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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Body Talk & Chocolate-Mint Bliss Bites

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Hi everyone!

Happy Valentine’s Day/Week to you all! I love and honor you and I hope you are doing the same for yourself!
Four years ago, I started making this little holiday a day to celebrate the love for myself. Every day, I focus on loving myself, but this day, four years ago, I stopped smoking cigarettes and I remember telling myself that I was doing it for the love of myself! I was so proud (and I still am)! Each year, I try to do something extra groovy for myself like take a yoga class in a new studio, get a pedicure, go on a date with my hunie, add something healthy into my life, make something extra yummy to share or take my pups somewhere they’ve never been before.This week, I seem to be applying to Graduate school for the love of myself! Weeee! What will you do to show the love?
Another way I show the love for myself daily, is by taking care of my body and maintaining a positive inner dialogue. This leads me into a conversation about the body. I used to be so wrapped up in what people thought about me based on my body and appearance. I was so consumed with these thoughts that they did nothing but paralyze me and cause pain. No matter what I did, I wasn’t good enough and someone was always better than me. I beat myself up with my thoughts because I was stuck in the fear-based ego-state-of-mind and I put my body through the worst things because of it. I would not eat all day long, exercise on top of it, and then eat too much at night. I would over exercise and if I missed a day, I would beat myself up even more. If I did not feel skinny enough or pretty enough, I would not let myself go out in public. I would eat unhealthy things to cope with the feelings and thoughts that were constantly running through my head. I was so self-absorbed and full of fear that I could not truly enjoy the beautiful life that was happening before my eyes. Thankfully, I hit a bottom.
My first step was to recognize and admit that my unhappiness with my body was directly connected to my unloving thoughts about it. I recognized that I was not going to get anywhere healthy if I kept talking to myself in such an awful manner. So, I cut the crap, forgave myself and became my biggest fan. On days that I didn’t like my thighs, I picked out a part that of myself that I did like and I focused on that… All day long, if I had to. Most importantly, I realized that I am not a body; I am a beautiful soul that shines bright, comes from a natural state of love, is granted all the happiness I could possible wish for and any thoughts that do not stem from love are not real. This body is a vessel for me to navigate through this world that I am in.
My second step was to change my internal dialogue by inviting Spirit/God/the Universe in to support me and my thoughts. It was clear that I needed help with this because I had tried and failed too many times on my own. For every unsupportive or unloving thought that popped into my head, I would notice it and invite Spirit in to help reinterpret the conversation or clear away the thoughts. By clearing away the thoughts, I began to create space for love and a groovy new internal dialogue began to manifest itself.
Step three, I started to implement new healthy habits by making little commitments. Thoughts and behaviors go hand-in-hand. When I am thinking in an undeserving way, then I am most likely going to have behaviors that go along with it. Where thoughts go, energy goes. When I had a self-destructive mindset, my behaviors followed suit; I would either deprive myself of food at meal times, overwork my body or fill my body with foods that were not the healthiest choices. Once I became a witness to those negative thoughts, called them out and invited Spirit in, I could then add the healthy behaviors in my life. I started doing things to let my inner glow shine bright! Not only that, I attracted healthy things, as well; Yoga came into my life, healthy people came into my life, I evolved into a vegan and gluten free eater, I knocked off the unsupportive eating habits and behaviors (like smoking!), I started teaching and sharing health tips with others…It was magical and magnetic, and it continues to be! And, whatever weight that I was trying to lose or look I was trying to achieve started to appear. I find that when I align myself spiritually, the weight drops off and everything falls into place. Most of the time in life, I find that all I need to do is forgive myself, shift my thinking into a more loving space and stay connected to the Universe because it always has my back.

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So, along with loving yourself, incorporating healthy behaviors to shine bright and treating yourself during this week of Valentine’s Day, I have a treat for you!

Vegan and gluten free…

Chocolate Mint Bliss Bites

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You will need:
-1 cup of pecans
-1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
-2 teaspoons of flax seed
-1/4 cup maple syrup
-1 teaspoon (maybe a little more) peppermint oil
-4-5 medjool dates, pitted (but you can get away without them)
-about 1/2 package of vegan chocolate chips

To prepare:
In a food processor or high speed blender, blend the pecans, first. Then add flax, coconut, peppermint, maple syrup, and dates (optional) and blend together completely. Line a plate with parchment paper. Make balls out of your pecan mixture and press them down a little to flatten like a cookie. Place in the fridge to stiffen up while the chocolate is melted. In a pan, slowly head up a half of a package of chocolate chips. If you turn the temp up any higher, you will burn them. Stir the ch chips whole they melt. When chocolate is almost completely melted, take out the cookies in the fridge and begin to frost them with the chocolate. I found it easiest to dip the one side of the cookie in chocolate, set it on the parchment paper plate chocolate-side down, and the spread frosting on the rest of the cookie with a knife/spoon. The idea is to get the whole cookie covered in chocolate… So, however creative you can get! Then, when all the cookies are lathered in chocolate, stick the plate back in the fridge to let the chocolate harden completely, 30 minutes or so. Then, transfer cookies to a container to store in. Share and enjoy!
Love & Light,
Amanda

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Allowing my path to unfold

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Hey, everybody!
I have been on this journey, this cobblestone path, this roller coaster, this yellow brick road of life and I notice that it is far from the straight and narrow that my mind plans it out to be. It happens in more of a zig-zaggity, Alice in Wonderland, pendulum swinging kind of fashion. When I peer back at my walk through life, thus far, I am filled with love, gratitude and happiness. When I look ahead, in this moment, my ego makes me feel like a deer in the headlights and down the rabbit hole I go. I want to know right now what my future holds… But, then again, like unwrapping a birthday present, the suspense is a beautiful thing. The gift wrapping is the outside lining of the treasure that leads to what’s inside;beneath the bows and the glitter, or the cardboard box. Layer by layer I’m peeling off the wrapping paper of my life. It is beautiful that I am even able to look at this right now in this light… clearly the Universe has my hand and is speaking through me as I write each word and miracles are happening. I say this because 24 hours ago my ego had me in an insane choke-hold-head-lock kind of thing. My eyes were watering and my heart was trying to beat through the fear-stricken thoughts that just kept coming. Life will seem as if it’s soaring and then it’ll stop… But usually because my ego steps in and feeds me some thoughts that I allow to rattle my soul. I am in a place right now where life is indeed soaring, but I am also left very confused about my schooling, my relationship, my future career and what it should all look like. I’m trying to force images that won’t quite fit together, it feels a little funky and my ego is all over that; judging it as “bad” or “wrong,” which shifts me out of love and into the circle of fear. So, my solution… Do nothing. I have stopped trying to think my way out of this because it feels forceful and that tells me it is not coming from love. Not to mention, I exert too much energy when I have little outbursts of anger from trying to control my future, or anything of that matter. Yogi Bhajan said, “One emotional outburst of anger consumes the energy you would need for seven hours of hard work.”
I am surrendering to the unknown and turning my trust and faith volume knobs UP! Because, this is where the love is for me. This is where my ego cannot interfere. This is where the light comes in and my soul feels light and easy. This is my natural state. I accept that there is a much greater plan of the highest good than my wonderful, perfect, little brain can muster up in this moment. I will hit up my meditation practice, bathe in the experience, let the Universe do her thing and share it with others. Miracle!

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And yes, your recipe is here! Today, I share with you two different salad recipes.

First, I give you a gluten free and plant based Caesar Salad:

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You will need:
Romaine, kale, or any other lettuce you love
Macademia nuts
Broccoli

Dressing:
Tahini
Fresh lemon juice
Salt
Pepper
Nutritional yeast
Thyme (optional)
Ginger root spice (optional)

To prepare:
So, I whipped up my own dressing and I couldn’t tell you how much of each thing I used, but it was a little if each because I didn’t need much to make a dressing. Feel me? So, to assemble the salad, I tore up some pieces of kale and romaine and tossed it in a bowl. Then, I added broccoli pieces on top to green it up even more. Grind up some macademia nuts in a food processor until they are in fine little pieces; this will serve as your parmesean “cheese.” Sprinkle that on top of the greenery. Then, for the dressing, mix it all up in a little bowl and drizzle on your salad. Enjoy!

Next, I give you a gluten free and vegan Taco Recipe, but I made a Taco Salad out of it… Either of them are mad tasty!

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You will need:
For the taco “meat”
Tempeh
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
Chili powder, to taste
A couple drops of liquid smoke (optional)
1-2 tablespoons tamari
1/4 cup water

To prepare:
Heat up the olive oil in a pan. Add the minced garlic. On a plate or flat surface, pull apart or chop up the tempeh in whatever fashion you like. Add the other ingredients, salt, pepper, tamari, liquid smoke, chili powder and water, together to create the taco marinade. Add the crumbled tempeh to the pan and cook in the marinade maybe 5-10 mins on low, just to heat it up and let marinade soak in. Taste tests are welcome here!

Sour Cream
Macademia nuts
Fresh lemon juice from one lemon
Salt
A little water to help with consistency

To prepare sour cream

Add ingredients into food processor and blend until creamy. Then put liquid into a little zip lock baggy, snip off the end so the cream gathers and squirts out like sour cream would. Don’t snip until you are ready to squirt on top of salad!

You will also need:
Vegan cheese (I used daiya cheese)
Tomatoes
Tortilla chips to crumble in salad if you aren’t making tacos (I like the Way Better sprouted tortilla chips)
Avocado
& any other yummy taco toppings that you desire

Then, you assemble your salad or tacos in whatever delicious and colorful order you choose! Enjoy!

Just to let you in on my little secret…My right hand man behind the scenes is this guy, Leo boy, tearin’ it up in the kitch! 🙂

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Love & Light,
Amanda

hOMework.

Phew! It has been a while, my friends! I thank you for your patience, for the universe has been throwing all kinds of groovy things my way and I simply have not had the time the sit down and blog. Feels good to be back!

Last night, my most favorite author, teacher, and spirit junkie, Gabrielle Bernstein, was at my school. She gave a magnificent lecture and she had her book signing for her latest book that was launched, May Cause Miracles. I love this woman and the inspirational journey that she lives and sprinkles into the world! The energy in the room was illuminating and I think every cell in my body was jumping and jiving out of gratitude!

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Yes, it was a night that opened my heart big, my eyes wide, and I will never forget it!

So, having said that, Gabby B. Is always talking about relationships being opportunities to grow; they are our greatest assignments. Some people will come into our lives for a moment- a stranger at the grocery store, a friend of a friend’s, or someone sitting next to you on an airplane. Others, will hang on for a much longer than a moment- a best friend, a boyfriend, or dun-dun-dun, family members. Either way, they are ALL our assignments while we are here on earth, they ALL have something to offer, and they ALL provide opportunities for us to heal and grow. Wild, right? Ha. So, I love when Gabby B. talks about this because when I am out in the world and meeting people, chilling with people, working with people I’m all bout it bout it, right? But, let’s take a trip into my relationship with my boyfriend and you will see I am “off to see the Wizard” quite a bit; or as Gabby B. would say, “I’m off to crazy town.” I have to bring humor into this somehow! Humor allows me to laugh at myself, let it go, and once again, remember that I am human.
So, I have been trying to incorporate spiritually-based exercises, meditations, suggestions from my spiritual teachers, like Gabby, that have shown up for me BEFORE I make that trip into “crazy town.” Pausing always helps, if I can pause before I pause. Sometimes, I hit the fear-gear and there is no time to pause, so I have to swerve it out or crash. Other times, I pause, and it’s beautiful because I’m not under the fear choke-hold and I can actually converse and respond to my boyfriend effectively. And, those times that I do swerve or make the trip to see the Wizard, I make sure that once I have come back home that I forgive myself and I take what I can from the situation, I learn, and I grow.
A new technique I learned from Gabby was to ask the Universe (or God, or Spirit, or Ghandi, or Krishna, or Jesus, who ever you identify with) to get involved. Again, this requires me to pause and maybe take a breath. I say something like “Thank you for helping me deal with this” or “Thank you for showing me how I can use this moment to grow” or “Thank you for intervening.” I like little prayers that begin with “thank you” because I feel like it attracts what I would like and I’m acting as if the relief or resolve is already present. And then, I listen to the Universe for her response, and the response may be something like I have the exact words to say to response to my boyfriend in a clear-connected way and the conversation between us is productive or maybe, I just feel a wave of peace and calm rush over me. Either way, when I pause and hand it over to the Universe, she is always, always able to swoop in and grace me with just the assistance I needed. Universe is always rooting for me and she always had my back!
So, their you have it. Relationships are our hOMework. I say hOMework with the emphasis on the OM because the meaning of “OM” is the heartbeat or sound of the Universe and it’s just super fun to say it that way! So, just like in school when we have homework assignments to learn from, the same goes for relationships. And my relationship with my boyfriend has been a 4 year science project; but, I’m still learning, I’m still growing, I’m still healing, and I am grateful!

And to wrap up this blog assignment I have a recipe for ya’ll, as always, to fill your tummy and fuel your body. For a couple months now I have been doing the gluten-free thing and I feel good about it. But that means that my sprouted Ezekiel bread had to go bye-bye! Since then I have been on the hunt to find a plant-based gluten free bread that is yummy! I was having a hard time succeeding at that, so I created my own bread!

Plant based/Gluten free Chia Seed Flatbread

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You will need:
1/2 cup gluten free oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup chick pea flour or garbanzo bean flour
1 cup + 1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoons chia seeds

To Prepare:
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Blend together all ingredients in food processor.
Pour a little coconut oil in the pan and warm up the pan in the oven.
I used a 10 inch round cake pan; the bigger the pan, the thinner the bread will come out.
Pour the batter in the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove bread from oven and let cool.
Cut up in fun shapes of your choice! Add groovy toppings such as: almond/peanut butter, hemps seeds, fruit, veggies… Endless!

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Most importantly, have fun while you’re doing it and enjoy when your eating it!

La la la la Ommmmm!

Light & Love,
Amanda