Counting Down to Day 10 (Day 119 out of 129) of the Middle Path Makeover – Juice Cleanse Part I

Whoa. It’s amazing what doing with a little less (in this case no solid food, only specific kinds of juice, water and herbal tea) will give you in return. Today was like a celebration of life! Totally silly to say, I know, but it was! Instead of spending a lot of my time throughout the day thinking about food, I spent it focusing on other things that were important to me like my work (I was more productive than usual), my friends, my music and occasionally trying to not think about food. I definitely seemed to have more time on my hands. 🙂

I felt a little lighter today, literally… and a little happier. A change in perspective can do that for me sometimes. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m hungry but I got through my first day without cheating at all. I really didn’t want food except when I saw someone else eating. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Keep on keepin’ on,

-Leah Joy, The Zenful Blogger

Counting Down to Day 20 (Day 109 out of 129) of the Middle Path Makeover – Waiting For Greener Grass

Many of us wait our whole lives for something more: a more important job, a nicer car, better vacations, 2.2 kids and a house with a white picket fence, a different spouse, skinnier thighs, more hair… we’ve all heard the story. For me, the times when I finally got the greener grass turned out to be something I rarely even wanted or needed- I just thought I did because someone else thought it was greater than sliced bread.

And what is so great about the other side when fewer and fewer folks are really appreciating anything that they have anyway? Good question, right? BUT, if I can remember that thoughts are just things (and I’m the one giving these thoughts their meanings), then the only thing between me and greener pastures is me.

What are we waiting for?? Whether or not it’s within our grasp in this moment isn’t important. Most things in life are impermanent. Appreciate it all right now. 🙂

-Leah Joy, The Zenful Blogger

Counting Down to Day 39 (Day 90 out of 129) of the Middle Path Makeover – Giving Back to Pay it Forward

Hey Zenful Dancers!

Earlier on in the Middle Path Makeover Project I had donated some money to a school near my home in order to help fund a new classroom projector. The online platform I used (DonorsChoose.org) reached out asking me to complete a survey of my experience (which was completely positive) and in return has sent me five gift cards valued at $25 each to be used towards helping any school of my choice.

I am offering these gift cards to the first five folks who reply/comment to this blog post in hopes that you will let us all know about your experience in helping a school in need. Please be sure to leave me your email address so I know where to send your gift card. Thank you in advance for your kindness.

Keep on keepin’ on and keep on giving,

-Leah Joy, The Zenful Blogger

Counting Down to Day 44 (Day 85 out of 129) of the Middle Path Makeover – Retreat

Sometimes stepping back and taking a moment to reflect can be a healthy tactic in discovering a new perspective. But sometimes one or two steps back isn’t enough. Sometimes it’s good to physically remove yourself from your normal, everyday surroundings and go on retreat.

I have taken myself on a few retreats in the last 15 or so years (certainly not often enough) and I can tell you that each time I have come back feeling an enormous amount of appreciation and acceptance for myself and others and the Planet. I smile genuinely and often. I feel lighter; relaxed but extremely energized. I’m a better listener to my loved ones, clients and co-workers. I feel purposeful and that feels really good.

But it’s a very different experience to go on vacation versus going on retreat. For me, the difference is in the intention of “break”. A retreat for me includes some solitude to write and read and learn about myself and the choices I’ve made that have brought me here to this point in my life. A retreat to me is a safe space to cry and let go of some unhealthy things I’ve been clinging to (many of them aren’t mine to hold). It’s a space to meet new people who are also on a path of healing intentions and know that I’m not alone. It’s a chance to connect back with the real me (whomever “me” is) before I got really busy covering me up with piles of stuff that isn’t me at all.

Vacations are great too- but if I’m feeling brave, retreats are the best. 🙂

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center – Santa Rosa, CA
Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY
Kripalu, Berkshires, MA
New York Open Center, NYC, NY
Esalen Institute, Marin, CA
Shambala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, CO

-Leah Joy, The Zenful Blogger