For FALL 2010's delicious offerings of books, art, food, film, and unique travel--check out the NEW ISSUE of our online magazine FEAST--you will not go away hungry-- http://www.feastofbooks.com/

Between issues, read our blog posts as we and our special guests share thoughts, ideas, and recommendations about books, art, food, film, and travel. We love to hear from our readers, so please post a comment! Thanks-- Rosemary Carstens, editor

SNAX ONLINE is moving during the first quarter of 2011 -- stay tuned!

Snax Online is undergoing a redesign and will be moving to a new location. Check back from time to time for a link. In its new format, this blog will cover a wider range of topics but also its usual five. In the meantime, keep up with what's happening in the world of books, art, food, film, and travel at http://www.FEASTofBooks.com --

See you in 2011!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010—Balancing Body, Brain, and Spirit

This is my last post of 2009. I’ve been lucky in that my work has gone well this year. With this economy and the seemingly chaotic state of the world today, I feel grateful that I still have a home, creative work that I love, and that those who matter most to me are doing well. It’s also been a year of personal challenges, with family members fighting illnesses, dealing with my own not-as-reliable body, trying not to be overwhelmed with anxiety about the future. It’s time to reflect on the past 12 months and plan for the months to come. I hope when you’ve read this, you’ll take a moment to comment and let me know at least one thing you plan to strive for this coming year. Put it out there and make it happen!

Many people tell me they don’t like to make New Year’s resolutions because they just feel they’ve failed when they don’t carry through. I’ve always made resolutions, but see them more as an attempt to shape my life’s direction, not as an imperative. And I’m flexible about them—if I start ambitiously down a path and see it’s not for me, I turn back and take another route. Agility not rigidity is the way to go.

The key word for me in 2010 is “BALANCE.” Some years I have burned out completely from too many hours at the computer, too many projects with pressured deadlines, too much “monkey brain” thinking about things I cannot control. In those times, I let my physical fitness slide, don’t paint or draw, scan books instead of absorbing them thoughtfully, drink and eat too much, and leave my spiritual life sitting on the roadside waiting for a long-overdue ride.

It’s said that speaking or writing about your goals helps to solidify them, so here are mine in the three areas I want to balance:

1. BODY: I used to work out five days a week. Now I can’t or the body protests and I end up with injuries. But I’ve worked out a pretty good, doable plan that I’ll try to hold to in 2010. Beginning the week with an active-style yoga, which keeps me pretty much pain free, rest a day, work out in my home gym for an hour, including 30 minutes of aerobics, free weights, abs and pushups, plus stretches at the end. Rest a day, then wind up the work week with either a long walk, a Latin Aerobics class, or some other keepin’-a-move-on activity. And, oh yes, I want to do more motorcycle riding in 2010. Right alongside this admittedly moderate program is its important twin, diet. More fruits and vegetables, less red meat, avoidance of processed foods.

2. BRAIN: Even though I’m blonde, I still want a high level of brain action to go with a functioning body! I get a pretty strong mental workout with my writing and editing and all the books I read to review in FEAST. I edit a lot of scholarly topics, so I’m always learning from experts about topics I’d otherwise know nothing about. But I’d like to take another class, maybe something like Photoshop that requires both brain and hand and eye coordination, something fun but challenging!

3. SPIRIT: This is the one that always seems to slip to the side when I’m busy—and yet it’s probably the most important one. For me, this is not about religion, but it IS about finding ways to find beauty in ordinary things, being inspired to be more content with living more simply, taking in the wonder of the outdoors, listening better, supporting those I love, coming closer to the bar when it comes to living up to my beliefs. I try to feed this part of my life through reading inspirational books, hanging out with people I admire and can learn from, avoiding negative people and activities, looking beyond myself to see if I can make a difference in small ways.

Oh, I know, this looks like a ton of stuff to try to do, but it’s pretty much the same things I put on the list every year. I never get it all just right, but just like with motorcycling, the journey’s the thing, not the destination. I love this journey and hope it continues to shape me, show me the ropes, excite me, and carry me forward for all the years to come!

Now, tell me your dreams for 2010!

Happy New Year!
Rosemary Carstens


Cindy Morris said...

Rosemary dear,
I enjoyed your vision list for 2010.
I especially liked the last part-that the list is pretty much the same every year!
This year I hope to open more completely to an intimate relationship with a good partner for me and to put myself more out in the world with my teaching, inspiring others to reach for their Priestess Entrepreneurial spirit.
May we all move gracefully through our dreams and visions to the pleasure of the journey.

Oh yes, and I plan on having a lot of fun, no matter what I am doing.

Cindy Morris, msw
Priestess Entrepreneur and Astrologer-at-large

Rosemary Carstens said...

Hey, Cindy, I'm right on board with the fun thing--that's a part of the whole balance idea, remembering to laugh a lot, be goofy at times--tears find us, laughter we can look for--

Linda Tate said...

Rosemary--I am turning 50 this year so am in the process of a lot of life review, setting priorities, etc. (all while having fun, as Cindy says!). My biggest resolution for the year is to focus more attention on my health. I am going to spend my Christmas money on a few sessions with a personal trainer with my intention being to set some realistic goals and figure out how to achieve those goals. I hope to celebrate this summer by going on a lake kayaking trip. Yea! Thanks for the opportunity to think about resolutions. Linda

Andi said...


Thanks for a great topic!

Instead of specific resolutions, I like to have a focus for each year that acts as a type of mantra. One year it was "Try Something New." Another year it was "Do it Afraid." This gives me a gentle and general guideline for change and awareness.

I'm not sure what the focus for this year will be - it generally just arises at some unexpected moment.

I'm looking forward to it finding me!

All the Best,


Jerrie Hurd said...

This year I will learn T'ai chi. Already signed up for beginning class.

Kathryn T. S. Bass said...

I loved reading about your goals for the year. Here's mine: I intend to unshackle myself from the last of my credit card debt in 2010.

Rosemary Carstens said...

I love hearing what everyone has in mind for the coming year. The first of a new year seems like a fresh start in so many ways. Linda you are embarking on a wonderful decade! Andi, I hope your "focus" shows up soon and know it will come to you in a flash or a dream. Jerrie, Tai Chi has always been in the back of my mind,too. You'll have to let me know how you like it. And Kathryn, getting rid of credit card debt will set you free in so many ways--that's a goal we should all have!

Anonymous said...

Rosita, I resonate with your mind-body-spirit intentions for 2010. But my overriding resolution for 2010 is to make a FRESH START and avoid repeating the same comfortable experiences. Specifically, I want to recover my Spanish, become a much better pianist, and write more poetry. All of these are skills I once had but allowed to rust in the repetitive demands of mid-life. In this, my 70th year, I'll do something different!
Carol Grever

Laurel Kallenbach said...

I really resonated with what you say about burning out from overwork and deadline pressure, about not being able to quiet the “monkey brain,” and about letting health and spiritual priorities slide. It's like you read my mind!

I dream of wide-open time and peace of mind to be creative, to live a healthier life and to dream. Here's to creating the habits that will foster that awareness!

Happy New Year!

Gail Storey said...

Rosemary, your perspective on New Year's resolutions is inspired. I appreciate your beautifully articulated attention to balance and all its elements. I wish you and those who commented the happy fulfillment of their visions for 2010.

For 2010, I hope for so many things, everything from world peace to selling my Pacific Crest Trail memoir to learning to hoopdance, but at heart, I hope to deepen my awareness as a lover of What-Is.

ClaireWalter said...

I always resolve to 1) make and 2) keep resolutions. I've never been successful at #2 and these year didn't even get around to #1. You're way ahead of me.