Wednesday, July 29, 2015

45 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul

“There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by my self.” ~Brian Andreas
Do you ever forget to take care of yourself?
I know. You’re busy, and finding the time to take proper care of yourself can be hard. But if you don’t, it won’t be long before you’re battered from exhaustion and operating in a mental fog where it’s hard to care about anything or anyone.
 I should know.
A few years ago, I had a corporate job in London, working a regular sixty-hour week. I enjoyed working with my clients and colleagues, and I wanted to do well.
But I had no life.

I rarely took care of myself, and I was always focused on goals, achievements, and meeting the excessive expectations I had of myself. My high tolerance for discomfort meant I juggled all the balls I had in the air—but at the expense of being a well-rounded human being.
So I made an unusual choice. I quit my job and moved to Thailand to work in a freelance capacity across many different countries and companies, which enabled me to set my own hours and engagements.
I began to take care of myself better, scheduling in time alone, for exercise and for fun.
I got to know myself better and know what I needed—not just to function, but to flourish.
But guess what?
At the end of last year, I spent Christmas alone in bed, completely exhausted.
Why did this happen?
Well, I had been running my busy website and consulting in seven countries in just two months. I forgot to take care of myself again, and I got a nasty case of strep throat.

Self-Care Isn’t a One-Time Deal

The strep throat was a harsh reminder that self-care isn’t something you do once and tick off the list.
It’s the constant repetition of many tiny habits, which together soothe you and make sure you’re at your optimum—emotionally, physically, and mentally.
The best way to do this is to implement tiny self-care habits every day. To regularly include in your life a little bit of love and attention for your own body, mind, and soul.
The following ideas are tiny self-care activities you can fit into a short amount of time, usually with little cost.
Pick one from each category, and include them in your life this week.

Tiny Self-Care Ideas for the Mind

1. Start a compliments file. Document the great things people say about you to read later.
2. Scratch off a lurker on your to-do list, something that’s been there for ages and you’ll never do.
3. Change up the way you make decisions. Decide something with your heart if you usually use your head. Or if you tend to go with your heart, decide with your head.
4. Go cloud-watching. Lie on your back, relax, and watch the sky.
5. Take another route to work. Mixing up your routine in small ways creates new neural pathways in the brain to keep it healthy.
6. Pay complete attention to something you usually do on autopilot, perhaps brushing your teeth, driving, eating, or performing your morning routine.
7. Goof around for a bit. Schedule in five minutes of “play” (non-directed activity) several times throughout your day.
8. Create a deliberate habit, and routinize something small in your life by doing it in the same way each day—what you wear on Tuesdays, or picking up the dental floss before you brush.
9. Fix a small annoyance at home that’s been nagging you—a button lost, a drawer that’s stuck, a light bulb that’s gone.
10. Punctuate your day with a mini-meditation with one minute of awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations; one minute of focused attention on breathing; and one minute of awareness of the body as a whole.
11. Be selfish. Do one thing today just because it makes you happy.
12. Do a mini-declutter. Recycle three things from your wardrobe that you don’t love or regularly wear.
13. Unplug for an hour. Switch everything to airplane mode and free yourself from the constant bingsof social media and email.
14. Get out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just talking to a stranger at the bus stop.
15. Edit your social media feeds, and take out any negative people. You can just “mute” them; you don’t have to delete them. 

Tiny Self-Care Ideas for the Body

1. Give your body ten minutes of mindful attention. Use the body scan technique to check in with each part of your body.
2. Oxygenate by taking three deep breaths. Breathe into your abdomen, and let the air puff out your stomach and chest.
3. Get down and boogie. Put on your favorite upbeat record and shake your booty.
4. Stretch out the kinks. If you’re at work, you can always head to the bathroom to avoid strange looks.
5. Run (or walk, depending on your current physical health) for a few minutes. Or go up and down the stairs three times.
6. Narrow your food choices. Pick two healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners and... (read more HERE)

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Parapsychology: How Science is Proving that Psychic Experiences are REAL

Quantum physics illustrates that the classical, manifested world is illusory by its very nature, yet the daily routine of waking up as an individual human being who is separated from the rest of the external world remains our ordinary experience. Every now and again, however, we experience extraordinary feats of consciousness and extra-sensory perception (ESP) which blow our minds and hearts out of this world, with profound and ongoing impacts in our lives.
These feats may occur in many different guises and in a very personal way. Some believe these experiences to be genuinely extraordinary, whilst others explain them away as ‘coincidence’ or ‘figments of the imagination’. Regardless of our personal beliefs, unexplained occurrences and psychic phenomena such as extra-sensory reception, telepathy and even psychokinesis have been recorded throughout the history of all tribal and traditional civilizations, so it’s not just a modern marvel. What is fresh about this phenomenon is the development of a discipline called ‘Parapsychology’, which is essentially a scientific framework designed to study the ‘psi’ or ‘psychic’ experiences of humanity.

Extraordinary Experiences of the Human Mind

Parapsychology as a field of enquiry is still considered as pseudoscience by the scientific orthodoxy, however there is no justifiable or truly scientific reason why this is the case. There is plenty of compelling evidence that demonstrates that the human mind can and does impact and connect with the world around it, including numerous peer-reviewed journal publications on psi research. It is nothing but scientific bias to overlook it. Simply, the scientific establishment is behaving unscientifically and therefore has a lot to answer for; especially because these are very robust experiments of legitimate scientific methodology that have produced statistically significant data-sets as a result.
The reason psi phenomenon is not taken seriously by the academic community is because philosophical materialism – which is the unproven and dogmatic ‘belief’ that matter is the fundamental stuff of reality – has hijacked modern-day science. Essentially, this misplaced interpretation of a strictly mechanical universe is the model upon which any accumulating evidence is compared, and if certain data doesn’t fit into the limited paradigm of what science already understands, it is arrogantly and unscientifically rejected and explained away as pseudoscience.
Ironically, this prejudicial dismissal of evidence is itself the definition of pseudo scientific behaviour.
However, not all scientists have fallen victim to the materialist rhetoric. For example, in 2014 a team of over 100 prominent scientists and academics from around the world called for an open, informed study of all aspects of consciousness. These scientists included Daryl Bem (Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Cornell University), Irving Kirsch (Professor of Psychology, University of Plymouth, and Lecturer in Medicine, Harvard Medical School) and Brian Josephson (Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge, who is also a Nobel Prize winner for his work in the field of physics). Another example in the same year was the creation of a “Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science … to visualize what an emerging scientific view may look like”. The Manifesto was developed by eight respected scientists, including Rupert Sheldrake, a biologist and author best known for his theory of morphic fields and morphic resonance. Simply, both groups of scientists have called upon the scientific community to face their hypocrisy and transcend their philosophical bias toward the science of psi phenomenon.
(An interview with Sheldrake was featured in my previous article, 3 Scientific Fields That Are Helping to Evolve Humanity’s Worldview.)
Much of the dogma that makes up this charade has been reinforced by so-called skeptics who have been proven not to have investigated the evidence objectively; a fact that websites like Skeptical About Skeptics have made embarrassingly clear. In addition, over time this blind ‘faith’ in the completeness of modern science has (d)evolved into ‘scientism’ — the same kind of fanaticism for which many people who are heavily indoctrinated into scientific materialism hypocritically dismiss religious people. The irony would be hilarious if it wasn’t so harmful to our collective mindset, especially our  (read more HERE)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Seven Stages of Samadhi

The Seven Stages of Samadhi

There are supposed to be seven stages of the attainment of samadhi, and what I described yesterday is the lowest type, though even that initial stage might have appeared to you as very hard indeed. However, to the extent you have understood what was said, you have taken a very bold step in the right direction. These stages mentioned are just the processes of the disentanglement of consciousness from involvement in the various levels of the manifestation of the universe. In deep meditation, bordering upon samadhi, you are contemplating the whole universe in front of you.
The accepted categories of the descent of consciousness in the process of evolution and involution are elaborately described both in the Sankhya and the Vedanta doctrines. The lowest manifestation in the process of creation, or evolution, is earthly existence. We are now in the lowest category of life, involved in material associations. Not merely that, but things are utterly differentiated from one another. Diversification goes to the utmost extent when we reach the earth plane. Nothing has any connection with anything else; everything stands by itself. You can see for yourself that in this world, nothing seems to have any connection with anything else. “Each one for oneself and let the devil take the hindmost” is the kind of doctrine that prevails in the lowest category of manifestation. We call it worldly existence, earthly existence.

There are cosmic levels corresponding to the levels in our own psychophysical personality because the individual and the universe are co-relatives of each other, and act and react in a comprehensive manner. We may say an individual is a cross section of the whole universe. We will find in each individual entity a miniature universe. In traditional language, these stages, or levels of manifestation, are called Bhuloka, the earthly level, and beyond that is Bhuvarloka, the astral world, which is somewhat comparable to our vital layer of individual personality. These levels cannot be seen with the eyes, just as we cannot see our own subtle body. They are higher levels, one above the other. There is another level, which is more subtle, called Svarloka. In the Puranas it is regarded as the heaven of the gods, the abode of resplendent beings with shining bodies of fire who are not materially encumbered in any way. The gods are supposed to be capable of penetrating even hard rock because their bodies are the fine substance of the fire principle. These are the heavens of the religious scriptures.
Higher than that is Maharloka, a level where even the fire-like individuality gradually tends to evaporate into a larger and wider comprehensiveness. In the Puranas there are fantastic descriptions of the residents, or the denizens, of this realm. They tend to touch each other just as flames of fire can touch each other, wherein we cannot know whether there are two flames or they are actually commingling into a single flame. A complete merger does not take place, but the flame of the rarefied personality has a tendency to move towards immersing itself in another flame that is also like itself. Inconceivable are all these to our minds. Beyond Maharloka is Janaloka, another subtle realm where only Masters live, and not ordinary mortals. Great potentials of cosmic power are imbedded in every denizen of that wonderful, magnificent realm which is unthinkable, inexpressible, and totally transcendent to our understanding.
These names may be difficult to comprehend, and only indicate the subtlety of the manifestation of being—so subtle that the winds of individual existence blow into the location, as it were, of individuals of a similar type. Winds blow over winds, we may say. When winds blow, we do not know what is blowing. Winds blow from all sides and collide from one side to another. A gale can rush from one direction and come in contact with a similar gale from another direction. Wonderful! That is the only word we can use to describe this state.
Beyond Janaloka is Tapoloka, where the austerity of individuality reaches such a pinnacle that the consciousness of individual selfhood tends towards evaporating, like burnt camphor. When camphor is inflamed with heat, it melts into a vaporous ubiquitous substance, and it is said that such is the experience of these Masters, these austere individuals. We need not call them individuals at all. They are super-individuals; we cannot use a better word. They are the meeting point of the cosmic and the subtle individual substance, one shaking hands with the other.
An illustration of this kind of experience is mentioned in the Chhandogya Upanishad. When the seeking consciousness rises gradually in the process of the samadhis mentioned, it reaches a particular stage where it has no individual or personal motive. In the lower levels, there is motivation. The seeker feels that something has to be done; meditation is to be carried on, and concentration is to be directed in this fashion. But that is only up to a level where there is self-consciousness of the seeking spirit. A stage is reached where it is about to reach the sea of existence. When the river moves towards the waves of the ocean, we cannot say whether the river exists or does not exist. It is both there and not there.
How will the spirit move further, higher up, when there is no individual motivation? Self-effort is not possible there because... (read more HERE)

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Not just any other veggie burger...





VEGGIE BURGERS W/ A SWEET & TANGY MUSTARD SAUCE + RADICCHIO SLAW
Serves 6 altogether.
Veggie Burgers
Makes 6 burgers.
1 cup sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grated carrot (about 1 large)
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 1 medium)
3 cups chopped white (or brown) mushrooms
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil (for cooking)
salt + pepper to taste
1/4 cup low sodium tamari (non-GMO)
1 cup oat flour
1 cup sunflower seeds (shelled and ground)
Heat a large skillet to medium/low heat and add the refined coconut oil. Toss in the diced onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Now add the grated carrot and zucchini. Let cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped mushrooms and stir to combine. Let sit and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure all of the mushrooms get cooked evenly. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool slightly while you prepare the dry ingredients.
In a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl, combine the oat flour and ground sunflower seeds (I usually grind my seeds, and sometimes oats too, in the food processor until they resemble a flour). At this point I tend to add a good pinch of salt and few dashes of pepper to the dry mixture. Add the cooked veggies to the bowl using tongs, leaving any excess water/juices in the pan, and mix well with the flours. Add the tamari and mix well again. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Divide the mixture into 6 balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. If the dough is too sticky to handle, place it in the freezer for a few minutes to set. Once shaped, you can either flatten the veggie burger balls and go straight to baking them (instructions below) or place in the freezer. Once frozen I transfer them to a freezer-safe bag, making sure to squeeze out all of the air before sealing tightly and keeping in the freezer until ready to cook (they will keep for one month when frozen). Thaw a veggie burger in the refrigerator overnight (or during the day) before proceeding to cook.
You can either cook the veggie burgers in a skillet with a little refined coconut oil until crisp on both sides (on medium heat for about 5 minutes per side), or bake in a 350F oven for 40 minutes, flipping the patties half-way through the cooking time (this is the method I chose).
Spelt Buns
Makes 6 buns.
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup refined coconut oil
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon flax meal + 3 tablespoons water
3 1/4 cups whole spelt flour
optional
pepitas and/or sesame seeds for topping
Add the yeast to the warm water in a medium size mixing bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Add the flax meal to the water (preferable warm water) and set aside for 5 minutes to set also.
Add the rest of the wet ingredients to the yeast (including the flax mixture), then add in the dry ingredients. Mix well and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about a minute until it forms into a smooth elastic ball. Shape into a log and cut into six equal parts. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Slightly press down on each ball of dough, cover with a cloth towel, and let rest for 10 minutes.
During this time, preheat the oven to 425F. Before placing the buns in the oven, sprinkle with water and seeds (if desired). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and transfer to the counter to cool. Slice and use right away, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days (or freeze and defrost as needed).
Sweet & Tangy Mustard Sauce
3/4 cup organic yellow mustard
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup raw honey (or more maple)
2 to 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons organic tomato paste (from a BPA free container)
1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce
Mix the ingredients together in a jar, seal tightly, and let sit in the refrigerator for a few hours so the flavors can mingle before serving. Should keep for two weeks (or longer).

Cool Radicchio Slaw
Serves 6.
1/2 cup cashews (soaked 4 hours or longer)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon lemon zest (from an organic lemon)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt + pepper to taste
1 medium radicchio, shredded (about 5 to 6 cups)
Blend all of the above ingredients (minus the shredded radicchio) in your blender. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Toss with shredded radicchio in a mixing bowl, cover, and place in the refrigerator to marinate for an hour before serving.
Assemble
Slice and toast a spelt bun (if desired). Spoon a few tablespoons of the mustard sauce on the bottom bun, top with the cooked veggie burger, a few slices of avocado, and a scoop of the radicchio slaw – now take a little trip to veggie burger heaven. Happy summer! (for more click HERE)




Monday, July 13, 2015

These 24 Socrates Quotes Will Make You Question Life

Socrates was one of the most influential philosophers of all time. His writings are not only inspirational, but they will make you question life in a very unique way.
Here are 24 Socrates quotes that will make you question life:
1) “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

2) “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

3) “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”

4) “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”

5) “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

6) “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”

7) “By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”

8) “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”

9) “If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”

10) “Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.”

11) “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”

12) “To find yourself, think for yourself.”

Click HERE to read more...



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How to Release Negative Emotions



Do you sometimes feel oppressed by negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, shame, worthlessness, or depression? Are you open to discover a way to manage them – and transcend them – that requires no medication nor years of psychotherapy? I have good news for you.

Ancient wisdom traditions of the East – such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism – have put a lot of study into the human body and mind, for thousands of years, with the goal of transcending human suffering. With centuries of devoted experiments, revelations, and insight, they discovered that all these negative emotions are not natural to our true being – they belong to the realm of the ego, our mistaken identity.

Following a certain set of contemplative practices and some lifestyle tweaks, these masters discovered their true being, and saw that in thisplace the negative emotions do not live. Out of their compassion and sense of oneness with all beings, they then spent their life teaching us how to find this space of freedom, of peace, of bliss. The insights and techniques that I share in this article come from the Buddhist traditions, and the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.
Seeing Clearly

I like to call this the L-I-E-R method (label, introspect, examine, release), because it deals directly with the negative feeling and the lie it carries. It’s not a pretty word but does the job as a mnemonic device.
Label. Recognize that fear has arisen, and label it in your mind. The words you use are important. Don’t say “I’m afraid” or “I have fear”; instead say “fear has arisen”, or “fear is here”. Do you see how just changing the words already creates a different perspective and more space?
Introspect. Take one to three deep breaths, and bring your attention inside yourself – this means don’t pay attention to the object, person or circumstance that triggered the emotion, but rather attend... (read more HERE)

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

ROASTED SWEET POTATO & PLANTAIN BURRITOS

ROASTED SWEET POTATO & PLANTAIN BURRITOS
Author: 
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: Around 6 Burritos
 
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 Plantains
  • 2 Small Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Cayenne (optional, will make it spicy!)
  • 6 or more Tortillas (for gluten free use corn tortillas)
  • Cooked rice, black beans, cilantro, jalapeƱo, sliced peppers, corn kernels, the lime and cilantro sauce (recipe below), or whatever else you want to layer into your burrito!
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F (200C).
  2. Peel the plantains, then cut them on an angle about ¼" thick.
  3. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into pieces that are about ½ the size of the plantain slices. The sweet potatoes take longer to cook, so by making the pieces smaller, we will ensure that everything finishes cooking at the same time.
  4. Add the plantains and sweet potato to a bowl. Add in the olive oil and all the spices (chili powder, salt, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne if using). Toss to evenly coat.
  5. Lightly grease a baking tray and spread the sweet potatoes and plantains in one even layer without too many pieces touching. You will probably have to use more than one baking tray.
  6. Pop it in the oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping once halfway through. They are done when the sweet potatoes and plantains are soft all the way through and browned on both sides.
  7. Fill a tortilla with the sweet potatoes and plantains, and whatever other fillings you like. Rice, black beans, cilantro, etc. Fold over the ends and roll them up so all of the filling is trapped inside.
  8. For the finishing touch, heat a dry pan over medium-high heat. Put your burritos seam side down. Toast the burritos for about 1-2 minutes until golden, then flip and toast the other side. This seals the burrito so that it won't fall open, and the toasted tortilla tastes amazing!





For more read HERE


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Friday, July 10, 2015

Learning to Accept Love After Experiencing Trauma


Love is one of the most elemental of emotions. It is a building block of some of our deepest relationships and a component in many of our happiest days. Yet the ability to freely give and receive love is a fragile skill, which traumatic experiences can all too easily dent or damage.
Learning how to be loved is a vital part of your healing. Here are a few things to think about as you regain your ability to accept someone’s care, concern, and nurturing.
Part of learning how to be loved again is learning how to interact with people who express kindness, care, concern, nurture, and attention. Because you have experienced a traumatic experience, you have learned that people are capable of great cruelty. To avoid experiencing cruelty again, a part of your mind may have decided to ensure that you will never be hurt again. One of the ways that your mind tries to protect you from future cruelty is to assume that people are dangerous. This assumption in turn results in you leaning towards mistrust, avoiding vulnerability, and shying away from emotional intimacy.
One way to practice opening yourself up to love is to...(read more here)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

How to Be a Better Thinker, Innovator and Problem Solver


Cogs replaced hands so to speak during the U.S. Industrial Revolution when businesses felt a rush to automate manual tasks. Now the technology rush is removing the cogs as we hurry to replace people running the lines with automated systems. With artificial intelligence not too far away, the trend for less human involvement is set to continue into the future.
So it makes sense that business is evolving, too, moving from a “doing” model to a “thinking” model.
As technology handles more tasks, mental agility has never been more important. If we want to future-proof our businesses, and ourselves, we need to be able to think, re-think and even un-think current processes. Like anything, coming up with solutions and new ways to see things takes practice.
Behavioral strategists Dan Gregory and Kieran Flanagan, authors of the new book Selfish, Scared & Stupid , teach people in business how to become better thinkers, innovators and problem solvers; here are their best tips to get your mind muscles working:
1. Ideas are a numbers game.
When brainstorming, you want the numbers on your side. This is the secret to the best creative and problem-solving minds on the planet. You have to generate enough options to get the obvious thinking out of the way. Like reps at the gym, you need to push through the easy stuff and get to the difficult things for the best results.
Your first ideas are obvious and thus first-level thinking. You need to go deeper than that to find gold. You must go beyond that first-level thinking to discover unseen ideas that truly solve the problem.
2. Think in questions.
Train your brain to think in questions not statements. The problem with statements is that they presuppose a solution and can stop you from coming up with an innovative solution. Questions in contrast open up the solutions. Asking for a shelf sticker that draws attention to a product is very different from the question of how to increase (read more...)

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