How to move through life's challenges like Xena the Warrior Princess.
We've all heard of Ayurveda but what about it's ancient brother; food energetics? I've become rather fascinated with exploring the energy of foods and how we can intuitively learn (or re-learn) to nourish ourselves. Food is more than simply fuel. Food is living energy and wisdom that is beyond the science and mechanics of calories, grams, and nutrient values and has profound spiritual and emotional power. Every food has a function or a role to play in nature (real food that is) and every food has it's own unique energy, personality or character if you will. As do we, being bio individuals n' all. We can use these characteristics to not only understand our own bodies better but to help promote harmonious balance in the mind, body and soul. Sounds juicy, huh!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, food is viewed as medicine rather than a form of entertainment. Don't me wrong, I love celebrating food with friends and family, any excuse for a food fiesta and I'm there, but when it comes to figuring out what food we need to eat on a daily basis to maintain the vibrant easy-breezy lifestyle we so desire then we need to understand what it is that YOUR body needs. Not the general public's.
Perfect example; chicken soup. We've all heard of chicken soup and it's miraculous healing qualities. Chicken soup for the flu, chicken soup for mobility, chicken soup for the soul. But why? Why not beef or sheep soup for the soul? If we break it all down to an energetics perspective we see that chickens are uniquely vibrant, energetic and animated animals. Where as cows, sheep and other animals are heavy and less radiant (cows are cool too just in a different way!).
We've know this for the ages and traditional people from around the world intuitively knew and lived by this. Still do! Since industrialisation, us "civilised" folk have lost touch with this intuitive way of eating and rely on modern science or worse, the media, to dictate to us what is "healthy". We are no longer able to register the subtle rhythms, harmony, and energies that food can convey and instead we restrict ourselves to a certain 'diet' that more often than not, completely goes against our own unique grain.
What do you see when you look at kale? Lungs? I wonder what it's good for then. Walnuts are another obvious classic! Walnuts are the only nuts that contain omega fatty acids essential for brain and nervous system function. It's a no brainer.
How about root vegetables, what do they do out in the real world? Well, they are vital for the absorption and assimilation of nutrients for the rest of the plant. They are also grounding, as they keep the plant from flying away during turbulent times.
Every food has a temperament or temperaments. Hot / cold, moist / dry or salty/sweet/bitter flavours, and food energetics determines how foods act on and move throughout our bodies. Using the principles of ancient Chinese yin and yang theories, we can choose foods that are right for own constitution, nourishing your needs and cravings and bringing it back into balance.
Red meat has a wet and thermogenic temperament and due it's proteins (as it has been re-affirmed for us by science) it causes a heating effect on the body. So if your a hot blooded, clammy individual, steaming at the ears whilst sitting in the traffic jam, then maybe reducing read meat and replace it with cooler, dryer foods will not only have physical effects on the body will have a cooling effect your emotional state as well.
Eating right for your own body does not have to be molecular science. But by using western nutrition facts and ancient eastern wisdom we can create a lifestyle diet that balances our bodies and adapts with us as we grown and change throughout the seasons It's not something that needs to be memorised or intellectually analysed because we already intuitively know what our bodies need. Tuning in and listening to our bodies is a practise within itself, by incorporating some simple spiritual practices like mediation, mindfulness we begin to become more sensitive to our needs. But this wouldn't be a good theory if it didn't come with some guidelines so here are some hot tips for you to start incorporating energetics into your life;
Food Character Observations:
Observe food the same way you would observe another person; dark hair or light hair, lean body or muscular body, big smile or sadness, well dressed or conservative, fatigued or high energy. By observing foods unique characteristics and gain an understanding around how they grow and develop can give you insight into how a particular food can nourish you through its correlations to your body and mind. Same goes with animals, but you can also observe their behavioural characteristics, keeping in mind the difference between farmed animals or free range animals.
History and Origin:
How long has the food been consumed by humans? Sweet potatoes have been grown and consumed by Asian and South American peoples for thousands of years. Chickens have provided nourishment for Asians and Middle Eastern peoples for 7 to 10 thousand years. Whole grains have been essential foods for 20 thousand years or more. In fact, the primary changes in the human diet is in food quality and most of these food changes only occurred in only last two hundred years.
Also, where did the food originate from? I'm not suggesting that someone living in the mountains thousands of miles from the sea should never, ever eat fish or sea vegetables. But knowing these foods and their original sources of nourishment can assist in making appropriate choices in your diet.
Bring your awareness to food Quality:
Instead of paying attention to “fat-free” or “whole grain”, rather take into consideration the quality. Our food quality can be basically determined by the naturalness of it and whether it is artificial or not. By sourcing naturally grown and naturally raised foods (as best we can), we become aware of the true nature of the food AND we create a healthy, conscious relationship to it (so much more rewarding than opening a cardboard box). Food that is grown with chemicals and preservatives, or those that are factory farmed with added hormones and genetically altered represent the lowest quality foods available for human consumption. Bottom line!
There are many fears surrounding foods today but most of these food fears can easily be reduced by first eliminating non food foods from ones diet and replacing them with real traditional foods.
I used to really trip myself up when it came to my 'better life' attempts in the past. This is because I was starting with the cloudy belief that if I lost those kilos, got a man to love me, got in with the cool girls or had a fruitful business, only then we would I be perfect, loveable, successful, SUNNY. Only then would I be... (fill in the gap) enough.
But then I saw the light. I think it's high time for a FULL 180 degree, reverse catapult backflip on the mindset of trying to transform from a place of "I'm not good enough therefore I need to change" to "I am amazing, clouds n' all and I deserve the best for myself".
Then we switch from an "I can't" mentality to an "I can" mentality. For example: "I can't have that cookie" to "I can have that cookie but I don't want to". It's not about saying no it's about saying yes.
We can't force clouds to go away and we can't run away from clouds. I tried! It's exhausting. How many times have you gone on a diet or tried to replace cloudiness with sunshine only to find that a bigger storm starts to brew and all of a sudden your back to old habits?
So how does one do this, cloud awareness stuff.
Two words: SELF LOVE
Or I like to use the three word version: RADICAL SELF LOVE
DUH! Seems really obvious right? But is it? I used to want to wail in the face of anyone who ever tried to tell me to "just love yourself". JUST, love yourself. If only it were that easy right? What even is self love and how on earth does one embody such a thing? I'll be sharing an abundance of self love nuggets with you moving forward but if you would like to take your first baby step now then click here.
"It's not about fat or thin, it's about managing thoughts and how you want to experience the world" Lisa Garr.
Clouds are a part of everyones weather system. Get to know your clouds. Where do your clouds come from? Once we accept and genuinely love these inherit parts of ourselves then we start to strengthen our choice muscles! Then we are truly empowered and strong enough to choose the sun instead of collapsing into clouds.
Once I starting adopting more self love into my life I naturally made better food choices. Everything seemed to flow effortlessly and I starting attracting healthy abundance in my business and relationships. Crazy, no?!
Start where you are. Clouds are cool anyway.
* Big sigh * You know, all this mindfulness business is hard work! Sometimes I feel like it's just me in my mindful army facing some kind of imperial force of samurai jedi knights led by Genghis Kahn. What does one do in this situation?!
It's like my mind is constantly being pulled away by past or future ninjas, and they haul my ass straight to torment town. For example, I'm sitting in a cafe sipping on a coconut with a gal pal, but actually, I'm not even there! I'm in imaginary land, frantically planning, organising and getting S T R E S S E D about something that isn't happening, or going to happen, or doesn't need to happen now or something that has happened and is no longer relevant. Hello cortisol and goodbye to any hope of digesting this beautiful coconut.
But today a miracle happened. I noticed that I naturally, without even thinking about it became present... Poof! And then it happened again and again, and when I wandered off some kind of magical muscle power pulled me back into the now. Perfect timing too as I'm in this seriously beautiful place at the moment. THERE IS A GOD!
Practising mindfulness is like going to the gym to build muscle. You gotta do the squats if you want that booty. And today, I finally started to see and the feel the rewards of my efforts. I think I'm getting a six pack. Watch out Genghis!
How's that for a transformational Tuesday.
Let's face facts, you and I both know what it's like living a fast paced lifestyle with that burning desire to succeed and achieve. We throw ourselves in the pressure cooker and live under the expectation that we have to tick all of the boxes, afford all the things, and have it all by tomorrow.
Lately I've been feeling all sorts of unbalance, and I recognise this now because I start to loose the connection to myself and whats important to me. My creativity dulls, I feel less inspired. I don't move my body with same vigor and vitality. My mental health weakens and I become more vulnerable to mean mind chatter, my relationships are effected and so is my spiritual and sexual wellbeing - not cool.
This a direct result of my non-stop pushing, striving, doing and 'making it happen' attitude and actions. Don't get me wrong, I love that I'm ambitious and driven, it's an innate part of myself that I love and admire, but it can also be a detriment to my health. There's a place for drive and this is about learning when to let go when to hustle.
Do you know the feeling? Here are some tell-tale signs that your pushing too hard and consequently disconnecting from your ultimate power source which is yourself;
1: Always on the go - This is when you know your in the danger zone. "I have to go here, then coffee over there, then that meeting with so-and-so then drinks for so-and-so, oh and I have to get do this one thing by tonight or else the world could possibly come to an end and my soul will combust and go to hell for all of eternity". G I R L F R I E N D. If your constantly zipping around from one place to another non-stop then it is seriously time to take a chill pill.
2: You use the word "busy" like it's fashionable - If there is only one thing that you get from this post, please dear GOD let it be that you drop the word "busy" from your vocabulary from now until forevermore. If need be, there is an alternative... Using the words "full schedule" instead opens the doorway for assessment. How much of your busyness is even essential? What can you crowd out (mind numbing social media scrolling for example) and replace with soul nourishing activities instead (moving your body, nature expeditions, love making, walking around the house in your favourite pair of fluffy penguin socks). In order to acquire that 'hustling in harmony' balance it is ESSENTIAL to block out "you time". You can literally do this on your iPhone calendar or circle it, highlight it and put glitter all over it in your diary. DO NOT let shame or guilt get in the way of this. You are worthy, it is your birth right and you deserve it, I am handing you a virtual permission slip as we speak. Period.
3: You no longer, or barely do the things you truly love - I've given up so many of my most cherished hobbies over the years. For a mixture of reasons. One was because I let the self doubt, fear and mean mind chatter rule my life, but also because I became too 'busy' for them (see, it really is a nasty word). Really what this meant was that I was either at a job that was draining my soul, constantly exhausted by my engagement with relationships that weren't serving me or, I was drunk. Sound familiar? Maybe you have your own reasons but rediscovering those creative, fun things that truly light us up on the inside (I'm not just talking retail therapy here ladies!) is key to any kind of self care, self love, you time, call it what you want girlfriend.
4: You've actually forgotten what those things are - What fills you up with warm fuzzies? What lights your fire? What warms your cockles? What do you really, really love? What did you love doing when you were at primary school? Sometimes we forget but also sometimes we have to completely rediscover! Experiment with new things, nothing wrong with a bit of trial and error. Do a heart-storm and write yourself a menu of soul nourishing activities. When I fist started on my path to wellness I had absolutely no idea what to do with myself in the clear, bright daylight of sobriety. I distinctly remember going to a live jazz bar one evening, solo and geared up on mineral water in the hopes that maybe I would spark my life's calling of a sophisticated, well cultured jazz enthusiast and connoisseur. Turns out, that is definitely not the case! It was a nice evening none the less.
4: Your yearning for change - Whether it's just in one region of your life or an entire makeover, wanting to be a better version of yourself and being aware of this desire is a sure sign that you need to take action. Easier said than done I know! Change isn't always easy. Check out Getting Diggity Down with Change for some epic motivation in the change arena.
5: Your suffering - Not all awakenings come from a place of crisis but if your feeling depressed, anxious, restless, frustrated, sad, angry or generally just living 'down in the dumps' then that is your body, your heart, your soul, your intuition, your higher power - whatever- screaming, shouting, YELLING at you for attention. It's time to listen.
Going inward, and reconnecting with yourself takes courage and is a life long journey. This kind of work can get deep and dirty and it doesn't hurt to seek a bit guidance. Hopefully I can be assistance but there are many other amazing resources out there too. For now I want to share some actionable steps that you can incorporate into your daily life today, or why the hell not you can even start them right now!
1: Take a look at your 'full schedule' and make space for "you time". Your gonna love it, honestly!
2: Mindfulness - I bark on about this all the time. Mindfulness is about becoming aware of your mind, mindfulness is especially useful if your mean mind chatter is LOUD like mine. You know those voices that say things like "your never going to be good enough to do that, your not smart enough, no one likes you, your fat, your not talented enough". Well becoming mindful is like becoming a WFC world champion against all that silly talk. Check in with yourself. Check in with your surroundings. Check out my Instagram for frequent mindful reminders =P
3: MEDITATION - I bark on about this even more! While mindfulness is about becoming aware of the mind, meditation is about stilling the mind. Not silencing the mind! That will never happen. We did not grow up in an ashram mediating all day deep in the himalayan mountains. There are countless mediation resources out there but a great one to get you started for now is Headspace Great introduction to mediation and specifically designed for 'full scheduled' modern folk like us.
4: Nourish - I don't just mean with food, although that is important as well. Our relationships, sexual health, and career all contribute to our health. Make it a priority to schedule in enough time for these soul foods as well.
5: Be gentle - BEAUTIFUL LADY. This is all a process, it takes time & trial and error. There's no point putting even more pressure on ourselves in our pursuit of 'inner peace'. That is completely defeating the entire purpose of learning to hustle in harmony. Be kind to yourself. Don't judge yourself. If you slip up, forget to meditate for a day, or a week, let it be a soft reminder for you to get back on track. No punishment needed. #progressnotperfection.
I'm officially making it my business to marry ease & grace with my forward life force. I love my ambition and I look forward to seeing where it can take me, especially when I have a happy, healthy version of my self in the drivers seat.
By the way I'd love to hear from you! Sharing is caring, let me know What's on your soul-storm in the comment section below and inspire the tribe with your awesomeness.
Is your internal tormentor continuously punishing you and draining you of all your energy? NEVER FEAR! You can free yourself from your mind, it where true liberation is. We can, infact, do it right now.
Are you Ready?
When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. Acknowledge it, say hi it, give em a little wave. Your aware, that's the first step.
Don't judge yourself! Don't become aware and then give yourself a flogging for having bad thoughts, that's just the same tormentor coming in through the back door and whacking you on the head with a baseball bat. Be kind to yourself, it's totally normal to have these thoughts.
Start to realise that there is a voice, and there is you - listening to it, watching it. You and the voice are not one in the same.
This I am realisation is creating a sense of your own presence. It arises beyond the mind, the ego, whatever you want to call it. Powerful isn't it? Keep practising. The realisation that your are not your thoughts. Can you feel the relief?
A little mindfulness goes a long way...
Seem as how it's autumn here I though what better time to have a good ol' chat about... drum roll please... CHANGE. Or more even, not changing. The resistance of change. The stigma that can be around change, not only from your peers (or at least that's what you think) but mostly with your self.
Well Can I just say, that it's time to get diggity down with change! Now lets be clear, I'm not talking about superficial change. You can dye your hair, lose 100 kilos, move cities, move continents, buy the latest fashion, get a new boyfriend, get.. all this new stuff but guess what, YOUR STILL THE SAME. Darn it!
I'm talking about real change, lasting change, that 'inner change' people always bark on about. That is where the real magic happens but it is by no means the easiest to acquire.
Sometimes what holds us back from doing what we really want in life is the worry of what other people will think of us. And sure, you might cop a bit of slack from friends if you decide to drink a water instead of vodka. You might get a raised eyebrow when you tell someone your new audacious goal for world domination. But what really stops us from change is what we tell ourselves. YEP, it's all you partner!
You know those 'crazy' people who walk around saying things/yelling things to themselves? Well, we are all those people. Except we just don't say them out loud.
How often do you have an idea for something that you want and KNOW will make you feel amazing, at first your excited, it feels great, but slowly slowly your inner dialogue convinces you that you can't. "Your not smart enough, your not pretty enough, your not good enough" and yada yada. It's like our inner tormentor is just sitting there on his/her throne, armoured up and waiting to attack on every good idea you have for positive change.
I was holding onto an old dream once and was too stubborn and headstrong to listen to myself and accept that it wasn't right for me. I held on so tight, for so long in pursuit of what I thought, and what I thought everyone around me thought, I SHOULD be doing. I end this made me extremely sick, mentally and physically.
We need to allow ourselves, give ourselves the permission to change even if we feel like we are letting ourselves down or like we are a failure. If you've been studying your whole life to a neurosurgeon but at the last minute decide you want to work four days a week as a psychiatrist at a mental institution because it makes YOU happy. Then that's cool! If your childhood dream was to become a supermodel and make it in NYC, but you get there and decide you'd rather go meditate in India because that's what makes YOU happy, then that's cool too! Let's raise a toast and say that change is freaking awesome, instead of letting our ego and inner torturess punish us.
If you wake up tomorrow and decide that you want to become a christmas tree decorator, a golf ball diver or a life guard at a nude beach because it makes YOU so happy that you could burst like a pinata. Then that is totally cool.
Your are allowed to change. And then your allowed to change again. And again! Tell yourself that you are allowed to change. Out-loud, like the crazies! No matter how long you've been going down a certain path, if it's not serving you anymore you can always turn around. It's toootally cool.
Let's go back to the 1950's and have a look at the jolly people from Roseto, Pensilvania. A conventionally 'unhealthy community' of Italian immigrants living in America. These guys were heavy smokers, who abandoned the Mediterranean diet for deep fried meat balls, soft drinks and a lot of red wine. Despite their somewhat debauterous lifestyle, the Roseto community had nearly no heart attacks between 1954-1961. This, of course, corsed for much speculation by western doctors and multiple studies were conducted but the only notable conclusion drawn was not about their physical health but more on their emotional and environmental health, as it certainly had nothing to do with their diet or genetics.
The Rosetians lived a Osho-esque lifestyle in a sense where everyone lived in a more primitive, tribal style community, sharing responsibilities of parenting, daily chores and finances. Everyone knew each other and lived in an 'open door' neighbourhood, stopping by afterowrk for a chat (with a few vinos), these people simply never experienced loneliness. They lived a life of love, feeling connected and like they belonged to a soul community that understands each other. These guys were actually really onto it! Here's a community smoking unfilterred ciggarettes, eating lard and slogging away all day in slate quarries yet defying all odds and duying of old age as a-pose to chronic disease like the rest of the American society.
When you live in a state of love your body releases oxytocin and endorphins that activate the bodies self repair meconismns. You know that feeling when your freshly in love and your bursting with energy and feeling like you can take over the world? Yep, that's oxytocin. And a few other things of course. Loniness is one of the most significant risks to our physical health, it's even been shown that lonely people are more at risk to being sick that those who smoke. But when have we ever been told to consider our relationships as a part of our health program?
Even the healthiest societies, with hordes of people who drink green juices, eat salads and have personal trainers still suffer from chronic disease and mental health issues. When we live a state of poor mental health, with no attention to our spiritual, sexual, or emotional health, our body is more often in stress response and therefore more susesptable to illness.
"No amount of kale is going to counter balance the poisonous effects of chronic repetitive stress responses in the body." Lissa Rankin, M.D.
We've been conditioned to trust someone in a white coat, who supposedly knows our bodies better than we do our own, to provide us with health solutions. We believe that our bodies aren't our business. We treat our bodies like we treat our cars. When they break down we take it to the mechanic to get fixed. But actually, it's never just one part of the car, it's the cooling system that's been affected by the water that you put in it that has gradually made the radiator stop working (OK, I'm not a car pro!). But mechanics aren't going tell you all that! Just like doctors don't always advise on the bigger picture.
Please don't take this the wrong way, I am by no means saying that western medicine doesn't have it's place and there is absolutely good intention there. But there is so much more to understand than what the doctor prescribes, and the real solution is more often than not, something outside of our physical health.
Our bodies know best and will instinctually tell us what is right for us. When you really start to listen to yourself you'll learn that maybe you don't actually need to lose 10 pounds, you need to let go of the destructive relationship\relationships in your life. You don't need to stop eating sugar, you need to start incorporating more self love into your life. And so on.
Lets try diagnosing the real reason why your sick. OK so let's say you've caught the flu. We can diagnose and treat that, easy. Lemon, garlic, raw apple cider vinegar, raw honey and all day in bed. But what about diagnosing the reasons why you have it in the first place. Where were you when you picked up the virus. What was happening at the time? What situation were you in that casued the suppression of your immunity and made you susceptible to infection? Did you have a run in with someone close to you? Were you going against your intuition and doing something you didn't want to do? Gain awareness around this.
It's not rocket science that we all need to decrease our stress responses, but how about we start looking at how we can increase our relaxation responses instead. We can do this by daily meditation, being in nature, having healthy fulfilling sex, expressing ourselves creatively, playing with animals and finding our soul community.
Ask yourself "what does my body need to heal?". Ask yourself "what is my body saying no to?". If you can answer that then you can write your own prescription. Learning to listen to your intuition is seriously powerful tool to have in your tool shed.
We can become victims of illness and let our illness control us. But we have the opportunity to learn from our illness, because illness is an opportunity for awakening. Maybe not straight away, your ready when your ready so be mindful to be kind to yourself and trust your timing.
"you cant force a rose bud to blossom with a hammer" Rachel Naomi Redding.
At the end of the day, it's important to relax with it and understand that it's about doing everything what we can and then surrendering as divine will always have the final say. Many of you probably know Kris Carr and her work with Crazy Sexy Diet and Crazy Sexy Kitchen. Here's a woman who is doing everything right and she still has stage four cancer!
The moral of the story is, you can eat all the salads in the world and still be unhealthy. Lets start re evaluating the food pyramid and start to incorporate other factors such as spirituality, relationships and career as these foods are just as important as what we put on our plate. Listen to yourself! You know! I know you you know! Because your body, is your business.