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A Mindful Approach To The New Year

New year, new possibilities.  Woo-hoo!  So many days stretching into the distance like a long, white beach begging to be explored.

Each year the media reminds us that we have yet another chance to start on a fresh page, whether it’s the diet or exercise that will transform our bodies or the best ways to reorganize our homes and lives.

What’s not to like about that?  Anything’s possible – at least for the first few weeks.

But habits run deep and long-term change means true dedication, not easy in our modern, activity-filled lives.

My life is very intertwined with the beginning of each year, in large part, because my birthday falls exactly two weeks after the year begins so I have two clean pages in front of me.  For as long as I can remember, I have used the waning weeks of the old year and the beginning of the new to take stock of my life, to consider the last year – what I learned, how I made use of opportunities or blew it because I didn’t, what things really matter, what to let go of and what to incorporate as I continue my journey on our beautiful blue planet.

One area of my life that I would like to expand – both personally and professionally –  is mindfulness.  This isn’t a concept that is readily embraced in the West though we skirt around it all the time.  But mindfulness is, at least from my perspective, the underlying precept or the glue, so to speak, for making any long-lasting and effective changes in our lives.

Mindfulness is doing something – or everything – with intention.  Being present in the moment and making conscious decisions, some of which might even be transformative.

It’s being awake to- and aware of- the underlying issues that might have led to our New Year’s resolutions to go on a diet or to stop depending so much on fast food or to walk more or to turn off the TV and pick up the book we’ve intended to read for the last ten months.  (Dare I say, procrastination?  Or maybe it’s priorities.)

But mindfulness can be more than that.  It can mean being right here, right now, in this very moment.  If I’m in this very moment I can say to myself, “Do you really need that piece of chocolate or can you wait 15 minutes to see if it’s still so alluring?”  Mindfulness can be the “Aha!” moment in a diet.  Or exercise.  Or the unread book.  Or anything else we wish to explore about ourselves and our lives.

So how do I plan to be more mindful professionally?  First, I would like to restructure my time to include writing more short-but-meaningful blogs.

Writing the blogs I feel are important are apparently in contrast with my most popular blogs.  In other words, you, my readers would prefer more recipes and food talk, whereas I am committed to drawing greater awareness to the plight of tropical farms and farmers and how we can make a difference in supporting them.  So through using mindfulness, perhaps I can find ways to
more effectively incorporate the two topics.

Separately, I would like to support both of us in being more mindful of our daily eating.  To enjoy chocolate or vanilla, for instance, in a deeper way.  This might include making the intentional purchase of sustainably- grown dark chocolate that is healthier for us and contains less sugar (which, let’s face it, we all love but should use sparingly), and using it in a recipe that nurtures us both physically and emotionally.  Or intentionally purchasing pure vanilla from an ethical source so that we know the farmers benefit, then using it in a
recipe that supports greater personal health.  Less can be more.  Does this make sense?

Another area of mindfulness I wish to expand is greater generosity and compassion.  It’s so easy for us to focus more on what we desire or don’t have than on what we do have.  Yet even those of us who live very frugal lives in industrialized countries have infinitely more material goods and comforts than those in the developing world.  I would like to find ways that we collectively can support a womens’ farming collective or to make pledges to one of the groups in our Yes We Can! section my site.

Finally, something that would please me incredibly, would be to have an interactive blog, one where you share your thoughts and let me know what you would like in this blog so that I can support you whether it’s through recipes or ideas or information about my involvement with the tropics and farmers.

Whatever the outcome, my intention is to be more closely aligned with you.  And I wish each of you a year filled with financial prosperity, emotional support and abundance, fulfilling work or education, much laughter and joy and great delight in the present as it’s really all we have.

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Patricia Rain

is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.
Patricia Rain
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Comments (2)

  • Jasper

    |

    Guess I will be the first one to take part in the interaction part you asked for in this post 🙂

    I wonder what your view is on the increased concentration and focus you build up with Mindfulness? Do you think it is essential for achieving your goals? I think it is a great benefit you didnt talk about!

    Reply

    • Vanilla Queen

      |

      Jasper, I completely agree with you that it is a powerful way to meet one’s goals. Thank you for pointing this out.

      My use of meditation and mindfulness has been more toward clearing the mind of clutter and calming the monkey mind, which has a remarkable ability to distract us every minute of the day! Also as a way to be more compassionate toward others.

      I appreciate your having posted your thoughts!

      Best,
      The VQ

      Reply

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