Creating Space

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Hi everyone!
My days are filled with people and situations that provide me with opportunities; opportunities to choose love and happiness or to choose fear and unhappiness. I must remind myself that I have these choices and that they both cannot live in the same space. I am either choosing love or fear…and let me tell you, love always trumps! Love is the miracle-maker and it always gives me exactly what I need. Love opens doors, unlocks the miracles, frees my heart and creates an unlimited amount of space within me to extend out to others. Fear shuts down, puts down, paralyzes and constricts any energy from flowing.
So, how do we integrate a more loving conversation in life? It begins with creating the space in our thoughts. People and situations show up as divine assignments to show me how to heal, learn and let go. My most challenging assignments show up in my relationship with my boyfriend. We attracted one another to heal, love and enjoy one another. One of my biggest lessons with him have been learning how to tap into my inner goddess for self acceptance and love, and not relying on him for those things. Past experiences that he triggers in the present challenge me in these areas. Some days, I am on point and others, the best I can do is have a meltdown. We all get into relationships with our own past experiences that have turned into conversations within the thoughts that run through our heads presently.The thing is, that conversation that was generated from the past, is in the past, there fore, it does not have to be real now in the present moment. It is our job to recognize those conversations as not real anymore and create the space for what is so that love can radiate through us.

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Here are some simple steps that I have been using in my interactions to get myself out of my past conversations that replay in my head and into what’s real in the present moment.

1: Notice. Any behavior change always starts with noticing the behavior first. Nothing can change if you are not aware that it is occurring, right? If I am unable to notice, then I am screwed because chances are I may just be reacting out of ego, and usually these snap reactions are fearbased and imbedded from th past. So, I begin created new neural pathways in my brain by keeping it simple and noticing. Sometimes, I write about what I see myself doing. I notice what is happening around and within me when I feel like I am being triggered. I notice the conversation that is taking place in my head. Is it love or fear-based? If this conversation makes me feel good, it is probably love, but if I start to squirm, it is most likely fear driving them and after the thoughts start rolling in, then the unproductive behavior follows. So, start noticing the thoughts before th behaviors have a chance to rise. And just like anything, this is a practice. Some days, I am extremely aware and I can pause and stay still and allow the untrue thoughts to dissolve. Other days, when I am more sensitive, I will just bypass any noticing and have a knee-jerk reaction, which usually ends up with me in some kind of upset. Whether I roll through a temper tantrum or not, eventually I always get back to noticing my thoughts again. It is important to be gentle with yourself and love yourself through these experiences like you would a best friend!
2: Decide. After I notice what is happening within my thoughts, then I make a decision. I decide whether the conversation in my head is real or not real based off of the situation I am in where I feel triggered. Again, fear makes us act in funky ways. So, if I perceive something as fearful based on my past experiences and I notice myself starting to feel uncomfortable, then I can probably make the assumption that I am operating from ego. I decide if the story I am telling myself is a reenactment of the past or not; real or make-believe. The ego loves to play with the make-believe because we stay stuck here; we search but never seem to find what we are looking for. It can be tricky to see past the ego, so I coach myself through it by giving myself little affirmations such as, “I can see peace instead of this, “What would it look like to let this go?” or “Thank you, Universe, for showing me how to see this differently.” A Course in Miracles says, “When ancient memories of hate appear, remember that their cause is gone,” therefore, it is up to me to forgive the past experiences that are showing up because they are showing up as an opportunity to create space for love by releasing them.

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Now, for a yummy pizza recipe to wrap this up! Today, I have one of my vegan, gluten free, quinoa crust pizzas! So simple and delicious!

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You will need:
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
3/4 cup quinoa – soaked for at least 8 hours, rinsed & drained.
1/4-1/2 cup water (maybe…according to dough consistency)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoon of dried seasonings (I think I just used some Italian seasoning mixture and a teaspoon of dried parsley)
Toppings: hummus, cucumber, arugula and carrots

To Prepare:
Set the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the tablespoon of coconut or olive oil in a 9-inch round cake pan. In a food processor mix all of the ingredients, except the toppings, together to create your pizza crust. Then, pour the mixture into the oil coated cake pan and place the pan in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Then, remove the pan, flip the crust over, and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Crust should be brown and crispy on the edges. Remove crust and let cool. Prepare the veggies/toppings but cutting up the cucumber and shredding the carrots. When crust seems cool enough, spread the hummus all over the pizza, first. Then sprinkle on the arugula and cover with cucumber and them the shredded carrots last. Cut up into pizza slices and enjoy! I sure did!

Light & Love,
Amanda

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Ups & Downs & Upside-downs

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Hi everyone!
I will start off by saying that this week has been a little all over the place. It has gone up and down and upside-down more than once, and I am still belted in this roller coaster car, while occasionally putting my hands up in the air and letting out a huge scream! I must look at it in this light because when I can make stories out of my life, especially the sensitive and uncomfortable moments, then I can relax and move into acceptance about them, and ultimately, teach others to do the same.
My life has been full of miracles and miracles in disguise. Or, in other words, blessings and blessings in disguise. The miracles in disguise are tricky, though. Their disguises are so genius that I have a hard time identifying them as miracles because I am feeling feelings that really freak me out. And when I feel feelings that do this, I automatically want out and I react. I will give myself credit, I am much much better than I used to be at pausing when the uncomfortablilty arises because of the awareness and space that I have created, but, some feelings can feel really gross and my first thought is “get out!” when they show up. The thing is, when I get out or react too quickly, I miss what is really happening. Usually, I am so focused on the one star in the sky, that I miss all the others that are shining all around it, you know? There is something much bigger than me orchestrating things here and there is a natural order to things that is quite beautiful.
I have talked about my black present analogy before and I will again because I have been speaking about to to people all week and it rings true for me right now more than ever. The Universe gives me these gifts in life… Just like the miracles and the miracles in disguise… I will receive these gifts wrapped in all different packaging; some gifts come to me sprinkled with glitter, some are in bags with colorful tissue paper exploding out of them, some are bedazzled with ribbons and bows… I love those gifts! Bring em on! Then, some gifts come to me in black wrapping paper…with scorpions and snakes slithering all over and the most uninviting aura surrounding them …those I am quick to toss to the side. Who wants to see what’s inside of that package, right? Yeah, but if I pause with that black package, sit with it for a moment and wait for the scorpions and snakes to crawl away and the aura to settle, then I can slowly start to unwrap the black wrapping to see what’s inside. When I do this, I always find a beautiful lesson of love.
So, right now, in my life, I am sitting with my “black package.” It was delivered to me over the weekend, and I quickly discarded it as fast as I could. I felt the package calling me back, though… So, I went to my recycling bin (ha!), and grabbed the package back up. Are ya still with me here? 🙂 …The snakes and scorpions have crawled away, thankfully, and it is not as intimidating; there is even a sense of peace about the black package and my energy. I have begun to peel off the black paper, slowly, one piece at a time, because that is all I can handle, but I feel so loved and supported through it all by the Universe and Spirit. It is a beautiful process and I never thought I would I could admit that. I am anxious, but excited to see what kind of miracle lives inside.

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This week’s recipes are incredibly simple and deliscious! They are both vegan and gluten free spreads for toast, bagel or English muffin. I think they make great snacks, desserts or breakfast treat.

Peach Butter
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You will need:
2 peaches

To prepare:
Peel the peaches and then cut up the pea he into pieces. Place the pieces into a food processor and blend until smooth. Then add the peach yumminess into a pot and heat on medium until it starts to boil. Turn the heat down and simmer, stirring occasionally for a couple minutes. The peaches will thicken. Spread on some toast and sprinkle with cinnamon and viola!

The next toast spread is…

Carrot Butter
You will need:
1 cup steamed carrots
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt

To prepare:
Steam the cup of carrots until soft. Add the carrots to food processor and purée. You could also mash the carrots in a bowl with a fork. Then add the other ingredients and mix together. Then, spread on some toast or whatever you prefer and maybe sprinkle some hemp seeds on top. Enjoy!

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Light & Love,
Amanda

Forgiveness & Pot Pies

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Hey everyone!
This week has been about stepping into the light of love and creating space by tapping into forgiveness. I have been a student of A Course in Miracles since January 1, 2014 and I have been learning about what it is that I am here to do while living in this world; I am here to be happy, spread love and be a source of light for others! This calling rings true to every cell in my body, especially, when I am fulfilling it, however, as much as I would like to be in this space at all times, I am a human with an ego that tends to step in the way from time to time.
This week, the daily lessons that I have been learning and practicing have strung together into a beautiful theme of forgiveness. I have accepted that one of my functions in this world is to be the light for others, but it can get messy when I hold things against people and I refuse to forgive. Therefore, my light is then temporarily dimmed in certain areas and I cannot shine as bright. I have become aware of myself and my thoughts when I do this. My ego wants to separate certain individuals that I feel need to give me an apology first in order for me to forgive them, right? Sure, but what happiness has this way of thinking brought me? I feel justified to be angry at certain people when I label them as doing me wrong. But, then again, what would it look like to let it go? Usually, when I think about letting a resentment go and visualize what I would feel like, thoughts of peace, calm, relief and love come to my mind. If this is so, then why do I do the constant back-and-forth with myself? The more experience I have with these situations, the more I am finding out that it doesn’t really matter and that forgiveness is the key to my happiness. As Louise Hay says, “When I am stuck, there is usually more forgiving that needs to be done.” Real talk.
I have mentioned before that I am a fan of taking baby steps through opportunities, such as these, when they arise and when the awareness is present. Forgiving, or overlooking, the behavior(s) of a person , place or thing that I feel has wronged me does not always come as gracefully as I would like it to …then again, sometimes it does. I have put together some steps that I like to take when I am trying to move into the space of forgiveness that will propel me back to a space of love and happiness:
1: Notice. I notice my thoughts and the lack of forgiveness along with the discomfort that is showing up because of it. I notice the thoughts and the conversation that I’m having with myself. At this point, I do not need to make any decisions. I just need to notice. Keep it simple.
2: Own it. I own my thoughts about the person, place, thing or situation that I am resistant against. When I can own my thoughts about what is going on, then I can shift the energy away from being a powerless victim. As long as I remain resistant or in blame, then I give whatever it is even more power and find myself even more binded to it.
3: Ask for help. I ask the Universe/Spirit/God/Angels/Higher Power to show me how to forgive. I only need a sliver of willingness for miracles to happen. I say simple prayers of gratitude, such as, “Thank you for showing me how to forgive,” “I am scared, but willing to forgive, thank you for showing me what to do,” or “Thank you for guiding me through this and bringing me back to love.”
4: Move. I try to engage in something that will shift my energy and get my mind off of whatever is causing a struggle or discomfort. I go do yoga, call a friend, eat something yummy, watch a movie, take a shower, clean the house, walk my pups, meet up with friends, take a nap, do something creative… Anything to get me out of the space that does not serve others or myself.

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Today’s recipe is inspired by http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-vegan-tofu-and-vegetabl-134550. I give you vegan & gluten free:
Plentiful Pot Pie

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You will need:
Crust:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons gluten free flour
1/2 cup vegan butter (earth balance)
Water

Filling:
6-8 oz of tofu (extra firm)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 carrot,diced (I forgot to add carrot in mine)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 russet potato, cubed
1/4 cup gluten free flour
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 1/4 cup veggie broth
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 teaspoon sage, finely chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt & pepper, to taste

You will also need either some oven safe ramekin dishes (12 oz) or one big oven safe dish.

To Prepare:

Crust: Place the flour in a mixing bowl and place in the freezer to chill while the filling is getting prepared. Also, place a fork in the bowl of flour in the freezer.

Filling: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tofu into 1/3 inch thick cubes. Press a paper towl on the tofu to soak up any excess water.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the tofu in the skillet and cook until tofu is golden brown. Remove the tofu and set aside. Add the remaining 2 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet along with the onion, carrot and garlic and sauté until the onion and garlic is translucent. Then, add the potato to the mixture, stirring frequently, until tender. Add the flour, nutritional yeast and sou sauce to the veggie mixture. Then, add the veggie broth and stir everything together until combined. Add in the tofu, peas, corn, sage and thyme and store to combine. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Back to the crust: Remove the bowl of flour and fork from freezer. Cut up the butter into smaller cubes or slices and add it to the flour. Using a fork, cut the mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Then, with yours hands, combine the mixture even more so that the flour is absorbed. Gradually, add cold water into the bowl with flour while mixing together with the fork to make dough. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten the ball into a circle. Add the flour to a flour surface. Place the ramekins or dish you will be baking pie in upside down so that you can trace around the top. Trace in the dough around the dish, but make the circle about 1/2 inch wider on all sides.

To assemble:
Add the veggie mixture equally between dishes, if you have more than one you are baking in. Place the dough you cut out over top the dish, covering the veggie mixture. Press the dough to deal it around all the edges. Make the crust thicker on the edges. Crimp the edges with a fork.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes (give or take), until golden brown on top.

When finished, take the pie out and let cool before serving. Enjoy!

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Have a fabulous week!
Light & Love,
Amanda

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