(Warning, along with a nice recipe, this post is pretty self-indulgent, rambling and goes where I've never gone yet always wanted to...)
There is SO much I want to talk about today; tons of amazing recipes I've been making and want to share (keeping me so busy I haven't had a chance to post about them!) an incredibly easy, practically free way to grow your own sprouts, food combining- something new I've started paying attention to, my new morning green drink recipe, etc. I will do my level best to get it all on StyleNectar as soon as I can. I'm learning so much, it's quite fun and exciting!
I have been on an amazing journey, as we all are right? That's life! And lately I've been looking at a lot of things including the concepts of identity, presence, going through life with conscious awareness (versus autopilot) and the repeated & perplexing realization that I am quite solo in my fascination by any of these ideas. Most times I bring up discussions, they're with an interest in looking beneath the surface of what's commonly accepted, leading to one of the concepts above. And generally no one wants to go there:-( Consequently I've made many fine friends through the authors of great books who DO love these philosophical discussions- but that will take me on a tangent into literature- another post for later.
For a long time I was too nervous to share these thoughts I consider most valuable & important on StyleNectar. They wouldn't appeal to a very large audience. So I kept things surface, sharing my favorite healthed-up, yet non-vegan, mainstream food so as not to turn anyone off, silencing all the stuff I really wanted to yell from the mountaintops - with the exception of my paintings- they're honest and real- yet simultaneously wide open for interpretation and, therefore, safe. I suppose that's an appeal for an artist; the viewer need go only as far as they dare in interpretation. Plus, they're from the soul, so half the time they're a mystery to me also:-) However, choosing this overall "safe" approach with the rest of my blog was getting to me. I wanted to be authentic which meant representing only a sliver of who I was wasn't enough - plus of course I've since gone completely vegan. So, a few months ago, I tiptoed a bit further and decided to start putting the rest of myself out there, and I've been truly heartened by your enthusiastic response!
Historically, I've stuffed my artistic and spiritual philosopher side. Not that I wanted to- actually I think it was rather unconscious- a product of being sort of a chameleon/socially acceptable. I can count on one hand the number of individuals I've known throughout life who love to philosophize, my Dad being one of them, thankfully:-) Otherwise, I get blank stares if I mention my daily meditation practice, being vegan (watch Our Daily Bread or Earthlings & read Diet For A New America or Eat To Live & you'll be vegan too) or my fascination with economics/politics or Buddhist/Hindu philosophy (I'll stop there, the list goes on I'm afraid.)
So it won't come as a surprise that I don't at all agree with such directives as don't discuss religion and politics! What's wrong with asking why? Why the aversion to looking beneath the surface? What's the appeal to living a life like robots on autopilot? Answer: conditioning is VERY powerful, if not virtually impossible, to go up against. And yet, the various domino affects of a world of robots are very frightening and so I do hope a few more people will have the courage to open their eyes. Personally, I find living in a state of presence/conscious awareness the most beautiful way to go through life. Though I'm not saying it's easy and it's definitely a life's work. However, autopilot has NEVER and will never be interesting to me.
As a society we're obsessed with building and maintaining an identity- as if without one, we'd cease to exist and life would somehow be meaningless without constant activity, achievement & results. In my humble opinion this clinging to an identity, essentially making an I the center of the universe, is the root cause for all the suffering in the world. Though I'll be the first to admit it's a struggle for me too, because of the tremendous pressure of conditioning.
When I was about four years old I'd ask myself, "Who am I?" I just couldn't take myself that seriously and kind of wondered why anyone else did. Didn't you often question, when you were a far less-conditioned human at that young age, all the drama with which adults seemed to be constantly engaged? As pre-conditioned children we were still in touch with our present, peaceful, inner selves. Jesus said, "We must become as little children." A return to the peaceful, spacious, silence where we can regain perspective in a moment of presence.
Meditation is the way I practice presence. It trains me to transcend identity and live in the world with conscious awareness. It's my fast-track (yes, ironic word choice) approach to putting life into perspective in addition to having a host of additional amazing benefits. And I'm committed because it works quite frankly. If I didn't see results I wouldn't be motivated to do it.
There are centuries of evidence and myriad scientific studies linking the affects of meditation to everything from increasing the peaceful centers of the brain to improving one's ability to concentrate, make decisions and cultivate awareness practice. I'll go into awareness practice in another post. Generally, it's learning to become conscious of the patterns of habitual thought in one's mind in order to ultimately let them go and harness the power of the mind rather than live unconsciously according to it's unhelpful, incessant chatter.
During meditation I watch my thoughts go from fast forward to slow motion- a general tape loop of the same 4 or 5 subjects repeating over and over! Letting go of my own "self/identity" follows suit. And soon, I feel as I did when I was four, at one with my surroundings. Bathed in love. Completely at peace.
I don't feel like working on a good segway here so I won't bother. But doesn't all that correspond nicely with not wanting to eat animals or needing to drink coffee in order to be happy?
Jim and I don't drink caffeinated bevvies any longer. We don't miss them. At all. We actually have more energy than when we used to drink them. And I'm afraid that, yes, we are sleeeping better too. If I had to say we have a substitute for coffee, I'd say the rocket-fuel-like energy we get from our green drinks far surpasses (chlorophyll baby). We also imbibe in a spirulina shake almost daily which is seriously amaze. And these Macaccinos pack a nice punch too. They're my late morning snack- Jim heads to work with his in a travel cup.
Maca is an ancient root prized by the South American tribes for centuries for its ability to energize and take warriors into battle with great stamina. It's an adaptogen, meaning it creates a state of balance or normalization in the body which restores its natural homeostasis creating affects such as balancing hormones. Do read up on Maca and start with a very small amount, listen to your body and proceed gently as such ancient herbs are powerful medicine.
Macaccino Recipe (Serves 1)
- 1/2 teaspoon Maca Powder
- 1 teaspoon Cacao Powder
- sprinkle of cinnamon
- stevia to taste
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (for a lighter, yet still delish drink use 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water)
- Heat the milk over a low heat until teeny-tiny bubbles start forming around the edge.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl til incorporated.
- Pour the warmed almond milk into the bowl, whisking until the dry ingredients are thoroughly combined into the milk.
- Pour into your favorite mug, kick back and enjoy!
"To commune daily with God in deep meditation, and to carry His love and guidance with you into all your dutiful activities, is the way that leads to permanent peace and happiness."
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
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