Monthly Archives: May 2013

Mindful Living

Mindful Living Book CoverMindful Living, a compilation book authored by staff of the Miraval Resort & Spa located in Tucson, Arizona is a beautiful book.  At first glance this small coffee table book is aesthetically pleasing.   The cover is graced with an inviting picture of the Miraval entrance to welcome you to the experience of the book.  Even the inside cover of blue, green and grey lines creates a soothing pallet for the eye to want to go further in the book.

The beauty of the book continues in the twelve chapters each representing a month of the year.  The chapters include a feature written by a Miraval expert, a suggested exercise, meditation, spa treatment, and recipe, all to support “a key tenet of the Miraval philosophy”.  January, for example, the tenet is “Beginnings” and December it is “Celebration.”  And wait till you see the photography.  Stunning pictures of the Miraval Resort really bring forth the feeling of what it would be like to be there.  Then there’s the food photography which will make your mouth water.  The picture of the Pan-Seared Diver Scallop with Purple Potatoes, Chives and White Truffle Oil on page 20, inspires me to go ingredient shopping now.

But the most beautiful thing about the book is its central message, which happens to also be the title of the book.  Mindful Living or mindfulness is something I have been studying for the past few months and is why I wanted to check out this book.  For those of you new to the concept, here is an excerpt from the book:

Mindfulness is a conscious approach to being in the present moment – an elevated awareness of one’s surroundings and also of oneself.  It is a vivid perception of one’s choices, strengths, and potential.  Mindfulness is empowering yourself and optimizing your energy in order to live a balanced, healthier and better life, each and every day.

Having mindfulness as the theme of the book, the reader is encouraged to ponder everyday choices and be inspired to try something new all with the intention of supporting you to live your best life.  And that is a beautiful thing.


FTC Disclosure: I received this product for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

Chicken Fried

Memorial Day Parade Readington, NJWe are gearing up for a long weekend here in the United States.  Monday is Memorial Day, a federal holiday, a day to remember the men and woman who died while serving in our armed forces.  We celebrate with memorial services, parades and picnics.

Chicken Fried, a fun song by Zac Brown captures how I feel everyday, but especially on Memorial Day.

Here’s a sample of the lyrics:


Well it’s funny how it’s the little things in life that mean the most

Not where you live, what you drive or the price tag on your clothes

There’s no dollar sign on a piece of mind, this I’ve come to know

So if you agree, have a drink with me

Raise you glasses for a toast


I thank god for my life

And for the stars and stripes

May freedom forever fly, let it ring.

Salute the ones who died

The ones that give their lives

So we don’t have to sacrifice

All the things we love


If you’re heading to a picnic this weekend, bring along some Zac Brown with the potato salad to feed your SOUL.

Veronika Decides to Die

Veronika Decides to DieWhen I first saw the title of this movie, I thought no thanks.  The title alone, Veronika Decides to Die, just seemed too depressing.  The only reason I decided to watch it was because the film was based on the novel by Paulo Coelho whose writing I love and it stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (I am a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan).


The movie begins with Veronika coming home from work, pouring herself a big drink of whiskey and lining up a dozen or so pills.  She has decided to die.  You see Veronika already knows she has given up on her dreams.   She was a piano prodigy with a scholarship to Julliard, but her parents suggested she find a career.  Her life she feels is on a path that sucks so why go down the path at all.


Her attempt of suicide is not successful and she awakens in a mental institution.  She is told that her suicide attempt has caused a severe problem with her heart.  There is no telling how long she will live.  Veronika is mad at the doctors for keeping her alive and making her participate in therapy to address her feelings.  Even a fellow patient questions if it is fair to encourage her to recover her will to live since she is about to die.


OK.  I know what you are thinking.  “This sounds pretty darn depressing to me, Karen.”  I ask you though to give the movie a try.  At the core this movie is about everyday miracles and living your dream.  One of my favorite quotes of the movie is from the institution’s head psychiatrist, Dr. Blake, played by David Thewlis (Remus Lupine for you Harry Potter fans).  He says. “If everyone realized their dreams, this place would be empty.”

The Alchemist

The Alchemist Cover“The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life . . .”

The boy here is Santiago, the main character in Paulo Coelho’s bestseller The Alchemist.  Santiago’s parents had wanted him to become a priest.  Being a priest would make his family proud.  But this path did not feel right to Santiago.  He knew he could be a good priest, but what he really wanted to do was travel.  Santiago wanted to experience the adventures that would come from exploring the world beyond his village.  His father, seeing a desire that had once been in his own eyes gives Santiago his inheritance.  With this gold he asked Santiago to buy sheep and become a shepherd.   He knew that even though a shepherd was not a lofty position, it could sustain his son and by its very nature would require him to travel.  And so, as a shepherd, Santiago sets upon the journey, a quest to discover his “Personal Legend.”

To me, this book is a blend of great story telling and self-empowerment advice.  As Coelho puts it “to realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation.”  It is here that The Alchemist can give the reader a true gift if they are willing to take it.  People often question if they are on the right path to their own destiny.  But Coelho reminds us through this beautiful tale that the gift we are all given is the journey.  And when we tap into the universal current of life, every moment of our journey will lead us towards our destiny.

Read The Alchemist and discover where Santiago’s journey took him and along the way you may even discover where the universal current of life can take you.