"Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing." — Laurie Buchanan

Laughing Buddha

It’s still too early to plant flowers in the terra cotta pots by our front door, but we can tell that spring is just around the corner. Regardless of the weather, our year-round resident — Laughing Buddha — greets us with his buoyant body language and effervescent smile that never fails to trigger a chuckle.

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Anatomically speaking, we all know that the most important bone in our body is the Funny Bone. For full health benefits, it’s imperative to exercise it on a regular basis.

Scientific studies show that humor stimulates the brain’s reward center in the same ways as sex and chocolate. In turn, this reward center secretes two hormones into the brain:  dopamine and serotonin. Also known as “happiness molecules,” these anti-stress chemicals are associated with the feeling of happiness.

As we grow older, the production of these chemicals in the body decreases, so laughing becomes all the more important with increasing age.

When was the last time your funny bone got a workout?

© Laurie Buchanan

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A Twist on Impressionism

Avid walkers, Len, Willa, and I tend to rack up multiple miles per day and we never fail to see tracks of other various creatures who’ve been out-and-about enjoying nature too:

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During our walks I oftentimes think of the famous adage — Take nothing but memories; leave nothing but footprints. It reminds me to respect Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants.

Both tracks and memories leave impressions:

  • Tracks in the earth
  • Memories in the mind

What kind of impression have you made?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Each year my friend Sam Juliano takes a book-by-book look at Caldecott Medal contenders and pens engaging reviews. One of his recent posts showcased Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain written by Jacqueline Jules with illustrations by Durga Yael Bernhard.

The captivating story offers a powerful global message that for me brought to mind the Dalai Lama’s statement: “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

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Numerous scientific studies correlate kindness with physical and mental health benefits:

  • Decreased intensity and awareness of physical pain.
  • Enhanced emotional resilience.
  • Increased sense of optimism and self-worth.
  • Strengthened immune system.
  • Reduced incidence of high blood pressure.

Kindness begets kindness.” — Greek proverb

Have you been a recent recipient of kindness?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Zenergistic Flow

Rather than make New Year’s resolutions, each year I select a single word to focus on in the upcoming year. In 2013 it was Peace. Last year it was Serendipity. In 2015 my focus word is Flow.

Not as in “Go with (or against) the flow…”

…but as being a vessel for zenergy that is positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing; a channel for peace, joy, kindness, encouragement, compassion, creativity, and Light.


An enthusiastic proponent of affirmations, this year’s positive supporting statement — I invite the infinite good of the Universe to flow through me — targets how I choose to be in the world.

“Feel it, flow with it, infuse with it, believe it. Time to let the magic begin.” — Trudy Vesotsky

Do you have a focus word this year?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Buddha Bowl

One of the many things I talk with my clients about is how we fuel our body — the physical package we reside in. A Buddha Bowl is one of the daily staples in our home. So in the spirit of a healthy new year, here’s how it’s done:

Find a unique, large-sized bowl that for you symbolizes nourishment and gratitude. And perhaps a pair of chopsticks to enhance slow eating and mindfulness. Preparing this meal should be enjoyable, relaxing, and creative. As you fill your Buddha Bowl, remember that you’re creating food art.

I found my Buddha Bowl at a resale shop — it’s 10-inches across the top and 3.75 inches deep

I found my Buddha Bowl at a resale shop — it’s 10-inches across the top and 3.75 inches deep

Farm-to-table means little to no processing involved. The closer to the earth we eat, the healthier the food is for us. I’m all about nutritionally dense fuel — foods with a high nutrition-to-calorie ratio. And it goes without saying, buy organic whenever possible and avoid anything that’s genetically modified (GMO).

50% of the Bowl — Greens
Raw organic greens: kale, arugula, watercress, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, collards, romaine lettuce, cabbage (red and green), and a bit of cilantro and/or parsley. Greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Note: the darker the color, the more nutritionally dense it is.

25% of the Bowl — Vegetables & Fruit
Raw, steamed, or roasted vegetables; mix textures and tastes — crunchy, sweet, bitter, juicy, bland — sprouts (my favorite are alfalfa), asparagus tips, onion, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and/or cauliflower florets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, peas (snow, sugar snap, or English), papaya arils, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, diced fruit; the choices are endless.

25% of the Bowl — Protein
Protein: beans (garbanzo, black, kidney, pinto, lima), cooked lentils and/or quinoa, diced hardboiled eggs, tofu, and/or maybe a bit of brown rice. Did you know that 1 cup of cooked brown rice has 5 grams of protein? Another great source of protein are raw seeds and nuts: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, hemp seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame, ground flax seed, pecans, pine nuts, chia seeds.

Dressing the Meal
Like the rest of the bowl, the final touch will vary from meal-to-meal, depending on what you have available:

  • Drizzle your favorite oil — olive, avocado, coconut
  • Splash on balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • Spice it up with a dash of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, maybe some cayenne
Eat slowly and savor your meal with gratitude.

Eat slowly and savor your meal with gratitude

What’s your recipe for a healthy new year?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Jetson Style Luggage

When we’re born we arrive without any luggage. No backpacks, fanny packs, briefcases—not even a small coin purse. But by the time we draw our last breath, many of us have acquired a large set of luggage filled with stuff!much of it debilitating. The strain from lugging it around is enough to break our emotional backs.

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People claiming their baggage

Have you heard about the “futuristic” type of luggage that’s powered by a Bluetooth remote-control? Hop! The Following Suitcase does just that. Simply aim your smartphone at it and it’ll follow wherever you go on caterpillar-like treads.

My preference is to “travel light — travel fast.” Carefully examining the contents of our baggage and offloading what doesn’t serve us well makes for a lighter life — creating space for even more gratitude, health, peace of mind, and joy.

Is your baggage following you?

© Laurie Buchanan

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A Bend in the Sidewalk

While Idaho is considered the “Gem State,” its capital — Boise — is known as the “City of Trees.” An unapologetic tree-hugger, I adore living in one of the historic preservation districts where trees are worked around, instead of cut down. Take this sidewalk for example:

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Talk about forward thinking! From my perspective, this is planning extraordinaire. Where tree roots might potentially cause a sidewalk to buckle, they swerve around the base, giving the roots a wide and healthy berth.

Even where trees sit much further back from the sidewalk, they take root growth into consideration.

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And so it is in life. With forethought, we too can offer healthy growing space to people, places, things, events, ideas, and opportunities.

What have you made room for?

© Laurie Buchanan

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