Hey friends, and a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving Weekend to you! I hope this finds you feeling deeply peaceful, reasonably hungry, wildly loved, and a little excited. You know… all the exact opposite feelings of holiday stress. Because these times are meant for JOY, even when life is hard. It’s okay to let stuff go and lean into the celebration.
Today I want to tell you about a special event we hosted at the farm last week, and how I feel like it is already helping me roll gently into the winter festivities. I hope some of the vibes rub off on you, too.
Friday evening, Handsome and I, together with my magical friend Sheila, opened the farm to a couple dozen loved ones for an event affectionately dubbed, “Happy Hippie Holidays.” It was the brain child of ours from over a year ago!
Sheila and I first bonded over a mutual love for both running and holistic wellness, and often our conversations meander over to nutrition and “healthy” recipe alternatives. Well, sometime last autumn we had the idea to host a Christmas cookie exchange party but ask folks to bring more nutritious treats instead of the usual sugar bombs. (No offense, sugar bombs! You have your place in the world.)
We couldn’t do it last year, but this year was perfect. We decided to schedule it ahead of Thanksgiving to inspire folks to reconsider their well being in the midst of what is traditionally a needlessly stressful, overeating, under-nourishing, tension-filled season.
It was the simplest party ever. All we did was invite people to the farm for a simple vegetarian meal and a pot luck of healthy treats, plus outdoor yoga and tai-chi. Sheila volunteered to lead the yoga flow, and my friend Raylene, who is a certified tai-chi instructor, led that. Both were sublime.
Every single day since the event, someone has called or texted me to say how good the yoga felt and how fascinating and inspiring the tai-chi was. Raylene taught us several meditation-type thought framing exercises that I know will help us dissolve those building holiday tensions. (Draw energy from your belly, reorient it, feel the pull of a golden thread up your spine… All so good.)
And I have to say how thankful we are that the weather was mild that day. Perfect temperatures, trace breeze, absolutely gorgeous sunset. With the bonfire blazing we were perfectly comfortable, and by nightfall the sky was inky black to show off the stars.
We had brainstormed several more wellness activities and parting gifts, which didn’t quite come to fruition, but that’s fine. What we enjoyed Friday evening was perfect. Everyone left relaxed and happy and smiling, inspired I think. The other brilliant ideas will keep. (My husband is totally on board for hosting regular, maybe even monthly, wellness retreats here! Stay tuned!)
That above (blurry) photo is of a dark chocolate bark made with a variety of nuts and seeds plus honey. It was a sticky, crunchy, sweet and salty piece of luxury, and I felt pretty good indulging in a few nibbles. Yum. Other treats people brought to share were:
- goat cheese truffles with cranberries, pecans, and parsley
- shrimp ceviche
- pumpkin bread
- popcorn dusted with chili powder and cinnamon
- banana oat muffins (flour-less and sugar free, still sweet)
- walnuts and pecan halves with pomegranate seeds (Thanks Mom!)
- vegetable curry with roasted chick peas
- and YOGI TEA!!
Sheila and I collaborated on the unusual ingredients to make the Yogi Tea happen. It’s from Adrienne’s website, and it was a huge crowd-pleaser. Delicious! Soothing and energizing all at once. Just like yoga.
Overall the night was simple, nourishing, and peaceful. Our small crowd was a nice mix of both friends and family of all ages. My parents brought our youngest niece Kenzie (she is a dance student and was enthusiastic about yoga!). Our youngest daughter came and mingled so naturally with all of our friends (such a pure joy for my heart), plus she participated in deck yoga, which I later learned was her first time ever! How beautiful that my friend Sheila led Jessica’s first yoga flow, and my other friend Kellie was next to her giving pointers and encouragement.
I was also really happy that so many husbands joined the fun, haha! Since we had billed it as a vegetarian dinner and “please bring your favorite healthy treats,” haha, I got some teasing about what the heck would everyone else eat! Guess what good-looking white-collar hobby farmer grilled a tray of steaks and provided roasted potatoes and broccoli to the guys? It was so perfect. AND several of the men chose to do yoga with us!!
Wellness for all, according to his or her own tastes, ok? Ok. Yes.
I feel like it was a good, gentle, quiet way to step into the winter holiday season. I like having not only “healthy” food ideas in my brain but also some de-stressing techniques in my pocket. Breathing, stretching, visualizing techniques and the reminder to be grateful daily, constantly.
I intend to remember all winter long the sparkling deck lights and stars hanging heavy above us, the feeling of peacefulness and ease, my belly full of warm vegetable curry, and so much meaningful, face to face conversation with good people. It all opened my heart and slowed my pulse. When the holidays try to speed me up too much, when things are suddenly more complicated than they need to be, I will do some yoga outside and try a few tai-chi moves. I’ll eat softer, cozier, more nutritious food and hydrate really well. And I will trade electronics in favor of three-dimensional fun with humans. And I’ll remember that it’s okay to say no and edit details and keep things simple. It might even be better that way.
Happiest possible Thanksgiving to you, friends! I have something else I want to talk to you about, but that will keep too. I hope you thoroughly and mindfully enjoy everything you choose this weekend. Love your people. Give thanks aggressively and let your hearts crack wide open.
Find What Feels Good.