Earth Day Meditation & Mermaid Smoothie Bowl

I’m doing a chakra clearing meditation today. And any meditation is better when you’re getting a little healing tree energy at the same time.

Here’s what you do to clear and balance your first chakra:

Get grounded into nature ~ actually being in nature is best but you can do this at home too.

Tune into your 1st chakra at the base of your tailbone and imagine the bottom of your chakra opening up and a cord going deep into the earth from your 1st chakra. Now take a deep breath and think about all the old, stagnant energy that may be around this chakra that needs to go.

The first chakra is all about safety and security, so think of all of your fears around these areas, along with any old memories or painful feelings that surface, and imagine them leaving your body and going into the beautiful earth to be transformed. Keep going, imagining all of this old energy and old fear and sadness draining out of your body.

Make sure to honour any memories that come up in this process and stay with them as long as you need to. Don’t rush it. Let everything flow, knowing you can come back to this another day if you’re feeling a lot of emotion.

When the meditation is done, imagine the cord filling you up with energy from the earth. Then imagine closing the chakra and take three deep breaths to close the meditation, breathing in the new and sighing out the old.

This meditation could be done once or could be done every day for months, depending on how many issues come up for you. Repeat the meditation daily until there is nothing left to clear and then move on to do the same meditation with your second chakra, then third, then fourth etc. Expect amazing things to happen along the way.

And, after the meditation, I made a vegan, earth friendly snack that’s nutritious and delicious.

Mermaid bowl

  • 4 bananas
  • 1 avocado
  • pinch spirulina
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk

Blend together and top everything with coconut dusted blackberries.

This rich, yummy bowl is full of good fat from the avo, anti-aging antioxidants from the berries and good carbs, minerals and vitamins from the bananas.

Happy Earth Day

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Tulip Festivals & Fat Bombs

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival started this week and, lured by online photos of gorgeous rows of brilliantly coloured tulips, a friend and I journeyed out to the country to tour wineries and walk through rows of pretty tulips. When we finally arrived at our destination we were sad to find out that vineyard bistros are only open a few days a week this time of year. Then, when we got to the tulip festival, well, only one flower had braved the weeks of rain and actually managed to kind of bloom.

As my friend and I drove around searching for a place to have lunch I said to her “isn’t it crazy how different real life is from the perfect images we see online?”

The reality though, is that although real life isn’t perfect, in a lot of ways it’s way better. Ok, we didn’t get to hang out at a fancy winery but we did find an amazing little bistro with reasonable, delicious food and funny, friendly servers. We laughed a lot and swore a lot at our misadventures (dropping a bunch of f~bombs can be incredibly therapeutic) and, although we didn’t have any social media worthy photo~ops of rows and rows of breathtaking flowers, that one little pink tulip that was almost blooming looked incredibly beautiful in the endless green fields.

So, I guess that our trip to the tulip festival was a fun reminder that the imperfections and surprises in life are actually where all of the sweet moments live.

So don’t fight it when things aren’t quite what you expected. Go with the flow and enjoy every single moment. Everything is probably going to turn out way better than you could have imagined anyway.

And, after a fun, muddy day running around the raindrop filled fields of Abbottsford, I cocooned in my cozy, little apartment and made these:

Raw Cacao Fat Bombs

Combine:

  • one cup raw cashews
  • one cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 T raw cacao
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • a little bit of water and a teeny tiny drop of honey

Pulse everything in a food processor, roll into balls and refrigerate.

Not super sweet but very chocolatey and coconuty when you’re feeling like a snack. These balls are full of good fat so will fill you up and are also very low in carbs so won’t cause any nasty blood sugar spikes.

Enjoy.

Biohacking

 

What exactly is Biohacking? You may have read about Silicon Valley exec’s biohacking themselves by excessive fasting and compulsively measuring their body states to have a competitive edge. The definition of the word, however, is to make changes to your lifestyle in order to “hack” your body’s biology and feel your best. Everything we put into our bodies – food, thoughts, exercise ­– all affect how we feel and behave. By biohacking yourself, you can transform your body to become more energized, productive and healthy, and you can do this in a very gentle way.

Five Ways to Biohack Yourself

  1. Go Sugar Free

Giving up refined sugar is one of the best things you can do for your body. Overconsuming sugar leads you down an unhealthy path lined with the following:

  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • mood swings
  • increased inflammation in your body (which lead to an array of diseases)
  • lowered energy

Also you don’t have to give up natural sugar in fruit and dairy. Added sugars are the ones to say goodbye to.  Soft drinks, processed foods, desserts, flavored yogurt, condiments (barbecue sauce and ketchup are the worst) and energy drinks will all be off of the menu. Also look for hidden sugar in processed food (ie: anything ending in “ose”). It’s shocking just how many places it turns up.

Giving up sugar can be a pretty tough biohack, but is also the one with the most rewards.

  1. Sleep More

If you’re not sleeping between 7–9 hours a night, you can have a touch of sleep deprivation and be putting yourself at risk for health issues. These issues include a weakened immune system, depression, trouble concentrating, irritability, an increased appetite and out-of-whack hormones.

So, what can you do to sleep more soundly? Keeping electronics out of the bedroom is key. The glowing lights from your smartphone/computer/TV tell your brain it’s time to wake up, not drift off into a deep sleep. Also turning off the TV and computer at least an hour before bed is also important as a way to wind down for a good night’s sleep. Last but not least, try turning your bedroom into a relaxing sanctuary. A pitch black bedroom (blackout blinds) with comfortable bedding and a diffuser filled with lavender essential oils is the ultimate setting for a good night’s sleep.

  1. Meditate

A meditation practice can reduce pain, increase sleep quality, lower inflammation and boost productivity. If you’re suffering from stress or anxiety, meditation can also be a really effective way of naturally dealing with symptoms. Establishing a daily meditation practice is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health – and it’s a great way to get ready for a good night’s sleep.

There are dozens of smartphone apps you can use to learn how to meditate. Some even have specific meditations for different purposes, like starting the day with a clear head or helping you unwind. Headspace is a great app to check out.

  1. Eat Probiotics

Ever wonder if those expensive probiotics at the health food store actually do any good? They might not. Probiotics are only regulated at time of manufacture and may not have any living cultures at the time of purchase.

Since a healthy gut is so important for, well, everything, adding probiotic rich food (sauerkraut, miso, kefir, plain yogurt) can have huge health benefits, especially when cutting down or giving up sugar at the same time, as sugar is an enemy of gut health.

Adding a couple of servings of probiotic rich food every day can help reduce belly fat, keep your skin healthy, improve depression and anxiety and boost your immune system. And it’s as easy as having a cup of yogurt for breakfast, miso soup at lunch and a serving of sauerkraut at dinner.

  1. Move your Body

For some people, an average day looks like this:

  • Sit in a car to drive to work
  • Sit at a desk all day
  • Take the elevator to sit in a restaurant at lunch
  • Sit in the car on the way home
  • Sit in front of a television set all evening

Studies are now showing how all of this sitting is really bad for our bodies.

The fix? Stand more and walk more. Biohack your way to better health by getting up and talking to co-workers instead of sending an email. At lunch or before and after work, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stand up and walk around during long phone calls and set a reminder on your phone for every 60–90 minutes to take a quick lap around the office.

These six changes aren’t huge but they all work together to create a healthier, happier life.

Happy Hacking!

Angels

I receive a daily email from a meditation guru named Light Watkins and one day a few weeks ago, the email that landed in my inbox said this:

“I had a conversation recently with someone who left her job and became a successful (and happy) entrepreneur.

Long story short, she had always envisioned leaving her office job, but was afraid of the unknown, and it never made sense to give up her stability to follow a dream—until she had multiple run-ins with her new passive-aggressive boss. Then she knew she couldn’t stay another day.

I’ve had similar situations with ex-bosses, ex-landlords, and ex-girlfriends, where the situation became so intolerable that I had no choice but to take a leap of faith into the unknown. And every time it worked out for the best.
I’m now convinced that these people who force us to take a leap of faith by making our lives a living hell are the real angels, sent to help us evolve and grow.
The Universe isn’t stupid. It knows that we don’t grow and evolve as much when we’re comfortable, and most of us aren’t going to leave a comfortable situation on our own accord—not without a “divine” push.”

Very interesting perspective and I thought of times in my life where this kind of dynamic had to happen for me to move forward. A situation literally had to become unbearable before I would take the sometimes painful steps toward growth. And then I sheepishly thought of times that my bad behavior had made me an “angel” to someone in my life.

A humbling thought but also a thought to spark some healthy self awareness and growth.

The Artist’s Way – 1st Artist’s Date

I had my first Artist’s Date yesterday. It wasn’t anything over the top and didn’t even involve the art gallery the way I had originally planned it to.

It did, however, involve happy dogs running through the snow.

It also involved my inner child, who grew up in snowy Ontario, feeling an incredible amount of joy at the unexpected West Coast snow storm.

I made snow angels, ran through snow banks with wolves (aka. off leash Kitsilano dogs), looked in wonder at the heavy, snow laden boughs on the neighborhood trees, stuck my tongue out and caught snowflakes on it and just, in general, marveled at the beauty of nature.

Then I went home and wrote this in my morning pages:

“Maybe after journeying through all of these years, occasionally having to jump through rings of fire, now is the time to gather all of the joyful things back into my life. To notice and remember every day all of the things, big and small that give me joy.”

It was a successful 1st Artist’s Date.

And now for some nourishing food:

Raspberry Banana Smoothie Bowl

  • 3 large bananas
  • 1/2 cup of coconut or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup raspberries

Blend together and top with Love Crunch chocolate granola and dark chocolate sauce.

The Artist’s Way

Last weekend was the beginning of Chinese New Year. The Year of the Dog has began.

A new year, full of possibilities and a clean slate to write anything you would like on it.

This year my biggest goal is to get back in touch with my creative side, a side that I have largely ignored since grade 9 in high school.

I used to be an avid sketcher, painter and dreamer and, sadly these pastimes all fell by the wayside a long, long time ago. Of course they would resurface in little spurts and gasp for air throughout the years but I always pushed them back down again, regarding them as trivial.

But 2018 is the year to lovingly restore my former artist back to health. My tool to help me do this?

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. 

This book is a time tested pathway right back to your sweet, forgotten artist’s soul.

2018 here we go!

Ps. In case you’re wondering, yes, I’ll be blogging about my morning pages, artist dates, discoveries and epiphanies, so please stay tuned. The adventure is just beginning.

Mindfulness over the Holidays

As beautiful as the Holiday Season is, it also can be a time of hectic schedules, overeating and drinking at holiday parties and occasional family frustration. All situations that mindfulness can help with.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.” – Psychology Today

How do I practice Mindfulness?

There are many ways to practice mindfulness and all techniques are a form of meditation, but the goal of any technique is to achieve a state of focused relaxation. You achieve this by sinking into your body and paying close attention to thoughts and sensations – without any form of judgment. This allows the mind to completely focus on the present moment.

Basic mindfulness meditation:

Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra. Notice each part of your body starting at your heads and ending at your toes. Allow any emotion to be present while doing this without judgment. Practice a relaxed naming of emotions: “joy,” “anger,” “frustration” etc. as your mindful meditation continues. Accept the presence of the emotions without judgment and let them go.

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

  • Higher brain functioning
  • Decreased stress
  • Increased immune function
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Lowered heart rate
  • Increased awareness
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Increased clarity in thinking and perception
  • Lowered anxiety levels
  • Experience of being calm and internally still
  • Experience of feeling connected

Gaining these benefits can be as simple as closing your eyes and being silent for ten minutes a day. This is a practice that is so easy, anyone can do it!