Balance, how do we live a balanced lifestyle?  Surely this is a continual blending of responsibility and desire.  Am I leaving out spontaneity?  The markers of this process, of the work in progress that is “YOU” – your LIFESTYLE can simply be listed as questions.  Most of us will continually confront the question, “Have I met my responsibilities?”  The following questions pertain to balancing the rest of your life.

Have you had fun this week? 

Did you take time to exercise and move your body?

Did you participate in creativity outside of your work life?

Have you been your own best friend?

Did you connect in a spiritual way this week?

Speaking of fun, I spent an afternoon recently wine tasting, barrel tasting to be exact.  I was at the Amphora tasting room, on Dry Creek Road outside of Healdsburg, CA.

Rick Hutchinson,  the wine maker, gave us a lesson in what makes wine noteworthy.   He spoke of racking and turning the barrels,  the wines exposure to oxygen as well as the soil in which the vines live.  He said, standing with the ‘wine thief” filled and ready to dispense into a glass, “Wine is alive just like people.  What makes a wine age well is balance.  If you have balance in your life you will live longer and age gracefully!”

I was struck by wine maker Rick’s sense  of care, process and timing.  He truly is the husband, i.e. steward of his vineyards.  The results of course, unique and special.  His engagement a lifestyle to be sure.  It was fun to meet new people, to learn about wine making, to taste the wine in the barrel and a bottled counterpart.  Rick was kind enough to treat us to a few pairings of varietals from the barrel with a taste of the same, bottled and aged for a few years.  Yummy!

An interesting antidote:  Rick is a potter who throws beautiful clay jars,  “amphorae, modeled after the jars that ancient Greeks and Romans used to store wine”.  He has found a creative outlet that is not his ‘work’.

Cooking is a creative outlet.  I feel remiss for not sharing a recipe with you in some time.  I was cooking with a friend a few Sunday dinners ago and she commented that, “I have cook books which can seem intimidating; yet a magazine recipe seems so approachable”.  Her part in our dinner was an Ahi delight from a magazine.  What you see pictured on the left is the bedding for the Ahi.  1 bunch of Sweet basil, 3 roasted bell peppers (mix yellow, orange and red), olives(mixed green and black), need I say more.  Flavor, flavor, flavor. Yes there were just a few steps involved.  Roast the bell pepper and remove the skin; wash the cherry tomatoes, rinse the sweet basil and place in a roasting pan with the olives.  Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top.  If you want your Ahi on the rare side cook the mixture for 25 minutes and add the Ahi for 10-15 additional minutes.  Otherwise, place the Ahi on top of the pepper mixture and bake for 30 to 45 minutes.  The Ahi is not seared so expect it to be steamed.  You can sear it and place it in the oven for just a few minutes to capture the flavors of the bed of savories.  Baked tuna steaks contain only 1.4 g of fat per serving, while offering 26 g of protein.

Did you treat yourself with care and respect this week?  Were you your own best friend?  At the end of the yoga classes I teach, during the relaxation  towards the end of class I often ask, “What is it you want more of in your life?  What are you craving?  Interaction, connection, rest, curling up with a good book, a walk in nature….?”  In this short few minutes we can allow the answer to bubble up because we are creating a moment in time to pay attention to our inner space, living from the inside out.

I personally can combine the words “workout” and “fun”.  It is fun to walk or cycle or go to a yoga class.  It is fun to bat the tennis ball back and forth.  It is fun to interact with a pet and a ball.  It is fun to chase and be chased by a 2 year old.  And you?  What was the last “fun” experience you had?  I recently walked around Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights here in San Francisco with a friend and a book on the architecture of Maybeck, Farr and Coxhead.  This was fun!

To me the spiritual connection is about tuning in with gratitude for our life force, vitality and energy.  I have a statement I use to express gratitude.  “I totally love the continuous flow of ________ into my life.  This makes me feel ______.

You can fill in the blanks.  I totally love the continuous flow of ideas into my life.  This makes me feel unique.  I totally love the continuous flow of money into my life.  This makes me feel successful.  I totally love the continuous flow of healing energy into my body.  This makes me healthy.

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

I am healthy, I am happy, I am loved, I am loving!