Authentic Indian Chai

I lived in India and Nepal and traveled through Bhutan, Sikkim and Darjeeling, and got used to drinking “masala cha” or Indian spiced chai many times per day. Today is an at home snow day and what better treat but to make a giant pot of warm tea to keep on hand! There are a lot of things that claim to be authentic chai, sold in modern coffee shops, Starbucks and even some ready-made ones like Bhakti chai, in all honesty not one of them are even slightly reminiscent of what Indians really drink. However I’ve cracked the code and found the most authentic recipe and this one is even dairy free and sugar free but still really sweet, light and creamy, and.. spicy!

 

How to Make Indian Chai

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Yield: Makes about 6 cups of masala chai- 6 servings.
Tools: A tea strainer, a pot with a spout, a thermos
Spicy and sweet and absolutely authentic!

For the chai:

  • 1 cup milk extra creamy oat milk
  • 5 cups water
  • 3T monkfruit sugar
  • 5T loose back Indian tea leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or sub. 1/2 tsp clove)
  • 1 tsp powered nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper (yes black pepper)
  • 1/4 tsp powered ginger

Chai ingredients

Directions:

  1. Boil the water in a deep stock or saucepan, if it has a spout, that’s best.
  2. Pour all ingredients except the tea.
  3. Place over medium heat.
  4. Allow to heat until small bubbles appear around the perimeter of the water and milk.
  5. When the water and milk comes to a boil, pour in the tea leaves and turn off the heat and stir well.
  6. Allow to steep for about 5 minutes off of the burner.
  7. Do not cook the tea on heat.
  8. Strain carefully into a thermos, and serve!

chai pot

Additional Notes:

Craft your own individual tea based on taste. Some people like it’s sweeter, some people like it spicier than some people like to omit the pepper and ginger. The traditional recipe calls for whole milk and regular sugar, which of course you can substitute if you want to have it taste exactly like it tastes in India and Nepal. These herbs, in Tibetan medicine have a deeply nutritive effect as well as being flavorful. Cheers!

strain chai

Indian Chai

Authentic Indian Chai

Authentic Indian Chai Tea-Sugar and Dairy Free

I lived in India and Nepal and traveled through Bhutan, Sikkim and Darjeeling, and got used to drinking "masala cha" or Indian spiced chai many times per day. Today is an at home snow day and what better treat but to make a giant pot of warm tea to keep on hand! There are a lot of things that claim to be authentic chai, sold in modern coffee shops, Starbucks and even some ready-made ones like Bhakti chai, in all honesty not one of them are even slightly reminiscent of what Indians really drink. However I've cracked the code and found the most authentic recipe and this one is even dairy free and sugar free but still really sweet, light and creamy, and.. spicy!

Equipment

  • Prep: 10 minutes
  • Cook: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 6 cups of masala chai- 6 servings.
  • Tools: A tea strainer, a pot with a spout, a thermos
  • Spicy and sweet and absolutely authentic!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup milk extra creamy oat milk
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 T monkfruit sugar
  • 5 T loose back Indian tea leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or sub. 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1 tsp powered nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper yes black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp powered ginger

Instructions
 

  • Boil the water in a deep stock or saucepan, if it has a spout, that's best.
  • Pour all ingredients except the tea.
  • Place over medium heat.
  • Allow to heat until small bubbles appear around the perimeter of the water and milk.
  • When the water and milk comes to a boil, pour in the tea leaves and turn off the heat and stir well.
  • Allow to steep for about 5 minutes off of the burner.
  • Do not cook the tea on heat.
  • Strain carefully into a thermos, and serve!

Notes

Craft your own individual tea based on taste. Some people like it's sweeter, some people like it spicier than some people like to omit the pepper and ginger. The traditional recipe calls for whole milk and regular sugar, which of course you can substitute if you want to have it taste exactly like it tastes in India and Nepal. These herbs, in Tibetan medicine have a deeply nutritive effect as well as being flavorful. Cheers!

juice fast

Treat your body to an infusion of nutrient density and energy! Here are my favorite organic juice cleanse recipes that make for a rejuvenating cleanse and a complete body reset. I am a big fan of juice fasting, and my body simply loves it! The body has a natural ability to rejuvenate and heal itself, with a little kind care and help. I wanted to share what a juice cleanse looks like from start to finish. First let me say, I’m not a dietitian and I do not claim to be an expert, but I learned a few tips as a health coach. It’s also nice to give your heavier food intake and digestion little rest and maybe to lose a little weight when we are feeling bloated. It’s also great to cleanse in the new year after following our holiday indulgences. I try to do these once per month, or at least quarterly/ seasonally.

What does a juice cleanse do for your body?

As I mentioned previously, I am not a doctor or dietitian so you ought to consult with one if necessary of if you have any health concerns or conditions. Juice fasting is not recommended if you have to do intense physical exercise, demanding work or really intense yoga practice, especially kundalini or pranayama practices. Light, healthy stretching, hatha yoga, and gentle walks in the sun are fine for this juice fast. Try to take it easy, meditate, take Epsom salt baths and rub the body with oil to stimulate the lymphatic system and calm the nerves.

My personal experience of juicing and smoothie making has been invaluable. The juices supply a mega dose of nourishment and antioxidants to my body that makes us feel great. For me I found it better to include to green smoothies per day to add more calories and nutrients to keep me more grounded and able to still go to work, as too few calories can make me dizzy and lightheaded.

Juice fasting allows my body to reset with regards to digestion. The additional dose of vitamins boosts our immune system also gives us far more energy that normal. How long should you do a juice cleanse?  It is completely up to you. I consider that I get the best results when I make juices for 2-3 days. You must remember that along with those 2-3 juicing days, there’s a post cleansing period that is very important.

In case you are new to juicing, I’d say start with a 2 day cleanse. After the cleanse ease back into solid foods by eating salads and small vegetarian meals, chewing slowly, drink herbal cleansing tea, and hydrate with considerable quantities of water.

 

juice fast

So in order to begin, you will need a juicer and a good-quality blender with powerful blades like a NutriBullet or Ninja. If you don’t have a juicer you usually can get a cheap one by asking around on Craigslist or Nextdoor and I recently found a whole bunch of working ones for 10-20 dollars at the local thrift store. If you truly are not able to acquire a juicer and/or blender you want to get started on the fast right away you can use the ready-made juice bottles that you can get at any health food store. I have done it, I bought a few big jars of organic carrot juice and beet juice and some ready-made smoothies. Of course there’s nothing as nutritive as cutting your own vegetables and creating your at-home living fresh organic juices. Higher quality, slow processing juicers extract more fiber and nutrients from the veggies and fruits that gives you more pulp and gives you a bit of a milder juice aka more fiber!

 

green juice smoothie

 

When you create an at home fasting cleanse, your diet will need to be pretty basic. Raw fruits and vegetables are a necessity, and you should make sure that they are organic and fresh. Eliminate all sugars, carbohydrates, high fructose corn syrup, wheat, corn, and any other food products that are grown using pesticides.

As you fast, you will need to make sure that you are drinking enough water. Water helps to flush the system, and it can also help to cleanse your bowels and keep your stomach feeling full. Drinking plenty of water when you create your own cleansing tea is very important.

What does a juice cleanse schedule look like?

I drink about 5 servings of juice a day and 6 glasses of plain water. I make 3 types of juice and I call them by color. Green Juice (2 servings per day ), Red Juice (2 servings per day ), Orange Juice (1 serving per day ). And after that I cap off the day with golden almond moon milk.

A 16 oz drink every 2-3 hours for a total of 5-6 juice/milk drinks per day, plus water

So here’s what a juice fast day looks like:

• 7:00 am wake up — drink warm tea made from lemon water and honey or stevia
• 8:00 am — Red Juice + Water
• 12:00 noon Green Juice Smoothie + Water
• 2:00 pm — Red Juice + Water
• 4:00 pm Orange, Carrot and Ginger Juice + Water
• 6:00 pm Green Juice Smoothie + Water
• 9:00 pm  Moon Milk Oat or Almond Milk Tea with turmeric and ashwaghanda

Orange, Carrot, and Ginger Juice

Ingredients- All Organic:

  • 8 medium (about 1.5 pounds) carrots – scrubbed clean and tops cut off
  • 8 medium (about 3 1/4 pounds) juicing oranges (depending on your juicer, you may need to cut the peels off)
  • 1 3-inch knob fresh ginger – peeled

Instructions:

Place everything in a juicer. Serve immediately.


Red Juice- Beet, Carrot and Green Apple

Ingredients- All Organic:

  • 2 medium beets, trimmed and scrubbed
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and core
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1T fresh lemon juice

Instructions:

Place everything in a juicer. Serve immediately.


Green Juice Smoothie

Ingredients- All Organic:

  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1 banana
  • 1T flax oil or ground flax seeds

(Variations: you can substitute the pineapple and mango for one more banana and a chopped apple, or 1c. of a three berry mix)

Instructions:

Place everything in a blender. Serve immediately.

Day 1:  It is always the hardest for me because you might feel a bit light headed and hungry. The truth is, we are packing our entire body with so many micro-nutrients, it’s plenty to operate on.

Day 2:  You might feel very light and joyous. I get better sleep through the night, wake up in the morning ready to proceed. Things are sharp and crisp and you’re simply ready to take on the afternoon!

I do organic juice fasting about every 3-4 months as a way to re-set my entire body and allow it rest. It’s a life changing treat for your body and mind, try one today!

juice fast

How to Create A Two Day Juice and Smoothie Cleanse- Three Juice Recipes: Red, Orange and Green

Treat your body to an infusion of nutrient density and energy! Here is my favorite organic juice cleanse recipes that make for a rejuvenating cleanse and a complete body reset. I am a big fan of juice fasting, and my body simply loves it! The body has a natural ability to rejuvenate and heal itself, with a little kind care and help. I wanted to share what a juice cleanse looks like from start to finish. A 16 oz drink every 2-3 hours for a total of 5-6 juice/milk drinks per day, plus water

Ingredients
  

  • Orange Carrot and Ginger Juice
  • Ingredients- All Organic:
  • 8 medium about 1.5 pounds carrots - scrubbed clean and tops cut off
  • 8 medium about 3 1/4 pounds juicing oranges (depending on your juicer, you may need to cut the peels off)
  • 1 3- inch knob fresh ginger - peeled
  • Red Juice- Beet Carrot and Green Apple
  • Ingredients- All Organic:
  • 2 medium beets trimmed and scrubbed
  • 1 Granny Smith apple peeled and core
  • 3 medium carrots peeled
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • Green Juice Smoothie
  • Ingredients- All Organic:
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1 banana
  • 1 T flax oil or ground flax seeds
  • Variations: you can substitute the pineapple and mango for one more banana and a chopped apple, or 1c. of a three berry mix

Instructions
 

  • Instructions:
  • Place everything in a juicer or blender. Serve immediately.

 

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels
Photo by Alisha Mishra from Pexels

Healthy Tibetan Bread- Balep Korkun (Monastery Bread)

I lived amongst Tibetans in Nepal for many years. Every morning we would get up and make a homemade kneaded bread called Balep. I used to do a lot of solitary meditation retreat there and this was the easiest an fastest thing to make on a one burner hotplate. Balep is a very traditional native fire bread, originating in central Tibet, that can be made with the most simple of ingredients and cooked over an open fire as was traditional in their originally nomadic culture. It’s eaten most every morning by Tibetans, and also the primary breakfast staple in all of the monasteries. It’s kind of like in-between a homemade tortilla and an English muffin; it’s thicker than a tortilla, and people will make them in different ways. I made a denser, heavier and more complex, protein and flax infused version, but the simple, original flour, water and baking powder one works just as well! This recipe makes bread for 3-4 people.

Ingredients:

• 1 and 1/2 cups of Paleo flour or rice flour
• 1/2 cup of organic white flour
• 1T of baking powder
• 2T of ground flax meal
• 1T of whey powder
• 1/2 t. of salt
• One cup of soy milk or water (more or less depending on altitude/ dryness)
• One egg

You also make this simple, native “fire bread” more simply with just: any flour-2c., baking powder, 1T., and 1c. water.

Belap-Korkun ingredients

Preparing the Dough:

  1. Firstly, you mix ingredients and a little milk very well by hand and keep adding milk until you can make a smooth ball of dough. Do not over-wet, the dough should stay drier, sticky and ready to knead.
  2. Then knead the dough very well until the dough is flexible.
  3. When you have finished kneading the dough, separate it into six pieces and roll them into balls.
  4. After that, place the dough on a floured surface and roll it out with a rolling pin, making a flat, round shape about 1/2″ high x 6″d.
  5. Repeat with all your dough.

tibetan bread kneeding

Belap Korkun rolling

Belap cooking

Cooking:

  1. I cook my Tibetan bread in a medium cast iron pan with a little bit of olive oil.
  2. First, heat up your frying pan on high until it gets hot.
  3. Turn down the heat to medium low and place one bread there.
  4. Cook each for 10 minutes on medium low heat.
  5. Turn over the bread after five minutes, to slowly cook both sides without burning.

For a variation: If you like, you can add a sweetener like honey or maple syrup, blueberries or raisins into your mix or on top- get creative! I serve mine with strawberry jam, butter and homemade Tibetan Hot Sauce!

Belap Korkun

Belap Korkun

Healthy Tibetan Bread- Balep Korkun (Monastery Bread)

I lived amongst Tibetans in Nepal for many years. Every morning we would get up and make a homemade kneaded bread called Balep. I used to do a lot of solitary meditation retreat there and this was the easiest an fastest thing to make on a one burner hotplate. Balep is a very traditional native fire bread, originating in central Tibet, that can be made with the most simple of ingredients and cooked over an open fire as was traditional in their originally nomadic culture. It's eaten most every morning by Tibetans, and also the primary breakfast staple in all of the monasteries. It's kind of like in-between a homemade tortilla and an English muffin; it's thicker than a tortilla, and people will make them in different ways. I made a denser, heavier and more complex, protein and flax infused version, but the simple, original flour, water and baking powder one works just as well! This recipe makes bread for four people.

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 cups cups of Paleo flour or rice flour
  • 1/2 cup organic white flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 2 T ground flax meal
  • 1 T whey powder
  • 1/2 t of salt
  • 1 cup soy milk or water more or less depending on altitude/ dryness
  • 1 egg

Instructions
 

  • Preparing the Dough:
  • Firstly, you mix ingredients and a little milk very well by hand and keep adding milk until you can make a smooth ball of dough. Do not over-wet, the dough should stay drier, sticky and ready to knead.
  • Then knead the dough very well until the dough is flexible.
  • When you have finished kneading the dough, separate it into six pieces and roll them into balls.
  • After that, place the dough on a floured surface and roll it out with a rolling pin, making a flat, round shape about 1/2″ high x 6"d.
  • Repeat with all your dough.
  • Cooking:
  • I cook my Tibetan bread in a medium cast iron pan with a little bit of olive oil.
  • First, heat up your frying pan on high until it gets hot.
  • Turn down the heat to medium low and place one bread there.
  • Cook each for 10 minutes on medium low heat.
  • Turn over the bread after five minutes, to slowly cook both sides without burning.

Notes

For a variation: If you like, you can add a sweetener like honey or maple syrup, blueberries or raisins into your mix or on top- get creative! I serve mine with strawberry jam, butter and homemade Tibetan Hot Sauce!
tulku urgyen

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

This is the traditional ancient Tibetan Bön refuge prayer that you chant before every meditation session. With it, I supplicate my sublime Buddhist teacher, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, who passed away in 1996, and I haven’t forgotten him for even one day. What I would give to see his golden face of kindness again, but when we sing this, I remember. I was living in Nepal and studying with him as well as studying Tibetan Art. He was a seasoned yogic meditation master, and did many years in solitary retreat. When I was in the room with him, his presence was overwhelming, indescribable compassion, love and magic. Just being around him showed us all what brightness was within us.

At the end of his life, he was ill for awhile, and we were not permitted to see him but we could go upstairs to his outside balcony at his nunnery and every morning and his nun attendant would open up the curtains in the window and Rinpoche would look at each one of us and hold his hand up and offer us prayers. There was no one there that was not crying, we so longed to see him and we could only see him through that window. He passed away one evening and from what I understand he asked one of the nuns for his hat and set up straight he breathed out and went into a deep meditation state called tukdam.

tulku urgyen last days

I was staying in Nepal at Beru Khyentse Rinpoche’s guest house, and at about 7:30 in the morning, I got a knock on my door from one of the monks. He said to me that your teacher has passed away but they’re asking for people to not go up there because there could be a lot of chaos. I think I was in shock and I went to go take a shower and as I was taking a shower I just broke down and slid from the shower onto the floor in cried without console. I had a Tibetan boyfriend that had a motorcycle and I asked him please take me up there right away. It turned out that because I was a student, they permitted me to just sit and meditate by the body and pay my last respects and we sat there all day and into the evening. Many western students were there with him, in the early morning, and he was sitting straight up in meditation posture. We meditated with him for about 10 hours, with a clear morning mist-less mountain sky which was unusual for Nepal. The sky stayed cloudless, even until the evening, the stars were so bright and we sat outside. At the end of his tukdam, there were some magical signs, but you can read about that elsewhere. It was not sad because the space was so densely filled with blessings, that I felt closer to him than ever. It was funny, being there on the night he passed away was the first time I ever realized that what he showed us existed within us. I think I was a bit codependent and believed that the warmth and openness that I felt around him only came from him, it wasn’t until this last teaching that I received by being there at his side, that I realized I had access to it, the enlightened heart/ mind of the Buddha at every moment, if we were to just settle down and see. What a gift!

He never harmed me or anyone, there was no slave and ownership guru command and control. It saddens me that there are Lamas and clergy out there that do use their position to hurt others, under the auspices of something so powerful and beautiful, but mine never did. I only knew him for four years, but was fortunate enough to have spent about 200 precious hours with him, at his feet. Now, when I’m feeling sad or have self doubt, I call on what I remember from our time. My main Buddhist community is dissolving and sometimes I feel alone, sanghaless like a masterless Ronin, but with this song, and my treasured retreat practice, I can remember him. May everyone connect to something truly benevolent and wholesome, to uncover the power and magic that resides dormant in our human heart. May all beings not only be free from suffering, but shine~ light is indeed, our birthright.

Guru Yoga or Lama’i Nalyor

We sing this song with devotion and longing to call upon our teacher to ultimately connect with her or his awakened mind, heart and warmth within ourselves.

CHI TSUK DE WA CHHEN POI PHO DRANG DU

In the palace of great bliss above the crown of my head

DRIN CHHEN TSA WE LAMA LA SOL WA DEP

I pray to you benevolent root teacher

SAN GYE SEM SU TON PA RIN PO CHHE

Precious one who is the embodiment of Buddha Nature

RANG NGO RANG GI SHE PAR JIN GYI LOP

Bless me that I may recognize my own true nature.

 

 

 

Be your own Valentine, a warm bouquet of roses… to you for you!

Today is Valentine’s Day and one of the most amazing treats of my life that I offer to myself nightly, is just to make myself a warm Epsom salt and rose bath, with candlelight. It’s so easy to create this amazingly nutritive and relaxing sacred space, a home-spa with very easy to get items. Taking a warm Epsom salt bath completely relaxes your nervous system and helps promote sleep because the Epsom salts are high in calming magnesium and I often add dried or fresh rose petals and rose essential oil. Then, when the bath is done I dry off and rub rose body oil on from head to toe in front of a fire, before bed. This enhances a sense of self-love and well-being no matter what’s happening in our lives or if we are alone, it’s impossible to not feel blessed and in bliss, by taking this warm, restorative healing bath of love.

candles and rose

Directions:

Fill bathtub with hot water and add:

• 2 cups of Epsom salt for a standard-size bathtub.
• Pour the Epsom salt into warm running water.
• Add the 5 drops your choice of these following suggested essential oils to help relax and get to sleep:
• lavender
rose
ylang ylang
• bergamot
• jasmine
• eucalyptus

• Add fresh or dried rose petals
• Turn off lights an close the door to keep steam in.
• Light candles, and a small stick of incense.
• Place crystals around your tub if you have them.
• If you have a wooden bath brush or loofah, brush the whole body away from the heart to stimulate your lymphatic system.
• Soak in your warm Epsom salt love-bath for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
• Dry off with warm clean towels and rub rose body oil, sesame, or coconut oil all over and let it dry before an amazing sleep.

rose petals and oil

dawn in tub with crystals and roses

Yes, this is me, with dried roses, candles and crystals. The dried roses can make the bath a little purple!

 

Warmest Valentine’s Day to all, today and everyday!

marscapone cake

My native Swedish husband’s birthday is on Feb. 3, so every super bowl Sunday, I make him this giant cake. It’s a version of  Swedish Midsommartårta, or Midsummer Cake, and, however decadent, I have adapted it to make a somewhat healthier version. I use an organic yellow/ lemon cake base, with added cream and lemon juice and a Mascarpone cheese and whipped cream frosting, that’s virtually unsweetened. I call this my lotus mandala cake, of course!

Ingredients for the cake:

2 packets of organic lemon cake mix
6 organic eggs
1 cup of vegetable oil/ melted vegan butter or coconut oil
4T organic lemon juice
4T organic heavy cream

For the mascarpone whipped cream frosting:

8-9 ounces (224g) mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
1T granulated monkfruit sugar
1 and 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

1/2 cup blueberries
2 cups sliced organic strawberries
1/2 cup glazed cherry topping/ pie filling
1 cup organic sliced almonds

For the filling:

1/2 cup mascarpone whipped cream frosting
1 cups blended cherries from remaining glaze

cake ingredients

Try to source the healthiest, organic foods!

 

 

cake

Pour 2T of heavy cream and 2T of lemon juice directly onto each layer of cake to let it soak in. This is the secret to juicy, non-dry cakes

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease two 9×2 inch (23×5 cm) cake pans or spring-form pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.

For the cake batter:

1. Using an electric mixer, beat flour, eggs and oil on medium-high speed until creamy.
2. Pour batter evenly into the 2 prepared cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before assembling the cake.

For the frosting:

1. Using an electric mixer, beat mascarpone cheese and heavy whipping cream together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes.
2. Add the monkfruit sugar, and vanilla extract. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes.

For the filling and assembling the cake:

1. Place 1 layer on a flat plate.
2. Pour 2T of heavy cream and 2T of lemon juice directly onto each layer of cake to let it soak in. This is the secret to juicy, non-dry cakes!
3. Evenly cover the top with the whipped frosting, then add a layer of blended cherries.
4. Top with 2nd layer, and cover with more frosting, on top with glazed cherries, blueberries and sliced strawberries in a mandala pattern and if desired, sliced almonds stuck to the sides by taking a small handful and kind of gently “slapping” them into the cream. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before serving, so that it sets.

 

lemon cake

marscapone cake

Swedish Lemon Mascarpone Cake

My native Swedish husband's birthday is on Feb. 3, so every super bowl Sunday, I make him this giant cake. It's a version of  Swedish Midsommartårta, or Midsummer Cake, and, however decadent, I have adapted it to make a somewhat healthier version. I use an organic yellow/ lemon cake base, with added cream and lemon juice and a Mascarpone cheese and whipped cream frosting, that's virtually unsweetened. I call this my lotus mandala cake, of course!
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

  • 2 packets of organic lemon cake mix
  • 6 organic eggs
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil/ melted vegan butter or coconut oil
  • 4 T organic lemon juice
  • 4 T organic heavy cream
  • For the mascarpone whipped cream frosting:
  • 8-9 ounces 224g mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 T granulated monkfruit sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the topping:
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 cups sliced organic strawberries
  • 1/2 cup glazed cherry topping/ pie filling
  • 1 cup organic sliced almonds
  • For the filling:
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone whipped cream frosting
  • 1 cups blended cherries from remaining glaze

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease two 9×2 inch (23×5 cm) cake pans or springform pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • For the cake batter:
  • Using an electric mixer, beat flour, eggs and oil on medium-high speed until creamy.
  • Pour batter evenly into the 2 prepared cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before assembling the cake.
  • For the frosting:
  • Using an electric mixer, beat mascarpone cheese and heavy whipping cream together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes.
  • Add the monkfruit sugar, and vanilla extract. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes.
  • For the filling and assembling the cake:
  • Place 1 layer on a flat plate.
  • Pour 2T of heavy cream and 2T of lemon juice directly onto each layer of cake to let it soak in. This is the secret to juicy, non-dry cakes!
  • Evenly cover the top with the whipped frosting, then add a layer of blended cherries.
  • Top with 2nd layer, and cover with more frosting, on top with glazed cherries, blueberries and sliced strawberries in a mandala pattern and if desired, sliced almonds stuck to the sides by taking a small handful and kind of gently "slapping" them into the cream. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before serving, so that it sets.

falukorv

Falukorv is a Swedish staple, comfort food and even though we don’t eat pork, my family insists for me to make this regularly. Falukorv is a traditional Swedish smoked sausage that is made with potato starch and spices, kind of like a giant sausage Hebrew National Beef Frank. We’ve made a vegetarian version this stuffed sausage recipe using a mushroom protein base roast, that’s already perfectly formed into the needed sausage shape!

Ingredients:

2 packets defrosted Quorn™ vegetarian meatless “turkey” roast, 900g if you are in Sweden, use this.
2T olive oil
1 apple, sliced
1 yellow or red onion, sliced
3 roma tomatoes sliced
4T Dijon mustard
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup grated white cheddar cheese
4T chili sauce
chopped parsley for garnish

quorn roast

Side dishes:
organic steamed peas, organic mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes with skin on. Here is another vegan sausage that’s only available in Sweden, but you can see how it is sliced and stuffed with tomatoes, onions and apples.

veg sausage

http://theveganswedes.blogspot.com/2012/04/vegan-oven-baked-gratinated-falu.html

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and boil the potatoes and peas.

Cut slits about three quarters of the way into the roasts, about ½-inch apart. Do not cut all the way through, the  roast should still be connected in one piece.

Pour olive oil onto the bottom of a baking dish or heat-resistant round pan.

Carefully slice apples and stick them into every other slit.

Stick the sliced onions them into the remaining slits.

Add the thin slices of tomatoes and add them to whichever slits you can.

If you can’t fit all the apples, onions and tomatoes, just spread them over the roast.

Mix the mustard and heavy cream together and spread over the roast.

Top the veg. Falukorv with chili sauce and then grated cheese.

Bake the veg. Falukorv for 20 minutes, until browned.

Remove from oven and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve and enjoy!

falukorv

Swedish Vegetarian Falukorv

Falukorv is a Swedish staple, comfort food and even though we don't eat pork, my family insists for me to make this regularly. Falukorv is a traditional Swedish smoked sausage that is made with potato starch and spices kind of like a giant sausage Hebrew National Beef Frank. We've made a vegetarian version this stuffed sausage recipe using a mushroom protein base roast, that's already perfectly formed into the needed sausage shape!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 packets defrosted Quorn™ vegetarian meatless "turkey" roast 900g if you are in Sweden, use this.
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 apple sliced
  • 1 yellow or red onion sliced
  • 3 roma tomatoes sliced
  • 4 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated white cheddar cheese
  • 4 T chili sauce
  • chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Cut slits about three quarters of the way into the roasts, about ½-inch apart. Do not cut all the way through, the  roast should still be connected in one piece.
  • Pour olive oil onto the bottom of a baking dish or heat-resistant round pan.
  • Carefully sliced apples  and stick them into every other slit.
  • Stick the sliced onions them into the remaining slits.
  • Add the thin slices of tomatoes and add them to whichever slits you can.
  • If you can’t fit all the apples, onions and tomatoes, just spread them over the roast.
  • Mix the mustard and heavy cream together and spread over the roasts.
  • Top the Veg. Falukorv with chili sauce and then grated cheese.
  • Bake the Veg. Falukorv for 20 minutes, until browned.
  • Remove from oven and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve and enjoy!

 

Including: four stages of wind disturbance along the spiritual path

(a special contribution by Segyu Choepel Rinpoche)

By Carolyn Chan

A grasp of the three humors: wind, bile, and phlegm, (tib. rlung, mkhrispa and badken), and their relationship to the development and functioning of the body-mind, underlies any understanding of Tibetan medicine. Good health which also includes mental and emotional wellbeing, depends on their balance, and because each person is different, the point of humoral balance varies from person to person. In western societies, the balancing of rlung has been problematic, with the modern high performance, furious paced lifestyle proving fertile spawning ground for numerous rlung disorders, many conveniently labelled “stress related”.

Over the past year I have had many chances to observe rlung disorders up close, as three of my close friends manifested symptoms and suffered terribly for many months. (Names changed to protect identity). Debra, after an unpleasant medical diagnosis, spiraled uncontrollably into anxiety, sleeplessness, panic attacks and rapid weight loss. Though her diagnosis pointed to something potentially serious, it was at a curable stage, and she planned to start treatment right away. She said she knew all this, but couldn’t seem to help herself. Then there was Linda, whose daughter had taken up a new set of friends and been in trouble twice at school. Linda like Debra, became anxious, sleepless, and full of fears that left her incapable of even simple tasks such as driving to the supermarket or clearing her mailbox. Both said they knew the root of the problem was their own minds, but neither were able to control the irrational thoughts which persisted. Ray was different, he had been experiencing a sharp stabbing pain on his right side for over a month. His doctor had sent him for a battery of medical tests and scans which turned up nothing, leaving him with the suggestion that it “must be muscular”. This was unhelpful to Ray who had been trying to sleep nights sitting up in a chair for a month. I told him about “drang rlung”, the cold abdominal wind, and though a cynic about all things esoteric, he dutifully followed instructions. After a few days his pain started to move, sometimes to his side, then to his back, till it gradually lessened and went away after another long month.

It was painful watching my friends suffer through these disorders. I learnt the big lesson that once a rLung disorder takes hold firmly, it is very difficult to displace and requires vast knowledge and understanding of the nature of rlung and its effects on the body-mind, to successfully treat at its root. My rudimentary knowledge of Tibetan medicine coupled with even less experience was not enough. I realized that while more obvious gross physical wind symptoms such as Ray’s pain, or the shrinking, drying skin and crooked arthritic joints of the elderly can be easily discerned, what is not obvious but just as painful, is the suffering of the mind caused by a rlung disorder.

It was with a view to learning more about the ubiquitous rlung disorder and its subtle effects on the body-mind that I spoke recently with Segyu Choepel Rinpoche, holder of the Tibetan Buddhist Segyu lineage of the Gelug school. Rinpoche has an extraordinarily rich, colorful background and is considered an expert in Transpersonal psychology as well as the healing traditions of his homeland, Brazil. With his deep roots in Tibetan Buddhist traditions and great personal interest and expertise in “treating holistically rather than specifically”[1], Rinpoche was naturally drawn to Tibetan medicine[2]. Rinpoche is very approachable, with a warm dimpled smile and kind twinkling eyes that see everything, including the questions you really want to ask. A razor sharp intellect quickly organizes his answers into bite size pieces to be chewed and digested by novices, such as myself. While I was particularly interested in Rinpoche’s perspective on rlung disorders in western society, I had the extreme good fortune of receiving much more, as Rinpoche shared his insight and knowledge of rlung disorders commonly found on the spiritual path. Rinpoche says that while rLung disorders are found in the general population, he observed some time ago that there seems to be a disproportionately higher incidence occurring in dharma centers. It is his opinion that the reason for this is because on top of any psychological problems that may be present in an individual, Vajrayana practices may further disturb the person’s rLung, as “spiritual practices go to the core of neuroses”.

tsa lung

According to Rinpoche, there are four stages of wind disturbance, which can take place along the spiritual path.

1.    Prior to spiritual practice.
Person recognizes their own emotional disturbance or psychological imbalance and goes to the dharma looking for solutions. The disturbance may manifest as unhappiness, depression, anger and aggression, and basic inability to deal with situations encountered in daily living. There is inability to control winds in the channels and blockages are present in their most gross form.

2.    Early in spiritual practice.
Person starts dharma practice and feels different, calmer, and is happy to have found a way to calm emotional disturbances. Spiritual practices create movement of the winds, in some cases it may increase the winds. The channel blocks remain and disharmony and agitation of the winds continue. The practitioner is however learning how to calm the mind and mental afflictions so there are less bouts of anger, craving, jealousy, etc., and the wind disorder manifests at a more subtle mental level as depression, agitation, insomnia, “spaciness”, and psychological angers.

3.    Seasoned spiritual practitioner.
After some time and effort in the practice, the person’s reaction to the practice is noticeable in resultant behavioral changes that have been incorporated into daily life. For example, the person has become more patient, kind, and compassionate in dealing with others, and because of these changes and knowledge gained, may even become sought after as meditation or dharma teachers. However, even with long spiritual practice that include purification practices, subtle blockages can remain. These blockages become more subtle, continuing to agitate the mind at a mental level, and the disorders above in #2 can persist in more subtle or hidden manner. It becomes difficult to eliminate these subtle blockages as due to prolonged spiritual practice the mental condition is very strong.

4.    Advanced spiritual practice
Where a practitioner is very advanced in spiritual practice, blockages can still exist, but they will exist at an extremely subtle level. They will therefore be very silent and very deep blockages. At this level the only way to uproot the blocks will be through a process of transmutation to the completion stage of complete enlightenment, where the rLung flows freely and easily through the body channels (tsa), “tsalung therapy”.

Experienced Doctors of Tibetan medicine are able to identify and calm the disturbed winds of the more gross types of wind disorders, using the tools of diet, behavior, medicines and external therapies. However, as practitioners advance in spiritual practice, channel blockages can become increasingly subtle. Where subtle blockages exist, practitioners may seek Tsalung trulkhor therapy (rtsa rlung ‘khrul ‘khor), which can restore natural channel function by cleaning the channels and removing blocks. Tsalung therapy is an advanced body-mind healing practice in Tibetan Tantric yoga meditation, where by tradition, its practice is restricted to only highly qualified Tantric practitioners.
Rinpoche is of the opinion that many western doctors do not understand the nature of the disorder, and therefore do not address the winds, ending up only treating the symptoms. Doctors of Tibetan medicine who are capable of diagnosing and treating the disorders effectively, are simply not available.
I am extremely grateful to Rinpoche for sharing his views on rlung disorders on the spiritual path. I believe this insightful breakdown can be most helpful in understanding the type of wind disorder present, and the most effective therapy to be applied. It seems obvious to me, that Doctors of Tibetan medicine with their long experience of dealing with rlung, should be considered as experts in this field. They are capable of rendering invaluable assistance to people living in western societies where rlung disorders are becoming increasingly commonplace.

 FOR CURES, SUGGESTIONS AND REMEDIES, SEE HERE and HERE.


[1] Since 2003, through Juniper Foundation in California, Rinpoche has been fulfilling the instructions of his root teacher Kyabje Lati Rinpoche (1922-2010), which were to, “…focus on the west, make the essence of Mahayana Buddhism available and accessible to the people over there”.

[2]Rinpoche recalls in 2010, his serendipitous encounter with an advertisement for the TME 3 year online course, which was just about to start. Rinpoche completed the 3-year course and is currently enrolled in the Advanced TME online course. Rinpoche speaks openly of his “pristine admiration”, for his teacher of Tibetan medicine, Dr. Pasang Y. Arya, and the ability with which he is able to “translate, update, and transmit Tibetan medicine in its true form to the west”.

Source

https://www.tibetanmedicine-edu.org/index.php/n-articles/disturbed-wind

Photo by Shashank Kumawat from Pexels
Photo by KoolShooters from Pexels

The Urban Homestead

So, with all of us being home-bound, a lot of us are taking up more domestic tasks like homesteading and gardening. My family and I put in a series of automatic drip irrigation  4′ x 8′ prefab. gardening boxes outside, and were able to harvest quite a bit of fresh organic vegetables this summer into the fall. We also live in a suburban/semi rural neighborhood, our subdivision allows us to have up to five backyard chickens with no roosters (too noisy for the neighbors around 4:30 am!). So during our isolation we became pretty good farmers and were able to harvest fresh, live foods and organic chicken eggs right from the backyard!

During the winter months I was missing all of the fresh vegetables decided to try to grow the most easy to grow indoor foods and that is… to start an at home sprout garden. There’s nothing that compares to eating food that you grow directly and that is still alive, it is so easy and you too could start your own at home winter sprout garden and have living food within five days! This is how to do it.

How to Sprout Seeds at Home

First and foremost you should purchase quality jars or sprouting trays. I make sure to clean and disinfect them really well before use. Make sure to buy well sourced organic seeds. Follow all safety guidelines and directions here.

You can buy jars here. You can buy high quality sprout seeds here or here.

I chose two different types, one was a protein mix and one was a five-part salad mix for variety:

5 Part Salad Mix sprouting seeds offers the tame and mild flavors of alfalfa and mung, the verdant and healthy sulforaphane of broccoli sprouts, and a spicy finish from radish and green lentil seeds.

Organic Garbanzo Beans, Organic Adzuki Beans, Organic Mung Beans, Organic Green Peas.

sprout tools

Clean and disinfect your container and then measure out the exact amount based on that container for each of the sprouting jars, it was only about 2 tablespoons of seeds per crop.

Then, you rinse the seeds and drain the water. Then, put in about three-1 parts more lukewarm water in the jars and let them soak overnight for about eight hours.

The next morning, drain out all the water and if you use the jars, they have a mesh filter for easy draining such that you won’t lose any of the small seeds.

sprout jars in sun

Next, you will take the seeds and leave them overnight in a dark area like a cabinet. The sprouting process will actually occur in the darkness.

During the next two days, rinse and drain them 2 to 3 times a day thoroughly and set them, slightly tilted downward in a window to absorb a little bit of sunlight to enhance the chlorophyll. Be very gentle during the draining process as to not damaged the fragile sprouts that are just emerging.

In 4 to 5 days depending upon the sprouts, you should have a full garden that’s ready to eat! Store in the refrigerator at a cool temperature once they are grown, just like you would any other salad greens or sprouts. Voilà, a home winter garden of fresh greens!

sprouts-done

Here are some innovative ideas for sprout recipes.

 

Image by Virtual Stylist from Pixabay

Written by Jampa Mackenzie Stewart, M.S.O.M., L.AC.

The term Qigong Deviations refers to the adverse reactions that may occur in the course of Qigong training. These reactions can be physical, energetic, and/or mental.

Qigong is like medicine. It can be tremendously healing if prescribed correctly and used according to directions, but if you are careless in how you practice and do not treat it with respect, you can incur negative side effects.

Common causes of Qigong deviations are:

1. Exercising or practicing under the guidance of an inexperienced teacher or a teacher who is ignorant of Qigong theory, or imitating a Qigong exercise without understanding Qigong principles or without instruction (imitating Qigong seen in a movie, magazine, book or video).
2. Attempting to guide Qi internally without adequate fitness or preparation. This can occur due to a weak constitution, faulty posture or due to trying to forcefully circulate Qi when one has weak or blocked energy channels.
3. Failing to respond to the flow of Qi or Qi sensations correctly or overreaction due to fear, ignorance, being overly anxious for results, or due to psycho-emotional imbalances.
4. Failing to master and apply the “three regulations”, failing to follow the teacher’s directions or to practice according to the given guidance, or following one’s inclinations to “improvise” on Qigong exercises prematurely without sufficient mastery and understanding of the principles and safeguards.
5. Being frightened, startled (such as telephone suddenly ringing, abrupt loud noise, etc.) or suddenly irritated or vexed during Qigong practice.
6. Practicing Qigong in a toxic environment or during extremes of weather, such as wind, cold, heat, dryness, thunderstorms, right after an earthquake, etc.
7. Excessively practicing Qigong (too long, too much force, too much tension, over- concentration) out of fanaticism, or impatience for quick and dramatic results; overdosing on Qigong.

The following are the major differentiations of Qigong deviations:

1. Deranged Qi Flow
2. Qi and/or Blood Stagnation
3. Leaking of True Qi
4. Mental Derangement
5. Unchecked Flow of Pathogenic Qi

1. Deranged Qi Flow

Symptoms

Qi may become deranged, pathological, or out of control either during or after Qigong practice. Deranged Qi flow may give rise to symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, panic, respiratory distress, palpitations, shortness of breath, uncontrolled movements of the extremities, tremors of the whole body, suddenly feeling faint. It may also cause intense, uncomfortable, uncontrollable and unstoppable sensations of Qi flow along a certain channel or channels, or these sensations may be confined to a specific location. In most cases, the person will be able to tell the location and direction of the pathological Qi flow.

Self-Treatment

a) Stop the Qigong exercises which have caused the symptoms.
b) Stop any panic, calm down, and shift your focus of attention to conscious movements.

c) For dizziness or vertigo, press and rub Baihui (Du-20), Hanyan (GB-4), Shuaigu (GB-8), and Xuanlu (GB-5), followed by kneading Taiyang, digging and pressing Fengchi (GB-20), and pressing Mingmen (Du-4).
d) For respiratory distress, palpitations and shortness of breath, finger-knead Shanzhong(Ren-17), Rugen (ST-18), Yunmen (LU-4), Zhongfu (LU-1), and Neiguan (PC-6).
e) For sudden faintness, press Yintang (Extra) with your fingertip, then press Renzhong

(Du-26) with your fingernail, dig-grasp Hegu (LI-4) with your thumb, and Zusanli (ST-36) with your middle fingertip. Follow this treatment with a cup of warm tea, and guide the Qi back to the Dantian. Place your two palms over the Dantian as you guide the Qi there.

f) For excess Qi flow or intense Qi sensation, first pat the locations where the Qi is flowing or gathering to excess. Then pat the face, scalp, neck, chest, and back.

Next, extend your right arm in front of you, palm up, and massage the Three Yin Channels of the arm by lightly brushing with your left palm and fingers down the inside of your right arm from your shoulder to your fingertips. Then turn your right hand palm down, and massage the Three Yang Channels of the arms by using your left hand to brush up your right arm from fingertips to shoulder over the back of your hand and up the back of your arm.

Repeat 9 times altogether. Then do the same procedure on the opposite side.

Next, massage down the Three Yang Channels of the legs by using both palms to lightly brush down the outside and back of the buttocks, flanks and legs to the toes. Then massage up the Three Yin Channels of the legs by brushing from the big toes up the inside of the foot, ankle, calf, knee, thigh and groin. Repeat 9 times altogether.

g) If none of the above self-treatments work, one should immediately seek out a reputable Qigong doctor or practitioner of Oriental medicine for treatment.

Outgoing Qi Therapy

  1. a)  Open the confluent points of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels in accordance with the Eight Methods of the Sacred Tortoise (Ling Gui Ba Fa) and its rules for point selection according to the hour of treatment and the stem and branch of the day of treatment.
  2. b)  Select relevant points along the affected channels. Use flat palm or sword hand gestures and apply pushing, pulling, and quivering manipulations to activate and normalize the Qi flow along the disordered and related channels.
  3. c)  After that, apply pushing and leading manipulations to guide the Qi along the related channel or to the related organ, or back to the Dantian.
  4. d)  Regulate the activities

Herbal Treatment

The following herbal formula may be prescribed with appropriate modifications, and decocted in water for oral administration (dose per day):

Dang Gui (Radix Angelica Sinensis) 12g Ci Shi (Magnetitum) 30g Niu Xi (Radix Achyranthes Bidentatae) 18g Shan Yu Rou (Frutus Corni) 15g Sheng Long Gu (Os Draconis) 30g Sheng Mu Li (Concha Ostreae) 30g

2. Qi and/or Blood Stagnation

Symptoms

Qi and/or Blood Stagnation may occur either during or after Qigong practice. Qi and/or Blood Stagnation may give rise to symptoms of pain, heaviness, sore and distending sensations and sensations of compression, which may not disappear automatically, and may become worse if not treated.

Outgoing Qi Therapy

1. a) Select appropriate local acupoints at and around the affected location of the problem. Tap and knead the points digitally, and push and stroke along the channel along the natural direction of the affected channel’s flow.

  1. b)  Use flat palm hand gesture along with pushing, pulling, leading and quivering manipulations to dredge the channels and to guide and normalize the functional flow of Qi in the channel along the natural direction of the affected channel’s flow.
  2. c)  Refer to Qigong Empowerment, pp. 311-316 for additional treatments for problems at specific locations.

Self-Treatment

  1. a)  Stop the Qigong exercises which have caused the symptoms.
  2. b)  If you feel a compressing sensation on the head along with severe headache, massageGV-20 (Bai Hui), GB-20 (Fengchi), Tianmen (Extra), Kangong, and Taiyang (Extra). Then pat and massage along the natural direction of the Governing and Conception Vessels. Then concentrate the mind on KD-1 (Yongquan) and LV-1 (Dadun) and continue with the face and head massages above.
  3. c)  If you feel a tight and compressed sensation at the forehead, first massage Tianmen (Extra), Kangong, and Taiyang (Extra), and then pat from GV-20 (Bai Hui) down to CV-6 (Qihai, Dantian) along the Conception Vessel several times until you feel the energy descend and the pain reduced. Then apply pushing massage from GV-20 (Bai Hui) down to CV-6 (Qihai, Dantian) several times.
  4. d)  For distending pain around GV-14 (Dazhui), press-knead GV-14 (Dazhui), GV-16 (Fengfu), GB-20 (Fengchi), and GV-6 (Jizhong), and pat downwards along the Governing Vessel and Bladder Channels several times.
  5. e)  Continue to push, rub, knead and pat the painful and uncomfortable areas.

Herbal Treatment

The following herbal formula may be prescribed with appropriate modifications:

  • Dang Gui (Radix Angelica Sinensis) 12g
  • Tao Ren (Semen Persica) 9g
  • Hong Hua (Flos Carthamus) 9g
  • Yan Hu Suo (Rhizoma Corydalis) 12g
  • Lu Lu Tong (Fructus Liquidambaris) 30g
  • Niu Xi (Radix Achyranthes) 18g
  • Si Gua Luo (Retinervus Luffae Fructus) 9g

3. Leaking of True Qi

Symptoms

During or after Qigong practice, one may feel Qi leaking out of their external genitalia, anus, or urethral orifice, and other points. Leaking of True Qi may lead to wasting, weakness of the extremities, pale grayish and dark complexion, vexation, lack of concentration, impaired memory, spontaneous sweating, night sweats, pathological seminal emission, insomnia, and reluctance to speak or move.
Outgoing Qi Therapy

  1. a)  Emit Qi with flat palm gesture and pushing, pulling and quivering manipulations towards CV-6 (Qihai; Dantian) and GV-4 (Mingmen).
  2. b)  Again emit Qi to CV-6 (Qihai; Dantian) with flat palm gesture and vibrating and quivering manipulations for 9 or 18 breath cycles.

Self-Treatment

a) Knead Zhongwan (Ren 12), Qi Hai (Ren 6), and Guan Yuan (Ren 4); push and rub the abdomen; knead Shen Shu (BL 23).

b) Concentrate your mind on your Dan Tian for 5-10 minutes.

c) Inhale quickly through your nose and simultaneously contract your anus and PC (pubococcygeal) muscles. Hold for 10 seconds, then exhale and relax those muscles. Repeat 9 times.

d) Knock your teeth together 36 times.

e) Roll your tongue around in your mouth 18 times to generate saliva. Accumulate the saliva, and then swallow forcefully in three gulps. Rest.

f) Massage your Ming Men 49 times. Then pat your torso and limbs.

Herbal Treatment

The following herbal formula may be prescribed with modifications: Shu Di Huang (Prepared Rehmanniae) 30g
Ren Shen (Radix Ginseng) 9g
Shan Yu Rou (Cornus Fruit) 30g

Ci Shi (Magnetitum) 30g Rou Gui (Cinnamon Bark) 6g Niu Xi (Radix Achyranthes) 18g Shen Long Gu (Os Draconis) 30g Mu Li (Oyster Shell) 30g

4. Mental Derangement (Qigong Psychosis)

Symptoms

Most participants report profound health and wellbeing benefits from qigong practices; many achieve significant relief from longstanding physical or psychiatric ailments.

Some, however, may develop a syndrome known as qigong psychotic reaction, described by DSM-IV as “an acute, time-limited episode characterized by dissociative, paranoid, or other psychotic or non-psychotic symptoms”, and that “especially vulnerable are individuals who become overly involved” in qigong.

During Qigong practice, mental derangement (also called Ru Mo, “being infatuated” or “Zou Hou Ru Mo”, “fire [qi] wild, devils enter”), or simply “Shen disturbance” may appear.

Mental derangement of this type is usually the result of overzealous and excessive practice, or in practicing to a fanatical degree. It also occurs in practitioners who regard the extraordinary sensory or mental perceptions experienced during Qigong as real. It may manifest in either a Yin or Yang form.

In Yin Qigong Psychosis, the patient’s Qi will be compressed; the patient may become withdrawn, depressed, introverted and uncommunicative, exhibiting an eccentric disposition, a withered and dull expression and appearance, idle movement, apathy, and trance. The patient’s eyes may appear clouded, may avoid direct eye contact, or the eyes may waver from side to side.

In Yang Qigong Psychosis, the patient’s Qi may become stuck in the head or heart, the patient may exhibit manic, overly expressive, impulsive or volatile behavior, over-talkativeness, incomprehensible or inappropriate speech or laughter, inappropriate expression of feelings, insomnia. The patient’s eyes may become burning, piercing and fiery.

With both types of qigong psychosis, some practitioners may lose self-confidence to the extreme of becoming suicidal; others may experience disorientation, and continuous auditory and visual hallucinations similar to those experienced in schizophrenia and other forms of acute psychosis.

Generally speaking, most of these disorders are related to a pathological accumulation of Qi in the head or heart. Both the brain and the heart are related to Shen and consciousness, and are Yang in nature. The over-accumulation of Qi in these centers may either over-activate (Yang) or cloud (Yin) the mind. In either case, the basic treatment principle is to ground the patient, to guide the Qi down to the Lower Dantian, and to regulate the Qi.

Outgoing Qi Therapy

  1. a)  Open the confluent points of the Eight Extraordinary Vessels in accordance with the Eight Methods of the Sacred Tortoise (Ling Gui Ba Fa) and its rules for point selection according to the hour of treatment and the stem and branch of the day of treatment.
  2. b)  Press and knead GV-20 (Baihui), GV-14 (Dazhui), GV-10 (Lingtai), and BL-13 (Feishu). Then use either flat palm or sword finger gestures and pushing, pulling, and quivering manipulations to emit Qi and guide Qi to flow down the Governing Vessel.
  3. c)  Pinch GV-20 (Baihui), Yintang, GV-26 (Renzhong), SI-19 (Tinggong), ST-6 (Jiache), LI-11 (Quchi), LI-4 (Hegu), BL-40 (Weizhong), and BL-57 (Chengshan).

     4. d) Use middle finger propping gesture and vibrating manipulation to emit Qi toward CV-15 (Jiawei) and CV-12 (Zhongwan) for a period of 18 normal respirations. Then guide the Qi downwards along the Conception Vessel back to the Lower Dantian.

Self-Treatment

a) Stop the Qigong exercises which have caused the symptoms.

b) Apply Qigong massage according to the symptoms: knead Taiyang (Extra) and Bai Hui (Du 20), pat along the spinal column and Bladder Channel from upper to lower, and pat the back and extremities.

c) Guide the Qi from the head down the Conception Vessel to the navel. Collect the Qi at the navel by spiraling outwardly 36 times (clockwise for males, counter-clockwise for females) and inwardly 24 times (counter-clockwise for males, counter-clockwise for females).

Herbal Treatment

The following herbal formula may be prescribed with appropriate modifications:

  • Sheng Di Huang (Fresh Rehmannia) 30g
  • Bai He (Lily Bulb) 30g
  • Sheng Long Gu (Dragon Bone) 30g
  • Sheng Mu Li (Oyster Shell) 30g
  • Niu Xi (Achyranthes Root) 15g
  • Yuan Zhi (Polygala Root) 12g
  • Suan Zao Ren (Zizyphus Seed) 12g
  • Ci Shi (Magnetite) 30g
  • Shan Yu Rou (Cornus Fruit) 30g
  • Zhu Sha (Cinnabar) 1g (taken following it’s infusion)

5. Unchecked Flow of Pathogenic Qi

In healthy practitioners, there may be a struggle between the righteous healthy Qi and pathogenic Qi during exercise. Because the righteous Qi is reinforced due to Qigong practice, the pathogenic Qi may flow unchecked to certain locations and cause pain, soreness, distention, heaviness, coldness and heat.

Outgoing Qi Therapy

  1. a)  Press-knead the Jing-well points of the affected channel with your fingernails to open the channels and allow the pathogenic Qi to leave, guiding it out with your mental intent.
  2. b)  Use flat palm gesture and pulling and leading manipulations to guide the pathogenic Qi out. Alternatively, you may open the affected point to dispel the pathogenic Qi.

Self-Treatment

a) Massage the affected areas with digital pressure to relax it fully

b) Inhale naturally. As you exhale, use your will to lead the Qi to the affected location, and imagine the pathogenic Qi is being expelled. Repeat for 49 respiratory cycles.

c) Practice the Hua Shan Qigong exercise, “Expelling Toxins” 9 to 49 times.

 

jampa

https://healingtaoinstitute.com/about.html

by Jampa Mackenzie Stewart, M.S.O.M., L.AC.

[email protected]

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Spanakopita
Spanokopita with a Greek Salad

This Greek classic is a healthy vegetarian main course and a hybrid of my Greek grandpa’s recipe and one from the Colorado yoga retreat center Shoshoni. Serve with Greek Feta and Kalamata Olive, Cucumber and Tomato Salad and Ttzatziki.

 

Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh spinach or two packages of chopped frozen, thawed
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
6 oz of Feta Cheese
6 oz of cream cheese
1 teaspoon salt
pinch black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 (1-pound package) filo dough  and 1 stick of melted vegan butter, melted butter or olive oil for brushing filo

Directions:

1. Chop and wash spinach and broccoli and steam in a saute pan. Drain and squeeze out excess moisture. Set aside.

2. Saute onions in olive oil until soft and translucent.

3. Combine onions, feta, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix in cooked spinach and broccoli.

4. To assemble Spanokopita, carefully unroll the filo dough leaves. Lay the sheets flat on a counter, and cover completely with a damp towel, as they can dry quickly. Place a large cutting board or prepare a large clean surface next to the filo, and place a single layer of filo on the board. Lightly brush with melted butter or olive oil. Place one more sheets on the first, brushing each lightly with oil, and covering the sheets each time a sheet is removed. Slice sheets with a sharp knife lengthwise to produce two long strips.

5. Preheat oven to 375°F.

6. Spoon 1⁄2 cup spinach filling onto lower right-hand corner of one of the strips. Fold corner toward left hand edge to form a triangle, sealing the filling. Continue to roll like a flag to the end of the strip until you have a triangle Spanakopita. Brush the outside lightly with butter or oil, and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Make as many as you can until filling is used.

7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly golden browned.

spinach pie

Spanakopita

Spanokopita with a Greek Salad

This Greek classic is a main course is a hybrid of my Greek grandpa's recipe and one from the Colorado yoga retreat center Shoshoni. Serve with Greek Feta and Kalamata Olive Salad and Ttzatziki.

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds fresh spinach or two packages of chopped frozen thawed
  • 1 medium onion minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup broccoli florets chopped
  • 6 oz of Feta Cheese
  • 6 oz of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1 ⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1-pound package filo dough and 1 stick of melted vegan butter, melted butter or olive oil for brushing filo

Instructions
 

  • Chop and wash spinach and broccoli and steam in a saute pan. Drain and squeeze out excess moisture. Set aside.
  • Saute onions in olive oil until soft and translucent.
  • Combine onions, feta, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix in cooked spinach and broccoli.
  • To assemble Spanokopita, carefully unroll the filo dough leaves. Lay the sheets flat on a counter, and cover completely with a damp towel, as they can dry quickly. Place a large cutting board or prepare a large clean surface next to the filo, and place a single layer of filo on the board. Lightly brush with melted butter or olive oil. Place one more sheets on the first, brushing each lightly with oil, and covering the sheets each time a sheet is removed. Slice sheets with a sharp knife lengthwise to produce two long strips.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Spoon 1⁄2 cup spinach filling onto lower right-hand corner of one of the strips. Fold corner toward left hand edge to form a triangle, sealing the filling. Continue to roll like a flag to the end of the strip until you have a triangle Spanakopita. Brush the outside lightly with butter or oil, and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Make as many as you can until filling is used.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly golden browned.

How It Happened

I volunteer in state politics. It was the night that insurrectionists stormed the Capitol in D.C. I have friends that I love and care for that work there and the fear hit my system really hard. I was doing a solitary retreat and a cleansing new years’s juice fast, which makes you particularly open, feeling and vulnerable to, well, everything. I made the mistake of doing some pretty powerful yogic exercises with breath retention too, that, in retrospect, I should not have been fasting while performing them, a lesson now learned.

That night, with the confluence of everything, I had a full on panic attack. I could not sleep, and it got so bad that my nerves just gave out, shaking, overcome by fear. I could feel this odd overheating going up the spine to my head, pretty classic Kundalini syndrome or what Tibetans call a wind imbalance or Tsog Lung. This struggle went on for 3 nights. I finally broke down and took one exceedingly strong sleeping pill, for one night, that acts also as an anti-convulsant called Clonazepam, that cut the momentum of the fear and got me to sleep. However, I wanted to fix this and come back into balance by myself. I’m happy to say, I found a full cure, and was sleeping soundly by night 4, naturally, with no sleeping pills!

If you ever have your practice go wrong, anxiety or insomnia, or life and fear just hits an overwhelm, I wanted to offer what helped me get through it and come back into balance. I took 5 full days and I limited my work time to do an immersive, home self care intensive to recover. I’m happy to say that I came out better then ever, calm, healed and sleeping soundly.

The Natural Cure

I am not a doctor and cannot offer medical advice. Please do see a doctor, teacher or acupuncturist for professional advice if needed, but here is what helped me:

  1. I called my meditation teachers who know me- and they gave me some personal meditation instructions that I was so grateful for, and told me to discontinue all breath-work and yoga practice for some time.
  2. I went in for a full checkup with blood-work to my medical doctor, got acupuncture and a Ku-nye warm oil massage with a Tibetan Doctor.
  3. I took a relaxing Epsom salt bath twice a day with lavender essential oils in it and then rubbed rose body oil or sesame oil all over head to toe! I dried off and kept my body really warm, extra clothes and blankets, and a fire.
  4. I stopped the juice fast and ate heavy, oily, grounding, deeply nutritive foods- organic bone marrow broth, steamed vegetables with butter.
  5. The Chinese doctor had me take a safe, herbal formula called “Jitters Away”* along with goat’s milk colostrum to mend the nerves. *take with supervision
  6. At night before bed, I took some vitamins and amino acids including: 5htp, Magnesium, Inositol, L-Theanine and Gaba. *Dosages should be taken under the guidance of a functional medicine practitioner.
  7. I rubbed a small amount high quality CBD salve with arnica onto my arm, on the soft spot where the arm bends.
  8. I had this happen on retreat a few years back, so reread the VERY BEST INSOMNIA BOOK, and followed the author’s advice that puts you back on track for sound sleep. In sum, you do a mantra before bed that says: “I’m a good sleeper, my body knows how to sleep.” You can rub you feet together and rub your belly to bring the “energy” down.
  9. I stopped all caffeinated coffee, went to decaf and calming teas like chamomile with natural, non-stimulating sugars like monkfruit or coconut. Before bed, warm milk with Ashwagandha.
  10. I worked out on a elliptical gently each morning and /or went for long gentle walks in the sun, and did some very gentle stretching, sun salutations and hatha yoga.
  11. I listened to calming music and kept my space clean, and fresh. I lit candles and incense at night, with some simple formless meditation.
  12. I shut down ALL social media, and turned off the news for a few days; what wonders that does to heal the nerves!

 

candles

What I Learned

Well, I recall a few years ago the same thing happen to me while I was practicing these intense yogas on retreat. It took me eight months to fully recover and it was hard fought. I wanted to see if the same problem would recur and sure enough it did. I was consulting with the Tibetan medical doctor and he told me that we all have a certain elemental propensity, what they call the humors. Some people have: wind, phlegm or bile imbalances or propensities. People that have a lot of thoughts and ideas and are emotionally sensitive, tend toward having a wind imbalance. It means that your life force energy can quickly move upwards, to the head, and so when you do certain yogic practices this can definitely exacerbate this and cause an imbalance.

I almost think nowadays that the spiritual path is body based and it’s a process of getting to be in touch with yourself physically and emotionally, to notice how you’re doing. We use the analogy of the mastery of being able to “ride the horse” of your life force, rather than have it trample over you. If we’ve taken on too much, heartbreak and stress buildup and can cause insomnia and anxiety or other health problems, like heart disease and ulcers. It’s your body and mind’s way of loudly telling you that you have to go into self-care and give it more support.

Nowadays, with media and 24/7 global television, we can feel everything that’s happening in the world. We all know it’s been a very difficult past few years. Those of us who care and are sensitive can be really affected by these things, so we have to protect our energy and be mindful of how much news we take in, and how much time we spend on social media. We can’t help the world if we are overcome by fear and anxiety.

Self-care, a feeling of inner love, warmth and well-being is the basis with which we can live a full and meaningful life. I realize that if I can take care of myself, support myself, and be in mind/body/spirit balance, that warmth can extend to others. I learned a lot from this process and it developed more of an awareness of how to ground and stay in tune throughout the day. I’m also grateful to know that if anything does happen, any type of trauma, loss or overwhelm, I have this immersive self-care method to calm down and reconnect to myself as an ultimate protection. Try some of these lifestyle changes, and you might find that you are free from anxiety and can sleep very deeply, waking ready for each day!

Wellness wishes to everyone, and if you’d like any more details about what methods I used to heal, please contact me anytime.

Dawn Boiani-Sandberg

https://www.boulderreiki.com

 

Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

Potato Galette

Vegetable Potato Galette

A perfect Vegetarian Main Course! Potato galette is a staple in the French countryside. The word “galette” is French and simply means “flat cake.” Serve for dinner as a vegetarian main course with a side salad, for lunch, or as a brunch side dish. This recipe includes mushrooms, peppers and onions, but you can simply use sliced onions.

Ingredients:

• 1/3 cup olive or coconut oil
• 1-1/2 lb. (about 5 medium) organic potatoes such as Yukon Gold, washed, peel if you like
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1/2 large onion or (1 medium), diced
• 1/2 red or orange pepper, diced
• 6 baby portobello mushrooms sliced
• 3 medium cloves garlic, very coarsely chopped (optional)
• 6 large eggs
• 1/8 tsp./pinch freshly ground black pepper
• 5 tablespoons/ 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

Potato Galette

Preparation:

• Preheat Oven to 375 degrees.
• In a 10-12” nonstick skillet that’s at least 1-1/2 inches deep, heat the oil on medium high. While the oil is heating, slice the potatoes thinly, and lightly fry with oil and salt, turning once, do not burn. Remove and set aside.
• Add the onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic (if using) to the pan. Fry, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and translucent.
• In a large bowl, beat the eggs, 1/4 tsp. salt, and the pepper with a whisk.
• Mix the cooked potatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers and garlic and layer into a baking dish.
• Pour the egg mixture onto the potatoes and spread.
• Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown on the top.

Potato Galette

Vegetable Potato Galette

A perfect Vegetarian Main Course! Potato galette is a staple in the French countryside. The word “galette” is French and simply means "flat cake." Serve for dinner as a vegetarian main course with a side salad, for lunch, or as a brunch side dish. This recipe includes mushrooms, peppers and onions, but you can simply use sliced onions.

Ingredients
  

  • 1/3 cup olive or coconut oil
  • 1-1/2 lb. about 5 medium organic potatoes such as Yukon Gold, washed, peel if you like
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 large onion or 1 medium, diced
  • 1/2 red or orange pepper diced
  • 6 baby portobello mushrooms sliced
  • 3 medium cloves garlic very coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/8 tsp./pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons/ 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

Instructions
 

  • Preheat Oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a 10-12” nonstick skillet that’s at least 1-1/2 inches deep, heat the oil on medium high. While the oil is heating, slice the potatoes thinly, and lightly fry with oil and salt, turning once, do not burn. Remove and set aside.
  • Add the onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic (if using) to the pan. Fry, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and translucent.
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs, 1/4 tsp. salt, and the pepper with a whisk.
  • Mix the cooked potatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers and garlic and layer into a baking dish.
  • Pour the egg mixture onto the potatoes and spread.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown on the top.

 

 

Flourless Chocolate Lava Cake

This super easy 4 ingredient lava cake is a gourmet family favorite, that you can whip up in 30 minutes or less! It works well with vegan butter and coconut sugar, but regular butter and sugar can be substituted 1-1.

Ingredients

• 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
• 12 tablespoons (one stick and 1/2) vegan butter
• 4 large organic eggs or 5 medium
• 1/2 cup granulated coconut sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon/pinch salt, omit if using salted butter

Chocolate Lava Cake

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Vegan butter coat/ spray to oil seven small ramekins.

 If you don’t have ramekins, you can use a muffin tin.
2. Melt chocolate with vegan butter, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
3. 
While chocolate is melting, whip eggs, coconut sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until mixture is fluffy, about 5 minutes.
4. 
Reduce speed to low and slowly stir in chocolate mixture until combined, use a rubber spatula to scoop out all chocolate. Spoon into ramekins and place on baking sheet. Bake until edges are set but center is underdone, about 12 minutes, but check after 10. Avoid over-baking so the middle is still lava-like and runny. Let cool 3 minutes and serve.

Flourless Chocolate Lava Cake

Flourless Chocolate Lava Cake with Vegan Butter

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 12 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 12 tablespoons one stick and 1/2 vegan butter
  • 4 large organic eggs or 5 medium
  • 1/2 cup granulated coconut sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon/pinch salt omit if using salted butter

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Vegan butter coat/ spray to oil seven small ramekins.

 If you don't have ramekins, you can use a muffin tin.
  • Melt chocolate with vegan butter, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
  • While chocolate is melting, whip eggs, coconut sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until mixture is fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Reduce speed to low and slowly stir in chocolate mixture until combined, use a rubber spatula to scoop out all chocolate. Spoon into ramekins and place on baking sheet. Bake until edges are set but center is underdone, about 12 minutes, but check after 10. Avoid over-baking so the middle is still lava-like and runny. Let cool 3 minutes and serve.

Vegetarian Gnocchi with Spinach and Parmesan

A colorful and comforting vegetarian main dish! I try to use all organic/ non-gmo ingredients whenever possible. One of our family’s all time favorites.

Ingredients:

2 (17-ounce) packages potato gnocchi
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces fresh baby spinach (frozen, defrosted can be used too)
3 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre not feta)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the gnocchi in a lightly greased 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cream, vegetable broth, butter and flour over medium heat.
Continue whisking until the sauce is simmering and thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and stir to combine.
Add the spinach and toss to coat into cream.
Melt the goat cheese into the cream and spinach.
Pour the cream and spinach mixture evenly over the gnocchi and gently spread to cover.
Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake until the top is golden, about 25 minutes, you can broil for 3 minutes as well to complete!

Serve with a fresh garden salad and crusty bread.

spinach gnocchi

Vegetarian Gnocchi with Spinach and Parmesan

A colorful and comforting vegetarian main dish! I try to use all organic/ non-gmo ingredients whenever possible. One of our family's all time favorites.

Ingredients
  

  • 2 17-ounce packages potato gnocchi
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces fresh baby spinach frozen, defrosted can be used too
  • 3 ounces fresh goat cheese chevre not feta
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Place the gnocchi in a lightly greased 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cream, vegetable broth, butter and flour over medium heat.
  • Continue whisking until the sauce is simmering and thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and stir to combine.
  • Add the spinach and toss to coat into cream.
  • Melt the goat cheese into the cream and spinach.
  • Pour the cream and spinach mixture evenly over the gnocchi and gently spread to cover.
  • Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake until the top is golden, about 25 minutes, you can broil for 3 minutes as well to complete!

Notes

Serve with a fresh garden salad and crusty bread.

A few years ago, I discovered an amazing relationship technique called Imago, a transformative compassion technique developed by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt. I offer a summary of this technique as part of our relationship repair program. It is exceedingly powerful and can help people that have given up on friendships, relationships or marriages to turn them around completely; it helped me personally and still does to this day.

Even the best of us can always refine our relationship skills. We all can get into negative patterns or have moments of emotional immaturity from childhood, that we can regress back into, when triggered. This meme is a summary some of the warning signs of when we’ve embarked upon the relationship with a toxic person or brought in toxic patterns, and in contrast, what it looks like if we learned healthy patterns. For me, the journey of self awareness and the unceasing opportunity better my relationship with myself, my friends and my family is the essence of the real spiritual path.

 

listening heart

Overcoming dysfunctional relationship patterns

Healthy Patterns from John Welwood’s- Journey of the Heart
Learning to love well is an ongoing art of maturing and real evolution

Toxic Patterns:

hypocritical
can’t take criticism
never admits to being wrong
plays mind games
extremely manipulative
self serving and selfish
tendency to lie
loves drama
can’t be trusted
expects blind loyalty, but is not loyal
twists everything you say
will not take no for an answer
lacks healthy boundaries
is punitive
stonewalls or silent treatment
is a bully
is entitled
envious or jealous
neglectful
manipulative

Healthy Patterns:

consistent
welcomes constructive criticism
can admit to being wrong
is clear and fair
thinks of the other
is empathetic
is honest
calms and deescalates
can be trusted
is loyal
actively listens
respects limits
has healthy boundaries
is forgiving
open communication
is humble
has problem solving skills
wants both parties to thrive
capable of sincere care
self aware and skillful

Left content credit to: A Toxic Person
@understandingthenarc/Maria Consiglio

Image from pexels


 

Easy Homemade Naturally Sweetened Granola

This easy to make healthy granola recipe is naturally, lightly sweetened with coconut sugar or granulated monkfruit. It’s made with oats, coconut oil or vegan butter and you can add your choice of nuts and fruit. This one is a Chai-Almond but you can add almost anything. Go wild~ try chopped macadamia nuts, decadent dried cherries etc. Make a new flavor every week and get creative!

Ingredients

  • 6 cups old-fashioned uncut whole grain rolled oats
  • ½ cup of raw almonds
  • ½ cup of chopped hazelnuts
  • ½ cup (one stick) of melted better, vegan butter, coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt if not using salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamon
  • ½ cup coconut sugar, monkfruit sugar maple syrup or honey
  • ⅔ cup of your choice of dried/ cut fruit like cranberries, coconut flakes, carob chips (all optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts and fruit, salt and cinnamon.
    Stir to blend.
  3. Pour in the melted butter/oil.
  4. Mix well, spread the granola onto cookie sheet evenly.
  5. Bake until lightly golden toasted about 20 minutes, stirring 1/2 way through.
  6. Let cool before serving and store in an air-tight container.

granola ingredients
home made granola

 

natural granola

Easy Homemade Naturally Sweetened Granola

This easy to make healthy granola recipe is naturally sweetened with coconut sugar or granulated monkfruit. It’s made with oats, coconut oil or vegan butter and you can add your choice of nuts and fruit.

Ingredients
  

  • 6 cups old-fashioned uncut whole grain rolled oats
  • ½ cup of almonds
  • ½ cup of hazelnuts
  • ½ cup one stick of melted better, vegan butter, coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt if not using salted butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamon
  • ½ cup coconut sugar monkfruit sugar maple syrup or honey
  • cup of your choice of dried/ cut fruit like cranberries coconut flakes, carob chips (all optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts and fruit, salt and cinnamon. Stir to blend.
  • Pour in the melted butter/oil. Mix well, spread the granola onto cookie sheet evenly.
  • Bake until lightly golden toasted about 20 minutes, stirring 1/2 way through.
  • Let cool before serving and store in an air-tight container.

apple pastry

Easy, Healthy Apple Custard Puff Pastry, Ready in 1 hour!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lb frozen puff pastry thawed (2 sheets)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar/honey/ brown rice syrup
  • 1 T sugar or granulated monkfruit sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 large apples washed and unpeeled thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 organic egg
  • ½ tsp powdered sugar for topping
  • 4T butter or vegan butter (1T melted to brush)
  • 1 packet of vanilla pudding and oat/soy/cows milk

apples warm

custard

apple tart

puff

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven 400° F.
  • Roll puff pastry out into a 10″ square and put on greased cookie sheet.
  • Add 1 T sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar and cinnamon to the apple slices and heat until soft in a saucepan with 1/3 c. water and butter
  • Heat the pudding with 1/2 the milk from instructions and add one whole egg, whisk briskly
  • Spread the custard onto the lower puff pastry
  • Pile the apple filling in the center of the puff pastry leaving 1″ around the edge free.
  • Sprinkle almonds on top
  • Place the second pastry on top folding the pastry as needed and pinching together gatherings of pastry.
  • Melt 1T of butter. Brush it on the pastry, and use a knife to poke steam holes.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is golden.
  • Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp powdered sugar.
  • Serve warm or cold.
  • Serves 4-6.

Optional:

Vegan ice cream on the side

Author:

dawn

Dawn Boiani-Sandberg Wellness Coach
apple pastry

Apple Custard Puff Pastry

Easy, Healthy Apple Custard Puff Pastry, Ready in 1 hour!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ lb frozen butter puff pastry thawed 2 sheets
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar/honey/ brown rice syrup
  • 1 Tbsp sugar or granulated monkfruit sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 large apples washed and unpeeled thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 organic egg
  • 1/2 tsp powdered sugar for topping
  • 4 T butter or vegan butter 1T melted
  • 1 packet of vanilla pudding and oat/soy/cows milk

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven 400° F.
  • Roll puff pastry out into a 10" square and put on greased cookie sheet.
  • Add 1 Tbsp sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar and cinnamon to the apple slices and heat until soft in a saucepan with 1/3 c. water and butter
  • Heat the pudding with 1/2 the milk from instructions and add one whole egg, whisk briskly
  • Spread the custard onto the lower puff pastry
  • Pile the apple filling in the center of the puff pastry leaving 1" around the edge free.
  • Sprinkle almonds on top
  • Place the second pastry on top folding the pastry as needed and pinching together gatherings of pastry.
  • Melt 1T of butter. Brush it on the pastry, and use a knife to poke steam holes.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is golden.
  • Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp powdered sugar.
  • Serve warm or cold.
  • Serves 4-6.

Notes

Vegan ice cream on the side

keto scones

Low Carb, High Protein Healthy Chocolate Raspberry Muffins/ Scones

These are high protein low carb and highly nutritive, so we can feel good about offering these to our family. I’ve been experimenting with keto and paleo baking and found that I like to add organic white flour for 1/3 of the recipe. I know it’s considered a sin in the keto community but when we use exclusively almond or paleo flour (rice and almond), baked recipes come out very dense and hard (feedback… from the family.) A little bit of the organic white flour adds a lightness to our baking that is important. This recipe follows the keto/paleo rules by about two thirds, that much better for you than normal ordinary muffins/scones! If you really can’t stand using the half a cup of organic white flour you can substitute it with soy flour or coconut flour. These are a lightly sweet, densely filling chocolate muffins, great to pack on a hike or picnic!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of paleo or almond flour
1/2 cup organic white flour
1/4 cup cold coconut oil – or any cold vegan butter
1/4 cup granulated monkfruit sugar, maple syrup or honey
2 Tbs water or vegan milk
2 organic eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup dry cocoa powder
1/2 c melted dark chocolate
1 pinch of salt
1 12oz pack of sliced raspberries

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375*
2. In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients
3. In another bowl combine eggs, melted chocolate water
4. Take cold butter or coconut oil and cut into flour with two knives
5. Now, briskly combine wet and dry ingredients, mixture should be slightly crumbly like a scone
6. Scoop into greased muffin tin, fill tin 3/4 way
7. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until slightly browned

chocolate scones

Low Carb Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

These are high protein low carb and highly nutritive, so we can feel good about offering these to our family.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups of paleo or almond flour
  • 1/2 cup organic white flour
  • 1/4 cup cold coconut oil – or any cold vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated monkfruit sugar maple syrup or honey
  • 2 Tbs water or vegan milk
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dry cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c melted dark chocolate
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 12 oz pack of sliced raspberries

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375*
  • In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients
  • In another bowl combine eggs, melted chocolate water
  • Take cold butter or coconut oil and cut into flour with two knives
  • Now, briskly combine wet and dry ingredients, mixture should be slightly crumbly like a scone
  • Scoop into greased muffin tin, fill tin 3/4 way
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes or until slightly browned

Notes

These are high protein low carb and highly nutritive, so we can feel good about offering these to our family. I've been experimenting with keto and paleo baking and found that I like to add organic white flour for 1/3 of the recipe. I know it's considered a sin in the keto community but when we use exclusively almond or paleo flour (rice and almond), baked recipes come out very dense and hard (feedback... from the family.) A little bit of the organic white flour adds a lightness to our baking that is important. This recipe follows the keto/paleo rules by about two thirds, that much better for you than normal ordinary muffins/scones! If you really can't stand using the half a cup of organic white flour you can substitute it with soy flour or coconut flour. These are a lightly sweet, densely filling chocolate muffins, great to pack on a hike or picnic!
golden milk

turmeric golden tea

What is Golden Moon Milk Calming Tea?

Feeling a bit overwhelmed? When I start to feel a bit anxious, I immediately take that as a sign to take it easy and go into self care. One of the very first things I do, is make Golden Milk, it’s essentially Turmeric and Ashwagandha powder tea. Golden Moon Milk is an ancient Indian ayurvedic remedy of a Warm Milk Drink that you drink before bed (at moontime) to calm the nerves, and helps to settle internal inflammation.

Ashwagandha:Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing. It is classified as a rasayana i.e. rejuvenation in Ayurveda and expected to promote physical and mental health, restore the body and increase longevity.”

Turmeric: A form of ginger that, according to The Mindfulness Dojo, has “remarkable anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties and helping the body’s defense system against lethal diseases, turmeric has gained immense importance as a superfood.”

1-2 Servings

Ingredients:

1T. Ashwagandha Powder

1 tsp. Turmeric Powder

2 cups Milk –  I prefer extra creamy oat milk but you can use any milk: hemp, almond, cashew, or cow’s.

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Cardamom

1 tsp.- 1T. Sweetener – Honey, maple syrup, sugar, granulated monkfruit or stevia.

Directions:

 

Needed: Saucepan, whisk, cup.

  • Heat the milk in a saucepan on medium heat, watch to prevent foaming, do not heavy boil.
  • Add all the ingredients and whisk together.
  • Let the spices low simmer for a few minutes.
  • Transfer to cup and enjoy warm, before bed or anytime.

Enjoy this powerful, deeply nutritive, Golden Calming Milk.

 

golden milk

Golden Moon Milk Calming Tea

Golden Moon Milk is an ancient Indian ayurvedic Warm Milk Drink that you drink before bed (at moontime) to calm the nerves, and helps to settle internal inflammation.
Ashwagandha: "Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing. It is classified as a rasayana i.e. rejuvenation in Ayurveda and expected to promote physical and mental health, restore the body and increase longevity.
Turmeric: A form of ginger that, according to The Mindfulness Dojo, has "remarkable anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties and helping the body’s defense system against lethal diseases, turmeric has gained immense importance as a superfood."
1-2 Servings

Equipment

  • Needed: Saucepan, whisk, cup.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 T. Ashwagandha Powder
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric Powder
  • 2 cups Milk – I prefer extra creamy oat milk but you can use any milk: hemp, almond, cashew, or cow's.
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Cardamom
  • 1 tsp.- 1T. Sweetener – Honey maple syrup, sugar, granulated monkfruit or stevia.

Instructions
 

  • Heat the milk in a saucepan on medium heat, watch to prevent foaming, do not heavy boil.
  • Add all the ingredients and whisk together.
  • Let the spices low simmer for a few minutes.
  • Transfer to cup and enjoy warm, before bed or anytime.

Notes

Enjoy this powerful, deeply nutritive, Golden Calming Milk.

 

Image ID : 95032260
Media Type : Stock Photo
Copyright : Maksim Shebeko

 

Decadent and Healthy Vegetarian Loaded Nacho Casserole with Melted Cheddar

Yield
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

◦ 1 and 1/2 bags  (15 oz) of organic tortilla chips
◦ 1 can of organic vegetarian re-fried beans
◦ 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin or taco seasoning
◦ 1/4 cup sliced black olives
◦ 3 tablespoons jalapeño slices fresh or canned
◦ 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
◦ 1 can (15 oz) of nacho cheese sauce or make your own
◦ 1/2 – 2/3  (8oz) package of vegetarian meat crumbles
◦ 2 organic roma tomatoes, chopped
◦ 1/2 cup chopped onion
◦ cooking oil
◦ salsa as a condiment (with optional hot sauce)
◦  guacamole as a condiment

organic chips

Preparation

Heat oven to 425°F.

Cut onions, tomatoes, jalapenos and black olives.

Shred cheese.

Use a glass casserole dish, spread 1/2 of chips evenly on sheet.

In a frying pan, saute 1/2 of the onions in oil and then add the veg. meat, re-fried beans and taco spice.

Spoon bean mixture, vegetables and both cheeses over chips, layer the remaining chips repeat again.

Bake until cheese melts, 5 to 6 minutes.

Serve nachos with salsa and guacamole, and if desired, hot sauce! Cheers!

 

Vegetarian Loaded Nacho Casserole with Melted Cheddar

Yield Makes 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • ◦ 1 and 1/2 bags 15 oz of organic tortilla chips
  • ◦ 1 can of organic vegetarian re-fried beans
  • ◦ 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin or taco seasoning
  • ◦ 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • ◦ 3 tablespoons jalapeño slices fresh or canned
  • ◦ 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • ◦ 1 can 15 oz of nacho cheese sauce or make your own
  • ◦ 1/2 - 2/3 8oz package of vegetarian meat crumbles
  • ◦ 2 organic roma tomatoes chopped
  • ◦ 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • ◦ cooking oil
  • ◦ salsa as a condiment with optional hot sauce
  • ◦ guacamole as a condiment

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 425°F.
  • Cut onions, tomatoes, jalapenos and black olives.
  • Shred cheese.
  • Use a glass casserole dish, spread 1/2 of chips evenly on sheet.
  • In a frying pan, saute 1/2 of the onions in oil and then add the veg. meat, re-fried beans and taco spice.
  • Spoon bean mixture, vegetables and both cheeses over chips, layer the remaining chips repeat again.
  • Bake until cheese melts, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Serve nachos with salsa and guacamole, and if desired, hot sauce! Cheers!

 

The Tantric Consort: Awakening Through Relationship

In our semi-apocalyptic time, it seems like many of us are going very deeply into introspection now. Very profound reflection is occurring on a global scale and our very species is on the precipice of survival. I believe that sometimes things have to get very dark before we have the impetus to change, akin to the alcoholic’s need to hit bottom before there’s a sufficient wake-up call and his or her survival instinct is triggered. I really believe with everything within me that this is a healing crisis of our planet, our human relationship to the planet and how we live out of balance with so much greed, our needs, desire and using of the earth’s and human resources in an imbalanced way. But, in order to make this change we have to go deep into our self reflection, look at patterns of who we are, why we feel the need to be so predatory and desire to live way beyond our means and way beyond what’s allocated to us to live in a harmonious, sustainable way.

So what’s been happening is I feel, is that the living quality of Gaia, our Mother Earth has put us all in a timeout now we have to simplify and go inward and really look and reflect who we are, what we want to create and how we can collectively survive. It seems like a lot of us have been catapulted into a fast-track of spiritual development that we weren’t necessarily prepared for. One of the most powerful ways that we can learn and grow, heal some of the deepest, darkest karmic propensities is through relationship with each other.

This is why a lot of us have been experiencing very intense relationships with ourselves, family, friends and a lot have met what is traditionally known as our twin flame. The image of a flame is the power to burn impurities, transform and re-arise like a phoenix. Meeting this person is rare, and they are supposed to be the mirror of a similar energetic signature. The meeting can be a nuclear, cataclysmic, transformative process. What happens when you look in a mirror? You see your own reflection as it is, without alteration, as the adage goes “the mirror doesn’t lie.”

Generally what happens immediately, is that one person runs away and the other person chases the other, like two flickering flames. However through this painful process of longing and heartbreak and misalignment, we begin to realize that both the running and the chasing are both forms of running away from the feeling our own union. Through the claustrophobia of the process and abject, inconsolable pain, we actually begin to see our own inner strength by reeling in the projection and grasping. My teacher told me that there’s nothing more painful than this dynamic between and man and a woman, and that could “drop kick” you into enlightenment. In the Indo-Tibetan Tantras a similar process of evolution occurs when meeting your spiritual consort. Other traditions refer to this as meeting the Beloved. A lot of us have a lot of adolescent, media infused notions of what it would be like to meet our twin flame or spiritual consort. There’s a lot of fantastic talk about union and bliss and Tantric sex and secret tantric sex practices called Karmamudra, but this real world process of growth has very little to do with that.

A Tutelary Relationship

When you meet the person that could best act as a tutelary relationship, that connection is exceedingly powerful and can help you to grow in ways that you never thought possible. Often times, if not every time, one meets this twin flame, a person’s life goes into crisis. Very, very deep dark karmic things immediately come to the surface in an almost uncanny way and causes conflict. Because of that, you attribute your own karmic baggage, blocks and pain to the relationship. This begins the infamous running away from each other process, as the two consider the relationship itself as being toxic. However in reality it’s the complete opposite of toxicity, it’s more akin to healing crisis, shedding light on what needs to be looked at so that we actually have the opportunity to heal.

However in reality it’s the complete opposite of toxicity, it’s more akin to healing crisis, shedding light on what needs to be looked at so that we actually have the opportunity to heal.

Patterns of feeling that we’re unworthy, unlovable, guilty, past issues from childhood wounding, all get stirred up and immediately rise to the surface when you meet what is considered to be a divine friend. You have a choice at that point, you can turn away from this process and try to go back to sleep which is somewhat impossible because the feeling of tapping at your shoulder and the invitation to go further into your own development becomes very loud, obsessive and almost impossible to turn away from. Or, you can recognize what’s happening you can see that indeed, the greatest gift one could encounter in life, is the spiritual consort. However, the encounter is not for the frail-hearted. If you read the history of our Tantric Buddhist Saints, the consort appears in our life and becomes a powerful method to help us open these very deep karmic blocks that we never even knew we had, and now they become accessible.

These three videos below talk about some of the basic conflict, shock and outright consternation that comes if you’ve met your twin flame. They explain the process and  how to handle the energy and survive the intensity of this powerful evolutionary process. A lot of it comes down to just simplifying, and feeling that we are really rooted in our own self-love, wholeness and well-being. It invites us to look at our codependency, grasping and how we use people as we try to make ourselves feel better and indeed social media doesn’t help, but rather exacerbates this serious type of addiction and codependency. The invitation is to begin to feel and reconnect to our own internal brightness and well-being. In tantra, this internal union, warmth free from grasping is called the Mahamudra or the Great Seal.

If you have the good fortune of having met your twin flame or your spiritual consort, you should celebrate because you’ve done sufficient work and are ready for real, core level evolution in this life. I have great faith in our species and the intelligence of the life force of this planet, and can trust the process that we will not allow ourselves to destroy ourselves and we will do this required internal work. Through this ascension into our human potential, we can help each other to live more simply, feel more real love and take care of each other and our planet and evolve into a sustainable and compassionate species that lives in harmony with each other. They’ll always be hardship; human beings will have moments of pride and greed and divisive things like nationalism, but that I think the fundamental harshness and what is broken this within us must heal in our species in order to survive. The personal affects the collective, so the efficacy of this work can’t be underestimated. Relationship is the most powerful, transformative gateway toward genuine healing and collective social evolution. If we have the fortune of taking time to process grief and really heal our broken spirit, the culmination is that we once again, feel warm and whole, our birthright. This can indeed, even change society. My teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche once said:

“One person can harm the whole world, one person can help it.”

How magical of a new world we could create, from there~

 

 


Image from Pixabay
Lighted Match With Smoke on Black Background
Uploaded at March 03, 2016 and Closeup Photography of Pink Rose Flower

Keto Chocolate Walnut Brownies
How to make easy low carb keto brownies with paleo or almond flour.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 8 – 10 brownies

Ingredients:

• 1 cup paleo or almond flour
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder or 80 grams of unsweetened chocolate
• 2 tbsp raw cocoa nibs (optional)
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/3 tsp salt
• 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or butter
• 3 tbsp water
• 2 organic eggs, or 2 flax eggs, (mix 1tsp ground flax meal, 3tsp water per “egg”)
• 2/3 cup granulated erythritol or monk fruit sugar or honey
• 1 tsp pure vanilla or almond extract
• 2/3 cup of roughly chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch pan. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil and honey if used on low heat. Mix all dry ingredients well, then gently combine the wet and dry. Spread evenly into your greased pan. Smooth down and even out with a rubber spatula. Bake for 20 minutes on the center rack, then let cool completely for 15 minutes to firm up before cutting. Brownies will firm up even more if you refrigerate them overnight. Brownies are great with or without frosting, and a perfect compliment with vegan ice cream!

 

Keto Chocolate Walnut Brownies

How to make easy low carb keto brownies with paleo or almond flour.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup paleo or almond flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder or 80g of unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tbsp raw cocoa nibs optional
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or butter
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 organic eggs or 2 flax eggs, (mix 1tsp ground flax meal, 3tsp water per “egg”)
  • 2/3 cup granulated erythritol or monk fruit sugar or honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla or almond extract
  • 2/3 cup of roughly chopped walnuts optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch pan. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil and honey if used on low heat. Mix all dry ingredients well, then gently combine the wet and dry. Spread evenly into your greased pan. Smooth down and even out with a rubber spatula. Bake for 20 minutes on the center rack, then let cool completely for 15 minutes to firm up before cutting. Brownies will firm up even more if you refrigerate them overnight. Brownies are great with or without frosting, and a perfect compliment with vegan ice cream!

Notes

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 8 – 10 brownies
Photo by Dima Valkov from Pexels
“My religion is to live and die without remorse”
– Milarepa –
“Mi religión es vivir y morir sin remordimientos”

Yes, the final breath, to die at peace with your life with no regrets. We are the choices we make, and we will leave an imprint of who we were and what we did, into the next generations when we pass. Think of the film “It’s a Wonderful Life,”  so many lives were touched by one, that is the closest to real “reincarnation” that we can prove to have, our karmic legacy.  People remember us for our warmth, conduct, love or… harm. To live a life without regret, requires that now when we are alive, to sit back and reflect, and think about what’s most meaningful to us. Meaning must come from within, not from what our society, family or even our religion or what those in religious authority, tells us is our value.

I’ve worked with a lot of seniors and heard when people are dying, the most important thing to them at the end of life are the people that they loved, the quality of their relationships, and regret for people they hurt and didn’t resolve conflict with. You’d think it would be about their faith, the promise of some afterlife, God, heaven, angels, Buddhas or the next life, but people’s minds are really focused on love and relationship. For most at the end, it’s all about the depth of our awakened heart and love.

 

One of my teachers Chokyi Nyima said “if you can fix it with someone you must, you will feel better and they will feel better.” This is in our traditional 37 Practices of a Buddhist Bodhisattava as well, the practices of compassion, forgiveness and non-harming. Sometimes we don’t want to have contact with someone anymore if we think that they’ve hurt or betrayed us. Sometimes it’s hard to face how we treated others and we’d just rather forget and ignore our mistakes. The problem is, is that these moments of pain and conflict stay in our mindstreams and hearts we don’t really forget, even by silencing another or being in no contact. People just polarize, hold resentment, and each one blames the other. These are the seeds of human warfare, even hatred, so we must do better. We really don’t always have skills for conflict resolution, problem-solving, dealing with pain and misunderstandings and finding way to learn from each other to have resolve. Many of us just let relationships with family, friends or associates go by the wayside and hold a life of eternal resentment rather than venturing into the bravery of really healing.

The 12 Nidanas- Actively Cutting Karma

In our Buddhist Tradition, we often refer to a teaching called the 12 Nidanas. It’s a complex deconstructed system that literally means the chains or links of interdependent origination, that result in us creating a karmic circle. Imagine Jacob Marley’s hard forged chain in the afterlife. Basically in layman’s terms it’s a map of how people re-create patterns of suffering and how we stay in these patterns. We find it really difficult to cut the momentum and redirect ourselves into a more open, karma free way of relating to our lives. If we meditate and become more mindful, we can catch ourselves before we get upset, react or create a moment of karma. It’s particularly destructive to have negative karma and hurt the hearts of others and cause damage to ourselves or to our world. In order to remedy this process, we have to take a rigorous and honest look at ourselves and train ourselves to not act on impulse, to take a deep breath before we do something that we might regret.

Of course everyone makes mistakes, conflicts arise, feelings get hurt, misunderstandings are part of what it is to be in existence with people with different views and emotional propensities. So the compilation of these deeds that we’ve done, out of passion, aggression or ignorance become the building blocks of us being unenlightened and hurting others. If we reflect through our lives we can see that maybe we burned a bridge or two, estranged a friend or family member and done and myriad of things that we really regret. This is a similar process to the fifth step in Alcoholics Anonymous, you admit to yourself and to another, anyone that you harmed and you make amends to them wherever possible. A lot of the times we think too much time has gone by and it’s better to not bring up an old wound but in this system, if the person is still alive, we should make every effort to clear and heal any and all of our negative karma.

I wanted to tell you a story about clearing karma from two personal relationships that I’ve had that are going pretty well. The first is an exceedingly difficult relationship I have with my mother. It’s always been a struggle between us for various personal reasons, but I’ve never given up on her no matter what has transpired.  Many people had dissuaded me from having her in my life, but I know her traumatic past and when you love someone, you understand and forgive. We have moments of great pain, difficulty and conflict. Even if I believe that I was in the right and she was in the wrong, I often will put my pride aside, reach out to her and tell her that I always care about her and I want to learn and move forward.

Her personality type is not one that’s great for self reflection and apology so I have to create a workaround in order to have relationship with her. We have learned to take a deep breath when triggered, set boundaries if things get heated, redirecting and quelling any type of negativity before it escalates. My mother has cancer that it is currently in remission so I would regret if I allowed the conflict to put a wedge between us such that I never get to see her or tell her that I love her for this entire life. Even though the relationship has been difficult ever since I was born, I don’t want to sever the ties with a primary relationship and me continuing to reach out and forgive and yet, still set boundaries has worked really well.

I have another situation with a Dharma friend who I’ve known for 30 years. We’ve gotten into a number of conflicts about various issues over the years and at times we were not speaking to each other because of that. Most recently, I felt really brave and decided to discuss with him exactly the root of why we have this conflict and in the simple way, touched a few of the key issues. I did not blame or confront him perse, I used the traditional I messages” and spoke from the heart in a very clear and not particularly emotionally heated way. Like my mother, I told him that I cared about him and that we had decades of a long and close friendship and I really valued him always. I’m happy (even joyous) to report that in both of these instances with a high conflict propensity and emotionality, these powerful steps of clearing up hurt and negative karma have been successful!

I think we all feel so much better when we have harmonious relationships and if we make mistakes we correct them as soon as we see what we’ve done. In this way I think our lives can be meaningful and we can understand how to love ourselves and others in a real and genuine way and with hope, even have this life be of benefit to others. The Buddhist analogy says that people are fundamentally good, like the sun always shining behind the clouds. The clouds (our flaws and mistakes) are temporary and do not define us.

5 Powerful Steps to Clear Negative Karma

  1. Honestly reflect on anyone you have harmed with body, speech or mind.
  2. Make a list of those names of friends or family from your past who you have hurt, and be honest about what your part was in the difficulty.
  3. If they are still alive even if 1, 2 or 20 years have gone by, contact them in a gentle and noninvasive way. Reach out to them and communicate by phone or email and just tell them that you regret what happened and you wish them well, or if it’s a family member, be brave and tell them that you love them. If they have passed, forgive yourself and them mentally.
  4. This process is not to be a rescuer, codependent or doormat toward people who’ve been abusive to you. If you try to make excuses for someone who has been abusive, then you’ve enabled that karmic seed to be re-created in them and that’s not helpful. If you need to explain why you got angry or hurt or what you think caused a disconnect, explain it without blaming, just use “I Messages” and tell the person in an honest and authentic way what you felt and what you think you both might be able to do differently next time.
  5. I think we are hardwired to want to forgive each other and learn and grow in this life. We are all imperfect and make mistakes and hurt each other, but we can also grow, grow up and heal even when very difficult things arose.

Live and End Without Regret

If you’ve hurt someone that you care about, we can correct it today, reach out to someone who you held grudges for- release and heal all karma you can. And for our family and friends, tell them and show them that you really love them, listen to them and be there for them. For me, clearing karma whenever possible has made all the difference in the world.  Sometimes, people will not forgive you, we can only do our best. If we take these steps, I think our life will be profound and meaningful. It’s not about hours and years of renunciation and arduous meditation practice, value for me, is about becoming a really kind, present, authentic and loving person.

If we clear our karma, heal conflicts and love well, we will have no regret today, in our future, or our very last precious moment.

 

 

*Jetsun Milarepa was a famous Tibetan Buddhist Saint that, with great tearful regret, attained enlightenment, even after he had caused the deaths of others.

image:

Photo by Lola Russian from Pexels

 

How to completely heal from narcissistic abuse, loss of one’s faith and become a light in a darkening world.

 

I grew up in a rough culture on the east coast of the United States, in Newport, Rhode Island. I was raised by a teenage mother who didn’t really have any capacity to love me. My dad left when I was 3 and the environment before then was riddled with fighting, alcoholism and violence. She remarried right away but I think due to the trauma, she was always preoccupied with herself. She seemed always in fear, very controlling, involved with vanity, how she looked, how she appeared to the world and everything centered around her and her needs. She was emotionally somewhat histrionic and the whole family walked on eggshells in fear of her temper and her hostile reaction toward us. There was no room for me and in the home, I was considered a nuisance. I was then spanked by my stepfather weekly, criticized often and spent most of my time alone in my room. I cried untold tears. I was told I was ugly, devalued and ignored and oftentimes my mother said that she wish that she never had me.

I went to school always thinking that I was a misfit and there’s something deeply wrong with me and I really wasn’t worthy of love. So I started to read a lot of books and I studied really well and I always tried to make the teachers happy with me because that was the only sense of appreciation from anyone in authority that I had. I was really close with my teachers, got the perfect grades and one time my teacher even said to my mom that I was really bright, so much so that I should go to a special school for the gifted. The teacher was concerned because I was also really sensitive and I would get bullied and beaten up and teased a lot. This all now makes sense how I grew up because if I didn’t feel a sense of worth and confidence, small children could pick up on that weakness and I’ve always been targeted for my vulnerability.

Because of the teenage pregnancy and the pain my mother suffered and her fear, she was somewhat dissociated and unwell. I would try to spend time with her and she would send me away. I realized later that she had developed into becoming a full spectrum narcissist that was not capable of loving anyone other than thinking of herself. There was no way that we could ever resolve it as mother and daughter, since part of the narcissistic mindset denies it’s own hostility and projects all negative qualities onto other people. Narcissists, as well as other personality disorders, often must have a target of their shadow and blame. For my entire life for her, I was the chosen one. Thanks Mom!

I was fortunate in my later years to discover a book called Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, and sought counseling with the author Dr. Karyl McBride, a co-survivor. What I realized is that narcissism at it’s root, is the healthy longing for a person to take care of themselves, gone awry. What I realized is that, if we actually feel a sense of inner love and well-being, from there we can love others. The narcissists attempt to pay attention to something that’s broken inside is at it core, correct. Where it goes wrong is that the foundation of real healing and self-love is not there and in fact it’s often an emotional vacuum, devoid of compassion. From that vacuum, you begin to see others as something that you can use to fill up that hollowness and heal a core of fundamental self hatred.

Part of the fallout in this life was of course in my adulthood, to  recreate the pattern of feeling broken and bullied and looking for other friends, lovers and organizations to make everything right. This is the quintessential codependent  person that likewise feels broken and unwell and uses other people like a drug to put a giant Band-Aid on their loneliness. I would follow rock stars and then cult-like spiritual groups and none of this was super healthy because it was predicated on me feeling hollow, and unworthy looking for something, anything outside of myself to fill the void.

journaling

A NEW DAY… uncover bulletproof self love and genuine warmth for others

There’s a Buddhist slogan that says “be grateful to everyone.” I am not angry or bitter that anyone hurt me in this life, they probably had a harder time than I did, and maybe suffer even more. My spiritual community who I used to find solace and meaning in, recency dismantled in the wake of #metoo. I discovered later that guru worship had a lot of covert, exploitative narcissists, it figures that these communities felt somehow familiar. I found myself adrift, really, palpably alone. I decided to take a genuine honest look at my life, who I really am rawly and what matters to me. I feel like I gained my identity through this spiritual community and my friends there and without that, I felt devastated. I have my family but everything was starting to fall apart into an abyss and I wondered, what really has any meaning?

So from there, I decided to really go inward and not depend upon anything or anyone to make me feel better. I began to shutdown social media for longer lengths of time as to not depend upon people liking my posts to faux-foster self-esteem. I took some time to go into solitary retreat as much as I could. I was away from my husband and daughter and taking silence from some friends. I began to journal, meditate and begin the most rigorous process of self inquiry I could muster.

Then, something dawned upon me, a basic truism that I guess everyone else at figured out, but it’s taken me 50 years to realize…

I can’t love another person in a healthy way unless I have strong core of real self-love and self well-being to rely on.

This was my Aha! moment. I asked myself- how to have this life feel meaningful, how to love others and with hope, be of benefit? I can’t be codependent and broken and needing other people or religion or paltry social media to define who I am and make me feel better. I knew that was never going to work, so I decided- let’s start at square one, go into radical self-care and have a love affair with… myself… saucy. It’s a perfect time because all of us are on somewhat of a social timeout with the pandemic so it’s a great time to go inward.

A NEW RETREAT INTO JOY

I decided to get up in the morning and do some stretching or some cardio, enjoy sipping dark coffee and take warm essential oil baths. During my retreats over the years I use to meditate 8 to 10 hours a day and do a lot of chanting and complex visualizations. This time, I decided to just take time for me without any schedule or agenda, and just let life talk to me about what is fun and reconnect the sense of magic and wonder that maybe I’ve never even had in childhood. I decided to take a week or so and have absolutely no schedule (and I do feel grateful for the privilege to be able to take this time). I did whatever I wanted to do, if I wanted to journal on my blog, I would write, if I wanted to go for a walk I’d go for a walk, if I want to bake something special for myself I would. If I wanted to cry, I’d cry, whatever was there was listened to and honored, nothing repressed. It’s actually kind of outrageous to take even a day, a weekend, a week or a month to just feel alive, go outside and feel grass under your feet, feel sun on your cheeks, lay on a hammock and see a cloudless sky, and just feel like this life is yours, rather than always having to do something for work or for someone else.

This is where a little tiny light inside my heart started to shine and turn on. I could see it in my eyes when I looked at myself in the mirror, I began to feel the sense of self-love and self appreciation and gratitude for this life. I don’t think I really had this before, it’s taken more than half of my life to finally feel this, and it required that I let go of my tradition, every spiritual, ego prop and support.

 

self care

 

I begin to see how real love and real well-being works since it’s never been modeled to me before. If we have this inner spark of warmth, the power and efficacy of that can’t be underestimated. The cultivation of inner warmth can give us so much strength to be able to handle these darkening times. If we can take refuge in our own inner love and well-being in real way, we can’t be narcissistic or codependent, these facets of the same brokenness dissolve. In Buddhism, we call this maitri and and it’s considered a wish fulfilling jewel or diamond. Inner warmth is like a diamond because if you think about it for a minute, if someone criticizes you it may hurt but it doesn’t stick because you know yourself and are grounded in your own well-being. Likewise, if someone complements you or likes your social media, it doesn’t get used as ego’s fodder. We consider this process of compliment and criticism to be one of the worldly dharmas. Things are always arising in duality, both positive and negative, we have both floods and rainbows, love and loss, everything is always changing. Behind that, there’s an inner mountain of real strength that we can access, that we can have our own backs, even up unto our last breath. Through taking time for this deep self care, a love affair firstly with ourselves, we can finally uncover this real, bulletproof inner warmth and joy. You’ve heard the cliche, “you can’t love anyone if you can’t love yourself.” If the relationship with ourselves is caring with positive self talk, we can then create healthy interactions with others, with qualities of real compassion, listening, patience and problem solving.

“Tune in, turn on” and shine your light into these dark times my dear friends, it can help to change our very world. ☀️

________________________________

 

Photo by Joshua Abner from Pexels

“Drive All Blames Into Oneself”

Humans, throughout time immemorial have been capable of committing the most cruelest crimes imaginable, some intentional, some based on self defense, emotional reaction or ignorance. However, there is always hope for regret and personal change if we really desire to do so. We cannot have contrition and heal negative karmic patterns, as long as we constantly blame others for our wrong views, misconduct and wrongdoings. Oftentimes, those who we blame and perceive as “evil” and “enemies” are just mirrors of our own unseen bad behavior and karmic traces. I’ve done some work in the prisons, and with war veterans with complex PTSD, who have a hard time recovering from the pain and trauma of what’s called “moral injury,” from the actions and experiences during wartime. However, there’s a tried and true method of healing from even the most egregious negative patterns and past, even that of unforgivable war crimes.

We had a famous Buddhist Saint named Milarepa, who in his past, had reportedly practiced black magic and out of vindication, caused the death of many people. He later, sincerely regretted his dark past, turned over a new leaf and used the rest of his life to be a tremendous benefit to others to ultimately attain full enlightenment. In order to begin this process of getting on the right track and healing, we have to be honest with ourselves about who we are, what we’ve done and like in any 12 Step program, take the first step and admit with all humility, that we have committed wrongdoing. We no longer justify our bad behavior nor blame others. The Dharma offers the powerful Four Powers as a remedy for unwholesome actions, to forgive oneself, make deep personal change and ultimately be free of guilt, blame and shame:

 

THE FOUR POWERS

1. The power of REGRET – of a negative activity or pattern.

2. The power of REFUGE – re-establishing of the right attitude of non-harming, compassion and benefit.

3. The power of RESOLUTION – decision never to repeat the negative action again.

4. The power of REMEDY – applying the antidotes, purifying action, making amends to any who you have harmed.

 

*Lojong Training Slogan
https://www.lamayeshe.com/article/purifying-four-powers

If we’ve even committed any of the heinous crimes which are considered truly unforgivable~ like killing an enlightened being or causing the downfall of the Dharma, there are purification methods which involve powerful transformative rituals. With the Mindfulness Peace Project they work with war veterans that have a hard time forgiving themselves and integrating back into normal society after having been involved with unforgivable actions. What is done, is you take the root of the person’s faith if they have any, and create some type of ritual process of contrition, forgiveness and absolution. One might imagine God or Jesus or all the Buddhas or the Sun, in front of you and you and “confess.” You speak out exactly what you’ve done wrong, and then you imagine that whomever or whatever you have faith in, even if it’s just our “higher self,” completely forgives you and with great sincere regret, you vow to never do those actions again. It turns out that these rituals can be very powerful in liberating the negative guilt and unhealed karmic seeds that we hold within us that wind up re-creating patterns of depression, self-doubt and social harm.

None of us, no action is irredeemable; each of us have within us a human conscience, however dormant. I think we all have an innate longing to live our best life possible, even people with damage, trauma and personality disorders. Through causes and conditions, wrong views and unresolved wounding from our past, we can commit heinous deeds. In contrast, we can also turn our lives around and completely heal if we have the foundation of the willingness to be honest and make the deep personal changes required to really learn and grow. This premise of radical compassion even in the face of war veterans, or hardened criminals, is the root of all possible prison reform and restorative justice that our society is sorely lacking.

This amazing organization called The Compassion Prison Project, understands that at the root within all human hearts, is goodness that cannot forever be covered. Their premise is that each of us could take a wrong turn in life and the people that commit crimes are usually responding to early child abuse and neglect and unresolved trauma, and should be treated with exceeding understanding and therapeutic compassion, rather than reifying the notion that they are criminals and should be punished. I foresee an entire new day dawning with our understanding of human nature, the importance of self forgiveness and healing on personal level and how this can become the building blocks of healing society as a whole.

Step Inside the Circle from Fritzi Horstman on Vimeo.

 

cauliflower wings

Buffalo Cauliflower Hot Wings

I think this is hands down, our family’s all time favorite vegetarian dinner. You can use butter and blue cheese dressing or substitute vegan options for these two. We make these for watching sports or for special occasions and it’s amazing how flavorful the cauliflower is with the hot red chili pepper sauce. It’s very decadent as everything’s baked in butter but not deep-fried. I make some healthier sliced french fried potatoes, wedged with the skin on, and some organic carrots and celery to dip in the blue cheese.

Ingredients:

2 heads of organic cauliflower approx. 6 cups of florets
1/2 cup milk for vegan: use water or alt unsweetened milk
2 organic eggs
1/2 cup breadcrumbs can sub gluten-free rice crumbs
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup red hot pepper sauce like Tabasco or Cholula
1 1/2 sticks butter- can sub. vegan butter or olive oil
1 cup cut organic carrot sticks
1 cup cut organic celery sticks
1/2 cup chunky blue cheese dressing or vegan blue cheese
3T ketchup
5 medium organic baking potatoes washed and scrubbed with skin on.

Needed: 2 cookie sheets, 2 large mixing bowls, whisk, aluminum foil

cauliflower wings

Instructions

Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil or grease very well with oil.
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
Slice potatoes thin and lengthwise.
Please on a single layer on cookie sheet and pour 1/4 c butter sprinkle salt on them.
Put them into oven to cook while you prepare the cauliflower, potatoes need an extra 10 minutes.
Wash and cut cauliflower head into bite-sized pieces/florets.
Whisk  the milk and eggs together in a large bowl.
Mix the breadcrumbs and cornmeal and 1/2t of salt in a large mixing bowl.
Coat the cauliflower in the egg mixture then coat with breadcrumb mixture.
Shake off excess batter before placing cauliflower on the baking sheet.
Lay the cauliflower single layer on the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, turning them over so that all sides golden brown and crispy.
While the cauliflower is baking, prepare buffalo wing sauce.
Melt 1/2 cup of butter.
Take ‘wings’ out and pour butter and hotsauce on wings, coat well. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Bake in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
Take out fries and salt, serve with ketchup.
Serve wings with cut carrots, celery and blue cheese. Cheers!

cauliflower wings

Buffalo Cauliflower Hot Wings

I think this is hands down, our family's all time favorite vegetarian dinner. You can use butter and blue cheese dressing or substitute vegan options for these two. We make these for watching sports or for special occasions and it's amazing how flavorful the cauliflower is with the red chili pepper. It's very decadent as everything baked in butter but not deep-fried. I make some healthier sliced french fried potatoes, wedged with the skin on, and some organic carrots and celery to dip in the blue cheese.

Equipment

  • 2 cookie sheets
  • 2 large mixing bows
  • aluminum foil

Ingredients
  

  • 2 heads of organic cauliflower approx. 6 cups of florets
  • 1/2 cup milk for vegan: use water or alt unsweetened milk
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs can sub gluten-free rice crumbs
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup red hot pepper sauce like Tabasco or Cholula
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter- can sub. vegan butter or olive oil
  • 1 cup cut organic carrot sticks
  • 1 cup cut organic celery sticks
  • 1/2 cup chunky blue cheese dressing or vegan blue cheese
  • 3 T ketchup
  • 5 medium organic baking potatoes washed and scrubbed with skin on

Instructions
 

  • Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil or grease very well with oil.
  • Preheat your oven to 425 F.
  • Slice potatoes thin and lengthwise.
  • Please on a single layer on cookie sheet and pour 1/4 c butter sprinkle salt on them.
  • Put them into oven to cook while you prepare the cauliflower, potatoes need an extra 10 minutes.
  • Wash and cut cauliflower head into bite-sized pieces/florets.
  • Whisk  the milk and eggs together in a large bowl.
  • Mix the breadcrumbs and cornmeal and 1/2t of salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Coat the cauliflower in the egg mixture then coat with breadcrumb mixture.
  • Shake off excess batter before placing cauliflower on the baking sheet.
  • Lay the cauliflower single layer on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, turning them over so that all sides golden brown and crispy.
  • While the cauliflower is baking, prepare buffalo wing sauce ready.
  • Melt 1/2 cup of butter.
  • Take wings out and pour butter and hotsauce on wings, coat well. Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Bake in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Take out fries and salt, serve with ketchup.
  • Serve wings with cut carrots, celery and blue cheese. Cheers!

 

Chai Spiced Paleo Scones with Berry Compote
A best friend visited one summer morning and I made her some super easy and healthy Chai Spiced Paleo Scones: wheatless, sugarless, flour-less, high protein, and densely nutritive. Now I’m making them again for the fall, when a warm oven is welcome. They are perfect topped with spreadable vegan butter and a warm berry compote!

Ingredients:

2 cups of Paleo or almond flour
3 T coconut flour – if using almond flour
3 T of flaxseed meal (optional)
1/4 cup coconut oil – or any vegan butter, reserve some for basting
1/4 cup granulated monkfruit sugar, maple syrup or honey, more for sprinkling and compote
3 Tbs water
2 organic eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 T cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp clove powder
1 pinch of salt
1 12oz pack or 2cups of fresh or frozen berries

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375*
2. In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients
3. In another bowl combine eggs, vanilla and water
4. Take cold butter or coconut oil and cut into flour with two knives
5. Now, briskly combine wet and dry ingredients, mixture should be slightly crumbly (if necessary you may need to add a few drops more of water if your mixture seems too dry)
6. Form into an 8″ x 2″ round circle and place on parchment paper
7. Cut into 8ths and separate with a spatula
8. Bake for 30 minutes or until slightly browned
9. While scones are cooking heat frozen or fresh berries in a saucepan and add 3T of sweetener
10. Brush scones with a bit of melted vegan butter, sprinkle with a little monkfruit sugar and top with berry compote, serve warm!

Tools Needed:

Cookie Sheet
Parchment Paper
Spoon and Spatula
1 Large and 1 Small Mixing Bowl
Basting Brush

berry scone

berry scone

Chai Spiced Paleo Scones with Berry Compote

A best friend visited one summer morning and I made her some super easy and healthy Chai Spiced Paleo Scones: wheatless, sugarless, flour-less, high protein, and densely nutritive. Now I'm making them again for the fall, when a warm oven is welcome. They are perfect topped with spreadable vegan butter and a warm berry compote!

Equipment

  • Tools Needed:
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Parchment Paper
  • Spoon and Spatula
  • 1 Large and 1 small mixing bowl
  • Basting Brush

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups of Paleo or almond flour
  • 3 T coconut flour - if using almond flour
  • 3 T of flaxseed meal optional
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil - or any vegan butter reserve some for basting
  • 1/4 cup granulated monkfruit sugar maple syrup or honey, more for sprinkling and compote
  • 3 Tbs water
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp clove powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 12 oz pack or 2 cups of fresh or frozen berries

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375*
  • In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients
  • In another bowl combine eggs, vanilla and water
  • Take cold butter or coconut oil and cut into flour with two knives
  • Now, briskly combine wet and dry ingredients, mixture should be slightly crumbly (if necessary you may need to add a few drops more of water if your mixture seems too dry)
  • Form into an 8" x 2" round circle and place on parchment paper
  • Cut into 8ths and separate with a spatula
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until slightly browned
  • While scones are cooking heat frozen or fresh berries in a saucepan and add 3T of sweetener
  • Brush scones with a bit of melted vegan butter, sprinkle with a little monkfruit sugar and top with berry compote, serve warm!

This Comforting Spiced Kitchari Dal Bhat, is a modified version of the nutritive, cleansing Kitchari from the spiritual community of Shoshoni, and a shoutout to a lifetime yogi friend for his cooking instructions. Dal Bhat which means lentils and rice, is a staple the food served daily in Nepal and India. When you combine the rice and red lentils, you have a complex protein. Kitchari is often used in Ayurvedic medicine as a cleansing food as it’s very easy to digest and is nutritive. In the Ayurvedic tradition, kitchari is one of the foods that is considered sattvic. Sattvic is calming to your digestion and digestive track, and includes vegetables, oils or ghee (clarified butter), fruits, beans, and whole grains. In fact, I regularly follow the at home cleanse suggested by LifeSpa where you eat only this. You can make a big batch of it while you are doing the cleanse or on a solitary retreat doing self-care. It’s so spicy and comforting and inexpensive, the staff at Shoshoni always say that it’s their favorite thing for them to eat!

• 2 C dried yellow or red split peas (Moong Dal)
• 5 C water
• 2 T ghee, coconut or olive oil
• 1/2 tsp dried fennel seed
• 1 tsp chopped ginger root
• 1 T black mustard seeds
• 1 T cumin seeds
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tsp. turmeric
• 1 tsp. chili paste, or a pinch of cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp. ground cumin
• 1 tsp. ground coriander

(or sub the above 4 with Quality Curry Powder)

• 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup chopped onions
• 2 tsp. salt, or to taste
• 1T monkfruit or cane sugar
• 2 cups spinach
• 1/2 cup sliced carrots
Rice: Long Grain Organic Basmati Rice, Cooked on the side
Condiments: Plain Greek Yogurt, Mango Lime Pickle and Chutney on the side


Directions:

1. Rinse split peas. Bring water to boil in a large pot, and add peas. Return to boil, stir, then lower heat, and simmer 1 hour until tender.

2. In a skillet, heat oil and sauté, mustard seeds until they “pop” and turn grey. Add cumin seeds and fry until golden. Make sure to cover the pan when cooking seeds, or they’ll “pop” all over your kitchen! Add garlic,
ginger, onions, turmeric, chili paste or cayenne, ground cumin, and coriander (or curry powder).
Sauté, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and sauté, until the tomato is mushy (about 3-5 minutes).

3. Add mixture to Dal, salt, and vegetables cook another 20 minutes, adding 1c water. Warm rice and condiments are served on the side.

 

Comforting Spiced Kitchari Dal Bhat

This Comforting Spiced Kitchari Dal Bhat, is a modified version of the nutritive, cleansing Kitchari from the spiritual community of Shoshoni, and a shoutout to a lifetime yogi friend for his cooking instructions. Dal Bhat which means lentils and rice, is a staple the food served daily in Nepal and India. When you combine the rice and red lentils, you have a complex protein. Kitchari is often used in Ayurvedic medicine as a cleansing food as it's very easy to digest and is nutritive. In the Ayurvedic tradition, kitchari is one of the foods that is considered sattvic. Sattvic is calming to your digestion and digestive track, and includes vegetables, oils or ghee (clarified butter), fruits, beans, and whole grains. In fact, I regularly follow the at home cleanse suggested by LifeSpa where you eat only this. You can make a big batch of it while you are doing the cleanse or on a solitary retreat doing self-care. It's so spicy and comforting and inexpensive, the staff at Shoshoni always say that it's their favorite thing for them to eat!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 C dried yellow or red split peas Moong Dal
  • 5 C water
  • 2 T ghee, coconut or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried fennel seed
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger root
  • 1 T black mustard seeds
  • 1 T cumin seeds
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. chili paste or a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • or sub the above 4 with Quality Curry Powder
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 T monkfruit or cane sugar
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • Rice: Long Grain Organic Basmati Rice Cooked on the side
  • Condiments: Plain Greek Yogurt Mango Lime Pickle and Chutney on the side

Instructions
 

  • Rinse split peas. Bring water to boil in a large pot, and add peas. Return to boil, stir, then lower heat, and simmer 1 hour until tender.
  • In a skillet, heat oil and sauté, mustard seeds until they "pop" and turn grey. Add cumin seeds and fry until golden. Make sure to cover the pan when cooking seeds, or they'll "pop" all over your kitchen! Add garlic,
  • ginger, onions, turmeric, chili paste or cayenne, ground cumin, and coriander (or curry powder).
  • Sauté, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and sauté, until the tomato is mushy (about 3-5 minutes).
  • Add mixture to Dal, salt, and cook with vegetables another 20 minutes, adding 1c water. Warm rice and condiments are served on the side.

photo: Emily Kate Roemer

Welcome the fall and harvest! A perfect easy, healthy cookie sheet dinner with colorful oven roasted root vegetables and baked tofu. Vegan, gluten-free and kosher.

Ingredients

• 1 lb tofu sliced lengthwise
• 1 large yam or sweet potato washed with skin on
• 3/4 pounds brussel sprouts cut in half
• 1/2 pound beets (red or golden), trimmed and scrubbed clean
• 1/2 pounds large carrots washed and sliced
• 1/2 red or white onion peeled (optional)
• 12 whole garlic cloves large sized
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoon fresh or dried rosemary
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 tsp cracked pepper or more to taste

Recipe Notes

Note: Some people prefer to peel their veggies. I buy organic veggies and scrub them well. When using red beets your other veggies may take on a bit of reddish color. You can use golden beets instead, or roast the red beets on one side of roasting pan.

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Slice all veggies into about 1-1/2 inches square. The more similar in size, the more evenly they’ll roast.
3. Put cut veggies into a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Spread the veggies out evenly on the baking sheet. Add 3 tablespoon olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper. Stir until all veggies are evenly coated with oil, spice and herbs.
4. On a second cookie sheet, spread 2T olive oil, and please tofu slices.
5. 



Roast the veggies in the oven for fifteen minutes. Stir the veggies and turn over the tofu, return baking sheet to oven and continue to roast until the largest ones are tender and the borders are starting to turn golden/dark, another 15-25 minutes.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Baked Tofu

Welcome the fall and harvest! A perfect easy, healthy cookie sheet dinner with colorful oven roasted root vegetables and baked tofu. Vegan, gluten-free and kosher.
Prep Time 1 hr

Equipment

  • 2 cookie sheets or shallow roasting pans

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb tofu sliced lengthwise
  • 1 large yam or sweet potato washed with skin on
  • 3/4 pounds brussel sprouts cut in half
  • 1/2 pound beets red or golden, trimmed and scrubbed clean
  • 1/2 pounds large carrots washed and sliced
  • 1/2 red or white onion peeled optional
  • 12 whole garlic cloves large sized
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon fresh or dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked pepper or more to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Slice all veggies into about 1-1/2 inches square. The more similar in size, the more evenly they'll roast.
  • Put cut veggies into a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Spread the veggies out evenly on the baking sheet. Add 3 tablespoon olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper. Stir until all veggies are evenly coated with oil, spice and herbs.
  • On a second cookie sheet, spread 2T olive oil, and please tofu slices.
  • Roast the veggies in the oven for fifteen minutes. Stir the veggies and turn over the tofu, return baking sheet to oven and continue to roast until the largest ones are tender and the borders are starting to turn golden/dark, another 15-25 minutes.

Notes

Note: Some people prefer to peel their veggies. I buy organic veggies and scrub them well. When using red beets your other veggies may take on a bit of reddish color. You can use golden beets instead, or roast the red beets on one side of roasting pan.

akashic

Questions About Our Future

I think every single person at some point in life is curious about their future and would love to have some clarity about what’s happening with them now. We often we stay stuck in not knowing what choices to make, how to proceed and what’s best for us. When we’re in college we might consult with a career counselor, at different stages of life we might ask friends for support, we might journal and try to go inward and find out what our truth is. Throughout human history people have relied upon oracles and divinations to try to access deeper wisdom and some insight about our future.

Now, I come from a tradition where we adhere to evidenced-based-science and I’m not easily wooed and enticed by new age magic, magical thinking, conspiracies, gods, angels or spirits or things that are not directly perceived by our five senses. However I have a degree in psychology with the focus on Buddhist studies and we studied things in college such as Gestalt Therapy and Carl Jung’s notion of the collective unconscious. Let’s take a minute out and look at what the collective unconscious would really mean. Think about that very word for a moment; it’s pretty intense when you break it down… COLLECTIVE unconscious. That means that all of us share some type of similar base operating system within our species, a collective. You could imagine an analogy to a computer or even a cyborg. There’s one central operating computer that is electronically connected to everyone else’s personal computers and the Internet of Things. This collective unconscious would be something that would be part of our birthright and what we were all privy to, when we came into our life as a facet of our species.

The Bee’s Know

I imagine the collective unconscious as something like this, imagine that a honeybee is born. That bee, just by taking birth already has hardwired into his mindstream a template of how to make a honeycomb, the acknowledgment of his role as a worker bee, the respect and reverence and relationship he would have to a queen bee. The worker bee will know that it has a task to go out and collect pollen and how to process that within the honeycomb and work together cooperatively to have an entire complex, productive social milieu. No parent taught that bee how to make a honeycomb what it’s role was, what the queen was how to make the architectural template of the geometry of honeycomb, it was hardwired into his knowing as a bee, part of his birthright. You could say that his mindstream was connected with his biological DNA as a bee and he inherited that whole entire complex understanding, just by being born.

How and Why Divinations Work

If a far more complex being comes into existence like a human being, and we have some natural, basic understanding of the bio-complexity of our social, organizational structure. That’s where you get the entire pantheon of the archetypes like the queen, the minister and all of the things that are talked about in star maps, astrology, Tarot, the Taoist I-Ching and a lot of ancient divinations. This body of collective wisdom that we are all privy to on a very subtle archetypal level, defines the collective unconscious. That collective unconscious holds with in it, this body of information that is not limited to only a one-dimensional linear time. It’s more of like a consensual conglomerate of intelligence that’s a natural facet of our universe. When we are in our waking consciousness, we are distracted with a lot of business and things that we have to do in our own individual lives. We turn away from our ability to access the complexity of this archetypal wisdom within us. When we do certain things like consult a valid oracle, or look at Tarot or read from the collective unconscious which is also part of what’s known as the akashic records, we begin to tap into a generally dormant but yet subtly existing part of ourselves.

This is why throughout human history, some people could be clear-seeing. What was it that they’re actually seeing? They see the collective unconscious or seeing the wisdom of the interconnectedness of all of these archetypes and how they influence our lives in human society. As far as I understand, the akashic records are part of the collective unconscious, they are series of personal stories and propensities of our own archetypal template. When you open up your akashic records and you read, if you’d like to call it reading, it’s actually just more of a matter of allowing,  you can begin to see how to live your life in a way that is meant for you and serves your highest good. This wisdom is our birthright and is always operating with in us, but oftentimes because of concepts, unprocessed grief, confusion or just stupor,  we turn away from that and we make choices that don’t necessarily serve are our highest good. If we can access these methods like reading our own akashic records or Tarot, we can open and clear the doors of perception to be able to access Carl Jung’s collective unconscious and within there, is this amazingly colorful body of wisdom, intelligence and clear seeing.

This only seems supernatural and spooky to the untrained eye, par with for example, an indigenous, isolated native from the Brazilian rain forest seeing an airplane and thinks it’s a God. There’s actually nothing particularly fantastic or supernatural happening. You could say that this faculty of going inward and perceiving the ground of our collective unconscious would be something that would be exceedingly natural. Anyway, this is my own personal experience. Instead of relying on other people to tell me how to live or what my highest truth is, I found an amazing an immediate way of accessing our own akashic records and it works like a charm every single time and it’s free!

The Lineage of Edgar Casey, Rudolph Steiner and Linda Howe

How to make the collective unconscious- conscious. I read a book from Linda Howe called How to Read The Askashic Records and got trained on how to read these, which is a facet of the community of Rudolf Steiner, Edgar Casey and the Theosophical Society.  I am grateful to her for empowering us all on how to access our highest selves. It costs nothing other than time and a sincere desire to look at ourselves and our lives, honestly, with a willingness to change and grow. The scholarly history of this process isn’t super important for now. I think each of us, if we happen to be at a crossroads of our life and are questioning about career, love or what would serve our highest good, I invite everyone of us to try to do this. I’m going to offer some exceedingly simple instructions that have been proven to work for me.

How to Read Your Records

So basically you sit in a very quiet place alone with yourself and you feel a sense of inner stillness calm. Then you read the prayer below, called the Pathway Prayer Process© which is a nondenominational prayer that opens to what Linda Howe calls the forces of light. She mentions God, I don’t happen to believe in God but I say it anyway and imagine it as a facet of the collective unconscious wisdom. Then, I recorded myself on the computer with QuickTime audio and I ask the question into the space that I’m wanting to understand. Then, I go into a moment of silence. When I feel a sense of everything completely settling down and inner silence, and the body being grounded without there being any mental pictures, at that moment I consider the “records” to be opened. From there, I begin to answer my own question and it’s really interesting what happens at that moment. It’s almost like you access this undercurrent of interdimensional wisdom and… it works every single time. You don’t have to be particularly psychic, or an oracle because we have access to that wisdom within us. It’s almost like every moment, it’s tapping on our shoulder wanting to come to the surface. So we don’t need to spend any money on divinations or other people to see what our highest truth is. This highest truth is often chomping at the bit to come out!

So go ahead, take about half an hour with yourself and download this prayer and just read it. I light candles and incense and ensure that I will not be interrupted by pets, phone and family. There’s one part that you want to do after you finish the prayer, before you say “The Records are Now Open.” You actually want to say your name three times out loud and that opens up the records of your own particular karmic propensities, archetypes and life template. You’d be surprised at how much wisdom is within you!

We Can All Wake Up!

I invite each of us, whenever there’s a question or something that’s confusing or something that’s really painful, to open up our own records and listen to what the universe has to say to us. I’ve even done it such that you can “open up the records” for someone else, and ask for wisdom and insight for something that can be unclear. It works every time it’s really amazing. Virtually any person with basic faculties can do this. I have absolutely no spiritual propensities or talent and didn’t believe in it all, and it still works. If you’d like to confirm what you might be feeling or any residual questions I will sometimes back that up with an official divination from my Buddhist teacher friends. I work for an organization called the Breeze of Delight, where you can ask spiritual questions and they’ll do a similar process and then come back to you with their support and suggestions for where you’re at. However they can take weeks or months, and this works even better.

Have fun with this process and I encourage everyone to really, just try it and you be surprised by the depth of wisdom from what arises!

Download it here:

https://lindahowe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pathway-Prayer-Process.pdf


Images: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:AkashiographicESpell.jpg

thieves

The History of Thieves Oil

In times of plague, pandemic and now Covid, humans have relied on powerful essential oils to utilize their anti-bacterial qualities. The historic folklore of this famous Thieves remedy is quite intriguing. The use of thieves oil dates back to the year 1413, at the time, the notorious Bubonic Plague was devastating a large portion of France. The black plague spread like wild fire among the citizens, and the doctors equally. It seemed impossible to be in the area without contracting it, and in the time, the illness resulted in an ultimate, gruesome death. Contracting this illness, very similar to our current pandemic, resulted in severe influenza symptoms with a bacteria infecting the blood system, ending in death.
In this time, however, four burglars were captured and accused of stealing from the ill and dying. The thieves never contracted the plague, despite the close contact with the Black Death victims. During this time, the offenses of theft were punishable by burning alive. The judge was so intrigued by how the thieves had stayed immune to this dreadful disease, that he told them if they shared their secret he’d spare them of their dire fate. The thieves told the judge their secret: they wore a perfume prepared with an essential oil and spice recipe that whenever applied to their hands, temples, ears, feet & a mask over their mouths, kept them safe from infection. They blended cloves, lemon, cinnamon, lavender, and rosemary and applied the mix to their body and a mask that they wore over their own mouth. The judge stayed true to his word. The men weren’t burned alive, but instead they were hanged for their crimes. The Black Death Doctors later adopted this formula, and wore a pointed mask, filled with these spices and oils that looked like a beak. This was the inception of the name for medical “quackery.”
I however, happen to appreciate this powerful formula, and stand by it’s amazing scent and antibacterial properties. Today, I made my own at home “Thieves” essential oil blend and made a diluted powerful non-toxic antibacterial home spray cleanser too, the home smells like lemon, clove and eucalyptus. This is amazingly spicy, like to have a home filled with chai tea, much more appealing than citronella bug spray, and does repel bugs too! A few drops of this blend can be put in an atomizer or warm vapo bath to help to open up respiration and detoxify your home. It’s very powerful though so make sure to… Dilute! Dilute! I was able to make about 20 ounces of it and it’s really strong with an apricot carrier oil for under $30. One bottle of Young Living Thieves if you can get it as it sells out now, is about $45 for 1 ounce.

The Alchemy of Making Oils

In the tradition of wild-crafting essential oils, inspired by pagans and Steinerian schools of thought as exemplified with Dr. Hauschka, the oils are best if wild-crafted. These oils I use are 100% pure essential oils, but not wildcrafted or organic, they are moderately priced and good for cleaning. Some alchemists are sensitive to the “energy” of crafting oils, even going to far as to place the oils back outside to absorb the essences from moonlight. We wont go that far since we are just blending ready made oils. However, I like to have the kitchen very clean before, play some heartwarming music and set my intention to heal as I’m blending these. Yes we too can be modern day, energy sensitive alchemists, that help to heal our world, starting right at home!

Ingredients:

1 oz. Pure Clove Oil
1 oz. Pure Rosemary Oil
1 oz. Pure Cinnamon Oil
.5 oz. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
16 oz Apricot Oil (Any neutral base carrier oil)

Tools:

bottles to replace oil
funnel
pot or plastic bowl to stir
metal stirring spoon
2 bpa free plastic or glass spray bottles

Directions:

Pour all oils into a pan and stir until well blended
Use a funnel liquid pouring container and re-pour into bottles
To use as a cleaner, pour .5oz into a spray bottle, add 2T of castile soap and shake, shake every time before use as the oil will separate
thieves

D.I.Y. Thieves Essential Oil and Cleaner

The Alchemy of Making Oils
In the tradition of wild-crafting essential oils, inspired by pagans and Steinerian schools of thought as exemplified with Dr. Hauschka, the oils are best if wild-crafted. These oils I use are 100% pure essential oils, but not wildcrafted or organic, they are moderately priced and good for cleaning. Some alchemists are sensitive to the "energy" of crafting oils, even going to far as to place the oils back outside to absorb the essences from moonlight. We wont go that far since we are just blending ready made oils. However, I like to have the kitchen very clean before, play some heartwarming music and set my intentional to heal as I'm blending these. Yes we too can be modern day, energy sensitive alchemists, that help to heal our world, starting right at home!

Equipment

  • bottles to replace oil
  • funnel
  • pot or plastic bowl to stir
  • metal stirring spoon
  • 2 bpa free plastic or glass spray bottles

Ingredients
  

  • 1 oz. Pure Clove Oil
  • 1 oz. Pure Rosemary Oil
  • 1 oz. Pure Cinnamon Oil
  • .5 oz. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
  • 16 oz. Apricot Oil Any neutral base carrier oil

Instructions
 

  • Pour all oils into a pan and stir until well blended
  • Use a funnel liquid pouring container and re-pour into bottles
  • To use as a cleaner, pour .5oz into a spray bottle, add 2T of castile soap and shake, shake every time before use as the oil will separate

As you all know, cutting out/ eating less meat is a great way to decrease our carbon footprint- this healthy, veggie infused semi-gourmet Mediterranean Vegetarian Meat Loaf comes out really well- do try it! Its great with mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower and a roasted red pepper sauce as a condiment.

2 packs (800g) of Beyond Burger/ Lightlife ground veg. “meat”
1/2 diced organic onion
1 diced organic red and green pepper
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs or panko
2 eggs (best from our organic backyard city chickens 😉 )
1 c. sliced kalamata olives
3/4 brick of feta cheese
1/3 c olive oil
salt, black and white pepper and Italian seasoning to taste!

Form into a loaf and place on parchment paper and lay on cookie sheet.

Cook 350 degrees F for 1 hour.

Modified veg recipe thanks to aunt Ulla Broander Ödahl, who lived on Cyprus!

veg loaf

Mediterranean Vegetarian Meat Loaf

As you all know, cutting out/ eating less meat is a great way to decrease our carbon footprint- this semi-gourmet Mediterranean Vegetarian Meat Loaf came out really well- do try it!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr

Equipment

  • Cookie Sheet
  • Parchment Paper (optional)

Ingredients
  

  • 2 packs 800g of Beyond Burger/ Lightlife ground veg. "meat"
  • 1/2 diced organic onion
  • 1 diced organic red and green pepper
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs or panko
  • 2 eggs best if you have organic backyard chickens
  • 1 c. sliced kalamata olives
  • 3/4 brick of feta cheese
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt black and white pepper and Italian seasoning to taste!

Instructions
 

  • Cook 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Notes

Modified veg recipe thanks to aunt Ulla Broander Ödahl, who lived on Cyprus!

 

healthy love

I think in these days of speed and trauma and a lot of us living in the Internet, I think we’ve learned maladaptive patterns of what it is to be in a healthy relationship. If we’ve grown up with a dysfunctional family, we may not even know what that is. Oftentimes love is just a series of manipulations and games, based on our brokenness and our unhealed wounding. We’re so afraid of getting hurt that we wind up withdrawing and hurting the other person first. Love can be just become a sad strategic game of power and control. Psychological and emotional abuse can be some of the only ways that people know how to relate. Unhealthy dynamics of narcissism and codependency, where you have a push me-pull you based on our co/core brokenness can become the norm.

I have the good fortune of being married for 20 years and have a healthy family and daughter, but it was hard forged. I came from a dysfunctional family and had myriads of abusive relationships before meeting my husband in my late 20s. Before him, I was even attacked a few times, once it was sadly close to deadly. I wasn’t able to see the red flags and from my naïveté and lack of experience, I didn’t know what types of men to stay away from and what types to accept. Thankfully, I did learn and I chose a very stable, grounded and clear person that has said that he would stay with me for my entire life.

However, no marriage is perfect and no person is perfect. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, personality flaws and capacities. The greatest danger in a long-term marriage is you can stop listening to each other, take each other for granted and you stop learning and growing. It happens all too often that the relationship over many years begins to flatline. I believe at this point, that marriages can fail. I think we’re hardwired two want to learn, to grow, to better ourselves and evolve through honest self reflection and introspection. I think it’s important for us to examine what real healthy love looks like versus unhealthy patterns.

I have always felt that relationship *is* the path, so the quality of love and how we are with those close to us, is our spiritual teacher, is everything. I’ve heard time and time again, from people on their deathbed, that the only thing that they say really mattered to them was the people that they love and any regrets that they have for anyone that they’ve hurt. Even people who have great devotion in some faith very rarely talk about the afterlife or their religious beliefs, it always comes down to the people who we treasured and who love us.

The first step I find in being able to be in healthy relationship is to be in a healthy relationship with myself. Do I talk to myself with a sense of gratitude, appreciation, forgiveness and kindness? Do I do the things that involve self-care like eating well, exercise, meditating and living my life’s calling as best as I can? Our romantic relationships will be a reflection of how we love, talk to and treat ourselves. From there, I think we naturally choose people that are capable of loving in a healthy way, are able to problem solve if difficulties arise and most importantly, people who can apologize and make personal change if they happen to make a mistake.

This is the single most key that differentiates a person with solid, closed, defensive narcissistic tendencies, from someone that is on some type of spiritual path of self awakening. This list above is a very simple and good guideline for us to examine the difference between genuine healthy love and love that is codependent based on our wounding and our trauma. I always say just like Jung’s image of the shadow, the moment you shine a light on a shadow, it disappears. I believe the no matter what happen to us in this life, no matter how much pain we are in, no matter how much trauma, all of us with some effort, deserve to love well and to be loved well. I don’t think any of us are cursed to be doomed to live a life of lonely solitude because of the things that happen to us. Once again, looking at how we can create the greatest love within and without is to me, the essence of the entire, truly brave, spiritual path.

BOULDER, CO – June 23: U.S. Representative Jared Polis gets scarves placed over his shoulders by the His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the Eight Verses of the Mind event at the Coors Events Center June 23, 2016. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

I just wanted to share this little moment of inspiration that became one of my most treasured repositories of strength. I was working for a congressman who wanted to leave his congressional seat and run for governor. This was Jared Polis, I worked for him two times, once for his reelection campaign as an incumbent in 2016, and then when he wanted to become the governor of Colorado.

I got started volunteering actively for the Democratic Party because of him a number of years ago. The Dalai Lama was teaching in Denver and Jared was asked to introduce him. Jared offered him a white offering scarf called a khata and bowed beautifully. Jared talked so much about peace and social action, and said that to have the privilege of meeting the Dalai Lama and speaking was one of the most treasured of his career. There had been a recent gruesome school shooting the very night before and he was going to leave from the event to go to DC, to protest gun laws on the house floor to do some type of sit in. I was more moved by these words, and they stayed with me, even in light of hearing His Holiness, as I felt a burning, strong desire to fulfill our vows to help the world like Jared was doing. I was ready to follow him to DC and protest right along with him and it turned out, that at that moment, I began to do just that.

After a child massacre, as a mother of a young teenage daughter, the only child I have, you have a particular grief and desire to protect them from any harm. The love is so strong that, indeed hell hath no fury. I cried and I was so appreciative of his civic duty. Jared, a native Boulderite, a person that was inspired by our Buddhist tradition and yet completely utterly fearlessly engaged with our world. He was trying was to make social change to benefit our lives, in a world that was becoming darker, more violent and broken. Jared grew up with wealth and privilege and I always felt that his heart and motivation was in the right place, he had integrity and could be trusted.

Since I was 12, I had been involved with some type of activism. I went to a New England boarding school, and during summers, worked for Greenpeace and Ralph Nader’s PIRG. I worked on a couple of democratic campaigns and my mother worked for the United Nations in New York. She worked for UNICEF, and helped to bring awareness to the global exploitation of young girls who had no human rights: child brides, sexual and physical abuse, and often sold, trafficked and had no voice. Our family wasn’t wealthy or privileged, but I had some interesting exposure to some changemakers, ethics and progressive ideas. My family imparted to me, a lot of political and social awareness, mostly concerns about our environment and clean energy. As soon as I heard Jared say that he was going to go and do a sit-in help our children, at that moment I knew I wanted to work even harder as an activist in my civic duty and social engagement. He became one of my role models of compassion and efficacy, and I am inspired by him and forever grateful.

Congressman Jared Polis and Dawn Boiani at NoLabels Conference 2017

So this brings me to the small story. His gubernatorial bid was very very close. He was running against a very powerful, cheerful and progressive female candidate who was really loved, who won most delegates at our statewide caucuses and who was our previous Colorado State Treasurer. I had the privilege of speaking for Jared on his behalf at our caucus and county assembly and was elected to be a state delegate for him. However he was in the minority, and we were all so sad and disappointed that it didn’t seem like he’d have any chance. I, at that point was working as a legislative intern for the Colorado State Capitol for very progressive, green energy senator. The word around the capitol concurred that Jared had absolutely no chance of winning a purple state with a lot of gun advocates, conservative Christians and people would not approve of his sexual preference. Jared is very publicly gay, being married, in a long term relationship with a man and they have two children. Jared is the kindest of parents and he is devoted to his children and a listening, compassionate friend to everyone he meets. However, for those that were working in state politics, we were very worried about political backlash and losing the state to his republican opponent Walker Stapleton.

These amazing, benevolent people I’ve met in public service now in Colorado and DC, some of them are so fearless, they work to help our world tirelessly and there’s no sense of selfishness. I think politicians can go one way or the other, they can do it as some type of self-aggrandizement for money, power and control and then there are others that really truly work tirelessly and make personal sacrifices to benefit our world. Jared is undoubtedly, one of those people in the latter.

So, Jared was giving this talk in Boulder and there was a kind of quiet unspoken solemnness around the community of his supporters. We felt from the caucus results where he barely made the ballot, and other controversial things about his energy policy, that he didn’t really have that strong of a chance to win. Even with him being powerful, with name recognition and money, to try to go up against some who have closed minds in our state, to consider a gay gentleman in Colorado, seemed like an untenable task. So I remember one day, he’s at a fundraising event and standing up on a deck and he looks out to us and with great sincerity says:

 

“I’m going to try
I might fail but
I’m guaranteed to fail
if I don’t try.”
Jared Polis

 

Ever since he said that, this quote and aspiration completely struck my heart and has forever stayed with me. Sometimes, something might happen to you where all odds are against you, everyone dissuades you and all you have left is your own internal voice of strength and knowing the truth of what your heart is telling you to do. Sure, we can give up, feel powerless and take the easy path of escapism, putting our hands up and not believing in our ability to manifest something, it happens to us all the time.

But maybe once or twice in this life, if something pulls you so strongly that you can’t ignore your heart screaming out to what you would like to create. You have to go beyond your fear, beyond what you ever thought your limitations were and at least try. Sure we might fall, we might fail, we might get hurt, we might get crushed but we’re guaranteed to fail if we don’t listen to our heart and at least try. Thank you Jared for that moment of intense wisdom and strength and I live by it now.

May we all manifest fully, visualize a better world and potential in the future, and create the absolute best lives that we’re capable of. I think we must listen and follow our heart’s call no matter who says it’s impossible or who dissuades you, or how many seeming obstacles and naysayers. It would be amazing to find this voice of deep knowing and sometimes you’re the only one that really has your back and sees what you could be!

Jared did win our governorship and he’s done an amazing job in this difficult time and we’re so grateful to him. I know he had a good support system and powerful mom behind him that told him no matter his sexual preference he could burst through whatever social limitations that society and our time  and culture put upon him. He’s a groundbreaker; maybe if we all similarly follow the truth in our hearts, we can be that too. Thank you Jared for your faith in yourself, in me, the privilege to volunteer on campaigns for you, your leadership in our nation and state, and may your work and heart inspire us all.

 


Image: https://www.denverpost.com/2016/06/23/dalai-lama-boulder-visit/

I was a hopeful spiritual seeker and found the exotic and colorful, Tibetan Buddhism when I was 19. I recall when I started on this Buddhist path and went to Naropa, a Buddhist inspired university, they gave me all types of warnings, saying “think twice before you embark upon this path.” They said it was powerful, transformative and even dangerous. I went over and lived in Nepal and studied with a very powerful yogic master and one of my other teachers said “well the further into it you get the more committed to it you’ll have to be.” I didn’t really pay attention or understand what he meant at the time.

I must admit I was kind of mesmerized because we have different levels and different teachings that are considered advanced and secret, and the moment I heard the word secret I had the feeling that just I had to have *all* of the teachings. 25 years later, I actually had the good fortune (or burden) of going pretty deep and collecting almost the entire wide breath of the Tibetan Buddhist Tantric path. Indeed I had now, a one way ticket to blissful enlightenment, or so I thought.

Some of the fundamental teachings say that ‘Life is Suffering’ but we could, if we meditated and implement these practices, actually find a way out of suffering. What they don’t tell you however when you come through the doors and you start meditating and having all the warm fuzzy feeling of a blessed environment and friends, is that you’re ready to embark upon a path that’s going to go deeper and overturn and break you like you’ve never known before.

The Dharma centers never really put that type of “warning” information of what’s really going happen to you on the advertising brochures. So for many years, I did simple sitting meditation and then compassion practices and then some pretty fruitional  powerful yogic practices. I remember doing my preliminary practices, you have to basically throw your body to the ground hundred thousand times like a reverent squat thrust in namaste.

I would often find myself crying and I didn’t quite understand why. I think doing these practices shook up dormant grief and while it was happening, it was painful but then after the practice session, I would always feel really cleansed and bright. The Buddhist saints of old, that created these Buddhist foundational practices have perfected a mind-transformation technology that knows how to cultivate us, so that we become open conduits for more wisdom and evolution.

The further into this path I got, it sometimes feels like it’s like two steps forward and one step back. Last year I did a month long meditation retreat and I was feeling super joyous and positive. Every morning waking up, roasted coffee and doing yoga with sunshine, silence in a lovely retreat home. I was actually a little bit spiritually prideful and smug, feeling that I had really achieved the state of complete peace where all of my anxiety, desire and deep-seated fears had now, completely subsided.

Then… something happened where I had a strange confluence of meeting someone, a catalyst “twin flame” type, that triggered the deepest and darkest stuff that I had no idea was still within me. I went from feeling completely enlightened, on a crystalline rainbow cloud, to some of the darkest night of the soul sludge, you could possibly imagine. I’ve spent the last year crying about stuff that I don’t even have a name for. Things like early memories of being neglected in the crib, child abuse, regret for my mistakes and hurting people, looking at moments where I feel that I am not lovable or good. I was having really deep self reflections about whatever obstacles prevent me from having self-love, self forgiveness and loving others with real compassion and clarity. OMFG.

I’ve had to spend a good part of the year going inward and journaling and seeking tons of professional grief counseling and meditating and mostly just crying pretty much sometimes one or more hours per day. My family has looked at me and wondered “what is happening to her how can she be so incredibly heartbroken what is going on?” Was she abused, hormones, no one and nothing could help me, but me. However I know myself, there were a few deep healing crises before, and I trusted that this is a just giant karmic chunk arising and with sufficient time and care and patience, I could see it all clearing and dissipating.

I’m actually so grateful to have this dark stuff come up, it’s like the healing crisis of Ebenezer Scrooge in the book A Christmas Carol, where at some point you really have to face your own patterns, karma, personality, your own obstacles and your own blocks and make a decision about who you want to be at a crossroads in your life. I’ve now reevaluated what feels false in me, in my life, in my marriage and in my career; pretty much every single thing I’m reflecting on now. So this is been an excruciatingly painful, deep healing insight, going into the muck of tears and fears, and plunging out gnarly, dark stuff that I was previously unwilling to look at.

It’s not yoga mats, candles, bells and phurbas… our most powerful spiritual implement:

Some of my new age friends have judged me for not being “love and lighty” enough and even some dharma friends for seeming stuck or “dramatic” (😡(*&*%!!), but I know that the way out is through. I must endure facing whatever karmic baggage that I’ve been carrying around for this or many lifetimes. Some of these friends in both the city and country, sadly, are clearly suppressing and bypassing and only acting “spiritual,” you can see and feel that they haven’t done this deep soul work yet. So with the painful confluence of meeting this dear Dharma catalyst friend that caused this whole healing crisis to be set into motion, I’m really grateful for this process because now I have a chance to really grow up spiritually.

One of the greatest solaces is that I have found some strength to be able to go deep into the dark shadow and know that whatever we experience will pass. If you’re crying out great amounts of grief or anxiety you can always tell yourself this, “how I’m feeling right now is just a temporary state,” so therefore you can experience it fully without any type of blocks or resistance. Just let all of the stuff that’s there come up and out, like purging venom from a bite. It’s really a privilege to have the time and space to go deeply in this life. A lot of us have to work full time and rarely get any retreat time and healing time or time for grief that really needs to be processed. So, I invite all of us as much as we can, even take a whole weekend, take time with yourself and give a voice and space to whatever is there- sadness anxiety, personality shortcomings and really self reflect. This is the very essence of the genuine spiritual path and it’s not at all calm and peaceful, it’s more akin to acute anguish, consternation at times, until these deep blocks clear. My teacher Tenzin Wangyal always says:

“The way to find the light within you is to face the darkness”

May all of us really take the time needed, to uncover the powerful and radiant light that already exists within us.

 

Written By Dawn Boiani-Sandberg

Owner of Buddhistmala.com

Photo by Oluremi Adebayo from Pexels

“Don’t look outside
outside happiness
outside love is great
we need it
but without essence love…

we might not be able
to receive love
because we are
receiving
from our hollowness
we must receive love
from the basis of
this okay-ness

we must give love
from this wellbeing
to others…

Please expand this love…
gradually the essence love
will express it’s own
expression
as loving kindness

it carries a wish for
everyone to be happy…

and this essence love
expresses as compassion
may all beings be free
from suffering…

the guts will arise
the courage
Bodhisattva courage
will arise
from this essence love

you need nothing
for yourself
you are fulfilled by the
essence love…

and now
you are no more hungry
for love

you are the love

the only thing is that
you give love now

and this kind of confidence
courage
will emerge out of
acknowledgment of
essence love”

Short excerpt from Sept, 2020 Zoom Retreat on Essence Love (Tib.) ཐིག་ལེ


Photo: https://tsoknyirinpoche.org/rinpoche/

Tsoknyi Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist Teacher who lives in Nepal. Widely recognized as an outstanding meditation teacher, he is the author of three books: Open Heart Open Mind, Carefree Dignity, and Fearless Simplicity.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~Rumi

 

Spiritual Bypassing, Using Religion to Build Up Ego

As westerners who chose to be involved with eastern religion, it’s safe to say, we were looking for something greater. Tibetan Buddhism took root in the United States during the 1960s where people were spiritual seekers and often involved in the psychedelic movement. A lot of us came from a great amount of curiosity, disappointment and loss. A large portion of us came from dysfunctional families, divorce or even outright abuse. We were told that if we were to take complete refuge in this religion that all of our cares would cease. We could follow a very tried and true graduated path that would bring meaning to our lives, quell our emotional, spiritual and psychological problems and result in us attaining enlightenment, if we devoted ourselves to it sufficiently.

The problem is, is that unless we come into the spiritual path with having a basis of feeling well, a basic sense of warmth, well-being, groundedness, and the harsh barbs of our trauma being resolved, there’s a tendency for ego to slip in and use even positive methods of liberation for it’s own constructs. If we use the dharma to feel superior, pretend that we are more knowledgeable, spiritually evolved than others, hide, cower and escape from our vulnerability, our fears or our deep karmic wounding, the dharma itself becomes a method to spiritually bypass and therefore itself, a worldly dharma. Spiritual bypassing is akin to hopping over our issues, our deep karmic blocks by denying, projecting them into others or ignoring, and then using one’s religion or spirituality as a faux front.

We will have devoted our lives to something wheres it’s impossible to make any progress because the fundamental obstacles have never been touched, opened and routed out. Chögyam Trungpa clearly explains this process in his book Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. It’s like my teacher would say-

“If we don’t practice properly and really use these methods to evolve, it’s like going to an island of diamonds and coming back empty-handed.” Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

84000 Methods Can Be Absconded By Ego

Ego is very slippery, like a shapeshifter, and can use these methods in the dharma to build itself up. We often see fluctuation between pompous credential or an opiated escape, neither are enlightened. For example, if the way that you hide from pain is that you have some type of avoidant personality disorder and withdraw, will you find a particular part of the vast body of Buddhist teachings to confirm your propensity. You will then withdraw from society and hide and consider yourself really spiritual and in concurrence with the scriptures.

If you happen have a propensity for hedonism or sexual addiction, we have a controversial Saint named Drukpa Kunley who would unhesitatingly sleep with whomever he wanted to. You could use Dharma teachings to say that “morality is relative” and everything is part of the absolute manifestation of sacredness, and thereby justify sexual misconduct. How can this be spiritual? Both are sides of the same type of spiritual ego, and none of these propensities, I believe, can make any progress in this life until they breakdown the constructs of what they’re using to cover. Sadly, for many I see no sign of hope as of yet, it’s all about “virtue signaling,” being “spiritualistas” or “spiritual slactivists.”

Guru Devotion as a Weapon

One western Tibetan reincarnated teacher called a “tulku” recently said to me:

“The intense mind control and hierarchical culture of obedience is something I’m really uncomfortable with now. I actually think more people got hurt through that than from sexual abuse itself.”

Yes we have a religion where we offer the guru absolute control and blind obeisance. You can imagine if anyone has seen the miniseries Wild Wild Country, how well that works out. We have this unbreakable vow that we take with the teacher, that if we break or leave the teacher or community or speak ill of them or even have a negative thought, we’re supposed to go to this terrible mind torture hell in the afterlife, and/or be riddled with personal obstacles and punishments. This vow which is supposed to help us to make spiritual progress is often used as a weapon of control and ownership of students. This does nothing but create cult-like communities and spiritual, psychological and emotional harm to so very many.

Toxic Masculinity

We can credit a lot of this social dysfunction to the term toxic masculinity. Human society has a very long history of the suppression of the feminine, considering emotionality to be weak and women to be subordinate, unstable, second class citizens or even, in some cultures, property.  Many men to this day, often believe that they are far superior to women with an undercurrent of continued social misogyny that exists in all cultures. I personally practice in a very male-dominated religion in Tibetan Buddhism where we are instructed to worship these men as divine. In that culture they have a word for women which literally translates as lesser human. Very few women have any power or real voice and it’s disheartening to see this panel of colored robed, throned men telling us how to live. Many know that behind the scenes there are volumes of power, control, sexual misconduct, financial and ethics issues galore. I say it’s high time for women to take leadership roles in both religion, spirituality and politics, to clean up a lot of this toxicity and corruption.

A study in the Journal of School of Psychology uses the following definition to explain toxic masculinity: “the constellation of socially regressive [masculine] traits that serve to foster domination, the devaluation of women, homophobia, and wanton violence.”

In modern society, people often use the term toxic masculinity to describe exaggerated masculine traits that many cultures have widely accepted or glorified.

This harmful concept of masculinity also places significant importance on ‘manliness’ based on:

  • strength
  • lack of emotion
  • self-sufficiency
  • dominance
  • sexual virility”

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/toxic-masculinity#what-it-is

Real Spiritual Work Is Dirty

Karmic knots, emotional issues that we hold keep us stuck, however there is hope. By touching the wounds, our tears and fears, we can wholly liberate them. This is the crack of light that is possible. People come in to a tradition with trauma, loss, in pain and longing and are instructed to apply these high eastern yogic methods. It’s not working; we need a new way of real liberation which includes deep fundamental trauma work and the base of healing before embarking on any spiritual path.

My Teacher’s Advice

I was practicing meditation in Denmark and really reflecting about my life. I’ve mentioned before, that I came from pretty serious child abuse and neglect, and I was crying about how it would ever be possible for me to feel happy and healed in this life at all, ever. Then, during my meditation practice an insight came to me. I could take the foundation of this pain and the abuse that I experienced early on, and try to heal from it and then use it later on in life as a way of deepening compassion for others that might have experienced something similar. That was the impetus for why I started to teach meditation in prisons, and learned so much about human growth, regret and real hands-on spirituality. I think if anyone wants to do any type of real spiritual work you have to get down and dirty, here are 4 steps to get started:

  1. Spend time with yourself in a very raw and honest way and feel where you’re stuck.
  2. We can journal about where our strengths and weaknesses are and look at ourselves with tremendous honesty.
  3. If we notice that we have some type of these dormant fears and wounding and pain, take the time to honor stuck places.
  4. We can use the retreat time that we have to face our fears head-on, cry out all the tears until there are no more, like a sponge ringing out dirty water.

It’s so helpful to make the effort to cleanse these psycho-spiritual and emotional blocks built up from our lifetime or more. In this way, we can truly become a clear vessel that’s capable of wisdom. Without having gone through this messy, difficult dark night of the soul process, there’s a strong possibility that we are using our spirituality or religion in a deluded way, to cover the deep-seated blocks that we’re unwilling to face.

East Meets.. West

I think these Indo-Tibetan methods used 2500 years ago in India and in Tibet, were exceedingly valid and powerful methods of transformation and spiritual development. In our materialistic west, which allows no time for grief, we have often a lot of gross trauma and imbalances to heal before we can even start sitting meditation. If we don’t do the trauma work and we just sit alone with ourselves, let alone do any of the higher tantras which involve powerful methods of yogic practice ritual, those methods become ways to make us further imbalanced and can be actually dangerous. So this trauma work, taking time to delve deep into what has been hurtful, processing fears, going very deeply to core childhood or karmic wounding, is an essential step before we embark upon any more lofty spiritual path. Many often benefit from personal or professional support for this healing process. We could say that this is the basic foundation of the spiritual path. Real human strength and evolution is forged through bravely facing fears, heartbreak and tears, not bypassing or some renunciant escape. So go ahead, get curious about the cracks in our deepest, hidden wounds. Our hearts long to emerge from the shadows and see what type of welcome light can eventually come in. I have faith that with effort, we all have a capacity to learn, grow and heal, no matter what we have experienced. The human heart is forever fundamentally bright, and sometimes, the accumulated tarnish, just needs a bit of polishing. 🖤

Written By Dawn Boiani-Sandberg

Owner Buddhistmala.com

 


image from pexels

This hot sauce is amazingly flavorful and versatile. It’s like Tibetan Momo (dumpling) sauce, called Sepen, but it’s oil and chili based rather than tomato. The recipe is highly coveted. I begged for my Buddhist Shambhala friends to disclose the most profound secret teaching, my friend claimed that it’s the “most important” wisdom we hold. It is, of course, the highly desired recipe for… this Tibetan Hot Sauce famous at Shambhala Mountain Center formally known as RMDC. This transmission is highly guarded by our Buddhist military called the Dorje Kasung, (non-Shambhalians, don’t ask). After they accomplish secret such and such, they were rewarded with this recipe. Well, safe to say, no one would dare leak this vow protected info, so I was forced to uncover my own “inner wisdom,” and sure enough, was able to make a very close replica! I’m sharing my gnostic, guru-less discovery below. It’s really great, its like a dense chili sambal, and much better than the store bought Chinese dragon siracha we all use. You can put it on Tibetan Momo dumplings, stir fry’s, eggs, Mexican food, anything. It’s well worth making~ download this recipe, ok here goes….

Spontaneously Arisen Tibetan Hot Sauce Transmission

Dawn Lhamo’s Recipe

1/2c olive oil
1.5c water
1/3c hemp oil (or sesame)
45g red chili flakes
45g of chili power
1tsp cayenne pepper
3T dried onions (or fresh)
3T fresh minced garlic (or powder)
2T puréed ginger (or powder)
2g 5 star anise
1T salt
1 tsp sugar

Choose a heavy bottom sauté pot. I sautéed minced onions and garlic and ginger in oil then put all other ingredients in with water and let it cook lightly about 10 min med. heat. Let cool and store in air tight containers or jar. Makes about 2 full medium jam jars. Svaha!

 


And when I was asking around for these well kept secrets, two other recipes arose from whistleblowers, I haven’t tried these the third, but they might be closer to the original. If you start heating herbs and spices BE CAREFUL, they can burn, and it wastes the whole batch, yes I did that. The secret in these two below is that you heat the oil, and carefully pour the hot oil onto the spices, so they never get cooked on the stove and therefore don’t burn. I may have a cook-off and try all three to see which one is best, let us know if you have any experience or try!

Tibetan Hot Sauce

Kathy Locke’s Recipe

1 pint peanut oil
1/2 c ginger
1/4 c garlic
1 c onions
1/4 c chopped red chili (fresh more)
3-5 star anise
1/4 to 1/2 c toasted sesame oil
chop everything fine
place in large pot
then separately heat to smoking the peanut oil
then pour in to large pot (will smoke)
mix
then add
3-5 star anise
1/4 to 1/2 c toasted sesame oil
good luck.


Tibetan Hot Sauce

By Hudson Shotwell

Ingredients:
3 Large Onions
22-25 good sized cloves of garlic, about two large heads worth
Ginger root, peeled, to match the amount of garlic cloves in quantity
2 oz Thai dried red crushed chili pepper with seeds
5 star anise, whole
2 level, measured teaspoons of salt, or less if you wish.
4 cups of vegetable oil

A food processor is a great way to make this beautifully hot sauce.

1. Peel and quarter the onions, process them very fine; don’t leave big pieces.
Put in the bowl.

2. Hit the garlic cloves with the flat of a large knife to release them from their skins.

3. Peel and chop the ginger and two garlic size chunks. Make your pile of ginger the same size as your pile of garlic.

4. Process the garlic and ginger together, very fine. Put them in the bowl.

5. Empty the package of crushed chili into the bowl.

6. Put the six anise seeds into the bowl.

7. Mix it all together.

8. In a separate sauce pan, heat the oil to very hot, 400 degrees, smoking, or a little hotter.

Attention! Do not leave the oil, or forget about it, or you will have a fire on your hands!

9. Take the stainless-steel bowl with all the ingredients in it, a mixing spoon, and the pan of boiling oil, outside, never mind the weather. Carefully pour the oil a little at a time onto the vegetables, stirring with a wooden spoon as the sauce should boil up, then quickly cool down.

10. Add the salt to your taste.

11. Allow the sauce to sit overnight to allow the star anise to release it’s flavor. Decant to smaller vessels in enjoy it with many kinds of food and friends.

tibetan hot sauce oil

pour hot oil cook

finished hot sauce

mamas fire hot sauce

 

Spontaneously Arisen Tibetan Hot Sauce Transmission

Dawn Lhamo’s Recipe

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1.5 c water
  • 1/3 c hemp oil or sesame
  • 45 g red chili flakes
  • 45 g of chili power
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 T dried onions or fresh
  • 3 T fresh minced garlic or powder
  • 2 T puréed ginger or powder
  • 2 g star anise 5 stars
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions
 

  • Choose heavy bottom sauté pot. I sautéed minced onions and garlic and ginger in oil then put all other ingredients in with water and let it cook lightly about 10 min med. heat. Let cool and store in air tight containers or jar. Makes about 2 full medium jam jars. Svaha!

 

I was amazed to discover the very best natural face cream and now use it every.single.day. I would say it’s no less than the fountain of youth. I was taught how to make this by my flower-child neighbor who uses only the best organic and well sourced ingredients that she buys in bulk from various homemade beauty care and natural cosmetics suppliers. I know it might seem tedious to have to craft your own face cream, but it is well worth it. If you make a batch which lasts for an entire year, you can store it in the refrigerator. I swear by this, I have used the best face care products known to man like Dr. Hauschka and Evan Healy, but this is truly incomparable. It is the perfect weight and smells like citrus and vanilla. Let us know in the comments if you try this and how it feels on your skin and if indeed, all of your wrinkles magically disappear forever!

COCOA BUTTER CREAMY LOTION FOR FACE AND BODY

This nongreasy, deeply moisturizing and hydrating cream doubles as a fabulous after-sun cream. It leaves skin very soft and silky with a light, velvety “orangesicle” scent.

7 tablespoons soybean, almond, apricot kernel, or macadamia nut base oil

2 tablespoons beeswax

2 tablespoons coconut base oil (extra-virgin, unrefined)

3 tablespoon cocoa butter

1 teaspoon anhydrous lanolin

9 tablespoons distilled water

2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin

1/2 teaspoon borax x 30

20 drops sweet orange essential oil drops tangerine or sweet orange essential oil

20 drops vanilla essential oil

Recommended for: normal, dry, dehydrated, sensitive, sunburned, windburned, mature, or environmentally damaged skin (especially for dehydrated oily and combination skin in cooler, less humid seasons)

USE: Daily

PREP TIME: 1 hour approximate! 20 to 30 minutes, plus 30 minutes to set up and cool

BLENDING TOOLS: blender; long-handled, slender spatula

STORE IN:  glass or plastic jars or squeeze bottle (if storage area is very warm)

YIELD: approximately 1-1/3 cups

HEAT: In a small saucepan over low heat or in a double boiler, warm the base oils, beeswax, coco butter, and lanolin, until the cocoa butter and beeswax are just melted. In another pan, warm the water and vegetable glycerin, add the borax, and stir until the borax is incorporated.

COOL: Remove both pans from heat and allow their contents to cool almost to body temperature until the oils/wax/butter/lanolin mixture just begins to thicken and becomes slightly opaque. It will be like a soft, loose salve. This will take 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the oils/wax/butter.

BLEND: Immediately pour oil/wax/lanolin/butter mixture into into the blender, scraping the sides of the saucepan to remove every and remove every last trace. Place the lid on the blender and remove the lids plastic piece. Turn the blender on medium and slowly drizzle the water/Glycerin/Borax mixture through the center of the lid into the vortex of swirling fats below. Closely watch what happens: almost immediately, the lotion will begin to thicken. Blend for 5 to 10 seconds more. turn off the blender and check the consistency. It should have a smooth texture. If the mixtures are not combining properly, turn off the blender and give the lotion a few manual stirs with a spatula to free up the blender blades. Then replace the lid and blend on medium for another 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat process as needed.

Turn off the blender and add the essential oils, stirring a few times to mix them in, then blend completely on medium another 5 to 10 seconds, until the lotion is smooth and pale yellow

Note: If the temperature of your kitchen is above 76°F. the lotion will maintain a softer consistency. (Coconut oil turns from solid to liquid at 76°F.) If the temperature is below 76°F. the lotion will be firmer more like  a cream.

PACKAGE AND COOL: Pour the finished lotion into storage container(s). Lightly cover each container with a paper towel and allow the lotion to cool for 30 minutes before capping. If you notice after a few hours or days, that water begins to separate from the lotion, don’t worry. The mixture can separate if the fat temperature and water temperature are not relatively equal and cool enough when the two portions are blended. Keep trying — crafting perfect lotions is an art form!

No refrigeration of this product is required if it’s used within 30 days. If stored in the refrigerator, please use it within 3 to 6 months. (You may notice a change in the formula’s texture if it’s stored in the refrigerator, but this won’t affect the quality of the product.)

APPLICATION TIPS: Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon to cover the entire face, throat, and décolleté and more as necessary for the body.

natural face cream

Homemade Cocoa Butter Face Cream

Recommended for: normal, dry, dehydrated, sensitive, sunburned, windburned, mature, or environmentally damaged skin (especially for dehydrated oily and combination skin in cooler, less humid seasons)
Prep Time 1 hr

Equipment

  • BLENDING TOOLS: blender; long-handled, slender spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 7 tablespoons soybean, almond, apricot kernel, or macadamia nut base oil
  • 2 tablespoons beeswax
  • 2 tablespoons coconut base oil extra-virgin. unrefined
  • 3 tablespoon cocoa butter
  • 1 teaspoon anhydrous lanolin
  • 9 tablespoons distilled water
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable glycerin
  • 1/2 teaspoon borax x 30
  • 20 drops drops sweet orange essential oil drops tangerine or sweet orange essential oil
  • 20 drops drops vanilla essential oil

Instructions
 

  • USE: Daily
    PREP TIME: 1 hour approximate!, 20 to 30 minutes, plus 30 minutes to set up and cool
    STORE IN:  glass or plastic jars or squeeze bottle (if storage area is very warm)
    YIELD: approximately 1-1/3 cups
    HEAT: In a small saucepan over low heat or in a double boiler, warm the base oils, beeswax, coco butter, and lanolin, until the cocoa butter and beeswax are just melted. In another pan, warm the water and vegetable glycerin, add the borax, and stir until the borax is incorporated.
    COOL: Remove both pans from heat and allow their contents to cool almost to body temperature until the oils/wax/butter/lanolin mixture just begins to thicken and becomes slightly opaque. It will he like a soft, loose salve. This will take 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the oils/wax/butter/
    BLEND: Immediately pour oil/wax/lanolin/butter mixture into into the blender, scraping the sides of the saucepan to remove every and remove every last trace. Place the lid on the blender and remove the lids plastic piece. Turn the blender on medium and slowly drizzle the water/Glycerin/Borax mixture through the center of the lid into the vortex of swirling fats below. Closely watch what happens: almost immediately, the lotion will begin to thicken. Blend for 5 to 10 seconds more. turn off the blender and check the consistency. It should have a smooth texture. If the mixtures are not combining properly, turn off the blender and give the lotion a few manual stirs with a spatula to free up the blender blades. Then replace the lid and blend on medium for another 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat process as needed.
    Turn off the blender and add the essential oils, stirring a few times to mix them in, then blend completely on medium another 5 to 10 seconds, until the lotion is smooth and pale yellow
    Note: If the temperature of your kitchen is above 76°F. the lotion will maintain a softer consistency. (Coconut oil turns from solid to liquid at 76°F.) If the temperature is below 76°F. the lotion will be firmer more like  a cream.
    PACKAGE AND COOL: Pour the finished lotion into storage container(s). Lightly cover each container with a paper towel and allow the lotion to cool for 30 minutes before capping. If you notice after a few hours or days, that water begins to separate from the lotion, don't worry. The mixture can separate if the fat temperature and water temperature are not relatively equal and cool enough when the two portions are blended. Keep trying — crafting perfect lotions is an art form!
    No refrigeration of this product is required if it's used within 30 days. If stored in the refrigerator, please use it within 3 to 6 months. (You may notice a change in the formula's texture if it's stored in the refrigerator, but this won't affect the quality of the product.)
    APPLICATION TIPS: Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon to cover the entire face, throat, and décolleté and more as necessary for the body.
Keyword cocoa butter face cream, homemade face cream

 

Photo by Dana Tentis from Pexels

What Is a Whole Foods, Plant Based Diet?

A whole foods, plant based diet uses plant sourced whole foods and avoids animal products. The plant based diet isn’t necessarily a set diet, it’s more of a lifestyle. We consume whole, minimally processed foods, and limit or avoid most animal products. We focus on plants, such as: veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, which makes up the majority of what we consume.

This diet excludes refined foods, such as added sugar, white bread, gmo’s and processed oils. We pay special attention to food grade, with advocates of this whole foods diet promoting locally sourced, organic food whenever possible.

It’s Not Vegan

People who follow strict vegan diets refrain from consuming any animal products, including dairy, poultry, meat, seafood, eggs and honey. Vegetarians exclude all poultry and meat from their diets, however a few vegetarians eat eggs, seafood or dairy. This plant based diet (also called WFPBD) on the other hand, it’s more flexible.

Followers eat mostly plants, but animal products are not completely off limits. While one person on the vegan diet might eat no animal product, one who follows a whole foods diet can eat modest quantities of poultry, eggs, seafood, meat or dairy. For example, pork production is one of the worst environmental pollutants of all of the factory farm industries. Once a year for Christmas, our family will purchase an organic ham, locally sourced and with great respect for that animal’s life. We are willing to pay much more for these occasional meats consumed, and found a few local farms right in the neighborhood!

For instance, we have 6 chickens, and feed them organic grains and food scraps, and they produce eggs for us every day! Our family eats well sourced, locally sourced or organic meats about once a week. It’s hard, we feel bad about it, especially when you raise animals, but the complex nutrients for growing children are recommended on occasion. Most nights, I use egg based dishes and well crafted, vegetarian meat substitutes.

This mainly plant based diet also can really help us lose weight and improve our overall health. Obesity is a problem of epidemic proportions. In fact, more than 69% of US adults are overweight or obese. Fortunately, with these simple food and lifestyle modifications we can facilitate weight reduction and have a lasting impact on health. Here are the 7 main reasons to consider:

1. A Plant Based Diet Can Be Richer in Nutrients

If you switch to a plant-based diet from a typical American diet, you’ll eliminate most animal and meat products.
We eat whole-foods, like whole grains, fruits, veggies, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.

2. It Can Help You Lose Excess Weight

An escalating number of people are turning to plant-based diets in the hope of losing excess fat.
This is perhaps for valid reason, several observational researches show that vegans have a tendency to be thinner and have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) compared to non-vegans.

3. It Appears to Lower Blood Sugar Levels and Improve Immune Function

Going plant-based may also have benefits for hypoglycemia, type 2 diabetes and declining kidney function.

4. A Plant Based Diet May Protect Against Certain Cancers

In accordance with the World Health Organization, about 1/3rd of all cancers can be prevented by factors within your control, including diet. For example, eating legumes on a regular basis might lessen your risk of colon cancer.

5. It’s Connected to a Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Eating fresh fruits, legumes, vegetables and fiber is linked to a lower chance of heart disease.

6. A Plant Based Diet Can Reduce Pain from Arthritis

Some research has reported that a plant-based diet has positive consequences in people with various kinds of arthritis.

7. Plant Based Diets Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

There is a substantial decrease in water consumption, food production and transport costs and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with a plant-based diet. Of course, this also is much more humane for living animals, as the animal suffering, conditions and general atrocities in our factory farms is unconscionable. A WFPBD is good for you, good for mother earth! This is the easiest way you can “Go Green” and substantially decrease your carbon footprint, by up to 73%!

I offer a simple to get started, downloadable PDF, and ongoing free recipes, ones that I actually make, so please bookmark our site!

Written By Dawn Boiani, Wellness Coach. Owner of Buddhistmala.com

image: Daria Shevtsova pexels dariashevtsova.com

If I can quote Al Gore “every day when you turn on the news, it’s like a page from the Book of Revelations.” If we aren’t sad and anxious a bit now, there might be something dampened with our sensitivity! However, I’m living proof that the old that adage is true that “the darkest hour is indeed right before the dawn,” and I’d like to share my story. A series of very challenging things happened to me a few years ago: an exceedingly painful conflict with a friend, some hormonal changes and some possible legal issue happened right before getting on a plane for a family vacation in Europe. It was like a perfect storm. It was intense, emotional, I was frightened and nothing was settled.

When I arrived in Europe I had the normal jet lag, but at that point my mind and heart were spinning about all these personal issues. I had to leave with them still being unresolved. My nervous system and and my internal circadian clock became seriously out of whack. I spent my family vacation in Europe trying to meditate and sleep, but all of the problems circled around in my mind.

When I got back to the United States, I had reverse jet lag again and the problems were still painful. That set into motion about 6 months of intense anxiety, resulting in seemingly unsolvable insomnia. It was bad, I was sleeping only a few hours a week, and had terrible nightmares and existential fears when I did. I have a funny religion that believes in hells, obstacles, curses and punishments and that definitely exacerbated this internal struggle. It was like the dark night of the soul, akin to Ebenezer Scrooge, but it went on for 6 months instead of only three nights! It took all strength in me to overcome this.

I realized later, that the root of anxiety is actually heartbreak, a person can withstand a few painful, dramatic things and recover from them quite well. However, if a number of things occur at the same time, the heart reaches an overload and can’t process so much grief and stress all at once. Your nervous system goes on overload. It could be considered the infamous nervous breakdown. I reached out to everyone to try to help: doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs. I kid you not, I was so desperate I even has a soul retrieval done by a shaman! Medical doctors tried to put me on sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medicine, whatever could help me. I was only sleeping a few hours a week, and couldn’t function in my daily life well. I was so worried that my health, mind, heart and marriage were going to be irrevocably damaged. The biggest fear was that this would be forever, would I lose everything, even my life?

So what I did, is that I was not going to take this laying down. I did not want to go on any type of allopathic medicine. They all have side effects and do strange things to your mind. Oftentimes these toxic, addictive sleeping pills stop working after awhile. You have to take more over time, and I didn’t want to be addicted to anything ever. This was not the right path for me, but I’m not suggesting that anyone stop taking their doctor prescribed medicines, as that too, can be dangerous.

What I did is, I created a holistic approach to healing anxiety and depression and getting my body back into order. I started to eat really well, exercise, journal and breathe deeply. I sought counseling to do very very deep trauma work and tried to resolve the original issue with my friend. I sought the help of friends, professionals, and more than anything believed that I could get through this difficult time. I found a good Functional Medicine doctor who was not a proponent of any type of sleeping pills or medicine for depression. He rather, put me on a protocol of fresh foods, greens and natural supplements that you could get at the health food store, to support the nervous system. For about three months, I took a very heavy protocol of herbs and over the counter supplements like: 5HTP, Gaba, Inositol, and started to take some type of very simple herb and spice based Tibetan Medicine as well. I found an amazing book, if people are having trouble sleeping called the Effortless Sleep Method that you can buy for $5 as a Kindle book on Amazon.

This all completely conquered my insomnia through a natural way, and got me sleeping deeper than ever. I realized that my anxiety was not an enemy but it was a friend. It’s the body’s light handed warning signal saying that you’ve taken on too much. It’s intention is not to be a burden for you, but it’s to remind you that it’s time to go deeply into self-care, simplify and helps to ultimately *prevent* disease.

So now, if I ever feel that I’m taking on too much and the “winds” are getting disturbed, or I’m feeling a lot of sadness or overwhelm, I take that as a sign to go immediately into calmness, meditation, and simplify my life and then restart. If you have been battling with anxiety, depression or insomnia, I’m living proof then you can recover from these imbalances go deeper into self care, form a very deep relationship with your own energetic system and come through the other side and flourish better than ever. No matter what’s happening on the “outside,” there is a strength of real self love and balance, that we can uncover. Nothing at this point, seems to be able shake that from me now, and I’m so very grateful that I went through this. We all can shine again and completely overcome anxiety and depression, with some holistic effort.

Written by Dawn Boiani, owner Sakura Designs

 

 


 


Image from pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/yellow-flowers-917076/

 

Bhutanese (American) Tri Color Pepper and Cheese Ema Datshi

Vegetarian (not vegan) main course~ with rice, the best one yet! I was in the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan for a week in 1992, and we camped out in a small remote town called Paro, it was amazing and utterly magical. Everyone should visit Bhutan someday if they can. Ema Datshi is the country’s national dish as they grow many red peppers and dry them on rooftops. Most nights we had this for dinner. It transports me back there, this does call for cheese, I will explore some vegan cheese options soon and review the best ones for melting.

12 jalapeño peppers seeded and sliced lengthwise
1 each red, green yellow pepper sliced
12 dried red chilies
2T butter
2T olive oil
1t salt
1 large shallot or onion sliced
1 8oz block of Gorgonzola approx
4 oz goat cheese (not feta)
1/2 block cream cheese
sautée shallot/onion in butter
add all peppers and olive oil sautée
add 1 cup of water and salt cover and boil until peppers are soft
add cheese and melt stirring often like a fondue
serve with basmati rice 🙏🏼

Bhutanese Tri Color Pepper and Cheese Ema Datshi

12 jalapeño peppers seeded and sliced lengthwise 1 each red, green yellow pepper sliced 12 dried red chilies 2T butter 2T olive oil 1t salt 1 large shallot or onion sliced 1 8oz block of gorgonzola approx 4 oz goat cheese (not feta) 1/2 block cream cheese sautée shallot/onion in butter add all peppers and olive oil sautée add 1 cup of water and salt cover and boil until peppers are soft add cheese and melt stirring often like a fondue serve with basmati rice
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Sautee pot with lid

Ingredients
  

  • 12 jalapeño peppers seeded and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 each red, green, yellow pepper sliced
  • 12 dried red chilies
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 large shallot or onion sliced
  • 1 8oz block of gorgonzola approx
  • 1 4oz goat cheese not feta
  • 1/2 block block cream cheese

Instructions
 

  • Sautée shallot/onion in butter
    add all peppers and olive oil sautée
    add 1 cup of water and salt cover and boil until peppers are soft
    add cheese and melt stirring often like a fondue
    serve with basmati or Bhutanese red rice.

plant butter

The Top Three Plant Based Butters

I don’t know about you, but I for one can’t cook or barely survive for that matter, without butter. I tried a high fat Keto diet and it sent my bad cholesterol, triglycerides etc. through the roof. Now, I’m dairy free (except whey) and feeling great. I’ve been recently discovering dairy free alternatives as part of my wellness coaching program. Not only is going dairy-free good for your health and heart, but it stops horrendous animal cruelty to lactating milk cows. Plant based diets are much better for sustainability and our ecosystem, even with them being more machine processed and food transport costs. A lot of us don’t realize that cheese, especially hard cheese and imported cheeses have a much higher carbon footprint than even meat. So, this brought me to become quite a vegan-butter connoisseur, and I wanted to share with you the top three dairy free, vegan alternatives:
I’ll tell you a little bit about the pros and cons of each:

#1 European Style Cultured Vegan Butter *SALTED*

https://miyokos.com/collections/vegan-butter

Thus was the most expensive, it was about $5.99 for only 8oz.- 1/2lb. at the time, worth every penny. This was my favorite all around, the texture and most like real butter, it cost a bit more, but organic, and “nothing bad,” so well worth it. You can use it 1-1 for real butter, and it has a lovely melt-able base of coconut oil which is great for high temperature cooking. It has a hard, whitish texture like the imported Irish butter blocks.

The best overall.


Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

Part of the new wellness life is to not eat any dairy, sugar or any gluten, or at least much less. I’ve seen a lot of my friends live that way but never really jumped on that restrictive bandwagon until I became a wellness coach, and it feels…great! I am however permitted to have well sourced whey powder in the morning for green smoothies and it can be used as a coffee creamer. Since I can’t use any heavy cream anymore, I’ve created a Keto version of an at-home coffee lightener that works really well and that’s nutritive, fat burning, energizing and good for your health and nervous system. There is a little bit of a problem when using a whey powder base in that if you try to put it directly in warm coffee or even cold drinks it doesn’t blend and coagulates, some floats on the top, but, there is a remedy to that. Use one heaping tablespoon of the coffee lightener in about 3 tablespoons of water and quickly whisk it together before pouring in the coffee and voilà!… it will blend beautifully.

Make a big batch and keep on hand, this is about a one month’s supply:

You will need a canister, like an oatmeal carton with lid, or an empty protein powder canister with lid, that can hold about 5 cups, and whisk.

3 cups of grass fed whey powder
1 cup of coconut MCT powder or if you use dairy, you can substitute nonfat, dry milk
1/2 cup organic collagen* powder
3T organic ashwaghanda powder

Optional: If you like your coffee sweet, you can use Monkfruit or Stevia to taste.

Blend all dry ingredients in a canister by shaking, and remember to whisk creamer in water in coffee cup, before pouring coffee.

Home Made Keto Coffee Creamer

Prep Time 5 mins
Servings 30 2 tablespoons or 1 scoop
Calories 75 kcal

Equipment

  • 5 Cup Container with Lid

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Blend all dry ingredients in a canister by shaking, and remember to whisk creamer in water in coffee cup, before pouring coffee.
Keyword keto coffee, keto creamer

*collagen is an animal product, so for vegetarians, please omit


Coffee Image: Decha Huayyai
www.freepik.com/user6739663
Visit my portfolio for more free picture

We all long for and deserve the highest love.

There’s been a lot of public hype recently about something called twin flames. The notion is that there’s only one person out there that shares a very similar energetic signature that’s literally the other half of your soul. It’s deeper than a loving soulmate, it’s actually considered to be a mirror of yourself, like as if the mind/ spirit part of you split in two bodies. In Hollywood we’ve heard a lot about Megan Fox believing that her twin flame is Gun Kelly, and they share some type of special, magic, passionate, transformative and unbreakable bond.

I have some personal experience regarding this phenomena and a few insights, since there seems to be a lot of confusion, conflict and pain associated with people’s experiences. I once encountered someone who threw my entire world upside down. I began to reevaluate my life, my religion (riddled with scandals after our #metoo movement), and my very place in this world and purpose. There was an uncanny confluence where a very short period of time spent with this person, caused me to unearth very deep core, childhood wounds that I thought that I had well-healed from.

However, even with the propensity for going deep and internal growth, there was still a lot of high conflict, hostility and projection, which caused both of us to breakdown communication and be in no contact (to survive, literally). All of this pain and rapid triggering, according to the experts, is a classic and quintessential twin flame encounter.

I broke down or open, if you will, deeply into myself and wondered “was this all my fault, what did I do wrong, what should I do to fix this, is it fixable? What happened to me in my past that could have caused such heartbreak? What happened to the other in his past where he could be so mistrustful and wounded and filled with nothing short of hatred?” After it was clear that no resolve with him at that point was possible, I sought help from my spiritual teachers and my meditation practice. I journaled, wrote poems and cried endless tears. I joined with other twin flame forums to try to parse out what was happening to me. My friends said they had never seen me as wounded and injured by anyone in my entire life. Some people were really supportive and allowed a compassionate ear for me to cry and process, and other’s victim blamed and said “oh I was too attached and I should get over all this emotionality and be in some type of more spiritually evolved, ‘higher vibration.'” I was even insulted on twin flame support forums for not being “love and light-y” enough. No one could really stop or heal the momentum of the tears of confusion, it felt like my heart had been put into a wheat thrasher.

One of the current themes of our support groups on Facebook is that people can’t assess whether or not this is a spiritual connection or classic narcissistic/borderline abuse. There are overtones of both and one thing I like to mention is that there’s a huge amount of awareness about narcissism because it is very culturally prevalent these days. We don’t talk enough about other personality disorders which are almost as statistically prevalent, namely borderline, only 1/2 a percentage point less frequently occurring in society, according to the DSMIV.

From what I read, unlike narcissism, which can be cold, borderline personality is a highly emotionally reactive type of disorder. There is often a person that gets targeted by the borderline and there’s an energetic entrainment. It’s a type of psychic, emotional vampirism, and is exceedingly destructive, poisonous, hurtful and life draining. It’s unfortunately, often the outcome for people who were physically or/or sexually abused or profoundly neglected at very early age; they have a lot of trouble with trust and being able to love people in any healthy way. There is a tendency to see others as all black-and-white, with an intense love-hate attachment and fear of abandonment, it’s called lack of object constancy. The good news is, that according to Dr. Ramani, Borderline Personality Disorder is treatable, whereas with narcissism, there is little hope that they will ever seek help.

The Runner/ Chaser- A Classic Dance of a Narcissist and a Codependent

The recipient of a disordered person’s attack can experience confusion and crazy making. They will often receive dichotomous, mixed messages like: “I hate you, leave me alone, don’t leave me” all in one sentence. This is common and an expression of deep inner conflict, fear and wounding. When an unsuspecting, open and caring person encounters someone like this, the harm strikes really deep and it triggers any of the recipient’s unhealed abandonment issues. Also, the pain and hurt instigates any propensity to try to rescue and remedy the situation, almost to the point of compulsion. The compulsion comes because the narc/borderline was often so cruel and saw us in a dehumanizing, exceedingly negative light, and we strive to prove them wrong. This process, when someone takes away all of our dignity, value and power is nothing short of devastating. Now, none of us are labels, but there are some regular established patterns with certain maladaptive patterns that can help us all to contextualize and make sense of our experiences. These two videos below even though they’re cartoons, they perfectly encapsulate what a lot of us have been experiencing with these so called, twin flame connections. If any of this resonates, I urge you to listen to every word.

So, all of this forces us to assess the rich and colorful pallet of narcissistic abuse which entails: hostility, projection, devaluing, discarding, stonewalling, ghosting and hoovering. These abusive games should not in the least, be of interest to a healthy person. It’s not some spiritual “twin flame runner and chaser” that is trying to find balance, it’s abuse, period.  An affirmation to let go of a hurtful “twin flame” might say:

“Thank you so much for letting me see myself, the fact that I feel that I’m lovable what I want and what I don’t and as it is, I’ll have to let you go. I would always care about you, and hoped it could’ve been different but without any change, insight, contrition or treatment, repeated unhealthy patterns are not sustainable. I hope to see you in the ‘next life,’ where we have a more healed, supportive, nurturing and whole existence.”

 

 


 

So, the question still stands… is the conflict of meeting someone and falling deeply into “love” (or codependency) and hurt like this, a true twin flame or is it just being confused/ conflated with narcissistic or some personality disordered abuse? My assessment from personal experience as of today, is that it’s both occurring simultaneously. One is the undercurrent of our karmic connections, propensities and childhood experiences. The other, meeting someone and feeling sense of familiarity and synchronicity that both breaks and opens you, that’s all real. There is a spiritual and karmic undercurrent of this whole process. However divine and absolute that is, as one expert in BPD, A.J. Mahari coins: “there is never an excuse for abuse.” We must also admit, the codependents that try to fix are often as wounded as the abusers, so it’s not about blame, is about healing, discrimination, healthy boundaries and manifesting genuine, healthy love. 

We must strive for and accept no less than healthy love, and here are some guidelines:

  • There is no physical, emotional or psychological abuse
  • You feel heard, cared for and respected
  • You are able to have open, honest communication, never any lies or games
  • You have skills to successfully resolve disagreements and conflict
  • You bring out the best in each other and support each other to flourish

If you are experiencing abuse, it’s never ok, please seek professional help and if the connection is untenable. It’s a facet of self care, self love and compassion, to leave toxic, destructive situations. The hope that people will magically change abusive patterns can be the most tragic loss of time, energy and our precious life. The mantra for empaths and codependents who wait and hope that it will get better with a narcissist, borderline or other untreated disordered person is:

NO HOPE
NO CHANGE

I was taught to never give up on anyone, and I to this day believe that with the proper support system, no one is irredeemable, if one were to get help. It’s just a sad truism that part of certain people’s disorder is to deny, not see their shortcomings and unhealed places, but rather blame everyone else, constantly, vehemently. The codependent in contrast, blames themselves and continually apologies and tries to rescue, desperately. It’s the quintessence of the “bad boy” attraction that many women have, or men who are attracted to “unattainable” withholding women. There is an intense drive to heal and fix, and “unite,” but this is the very definition of codependency. I think there is a longing also admittedly, to be valued and needed. What many learn the hard way, is that this task is perilous, it’s par with trying to get anyone to stop drinking. Change must come from within. There is a dangerous and toxic back and forth, damaging dynamic, that can go on for a lifetime between people with an untreated personality disorder and codependents, and no, it’s not a healthy, spiritual “twin flame.” No relationship is perfect, but we can get help or steer clear of ones that are harmful without resolve. Stay with healthy, loving people who see your light, and moreso, uncover it within yourself, for yourself and then shine. 🖤

Wellness to all,
Dawn Boiani-Sandberg

“The dharma means seeing things clearly, as they are”

Owner Buddhistmala.com


Photo Credit Dante’s Inerno, artist: James de Villiers
Johannesburg
https://www.artworkarchive.com/profile/james-de-villiers/news/dante-s-inferno
I’ve a wide-ranging interest in the arts from painting and drawing to music composition as well as science. My art deals with the primal forces of nature.

Love (again) in the Age of Corona

With our recent days of social isolation, we have looked more and more online and to social media for connection, to work, and stay in touch with family and friends. A lot of us now live in these virtual worlds a good part of the day. What we always must remember is that the founders of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter researched and utilized methods to make these platforms become as addictive as possible to users. They carefully researched the stimulus response design from slot machines and the baiting of time delayed, anticipation-reward, that has been used to have people become highly addicted to gambling.

So, if one already has any propensity for addiction or loneliness or simply too much time on their hands, any of us can fall prey to becoming addicted to the internet namely, any social media platform. I’ve seen friends spend countless hours per day, even myself, online having long discussions with people about political or philosophical things or posting things to become attention seeking. I fear that a lot of our healthy relationships are being traded for wanting these Facebook or Instagram “likes” where we get, a Pavlovian chemical bump of confirmation, in a time where all of us feel estranged and alone. I’m concerned about the healthiness of this trajectory in our society and with our children; we all spend way too much time in social media or on computer games or “working.” I feel that our overall general health flourishing and welfare is affected by these electronic milieus. One of my Facebook friends said “on my deathbed I’m sure I’m going to regret not having spent enough time on Facebook.” So I’d like to consider really looking at the addictiveness of the internet and social media, and how it can exacerbate any propensity that we have for addiction especially attention seeking and love addiction.

The Internet Exacerbates Love Addiction, Codependency and Unhealthy Attachments

It’s natural and healthy to long for intimate connections. Oftentimes, because of unprocessed grief, hurt in past relationships and lingering childhood wounds, many find healthy, sustainable relationships to be a difficult and daunting task. Perhaps we have some kind of deep trauma or betrayal in our past, like parents involved with a traumatic divorce, or neglect, and these wounds are to this day, unresolved. Memory doesn’t really have a time limit, therefore we keep acting out of broken patterns. As adults we can choose individuals who are emotionally unavailable or people that we have to “fix,” a mirror resonant with our own broken hearts. It happens unconsciously, we seek to correct the pain of these unresolved past wounds, that occurred if we were young, often pre-concept, so they are by nature, hard to access. Some of us may even have been abused  physically, emotionally or verbally, and therefore have difficulty discriminating. We can choose unreliable people and can not sustain any trust. If we felt undesired, unloved as children and teens, we can recreate a rejection propensity called “trauma reenactment,” and wind up feeling rejected, yet again, by these inaccessible partners.

Painful experiences that are unhealed become repeated pessimistic thoughts, negative emotions and then behaviors, which become the constructs of a poorly functioning self. Abandonment or neglect, early on, can result in codependency and addiction to, well, anything. Love addiction is highly seductive, because we really do flourish in relationship, and long to connect as part of our emotional, human, survival. There are strong chemicals released in the brain that encourages passionate love, like endorphins, oxytocin and phenylethylalanine. When we fall in love, there is a spike of phenylethylalanine, (a.k.a. the ‘love molecule’) you could say we get addicted to our own brain chemistry. The same is triggered in social media when someone “likes” what you post. We can be unconsciously driven into cycles of obsession and pursuing the object of our desire, one person obsessively, or Facebook “friends,” but you see, none of this love is real or healthy. This toxic pattern of love and internet addiction pushes real people, family and healthy relationships away, and we isolate more, and become sadly more lonely, even with tremendous effort to remedy it. Ah, the tragic face of addiction, and this one, internet and social media addiction is rampant and ubiquitous these days.

We can continue this unhealthy cycle over and over again, which generates the exact same painful emotions we may have had in youth: abandonment, fear, anger, pain, emptiness and notably loneliness. Love addicts often exacerbate this, by choosing someone who’s emotionally unavailable. Another facet of love addiction is actually, someone who is love avoidant. Yes, cue the noble Buddhist renunciation “path.” According to Pia Mellody, author of Facing Love Addiction, love avoidance is the systematic use of blocking and escape techniques to prevent intimacy. We can prevent vulnerability and intimacy by creating intensity outside the relationship, normally with a few other unhealthy addictions, like sex, gambling, alcohol or drugs. The term codependency is used so often and many of us don’t really understand what that means. It means basically that people are your drug of choice. We feel broken, unwell and lonely, and we look to someone outside of ourselves to make us feel better and to define our self worth.

Love avoidants were frequently enmeshed with a clinging parent of the opposite gender. The love avoidant has an intense fear of being suffocated, overwhelmed or engulfed. They are inclined to stay in relationships usually from obligation or guilt rather than love. The love addict’s neediness, joined together with the love avoidant’s core wound, would cause that relationship to be dysfunctional and break down. There is often a perfect toxic pairing of an addict with a codependent, a push me-pull you, runner, chaser and fixer. Each person is, covertly wounded and unwell, and in need of real self care and healing, independent of the relationship, or even the internet for that matter! This dynamic can repeat again and again, and make having a sustainable connection with another nearly impossible. The problem is, if we are either addicted or avoidant neither one has well-adjusted relationship skills that result in becoming a well functioning, happy person. We can put a huge amount of effort, days, weeks, years or an entire lifetime, into becoming happy through these maladaptive ways, like searching for internet likes and e-connections, and windup having a fragmented, broken, lonely and a fundamentally unsatisfactory life.

Mindfulness tips to assist us to create real, healthy, loving relationships:

1. Health– make a choice to become as happy and healthy as we can be, in mind, body and spirit. That inner and outer shine as well authentic mental and emotional health, is a genuine love magnet! Walk outside, fresh air and sunshine, they say 10,000 steps a day!

2. Conscious Eating– The right foods, exercises and supplements may go a considerable way in promoting the healthful new you! Find out about possible food sensitivities and have your blood sugar checked. Food sensitivities, gluten intolerance, vitamin deficiencies and insulin resistance lead to mood swings and/or nervousness.

3. Feed your Heart and Soul. Limit internet and social media time to no more than 1-2 hours a day! A spiritual practice like mantra, prayer, inspiring reading, poetry or yoga soothes us to be at peace. Silent sitting and mindfulness meditation has been shown to bring calmness and can alter our brain waves and decrease hypertension and heart strain. Healthy, loving relationships provide relaxation, comfort and needed healthy chemicals like oxytocin from touch. Cherish people that care, really listen and want the best for us. Discriminating who is healthy for us and letting go of those who are not, is extremely healing and also an essential step towards being fulfilled and intimate, in a rewarding way with others.

4. Bring light to our Self Doubt. Negative self talk and pessimistic thoughts could be hindering our whole life. These are negative programs which have been running subconsciously since we were young, and can be very deep, and hard to access. Such beliefs as, “I am not lovable, I am not important, or I am unattractive” affect what we will manifest into our lives. Pay honest attention and write down all negative self beliefs and guilt about past actions on a paper. Then, burn that paper with a candle, releasing old patterns that no longer serve. You can use an affirmation, like “I am lovable, I am whole, I forgive myself for all past mistakes.”

5. Lastly and above all, learn to really love yourself. Addiction and maladaptive patterns just can’t survive with the power and efficacy of true self care, warmth and self respect. We cannot expect others to love us if we do not love ourselves, nor can we love anyone in excess of our self love. Hold our heart, hug a pillow and cry, release any old painful “knots.” We may find it necessary to get support. I have sought help many times, and challenge to myself to go as deep as I can, explore some of the hidden patterns from a wounded past and youth. Very deep things can clear like a cloud vanishing, and it doesn’t have to take years.

There are also free, online meet ups and support groups like: CODA, Love Addicts Anonymous, AlAnon, and Adult Children that can help with codependency, love, media or any addiction. We also might consider mindfulness awareness programs. Programs like mindfulness based relapse prevention shows a lot of promise with negative pattern redirection. In addition, web and app based mindfulness recovery programs work well. For instance, the Craving to Quit app provides an excellent mindfulness training which was developed at Yale University, and offers a connection to virtual community where individuals may get peer and expert support.  Let’s all take this downtime to unplug more, feel whole, refresh, shine light on shadow patterns and restart life anew, to find real love and healthy, meaningful relationships. That would indeed be, something to “like.”

Warmth and wellness to all, always,
Dawn Boiani-Sandberg

Owner Buddhistmala.com


Meditation woman photo: https://pixabay.com/users/leninscape-2892621/