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Filtering by Tag: gratitude

Accepting the chaos...

Jamieson Van Loan

There is something in the air this week. Chaos, that dirty ol’ B, has entered my home and I am not happy about it. You all know that I meditate, actively practice mindfulness and gratitude, practice yoga, go to therapy- essentially, do my utmost each day to show up and be the best version of myself. But damnit if there aren’t weeks that just push me so far that I can do nothing but give in. I have to surrender to the monkey mind, to the daily stresses, to the roller coaster and allow the universe to swirl around me. My younger self would be inclined to freak out, probably drink a bottle of wine and export all my stress on my closest humans. Joy oh joy.

My current self acknowledges that days or weeks like this just exist and there is nothing I can do about it but keep on swimming. In the heightened moments of stress, I still practice my deep breaths, my mindfulness and reality checks, but sometimes it is not enough. Sometimes I need more. Sometimes I need a release. I need to cry. I need to yell. I need to run (literally, and if you know me, that doesn't happen often). I need to dance my face off. I need to eat a lot of Girl Scout cookies.

I like to think of these weeks as transition weeks. No one’s path is constant and steady. Our lives are peaks, plateaus and valleys. Sometimes we are winding up or down these mountains (or being hurled up or down) but either way, we are in motion.

I imagine myself on an island that is lovely and comfortable but I can see another island ahead and it’s magnificent and has way better fruit but I need to get there. Sometimes the ocean between these islands is calm and gently rocks me to my new space but sometimes the seas are rough and angry and I have to fight to arrive at my island. This week I paddled against the current with high winds and a hole in my boat. Either way, my motion is forward. I am moving through it. I am not fighting against the volatile universe. I am accepting the chaos and progressing.

Acceptance is critical in these moments. Letting go of control and expectations and owning that you may have to eat some shit sandwiches in life allows the darker moments a shorter lifespan. Acceptance of the uncontrollable aspects of your day grants you the freedom to separate, almost elevate, yourself from its negative grip. The chaos loses its power over you.

In yoga teachings, the Sanskrit word for faith is Sraddha. It is this faith, or energy, that you hold that your life is on its exact path. The concept that no matter what, you're exactly where you are meant to be at that given moment. The essence of sraddha always rings truer and louder during the darker or chaotic life moments. For me when the unanswerable questions bubble up inside, my sraddha deepens. Always knowing your life is where it is meant to be, good or bad, makes accepting the chaos easier.

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching (where did this year go?!), chaotic weeks like this inspire the most gratitude for me. Eating shit sandwiches reminds me of how great my life truly is.

As an ode to Thanksgiving next week, here are some excerpts from my gratitude journal:

I am grateful for the people in my tribe who support me relentlessly and aggressively. My best friends who never allow me to accept second best or settle and push me towards gold.

I am grateful for my family who have seen me and supported me at my best and worst. They are the foundation that I stand upon.

I am grateful for the people who make me belly laugh, who heighten my joy, who brighten even my best days.
 

I am grateful that I have the luxury to pursue my passion each and every day. 

I am grateful for my health. For without it, I would be nowhere. 

What are you grateful for?
Write it down, say it aloud. Shout it from your heart!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week! Squeeze your loved ones and tell them what you love about them.

Be love, share love. xo

Are you absorbing life’s lessons?

Jamieson Van Loan

There is a quote I posted on social media that said “anything that annoys you is teaching you patience. Anyone who abandons you is teaching you to stand up on your own two feet. Anything that angers you is teaching you forgiveness and compassion. Anything that has power over you is teaching you how to take your power back. Anything you hate is teaching you unconditional love. Anything you fear is teaching you courage to overcome your fear. Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go."

The evolved within us knows all this. The question is: are we actually paying attention to it? Are we being cognizant of the signs and lessons around us?

I recently had the pleasure of meeting someone who completely changed my mindset in life. It is strange when you’re actively pursuing a certain mindset and someone can automatically spark that shift within you. It feels like the universe is speaking to you. This person was in my life for a blink of a moment, but they made me realize how much I was truly lacking. I had forgotten about this momentous person inside of me who valued laughter, joy and fun. It was not that my life did not include those imperatives; it was that I was prioritizing my work over everything else. I prioritize work over my sleep, over my friends, over my social life, over my family, over honestly, all the things that matter the most at the end of the day. To look back on my past post about “what would you do if today was your last day on earth”- I was spending mine working. If I was hit by a bus later today, would my last thoughts be about not emailing that person back or regretting that I hadn’t spent more time with the important factors in my life. I am going to assume the latter.

It is not always easy to be hyper aware of the lessons in life. We are in such a tight hamster wheel of precision and routine that when there are moments of fluster or aggravation, we tend to just follow the emotions. But when we step back and realize that those moments that deter our constant are truly there to push us in a forward motion, we actually grow. My most literal and daily attribute to this is how I am constantly getting stuck behind the slowest drivers. Now most humans would be ok with this, but I am not one of those humans. I tend to be in a rush and wondering why the person in front of me is going eight miles slower than the speed limit, which is actually 15 miles slower than the rest of society. Through deep breathes and self-awareness, I realize that this person is really here to teach me to be patient and that life is not a constant state of rushing (albeit I am normally missing a train to nyc at this point). It has made me grow, evolve.

Every single time I am bothered by someone else’s influence in my life, I take deep breaths and ask myself, “what are they here to teach me?”

There has yet to be an answer that has not rung true for all aspects of my life. I am so grateful to the person who reminded me that fun and laughter is crucial to my purest existence. I am so grateful to the slow drivers for reminding me of my need for patience. I am so grateful to all the people who have made me explore my inner self in order to happen upon some beautiful discovery.

Remember this:
Without exploration, there is no discovery.

My takeaway this week is that we need to be grateful for the people who force us outside of our comfort zones. The people who rile us up or upset us or anger us or frustrate us, they are the people who compel us to hone our reactions and delve deeper into our personas. Be grateful for all of it. These encounters, although not always positive, create a crater of experience that can only be filled with wisdom.

If this is your last...

Jamieson Van Loan

Last week I went to three Paul Simon concerts in a row! I am such a superfan and I couldn't let him retire without seeing him as much as I could. His music has been such a strong force in all chapters of my life. Needless to say, it was amazing but I could sleep for a week straight right about now. 

During one of the shows, I started thinking about how he must be feeling. To spend your whole life following your passion and one day, even if by choice, it comes to an end. The bittersweetness of this seemed palpable towards the end of the shows. It got me thinking about how this was the last (of 103!) time he will play Madison Square Garden and this is the last time he will sing this song to tens of thousands of screaming fans. I cannot imagine it was easy for him. 

I began to mentally apply this to my life. What if this is my last time attending a concert at MSG? What if this is the last time I get to hang out with my gal pal? What if this is the last time I eat a NYC hot dog with the works (yea that happened)? What if, what if, what if...

Duh. We all know that we should live life to its fullest and be grateful and the whole she-bang but are we really practicing this? 

When your kids aren't listening in the morning and you're running on fumes and the bus is about to arrive and they can't find one shoe and you want to run away to a remote island solo...are you really telling yourself, gosh darn it- this is amazing and I'm so grateful?! Prolly not. And that is ok. You are human. But how can you reinforce the gratitude during moments that are stressing you out? 

The vicissitudes of daily life will always throw a wrench into our gratitude practices. Refocusing our mindset during those moments is how we build our self-awareness and minimize negative reactions. 

So do we actually implement this? 

1) Begin to truly recognize negative reactions and feelings when they arise. Be aware of how your body feels in that moment. Speaking for myself, when I get angry or upset, I feel a tightness in my chest. Now that I am hyper-aware of that physical condition, I can validate the emotion and tell myself, "This is how you feel in this moment but it will pass. It is just an emotion and not reality."

Have you realized this? That emotions, although they feel extremely real, are not reality. They are fluid mental states that can alter at any given moment. Do not let them own you. 

2) If you've been suckered into the negative realm, taking deep breaths is key. Before responding to the situation, begin taking deep and long breaths. I like to count to five on the inhale and eight on the exhale. It naturally calms your body and the counting distracts you from rash choices. 

3) Ask yourself this: will this current situation have any serious bearing in my future life? If your kid misses the bus and you're upset that you now have to drive him or her, what are the chances you'll even remember this moment in a year? The answer should be: zero!

Do not let trivialities affect your mood. 

4) Find compassion for yourself. In those moments where you react in a way you're not proud of, forgive yourself and move on. Do not dwell on situations that cannot be changed. It is so easy to over analyze and beat yourself up, but it literally leads no where! Stop analyzing, own the situation, apologize (sincerely) if you need to and move forward. 

5) Start your day with gratitude. I personally have a gratitude journal. I write at least three things I'm grateful for before I leave my bedroom. This, combined with my morning meditation, prompts me to begin my day on the right path. 

6) I am a firm believer in meditation. I try to be as diligent as I can with my practice but sometimes a week will go by and I have to reset my meditation motivation. It helps create inner peace and raises your frequency. Even if meditation seems too woo-woo for you, there is zero harm in trying it. Give it a whirl. 

Now even with these suggestions, will you move forward being a gratitude junkie who is cognizant enough to live each moment like it could be your last? Prolly not. Like I said earlier, we are human and we are flawed. But these tools will begin to set you on a better path. Once you become more conscious of your actions and have a heightened awareness of appreciation, your mindset will shift.

Mindfulness always pays off. 

The question now is, are you going to live today like it could be your last?
Or better yet, your first. 

Quiet Successes

Jamieson Van Loan

How is your week going? I will say that this strange weather from snow storms to rainy and cold to sunshine (and cold) to possible snow again this weekend has made me feel sorta sluggish and once again, unmotivated. I'm ready for a new season mother nature! 

This type of slothful haze has forced me to really dig deep for my daily incentives. We all have to get through our days- from driving kids around to meetings to laundry to all sorts of responsibilities. These are the mundane must-dos every day. I like to call these the quiet successes.

Quiet Successes can be as little (in my case HUGE) as having time for a (not rushed) shower, getting a workout class in, making one meal a day super healthy, actually finishing the laundry (does it ever end?), not forgetting that one item at the grocery store- whatever it is, it deserves a mental cheer! Celebrate ticking those things off your to-do list, as silly as they are. These are your quiet successes- that no one appreciates but YOU!

Our menu for next week is below. Try to add some healthy fuel to your body this upcoming week. With bad weather typically comes bad eating habits. Do your best!

Have a great weekend guys! 
Jamieson xo

Don't sweat it.

Jamieson Van Loan

It has been a very interesting couple of days. This snow storm hit and did some minor but crazy damage to our driveway. We had a live power line light a fire in our driveway that burned for over an hour until the electricity company could come shut down the electricity to the wire so the fire department could do their job. It burned a massive hole into the asphalt and all around it is scorched and torn up but hey, it's a freakin' driveway! Not a big deal at all. I am so grateful that it didn't do more damage. I am also grateful that me and my dog were not in the house when it happened. Thank God for awesome neighbors!! And for the amazing and tireless firefighters who stood watch over our house. I must say, Norwalk Fire Department is on top of it!!

This is all a reminder to not sweat the small stuff (ie how much your kids are driving you crazy after two days home from school) and to be more appreciative for the often neglected blessings in our lives (ie electricity and clean running water) and for the support of the community around us. And let's all hope this is our last snow of the season. I am over it! 

This week's menu is up and ready to order. You can see the menu below or by clicking HERE.  Maikana has some exciting things in the works. One of them is a completely new line using adaptogens. Do you know what those are? Check out the event we are hosting with our partner, Indigo Acu + Wellness on this new venture. It will explain all about adaptogens. You don't want to miss it!

Have a great weekend everyone! See you at deliveries!
Jamieson xo
 

Appreciate everything.

Jamieson Van Loan

I was listening to a podcast this week and someone said, "If the stars only came out every thousand years, what would you do?"

You would treat that one day in a thousand with such awe, excitement and appreciation. And yet, the stars come out every night for us to admire and appreciate and we stay inside watching Netflix and checking social media on our phones. 

There are a million cliches out there to hit home gratitude and appreciation, (stop and smell the roses, appreciate the small things in life, etc)  but this one really struck a chord. It might be that I grew up without TV in my life (Fiji didn't have a television channel until I was 12) and I spent most of my time in nature, but this appreciation has shifted for me. It exists in the pocket of "when I have time".  New goal: appreciate the beauty of this world. Right now. 

And equally as important - the beauty inside me. We are blessed (ugh, social media has ruined this word) to be given healthy bodies and we need to do our utmost to keep them that way. What are you doing to keep your body healthily fueled and happy? What are you doing to truly appreciate your health? 

Jamieson xo

Spread love like it's nutella.

Jamieson Van Loan

Someone close to me passed away this week. I am not sharing this because I want sympathy or condolences. I am sharing it because death of a loved one is the greatest reminder to be grateful. We all have a finite amount of time on this planet. We go to bed each night stressing over what is to be done or checked off our ever-growing lists and you never know if you'll even see tomorrow. I do not mean to be dark or grim. I, personally, always take life, and health for that matter, a little for granted. I think we all do. And when someone passes away that shed light into your years, you tend to take stock of your life and your remaining loved ones and you begin to seek more gratitude. It is such a shame that death or negative moments in our lives always tend to be the catalyst of a really in-depth scan of our existence. Alas, it is and so today I am truly grateful for everything I have, including all of you. Maikana has given me a purpose beyond what I had imagined. Thank you.

I ask all of you to hug your loved ones a little closer today and truly inhale the love that is constantly around you. We have much more than we will ever need and yet we are always seeking more. Just for one day, stop and be happy for everything you already have. 

Jamieson xo

How do you find your beauty?

Jamieson Van Loan

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say. I agree. But lately I've realized that noticing and truly appreciating beauty is directly correlated to what side of the bed I wake up on. When I've prepared and can tackle my day without undue stress, I tend to notice all the beautiful details of my day. But when I wake up late and start off crazed and forget all that I had planned and my mind starts rushing, I end up right back in bed at night without one single "oh wow" moment of the day. What is up with that? 

I have my health, a roof over my head, clothes on my body, food in my fridge (I have a fridge!), a car, running water, family, great friends, the list is LONG...I am SO fortunate! So why do I spend a LOT of my days running around, stressed out and not appreciating all the beautiful details of my life. 

To counter this, I allow for a few extra minutes in bed each morning. I am practicing to appreciate these gorgeous details in life by spending the first few minutes of my day counting my blessings. Even if I am running late, I take one full minute in bed and mentally go through all the people who contribute to my happiness and support me relentlessly. This practice has been helping me to view all the beautiful daily details of my world.

Maikana Friends, I urge you to do what you can to wake up on the right side of your splendid worlds and appreciate that the beauty is in the details. 


Have a wonderful & healthy weekend! 

Jamieson xo

Thank you.

Jamieson Van Loan

Thank you.

The past two weeks Maikana Foods has gotten such an amazing response from the Norwalk & Darien communities. I cannot say anything but thank you. I feel so honored and happy to be a part of such a supportive community. I really thought that when I left my tiny town of 120 people in Playa Grande, Costa Rica to move back to Connecticut that I would never find that same feeling of "community". Boy, was I wrong!!

I've had people reaching out to me with such kind words about my food- which is so lovely to hear. When you enter into a new business (especially as a chef because its based on your own personal skills), you are constantly in a world of self doubt. Am I doing the right thing? Am I crazy? What did I get myself into? Is my food good enough? Can I REALLY do this?

Your words and social media sharing and all the wonderful support ofMaikana Foods has been such an affirmation to my choice to bring healthy power bowls and food to Darien & Norwalk. I cannot thank you all enough. 

Your love is felt. 
Jamieson