And Off I Go!

Hello there friends!

Well I am off on an adventure! Last month, I received an email from a friend about a call meant for healers and how to transform their practices. I listened to the call on my lunch break, was SUPER inspired and it just so happened that there was an awesome live event happening a few weeks later in Los Angeles. So do you know what I did? I listened to my intuition, bought my ticket and dove right in! I had no idea how we would pay for it, but I knew that it would all work out…

Now we are on our way to L.A., and my husband is even coming with me! He will just lounge around the pool, read Love and Capital (a really interesting biography on the relationship between Karl Marx and his wife Jenny) and have lots of treats (the hotel is right next to The Cheesecake Factory hehe).

I will let you know how it all goes down, but the blog will be quiet for the next week, since we get back Thursday night and I leave for my Ayurvedic intensive early Friday morning! Trying to remember to breathe!

Have a wonderful week 🙂

[illustration from We Are Yawn]

Radiant Practice #4: The Artist’s Date

One of the most inspiring things I took away from reading Julie Cameron’s game changer “The Artist’s Way” was the concept of the artist’s date. As part of each week’s assignment, we were told to take ourselves out on a date. It didn’t have to be fancy or expensive, just a time once a week to go on an interesting or inspired outing.
At first, the dreaded “shoulds” came up. “I should be working right now, instead of taking myself out” or “I should hurry up and get this date over with since the house is so messy” or a bunch of other negative self-talk. The idea of taking myself out on a date seemed silly, extravagant even. Especially since we are struggling with money, spending even a small amount of it on just myself seemed selfish.
But I took on the challenge whole-heartedly. I began taking myself on outings. I would scour the internet to find free or cheap events, discounted museum days, outdoor places I had never been to and just about anything out of the normal routine of my work/school day. I penciled them into my planner as if they were important meetings and I stood by the commitment (even if it meant leaving my “real” date buddy home!) As I began to take these dates more seriously, I began to take my self-care more seriously as well.
I realized that I didn’t spend much time just listening to my intuition, body, desires and heart. During the dates, if I wanted to stop by a store and spend an hour just perusing the goods, I did so, without worrying about the time constraints I would have felt had I not been solo. If I felt an intuitive pull to walk down a certain street I would follow, not having to advise someone else about the new plan. If I desired to eat a doughnut while watching a really silly movie at the theater, I enjoyed it, without feeling embarrassed or defensive about how I sometimes like to spend my down time.
The process of the artist’s date allowed me to respect time by myself, to understand what I need on a regular basis and to begin to provide for those needs, in a fun, creative and inspiring way.
Previous artist’s dates have included:
 
fun magazine reading and a chai out in a rose garden
practicing walking meditation in a sacred labyrinth
taking a peaceful nap among the trees, soaking in the sun on a comfy blanket
I have been practicing this ritual for about a year, although there have been windows of time where I have either been too busy/stressed/sad to go on one or where I completely forgot. And even throughout this difficult time we have had since we moved here, the artist’s dates have been my comfort, my joy and my creative leap into a little piece of the unknown.
What do you think about the artist’s date? Do you take yourself out and if so, what kinds of things do you do?

Motivational Monday!

Hello there friends!

Summer is finally here and it feels so AMAZING. We had such a lovely weekend, spending time admiring a beautiful exhibit at the SFMOMA, finding a new favorite neighborhood cafe and hiking a few miles in a breathtaking forest preserve by the beach! I’ll tell you, the past few days were the kind where you think that everything really is going to be okay 🙂

Virtual goodness is here!

Marc and Angel wrote a great post about ways to center your life around love and happiness. My favorite? “Stop waiting for the perfect moment”. Oh yeah, I really need to practice that more often…

It has been really hot here and with my Pitta being extra aggravated on top of that, I am in some serious need for some ice cream. This roasted banana coconut ice cream from Elana’s Pantry (a new blog favorite!) looks so delicious. Now if only I could acquire an ice cream maker…

Emily Jane White is a songstress from California and you can stream her new album this week HERE. If you like Wye Oak, you will probably dig this lady.

And for another Pitta-reducing, perfect for summer treat, this vanilla strawberry pudding from Choosing Raw hits the spot! It just might be my breakfast treat this weekend.

And I will leave you with a great video for activating and balancing your chakras. Enjoy 🙂

[beautiful collage by Valerie Roybal]

The Weekend Revue!

Hello there dear friends!

I apologize for being M.I.A. for the last few weeks. After returning from my road trip, some big things began to unfurl and a HUGE transformation has shook me to my core. It is all very scary and exciting and I am still in that place of uncertainty but I will say that my life will be changing for the better quite soon!

I will definitely keep you posted but until then, onto the highlights of the week:

beautiful art that made me smile.

rediscovering the parts of my heart i left here many years ago…

a beautiful celebration of the Black community in Fillmore.

because our communities are still enslaved.

wefinally drove over to Ocean Beach and spent the day soaking in the sun and the sounds of the sea. also, this little pup wouldn’t leave us alone!

ALSO! sipping lattes out of giant soup bowls ✶ going on toe-shoe walking dates with my partner ✶ laughing so hard while watching Community ✶ remembering how comfy wearing a fleece can be ✶ spending time in sacred ceremony ✶ experiencing a Reiki Tummo healing ✶ dancing cumbia in the late night hours in a garage in the Mission, feeling alive ❤

How was your week? What were some of your highlights?

And off I go…

Hello there friends! Well I am off to the mountain for my Ayruveda program and although I am still struggling with a cold, I am looking forward to spending time in the forest, chanting kirtan at sunrise and being with some really wonderful people.

I hope you have the most fantastic weekend (bay area folks – please go to Carnaval and dance for me, ok?) I will leave you with a beautiful quote:

Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky,
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Escape.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.

~Rumi

 

[magical photo from Jeff Hutton]

Radiant Practice #3: Get Great Sleep!

This practice comes from a lesson learned just a few weeks ago. I had been out at a fascinating workshop for school on Theta healing (which I hope to learn more about and give you an update later) and got home pretty late. By the time I got back, it was at least 10:30 (which, on a school or work night is pretty darn late to us!) and my husband was waiting for the clothes to be finished in the dryer. Since we hadn’t seen each other all day, we wanted to catch up and chat. Once it was finally time to go to bed, I remembered that we needed to change the sheets.

Full disclosure: I kinda have a thing about changing the sheets. Although we only switch them once a week, if a week and a day passes and those same ol’ dirty things are still on the bed, I go into freakout mode.

Of course, midnight isn’t the best time to put my foot down about this kind of thing, but I cannot be logical when it comes to our sleeping quarters. On top of it all, we don’t ever stay up that late anymore (save the strange occasional night where I go all out, stay up until the wee hours of the morning and then promise myself to never do it again). We don’t function when we are sleep deprived. And so the seemingly small task of changing the sheets turned into a silly and overdrawn argument. My partner and I hardly ever fight, so even a stupid little spat like this one threw me for a loop. I had a hard time falling asleep and woke up cranky, exhausted and feeling bad about the way the midnight sheet change went down.


So folks, the moral of the story is: GET GREAT SLEEP! Forget good sleep, get amazing, incredible, mind-blowing and life-changing slumber. Out of all the things you can do for your body, it is truly is one of the most important.

Ayurveda has three pillars of health. The second pillar (food comes first, of course) is nidra, or sleep. Sleep plays a crucial role in processing and assimilating not only physical substances (such as food, drink, medicines, etc.) but emotional and mental stuff as well (thoughts, feelings, memories, trauma, and so on.) When we sleep, our bodies are able to devote all of their attention to regeneration and repair, allowing us to wake up feeling better and stronger than when our heads hit the pillow the night before.
The problem is, you need A LOT of sleep. In Ayurveda we say that “there is no antidote for not enough sleep”. You can’t take a pill or do some exercise to make up for only getting five hours and honestly, if you aren’t giving your body the time to rebuild itself, all the spirulina in the world can’t save you.


So how much sleep is enough sleep? It depends but Ayurvedically, vata people need the most sleep, pittas need a moderate amount and kapha folks need the least. Of course, this doesn’t take into consideration what kind of imbalance a person might be going through, the season, the cycle of their life, etc. It is safe to say that eight hours of sleep a night is a great target for everyone. An Ayurvedic sleep schedule would be a bedtime of no later than 10pm and waking up at least at 6am. If you can’t get to sleep by ten, please please please get to bed before midnight! Multiple studies have been done proving that the actual quality of sleep after midnight is significantly lower than sleep before then. One of the most beneficial practices you can get into the hang out is picking a bedtime and sticking with it. Ayurveda is all about consistency, so establishing a routine for when and how you will be resting will pacify vata (which almost everyone had too much of these days) and allow your body to recharge its batteries.

[adorable lino-cut print from Katie Muth]

Motivational Monday!

[incredible photo from Abel Uribe of the recent protests against NATO in chicago. YES!]

Happy beginning of the week, friends! Hope you had a fantastic weekend. We were working on Saturday but yesterday we had a lovely time. We went on a (free!) walking tour of the Victorian architecture in Pacific Heights, finally had the chai from Baker and Banker (amazing!) and read outside in the sun in Japantown. All in all, not too bad 🙂

Here are some virtual gems that have caught my fancy:

I just came down with a cold, so I was so happy to find this video from a fellow vegan woman of color blogger over at Sista Vegan! Breeze has some great tips for getting over a cold the healthy and vegan way.

Have you seen the latest edition of TIME magazine? It has definitely caused a stir in the parenting (and non-parenting) communities. While there are tons of issues to discuss (what does “mom enough” even mean? where do genderqueer, trans* and other moms fit in this discussion?), this article shares more about the stigma toward breastfeeding and why it hurts us all.
While I have never had beef stroganoff (“real” or veganized), I really appreciate it when folks make vegan versions of comfort food classics. My partner loves this stuff, and when he stopped eating meat (as much, as he still has a burger from time to time), he started searching for vegetarian ways to have old favorites. I guess I know what I will be surprising him with this week – this vegan b-strog (as I like to call it) recipe from Vegan Miss!
This video talks about the dangers (and benefits) of soy. Dr. Douillard is an Ayurvedic physician and has some interesting insights on the good ol’ soy debate.
And I will leave you with something sweet for your week: raw cacao chia squares from Live Healthy Simply! These are easy to make and look delicious.
Have a good one!

The (Early) Weekend Revue!

Hello there friends! So sorry for the prolonged absence, I can’t believe it has been two weeks! I just got home a few days ago and it has taken a while to get back into the groove of things (not to mention dragging my butt back to school and work. woof).

My trip to Albuquerque was fantastic. The Ayurvedic Herbology workshop was packed with tons of info that even an herbalist such as myself didn’t know. We were tasting, cooking and administering herbs all weekend, which made it a lot more fun than just talking about them. I was surprised (and impressed) at the amount of great vegan restaurants in the area – including the first all-Ayurvedic restaurant (that I’ve seen) in the country! Annapurna’s is AMAZING. Veg*n, gluten-free friendly and all the desserts are refined-sugar-free! It was so yummy, and I even took some Kapha-reducing tea and cinnamon cacao ladus for the road trip 🙂

The road trip was wonderful, special and quite a relaxing time. Here are some highlights:

Only a few hours out of Santa Fe and it began to snow! It was the first snow I have seen all year, so I was happy.

After a few hours of blizzard mountain driving, it cleared and we enjoyed the scenery of the Rockies.

We drove through Salt Lake City (which included a tour of the LDS church, but that is a whole ‘nother story) and stopped at the Salt Lake.

Driving through Nevada, we soaked up the desert sun and found unique flora and fauna.

And to put in a picture of me for good measure, here I am a few days later in Chicago for Mother’s Day! We visited the Baha’i temple in Wilmette and boy, was it beautiful.

There are so many more to share with you but your time is precious so I will stop here. Hope everyone has been well and I can’t wait to get back into the blogging schedule asap!

Time for a Trip…

Hi there readers! Hope your week has been going along swimmingly. These past few days have been a HUGE jumble of things, and things are about to get even more strange.

Tomorrow, I am heading to Albuquerque, New Mexico for an intensive weekend workshop on Ayurvedic Herbology with Dr. Vasant Lad! Herbal medicine is my passion and to be learning advanced wisdom from the incredible Dr. Lad is such a dream come true.

After that, I will be driving back my new car! (which is not new, but an old thing that hopefully will have no problems on the trip). We will be going through the Rockies, stopping by Salt Lake City to sea the salt flats and spending time in many forests and small towns along the way. It has been waaay too long since I have been on a road trip so I can’t wait! And, having a car (even if I only use it to drive down to Santa Cruz for school once a month) will be really helpful and comforting.

I have a few posts in draft status but with picking up our kitty today, packing and getting work done, I will be lucky to make it to the airport on time tomorrow. Until next week, take care and stay happy and healthy 🙂

[forest image from Walkabout Wolf]