce/replace the sugar. It’s probably fair to say that I eat a lot of sugar based on how much I like cookies. I like really really good homemade-in-my-kitchen cookies. With dark chocolate chips. And I swear, over the past couple years I have mashed together a few recipes and found what, in my opinion, is the best cookie this side of the Mississippi. The point is, I can eat a lot of cookies. No, that’s not the point. The point is I would now like to challenge myself to find my new best ever favorite cookie that is made without granulated sugar. Food is important to me and I think it should be a part of the conversation when discussing mental health, so I’d like to bring that here as well. I’ll plan on sharing the foodie part of my life (which is basically how to get healthy snacks into my kids, so don’t go getting all fancy on me) soon.

Four: real yoga practice.
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Five: more art. I haven’t figured out the parameters here yet, but it’ll come.

Six (and probably most important): Be seen. Let people see me. Be heard. Let them hear me speak. It’s a big one for me and perhaps at another time I’ll get more into the details of why this is something I need to do.

All right. In 2015 I resolve to blog, speak with intention, bake, do some yoga, make art, and be seen. All of that sounds far too fun for failure, but we’ll see how it works out. So long, 2014, and thank you for the gifts you gave (see example below).

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2015

Hey, hey! Happy 2015! It’s an odd number. I like odd numbers, for no good reason other than that they are called odd. What does this year bring for you? What do you bring to it?

For me? I’ve honestly never really done resolutions beyond wanting to be less sucky at some things and better at other things. Not much room for failure when I set the bar really low.

A month or so ago I was talking to my husband and he said, “why aren’t more people walking around saying holy *&$#, do you realize we’re all going to die?!

Cue the song:

And that’s been stuck in my head. Why don’t I think about that…more?

We’re all going to die. And to continue doing the things that don’t work or make us unhappy is silly. Or worse than silly, it’s destructive, painful, cancer-causing; like that. But we stay where we are because it’s familiar, comfortable, safe…because we know what to expect, even if the thing we expect is not good for us. And change is terrifying. Failure is terrifying. Me, personally, I’m terrified of failing. So I get it. Even writing stuff like this, I feel my own self-judgment (what right do I have to say any of this?). I worry about the judgment of others. I get scared. But I have to push through for my own personal growth. If I want any kind of change I’ve got to get uncomfortable.

So, 2015, one thing I’d like to do with you is feel more uncomfortable more of the time. That means talking on this little platform more often (blog two times a week). And I will fail sometimes and at others I will succeed. We’ll see. Here we go. I’ll be back in the following days to add more to my list of things to suck less at.
Happy new year!

What I’m Working On: A Blanket

blanketI love me a cozy blanket. Feels like warmth and safety and all sorts of comfortable.blanketI made this baby for my cousin as a wedding gift. It’s always a little nerve-wracking, giving a handmade item as a present. I want the receiver to want it, like it, and hopefully not feel annoyed that I didn’t choose something off of the registry. Mostly, though, I feel driven to make something that might be meaningful, because, selfishly, it’s meaningful to me. So maybe that’s what it’s really about. Huh.
blanketCheck out the back of this quilt. Faux mink. And you should feel it. Super dreamy. Faux mink because I’ve been reading the Clan of the Cave Bear series and the characters are always climbing into their sleeping furs at the end of the day. I want sleeping furs. There it is.
blanketI “quilted” it by hand by making little starbursts with this beautiful silk thread that I was able to borrow from one of my best, best friends.

Garrison Counseling, Inc

 

I’m super excited

elated

delighted

(nervous)

pumped

to announce that I will be joining the team at Garrison Counseling, Inc!! Located in the historic Batavian Building in downtown La Crosse–I’ve said this phrase a lot lately and I really like it–I’ll be offering my counseling and art therapy services beginning this November. I join a stellar crew of counselors, including Debbie Garrison, Christi Nowland, Sheryl Gora-Bollom, and Tamera Hill. You can learn more about Garrison (and set up an appointment with me) on their website.

Seasons and Happiness

Let’s ease back into this with a little music…a baby boy was born to us a week and a day ago, so we’re all in the middle of that transition. Happily, mostly, but not without its moments of crushing stress and debilitating anxiety. Anxiety, man, what strange waste of energy and time on things that don’t exist.

Music: Future Islands :: Seasons (Waiting on You)

I saw Future Islands live in Madison a few months ago and I was struck by how totally in the moment the lead singer, Samuel Herring was. His performance felt very real and spontaneous and like nothing else in the world existed. For him. While he was singing and dancing and growling. 

I happened to be in the car a couple weeks ago and caught some of the TED Radio Hour in which they were talking about a study regarding happiness. It turns out people are least happy when their minds wander, regardless of where they are or what they are doing. People are at their happiest when they are in the moment, completely immersed in a task or experience. Check it out: