Meditation On My Meal 1.14.18

Today I woke up and tried some Bulletproof coffee, (which is big news for the tea drinker that I am) so I was thoroughly caffeinated for this energizing yogurt combo. There was just enough time before my hike this morning to make this small breakfast.

5oz unsweetened almond yogurt, 1 tsp maca powder, 1 tbsp flax seed, 1/2 tbsp raw honey, and a dash of organic pumpkin pie spice

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” Joseph Campbell

Meditation On My Meal 12.29.17

I got to use my new pho bowls and chopsticks with this dish! It was so nice to share this meal with a good friend. And, this meal marks the last meal I drink alcohol for an indefinite amount of time! Wish me luck!

meditation on my meal 12.29.
[rice noodles, vegetable broth, ginger, garlic, kombu, green onions, maitake mushrooms, coconut animos, sriracha]

“If the only prayer you ever say is “thank you” that will be enough” The Power Of Now, Ekhart Tolle

2018 Intention Questions

I have resisted posting on this blog for many reasons.  The thought that rings true to me right now for why I chose not to post is that I did not feel in alignment in my life and so anything I would express during that time wouldn’t feel quite right. In hindsight, there are multiple posts on this blog that I posted while out of alignment and no longer resonate with, yet I must be compassionate to my past self and allow them to be true for me in the moment I wrote them. I also can’t deny that I’ve, frankly, just been lazy (Whoops!). Hey, it happens to the best of us.
Since I last posted, I moved back to California from Boulder, Colorado to heal from this past year, embraced a new chapter of my life and sense of self, and basically allowed myself to hibernate. I have an aunt who always said when I was young that I was a brown bear and recently I’ve been feeling that brown bear hibernation state mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Before I divulge more life updates in further posts, I want to share my intentions for 2018. For this next year, my intentions came to me in the form of questions that I can always come back to:
In this moment…
  1. How can I be more kind?
  2. How can I connect more deeply with my community?
  3. Where can I experience joy?

Some truths that I have arrived at through this time of hibernation is that there is love to be received in many capacities when I need it – and any other time as well. I realized that alignment comes from within context and that this life gives pleasures that no life before could hold (So might as well enjoy them!). And lastly, if I bring light with me into every aspect of my life, I also bring with me love and connection. I find that what I desire most after this year is to be kind, to connect with those in my community, and experience joy wherever it shows up.

“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness with being apart of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are, it requires you to be who you are.” -Brene Brown, Braving The Wildness 

What I’m Listening To – Podcasts

Okay, so many people have been asking me which podcasts I enjoy most. It feels like listening to podcasts is the HIP AF millennial thing to do these days. Maybe it makes us feel like we have our lives together? Maybe it’s just something to do on our commutes when the radio has failed us by playing too much of The Chainsmokers? Maybe we just like to start every sentence with “So, I was listening to this podcast the other day and…”. Well, everyone has their own reasons for listening to podcasts and I’m going to give you some of my favorites. Some of them I’ve just started listening to and some of them I’ve been listening to for a while. If you’re interested in listening to something Amanda-Approved then take a gander at the options below.

Stuff Mom Never Told You – This is a great feminist podcast for women who are interested in women’s role in society today, but who also enjoy pop-culture and political references. The language isn’t the most inclusive at times, but you can definitely tell that they are trying to improve that aspect of the show. Instead, this is a great podcast for women who are new to understanding how (mostly cis) women play a role in history, how to address sexism in our everyday lives, and who plan on having a 9-5-type career. The podcast’s co-hosts, Emilie Aries and Bridget Todd, are two mid-20’s cis women in Washington D.C who discuss navigating the work and home life as a Millennial and a woman. It’s fraught with pop culture references, which I love, and usually stays pretty light-hearted while still including the tougher topics, which I also love. Sometimes I want to hear about the nuance of feminism without feeling like the world is going to shit, and this podcast fits that criteria.
Who May Enjoy This Podcast – Working Women, Anyone interested in women’s evolving role in society, Anyone who wants to hear a more heteronormative side of feminism, Anyone who enjoys political commentary and pop-culture
Bulletproof Radio – Okay, so this podcast isn’t for the health and nutrition newbies out there. You definitely need to know your shit, and all the health and wellness fads over time, to understand what’s going on in this podcast. Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof Coffee and self-proclaimed “bio-hacker”, interviews medical researchers and specialists in functional medicine to figure out basically how to “hack” his body to be as healthy and live as long as possible. He talks about how he’s “hacked” his DNA and mitochondria to get the best sleep and be at optimal health by being on a Ketogenic diet, taking certain supplements, and detoxing from our toxic environment. As someone who is a huge nerd for nutrition and wellness, this podcast is FASCINATING. I don’t personally agree with the great lengths he’s taken to improve his health, but it’s fascinating hearing about the research he’s done with his own body and the knowledge specialists in their fields discovered about the human body.
Who May Enjoy This Podcast – Health and Nutrition nerds, Science-types, People who want to live as long as possible, Fans of alternative medicine or preventative medicine, Health fad skeptics,  Individuals who are mistrustful of our current medical system, My Father (Yes, Dad, this is me calling you out on my blog. I’ve been trying to get you to listen to this podcast for months.)
Anna Faris Is Unqualified – I initially found this podcast because I realized I needed a podcast that would make me laugh (aka wasn’t health, wellness, or social justice related). I’ve always thought Anna Faris is hilarious, especially in House Bunny, and her marriage to Chris Pratt is definitely #MarriageGoals. Faris, with her co-host and producer Sim Sarna, interviews celebrity guests and asks them for unqualified relationship advice. Whether it’s Anna Faris’ ridiculous fictional scenarios she makes up or just hearing celebrities give terrible relationship advice to listeners who call into the studio, I’ll definitely find myself laughing aloud at most of the podcast’s comedic banter.
Who May Enjoy This Podcast – Fans of Anna Faris, Comedy lovers, People who laugh at bad relationship advice, Stoners (because Anna Faris has starred in multiple stoner cult films), Anyone who enjoys hearing about the personal lives of well-known celebrities, People who aren’t bothered by swearing or crude language
Favorite Episodes – ep 78: Live from Clusterfest with Hannibal Buress and Lizzo (I’ve listened to this episode multiple times all the way through and still think it’s funny); Bonus episode: Tavi Gevinson; All podcasts with Seth Rogan

The Priestess Podcast – A podcast for all things spiritual and Divine feminine. I don’t always get to talk about my spiritual beliefs, but it’s comforting to hear about different aspects of the Divine in this podcast. The creator and host of this podcast, Julie Parker, has such a warm, calming voice and doesn’t downplay anything “spiritual”. In the majority of the episodes she interviews conscious leaders, coaches, and spiritual practitioners in “Divine Feminine, Goddess Culture, Women’s Spirituality and Living with Grace”, but sometimes she just has solo episodes where she speaks on certain topics by herself. Even as I write about this podcast I struggle to be completely open as to how much I do believe in many things labeled as “spiritual” because I know that the spiritual community is definitely not perfect (cultural appropriation, lack of inclusive language, geared mostly toward cisgendered individuals, etc.). But time and time again I find myself drawn to conversations around our spiritual connection to Earth, the moon, the stars, and all the energies in-between. While I acknowledge that the spiritual community isn’t perfect, I find comfort and a safe, authentic space in this podcast. While I may not have many close peers with similar beliefs, it’s nice to listen to a podcast where my beliefs are taken seriously.
Who May Enjoy This Podcast –  Someone who enjoys all things spiritual, Wants to know more about the Divine Feminine or goddess culture, Wants a feminine-centered podcast
Stronger – I wrote a previous post about this podcast, which actually led me to write this post when people inquired to other podcasts I listen to frequently. This is an incredibly genuine podcast about health and wellness (physical, mental, and emotional), that moves past the hip, stylish stuff and gets to what really impacts your health. There are some pretty hilarious sound effects that they’ve added in that, not going to lie, have totally thrown my off guard at times. It’s a solid podcast, with something to learn from every episode.
Who May Enjoy This Podcast –  Health-conscious listeners, Believers in hip health fabs, Wellness junkies
Favorite EpisodesEpisode 1: Is the Wellness Industry Taking Advantage of Us?; Episode 2: The Best and Worst Things to Say to Someone With Depression; Episode 4: 4 Foods You Think Are Healthy That May Not Be  [this link don’t seem to be working, but you can still find these episodes when you look on itunes]

AstroTwins Radio – Anyone who knows me, knows I love astrology. It’s something my mother taught me from a young age and I’ve just stuck to learning more. I rarely just read my own horoscope for the day, I also read my rising sign, moon sign, and all the horoscopes of the people in my life. Astrology is like a personality test but there are no questions and the answers are given from the alignment of the planets and stars on the exact time of your birth. So, yes, I love that there’s a podcast about astrology. The Astro Twins have recently become some of the most popular and well-known astrologists, writing articles and horoscopes for many popular websites as well as having their own site. They release monthly podcasts, where they talk about how the different planetary alignments may affect how your month plays out. I love hearing about how different zodiac signs may be affected by the planetary arrangements. It’s a nice change to listen to someone talk about astrology rather than just reading it.
Who May Enjoy This Podcast – fans of Astrology, Someone who needs help making decisions or needs guidance with a dilemma in their life
Favorite Episodes – Basically any most recent episode

Free Cookies – Okay, so Kathryn Budig was one of the first yogis I’ve followed on social media. I saw her whole transition through divorcing her husband, figuring out her place in the yoga world, and then ultimately starting a relationship with Kate Fagan. I found this podcast just after Kate Fagan spoke at the CU Boulder graduation as the commencement speaker and seeing Budig post Instagram pictures of them together in Boulder. When their new podcast was recommended to me on iTunes, I was like “Heck YEAH, I’m going to listen to a podcast with two rad gals and cookies!”. Okay, their podcast is not completely about cookies, but you do hear about Kate Fagan’s “Standard Cookie List” and the favorite cookie of every guest interviewed on the show. They interview big names in sports or the wellness community. It’s pretty entertaining hearing a podcast the brings together those two industries.
Who May Enjoy This Podcast – Someone who wants an LGBTQ-friendly podcast (heads-up: they mostly discuss lesbian, bi, or fluid experiences), ESPN fans/Sports enthusiasts who can talk about more than just sports, Anyone who is a fan of Kate Fagan and/or Kathryn Budig, Yogis who can make fun of themselves, anyone who likes cookies
Favorite EpisodesAbby Wambach Kicks Off Cookies: 5/2/17 (The Pilot episode so you know what’s up with the cookies); Scholar-Chip Cookie; Seane Corn: the OG Cookie

ISGP “The Forum” – Thought I’d also give a shoutout to a podcast I just started listening to, Institute of Science for Global Policy “The Forum”. One of the co-hosts, Daniella Baeza, is the twin sister to one of my closest and dearest friends Andrea. The podcast talks about a plethora of science-related topics that affect global policy, with some quirky jokes thrown in-between. They are truly passionate about the topics they discuss and continue regardless of funding, which I think is totally rad.
Who May Enjoy This Podcast – Science-types, Anyone who is curious about how science is applied to global policy


Everyone listens to such different podcasts, which is why I love hearing about which podcasts each individual enjoys! If you have any good recommendations let me know in the comment section!

Why I Stopped Reading “Health” Articles

I used to start every morning by opening MindBodyGreen, a platform that posts health and wellness related articles. I would read multiple articles that would convince me I had one health ailment or another. The funny thing was that it was finally an article on there that got me to stop. The article talked about how sometimes you can’t figure out your health problems and that’s okay, but remember that you are not a doctor. No matter how many articles you read, Wikipedia pages you look through, and even books you read, mostly likely, you’re still not going to be a health professional unless you go to medical school or naturopathic school.

I found that one of the most dangerous things you can do is self-diagnose. Sometimes you’re right, but much of the time, you’re wrong. And even if you are right, you should check with your functional medicine doctor. I currently live in the capital of self-diagnosers, Boulder, CO. The people who live here follow all the food fads religiously and sometimes to the detriment to their own health. Now, Boulder is definitely not the only place where this occurs. This goes on in many places where people start to realize that they can’t always trust their western medicine doctor and they’re finally listening to their intuition. But when we read all these articles online titled “10 Ways You Know You Have A Candida Overgrowth” or “Here’s What You Need To Heal Your Gut” many people become obsessed with a health diagnosis that doesn’t even apply to them. Fatigue, brain fog, constipation, stubborn weight gain, and anxiety are symptoms that almost everyone experiences from time to time, and while they can definitely indicate that you have an underlying health condition, you might just as easily have just overindulged on cookies the day before, didn’t get a good enough nights rest, or been going through a rough patch in your life. We’re still so stuck on this western idea of getting a “quick-fix” that if we just figure out this ONE thing that’s wrong then we will cure everything wrong with our bodies. That idea doesn’t come from a holistic perspective when we’re just looking for the ONE thing wrong.

The internet is full of a lot of junk, please be conscious of the information you consume.

Our bodies and minds are complex and unique and we must respect that by not self-diagnosing ourselves. And like I said, sometimes you’re right. If you feel wholehearted that something feels off in your body, see a doctor, see a naturopath or functional medicine doctor. Take a few days to write down all your health-related symptoms and questions that are specific to YOU, not what you saw that article the other day or your friend told you that you’re feeling. When we read these articles, we can convince ourselves that’s how we’re feeling. You do not want to manifest symptoms you do not have. The internet is full of a lot of junk, please be conscious of the information you consume.

As we evolve and grow our view of health care, we must be aware of old ways disguised as new. We must look at systemic issues in our own health as we look at our society as well. I hope to bring together a community and safe space for those who have struggled with their health, but we must remember that our own physical, mental, and spiritual paths are our own and we must look within before looking for validation from external sources. While that seems contradictory to what I said earlier about making sure to see a doctor or other licensed health professional, it’s still important to look within yourself to hear what your body’s telling you and that most likely will not be found on the internet.

The other day I had a wake-up call when I read that maybe the person you know who believes they have every new ailment in the book might not be very in touch with their own body. And I kind of gasped because I thought to myself, “oh no, that’s totally me recently”. It was easy for me to believe every new ailment that gained popularity related to me because I just overall felt shitty most of the time. So when whatever I would read said “Do you feel shitty all the time? Well, [enter name of ailment] could be the cause of it!”, I would say “OH OH OH I feel shitty!!! This must be the cause! Thank goodness I finally know the answers to my struggle!”. Then I would shout to the heavens about how this was what caused my pain, my fatigue, my lack of feeling good. Then later I would find out I was wrong, it wasn’t that particular ailment, or if it was then it was just a small piece of how I was feeling. And I must give credit to the wonderful writers of these articles because they definitely do know what they’re talking about and it can feel extremely validating to hear the stories of other people who have also struggled with their health (and they even can create a sense of hope to know I can find answers to my own health mysteries too). But while the stories of their own healing journey can be helpful in certain ways, it’s when we become obsessed with finding answers for our own health in their stories that it can become destructive. Many people have found themselves orthorexic and having toxic relationships to food this way. I have been there too, I have created toxic relationships to food, I have felt an enormous amount of shame around my health.

Now I’m learning to listen to my body for answers instead of looking to the internet for those answers. And maybe you’re not like me and these articles have only helped you, then I say keep on reading them to your heart’s delight. But if you sense that they are not helping you, or you have started feeling toxic obsessions around reading about health and the body like staying up till 3 am on a Wikipedia binge with 20+ tabs open related to your skin biome (yes I really did that lol), then I encourage you to stop for a couple weeks and see how you feel. You might be infinitely more in tune with your body.

Meditation On My Meal IV

Okay, I think we should take a moment to take a big deep breathe.

Now that we’ve taken a breathe, my life is taking me on quite the journey right now. My house may have mold, or something in my house is definitely perpetuating my health issues. I need to decide where I’m going to move now that I’ve decided I’m going to take a semester off from school. I’m currently feeling the deep repercussions of not taking care of my burnout and am currently learning how to ask for help when I can longer “push harder”. I’m feeling a life-calling coming on in the form of educating others around the effects of living in a world of toxins and in a society that refuses to acknowledge systemic issues. So, yeah…meditate on that, folks.

I have been drinking a smoothie that has been fueling me in this time of serious adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalance, digestive distress, and just a general state of being inflamed. It contains collagen powder, matcha powder, moringa powder, frozen pineapple, chunk of ginger, grapefruit juice, and a touch of almond milk. It’s packed with micronutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, and many other antioxidants. It’s so anti-inflammatory that I’ve felt a physical difference from drinking this smoothie throughout my week. Sometimes I’ll change up this smoothie by adding a chunk of turmeric or using blueberries instead of pineapple. As you see below, I’ll drink a smoothie in rain or shine (or snow!). Obviously, the focus is not on my smoothie, but that I’m drinking a smoothie when there is snow outside. I’m sure y’all have seen enough spotless pictures of green smoothies, but how about a blurry picture and SNOW!

smoothie w moringa.jpg
[collagen powder, matcha powder, moringa powder, frozen pineapple, chunk of ginger, grapefruit juice, and a touch of almond milk]

“Don’t look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise , you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace.” The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

Lets Take A Moment To Forgive Ourselves

I struggle to forgive myself in the moment and I’m creating a practice of openly forgiving myself through journaling. But for those who also struggle to forgive themselves, I encourage you to join me in this practice. I find that when I forgive myself, whether it sounds silly to you or to someone else doesn’t matter, I have the space to move forward in my life. It could even be “I, Amanda, forgive myself for eating that cookie that I knew was just going make my stomach upset and crash a couple hours later”. It’s a time to be open with yourself and see how you feel without judgment. Start with listing 5 things you choose to forgive yourself for right now. Each line will start with “I forgive myself for…” and then you choose the rest of the statement.

Here’s mine today:

I forgive myself for not forgiving myself for so long.

I forgive myself for not listening to my body.

I forgive myself for struggling to feel my feelings.

I forgive myself for procrastinating on the things I found important to me.

I forgive myself for following the paths of those who are not me and allowing those paths to dominate my thoughts of myself. 

The words we speak to ourselves hold power. I’ve recently been resonating with the idea that we create our realities and our conversations with ourselves are really conversations with the universe. For example, I took this selfie featured in this post while laying on my boyfriends floor definitely having a conversation with the universe that really wasn’t serving me (but I thought the picture was kind of funny regardless hehe).

Sometimes I feel like before I can speak from an empowering place, I need to release things from my past and things I’ve been hard on myself about. I already feel freer after doing this practice. Mercury is direct again (ugh, finally!), but I learned a lot about myself during this past mercury retrograde and I’m so grateful for where my life is taking me.

Are there things you feel you need to forgive yourself for?

Clean Eating, Minimalism, New Hair Cut, – Or “The One Thing That Will Finally Make Me Feel In Control”

Let me just say, I hear you, I see you, and I feel you. You feel out of control, and you’ve been sold by a new fad, the media, or a friend that says if I “just do this one thing, I will finally feel in control”. And sometimes it works! You got a new hairstyle (peep the picture below of mine or on Instagram), you decided to discard or sell anything that doesn’t “spark joy” after you read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, or maybe you did the Whole30 (or went even paleo/keto/vegan/raw) and feel more energetic because of it. In my case, I’ve done forms of these kind of things too, but the feeling is ephemeral and then I’m once again back to feeling like my life is out of control. And yes, I do know that I am responsible for my life, I am overabundantly clear on how my life is what I make it, but sometimes rationalizing these feelings with “I’m just living from the past” or “I’m leading my life from a place of fear” just doesn’t always work! And I want to acknowledge that I’m speaking from a young college-aged Millennial woman’s point of view here because, incase you forgot, I’m not some Baby-boomer CEO guy with the ego the size of the Menlo Park Googleplex. In other words, I’m not going to tell you to go from Zero-to-One like Peter Thiel because I’m already a young woman, my voice is already in a unique market position in our patriarchal society. And when I write this, I hope you don’t think I’m going to give you some world-changing view solutions to feeling in control, but rather that I want to create an inquiry into why, as young women or just part of this generation, it feels like it’s normal or just plain normalized to feel like we’re not in control of our lives.

[new hair cut!]
Some hypothesize that from a sociological perspective, through generations of oppression and discrimination, and being socialized to be and act a certain way, women have had the freedom to own property, be financially independent, and had leadership positions stolen from them, so the only thing we do have control over are our bodies and maybe the appearance of our homes. But when you look at current political events, with anti-abortion laws being passed (which is just plain fucked up) and attempts to de-fund Planned Parenthood, or you look to the media, where incessant ads of creams, lotions, and makeup are shoved in women’s faces with the promise to make them look “more attractive”, do women even have control over their bodies either? Even though nowadays we’re having conversations about women being the breadwinners in heteronormative households and ads now containing “natural”, un-airbrushed pictures of “real-women”, it still just feels like old ways disguised as new. Maybe we do these attempts to control our appearance and our immediate spaces because those are the things we do feel like we can have control over and if we control the few things society allows us to control, then maybe we will finally feel over-all in control of our lives and futures as well.

Consequently, sometimes this search for control can go too far, or to toxic lengths.

Consequently, sometimes this search for control can go too far, or to toxic lengths. Sometimes that hairstyle change is of the 2007-Britney-Spears-variety, you get rid of so many material items in the quest for minimalism that you get rid of even the things that meant the most to you, or your “clean-eating” has turned into a toxic relationship with food. I actually have started to see the words “clean-eating” as a red flag, because what does that even mean? When you look at the foods these people who preach “clean-eating”, much of the time it’s foods that are financially unattainable to many people and/or are just the new food fads. How about we just eat-whatever-the-fuck-makes-you-feel-awesome or just stop being so cluttered with things we don’t need?

I read a quote the other day, honestly it was probably from an inspirational Instagram post (and if anyone knows where I saw this quote then please let me know so I can link the quote to them to give them the credit they deserve), that said “Stop asking for advice from the people who aren’t where you want to go!”. I can’t quite pin-point if it just felt right in my body, or it just validated why the advice I chose to listen to hasn’t been working for me, but regardless it felt like a these-are-the-words-I-needed-read-thank-you moment after I read it. What I took from that quote was that I shouldn’t ask an electrical engineer how to become a holistic practitioner. I could even take this to, should I even ask a successful cis-man in this society how to be successful, when I want to be a successful woman in a society that benefits people of all genders? Maybe I’ve been trying to fit into these boxes I don’t even want to fit into! Or maybe I’m just full of shit, because there’s always a possibility of that, who knows! As I chose to write this post over a number of days, because I needed to process the things I’ve said and the feelings I’m having around my words, I do acknowledge that I’ve been given some great advice, from very powerful women in my life, that I chose not to listen to when I should have at the time. I got the advice when I wasn’t ready to hear it and my past self wasn’t in alignment with where I am today, but now I still hear the advice and I am ready to take it with me.

I had internalized certain ideas of what success looks like and what I was supposed to do with my life that were just not serving me whatsoever! Today, as I briefly heard Sophia Amorusa in an episode of #GirlBoss Radio (if you read my last post, you know I’m big on podcasts these days) say, “Success is not a destination”, I received a these-are-the-words-I-needed-to-hear-thank-you moment. Now I obviously don’t think everyone who feels out of control is trying to be “successful”, but recently that’s what’s been on my mind as I decide that I need to take a semester off from college because of severe burnout and adrenal fatigue. To anyone in my community, who I haven’t told that I’m taking a semester off from college, I’m dealing with the consequences of when my body started to say “No” and I didn’t listen. I plan on reading the book When The Body Just Says No written by Dr. Gaber Maté, which discusses the minds influence on chronic health problems. In my case, when just the perfect combination of life events came together, my course of action needed to change in ways I would’ve never imagined. It has left me to feel pretty lost and that I don’t have control over my life, but I’m starting to realize that this is an opportunity to learn about my resiliency, as painful as it feels right now.

Okay, but where’s the line between “let myself feel my feelings” and “you’re holding yourself back with this negative self-talk”, or even that it might be pretty invalidating to say to someone in a shitty situation!

Here’s the thing, I do have control! We have control! We have power! We have complete control over our lives! We have everything we need in us to get where we want to go! But what happens when we know this objectively, but we don’t feel like we have control! And of course after typing that, I hear the thought “Well, you have control over your feelings! You may not be in control of everything that comes into your life or happens to the people around you, but you have control over how you react to it!”. And my response to that: Okay, but where’s the line between “let myself feel my feelings” and “you’re holding yourself back with this negative self-talk”, or even that it might be pretty invalidating to say to someone in a shitty situation! These are the questions I ask myself, I look forward to a few months or years from now looking back on this post and having those answers for myself.

Maybe I’ll find that I’ve actually just been searching for comfort, something that might not get me where I actually want to be.

So currently I just listen to podcasts and make a lot of to-do lists. I got a haircut in hopes of cutting off the thoughts and lifestyle behaviors that no longer serve me. It’s thus far been empowering and gives me a sense of productivity, but I know that this feeling might be ephemeral and I might just keep feeling that my life is out of control. I might figure out that a sense of control is a feeling from within rather than something given to me from an external environment. Maybe I’ll find that I’ve actually just been searching for comfort, something that might not get me where I actually want to be. For now, I’m going to sit with the uncomfortable feeling and see where it takes me.

EDIT: Okay, conversely, there’s the possibility of this idea being the other way around, that it was actually us being more in alignment with ourselves that brought us to do things like get a haircut, consider minimalism, or go into “clean-eating”. We gotta think about these things from all angles, right? So as I was totally stalking myself on twitter I came across this tweet that explains this idea.

[me, coming from all angles with this haircut]

The Wellness Podcast I’ve Been Waiting For – Stronger

I’ve recently been pretty upset with the wellness, spirituality, and self-help community. To me, it’s been turned into a competition, filled with ego, just a bunch of fads, and another way to be exclusive. This is a community that’s supposed to, in my opinion, embody inclusivity, and provide heart-opening and validating practices. Many articles I see on health and wellness blogs or magazines have posts and articles with titles like “The Only 5 Ways You Can Feel Enlightened”, “If You’re Feeling Sluggish, Here’s The Essential Oils You Need“, or my least favorite title “You’re Not A True Yogi If You Don’t Do These Things”. All of these articles can exclude certain individuals, for example, I used to find myself reading these articles and saying to myself “Wait, am I not a true yogi because I don’t own something from [enter some new hip athleisure clothing brand] or know how to do [enter some advanced yoga pose]?”. Like what does being a “true yogi” even mean? I was under the impression it just meant you regularly practiced yoga. Now I’m careful to stay away from or take with a grain of salt media titled with anything that says its content holds the only way to do something or says I need some particular material items. Similarly, another experience I’ve had is people telling me whether or not I’m “enlightened” (I literally just groaned at the thought of this) because of my current choice of spirituality or my thoughts on the meaning of life. Frankly, I’ve been that person pushing my own beliefs on others too, but I’ve learned that these things are so personal to each individual. It’s fine to share something I’m excited about with another, but it’s not my business or my job to tell them they should practice or believe this specific belief system, practice, or ritual. I’m not alone in feeling excluded from certain practices because I didn’t fit these molds or some parts of this community not feeling quite right, but luckily some conversations are popping up that could support our understanding of what feels right in our minds and bodies.

An amazing new podcast released its first episode today that captured my feelings and validated many of the criticisms I’ve had about this community. This podcast is called Stronger by LIVESTRONG.COM and is hosted by Sr. Editor Michelle Vartan. The episode had the author Danielle LaPorte on the first episode and I was BLOW AWAY by their conversation as they talk about their incredibility important criticisms of this community and how to navigate the parts that could be taking advantage of you by genuinely listening to your body. When LaPorte says, “A real healer takes other people up with them” oh boy, oh boy, ohhhh boy, did this statement resonate with me. So many people come into this community looking to feel well and great and to find ways to live a life with vitality and resiliency, but we get so desperate to find the answers we can get lost consuming media or following trends that don’t ultimately align with our goals. Maybe we’ve been listening to some self-proclaimed “gurus” and/or we forget to listen to what are own bodies are truly telling us. Well, when I listened to this podcast, it just felt gosh darn good and pieced some thoughts together for me.

Like I always say, take with you what resonates, and throw out the rest!

If anything I’ve said has been on your mind, you’re new to the wellness/spirituality community, or you’re looking for a new podcast to listen to (or you want to start listening to podcasts!), you should totally check out Stronger! And, hey, maybe you like the current state of this community, and that’s totally cool too, my dudes! Like I always say, take with you what resonates, and throw out the rest!

I’ve listed the links to the podcast and Danielle LaPorte’s website below!

[link] LIVESTRONG.COM – Stronger – hosted by Sr. Editor Michelle Vartan

[link] Danielle LaPorte’s Website

Happy conscious media consuming!

Getting Sick Makes You Feel Down In The Dumps – Or Is It The Other Way Around?

Negativity and sickness is kind of like figuring out the story of the chicken and the egg, which one really comes first is a mystery. Well, I have some thoughts on the subject (Obviously the egg came first, duh! Just kidding, that’s not what this article is about!). We can’t deny that developing an illness or disease or just the common cold, can be a bummer (or a huge-ass bummer in many cases!). But there’s a difference between venting your feelings and every day coming home just to talk about the worst things that happened that day! Have you ever noticed that the most negative people in your life are also the people who get hurt or get sick most often? Growing up I had peers who would break their limbs easily or were catching every cold that came around, and they were so negative all the time! Some were or are some of my good friends, but it’s hard to be around that negativity for long periods of time. Well, I’m here to tell you that, recently, I’ve been that person. I don’t want to be that person any longer and here’s some thoughts about how negativity can make you sick, regardless of how much something just sucks.

  • Body-Mind Connection – We’ve seen people manifest mental and physical illnesses in their bodies by doing things like incorrectly self-diagnosing themselves, expecting the worst outcome with their health for one reason or another, or even just from chronic stress. In my case, chronic stress has been my vice of choice.I still struggle with how I have most likely worsened my symptoms or even created symptoms showing up in my body just from chronic stress. Stress seems just mental, but your body cannot tell the difference between the stress caused by the thought of the overwhelming pile of assignments on your desk, the stress caused by a hard workout, or the stress of sugar-filled cookies you ate the other day. All of those things cause an inflammatory response on your body, especially on your gut-biome. It’s shown in a study, that stress causes a release of dopamine even during adverse stress-inducing tasks (although there are criticisms to this study, like it was relatively small, maybe this is why it can feel like we’re addicted to stress?). Luckily with exercise, you’re also getting an endorphin rush that can help raise your mood. It’s all about moderation and what your body needs. Listening to your body can help you understand your emotions as well.
  • Spiritual Blocks – Once upon a time, I used to see a reiki healer, she was also my therapist at the time and I had only had one reiki session with a different healer before having a reiki session with her. We would switch off between reiki sessions and traditional talk therapy. After one reiki session, I was still in a reiki trance that almost inhibited me from being able to be in public. I tried to go to a local coffee shop nearby my therapists office and I couldn’t get out of this trance! I almost felt like I was on drugs! A couple of hours later, when I was in the comfort of my own home, I intuitively felt the need to mediate. I sat in the middle of my living room, which would’ve seemed strange any other time, and I put a hand over my heart and my other hand over my belly. Only a minute into meditating, I just started crying, I didn’t know exactly why I was crying, but I felt that it needed to happen. When I finally stopped crying, I felt amazing, and not in just a post-crying-endorphin-rush type of great, I felt a sense of freedom I’d never felt before. When I later talked to my reiki-therapist, she told me I had possibly opened an emotional and spiritual block! After that experience I now know to let my body feel whatever it needs to heal. To this day, I don’t know what I exactly unlocked, but I’m glad I did. Sometimes the emotions we push down, experiences we didn’t let ourselves experience in the past, or maybe even something from a past life can be stuck in our bodies and unconscious minds. We can’t remember everything that happens every day of our lives, so if emotions randomly come up, trust that your body and mind have a purpose for those emotions and just observe them. Sometimes it’s these blocks that get in the way of our healing, but overall what’s worse: letting yourself cry or scream or laugh in a seemingly odd time/place, or developing a disease or illness. I also acknowledge that those two things are not always mutually exclusive. It’s possible that the negativity and/or physical symptoms manifests from a spiritual block.
  • Evolutionary pull to be negative? – Some may say that we have an evolutionary pull to be negative, that negativity keeps us from dangerous situations, or situations that have hurt you in the past. I believe that if you trust your intuition, which sometimes doesn’t seem as obvious as your rational mind, you’ll be able to stay out of these negative situations. Your negativity and intuition are two different things all-together. There’s also a difference between chronic negativity and venting. If you vent to someone in your life or in a journal, you will feel a sense of release after expressing how you feel, but if that negative feeling doesn’t go away or even increases, then you’re most likely just fueling your negativity. In my experience, when I journal a situation, it gets it off my chest, but when I vent to someone else, it just fuels my negative fire. I need to be more conscious of the difference between my intuition, my negativity, and just a desire to vent. This negativity could be shielding yourself from having amazing experiences, or maybe it’s even a call to action in your life or in the world!

“Some say you’re not allowed to have a pity-party for yourself, but I say, have your pity-party and make it a raging pity-party! But acknowledge when that party is over and that it’s time to go the fuck home!”

Regardless, negativity and illness can commonly go hand-in-hand. We must overcome learned helplessness, a learned behavior of giving up before you’ve even tried because you’ve had so many bad experiences or aversive stimuli in the past that you assume that the future and present will hold the same negative outcome, to take the actions to heal our body, mind, and spaces. Just like my belief that if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no, if you don’t put yourself out there to experience things in life, you’ll be stuck with the negative experience of never experiencing anything.

Signs you might be dealing with negativity in your life:

  • Every day, the moment you walk in the door, all you do is talk about the frustrating/annoying/boring things that happened to you that day to your roommate, boyfriend, or family.
  • You say things to yourself that you would never say to a friend or you hear someone in your life constantly say things to their self that they would never say to you.
  • Conversely, someone says mean things to you that you know aren’t true just because they feel those things themselves and want you to join them in their negativity.
  • You do things to your body or you see someone do things to their body that you or they know will hurt their body. (For example, eating things you know you’re allergic or intolerance to, not going to bed when you know you need rest, getting in relationships with someone you know is toxic)
  • Instead of intentionally looking at the bright side of situations, you or another person actively search for the bad or imperfect parts of those situations, projects, or adventures. (For example, only looking at the negative possibilities of going on a vacation, like that it will be expensive or you won’t have enough time, and barely looking at how fun and all the things you could learn about yourself and the world during your vacation)
  • You or someone you know catches every cold that comes around.

If you will indulge me with this one exercise, I’d like to invite you to take these small steps to ending hidden negativity and stop attracting negativity into your life. Feel free to practice this exercise when you’re feeling down on yourself or when you’re in a space with someone you feel is being negative. Sometimes we don’t have the privilege to leave a space that’s filled with negativity or we don’t know how to relinquish the negativity in ourselves, doing an exercise like this can support you to getting to a non-negative place and sometimes even create loving, empowered feelings in the space instead.

  1. Plant both of your feet softly on the floor in front of you.
  2. Comfortably sit up straight without hyperextending your back.
  3. Lower your shoulders, so they are no longer up by your ears.
  4. Relax all the muscles in your face.
  5. Close your eyes if you feel inclined to and are in a space that would allow you to close your eyes (aka don’t do this while you’re driving or in a meeting).
  6. We’re going to take a few deep breaths and when you inhale imagine love, compassion, and forgiveness, in form of pink light (or whichever color most resonates with you) filling your lungs and lower abdomen.
  7. Hold the light in you for a second, filling your heart, grounding you wherever you are located.
  8. When you exhale, breathe out all the negativity and thoughts that no longer serve you. Make sure to exhale completely, almost making your belly concave, to breathe out all the negativity you’re holding.
  9. Repeat these previous steps a few more times
  10. To protect our energy and selves after these empowering breaths, imagine a white light growing inside you. Start small, like in your heart or from the point between your eyes, then slowly grow this light as big as you’d like and feel comfortable to.
  11. Open your eyes and bring yourself back the space with a new vigor and energy, with love and compassion for your self and the others around you.
  12. [Optional: Ask yourself if this negativity is a call to action. For example, a call to action could be to remember how great it feels to relinquish negativity and make more steps to ending the effect of negativity in your life]

Illness and disease suck, but don’t let it suck the life out of you. You are in control, even when it feels like you aren’t. Sometimes life isn’t the best, where we want it to be, or aligned with our values and goals in the moment, but that doesn’t mean we should dwell on it. If you’re the cause of the negativity in your life, that’s okay, but acknowledge it and take responsibility for what it’s doing to your body and those around you in your community. Negativity is contagious so be mindful of the negative people in your life or how your negativity affects others. Feel what you’re feeling, acknowledge if what you’re feeling is your own or if you’re just absorbing the feelings of those around you, and take the time to process these emotions. Some say you’re not allowed to have a pity-party for yourself, but I say, have your pity-party and make it a raging pity-party! But acknowledge when that party is over and when it’s time to go the fuck home! Now I’m not giving you an excuse to be hard on your self about being hard on yourself, I’m giving you a reason to stop that cycle altogether.

But I also must mention on being careful about pointing out others negativity. The only thing you have control over is yourself and your own thoughts, you have no business attempting to control someone else! Most of the time your positivity will have an effect on others in a more profound way than saying something like “Hey you’re being really negative right now!”. Maybe that person was just venting or really needed to talk aloud about something that’s been troubling them. It’s up to you, and no one else, to protect yourself from others negative energy and your own negative energy! How you see the world is just a projection of how you see your own life!

This article is 110% me projecting, but I needed to write something to myself to end the negative energy in my life. It’s not helping me get better and it’s definitely not enhancing the lives of the people I love in my community. So we can work on this together! How have you stopped the negativity in your life from manifesting into an illness? How have you had negativity affect your life? Have you ever had positivity heal you from an illness or a cold faster than being negative? I’d love to hear about others experience with this.