Sunday, January 4, 2015

HELP! I am drowning!

Another day, another frustration, another unresolved issue. Does this sound familiar? Well, if it does not you should read this anyway. It might help someone you know.

So, what is it this time? I am feeling overwhelmed. There seems to be too much going on and I feel like I am loosing the grip once again. Things to do, items to read, research to conduct, paperwork! And then there is my lovely family that or so precious, supportive and understanding but they need my time and there does not seem to be much. It's been eaten buy a Great White! It all looks like an endless ocean. HELP! I am drowning!

Not so fast, I know how to swim! I've been there before, many times before. There is help: life ring, boat, orrs, motorboats, submarines....... You get the drift.

But seriously, let's discuss this. As women, we carry many, many, many responsibilities (no offence gentlemen, Girl Power). We are expected to be smart, beautiful, loving, maternal, gentle, powerful, courageous, brave, creative and simply amazing. We fought for our rights for many years (still fighting for some) and now most of us enjoy the freedom of being who we are.

I love being all of the above and more but sometimes it feels like I am drowning in being me. Observation of my life taught me few things and one of them that most of the time I create this drowning situation myself. I am the problem you see. I push myself, I load myself, I frustrate myself, I drown myself. Yup, it's my doing! It does not help to be an Aries, we tend to start many things at the same time with great enthusiasm but not finish them (well, at least these are the Aries that I know, and I know quite a few).

So, how do I help myself? Is this disease curable? Can I be helped?

Absolutely! But how? Is there a doctor? Is there a machine? Is there a magical wound? Is there a special swimming instructor? Yes, yes, yes and yes!

Let's begin the saving process:

1. Take an hour (tough to find time? how about 30 minutes) out of the day (preferably day off) and try to find a quite place where you can be alone. This will allow you to relax your mind and get in touch with yourself.

2. Settle your mind and think about where the real issue lies (you are most likely overloaded).

3. Think about the possible solution and if there is a need for help.

4. Prioritize, apply the solution and seek help (if needed).

Sounds simple enough but I know it is not. Been there many times myself and the toughest step is number 1. You might say: "I wish I had an extra hour to sleep, never mind an hour for myself!". But ladies, trust me, it is so important.

You are oblivious to the fact that most of us have that 30 minutes or an hour in a day. Did you have a chance to see the new episode of "Scandal"? There is your hour! Sure, this is your relaxation time but will it help to make a difference in your life in the next six month? One month? A week?

I am not suggesting taking away your TV time all together. It just a little time away from TV land that can make your life more balanced and peaceful and get you out of the dark waters of "OMG, please throw me a lifejacket!". Does this make sense?

This might sound like a very simple thing to do. But it really is not. Most of us have a group of friends and colleagues that are up to date with the latest episode and you feel almost obligated to follow. Do not be afraid to be different! I given up TV first time back in late '90 early 2000. It was a super busy time in my life and TV was not helping me to make a difference. And at the same time movie and pizza on Friday nights were very special for my son and I.

Years went by, I got back into the TV mix and once again things got very messy. Now, I have taken control over my time and what a difference it makes! And with the advance of technology I am not missing a thing about happenings in the world, it is all at my finger tips.

You see, I also found that with ever changing world structure and constant unrest, watching the news was very depressing. There is so much injustice in the world that it was overwhelming and adding to my already full plate. I want to help but what can I do on the big world scale. And then I figured it out, less outside distractions and more focus on smaller task and finding the way of being helpful to myself and others.

The result is amazing and I am proud of the fact that just recently several people commented on how much I inspire them. That is the best outcome for me! Sure I am not perfect and my drowning struggles occur once in a while but I can see that the few steps above made a difference in mine and other people lives.

I hope you try this method and let me know what you think.

And in the meantime remember

Be Active! Be Involved! Be a Current Woman!


Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Battle, Round 1

I think it is very appropriate to talk about battles right at the beginning of the year. Violence is not my thing so there would not be a discussion about which AK is better, or who started the fight, or who is wrong or right for that matter.

The battle we will be discussing today is our internal struggle with who we are vs who are we trying to be vs fitting into a societal standard.

You might go like: "Say whaaaat?" and of course I will go like: "Here girlfriend, let me tell you all about it."

Hmmmm....Where should I start? How about my identity: Tomboy vs Girly Girl. Yes, for those who know me well have come to accept the fact that I changed. Growing up I was always looking up to my cousin Misha (I actually consider him my brother since we grew up together and were very close, hi Cuz!). He was year and a half older than me and so experienced everything before me: riding a bike, staying up late, going to school and of course learning English. I wanted to be like him! So it was not a surprize for my parents when I had numerous injuries doing boys things and then wanting boys toys (Doll? No thank you! But I would like that toy gun please!) and not particularly liking to wear a dress. And then came school years and my Mom always knew where to find me when she came back from work - playing soccer or hockey in the yard with boys.

Years went by and here we are in 2015! If you ask me now if I want to be like my cousin my answer will be: "Hell NO!!!!!"(no offence Cuz) Sure men do not have to deal with many things women do (women got a short end of the stick in some areas of physiology) but do we have some power! Just think about it: get your hair done, get your nails done, wake up those eyelashes, paint those lips red, push-up bra, stockings, little black dress and four inch heels! Girl I like to be you right now!!!!

And how about powerful business suites? Angela Merkle and Hillary Clinton - thank you ladies! Did someone say GIRL POWER?

I realize that there is nothing wrong with being feminine. I am still the same courageous person that I was when I guarded the net playing hockey with boys. I am still the same tough person that I was when I was falling out of the trees. I am still the same smart person that I was when I was winning physics competitions in school. And yes I am still the same strong person that I was when I was beating boys in various sports activities.

It is funny, I did not like to play with dolls when I was little and growing up in Russia did not know anything about Barbie. Now, I collect Barbie dolls (well, not the ones you can play with, they are still in the boxes). There is something very powerful about her! Yes, some ladies might suggest that I fell of the roof and hit my head because her and her life style are very unrealistic.

But ladies, she is a doll! So, it is all about the presentation! I see drive, ambition, confidence, determination and of course some "Oh my God! Totally!". And we all can use some of the later, it will help us to relax because let's admit, we work damn hard for everything in life! And don't get me started on things we have to put up with!

How about the dresses? Barbie has her own closet full of clothes! Brilliant! What a great idea for a young girl to learn dressing up! And what about creativity? Fantastic way for a girl to find her style! If I had a daughter I would most certainly buy her a Barbie and introduce the doll in the appropriate way.

So, who won you ask? Did I kill the Tomboy in me? No, he is alive and well and does come out to play once in awhile.

What I am trying to say here is that I finally feel that I am in balance with my identity. Society is very quick to place us in one group or the other. But I disagree. We all have different sides to us and I do not see the reason to choose one over the other. Trust yourself and get to know you. And then each personality will come out at the appropriate time.

With this I confirm that Round 1 is completed and it is a tie. Difficult to believe that highly competitive person like me is not calling a winner but I realize that life is about balance.

I would love to know your thoughts on this battle and hear about yours.

Round 2 will not be far behind, so in the meantime remember

Be Active! Be Involved! Be a Current Woman! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

To Meat or Not to Meat?


How is the second day of the new year treating you? Hope your year is starting on a health conscious note! And that brings me to the topic of today's post.

To meat or not to meat? That is definitely a big question these days.

In the last few years you probably noticed an increase of people that do not eat meat. Well, yours truly joined the party!

Yes, I am proud to say that it has been over a year since I have given up animal meat! And there is so much more......

So, I am sure you are wondering what brought me to this decision. There is not really a very definitive answer. But here are few reasons:

- Too heavy for digestion
- It is not the "real" meat any longer
- Carbon impact on the environment
- All those cute fuzzy creatures!

It has been an interesting year without meat. But this is not my first attempt! I have tried it twice before and unfortunately did not last very long. Considering that I grew up in the country that has a lot of respect for meat products this has not been an easy task. Here are just few samples of the meat menu from my Motherland:

- Pelmeni (yes, here in Canada you will recognise them as pirogies, well, sort of)
- Shashlyk (shish-kebab)
- Belyash' (plain dough stuffed with ground beef and fried, my grandmother made the best!!!!)
- Beef Stroganoff
- And of course don't forget many variations of cold cuts

Well, it is all behind me now! No cow, no pig, no sheep, no goat, no deer, especially no rabbit!!! Do I miss it? From time to time. Just like this New Year Eve, one of my favorite combinations for this
holiday is Jamon Serrano (Spanish ham) and fig or melon. Or another used to be favorite - fried Chorizzo (Spanish sausage). And maybe "In-n-Out" burger (this is the place where I had my last encounter with meat and this is me and my last burger).

Sure, sometimes I feel like I lost a friend, but was it really a friend, I actually think it was more of an acquaintance in the last few years. But what a difference it made for me: my health, my digestion and my overall state of body and mind. And just a sense of accomplishment itself! It is a fantastic feeling!

Many people ask: "So, are you a vegetarian?" The answer is: "I am not. I am a Pollo-pescetarian." Yes, I know it sounds like a religion or a country but there is such a thing. We are the people that eat birds and water creatures. And I enjoy both types tremendously! After all Russia also is well known for its fish products:

- Caviar
- Smoked Salmon (red fish)
- Smoked Beluga (it is actually not Beluga whale)
- Herring
- Shproty (canned sprats in oil)
- And of course Vobla (dried fish that you eat with Russian beer, fantastic combination!)

Back to "Are you a vegetarian?" part. Becoming one is a big step and I am not sure I am ready yet. And then there is "vegan", this goes even further. And honestly I am not sure I would like to go there.

There are many benefits to the lifestyle I chose but I do not push it on anyone. I am happy to share what I have learned and how I feel. But everyone is different and what works for me might not work for another person.

What I promote is a healthy life style and meat is not the greatest helper with that. Unfortunately, I still deal with cooking meat on occasion. My son eats meat and few of his favorite Russian foods are made with meat. One thing I can tell you, cooking meat now is no fun for me. So, my son will have to take the rein of Russian Chef very soon.

I will be sharing my experiences and menu items with you my readers. I would not consider myself an expert in this area just yet but will be happy to answer any questions. Just do not forget that I am not a trained physician or nutritionist. And if you do get an answer to your question from me, please consult with your doctor or nutritionist first. Remember, we are all different!

There are so many more things to share about my new lifestyle but I will leave it for other posts. In conclusion, I would like to thank everyone who supported and tried to understand and respect my decision. Yes, I am sorry that I am a pain in the restaurants now but I am not sorry about how I feel and look and of what I have been able to accomplish in the last year and a bit.

So my dear friends, the question "to meat or not to meat" does not have the same answer for everyone. I will not try to brainwash you with how wonderful it is not to eat meat, it is up to you. But one thing I encourage you to do is to do some research on the effects of eating meat (animal meat) and how it is produced and then decide for yourself. Good luck with your research and decision!

And do not forget

Be Active! Be Involved! Be a Current Woman!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Meaning of January 1st

Happy New Year and welcome to a full of potential, promise and clarity 2015!

What? Is it a little too enthusiastic for January 1st? Is your head hurting from the partying and loud music? Can you not stomach that healthy mushroom and tomato egg whites omelet with avocado that I had this morning? Are you not seeing what I am seeing?

Let's snap out of a "mean girl" mode (that is not me after all) and think about January 1st for a moment. And really think about it! What does it mean to you?

And while you are thinking, I will share my opinions. By now you should know me a little so don't tell me that I have not warn you. Here they come:

1. Get back to basics!

Surprise! I only have one major statement today, that is it! Very simple and very basic! But since we already established a fact that you know me a little, you will of course expect elaboration.

What does "back to basics" mean to me on this January 1st, 2015? It means a lot: it means that doors are wide open, it means that anything is possible and most importantly it means I found myself. Yes, "basic me" with my intrinsic sense of self, my zest for life and my creative but complex mind.

As you learned from  my previous post, I lost myself in the last few years. That is one of the reasons that "Current Woman" has been silent since 2012. But after many battles, much reflection and soul searching the answer to all became very clear - get back to basics!

Over the years I have finally learned who I am and pretending or trying to fit in just does not work for me. The biggest lesson I have learned for myself in the last couple of years is not to settle. Yes, there could be many reasons why it has to be done but you loose yourself. And to me it is one of the most painful experiences in life!

You see the experiences of the last few years, business and personal, reminded me that I have my own mould. It is mine and no one else can fit it. So, why try to fit into something that is not yours? Does this make sense so far?

I am a human being first of all. I love people and think we are all wonderful, even those that make me angry (you are forgiven) and make me cry (we were just not a good fit). My wish for everyone is very simple - be kind and happy. But I know that no matter how hard I try, I am unable to make everyone happy. It is not up to me and I have to know when to let it go (even when it comes to the ones closest to you). Yes, some people might get hurt in the process but it is never my intent.

When it comes to business - basics is your foundation. Never forget that! In a complex world of technology basics still prevail. So, here I am going back, back to the starting position. Ready to roll the dice!

I can go on and on and on but hope you get the point (besides, there will not be much left for my future posts). To summarize it all I would like you to take 20 - 30 minutes out of your day today and reflect on your life. Are you where you belong? Are you settling? Are you really you?

Please do not read into this as if I am pushing you to make drastic changes and turn your life upside down (unless this is what you really need). This might not be the answer for you. And maybe all you need are just few adjustments and some tuning up.

Everyone is different! But the most important part to remember is not to loose yourself! The world is made up of very different people and that is what makes it so beautiful. So, let's keep it that way! You are here for a reason and your life is very important to the world!

I hope this post helps you to bring some clarity to 2015 and beyond. I also hope that it will help you to remember what a beautiful, wonderful, smart and kind person you are and keep it that way! The world needs you!

Happy New Year! Let 2015 bring you great happiness, great health, great love and great success!

And do not forget

Be Active! Be Involved! Be a Current Woman!