Healthy Vegetable Lasagna with Zucchini and Ricotta

This is a veggie lasagna recipe, with ingredients sourced from Trader Joes, but any store with has no-prep lasagna noodles like Barilla and organic veggies will do! This lasagna is very quick, easy to assemble and it’s a family staple, and best when we can source tomatoes, basil and zucchini from the garden! The only pre-prep is to steam the broccoli and zucchini, and a quick blend with a blender or food processor.

This recipe takes many shortcuts, (pardon the non-zero waste prepackaging)- we use no-boil lasagna sheet noodles, prepared tomato sauce, ricotta, cottage cheese, and prepackaged shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. All the ingredients go straight into the baking pan.

Ingredients:

• 1 (16 oz) box No Boil Lasagna Noodles
• 1 jar Tomato or Marinara Sauce (26 oz.)
• 1/2 head of broccoli, steamed, drained and chopped -or-
• 1 (16 oz) bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed or fresh, lightly chopped
• 2 small green zucchinis steamed, drained and sliced
• 16 oz shredded mozzarella
• 1 (16 oz) container Fresh Whole Milk Ricotta
• 1 (16 oz) container Small Curd Cottage Cheese
• 1 (12 oz bag) of shredded Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of grated.
•  Fresh Basil garnish or dried Italian seasoning (optional)

 

Instructions:

• Preheat oven to 350° degrees F.
• Steam and chop the broccoli, and slice and steam the zucchini.
• Blend the steamed broccoli (or fresh or frozen thawed and drained spinach) and a blender or food processor.
• Stir broccoli or spinach into ricotta in a bowl with 1/4 t salt.
• Cover the bottom of an 8×12-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish with 1/2 cup tomato sauce or marinara.
• Put down one layer of noodles (I use 3 and 1/2 noodles for each layer).
• Spread the ricotta and broccoli on the noodles.
• Place another layer of noodles and sauce and mozzarella cheese.
• Spread container of ricotta cheese.
• Top with another layer of zucchini and Parmesan then a top layer of noodles, remaining sauce, and a dense layer of remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
• Bake for about 50 minutes, until top is bubbling and melted. Top with basil or Italian seasoning. Let lasagna cool for a few minutes before serving.

Garnish with basil, and enjoy! Serves 6.

Vegetable-Lasagna

 

 

veggie-lasagna

 

trader-joes-lasagna

Healthy Vegetable Lasagna with Zucchini and Ricotta

This is a veggie lasagna recipe, with ingredients sourced from Trader Joes, but any store with has no-prep lasagna noodles like Barilla and organic veggies will do! This lasagna is very quick easy to assemble and it’s a family staple, and best when we can source tomatoes, basil and zucchini from the garden! The only pre-prep is to steam the broccoli and zucchini, and a quick blend with a blender or food processor.This recipe takes many shortcuts, (pardon the non-zero waste prepackaging)- we use no-boil lasagna sheet noodles, prepared tomato sauce, ricotta, cottage cheese, and prepackaged shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. All the ingredients go straight into the baking pan.

Equipment

  • blender or food processor

Ingredients
  

  • 1 16 oz box No Boil Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 jar Tomato or Marinara Sauce 26 oz.
  • 1/2 head of broccoli steamed, drained and chopped -or-
  • 1 16 oz bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed or fresh, lightly chopped
  • 2 small green zucchinis steamed drained and sliced
  • 16 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 1 16 oz container Fresh Whole Milk Ricotta
  • 1 16 oz container Small Curd Cottage Cheese
  • 1 12 oz bag of shredded Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of grated.
  • Fresh Basil garnish optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350° degrees F.
  • Steam and chop the broccoli, and slice and steam the zucchini.
  • Blend the steamed broccoli (or fresh or frozen thawed and drained spinach) and a blender or food processor.
  • Stir broccoli or spinach into ricotta in a bowl with 1/4 t salt.
  • Cover the bottom of an 8×12-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish with 1/2 cup tomato sauce or marinara.
  • Put down one layer of noodles (I use 3 and 1/2 noodles for each layer).
  • Spread the ricotta and broccoli on the noodles.
  • Place another layer of noodles and sauce and mozzarella cheese.
  • Spread container of ricotta cheese.
  • Top with another layer of zucchini and Parmesan then a top layer of noodles, remaining sauce, and a dense layer of remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes, until top is bubbling and melted. Let lasagna cool for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

Garnish with basil, and enjoy! Serves 6.

Photo by Anna Guerrero from Pexels

chai oatmeal

 

Chai Spiced Multigrain Oatmeal

A friend’s German grandfather lived until 102 and he ate warm oatmeal every morning. I like oats with a 7-Grain Cereal and whey power for added protein. A serving of this stick-to-your-ribs cereal is packed full of everything you need for an energizing morning. Our chai oatmeal is high in flax, fiber and protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Add any toppings, milk or sweetener you want, or enjoy plain with a simple austerity.

Ingredients:

  1. 1/4 c. Multigrain Hot Cereal
  2. 1/4 c. organic rolled oats
  3. 1 T. whey powder (optional)
  4. 1/2 t. cinnamon
  5. 1/2 t. cardamon
  6. pinch of salt

optional toppings: butter, bananas, raisins, nuts, berries, honey, oat or your preferred milk

Instructions:

• Bring 2 cups of salted water or your preferred milk to a boil.
• Add oats and multigrain cereal mix to water, stir.
• Turn off heat but keep pan on burner, covered.
• Let sit, until water is absorbed and grains are soft; about 10 minutes.
• Finish with your favorite toppings.

Serves 2

 

chai oatmeal

Chai Spiced Multigrain Oatmeal

A friend's German grandfather lived until 102 and he ate oatmeal every morning. I like oats with a 7-Grain Cereal and whey power for added protein. A serving of this stick-to-your-ribs cereal is packed full of everything you need for a energizing morning. Our chai oatmeal is high in flax, fiber and protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Add any toppings, milk or sweetener you want, or enjoy with a simple austerity.

Equipment

  • optional toppings: butter, bananas, raisins, nuts, berries, honey, oat or your preferred milk

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 c. Multigrain Hot Cereal
  • 1/4 c. organic rolled oats
  • 1 T. whey powder optional
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. cardamon
  • pinch of salt

Instructions
 

  • Bring 2 cups of salted water or your preferred milk to a boil.
  • Add oats and multigrain cereal mix to water, stir.
  • Turn off heat but keep pan on burner, covered.
  • Let sit, until water is absorbed and grains are soft; about 10 minutes.
  • Finish with your favorite toppings.

Notes

Serves 2

date truffles

Healthy Chocolate Date Truffles

These naturally sweet treats are… AMAZING! It seems like you can blend up whatever sweets and nuts you have around the house as long as the texture can be rolled into a ball and mixed with cocoa powder, leave them in fridge overnight to set. These are just as good, sweet, chocolaty and decadent as any real truffle!

Ingredients:

• 25 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
• 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 cup almond meal
• 1/2 cup of: peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts or sunflower seeds
• 1/2 cup of coconut oil
• Coatings: cocoa powder, shredded coconut, crushed hazelnuts or any other crushed nut

Instructions:

1. First soak dates them in warm to hot water for 15 minutes and then drain before putting into the food processor or quality large blade blender.
2. Put all of the above ingredients into the blender or food processor, blend slowly, and stop intermittently to ensure mixing until a thick oily “dough” ball is formed. You will have to scrape down the sides of the blender/food processor a few times to get all of the dry ingredients, or add a tad of water if it won’t blend. Once a dough is formed, scoop the dough (about 1 Tablespoon each) and roll into a smooth ball with your hands.
3. Roll into cocoa powder, coconut, and hazelnuts by spreading ingredients onto a plate and roll the moist dough balls around in a circle to fully cover. You can serve immediately, but they are best if refrigerated overnight. Store truffles in the refrigerator, they can keep up to a week.

healthy date balls

date truffles

Healthy Chocolate Date Truffles

These naturally sweet treats are… AMAZING! It seems like you can blend up whatever sweets and nuts you have around the house as long as the texture can be rolled into a ball and mixed with cocoa powder, leave them in fridge overnight to set. These are just as good, sweet, chocolaty and decadent as any real truffle!

Ingredients
  

  • 25 Medjool dates pitted and soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
  • 4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup peanuts pecans hazelnuts or sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • Coatings: cocoa powder shredded coconut, crushed hazelnuts or any other crushed nut

Instructions
 

  • First soak dates them in warm water for 15 minutes and then drain before putting into the food processor or quality large blade blender.
  • Put all of the above ingredients into the blender or food processor, blend slowly, and stop intermittently to ensure mixing until a thick oily “dough” ball is formed. You will have to scrape down the sides of the blender/food processor a few times to get all of the dry ingredients, or add a tad of water if it won’t blend. Once a dough is formed, scoop the dough (about 1 Tablespoon each) and roll into a smooth ball with your hands.
  • Roll into cocoa powder, coconut, and hazelnuts by spreading ingredients onto a plate and roll the moist dough balls around in a circle to fully cover. You can serve immediately, but they are best if refrigerated overnight. Store truffles in the refrigerator, they can keep up to a week.

I found that Traditional Chinese Medicine was very effective in treating my severe case of Covid 19, very quickly. They have many ancient, proven effective herbs and remedies that act as an anti-virulence, as well as ones that target and strengthen certain organs and organ efficacy like lung function. Here is my personal experience and what helped, and in no way am I offering any professional medical advice, please always consult medical experts.

I went in for my first Pfizer vaccine, but my daughter had tested positive for Covid 19 a week before. I left the house when we were first diagnosed and went to a hotel suite alone, as to not catch it, as I was at higher risk than my husband as he is a few years younger. Sure enough, I started to get sicker and sicker and you may guess, after a year of vigilant quarantining, masks, Purell and social distancing, I was… Covid-19 positive.

Variants- A Warning from the Health Department

Everyone who tests positive for Covid 19 gets a call from the Public Health Dept. in Colorado for contact tracing and quarantine purposes. The counselor said part of why we are seeing a slight uptick with Covid cases on the rise in certain areas, is the new P.1 variant strain, which I did not have, thankfully. She was so sorry to report that even people who are fully vaccinated can get this (since like any annual flu shot, vaccines help to prevent, but these have only a 90% effective rate) or unvaccinated people who had Covid before might even get reinfected. What? I thought.

People are relaxing now with a false confidence when indeed we should not completely, as we see second waves worldwide. However, our national vaccine success helps to mitigate that possibility as long as we keep taking them and not be so afraid of the exceedingly rare side effects. I know it’s one dire thing after another these days, and we all wish it were different, but I beg everyone to remain super vigilant in public places for awhile longer and please please please, GET VACCINATED!!!! You do not want this virus, I barely survived it, even with no underlying condition!

To the Hospital after Fainting

I came home and my husband created a sealed quarantine room in the house. We sealed the room completely with tape and tarps torn from black contractor/ leaf bags so my husband would not become infected. We had a Hepa filter fan in the room and turned off the whole house fan as to not circulate the aerosols of the virus. I did not leave the room for any circumstance whatsoever and gratefully had an attached bath, windows with sunlight, a roof to sunbathe and a hot water heating element teapot. I had found an urgent vaccine appointment for my husband a few days before I returned home. I started to cough so hard that I was getting a mild concussion, and pushing on my pelvic floor, miserable. My fever was steady at about 101-102. I was very tired and my lungs were filling up quickly with congestion. I could not eat, barely sleep and had these coughing bouts, whooping and dizzying. My resting pulse ranged between 98-121, tachycardia, and I felt like it was a fight for each and every welcome breath. Even binge watching 57 hours of Downton Abbey and feeble attempts to meditate provided no solace.  At times, indeed I thought I might not make it, really- and had to fight for hope, for my very life.

Dawn in the hospital bed with an EEG test.

Do Not Suppress Cough or Mild Fever!

I went to the ER one morning after I nearly fainted, I began to not see or hear and almost called for an ambulance. It is only day 4 of my fever and symptoms. They did a CAT scan to rule out a blood clot, yet saw covid pneumonia in one of my lower lung lobes, with a “webbing” of infection spreading which can be fatal. My oxygen was at 90, BP ok, so they sent me home to recover. They gave me a breathing spirometer to increase lung capacity that I was supposed to take 10 deep breaths every hour. This was very powerful as the nurse said that it “pops” the infected nodes in the lungs and can prevent fatality. They did rule out anything really dangerous but was there for an hour and 1/2 in Boulder and the bill was over 18 thousand dollars! This is why we must cap medical costs, have transparency and not a for-profit system, criminal! The saline drip costs about $1.40 a bag and they billed me $1,187. Now my insurance paid most of this for me, but still, we need a not-for-profit system. I am however grateful to have access to privileged medical care, and would only wish for that same access to everyone, worldwide.

I bought a finger based O2 and pulse monitor to check every hour, and was told to return if my O2 got below 88 where we live at higher altitude.

I called the CDC and a tele-health nurse, and they told me to *allow the coughing and slight fever!*

If you think about it, what are the two ways that the body has any chance of successfully fighting viral pneumonia? That would be a fever and the ability to cough out and expel any type of infection in the lungs. This made complete sense to me so I decided to not take any cough suppressant, cough drops, Mucinex or fever reducer if my fever stayed under 103. I did find these powerful TheraBreath Zinc lozenges since Covid drys your whole respiratory system out. I wonder if so many people are dying because they try to suppress symptoms and go against the body’s own healing attempts, taking too much OTC medicine and lay flat where the pneumonia can take over?

Every other night I would break down and take two baby aspirin or some acetaminophen to get to sleep but never any ibuprofen because there have been a lot of fatalities with that particular medicine, and it’s never used in our home. There have been some studies that aspirin helps to mitigate severe symptoms and prevents blood clots. I’d have intense night sweats, altering from cold to hot and it was impossible to get comfortable and feel ok. I did prop some pillows up or sleep “prone” on the belly and that worked. I tried to connect and listen to my body I could actually feel the congestion in certain areas by consciously trying to move/ cough up lung congestion to help my immune system and its recovery. When I could I got up and walked around, and did some light yoga and some postural drainage. I took steam baths with a towel over the head, with Vicks or Thieves (eucalyptus, clove oil) and had a steam humidifier going on full blast in the room 24/7. I rubbed tiger balm on my chest, but could not smell a thing! I drank plenty of water, tons, diluted fruit juices and steaming ginger tea with honey every couple hours.  I forced myself to eat healthy foods that my husband prepared to rebuild my strength, and we even had Meals on Wheels come for a few days!

Traditional Chinese Medicine

I contacted a very well noted and respected acupuncturist, Doctor of Oriental medicine, Dr. Jake Fratkin, who has been perfecting a tested Covid formula from China for over a year and did a Zoom tele-medicine call. He prescribed these three tinctures, with a foundation of Minor Buplerum or Xiao Chai Hu Tang. The night, actually the hour where I started on this protocol along with Vitamin C, D, Zinc a food based multivitamin and amino acids, I began to recover, and did so very quickly thereafter. When I was feeling better, I’d go out of the window onto the rooftop and sunbathe, the fresh oxygenated air did wonders! It took about 8 full days to recover with no remaining fever, some cough remained for another week, but I stayed inside under the strictest of home quarantine for 10. My husband helped me with postural drainage and gently beating my back called percussion.  My husband did not get Covid, thankfully. I think it is amazing that TCM has so many protocols for anti-virulence!

 

 

Covid Fast Remedy Checklist

 

Here is my personal Covid checklist if God forbid anyone in my family gets this again:

  • Vitamin D, C, Zinc, Multivitamin, Amino Acids and if prescribed by a TCM Doctor, Chinese anti-virulence herbs
  • Diluted fruit juices, green juices like Kale and Cucumber fresh nutritive foods like soups, broth, protein, vegetables and watery fruit like kiwi and oranges
  • TheraBreath Zinc lozenges
  • Fresh or Powdered Ginger Tea with Honey, nonstop
  • Vics Vapo Rub, Tiger Balm or Eucalyptus based Essential Oils like Thieves (I make it myself) that they used during the Black Plague
  • A Neti Pot to moisten and clear nasal passages
  • A Room Humidifier
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Baby Aspirin
  • A Spirometer
  • An O2 and pulse monitor

 

Wellness wishes to all, I’m 98% recovered, and it’s been just over a month. Some reduced lung capacity and tiredness and some slight paresthesia, as covid can have odd residual effects, but indeed, I’m so very grateful to have overcome it and happy to be alive.  I have my second vaccine on Saturday and will take it without hesitation. My heart to all of the many lives lost and their families, the unbearable anguish of our time. Please everyone still stay safe, and moreso, please make every moment meaningful- love well, live with integrity and joy with such a magical, fleeting, colorful and beautiful world we have. ♥️

 

quinoa egg muffins

Quinoa Crust-less Quiche Tarts

About Quinoa:

Quinoa “grain” originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America and is a protein, dietary fiber, B vitamin rich plant from the amaranth family, that is actually an edible seed.

I raise urban hens and in the spring, they are laying now so many eggs, daily, more than we can eat. We give a dozen away per week to friends. It’s been great to craft so many high protein, vegetarian dishes, with some ingredients from our proud backyard homesteading!  (Read: The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre.)

Medifast, Optavia and Weight Watcher’s Approved!

Our Quiche Tart “Muffins” are packed full of healthy ingredients like protein-rich quinoa, vegetables, and eggs. They’re Weight Watcher’s approved at 2 Points per tart, or as an Optavia fueling at slightly under 100 calories per muffin.

Quinoa Crust-less Quiche Tarts

Ingredients:

• 6 large eggs
• 2 cups of cooked organic quinoa
• 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon table salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/6 teaspoon (sprinkle) of cayenne pepper
• 1 ounce of chopped spinach
• 4 sliced Portobello mushrooms
• 1 large diced tomato or red pepper

Instructions:

• Set oven to 400 degrees.
• Boil 1 and 1/2 cups of quinoa= 2 cups cooked.
• Chop and dice all vegetables.
• Lightly coat a non-stick 12 muffin pan with non-stick olive oil spray.
• Crack eggs into a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk with an egg beater.
• Add cooked quinoa, cheese and stir all ingredients to combine.
• Pour quiche mixture evenly into muffin pan, filling each well about 2/3rds of the way.
• Place pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until tarts puff up.
• Remove pan from oven and allow quiche tarts to cool in pan for 2-3 minutes, carefully remove with a large spoon.

quinoa muffin

quinoa muffin

Quinoa Crust-less Quiche Tarts

About Quinoa: Quinoa "grain" originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America and is a protein, dietary fiber, B vitamin rich plant from the amaranth family, that is actually an edible seed. Medifast, Optavia and Weight Watcher’s Approved! Our Quiche Tart "Muffins" are packed full of healthy ingredients like protein-rich quinoa, vegetables, and eggs. They’re Weight Watcher’s approved at 2 Points per tart, or as an Optavia fueling at slightly under 100 calories per muffin.

Ingredients
  

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups of cooked organic quinoa
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/6 teaspoon sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • 1 ounce of chopped spinach
  • 4 sliced Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 large diced tomato or red pepper

Instructions
 

  • Set oven to 400 degrees.
  • Boil 1 and 1/2 cups of quinoa= 2 cups cooked.
  • Chop and dice all vegetables.
  • Lightly coat a non-stick 12 muffin pan with non-stick olive oil spray.
  • Crack eggs into a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk with an egg beater.
  • Add cooked quinoa, cheese and stir all ingredients to combine.
  • Pour quiche mixture evenly into muffin pan, filling each well about 2/3rds of the way.
  • Place pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until tarts puff up.
  • Remove pan from oven and allow quiche tarts to cool in pan for 2-3 minutes, carefully remove with a large spoon.

Vegetarian Blue Cheese Soufflé with Non-dairy or Dairy Options

Ingredients:

• 4 tablespoons vegan butter
• 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan/vegan Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or soy flour
• 1 1/2 cups soy or oat milk
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
• 6 ounces fresh chopped organic spinach
• 6 oz chopped baby portobello mushrooms
• 8 large free range eggs, separated
• 8 ounces crumbled blue/vegan blue, Roquefort or Gorgonzola cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Blue Cheese Souffle

Directions:

• Preheat the oven to 400° and brush bunt cake pan with butter.

• In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of vegan butter. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Whisk in the soy milk and cook over moderately low heat until smooth and very thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and cayenne. Turn off the heat, whisk in the egg yolks, cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the blue cheese, spinach and mushrooms.

• In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cornstarch at medium-high speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and beat until firm peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold these whipped egg whites into the remaining mixture.

• Spoon the soufflé mixture into pan. Bake until the soufflé is puffy and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately, as indeed even the best soufflés do flatten as they cool!

Blue Cheese Souffle

Blue Cheese Souffle

Vegetarian Blue Cheese Soufflé with Vegan or Dairy Options

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan/vegan Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or soy flour
  • 1 1/2 cups soy or oat milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 6 ounces fresh chopped organic spinach
  • 6 oz chopped baby portobello mushrooms
  • 8 large free range eggs separated
  • 8 ounces crumbled blue/vegan blue Roquefort or Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400° and brush bunt cake pan with butter.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of vegan butter. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Whisk in the soy milk and cook over moderately low heat until smooth and very thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and cayenne. Turn off the heat, whisk in the egg yolks, cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the blue cheese, spinach and mushrooms.
  • In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cornstarch at medium-high speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and beat until firm peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold these whipped egg whites into the remaining mixture.
  • Spoon the soufflé mixture into pan. Bake until the soufflé is puffy and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately, as indeed even the best soufflés do flatten as they cool!

 

“Let go of people who are not prepared to love you. This is the hardest thing you will have to do in your life and it will also be the most important thing. Stop having hard conversations with people who don’t want change.
Stop showing up for people who have no interest in your presence. I know your instinct is to do everything to earn the appreciation of those around you, but it’s a boost that steals your time, energy, mental and physical health.

 

When you begin to fight for a life with joy, interest and commitment, not everyone will be ready to follow you in this place. This doesn’t mean you need to change what you are, it means you should let go of the people who aren’t ready to accompany you.
If you are excluded, insulted, forgotten or ignored by the people you give your time to, you don’t do yourself a favor by continuing to offer your energy and your life. The truth is that you are not for everyone and not everyone is for you.
That’s what makes it so special when you meet people who reciprocate love. You will know how precious you are.

 

The more time you spend trying to make yourself loved by someone who is unable to, the more time you waste depriving yourself of the possibility of this connection to someone else.
There are billions of people on this planet and many of them will meet with you at your level of interest and commitment.

 

The more you stay involved with people who use you as a pillow, a background option or a therapist for emotional healing, the longer you stay away from the community you want.
Maybe if you stop showing up, you won’t be wanted. Maybe if you stop trying, the relationship will end. Maybe if you stop texting your phone will stay dark for weeks. That doesn’t mean you ruined the relationship, it means the only thing holding it back was the energy that only you gave to keep it. This is not love, it’s attachment. It’s wanting to give a chance to those who don’t deserve it. You deserve so much, there are people who should not be in your life.
The most valuable thing you have in your life is your time and energy, and both are limited. When you give your time and energy, it will define your existence.

 

When you realize this, you begin to understand why you are so anxious when you spend time with people, in activities, places or situations that don’t suit you and shouldn’t be around you, your energy is stolen.
You will begin to realize that the most important thing you can do for yourself and for everyone around you is to protect your energy more fiercely than anything else. Make your life a safe haven, in which only ′′compatible′′ people are allowed.
You are not responsible for saving anyone. You are not responsible for convincing them to improve. It’s not your work to exist for people and give your life to them! If you feel bad, if you feel compelled, you will be the root of all your problems, fearing that they will not return the favours you have granted. It’s your only obligation to realize that you are the love of your destiny and accept the love you deserve.

 

Decide that you deserve true friendship, commitment, true and complete love with healthy and prosperous people. Then wait and see how much everything begins to change. Don’t waste time with people who are not worth it. Change will give you the love, the esteem, happiness and the protection you deserve.”

 

ANTHONY HOPKINS

Photo by Garon Piceli from Pexels

spiritual bypassing

Repost from Jeff Brown

Author of Grounded Spirituality:

“They didn’t go to sit in the meditation cave to enlighten their consciousness. They went there to bypass their issues with the world. They didn’t turn to silence to extinguish the monkey mind. They turned to silence to turn down the volume on their pain (the monkey heart). They didn’t nestle into stillness because it’s THE royal road to the kingdom of God. They nestled into silence because noise ignited their traumas.

They didn’t tame the ego because the ego is the enemy of the sacred. They tamed it because it confronted them with their unresolved humanness. They didn’t purify the body because the body is something less than Divine. They purified the body in an effort to escape their toxicity. They didn’t strive for transcendence because there is anything up there for us. They strove for transcendence because they lacked the courage to live on Mother Earth.

They didn’t seek formlessness because it is our most awakened state. They sought formlessness because their form hurt too much. They didn’t master non-attachment because it is the primary path to self-realization. They mastered non-attachment so they could sidestep the challenges of human relationship. They didn’t shame anger, because anger is a sub-standard emotion. They shamed anger because it triggers their unacknowledged rage. They didn’t shun non-judgment because all judgments are bad. They shunned non-judgment so they could get away with doing anything they wanted.

Friends, we have been fooled for centuries. The patriarchy went to a lot of trouble to camouflage and cloak their personal issues. A whole spiritual world was birthed from their self-avoidance. And it is now time to call it out. It is now time to bury patriarchal spirituality in a graveyard of its own making, and to co-create a spirituality that is grounded in our humanness, our bodies, our feelings, our relationships with each other and Mother Earth. It’s the only way we can save our species.”

 

cave yogi

 

https://www.facebook.com/Naldjor
Photo by Prince Kumar from Pexels

the fifth trumpet

Is Corona Virus the infamous plague predicted in the Book of Revelations? Well, having lived through it, I’ll give it a resounding yes.

The Fifth Trumpet
…The star opened the pit of the Abyss, and smoke rose out of it like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the pit. And out of the smoke, locusts descended on the earth, and they were given power like that of the scorpions of the earth.  They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.…

Revelation 9:3

I ascribe more to the Vedic world view, that we happen to be in a destruction cycle, things change, we call this a KaliYuga. It is a bummer to have to live through as things fall apart with there being a lot of death and destruction caused by our karma, but as Gandalf reminds us: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

I lie awake at night alone, each breath a welcome struggle to live one more second as my inflamed lungs made me feel like I was drowning. My fever was 102, I had tachycardia, my resting pulse was getting over 120, Defcon 1– full body alarm intruder warning, I could literally see the oscillating matrix of red-tinted death in space, it was intentional, alive- nothing short of the seek and destroy, inhumane, ruthless, where could it find a vulnerability, and if I wanted to give up even for a second, death would have ever so easily welcome me. Yes, I survived Covid 19, and it was a hard fight.

In my semi-altered fevered state, I spontaneously began to pray into space as I often do in the mornings and evenings. Then, I had an Obi-Wan moment, a team of my ancestral protectors appeared in front of me, vivid, clear and real. It was a panel of wisdom beings before me, my Tibetan teacher Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, my loving grandmother who passed and my yidam, the lion headed goddess Simhamukha, and my exceedingly wrathful protector, I’d prefer not to say her name here now. I was awestruck to see them all there at once, but the quality was none-other than love, compassion and reassurance. We started to talk, or rather, they talked and I listened, the voice was my guru’s.

I asked how is it that they were appearing to me all at once and why? What I will share is now personal, but I checked in and have the green light to share here. He (my teacher) said, we are all here all the time, you don’t yet understand non-duality, so you have to practice much more. We exist as you do, all on the “same shore” behind the constructs of time and space, death and birth. We all exist collectively and are all made of the same substance of light and mind, and you thinking that you are you, and that there are “things” that are separate is just an illusion. He said that I had reached a turning point with the virus, that I was not dying from it and that I would be better in 3 days, and for me to not be in fear.

He said that I spent too much time believing that I exist and then consequently believing that others exist and this creates dualistic grasping. He said I and others waste our lives trying to remedy loneliness on social media by wanting to feel connected and “wanting something” from beings that have no one inside of them that is permanent, real and that my quest was childish and life wasting. Why would I chose to fill my life, chasing beings who’s nature is empty as mine is? It wasn’t that they don’t care about beings, but my care had to now pivot from wanting something from others to clear seeing and feeling the fullness of giving. He wanted to remind me to do at least two meditation sessions per day, 2 hours in the morning, and 2 hours in the evening.

Why practice so much I asked if it is all a dream? He said that when you practice, you become a stable, open vessel for wisdom and compassion rather then blocked and “they needed me to do that.” He said that the universe was filled with love and compassion and they forgive me for my flaws. I asked them if I had harmed he Dharma or broken any vows by speaking out against women and child abuse, and they said “no, the things that you expressed concern about were valid and these teachers and monks had to simply stop their misconduct as that was harming the dharma.” I was supposed to work to continue to help to protect children who are harmed.

My teacher had very thick glasses and huge lips, and after our conversation he kissed my forehead like a loving parent, and the whole panel of my wisdom ancestors emanated love to me, took away my fear and reassured me that I would recover soon now. He said don’t sit inert, get up and move, do light yoga and practice and this will soon pass. They said that I always has access to them and that if I practice a lot more, someday all will be revealed. This is true “revelation” that indeed, inspires me most. I am alive today, woke that morning and my fever had resolved. I now tested negative for Covid and no matter how dark things seem, will start anew, giving with the fullest of hearts rather than grasping, and devote my life to the dharma, our own collective, awakened heart.

 

Photo The 5th Trumpet http://www.howarddavidjohnson.com/revelation.htm

Reposted/ Reformatted from http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com 2001 (Images have been enhanced/replaced, copy unaltered)

The enlightened women or female figures named below all come from Vajrayana or “Tibetan” Buddhism, the school of Mahayana which originated in India and later moved to Tibet and the other Himalayan countries. Hence, most figures are identified first by their Sanskrit name, with the alternate Tibetan form appearing in parentheses. When it is the other way about, e.g. Achi Chökyi Drolma, Machig Labdrön and Palden Lhamo, it is because their practices developed or were practised principally in Tibet.

I have also indicated the type of deity each is, i.e.

  • a yidam — an enlightened meditational deity who embodies the union of wisdom and compassion, yet is not separate from the meditator
  • a guru — usually the founder or holder of a lineage; a fully realised being whom one identifies wholly with one’s spiritual guide
  • a Dharma protector — usually portrayed as an enlightened being in wrathful form, a protector’s primary function is to eliminate the spiritual obstacles hindering the practitioner
  • a historical figure — someone who lived as a female human being on this earth and can be placed historically according to tradition

So what’s a thangka?

A thangka (pronounced tonka, as in tonka bean) is a Tibetan painting on cloth, stored scroll-fashion when travelling. For those who wish to learn more about what thangkas are and how they are created, the Dharmapala Centre in Bremen, Germany has an excellent English-language page which explains the process.

This page will be continually updated as I discover more links (and find the time to expand upon the descriptions of the deities). My apologies for any inaccuracies that may arise from my ignorance or haste; your corrections are most welcome. Note: I would love to add more images of female Buddhas and bodhisattvas, provided that my doing so does not violate copyright. If you have any that I may use, please let me know so that this page can be as visually inspiring as possible!

SPECIAL THANKS to New York’s Padmasambhava Buddhist Center who have given their kind permission for me to illustrate this page with selected images from their beautiful online thangka gallery. Most of the deity images below are theirs.

Table of Contents


  1. Achi Chökyi Drolma – Dharma protector of the Drikung Kagyu tradition
  2. Dechen Gyalmo – yidam, guru and historical figure – see Yeshe Tsogyal
  3. Dorje Yudronma – Dharma protector
  4. Ekajati (Ralchigma) – Dharma protector – protectress of mantras
  5. Ekajati – yidam – wrathful Black Tara
  6. Kakasya – yidam
  7. Kuan Yin – Chinese bodhisattva of compassion
  8. Kurukulla – yidam – deity of power
  9. Lamanteri – wrathful yidam
  10. Machig Labdrön – historical figure and yidam – the founder of Chöd
  11. Magzor Gyalmo – Dharma protector – see Palden Lhamo
  12. Mahamaya – historical figure
  13. Mandarava – yidam and historical figure – long-life deity
  14. Marici – yidam – goddess of the sun
  15. Mayadevi – historical figure – mother of Sakyamuni Buddha
  16. Nairatmya – yidam
  17. Niguma – lineage guru and historical figure – lineage dakini
  18. Palden Lhamo (Sri Devi) – Dharma protector – wrathful protectress of Tibet
  19. Prajnaparamita (Yum Chenmo) – guru and yidam – Mother of all the Buddhas
  20. Samantabhadri (Kuntuzangmo) – guru and yidam – Primordial Mother of all the Buddhas
  21. Sarasvati – yidam – goddess of learning and the arts
  22. Simhamukha (Sengdongma) – yidam – lion-headed Dakini
  23. Sukkhasiddhi – guru and historical figure – lineage Dakini
  24. Tara, Green (Drolma) – yidam – beloved Saviouress
  25. Tara, Red – yidam of bountifulness
  26. Tara, White (Drolkar) – yidam – she who grants long life and wisdom
  27. Troma Nagmo (Rudrani) – yidam – see Machig Labdrön
  28. Tseringma – Dharma protector – goddess of the mountain
  29. Ushnisha-sitatapatra – yidam – goddess of the glorious white umbrella
  30. Ushnisha-vijaya – yidam – the long-life deity
  31. Vajrayogini / Vajravarahi (Dorje Naljorma / Dorje Phagmo) – yidam – the queen of Dakinis
  32. Yeshe Tsogyal (Dechen Gyalmo) – yidam, guru and historical figure – mother of Tibetan Buddhism




Achi Chökyi Drolma
Dharma protector of the Drikung Kagyu tradition

Achi Chökyi Drolma (Tib. A-chi Chos-kyi sGrol-ma) is a female Dharma protector whose practice was introduced by Drikung (‘Bri-gung) Achi, the matriarch of the Drikung hereditary lineage. She is white-coloured and is usually portrayed seated and riding a snow lion, the legendary white animal of Tibet; she may also be shown standing (see right). Unusually, for a Dharma protector, Achi Chökyi Drolma’s aspect is not wrathful, but peaceful.  See Achi Chökyi Drolma – Chief Protectress of the Glorious Drigung Kagyu for the story of her origins, an image of the deity, and a description of her iconography.

Dorje Yudronma

Dorje Yudrönma
Dharma protector

Dorje Yudrönma is said to be one of Tibet’s chief protectors. She holds an arrow with the five colours in her right hand and a white silver mirror in her left. The lifestory of the Longchen Nyingthig yogi Jigme Gyalwai Nyugu (from the Dzogchen Lineage of Nyoshul Khenpo) relates that an emanation of this deity appeared and offered him food once when he was suffering hardship and poverty. Dorje Yudrönma is associated with a divination practice which uses a mirror. The Art of Tibet site includes a good thangka of Dorje Yudrönma.

 

Ekajati
Dharma protector – protectress of mantras

Ekajati is a female dharma protector especially popular in Nyingma, where she is also considered a protectress of Dzog Chen. She is cognate to Palden Lhamo. The Nyingma form of Ekajati (whose name literally means ‘One Plait’ or ‘One Braid’) has one tuft of hair, one eye, one mouth, one breast — and sometimes only one leg! — to demonstrate her singleminded devotion to Dharma. Whenever a Nyingma refuge tree or series of protectors is portrayed, Ekajati is usualy the dark-red central figure in the bottom row (see the thangka of Dharma protectors of the Nyingma tradition from the Chagdud Gompa site); however, she may be depicted as dark-blue or black, rather than red. In the Sarma (New Translation) schools Ekajati is regarded as the mother of Mahakala and Mahakali (Palden Lhamo).  Chopa.com has a particularly lovely thangka of Ekajati.

Ekajati
Yidam – wrathful Black Tara

Ekajati is also the name of a wrathful form of Green Tara known as Black Tara. She is depicted in seated posture holding a curved knife and skullcup. This form is often shown in a triumvirate with Avalokiteshvara and Green Tara. This unidentified thangka from Andrew Stinson’s thangka website also depicts Ekajati.

Kakasya
Yidam

Kakasya is a guardian goddess with the face of a crow: one of the bird-headed goddesses associated with the mandalas of various tutelary, or personal, deities. The Asian Art Museum included a delightful statue of Kakasya in its Mongolia exhibit.


Kuan Yin
Bodhisattva of compassion

This female Bodhisattva is variously known in China as Kuan Yin (or Kwan Yin, Quan Yin, Guanyin or Koon Yum), in Japan as Kannon or Shokanzeon Bosatsu, and in Korea as Kwanseum Bosal or Kwan Um. She is regarded as being identical to the (male) Tibetan deity Avalokiteshvara (Tib. Chenrezig), but also has much in common with the female Tibetan deity Tara.

Sites dedicated to Kuan Yin:

  • Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy
  • The Quan Yin Virtual Altar – with numerous links to other Kuan Yin sites
  • Kuan Yin – a prayer from the Lotus Sutra, with links to images of statues
  • Temple of Kwan Yin. A virtual temple dedicated to Kwan Yin, Bodhisattva of Compassion in both English and French. Contains a gallery.
  • El Templo de Kwan Yin, a Spanish-language webpage
  • A short hymn to the bodhisattva
  • Kwan Yin Vows by Ven. Sarika Dharma

Articles on Kuan Yin:

  • How to meditate on Tara by Ven. Jhampa Shaneman
  • The Enlightenment Of Bodhisattva Kuan-Yin (Avalokiteshvara)
  • Kuan Yin – Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva by Lin Shen-Shou
  • Kuan Yin, The Great Compassion Bodhisattva (Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva)
  • Quan Yin, The Goddess of Compassion and Mercy – an article on the bodhisattva (adapted from an essay by Bethleen Cole)
  • Stories of Quan Yin, Bodhisattva of Compassion
  • A prayer (with melody) to Quan Yin, from a cancer recovery website
  • On celebrating the enlightenment day of Gwan Yin
  • The Eastern Tradition of Kuan Yin & the Tibetan Goddess Tara

Images of the Bodhisattva:

  • A lovely photograph of a statue of Guanyin (see left)
  • A scroll painting of Hibbo Kannon by Kano Hogai (19th century Japan)
  • A scroll of Guanyin from the Dunhuang Buddhist complex, dated to 968 AD, and a statue of her from Rehe (China).
  •  A free Guan Yin screensaver from Toronto’s Cham Shan Temple.


Kurukulla
Yidam – deity of power

Kurukulla is an energetic dancing red figure with one face and four arms, two of which hold a bow and arrow made of flowers. Her practice helps generate energy and power. JBL Statues sell a statuette of Kurukulla, although their equation of Kurukulla with the Hindu goddess Kali is incorrect. The FPMT centre in Boston is named after her (Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies) and includes a nice thangka of the deity. There are several thangkas available online:
  • Thangkas of Kurukulla on the Art of Tibet site: thangka #322, a stunning, “pale red” Kurukulla surrounded by dozens of her emanations, thangka #422 (on a red background, with Palden Lhamo below), thangka #655 – a clear and simple representation, and thangka #765, a very dramatic depiction of the deity.
  • A thangka of the mandala of Kurukulla is on the Tibet Shop site.

Kurukulla Face

In Geluk tradition Kurukulla is sometimes also referred to as Red Tara [presumably because of her appearance]; but this name can also refer to a completely separate yidam. In the Hevajra Tantra, Kurukulla is a semi-wrathful female power deity, red, in essence Hevajra, and unrelated to Tara.

Lamanteri
Wrathful yidam

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco included a Mongolia online exhibit which described a statue of Lamanteri thusly: “Lamanteri is the Mongolian name for this wrathful form of the goddess Tara depicted with the third eye and four pairs of hands.”

Painting by Duccio Ceglie
(courtesy of peacenvironment.net)


Machig Labdrön
Historical figure and yidam – the founder of Chöd

Machig Face

The eleventh-century Tibetan founder of the chöd (cutting) practice, Machig Labdrön is usually depicted in deified form as a peaceful white dancing figure with three eyes, playing a damaru (two-sided drum) with her right hand and holding a bell with her left. (She is also depicted in seated form on Miya Shimada’s Chöd Club site.) Thangka #349 on the Art of Tibet site depicts Machig Labdrön’s life story, and thangka #223 shows her at the centre of a Nyingma chöd lineage tree. Alex Clarke’s Chaos/Chös page includes a depiction of Machig; and although it is iconographically incorrect (e.g. the image’s proportions are incorrect; she should be white, not pink; etc.), I include it here because it is an intriguing example of what may become the wave of the future: computer-generated deity images. There is also a short article about Machig Labdrön in Polish (Maczik Labdryn) on this Polish Buddhist site. Aro gTér includes a particularly lovely line drawing of Machig with accompanying article.

Black Tröma
Wrathful Black Tara

 

Other depictions of Tröma on the Web include solitary Tröma (Chagdud Gompa), Tröma Five Deity (Art of Tibet), and Tröma Nine Deity (Chagdud Gompa).

See:

  • Machig Labdrön and the Foundations of Chöd by Jérôme Edou (Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 1995)
  • A Study of the Profound Path of gCod: The Mahayana Buddhist Meditation Tradition of Tibet’s Great Woman Saint Machig Labdrön – a Ph.D. dissertation by Carol D. Savvas (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1990)
  • Women of Wisdom by Tsultrim Allione (London: Arkana, 1984 / New York: Arkana, 1986) – includes the life story of Machig Labdrön

Mahamaya
Historical figure

Mahamaya was the mother of the historical Shakyamuni Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama — this name means ‘Great Illusion.’ See also Mayadevi. There is also a male anuttarayoga deity named Mahamaya who is not to be confused with the Buddha’s mother; this practice is found in all the Sarma (New Translation) schools and was originally made famous by Marpa; it is also found in the ‘Five Deity Tantra’ practice of the Shangpa Kagyu.


Mandarava
Yidam and historical figure – long-life deity

An Indian-born princess who became the spiritual consort of Padmasambhava, founder of Buddhism in Tibet (his second consort was the Tibetan-born Yeshe Tsogyel — see below). She appears in deified form as a yidam of long life, wearing the ornaments of a bodhisattva. Her right hand holds an arrow (a symbol of Dzogchen) adorned with banners and a melong (a round mirror, representing the clear, reflecting nature of mind). Mandarava sits in the manner of Tara, with right foot extended, to show her willingness to help sentient beings.

Marici
Yidam – goddess of the sun

Marici (pron. Marichi) is a red-coloured female yidam associated with the sun and with dawn; her name in Tibetan is Öser Chenma, i.e. [goddess of] Great Light. Her mantra is traditionally used as protection by travellers. Marici has an orange-coloured body (the colour of the sun at dawn), and three faces, eight arms and two legs. Of the three faces, the first (central) is orange and smiling, her right face is red, and her left is the face of a white boar: each has three eyes. Her first right hand holds a vajra at the heart in the mudra of teaching, the second holds a vajra axe, the third holds an arrow with the tip pointing downwards, and the fourth, in the mudra of generosity, holds a (sewing) needle. Her first left hand, in the mudra of teaching, holds the stem of a plant (tree?) whose crown is at the level of her left ear (next to the boar’s face). Her second left hand holds a bow, the third holds a thread (?), and the fourth holds a noose ending in a loop and hook. Marici’s right leg is extended in the manner of Tara, while the left is tucked in. She is dressed in the royal robes of a bodhisattva: five-pointed crown surmounting each face, jewels, silks and so forth. Marici rides a throne/chariot drawn along by seven white boars.

Mayadevi
Historical figure – mother of Sakyamuni Buddha

Queen Mayadevi (also Maya or Mahamaya) was the historical mother of Sakyamuni Buddha. She died not long after his birth, but is believed to have been reborn in one of the heavens where he later manifested and taught her the Dharma so that she too became enlightened. She is traditionally depicted just as she was about to (painlessly) give birth, standing and holding the branch of a tree in her right hand.

Nairatmya
Yidam

This dark-blue figure appears as both a single yidam and also in union with her consort, the Highest Yoga Tantra male yidam Hevajra. The name means ‘No-Self’ in Sanskrit. This was also the name of the wife of Marpa (whose main practice was Hevajra) — the founder of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

Niguma
Lineage guru and historical figure – lineage dakini

This woman was a formidable mahasiddha, variously described as the sister or consort of Naropa. She founded the practice known as The Six Yogas of Niguma (see Glenn Mullin’s text The Six Yogas of Sister Niguma, which includes a vigorous line drawing of Niguma).

Palden Lhamo (Sri Devi)
Dharma protector – wrathful protectress of Tibet

Palden Lhamo (whose name translates as “Glorious Goddess”) is the only female dharma protector common to all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. She is very wrathful, and rides her mule through a sea of blood, surrounded by wisdom fire. She is dark blue and has one face with three eyes; she wears a sun at her navel and a moon at her crown, and over her is a peacock umbrella (a traditional symbol of protection). She is variously depicted, but her most common forms are two-armed and four-armed. There is also a system of divination by dice associated with her. She is sometimes considered cognate to Sarasvati or Tara, but is at the same time a wrathful form of the peaceful goddess Sri Devi.

See:

  • An article on the iconography of Magzor Gyalmo (a form of Palden Lhamo) by Natalie R. Marsh, with an accompanying thangka image. From the Mirrors of the Heart-Mind exhibit.
  • From the same exhibit, an illustrated essay on a sculpture of a figure from the entourage of Palden Lhamo, commentary by Cathleen Cummings
  • my choice for most beautiful depiction of Palden Lhamo on the Web, from the phenomenal Art of Tibet site
  • Another thangka or two from Art of Tibet

Prajnaparamita
Guru and yidam – Mother of all the Buddhas

Prajnaparamita embodies the bliss/emptiness that gives rise to all phenomena — hence her honorofic title as Mother of all the Buddhas. She usually appears as a tranquil seated figure clothed in silks; her body is gold in colour, and she has one face and four arms. Her first two arms are held in meditation posture in her lap, while the other right hand holds a nine-spoked vajra (thunderbolt sceptre symbolising compassion/bliss) and the left, the text of the Heart Sutra which is the essential wisdom-text on the emptiness of phenomena. There are other forms of the deity, as at right: her first two hands in prayer mudra at the heart, second right hand holding a mala [rosary] and second left hand holding a text.

Her name means ‘Perfection of Wisdom’; in Tibetan she is also known as Yum Chenmo, or ‘Great Mother’. She is closely associated with chöd practice (see Machig Labdrön). Natalie R. Marsh offers an essay on the iconography of Prajnaparamita (along with an accompanying thangka image). From the Mirrors of the Heart-Mind exhibit.


Samantabhadri
Guru and yidam – Primordial Mother of all the Buddhas

Samantabhadri (Kuntuzangmo in Tibetan) is the consort and female counterpart of Samantabhadra/Kuntuzangpo, the primordial Buddha of the older schools of Tibetan Buddhism. They are usually shown in sexual union (yab/yum in Tibetan), the blue male figure and white female figure embracing each other in lotus position. Samantabhadri is sometimes shown alone, in which case she is seated in lotus posture with her hands in meditation posture in her lap. Samantabhadri is always shown naked (as is her consort) to demonstrate the unadorned nature of Absolute Truth, the emptiness of all phenomena. She is in some senses an analogue of Prajnaparamita. A near equivalent of the New Translation schools is the dark-blue Vajradhatu-ishvari, shown in union with consort Vajradhara as the yab-yum Vajradhara / Vajradhatu-ishvari.

Sarasvati
Yidam – goddess of learning and the arts

As the goddess of learning and the arts, Sarasvati (also spelled Saraswati) is in many ways a counterpart to Manjushri, the male Bodhisattva of discriminating wisdom, and is sometimes his consort. Sarasvati is a peaceful yidam who holds a vina (a sitar-like lute) on her lap; she also sometimes holds a text. There is also a Hindu deity named Sarasvati with near-identical attributes. She is sometimes associated with Palden Lhamo, who may be regarded as Sarasvati in wrathful form. The most popular form of Sarasvati is white-coloured, with one face, two eyes, and two arms; however, there are many other forms including the white four-handed Sarasvati and the red Vajra Sarasvati.


Simhamukha
Yidam – lion-headed Dakini

Simhamukha (Tib. Seng-gdong-ma or Seng-dong-chen) is a wrathful dancing dark-blue figure similar to Vajravarahi in appearance and ornaments, holding a curved knife in her right hand and a skullcup in her left, except that she also has the face of a lion — hence her name in Tibetan and Sanskrit (meaning “lion-face”). Her practice was founded by a woman, Jetsun[ma] Lochen. Simhamukha’s practice is found in the Sarma (New Translation) schools is associated with the Chakrasamvara Tantra.

Examples of her iconography on the Web are a statue on the Dharmaware website, and two glorious images on the Art of Tibet site: thangkas 424 and 419.

Sukkhasiddhi
Guru and historical figure – lineage Dakini

This mahasiddha belongs to the mother lineage of chöd. Her name means ‘good or blissful siddhi‘ (a Sanskrit word meaning a miraculous accomplishment, which can be either mundane, e.g. healing, flying, etc., or supramundane, i.e. the siddhi of full Enlightenment). She compiled her own six yogas (see also Niguma) which she gave to Khyungpo Naljor, the founder of Shangpa Kagyu.


Tara, Green
Yidam – beloved Saviouress

Also known as Drolma (Tibetan), Tara embodies the compassionate activity of all the Buddhas (her name means “the liberator” or “she who saves”). She is pictured with one face, two arms and a green-coloured body. Her right hand is outstretched in the mudra (sacred gesture) of generosity, and her left holds the stem of a blue lotus which blossoms at her left ear.

See:

  •  The Practice of Tara by Ven. Sangye Khandro
  • Tara: Her Origins and Development by Dharmachari Purna
  •  Green Tara page on Angelfire
  • The Eastern Tradition of Kuan Yin & the Tibetan Goddess Tara
  • Who is Arya Tara?
  • Arya Tara Page
  • Supplication to Tara
  • Blessed Arya Tara Page
  • Download a Windows wallpaper of Tara (available in several sizes) from the Green Tara Gallery, computer-created by Osel Shen Phen Ling webmaster Bob Jacobson.

Books devoted to Tara include:

  • In Praise of Tara: Songs to the Saviouress by Martin Willson (London: Wisdom Publications, 1986)
  • The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet by Stephan Beyer (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973) — a study of Tibetan beliefs and practices concerning Tara
  • Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna by China Galland (New York: Viking, 1990)
  • Bodhisattva of Compassion: The Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin by John Blofeld (Boulder: Shambhala, 1978) — a study of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, in the female forms of Kuan Yin (Chinese) and Tara (Tibetan).

This form of Tara, Green Tara, is the most common one; but Tara also appears in other forms, such as White Tara, Red Tara and the Twenty-One Taras. In the Gelukpa school there is also a Highest Yoga Tantra form of Tara known as Cittamani Tara (as well as a Highest Yoga Tantra form of the Twenty-One Taras practice). See the Praises and Requests to the Twenty-One Taras on the Osel Shen Phen Ling site for an example of a kriya-tantra sadhana (meditation text), as well as the Britannica entry on Tara for a more scholastic look at the deity.

Tara, Red
Yidam of bountifulness

Red Tara is a special practice of Tara practised in both the Nyingma and Sakya schools. She is depicted in much the same way as Green Tara (seated with right leg slightly extended, left hand held to the heart with an utpala flower blooming by her left ear, and right hand making the gesture of generosity), except that her body is ruby-red, she possesses a third eye, and her right hand holds a long-life vase. There are lovely thangka reproductions of this deity (both solitary and amongst her mandala deities) on the Chagdud Gompa site, which also offers a photo of a Red Tara statue with the bow-and-arrow attributes of Kurukulla (to whom she can be related). See also the Art of Tibet site (e.g. thangka 331). Red Tara can also be either one of several out of the various sets of twenty-one Taras, or in the lower tantras (Kriya or Carya).


Tara, White
Yidam – she who grants long life and wisdom

Also known as Drolkar (Tibetan) or Sitatara (Sanskrit), Tara embodies the compassionate activity of all the Buddhas (her name means “the liberator” or “one who saves”). White Tara is especially associated with long life and wisdom. Unlike the green form of this deity, White Tara has seven eyes — one in each hand and foot, and a third eye on her face — to show that she sees and responds to suffering throughout the universe; and she sits in full lotus posture.

  • The Osel Shen Phen Ling site includes a long-life sadhana (practice text) of White Tara.

Tseringma
Dharma protector – goddess of the mountain

Tseringma is the foremost of the Five Long-Life Deities — formerly mountain-guardian spirits — who plagued the great Tibetan yogi Milarepa during his cave retreats. They were converted to Buddhism and Tseringma became his consort. She is a white figure shown riding a snow lion and carrying a long-life vase in her hand. Thangka 433 on the Art of Tibet website depicts Tseringma and her sisters.

Ushnisha-sitatapatra
Yidam – goddess of the glorious white umbrella

This white-coloured deity, a form of Tara, is a female counterpart of the thousand-armed form of Avalokiteshvara. She has one thousand faces, arms and legs; each face has three eyes, and she has one eye in the palm of each hand and the sole of each foot, showing that she watches and protects sentient beings. Her central faces are white (as is her body); her right faces are yellow, the faces at the rear of her body are red, and the left faces green; there is also a “tier” of blue faces at the top of her head. Her right hands hold wheels of the Dharma (dharmachakra) and her left hands hold arrows; one of her other left hands also holds aloft a white parasol which also symbolises her protection.

There is a lovely thangka of Ushnisha-sitatapatra (#429) on the Art of Tibet site. Robert Chung’s website also includes an illustrated sadhana [ritual text] of this deity.

Ushnisha-vijaya
Yidam – the long-life deity

Ushnisha-vijaya (Tib. Namgyalma or Namgyelma) is a peaceful white deity and an emanation of Vairochana Buddha. She has three faces, ten eyes and eight hands. Her right hands hold a lasso, bow, and vase with the nectar of immortality; her fourth right hand bears an eye in the palm and is in the mudra (posture) of generosity. Her left hands hold a miniature Buddha image, a double (crossed) vajra, and an arrow; the fourth left hand is held in meditation posture in her lap.

Ushnisha-vijaya is often shown in a triumvirate with the other two principal long-life deities, red (male) Amitayus and White Tara (see above). Robert Chung’s Namgyelma page includes a picture and her two mantras.


Vajrayogini / Vajravarahi
Yidam – the queen of Dakinis

Vajrayogini (Tib. Dorje Naljorma, Adamantine Female Practitioner) is the principal female yidam of Highest Yoga Tantra of the New Translation schools of Tibetan Buddhism. She is a slightly wrathful red female figure shown holding a curved knife in her right hand, a skullcup in her left and a khatvanga (trident or staff) in her left elbow. The Naro form of Vajrayogini, most commonly seen in the Sakya and Geluk traditions, is shown standing with her face turned upwards and to the left, with the skullcup held up to her mouth and the curved knife pointing to the ground.

The Vajravarahi form of Vajrayogini, generally more frequent in Kagyu, is shown in dancing pose with the right leg bent; this form holds the curved knife up in the air and the skullcup to her heart. Vajravarahi, whose name means Adamantine Sow, is usually shown with a small sow’s head, representing triumph over ignorance, emerging over her right ear. In either form of this deity she may be visualised as a solitary yidam or in union with her consort dark-blue Heruka Chakrasamvara, a principal mother-tantra deity of Highest Yoga Tantra.

Good pictures on the Web include:

  • A lovely statue of Vajravarahi (in karma dakini form) from the Mirrors of the Heart-Mind exhibit.
  • A poem — Homage to Vajrayogini — written by Mark Webber. From Cyberkaya.
  • Statue of Vajravarahi (Dharmaware)
  • Thangka of Vajrayogini Naro Khacho (Dharmaware)
  • The computer-generated image of Vajrayogini and her virtual 3D mandala (Miya Shimada)
  • A most remarkable multi-faced and multi-headed form [mis]identified as “Vajrahari”, from an Indonesian website; any information on this aspect of Vajravarahi would be most gratefully received!

Yeshe Tsogyal
Yidam, guru and historical figure – mother of Tibetan Buddhism

This remarkable female hermit-saint, the Tibetan consort of Padmasambhava, is sometimes shown in Nirmanakaya form — the ’emanation body’ a Buddha takes so as to be visible to ordinary beings — as a woman in everyday Tibetan clothes, seated and holding curved knife and skullcup. She is also shown in deified form as the Queen of Great Bliss (Tib., Dechen Gyalmo) as a red standing figure with a damaru (double-sided drum) raised in her right hand and a curved knife held to the ground with her left.
Yeshe Tsogyal’s sacred biography may be read in Kevin Dowman’s Sky Dancer: the secret life and songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyel (London: Arkana, 1989) and Tarthang Tulku’s Mother of Knowledge: The Enlightenment of Ye-shes mTsho-rgyal (Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1983). The meditation practice of Dechen Gyalmo, Queen of Great Bliss, is discussed in Anne C. Klein’s Meeting the Great Bliss Queen: Buddhists, Feminists, and the Art of the Self, which has a lovely cover illustration of the deity.

Return to the WAiB Homepage

 

Header image Kali Levitov: https://dakiniasart.org/shop/fruition-fine-art-print-kali-levitov/


This is a Live process post, please check back for updates weekly until completed.

Simhamukha-thigse

This is the basic sacred geometric proportions of Simhamukha, called a thigse. In the very center starts with her seed syllable, a black hung. Each deity is a full mandala, evoking a certain quality of energy.

 

Simhamukha thigse Stage 1- a rough sketch to lay out her figure.

 

Simhamukha thigse Stage 1- closeup. This is very rough, her lines and symmetry will be perfected over time.

The artist has a very strong, deep connection to this ancient and powerful female deity, so this will become a full thangka painting soon. Please bookmark and check often to see progress! More about her…

sample painting

Old age brings wisdom and fierce certainty

“What is this ecstasy about? It is a little hard to tell, because she has the face of a lion, but she is in love with the dharma, wild and fierce in her defense of those who seek it, and she gleams with the fervor of one with a mission. She is capable of goading and shoving and nagging practitioners who are sliding towards the wrong path, but she is always doing it out of love.

SimhaMukha is a female Dakini-form of the great Mahasiddha Padmasambhava, although some say she was his principle Dakini teacher. She is also the Buddhist version of the Hindu warrior goddess Durga who rides a lion or tiger. She is called the queen of the Dakinis, and as in so many instances, where eras and eons bleed into one another through rebirths, new regimes, and archetype re-creations over time, she is also Queen of the Matrikas, 7 ancient Hindu female goddesses. She has some similarities with the Egyptian Sekhmet, and in the West, her essence is what we might call the Crone, the old wise woman, whose looks have fallen away leaving only the wisdom left to see.

She is a wisdom goddess and can be a yidam, a personal protector deity. She repulses psychic attacks, subdues demons, and keeps nightmares and dark energies away. She helps transform anger or wrath into enlightened awareness and subdues misguided beings. She is naked and her hair is disheveled, as are all Dakinis because she represents going beyond the conventions of society. Her mind is calm, there is no background noise, she is completely present here and now.”

From An Etsy Printmaker

 

Simhamukha is connected to the ancient Egyptian deity, Sekhmet

Sekhmet

“Sekhmet (Sakhmet) is one of the oldest known Egyptian deities. Her name is derived from the Egyptian word “Sekhem” (which means “power” or “might”) and is often translated as the “Powerful One” or “She who is Powerful”. She is depicted as a lion-headed woman, sometimes with the addition of a sun disc on her head. Her seated statues show her holding the ankh of life, but when she is shown striding or standing she usually holds a sceptre formed from papyrus (the symbol of northern or Lower Egypt) suggesting that she was associated primarily with the north. However, some scholars argue that the deity was introduced from Sudan (South of Egypt) where lions are more plentiful.

She was often closely associated with Hathor (the goddess of joy, music, dance, sexual love, pregnancy and birth). In this partnership, she was seen as the harsh aspect of the friendly Hathor. A temple was constructed by Amenemhet II to Sekhmet-Hathor at Kom el Hisn (Imau in the western Delta) in which she and Hathor are referred to as the “Mistress of Imau”. Imau was situated near a branch of the Nile that has since shifted eastwards, but in ancient times the town was right on the edge of the desert on the route to the Libyan frontier. Clearly it was hoped that Sekhmet would protect the border.

Sekhmet’s main cult centre was in Memphis (Men Nefer) where she was worshipped as “the destroyer” alongside her consort Ptah (the creator) and Nefertum (the healer).

Sekhmet was represented by the searing heat of the mid-day sun (in this aspect she was sometimes called “Nesert”, the flame) and was a terrifying goddess. However, for her friends she could avert plague and cure disease. She was the patron of Physicians, and Healers and her priests became known as skilled doctors. As a result, the fearsome deity sometimes called the “lady of terror” was also known as “lady of life”. Sekhmet was mentioned a number of times in the spells of The Book of the Dead as both a creative and destructive force, but above all, she is the protector of Ma’at (balance or justice) named “The One Who Loves Ma’at and Who Detests Evil”.

She was also known as the “Lady of Pestilence” and the “Red Lady” (indicating her alignment with the desert) and it was thought that she could send plagues against those who angered her. When the centre of power shifted from Memphis to Thebes during the New Kingdom the Theban Triad (Amun, Mut, and Khonsu), Sekhmet’s attributes were absorbed into that of Mut (who sometimes took the form of a lion).

She was associated with the goddesses given the title “Eye of Ra”. According to myth, Ra became angry because mankind was not following his laws and preserving Ma’at (justice or balance). He decided to punish mankind by sending an aspect of his daughter, the “Eye of Ra”. He plucked Hathor from Ureas on his brow, and sent her to earth in the form of a lion. She became Sekhmet, the “Eye of Ra”and began her rampage. The fields ran with human blood. However, Ra was not a cruel deity, and the sight of the carnage caused him to repent. He ordered her to stop, but she was in a blood lust and would not listen. So Ra poured 7,000 jugs of beer and pomegranate juice (which stained the beer blood red) in her path. She gorged on the “blood” and became so drunk she slept for three days. When she awoke, her blood lust had dissipated, and humanity was saved. In one version of the myth, Ptah is the first thing she sees on awaking and she instantly fell in love with him. Their union (creation and destruction) created Nefertum (healing) and so re-established Ma’at.

The saving of mankind was commemorated every year on the feast day of Hathor/Sekhmet. Everyone drank beer stained with pomegranate juice and worshipped “the Mistress and lady of the tomb, gracious one, destroyer of rebellion, mighty one of enchantments”. A statue of Sekhmet was dressed in red facing west, while Bast was dressed in green and faced east. Bast was sometimes considered to be Sekhmet´s counterpart (or twin depending on the legend), and in the festival of Hathor they embodied the duality central to Egyptian mythology. Sekhmet represented Upper Egypt while Bast represented Lower Egypt.”

https://aminoapps.com/c/paranormal/page/blog/sekhmet-goddess-of-healing/3WPL_GNntBu0w0mg2G4YJlQoN25DvnGDPNb

annika

Dearest Friends,

I have been off of blogging and social media for a personal crisis. I’m sorry to report that my daughter Annika has tested positive for Covid-19, and we, the mom and dad, may have it too, very probable. She went to the Grand Canyon with her friend for spring break, and we think he had it a week prior. It’s been so hard on our children to be isolated and plugged into lifeless computers all day without any social contact, enough sunshine, exercise or normal life. My heart goes out to her and all of them; a lot of kids are struggling now and they’re called C generation for Covid. Tons of children are experiencing inconsolable depression and suicide rates are sadly, very high. Parents are trying to console them and offer some sense of love and normalcy.

Every single month there’s either a fire, grocery store shooting etc., so we’re trying to hold on and impart some type of hope and beauty to them in a world that’s in a very painful and destructive cycle. It’s like a live filming of the theme from: Life is Beautiful. If I make it through, I have many more poignant articles that I want to write from the depth of my recent introspection. I’m only two days away from my vaccine, so it’s been heartbreaking for us, but we have hope and are taking good care. I soberly see everyone and everything as fragile and pure now, with so much appreciation and meaning. Please pray for her, for our family, and please know, we aren’t out of the woods yet and you can still get it 20 days after the vaccine, stay really safe and vigilant all, I will write more and update later.

All my Love and well wishes to all,

Dawn

🙏🌹🌺 ❤

lotus auspicious symbol

Lotus Flower Gouache on Canvas by Dawn Boiani 1994 Digital Art Hybrid

see detail: https://boulderreiki.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/lotus-auspicious-symbol-1538×2048.jpg

No mud, no lotus.

The Lotus Flower

The Lotus Flower is a great auspicious symbol whose meaning everyone should comprehend. The Lotus Flower begins to grow at the very roots of the lotus plant that is usually submerged in the mud. Then, it slowly rises out of the mud or the muddy water as an awesome flower that is worth looking at. How it grows provides us with a great lesson in life. Behind its tantalizing beauty lies those struggling to rise above the difficulties and hardships of life. Thus, it gives us a valuable lesson that we should never be bogged down by difficulties and hardships. Instead, we should rise above those trials in order to blossom into a fully-grown and wonderful person.

In a way, the Lotus Flower in Buddhism signifies purity and renunciation. It is the epitome of how a person can attain full spiritual blossoming through trials and difficulties. It also signifies a complete break from the cyclic existence or karma that usually besets a person. In many Buddhist temples and altars in Tibet, you will often see the image of the Buddha seated over a blossoming lotus flower.

Copy courtesy of:

https://www.greattibettour.com/tibetan-culture/8-auspicious-symbols-of-tibetan-buddhism.html

Vegan Chick’n Marsala with Grapes

Ingredients:

• 2T olive oil
• 1 stick vegan butter
• 4 vegan chick’n breast cutlets
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 (8-oz.) pkg. crimini (baby portobello) mushrooms
• 1 cup of sliced green grapes
• 1/2 large white onion coarsely chopped
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (soy flour for those who are gluten free)
• 1/3 cup cornmeal (optional)
• 2/3 cup creamy, unsweetened soy or oat milk
• 1 cup dry Marsala wine
• 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

vegan chicken marsala ingredients

vegan chicken breasts

Directions:

  1. Boil water with salt and add your choice of pasta (gluten free) and prepare a side salad.
  2. On a plate, mix flour, cornmeal, 1 tsp Italian seasoning 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  3. Defrost chick’n breasts and coat with mixture on both sides.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick deep skillet over medium-high.
  5. Add coated chick’n breasts to pan; cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Remove chick’n from pan and set aside (do not wipe out pan).
  6. Melt 1/2 stick butter in pan. Sauté mushrooms, onions and grapes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add creamy soy milk, remaining vegan butter and Marsala wine to pan; bring to a boil. Cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes, add more salt and pepper to taste. Add cooled chick’n breasts back to pan, turning to coat. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Serve with healthy pasta and salad!

vegan chicken marsala

vegan marsala

vegan chicken marsala

Vegan Chick'n Marsala with Grapes

Ingredients
  

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 stick vegan butter
  • 4 vegan chick'n breast cutlets
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. crimini (baby portobello) mushrooms
  • 1 cup of sliced green grapes
  • 1/2 large white onion coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour soy flour for those who are gluten free
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal optional
  • 2/3 cup creamy unsweetened soy or oat milk
  • 1 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Instructions
 

  • Boil water with salt and add your choice of pasta (gluten free) and prepare a side salad.
  • On a plate, mix flour, cornmeal, 1 tsp Italian seasoning 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • Defrost chick'n breasts and coat with mixture on both sides.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick deep skillet over medium-high.
  • Add coated chick'n breasts to pan; cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Remove chick'n from pan and set aside (do not wipe out pan).
  • Melt 1/2 stick butter in pan. Sauté mushrooms, onions and grapes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add creamy soy milk, remaining vegan butter and Marsala wine to pan; bring to a boil. Cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes, add more salt and pepper to taste. Add cooled chick'n breasts back to pan, turning to coat. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Serve with healthy pasta and salad!

walk in sun

You know, I happen to be Buddhist, but one with an inquisitive mind. We have what we know as the Buddha’s First Noble Truth and that is: “Life is Suffering.” However, it’s a misnomer to just stop there and concede to a life of misery. I think a lot of students and even some teachers feel that we just need to wake up to the that fact this life is hallmarked by sense of misery and dissatisfaction. One even wrote a book called: “Not For Happiness,” depressing. However, leaving this first noble truth truism as a final statement, in my opinion, would be the antithesis of what the Buddha had intended with his teachings and realization. Why? Because his subsequent teachings say… there is indeed a way out of suffering- we don’t have to be miserable! That was his very quest. That’s the entire point of what it means to be a Buddhist; we believe that at some point, we will not be forever bound and controlled by a mind that makes us unhappy.

Some teachers talk about our need to be comfort seeking and seek pleasure and use our Buddhist practice as sort of a health and mental improvement task, an ego boost and an effort to make “samsara comfortable,” but I beg to differ. I ascribe to the theory that “pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.” Have you ever had a backache or headache, and it didn’t feel great but maybe inside you felt such a sense of warmth and well-being or were doing something super fun, that you were just able to ignore it and didn’t let it ruin your day? That is pain but not suffering; our difficulties can take place in a larger space of accommodation.

I recall one day, I was feeling particularly depressed and anxious and just didn’t feel like getting out of bed. It was a sunny day, I could see the white and pink magnolia tree outside and morning birds chirping, but I was miserable. A lot of hopeless thoughts and negative self talk was swirling around in my mind and making me really sad, without any energy. I started to just imagine in that moment, is there anything beautiful that I can recall? Then I remembered one of my friends, he used to be a pretty close Yogi friend who lives on what might be, lifetime retreat. During the warmer months, he wakes up every morning and makes some tea and does meditation and yoga outside on a colored, hand-loomed woolen Tibetan carpet on his porch, greeting the sun. Just the memory of him, sitting in the sun inspired me and I jumped up out of bed, took a shower did little bit of yoga and meditation myself, and all of the mind-made depression and anxiety completely dissipated, like a cloud clearing!

I know it’s hard for a lot of us to do hours of sitting meditation we have a very movement and “doing rather than being” oriented society- get up and go and always be busy, distracted or doing something… anything! You know the old work ethic Christian proverb: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Maybe a lot of us aren’t cut out to be super disciplined yogis and mindfulness, this panacea that will heal all woes. I checked with a lot of my friends and in all honesty, a lot of them admit to not really practicing meditation very much, a lot of us are Buddhist in name or theory only. So even if you’re not destined to become a yogic mahasiddha or totally liberated and enlightened in this life, I think we can borrow from a lot of the exceedingly simple and powerful healing modalities that can make great improvements toward our happiness, reduce anxiety and increase well-being… every single day! I don’t think that any religion, even Buddhism has the only way or copyright- patent-and trademark on one particular route toward spirituality or human well-being. I actually think the Buddha would endorse this approach, after all, the third and fourth noble truths clearly say that we don’t have to live forever, bound by mind-imposed suffering, and it can be as easy as changing a thought. Here are a few tips to cheer up and indeed use this “Life For Happiness.”

 

Simple Practices to uplift your mood and start and finish your day feeling refreshed, happy and be more joyous:

 

Sunshine

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is required for positive mood. Serotonin production happens whenever we get sunlight through our eyes and feel the warmth the on top of our head. Ensuring that we go out for one half to one hour per day is an inexpensive, nutritive and easy method to increase our mood. Be sure you take your sunglasses off for fifteen minutes.

Forest Bathing

Forest bathing–sitting quietly among trees–has been proven to have many mood-boosting benefits. In Japan “forest bathing” is prescribed by doctors and even covered by medical health insurance!

Earthing

“Earthing,” that is simply putting your bare feet on the earth where there’s some moisture and coolness for contact. This can re-calibrate and regulate your entire energetic system and lead to wellness and well-being. Release any stress, pain, sadness, anything into the earth that you are ready to let go of, when you contact the ground. It might take some time to ground entire body, but you only need about fifteen minutes every day.

Exercise

Exercise, as we know is a fantastic mood-booster. Walking, hiking and running could be easily done by almost anyone and doesn’t even require a lot of special equipment. To reset your mood and get the greatest health advantages, 30 minutes to an hour of exercise per day is ideal, but every little bit is helpful!

Straight Posture

Standing or sitting up straight and holding your head up actually provides a neurotransmitter activity increase to your brain, and opens the whole energetic system. So check your posture regularly and ensure you’re not walking around with your head hanging down, sulking or staring at your phone! Observing your posture will also assist you to prevent or reduce chronic pain.

 

It’s Got Electrolytes

Stay Hydrated

Not getting enough water will increase your fatigue and drain your joyful mood. Make sure to keep a glass of water besides you at all times and drink through the day. I love to drink 16 oz. of warm water with a packet of orange emergen-c each morning before I do anything else. “It’s got electrolytes.” This provides a bit “mini-cleanse” each morning.

Obviously, if you think about it, all of these things may be done at the exact same time, take advantage of where you live, the mountains and foothills, or your local park, and go on a walk or climb. If you can, just be sure to take off your shoes and dip your legs in a mountain stream!

Getting the maximum out of sleep and having an effective morning and evening routine, 15 minutes of meditation, journaling and eating antioxidant fresh fruits and vegetables are additional areas which will greatly improve your happiness joyful disposition and endurance.

So you see, there are many simple of ways to increase your well-being, which can be easy, natural, free and safe. One hour per day, out of 24 toward self care could be the difference between a joyous life- or not! You owe it to yourself, integrate these six powerful steps into your daily routine, Just for Happiness!

 

How To Create a Vision and Manifest Your Very Best Life Possible

When I first graduated from college, I was living over in Nepal where I had been studying abroad and reflecting on what kind of life that I wanted to create when I came back to the United States. I sat back and reflected: what am I good at, what can I see myself doing and what type of environment would I like to be doing it in? I had a few ideas- I was going to go back and do a Masters Degree in Psychotherapy, I had applied for a job at the United Nations in Kathmandu because my mom was working there, and I had a propensity to be a trader since I used to sell things every summer while traveling with the Grateful Dead. I knew that I didn’t want to work forever in an office, and I like to spend time with my teachers, retreat, travel and feel like my life is mine rather than someone else’s. I asked the advice of my teacher, and he did a Tibetan divination called a Mo and it said that “business is best”. I was 21 years old and that was the beginning of me starting an international import/export company that has been pretty successful. I sold the business in 2005 when I gave birth to my child and with that money, was able to purchase a retreat home in Crestone Colorado, where I now live 1/2 time, and intend to retire to.

The reason I shared this process is because I believe if we have a “free and well favored life” and our health, there’s really no stopping us and what we’re able to create. I think a lot of us create a prison of social obligation, pattern and fear and wind up getting into a rut in selling out into a redundant, patterned, obligatory lifestyle that doesn’t make us happy. What’s the point in investing in drudgery day after day? Sometimes we don’t realize how much power we have to create and change and manifest our lives as long as we have our faculties and our health. I write about this time and time again, that people on their deathbed reflect and wish they had taken more risks created the life they truly desired and allowed themselves to be happy.

Years ago, a close friend Dharma artist Jack Niland, asked a question to one of my teachers Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche about the Tibetan Bön (བོན་པོ།) Master’s Five Teachings of Dawa Gyaltsen. The final teaching states that “Union is Great Bliss.” He asked: What is great Bliss? Rinpoche replied: “Great Bliss is Manifesting Your World, anything from a smile to opening a fan, to creating a kingdom~ Manifesting is dharma art. When you experience Great Bliss, you can’t help but to manifest your world.”

I see the signs of those who are most accomplished like some of our teachers, have an unhindered, tireless propensity to create almost anything they desire or can conceive of. Brilliant and benevolent, enlightenment is hardly inert, reclusive and non-active. Beings like these, through their practice, touch the lives of so many and we are forever grateful and inspired. We can uncover this too within us, in unhindered bliss and emptiness.

 

Dawa Gyaltsen’s Fivefold Teaching:

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Bliss

“I see people spend their whole lives doing things they hate and they feel trapped, like they can’t get out of it, and live exhausted, overworked and stressed and unhappy for years and eventually, die this way.

How can we do anything like attain ‘rainbow body’ if we live this life with our creativity and power blocked, insecure and small, filled with self doubt- thinking we can’t manifest anything like become what we want: publish a book, start a cafe- we certainly aren’t going to attain enlightenment that way.”

paraphrase from teachings from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche on Spontaneous Creativity– Boulder Shambhala Center 9-19


The Visualization Process

So how can we do this? The first step is to sit with yourself and try to connect with the inner silence, stillness in the body and spaciousness of the mind. After your being settles down, then create a mental intention, a question of what you would like to design with that empty spacious mind canvas. What do you feel that you lack: is it money, a fulfilling relationship, a more fulfilling career, better health? Then, from that space, use your imagination to fill it in great detail with pictures of what you could see yourself doing and creating to bring about your happiest and most fulfilled life possible. For example, if you want to create a better career, imagine what you’d be doing when you wake up each day, where would you work, who with, what are you wearing, what are you doing, what impact does it have on society- and make it as vivid and real as possible.
If you’d like to manifest a relationship, imagine what your dream partner would look like, imagine things that you would do together, imagine where you live together, what the house looks like and how you would feel around that person. From the empty palette of mind’s imagination, create and call-in a full and fantastic life of the things that you feel that you might be lacking and would like to see manifest. When you’re finished, imagine that you send what you’ve created out into space almost like a large transparent soap bubble or a message in a bottle. Just dissolve your visualization with a belief and trust that these things will begin to manifest, the seeds now having been created will come back to you. After your visualization process, you can download our exceedingly simple but powerful Life by Design worksheet below. Do it today, you owe it to yourself!
May each of us have the most fulfilling, brilliantly blissful manifestation possible!
life by design

 

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

lentil-winter-stew

 

Vegan Winter Curry Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

This vegan flavorful spicy stew has sweet potatoes, coconut milk, kale and lentils, hearty with an Indian flair.

SPROUT TIME 2 days ahead if possible
PREP TIME 20 mins
COOK TIME 1 hour
TOTAL TIME 1 hr 20 mins

Servings: 6

sprouted-lentiles

Ingredients:

• 3 large organic sweet potatoes, unpeeled scrubbed clean and diced into 1-inch squares
• 16 oz organic green lentils (best if sprouted, soaked for two nights before, living sprouts add more nutrients!)
• 3 cups of vegetable stock (plain water is ok too)
• 2 cans can full fat coconut milk
• 1 small bunch kale remove stems and coarsely chop
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil
• 1 medium yellow onion diced
• 2-3T hot curry powder or regular curry powder with 1/2t hot red pepper powder
• 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced or 1t powdered
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• ground sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
• 1T monkfruit or coconut sugar, to taste
• Optional garnish: chopped cilantro lime wedges

Instructions:

  1. Sprout lentils if you have time. Soak lentils overnight for two night prior to making, and change the water 2x per day. Un-sprouted lentils work too.
  2. In a large stock pot, cook lentils in vegetable stock with salt for about 30-40 minutes until tender.
  3. At the same time boil the diced sweet potatoes in a separate sauce pan, and when ready, drain.
  4. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the coconut oil to the pot and let it melt. Add the onions to the pan and stir. Saute the onions, stirring occasionally, until translucent about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and saute spices, ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for a few minutes, do not burn. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Add everything to the stock pot.
  6. Add the coconut milk and kale to the pot and stir. Place the lid on top and continue to simmer the stew until the kale is wilted and bright green, about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add sweetener, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime to taste.
  8. (Optional) Serve, garnish with cilantro and lime.
lentil-winter-stew

Vegan Winter Curry Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

This vegan flavorful spicy stew has sweet potatoes, coconut milk, kale and lentils, hearty with an Indian flair.

Ingredients
  

  • 3 large organic sweet potatoes unpeeled scrubbed clean and diced into 1-inch squares
  • 16 oz organic green lentils best if sprouted, soaked for two nights before
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock plain water is ok too
  • 2 cans can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 small bunch kale remove stems and coarsely chop
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2-3 T hot curry powder or regular curry powder with 1/2t hot red pepper powder
  • 2- inch piece fresh ginger peeled and minced or 1t powdered
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • ground sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 T monkfruit or coconut sugar to taste
  • Optional garnish: chopped cilantro lime wedges

Instructions
 

  • Sprout lentils if you have time. Soak lentils overnight for two night prior to making, and change the water 2x per day. Un-sprouted lentils work too.
  • In a large stock pot, cook lentils in vegetable stock with salt for about 30-40 minutes until tender.
  • At the same time boil the diced sweet potatoes in a separate sauce pan, and when ready, drain.
  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the coconut oil to the pot and let it melt. Add the onions to the pan and stir. Saute the onions, stirring occasionally, until translucent about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and saute spices, ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for a few minutes, do not burn. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add everything to the stock pot.
  • Add the coconut milk and kale to the pot and stir. Place the lid on top and continue to simmer the stew until the kale is wilted and bright green, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add sweetener, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime to taste.
  • Serve, garnish with cilantro and lime.

Notes

SPROUT TIME 2 days ahead if possible
PREP TIME 20 mins
COOK TIME 1 hour
TOTAL TIME 1 hr 20 mins

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 black 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 black 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.

Jampa@HealingTaoInstitute.com

Photo:

Uploaded 5491 images

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. Serves 5.

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 five 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 five 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 of 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