Death and Rebirth

Death and Rebirth

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The Life/Death/Life nature is a cycle of animation, development, decline and death that is always followed by re-animation. This cycle affects all life and all facets of psychological life. Everything – the sun, novas and the moon as well as the affairs of humans and those of the tiniest creatures, cells and atoms alike – have this fluttering, then faltering, then fluttering again.

– Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With The Wolves

I look at an empty page, a blank canvas of possibility. I bring my fingers to the keyboard and they tap tap tap nervously as my mind grasps for a sliver of inspiration. All at once it occurs to me – I haven’t written a single word in over 18 months.

Much of the time I’ve spent away from writing has been spent swimming in a deep sea of pain. It’s the most profound pain I’ve felt, the deepest sense of loss I’ve known. Some feel pain like this and they shrivel up; they stop relating to others; they hide away and try to make sense of it. What the fuck does it all mean? How can I give of myself when I feel so destroyed and lost inside my own heart, my own mind? Others use that pain as fuel for a bottomless well of creativity. I’ve always found myself to be a part of the former category. Even now I find it difficult to express wounds into words. What I think I’ve come away with in this dark hour of my being is this: death begets life. All that pain – all that suffering – it was simply deeply ingrained parts of me falling away. It was mind numbingly painful. At times I didn’t think I could withstand it. I nearly lost one of my most important relationships in the midst of the anguish. I see now – it was a great blessing. Today I feel new -reborn. From that desolation I’ve learned an incalculable lesson that will guide me in my journey until my very last breath.

I am becoming keenly aware of life’s intrinsic need for death. I have a gorgeous banana plant in my home – browning leaves need to be removed in order for new growth to sprout. The plant as a whole is much healthier for the pruning. Mature flowers on a rose bush need to be picked to make way for new budding life, berries need to be plucked, and so on and so forth. To hold on to the dying parts of our selves is a useless practice in vanity. I fought that truth for along time. No more. Shedding that old, dry skin has left me lighter and more able to see my own divinity – my own bright light.

A few of the most important things I have recently released:

  1. My need to be perfect – I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now. All of my flaws, all of my short comings are perfect opportunities for reflection and a deep dive toward inner knowing – a step on the path of realizing myself as a fully embodied human. If I can get cozy in my quirks and learn to love ALL of me then I can really begin to release that which does not serve me. Fighting against something is the surest way to make it bigger and stronger. Until that sweet moment when you’ve really learned and moved through a life lesson and integrated it into your life – you are presented with the same challenge over and over and over again. This will always be the reality. Bottom line? Stop fighting myself and embrace it all. The utter shit, the pure bliss and the monotony.
  2. My need to be right – My ego sure loves to win. She fears losing (being wrong) so much that she will go as low as to hurt others, just to save herself from the agony. I am getting to know my ego on a more intimate level and realize that I have endless compassion for her. How sad to be constantly measuring yourself against others, to feel so insecure that you are always trying to prove your worth. In the past I have fought against my ego. I’ve even tried to disengage from it entirely. I told myself that If I could just let go of my ego I could achieve enlightenment. I know now that is impossible. If I am to be a human being on this earth then my ego will always be a part of my journey. Without it I am not an individual, I become a part of the whole again or in essence, I die. So to be alive and to be human means to dance with the light and shadow sides of the ego. So, today I welcome her AND yet – I do not let her control me. Because when does stubbornness and being right help the spirit to shine and grow? I choose to be open to the possibility of the moment and to the truth that I still, and always will, have A LOT to learn.
  3. My need for everyone to like me – I need to like me. That’s it. If I truly accept myself then others will accept me too – and if they don’t? They will move along down the road and so will I. Life in this vessel is too short to waste precious moments trying to prove my worth to anyone. I can’t even begin to express how good the integration of this truth feels. It has taken over a decade of work to get here. Not sure what clicked exactly – but I’m grateful it did. LIBERATION!!
  4. That I have nothing of value to share – I am unique. There is no other person on the planet that is my exact equal. No one else has lived my life. Everything I have to say is special simply because it comes from my unique vantage point. I do not need years of schooling and accolades from others to measure my worth. I have been so scared to speak my mind and share my truth in fear of it not being interesting enough or backed by enough degrees. FUCK THAT. I have much to share and I am done waiting.

So here I am world! Get ready to hear more from me. I hope to hear from all of you too because our ability to connect, understand and empathize with one another is one of the most valuable aspects of being in this human body. I LOVE YOU!

 

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Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

I love cookies. Who doesn’t right? If they weren’t so void of nutrition I’d likely be popping them all day. I used to be able to eat like that. In fact I used to eat so poorly that I’m surprised I didn’t have a coronary by my senior year.

In high school, I’d polish off an entire medium sized dominoes pizza for dinner and about 10-12 chips ahoy cookies for dessert. All.by.my.self. This was only after my McDonalds breakfast of 2 egg, cheese and ham McMuffins with 2 hash browns and my lunch of a double quarter pounder with cheese with a large fry and soda.

Yes… I’m serious. I ate like that nearly every day until I was 18. I was an active teen, playing water polo and swimming and I have good genes so I never gained any weight, regardless of the fact that I rarely ingested anything green or with much fiber. Although I didn’t get fat externally, my organs were obviously bearing the brunt of the abuse. I suffered from rampant infections; bladder, kidney and yeast, had intense heart palpitations, crippling headaches and I was sick 6-8 times a year. All the while I was never able to connect the dots. I had no idea that what I was putting into my body was affecting my health. Nutrition finally came to my rescue after highschool. I became a more aware individual in every facet of my life; I started reading more, expanding my consciousness and quickly concluded that I would die if I kept eating this way. I completely changed my diet for good by age 22, cutting out soda, fast food and gluten and I’ve never looked back. Now when I crave cookies, I make my own.

These little babies are bursting with healthy fats, fiber, phosphorus, calcium and manganese. They are still cookies and calorically dense so try your hardest not to eat the whole batch in one sitting. I managed to keep my hand out of the cookie jar after my first two. My little one was not fond of my restraint. She unarmed all of her big guns in trying to get cookie after cookie into her little hands. She’s a master manipulator, this one. She should really teach lessons in ‘getting what you want.’

Now that I’m a mama, I hope that I can strike a balance between guiding my daughter on her own path of healthy eating and letting her indulge once in awhile. Forbidding things seems to be the surest way to get children fixated on them.  Plus, I believe that life is about pleasure. These cookies allow my girl to satisfy her sweet tooth all while I inject her with some much needed nutrition. Everybody wins. 😊

Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

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Ingredients – Makes about 12 golf ball sized cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Seeds from one cardamom pod, grinder

Process

  1. Grind cardamom seeds in spice or coffee grinder
  2. Throw all ingredients in a food processor and process for a few seconds, until batter starts to stick together
  3. Press batter into little macaroon sized balls (or whatever shape tickles your fancy)
  4. Enjoy a few now with a hot cup of tea and save the rest in an air tight container for future taste bud pleasing

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XO ~ Sam

‘Wine tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

‘Wine tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

Health is something that I don’t often fully appreciate until it’s compromised. I guess that is one perk of not being well; when you get well again you are so grateful for your vitality that you vow to take better care of yourself from then on. With my health being less than optimal these last few months I decided I needed to get myself back on track. I took myself to a naturopathic physician to find a solution. A bunch of tests were taken and a few things were discovered. First discovery, I have borderline hypothyroidism, which I will get more into another day. Second, my cortisol levels are too high, which I am now controlling with magnolia root. Third, I tested in the high range for a few toxic metals; aluminum and lead. High levels of aluminum in the body has been linked to Alzheimer’s. High levels of lead in the body has been linked to nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems and muscle and joint pain. The aluminum is from using aluminum based non stick cookware and the lead is from using store bought makeup. Crazy isn’t it? I have since thrown out all my cookware and replaced it with either stainless steal or cast iron to reduce my aluminum exposure. I started making my own makeup a few months ago but I didn’t replace everything. Now that I have these results back I am newly committed to replacing all of the toxic makeup in my makeup bag. The only makeup that I use is lipstick, concealer, mascara and very occasionally blush/bronzer for a little sparkle. I made my own organic blush from beets and hibiscus a few months ago so I’ve got that covered. Next and arguably most importantly on my list is lipstick. I wear it nearly everyday and the store bought lipsticks contain unnatural dyes filled with lead. Considering the fact that this stuff goes on your lips, it is safe to assume we ingest a bit of it every time we put it on. I’m done poisoning myself. I can give my lips the color I love without sacrificing my health to do it. I measured, melted and mixed some of my favorite natural ingredients and created a really beautiful, deep red lip color with a hint of purple. I’m simply in love and frankly I’m never buying a lipstick again.

‘Wine Tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

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Ingredients – makes about 2-3 lipsticks depending on size of container. I used .15 ml Chapstick tubes

  • 2 grams beeswax  (I use a scale here because hard beeswax is easier to measure this way)
  • 1 tsp mango butter
  • 1 tsp Shea butter
  • 1/2 tsp meadow foam seed oil
  • 1/2 tsp sweet almond oil
  • 1/4 tsp vitamin e
  • 3/4 tsp Australian red reef clay
  • 1/4 tsp bentonite clay 
  • 6 drops essential oil (I used Ylang Ylang)

Process

  1. Melt together butters/oils in a double boiler or in a glass bowl atop a boiling tea kettle
  2. Take off heat and add in vitamin e
  3. In another bowl mix together red reef and bentonite clay 
  4. Add melted oils/butters to clays and mix until well combined 
  5. Add in essential oil and pour into tubes
  6. Let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes to harden
  7. Apply to lips
  8. Leave natural lipstick marks on a lucky lover

DSC_1066 The rich burgundy color evoked images of me with a wine stained mouth in the rolling green hills of France; hence the title of the lipstick. If your lip color can transport you all the way to Burgundy, you know you’ve got a winner. 😉 If you like your lip color a little less dramatic, just use a little less red reef clay. Enjoy your gorgeous red lips without sacrificing your health. XO ~ Sam

Raw Lemon Cheesecake Bites with Coconut Whipped Cream

Raw Lemon Cheesecake Bites with Coconut Whipped Cream

Flexibility is the personality trait that I covet most. Luckily, I am offered opportunities to practice my ability to be flexible nearly every day. Every morning I am armed with a list of my very best intentions and by the end of the day life has undoubtedly gotten in the way, repeatedly. Intentions are good, even necessary to create the things we want but without the ability to bend with the winds of change, we will find ourselves fighting a losing battle against the reality of the moment. Okay, I think I’m done waxing poetic for now. 🙂 I only bring this up because I started out intending to make a lemon caramel shortbread cookie bar, don’t even ask me what that is because I don’t know, never had one. All I know is it sounded good in my brain, so I went to work on gettin’ ‘er done. Without divulging the literally messy details, I’ll just say, it wasn’t my finest creation. Instead of scratching the whole thing and wasting expensive ingredients, I decided to go with the flow. I let my unsuccessful concoction tell me what it yearned to be. ‘Lemon Cheesecake Bite’ it whispered softly. When food talks to me, I listen. Don’t you?

Armed with my new game plan, I threw some cashews in hot water to soak, processed them in and 30 minutes later was delighting in my succulent lemon cheesecake batter. As totally scrumptious as it was, I decided a light whipped cream would really bring it all together. Oh boy, did this ‘mistake’ ever turn into a triumph. Thank you universe for yet another opportunity to practice my ability to change course when needed. This time I have some seriously rockin’ treats to show for it.

Raw Lemon Cheesecake Bites
Crust ~

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 2/3 cup dates

Process

  1. Process all ingredients in a food processor until they form a sticky dough
  2. Press into the bottom of bread loaf pan, making a 1/2 inch crust
  3. Place pan in freezer to set for 30 minutes

Filling ~

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cashews soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 6 dates soaked in 1/2 cup water for 30 minutes
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest, more for topping
  • 3 tbsp mesquite powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Process

  1. Drain cashews and place with all other ingredients including date water in a high speed blender
  2. Blend until consistency is smooth and creamy
  3. Pour filling on top of crust and spread out evenly
  4. Place back in the freezer for 6 hours or more
  5. Once set, using a shot glass, press little circular bites out of your ‘cake’ and top with whipped cream and lemon zest.
  6. Enjoy immediately!

Coconut Whipped Cream ~

Ingredients

  • Coconut cream from 1 can of coconut milk.
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Process

  1. Refrigerate the coconut milk overnight or in a pinch, throw can in the freezer for an hour or so. Without tipping or shaking the can, remove from refrigerator/freezer and open immediately. Scoop out the cream from the top of the can which should have separated from the coconut milk underneath it
  2. Place this cream along with all other ingredients into a cold mixing bowl
  3. Using a beater, whip ingredients together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes
  4. Serve immediately on top of cheesecake bite, top with lemon zest
  5. Keep in a sealed container in the fridge

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Life after Facebook

Life after Facebook

I did it. I actually did it. I wasn’t sure if I was capable of doing it but here I am, an anomaly, a 30 year old American woman, without a Facebook account. When I decided I’d deactivate my account, I gave myself an exit strategy. I’d allow myself two months to prepare mentally and emotionally for my existence without this potent drug. Turns out I didn’t need that. A few nights ago I just… up and had enough. I said my goodbye and deactivated the next morning. I’ve never been one for torture. Just rip off the bandaid quickly, no reason to suffer through each hair being ripped from it’s root slowly. Immediately after I made the final decision to disconnect from the ‘Book’ I started to to feel pangs of regret. My breath became shallow, my heart rate quickened and my palms started to sweat. No joke. I felt like a junkie flushing her stash. I couldn’t believe my body was actually showing visceral signs of withdrawal. Obviously cutting Facebook out of my life was the right decision. The resulting tremors further confirmed my choice.

Since I’ve said goodbye I must admit I’ve gone back to try and check it a few times a day, like rolling over in bed to cuddle your ex lover only to feel a cold empty space beside you. It will take some time to stop reaching for them but that time will inevitably come and with that space you’ll grow stronger then ever before. Until then I’ve been filling those empty spaces with reading, exercise and Instagram. 😉 Hey, a girl needs a little social media outlet from time to time. Overall, I’m feeling so much more productive… and lighter… and happier in general. It’s been lovely. Severing the shackles of Facebook’s grasp was one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself in a long time. Who knew such a small act could make such a large impact in my life? I thought it might be cool to share what I did in preparation of my new Facebook free life. Here they are in no particular order of importance,

Write down important friends birthdays in your calendar.
Facebook’s birthday feature is awesome. It was my favorite part really. Aside from a handful of really close friends, I have a hard time remembering birthdays. Facebook took care of that for me. Now I’m making sure my calendar picks up where Facebook left off. Plus it’s infinitely more personal to get a card, a call or even a text wishing someone a Happy Birthday rather than a generic Facebook post.

Shout out to all your people that you’ll be disconnecting and offer an alternative way to keep in touch.
I gave everyone my Instagram handle and my email address. That way I’m not falling off the face of the earth just the face of the book. 😉

Download any pictures you’d like to access onto your computer.
This was a long, arduous process. Downloading these pics also takes up quite a bit of space on your hard drive but it’s necessary if for whatever reason you have no other copies of your Facebook photos.

Get your creepy stalker fix.
I stalked the crap out of a few people. Who is of no consequence. I had to get it out of my system. Don’t judge me.

There is life after Facebook. I’m proof. Since the ‘break up’ I’ve had a few phone conversations with friends. We chatted for over an hour. I felt like a teenager again. I thought I may have forgotten how to use the call function on my phone but if turns out my fingers work just as well to press number buttons as they do to text and write status updates. Go figure.

XO
Sam

Kiss my ass, Facebook

Kiss my ass, Facebook

Facebook feels like an abusive relationship that I haven’t been able to let go of. I’ve made excuses for our tumultuous relationship for too long. What used to be a fun, relaxed way to keep up with friends and share photos with loved ones, has become a crusty, mind numbing addiction that skews my perception of reality and the connections I have with real people. I realize just how dramatic that sounded but I suppose my relationship with Facebook of late has been just that, drama, and I’m overdue to end it. You may ask why I haven’t already. Well, terminating your Facebook account is not as easy as just making a decision and clicking a button. There are a few things standing in the way of that. The main issue for me is that like many, I use Facebook as a photo album. As a member for the past 10 years, I have uploaded nearly all of my photos to Facebook. In that time I have changed boyfriends and computers. Most of the originals of these photos have gotten lost in the transitions. So the only access I have to certain precious memories is through Facebook. I have begun the painstaking process of downloading each and every photo from Facebook onto my computer. At this rate it will likely take me another month or two. I’m getting there.

Why my disdain for this seemingly harmless way to communicate with friends? First off, Facebook serves as another way for me to numb my mind when I’m having trouble being alone with my own thoughts. I use it this way far too often. It happens to me before I even know what hit me. I’ll open Facebook and my thumb will go to town. Scroll, scroll, scroll, refresh, repeat. It becomes a tick that I have to force myself to quit. Second, Facebook allows you to censor yourself in a way that I feel is false and unhealthy. One is always portraying only the very best of themselves. The best pictures, the best moods, the most wonderful news and so on. I see this as being a detriment to the way I interact in the real world. As I use Facebook on a daily basis, I move farther away from being comfortable showing the not so pretty sides of myself. I have a harder time connecting on the fly without the tools to edit myself before I share. Before Facebook, smart phones and insanely fast computers, I was infinitely more social and comfortable in my own skin. Over the past ten years I’ve watched myself becoming more and more introverted and less able to open myself up to strangers with out a computer screen as a buffer. Although I understand that many different factors have played a part in this, all stemming from choices I have made, I know that Facebook definitely hasn’t helped. Don’t even get me started on the whole ‘liking’ function. I feel that liking has started to replace and mimic true heart connections for some. Facebook creates a cyber world where we can have 1,500 ‘friends’. People who we haven’t seen or talked to in years ‘like’ our photos and we feel a connection to them. Yet when it comes down to it, how many of those 1500 people would actually be there for you if you needed them? Do those people actually care about your day? Who would actually look at you in real life and open their hearts to you? Not many. That’s the truth. I’m just tired of playing the Facebook game. I’m tired of accepting a ‘like’ as a substitute for a smile or a hug. If you are one of the lucky few who has maintained a healthy relationship with this platform, I commend you. I just hope that you still go outside and look people in the eyes from time to time.

Slowing down.

Slowing down.

I’m sitting on my couch in my old slippers, allowing gentle waves of contentment to wash over me. My baby girl is in my arms sleeping peacefully and I’m watching the steady sprinkle of rain outside my window. The clouds are thick and dark, with no sign of clearing today. I couldn’t be happier about it. We needed rain, urgently. I, just as urgently, needed a morning like this, with no agenda, no glaring to do list; just me, my girl and the rain.
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I have the tendency to fill my days with a lot of expectation. The moment I open my eyes, my mind is a flurry. ‘I need to call this person, cook this meal, clean the stove… Oh I haven’t done yoga in a few days, better get on that.’ This can be wonderful as I tend to accomplish a lot. All of this busyness can also be self sabotaging. Due to my constant planning, I may miss the opportunity to be spontaneous or I may get upset when things don’t go exactly as I envisioned. I find a lot more value in letting go of needing my day to go a certain way. Flexibility. It’s the quality I’m coveting most and I’m working on acquiring more of it every day. ‘You don’t want to stand rigid like a tall oak that cracks and collapses in the storm. Instead you want to be flexible like a reed that bends with the storm and survives.’ – Deepak Chopra. This morning has been a wonderful opportunity to practice this. I woke up with my usual list of tasks to accomplish but something about the falling rain and this sweet warm baby in my arms is urging me to throw that list away.

The list will always be there. Always. When all the items are checked off, I will compile a new set of items. This moment will be gone as soon as I blink and I don’t want to miss it. I also don’t want to spend any more time being grouchy about life getting in the way of my agenda. So I sit here and observe. I slowly breathe in and out. I listen to the trash truck fumble along our narrow street. I hear the rain splash in newly forming puddles on the sidewalk. I watch my baby’s chest rise and fall. I close my eyes and feel the cool air entering through my nostrils as I breathe in and notice how much it has heated up as I breathe out. This moment is magic and it’s all we have. The past is full of potentially skewed memories, the future may never come, the present is a gift. Thank you rain for slowing me down today. ❤️

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