Yoga Nidra is My Refuge and Anchor

As I reflect back over this past year of changes that Covid has brought into our lives, the one thing I attribute to making the most difference in my life is Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra with Jennifer.

I’m prone to stress and worry, and have tried many ways to cope over the years. I started meditating when I was 23 years old, and have practiced various forms, as well as trained in two styles of meditation. After dabbling with yoga for many years, it’s now become a regular practice for me: focusing on breath helps me to slow down. I love to dance, and walk as well, and all of these practices have helped to tame my IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), manage my anxiety, and keep me resilient. Until yoga nidra took me to a whole new level…

I met Jennifer at Kripalu Center a few years ago and took a couple of yoga classes with her over the weekend. I loved her warm and easygoing presence, and immediately signed up for her newsletter. When Covid hit, I began attending her online yoga nidra classes – and have been with her ever since! In the beginning, I did about five classes a week – her voice melted me! I was hooked. I found such peace and utter bliss each time I did it, I just wanted more.

Being a yoga practitioner and daily meditator, I thought I knew what relaxation felt like in my body, until I found deep healing bliss with Divine Sleep ® Yoga Nidra. During the practice, I find I am extremely relaxed, yet aware, as Jennifer guides me through all the different layers of my being – body, breath, senses, with contrasts like hot and cold, and her beautiful journeys filled with imagery – all while feeling safe and secure.

I often doze off and Jennifer explains that this is quite common, and that ‘my body would get whatever it needed’, and so it does! She said this deeply relaxed state was the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the body’s relaxation response to stress and is crucial for healing. I feel an inner sense of calm that I had never truly experienced before.

Practicing yoga nidra with Jennifer continues to be a blessing! I have several of her recordings on CD and listen to the Insomnia Track to put me to sleep almost every night. No matter what my day has been like, hearing her voice relaxes me, and makes me feel peaceful inside.

Jennifer is gifted, and I’m so grateful she chooses to share her gifts with me and so many others in person and now online. Her yoga nidra has been my refuge and anchor this past year and has become such an important priority in my life, and I can’t imagine that ever changing. In fact, I took her Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra 40-hour online training in January as a 70th birthday gift to myself, and I can’t wait to share it with others in my community.

My daughter is in Guatemala, so sharing yoga nidra with her online is a great way for us to connect now.

I look forward to taking more of Jennifer’s workshops. I love her relaxed teaching style. She radiates compassion in every class and makes learning fun! From Five Element Yoga® and Immune Boost Mondays, to Mudras and of course, Divine Sleep®, I’ll be there with her as my guide. Her classes are always informative and interesting, and it always helps keep me balanced and healthy in body and mind.

My husband said to me the other day, “You seem happy almost all the time now…it’s really nice, and I like it!” He’s not one to give compliments, so that felt big! And my favorite yoga teacher in my area has said to me several times that I’m her ‘poster child’ for being positive through Covid.

I guess I have weathered this year well partly because I accepted it, as it presented itself, one day at a time. I’ve found that I enjoy being more introspective. And I believe Jennifer is part of the reason. Her positive, generous spirit is contagious. She’s so welcoming and gracious and brings joy to others. So thank you Jennifer, for being my guiding light this year.

May Spring Renewal…with Yoga Nidra
We can’t meditate in person, but we can meditate together on Zoom! It’s easy to sign up for Zoom, (zoom.com) and then I’ll send you a link via email so you can join this guided meditation. Everyone is welcome, no prior meditation experience is necessary!
If you’d like to join me for this special Celebration of May meditation — please email me and I’ll look forward to seeing you this Friday, May 7th, Noon-12:30 pm on Zoom!

It’s Time For A Change

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson~
Some mornings, it’s hard to get out of bed. The past couple of weeks, I’ve been restless, feeling unsettled sometimes, and not sleeping well. I know why- the uncertainty of the upcoming election, Covid numbers on the rise again, worrying about my kids, and hoping everyone’s health remains strong… And how the holidays will be different; what will that look like? I’ve been so positive throughout this pandemic, I know this is just a phase I need to go through, and like everything, this too will pass.
Does this happen to you too? We all have anxiety about something, right? What helps you get through these periods? For me, practicing gratitude, doing yoga, meditating, and getting outside for walks are the things that center me. And if I can walk with a friend, so much the better!
Cheryl Richardson asks herself, “What’s good about today?” If you can stop, breathe, and think of simple things that make you happy, you’ll notice a shift in how you feel. She says, “Life can be fairly simple when we stop making it complicated. It’s all a matter of running the right program on your internal computer.” So while obstacles occur, and tough things happen in life, you can choose to switch the program to find the joy. Which is just what I’m doing…
You Can Always Begin Again…

Invitation to Begin Again…a Meditation
We can’t meditate in person, but we can meditate together on Zoom! It’s easy to sign up for Zoom, (zoom.com) and then I’ll send you a link via email so you can join this guided meditation. Everyone is welcome, no prior meditation experience is necessary!
I hope you’ll join me for this special meditation that I wrote, Begin Again, next Friday, November 6th, Noon-12:30 pm on Zoom!

Want To Work From Home?

Jobs You Can Do From Home

From A Recent AARP Newsletter…

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the nation’s workforce, with unprecedented levels of unemployment leaving millions of people without a job in the middle of a public health crisis. When — and if — those jobs will return is the question on everyone’s mind. And for some fields that already were shrinking before the recession, the prospects look even worse now.


During the week that ended Aug. 15, more than 1.1 million people filed a new claim for unemployment. In July, the unemployment rate for workers age 55 and older was 8.8 percent and the overall unemployment rate was 10.2 percent.
Many of the jobs lost this spring and summer resulted from the mandatory temporary shutdowns of restaurants, theaters, stores, gyms and other businesses deemed nonessential. It’s difficult to know if those jobs will return because much will depend on communities successfully containing the spread of the coronavirus. But the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently analyzed their data to determine which jobs are projected to face big job losses over the next eight years. Here’s a link to those jobs…

On the brighter side, if you are looking to work from home, and many are, there are more and more jobs that can transition nicely. Though intended for those over 50, these could be for younger folks as well. Here’s a link to jobs you can do from home…

There is hope, keep a positive outlook, take each day as it is given, one at a time…

Develop an appreciation for the present moment. Seize every second of your life and savor it.”
~Dr. Wayne Dyer

Can you accept that even with all that’s happening in the world, life is still good? We can keep our energy positive, treasure our connections and be grateful to be living in the Now. And we can practice this meditation together…

Invitation to Exploring the Breath Through the Body Meditation

We can’t meditate in person, but we can meditate together on Zoom! It’s easy to sign up for Zoom, (zoom.com) and then I’ll send you a link via email so you can join this guided meditation. Everyone is welcome, no prior meditation experience is necessary!

If you’d like to practice meditating on Exploring the Breath Through the Body, please click on the button below for details on my website and join me Friday, Sep 4th, Noon-12:30 pm on Zoom! Click Here For Details

Zucchini, Squash, and Eggplant Tian

This is a versatile, delicious recipe to make right now when summer produce is fresh and abundant! You can vary the squashes and the herbs: I’m loving fresh basil and thyme mixed together. My recipe is gluten and dairy free, but you can top it with grated cheese or breadcrumbs for the final 10 minutes if you like.

  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 yellow zucchini or squash, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste (I like lemon pepper)
  • 3 T fresh basil, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.

Add the onions, thyme, lemon pepper and salt, and saute until the onions are soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, basil and garlic and steep 15 minutes.

Put a little of the basil oil on the bottom of a large deep dish pie plate or casserole dish.

Spread the onions in a layer on the bottom of the dish. Arrange a row of zucchini over the top, overlapping edges slightly. Lay a layer of squash on top, and then a layer of eggplant. Repeat the sequence with remaining ingredients, drizzling a little olive oil mixture between the layers.

Cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on thickness, until veggies are cooked through. If you’re adding cheese or crumbs, leave the foil off and bake until golden brown. Enjoy!

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

I was craving some zucchini muffins and found a recipe for chocolate pecan muffins that inspired me to try these chocolate zucchini muffins. I love these! They are rich, and cake like but not sweet. If you want sweet, you can frost them or add chocolate chips, or add more sugar, but try them like this first as muffins.  What a great way to use up some of that extra zucchini!  They freeze well too.

  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup sugar (brown, coconut or a mix)
  • 2 large eggs
  • scant ¾ cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated zucchini
  • 1/4-1/3 cup coconut milk (use almond milk for more Ca)
  1. Preheat over to 350. Line 12 cupcake tins with papers, or grease well.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs and oil.
  4. Add liquids to dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Fold in grated zucchini until evenly distributed.
  6. Put into prepared baking cups.
  7. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean.
  8. Let cool 10 minutes in tins; remove and cool completely.
  9. Dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired.

These are not sweet, but very chocolaty. If you want them to be more like cupcakes, then add more sugar, but they really are good muffins like this!

Note: Each muffin has about 20 mg Ca if you use almond milk and about 18 mg of Mg.

 

Wonderful Winter Wishes For You!

Unwrapping your holiday gifts…
The holidays are a time of celebration!  This year, our sweet Ginger is 2 years old and we welcomed our first grandchild, Logan Gabriel, now 4 months old into our hearts! So much to be grateful for! Although they are late, the most important things on my list are happening…like sending this holiday email, making Christmas cookies, and spending precious time with loved ones!
Each year, I send these questions as my gift to you… this has become a tradition that I do with all my clients at the end of December.  The idea is to take a few minutes, maybe with a glass of wine, or a cup of tea, and write your answers to them. Unwrap your gifts, celebrate your accomplishments, see what others have given you… what has 2019 brought you, what are you most grateful for, and what do you really want in 2020?
If you’d like to schedule a session with me to map out your intentions for 2020, and do these questions in person, please send me an email…Or, if you’re inclined to share, I’d love to hear from you!
In 2019…
  • What was your greatest accomplishment?  What are you most proud of daring to achieve/do (whether you did it or not)?
  • Where did you nudge yourself out of your comfort zone?
  • What gifts did you see in yourself?  What’s the most valuable lesson you learned?
  • What are you grateful for this year?
  • Who are the people YOU had the greatest positive impact on this year?
  • Who are the people who had the greatest impact on your life this year?
  • What’s one piece of unfinished business, and how might you complete it, address it, or let it go?
  • Overall, what was the theme of this year for you? (It’s your life story, what’s the title of this chapter?)

In 2020…

  • What will the theme be for you this year? (What’s the title of this chapter?)
  • How will this theme manifest in your life?
  • What are your intentions or goals for this year?  What dreams or passions would you like to pursue?
  • What have you learned from the past that you want to use this year?
  • What old habits, fears, or patterns might get in the way?
  • How will you overcome those obstacles or deal with those fears (what structures will you put in place) so that you can follow through and move forward?

Wishing you all the joy and magic of the season…may you enjoy it with family and friends in health, peace and love.  I am so grateful for all of you and look forward to hearing from you in the new year!

Warmly,

Clare

Clare Harlow, MSW
Career and Life Coaching
It’s Your Life, Make It Work!

p.s. If you’re looking for a gift for someone, why not consider a Gift Certificate for Career or Life Coaching with me?  Maybe you have a friend or family member who would benefit from some career guidance or life planning.  If so, contact me for further information and help someone move forward with their dream…   

Kuku Sabzi, Persian Herb Omelet

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Kuku Sabzi is traditionally served at Persian New Year feasts, jammed with herbs which symbolize rebirth. One version adds dried cranberries and cinnamon, and there are many versions, but they all have at least 6 cups of greens!  Debra, from Debra’s Natural Gourmet, added romaine lettuce and fenugreek to hers and recommends using 8-9 cups of greens.  So far, I like using spinach, dill, parsley, cilantro, chives, and scallions to total 6-8 cups.  I process them in 2 batches in my food processor with some olive oil until they’re finely ground.  Sometimes I’ve added a little baking powder, but it’s not really necessary.  I love it with cardamom, cumin, and lemon black pepper.  My first version used cashews because I was out of walnuts and it was delicious, but walnuts are traditionally used.  Try them both, experiment with herbs, and see which one becomes your favorite!

I use a 9 inch deep pie dish but you can use a 9×9 square or 9″ round pan.

  • 5 T olive oil
  • 2 cups lightly packed parsley leaves
  • 2 cups lightly packed cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 1 large bunch dill, about 1-1 ½ cups, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, coarsely chopped with greens
  • 3-4 cups packed spinach, or 1 5 oz. package
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp lemon black pepper (from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • ¾ tsp cardamom
  • ½ cups toasted walnuts (or cashews)
  • 8 large eggs

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Coat the bottom of the pan with 2 T olive oil and swirl to coat the sides; it should pool in the bottom.

In a food processor, combine the parsley, cilantro, and dill with 3 T olive oil.  Process until finely ground.  Do this a little at a time, and scrape down.  Remove and put mixture in a large bowl.

Add spinach, scallions, and toasted walnuts to the food processor bowl, and process until finely ground.  Transfer to the herb bowl.  In another large bowl, beat 2 of the eggs and  whisk in the salt and pepper, cumin, turmeric, and cardamom.  Add 6 more eggs and beat well.  Fold in the herb nut mixture and mix well.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, depending on how many cups of herbs you used, until the center is firm. It will puff up like a soufflé!

Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges, and cut into wedges.  Serve warm or room temperature, even cold…I like it plain, but you could add a dollop of yogurt.  It’s also good with tahini sauce.

Notes:  You can use 6 or 7 eggs- just lower the baking time to 35-40 minutes, until the center is firm.

If you want to add 1 tsp of baking powder, add it with the spices and watch the bake time.

This omelet freezes well, and keeps in the refrigerator for 3 days, wrapped or covered.

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It’s Not Too Late To Join My ICT Colleagues!

Don’t Go It Alone!
RE-IGNITE YOUR JOB SEARCH

Join the ICT Collaboratory 4-Week Intensive.
Starts July 9, 2019

The Collaboratory is ICT’s community hub for anyone navigating a career transition.

Focus and energize your job search with ICT’s 4-week all-inclusive onsite program to manage your work in-between work.

ICT, founded by MIT researchers, helps job seekers accelerate their job search. Our personalized, intensive, team-based program will help get you ready for your next opportunity.

Join our deliberately developmental community. We’re committed to your personal and professional growth as you navigate your job search.

Show up at your best with a renewed sense of confidence and well-being.

We provide expert support and job seeking strategies in a collaborative, supportive environment where you are learning and practicing the skills needed for success.

The ICT Collaboratory is located in the new 60 Vibe co-working space, at 60 Island

St, Suite 209 West, Lawrence, MA. Walking distance from the Purple line.

ICT Collaboratory membership includes:

Personalized Coaching  | Career Tool Box | Interviewing Skills
Peer Support  | Crafting Your Story | Networking
Implementing Your Job Search Strategy
24/7 Coworking Space Access

4-Week Intensive $497
(a $2,500 value)

Reserve your place: Contact Deborah Burkholder, deborah@ictransitions.org.

Download Flyer

The Institute for Career Transitions mission is to better understand and help others navigate the rapidly changing nature of work, income, and wellbeing. We envision a future where everyone can build a career to create a sustainable livelihood and where “work” is understood as multifaceted, transitional, and evolving.


Institute for Career Transitions is a not for profit 501(c)(3).

 

Simply Divine Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

 

Strawberries are in season which usually inspires me to make strawberry rhubarb crisp or strawberry shortcake, but I had a request for cupcakes for a special occasion so I decided to try something different-  vanilla cupcakes with strawberry frosting.  After doing a little research, I discovered that using freeze dried strawberries would produce a really intensely flavored strawberry frosting and while I could have made a buttercream, I decided to make strawberry cream cheese frosting. The results were amazing! And the strawberry flavor really came through!

 

Simply Vanilla Cupcakes

 I had some coconut milk leftover and wanted to try it in vanilla cupcakes so I found this recipe and adapted it to be gluten free.  It called for cake flour which was a bit of a challenge, plus sour cream and milk…but I sifted my gluten free flour mix, added a tad more tapioca flour and substituted coconut milk for the sour cream and milk…the results?  Simply yummy!  The first time I just glazed them with a little honey lemon mix; the second time I made an easy chocolate frosting- both were delicious! And now, they’re paired with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting!

Adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction Simply Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Please use organic ingredients; most of these came from Debra’s in West Concord!

  • 1 ¾ c gluten free flour with 2 T. cornstarch, or tapioca flour, sifted
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ c butter, room temp
  • ¾ c. sugar (I used organic white sugar)
  • 3 large egg whites, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Seeds scraped from ½ of a vanilla bean
  • 1 c. coconut milk (Aroya)

Preheat oven to 350.

  1. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners, and another 4 in a second pan. (I have a 6 cup tin so this worked well).
  2. Sift the flour, and add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. Using a mixer, beat the butter for 1 minute, then add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg whites, vanilla, and vanilla bean.
  5. Beat on medium speed until combined; then add the coconut milk and beat til smooth.
  6. Scrape the sides and add dry ingredients just until incorporated with the mixer on low.
  7. Do not overmix.  Batter will be slightly thick.
  8. Scoop batter into muffin cups- fill 2/3 of the way.
  9. Bake 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean or it bounces back when you press lightly with your finger. 
  10. Cool before frosting. 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

 You can get all these organic ingredients at Whole Foods!    cupcake2

  • 1 cup freeze dried strawberries
  • 8 ou. cream cheese, full fat
  • ¼ c butter
  • 2 ½ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Process the freeze dried strawberries in a food processor until powdery.  You’ll have about ½ cup or slightly less.  Set aside.

  1. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter in the large bowl until creamy on medium speed for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the cream cheese and beat 1-2 minutes until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla and mix in.
  4. Add confectioners’ sugar and strawberry powder.
  5. Beat on low speed 30 seconds until mixed in, and then beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
  6. Refrigerate to firm up before frosting cooled cupcakes.
  7. If you want, put frosting in a pastry bag with piping tip and pipe on top.
  8. Serve, or refrigerate frosted cupcakes.

Makes more than enough for 14 cupcakes; store leftover frosting up to 5 days in refrigerator or freeze and use later.

You could also use freeze dried raspberries, or even blueberries or mango for this frosting- experiment with them all!

 

Cauliflower Puree

I’m not a cauliflower fan, but this recipe from Once Upon a Chef charmed me into trying it by saying that it tastes remarkably like mashed potatoes…and so it does! Creamy, comfort food- for the holidays or not, it’s delicious anytime!

I used water instead of chicken broth, and Carrington organic ghee and coconut oil instead of butter (easier to digest). I’m sure the broth and butter are yummy too…your choice. I also added a couple of potatoes because I wanted the mix and had potatoes to use. Organic ingredients of course…

1 head cauliflower cut into 2 inch pieces (no need to keep florets intact)

3 fist size potatoes (golden are good)

1 cup chicken broth or water

1 tsp salt

3T butter (Carrington ghee and coconut oil spread)

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

Freshly ground lemon pepper and additional salt to taste

In a large pot, bring the water/broth and salt to a boil. Add the potatoes and cauliflower; bring to a boil again. Cover, reduce the heat to low and steam for 20 minutes, until tender. Drain in a colander but save 3 T of the water/broth and transfer to a food processor. Add 3 T of water/broth and butter/ghee. Process until smooth. Add thyme. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper.