Monday, November 24, 2014

SPIRITUAL SMACK: QUESTION MORE



There are only very few people I know who do not struggle with tension + anger. In efforts to clear the blockages that these negative energies create in our bodies + our lives, here's a little shift in perspective: rather than unconsciously or habitually reacting in self-defense, shift your point-of-view + ask just one more question. Take a step back away from your narrative + see that of others—let your words pass through gates. . .



Saturday, November 22, 2014

HIGH VIBRATIONS: NEW MOON IN SAGITTARIUS


This new moon is all about journeying into fresh, new beginnings . . . It's about embarking on a sunnier path and starting a fresh cycle in which we can tune into our visions and desires more clearly. This is a time of aligning with the highest level of ourselves + our deepest truth  . . .

Here are some insights to reflect upon tonight under the bright + supportive new moon // have courage in embarking on a new beginning:

Be encouraged at the New Moon, and breathe in the spirit of Sagittarius — let it revive your weary soul, and bring the twinkle back to your eyes…” “It’s time to seek out an inspired vision, one that is ignited by others also catching fire with ideas and enthusiasm. You become part of something bigger than yourself, while also sensing your unique mission, gifts to share… 

“The New Moon in Sagittarius happens a few hours later on November 22…It is time to honor the struggles and battles you have faced in the past. Let them go. You are getting a fresh start. What would you do if you were fearless? “You want to be careful not to over commit and under deliver. You don’t want to appear as the jack of all trades and the master of none. It is wiser to under promise. You can then over deliver. This will make you the hero and not the villain.

“With the wounded healer in focus we may find that some of our deepest wounds and pain around being loved, being seen and being accepted are up right now- but also opportunities for healing and releasing of the past can arise as well. “…So pay attention to your journey of empowerment, healing, awakening and activism. Take a stand for what you believe in and be willing to take a stand for Mother Earth as well. She needs our help just as much as we need her.” 


photo courtesy + copyright of Sarah Sherman Samuel
Astral insights via the magical Mystic Mama

Friday, November 21, 2014

BEAUTY BITES: ADAPTOGENIC CACAO MOUSSE


This chocolate mousse is a bowl of heaven in times of high stress. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a dark chocolate fiend and can go on for days about its euphoric + medicinal qualities. Avocado is one of the perfect foods you can consume for your skin as its beaming with antioxidant carotenoids, vitamin C + E, and monounsaturated fats that regenerate skin cells. 

This mousse combines the powerhouse that is avocado with sustainably-harvested cacao powder + adaptogenic herbs to stabilise stress-induced physiological + psychological reactions. It bring your body into homeostasis by decreasing cellular sensitivity to stress. Melting tension away, all with chocolate . . .

ADAPTOGENIC CACAO MOUSSE |raw, vegan, paleo | serves around 4-6
3 ripe organic avocados [you will not taste the avocado—only a pillowy cloud of chocolate]
5 tablespoons of raw cacao
1/8 a teaspoon each of turmeric, ashwaganda, + reishi powder 
2 tablespoons of raw, local honey or maple syrup if vegan
Homemade nut mylk of your choice // hazelnut, almond, or coconut go swimmingly with this

Put the pitted + scooped out avocados, cacao,  + raw honey in the blender, and begin slowly blending with about two tablespoons of nut mylk. Add the adaptogenic herbs [this is optional, but it won't be an adaptogenic mousse without them] + blend. Add more nut mylk until a pudding-like consistency is achieved. Scrape it out into a bowl, top with nuts of your choice, + a sprinkling of pink Himalayan sea salt. In joy!





photos courtesy of Athena Calderone

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

FARMACY: BEAUTIFYING WARM ROSE TONIC


This recipe has become my go-to in the cold winter days. It warms + nourishes my bones and feeds my body's ojas [Sanskrit for vigour in Ayurvedic tradition—it is the source of energy that feeds the physical, emotion, + spiritual bodies]. It is also a great tonic for when you're in need of a sweet little treat.

WARM ROSE TONIC
Steep a bag of herbal tea of your choice—I recommend tulsi or rooibos tea—in warm, homemade nut mylk—preferably almond, hemp, or full-fat coconut mylk. These alternative mylks mineralize the body + build bone strength. Add a teaspoon of ghee + rose water each. Sweeten with a little bit of unprocessed stevia or raw Manuka honey [if tolerated, optional]. Sip + enjoy!

photo courtesy of Luisa Brimble


Monday, November 17, 2014

FARMACY: MANUKA HONEY




As I have been recently tending to more friends who have been suffering from a seasonal bug or even allergies, I have come to realise even more how much I treasure raw honey. I use this grounding ingredient daily, especially in the current colder months, to nourish my cells with its warming qualities. 

My regular go-to raw honey is Golden angels Apiary's Wild Rose, which is locally-sourced in Virginia from bees that pollinate wild rose bushes. I prefer local raw honey as it builds the immune system up to fight local allergens. 

In times of seasonal colds or if I feel a little under the weather, however, I reach for Manuka honey. This unique honey is produced on New Zealand's Coromandel Coast by bees that pollinate the native Manuka bush that lends it magical medicinal qualities. It is a potent antibacterial, anti-viral, + anti-fungal tonic that have been proven to be effective remedy against dis-eases ranging from viral infections to damaged skin [I often smear a little dab on a fresh cut rather than chemical-laden Neosporin and let the healing begin]. To take it internally, I mix it with healing herbs such as turmeric or tulsi with some lemon in warm water to sip throughout the day. This is immensely healing to the respiratory tract as it coats and soothes any irritated tissue.

When purchasing Manuka honey, it is critical to pay attention to the Unique Manuka Factor [UMF]. This is a regulated + trademarked number that is indicative of the healing properties of the particular Manuka honey. The UMF ranges from 10+ to 25+, with a higher number signifying increased potency [and of course, price]. You can find it online or at a local, health food store such as Whole Foods or MOM's Organic Market.

A little tip for making a tea or tonic with this honey is to be extra attentive to the water's temperature. As Manuka is a raw + live product, its healing properties can be overheated and consequently diminished. Mix it as I do with herbs + lemon or make it an earthy drink by mixing it into some dandelion root tea with almond or full-fat coconut mylk.


photos courtesy of Kinfolk

Saturday, November 15, 2014

SPIRITUAL SMACK: REDEFINING PRAYER




Prayer is often defined by many within a regimented + strict religious framework, which consequently can have an alienating effect. W.H. Auden defines prayer instead as a way to pay careful attention to something besides ourselves, our judgements, + our preconceptions. It is a state of mind, a way of being in the present. It's a medium to pay concentrated attention to our surroundings, our relationships, + being in relation to those. May we redefine what prayer means to us with the intention of making every observance + interaction a prayer. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

FARMACY: KISHU BINCHOTAN CHARCOAL



I have increasingly been approached by people who are intrigued by the black stick in my glass water bottle. This black stick, as I explain to them, is a kishu binchotan charcoal. It is a clean + convenient water filtration system that is especially useful if you're on-the-go as most of us are. You simply wash off your new charcoal stick upon receiving it, drop it in your reusable water bottle [preferably glass], and allow it to magically absorb the impurities + toxins of unfiltered water. In so doing, the charcoal stick also charges the water with minerals like calcium and magnesium, which alkalinise the body. It does this by releasing alkali ions that increase the pH of the water to around 8-8.5, which consequently makes it a naturally made mineral water.

Kishu binchotan charcoal is not only for water purification purposes though! Here are other ways in which you can use your charcoal stick:

BATH: add approximately ¾ lb. of binchotan in hot bath water // this allows for the binchotan charcoal to emit far infrared rays that enhance blood circulation

APPLIANCES: place your binchotan charcoal by electrical appliances such as televisions, microwaves, computers, + mobile phones to block the harmful electromagnetic waves that they emit

DEODORISER: place binchotan inside your refrigerator to deodorise it + eliminate undated smells; place it in your closet or shoe box; binchotan also protects against dampness and molds // the cavities inside binchotan absorb the surrounding bacteria much like it does with the impurities in your water bottle

REDUCE, REUSE, + RECYCLE: each charcoal stick lasts about six months [after three months worth of usage, you can recharge it by boiling it in water to use it for another three months] // once you are done with your charcoal stick, recycle it by mixing it in broken pieces with regular soil. This will increase microbe activity + create healthy soil for your garden.


Used for many years in Japan, this charcoal is a type of oak branch that is sustainably harvested + carbonised to 1,000 degrees to produce activated charcoal // here is my source for binchotan charcoal

Thursday, November 6, 2014

HIGH VIBRATIONS: NEW MOON IN TAURUS


It's full moon in Taurus today, November 6! It's time to reconnect with your intentions, and surround yourself with supportive energy of the cosmos. It's a crucial time to remember that peace only comes in moments of stillness and reflection—so, pause and take the time to breathe into every single cell in your body. Oxygenate your body, mind, and reinvigorate your thoughts. 
Make an effort to unplug a little earlier tonight to revisit your intentions + manifest new ones. Here are some guiding thoughts to reflect upon tonight. Meditate if you can and make sure to soak up the beauty of the moonlit sky, trusting that your intentions will come into realisation. One of my current intentions is: ’I AM peace itself and therefore my quest is to BE peace itself.’ What is yours?
“This Full Moon is a good time to determine just what you value and want to stand for, create in your life and carry forth into the next cycle of your evolution.
“ The potential is intense raw energy being channeled into practical avenues for long-term results. Yet, the rawness of this potent energy may be internal building frustration, limitation, and out of control experience. It is prompting an important ‘catharsis’ of some kind by symbolically pushing on every button that needs your attention. Perhaps it is around trust, control, surrender, being assertive, letting go, being realistic and grounded, patience and so forth. 
"In periods of emotional intensity, irritation -and confrontation- it’s easy to lose connection with our basic sanity….Taurus Full Moon invites us to sit in a forest, by a stream, next to a tree or on a cushion and discover our solid ground again. What do we stand on? What do we stand for? Can we allow our true values to support us when the wind, and our hot emotions, blows?
 Insights via Pat Liles, Dipali Desai, + Jessica Shepherd respectively

Monday, November 3, 2014

SPIRITUAL SMACK: RELEASE BLOCKS




In a recent yoga class I took, the teacher had us begin in seated meditation with our prayer hands open right in front of our hearts—open to the healing that the Universe or Spirit may bring upon us. I felt my throat close up, my face lower into my hands, and I began crying. I had been running around, searching frantically for happiness lately that I never stopped to search for the emotions that had stirred up within me. In search of contentment and love outside of myself, I forgot to find the barriers within myself that I have built against them.
This emotion resonates with many of us who hurry to check the next thing on our to-do list rather than stop to check how we are doing; we are run down and, at times, feel lost. We are constantly searching for someone, for something—chasing life, chasing time, and coming up empty handed.


At some point, we need to stop chasing life, stop chasing time, or love, or happiness and admit that we can’t catch it. At some point, as Elizabeth Gilbert points out, we need to sit still and “allow contentment to come to [us].” Running around is, of course, much easier than letting go and sitting still. I have found this in my yoga practise, too, as standing on my hands is often easier than sitting still in a hip opener. The movement becomes our distraction and the fear of silence and stillness envelops our mind because we then have to face those barriers within our hearts and minds, letting go of control.
Letting go of this control is a scary endeavour, however, for those of us who “believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on the top of it which we personally turn, and that if we were to drop this handle for even a moment, well—that would be the end of the universe.” We compulsively seek ways to control life in fear of the unknown, in fear that if we let go of this false sense of control, the birds will crash dead out of the sky.
As I sat in that class in stillness, though, letting go of the handle I had been holding against my boiling emotions, I felt liberated. And as I watched this liberation and letting go continue into the week, the “trees did not wither and die, rivers did not run red with blood,” and my life continued on. The emotions that this yoga class and Gilbert’s mantra appealed to me—”Why are you so sure that the micromanagement of every moment in this whole world is so essential? Why don’t you let it be?”
Yet, as much as I believed in the beauty of the letting go, fear and questions still stirred up in me—what am I then to do with that energy instead? That answer came from Gilbert as well: Look for G-d, Look for G-d like a man with his head on fire looks for water . . .
Make it your aim this week to look for whatever it is that you identify as Spirit, the energy of the Universe, what makes your heart tick and connect to that. Meditate within its healing energy and love, and search within yourself for contentment that it will inevitably stir out . . .