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Saturday, December 10, 2011

cravings...


Merriam-Webster defines "craving" as "an intense, urgent or abnormal desire or longing."
I have to admit that my definition of craving isn't much different.
 I go through phases which sometimes last a few hours, a few days and sometimes even a few weeks or months. 
I have cravings for chocolates, warm soup and fresh baked bread with butter, sometimes all at the same time. 
These are my comfort
foods.

Delicious chocolate ganache cups with strawberry, chocolate or pumpkin
mousse at our local Whole Foods Market.




I tend to crave my comfort foods when I'm hormonal or emotional. 
Sometimes, these two things go hand in hand. 
But I've only recently realized that I also tend to crave comfort foods when I feel confronted, conflicted, lonely or sad. 
Let's not forget that we, people of all culture, turn to food to celebrate our many moments in life such as birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. 
But today, let's focus on how some of us abuse food, or worse, use food as a drug, without even realizing it. 
I have certainly done that since I was a little girl but only realized this recently.












Over-eating is a classic form of using food as a drug to numb painful emotions that might be stirring within us.
When we over-eat, we literally are stuffing ourselves so that we don't have to deal with the emotions bubbling up to the surface, which is our consciousness or our attention.
Food helps to temporarily neutralize the emotions.
Foods containing sugar or carbohydrates, help us feel good as they create a temporary feeling of elation within our body.
The sugar gives our body a rush where we literally get a "high" for a short period of time.
This is called a sugar rush.


We eat carbohydrates in the form of bread, cakes, rice, pizza, pasta etc. 
Our body breaks down the carbs and we experience a "sugar rush" not unlike the rush our body experiences when we indulge in sweets.
As the sugar works itself through our body, we might experience a "crash" where our energy level falters and we once again, crave a boost and reach for either sugar or carbs. 
Thus the vicious cycle continues.


Caffeine works in the same way as sugar or carbs. 
We experience a rush of energy which allows us to have a sudden and unwarranted boost of energy but then we crash. 
Thus the cycle continues. 
As a grad student, I certainly consciously used and abused coffee by over-loading my system with caffeine when I had a paper to write or an exam to study for. 
Even today, I turn to a strong cup of java when I need to prepare for a presentation or a training.


But I also realize that I turn to food to comfort me. 
I crave a warm, nurturing cup of soup when I'm feeling sick. 
Nothing hits home like some of my favorite soups served with a generous side of fresh, baked bread and butter. 
Some might say, I have a love affair with butter. 
Not margerine, not the artificial wanna be stuff, I'm talking about the real, creamy, rich delicious butter.
And might I admit that my behind is proof of our love affair. :)
My favorite soups include chicken noodle (when I'm sick), lobster bisque, creamy tomato, crab and spinach soup, miso soup just to name a few. 
I love soup!
I wish there were soup shops at every corner, like there are Starbucks, where one could walk in and pick from a variety of fresh soup, made daily. 
Of course, they better serve fresh, baked bread and butter too. 
Many restaurants like Panera's have done just that.
I'd say Panera's is a food junkie's haven. 
We can get a delicious sandwich on our choice of yummy, fresh baked bread with a side of our choice of soup. 
And they serve different coffees, lattes, cappuciones and shakes.
Ok so I digress.


Now I am not a dietician or an expert when it comes to healthy eating. 
I am struggling, like so many others, to lose weight.
I hate exercising. I might enjoy the occasional swim or the walk but I am just too lazy to actually change out of my comfy home clothes into my workout clothes.
But as I am getting older, (I'll be 40 in a couple of years), I am realizing the value of being healthy.
So I am a work in progress....and I do the best that I can do.


The purpose of writing this blog was to share a few thoughts and shed some light. 
I wish I could tell you about my daily yoga practice and my daily meditation practice but I can't because they don't exist, YET!
I wish I could tell you about eating clean, vegan, organic etc etc..
but I can't because I am a newborn in the world of eating clean.
But I do realize that there are a few of you who do read this...
And I'm committed to being honest and real with you all, thus I share.

I pray we all find our true balance in life!
I pray that we eat healthy and find time, energy and motivation to exercise on a daily basis.
I pray that we find time to connect with ourselves and our higher power on a daily basis.


The photographs were taken at the bakery of our local Whole Foods store.

Sending you love and light,
From one sufi to another,
anita






Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bole Chudiyan - Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (KKKK)

This song is just FUN!!!
It's from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham.
Enjoy!

Love and Light,
From one sufi to another,
anita

Monday, December 5, 2011

Swimming Iguana!

I saw something moving in the lake and was so surprised when this iguana swam over to the other shore and joined it's buddy!
They were too quick for me to get any pictures of them both.


Here is the iguana as he walked on shore. 
I had completely forgotten that iguanas are amphibians. 
I have seen plenty of them in South Florida but seeing one swimming was a first!
I just love seeing all the beautiful creatures in Florida's natural habitat!


Sending you love and light,
From one sufi to another,
anita

Peacock in the middle of the street!

This past Saturday, as mom and I were leaving our community, we stopped in the middle of the street behind this car. 
We realized that the car in front of us had stopped because there was a peacock in the middle of the street. 
So I jumped out of the car with my camera and started clicking.  
Mom got out of the car and along with the other people from the community, started admiring this gorgeous bird.




Saw him again a few days later. 
A neighbor shared that they are a male and female pair and have been in the neighborhood for the past three weeks.
It's one thing to see this beautiful bird at the zoo, but it's entirely different to see it in your own neighborhood!

So in sharing with friends who live in South Florida, turns out that others have seen peacocks on their roofs or in their neighborhoods and not just one or two but small groups of 5-6 of them...Amazing! 
Only in Florida...aka PARADISE!!!  
Shukranlillah Wal hamdullilah!


Just look how he moves his neck out of curiosity. We were watching him and he was watching us!

Check out this brief video!
Then scroll down to see the rest of the pictures.

I am always just amazed at the natural colors and markings!!!!
WOW!!!!!
And he was posing for the camera!

Check out his crown!


What a blessing!

Love and Light,
From one sufi to another,
anita


Friday, December 2, 2011

Latika's Theme - A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire)


This is a soul-stirring song that is best enjoyed with the volume turned up and your eyes closed.

Love and Light,
From one sufi to another,
anita

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

White Swans - literally! :)





















Just the other day, as I was driving on Glades in Boca Raton to go pick up my son and the carpool kids, I was on my cell phone and had stopped at the red light when I noticed these beautiful, white swans out of the corner of my eye.  They were just sitting on the grass off to the side of the road, pruning themselves while the afternoon traffic rolled on by. They were oblivious to it all.

I was so excited to see them that I chose to turn around at the next light after quickly glancing at the car clock and calculating that I was about ten minutes early, which gave me plenty of time to stop and take some pictures. As always, I had my camera in my purse on the seat right next to me.
I got off the phone...the swans were calling...:), parked and slowly made my way toward them.

They just ignored me and carried on!

Just observe how flexible their long necks are.









Check out their feet. I have another closer picture of their webbed feet.
White gorgeous feathers....black rubbery, scaly not so pretty feet.
They were quite tolerant of me as I inched closer and closer, snapping away the entire time.
These swans were entirely too comfortable with. These are city swans. :)
Just look at her beautiful features...black beady eyes...gorgeous orange/pink beak!
The two strips on her beak...her nostrils perhaps?
When I got too close, they would stop plucking their feathers, or eating the grass and just stare at me.
It's hard to tell if they're looking at me since their eye is part of the gorgeous black leading toward their pink beaks.
And once again, after realizing that I was harmless, it was back to business.
Again, notice how their long neck moves in all directions....
Their long neck even allows them to prune their back and tail feathers.
How cool is that!

Check out the feathers on the grass around them!
Ohhh Be Still My Beating Heart!!!! !!!!

Sigh!!!!!! Grace!!!! Beauty!!!!!
Check out the webbed feet.

Amazing aren't they! Black, leathery, webbed, scaly feet!
Totally functional.

Postcard!!!!
Ain't she a beauty!

I'm reminded once again, of being blessed with His beauty all around me. 
I just have to be present in the moment and the gifts keep coming! 
I do realize that there are days when we just are too tired, 
Too rushed, 
Too late,
 Too stressed, 
Too worried,
Too _____________ (fill in the blank)....you get the picture...

 Sadly, we all know what that feels like...
When we are in our heads and hearts and not present in the moment. 
I am aware that I am not sharing any new information here. 
I'm sure you've heard this before. 
BUT
We're humans...
We tend to forget...
And we all need reminders every now and then, 
To forgive ourselves, 
To stop over-thinking the situation, 
To accept whatever life/ God throws our way with grace, humility and gratitude,
To surrender to His will for our lives,
To trust that He knows us best and has the better plan for our lives,

So make plans, 
Do the best we can do,
But then, let it go...Surrender!
Please remember that we all only have so many breaths allocated to each of us...
Once we're out of breaths, our time is up.
So be in the moment with every breath you take.
Enjoy the journey, the process, your life!!!

Sending you LOVE AND LIGHT!!!!
From one sufi to another,
anita

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Eminem (Rihanna) - Love the way you lie


This is one of my favorite rap songs.
I enjoy many genres of music from hip-hop, rap, classical, ghazals, bhajans, Bollywood music and Sufi / mystical/devotional music.
This song has a very powerful message about domestic violence.
I get chills and am literally moved to tears by the end of the song.
I would suggest you watch the video and listen to the lyrics a few times to really grasp it all. 
In case you're not accustomed to rap, here are the lyrics.
Also, please be forewarned that there is foul language used in this song.
Please view at your discretion.

Here are the lyrics:
Love the Way You Lie Lyrics

[Chorus - Rihanna]
just gonna stand there and watch me burn
that’s alright because i like the way it hurts
just gonna stand there and hear me cry
that’s alright because i love the way you lie
i love the way you lie

[Eminem - Verse 1]
i can’t tell you what it really is
i can only tell you what it feels like
and right now it’s a steel knife in my windpipe
i can’t breathe but i still fight while i can fight
as long as the wrong feels right it’s like i’m in flight
high off of love drunk from my hate
it’s like i’m huffin’ paint and i love it the more i suffer, i suffocate
and right before i’m about to drown, she resuscitates me, she f....... hates me
and i love it, wait, where you goin’?
i’m leavin’ you, no you ain’t come back
we’re runnin’ right back, here we go again
so insane, cause when it’s goin’ good its goin’ great
i’m superman with the wind in his back, she’s Lois Lane
but when its bad its awful, i feel so ashamed i snap
whose that dude? i don’t even know his name
i laid hands on her
i never stoop so low again
i guess i don’t know my own strength

[chorus]

[Eminem - Verse 2]
you ever love somebody so much you can barely breathe
when you with em you meet and neither one of you even know what hit em
got that warm fuzzy feeling
yeah them chills used to get em
now you’re getting f........ sick of lookin’ at em
you swore you’d never hit em, never do nothin’ to hurt em
now you’re in each other’s face spewin’ venom in your words when you spit em
you push pull each other’s hair
scratch claw hit em throw em down pin em
so lost in the moments when you’re in em
it’s the face that’s the culprit, controls ya both,
so they say it’s best to go your seperate ways
guess that they don’t know ya
cause today that was yesterday
yesterday is over, it’s a different day
sound like broken records playin’ over
but you promised her next time you’ll show restraint
you don’t get another chance
life is no nintendo game, but you lied again,
now you get to watch her leave out the window
guess that’s why they call it window pane

[Chorus]

[Eminem - Verse 3]
now i know we said things, did things, that we didn’t mean
and we fall back into the same patterns, same routine
but your temper’s just as bad as mine is, you’re the same as me
when it comes to love you’re just as blinded
baby please come back, it wasn’t you, baby it was me
maybe our relationship isn’t as crazy as it seems
maybe that’s what happens when a tornado meets a volcano
all i know is i love you too much to walk away though
come inside, pick up the bags off the sidewalk
don’t you hear sincerity in my voice when i talk?
told you this is my fault, look me in the eyeball
next time i’m pissed ill aim my fist at the drywall
next time there won’t be no next time
i apologize even though i know its lies
i’m tired of the games i just want her back
i know i’m a liar if she ever tries to f...... leave again
i’ma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire
[chorus]

Love and Light,
From one sufi to another, 
anita

Monday, November 28, 2011

Kajra re - Bunty aur Babli


This is another fun song! 
This was before she married Abishek and Amitabh became her father - in - law.

Love and Light,
From one sufi to another,
anita

Conference of the Birds!

I've noticed that birds tend to gather at dawn and dusk at specific intersections.
It's almost like hundreds of them answer the call to attend the conference with their peers.
They tweet and chirp and fly around. 
It's really a sight to see! 
And hear!


They sit on the electrical lines running across the street. 
Aren't they amazing?




The amazing thing is that the birds gather together every morning at dawn and every evening as the sun sets.
It's great when we do get to be a witness to their conference!

Love and Light,
From one sufi to another,
anita

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jab se tere naina - Sawariya


This song is from Sanjay Leela Bansali's "Sawariya". 
The movie was disappointing but the songs are good.
This one is particularly entertaining. 
Women have always been exploited by Raj Kapoor in his movies from Zeenat Aman in Satyam Shivam Sundaram to Mandakani in Ram Teri Ganga Meli Ho Gayee. 
I wonder what Kapoor ji would say if he saw his grandson strutting his stuff. Enjoy!

Love and Light,
From one sufi to another
anita

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fanaa - Tere Hath Mein

This song is one of my favorite love songs. 
It's also beautifully filmed with my favorite stars, Aamir Khan and Kajol.

Love and Light,
From one sufi to another,
anita

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This year, I was blessed to be part of two family Thanksgiving meals: lunch and dinner.
Delicious food, prepared with love, shared with family and friends.

Thanksgiving Lunch!


Delicious turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing prepared two ways, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato souffle with marshmallows, Corn salad, cranberry sauce, black beans and rice casserole, broccoli, vegetables and cheese casserole.

Green bean casserole topped with French's fried onions.


Mashed potatoes, gravy, chutneys, broccoli, vegetables and cheese casserole.

One word, "Yummy!"

Sweet Potatoes topped with marshmallows.

The dessert spread included homemade chocolate cake, pumpkin cheesecake pie topped with pecans, chocolate cheesecake mouse, handmade desi sweets from Canada, fruit salad with marshmallows etc and chai! I could've skipped the meal and just gone straight to dessert!

The dessert spread!

The BEST dessert ever!!!! Not sure what it's called but I call it, chocolate cheesecake mouse with chocolate dipped wafers, topped with fresh berries. YUMMY!!!!!


Nothing like desi chai!



The Second Thanksgiving Dinner!


Salad, Turkey, potatoes, asparagus, green beans, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, corn, delicious bread with butter, fresh key lime pie, chocolate cake! 


Simple but delicious linguine tossed in olive oil, garlic salt and topped with cheese.



Then this gorgeous wooden tea box from Mexico was brought out for us to pick our own flavor of tea. 
I chose the mint with chocolate tea! 
Amazing!




An amazing evening spent with old and new friends; talking, laughing, sharing!
Love and Light,
From one sufi to another,
anita