Re-growing food from scraps

I am obsessed with gardening.

If you would have told me this was going to happen a year ago, I would have thought you were crazy, but now I’m a freaking gardener and loving every minute. My hands are always dirty, I find my heart skipping a beat every time I see a Home Depot or nursery, and I’m always thinking about my gardens, my kids, and what I can grow next.

Since I now have four gardens I work in,  I have to plan lessons each week and find myself buying plants regularly. I do have a stipend to buy supplies, but I think it’s even cooler to be able to use already existing plants and scraps to re-grow things.

A few weeks ago I planted garlic in one of my gardens and it’s been growing nicely.

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I was blown away that I could plant garlic from one clove. I have been doing research on what can be re-grown and I’m currently experimenting with ginger, celery, basil, and onions. All you really have to do is stick the roots in water or back in the ground and they will grow right back up! Amazing shit and what’s even cooler is that these veggies are staples that are beneficial to health and if eaten regularly, can prevent sickness.

This is the season when everyone is getting sick because of weather changes. Immune systems go haywire. I know mine did. I was getting sick but decided to drug myself with ginger and garlic. I didn’t get full-on sick. I stopped it in its tracks and feel so much better for doing so. I see people around me using drugs like Claritin and Nyquil and it’s just not helpful. Not only will these drugs make you tired, they will also delay the recovery process.

So think twice before you douse yourself with these medicines. The real medicine is the food we eat that’s loaded with natural vitamins essential to our health.

Times are changing and we may just need to know how to feed ourselves when we have no markets or restaurants. We will need to know how to grow our own food, utilizing every source of energy, making natural living a sustainable, viable way of life. This is the direction that truly saves, inspires, re-energizes.

Gardening can teach you this. I was the least likely person to garden, but learning gardening re-enforces sustainable living, a sense of union with the community and kindness and peace within. It can heal. That’s what’s fascinating about using old food scraps. You can grow something out of an organism that we would normally throw away. Everything operates in a cycle. Life, death, rebirth. It’s amazing so think of everything in this way.

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Missing my Piano

Went for a walk tonight and listened to John Mayer live which led to a night of being serenaded by the smooth sounds of Chet Baker.  I started thinking about music and how much I love it, how that’s all I wanted to do growing up. Then I got one rejection from a performing arts high school that I really wanted to go to and I took it as a sign that I wasn’t meant to do music.

It’s funny. As an adult, I’ve received so much rejection but I’ve learned to take my rejection in stride. If something is hard then it has to be worth fighting for. I sometimes wonder if I need to look at music like that again because I love it, more than most things. You know how people always say things like, if you could do one thing that you’ve always wanted to do, what would that be?

For me, it’s play in a rock band and travel.

I’m in a groovy mood tonight, thinking about music, old loves,  and my first love–the piano. From age four until sixteen, I sat at that thing for hours, nothing else mattered. I’d be sad or happy and I’d sit there caressing the keys, letting melodies come to me. When I don’t strum an instrument or get my fill of music every day, I get sad. Life isn’t worth living without music. That’s how I know I love it so.

I have a vision for my life that includes my own space with a piano present. At this time in my life I think that’s about all I need.

 

 

 

Ass Meets Chair

My first day of graduate school, a professor told the writers this phrase, “ass meets chair.” Most of us smiled and laughed but he didn’t. He was so serious.

I guess we all knew it was true. Writers or any artists for that matter, need to sit on their asses to call themselves writers or artists and produce words, pages, completed projects.
Now that I’m out of school, I’ve found that I don’t get anything done unless I give myself a deadline. Working jobs, taking care of ourselves and others become the priority above the artistic work and we find ourselves wondering, when can I make the time to write or create?

This summer I tried something new and didn’t look for a job. I work with kids during the school year, so come mid June, I’m out of a job until August. I usually always look for a job, but this summer, I didn’t even bother. I told myself I was going to work on writing projects and actually get them done.

I think where I’ve fallen short in the past is when I give myself a long-term deadline/goal and don’t actually map out what each day will look like. I need structure to do anything. It’s just how I work. If I have to much freedom, I don’t do jack. What helped during this project is setting a goal for daily page minimums. I told myself I needed to write 12 pages a day until I completed my script, and then edit. It was invigorating to sit on my ass and do the work each day, knowing that there was a goal in mind and once I got there, I could stop and go and horse around and be social. It is summer after all!

I learned to love the process rather than think about anything else I had to do with my time. I even loved the editing process, which I usually dread. I’m a busy body most of the time. I used to tell myself that I needed to have the perfect conditions to write so I’d go to libraries, coffee shops, friend’s houses, anywhere but my home. This summer I didn’t try to get the perfect writing conditions, perfect space, perfect exercise regime pre or post writing time, gum chewing, oral fixations. I just sat on the floor and started. I gave myself a page minimum and I didn’t stop until I finished.

I drank tea sweetened with stevia and did yoga when my body became fatigued.
Cow, cat, child’s pose, and half moon help relieve tension best. I would make sure to get out and exercise in the afternoon and read at night.
I kept it simple. This is what worked for me–a formula that I will continue to use when I need to get projects done. I don’t go back to work for another two weeks, so I think another project is in order. As far as how the writing will happen when I go back to work, I guess I’ll figure it out. I imagine it has something to do with being in the moment and accepting this moment as where I’m meant to be.

Staying Pure inside and Out

For the past few days I’ve been on a mission to cleanse myself via eating raw food (as usual). I basically did it because I wanted to feel lighter since we are approaching summer and feeling light is just awesome. What I noticed though is that when we eat pure, every aspect of our lives gets pure as well.

We want to hang with good people, we want to do the right thing, we want to be clean, productive, helpful, and kind. If we are treating ourselves right, then every other aspect of our lives is rewarded.

I noticed that today, as I woke up and my mom wanted to get into a fight with me about mess in my grandmother’s house. It’s been a challenging situation here in my grandmother’s house lately. I basically moved to L.A. to help take care of my grandma, but now I guess my mom’s going to be moving in here permanently within the next two weeks, and I will not really be needed.

Since I’ve been back, I’ve been sleeping on a couch, living out of my car, and just transitioning to sort of just be here and cook and clean for my grandma. I even encouraged her to start doing yoga, which really helps her when she feels motivated to do it. Elderly need companionship. We don’t believe in putting her in a home or hiring a caregiver. We are her family, so that’s our job, and that’s what I was crashing on a couch for. But crashing on a couch is challenging. Not having your own space is rough and if two people don’t have their own space, it’s rough for both parties. My mom has been living here too. She feels comfortable spreading her clutter wings while I try to maintain my possessions. People come to visit my grandma often so having it cluttered is really not pleasant for visitors, or anyone really (except maybe a packrat or hoarder)

Now, with my mom coming in here, with all her clutter, the idea was really getting me crazy, but eating raw has made my head more clear and more relaxed. I know that I will probably need to get my own place now. Everyone needs their space, and with two people crashing on a couch, or two couches, that’s just nuts!

 I really don’t want to leave a house that has kale, basil, mint, tomatoes, lemons, oranges, avocados, and pomegranates growing in the yard, but a girl needs her sanity and that comes with having a place to hang your hat.

Right now that place is a combination of a dead man’s room, my car, and a couch.

I started envisioning what I wanted. And that’s the way to stay pure. Regardless of what darkness that may exist, you surround it with goodness, and the bad will melt away.

And then I got an email from a lady who is giving me an opportunity to write guest blogs for her website. My insides were glowing with excitement, and I felt even better from eating raw food. In with the good, out with the bad. I swear, eating pure and regular detoxification can work wonders.

We are where we are supposed to be. I have to remember, that everything is okay. I’ve done what I could here. Now, it may be time to move this ship somewhere else.

I feel grateful that I’ve been able to live here with my grandma. She’s an amazing lady and I enjoy talking to her. She has this amazing peace and rationale about her that I admire. The Aquarius knows what’s right. They make good and fair decisions and they always want to be peaceful. I just have to focus on the good.
I stay strong in reaffirming to myself that “all my needs are met” and “I am exactly where I am meant to be today.”

Youtube Yoga

I am so excited that my grandmother has finally started doing senior yoga. Living with an 80+ year old woman I am better able to understand what life is like for a senior. When a person is in pain, they don’t like moving, much less getting into a car to go somewhere. But some days are better than others, like Tuesday when my grandma said she wanted to go to the gym but couldn’t drive herself and everyone had to go to work, myself included.

I started thinking, what she would do in the gym? My grandma uses a cane and I’ve never seen anyone with a cane in the gym. I could see if maybe she wanted to go the pool, but she said she felt like lifting weights. Even on the lowest rung, some of those weights are still heavy and we really didn’t think it was a good idea because my grandma doesn’t really move. Lifting weights would probably make her so sore she wouldn’t want to do anything for days and days. So I played around with the main television and figured out how to get streaming internet. I found a senior yoga video that was about an hour long. So everyone left the room and just let her try it. It’s pretty cool because she just sat in her chair the whole time moving her body. Hey, it’s a start. She said she was sore the next day but she wanted to do it again because she liked it.

I hope that this has inspired her to show that it’s never too late and you don’t have to go anywhere to exercise. Youtube has been amazing for providing that. I love to remember that Youtube is a valuable resource for people to learn and share valuable information rather than just entertain masses with dumb crap.

A Course in Miracles Lesson 10

Today’s lesson in the Course in Miracles was “My thoughts do not mean anything.”
This was a hard one to wrap my head around but so far it’s been the lesson I value the most. It immediately took me out of a negative head space.
I have been debating moving back to California to help take care of my grandmother and my head has just been all over the place, but as soon as I started doing the exercise for today, I was brought back to the present moment, of just existing as a blank slate. My mind felt clear, as though I had no thought in the world. I didn’t have to wonder why I thought what I thought, because I would keep saying, “my thoughts do not mean anything,” or “my thought about__ does not mean anything.”

Basically I felt like an empty vessel that was more able to receive messages and a clear plan for my existence.

All the frivolous little thoughts that came up in my head like “why is that girl talking so loud next to me?”, or “my hair is frizzy today” all of the sudden didn’t mean anything. You almost get to wondering where those thoughts even come from.
Another part of the lesson is after saying “my thoughts do not mean anything,” you follow that by “this idea will help to release me from all I now believe.”

This part I viewed as being both good and bad. Good because you want to release certain thought patterns, but do you really want to forget everything you believe? Like seven years of college and graduate school?

I’m going to have faith in the Course’s teachings. It may not make complete sense to me right now but I am hoping it will. Most people I look up to like Louise Hay, Gabrielle Bernstein, Wayne Dyer, are all students of the Course, and I want to walk the same path, or one very similar.

Here’s a link to the Course in Miracle’s website I’ve been looking at. It’s less intimidating to me than that huge blue book: http://acim.org/Lessons/lesson.html?daily_lesson=10

Praising the life of the man who started it all

I haven’t written in a while because I have been dealing with a life changing event: the death of my uncle, two days before Christmas.

You ever meet people who are so out there and full of life? Well, he was one of those vibrant, high energy kind of people and to imagine someone like that passing is just surreal. You almost never think people like that die. I guess I don’t really think he’s passed. He was the kind of person who believed that we are more than just bodies and I have to believe he’s still thriving, free, at peace.

I knew he battled demons every day, but he was the man who started it all for me–the idea of healing through creation, eating healthy to prolong your life, and that meditation worked.

I admired my uncle throughout my youth because I saw him as a fighter. My uncle was an artist and an openly gay man, who was HIV positive for nearly twenty years. The HIV was not the cause of his death though. Growing up, I witnessed him juicing fruits and vegetables daily, growing wheatgrass in his backyard, cooking with miso, tofu, and vegetables at every meal. He meditated daily and was always giving. This is what I grew up with. This is how I know you can heal yourself alternatively. But I also know from his death, that it takes work to keep yourself alive.

As strong as my uncle was, he battled demons that took him out of his healthy state of mind and into drug abuse. I never understood how someone like him would turn to drugs. I know he battled with the demons. He even wanted to get better. All anyone in my family wanted was to have the old him back. His death still remains a mystery. They aren’t sure how it happened. Anyway, that person is gone now, but all I want to do is praise his memory. All I want to do is fight for my health and keep it going.

I feel very changed and moved by his passing. I can’t say that I am even the same person because all I want to do is things that matter. I am very positive but it takes a lot of work to battle demons that exist within all of us. I was watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and some preacher was saying that we can’t look at evil as existing out there, it is within us. I always thought this was such religious rhetoric when I heard people say that we are born evil, but we all have that capability. Really, it takes a lot to stay in the present moment. Being anywhere else, in the past, in the future, could be potentially evil, distracting. The only place that keeps us positive is our present moment.

This is something I have to do every day, seriously, every single day, or else demons can take over. My uncle was living proof of that.
And in his memory, I’m starting the Course in Miracles workbook that I’ll be writing about in the blog. I’ve wanted to do that for some time, why not now?

Cashews as Natural Cure for Depression

Today I was craving cashews and after cuddling up with one of my favorite raw food books, I read that cashews can help naturally cure depression. I thought that was pretty interesting since I’ve known people who used to take anti-depressant pills that didn’t seem to help much. I always say try something natural before you drug yourself up, and reading this was exciting especially during holiday time.

I think some people tend to get depressed during the cold months because they might be too cold or lazy to exercise off all the sweets and indulgent treats they may be eating and also, holiday time tends to be tailored for family and relationships. What do you do if you don’t have a good relationship with your family? This is the time where it’s harder to hide it. Many would say that life is too short and you just gotta suck it up and release resentments because they only make you sick, but what if you aren’t ready to do that? That’s okay too but in the meantime you just have to make yourself happy and do things that make you happy, eat things that make you feel good but that doesn’t always mean eating a pumpkin pie or turkey leg.
So how do cashews cure depression I wondered? I did some research and found that cashews are high in tryptophan, the amino acid that is the primary building block of serotonin, the neurotransmitter believed to responsible for making us feel good, for enabling us to relax, helping to stabilize the nervous system and prevent anxiety and depression.

Cashews might be one of the most favored nuts out there because they are buttery and many raw food recipes use them to replace savory and rich dairy ingredients such as butter, cheese, or even milk. People say don’t eat nuts if you want to lose weight or aren’t trying to gain weight, but we need to eat a little bit of fat. I often find people who don’t agree with eating nuts favor heart clogging meats and mucus forming dairy. So who’s right? What makes more sense? I say make your own decisions. Do your own research.
Yea, nuts are fatty but so is meat. A nut is easier to digest and won’t stay in your system for a long time like meat would. We only gain weight when we eat like pigs, don’t exercise and feel unsafe. Don’t blame the nuts.

Recipes using cashews:
1) Throw 1/4 cup of cashews in a smoothie with 1 cup strawberries, 1 tbs coconut oil, 1 tbs vanilla, pinch of stevia, 1 cup water.
2) Cashew ice kream (Ani Phyo recipe: 1 cup cashew, 1/4 cup agave, 4-6 tbs water thrown into a blender)
3) Maple walnut bars (Stephanie Tourles recipe: 1 cup cashews, 10 dates, 1/2 cup raw oats, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, pinch sea salt, coconut oil. Put ingredients in food processor. Coat 8-inch square pan with coconut oil, spread mixture in pan 1/2 inch thick. Cover and freeze for 4 hours. Store in freezer)

First Advanced Bikram Yoga Class

Sometimes all it takes is someone to believe in you to get you motivated to do something you never thought you could do.  I have had the pleasure of practicing under a great instructor, Nicole, at my Scottsdale, AZ Bikram studio who encouraged me to go to Advanced class. I read that Advanced class is for teachers and competitors, and I’m neither, so I didn’t think I’d ever be able to go. Deep down, I really wanted to because I love yoga so much and I want to do it all. I mean, I’ve been practicing for almost three and a half years. It’s hard to say you are “good” at yoga because it’s all about the process. Someone who takes class for the first time in their life and isn’t flexible can be considered good because it’s all about how focused you are, how you breathe, and that you try.

At my Los Angeles studio, all you had to do was be invited by a teacher to attend advanced class, so because I was invited by a teacher, I thought why not. Last night after I practiced, another teacher asked me when I was going to try advanced class and I thought, okay, I’m going to do this.

So today I did. I went in with a clear mind. I didn’t know what to expect and it was great because it’s nice to be a newbie again. Advanced Bikram is a whole new world. It requires a different kind of strength and is way more physical because many of the poses require upper body strength. The beginner Bikram series is more focused on back and leg strength and flexibility, not so much arm strength. I’m hooked and pumped because I’m sore in different parts of my body. I feel strong, like I’ve opened a new door in my life and in my practice. I feel blessed that my studio offers Advanced classes at all. I’m here for a reason. I was ready for this. Now, I just have to keep going so I can get stronger in my upper body and do some headstands or at least half a headstand against a wall.

Bucket List Item-Learn Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”

Michael Jackson's Thriller jacket
Michael Jackson’s Thriller jacket (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was this manifestation book I read earlier this year that suggested making a list of 49 things you wanted to accomplish within a year, 30 things you wanted to accomplish in 5 years, 20 things within 10 years, and 10 things within 30 years and so on, until it basically made you narrow down three things you wanted to do in a lifetime. That was a very powerful thing for me to understand. I had wanted to do a lot of things, but it really made me see which goals I had that were tangents and which were leading me towards what I really wanted to accomplish with my life.

When I made that list of things I wanted to accomplish within a year, I didn’t look at it like a bucket list at the time, but in a way it kind of was and is, similar to making New Year’s resolutions. One year I had a very silly yet serious New Year’s resolution and that was to learn to dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

I started learning the dance around a month ago and yesterday I participated in an event called “Thrill the World,” with nearly 200 people at the Arizona state fair. This is a one day event that takes place every year around Halloween time where people from all over the world dance to “Thriller” at the same time in order to break a Guinness World Record, raise money for local charities, and just have fun dancing. On www.thrilltheworld.com, you will find instructional videos that break down the dance and make it pretty easy to learn.

I started learning the dance around a month ago and yesterday I danced with nearly 200 people at the Arizona state fair.

Mom and I in full zombie mode!
Mom and I in full zombie mode!

It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. I also learned how to do zombie makeup from some youtube tutorials. Super cool. Just wanted to share another creation method that has assisted in my growth and healing. Dancing is fun and a great release of energy. And I don’t care what people say, I love Michael Jackson. He was a person who had enough money and power to make change and that was threatening. Sure, he seemed weird, but that’s because he had a stolen childhood due to fame. All he wanted was peace. That’s what most of us want.