Summer is still alive and well in my neck of the woods, but with Labor Day weekend fast approaching (and Halloween decorations popping up in stores!), it’s all too easy to start turning our eyes toward the approaching seasons: fall and, of course, winter.
Personally, I love fall, so I’m not about to skip over it entirely. I adore the crisp chill in the air at night, the changing leaves, and the urge to bake and cook warming stews and soups. But fall also has a bittersweet element to it, and it summons the instinctive urge to prepare – because here in the Midwest, we all know it’s our last hurrah before we settle in for a loooong, 6-month hibernation.
Preparing is undoubtedly a good thing, I’ll give it that. But what about worrying? Stressing over the long, treacherous commutes that are to come? The bitter cold, the cabin fever? How much we hate the snow? Yes, these topics have already started creeping into conversations. I’ve heard them. I even participated in one of them (eep).
And yet… it’s still August!
All too often, our thoughts get stuck in one of the two extremes – the past or the future – and we spend far too much time worrying, regretting, and second-guessing. It’s paralyzing, really, and ultimately we end up sacrificing something very important: the experience. We allow life to pass us by. We are so distracted by our thoughts that we don’t even see what’s happening right in front of us. Before we know it, it’s over.
And we missed it.
I recently made it a personal goal of mine to be more present – not easy for a notorious worrier! – because I have recognized how it impacts so many other facets of my life.
When I live in the past, I ruminate over my regrets: the mistakes I’ve made, the awkward moments, the things I’d do differently. It’s like a little play going on in my head. And for what? Being present means accepting the past simply for what it is and moving on. It is frozen in time; it can never be changed. We’ve learned what we can from it, and now it’s time to let it go.
When I live in the future, I stress and obsess over every possibility. I question how ready I am, how much knowledge I have, and whether or not an endeavor is going to be successful. Being present means learning to quiet my inner ‘what if’ voice, because when that happens, anxiety and self-doubt are also quieted. The result is that we learn to trust ourselves more, and believe that we are capable enough to handle what comes our way.
So with all that in mind, here’s my intention for the days and weeks ahead: Learn from the past, plan for the future, but live in the present. Enjoy what’s left of the summer, and enjoy it to the fullest.
With… ice cream. :)
Healthy ice cream, that is! Homemade ice cream is so easy to make, and YOU have control over what goes in it. Regular, store-bought ice cream is loaded with refined sugar and hormones – why not go for a dairy-free, less-sweet alternative?
My go-to base ice cream recipe is SO easy: 2 cans of chilled coconut milk, 1/2 cup sweetener (I use coconut sugar or raw honey), the scrapings of 1 vanilla bean pod, and 1 tbsp vanilla extract. I blend everything together, then pop it in my ice cream maker.
But really, vanilla is just the beginning – the possibilities are endless! Here’s a taste of what I’m talkin’ about:
See what I mean? Whether or not you have an ice cream maker, you can whip up delicious, non-dairy, ice-creamy concoctions at home with relative ease. Look for recipes that use natural sweeteners such as raw honey and dates, and strive for just a hint of sweetness so all the other flavors can shine through. Most importantly, have fun with it!