Strawberry Cream of Buckwheat – 3 Ingredients, V + GF

Recipe

Vegan + Gluten Free

Serves: 1-2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Buckwheat Groats, ground*
  • 2 1/2 cups Water or Plant-Based Milk**
  • 1 cup Strawberries, whole

Toppings (optional)

  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Chocolate
  • Goldenberries

Directions

Add the ingredients to a medium pot, saving the toppings for later, and put the heat on high.

Bring the contents of the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium.

Stir frequently until the buckwheat takes on a porridge consistency and the strawberries have softened considerably.

Remove the pot from the heat, pour contents into a serving dish, and add desired toppings.***

Enjoy!

Notes:

* You can get whole buckwheat groats, but it won’t get that thick porridge consistency. Simply mash them in a mortar and pestle or give them a good blitz in a food processor before using.

** I like to use half water, half hemp milk.

*** If you’d like it sweeter, I recommend adding some maple syrup or honey. The more ripe, juicy, and in-season the strawberries are, the sweeter it will be naturally. Try it first then decide.

If you’d like the dish even creamier, try adding a spoonful of coconut cream before serving.

Homemade High-Protein Breakfast Cereal

I use to start every morning with oats, a green smoothie, fruit cereal or something else that was rich in natural sugars, carbs, and fiber. I thought because I was consuming all the fiber, and that it was whole foods, I would be fine with all the sugar. I was wrong.

It didn’t take long (30-60 minutes) for me to feel like I had to lay down and take a nap after eating. Breakfast is supposed to offer energy, not leave me feeling more tired than when I woke up!

Some people can handle that kind of carb and sugar load first thing in the morning. My fire constitution body cannot. I have learned that eating something rich in protein with a balance of carbs and a bit of healthy fats is the best way to go for my body type and metabolism.

I have experimenting with different breakfasts (like this cereal – recipe below) and found that by eating less carbs and fruits first thing in the morning, I’m able to keep my blood sugar, mood, and energy levels all stable. Throw in a few drops of liver bitters to my morning water and I am REALLY good to go 👌

Comment below what type of breakfast (or no breakfast) leaves you feeling most balanced along with your zodiac sign!

Often our zodiac is very telling of what our body constitution is and how we metabolize different foods. I’d love to hear what you all have to say!

Homemade Protein Cereal

🌱 1/2 Cup Homemade Chia Pudding
> 1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
> 1 Cup Hemp Milk
> 1 tsp Vanilla
> 1 Tbsp Cacao
> 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
(Mix and let sit in fridge overnight)
🌱 2 Tbsp Beans (I used great northern)
🌱 1 Tbsp Nuts &/or Seeds
🌱 Small Handful of Berries
🌱 95 to 100% Cacao, chopped

Simply add it all to a bowl and add more Hemp Milk to enjoy as you would cereal 🌞

This cereal is rich in not only protein, but also fiber, omega 3s, b-vitamins, and antioxidants to leave you feeling satiated, energized, and focused throughout the day. All with just enough natural sugars to satisfy that sweet tooth without the crash.

Enjoy!

How I Keep My Hair, Skin, and Nails Strong & Healthy

There are 3 things I hear all the time:

  • I love your nails! How do you get them to grow that long?! Mine always break!
  • You grew your hair 12 inches in a year?! How?!
  • What do you mean you never experience PMS symptoms? No headaches, no cramping, no mood swings? You’re kidding, right?

The answer is always the same: Minerals.

Okay, it isn’t that short of an answer. Since going vegan, I have noticed a tremendous difference in the health of my body. I feel stronger, my nails no longer break, my hair has stopped falling out and can go longer without being washed. I also noticed my horrible cramps that left me debilitated in bed disappeared. I no longer suffered migraines and I would have maybe one or two zits during a period rather than clusters all around my T-Zone.

I wasn’t just vegan, either. I feel it is important to clarify that the real improvements happened once I went plant-based vegan. That means eating whole foods 80-90% of the time and leaving the processed stuff like NadaMoo Icecream as a special treat.

Why was this making such a difference? Plants are rich in vitamins and minerals that nourish every part of the body. Before, I was not eating nearly as much real, whole food. By making plants the star player and foundation of my diet, my body was finally able to receive the nutrition it needed to do its daily functions and grow stronger.

My hair and nails reflected this. I still had some slightly-concerning amounts of shedding during showers, and my nails still broke occasionally, but the improvements could not be denied.

Then, I discovered herbalism, the path I have now devoted my life to. This was a turning point. I began incorporating nourishing herbal infusions into my daily diet and this took the health of my body to a whole new level.

I started drinking teas with herbs such as red clover, red raspberry, nettle, sage, ginger, and horsetail every week. My hair gained more body and natural curl while also getting shinier. My nails grew even longer and rarely break unless I hit it wrong on something. My periods became shorter and the flow less heavy.

It is no secret out produce does not have the same nutrition in it as it did for our grandparents. Our soils are depleted and unable to offer the same nutrient dense food that helped our ancestors survive for centuries. By incorporating more herbs into my diet, I have been able to fill in the gaps that have been blown into our produce by the agricultural system, and my body has done nothing but thank me.

Now, I have grown passionate from experiencing such amazing results in my own life from the powerful effects of a healthy diet and herbal medicines. Now, I have the ability to offer all I have learned as a health coach and herbalist to you. I guide people to a diet and herbal regimen that is fit for their body and lifestyle, so that they may thrive and grow stronger with each passing day. If this is something you feel could benefit your own life, fill out the form below to set up a consultation.

Below is a recipe of a simple Hormone-Balancing and Mineral-Rich infusion to get you started on your own path towards happy and healthy hair, skin, and nails! Enjoy!

Strengthening Herbal Infusion

  • 2 Tbsp Red Raspberry Leaf
  • 1 Tbsp Nettle
  • 1 Tbsp Alfalfa

Put the Herbs into a Quart-Size Mason Jar.

Fill the jar with freshly boiled purified water.

Cap the jar and allow to sit for 20 minutes to overnight.

Once the infusion is done, strain the liquid into a separate container to drink.

Put the extra herbs in a soup, smoothie, in your garden, or compost them!

Enjoy!

Depression Happens. Here’s How I Adapt.

Let’s talk depression.

This is something I have been wanting to be more transparent about lately, as it is something I personally have struggled with my whole life. I use to look at it as this demon that followed me everywhere, consuming me from the inside out.

Now, I see it as another teacher that only wishes to help me look at the parts of myself I would otherwise gloss over, and help me grow.

First, what is depression?

“A mental state of altered mood characterized by feelings of sadness, despair, and discouragement. … Depression is closely associated with a lack of confidence and self-esteem and with an inability to express strong feelings. Repressed anger is thought to be a powerful contributor to depression. The person feels inadequate to cope with the situations that arise in everyday life and so feels insecure.”

Depression manifests in people in different ways and can have different triggers. I can only speak from my own experience, so here is what I found:

When I was depressed, it was because there was a part of me I was avoiding. It stemmed from fear and especially the fear to open up and be vulnerable. I put a cage around myself to prevent my own growth. A limit to my own ability to experience and participate in life. I told myself I was stupid and unworthy. I couldn’t see past where I was in that moment and made up stories to cling to for identity.

As I began unraveling these beliefs, I began to see gradual improvements in my mood. I told myself that I was worth it and I had dreams and ideas worth working towards. When I told myself I was stupid, I immediately turned it into “I am smart and have a great capacity to learn.” If I told myself I was ugly, I immediately listed off things I loved about myself.

There are two things that helped me most with depression:

  1. Rewiring thoughts. Changing the dialogue. Challenging the stories I held to for a sense of identity and turned them into the type of person I wanted to become.
  2. Learning to settle into the areas of discomfort and face my “demons” head on. Inviting the darkest parts of myself to afternoon tea and hearing what they had to say without judgement, then deciding for myself what was true and what needed to change.

This isn’t something that happened overnight. This was a long process of journaling, meditating, and observing the way I acted around others. I had to teach myself to live vulnerably and in my authenticity, first by figuring out who I was not (often – the person I told myself I was) vs. Who I actually am (someone full of creativity, love, knowledge, potential, and ability to grow).

This is a topic I intend to dive into more on this website. For now, I want to offer you some tips that have helped me improve quality of life and be gentle with myself during the days I experience a cold case of the blues.

  1. Nourishing the Nervous System

    The nervous system is what sends signals throughout the body and to the brain to tell us how to respond to the world around us. When we get depressed, signals can often slow down or misfire and increase our sensitivity to external stimuli. This can lead to symptoms of stress and anxiety. Meditation, Yoga, Qi Gong, and other forms of moderate exercise and breathwork help to oxygenate the body and strengthen the nervous system. It enhances communication throughout the body and ensure the energy is flowing smoothly.
    Eating a healthy diet rich in whole grains, beans and legumes, fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds can also help the nervous system by supplying it the proper nutrients it needs to send signals across the synapses. Minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium are all beneficial here to ensure proper muscle contraction and reduce tension in the body.
    Water is another vital foundation to a healthy nervous system. This system communicates using electrical impulses throughout the body. Water is the conductor for electricity to run through, therefore staying hydrated will keep communication channels clear and energy flowing freely.
    Lastly, as an herbalist I must mention some strengthening herbs I have found to be beautiful for depression and the nervous system. Milky Oats, Passionflower, Skullcap, and Lemon Balm are my absolute favorite herbs for the nervous system and are also highly beneficial for those who also struggle with anxiety. St. John’s Wort also deserves a shout out here. Though it is controversial for its usage in treating depression, and is often advised against, I have found it to be helpful in treating cases of apathy and lack of motivation. With herbs, it is best to be patient and experiment to find the best ones for you.
  2. Journaling

    I do not know where I would be without journaling. It is journaling that kept me from killing myself and helped me realize how my brain was dictating the way I viewed myself and my life. It also helped me to release all of the baggage that I was carrying until I got to the point where I could be honest with myself, my dreams, and the things that I actually wanted for myself in my own life. If you choose to journal, I recommend making a daily practice of it and try to do it for at least 10-20 minutes a day. Morning and night if possible. When journaling was helping me the most, I was writing everything down for almost an hour each day (I had a lot of time on my hands). Encouraging myself to sit and keep journaling – even when I felt I had nothing else to say – often led to incredible breakthroughs, and things coming to the surface I was unaware I was holding onto.
    Journaling does not have to be complicated either. There are multiple journaling prompts one could find online, or you can do it “stream-of-consciousness” style where you just pick up the pen and start writing. This is my preferred method.
  3. Loving Relationships

    When I was extremely depressed, I was surrounded by others who were extremely depressed. We seemed to all feed each others desire to leave the earth and complain about where we were in life. One of the best things I did for myself was create some distance between myself and those people and start hanging out with those who were living healthier and happier than I was. This encouraged me to live healthier and do the things that brought me joy, and enabled me to be an inspiration for those who I cared deeply about and were still struggling.
    It can be difficult to separate ourselves from relationships, even when we know they are negatively impacting our health. We do not necessarily need to leave people for good, but oftentimes by going away for a bit of time or creating more distance is all it takes for us to get stronger in our sense of self and confidence. Then, we may continue our relationships with a new view that allows us to be there for others in a positive way rather than continue to feed a negative spiral.
  4. Hobbies

    I find when I am getting depressed, one of the first things I neglect are the things I love doing. This is often because in those times of depression the things we love doing somehow stop bringing us the same joy they once did, or we doubt our ability or worthiness to indulge in our beloved hobbies. Keep a variety of hobbies under my belt has helped me incredibly to be able to keep my mood up and my body out of the bed for an entire day. Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves on those very depressed days is to just get up, get dressed, and do anything that makes us feel productive and gives us some peace of mind. I personally enjoy reading, creating art (even if it is using a coloring book!), cooking my favorite meals and trying new recipes, yoga, meditation, and getting out into nature.
  5. Clean

    Our environment largely impacts how we are feeling. Keeping a clean environment helps me to manage anxiety and clears the clutter of my mind, helping me easily navigate the way to the roots of my emotional issues. Cleaning can also aid a sense of accomplishment and make a space feel more inspiring to be in.
    When cleaning, try experimenting with essential oils to uplift the mood and boost motivation. They can be added to cleaning supplies or diffused in the room while cleaning. My favorites for depression are cypress, lemon, pine, rosemary, and sandalwood.
    Another important note here is the importance of personal hygiene. This is another thing that starts to give when prone to bouts of depression and apathy. Sometimes getting up, brushing the teeth, taking a shower, putting on a nice perfume and getting dressed is all it takes to start the date on the right foot. If you are finding yourself not wanting to get out of bed, try just taking a shower or bath and go from there.
    It’s the little accomplishments that build lasting and powerful habits that promote a more positive mindset.
  6. Avoiding Stimulants

    This one can be hard. I’ll be honest with you. Sometimes stimulants and even depressants are the only ways we feel we can cope with the gnawing emptiness that has made a home where our heart and lungs use to be living. I highly encourage trying to avoid or limit drug use, caffeine, alcohol, and even to an extent – spicy foods. Also, processed foods and sugar. The only reason I say this is because being depressed or anxious is already a sensitive internal environment to be in.
    By dumping extreme mood altering substances into our bodies, we make ourselves susceptible to greater crashes after they have worn off, leaving us dependent and craving more.
    I am all for a cup of coffee in the morning and glass of wine at night, but I have had to take great care to know and honor my limits by first separating myself from substances entirely for awhile.Try experimenting with the herbs mentioned above for the nervous system that will be more gentle and loving to the body without leading to crashes afterwards.
    Stimulating Herbs: American Ginseng, Garlic, Catnip, Angelica, Licorice, Pine, Red Clover, Milk Thistle, Cordyceps
    Calming Herbs:  Kava, Valerian, Chamomile, Lavender, Blue Vervain, Sage, Reishi
    Adaptogenic/Balancing Herbs: Shatavari, Eleuthero, Rhodiola, Ashwaghanda, Chaga
  7. Flower Essences
    Last I would like to give a shoutout to flower essences. I was a bit skeptical at first with these, seeing as they are made simply by putting different plants and flowers into a bowl of water, allowing that bowl to sit in the sun, then taking a few drops and diluting them into water and brandy. It is similar to homeopathy, as it isn’t using the volatile oils or other active constituents one would usually get from tinctures, teas, or pills. These are working on the subtler levels, influencing the energy field of a person and bringing it back into alignment.
    I was skeptical until the day my naturopath made me a personalized blend and I felt an immediate shift and euphoric feeling wash over me. Placebo or not, it worked. I now offer flower essences to my own clients and believe them to be incredible valuable for anyone looking to improve their sense of wellbeing. I recommend finding a practitioner who can make a blend special for you rather than buying single bottles from the store. It is more cost effective, and I believe you can get more out of it this way. You are, however, free to pick up single essences and dilute them yourself if you wish. Bach Flower Remedies are the most trusted and available brand I am aware of.

Do you have any tips for easing depression? Share below what has helped you on your journey!

Make Every Day Earth Day

Today marks the 49th year celebrating the Earth. In that time, people have been growing more passionate about preserving our one home and restoring this planet to its natural beauty. There is an exponentially growing interest in sustainable options and lifestyle changes that both helps us live happier and healthier, as well as everyone else.

Earth Day is a great reminder to celebrate that which gives us life – this planet. From the food we eat to the water we drink, to the cotton shirts on our backs. Everything we have comes from this giant rock hurtling through space. Even the dreaded plastic.

But why should we limit our celebration and care towards this planet to a single day? As a living being that supports us 365 days a year, I feel this planet deserves a lot more recognition. Sure, you may go out of your way to take your mom to dinner and buy her flowers on mothers day, but every day after that we do the little things to support the ones who look after us and ensure we are growing in the right direction. Whether it is Mothers Day or Earth Day, they are just fancy ways of saying “Today, Mom, I am going the extra mile for you in my gratitude for all that you do to me. I see you and I love you. Thank you.”

So how can we start spreading the love and sharing our gratitude every day?

  1. Quit Plastics
  2. Invest in Reusable Containers
  3. Create a Zero-Waste Pack
  4. Swap Single-Use Bottles for a Reusable One
  5. BYOB – Bring Your Own Bags
  6. Buy from Bulk Bins
  7. Ride a Bike, Walk, or use Public Transportation
  8. Get Involved in Local Climate and Environmental Initiatives
  9. Buy Local, Organic, and if possible – Biodynamic
  10. Start Composting
    1. “The Rodale Guide to Composting” by Jerry Minnich is a great place to start
    2. I personally use a Bokashi Compost for apartment living.
  11. Plant Trees
  12. Join a Community Garden
  13. Plant Your Own Garden
  14. Get Outside in Nature More – Bring Your Friends and Family
  15. Look for the Right Labels
    1. USDA Organic
    2. Non-GMO Certified
    3. American Grassfed
    4. American Humane Certified
    5. Certified Humane
    6. Animal Welfare Approved
    7. Bird Friendly
    8. Global Animal Partnership
    9. Certified Sustainable Seafood MSC
    10. Biodynamic
  16. Get Educated
    1. Documentaries that will change your life:
      1. Chasing Coral
      2. Chasing Ice
      3. Real Value
      4. The True Cost
      5. Cowspiracy
      6. More Than Honey
      7. Forks Over Knives
      8. No Impact Man
      9. Fed Up
      10. Before the Flood
      11. Rotten
      12. Sustainable
      13. A Plastic Ocean
      14. Mission Blue
      15. Wasted! The Story of Food Waste
  17. Switch to Renewable Energy Sources
    1. Most energy providers have an option – ask yours and do some research to find one that works for you.
  18. Thrift Clothes and Quit Fast Fashion
  19. Home Cook Meals
  20. Eat a “Flexitarian” Diet
    1. 80% of your plate: Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains, Beans and Legumes, Nuts and Seeds
    2. 20% of your plate: Meat, Dairy, Processed Foods
    3. BONUS POINTS: Go fully Vegan at least 1 Day a week, AND Cut out Processed and Packaged foods
  21. Join a CSA
    1. Fresh, Locally Harvested Food for Cheap
  22. Pack Kids Lunches with Healthy Foods in Reusable Containers
  23. Support Restaurants that Serve Farm-to-Table and Organic Cuisine
  24. Be on the Lookout for “Green Washing.”
    1. A common trend in restaurants, grocery stores, and brands is to advertise something as natural without it being good for the planet. Look out for the companies who only have your money in mind, rather than the planet.
    2. Example: The popular “Boxed Water” claims to be better for the planet and the people. In reality, it is non-recyclable and lined with aluminum, thus unable to break down well and polluting our bodies with heavy metals. Do your research before you hand over your hard earned cash.
    3. Learn More Here
  25. Teach Children about Food, Agriculture, and Ecological Systems as well as the Social Impacts of these Systems
    1. Children are the future and they need to know about the world they are getting into. Kids have an incredible ability to grasp difficult-to-swallow and complicated concepts. They are sponges that are quick to empathize and start brainstorming solutions.
    2. Go outside, take them to local farms, and engage them in the understanding and awareness of how this world works, where their food comes from, and the impact their decisions make on the planet.
  26. Volunteer
    1. Intern on a Farm
    2. http://www.wwoof.net
    3. http://www.workaway.info
    4. Join a Beach Cleanup
    5. Join or Organize a Cleanup for Local Parks and Neighborhoods
    6. Help Out at Community Gardens
    7. Look into Local Chapters with Sierra Club
  27. Quit Chemicals
    1. Swap out old household cleaners for the classic Vinegar and Lemon. Simply fill a spray bottle with vinegar and citrus peels and let it sit for a few days. Add essential oils if desired.
    2. Need something a bit stronger or don’t like vinegar? Try Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. It has you covered from Shampoo, to Dish Washing, to Laundry Detergent.
    3. Get the Lawn OFF Chemicals. Those Chemicals are getting on your family and pets, being tracked into the house, and are washed into our water supply. 10x more chemicals go onto lawns than crops. That is insanity. News Flash: Dandelions and Red Clovers are a sign of good health (PLUS They are edible and amazing for the liver!). Ditch the chemicals and allow the “weeds” to grow.
    4. By experimenting with different cover crops on your lawn (think legumes, clover, and other grasses) you can turn your lawn into a carbon sink! This means your lawn will be able to pull carbon out of the atmosphere and put it into the ground, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. How cool is that?! Take it a step further and turn your lawn into a sustainable food garden, reversing climate change and your food bill.
  28. Know Your Farmers
    1. Get to know the people who work long hours to ensure you and your family have food on the table. Hear their stories, support their service, and even volunteer if you have some hours to offer.
  29. Join a Reforestry Program
    1. Find Non-Profits in your area to support you in a reforestry mission. Many places these days could do with a lot more trees. Trees are natural air conditioners, plus they supply enough CLEAN oxygen for 30 people. This is vital in a world full of pollutants and burning fossil fuels from cars.
    2. By planting more trees and repopulating our forests, we also invite greater biodiversity and life of other species back in. Birds, Bees, and everything in between. This allows for more pollinators which help supply us with food and it will help pull carbon out of the atmosphere and back into the ground with the increase of healthy foliage.
  30. Only Buy What You Need
    1. By purchasing more products, we are increasing demand on production as well as demands on the Earth’s natural resources. Put time and consideration into your purchases before bringing more things into your home. Try going minimalist, and only surrounding yourself with necessities and those things that, as Marie Kondo would say, “spark joy.”
    2. Food waste is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, specifically methane. Did you know it takes 25 YEARS for a head of lettuce to decompose in landfill? When you go shopping, bring a list and have some recipes in mind. Stick to what you need and avoid impulse purchases. If you feel like you have more food than you will be able to finish, invite people over to share food with or give some away to those in need.
  31. Make Your Own Beauty Products
    1. There are numerous recipes online and on YouTube to make everything you could ever need, from facial moisturizers to toothpaste to hair gel. Get creative and experiment with different recipes that work for you.
    2. Low on time? Support brands that are already making zero waste beauty products.
      1. Axiology
      2. Elate Cosmetics
      3. Tata Harper
      4. Lush
  32. Turn All Lights and Appliances Off When Not in Use
  33. Swap Air Conditioning for Open Windows
    1. Keep the windows open at night and close them during the day to trap cool air on exceptionally hot days.
    2. Keeping trees planted near the house also offers a cooling effect on houses, reducing the need to use the air conditioning.
  34. Demand Participation of Local Grocery Stores
    1. Get your friends, family, and community involved. Ask the stores to ban plastic and offer package-free produce.
    2. Ask them to fight food waste by donating leftover food to companies like forgottenharvest.org
  35. Go to Town Hall Meetings
    1. Actively advocate for the changes you wish to see in our community towards sustainable practices. Get your friends and family to join as well and get others passionate about transforming the community into one that helps the planet rather than destroys it.
  36. Contemplate the Sacredness of it All
    1. Every part of you is made from the Earth. It is to the Earth we all return. The Sun, Moon, Water, and Microbes, as well as Plants and Animals all collaborate to help grow the food that ends up on our tables. Farmers work from dawn to dusk to ensure a healthy harvest, and many more people work together to get that food on trucks, in stores, and into our hands. We often take this all for granted because of how easily accessible our food is now. Take a step back and honor the work that goes into it, and all of those who worked with this land long before we were ever here. The backs of the slaves the abundance of this land was built upon. The blood of the natives that fertilized these soils. There is much more to a meal than finding a nice recipe and swiping a credit card. This Earth was billions of years in the making, and it was a very chaotic and often brutal journey to get where we are now. Before each meal, I encourage you to bow your head in remembrance of these facts and give thanks for the privilege to have a meal in front of you while others in the world are dying or food scarcity, racism, and prejudice.

This is only a start. There is much more all of us could be doing. Putting an end to CAFOs, educating women in underdeveloped countries, lobbying in our local governments.

Brainstorm ideas of what you feel you can do to make the greatest impact or look further into some of the ideas above. Once you have some ideas, look for the people who are already doing what it is you would like to contribute and learn from them. We will make a greater impact and bigger changes when we can all come together over the common goal of helping this planet grow and thrive for the good of all on this Earth.

Thank you for reading and Happy Earth Day!

Comment below on ideas you have for making Earth Day every day!

California Blog Diary

Sunny San Diego. Land of amazing food, rich culture, and an endless sea of merciless love.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may already know I spent the new year in this beautiful, lively city. Getting too close to sea lions, chasing sunsets, and walking more than I thought I was capable of.

I do wish I could have taken you with me. Each of my fellow dreamers, creators, alchemists, magicians, and genuine life lovers. This is my attempt at doing just that.

Full disclaimer: It has been 4 months since I went on this trip and I had started this post after getting back. Only problem, I didn’t finish it. That being said, I will do my best to recollect everything that happened in the proper order of events.

So, without further ado…

The Drive

My brother was moving. The time finally came for him to fly the coop, and none of us could be more excited. Him, excited to be somewhere without snow and harsh cold as we have here in Michigan. My mother and I excited because he was about to start a new chapter, unfolding his dreams.

We decided to leave a day early, seeing as mom and I were able to get the day off. My brother worked until 2pm and immediately came home to pack his surprisingly spacious car with the essentials. Pancakes were on the breakfast menu, drizzled with excitement and last minute to-do lists.

By 6pm, we were out the door and on our way to the West Coast. I hunkered into the backseat while my brother took the wheel. The only concern in this bubble of joy and wonder was of my own for the cats at home. “Will they be well fed? Will Freyja be okay without our morning cuddles while I drink my latte and get work done? What about Cat? She always sleeps by me at night.” Deep down, I knew they would be alright. They are cats after all, independent from birth and I raised them well. Besides, they enjoyed the company of a trusted sitter.

The tires spun on into the late night, past the state border and into Ohio. I was glad it was dark while we passed through there. I was never a fan of the lack of scenery.

While reading was out of the question until the sun made his return, I busied myself with writing poetry, meditating, and creating content for Life Alchemy and my Instagram. My mother slept, as she knew her shift was up next.

I must hand it to them. They did a phenomenal job getting us to California. I wasn’t allowed to drive, seeing as I broke my glasses and had no contacts (“but mom, I can see shapes and colors just fine! I won’t go faster than the person in front of me, either! I can drive, I swear!”). Mom and Ryan switched off driving for 40 straight hours, stopping only for gas and bathroom breaks. I have never seen such determination and will power in my life.

December 30th

Only 40 hours from our departure, and a day and a half earlier than expected, we arrived in California. I stared in awe at the palm trees and sandy landscape, as I have never seen such beautiful expressions of nature before. Mom began searching for hotels so we would have a place to stay before our reservation began at the Hilton on New Years day.

Her friend was nice enough to offer her travel points to book us a hotel. She even offered some financial support so we would be able to enjoy our time in the sunshine state. I am beyond grateful for all she was done for us and for enabling us to freely enjoy quality family time.

It was around 9am when we made our way into San Diego. We first visited my brothers new home, so he could unload his car. Next, now with his roommate, we made our way to La Jolla Cove where my mother and I would be staying at an Inn.

The usual routine commenced. Unload, unpack, freshen up, and most importantly: find a place to eat.

Trilogy Sanctuary

A long, increasingly hungry hour passed before a restaurant was settled on. It can be difficult, being vegan, finding a place where everyone is willing to dine in. Part of the problem was simply that we were all exhausted from living in a car the past two days with no real rest. We all slept long and deep that night.

It was finally settled that we would check out Trilogy Sanctuary, a vegan restaurant, metaphysical shop, and yoga studio. It was the cutest business I have ever seen in my life. My love for this place ran deep the moment I set foot in the elevator. This gem was nestled on the fourth floor rooftop of a holistic wellness center, complete with bohemian couches, a space for aerial yoga, and a menu any adventurous, whole-food vegan would find drool worthy. This would not be my last time visiting.

With our bellies full we went on our merry way to explore the surrounding area and visit the sea lions by the ocean. It wouldn’t be until the following days that the real fun began.

December 31st

Ah, mornings. A time to start fresh and begin the day on a positive, energizing note. A long night was laid out ahead of us, being New Years Eve. Yoga, meditation, HIIT, and ample hydration were essential in my eyes the moment my feet hit the floor.

After showers and a fresh set of clothes, mom and I decided to start the day with a healthy breakfast and latte’s. My brother would be joining us much later in the day, since he stayed at his new home for the night and needed more sleep than my mother and myself combined.

Not 3 minutes from where we were staying, Paradise was waiting for us. Paradise Café, that is. This quaint coffeehouse was full of character… and superfoods (ashwaghanda, turmeric, ginger, reishi, lavender honey and oat milk latte anyone???)

We tried every latte there was on the menu and enjoyed every last drop. Our favorites were Moon Magic (minus the collagen to make vegan) and the Mayan Latte.

Once the lattes were consumed and our bodies nourished with herbs, the bellies began to rumble. It isn’t a difficult task to find food in San Diego. Even where we were staying, we had at least 5 places within walking distance. My heart was still loyal to Trilogy, where I was blessed to enjoy the most amazing gluten free crepes. Every bite was a dance of flavor and texture, harmonizing with rich energetic undertones and a satisfying crunch, all amplified by the sheer appearance of this majesty.

Mom found breakfast at another location. Tree nuts have never been too kind to her, so Trilogy was far out of the question. We enjoyed breakfast back at the hotel, enjoying peace and quiet before the day truly began.

Aerial Yoga

Yoga has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother use to put videos on the living room TV to follow along with, and I found it fun to join her (mainly because I loved to show off my childhood flexibility). We would go to classes together from time to time, but eventually she gave up yoga for pilates. Fortunately, the ancient practice followed me.

Yoga has helped me tremendously in staying flexible, strong, grounded, and centered throughout the years. It teaches patience and the importance of tuning inwards, listening to the body and observing the mind.

Mother was looking to get her hair done after breakfast, but my body longed to keep moving. Exploring Trilogy’s website, I came to find out an aerial yoga class had one spot left! I had never done aerial yoga prior, but the thought of spinning from the ceiling wrapped in silk excited me.

The class was incredible. I had never felt so held or supported in my life until I was in the air, completely inverted, and spinning in circles. I also found it made it much easier to deepen my yoga practice and stretch further in ways I was previously unable to with just practicing on the ground. I often experience knee issues when doing yoga and had no problems with aerial! If you ever have the chance to take an aerial yoga class, I highly recommend it. It is something I most definitely will be doing again.

The Sea Lions

After enjoying a post-yoga Acai bowl (because would I really be in Cali if I didn’t have at least one?) mom and I decided to go for a walk by the ocean. We were able to see some of it the day we arrived, but it was in passing. I wanted the full experience of what this massive body of water had to offer.

The thing that first struck me came as a surprise: the smell. One would expect what poets and songwriters illustrate with such passion that you can almost taste the salt of the sea and the glimmering golden sunlight – but this was something else entirely. Instead, my nose was filled with the disharmonious symphony of sea lions.

Imagine a petting zoo. Think of the smell. It was that.

The initial shock didn’t last long, as it was a smell-before-you-see situation. Once we got closer and could see this silly creatures roaming about lazily on sunlit rocks, babies fighting for their sleeping mothers attention, the shock was quickly replaced with delight.

See the picture of the Sea Lion with its head in the air? It threw up after that picture.

2019

I’ll be honest, the rest of the days in California seemed to blur together. Moving into the New Years, I spent time with my mom and brother at the house my brother would now be living in. I fell asleep very early on and wasn’t in much of a celebration mood after being in a car for 3 days straight.

The rest of the trip was a culmination of tourist traps, really good food, buying new glasses (mine broke), and conflicted emotions. In the spirit of fitting your interests, I categorized the main bits of my experience for you to choose from.

The Beaches

Out of the few beaches I went to, there was one that really stuck out to me. There is a huge cliff where people will go to watch people parasail over the water and land on the beach below during sunset. On the day before my last in San Diego, my brother took my mom and I there to watch the sky change colors. I, being a mermaid at heart, wanted to get closer to the water. To get down there, one has to walk very dangerous and rickety rocks with beaten wood stairs to get to the beach. How far down was it? I have no idea. All I know is it took at least 10 minutes to reach the bottom, and another 30 to get back up (not including breaks).

Before going here, my brother had mentioned that San Diego I known for nude beaches. There are several in the area where people go and live free, one with nature in the clothes their mamas gave them. Well, I didn’t really connect the dots until I was watching the waves roll gracefully onto the shoreline when suddenly my view is obstructed by several men strolling by and enjoying some airtime (and I don’t mean the parasailers).

I was taken aback at first, seeing as I came to watch the sunset and found myself in an entirely different show. It didn’t take long for the initial shock to pass though as I began thinking about the beauty of being able to strip away societal norms and boundaries, finding full security and comfort in ones own skin.

It is easy to get trapped in the expectations and norms imposed by media. To look a certain way, act a certain way, and be someone who fits into a box of socially acceptable. Bodies are often hypersexualized, demonized, and looked down upon negatively unless in the privacy of a bedroom. Here were people who could not care less what the media or peers had to say. Here were people who have decided to be fully there, nothing to hide, vulnerable in their own bodies and remaining strong.

I, personally, did not join in on the quiet, peaceful “F-you” to society that I had worked up inside myself, seeing as my mother and brother could see me from the top of a cliff, but I was still deeply humbled and moved by the experience and glad to have stumbled upon a beach of “nude doods.”


The Food

I believe these pictures speak for themselves. Also, shoutout to Under Belly for serving the most amazing ramen (they have vegan!) I have had in my life.

The Zoo

This part of the trip inspired many conflicted feelings. Most of which are summed up in this video here:

I didn’t take too many pictures while I was there, preferring to just observe from a distance. I did still get a picture of giraffes for my cousin and a small bear enclosure.

The Impressions

Last day in San Diego was filled with synchronicities. The trip itself seemed to be a deep reminder to stay true to the self in the New Year, and to fearlessly step into the power held within. How?

California is a place where people are free to be whoever they wish to be. People on the streets are all unique in their expression, encouraged to live healthy and to the fullest. Rarely did I see someone living in San Diego who didn’t have glowing skin and a yoga mat on their back.

Though the clothes they wore, hobbies they delighted in, and superfood lattes they drank were all physical expressions and had little to do with the souls moving past, I couldn’t help but feel California is a place where people go when they wish to be their best selves. The place was practically designed to turn life into paradise and work into play, though it may not always work out that way. California itself has its own trouble with drought, over-farming, pesticides, and rising temperatures from a very broken agricultural industry – but we won’t get into that today.

The point is, while I was there, it really got me to thinking about my own dreams and desires, the person I wish to be, and what it is I would like to contribute to the world. It reinvigorated me and gave me a newfound sense of hope and purpose within myself. It gave me the extra boost of courage I needed to step into my own full power. Funny, I am just now finishing up this post during a time when I am fully embracing just that very thing.

The whole trip was filled with angel numbers, signs of spiritual encouragement, and moments that allowed me to look at my own soul and see where I was lacking. If you ever have the opportunity to go to California, I recommend it. Maybe not to live, but the visit can be moving in many ways.

To follow the full trip, check out my “Cali” highlights on Instagram.

Microgreens 101 // Getting Started

So, you want to grow your own microgreens. Or, perhaps you’re curious what all the buzz is about? Microgreens have become quite popular in the permaculture and health communities. You may have even seen these little tender leaves in your local grocery store, selling anywhere from $5 and up.

Growing microgreens at home is an amazing way to up your nutrient intake and save money on what otherwise could be a heavy dent in the pocket. It is also a fun, easy way to connect with your food and ensure it is grown in a healthy environment.

This article aims to give you everything you need to know to start your own indoor microgreen garden. I will also be giving you some interesting and useful information about microgreens and why they would be a wonderful addition to your home and diet.

About Microgreens

Microgreens are small, young, edible tender leaves that are generally 2-4 weeks old from germination to harvest. They are nutritional powerhouses that are bursting with life and flavor.

There are various types of microgreens that can be useful for any type of dish. Flavors often range from mild to spicy, making them perfect for anything from smoothies to soups to salads or wraps.

Microgreens contain 2-6 times the nutrient density of both baby greens and mature plants. Only a handful of red cabbage microgreens is the nutritional equivalent of one pound of red cabbage! I don’t know about you, but I would much rather eat a handful of microgreens a day than a pound of red cabbage!

Image from draxe.com listing a variety of benefits that microgreens offer.

These little superheroes also make a wonderful natural humidifier, as they release excess moisture into the air through evaporation, making them the perfect companion throughout the dry winter months.

Common weeds found in your yard are oftentimes perfect for use as microgreens. First, ensure your yard hasn’t been treated with chemicals in at least 6 years, then do your research to verify the plants naturally popping up to be edible and safe.

Some examples of weeds that may be used as microgreens are:

  • Amaranth
  • Lamb’s Quarters
  • Celosia
  • Sorrel
  • Alfalfa

Have fun with it and again, do your research to see what works for you. Once you have identified safe plants to use, simply collect the seeds to be used for microgreens. No additional processing is necessary and they don’t even need to be rinsed!

Getting Started

First, I invite you to consider your “Why?” Why do you wish to embark on this journey of growing microgreens? Is it to add healthy and nutrient-rich foods to your diet? Do you enjoy growing things for stress relief and mental health? Is it so you can begin selling microgreens in your local community, to benefit the health of others and make a hefty profit? Whatever the reason, it will help to have a solid “Why” that keeps you accountable to this journey.

Supplies

  • Lights
    • LED full-spectrum lights are the best way to go for energy efficiency. You can use anything from the fanciest lights in the market, to some old office lights you found at a thrift store. When I learned about microgreens, the speaker had been using T5 Full-Spectrum lights with great success.
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  • Seasoned Tray or Wooden Flat
    • To plant the seeds in, you have a choice. You could opt for a seasoned plastic tray with a dome to cover, or you can build your own wooden flat. If you go for wooden, opt for untreated Cedar or Cypress wood as it is antibacterial, prevents microbial and fungal growth, repels insects, and is resistant to warping.


  • Watering Can
    • It is recommend for the best results to use a watering can that sprays out from an upturned spout. This helps prevent seed from flooding out of the tray, as well as reducing any potential soil erosion.


  • Soil
    • Morgan Composting Seed Starter 101 was the top soil recommended. You could also make your own if you’re feeling ambitious!
    • DIY Soil: 3 parts of peat moss/coco-coir + 1 part of sand (optional) + 1 part of perlite + 0.5-1 part of compost [X]


Now that you have your base supplies, we can begin to build our Microgreen nursery!

Planting Seeds

Preparing the Soil

In a bucket, add a few large handfuls of your soil. Next, begin to add water to the bucket with your soil. You want to make sure the soil is evenly coated, not to dry or too wet. Squeeze the soil to ensure it holds its shape and only 1-6 drops of water fall out. This step is especially important when using the Morgan Composting Seed Starter 101, as it is a hydrophobic soil and repels water. Adding it to the tray without moistening it first will cause it – and your seeds – to flood out of the tray.

Once the soil is hydrated, begin adding it to your tray or flat. Leave 1/2 to 1 inch of space between the soil and the top of the tray.

Press down on the soil to evenly distribute it through your flat and prevent any air pockets.

Adding Seeds

Choose what seeds you wish to grow and start spreading them evenly across the soil. It doesn’t need to be too dense, only about 2-6 seeds per square inch.

Leave the seeds to sit on top and don’t cover them with more soil. This will give the best results and often a greater harvest.

It is also important not to mix the seeds unless they are of the same family. Seeds vary in growth time, and while one type of plant may bee done growing others in the tray could still be trying to catch up. It is best to use one type of seed per tray to ensure an even growth time.

Handout from highmowingseeds.com listing different varieties and growth times.


Water the seeds again lightly after they have been added to the tray. Put a dome on and allow to germinate for the next 5-7 days.

You may need to water them if the soil starts to get dry during germination.

Continuing Care + Tips

  • Once the seeds have begun sprouting, water daily by counting from 5-10 seconds.
  • Lights should be hung about a foot from the tray. The higher the lights, the taller the stems of your microgreens. You may also experiment with this and start the lights closer to the tray and raise them as the plants grow.
  • Leave the lights on for 12 hours and off for 12 hours to mimic the sun during summer.
  • Avoid leaching water into the bottom of the tray. This could cause nutrient loss from the soil, making it harder for the microgreens to gain nutrients.
  • When buying supplies, it an be more economical to buy in bulk with friends, and more fun as you will have a community to embark on this adventure and share different varieties of microgreens with!
  • When buying seeds, opt only for Organic and Open-Pollinated. A couple great companies to buy from are Johnny’s Selected Seeds and High Mowing Seeds.
  • Have fun!

This post is for educational purposes and is not sponsored.

How to Develop Healthy Boundaries (and Keep Them!)

We all have experienced situations in our lives that felt very uncomfortable or against what we believe to be true for ourselves.

If these situations happened with people we cared about, we were more likely to let things slide and throw ourselves under the bus for the good of others.

Starting today: NO MORE.

No more sacrificing our own values and standards for idealist perspectives nor the fleeting happiness of others.

This is 2019 now and we are awake to the reality that it is time to take our lives and our joy into our own hands, as well as begin living fearlessly as who we are at the core.

How? BOUNDARIES.

To develop healthy boundaries, we must first understand why we often have flimsy ones (or none at all!)

Our boundaries are standards set for us from early childhood. If you were raised in a home with parents who rarely respected your emotions, thoughts, or personal space, odds are you will not have as strong boundaries set as someone who received the proper care and respect from their parents that allowed room for love to flourish.

When we have a flimsy boundary or repeating negative cycle in our lives, it is of great benefit to question when and where this boundary started. After that, they can begin to be restructured into something conducive to our growth.

Sometimes the best way to determine what we do want is to discover what we don’t want. With that being said, if you are someone who has been through numerous (or any) negative situation in your life you harbor guilt or shame around: forgive yourself. Right now.

These experiences are of great service to you, because now you will have a much easier time developing the healthy boundaries needed to ensure you can begin living as who you are without fear or falling into the same traps again.

So how do we develop boundaries?

1. Discover any flimsy boundaries that need to be reassessed.

Are there any patterns that are constantly recurring in your life? Are you playing out the same type of abusive relationship? Always allowing others to walk over you? Whatever the case may be, ask yourself if there are any loose boundaries you haven’t been upholding. From there, you can begin to dive into where these boundaries (or lack of boundaries) stemmed from. More often than not, they will link back to experiences you have as a child.

This is a good time to get out a notebook and journal and start writing any themes that have been appearing in your life, and where they existed in your early childhood.

Inner child work is generally the most effective way to get to the root of issues in your life and begin on the journey of true, lasting healing.

Get very clear here on everything it is that you do not care to have happening in your life. As mentioned earlier, sometimes the easiest way to discover what it is we do want is to know clearly what it is we don’t want.

2. Recover period: Refill the cup

After you have taken the time to assess your current relationship with boundaries, you can begin to recover from any traumas and areas of lack.

Forgive yourself and those who have hurt you on your journey and thank yourself and others (silently to yourself or in person if you feel called to) for the lessons given and the ability to now grow from the past.

You are not your experiences nor what happens to you. Your character is defined by the way you choose to react to that which you have been and go through.

Make a promise to yourself now to always put yourself first before anything and anyone else. A promise to not sacrifice self-respect and self-love to please those who do not have your best interest in mind. Seriously. Put one hand on your heart and one on your belly. Close your eyes and forgive yourself for your past choices. Then, make a promise to yourself to never put yourself below others anymore. We are all equals here and we are all deserving of love and respect. That forever and always includes you.

Now that you are nice and warmed up, hopefully a little teary, it is time to put this promise into action. To seal it by bringing it to life.

In what ways can you fill in the spaces you have once felt pain with love and joy? How can you carve time out to offer yourself love?

Suggestions include: Dance, making your favorite meal to your favorite songs, enjoying tea or coffee with a loved one on a regular basis, taking a bubble bath (Bonus: add rose quartz and pesticide-free flower petals), a daily meditation and/or yoga practice, self massage, journaling, writing down the things you are grateful for or would like to manifest, cleaning your space of old things and memories that are not serving you anymore.

3. What are your values?

I see boundaries and values as closely linked siblings. When we have a strong set of values, we are less likely to do things that do not line up with these values.

You can have as many values as you desire, but I do recommend narrowing down to a list of 10, then choosing a top 3. This will be easier for you to remember, thus easier to integrate.

Every month you could even go back over the list and change up your top 3 once the original ones become a mindless habit for you.

My favorite way to do this is in a stream-of-consciousness style with pen and paper. Simply writing down the first words that pop into my mind when I meditate on “Values.” After that, I can go back through the jumble of words and pull out the ones that resonate most with me or are most important at that time in my life, and put them into a listed format.

Note: You can also do this with different “categories” of your life. For example, you could do a list of values centered around relationships, careers, or even your own character and how you wish to grow. Have fun and don’t overthink it. Often we already know what it is we value deep down, and this is just a practice to give them names and build a relationship with them.

4. Create new boundaries that are a reflection of the values you hold for yourself.

Once you have your list of values you can begin to develop boundaries around them.

Example: I highly value a plant-based vegan lifestyle. Therefore, I draw a line (boundary) at going out to eat at places I know will not offer options that allow me to have a meal. Therefore, out of love for myself AND the group, I will find places that accommodate all of our dietary needs so everyone can be happy.

Now is a good time to mention that setting boundaries in no way restricts us from living our lives, nor does it begin to neglect the love we share with others. Rather, it deepens our connections to others as well as ourselves by making us more aware of every bodies needs and ways they may be deserving of more attention.

That being said, you also cannot please everyone. Not everyone will be happy once you begin drawing these lines, however, if you encounter people who do not respect you or your boundaries, then odds are they do not have your highest good in mind. That, or they are still in need of doing their own inner child work and are hurting inside, and as such may benefit by being in the presence of someone who remains aligned with their own values. This gives other people confidence and permission to begin (at least considering) doing the same.

5. Surround yourself with people who respect and support your boundaries. Let go of the rest.

One of the easiest ways to relapse into lack of self respect is to keep those who do not know how to respect your boundaries in your inner circle.

I understand if you love someone dearly and do not wish to cut them completely out of your life. Family is often a big portion of these connections. That being said, it does not mean you have to keep these people close, nor share everything about your personal life with them.

You get to choose the people you surround yourself with. We also are reflections of the people with whom we spend our time. If you wish to be a successful CEO, hang out with other CEOs. If you want to become a well-known artist, hang out with others artists. If you wish to respect yourself and be an embodiment of self love, hang out with others who love and respect themselves and are willing to support you on your journey.

6. Remain strong in these new boundaries.

We will undoubtedly encounter people in our lives who do not know how to respect others. This is a fact of life. Our real task is in staying true to our boundaries in these moments, as well as understanding these are the people who are likely still hurting.

Our little egos very quickly get riled up when someone offends their pride, but by reminding ourselves of our value, boundaries, and personal journeys, we will eventually come to a place of non-reaction to negative external stimuli and be reminded of the strength we have.

By respecting ourselves and remaining strong in our convictions, we are able to respect others no matter where they are in their lives. We know our limits and are able to do what we can, no more and no less.

Having boundaries does not mean shunning our the world and anything that doesn’t fully align with our values. Rather, it allows us to remain aligned with these values and boundaries within ourselves, so that when we are confronted we are able to handle it and remove ourselves from these situations if need be.

The world will never stop happening. Everyone has their own lives, experiences, pains, and traumas.

It is ultimately up to us to heal our own hurts and find the lessons that help us to grow in each and every one of these experiences.

In doing so, we grow strong and can live freely as who we are on the inside without fear of getting drained or burned. Also, we give others permission and strength to do the same.

7. Team up with a coach.

If you are someone who will go through all (or some) of these steps only to quickly falter off, I would recommend teaming up with a coach. A coach will only ever have your highest evolution in mind and will put in the time and effort to help you stay on track to aligning fully with the lifestyle and values you wish to be living by.

I offer an online one-on-one coaching program that helps you to do just that. If you are feeling called to begin aligning with self love but need a little help along the way, click here to learn more about the program and what it has to offer.

The Joy of Listening

Listening.

A forgotten art.

Every day we hear many things, bombarding our ears with music and media, and think of what we’re going to say next while others finish talking.

How often do we stop and just Listen? How often are we fully aware of what is swirling around and through our heads?

We all have the desire to be heard and seen, unconditionally and free of judgement. In this age, in these societal structures, it can be difficult to fully voice our true feelings and opinions because it is even scarier to be heard and ridiculed.

Can you recall a time when someone opened a space for you to speak freely, without judging anything you said? Maintaining eye contact and staying silent while you spilled out your heart? Only to accept you fully afterwards? Do you remember the last time you did the same for another?

Listening is a simple, often overlooked, base need. Why do we hire therapists to just sit and hear us talk?

Their listening creates a mirror for us to reflect upon our own thoughts and behaviors. This allows us to see the Truth seeded inside the words, or “between the lines.”

This power may be utilized in two places: the Inner & Outer Worlds.

I have been speaking on its place mainly in the outer world to offer a relatable framework. Now, I would like to speak on the Inner world before moving back into the outer.

Inner World.

Meditation has gained much traction over the past half of a century, and has been practiced for centuries before that.

Meditation holds its power in encouraging the full awareness of, and presence within, our thoughts.

It is a practice of being with ourselves, fully.

This is difficult at times with so many to-dos and incoming noise from the outside world. With music on full blast and tv’s on in the background. This is all what makes it even more vital to create the time and space for us to sit in silence and be with our own selves.

It is in this space we may come to understand our own hearts, and how our thoughts are domineering our decisions.

To live a life of ease and joy requires discipline. Discipline is not inherently bad. It creates a structure for us to better express ourselves and remain on the right paths.
Meditation and carving out daily time to sit in silence is one of such disciplines.

Many of us have not taken the time to decide what kind of path we would like to be on, or even why we choose the paths we do!

We haven’t taken the time to listen to our inner voices and discover what it is that is going to best serve our own evolution and that of humanity.

Starting with 5 minutes a day of sitting in silent meditation can be a phenomenal practice that will inevitably lead to better understanding of our own inner worlds. It may even help to have a journal, so that whatever came up during the meditation can be written down and released on the paper.

Tuning into our inner worlds and just listening helps us to understand the things that are constantly racing around our minds, and that subconsciously mean the most to us. After continuous practice and awareness of the things that subconsciously consume the mind, the chatter will begin to subside leaving a stillness where smaller whispers may finally be heard.

There is a space within meditation, you must experience for yourself, where all of your questions will be answered in a single breath. Where you will suddenly know what to do, and creativity will rain down as a flood.

By continuously returning to this space, we are able to take the lessons it offers us into our lives- extending the practice to every moment.

Removing ourselves from the noise of the external world and “Breaking through” the noise in our own minds helps us to tune into the frequency of our own hearts. Here is where we begin to realize our deepest desires and purpose on in these bodies. With this knowledge, we will always know how to act free of fear and full of clarity.

Ultimately, by listening to the heart and allowing the heart to guide us, we open ourselves up to the path of love. A.K.A., the path of least resistance, joy, the flow state, the Tao, whichever you wish to call it.

Outer World.

After we have come to know our own hearts, we are able to see them reflected in the hearts of others. By understanding ourselves, we may understand others.

Our interactions are no longer on the surface level. They are something much deeper. When we align ourselves with our hearts and the path of love, we are able to always act out of unconditional love in each moment. It is irrevocably freeing to expect nothing from someone and love them anyways; Not only for the person giving unconditional love, but the person receiving as well.

Unconditional love comes in many forms, but this article is in the Spirit of Listening. Listening is one of the most underrated forms of offering love, and arguably one of the most healing.

When we are able to sit with ourselves, our thoughts, and our fears, we develop a greater capacity to do the same for others. We develop strength and the ability to be meditative, accepting, and non-judgmental while others speak. We are able to pick up on subtle energies being carried out on the words and see the core of conversations beyond their face value.

Ultimately, words are like paintings of vivid scenery. Similar, but still cannot touch the original scene.

Grandma may get on our nerves about politics and how everyone should be allowed to have guns, but what about the little girl inside that is full of fear and was never allowed to have a proper childhood?

It may be frustrating to see our friends fall for people who mistreat them, but what about that baby who was neglected by their parents and never properly loved?

By coming to understand and accept our own discomforts, traumas, fears, past experiences, and other stresses, we are able to hold the same space for others to do the same. By learning to feel safe in our own skin, we create a subtle, impactful movement that allows others to feel safe doing the same.

If we come together as a community of supportive, loving people willing to settle into every color of life through the art of listening, then we may all grow stronger together.

Guided Taoist Meditation

This is the Inner Smile & Microcosmic Orbit meditation, inspired by the Chi Nei Tsang.

The Chi Nei Tsang is an ancient Taoist philosophy designed to nourish the inner organs, raise energy, and ideally: lead to eternal life.

Enjoy x