The 12 Day Wellness Journey in the New Year

See Day 1 Here.

Each new year offers the promise of a fresh start. As we embark on this journey into the Wood Dragon Year 2024, it is the perfect time to cleanse not only our bodies but also our emotions, minds, and homes. In fact, I’m New Year’s cleaning today as we speak! I recall asking a Dharma question to a teacher a number of years back, I asked-“how do you get yourself feeling better if you feel a lot of heaviness, sadness or depression?” I mentioned that I often have a lot of negative self talk, and my spiritual tradition has so many steep stages of purification and levels of enlightenment that to me, often sound daunting and exhausting. What I learned from child raising, it helps more to focus on strengths and be encouraging rather than be critical and fixate on shortcomings. The teacher replied to my question simply-“Connect to the freshness.”

This was a very powerful and simple transmission for me, and those four pith words remain etched in my heart. Oftentimes we have these grandiose notions of some well-being, happiness and some ever future ideal notion of accomplishment, that’s always just out of reach.

However, every morning we wake up and basically our life takes place in simple ordinary moments of experience. We go to sleep and wake up, brush our teeth, make some breakfast, meditate (hopefully), do some stretching, bathe, go for a walk, start our day, and every day, repeat. All we really have are these simple elements of human experience tied together, the past is gone and future is but a dream. As you remember the old Ram Dass famous quote- be in the moment, “Be Here Now.” What then, is really being here?

 

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In my dharma tradition they talk about “Ordinary Magic.” Maybe the greatest attainment of all would be for us to really be raw, unfiltered and present in these little moments of our lives. I have a tendency to “future trip” or numb-checkout into Iphone/Facebook/Instagram/Reddit/X electric dissociation stupor, when indeed, the real heart connectedness is right here, in front of me. Can I really show up and be present in my life?

Recently, I was doing a group meditation weekend and it was raining and I was wearing dark wool, winter pea-coat. We went out for a walk during the lunch break and a few round raindrops were on my lapel. The sun was shining through the rain, and as I looked down and I saw a few perfectly refracted rainbows in the little drops of water. I thought to myself… This is it! My whole life has been leading up to this very moment- on this Sunday afternoon, for me to just fully experience these little sun-lit rainbows on my jacket. That was it- simple, unadorned, magic and the experience thereof, even bliss.

So, in a world flooded with detox and wellness advice, I think finding our authentic Selves and being present in each moment of our lives IS the spiritual path. It is all we have, really. Slowing down and opening is self care, rejuvenation and reconnecting again and again to the freshness. If we can take 30 minutes a day, to connect to this freshness, we are well on our way toward loving, self care and evoking this ordinary magic.

The Full 12 Day Wellness Program for the New Year

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Day 1: Embracing the Self

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Morning Ritual (15 minutes): Start your day with affirmations. Stand in front of the mirror, look into your eyes, and repeat positive affirmations about self-love, acceptance, and body positivity.

Throughout the Day: Practice self-compassion. Think about all of the good you have done since you have come into this world.

Evening Reflection (15 minutes): Before bed, take out your journal and write down three things you noticed about your life, family, relationships and things that you love about yourself. Focus on your strengths, beauty and unique qualities.

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Day 2: Cleanse and Detoxify

Download Detox Plan

Morning Ritual (15 minutes): Begin your day with warm lemon water to kick-start your metabolism and aid digestion.

Throughout the Day: Opt for a juice and smoothie cleanse. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables to provide essential nutrients.

Evening Reflection (15 minutes): Reflect on your emotions and thoughts throughout the day. Journal about any insights gained during the cleansing process.

 

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Day 3: Somatics: Mind-Body Connection

Morning Ritual (15 minutes): Engage in a 15-minute yoga session or light stretching to awaken your soma or body and mind.

Throughout the Day: Commit to daily exercise, and do it! Whether it’s a brisk walk, a dance session, or a workout routine, make movement a priority. My trainer made me commit to 30 minutes a day- EVERY DAY, on the elliptical machine and/ or a walk.

Evening Reflection (15 minutes): Practice mindfulness meditation. Reflect on the physical and mental sensations you experienced during the day.

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Day 4: Envisioning Professional Goals

See the 8 Dimensions of Wellness

Morning Ritual (15 minutes): Take time to visualize your professional aspirations. What do you want to do each day when you wake up? Picture yourself achieving your goals.

Throughout the Day: Create a vision board that represents your professional ambitions. Use images, quotes, and symbols that resonate with your dreams.

Evening Reflection (15 minutes): Journal about the steps you can take to turn your vision into reality. Identify small actions you can start taking immediately.

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Day 5: Nurturing Relationships

See Articles on Relationships

Morning Ritual (15 minutes): Send a message of love and gratitude to someone you appreciate, remember any good moments, and express your feelings genuinely. Heal the karma if you can with someone that you have not resolved an issue with. Let friends or family go that are not healthy, nurturing and harmonious.

Throughout the Day: Assess your current relationships. Let go of toxic connections that drain your energy. Surround yourself with those who uplift and support you.

Evening Reflection (15 minutes): Write a letter to yourself outlining the qualities you seek in meaningful relationships. Manifest the love and respect you deserve.

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Day 6: Digital Detox

Morning Ritual (15 minutes): Turn off electronic devices for the first 30 minutes of your day. Spend this time in quiet reflection or engaging in a calming activity.

Throughout the Day: Cancel personal social media accounts temporarily. (Yes, I canceled my personal Facebook and never felt better!) Disconnect to reconnect with your inner self.

Evening Reflection (15 minutes): Notice how your mood and energy levels shift without constant digital stimulation, and how much time you have for real, living connections. Reflect on the peace gained through this intentional break.

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Day 7: Nature Connection

Morning Ritual (15 minutes): Step outside and breathe in fresh air and sunlight. Connect with nature by taking a short walk or simply sitting in a natural setting.

Throughout the Day: Spend at least 30 minutes outdoors. Engage in activities that ground you, such as gardening or hiking. Feel the earth of your feet.

Evening Reflection (15 minutes): Journal about the tranquility and grounding sensations you experienced. Consider how nature can be a source of ongoing rejuvenation.

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Day 8: Creative Expression

Morning Ritual (15 minutes): This is otherwise known as Vitamin J=Joy! Engage in a creative activity, such as drawing, writing, or ecstatic dancing. Allow yourself to express without judgment.

Throughout the Day: Take time for a creative pursuit you enjoy. This could be cooking, crafting, signing or playing a musical instrument.

Evening Reflection (15 minutes): Reflect on how creative expression enhances your well-being. Consider incorporating more of it into your daily life.

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Day 9: Gratitude Practice

• Morning Ritual (15 minutes): Start a gratitude journal. Write down three things you’re grateful for each morning. I created a lovely digital planner journal for 2024, you can order here.

Throughout the Day: Express gratitude to those around you. Send a text message, make a call, or express thanks in person.

Evening Reflection (15 minutes): Reflect on the positive moments of the day. Acknowledge the abundance in your life.

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Day 10: Mindful Eating

Morning Ritual (15 minutes): Have a mindful breakfast. Eat slowly, savor each bite, and pay attention to your body’s signals of hunger and fullness. They say that 1/3 of the stomach should have food, 1/3 water and 1/3 should be left empty!

• Throughout the Day: Practice mindful eating in all your meals. Choose nutritious foods that nourish your body.

Evening Reflection (15 minutes): Reflect on how mindful eating influences your relationship with food. Notice any changes in your energy levels and overall well-being.

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Day 11: Energy Clearing

• Morning Ritual (15 minutes): Burn incense, sage or juniper or use another energy-clearing method in your home. Set the intention to release any negative energy.

Throughout the Day: Declutter a space in your home. Let go of items that no longer serve you~ donate gently used clothes, jackets and bedding to Goodwill or the homeless shelters.

Evening Reflection (15 minutes): Journal about the emotional and mental space created through the physical act of decluttering. Notice how a clean, fresh space affects your mood.

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Day 12: Self-Celebration and Reflection

Morning Ritual (15 minutes): Celebrate your journey, and you just being you, with all of your positive qualities and flaws. Acknowledge the growth and positive changes you’ve experienced.

Throughout the Day: Pamper yourself with self-care activities you enjoy. This could be a spa day, reading a favorite book, or simply resting with tea.

Evening Reflection (15 minutes): Write a letter to your future self, expressing gratitude for the commitment to self-love and  well-being. Reflect on the many lessons learned and envision the continued journey of self-discovery.

 

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Clean Living for a New Year

As we step into this new year, let’s shift our focus from resolutions and future attainments to uncovering our already existing natural wellness. Just 30 minutes a day of self-care time and really being present in our lives can help so much. Clean living, detoxing the body, mind, relationships and creating a sacred space in our homes and work is a powerful commitment to our well-being. There might just be a rainbow already there, that we can so easily miss. Please stay in touch and bookmark our holistic offerings at rockymountainsomatics.com, where ancient wisdom meets modern, feminine-inspired wellness. A few small lifestyle changes can empower us to detoxify and start the year with renewed freshness, energy, and live our best lives!

Dawn Boiani-Sandberg

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Image: https://www.futurity.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/rainbow_droplets_525.jpg

Radical Self Acceptance- Why I’m Not Making New Year’s Resolutions

First and foremost, I have decided to not make any New Year’s resolutions this year. They usually last me about three days, and it’s a setup for failure. I, like so many women also have spent my entire life feeling: inadequate, not beautiful enough, not thin enough, not smart enough, not enlightened enough. I came from a very critical family of origin and culture, and was always looking outside myself for confirmation, comfort and solace. I then, joined a few religions that exacerbated deep existential fears, judgement of self and others, punishments in some most likely made-up afterlife, self doubt and negative self talk.

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I’ve been trapped in a lifelong, colossal self-improvement project, that just fosters more self hatred that expresses itself as spiritual narcissism and codependency. There is a Buddhist teaching we often forget, and that is called Maitri in sanskrit, it means having kindness and compassion for yourself. We can’t hope to have any genuine compassion for others, or engender world peace, if we can’t firstly find that within us. My one “resolution” is, to finally accept and sincerely love myself in a real way, just as I am– for the first time, starting today!

Radical self-acceptance can be defined as the process of fully and unconditionally embracing ourselves, including all aspects of our identity, experiences, the wide spectrum of emotions, from the most noble to the most profane. It goes beyond simply tolerating or acknowledging ourself; it involves embracing with open arms, and shedding light on all parts of ourselves, including the shadow, that is often seen as flawed or undesirable. We become our own best friend, as someone once said, I’ve found~ “the greatest love of all.”

Radical self-acceptance rejects the need for constant external validation or approval (e.g. social media) and instead focuses on cultivating a deep sense of self-worth and self-love from within. We are no longer people pleasers, nor live from needing others to confirm our ego, putting a temporary band-aid on a broken soul. We can acknowledge that all of us, as being human, means having imperfections, making mistakes, and experiencing both radiant successes and devastating failures. It is about keeping going, embracing all of these aspects with kindness, compassion, and non-judgment. Radical self-acceptance requires acknowledging and finally letting go of dark, self-critical thoughts and negative self-perceptions that may have been internalized over time by our family, culture or even religious community. There is no more space for guilt, blame and shame, we can forgive ourselves and be a veritable lamp unto ourselves. We can embrace our strengths and weaknesses, honoring one’s passions and interests, and giving oneself permission to be- ok with not being ok!

12 Days to Uncovering The Divine Feminine

Welcome to this transformative, New Year’s 12-day journey towards unveiling the already existing divine feminine within us. This wellness manual is our guide to embracing self-love, genuine, “Grounded Goddess” spirituality, and overall natural well-being. Well-being also embraces this imperfection, shadow and not always feeling great. Let’s embark on this beautiful, poignant adventure together, one day at a time.

On each of the 12 days, I’m going to post an inspiring quote from an accomplished Divine Feminine. If you can, I’d like each of us to wake up 30 to 45 minutes earlier, in the stillness, bliss and quietude of the early morning. A private time, just for you, before any other family members or pets awaken, to start the day with the self-care ritual. Each day, I invite us to integrate a few micro-changes, reflections and insights as we take steps to living our most authentic, and best life possible.

And finally, as we settle down before bed, if we could spend 15 minutes and journal, reflecting upon some of the topics for the day. If you could get a nice shiny new journal and flow-y ink pen; or better yet a brand new daily planner, one that you can write in, that would be great! They have some low cost daily planners at Marshalls, TjMaxx, Home Goods or Staples. I also created a simple, low cost and fun, Digital Daily Planner if you have an Ipad and Stylus Pen and an app called Goodnotes. Let’s embark on this beautiful adventure together, one day at a time… starting today!

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WISE WOMBMAN QUOTE

“The world and some of the people in it try to steal and extinguish the fires that exist with in us … we were born with these fires burning in our hearts and the core of our being. They try stealing the fires that ignite the dances we feel and know and move to the moment we first hear them upon arriving earth side. They try to steal the fires that warm our voices to sing-love songs, fight songs and songs of celebration. They try to steal the fires that strengthen and protect…the ones that rise up like holy bonfires when needed -life or death. Yes, they may try to steal the fire… but they cannot steal what creates the fire… they can’t steal the glowing embers that are always hidden below the blackened scarred evidence of once was. Let them try to keep your fires dim. Let them … let them try to keep you from your freedom to live joyfully and fully. These fires may take some work to re-ignite… but they can and will burn. Light them over and over again… learn to care for and protect your fire. Watch others light theirs if you need to. Be inspired … but do not sit wishing… take… the …. steps.

 For those finding their way through the coals… you will find what you are looking for. You can heal these wounds… little by little you will dance again.”
Lisa Martinez- Modern Medicine Wombman

Day 1: Embracing the Self

 

Morning Ritual (15 minutes): Start your day with affirmations. Stand in front of the mirror, look into your eyes, and repeat positive affirmations about self-love, acceptance, and body positivity. Take deep breaths, thank your organs, cells and blood for working to keep you alive. You can put a hand on each organ, and “smile” inside to thank them! Then think of at least 3-5 things you love about your body or appearance, just as it is.

Throughout the Day: Practice self-compassion. Think about all of the good you have done since you have come into this world. Who have you loved, who has loved you? Who have you helped, and been generous with? Talk to  yourself with kindness, love, appreciation and respect. Notice any negative self talk, guilt, shame, blame or inner harshness, and let those thoughts detox from your mindstream. Replace them with positive thoughts, acknowledge your accomplishments and forgive yourself for any perceived shortcomings.

Evening Reflection (15 minutes): Before bed, take out your journal and write down three things you noticed about your life, family, relationships and things that you love about yourself. Focus on your strengths, beauty and unique qualities. Use the Buddha’s “Sleeping Lion” pose. Go to sleep on your right side, with your right arm bent under your head, gently pressing the right nostril and your left resting on your torso. Imagine a pink lotus flower in your throat chakra, beaming with warm clear light. Feel the mother of cosmic space blanketing and protecting you, from inner and outer space. Your are loved and blessed by a world of goodness, light and compassion. You are loved. Sleep soundly and deeply. Goodnight dear Goddess~

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Image of Native Woman Copyright: luzazure

Festive Vegetarian Main Course- Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

Serves 4

I had quiet holiday retreat and wanted to make a decadent gourmet vegetarian dinner, and this was amazing. You can use vegan cheese or regular cheese, your choice, either way these eggplant steaks make a great main course! The key is a slightly spicy homemade tomato red pepper marinara sauce, blender-free- and infinitely better than prepared sauce. This is great paired with oven roasted asparagus or broccoli rabe.

Ingredients for the Marinara Sauce:

  • 1 large red bell pepper (chopped)*
  • 1½ cups organic tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp honey
  • ½ tsp garlic power
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups water

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Instructions:

*(Optional Pre-Roasting) Heat oven to 400ºF, and roast: sliced peppers, garlic, onions and tomatoes on a cookie sheet with 2T olive oil for 20 minutes, then broil for 2. When finished, place all vegetables on cutting board and then coarsely chop to 1/2″, leave some texture.

  1. Use a thick bottomed pot and heat olive oil on medium.
  2. Saute all ingredients except the water for 5 minutes, until onions are clear.
  3. Add water and stir, cover and simmer on warm.

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Ingredients for the Eggplant Steaks and side:

  • 3 medium eggplants, enough for about 20, 5″d. steaks, cut into about 1cm h.
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs, gluten free or panko are fine
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-8 eggs in a medium bowl, whisked together
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch of fresh spinach leaves washed
  • 8 oz./1 packet of mozzarella cheese (vegan is ok)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (vegan is ok)
  •  1 bunch parsley and roasted red peppers for garnish
  • 1 large packet of asparagus or 2 bunches of broccoli rabe. (Optional roasted fingerling potatoes, side salad and garlic bread

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large frying pan, cast iron in the best with olive oil, to medium high.
  2. Take a shallow medium bowl, and place breadcrumbs, Parmesan and salt mixed together.
  3. Dunk each eggplant steak into egg mixture and then into breadcrumbs, and then fry.
  4. Wash asparagus and put on a cookies sheet, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, roast for 15 minutes at 425ºF.
  5. Before Serving, place eggplants topped with mozzarella in oven on broil for 2 minutes, to melt cheese.
  6. To Serve: Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of each plate, and alternate each steak with spinach, top with red pepper and parsley, serve with asparagus.
  7. Serve hot with a side salad or home-made crusty garlic bread, perfect paired with a deep bodied, organic Cabernet.

Notes: Vegan Mozzarella – If you’re using vegan cheese, I prefer Miyoko ™ fresh mozzarella that melts well or shredded Follow Your Heart ™ Mozzarella.

 

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HappyForks-analyzer

Photo by Zen Chung: https://www.pexels.com/photo/ripe-healthy-eggplants-placed-in-box-in-farm-5529596/

eggplant-parmesean-stacks

Festive Vegetarian Main Course- Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

I had quiet holiday retreat and wanted to make a decadent gourmet vegetarian dinner, and this was amazing. You can use vegan cheese or regular cheese, your choice, either way these eggplant steaks make a great main course! The key is a slightly spicy homemade tomato red pepper marinara sauce, blender-free- and infinitely better than prepared sauce. This is great paired with oven roasted asparagus or broccoli rabe.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large red bell pepper chopped*
  • cups organic tomatoes chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • tsp salt
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp honey
  • ½ tsp garlic power
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • cups water
  • 3 medium eggplants enough for about 20, 5"d. steaks, cut into about 1cm h.
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs gluten free or panko are fine
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-8 eggs in a medium bowl whisked together
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch of fresh spinach leaves washed
  • 8 oz./1 packet of mozzarella cheese vegan is ok
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese vegan is ok
  • 1 bunch parsley and roasted red peppers for garnish
  • 1 large packet of asparagus or 2 bunches of broccoli rabe. (Optional roasted fingerling potatoes side salad and garlic bread

Instructions
 

  • *(Optional Pre-Roasting) Heat oven to 400ºF, and roast: sliced peppers, garlic, onions and tomatoes on a cookie sheet with 2T olive oil for 20 minutes, then broil for 2. When finished, place all vegetables on cutting board and then coarsely chop to 1/2", leave some texture.
  • Use a thick bottomed pot and heat olive oil on medium.
  • Saute all ingredients except the water for 5 minutes, until onions are clear.
  • Add water and stir, cover and simmer on warm.
  • Heat a large frying pan, cast iron in the best with olive oil, to medium high.
  • Take a shallow medium bowl, and place breadcrumbs, Parmesan and salt mixed together.
  • Dunk each eggplant steak into egg mixture and then into breadcrumbs, and then fry.
  • Wash asparagus and put on a cookies sheet, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, roast for 15 minutes at 425ºF.
  • Before Serving, place eggplants topped with mozzarella in oven on broil for 2 minutes, to melt cheese.
  • To Serve: Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of each plate, and alternate each steak with spinach, top with red pepper and parsley, serve with asparagus.

Notes

Serve hot with a side salad or home-made crusty garlic bread, perfect paired with a deep bodied, organic Cabernet.
Notes: Vegan Mozzarella - If you're using vegan cheese, I prefer Miyoko (tm) fresh mozzarella that melts well or shredded Follow Your Heart (tm) Mozzarella.

Nutrient Dense-Seed and Nut Paleo Keto Bread

This is the first winter snow of the season, so I decided to make a comforting, low-carb keto Paleo nut bread to warm up the house! This is a very dense, high-protein, super-food nut bread that’s pretty versatile so if you don’t have all the ingredients you can mix and match certain nuts and flours. This bread is perfect for your morning breakfast slathered with real butter or vegan butter, jam, and it will certainly give you energy all morning.

It would be good if you had a pretty small bread baking bread tin. The one I used is 4″ x 6″ x 2″h, because this wheat flour-less bread is so dense and believe it or not a few cups of flour and seeds fit into a little teeny tiny baking tin. It’s also really good idea if you have a piece of parchment paper line the baking tin with. If you don’t have a small baking tin like that, then just form it into an oval bread roll and bake in oven on cookie sheet with parchment paper. Serves four, about 10 slices.

nut-bread

 

Ingredients:

• 1/4 cup whole almonds
• 1/4 cup whole walnuts
• 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
• 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
• 1/4 cup flax seeds or flax meal
• 3 tablespoons chia seeds
• 3 tablespoons hulled sesame seeds
• 1 1/2 cups organic almond flour superfine
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 eggs (for vegans, you can use 3 flax eggs)
• 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
• 2 tablespoon or maple syrup or honey

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Directions:

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
• Place the whole almonds and walnuts in a blender or food processor, and lightly chop.
• In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and stir well.
• In another bowl, beat the three eggs together and then stir in all nuts, eggs, melted coconut oil and sweetener, combine with flour mixture and stir to mix well.
• Line a 6×4 or 8×4 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Spread the mixture into the lined loaf pan and use a spoon to smooth down the surface. Sprinkle the top with some extra pumpkin, flax and sesame seeds.
• Bake the bread on the middle shelf for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Let the bread cool completely and then remove it from the pan.
• Store the bread in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap. It will keep for about 4 days.
• Serve warmed with butter and/or jam!

keto-seed-bread

keto-seed-bread

Nutrient Dense-Seed and Nut Paleo Keto Bread

This is the first winter snow of the season, so I decided to make a comforting, low-carb keto Paleo nut bread to warm up the house! This is a very dense, high-protein, super-food nut bread that's pretty versatile so if you don't have all the ingredients you can mix and match certain nuts and flours. This bread is perfect for your morning breakfast slathered with real butter or vegan butter, jam, and it will certainly give you energy all morning.

Equipment

  • 4" x 6" x 2"h baking tin, parchment paper

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup whole almonds
  • 1/4 cup whole walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds or flax meal
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons hulled sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups organic almond flour superfine
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs for vegans, you can use 3 flax eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoon or maple syrup or honey

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Place the whole almonds and walnuts in a blender or food processor, and lightly chop.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and stir well.
  • In another bowl, beat the three eggs together and then stir in all nuts, eggs, melted coconut oil and sweetener, combine with flour mixture and stir to mix well.
  • Line a 6x4 or 8x4 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Spread the mixture into the lined loaf pan and use a spoon to smooth down the surface. Sprinkle the top with some extra pumpkin, flax and sesame seeds.
  • Bake the bread on the middle shelf for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Let the bread cool completely and then remove it from the pan.
  • Store the bread in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap. It will keep for about 4 days.
  • Serve warmed with butter and/or jam!

 

As a survivor of profound early emotional neglect having been raised in a dysfunctional family system, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time delving into the intricacies of attachment styles, particularly those pioneered by British Psychologist John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Understanding these styles has been a crucial aspect of my journey towards healing and forming healthier connections and more secure, nurturing relationships. This rigorously honest, deep work, to me, is the Dharma. I feel that many of us have bypassed properly relating to and healing emotional patterns that come from early childhood wounding and unprocessed grief, fear, and trauma. By doing so, it’s veritably impossible to make any real progress in our lives or on any spiritual path. I’m grateful to have the time and resources to really learn these powerful, transformational theories, that again “bring light” to deep shadow aspects of ourselves.

What is Attachment?

When a secure attachment is developed, adults and infants are attuned to one another. The central theme of attachment theory is that primary caregivers who are available and responsive to an infant’s needs allow the child to develop a sense of warmth and security. The infant learns that the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for the child to then explore the world, experience joy, play and has support for needs. For example, a baby cries and is hungry, and someone comes soon to tend to them, lovingly. These early imprints suggest that the world is safe and one’s caregivers are helpful and supportive. One’s caregiver can provide love, comfort, safety, and needs can be met.

This quality of secure attachment provides the foundation for healthy and trusting relationships in the future. Attachment defines the child’s sense of stability, quality of social interactions, and emotional and cognitive development as they grow into adulthood, and is a huge determining factor in one’s adjustment and quality of life.

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So what determines successful attachment? Behaviorists propose that it was basic food and physical security that led to forming this attachment behavior, but Bowlby and others demonstrated that love and emotional nurturance and responsiveness were the primary determinants of attachment.

If secure, our attachment pattern can help bolster our healthy, secure relationships, but if insecure, may also undermine our ability to establish and maintain healthy intimate relationships and friendships. We can develop a pattern of fear and mistrust, especially when we open and are vulnerable. Adult attachment addresses our ability to connect, feel satisfied in our relationships with ourselves and others, and how we develop and maintain intimacy.

Can Attachment Styles Change?

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TIPS TO CHANGE ATTACHMENT STYLES:

Yes, we are not fixed and the theory of neuroplasticity says that, with effort,we can change! It’s important to seek help from a professional if you deem appropriate, to help us understand about attachment styles. It’s also very important, if you’re currently in an emotional relationship, to get to know your partner’s patterns. This is, because it’s essential for us to increase our sense of attachment security and, for this to happen, we need to learn more about our partner by sharing details to improve closeness and strengthen bonds.

To do this, you can do things like asking questions about their interests, speak about what you two share in common, places you’d love to visit together, etc. It can also be helpful to find activities you can share, and this way you two can bond. When it comes to any relationship, it is also very important to understand the values you want in any type of relationship. When we seek to enter a relationship, we can build stronger relationships when we understand personal values. Having shared values, not attaction, has proven to be the greatest determinate of the longest lasting marriages.

The Effects on Relationships

As we’ve discussed previously, children who are securely attached as infants tend to develop stronger self-esteem and self-reliance as they grow older. As such, they tend to be more independent and perform better later in school, college, work, and have successful social relationships and marriages and experience less depression and anxiety. They are also more resilent in times of loss, illness or stress. Although it’s important to mention that attachment styles displayed in adulthood are not necessarily the same as those seen in infancy, early attachments can have a serious impact on later relationships. Adults who were securely attached in childhood tend to have good self-esteem, strong romantic relationships, and the ability to self-disclose and develop safety and trust with others.

What are Attachment Styles?

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Find Out What Type of Attachment Style You Have

Bowlby identified four main attachment styles that emerge in early childhood and continue to influence our relationships throughout life: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant. Each style shapes the way we approach intimacy, trust, and emotional vulnerability.

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The four attachment styles are:
1. Anxious (also referred to as Preoccupied)
2. Avoidant (also referred to as Dismissive)
3. Disorganized (also referred to as Fearful-Avoidant)
4. Secure

TAKE THE QUIZ

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First and foremost, let’s explore the secure attachment style. If you’re fortunate enough to have developed this style, you likely experienced consistent love, care, and responsiveness from your caregivers. This foundation instilled in you a sense of trust in relationships, allowing you to feel comfortable both giving and receiving affection.

For example, my husband grew up with a relatively functional family in Sweden with a nurturing mother, father and siblings. There was no overt abuse and he was loved, fed, educated and had close friends and siblings. He has never as far as I know, exhibited fear, jealousy or mistrust in our 20 years of marriage. His attachment style is… secure.

On the flip side, the anxious-preoccupied attachment style the I experienced for years, stemmed from inconsistent or nonexistent caregiving. People like me with this style tend to crave closeness but may also fear abandonment, leading to heightened sensitivity and a constant need for reassurance. The parent’s love was not reciprocated, and this can cause a lifetime of emotional scars, insecurity, low self esteem, fears and fear of our basic survival.

For example, I grew up with an alcoholic father, and there was violence in the first three years of my life as a baby in the crib. I would hear my parents fighting and cry, but they could not hear me, or ignored me, over their arguing. No one ever came to sooth me, and I recall, many nights being so scared and crying myself to sleep, wearing a pink zippered onesie. These imprints run deep, and amazingly, through intense therapeutic work and a longing  to really heal in this life, I have access to these memories that created this anxious attachment style. It is only in the past three years that this process has been brought to light, routed out and healed to a greater degree, and for that, I am grateful.

Next, there’s the dismissive-avoidant attachment style, which often results from caregivers who were emotionally distant or unavailable. People with this style may find it challenging to open up and may prioritize independence and withdrawal over emotional connection. These are the quintessential escapists, renunciates, and indeed, misanthropes. There are often overtones here with Narcissism or Antisocial Personality Disorder.

One of the rarest and most challenging style is the fearful-avoidant attachment style, a blend of anxious-preoccupied and dismissive-avoidant. This arises generally from abuse with profound trauma and/or inconsistent care-giving environment. Those with this style desire intimacy but fear getting too close, creating a perpetual loop of internal struggle. There are often overtones here with Borderline Personality Disorder. Without treatment, the fearful avoidant may never be able to be in sustained, healthy, authentic, genuine friendships and partnerships. The learned fear and mistrust, which were once an accurate coping response to an abusive or neglectful parent or milieu, precedes them.

 

bowlby-attachment-theory

How to Develop a Secure Attachment Style (It’s NEVER Too Late!)

Now, let’s delve into the steps to develop a secure attachment style, a journey I embarked on myself. It’s important to remember that you cannot change your past, but you can always change the present. We are not forever cursed and defined by what happened to us. Self-knowledge is self-love is… power.

  1. Self-awareness: Reflect on your attachment style and its origins. Understanding your patterns is the first step towards change.
  2. Therapeutic intervention: Seek professional help if needed. Therapy provides a safe space to explore past experiences, challenge negative beliefs, and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
  3. Mindfulness and self-regulation: Practice being present in the moment. Learn to identify and regulate your emotions, allowing for more conscious and intentional responses in relationships.
  4. Communication: Express your needs and feelings openly with your loved ones. Effective communication builds trust and fosters a secure connection.
  5. Boundaries and reciprocity: Establish healthy boundaries and ensure that relationships are based on mutual respect and reciprocity. A secure attachment style thrives on balanced give-and-take.

My personal journey has taught me that healing and developing a secure attachment style is an ongoing process, and according to recent assessments, mine went from anxious attachment to… secure! ? I have an interesting personal insight as a trauma survivor that I’d like to share. The basic building blocks of who we are never really seem to change and that makes sense to me. I’m never going to forget, bury memories or dissociate from what happened, these experiences make me, me. However, through self awareness and being in sync with myself, I can change how I react to situations.

For example, I might be at home with my husband and he’s been in his big leather lounge chair reading most of the night and not speaking. He’s a quiet, bookish, science-y type. Subconsciously, I might think, oh, he’s upset/ignoring me- [insert whatever fear-based thought may arise]. In the past, I may have believed my own hurt-infused projection and may have confronted him or needed confirmation and attention. Now, if this happens, and it does because the “karmic seeds” will seemingly always be there, I notice it as it is happening. I ask myself quietly, is he really ignoring you or upset? No, he’s not a punitive, passive-aggressive, silent type like I experienced with my family of origin; I could never stand for that in a marriage. Then, I “reality test” take a deep breath, reassure myself and let it go. I might now, give him a quick kiss, and go up and read or meditate myself, sans any drama recurring from my past attachment style.

It can be done. Healing involves this self-reflection, self-and-other compassion, and a commitment to fostering and maintaining meaningful connections. While the past may shape us, it doesn’t define us, our present or future relationships. We have the power to rewrite our attachment narratives. I’m living proof that with effort, healing is possible, we are simply not our past nor defined by how others raised or treated us, thankfully.

May you all flourish, have the deepest and healthiest relationships, starting with yourself, and live your very best life possible!

Citations: Introduction to Attachment Disorder Udemy

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-carrying-a-baby-3242264/

Photo by Taryn Elliott: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-woman-carrying-child-3889806/

Graphics: Copyrighted by LIGHTANDSALTDESIGNCO.COM on Etsy, please do not share or reproduce.

Green Tara Mantra- Remover of all Obstacles and Fear

This was recorded live from Shoshoni Ashram in Rollinsville, Colorado, 2023 during our annual women’s fall yoga retreat, filled with radiant goddesses and yoginis. It is sung by Kalika, in a call and response format. The Green Tara Mantra- is exceedingly powerful and she is said to be the remover of all obstacles and fear. We so need that now in these times. May it be so!

goddesses

Read More about Green Tara and her mantra here.

 

Please listen to the mantra here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn2EFAR17hQ

The Hawaiian Ho’oponopono mantra is a traditional practice deeply rooted in the cultural and spiritual fabric of Hawaii. Ho’oponopono, which means “to make right” or “to rectify,” is a process of reconciliation and forgiveness. The practice has evolved over centuries and has been handed down through generations, maintaining its significance in Hawaiian culture.

Historically, Ho’oponopono was a communal practice led by a kahuna, a Hawaiian spiritual leader or shaman. It was employed to resolve conflicts within families or communities, aiming to restore balance and harmony. The process involved open communication, apology, forgiveness, and mutual understanding. Through Ho’oponopono, Hawaiians sought to heal relationships, promote well-being, and maintain a sense of unity. The premise is that you can forgive, heal and love yourself, and that will resonate to others.

Hooponopono Mantra

I’m sorry
Please forgive me
I love you
Thank you

In more recent times, Ho’oponopono has gained global recognition, thanks in part to the work of Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, a Hawaiian psychologist. You can read the story called Zero Limits by Dr. Vitale. Dr. Len adapted the traditional practice into a personal development tool by introducing a mantra: “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.” According to Dr. Len, the power of this mantra lies in taking radical responsibility for one’s experiences, pain and the world around them. The efficacy of the Ho’oponopono mantra is attributed to the belief that healing begins within oneself. By repeating these phrases, we aim to clear negative energy, release resentment and inner toxicity, and foster a sense of love, gratitude and well-being.

While the scientific evidence supporting the healing effects of Ho’oponopono may be limited, many people attest to its positive impact on their well-being. Reportedly, Dr. Hew Len was hired by the Hawaii State Hospital, to help with difficulties with their wards for the criminally insane. There was a lot of violence and restraints and many staff were assaulted, in danger and left. He reportedly opened clients files and recited the mantra over their files, and reportedly the clients decreased their behaviors, left seclusion and began to heal. The patients began to have accountability and took steps toward self care. The census in the ward declined and was later closed.

There is no concrete evidence of causation or correlation, but this powerful mantra surely evokes a sense of deep healing, self love and forgiveness. It echos the traditional forgiveness and accountability practiced in Buddhism, called maitri, karuna and The Four Powers. The practice continues to resonate with people seeking a holistic approach to healing and personal transformation, embracing both its cultural roots and modern adaptations. In the video above, you can recite this 108 times. You can use a mala rosary as a tool to help with your recitations, or recite this with one hand on the heart and one on the belly. You can recite this 108 times every day to cleanse all relational hurts, guilt, resentment and toxicity. Let us know in the comments how you feel afterwards!

Examining our deepest fears of intimacy and wounding.

I was never a fan of the show “FRIENDS” but reading about Matthew Perry’s untimely death this morning struck a deep, reflective chord in me. He passed away in a hot tub after battling for years with addiction and going in and out of rehab centers. He never married and never had any children, although he did have relationships with famous people like Julia Roberts. He and I are the same age and his tragic death caused me to reflect upon my own life, spiritual tradition and friendships. He longed to become ready to eventually let someone in and find love. He said:

”That was me afraid. I manifest something that’s wrong with them, and then I break up with them. But there can’t be something wrong with everyone. I’m the common denominator. I left first because I thought they were going to annihilate me.” 

Matthew Perry- People Magazine

However, he said that he had finally ”gotten over” his ”fear of love” after becoming sober in May 2021 and said ”I’m not afraid anymore,” and said that he wanted to find love and have children.

Accountability- What it Means to Grow Up

In any 12 step program, one of the hardest things is to begin the trajectory toward healing, and take the first step and admit that you have a problem. I commend Matthew for going into rehabs to battle with his inner fears and demons. I don’t know if drugs and alcohol were involved in his death, but irrespective of that, I think his memoirs show that he was able to have a great degree of insight and accountability.

I appreciate that he did a sufficient amount of inner work to be able to see his shadow and see where he had deprived himself from really being able to go deep, and love another person by wanting to make a commitment and eventually, have a family. Just that insight alone is so rare, that a person is able to see their core issues in and their wounding and then long to heal and make personal change. This means that he was able to venture into the darkest places within himself, that a lot of us never dare to touch. As far as I’m concerned, because of this accountability, he died somewhat spiritually healed and exhibited rare bravery. Matthew, I’d like to wish you well and I would like to learn from some of the things that you shared, so that each of us could have deeper relationships, and more fulfilling lives and not let our fears, insecurities and inner demons cast us forever into a life of emotional isolation and despair.

 

avoidant-personality

What is Love Avoidance?

According to the DSM5, avoidant personality disorder it is a cluster B/C personality disorder, hallmarked with a “sensitive hyper-vigilant temperament, with a general longing to relate to others.” Furthermore they have excessive fears of such issues as intolerance of any disapproval, criticism, or rejection. Love avoidants also have “inhibition in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy.”

One of the hallmarks of a love avoidant, is that they can avoid being hurt or being emotionally vulnerable, and they stay in complete control of the relationship by withholding. Love avoidants exhibit intense escapism and often sabotage any chance of someone really becoming close to them. Because of this deep inner wounding and intense insecurity, they wind up often turning to drugs and alcohol and compulsive behaviors. They can be secretive, sexually compulsive and use distancing techniques like devaluing and criticizing their partners as the method of staying in control. They sometimes are “tactile defensive,” not wanting to be touched, except for sex.

At the first moment that they become vulnerable where they perceive that their partner might want to offend, hurt or leave them, that partner who they attempted to open up to, now becomes the enemy in their mind. They will usually discard their partner vehemently. This black-and-white thinking, is called splitting, where the person that they attempted to open to, is now inaccurately perceived as “all, bad or all evil.” This is very commonly exhibited in many cluster B personality disorders, like Borderline, Antisocial and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Love avoidance is a maladaptive, protective coping skill that can come from people that were neglected or abused as children. Sometimes there are genetic factors that are inherited generationally, and in these cases there is no real treatment or cure. However, in Matthew’s case, he was capable of insight and contrition, and for people like that, there is often hope.

Love Avoidance and Spiritual Bypassing

I wanted to share why this personally inspired me to write today. I have tried many relationships in my Buddhist community for decades with men that supposedly upheld values like: being trustworthy and safe, having ethics, compassion, patience, listening, forgiveness and indeed, 84,000 different skillful means of compassionate expression and problem solving skills. However, time and time again I would meet these men, sometimes even exalted teachers, and it became revealed that many had serious emotional issues, reactivity and commitment and control issues, that would result in conflict and breakups. I wound up marrying someone outside of my Buddhist spiritual tradition who was very sane, stable and well adjusted and we’ve been able to be married for over 22 years now.

A lot of my close Buddhist Dharma friends, both men and women are single, not all but many. I feel like if I had tried to find someone in our tradition, I probably would still be single myself. I’ve noticed that a lot of us admittedly, including myself, came in to Buddhism as westerners and spiritual seekers, because of some type of pain or core wounding or unresolved issues. The tradition values a simple, unfettered life without commitments and a strong commitment to hours of daily meditation practice.

I’ve still gotten into painful conflicts with many yogi-robed acquaintances, mostly men on social media where, I would say one benign thing that they perceived as some type of injury and they would become rageful, defame or even block me. It was pretty vicious and callous, and it’s clear that they are using our tradition to foster nothing but Spiritual Narcissism. Many of them purport to be “dharma experts” and use daily photos of Buddhist teachers and insightful quotes to gain +/-500 virtue signaling “Likes.” What a sad life and waste of time and indeed these men are often quintessential love avoidants. I know that social media becomes a place where people with significant damage, wounding and personality disorders can play out a lot of prey/predator narcissistic disordered games. For that reason, I’ve left a lot of the social media milieus, and it has given me my real life back, with time for real relationships.

Was Gautama the Original Love Avoidant?

The Buddha himself was a renunciate and in fact even left his wife and newborn child and all responsibilities to “self actualize.” If he had left his wife and child so callously in this day and age, we may have considered him quite selfish and legally, he would be considered a “deadbeat dad” in many countries. However, the difference between the Buddha leaving his family and going deep into his ascetic, yogic practices and meditation was that his leaving was based on a very serious longing to develop himself and foster compassion to help others. That was an act of bravery as referenced above with Mr. Perry, rather than an act of escapism and avoidance.

Since his time, we’ve had a tradition of both lay and monastic practitioners, and sometimes I wonder what the root motivation is for westerners getting involved with this tradition. If we already have deep wounding and a propensity for escapism, spiritual narcissism and love avoidance, would we then find a religion that reflects, houses and even rewards some of our maladaptive psycho-sexual and relational patterns? I do wonder sometimes if we have misconstrued this basic point, and created an entire religion and paradigm that honors and exalts the propensity to be a love avoidant and bypass our deepest fears of vulnerability, intimacy and early wounding. Just because leaving his family was ok for the Buddha doesn’t mean we should emulate him, if we in contrast, are using our tradition as a method of opiation and escapism. All we will have done is hurt ourselves and others, and wasted this precious life, in spiritual delusion.

I noticed that a lot of my friends claim to have a strong commitment to their Dharma meditation practice and have been told that they have a rare “noble birth,” and consider themselves quite spiritually accomplished and even god-forbid, superior to others. We can’t really be making ANY spiritual progress if we have simply used our tradition for this quintessential spiritual bypass. Staying alone, rejecting the world, rejecting intimacy in some type of strange, self-aggrandized, escapist renunciation is often, simply the fostering of a monumental ego and cowardice, rather than anything that looks like openness, genuine compassion and enlightenment.

Healing Through Awareness

If we have discovered and become honest with ourselves that we are indeed love avoidant, or we are in a relationship with a love avoidant there are ways that these patterns can be healed. The very first step is education, awareness, insight and accountability. Then, we can seek professional counseling with a DBT therapist. And for partnerships: IMAGO is one of the best relationship healing methods.

I wish that Matthew had lived long enough to accomplish his dreams of finally finding real love and intimacy, getting married and having a child. Him understanding and saying that in fact, he was the common denominator in all of these failed relationships, and that he simply was afraid of being hurt, was intensely vulnerable and brave, and indeed, healed. Love avoidants can spend their entire lives blaming others as to why their partner deserved to be hurt, abandoned left or was never, ever good enough. In Buddhism and other spiritual traditions, we formed an entire religion where people are afraid to go deeply into their lives, be vulnerable and make any commitment to really… anything that they consider “worldly.” I think if we shed light on this propensity, we can become better and go beyond our deep wounding and develop true bravery, foster healthy relationships a meaningful life and indeed- real genuine mutual loving connections. I would like to learn and be inspired by Matthew’s life and insights, and may we all have the most meaningful, honest and healed life possible.

 

Citations:

image: pexels evie-shaffer

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559325/

MissLunaRose12, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

ref:https://beginagaininstitute.com/blog/what-does-it-mean-to-be-love-avoidant

https://people.com/matthew-perry-dead-at-54-7501992

IN OUR DARK TIMES

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Brief reflections about these current wars, religious conflict, self-care and social action.

Please listen here: https://youtu.be/M2HmscKrAoA

 

Today is my birthday, the inception of a dangerous, inconsolable and heart-wrenching war in the Middle East. It is a particularly poignant fall day as one of my very close friends is dying. He is called a Vajra Brother, and we have many of the same teachers, and he sent this to me as a guide as to how to help him. I thought I would offer it to you all, as indeed, we all will pass, and there are some great instructions from two of my primary Tibetan Buddhist Teachers, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. It borrows from the world view of the Tibetan Book of the Dead and there are things that all of us can begin to prepare for now, and to help friends to be without fear.

You can download an easy to use, pdf version here.

May it be of benefit in these hard times, and may all be free of suffering.

Training Guide to the Bardos of Dying, Luminous Dharmata, and Karmic Becoming

Compiled by the Pundarika Foundation

Everyone who dies experiences the bardos, but not everyone recognizes them as their own mind. Recognition depends entirely on the quality of my prior practice.

“Not everyone goes through the bardos in the same way. Only a few teachers assert that the journey is universal and that everyone will, for example, experience the deities of the bardo of dharmata in a similar way. Most teachers say that cultural differences and personal idiosyncrasies generate a variety of experiences. Why would a Christian or a Muslim, with very different beliefs, experience death the same way as a Buddhist?

As we will see, the journey through the bardos is a journey through the mind. In the Buddhist view, the essence of the mind is the same for all sentient beings. But the surface structures that cover that essence are different. Hence the journey through the surface structures (the bardo of dying), into the essence of the mind (bardo of dharmata), and then out of it (bardo of becoming) is not the same. But the general pattern of this three-stage process is universal, at least according to the [Tibetan] Buddhist view. Holecek, pgs. 6 – 7

The key to smoothly negotiating the difficulties of death is familiarity. If you deal with some of the details now you can relax at the time of death, and relaxation is the best instruction for how to die. Relaxation is born from familiarity.” Holecek, pgs 10 – 11

An Introductory Discourse by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

Why should one learn about the bardo state? Usually we talk about three aspects: the present life, the bardo, and the next life. In the next life, following the intermediate state, we either wander further through samsaric existence, going to one of the higher or lower realms, or attain liberation and enlightenment. Right now we find ourselves in the present life, and the intermediate state, the bardo state, is between the two.

Sometimes six kinds of bardo states are discussed, but they can be condensed into four basic states. The first, the natural bardo of this life, continues from birth until the time of death. The second, the bardo of dying, is the period that begins when we meet with a fatal illness or expire. The third, the bardo of dharmata, occurs when we have fully passed away… Finally, the bardo of becoming is undergone if we have not recognized our nature in the bardo of dharmata.
In addition to these four bardos, two other bardos occur during this life: the bardo of meditation and the bardo of dreaming. The bardo of meditation is the experience of the meditation state. The bardo of dreaming is the dream state during sleep.

Literally, the Tibetan term for “bardo of this life” means “born and remaining.” We have been born from our mother and have not yet passes away. It is the period between birth and death. Here the important point in this lifetime is the bardo of meditation, which depends on receiving the oral instructions from a master and training oneself in them. Then, during the nighttime, one trains in the bardo of dreaming. If in this way one remains in the bardo of meditation throughout day and night, should one worry about any of the other bardo states? Being adept in the bardos of meditation and dreaming is sufficient. Nothing more remains to be done. But without reaching some degree of stability in meditation and the ability to recognize dreams, I am sorry to say, one cannot avoid enduring the bardo of dying.

A good Dzogchen practitioner, on the other hand, is liberated into the expanse of primordial purity during the bardo of dying. He departs through the Secret Pathway of Vajrasattva before expiring. If one is not stable at that point either one will arrive at the bardo of dharmata. Here the natural sounds, colors and lights manifest. Dharmata means nature, the unconditioned. The sounds, colors and lights are unconditioned; they manifest yet they are devoid of self-nature. If one also lacks stability in the bardo of dharmata, sadly enough, one will wander further down into the samsaric circle of seeking another rebirth within the six realms.

As I mentioned earlier, being liberated into the expanse of primordial purity at the moment of death is the best. At this point, one will go through the experiences of appearance, increase and attainment. The first of these three experiences, the whiteness of appearance, occurs with the descent of the white element obtained from one’s father. The second experience, the redness of increase, occurs with the ascent of the red element obtained from one’s mother. The third experience is the actual moment of death.

What follows the moment of this third experience is the fourth experience, the so-called ground luminosity of full attainment. A scripture states: “Then dawns the unconditional wakefulness of bliss and emptiness.” The wakefulness is empty as well as blissful, and if one can recognize it, it is exactly the mahamudra of bliss and emptiness, the mahasiddhi of awareness and emptiness, or the madhyamika of appearance and emptiness.
In most cases, however, following the three experiences of the whiteness of appearance, the redness of increase and the blackness of attainment, one’s consciousness, also called prana-mind, faints in the black experience of the white and red elements meeting together in the heart center.

This moment of unconsciousness is for all ordinary people simply an oblivious state, lasting for the most part for about three and a half days. On the morning of the fourth day, manifestations suddenly unfold as if the sky and earth were rent asunder. One has been unconscious, totally oblivious, not noticing anything up to this point, so one will wonder, “What happened?”

Conventionally, this is of three days’ duration, but actually there is no fixed measure. For those familiar with meditation, it lasts as long as their meditation state, the duration of non-distraction from mind-essence. For people without training in recognizing mind-essence, these “days” just flash past. For those with virtue and evil in equal measure, the duration is approximately three days. What actually happens at this point is that the fourth experience, the ground luminosity of full attainment, is not recognized and one falls unconscious. That happens for most beings. Quite a few people suffer at this moment because of their intense panic and fear of death. A cry of anguish follows, and then they lose consciousness.
After the passing of three and a half days, one awakens from this oblivious state wondering, “What happened to me?” The consciousness leaves the body through one of the eight or nine apertures. It seems quite strange that the mind, which is without any concrete substance, must leave through an opening of the body. If the mind departs through the top of the head, it is said that one goes to the higher realms or continues on the path of liberation. In fact there are several openings on the top of the head. One leads to the Formless Realm, another to the Realm of Form, and yet another to the Pure Lands.
After the consciousness has separated from the body, it will, in the bardo of becoming, go to one of the six realms in keeping with one’s individual karma.

According to the system of Karling Shitro, everything happens within the time span of forty-nine days: the peaceful deities manifest in the first week, the wrathful ones in the second week, and so forth. For some people everything just flickers by; for others it might happen slowly. Time and occurrence remain unfixed.
On the other hand, if one is a trained practitioner, one will recognize, “This is the experience of appearance!” when the whiteness appears, bright and vivid. And when the redness occurs, one will know, “This is the redness!” Finally, when everything goes black, one will acknowledge, “This is the attainment, the blackness!”

After these three experiences, one will also recognize when the ground luminosity of full attainment manifests like a lamp within a vase. At first there is an instant of fainting while the eighty inherent thought states cease. Nothing accompanies the cessation of all thought states but nonconceptual awareness as bright as a lamp in a vase. It is cognizant, nonconceptual, and remains one-pointedly, the union of luminosity and emptiness. That is the ground luminosity, which is like a mother. This means that dharmata, self-existing wakefulness, the sugatagarbha, is like a mother. The recognition of it, which one’s master has pointed out, is like a child. At this moment, the mother and child reunite. The traditional analogy is that it is “like a child jumping into its mother’s lap.” People who are experienced in such practice understand this, and everything stands and falls with that understanding.

At present, the vital point in our practice is to recognize the nature of awareness. We hear statements such as “Recognize your awareness!” or “He has recognized rigpa, the awareness!” Having recognized awareness during one’s lifetime, the key point here is to remain in it – to refrain from losing its continuity. At the instant of the cessation of the eighty thought states, self-existing wakefulness is vividly present – like pure and refined gold, the purity by itself. One can recognize it fully and completely. That is how it has been taught.

This moment has been spoken of thus: “One instant makes the difference. In one instant complete enlightenment.” In the moment of recognition one can attain full enlightenment. That is the meaning of the statement: “The best practitioner attains buddhahood in the dharmakaya at the moment of death.”
If one cannot recognize in that way, however, the next bardo, the bardo of dharmata, will manifest. After the elements and the consciousness have dissolved into space, the stages of space dissolve into luminosity, luminosity dissolves into wisdom, and wisdom dissolves into unity. Unity here means the peaceful and wrathful deities. Following that, unity dissolves into spontaneous presence.

Spontaneous presence refers to that which is originally or inherently present within the ground of primordial purity. Some people wonder, “Where do all these deities and lights come from?” They are the manifestations of the wakefulness spontaneous presence. In the practice of Thogal, as well as in the bardo of dharmata, many deities appear. Those deities are dharmata. They are not conditioned entities but are of an unconditioned nature. Having neither flesh nor blood, they consist of rainbow lights. The key point in the bardo of dharmata is simply to rest in awareness. Without such ability, this bardo lasts no longer than a few flickering moments.

Bardo teachings may sound very fascinating and colorful, but the vital point is one’s individual practice now. Why have medicine when sick, if one doesn’t use it? Without training, our studies become mere intellectual understanding. If study were sufficient, we could simply lean back and read a book about Dzogchen. In fact, there is no way around actual training.
The reading of The Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo aloud for a dead person according to the system of Karling Shitro, is to remind a practitioner who possesses prior training. It is definitely necessary. The most important point is that the reader be someone close to the dead person, one with shared samayas. If the deceased becomes irritated with the reader, there will be no benefit. The two people should, at best, share the same teacher and be compatible. In that case there will be tremendous benefits.

On the other hand, without prior training in recognition of mind-essence, one will be unable to attain stability in the bardo state. A person who never recognized his mind-essence will, in the first place, fail to cut through the misery and fear of dying, and later, when the intense and overwhelming experiences of the sounds, colors, and lights occur, he will be paralyzed with fear. The sounds will roar like one hundred thousand thunderclaps and the lights will shine more brilliantly then one hundred thousand suns. It is not just a dim glimmering light. Those are the sounds, colors, and lights of the bardo of dharmata. One will feel drawn to them. One therefore must attain at least some degree of stability through practice right now.

It is also important to have confidence in these teachings and to develop the determination to be clear-headed in the bardo and recognize what takes place. One must have confidence or all will be lost.
At best, one should receive the pointing-out instructions from a qualified master. Success in the bardo comes from applying one’s present practice of mind-essence at the time of death. Only training dispels the confusion that arises during the bardo state. That is why one must practice the stages of development and completion right now. Recognize this, and then one will experience at death what one is already familiar with through practice.

……The whole reason for receiving bardo teachings has been traditionally described as that of “connecting a broken water pipe.” By training right now, one will be able to continue the “flow” of practice through the bardo state to the following life. In the Dzogchen system bardo training is indispensable. If one has already reached perfection in the practice of Thogal, then there is no need for bardo teachings. In this age, however, life is short, diseases are many, and diligence is feeble. Although one may have entered the path of the Great Perfection, without attaining stability in one’s practice and not being able to know whether the time of death will arrive suddenly, one definitely needs the instruction on how to “connect the broken water pipe.” One will then be able to attain enlightenment in the bardo state, to proceed to a buddha field, or at least gain a rebirth in one of the higher realms. So these are necessary teachings, especially if one meets an untimely death.

When practicing these teachings one must have confidence and trust and be free from doubt. This teaching is like a guide leading the blind in the right direction. To take the hand of such a guide, one needs trust. Without trust, one might lose one’s way. With trust, one will reach the destination. Mirror of Mindfulness, pgs. 2 – 11
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Before death is upon me it is important for me to set my intention on training my mind to maintain stability in my dzogchen practice. It is so easy for me to get distracted in this life and, if not corrected I will be swept away in the coming bardos as easily as I can be swept into thought, emotion and action right now.

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The Bardo of Dying

“The painful bardo of dying is painful because it hurts to let go. But now is the time when we have to. Letting go is just a euphemism for death, and releasing our grip is what transforms the painful bardo of dying into simply the bardo of dying.” Holecek, pg. 68.

Now is the time to:

• Realize with certainty that the whole purpose of the path in this lifetime has been to cultivate bodhicitta, correct my misperception and uncover self-existing wisdom so that cognizance (sambogakaya) knows its own empty nature (dharmakaya). At the time of death, with the dissolving of the elements and consciousness into space (dharmakaya), and space into luminosity, nothing of this conceptual mindstream remains to obscure natural mind’s empty radiance. My intention as a practitioner is to rest in ground luminosity of full attainment, and so reach the destination of enlightenment via the shortest route.

• Make my Dharma Box & finish my legal papers and directives.

• Tell my Dharma friends that before I die I need to be seated upright or in the Lion’s Posture. Direct them to burn my Dharma notebooks and journals with me upon my death.

• Plan my last thought, for it will influence my journey through the bardos. For example, I intend to think: “Now death is coming. It’s my time to die and my intention is to have a still, clear mind. I will supplicate my precious teachers, Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Guru Rinpoche to be with me as I transit the bardos.”

• I intend to rely upon the stability of my practice. By practicing diligently right now, I will establish the ability to sustain rigpa. It will be invaluable in transiting the bardos of death and dying.

• Prepare for the journey so that my heart will be filled with bodhicitta and there will be a calm atmosphere. I know friends & family may be upset, but since I will need to focus, the kindest thing they can do for me is to remain calm, loving and supportive as I concentrate on my practice. I would be grateful if they could participate in the calm atmosphere of the room, which will be silent except for the prayers and mantras I have selected and the instructions whispered in my ear by my lama or Dharma friend. If it’s not possible for them to be calm and quiet, I cannot have them in the room and hope they will understand why.

• Understand what is dissolving. When elements composing the body dissolve, it is just the impure aspects that dissolve, leaving the pure aspects to move into the central channel. This makes for an increase in pure energy, wisdom-wind. With this accumulation of wisdom-wind, it’s much easier to liberate in the Bardo of Dying than it had been in this life.

• Know that actual experiences may not be in the order described, but it will all happen. If I’m not concentrating undistractedly on my practice, it will all pass by quickly. Only with stable awareness will there be time to recognize the nature of mind and attain liberation.

• Be happy and grateful that I have had a teacher and access to teachings that familiarizes me with what is to come in the bardos and how to practice for them! Through our connection, I have confidence that I will feel Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s presence and support.

• Although I intend to persevere in stabilizing my mind and rehearse going through the bardos without distraction, if I die suddenly the the most effective thing to do is chant Om Mani Padme Hum. I trust this will help me overcome the inevitable shock and confusion. I’ll need to recognize I’m dead, call upon Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s support and stabilize my mind in its empty nature.

Throughout the Training Guide, this color code is used:

Points in Turquoise are outer signs; red are Inner signs; Purple are secret signs. Green denotes practices that are appropriate at this time.
Blue denotes instructions for my Dharma friend.
The journey begins with experiencing the dissolution of the coarse body, its consciousnesses and the sense bases.
This is called:
The Four Instances:
earth into water, water into fire, fire into wind, wind into consciousness
Maintaining rigpa, the basic space of phenomena, without distraction is essential. Remember: All dissolution experiences in the bardos are simply projections of my mind.

Earth element (flesh & bones) dissolves into water element

• I feel physical and mental heaviness, as if I am being crushed
• Eye base, its consciousness and sight are vanishing
• Intense cracking resounds, as if a mountain is crumbling
• All that appears is like a mirage
• I can envision Rinpoche at my heart center and with devotion offer supplications

•Whispering in my ear, my Dharma friend can help me express “I’m experiencing
the process of death.”

Water element (blood, saliva, urine, etc.) dissolves into fire element

• I have leakage of fluids followed by intense thirst; the body is drying out
• Mind buzzes and is agitated; increasing irritability and loss of mental clarity
• Ear base, its consciousness and hearing are vanishing
• All that appears is smoke-like
• Sounds of great waves crashing resound
• I can envision Rinpoche at my navel center and with devotion offer supplications

• Whispering in my ear, my Dharma friend can help me recognize these signs

Fire element (warmth) dissolves into wind element

• My body rapidly goes from being hot to cold
• I can no longer speak
• My mental clarity vacillates; it’s hard to recognize people and I may have
hallucinations
• Nose base and its consciousness are disappearing
• All that appears is like fireflies or sparks
• Sounds of an immense fire storm resound
• I can envision Rinpoche at my forehead and with devotion offer supplications

• Whispering in my ear, my Dharma friend can help me recognize these signs

Wind element (breath) dissolves into consciousness

•My breath shortens, rattles and soon disappears
•My taste and tactile bases and their consciousnesses are vanishing
•All that appears is a brightly shining torch or butter lamp
• Sound like a dragon’s roar resounds
• Breath stops = clinical death
• Whispering in my ear, my Dharma friend needs to tell me this has happened and
it’s time to concentrate on the final dissolution that is now about to happen.

For the next three to 3 1/2 days my body should not be moved until death is completed with the inner dissolution of consciousness.

• The Kuntuzangpo prayer should be read at the conclusion of the three (+) days and its amulet is placed on my heart. If I have a “Bardo garb”, it should be burned on my body, along with all of my Dharma journals and notebooks when it is time for my cremation.

• If possible, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, or other lamas should be contacted to say prayers.

• Anis can be contacted through the Pundarika website to do weekly pujas from this point on through the 49 days. If a local lama or monk has been in attendance at my death ask him to continue as well.

• During this time the inner dissolution continues taking place as the white element from my father moves down to the heart and the red element from my mother moves up to the heart where they rest in union, squeezing out consciousness.

This is called: Appearance, Increase, Attainment, and Full Attainment
This phase of the Bardo of Dying marks the subtle dissolution and disappearance of
the consciousness of my conceptual, afflictive mind. With Full Attainment, I intend to experience the emergence of brilliant, unfabricated, non-conceptual dharmakaya. This is the natural, empty basic space of the self-cognizant nature of mind.

* The afflictive consciousnesses (6, 7, 8) of my mistaken thoughts and disturbing emotions now dissolve. The total dissolution of these consciousnesses, which comprise my dualistic mind (the ability to perceive, conceptualize, grasp onto objects, give rise to kleshas, and to project a self to others) and in particular the alaya-vijñāna (8th consciousness – the storehouse that carries my karmic seeds) are ceasing for this lifetime, just as the external breath in my physical body ceased previously.

* There are 4 stages: Appearance, Increase, Attainment, and Full Attainment
Each of these phases progressively dissolves the afflictions I have developed over lifetimes. The functions of my relative, conceptual mind are ceasing; my consciousness is ceasing to apprehend objects and engage conceptually with them. Finally, the samsaric appearances of this lifetime evaporate with the cessation of my
dualistic consciousness.

*What then bursts into appearance is limitless, pure, non-dual, non-conceptual, vivid
dharmakaya. It will appear brighter than 1000 or even 100,000 suns.
Appearance dissolves into the Mind of Increase: the Whiteness

• Vast and perfectly clear sky lit by a halo of light, also described as a luminous
white light, like a moonlit cloudless night

• All thoughts related to aggression cease

• Secret sign: nature of mind’s uncommon clarity free of concepts
• It’s helpful if my Dharma friend whispers in my ear: “No matter what
appearances arise, don’t attach to them. Maintain strong alertness and cut through appearances.”

Increase dissolves into Mind of Attainment: the Redness

• Luminous red light in a cloudless sky, like a beautiful sunrise
• All thoughts of passion and desire cease
• Secret signs: wisdom of increase, a natural ceasing of ignorance.
• Do not get drawn into this appearance…it is easy to get attached to its beauty! • It’s helpful if my Dharma friend whispers in my ear: “No matter what
appearances arise, don’t attach to them. Maintain strong alertness and cut through appearances.
Attainment dissolves into space: the Blackness
• Luminous dark sky without any sunlight, moonlight or starlight
• Thoughts related to ignorance cease and all conceptuality ceases
• Secret sign: wisdom of attainment, heightened experience of thought-free
indivisible bliss and clarity
• Again, it’s helpful if my Dharma friend whispers in my ear: “No matter what appearances arise, don’t attach to them. Maintain strong mindfulness and cut through appearances.”
• Inner respiration ceases, which is the actual point of my death and the end of this life.
• In this blackness it’s easy to fall unconsciousness and completely miss full attainment, waking up in the Bardo of Dharmata instead.
• I must remain mindful, stable and alert, for Full Attainment, my best chance for attaining enlightenment, is about to arise!
Full Attainment: space dissolves into Ground Luminosity
• This is the nature of Dharmakaya, free of limitations, dimensions or
characteristics
• Vast and open like a clear, luminous sky in autumn, brighter than thousands of
suns
• This is known as Ground of Dharmakaya and Mother Luminosity meeting the Child Luminosity I have experienced in rigpa practice. It is my empty essence, fully unveiled.
“Yogins who realize their very essence attain buddhahood once freed from the confines of the physical body.” Longchenpa, pg. 397

• This is when I can enter “five days” of non-distracted meditative concentration or tukdam. Its duration is measured by each “day” lasting as long as my meditation abides in non-conceptual wisdom times five (five minutes = 25 min). Without recognition of dharmakaya’s empty nature, each day is over in a second, with no opportunity to liberate.
• During tukdam my mind is still in the body, so I will appear asleep. There is warmth at the heart and there is no rigor mortis or smell during the time when my body is left in place.
• My Dharma friend needs to be aware of these signs indicating that my mind has not yet left the body and not disturb me or let anyone else disturb me.
• At the end of this phase, either intentionally or through the reactivation of the winds of karma, consciousness leaves the body through one of nine portals.“The red bindu continues its ascent and can sometimes be seen as blood coming out of the nose or mouth. The white bindu continues its descent and can sometimes be seen as a white discharge coming from the urethra. This separation of the red and white bindus releases the indestructible bindu at the heart, where consciousness is held.” Holecek, pg. 83
However, if I’m overwhelmed by the brightness of dharmakaya’s light, I will instantly fall unconscious and not have the opportunity to be liberated. Instead, I will wake up in the Bardo of Dharmata.
The Bardo of Luminous Dharmata
“Now when the bardo of dharmata dawns upon me,
I will abandon all thoughts of fear and terror,
I will recognize whatever appears as my projection
and know it to be a vision of the bardo; now that I have reached this critical point, I will not fear the peaceful and wrathful ones, my own projections.”

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The Tibetan Book of the Dead

• If I recognized my true nature in the Full Attainment experience of the Ground Luminosity, then I have attained enlightenment in the great original state of primordial purity and will not go into this next bardo.
• If I became unconscious & didn’t recognize the nature of my mind upon seeing the brilliant light of Ground Luminosity, I’ll wake up in the Bardo of Sambogakaya/ Suchness, the Bardo of Dharmata.

• The Ground Luminosity of Dharmakaya that appeared at the time of death during Full Attainment was completely pure in nature and had no appearance. Arising out of it is this next bardo, the Bardo of Dharmata, also called Bardo of Luminosity and Suchness. It has been likened to the Big Bang in that it’s full of densely packed dynamic energy. This is inherent buddha-nature expressed in sounds and lights and will rapidly emerge as form. It is “spontaneous presence,” out of which all phenomena of samsara and nirvana will arise, and into which they will eventually be reabsorbed.
• Expressions of wisdom-mind appear in this bardo because I’m now free of the ordinary eight consciousnesses and their reliance upon sense objects. It is the pure knowing of the suchness of everything, knowing the luminosity and empty nature even though there’s form.
• Sambogakaya luminosity, the unconditioned nature, is the essence of all the experiences in the Bardo of Dharmata including the frightening images. It will take meditative effort to realize these are from my own mind because they appear to be outside of me and as such will feel like the relative reality I’ve left behind.
• I must remember that all appearances are the nature of my mind and as such, are the basic space of phenomena that I have trained in during rigpa practice during this lifetime. In light of this, Rinpoche recommends watching scary movies to train in recognizing the illusory nature of fearsome images and experiences.
• At this point there still are opportunities to recognize the nature of my mind. However from here on, through the Karmic Bardo of Becoming, it will be increasingly more difficult for me to recognize the nature of mind. I need to remain alert, especially now as I encounter the experiences of spontaneous presence in their intrinsic dynamic forms and not in the forms I am used to.
The following are experiences I will encounter as they appear to Nyingma, Kagyu, Vajrayana and Dzogchen practitioner. Different images may be projected by practitioners of other lineages and non-Buddhists. These, like all else, are only projections of my mind; recognition of their empty nature will bring liberation.
• The hundred peaceful and wrathful (heruka) deities, which are manifestations of the wakefulness of spontaneous presence. These deities are unconditioned and composed of rainbow light, no matter how real or solid they appear.
• The five Buddha families: Vajra, Ratna, Padma, Karma, Buddha.

• The four wisdom lights of blue, yellow, red and white (the fifth, green, will not manifest here).
• Finally, wisdom, which is originally present within the ground of primordial purity, will dissolve into spontaneous presence.
If I depart the Bardo of Dharmata without attaining liberation, the last remaining possibility is:
The Karmic Bardo of Becoming
“Do not be distracted. This is the dividing line where Buddhas and sentient beings are separated. It is said of this moment: In an instant, they are separated, in an instant, complete
enlightenment.” The Tibetan Book of the Dead

This is the time to not be distracted by all that will be going on. Use as much effort as it takes to stay focused and still. Although it is difficult, non-distraction can bring liberation, even in this final bardo.

• In about 4 1⁄2 days my consciousness begins to wake up.

• Having no physical body, just a mental body with lifetimes of collected karmic patterns, I will be automatically tossed about by every subtle thought and emotion that arises. I will arrive instantly at any place my mind touches upon. This mental body is easily distracted and easily forgets what is going on and what has to be done to bring about liberation or a good rebirth.

• This can be a very disturbing and frightening experience if I lose mental stability and do not recognize my own mind’s nature. I must use any meditative strength I have to stay mentally clear and alert.

• My karma, based on my life and previous lives, will lead me to be reborn in one of the six realms: god, demi-god, human, animal, hungry ghost or one of the hells. None of these are eternal “places”, but are qualities of mind and samsaric states projected by minds. They are determined by my karma and at this point, by whatever ability I have to practice at this time.

• It is said that chanting Om Mani Padme Hum can close the door to the six realms.

• If I’ve made an aspiration for rebirth in a pure land, focus on it now and visualize it and its yidam. This is a very good choice – but I must practice for it to occur.

May I have a safe journey and a beneficial rebirth …..Om Mani Padme Hum!
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Tsoknyi Rinpoche

What is the best thing a student can do before death?

Refresh the teachings. Whatever you have received, go through your database of teachings and refresh it. There are a lot of teachings, but try to capture the essential points of what you have received. The main points are to be detached and to refresh your recognition of the nature of mind.

What is the best meditation to do before death?

For older students, find the nature of mind, which is mind beyond death and dying. This mind doesn’t die. Find that mind and rest there. For newer students, they can rest in meditation. Mostly it depends on each person, according to their own belief to create some hope. It’s ok to connect to your own belief to find some peace.
What is the best thing to do when someone is actually dying?
There are several options here. One option is if you have a yidam, you can grab onto that. By doing that, the yidam binds your mind. Again, whatever is happening, whatever is dissolving, the best thing is to maintain the unborn mind, the recognition of mind. Don’t be afraid of the dissolution. Things may be dissolving but you are resting in the nature of mind which is beyond dissolution and death.

What is the best thing for the sangha to do to help the dying person?

If you know the person’s yidam, that is very good. Invoke the mind of the yidam, and mix your mind, the mind of the dying person, and the mind of the yidam together – then rest in the nature of mind. That is a very big support for the one who is dying.

Should the sangha do the yidam practice along with dying person?

Yes. If the helping person is familiar [with] and understands the yidam practice, then they can remind the dying person of the qualities of the yidam. It is also helpful to recite the mantra of the yidam. The dying person can recite it and the sangha at the side of the dying person can rest in it with them….It is also good to read vajra songs and doha [songs] of fearlessness. Beginner practitioners can also do this. Read teachings on mahamudra, dzogchen, and other inspiring readings, along with the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

The helping person has to have some kind of intuition and be able to adjust according to the person who is dying. If they are Christian, say something to connect them with God. If they are Buddhist, say something to help them connect to the underlying mind. If they are a free thinker, then help them connect with the peace in their mind in order to let go of fear. You have to see and understand the person in order to know how to best say: “Relax, let it go”.
Provide what gives them hope beyond life – whether it’s God, the pure lands, or the underlying, unchanging mind. Most importantly, the helping person needs to use their intuition and wisdom to properly convey what they understand, and to match the belief of the dying person.

What’s the best thing to do when someone wakes up in the bardo after death?

The first thing to do is to recognize that you are dead. Secondly, you should know that all the phenomena that you are experiencing now are bardo phenomena. Know that everything is the expression of your own mind. Think to yourself “I’m not going to go crazy with the expressions of my mind. I’m going to try to find the nature of my own mind, which is beyond the delusion.” Everything that is happening is the expression of your mind. It is better to not get caught up in that expression but to capture the seat of the nature of mind.

What is the best thing that sangha can do to support someone after they have died?

In a general way, every week you can do practices for them, because every week they have a chance to change their life, to change the course of their bardo experience. The most important thing for changing in the bardo is to know that they have lived their life properly and can therefore let go of that life with confidence. On that day you can do more puja or prayers, or you can go through the Tibetan Book of the Dead, day by day. If you can read it in the house where they live, where they spent the most time, that is best, because they usually come back to familiar places. They probably will not recognize that they are dead, and then they may click onto some good things, like remembering the teachings and what they should do.
Any final comments, Rinpoche, if you were at the side of someone who was dying?

Two things. First, if they are willing to hear your advice, then give them hope. Tell them that the relative is dying, the ultimate is not dying. Give them hope that they can recognize the ultimate, the nature of their mind, the mind that is unchanging and undying. You have to give a little promotion on the deathless side. Secondly, then the
phenomena of this life that they are leaving, that they used properly – just let it go.
Holecek, pgs. 303 – 306

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From Joan Halifax, who has worked with the dying for over 30 years:

“The concept of a good death can put unbearable pressure on dying people and caregivers, and can take us away from death’s mystery and the richness of not knowing. Our expectation of how someone should die can give rise to subtle or direct coerciveness. No one wants to be judged for how well she dies! “Death with dignity” is another concept that can become another obstacle to what is really happening. Dying can be very undignified. Often, it’s not dignified at all, with spoiled bedclothes and sheets, bodily fluids and flailing, nudity and strange sexuality, confusion and rough language…good death, death with dignity – can be unfortunate fabrications that we use to protect ourselves against the sometimes raw and wondrous truth of dying. “

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Kuntuzangpo’s Prayer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSbldGbH3Ok ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bibliography:

Reproduced from The Pundarika Foundation
The Bardo Supplication by the Lord of the Conquerors Kunga Paljor, source for oral Bardo
Teachings by Tsoknyi Rinpoche
Dying with Confidence, Anyen Rinpoche
Freedom in Bondage, Erik Pema Kunsang and Marcia Schmidt
Kindness, Clarity, and Insight, The Dalai Lama
Life in Relation to Death, Chagdud Rinpoche
Mind Beyond Death, Dzogchen Ponlop
Mirror of Mindfulness, Tsele Natsok Rangdrol and Erik Pema Kunsang
Preparing to Die, Andrew Holecek
Rest for the Fortunate, Bardor Tulku Rinpoche
The Precious Treasury of The Way of Abiding, Longchen Rabjam
The Precious Treasury of The Basic Space of Phenomena, Longchen Rabjam
Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Sogyal Rinpoche
Tibetan Book of the Dead, various translations; the most useful is: an adaptation by Jean-Claude van Itallie, Tibetan Book of the Dead for Reading Aloud
Treasures from Juniper Ridge, Padmasambhava

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“How can you hate and delete people and be on the journey toward inner peace?
Forgive everyone, clear the karma. Recontact them and heal it, tell them you hold no negativity. Even if you didn’t like what they did. They are not their conduct. Everyone that you had some connection with your exes, family, siblings even if they have died their karmic traces live in you, so heal it, show appreciation. Maybe you shared some good moments? Heal it all. You are powerful, your love, your compassion.
Learn from the ones that trigger you- Shed light on light.”

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Crestone October, 2023

 

This quote was from one of my spiritual teachers on retreat this year. He’s speaking to the callous tendency for people to have a very low tolerance for conflict and to use social media to be blocking and discarding people, wantonly. He actually suggested for us to unblock people, and even recontact all old exes, friends and relatives who we may be estranged from and heal any hurt, conflict or karma. Furthermore, he wanted us to do this even if they have passed, heal it in your mind or ceremonially. I agree with him, and one of my other teachers told me that part of our Bodhisattva vow is that we are obligated to resolve conflict or pain with someone if we can, even if it wasn’t our fault. I wrote an article about living and dying without regret here.

This is very noble, a true Buddha’s mind and heart would always be open, vast, compassionate, and welcoming, with no karmic entanglements. This is a very big, HOWEVER, when it comes to relating with narcissistic people, the normal relational rules change dramatically.

Idealize, Devalue, Discard, Hoover- Rinse and Don’t Repeat

Most of us understand, by now, the basic patterning of what it’s like to have been in contact with the person who is high on the narcissistic spectrum. Unfortunately, people with these disorders are not capable of having healthy, supportive, equitable relationships. Narcissistic or antisocial people are caught in a painful repeating cycle of: Love bombing, idealize and then devaluing and insulting you and then when you confront them or can see behind their mask, they will usually have a narcissistic rage or injury. Right in the midst of the emotional attack, which can be brutal, they will typically block, discard or silence you. Then, there are the infamous smear campaigns to justify what they did, and sometimes they will try to hook or hoover you back into their lair, for another cat and mouse batting.

There is no way to break this pattern, and there’s nothing that you can do to heal it by fixing them. Let me repeat: “There is no way to break this pattern, and there’s nothing that you can do to heal it by fixing them.”

Narcissistic or antisocial people flourish by having a target of blame to hide their hidden shadow. They often have an inflated, grandiose sense of self, can do no wrong, have no empathy, conscience, or accountability. They very rarely ever seek help or therapy, and any apologies are typically used as a manipulation tactic to hoover you back in to the cycle.

I really believe that there are even sadistic tendencies, they actually enjoy knowing that they have power and control over you and receive narcissistic supply by you staying hurt, disempowered or even disabled. It’s not about love, it’s a game of who wins. As much as we may genuinely love this person, appreciate them and are hurting, we’re simply caught in a very powerful, toxic trauma bond of longing to heal.

However, there’s no way to heal it relationally with a person who is disordered. Narcissists and antisocials are different, we must see that and love and value ourselves enough to get out. The only way to heal is to stop re-traumatizing ourselves, and rebuild our inner foundation that was broken by being in contact, and being emotionally vulnerable to a narcissist.

trauma-bond-list

Reality Testing List

There are a few ways to heal if you feel an overwhelming amount of unprocessed grief and emotion after you’ve been discarded. One way is to write a long letter to the narcissist, never send it and then burn it ceremonially and wish them well. Secondly, since we were emotionally gaslit, it’s hard to remember all the hurtful things that transpired, so it’s a good idea to make a REALITY list of the hurt, abuse and their disordered conduct. Keep that on your phone and read it whenever you feel any hope that you could resolve it with this person that hurt you, so thoroughly and deeply. The first list, name it: “This is Not Love, This is a Trauma Bond“. Then in contrast, write a second list called “I Call In Genuine Love.” In the second list, talk about the qualities of genuine love and respect that you would like to create in your life and in all relationships.

5 Ways to Go No Contact

Going no contact with a narcissist can be challenging, but is often necessary for your mental and emotional well-being, and healing cannot really begin if we keep exposing our nervous systems to harm. I know it’s hard, and seems uncompassionate, but we must know and finally admit that these people DO NOT LOVE US.  Here are five ways to go no contact with a narcissist and why it’s important to heal:

  1. Block Communication: Block their phone number, email, and ALL social media accounts. Make it difficult for them to reach out to you.
  2. Set Boundaries: Inform mutual friends and family members about your decision to go no contact, and ask for their support in not relaying messages from the narcissist.
  3. Remove Triggers: Get rid of reminders of the narcissist, such as gifts, photos, and belongings that may evoke painful memories.
  4. Seek Professional Help: Consider therapy, counseling or coaching to help you cope with the emotional aftermath of the relationship and develop strategies for healing.
  5. Focus on Self-Care: Invest in self-care activities that promote your emotional and physical well-being. This may include exercise, meditation, journaling, and spending time with supportive friends and family, to rebuild your emotional and physical well-being.

Why it’s imperative to heal after narcissistic abuse:

  1. Recovery from Emotional Abuse: Narcissists engage in devastating emotional abuse, manipulation, and gaslighting that can damage or break the foundation of our being. Healing allows us to regain our self-esteem and self-worth.
  2. Break the Cycle: Going no or low contact breaks the trauma bond and cycle of abuse and codependency, allowing you to build healthier relationships in the future.
  3. Your Mental Health: Narcissistic abuse can lead to depression, anxiety, physical problems, PTSD and CPTSD. Healing is essential to address these emotional and mental health issues and move forward.
  4. Personal Growth: Be grateful that this happened! Why? The process of healing can lead to personal growth, self-discovery and genuine spiritual evolution. You can learn from the experience and become a stronger, more resilient and compassionate individual.
  5. Protect Your Well-Being: Fall in love with your life! Prioritizing your healing helps protect your overall well-being and allows you to live a happier, more fulfilling life. You can give yourself the love and care that you were longing for in the toxic connection.
Certainly, going no or low contact with a narcissist can be a crucial step in protecting your well-being and emotional health. Additionally, understanding concepts like “gray rock” and low contact or “yellow rock” can be helpful in managing interactions with a narcissist. It can be very difficult if you are in a painful divorce with someone like this or if you have to co-parent. It might not be possible to have no contact, and in that case you can do something called Gray Rock which is short, curt, minimal words with no emotional response. Tina Swithen, from OneMomsBattle.com, coined the term called Yellow Rock, and that means that you use a similar, flat non-emotional response as in gray rock. But in yellow rocking, you include social niceties like “hope you’re doing well, have a great day,” so there’s not an inference of passive aggression.

 

Yellow-Rock

What is Gray Rock and Low Contact (Yellow Rock)?

  • Gray Rock: Gray rock is a technique used when you must have some contact with a narcissist, such as in co-parenting or work situations. It involves becoming emotionally unresponsive and as boring as a gray rock. You avoid showing strong emotions or engaging in drama, making yourself an uninteresting target for the narcissist’s manipulation.
  • Low Contact or Yellow Rock: Low contact means limiting contact with a narcissist to the bare minimum necessary, typically for legal, social, practical or unavoidable reasons. You reduce communication to what is strictly required, avoiding unnecessary engagement to minimize exposure to their toxicity, and include the basic social formality.

Both gray rock and yellow rock, or low contact, can be strategies to protect yourself from the negative effects of a narcissist while maintaining some level of interaction when going fully no contact is not possible or practical. I know from first-hand experience, this whole process is very difficult. We always want to see the good in people, and we always long to resolve conflict. However, we must understand thoroughly that narcissistic or antisocial people actually thrive on conflict and no resolve is possible.

Internal No Contact, Where it Really Matters

Having been discarded, we do tend to ruminate and it never feels resolved. We have to find a way to uncover inner peace, health, and wellness even after this type of abuse. No contact isn’t just about social media blocking, it’s about not giving that person any more mental or emotional energy.

There’s an old story of two celibate monks who encountered a beautiful woman at the foot of a small river that they needed to cross. One of the monks offers to pick her up and brings her across the river and drops her off at the other side. After about a mile of walking, his friend says “you know it’s against our monastic vows for you to have picked up that woman like that.” The monk replies “I dropped her off a mile ago, why are you still carrying her with you?” The ultimate no contact is to let them go from your mind and heart. We can wish them well, and pray that through education and social awareness, that we learn to spot these types of people and don’t get entrapped by toxic people or patterns.

It’s also important to remember that healing and seeking professional support from a therapist, support group or coach, are crucial, regardless of the level of contact you maintain with a narcissist. With education, no contact and self-care, very deep and profound emotional and soul-level healing, over time is not only possible, but… probable.

Warmest healing wishes to all in your recovery!

Please listen to my personal story.

October is the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October was first declared as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 1989. Since then, October has been a time to acknowledge domestic violence survivors and be a voice for its victims, and I wanted to compile a list of resources for those in need. Domestic violence is prevalent in every community, and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality and way more ubiquitous than previously understood.

Physical violence is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior and silencing as part of a much larger, systematic pattern of dominance and control and can happen in interpersonal relationships, families and organizational communities like a church. Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, deep lifelong wounding and even sadly, death. The devastating consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime, but there is help and hope, you are not alone!

161024-N-OQ305-004

Although there has been substantial progress in reducing domestic violence, the numbers are shocking. There is an average of 20 people who are physically abused by intimate partners every minute! This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually. These numbers, and my own experience as a survivor, inspire me to do whatever I can to help vulnerable fellow women and children to seek healing and safety.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner, and 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been severely physically abused by an intimate partner.

Millions of Americans, mostly women, live like I did in daily, silent fear within their own homes. In addition, every year millions of children are exposed to domestic violence, and they often go unnoticed, with no adult to protect them. I wish, in retrospect, that someone had seen the signs in my family and intervened. People also know about child abuse and, mindbogglingly, do nothing about it.

Domestic violence incidents affect every person within a home and can have long-lasting negative effects on children’s emotional well-being, and social and academic functioning. We must shed light here now. Please listen to my personal story above about hurt and hope, and get help now.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has compiled a list of helpful resources for parents and caregivers, children and teens, mental health providers, child welfare workers, law enforcement professionals, educators and school staff, and policymakers.

https://www.nctsn.org/what-is-child-trauma

CRISIS SUPPORT

Crisis situations often stem from multiple unaddressed issues with a person’s ability to exist comfortably in their environment. Whether you are in crisis, approaching crisis, or supporting someone in crisis — slow down, take a moment to sense what is happening in your body, and remember that you do not need to navigate this alone.

PROJECT LETS PEER SUPPORT SERVICES:

https://projectlets.org/resources

Text 401-400-2905 for urgent support with psychiatric incarceration/involuntary hospitalization.

OTHER CRISIS RESOURCES:

• Create a safety plan or Psychiatric Advance Directive
• Peer Respite Centers
• Emergency Action for Panic Attacks
• Questions to Ask Before Giving Up
• Crisis Information: Important Stuff to Know Beyond Awareness
• The Project LETS Crisis Approach

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

This is the foremost first step for people experiencing Domestic Violence (D.V.) Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at:

1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

Call 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)Chat live now
Text “START” to 88788

domestic-violence-help

https://www.thehotline.org/

 

D.V. can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating.  Domestic violence affects people of all socio-economic backgrounds and education levels. If there is no physical or sexual assault, sometimes the abuse is covert, and very hard to recognize.

Abuse is a repetitive pattern of behaviors to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. These are behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. Abuse includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse, silencing and secrecy and economic exploitation or deprivation. Many of these different forms of abuse can be going on at any one time and can be in families or entire communities. Abuse can have life-long scars, but with awareness, treatment and support, we can learn to heal and be safe.

The Power & Control Wheel of Abusive Relationships

This was given to me a few years back by a counselor. Think of the wheel as a diagram of the tactics your abusive partner, family member or community uses to keep you in the relationship. While the inside of the wheel consists of subtle, continual behaviors, the outer ring represents physical, visible violence. These are the abusive acts that are more overt and forceful, and often the intense acts that reinforce the regular use of other subtler methods of abuse. This was very insightful because abuse can happen even if it is covert. It took me YEARS to see this and I’m beginning to stop recreating this in my life. Please get help if you are in an abusive relationship or community, you are not alone, regaining your strength and healing is possible!

power-and-control-wheel-updated

The Living Recovery Program

I’m taking this program right now, created by a fellow survivor, Sandra Brown, and it has been very helpful for domestic violence survivors, and survivors of narcissistic/psychopathic/Cluster B personality disordered abuse.

https://saferelationshipsmagazine.com/living-recovery-program-4

4PuzzlePieces-01-09

https://vpc.org/studies/wmmw2020.pdf

*Correction, in the Youtube audio journal, I mention “Ventral Vagal,” I meant to say “Dorsal Vagal.”

Nontheism and the Nature of Deities and Demons

PLEASE LISTEN TO THE VIDEO HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kfl2QVIn_KE

 

 

“There is no evil. It’s relative. There aren’t any truly evil people. The ones that hurt need the most help, not punishment, they need our kindness.”

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche 9-15-23, Crestone, Colorado

transcript (00:00):
Greetings everyone. This is Dawn Boiani-Sandberg, and I’m speaking tonight from Crestone, Colorado. I’m doing a meditation retreat with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, and I had done a retreat a week ago with Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and there’s an interesting topic that’s been swirling around in my mind about deities and demons. I have a lot of information and reflection that I wanted to share with you and an audio journal about my religion, which is Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan tantric Buddhism. And just examine with me- what is the nature of deity and a demon? What are our tantric vows? Do they help us to uncover a sense of inner confidence in healing or do at times some of the heavy handed punishment models and afterlife fears, wind up exacerbating and re-triggering very early childhood wounding from our culture? So these are the types of things I’d love to sort of dive into, if you will.

(01:22):
Thanks for sharing your time with me. So I wanted to start with contemplating what it is to be a Tibetan tantric Buddhist. How do you see the world and what is the nature of phenomenon? What is the nature of ourselves? And likewise, what’s the nature of all these deities that we see on our shrines and in the monasteries? We have a very elaborate practice that we do when we received an empowerment where we have very complex visualizations and mantras and we have a lot of deities. So what are these deities? Do they really exist in an ultimate way? Are they cultural based? Who and what are they? So this is a very interesting and juicy topic. I’d like to explore that first before we get into the demon part. So the deities, the way that it was explained to me was that they were anthropomorphized versions of wisdom and they’re culturally referenced.

(02:38):
So you might be praying to an image of Tara or Guru Rinpoche or a lot of different deities exist in Tibetan tantric pantheon. And if you look at the origin of them, most of them come from India or they were people that lived and died historically and attained enlightenment. And they all have different qualities, properties, they all look different. So do we believe in a whole pantheon of gods and ghouls and deities just like the Greco-Romans, or are they the same as the Hindu deities? Do we worship and pray to these beings as really existing? There was a conversation I was having recently on Reddit, and someone had asked, well, the Tibetans had done so many prayers to the protectors when the Maoists were invading and China was invading, and how come the protectors didn’t help the Tibetans? And I replied, well, because the power and efficacy of our practices are only relevant when we are cultivating that energy within us, and then we act in our lives to help the world.

(04:03):
We don’t just pray to a deity like God to make everything feel better. So as far as I was told, I went to the school at Naropa and studied Buddhist studies there. Tibetan Buddhists, even though we have a pantheon of deities, ultimately we are called non theists. And what is non theism? Non theism is explained to me as being we’re not exactly atheists. So we don’t just say there’s absolutely no gods and no mysticism in the world, and we’re just kind of like super evidence-based science. No magic, no nothing. When you die, it’s just lights out. It’s kind of the atheistic approach. But in Buddhism, we’re called non theists, which is a little bit different. It has explained to me as we don’t actually deny the existence of beings that people have related to throughout different cultures and different times, but we regard them as being fundamentally empty and a projection of awakened mind.

(05:23):
And that could be said for everything that ever exists, you me, a glass, all this stuff is simply a projection of mind. I recall in the Tibetan book of the Dead, when you die or when you begin the dying process, the mind will start to see all kinds of images and deities, and the instruction is always to look down at the ground and the root of that projection. And then anything that you’re seeing will subside in the ground because the origin, it’s like the allegory of the cave, Plato’s allegory of the cave where you look directly at the root projector, not the imagery. So the nature of the deities is a projection of mind and energy, but they’re fundamentally empty. They don’t have any substantial existence. They’re more like apparitions of light that are projected by our mind. So that’s what it means to me to be a non theist and to be relating with a sadana practice where you’re evoking a particular quality of energy. On my retreat, I’ve actually seen things, I’m not really supposed to speak of them, but I’ve sort of seen images of deities and different things kind of pop into space, but I never regarded them as being outside of me, like me versus deity, like this dualistic thing. It seemed more of like a non-dual projection of empty energy. So that’s my understanding of the nature of deities and basically all phenomenon.

What is “Good and Evil”

(07:23):
Did these things help us? Well, as long as our understanding is correct, where we’re still holding the second turning of understanding of emptiness and phenomenon, I do think a lot of these images and these deities are culturally referenced. I recall trunk ache saying once that the energy of a protector may appear to someone to be like a general, so they don’t have a concrete solid reality. It’s their projections of our culture and our time. So that’s to answer the question as to why on Reddit, the protectors didn’t help the Tibetans. Well, it’s kind of like the old adage. God helps those that help themselves. If we are supplicating the energy and quality of a deity, that’s to fortify that with us so that we can have the skillful activity. They call it the four karmas of you’re able to pacify, rich, magnetize and destroy. So when you do so practice, you are opening up dormant efficacy and compassionate activity within you.

In Our Times of Pain Or Stress, Stay with Evidence Based Science

(08:45):
So that’s been my understanding. Correct me if I’m wrong, please do. I think it’s always an open question, but do they help us? So I think that if your understanding is clear that you never forget about the nature of emptiness and the nature of phenomenon, then I think it’s healthy where it can get kind of difficult. I’ll give you a personal example is I had what I believe was a long covid complication and I was having terrible neuropathy. I was having pins and needles in the hands and the feet and kind of just this intermittent pain that was shooting. And I never knew when this electric shock would come and it was really destabilizing and I couldn’t sleep through the pain. And I remember laying there, I moved out of my husband in my bedroom into the shrine room, and I kept these candles lit all night long, these electric candles.

(09:52):
And I was laying there and I couldn’t sleep. And I was feeling extremely uncomfortable and frightened. And the only thing that I could think about after being a Tibetan Buddhist for 30 years was, oh, I’m being punished for breaking my tantric vows. So I’m actually being electrocuted as an existential punishment for some of the things that we’ve been discussing through the Me Too movement. And I wound up speaking to Sni Rinpoche about it, and he said, that’s ridiculous. You’re physical pain is not, you’re not being punished and prodded by a pitchfork. And I was kind of sad because after practicing Tibetan Buddhism for 30 years at the time of need where my practice should have provided an existential solace and comfort and sort of a connection to the vastness or compassion or patience or any quality whatsoever when I needed it most, it was actually a source of I was feeling, I was being punished and it was a source of poison in my mind rather than a source of benefit.

(11:07):
So at times where you might be having physical pain, another friend was just battling with anxiety, very acute anxiety, and he says, I’m having really bad karma, I’m being punished. And I said, you know what? When you’re having something to be kicked up like this, it’s not time for religious mental stuff. It’s time to stay in very grounded evidence-based science. Don’t look at everything like gods and demons and karmic purification. I mean, that’s just kind of madness and it can wind up creating harm and confusion if we start just imagining gul and goblins and deities and karmic punishments.

(11:52):
So I think it’s probably better to stay in very earthy evidence-based reality, especially in times of stress or sickness. I think that when I started to feel that I was somehow stained or bad, that wound up triggering some of the things that I had been through when I was young. As I’ve mentioned before in some of my previous audio recordings, I grew up in a very emotionally and physically abusive family and culture on the East coast, and I was the family scapegoat. I’ve been talking about that recently. So whenever I start to doubt myself, I start to feel like I’m bad or I’ve broken my vows. That’s not really helping me to heal and acknowledge that I’m fundamentally a good person with a good heart that speaks for ethics, maybe in an unconventional or forthright way. But I know that my heart and my practice are sound.

Early Childhood Judeo- Christian “Basic Badness”

(13:07):
And when I use my tantric vows to create self-doubt, that becomes a poison within my system. So it’s not helpful to think that we’re bad and whether or not we’re good or bad. It’s so funny because I’ve been somewhat of a public person. Whenever I produce something, I have at least 20 to 50 people reading it, so it’s not really, my work doesn’t really go viral, but I do, I’m quite public about what’s been going on after the Me Too movement with my Tibetan Buddhist community. And I’ve been speaking with the voice of trying to reform things because there’s been a lot that was exposed that could be improved because I value my practice, these sadana practices that we’re talking about, my teachers, some of my teachers, excuse me, I feel that things need to change or the tradition could continue to wane. And it’s been hard for me because if you put out an opinion in a tradition that we are supposed to stay silent and secret, it goes into the mass community and people will offer feedback, and the feedback hasn’t been great for me, and that’s hurt a lot.

(14:43):
A lot of people have left. A lot of people consider themselves survivors of sex assault or exploitative power dynamics. There’s lots been coming up about child abuse in the monasteries and child abuse in different Buddhist communities worldwide, and it’s extremely painful. I’ve deduced that there’s only four options to deal with this. The first one is to stay silent, see no evil, hear no evil. You could walk away. A lot of my friends have left the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and feel like the whole thing is fundamentally corrupt because of the power dynamics and the silencing and secrecy. Or you could try to fix it. That’s the one I’m taking. So I’m thinking like passion, aggression and ignorance. And I guess the fourth option would be to just have a very vast mind and allow it all to happen without trying to alter it. That’s generally the view.

Dakini or Demon?- It’s All Projection

(15:52):
However, the critique in that view to not do anything is silence, is consent, silence is complicity. Knowing that we have abuse in our tradition hurts me physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. And I really would wish and pray that we would have a consensual open conversation and accountability and willingness to change. That hasn’t happened yet, unfortunately. So it’s funny, with my particular role being somewhat public with my 50 followers, people have said to me various things like, oh my God, I am a Tibetan apologist. I’ve had a number of people say I was going to hell by talking about child abuse in the monasteries. People in the Tibetan tradition like Kempos and GEs, I’ve had a friend recently call me a demon. Within the same week, my teacher called me a dakini and said I was a teacher. So I get it’s licorice. Some people really feel that I am exposing things that they would really rather keep secret and silent, and I’m destroying the tradition.

(17:18):
And other people say that the work that I’ve done is heartfelt, authentic, and not unintelligent. One teacher, he said, I was a dakini and a teacher, so am I a demon or a dakini. He thinks that I’m probably neither a demon or a dakini. I think that probably a lot of these things are the projection of the beholder. And so I’m trying to not internalize such dichotomous strong blessings and curses from the peanut gallery. So we have to be ourselves. We have to be true to our own heart, speak and do the things that we feel adheres with our own ethics and our own talent in this world. And I do care about my Tibetan Buddhist tradition. I do care about all of my friends that are participating in it. I don’t want any of them to feel trapped. I don’t want children to be hurt, and I also don’t want the tradition to continue to wane.

(18:29):
A number of dharma centers are shutting down worldwide or they’re not being funded properly. So unless there is some fundamental change and ability to talk about stuff, I fear that within a generation or two it’s going to wane. I spoke to my ER brother, Eric Pema Kang, kind of a famous vaiana teacher from Denmark. And we agreed that the next generation of Tibetans really aren’t holding this tradition. It’s waning in the West. I talked to  Tsoknyi. He says, a lot of the Tibetan families are not offering their children to the monasteries and the census is down. So I see the whole thing kind of petering out in a generation or two and some of the survivors and people who’ve left in a really hurt and angry way, they would be more than happy to see the tradition wiped off the face of the earth. I don’t personally feel that.

(19:31):
I feel great sadness for the plight of the Tibetan sin exile, and I think that the culture should be preserved. The language, the rituals, the color, the display, the magic, the power. It’s so fantastic and it’s such a big part of my life that I don’t want to ever let go of, but I have to let go of the toxic stuff like I’m a demon. People calling me for making videos like this. Some friends won’t speak to me anymore. They blocked me because I’ve spoken out against child abuse and said, Hey, maybe some of these teachers need to not be acting in such a really heavy handed, cruel, sometimes even psychopathic. Some of these guys are really out there and they wind up tainting the ones that actually are really super gentle. So it’s a mixed bag of so much color and display. So I think that it will take some time to resolve all the things that have arisen in our tradition, and it probably won’t be resolved within my lifetime.

(20:57):
So I think just in general, if a lot of us came into the Dharma as refugee refugees with a lot of pain and a lot of longing and a lot of trust and a lot of hope, and we hoped for something that would help us like a medicine, something that was magical and fantastic and transformational, we were told that we could attain enlightenment within one lifetime. It sounds really good, although myself included, and a lot of my friends were finding now 20, 30, 40 years later, that a lot of these practices didn’t quite result in the qualities of accomplishment that we were hoping to after all these years. And what I realized was I used my religion basically as a spiritual bypass, and that is you have a lot of dormant wounding. I came from child abuse and then I would meditate and take empowerments, and then I thought I was really spiritual and really accomplished, and I thought I was some hot dini that had studied with the great masters, and I thought I was kind of better than everybody else, sort of because I had this great noble birth and all this privilege.

Archaic Religion with vows and punishments don’t help to heal

(22:21):
So I used the dharma and my relationship with Tibetan or Vajrayana Buddhism as a credential in how I regarded myself. And it turned out that that whole thinking crashing down. And I realized that I had very, very deep childhood wounding that I had blocked out. That is all coming up now as I’m getting older. And I’ve been having to really just deal with whether or not I’m a lovable person, whether or not I have this basic goodness, whether or not I’m evil, stained, bad, unlovable. So just very, very early imprints like that that came from my family of origin. And some of this heavy handed stuff, as I said before, isn’t necessarily helping the stain in your tantric vows and demon, all this kind of stuff. It’s just not that helpful for me. So I’m basically going to the essence of my practice in a really simple way that just allows everything to settle down and open. And I believe that that’s the essence of my teacher and the essence compassion where those qualities of healing can really take place.

(23:54):
As far as demons and deities, I believe that they are projections of mind. When people are in one week, I get a mixed message from different people, they project onto you. But I think that from my practice that everything, when you do your practice, everything can kind of resolve into that ground of clarity, openness, and emptiness. And I think that that’s a good place to train in and to rest. And I think that by training in that way, free from a lot of the heavy handed cultural stuff that can be really hateful, shunning people, judging people, deifying people, demonizing people, this whole stuff is just a projection of a lot of mental calisthenics.

What is Enlightenment?

(24:55):
The things that bring qualities of tenderness, openness, authenticity, and ethics would be the path that I want to continue to take as a tantric Buddhist. And I do think the tree needs to be heavily pruned from a lot of stuff that has been adopted, that is culture that wounds up, that winds up re-triggering a lot of that basic badness from our Judeo-Christian culture. Or if you did grow up in a family where there was abuse, we don’t want to have a community that upholds unhealthy tenants. We want to have a community that’s healthy, transparent, loving, and truly ethical. And we haven’t quite gotten there yet, but I will pray that I’ll be able to see that within my lifetime. So thank you so much for listening~


Buddha: https://www.pexels.com/photo/buddha-thangka-painting-on-textile-14441347/

Impossible™ Meat with Cheese and Tomato Puff Pastries

We were invited to dinner one night and our friends produced this absolutely decadent vegetable filled puff pastry entrée. Here I have modified the recipe to use Impossible™ meat, and it’s just as good! I have found that sharp white cheddar is the most flavorful, but feel free to replace the dairy with dairy-free vegan options. There are a lot of ingredients but once they are all put together it actually cooks up very quickly so it’s an easy-to-make entrée that’s served best with a fresh green garden salad.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 12 oz. packet of Impossible™ ground plant based ground meat or any ground veg. meat
  • 1 carton of Pepperidge Farm or Dufour puff pastry defrosted
  • 2 large heirloom organic tomatoes
  • 1/2 c.olive oil and or ghee
  • 1/2 red pepper chopped
  • 2 small carrots chopped
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 8 large slices of sharp white cheddar or Havarti or sharp vegan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 t. Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 t. onion powder
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 2 small fingerling potatoes, finely diced
  • 1 cup (0.24 l) of heavy cream or unsweetened creamy oat milk

puff-pastry

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cut one medium size onion, the same amount of carrot, and one small potato (I used two yellow fingerling potatoes) into small pieces and sauté them in a pot. (I use Ghee.)
  3. Cut two garlic cloves into small pieces and add them when the rest is almost ready
  4. Transfer this mixture to a glass bowl
  5. In the same pot, fry one pound of Impossible meat
  6. Add some olive oil ( 3 – 4 tablespoons)
  7. Season with salt, Herbs de Provence, pepper, onion powder, and a portion of a vegetable bouillon cube (maybe a third of a cube)
  8. Add one finely cut up red bell pepper
  9. Once done, transfer this to the same bowl
  10. Add one egg and 2 – 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream and mix all of it
  11. Roll out the pastry: one carton (each contains one sheet). Don’t roll them too thin or the pastries will break when you transfer them to a baking tray
  12. Cut each sheet so that you obtain 4 rectangles (so 8 total)
  13. Distribute the filling, use two heaping tablespoons per square
  14. Add tomato slices (two slices of a large heirloom tomato)
  15. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the tomato slices – not too much salt, though, because we are going to add cheese.
  16. Add cheese (I used sliced Havarti)
  17. Fold the pastry over and close it into pouches
  18. Whatever way you have to make a seam
  19. I start at one end of the seam and pull the edges with my fingers, folding them over themselves until I reach the end of the seam
  20. Put on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F for 45 min to an hour (I have also made them at 400 degrees for 30 minutes if you don’t have much time)
  21. Paint the pastries with egg, oil, or ghee 5 minutes before serving
  22. Cool for 5 mins. before serving, best with a fresh green garden salad.

Serves 4.

puff-pastry-impossible

puff-pastry-impossible

Impossible Meat with Cheese and Tomato Puff Pastries

We were invited to dinner one night and our friends produced this absolutely decadent vegetable filled puff pastry entrée. Here I have modified the recipe to use Impossible™ meat, and it's just as good! I have found that sharp white cheddar is the most flavorful, but feel free to replace dairy with dairy-free vegan options. There are a lot of ingredients but once they are all put together it actually cooks up very quickly so it's an easy-to-make entrée that's served best with a fresh green garden salad.
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 12 oz. packet of Impossible™ ground plant based ground meat or any ground veg. meat
  • 1 carton of Pepperidge Farm or Dufour puff pastry defrosted
  • 2 large heirloom organic tomatoes
  • 1/2 c.olive oil and or ghee
  • 1/2 red pepper chopped
  • 2 small carrots chopped
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 8 large slices of sharp white cheddar or Havarti or sharp vegan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 t. Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 t. onion powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 2 small fingerling potatoes finely diced
  • 1 cup 0.24 l of heavy cream or unsweetened creamy oat milk

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Cut one medium size onion, the same amount of carrot, and one small potato (I used two yellow fingerling potatoes) into small pieces and sauté them in a pot. (I use Ghee.)
  • Cut two garlic cloves into small pieces and add them when the rest is almost ready
  • Transfer this mixture to a glass bowl.
  • In the same pot, fry one pound of Impossible meat
  • Add some olive oil ( 3 – 4 tablespoons)
  • Season with salt, Herbs de Provence, pepper, onion powder, and a portion of a vegetable bouillon cube (maybe a third of a cube)
  • Add one finely cut up red bell pepper
  • Once done, transfer this to the same bowl
  • Add one egg and 2 – 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream and mix all of it
  • Roll out the pastry: one carton (each contains one sheet). Don't roll them too thin or the pastries will break when you transfer them to a baking tray
  • Cut each sheet so that you obtain 4 rectangles (so 8 total)
  • Distribute the filling
  • Add tomato slices (two slices of a large heirloom tomato is what I used)
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper on the tomato slices – not too much salt, though, because we are going to add cheese.
  • Add cheese (I used sliced Havarti)
  • Fold the pastry over and close it into pouches
  • Whatever way you have to make a seam
  • I start at one end of the seam and pull the edges with my fingers, folding them over themselves until I reach the end of the seam
  • Put on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F for 45 min to an hour (I have also made them at 400 degrees for 30 minutes if you don’t have much time)
  • Paint the pastries with egg, oil, or ghee 5 minutes before serving
  • Cool for 5 mins. Before serving, best with a fresh green garden salad.
  • Serves 4.

I’m privileged to be participating in the Naropa Summer Writing Program at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics… Admittedly 30 years now from the first time! Here is Andrew Schelling and famous beat poet Anne Waldman, our chair, reading, and well as amazing faculty like Ronaldo V. Wilson, and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth.

I know many of my friends attended Naropa, here are some snapshots of the campus from this week 2023, so many memories! Please follow my art and poetry blog here: https://dawnboiani.wordpress.com/2019/12/26/ode-to-kerouac-burroughs-and-ginsberg/

I’m going to soon publish a body of work never before published, so please do follow and stay in touch~ If you are local, the public is invited to our evening readings at the Naropa main campus at 7 for free, and I just might read a poem on Friday Night! You can also come to our final faculty reading on Saturday night 7-1-23, at 7pm~

I just uploaded my favorite “love” poem on my personal blog, that I might read, to Soundcloud for practice- please read and listen here:

https://dawnboiani.wordpress.com/2019/10/29/she-script-the-pen-that-writes-itself/

 

 

Try writing Kerouac Style https://rockymountainsomatics.com/posts/poetry-is-the-voice-of-the-heart-happy-birthday-jack-kerouac/

Kerouac’s 30 Rules for Writing

  1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
  2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
  3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
  4. Be in love with yr life
  5. Something that you feel will find its own form
  6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
  7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
  8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
  9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
  10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
  11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
  12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
  13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
  14. Like Proust be an old tea-head of time
  15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monologue
  16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
  17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
  18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
  19. Accept loss forever
  20. Believe in the holy contour of life
  21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
  22. Don’t think of words when you stop but to see picture better
  23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
  24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
  25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
  26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
  27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
  28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
  29. You’re a Genius all the time
  30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

I just discovered Chia seeds and add them to my overnite oats or smoothie every morning. They are tiny black or white seeds that come from the plant Salvia hispanica, which is native to Mexico and Guatemala. They have been consumed for thousands of years and were a staple food in ancient Mayan and Aztec diets. They have gained popularity in recent years due to their numerous health benefits as they are highly nutritious and are considered a superfood. They are kind of amazing, if you add them to liquid they expand and form a gel-like outer substance called mucilage, similar to flax seed that’s great for your digestion. You can get them at any health food store, choose well-sourced organic chia. Here are some of the key health benefits of chia seeds:

 

1. Nutritional Profile: Chia seeds are packed with essential nutrients. They are an excellent source of fiber, providing both soluble and insoluble types. They also contain a good amount of protein, healthy fats (including omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins (such as vitamin B, vitamin E), and minerals (including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus).

2. High in Antioxidants: Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Antioxidants play a vital role in reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of chronic diseases.

3. Promote Digestive Health: The high fiber content in chia seeds can contribute to healthy digestion. They absorb water and form a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, aiding in regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. Additionally, the fiber content helps promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

4. Weight Management: Chia seeds can be a valuable addition to a weight loss or weight management plan. Due to their high fiber and protein content, they can help promote feelings of fullness and reduce appetite, potentially leading to lower calorie intake.

5. Heart Health: The omega-3 fatty acids found in chia seeds, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), are beneficial for heart health. They help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and decrease the risk of heart disease.

6. Blood Sugar Regulation: Chia seeds have a low glycemic index, meaning they are digested and absorbed slowly, resulting in a gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream. This characteristic can help stabilize blood sugar levels, making chia seeds beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those aiming to manage their blood sugar.

7. Bone Health: Chia seeds contain essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are vital for maintaining healthy bones. These minerals contribute to bone strength and density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

pexels-delphine-hourlay-691162

Oatless Porridge With Chia Recipe

Ingredients:

½ cup dairy free milk
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
2 tablespoons chia seeds (you can also pre-soak these overnight)
½ banana, mashed
¼ cup berries of choice
Dash cinnamon

Directions:

Take out a bowl and mash ½ banana, top with dairy free milk, shredded coconut, chia seeds or flax meal, top with berries and a dash of cinnamon and serve.

Warm version: Add mashed banana and dairy free milk to a pot on the stove and warm for 2-3 minutes. Place in bowl and top with remaining ingredients.

You can also do a three day Healing Diet Cleanse, with chia.

It’s important to note that while chia seeds offer several potential health benefits, they should be consumed as part of a balanced diet and not relied upon as a sole solution for any specific health condition. As with any dietary changes, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized advice. Statements not evaluated by the FDA.

————————-

National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary supplement label database: chia seed.

https://www.britannica.com/plant/chia

https://www.verywellhealth.com/chia-seeds-uses-nutrition-and-more-7378110

image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/delicious-desserts-in-glass-jars-beside-a-pair-of-spoons-and-textile-5803166/

Burrata with Zucchini and Pesto

This makes a stunning side dish or light spring/summer main course. The zucchini are soft inside and crispy on the outside as we can turn our oven into an air-fryer. All topped with a creamy burrata finished with flavorful pesto. The crushed red pepper and salt rouse the taste buds, as this dish is a fresh work of art!

Ingredients:

 

▪ 3 large zucchini green and or yellow, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
▪ 2-3 sliced organic Roma tomatoes
▪ 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
▪ 1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
▪ 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
▪ 8 oz. burrata ball or balls, fresh mozzarella works too
▪ 5 tablespoons pesto
▪ .5 oz. fresh basil leaves

 

Directions:

1. Preheat to 425°F.
2. Oil a baking sheet lightly and place zucchini on there next to each other, single layer.
3. Brush with remaining olive oil and sprinkle red peppers and salt on top.
4. Roast for about 10 minutes,
5. Then turn on broiler and broil for 5 minutes, being careful not to burn.
6. Remove from oven and arrange with burrata, tomatoes and fresh basil.
7. Drizzle pesto and serve!

burrata-with-pesto-zucchini

burrata-with-pesto-zucchini

Burrata with Zucchini and Pesto

This makes a stunning side dish or light spring/summer main course. The zucchini are soft inside and crispy on the outside as we can turn our oven into an air-fryer. All topped with a creamy burrata finished with flavorful pesto. The crushed red pepper and salt rouse the taste buds, as this dish is a fresh work of art!

Ingredients
  

  • 3 large zucchini green and or yellow cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 2-3 sliced organic Roma tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz. burrata ball or balls fresh mozzarella works too
  • 5 tablespoons pesto
  • .5 oz. fresh basil leaves

Instructions
 

  • Preheat to 425°F.
  • Oil a baking sheet lightly and place zucchini on there next to each other, single layer.
  • Brush with remaining olive oil and sprinkle red peppers and salt on top.
  • Roast for about 10 minutes,
  • Then turn on broiler and broil for 5 minutes, being careful not to burn.
  • Remove from oven and arrange with burrata, tomatoes and fresh basil.
  • Drizzle pesto and serve!

Serves 4.

Total time: 30 minutes.

This was adapted from the recipe on Eating Well, By Ali Ramee | Published on August 15, 2022

The Effortless Sleep Method

Can’t sleep? So many of us struggle with poor sleep, broken sleep or insomnia from a variety of inner, environmental and behavioral reasons. Aging is one of the most common, particularly in women over 40 and it can wreak havoc on one’s overall functioning. Believe me, I know, I’ve battled with this on and off for 10 years now. I use Tibetan, Chinese and Functional medicine, and it all helps. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia is also known as CBTI and is more powerful than sleeping pills with no dangerous side effects.

However, if your insomnia is very severe and all herbs and supplements fail, there are times where the doctors may prescribe a short term of sleeping pills (2 weeks or so). This is a temporary stop gap to reset your system, as long as they are carefully monitored and slowly tapered and used only in the most urgent situations where strict CBTI fails. Please see our other articles about sleeping pill tapering. Here is a distilled compilation of recommendations from the foremost book, The Effortless Sleep Method (the author, Sasha Stephens is referred to as the Insomnia exorcist!), CBTI for Veterans and the book Prescriptions for Natural Healing.

Here is a summary of what Sasha says, please download her e-book or listen on Audible for details.

  1. SPEND LESS TIME IN BED
  2. NO NAPS
  3. GET UP WHEN YOU CAN’T SLEEP
  4. GET UP AT THE SAME TIME EVERYDAY
  5. DO NOTHING IN BED BUT SLEEP OR SEX
  6. KICK THE PILLS
  7. STOP CLOCK WATCHING
  8. REPLACE NEGATIVE SLEEP TALK WITH POSITIVE STATEMENTS
  9. LET GO OF THE SEARCH FOR AN EXTERNAL MIRACLE CURE
  10. FIND A RELAXATION METHOD THAT WORKS FOR YOU
  11. FIND A SAFETY NET, RELAX INTO YOUR SAFETY THOUGHT
  12. PUT YOUR LIFE FIRST
  13. READ THE EFFORTLESS SLEEP METHOD OFTEN

Achieve a solid base of sleeptime habits:

A. You are really tired and sleepy when you go to bed at night and
B. Make the bed be associated with being asleep and not with lying awake fretting.

A powerful mantra that removes pressure is:

“I DON’T CARE IF I SLEEP OR NOT”

Sasha Stephens

Veterans Tools

DOWNLOAD THE CBTI MANUAL FOR VETERANS

Install the App for free:

cbti300x300

Sleep Hygiene

The most common cause of insomnia is a change in your daily routine. For example, traveling, change in work hours, disruption of other behaviors (eating, exercise, leisure, etc.), and relationship conflicts can all cause sleep problems. Paying attention to good sleep hygiene is the most important thing you can do to maintain good sleep.

Do’s:

1. Go to bed at the same time each day.

2. Get up from bed at the same time each day. Try to maintain something close to this on weekends.

3. Get regular exercise each day, preferably in the morning. There is good evidence that regular exercise improves restful sleep. This includes stretching and aerobic exercise.

4. Get regular exposure to outdoor or bright lights, especially in the late afternoon.

5. Keep the temperature in your bedroom comfortable.

6. Keep the bedroom quiet when sleeping.

7. Keep the bedroom dark enough to facilitate sleep.

8. Use your bed only for sleep (and sexual activity). This will help you associate your bed with sleep, not with other activities like paying bills, talking on the phone, watching TV.

9. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine. Relaxing rituals prior to bedtime may include a warm bath or shower, aromatherapy, reading, or listening to soothing music.

10. Use a relaxation exercise just before going to sleep or use relaxing imagery. Even if you don’t fall asleep, this will allow your body to rest and feel relaxed.

11. Keep your feet and hands warm. Wear warm socks to bed.

12. Designate another time to write down problems & possible solutions in the late afternoon or early evening, not close to bedtime. Do not dwell on any one thought or idea—merely jot something down and put the idea aside.

Do Not’s:

1. Exercise just before going to bed. Try to keep it no closer than 3-4 hrs before bed.

2. Engage in stimulating activity just before bed, such as playing a competitive game, watching an exciting program on television or movie, or having an important discussion with a loved one.

3. Have caffeine in the evening (coffee, many teas, chocolate, sodas, etc.)

4. Read or watch television in bed.

5. Use alcohol to help you sleep. It actually interrupts your sleep cycle.

6. Go to bed too hungry or too full.

7. Take another person’s sleeping pills.

8. Take over-the-counter sleeping pills, without your doctor’s knowledge. Tolerance can develop rapidly with these medications.

9. Take daytime naps. If you do, keep them to no more than 20 minutes, 8 hrs before bedtime.

10. Command yourself to go to sleep. This only makes your mind and body more alert.

11. Watch the clock or count minutes; this usually causes more anxiety, which keeps you up.

12. Lie in bed awake for more than 20-30 minutes. Instead, get up, go to a different room (or different part of the bedroom), participate in a quiet activity (e.g. non-excitable reading), and then return to bed when you feel sleepy. Do not turn on lights or sit in front of a bright TV or computer, this will stimulate your brain to wake up. Stay in a dark, quiet place. Do this as many times during the night as needed.

13. Succumb to maladaptive thoughts like: “Oh no, look how late it is, I’ll never get to sleep” or “I must have eight hours of sleep each night, if I get less than eight hours of sleep I will get sick.” Challenge your concerns and avoid catastrophizing. Remember that we cannot fully control our sleep process. Trying too hard to control it will make you more tense and more awake.

14. Change your daytime routine the next day if you didn’t sleep well. Even if you have a bad night sleep and are tired it is important that you try to keep your daytime activities the same as you had planned. That is, don’t avoid activities or stay in bed late because you feel tired. This can reinforce the insomnia.

15. Increase caffeine intakes the next day, this can keep you up again the following night.

Functional Medicine Supplement and Herbs

PhyllisABalch

Functional Medicine Suggestions from Prescriptions for Natural Healing by Phyllis A. Balch CNC (Author)

I have also used this formula called SLEEP REMEDY and it has helped so much, it was made for Navy Seals!

 

*PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR AND INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE PRACTITIONER  BEFORE TAKING ANY SUPPLEMENTS OR STARTING ON ANY HEALTHCARE REGIME. DO NOT START OR ABRUPTLY STOP TAKING SLEEPING PILLS UNLESS YOU ARE UNDER A PROVIDER’S CARE.

 

Adapted from:

http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/Info-sleep%20hygiene.pdf

http://web.mac.com/jendanielle/Site/MentalHealth_file /Sleep%20Hygeine%20WORKSHEET.pdf

http://www.tufts.edu/med/phfm/pdf/fm-handouts/SleepHygiene.pdf

https://offices.vassar.edu/counseling-service/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2020/03/sleep-hygeine-handout-for-clients.pdf

DIY- Collagen Chebe Butter for Hair Repair

Have you ever seen the glamorous shiny hair in film stars and wondered what they use? This natural formula really works and is better than any commercial product that I have found ready-made. Chebe powder has been used by women in Chad who are world renowned for having very long and healthy hair. Chebe is often used in its ground form, but dries on the hair and when you wash it out, you have powder like coffee grounds everywhere, and can be irritating to the scalp. This recipe creates an easy olive oil infusion, no mess!

Perfect as an intensive conditioner for dry and damaged hair, a leave in daily treatment or a mask infusion, this hair butter recipe is organic, simple to make and nourishing to many hair types. Chebe is powerful, and should not be used on the scalp, as it can cause mild itching in any form, but I use it as both a mask and daily leave in, and my hair has never been as shiny and emollient as it is now! You can also try this hair butter and omit the chebe infusion.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Braggs organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 2.5 tsp. Chebe powder
  • 5 T. Coconut oil
  • 3 T. Cocoa butter
  • 1 tsp. Lanolin
  • 2 T. of Shea butter
  • 2 T. of Castor oil
  • 1 T. Collagen powder
  • 20 drops of Lavender essential oil
  • 1 tsp. of Beeswax
  • 1 tsp. Borax (a safe and natural ingredient used to get a whipped texture)
  • 1/3 cup Water

chebe-infusion

Instructions:

Pour the olive oil into a nonstick saucepan and stir the chebe powder into it. Cook, covered on low heat to 2 hours.

Strain the chebe powder from oil with a tea strainer or cheesecloth, and dispose of powder.

Pour infused olive oil back into the pan, and melt all other ingredients one by one except the water and borax on very low heat, stirring constantly.

When melted take off of heat and cool for 30 minutes to a warm temp 100ºF/40ºC, mixture will still be liquid. You can place the mixture in the freezer to cool it rapidly.

In another pan dissolve the borax into the water and heat on low.

After a few minutes have passed, remove the from the freezer and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. You can now begin to whip up the mixture with an electric beater, on slow, stopping once or twice to scrape sides of the mixer.

Then, slowly add the water and borax mixture while whipping and the cream will now start to become light, whipped and fluffy like a butter.

Whip it until the butter holds its shape, but can still pour.

Once you’ve gotten to a whipped texture, you can transfer your mixture to jars for storage. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Experiment!

Feel free to add more nutritive items like 1 tsp.- 1 T.: argan oil, vitamin E, avocado oil, aloe oil, and 1 T. of apple cider vinegar to prevent molding and your choice of essential oils like tea tree and rosemary. You can also simplify the recipe by using fewer oils/butters and experimenting with those that work best for your hair, but do not omit the beeswax or borax, otherwise the mixture will not become a whipped butter consistency. You can make this without the Chebe powder infusion if you don’t have it or it irritates your scalp.

How to Use:

For a conditioning mask, thickly coat hair starting from 1″ below scalp to the ends, with more butter on the ends to repair. You can braid your hair, cover or put it up in a bun. Be careful with pillows and textiles and clothes because this powerful mixture can stain. Leave in for two hours and the wash and condition with sulfate-free shampoo.

For a daily leave in, use a small amount, a dime size to start and rub into hair well, avoiding scalp, with special attention to the ends. They will repair instantly and become shiny! Don’t use too much or hair will look oily. The leave in can be left in until the next wash.

 

Needed: blender, tea strainer or cheesecloth, rubber spatula, 4 oz. containers with lid

Makes:  approx. 3, 4oz jars of hair butter

hair-butter

chebe-hair-butter

DIY- Collagen Chebe Butter for Hair Repair

Have you ever seen the glamorous shiny hair in filmstars and wondered what they use? This natural formula really works and is better than any commercial product that I have found ready-made. Chebe powder has been used by women in Chad who are  world renowned for having very long and healthy hair. Chebe is often used in its ground form, but dries on the hair and when you wash it out, you have powder like coffee grounds everywhere, and can be irritating to the scalp. This recipe creates an easy olive oil infusion, no mess! Perfect as an intensive conditioner for dry and damaged hair, a leave in daily treatment or a mask infusion, this hair butter recipe is organic, simple to make and nourishing to many hair types. Chebe is powerful, and should not be used on the scalp, as it can cause mild itching in any form, but I use it as both a mask and daily leave in, and my hair has never been as shiny and emollient as it is now! You can also try this hair butter and omit the chebe infusion.

Equipment

  • blender, tea strainer or cheesecloth, rubber spatula, 4 oz. containers with lid

Ingredients
  

  • 3/4 cup Braggs organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 2.5 tsp. Chebe powder
  • 5 T. Coconut oil
  • 3 T. Cocoa butter
  • 1 tsp. Lanolin
  • 2 T. of Shea butter
  • 2 T. of Castor oil
  • 1 T. Collagen powder
  • 20 drops of Lavender essential oil
  • 1 tsp. of Beeswax
  • 1 tsp. Borax a safe and natural ingredient used to get a whipped texture
  • 1/3 cup Water

Instructions
 

  • Pour the olive oil into a nonstick saucepan and stir the chebe powder into it. Cook, covered on low heat to 2 hours.
  • Strain the chebe powder from oil with a tea strainer or cheesecloth, and dispose of powder.
  • Pour infused olive oil back into the pan, and melt all other ingredients one by one except the water and borax on very low heat, stirring constantly.
  • When melted take off of heat and cool for 30 minutes to a warm temp 100ºF/40ºC, mixture will still be liquid. You can place the mixture in the freezer to cool it rapidly.
  • In another pan dissolve the borax into the water and heat on low.
  • After a few minutes have passed, remove the from the freezer and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. You can now begin to whip up the mixture with an electric beater, on slow, stopping once or twice to scrape sides of the mixer.
  • Then, slowly add the water and borax mixture while whipping and the cream will now start to become light, whipped and fluffy like a butter.
  • Whip it until the butter holds its shape, but can still pour.
  • Once you've gotten to a whipped texture, you can transfer your mixture to jars for storage. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Notes

Experiment!
Feel free to add more nutritive items like 1 tsp.- 1 T.: argan oil, vitamin E, avocado oil, aloe oil, and 1 T. of apple cider vinegar to prevent molding and your choice of essential oils like tea tree and rosemary. You can also simplify the recipe by using fewer oils/butters and experimenting with those that work best for your hair, but do not omit the beeswax or borax, otherwise the mixture will not become a whipped butter consistency. You can make this without the Chebe powder infusion if you don't have it or it irritates your scalp.
How to Use:
For a conditioning mask, thickly coat hair starting from 1" below scalp to the ends, with more butter on the ends to repair. You can braid your hair, cover or put it up in a bun. Be careful with pillows and textiles and clothes because this powerful mixture can stain. Leave in for two hours and the wash and condition with sulfate-free shampoo.
For a daily leave in, use a small amount, a dime size to start and rub into hair well, avoiding scalp, with special attention to the ends. They will repair instantly and become shiny! Don't use too much or hair will look oily. The leave in can be left in until the next wash.

Reprinted from Mandala Magazine September, 2004 DOWNLOAD THE FREE EBOOK

By Paula Chichester (Lhundup Nyingje), Retreat Advisor to Land of Joy

Ordained for the last 13 years, Ven. Paula has devoted 24 years of her life to Buddhist retreat practice. She bridges the culture gap to enable Western people to attain Buddhadharma realizations by leading inspiring retreats and by giving advice on the support for and environmental needs of retreatants.

“The most important aspect of retreat is to keep your mind happy…. Practice should be free of looking for results. Even if you spend your entire life doing practice and have not a single experience, no results at all, it should still be a cause for great joy to have spent your life like that.”—Geshe Lhundup Sopa

Lung (pronounced “loong”), or ‘meditator’s disease’, happens to almost every meditator, even very experienced ones. It is similar to an athlete who strains a muscle and then has to rest for a while to let that muscle heal. We meditators strain our nervous systems. Some of us already have a strained nervous system when we begin our meditation practice. Unless the lung is very severe, it is nothing to be afraid of or to worry about, it is just a trade hazard that we can learn to work with and endure. Lung is our teacher because it is the feedback we receive when we are not meditating properly – or not living a balanced lifestyle. Lung is the Tibetan word for ‘wind’. Generally, meditator’s lung is congested chi in and around the heart chakra. We all learn about lung when we attend our first Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist group meditation retreat. Either we get it, or we hear about it from our friends who get it. Lung literally means wind but we can translate it, in this context, as ‘mental stress’. The mind rides on the subtle winds of the body, and when the winds don’t run smoothly, we feel stress. When many people begin a retreat on a Tibetan mantra yoga sadhana practice that involves visualizing complicated forms, reciting liturgy, and reciting mantras, they discover after a week or a month that their minds actually become more agitated than they were before. They may experience pain in the chest or back pain, or headaches; they may cry easily and anger easily, too. They may feel anxious or have panic attacks or insomnia. Some people become depressed. Some people have delusional paranoia, hear things, or feel strange sensations in their bodies. Others have indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea. Lung is often experienced as a negative attitude toward the practice (your mind and body want to stop!) so you experience doubts about the practice, doubts about your lama. Lung can become bad if it is not remedied, and if the person continues the pattern that causes it, it’s possible to become severely mentally disturbed. But that is rare. Mostly it’s just a negative mind or a nagging obsession that won’t go away. Sometimes lung manifests as an aversion to meditating. You just don’t want to go back and sit on that cushion!

Anyone under mental pressure and strain experiences lung. Meeting deadlines at work, family stress, and studying for final exams all bring on lung. Everyone has their own style of lung. It’s a good idea to learn your personal pattern so you can know when to relax in your retreat. When you start to feel negative or can’t sleep one night or have indigestion, or when you uncontrollably growl at someone, then you know it is time to rest, to back off on the intensity of your practice. Often there are signs that indicate lung is on the verge of breaking out into major symptoms. For me, I almost always have an anxiety dream based on the theme of the night before a final exam at university when I haven’t studied at all and I’m frantic. That tells me, “Time to slow down, Nyingje-la!” When I used to start designing fashions in my meditation sessions while reciting a mantra, I knew it was time for a good long break and a walk.

When some of our wonderful Tibetan masters first encountered people from modern industrialized societies, they were impressed with our level of education and intellectual acuity; thus, they assumed we would make great practitioners. They taught us advanced practices and soon watched us all get lung! I think this is rather like a figure skating master who discovers a group of ballet dancers and thinks they will make great figure skaters. The ballet dancers get out on the ice and try to dance, and they all end up with sprained ankles and broken bones. We have these greatly activated minds, but they developed without any awareness of the winds that carry those mind-bytes. Watching our breath and learning about our wind-mind before we add all the visualizations and mantras is like skating round and round the rink for hours and hours before we even try to turn around on the skates.

Geshe Rabten thought all Westerners have tsog lung (chronic heart lung). After he spent a year leading a calm abiding retreat for Westerners, Gen Lamrimpa said to us that he thought Westerners could never learn to meditate: Our minds are too fast because we grew up with machines and computers. In other words, we all have chronic low- grade anxiety or tsog lung. It is so ubiquitous that we think it is normal. There is an epidemic of depression and anxiety in modern industrialized society that is growing rapidly, even among children. Our lifestyle gives us lung. This same source of most of our health problems is also what causes us to have a difficult time in meditation retreats.

When we talk about lung, we must distinguish between acute lung and chronic lung. Acute lung comes from concentrating too hard on the mandala or reciting mantras too fast or working too hard in service at our jobs, or frustration in relationships. Chronic lung can be treated with herbs, diet, acupuncture, Tibetan medicine, and talking therapies. I would try these options before going to pharmaceuticals because in the long run these chemicals may only compound the imbalance.

However, when symptoms are especially intense, people may need immediate relief. You might decide to take pharmaceuticals for a short time, with the help of other supportive therapies, and then slowly wean yourself off them. I would recommend checking with a lama before taking any pharmaceutical chemicals. It is my impression that they are dispensed far too easily, and they may harm the body and mind in the long term. If a person is willing to change their eating habits, take herbs, or go to an acupuncturist and/or a skillful psychotherapist, pharmaceutical medicines are most likely not necessary.

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How and why we get lung

Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche told us that faith and intention are the main activities of tantric practice. This is so important. We get lung because we don’t know this essential ingredient. We get too serious and try very hard to see all the details of the mandala and to say thousands of mantras a day, thinking that more is better. This gives us lung.

In Tibetan medicine, lung (wind) imbalance is related to attachment; bile imbalance is related to anger/aversion; and phlegm imbalance is related to ignorance. At first, it may not be so clear how unskillful meditation that leads to lung is related to attachment. If you think of attachment as the mind that wants, that grasps, that clings, and then check up while you meditate, you can see how a subtle version of grasping and clinging can abide with you as you focus on your meditation object. It comes in the form of wanting more clarity than you have, or wanting to finish up, or not wanting to finish. If you are in a neutral state of mind, and then think of something you want to do, you can feel a slight tightening in your chest, a little excitement or anticipation. Most of us think this is happiness, but it is actually a state of grasping. This can also cause lung.

Those who do – and don’t – get lung

People who meditate for stress reduction purposes only and aren’t interested in attaining enlightenment probably don’t get lung. We get lung because we are trying to do something, trying to attain something, instead of relaxing and letting it happen naturally. Lung comes from forcing our mind beyond its capacity to stay relaxed while meditating. The key to good meditation is a relaxed mind. Forcing the mind to concentrate only harms our development in the long run. This is very hard to learn because we don’t often know when we are forcing our mind – until we get lung! We are habituated to having a slightly grasping or excited mind when we do things, because this is often where we find the energy to do what we want to do; but this does not work for us when we want to meditate. We get lung from forcing our minds to stay on the meditation object when it is tired. We get lung from saying the mantra too fast and for too long. We get lung from forcing a visualization to be clear. We get lung from trying to keep the thoughts at bay instead of understanding that it’s okay for thoughts to come and go. What we are looking for is to stabilize on the mind that lies below the thoughts. No accepting and no rejecting…the ocean, not the waves…remember?

Lung usually comes on very slowly, after days of forcing concentration or reciting mantras too fast without being aware of it. By the time you realize you have lung, it’s very hard to dissipate without stopping the meditation altogether and resting the mind for a few days by engaging in fun and play. Lung just seems to be part of learning how to do Vajrayana practice. The more you practice, the sooner you identify the habits that lead to lung, and therefore it becomes less and less of a problem. The more you meditate, the more you are able to perceive the texture of your mind, so you can see or hear the mistakes just as an artist or a musician would. It just takes time on the cushion. Like any other form of discipline, it only becomes easy with a lot of effort…right effort: gentle, loving, relaxed, no expectation, no pushing effort. We need to remember that one of the four powers of joyous effort in Shantideva’s teachings on the six perfections is the power of rest. In modern industrialized society, resting is a sign of weakness. Rest is just as important as activity in manifesting any sort of production.

Tibetan masters describe the process of meditation as being similar to training a wild horse. If you tether it to a short rope and try to beat it into submission, you will have a very difficult time taming that horse. But if you give it a large corral to run in and approach the wild animal with kindness and love, you can ride that horse in a short while. Remember the movie, The Horse Whisperer? We have to learn to relax our minds and treat ourselves very gently. Ribur Rinpoche tells us over and over again, “…r..e..l..a..x….”

This is the key to meditation without lung.

Lung prevention and management:

1. Don’t push yourself, your body or your mind – more is not better and might is not right. Whatever you do, do it for others!

2. Prostrate before sessions or do chi gong in the breaks. Twice a day is good, if you can.

3. Begin your session with a quiet time, calming your mind, tuning in to your energy. Breathe into your lower chakras and let the anxiety come out. Melt the tension with the experience of refuge. Soothe your inner child; listen kindly to its complaints.

4. End your session with five minutes of spacious meditation, just relaxing into the three circles of emptiness of dedication or relax at the dissolution time. Even though you want to get up, just sit and breathe into the mental tension until your mind is relaxed. Aim to end the session before you are tired. Also, you can visualize your hollow body filled with five-colored lights radiating out all the lung and blessing all the sentient beings and the environment.

5. Spend a little time every day, if possible, relaxing your gaze by looking up at the sky or staring out at a long distance view as you gently recognize emptiness. This really lets the lung out.

6. Eat enough protein and cut back on (not cut out!) all sweets. Eat a well-balanced diet, suited to your body type and health needs, i.e., study nutrition. Exercise six days a week.

7. Learn to relax in all your actions. Meditation is play, not work. Relax: Lie down or sit in a comfortable chair or do chi gong for a few minutes after your session ends. (This is advice from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.)

8. Don’t force your visualization. Be satisfied with what comes.

9. Contentment is the key to a good retreat; cultivate contentment and a happy mind. Meditate on the innermost jewels of the Kadam geshes every day. The key to contentment is breathing with bodhichitta all the time. Detach yourself from grasping experiences by a deep understanding of karma, and let go of all notions of blame and shame. “Follow your bliss,” as Joseph Campbell used to say. 10. ‘Set your re-set button’ once a week, if not once a day. That is, recreate until you feel grounded, open, joyful, clear, and motivated.

RETREAT

Advice about Lung from Lama Zopa Rinpoche

[Excerpted from a forthcoming book of selections of advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche to students on everything from specific practice questions to personal problems. The book will be on sale later this year.]

1. To a monk who has lung “I understand about lung. When one is bored and tired of doing prayers, one sees the prayer book, and lung comes. Things that are difficult and things that we don’t like bring lung. I don’t think that the things you really enjoy give lung. Do you agree? Sometimes when you do something with so much energy, sudden- ly the energy changes and then you change; you give up. For example, a monk worked so hard for a very long time with computers, even through the night; then it suddenly changed, and he couldn’t do it any- more. The energy just changed! “So in this case, something that you get bored with and don’t like will give you lung. Psychologically, the antidote is to accept. Whenever you encounter problems, rather than being unhappy about it, accept it as a result of past karma, then it no longer becomes a problem, or it is much less of a problem. Think especially of the benefits. Kadam Geshe Karab Gomchung said that even a small suffering in the present finishes heavy past negative karmas that cause us to be reborn in the lower realms, where we would experience suffering for many eons.

As a result, there will be a happy life in the future. “Therefore, one should meditate, rejoicing in the suffering. Of course, as you know from thought trans- formation, you can use your problem to practice bodhichitta, use it for the ‘taking and giving’ practice — taking all sentient beings’ suffering in the form of pollution through the nostrils, taking it into the heart, destroying all the ego and the self-cherishing thought completely, so there’s nothing left. Do this a few times. At other times, think, ‘I’m experiencing this for all sentient beings.’ “By doing this, you collect skies of merit, and the body becomes like a wish-granting jewel. With this body, when you experience suffering for others with each taking and giving, many eons of negative karma are purified. Each time you come closer to enlightenment. This is the best practice, as you know! “You can also use the lung incense made by Tibetans, apply Tiger Balm, or take the Tibetan medicine, Agar 35, for life-wind sicknesses.”

2. To a student who could not sleep “People in the West think that if you do not sleep there is something wrong with you, but is it is only a problem if it is causing harm to your health; other- wise, it can be very useful. Maybe people who need to do clear light meditation need to sleep. Actually, my job is putting people to sleep, I think you know this! “If you can’t fall asleep, one method is to do prayers and read the Lam-rim. Maybe if you try to meditate for a long time you will fall asleep. For problems associated with lung eating meat can be very beneficial, and eating garlic and onion can help as well. Also, one can drink broth made from bones, boiling the bones in hot water [see Mandala June-July 2004 Tibetan Medicine]. “The best thing to do is the practice of the 35 Confession Buddhas, with prostrations and recitation. This may help because it purifies your negative karma and creates the cause for you to achieve enlighten- ment. You can do it in the morning or evening.”

3. To a student who said she had had lung for the past three years “Visualize the guru on your crown. Nectar flows from the guru’s heart down into your body, speech, and mind, purifying illness, spirit harm, negative karma, and obscurations (especially lung energy). As you visualize this, recite the guru’s mantra. “This method can also be used for any heavy sickness. While the guru is still on the crown of your head, make strong request with total reliance on the ‘ guru for this negative karma to be purified completely. Do this before absorbing the guru into the heart. “When you have strong lung, while standing, visualize an iron nine-pronged vajra at your heart, inside your body. This iron vajra is red-hot, blazing oneness with fire. Concentrate pointedly on that vajra. That is the main practice.”

4. To a nun was suffering from lung in the heart, and depression. Rinpoche recommended acupuncture and the following Tibetan precious pills: Moon Crystal, three a week for seven weeks, and Rinchen Jumar, four times a week for seven weeks. This completely got rid of her lung.

5. To a monk who had been experiencing serious lung while attending the Basic Study program. He had begun having difficulty studying, to the point that he requested permission to become a part- time student. He requested Lama Zopa’s advice as to whether he should remain at the study center and do part-time study, or work part-time. He also asked Rinpoche to recommend a practice for him to do. Rinpoche responded as follows: “Early in the morning, and at night, breathe in very strongly and then breathe out very strongly. Think that the lung has gone out as negative karma. Do this many times. Also do the physical exercises from the Six Yogas of Naropa. Chi Gong is also helpful.

“There is a special lung practice called Mani Hardun that Lama Tsongkhapa came across when he was studying and was manifesting the aspect of lung. He received the practice from an old Sakya monk. It may be difficult to find, but you could ask a geshe. A student received the transmission for this practice from Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche and was cured just by receiving the transmission.”

LungTheMeditatorsDisease PDF

 

 

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image:

https://www.pexels.com/photo/stacked-of-stones-outdoors-289586/

Keto Almond Shortbread Cookies

Here is my simple and healthy recipe for easy Keto Almond Shortbread Cookies. A perfect, house warming way to welcome the New Year, or anytime!

Ingredients:

2 sticks organic butter or vegan butter or 1 cup of unrefined coconut oil, softened to room temperature
1 cup monkfruit or 1-1 stevia baking sugar
½ cup cane sugar
½ tsp salt (¼ if using salted butter)
2 lg. organic whole eggs
1 T. almond extract
2 cups super-fine almond flour
½ cup gluten free (rice) flour
Sliced almonds and pearl sugar (optional) for decoration

Keto-almond-shortbread

Directions:

  1. Cream your butter or oils, sugars and salt together with am electric or hand whisk, 60 strokes.
  2. Add eggs, beat for another minute, then add almond extract, beat again.
  3. Slowly add flours, mix until dough has been mixed thoroughly.
  4. Chill in refrigerator  for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  6. Take 2T of dough, roll into balls and place cookies separated by 2 inches onto 2 parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Gently flatten each cookie with your hand. Press sliced almonds and pearl sugar on top of each cookie for decoration, if desired. Bake 18-22 minutes, until tan around edges, do not over cook. Serve when cooled.

Makes about 20 cookies

Keto-almond-shortbread-cookies

Keto-almond-shortbread-cookie

Keto Almond Shortbread Cookies

Here is my simple and healthy recipe for easy Keto Almond Shortbread Cookies. A perfect warm way to welcome the New Year!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 sticks organic butter or vegan butter or 1 cup of unrefined coconut oil softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup monkfruit or 1-1 stevia baking sugar
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 lg. organic whole eggs
  • 1 T. almond extract
  • 2 cups super-fine almond flour
  • ½ cup gluten free rice flour
  • Sliced almonds and pearl sugar optional for decoration

Instructions
 

  • Cream your butter or oils, sugars and salt together with am electric or hand whisk, 60 strokes.
  • Add eggs, beat for another minute, then add almond extract, beat again.
  • Slowly add flours, mix until dough has been mixed thoroughly.
  • Chill in refrigerator  for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Take 2T of dough, roll into balls and place cookies separated by 2 inches onto 2 parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Gently flatten each cookie with your hand. Press sliced almonds and pearl sugar on top of each cookie for decoration, if desired. Bake 18-22 minutes, until tan around edges, do not over cook. Serve when cooled.

Foaming Toilet Cleaning Bomb Recipe

While I was making bath bombs for Holiday gifts, I thought I’d try these cool foaming toilet cleaning bombs too! You can omit the borax if you dont have it on hand, but it works very well for stubborn stains. If they fizz too much add more cornstarch to absorb moisture.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup baking soda
  2. 1/4 cup citric acid
  3. 1/4 cup borax
  4. 2 T. cornstarch as needed
  5. 1 T. liquid Dr. Bronners SalSuds or dish soap
  6. 1/2 t. or 30 drops essential oils like any citrus or mint
  7. silicone mold, sprayed with nonstick spray or olive oil

Instructions:

  • Mix the baking soda, borax, cornstarch and citric acid in a bowl and stir.
  • Add essential oils and liquid soap in another bowl.
  • Slowly drip into wet ingredients powder mixture and stir. It will fizz slightly, if it is too wet add a bit more cornstarch.
  • Press the bomb ingredients into your silicon mold.
  • Allow the mixture to dry overnight or until completely hardened.
  • Remove toilet cleaning bombs from the mold and store in a mason jar or any airtight container.
  • Pop one into toilet allow it to foam up, then clean to sparkling! Your bathroom will smell great!

diy-toilet-cleaning-bombs

foaming-toilet-bombs

Foaming Toilet Cleaning Bomb Recipe

While I was making bath bombs for Holiday gifts, I thought I'd try these cool foaming toilet cleaning bombs too! You can omit the borax if you dont have it on hand, but it works very well for stubborn stains. If they fizz too much add more cornstarch to absorb moisture.

Equipment

  • silicone mold, sprayed with nonstick spray or olive oil

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup citric acid
  • 1/4 cup borax
  • 2 T. cornstarch as needed
  • 1 T. liquid Dr. Bronners SalSuds or dish soap
  • 1/2 t. or 30 drops essential oils like any citrus or mint.
  • silicone mold sprayed with nonstick spray or olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Mix the baking soda, borax, cornstarch and citric acid in a bowl and stir.
  • Add essential oils and liquid soap in another bowl.
  • Slowly drip into wet ingredients powder mixture and stir. It will fizz slightly, if it is too wet add a bit more cornstarch.
  • Press the bomb ingredients into your silicon mold.
  • Allow the mixture to dry overnight or until completely hardened.
  • Remove toilet cleaning bombs from the mold and store in a mason jar or any airtight container.

Notes

Pop one into toilet allow it to foam up, then clean to sparkling! Your bathroom will smell great!

Healing Bath Bomb Recipe with Patchouli and CBD

This Holiday Season, I’m making homemade gifts and these calming and healing D.I.Y. bath bombs are so cute and just perfect for gift giving. I found some nice Rocky Mountain full spectrum CBD salve with arnica and Dead Sea salts. These make these a perfect bath treat right before bed, to soak, relive aches and pains and restore your tired muscles and heart. I used one last night, it fizzes in warm water, then surrounds you with flower petals and later, I and slept very soundly. You can omit the CBD if you don’t have any and replace it with coconut oil, and use any essential oil your choose, or none! You can also add colored mica powder, but I like mine a-naturele.

You will need a bath bomb mold and or silicone baking molds, here I used both.

Ingredients:

• 1 cup baking soda
• 1/2 cup citric acid
• 2 T. cornstarch
• dried rose petals
• 1/2 cup epsom salts
• 1/2 cup dead sea salts (optional)
• 1/4 cup full spectrum CBD salve with arnica, melted or coconut oil
• 1/2 teaspoon/20 drops patchouli or other essential oil
• 2 T. water

Instructions:

1. Add all dry ingredients to a medium-size bowl, stir well with a wooden spoon.
2. Melt the cbd salve in a double boiler.
3. Mix the wet ingredients together, the salve, essential oil, and water by whisking.
4. Slowly drip the wet ingredients into the dry, stir until the ingredients hold together when squeezed in your hands. Do not over-saturate.
5. They will fizz a bit due to the citric acid but the cornstarch will absorb moisture. Add 1 T more if too wet.
6. Prepare your bath bomb molds by lightly greasing them with spray olive or coconut oil.
7. Press the mixture into the bath bomb molds and then place the two halves together.
8. Wipe the excess mixture off the sides and set aside.
9. Allow the molds to sit for overnight hours or until completely dry and then turn over, and carefully pop out of the molds.

patchouli-cbd-bath-bomb organic-bath-bombscbd-bath-bombs-diy heart-bath-bombs

heart-bath-bombs

Healing Bath Bomb Recipe- Patchouli + CBD

This Holiday Season, I'm making homemade gifts and these calming and healing D.I.Y. bath bombs are so cute and just perfect for gift giving. I found some nice Rocky Mountain full spectrum CBD salve with arnica and Dead Sea salts, that make these a perfect bath treat right before bed, to soak, relive aches and pains and restore your tired muscles and heart. I used one last night, it fizzes in warm water, then surrounds you with flower petals and I and slept very soundly. You can omit the CBD if you don't have any and replace it with coconut oil, and use any essential oil your choose, or none! You can also add colored mica powder, but I like mine a-naturele.

Equipment

  • You will need a bath bomb mold and or silicone baking molds, here I used both.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • dried rose petals
  • 1/2 cup epsom salts
  • 1/2 cup dead sea salts optional
  • 1/4 cup full spectrum CBD salve with arnica melted or coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon/20 drops patchouli or other essential oil
  • 2 T. water

Instructions
 

  • Add all dry ingredients to a medium-size bowl, stir well with a wooden spoon.
  • Melt the cbd salve in a double boiler.
  • Mix the wet ingredients together, the salve, essential oil, and water by whisking.
  • Slowly drip the wet ingredients into the dry, stir until the ingredients hold together when squeezed in your hands. Do not over-saturate.
  • They will fizz a bit due to the citric acid but the cornstarch will absorb moisture. Add 1 T more if too wet.
  • Prepare your bath bomb molds by lightly greasing them with spray olive or coconut oil.
  • Press the mixture into the bath bomb molds and then place the two halves together.
  • Wipe the excess mixture off the sides and set aside.
  • Allow the molds to sit for overnight hours or until completely dry and then turn over, and carefully pop out of the molds.

pexels-danik-prihodko-10767023

To the men that know;
The men that choose to grow.
To the men who have had the courage to lay broken on the floor;
Who have embraced each change with strength and determination;
Stood solid,
Naked
In their truth.
To the men who have
Given
Everything
And been left with
Nothing,
Yet still,
In every day,
In every way,
They show love.
To the men who have seen the darkness
Of a woman lost in pain,
And sheltered her
In their warm embrace;
Tended to each wound;
Soaked their own essence in each of her tears.
To the men who failed,
But rose again;
Lost their heart,
And found their love.
To the men who strive
Each day
To love themselves more;
Embrace their own darkness that led them to pain;
Energise their light until it radiates to the sky.
To the men who show
Appreciation
For the journey that the woman takes
To reach his love,
For he is her mirror;
He is her love,
And she loves you.
In every moment you give
That appreciation,
She feels it,
She appreciates you.
To the men who are love,
We love you,
Thank You
For loving us.

Heather Lea

___________________________________

Reposted on this snowy winter morning, thanks to my dear goddess sister from Crestone Colorado, Zuki. We live together in a remote spiritual community that also is becoming acutely aware of false spiritual paths, teachers and people. This poem is pure dharma and exemplifies our genuine human goodness, our raw and real potential. Genuine dharma does not produce people who are loveless, arrogant, escapist and use the dharma for nefarious purposes and thus waste their lives, but rather, can be self aware, accountable, able to see shadow and participate in adult relational resolution.
To these men, I bow deeply.
We love you, man.
image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/happy-couple-hugging-10767023/

Greetings, everyone!
This is Dawn Boiani again from BuddhistSomatics.com, and I run a women’s wellness blog. I write about, basically my personal experience, being a survivor of generational narcissistic abuse, and then, organizational narcissism from recreating those same root family patterns by joining an unhealthy spiritual community that was led by someone that recreated that same family dynamic that I grew up with. So, I wanted to write to you tonight about, narcissistic abuse because, it just happened to me and I’m in a great amount of pain. Anyone that has been in relationship with a narcissist, be it a lover, a parent, a close friend, an employer, it’s one of the most violent types of abuse because oftentimes it’s psychological. And in other types of abuse where someone is physically assaulting you or sexually assaulting you, it’s very easy to demarcate yourself from the perpetrator because there’s an actual crime that occurred that’s empirically proven. But with narcissistic abuse, the kind of back and forth and the sort of, wooing you in for narcissist’s supply to build up their self-esteem and self-worth at your expense; it acts like love. And oftentimes, if you’ve been in relationship with the disordered person like that, they’ve hurt you so much that you’re the walking wounded as far as that relationship is concerned.

Trauma Bonds

The moment that the person would come back to you and resolve this, it actually feels like such a relief. So even though you’ve been abused by this person, be it a family member, coworker, lover, spouse, you’re hurting and it feels unresolved. It feels like a raw, open wound. So when the person comes back against all that is intuitive and sane, you will re-engender the relationship and hope that this time it will be different. Now they’ve “finally seen the light” and they’re going to be accountable, culpable for how much they hurt you, and they’re going to apologize and everything’s going to be okay. So we keep on going back to these people with the hope that they have conscience and that they care and they want to resolve what was hurtful. So that’s, that’s actually called a trauma bond. These bonds are really intense, biochemically, it’s like Pavlov’s dog, you’re always hoping that you’re going to have the pellet.

It’s like you wait around for that and it can become obsessive. It can become debilitating to try to seek resolve from someone who’s emotionally abusive. This type of abuse is truly insidious because, the narcissist or disordered person will intentionally use things against you to devalue you. It can be very subtle sometimes. It’s not always yelling and screaming, [throwing] pots and pans, or sexual or physical assault. It’s just this insidious indication that: I’ve hurt you, you’re there to build me up if you don’t agree to the unspoken rule that you never confront a narcissist.  You have to walk on eggshells and cajole this person, then if you break the unspoken rule, it causes narcissistic injury, narcissistic rage, and the person can become really intensely cruel and then…discard you.

Devalue, Discard and Hovering

And then it cycles around once they’ve settled down and they miss you or something, then they come back around just to do it again. So it is this really unhealthy, toxic thing, but it is so heart wrenching. I love the quote: “no scar on my heart ever came from anyone I hated.” I was just the recipient of narcissistic abuse for about an hour and a half yesterday from a parent. And we’re in that situation where we have a family member and there’s an inheritance and there’s end of life. My family are, just a piranha pool of dysfunction and hatred and vitriol, swearing and chain smoking and just is really like atrocious toxic energy. Just no love, no kindness, backstabbing, triangulating, dyads, triads, looking for fault, abusing, yelling, swearing, physical assaults. Then after you’ve assaulted someone, then the person who is a perpetrator goes and says, “well, you deserved it.”

No Contact?

So that’s my family and my own husband had said, “we really can’t have contact with them.” But me, being a good Pollyanna codependent, always hoping for the best, and being eternally wounded, always will, with tears and with an open heart and with hope, kind of like a Saint Bernard, always hopes maybe that person will someday come around and appreciate me and say, “I really loved you.” You were a great daughter, you were a great sister, you were a great niece. We value you. But my family has chosen me as the scapegoat for the whole family shadow. As far as I can see back, these patterns, these unhealthy, toxic, dysfunctional patterns have gone on for generations. I have a 16 year old daughter, and I’ve tried really hard to not impart that toxicity to her.

I think she’s gotten some of it because I was raised with this, but I feel like she’s fundamentally healthy. And, the buck sort of stops here. I didn’t do to her the same things that my family did to me.  I hope that she’s the new generation of healing, that’s the best that we can do. We can’t go back and we can’t fix our our families of origin, but we can stop the bleeding and stop recreating those patterns into the next generation. I think I’ve done that, but right now, I just am writing to you because, I’m shaking and my heart rate is resting pulse of about a hundred. I have a trip planned for tomorrow with my family. We were going to go to the beach and hang out and be underneath palm trees. Now, I have to cancel that because of narcissistic abuse from my mom.

emotional rape

No Resolve

The abuse went on for about an hour and a half. I was yelled at, I was counter projected, I was blamed, I was insulted. I was told things like, well, the family wants to see your daughter, but not you. It was really vicious. You can’t imagine that a mother would ever speak to a child that way, but that’s my experience. It’s gone on for 53 years and  I’ve become a Buddhist and got into meditation and learned forgiveness, meditated, cried, rebirthing, done heavy breathing, yogic stuff, upwards of $50,000 of therapy, and one phone call reopens the scar, and it is just like I’m four years old again, being abused by a parent.

When you’re abused, I was abused actually in the crib, neglected, part of the damage is pre-concept. So when the perpetrator comes back, you, it reopens something that’s often you don’t even have access to it in your conceptual mind. So all of my amazing techniques, I have 84,000 techniques to remedy pain, ALL go out the window. They’re useless in the in the midst of abuse. It’s like, energetically, narcissists, when they are abusive, it’s actually a form of emotional rape. They hover you in by believing that they’re safe and that they care about you. They forge intimacy, you open to them and then they try to have power over you. So they say things that make you feel like you have no merit, no value. It’s devaluing, insulting, condescending, using things to trump you intellectually or financially, like my mother used to say, “no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be as beautiful as I am.”

Whatever they can say to put you down, that makes them feel that they can build themselves up and actually gives them sort of a ego bump. Narcissists are predicated on a deep chasm of self-loathing, self hatred, inner disdain. They overcompensate by being self consumed, using others to build them up in a predatory way and discarding them when that supply is no longer feeding their vacuum, bottomless pit. So once you get hip, they get bored of you, you confront, or you’re not giving them the kudos that they live on, they are predatory, they are parasitic, you get cut out, you get usually a narcissistic rage, sworn at, attacked, and then ultimately blocked. So, I was raised by someone like this, a primary relationship. So that’s kind of the m.o. of my life.

Blocking?

I encounter these people, from time to time. It’s like an unspoken magnet. It’s like, I think they call it trauma reenactment. There’s this unspoken thing where it just kind of lights up. I meet this person who’s an abuser, who is a narcissist, who is the vacuum, who is a predator. And it’s like heroin, it’s  compulsive. I can’t not, get into a codependent rapport with them where they hurt me, they break me, and then I try really hard to fix it. (fawn) So this dynamic has happened time and time again in my life. And relationships, romantic relationships, even friendships, it’s a constant theme, with my family. A lot of them are still alive, and disordered people. So, I’ve worked very hard to try to do things like block people, tell them to please stay out of my life.

But it is so hard. it’s much easier said than done to block a family member. I guess you have very deep karma. Other people, like my husband, will look at the outside and say, your mother’s sworn at you, she’s assaulted you, and you were 36 years old! She has used the F word in front of your child, she’s run around the house screaming. Why would you engender a relationship with someone who is disordered or deranged or tempered tantrums and emotionally violent? Walk away!” [He suggests]. Then I start crying, like as if I’m a baby, I’m 53 and I could start crying. And I say, “because I love her.” And no one no person, even disordered people are all evil. It becomes almost like an existential question. Like, if I give up, then it’s almost a testament to human beings being evil.

The Birth of Codependency

I don’t want to let go of the hope that the person would have a conscience, heal what they did that was wrong, and we could have a relationship. So, the hope never goes away in my heart, to be able to heal these narcissistic relationships. It really is the heart, the architecture of codependency. Like, codependency is defined as, you have an unhealthy attachment with someone and they hurt you, and yet you continue to engender the relationship. They call it fight, flight, [freeze] or fawn. Those are three different types of trauma responses. You get into high conflict or you try to block or run away, or you try to care take on it on and fix everything. You take on the karma and you try to process it. So those are three different unhealthy trauma responses.

So I admit being a child abuse survivor, and a physical assault survivor, from a number of sources in this life, I do the fight flight or fawn, and the people who normally, normal people who weren’t raised this way, you meet a toxic person and you recognize that and you’re like, “wow, this person is dangerous!” This person has a criminal past. This person has sworn at me, this person has devalued me, you walk away, you’re like, wow, I’m outta here… but not me! I actually like, kind of fall in love or I chase after I pursue, a parent or family member or friendship of someone that has been hurtful because I’m so like, chomping at the bit, longing to resolve it, believing that I’m lovable, believing that they must have a conscience, believing that we can all “work it out.”

And that’s how codependents work. So why it’s unhealthy and why it’s addictive is it’s almost like, with codependency as if, people become your drug of choice and alcoholic, would, even if their health is in danger, continue to drink until their liver fails, or heroin until someone OD’s. You do the same thing energetically with a person. You engender a toxic relationship of something that could actually destroy you, people can die from narcissistic abuse. They can get heart attacks, clinical depression, fibromyalgia, nervous breakdowns, because the psychological violence with narcissistic abuse is so incredibly cruel. It usually results in a, discard, devaluation and discard like a complete cut. The [narcissistic] person will usually say, “you mean absolutely nothing to me, stay the hell out of my life, I want no contact with you.”

This is, I’ve heard this, half a dozen times from these people. And, that type of icy cold violence, it looks good. Like, oh, we’re setting boundaries, but it’s actually a form of the most violent way of being cruel that you can possibly imagine. Because it’s saying that, you mean so little to me mean nothing,  you’re insignificant. It doesn’t matter what I did, doesn’t matter what you feel, you mean nothing. Stay the hell out of my life. You don’t even merit one sentence. So, I mean, if someone’s raping you or if someone’s hurting you and physically assaulting you, at least you matter, at least, at least you sort of are engaged and the person cares enough to be hurting you. I mean, you’re still actually in relationship with the person. Your being means something, even if you’re being physically abused and then being physically abused either through assault or through rape, it is so clear to, to parse out that because it is a physical, concrete thing.

Narcissistic abuse or abuse from people who are cluster B disordered is so insidious and sometimes it is so long term and it can be abuse by silence, and it can actually kill somebody. It is very, very powerful, being blocked, being discarded. Because if someone is codependent and you’re into relational resolution, conversation, working stuff out, your mind actually short circuits, you don’t know where to go. No therapist can fix it. No other lover, no friend. It’s like, that’s why I’m talking to you guys. It’s like, your mind’s sort of short circuit because you can’t go back to the perpetrator to resolve the pain.

No Closure After Discard

It stays as this sort of like, like a record skipping. It stays in your mind-stream. It never, it’s like you can’t even get on with your life. It just skips, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip skips, because it’s like you’re constantly being told by the silence that you are the wrong one. That you’re not even worth resolving it with. And this cold, icy, silent violence is, murderous. I don’t mean to be dramatic, but many people have lost their lives from being the recipients of narcissistic abuse because it is so in intensely conscienceless and cruel. I believe that some of these people that I’ve been in contact with, including my family members now around this inheritance, they actually intend to hurt. Like, what can I do to hurt her? What can I do? It sounds paranoid, and if people haven’t, I really commend anyone that has never been the recipient of a disordered person’s abuse because it is really heartbreaking.

How to Heal?

So how to heal? I mean, it is funny because I’ve studied this. I have a degree in psychology. I have a certificate as a wellness coach. I have as, as I said, $50,000 of therapy, processing, meditating…seeing rainbows. I mean, I’ve done like everything that I can possibly think of to heal. One conversation with my perpetrator, boom, I’m just devastated again for an untold amount of time. Then I heal and I feel strong again. Pick myself up by the bootstraps, dusted off, gotten back into yoga, meditation, wellness. I’m radiant and doing well, and then I feel strong. Then another, narcissist in different form, it’s usually the same one in my life. My, my mom, will come back into the life and things will be okay for a short period of time.

I open again, I hope things are well. And then BAM, another instance of abuse. There’s no, it’s been 53 years and it’s only gotten worse. And I’ve only been patient forgiven, cried, confronted, blocked. I’ve tried every single trick in the bag: silence, walking away, pre-grieving their death. I mean, you name it, I have tried, I have forged this mountain like, I’m like an expert narcissistic abuse,a nd I’m just sitting here now on November 17th. It’s 6:33 PM in Boulder, Colorado, shaking and crying intermittently for about eight hours.

It causes a complete cognitive dissonance because if I give up the hope that I can resolve things with a narcissist, then the world feels like you’re letting evil win. You’re letting the darkest part of our human-ness have power. You’re letting them define a loveless conscienceless world where we hate each other and we use each other. We spit each other out. So to give up the hope to me, it is so weird. It just feels like, you’ve given into the basest part of our being. So, like, the hope for me is the most equivalent to like something existential, I hope that humans care for each other. I hope they regret when they hurt each other. I hope that someone who I cared about would see me as being lovable and good.

Trauma Reenactment

These are very, very deep things. That’s the fuel with which we stay engaged with toxic people because being the recipient of emotional, psychological abuse, which is, like I said, it’s a form of emotional rape. It’s like you become the walking wounded and you can have a mirror resonance with these people and recreate that pattern again and again and be hurt again and again. Sometimes it can take years or a lifetime or never to heal. So, I don’t actually know the resolve. I feel that like to just walk away and say, block everything and have no contact.

Yeah, I mean, that’s the m.o. that’s what they say. There’s only, that’s the only method of being able to try to have a semblance of a healthy life after emotional rape. But, at the same time, allowing the perpetrator to get away with it, charm everyone by their charisma, triangulate people against their victim. It just feels also wrong too. It’s like if I can quote former President Bush, he said, “silence is not peace, non-action is not peace.” So at the same note, I almost have this kind of veracity or compulsion to hold abusers accountable in every way, in my personal relationships and in politics and in my religion. I found out a few years ago that, there’s a lot of alcoholism and pedophilia and, I can’t really sign up for a religion and keep perpetuating it while there’s a bunch of perpetrators there.

I can’t put pictures up of pedophiles, all day and worship them and work for them. That doesn’t sound like really great job. There’s got to be, better things to do than put up pictures of “Catholic priest” pedophiles all day long. And people who’ve, run monasteries where kids are physically and sexually assaulted, it doesn’t seem like a really holy thing, I’ve got to find a better religion. So I, I call these things out and yeah, definitely the quintessential wounded healer, social justice warrior, that was predicated on being an abuse survivor in this life. If you know what it feels like to hurt, to hurt a child, you have a whole lot of energy in your heart to fight.

And, hopefully I’ve done some good work in this life. I’ve worked in politics and I worked to prevent child abuse, worked with seniors. I’ve worked as a mental health counselor. I don’t think there’s any way to completely ever become so Teflon coated, so iron-clad that you’re not hurt by someone who you love. Even if they are a narcissist, even if they’re disordered, it still hurts. You know? And I guess somehow even being a child abuse survivor, an adult abuse survivor, there’s the kind of grace that I have to know that I can still cry.

I can still love, I can still somehow have hope, in the goodness of humans and our ethics and our ability to change, grow, be accountable for our mistakes, for our abuse, care for each other, become tender. And, heal as species in families, friendships, communities. To give up that hope to me is like life and death, I could never give it up. So will I ever become super boundary filled, hopeless, give up on all my narcissistic friends, community, family members? No, I’m not physically capable of giving up. I will always hold a candle of hope and love and appreciation because it actually has to do with my own self worth. Like, I believe that I’m lovable. Ipso facto, I believe that these people who’ve hurt me will once, the, once the fog clears, will see that I’m a good person and that I’m worthy of love.

Boundaries of Emotional Intimacy

So hope prevails. I learned something recently when I was in counseling, and the counselor talked to me about, compassion and boundaries. Codependents don’t like the word boundaries, we’re like boundaries, schmoundaries? We love everyone! Everyone’s welcome in my heart. Everyone’s welcome in my life. I love everyone. I’ll fight to the mat for love, for relationships, for friendships, you know? She said that every single person, said the counselor, is worthy of your compassion. Even people who’ve done heinous crimes, Pol Pot and Hitler, sociopaths you can understand. It is not a justification. I mean, crimes are crimes, crimes against humanity are egregious, it’s the worst of what we are, but you can have compassion. I can understand the how’s and whys of how someone would rise to power and do these horrible things.

“Everyone is worthy of your compassion, your understanding of karma, your understanding of how they came to be, but not everyone is worthy of your emotional intimacy.”

So everyone is worthy of your compassion, your understanding of karma, your understanding of how they came to be, but not everyone is worthy of your emotional intimacy. Your heart should not be just a doormat of openness that you wear on your sleeve that anyone can break. She said that, who you allow into your inner circle of intimacy are people that have earned a place to be there through trust and through proving to you that they’re emotionally safe, that they have your best interest in mind. That they will not, idealize, devalue, discard, the narcissistic pattern of psychological abuse or, minimizing you not caring about your feelings, using you for their own gains, egoic or financial or sexual or whatever. But that, and then maybe there aren’t very many people in that inner circle, maybe there is only a cat, who knows?

The people who you allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable to, you allow people into your inner circle to become very close to you so they can hurt you, they’ve earned that place into your inner circle by proving that they love you. And that, there’s equity, equity in the relationship, equalness and reciprocity. That’s where codependents could learn boundaries. Like, hey, we do the opposite. We, we actually sometimes, it’s like the bad boy syndrome or the wounded healer, or like, we do the opposite. We kind of keep the people that would love us on the outside of the circle. We, because of the trauma reenactment and the resonance, we actually bring all the unwell people in.

We’re like, “hey, come on in, let’s duke this out, let’s fix this karmic stuff together.” So you actually bring the sick people in and keep the other ones in the outside. So it’s like a healing would be to reverse that. You have enough self love, self value, and you’ve healed to enough of a degree where you say, to the best of of what you can, family member, lover, child, pet, anyone, “you can only be in my circle of intimacy if you’ve earned a place there by proving that you are a person of, integrity, person of love, and that you, have my best interest in mind. You don’t want to hurt me. You don’t want to destroy me, you don’t want to use me. You’re not trying to game me for some nefarious purpose, but that it’s pure and it’s wholesome.”

Your Tears Are Your Love

So those are the people, even if it’s a very small circle, it’s better to have a really small circle of intimacy of people that have your best interest in mind more than a cesspool of toxic people that only destroy your life force. So that’s not compassion. Being destroyed is not compassion, you know? So anyway, I offer this to you tonight about boundaries. But, crying all day for eight hours, having been abused by a parent at 53, kind of big Baby Huey that hasn’t grown up yet. But, someone once said to me that, “your tears are your love.”

Love from a Distance

So, sometimes if people are disordered, they don’t value you or they’re unkind or cruel, it doesn’t mean that the love inside of us has to stop, but sometimes all we can do in this life is let them go and love from a distance. That’s actually compassion. And more like Ken Wilber’s Integral Way of seeing the world. Like we all have a right to manifest, all of our strengths and weaknesses and all of our neurosis and, there’s a place for it all and God’s grace kind of thing. So if a person chooses to be abusive and not value me, to use people to chew up and spit them out, to take vengeance, those are choices that they make, it doesn’t mean that I don’t love the person or see beauty in them, or have fond memories of them, but, they can’t really be in my space of intimacy if they’re going to be cruel.

And I’m glad I can still cry. I’m glad I can still love, I’m glad I can still get hurt. I think that would be worse, to have a heart that has gotten so jaded that it doesn’t feel anymore. So I’d rather go through bouts of paper thin snowflake grief, than to become hardened and to not care. I’d rather care too much than care not at all, or not enough. So, as Popeye said, “I yam what I yam.” And, tonight I’m grieving. Today I’m grieving. I have a narcissist that has no accountability and no conscience. There’s nothing I can do about it. So these are my words. This is my heart. I believe in the goodness of us all and all of my love and well wishes to everyone, always.

____________________________

Colophon:

Sadly, many of us will experience encountering a predatory narcissist at least once in our lives, especially if we were raised by a narcissistic parent. If we are vulnerable, the damage to our heart, mind and soul can be irreparable if it goes untreated. It can be so very hard to heal or leave an abuser, and sometimes the abuse is emotional, not physical. Idealize, devaluing and then discarding a human being is one of the most poisonous, cruelest, core-soul levels of abuse that we can experience. And sadly, the perpetrators blame their victims and walk away with impunity when they find no more use for you in terms of “narcissistic supply.”

This people have a grandiose sense of self-importance, are often times “high conflict personalities” and are hallmarked by never having a sense of conscience, empathy, regret, any ability to change or sincere apology. When they get discovered or have extracted your power completely, you are replaced with no closure and they go right on to find multitudes of other prey in the wake of your decimated heart. They even feel a sense of semi-sadistic power and control, knowing that they hurt you and were successfully able to exploit your perceived weakness… love.

According to Wikipedia rape is:

Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or below the legal age of consent. The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault.[4]

Emotional rape is when a person is emotionally assaulted, where another person has intentionally emotionally perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent.  No one, unless they have experienced it or have studied this type of abuse can realize how severely traumatized the victim will be.  It is an attack on their personality/spirit/soul rather than their body, it is a very misunderstood trauma and often inflicted by primary care givers.  Emotional rape is far more complex than verbal abuse and it is only when we can discuss it openly and candidly that we can help people recover from this sort of despicable abuse.

The narcissist will employ a number of tactics to do this which include:

  • Lying
  • Gaslighting
  • Smear campaign
  • Constant criticism to your face
  • Scapegoating
  • Silent treatment
  • Narcissistic rage
  • Direct verbal abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Stealing money or possessions
  • A multitude of non-verbal signals to let you know that they view you with utter disdain and contempt.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Vegan Thai Peanut Tofu

This may well be one of my very favorite vegan dishes! I used to buy this often from Whole Foods and it’s much cheaper to make at home. The tofu has a crispy oven broiled finish and the peanut sauce is creamy, sweet and spicy. Healthy, filled with veggies. No animal products to boot!

Ingredients:

• 24 oz./ 2 blocks extra firm tofu, cubed
• 3 T. olive oil
• 1 tsp. grated or powered ginger
• 1 T. grated or powered garlic
• 5 T. organic peanut butter
• 1 tsp. hot sauce
• 2 T. soy sauce
• 2 tsp. sesame oil
• 2 T. maple syrup
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• Salt to taste
• 1 cup water
• 1 diced green pepper
• 1 diced red pepper
• 6 shredded baby carrots
• chopped green onion
• roasted peanuts

Directions:

• Prepare Rice.

• Preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat tofu in olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake tofu for 12-15 minutes, turn and broil until crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.

• Chop veggies and lightly steam all but green onions in a skillet.

• Roast peanuts in a frying pan with 1 tsp. olive oil.

• Put all the remaining ingredients in a bowl, whisk until creamy and then add to skillet pan cook until warm.

• Finally, add the tofu cubes, mix well.

• Garnish with green onion and peanuts. Serve hot with basmati rice.

 

thai-tofu-1 thai-tofu-peanuts thai-tofu-sauce thai-tofu

thai-tofu

Vegan Thai Peanut Tofu

The tofu has a crispy oven broiled finish and the peanut sauce is creamy, sweet and spicy. Healthy, filled with veggies. No animal products to boot!

Ingredients
  

  • 24 oz./ 2 blocks extra firm tofu cubed
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. grated or powered ginger
  • 1 T. grated or powered garlic
  • 5 T. organic peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 diced green pepper
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 6 shredded baby carrots
  • chopped green onion
  • roasted peanuts

Instructions
 

  • Prepare Rice.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat tofu in olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake tofu for 12-15 minutes, turn and broil until crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Chop veggies and lightly steam all but green onions in a skillet.
  • Roast peanuts in a frying pan with 1 tsp. olive oil.
  • Put all the remaining ingredients in a bowl, whisk until creamy and then add to skillet pan cook until warm.
  • Finally, add the tofu cubes, mix well.
  • Garnish with green onion and peanuts. Serve hot with basmati rice.

Healthy Chocolate Avocado Pudding

I was at an exclusive health food restaurant yesterday and they had some chocolate avocado pudding in a small jar for $12. With food costs increasing and especially prepared food I just couldn’t justify spending $12 and little jar of pudding, so I made a mental note of the ingredients and ran home and made it that day! It turned out this pudding is absolutely amazing and healthy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 organic avocados ripe
  • 4 tablespoons, 1/2 a stick of butter, vegan butter or coconut oil
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of dark cocoa powder
  • 3 ounces or 80 grams of unsweetened coconut flakes or coconut meat
  • Pinch of salt if using coconut oil
  • 1 ripe organic banana
  • 1 cup of almond milk or chocolate almond milk
  • (optional) 1 scoop of protein powder, vanilla or chocolate

 

chocolate-avacado-pudding-1-1

Instructions:

Cut open the avocados and remove the pit, use a spoon to scoop out, place in blender or food processor.

Add all other ingredients. Blend, starting on low and then moving to high speed until it is smooth.

Use a rubber spatula to scoop out pudding from blender, and place in a bowl.

Refrigerate the pudding and serve cold.

Serves 4-6.

chocolate-pudding-organic

chocolate-avacado-pudding-2

Healthy Chocolate Avocado Pudding

It turned out this pudding is absolutely amazing and healthy!

Ingredients
  

  • 3 organic avocados ripe
  • 4 tablespoons 1/2 a stick of butter, vegan butter or coconut oil
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of coconut sugar honey or maple syrup
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of dark cocoa powder
  • 3 ounces or 80g of unsweetened coconut flakes or coconut meat
  • Pinch of salt if using coconut oil
  • 1 ripe organic banana
  • 1 cup of almond milk or chocolate almond milk
  • (optional) 1 scoop or protein powder, vanilla or chocolate

Instructions
 

  • Cut open the avocados and remove the pit, use a spoon scoop out and place in blender or food processor.
  • Add all other ingredients. Blend, starting on low and then moving to high speed until it is smooth.
  • Use a rubber spatula to scoop out pudding from blender, and place in a bowl.
  • Refrigerate the pudding and serve cold.

We are thankful that our county allows us to raise chickens (hens, not roosters!), even in a suburban neighborhood. We can have up to 6, and repurposed an old Tough Shed into a heated coop. We are grateful to have about 4 organic, free range, healthy, farm fresh eggs per day! Closeups of our beloved hen “family.”

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Here are the differences between commercial washed and unwashed eggs~

Before the hen lays an egg her body creates a protective layer called a bloom. The bloom protects the eggs from any bacterial entry by coating eggs with a protective sealant, as eggs have about 6000 pores.

Large commercial egg producers spray eggs with chemical disinfectants before packaging to reduce the risk of contamination with bacteria such as salmonella. When the eggs are washed the flora is removed leaving the egg pores open for potential new bacteria.

Without a protective layer it is recommended to refrigerate the washed eggs to about 45 degrees to prevent the growth of bacteria. If the eggs remain unwashed you can leave them on the kitchen counter. Unwashed eggs can keep at room temperature for about two weeks. If you are not going to eat eggs for a while we recommend storing them in the refrigerator. Lower temperatures increase shelf life and eggs will last up to three months in the fridge.

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There she is. . . the “too much” woman. The one who loves too hard, feels too deeply, asks too often, desires too much.

There she is taking up too much space, with her laughter, her curves, her honesty, her sexuality. Her presence is as tall as a tree, as wide as a mountain. Her energy occupies every crevice of the room. Too much space she takes.

There she is causing a ruckus with her persistent wanting, too much wanting.

She desires a lot, wants everything—too much happiness, too much alone time, too much pleasure. She’ll go through brimstone, murky river, and hellfire to get it. She’ll risk all to quell the longings of her heart and body. This makes her dangerous.

She is dangerous.

And there she goes, that “too much” woman, making people think too much, feel too much, swoon too much. She with her authentic prose and a self-assuredness in the way she carries herself. She with her belly laughs and her insatiable appetite and her proneness to fiery passion. All eyes on her, thinking she’s hot shit.

Oh, that “too much” woman. . . too loud, too vibrant, too honest, too emotional, too smart, too intense, too pretty, too difficult, too sensitive, too wild, too intimidating, too successful, too fat, too strong, too political, too joyous, too needy—too much.

She should simmer down a bit, be taken down a couple notches. Someone should put her back in a more respectable place.

Someone should tell her.

Here I am. . . a Too Much Woman, with my too-tender heart and my too-much emotions.

A hedonist, feminist, pleasure seeker, empath. I want a lot—justice, sincerity, spaciousness, ease, intimacy, actualization, respect, to be seen, to be understood, your undivided attention, and all of your promises to be kept.

I’ve been called high maintenance because I want what I want and intimidating because of the space I occupy. I’ve been called selfish because I am self-loving. I’ve been called a witch because I know how to heal myself.

And still. . . I rise. Still, I want and feel and ask and risk and take up space.

I must.

Us Too Much Women have been facing extermination for centuries—we are so afraid of her, terrified of her big presence, of the way she commands respect and wields the truth of her feelings. We’ve been trying to stifle the Too Much Woman for eons—in our sisters, in our wives, in our daughters. And even now, even today, we shame the Too Much Woman for her bigness, for her wanting, for her passionate nature.

And still. . . she thrives.

In my own world and before my very eyes, I am witnessing the reclamation and rising up of the Too Much Woman. That Too Much Woman is also known to some as Wild Woman or the Divine Feminine. In any case, she is me, she is you, and she is loving that she’s finally, finally getting some airtime.

If you’ve ever been called “too much,” or “overly emotional,” or “bitchy,” or “stuck up,” you are likely a Too Much Woman.

And if you are. . . I implore you to embrace all that you are—all of your depth, all of your vastness; to not hold yourself in, and to never abandon yourself, your bigness, your radiance.

Forget everything you’ve heard—your too much-ness is a gift; oh yes, one that can heal, incite, liberate, and cut straight to the heart of things.

Do not be afraid of this gift, and let no one shy you away from it. Your too much-ness is magic, is medicine. It can change the world.

So please, Too Much Woman: Ask. Seek. Desire. Expand. Move. Feel. Be.

Make your waves, fan your flames, give us chills.

Please, rise.

We need you.

. . .

“Yes I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain”

 

Copyright © 2014-2021 Ev’Yan Whitney. All rights reserved.

https://www.evyanwhitney.com/blog/too-much-woman

image: https://www.dreamstime.com/

DIY Bentonite Clay Deodorant-Antiperspirant

A natural, safe and healthy alternative to commercial antiperspirants, that really works! I do have a history of breast cancer in my family, so it is suggested to never use commercial antiperspirants that clog your pores. I was looking for a safe, natural deodorant that works and this DIY All-Natural Deodorant is perfect! Not only does it stop odor naturally, but it contains an ingredient that actually helps to draw impurities from the skin.

Bentonite clay otherwise known as “healing clay,” is actually a volcanic ash, highly porous and absorbs the bacteria and other toxins, thus eliminating the chance to develop odor, without clogging pores. Bentonite clay deodorant can detoxify your body of toxins, parabens, and aluminum over time if you have been using commercial antiperspirants.

You can also substitute activated charcoal 1-1 for bentonite clay in this recipe, but I wear a lot of white, and the clay has a natural color.

Bentonite Clay also adds extra wetness protection by whisking away sweat, and pulls toxins from skin. Virgin coconut oil is a great natural antibacterial, and cornstarch or arrowroot absorb perspiration. You will notice it working immediately!

Ingredients:

3 T. Virgin (unrefined) Coconut Oil
3 T. Shea Butter
2 T. Baking Soda
3 T. Cornstarch or Arrowroot Powder
2 T. Bentonite Clay
15-20 drops essential oil- my favorites are: Aveda Shampure, lavender, grapefruit, lime and tangerine

Instructions:

1. Place coconut oil and shea butter in a glass bowl or jar and place the bowl/jar inside a sauce pan.
2. Add water to the saucepan (enough to surround bowl/jar but not to overflow it) and bring to a boil.
3. As water is heating up, ensure to stir coconut oil and shea butter and continue to do so until it melts.
4. Once melted, in another bowl, add the corn or arrowroot starch, baking soda and essential oils, and stir together with a rubber spatula.
5. Place in a 3 ounce jar and allow to cool at room temp or in fridge (will harden faster in fridge) until it’s reached a solid state. The quantities above, once mixed fit perfectly into a 3 oz. jar, and it is enough for about 3-6 months.
6. Cover with lid until use.

clay-deodorant

activated-charcoal-deodorant

DIY-Bentonite-Clay-Deodorant-Antiperspirant

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How To Use:

Wet underarms slightly, our use right after shower or bath.
Spoon out a small, 1/3 t. amount with a wooden scoop or with fingers and rub between fingers before applying directly to underarms.
For a regular day, one application in the morning is fine. For hotter days, workouts or if you’re particularly warm, feel free to reapply as needed.
After applying deodorant, wait a few minutes to dry, before putting on clothing.

clay-deodorant-1

clay-deodorant-1

DIY Bentonite Clay Deodorant-Antiperspirant

I was looking for a safe, natural deodorant that works and this DIY All-Natural Deodorant is perfect! Not only does it stop odor naturally, but it contains an ingredient that actually helps to draw impurities from the skin. Bentonite clay otherwise known as "healing clay," is actually a volcanic ash, highly porous and absorbs the bacteria and other toxins, thus eliminating the chance to develop odor. without clogging pores. Bentonite clay deodorant can detoxify your body of toxins, parabens, and aluminum over time if you have been using commercial antiperspirants. You can also substitute activated charcoal 1-1 for bentonite clay in this recipe, but I wear a lot of white, and the clay has a natural color. Bentonite Clay also adds extra wetness protection by whisking away sweat, and pulls toxins from skin. Virgin coconut oil is a great natural antibacterial, and cornstarch or arrowroot absorb perspiration. You will notice it working immediate!

Ingredients
  

  • 3 T. Virgin unrefined Coconut Oil
  • 3 T. Shea Butter
  • 2 T. Baking Soda
  • 3 T. Cornstarch or Arrowroot Powder
  • 2 T. Bentonite Clay
  • 15-20 drops essential oil- my favorites are: Aveda Shampure lavender, grapefruit, lime and tangerine

Instructions
 

  • Place coconut oil and shea butter in a glass bowl or jar and place the bowl/jar inside a sauce pan.
  • Add water to the saucepan (enough to surround bowl/jar but not to overflow it) and bring to a boil.
  • As water is heating up, ensure to stir coconut oil and shea butter and continue to do so until it melts.
  • Once melted, in another bowl, add the corn or arrowroot starch, baking soda and essential oils, and stir together with a rubber spatula.
  • Place in a 3 ounce jar and allow to cool at room temp or in fridge (will harden faster in fridge) until it’s reached a solid state. The quantities above, once mixed fit perfectly into a 3 oz. jar, and it is enough for about 3-6 months.
  • Cover with lid until use.

Notes

Wet underarms slightly, our use right after shower or bath.
Spoon out a small, 1/3 t. amount with a wooden scoop or with fingers and rub between fingers before applying directly to underarms.
For a regular day, one application in the morning is fine. For hotter days, workouts or if you’re particularly warm, feel free to reapply as needed.
After applying deodorant, wait a few minutes to dry, before putting on clothing.

 

Easy French Custard Pastries

Hello Everyone! My family just returned from Sweden and each afternoon, it is part of their culture to have coffee and fika, meaning some type of cake or pastry. I was sadly ill for a few months, but am recovering and happy to have my family home to start cooking again! We have an urban homestead and raise 6 chickens, and they are now making 4-6 eggs every day, so I am finding creative ways to use our eggs. These pastries are decadent, but not altogether unhealthy, and are surprisingly easy to whip up on a Sunday afternoon.

Makes 18 pastries.

CUSTARD INGREDIENTS:

5 large egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp. vanilla

GLAZE INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of powdered sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

1 packet of puff pastry defrosted

1 jar of organic apricot jam

TOOLS:

parchment paper

rubber spatula

basting brush

IMG_0354

DIRECTIONS:

1. Whisk egg yolks in a bowl and then stir in milk until blended. In another bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch. In a  large heavy saucepan, pour dry mixture and then gradually stir in a small amount of milk mixture, whisking until smooth.

2. Slowly cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 15 minutes, and then immediately remove from heat.

3. Cool custard in freezer quickly for 10 minutes or until thoroughly chilled about an hour. You can also place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice-cubes and water to expedite.

4. While the custard is cooling, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Open both square of puff pastry and place on a floured cutting board. Cut each into 9 squares.

5. When the custard is ready, whisk again to remove skin and clumps and place about 2T. of custard diagonal to each square. Fold each corner to close and pinch dough in center.

6. Cut parchment paper, and place onto two cookie sheets. Transfer pastries to cookie sheets and bake for about 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

7. While they cooling, brush with apricot jam and then make the glaze by slowly heating the powered sugar whisking in only a tiny bit a milk until it is smooth and creamy, add vanilla and whisk again.

8. Cool pastries and drizzle glaze, serve when cooled.

IMG_0353  IMG_0357 IMG_0356IMG_0359

custard-pastries

Easy French Custard Pastries

These pastries are decadent, but not altogether unhealthy, and are surprisingly easy to whip up on a Sunday afternoon.

Equipment

  • Parchment Paper
  • rubber spatula
  • Basting Brush

Ingredients
  

CUSTARD INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla

GLAZE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 packet of puff pastry defrosted
  • 1 jar of organic apricot jam

Instructions
 

  • Whisk egg yolks in a bowl and then stir in milk until blended. In another bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch. In a large heavy saucepan, pour dry mixture and then gradually stir in a small amount of milk mixture, whisking until smooth.
  • Slowly cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 15 minutes, and then immediately remove from heat.
  • Cool custard in freezer quickly for 10 minutes or until thoroughly chilled about an hour. You can also place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice-cubes and water to expedite.
  • While the custard is cooling, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Open both square of puff pastry and place on a floured cutting board. Cut each into 9 squares.
  • When the custard is ready, whisk again to remove skin and clumps and place about 2T. of custard diagonal to each square. Fold each corner to close and pinch dough in center.
  • Cut parchment paper, and place onto two cookie sheets. Transfer pastries to cookie sheets and bake for about 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.
  • While they cooling, brush with apricot jam, and make the glaze by slowly heating the powered sugar whisking in only a tiny bit a milk until it is smooth and creamy, add vanilla and whisk again.
  • Cool pastries and drizzle glaze, serve when cooled.

custard-pastries

 

 

 

Bulletproof Mushroom Coffee

Turn your morning coffee into a deeply nutritive health enhancement with collagen and adaptogenic botanical mushrooms! I’ve discovered the absolute best recipe for making a quick and easy and super creamy and satisfying morning coffee with decadent, vegan coconut oil based heavy whipping cream which inherently has a lot of healthy fats from MCT oil and coconut butter, and a mushroom master blend for vibrant health. If you’re not a vegetarian you can add a small scoop well sourced, hydrolyzed collagen for essential cell regenerative peptides (yes, I think that collagen is an invaluable fountain of youth!). This is no ordinary coffee, it transforms your ordinary morning drink into a powerful elixir of energy boosting, self care.

mushroom-bulletproof-coffee

 

About Adaptogenic Mushrooms

Adaptogenic Mushrooms are superfoods and have many life and “chi” enhancing benefits and are powerful substances, you only need to add the 1/2 to 1/4 teaspoon amount included in the pouch per cup. Included in this blend* are:

    • Agaricus Blazei – This tropical species is native to Brazil and is known for its high content of polysaccharide compounds. Agaricus blazei is also known for its effects on triglycerides and cholesterol management.

 

    • Antrodia – Native to Taiwan, Antrodia has an abundance of research related to its liver protective and immunity-enhancing qualities.

 

    • Chaga – Often referred to as the “king of medicinal mushrooms”, Chaga has been used extensively by Traditional Healers in North America, Europe and Asia for centuries. Chaga contains a complex array of bioactive compounds with significant antioxidant and immunity-supporting activities.

 

    • Cordyceps – Improves vitality and endurance naturally by supporting respiration, oxygen delivery and ATP synthesis. Cordyceps supports aerobic endurance in athletes and research related to general vitality in senior populations gives this mushroom species broad appeal. Cordyceps is also known for its ability to increase circulation and enhance male sexual performance.

 

    • King Trumpet – Improves vitality and endurance naturally by supporting respiration, oxygen delivery and ATP synthesis. Cordyceps supports aerobic endurance in athletes and research related to general vitality in senior populations gives this mushroom species broad appeal. Cordyceps is also known for its ability to increase circulation and enhance male sexual performance.

 

    • Lion’s Mane – Reported in many studies to stimulate the synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), a protein that promotes the growth and normal function of nerve cells. NGF is important for cognitive and neurological health.

 

    • Maitake – Maitake contains an array of 1,3/1,6 beta-glucan compounds that have a positive impact on immune function. Maitake has also been shown to help support healthy blood-sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.

 

    • Reishi – Revered in Traditional Medicine as the “Mushroom of Immortality”, Reishi has a variety of attributes. Reishi acts as an immune potentiator and immune modulator – helping to balance and down regulate an overactive immune system. Reishi has also been studied for its cardiovascular health benefits. Considered a “superior adaptogen”, Reishi assists in adapting to mental and physical stressors.

 

    • Shiitake – Shiitake is an excellent culinary mushroom species with significant therapeutic properties that include liver, cardiovascular and immune support. New research on the properties of active ingredients in Shiitake has expanded the use of this mushroom to include applications ranging from oral health products to detoxification support.

 

    • Turkey Tail – One of the most researched of all medicinal mushrooms for its powerful polysaccharides. The beta glucans and other nutrients found in Turkey Tail support immune health.

*Text Courtesy of https://www.pharmaca.com/om-mushrooms-master-blend-90g

pexels-michael-telitsyn-9597366

INGREDIENTS:

You can double or triple recipe

8 oz. quality roasted coffee like the Swedish Gevalia
1 T. coconut based, dairy free heavy whipping cream (or 1 tsp. coconut butter and  1 tsp. MCT. Oil)
1/2 tsp. grass fed hydrolyzed collagen peptide powder
1/2 tsp. Master Blend Mushroom Powder (or equivalent of your preferred mushroom powder)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. raw honey (optional)
pinch of cinnamon, cardamon or nutmeg to top

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place all ingredients into a a small blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into your morning mug, sip and enjoy!

mushroom-bulletproof-coffee1

Morning bulletproof coffee in the sun. (Yes, that’s my kitten in the back photobombing!)

mushoom-bulletproof-coffee2

Bulletproof Mushroom Coffee

Turn your morning coffee into a deeply nutritive health enhancement with collagen and adaptogenic botanical mushrooms! I've discovered the absolute best recipe for making a quick and easy and super creamy and satisfying morning coffee with decadent, vegan coconut oil based heavy whipping cream which inherently has a lot of healthy fats from MCT oil and coconut butter, and a mushroom master blend for vibrant health. If you're not a vegetarian you can add a small scoop well sourced collagen for essential cell regenerative peptides (yes, I think that collagen is an invaluable fountain of youth!). This is no ordinary coffee, it transforms your ordinary morning drink into a powerful elixir of energy boosting, self care.

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz. quality roasted coffee like the Swedish Gevalia
  • 1 T. coconut based dairy free heavy whipping cream (or 1 tsp. coconut butter and 1 tsp. MCT. Oil)
  • 1/2 tsp. grass fed hydrolyzed collagen peptide powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Master Blend Mushroom Powder or equivalent of your preferred mushroom powder
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. raw honey optional
  • pinch of cinnamon cardamon or nutmeg to top

Instructions
 

  • Place all ingredients into a a small blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into your morning mug, sip and enjoy!

Notes

Adaptogenic Mushrooms have many life and "chi" enhancing benefits and are powerful substances, you only need to add the 1/2 to 1/4 teaspoon amount included in the pouch per cup.

 

Photo: Michael Telitsyn https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-mushrooms-on-the-ground-9597366/

AND HOW TO DO BETTER

 

SELF CARE IS SACRED

LETTING PEOPLE GO WHO CONSTANTLY HURT, BLAME AND DEVALUE YOU WITHOUT REGRET MAY VERY WELL BE ONE OF THE MOST LIFE SAVING GESTURES OF LOVE YOU COULD LEARN

One of the most hurtful and dismissive non-apology apologies is for someone to say: “I’m sorry you feel that way.” It has been said to me about half dozen times by people and communities that I previously thought valued and respected me, or that were friends. It is one of the hidden tricks in an abuser’s toolbox. So let’s examine it for one minute. You’ve come to someone after they’ve been unkind, and you have care, respect and value for that person. You bravely talk about something that might have been hurtful that needs to be discussed openly. You may be an empathetic person that values healthy relational resolution. You may have invested years of friendship or in a working environment, and actually believed that you were valued and cared about. Part of health, transparency and clearing up negative karma, would be in fact, to bring to light and openly discuss something that one has done that was hurtful or insensitive, in order to clear the air and move forward in healthy way. You take a leap and venture into a slight risk of confrontation and say “hey what you said/did was really hurtful or curt and I’d  like to talk about it so we can move forward.”

And here it comes…

The armored, dismissive, narcissistic gut punch…

I’M SORRY YOU FEEL THAT WAY

Ugh! Verbal violence extraordinaire, packed neatly into 6 small cutting words, usually followed up by a victim blaming, defensive counter blame and a litany of self justified excuses. You were not heard, cared about and the abuser has now doubled down, and threw your heart and all dignity under a bus. Where do we find these people, really? Where were they raised? I won’t say a barn, because my daughter works on a farm and the animals, sadly have more natural respect to each other than we often do.

Now, there is one caveat if you do hear these words, and in this case, there is sincere care. If I for example, were to wake up with a migraine and my husband says “I’m sorry you feel that way,” this is not the gaslight-y intention we are referring to above.

Abusers do not want to be accountable, ever. Let me say, ever. They are emotionally and developmentally immature, and their reactive pride is far outweighed over your feelings and longing to be heard and the pain, resolved. There are some versions of the dismissive non-apology, victim blaming to be on alert for:

 

“I’m sorry you feel that way.”

“I’m sorry you felt that way.”

“You are being dramatic.”

“It’s not my fault you feel upset, you need to own…”

“Why are you so sensitive/emotional/reactive?”

“Can we just move on, why are you holding this?”

“No one else [or insert name drop of another enabler] would have a problem with what I said.”

 

Please dear ones that care for others, strive for healthy, open and transparent relationships where there is mutual respect, appreciation and value. If you hear any of these false non-apologies, these are intended only to hurt and blame you further. I can recall two times, one recently with a girlfriend and one a few months ago where I got the “I’m sorry feel that way” non-apology and I regret to say it, but it is usually the blazing red flag sign of the end of the friendship.

I Resigned That Day

Another time, I worked for a particularly dysfunctional dharma community, and I was actually yelled at by the director. I was running their website and we had a teacher event coming and I was brand-new to the community. As a volunteer I mistakenly chose the wrong image of another teacher who was coming from Nepal. It was a digital image that I put on the website. As soon as the director told me about it I immediately made the correction apologized profusely for my error.

He turned around and yelled me and accused me of being careless even accused me of being racist, and I was so distraught that I cried. That’s no way to treat an unpaid volunteer, or even a paid one! It turned out that that community had a long list of people that could not work under this director. I recently discussed a lot of these people in these “dharmic” communities have narcissistic tendencies and can be just downright unkind behind the scenes.

They wanted me to continue working and I did too, but I said “how you treated me was very unkind and I don’t feel comfortable and it doesn’t feel safe to continue unless the director had some accountability.” This is what’s called a behavior change request in relationships. And I think it safe to say, you can imagine the response that I got from the director and his assistant. They said to me- here goes…. “we’re sorry you felt that way.” No apology for the unkindness that hedged on abuse, no regrets for my tears it is basically saying a gentleman’s “eff you.” I resigned that day. This pattern repeated itself to a greater or lesser degree with some supposedly dharmic organizations I volunteered for. For many years, I truly blamed myself, but now, stepping back and reviewing, it wasn’t all me.

sorry

Please friends, do not allow yourself to be hurt or gaslit and manipulated by unkind (non)-friends or unhealthy communities or workplaces. Do not allow them the power over you to make you feel bad about yourself. If you came to someone with sincerity, an olive branch of longing to be heard to talk about what was hurtful or what was not helpful and the person just dismisses you and has no accountability, it is time to walk away.

I do tend to be a bit Polyanna and codependent always hold on to friendships, oftentimes I’ll give them one more chance and say “hey that wasn’t really an apology I’m still hurt about X,Y and Z,” the original issue. If I’m ghosted, blocked or they respond to me with defense rather than any humility or regret, then it is time to stop the madness and put a firm shut to that door.

Before You Say “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

Now, I know it is part of our survival system that human beings are hardwired to get defensive when confronted. If you do truly value the person and they come with some type of pain or misunderstanding or seeming conflict, and they long to be heard and for resolve, please self reflect as a first step. What they are saying to you just may actually have some validity.

If they truly misheard or misinterpreted something please don’t (ever) say “I’m sorry you feel that way.” You can always say “I’m sorry this happened between us” if you truly did no harm. The best is if someone expresses something to you, take a moment before reacting or defending yourself, sit with it, put yourself in their shoes. Try to see if there’s anything that you might have done and could have done better. I believe you will find something. Once you find it, you can say “you know what I was a little bit unkind or insensitive and for that I’m sorry.” It doesn’t take that much to heal friendships, we all make mistakes, sometimes we have ask ourselves if it is worth a tiny modicum of self-awareness and putting our pride aside to simply, apologize. I think it is. Accountability is kindness, compassion and health.

 


Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels
Photo by Vie Studio from Pexels

(trigger warning) We’ve been here before, right on the precipice of the very end of times with such global volatility. People and children are dying as we speak. Only 12 days ago, Ukrainian citizens were at home, warm with their families and now many have had to flee and thousands of lives lost. With our nuclear capability and valid threats from dangerous world powers, at any moment, all life as we know it on this planet could cease, conceivably, even by 5pm tonight. We are indeed at 100 seconds to midnight. The Indian Vedas call this the Kali Yuga, the era of destruction and grave loss of life. It is the culmination of longstanding acts of human greed, unkindness, conflict, abuse of the vulnerable, hatred, division and living out of balance with the earth’s natural resources. We all know very well, that we have arrived in this dark time in human civilization, but what can we do?

SECRET TRANSMISSION FROM RETREAT

Since we may or may not have much time left, I’d like to reveal a secret or two. About three years ago I was working in state politics and even going to Washington D.C. and trying to be an activist as Trump had come into power, and many were living in constant fear and trauma. He was aligning with powerful, authoritarian dictators like Putin and North Korea, and this all seemed so dangerous. How can I take vows to be a help to our world and only escape into the opiation of my religion? I was disheartened that more of my friends didn’t get involved. I would go back and forth from meditation retreat to recharge and then back to the front line, hobnobbing with change-makers, activists and even some world leaders.

During that time, it was about a year before covid hit, I was here practicing in my meditation retreat house in southern Colorado. I was praying to the lineage of enlightened masters and Buddhas, our ancestral, collective wisdom. You could call it our collective unconscious, source, inner wisdom, insight, higher self, akashic, this body of wisdom has many names. Sometimes, I ask for advice, it’s not really praying to anyone theistically outside of me that exists like a god or spirits, it’s more of non-dual supplication to access inner wisdom and clear seeing. I was here for about a month meditating about 8 to 10 hours a day. We’re not really supposed to reveal anything happens on retreat but I will share this little snippet because it seems relevant.

I was asking the imagined lineage of enlightened masters (Guru Rinpoche) what I should do with my life to help our hurting world, and if I should continue to work as a political activist. I had applied to work for a progressive Senator in D.C., and had thoughts about running for office in Southern Colorado, etc. Then strangely enough, a whole entire piece of information came into my mind and I imagined that it was from this collective wisdom of the enlightened Buddhas. We had a conversation, if you will.

It was a bit foreboding, but I will share what they said- they said to me “Dawn we have something to tell you.” With a slight pause I listened to the information and more came. They said- in your lifetime you’re going to experience tremendous global upheaval and loss of life. They said- we want you to prepare now for these darker times. They said for me that I must stop being addicted to social media and wasting my life on “virtue signaling” and time wasting attention seeking, collecting endless “likes” on Facebook and Instagram and rather firmly CUT that addiction and recommit to my meditation practice.

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They said- “We want you to practice for a full two hours in the morning two hours in the evening, and that will give you about four hours of practice a day. They said- if you meditate and implement the powerful practices that we’ve imparted to you, you will develop an inner fortitude to be able to withstand these darker times. I asked is there anything I can do, I would offer my entire life to help our world, I’ll go to Washington D.C., I’ll put myself in front of world powers as a peacemaker; I’ll do anything, what can we all do to stop the momentum of this darkness?” Right now, we are now helping with what we can, e.g. I’m giving money to Save The Children, Doctors without Borders, we are writing letters to our reps and encouraging big companies and banks to sanction Russia. What else?

The “inner wisdom” as I recall, replied: “Unfortunately the dark forces have been gleaning power globally for a very long time now and there’s not a whole lot that people can do to completely stop the momentum of this karmic unfolding.” They advised, you as a private citizen can do some small things to lessen the harm, but in general, we just have to let most of it run its course. However, what ‘we’ can offer to you, if you do these meditation practices as we have suggested, you can get through this time without any fear.”

Right now, I have the safety and privilege to meditate, but even that could change, and quickly. No nation, no one is safe from being touched by this. It will not help for me to only read the news and internet feed all day, and panic, being overcome by hopelessness and fear. We can’t practice if debilitated and destabilized, nor can we take any social action. Now is the time to develop inner strength and fearlessness in the face of the darkest days. This is the ultimate protection.

THE HEROIC JOURNEY OF THE HEART

I often think of the quintessential heroic journey like Frodo from Lord of the Rings. He lived in such dark times, and his quest was to bravely retain his own goodness, heart, faith and inner light, even at the seeming end of times, even as he had to venture into the very molten front-lines of destruction. We truly don’t know how much time we have, ever. I have a good friend who used to live here in my mountain town, and just fell down with a seizure last week and is now on life support. He’s my age. Next week, another variant of Covid, may come into our population and restart the pandemic. If the global powers and Russian citizens and their military don’t put a stop to this bloodshed, midnight might be… tonite.

Stay strong, calm, clear, loving and grounded dear friends, now is the time to have accomplishment. Forgive yourself for all mistakes, all harm you did, all hearts you hurt, and completely forgive those that hurt you. I forgive everyone, including myself. The past two years were so hard for me and many of us: Trump, covid, such loss of life, economic challenges, constant fires even in my town and incessant natural disasters, an insurrection, my heart was utterly broken again and again by friends and family and sangha I loved and trusted. I lost the outer constuct of my religion because of dated theocracy, deluded spiritual codependency, and abuse to students and children. It’s been samsara on steroids. Welcome… we have indeed entered the Kaliyuga.

With that said, every moment is new, and in a instant, we can wipe all karma clear in our mind and heart, and be in the warmth of our love and human goodness. This is our nature, our birthright that can be cultivated and can never be taken from us, even with our last breath. The inner light always, always shines even in the darkest of times. Love to you all, always, no matter how many seconds we have left.

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A candle for Ukraine, a candle for us all. May we find our inner light in times of such darkness.

 


Photo by Cup of Couple from Pexels
Photo by Oyster Haus from Pexels

Smörgåstårta- A Swedish Sandwich Party Cake

My family is a Swedish/American hybrid and I am proud to say that I’ve learned to make a really healthy and decadent traditional Swedish Sandwich Party Cake called a Smörgåstårta, yes it’s like a smorgasbord. I rarely use any meat or seafood and very few animal products, but this follows our Whole Foods Plant Based Diet, so once a year, I make this shrimp, salmon and caviar cake for my husband’s birthday! We did discuss creating a vegan version of this, maybe we can create that for next year. Once you compile all of the ingredients, it’s easy to put together. Some people use edible flowers too, this cake is truly a work of art and can feed many at once.

Serves: 6-8

Smorgastarta

Ingredients:

8 oz. ready made- salmon, whitefish, krab or egg salad spread or home make your own
1 lb. medium cold water shrimp- cooked, peeled, de-veined and de-tailed, chilled
1 lb. Norwegian smoked salmon filet, (or gravlax) sliced
5-6 hard boiled eggs peeled and sliced
16 slices of quality organic white/potato bread (1- 1lb. loaf of organic white/potato bread with crusts cut off)
8 oz. Neufchatel cream cheese
8 oz. organic sour cream
1 cup Veganaise
3 T. fresh dill chopped
1 long organic British cucumber washed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup organic radishes washed and thinly sliced
1 organic lemon thinly sliced
1 cup organic cherry tomatoes quartered
Optional: Kalles Caviar to taste
ground black pepper to taste

gravlax

Smorgastarta-egg Smorgas-tarta-layers

Instructions:

First, prepare Smörgåstårta “frosting”: In a mixing bowl use a whisk to combine cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise until smooth.

Slice all vegetables as directed above.
Take 1/2 of the shrimp and slice lengthwise.
Place four slice of bread on a larger serving plate.
Spread all of the chosen [salmon] spread all over the first bread slices.
Layer with thin slices of cucumber.
Slather some of the Smörgåstårta cream frosting on another 4 pieces of bread and place over the cucumber layer.
Spread some of the Smörgåstårta cream frosting all over the second layer of bread slices.
Break up about 1/2 of the smoked salmon and place on top of cream.
Spread some of the cream frosting all over the bottom of the third layer of bread slices, and place on top.
Spread some of the cream frosting all over the top of the third layer of bread slices.
Place the sliced shrimp on top of cream, and then sliced eggs to fit.
Top with the fourth layer of bread.
Take the rest of the Smörgåstårta cream and frost like a cake with a rubber spatula.
Warm and wet a butter-knife and smooth.
Decorate the cake artfully with remaining ingredients, making smoked salmon “roses,” alternating with remaining cucumber, radishes and shrimp.
Finish with fresh ground pepper and Kalles caviar.

Swedish-Smorgastarta

Smorgastarta-swedish-cake

Smörgåstårta- A Swedish Sandwich Party Cake

My family is a Swedish/American hybrid and I am proud to say that I've learned to make a really healthy and decadent traditional Swedish Sandwich Party Cake called a Smörgåstårta, yes it's like a smorgasbord. I rarely use any meat and very few animal products, but this follows the Whole Foods Plant Based Diet, so once a year, I make this shrimp, salmon and caviar cake for my husband's birthday! Once you compile all of the ingredients, it's easy to put together. Some people use edible flowers too, this cake is truly a work of art and can feed many at once.

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz. ready made- salmon whitefish, Krab or egg salad spread or home make your own
  • 1 lb. medium cold water shrimp- cooked peeled, de-veined and de-tailed, chilled
  • 1 lb. Norwegian smoked salmon filet sliced
  • 5-6 hard boiled eggs peeled and sliced
  • 16 slices quality organic white/potato bread 1 1lb. loaf of organic white/potato bread with crusts cut off
  • 8 oz. Neufchatel cream cheese
  • 8 oz. organic sour cream
  • 1 cup Veganaise
  • 3 T. fresh dill chopped
  • 1 long organic British cucumber washed and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup organic radishes washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 organic lemon thinly sliced
  • 1 cup organic cherry tomatoes quartered
  • Optional: Kalles Caviar to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Slice all vegetables as directed above.
  • Take 1/2 of the shrimp and slice lengthwise.
  • Place four slice of bread on a larger serving plate.
  • Spread all of the chosen [salmon] spread all over the first bread slices.
  • Layer with thin slices of cucumber.
  • Slather some of the Smörgåstårta cream frosting on another 4 pieces of bread and place over the cucumber layer.
  • Spread some of the Smörgåstårta cream frosting all over the second layer of bread slices.
  • Break up about 1/2 of the smoked salmon and place on top of cream.
  • Spread some of the cream frosting all over the bottom of the third layer of bread slices, and place on top.
  • Spread some of the cream frosting all over the top of the third layer of bread slices.
  • Place the sliced shrimp on top of cream.
  • Top with the fourth layer of bread.
  • Take the rest of the Smörgåstårta cream and frost like a cake with a rubber spatula.
  • Warm and wet a butter-knife and smooth.
  • Decorate the cake artfully with remaining ingredients, making smoked salmon "roses," alternating with remaining cucumber, radishes and shrimp.
  • Finish with fresh ground pepper and Kalles caviar.

Notes

Serves: 6-8
The Polish Journal of the Arts and Culture. New Series 2
(2/2015): 29–41 [article]
DOI: 10.4467/24506249PJ.15.007.4635

Nying Lung Disorder, or Tibetan Medicine Perspective on Depression

Anastazja Holečko

Abstract
Traditional Tibetan medicine perceives so prevalent mental problems as an imbalance of the subtle Wind energy, or Lung in Tibetan. It is one of the three humors (rlung, mkhris pa, bad kan) that govern our health. When out of balance, Lung can cause such symptoms as emotional lab- ility, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, or bipolar disorder, to mention just a few. Over millennia Tibetan medicine has compiled a system of effective methods to rebalance the three humors and bring back the state of health. To the healing methods belong therapeutic diet and lifestyle, herbal compounds, and a wide range of external therapies, such as Tibetan massage kunye, moxa, horme, or yukcho. On top of that spiritual healing, connected with Buddhist tradition, is applicable.

Keywords: Tibetan medicine, depression, nying lung, horme, yukcho, nejang.

Lek. med. Anastazja Holečko is a medical doctor, graduated from the Medical University of Lodz, living and practicing in Prague, Czech Republic. She has completed the studies of traditional Tibetan medicine at the International Academy of Traditional Tibetan Medi- cine (IATTM), and did the internships in Dharamsala, India and Amdo, Tibet. She is the chef editor of the “Journal of Traditional Tibetan Medicine”.
e-mail: nastimi@gmail.com https://www.happyandhealthy.cz/en


Introduction

One of the most common complaints of our busy modern times is, gently speaking, lack of mental calmness. It extends from relatively mild forms like attention deficit, restlessness, insomnia, emotional lability, lack of concentration, anxiety, burnout, to more serious mental disorders like panic attacks, bipolar disorder and depression.

Defined as “a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, decreased energy, feelings of guilt or low self-esteem, disturbed sleep or appetite, and poor concentration”, it becomes a more and more frequent problem not only in the developed countries. According to the WHO, depression affects 350 million people worldwide, and it will be the leading cause of disease burden worldwide by 2030. If burnout, grief reactions and other stress related disorders were included in the diagnosis-criteria of depression, this could lead to a lifetime prevalence of about 80%.¹ People with depressed mood can feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable or restless. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, aches, pains, digestive problems or reduced energy may also be present.² While our Western physicians tend to concentrate on physical complains, ignoring mental state of a patient, this immense mental suffering can even lead to suicide. The treatment of depression brings many side effects and is not in long term successful.

On the other hand, traditional Tibetan medicine can offer a cure for such problems. It is based on a natural healing system, as well as on Buddhist view. Although Tibetan medicine originated from the Bon tradition approximately four thousands year ago, over the time the Buddhist elements soaked in and became an inseparable part of this medical tradition. Already in the second century ce two Ayurvedic doctors moved to Tibet from India, to spread their knowledge in the Land of Snow. However, the biggest impact on development of Tibetan medicine had “transplantation” of Buddhist teachings to Tibet by Guru Rinpoche (pad ma ‘byung gnas, 730–810 ce) in the 8th century ce. At these times, when Tibet was under a rule of a Tibetan king Trisong Detsen (khri srong lde btsan, 742–798 ce), there took place a significant historical event – the First Congress on Traditional Tibetan Medicine in Samye, where the most eminent doctors from all the neighboring countries came

¹Jean-Pierre Lépine and Mike Briley, The increasing burden of depression, passim. ²Depression, [www 01], 2012.
to share their medical knowledge.

It was then that outstanding doctor and a Buddhist practitioner called Yuthok Yonten Gonpo (g.yu thog yon tan gon po, 729–854 ce), became known as a founder of Tibetan medicine. He combined the knowledge from the ancient texts (like Bum zhi – first Tibetan text on medicine), his deep personal experience and wisdom, and teachings from the doctors from the other countries to create Gyu shi (rgyud bzhi), the Four Medical Tantras that became the basis for traditional Tibetan medicine.

Yuthok stressed that for achieving a stable health, both physical and mental, it is crucial to engage into spiritual development and work with mind. And so he wrote his second “jewel” – Yuthok nying tig (g.yu thog snying tig), the cycle of spiritual practices for Tibetan doctors and lay practitioners.³

Also the original name of Tibetan medicine – Sowa Rigpa (gso ba rig pa) reflects the importance of mental work. Sowa is usually translated as “healing” and rigpa as “science”, resulting in “healing science”. However, it can also be translated as sowa “nourishment” and rigpa as “awareness”, giving “nourishment of awareness”. It seeks the real causes of all suffering, both physical and mental, and is coherent with the Buddhist view on that.

So what is the principal cause of all suffering? According to Tibetan medicine, it is the ignorance of our true nature and the nature of universe (Tib. marigpa). Due to this basic ignorance we perceive the world in a dualistic way, which gives rise to 84000 of disturbing emotions. They can be summarized to three main emotions, called also mind poisons: attachment, aversion and confusion. Those are closely connected with the energies in our body, so-called Three Humors (nye pa gsum): Wind (rlung), Bile (mkhrispa) and Phlegm (badkan). Imbalance of the Three Humors manifests later on as a disease on a physical level.⁴

Screen-Shot-2022-01-06-at-12.03.13-PM

Table 1: The Three Humors

³Dr Nida Chenagtsang, The Path to Rainbow Body – introduction to Yuthok Nyingtig, passim.
⁴Dr Nida Chenagtsang, Sorig basics – Root tantra, passim.

Chronic stress, extremely busy life style, lack of sleep, improper food, is something our nervous and hormonal systems are not handling well in longer term. It leads to chronic elevation of stress hormones like cortisol, and later on to adrenal burnout, which affects multiple functions of our body and mind.

From the Tibetan medicine point of view, it brings imbalance on the energy level, the three humors, and those affect both the mind and the body. The most often target of such an unbalanced lifestyle is Lung humor, responsible for the mental health.
The direct translation of Lung is Wind, and its nature is constant movement. Its functions are highly complex. Its subtle part (phra rlung) is inseparably connected with mind, constituting its movement aspect, à côté de awareness aspect. It can be compared to a horse on which the mind rides. Movement enables the constant flow of thoughts, emotions, and perception.
The gross aspect of Lung (rags rlung) manifests on energy level as five so-called karmic Winds. Each of them plays important role in the body functioning, from breathing, swallowing, excreting, to transmitting nervous signals to brain, and regulating heart beat. In the table 2 below the functions of each karmic Lung are listed in detail.

Depression in particular is caused by Lung disorder in the heart. Heart is one of the Lung locations in the body – the seat of All-pervading Lung. When it is in balance, it governs the heartbeat, controls sense organs, the skin pores, and all bodily movements. Abnormal function of Lung in the heart is called Nying Lung (snying rlung) and brings the symptoms of depression.

According to Tibetan medicine, the primary cause of Lung disorder is ignorance and excessive desire/attachment. However, there are also secondary causes, or conditions, that are necessary for a disorder to manifest. While primary causes can be compared to a seed sewn in mind, secondary causes are like soil, water and sun that enable the seed to grow.
To secondary causes in Tibetan medicine belong: diet, lifestyle, seasons, and negative external influences. From these, diet and lifestyle are of special importance, because we decide on them every day. Thus we can choose whether to support our health, or bring further imbalance to our system.

In the table 3 below there are specified secondary causes increasing Lung imbalance.

Screen-Shot-2022-01-06-at-12.05.25-PM

 

Screen-Shot-2022-01-06-at-12.05.40-PM
Table 3: Secondary causes that increase Lung

We keep planning the future, we dwell in the past, regretting what has happened, and rarely enjoying the present moment – the only one truly existing. Our mind becomes in a way “detached” from the body, from the powerful moment being “here and now”. Such busy, unstable mind is easily provoked by so-called immediate causes that trigger the Lung reaction. It can be grief and sorrow, e.g. lost of dear ones, bad news and unpleasant events, stress and overworking, overexerting of body, speech or mind.
Particularly susceptible to Nying Lung are people of Lung typology who have an inclination to Lung disorders from birth. Deprivation of love, friendship, or wealth, also contributes to Lung imbalance. Predisposing factors are also unhealthy heart and disturbances in the central channel.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of Lung in the heart that a Tibetan doctor looks for while taking the medical history, are as follows:

  • sudden, uncontrolled movements of the body
  • tremor
  • intolerance to touch and noise
  • unclear answers
  • attention deficit
  • heart discomfort
  • fainting, dizziness
  • restlessness, unsettling thoughts, talkativeness
  • fear, panic attacks
  • hallucinations
  • insomnia
  • difficult inhalation and sighing
  • high or hoarse voice
  • pain in the joints

On top of history taking a Tibetan doctor checks also patientʼs pulse, urine and sense organs. The indication of Lung excess would be empty, floating pulse, clear, bubbly urine and dry, red, rough tongue.⁵

Lung treatment

What concerns treatment, the patient is always approached holistically in Tibetan medicine. When causes of imbalance are found, the treatment is aimed to remove the causes and re-install the balance on all the levels: physical, energy, and mental.
There are four main methods of treatment in TTM: diet, lifestyle, herbal medicines, and external therapies. They aim to find an antidote that would rebalance Lung. Lungʼs six characteristics are: subtle, light, cold, mobile, rough, dry. Therefore the substances, be it the food, drinks, or medicines, of same qualities will increase it, and those with the opposite qualities (heavy, oily, warm, stable, soft) will pacify it.⁶

⁵Dr Sonam Dolma, Nying Lung.
⁶Yuthok Yonten Gonpo, The Root Tantra and Explanatory Tantra from the Four Tantras of Tibetan Medicine, passim.

Characteristics and manifestations Antidote

Screen-Shot-2022-01-06-at-12.14.24-PM

Table 4: Characterstics of Lung and its antidotes

In the table 5 below, there are specified the healing methods for Nying Lung.

Diet

Warm, oily, nutritious foods, like bone and meat broth, nettle, onion, garlic, tsampa, beef, sheep, horse meat, aged meat, aged butter, seed oils, milk, chang

Lifestyle

Enough sleep (8-9h); Warm, cosy, dark place, devoid of distraction; warm clothes; pleasing the senses, pleasant music and words, smells, colors, soft touch; company of beloved people; contact with nature

Medicines

Soups prepared from: nutmeg, red salt, asafetida, ginger, black salt, caraway, bones; alcohol infusions from: Asparagus, Polygonatum, Angelica, Tribulus terrestis, brown sugar, tsampa dough; powders and butters based on: nutmeg, asafetida, back salt, black pepper, long pepper, ginger, cinnamon, pomegranate, cardamom, Terminalia chebula, Tinospora cordifolia, garlic

External therapies

Tibetan massage Kunye; horme (Mongolian moxa) and moxa on Lung points; compress with oils; mild enema with warm aged butter; steam bath using bone broth
Table 5: Healing methods for Lung imbalance

The above-mentioned methods are very effective, especially when used all together. Improper diet and lifestyle has to be addressed to reach a better result and prevent recurrence of the disease. Tibetan massage Kunye (bsku mnye) has deeply relaxing and settling down effect, especially due to application of warm oil on all body surface. Horme and moxa applied on the therapeutical points connected with Lung help rebalance this humor.

    Screen-Shot-2022-01-06-at-12.14.34-PM

 

Figure 1: Warming up Lung related points with Horme

Screen-Shot-2022-01-06-at-12.14.40-PM

Figure 2: Heating the Lung points with moxa

There is a number of herbal formulas that can be applied. Many of them are based on eagle wood (Agar), like Agar 8, Agar 15, Agar 20.⁷ Among other formulas there are Srog ‘dzin 11, Sems bde, Dza ti 5, Arnag 6, or famous Bimala (Dzati nyishu yang zer), named after its founder, Vimalamitra (dri med bshes gnyen). This great master who lived in India in the 9th century ce prophesized that in future the Nying Lung disorder will be widely prevalent, people will be confused, emotionally unstable, thinking about thousands of things at the same time, and having problems concentrate on anything. He invented a formula that would calm down these symptoms.

If Bimala, or other herbal formulas for Nying Lung are not available, there is a simple recipe one can do at home. This is a tisane of the three substances: 100g of ginger, 100g of asafetida, 5g of salt (halitum violaceum). Mix all the ingredients and put a teaspoon of this compound in a glass of hot water, drink hot. It helps in case of insomnia, emotional ability, sadness, and depression. A pinch of nutmeg in warm milk before sleep can also help to balance Lung.

Spiritual healing

On top of the above-mentioned methods, in Tibetan medicine there is a fifth category of treatment, spiritual healing. Here belong various types of meditations, like mindfulness meditation, Empty Body meditation, Breathing meditations, Medicine Buddha meditation, Mantra Healing, and other. An interesting technique called Yukcho (dbyug dchos), coming from the terma tradition, is a stick massage that introduces a gentle vibration on the points of Lung, releasing its blockages (see figure 3).⁸
Another method to unblock the Lung, is Tibetan healing yoga Nejang (gnas byang). It is a medical part of Tsa Lung Trul Khor (rtsa rlung sprul ‘khor, yantra yoga), coming from the Kalachakra Tantra tradition. It uses the breath combined with body movements and self massage to purify the energy locations in the body thus using the anchor of the physical body to bring the Lung energy down. When the energy becomes balanced, then the mind can become happy (see figure 4).

⁷Jamgon Kongtrul Yonten Gyatso, Зинтиг – капли нектара: заметки для начинающих врачей, passim.
⁸Philippe Gonin, Yuk Cho – Traditional Tibetan Stick Therapy, passim.

Screen-Shot-2022-01-06-at-12.14.49-PM

Figure 3: Yukcho – stick therapyScreen-Shot-2022-01-06-at-12.15.00-PM

Figure 4: The interconnections between body, energy and mind

The patient must consciously participate in the healing process. Without taking responsibility for your own health the results are much less clear. In Tibetan medicine, the patient gets a great support on the physical and energy levels, which makes it easier to work with the primary causes of disease
– mind ignorance. Eating warm, nutritious food, taking Tibetan herbs and applying Tibetan therapies helps mind relax and settle down, tame the wild horse of Lung. But in this busy world we have to consciously create time for rest and calm, learn how to relax, find time for friends and family.

Other advices that Tibetan doctors give to depressed patients are: breathe deeply and slowly, concentrate on the positive, find inner peace. Stop complaining, donʼt blame others for what happened to you, donʼt try to explain
everything to yourself, just let it be. Accept defeat, but donʼt cling to faults. Train mindfulness, be here and now. Train bodhisattva way of life, focusing on how to help others rather than on your own problems.

The ultimate aim of healing in Tibetan medicine is convergent with the aim of Buddhist spiritual practice – to realize that the nature of mind is timeless clear light, and all its contaminations, emotions, thoughts are only transient. By dissolving the ignorance about mindʼs nature one dissolves all the suffering, be it mental or physical. Combining the profound methods of Tibetan medicine with Buddhist meditation can thus bring lasting results in treatment of depression.


Bibliography
Depression, [www 01], 2012.
Gonin Philippe, Yuk Cho – Traditional Tibetan Stick Therapy, “The Journal of Traditional Tibetan Medicine” 5, IATTM 2013.
Jamgon Kongtrul Yonten Gyatso, Зинтиг – капли нектара: заметки для начинающих врачей, Orientalia, Moskva 2014.
Lépine Jean-Pierre, Briley Mike, The increasing burden of depression, “Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat.” 2011.
Dr Nida Chenagtsang, Sorig basics – Root tantra, Sorig Publications, 2013.
Dr Nida Chenagtsang, The Path to Rainbow Body – introduction to Yuthok Nyingtig, Sorig Press, 2014.
Dr Sonam Dolma, Nying Lung, TTMIC Innsbruck, 2013.
Yuthok Yonten Gonpo, The Root Tantra and Explanatory Tantra from the Four Tantras of Tibetan Medicine, Men-TseeKhang Pulication, Dharamsala 2008.
Internet sources utilized:
[www 01] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml
https://www.sorig.fr/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/PJAC-20152-2-Holecko_-1.pdf
Permission to re-post granted from the author on Jan.7, 2022. Photo by Michel Piccaya from Pexels

FOR MORE INFO:https://www.happyandhealthy.cz/en

Cauliflower and Leek Mashed “Potatoes”

My family absolutely loves creamy mashed potatoes with pretty much everything. However I’m tending toward a more low-carb., nutrient dense lifestyle and mashed potatoes don’t really cut it anymore. However, I discovered the best alternative. I was making cauliflower mashed that was a little bit bland, so with the addition of steamed leeks it adds more of an onion-y, spicy depth and kick to the mashed potatoes. They are a really flavorful and nutritive side dish, you will want to make often. Here, I’m using heavy whipping cream but you could substitute that for half-and-half or any unsweetened nut milk and I’m using organic salted butter but you could also substitute that for vegan butter. You could also add grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese if desired.

Needed: Food Processor or Blender

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head organic cauliflower
  • 2 large leeks
  • 1/4 cup​ heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh or dried herbs like: parsley, dill, chives or oregano for garnish

Cauliflower-Leek-Mashed-Potatoes

Directions:

  1. Boil water in a large a large stock pan with a pinch of salt.
  2. Wash the cauliflower and the leaks and pull off any outer leaves.
  3. Coarsely chopped the cauliflower into florets.
  4. Slice the two leeks up until the tops where it gets really course and discard the course tops.
  5. Boil for about 10 to 12 minutes until everything is very soft.
  6. Drain.
  7. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until creamy.
  8. Place into a serving bowl and top with a garnish.
  9. Serve warm and enjoy!

Cauliflower-Leek-Mashed-Potato

Cauliflower-Leek-Mashed-Potato

Cauliflower and Leek Mashed "Potatoes"

My family absolutely loves creamy mashed potatoes with pretty much everything. However I'm tending toward a more low-carb., nutrient dense lifestyle mashed potatoes don't really cut it anymore. However, I discovered the best alternative. I was making cauliflower mashed that was a little bit bland, so with the addition of steamed leeks it adds more of an onion-y, spicy depth and kick to the mashed potatoes. They are a really flavorful and nutritive side dish, you will want to make often. Here, I'm using heavy whipping cream but you could substitute that for half-and-half or any unsweetened nut milk and I'm using organic salted butter but you could also substitute that for vegan butter. You could also add grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese if desired.

Equipment

  • Food Processor or Blender

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large head organic cauliflower
  • 2 large leeks
  • 1/4 cup​ heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh or dried parsley or oregano for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Boil water in a large a large stock pan with a pinch of salt.
  • Wash the cauliflower and the leaks and pull off any outer leaves.
  • Coarsely chopped the cauliflower into florets.
  • Slice the two leeks up until the tops where it gets really course and discard the course tops.
  • Boil for about 10 to 12 minutes until everything is very soft.
  • Drain.
  • Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until creamy.
  • Place into a serving bowl and top with a garnish.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

Holiday Roasted Chestnuts- With Easy to Peel Skins

Serves 2.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years in New York City since I have family that lives close by. One of the treasures that I remember during the holidays is to buy steaming warm chestnuts from the street vendors on mitten-handed cold afternoons. They were always warm and perfectly cooked and you get a nice brown paper bag filled with steaming sweet holiday treats!

However, over the years I’ve tried to make them at home and follow the instructions by doing the traditional crisscross slice each on of them and roasting them at 425°F. However, they never quite came out as well as the New York City vendors which had more of like a steaming process, so I found the perfect home recipe. The trick is to make one simple slice that breaks through the skin on either side and then boil them first about 10 minutes, this softens the skin that pre-cooks them prior to roasting so you won’t get the fibrous hairy, barky skin sticking to the chestnut.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Chestnuts
  • 4 T. Olive oil and/or Vegan Butter
  • 1/2 t. salt/ to taste

chestnuts-roasted-directions

Directions:

  1. Fill a small sauce pan with water and bring to a boil.
  2. With a small pairing knife, make a diagonal slice through the skin on either side of each chestnut.
  3. Boil the chestnuts covered for about 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  5. Drain chestnuts and lay on a cookie sheet and mix in in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil or butter.
  6. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes the check for done-ness after 15.
  7. The chestnuts should expand and the skin slightly opens.
  8. The chestnuts are ready when you can squeeze the skin and they pop out easily and smoothly and have turned slightly golden yellow color and inside is not too dry, not raw and not too chalky.
  9. Add the final tablespoon of oil or butter in a little bit of salt to taste stir, let cool for 3-5 mins.
  10. Squeeze them on either side of the Chestnut to pop right out- ready to eat, perfectly cooked!

chestnuts-roasted

chestnuts-roasting

chestnuts-roasted

Roasted Chestnuts with Easy to Peel Skins

I've spent a lot of time over the years in New York City since I have family that lives close by. One of the treasures that I remember during the holidays is to buy steaming warm chestnuts from the street vendors on mitten-handed cold afternoons. They were always warm and perfectly cooked and you get a nice brown paper bag filled with steaming sweet holiday treats!

Ingredients
  

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Chestnuts
  • 4 T. Olive oil and or Vegan Butter
  • 1/2 t. salt/ to taste

Instructions
 

  • Fill a small sauce pan with water and bring to a boil.
  • With a small pairing knife, make a diagonal slice through the skin on either side of each chestnut.
  • Boil the chestnuts covered for about 10 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Drain chestnuts and lay on a cookie sheet and mix in in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil or butter.
  • Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes the check for done-ness after 15.
  • The chestnuts should expand and the skin slightly opens.
  • The chestnuts are ready when you can squeeze the skin and they pop out easily and smoothly and have turned slightly golden yellow color and inside is not too dry, not raw and not too chalky.
  • Add the final tablespoon of oil or butter in a little bit of salt to taste stir, let cool for 3-5 mins.
  • Squeeze them on either side of the Chestnut to pop right out- ready to eat, perfectly cooked!

Over the years, I’ve consulted and mentored with a few experts in the field of anxiety, alternative medicine and functional medicine. These two doctors that helped when I’ve had questions or intermittent bouts of anxiety and insomnia had positive, encouraging and alternative views about anxiety. They offered treatments that do not involve taking anti-anxiety medicine, antidepressants or any type of allopathic medicine.

As a health and wellness coach, I of course, cannot advise people to either take medicine or not, and please never discontinue your prescribed medicine without a doctor’s careful supervision. My personal choice is to work with the propensity to have anxiety in a holistic, whole-person way, and these are invaluable tools irrespective of your medication usage. Every small change helps; I suggest making just a few incremental changes when we are trying to change a hardwired habit or propensity. This list of 12 steps came as a summary and mind/body suggestions from one of my excellent Mind/Body Medical Doctors here in Boulder Colorado, and I personally have benefited from these suggestions and resources so wanted to share them with you:

sleep-soundly-womens

 

A New Way of Thinking About Anxiety

The Mind/Body doctor wanted to emphasize that anxiety and insomnia is a very common problem, and not a psychiatric disease. Anxiety, as far as he is concerned, is a normal brain responding in a very common way to experiences it has had. He said that it was very important to understand that we are not broken and we do not have a “disorder” that has to be “fixed”. He noted that people who suffer with this, have some brain circuits that developed outside of our conscious awareness, and we can work towards self healing.

He states: “I think we do ourselves a grave disservice when we call anxiety a “disorder”. It is a physiologic condition (not a psychiatric “illness”) characterized by increased adrenaline, cortisol, histamine and other inflammatory chemicals. We may be having these symptoms more frequently than we would like, but this is not a disorder or a disease. Diabetes and appendicitis are disorders/diseases and can be treated medically, but anxiety is a condition that has been shared by almost everyone on the planet, so let’s not call it a disorder. Now that we understand how your own brain (autonomic nervous system) is causing your symptoms, we can take some steps to change the patterns your brain is running.” Bradley D Fanestil, MD.

Suggestions for Education and Treatment

1. Watch this TED Talk by Johann Hari. His book has way more great information and he usually recommends that EVERYONE with anxiety or depression read his book called “Lost Connections”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB5IX-np5fE&t=873s From his TED Talk: “If you’re depressed, if you’re anxious, you’re not weak, you’re not crazy, you’re not in the main a machine with broken parts. You’re a human being with unmet needs.”

2. Watch this TEDx Talk by Tim Box about anxiety. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZidGozDhOjg

3. Or this TED Talk by Kelly McGonagle about stress. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcGyVTAoXEU&t=360s

4. Consider reading “Hope and Help for Your Nerves” by Claire Weekes MD

5. Read this blog by David Hanscom MD (author of “Back in Control: a surgeon’s roadmap out of chronic pain“. Also, internet and podcasts.

*If we have issues with anger (not everyone does), here is a podcast where David Hanscom is interviewed about anxiety and anger: https://vidalspeaks.com/podcasts/emotional-healing/dr-david-hanscom-anger-and-forgiveness-episode-84/

6. We might talk more about the power of mindfulness and meditation in the future. There is a LOT of scientific evidence that brain chemistry, brain circuitry and even brain VOLUME changes with mindfulness practices.

Active Mini-Meditation

For now, he recommended that we start doing an “active mini-meditation” – for just 3 seconds – multiple times per day:

A. Drop your shoulders.

B. Do a three second “active mini-meditation”, drop your shoulders and then take one slow deep breath in and out through the nose.

C. Repeat throughout he day, when needed.

7. If we have been told we have ADD or ADHD, consider reading  Scattered Minds by Gabor Mate.

8. Watch this 4 minute Gabor Mate video clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3bynimi8HQ

9. Watch this TED Talk by Phil Borges, director of the movie “Crazywise”-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_KSYu1Tqx8

10. Try expressive writing – ok to not continue with it if we do not perceive any benefit, but just try it for 2-3 days and see if we notice any less tension in your system or any other benefits. After that, we can decide if it is something we want to continue regularly or not at all or just on certain days.

11. Commit to engaging with the idea that we can take control over our own nervous system.

Mind Body Medicine is a form of Self-Care, and requires for us to do some work.

Our symptoms are in no way our fault. Instead they emanate from neural circuits in the brain that began outside of our conscious awareness. But even so, there are ways to rewire these neural circuits so that we can feel better. Medications and procedures might temporarily blunt symptoms, but only YOU can change the neural pathways that your brain is running, so he insists that we start educating ourselves.

12. Education, education, education. Look at the suggested videos, start reading books. We should learn as much as we can about new neuroscience in order to understand how our subconscious brain (our Autonomic Nervous System) is running alarm signals and to start believing that we can get control over it, and heal completely.

Working with these alternative doctors and both Mind/Body and Functional Medicine, has been invaluable to me over the years as part of my healing process. The doctor that I went to, Bradley D Fanestil, MD. was actually covered by insurance, as a lot of policies are now honoring alternative medicine like chiropractic, acupuncture, preventative medicine, wellness medicine and even Reiki healing. Dr. Fanesil, met with me for almost two hours awhile back and he was so excited about his craft and his understanding of the bio-mechanics of anxiety. He passionately wants to impart to all of us, how these issues are hardwired into our autonomic nervous system and, according to him, are not considered a mental illness. Anxiety and insomnia are natural, common and normal responses to trauma, stress, adrenal fatigue and certain life experiences. With a few small mindfulness techniques, education and self care, over time, he believes that we could heal and restore our systems completely.

 

Photo by Los Muertos Crew from Pexels

East meets west, a modern “Cleansing Panchakarma” detox retreat! Traditional Indian Ayurvedic cleanses offer a holistic approach to taking time off for oneself to detox, cleanse and restore body and mind. John Douillard, a noted Ayurvedic Doctor, says that Panchakarma means literally to “punch your karma,” or make a bold step toward stopping unhealthy patterns in body and mind that would otherwise give way to disease. How can we function well if we are over-stressed and overworked and… overweight? We need regular self care, tune up time.

Create a Sacred Space

Life these days is traumatic, period, and we don’t generally process stress, grief and loss well in our culture. Preferably it’s best to undertake this mini-program on a weekend three day vacation so that you could escape your daily grind. Whether you have family life, or rent a cabin in the forest, try to find a spot where you can observe some silence, at least while the family is away or create a quiet retreat room in your house. I try to do one of these every month. It’s recommended to keep away from excess stimulation, media, cell phones and invest your time resting, walking in nature, reading light material, as well as practicing gentle yoga and meditation.

This mini-retreat can be used for healing and weight loss as well. The Indian curry dhal-bat diet called kitchari that’s traditionally used for three meals however, isn’t great for westerners exclusively, as it consists mostly of mung beans and rice. Those are generally considered high carb, survival foods. In the west, we have a different constitution and time and I found simple, high protein foods that are much more appropriate to add to the cleanse for weight loss. However, you will make a big pot of this kitchari, it is very easy to digest and after day 1 you will notice the digestive cleaning process.

Healing Body, Mind and Heart

I wanted to offer something as simple as possible that could go for all three different doshas or body types. This diet is focusing on Kapha body types, ones with slower metabolism, and with some extra weight. I personally have found that a hybrid of the Indian system and the keto work well for a three day personal retreat and if you like you can extend it to six days or nine days, however long you have. This could be done on a weekend or just taking a few personal days off to be alone in the comfort and quiet to do in your own home. Adjust your own portions, listen and your body will tell you how much or little it needs.

This retreat can release unresolved emotions stored dormant in our mind and heavy connective tissue. To cope, avoid the urge to re-suppress anything and use exercise and meditation to soothe your heart and soul. Walk, laugh, cry, allow whatever needs a voice to be released. My teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche said “if you let the mind come out, it will.” Be gentle with yourself and your experience, joys comes often after the purging of tears and fears, likewise health comes after the purging of toxins.

Simplifying your diet allows your body to divert it’s energies to mobilizing and releasing accumulated toxins. According to Ayurveda, a few foods are easier to digest than others and therefore are preferred whenever you undertake a detoxification. Here is my hybrid, holistic “recipe” for Panchakarma:

Before you begin:

  • Schedule specific dates for when and how long the cleanse will be, like a Friday am until Sunday pm.
  • Prepare to eat a simple nutritive breakfast and two meals of cleansing Kitchari only.
  • Remove excess caffeine (morning ok), all tobacco, alcohol, or other substances from the daily regimen.
  • Drink a detoxifying herbal tea throughout this time and 8-10 glasses of water.
  • Evening Oil Massage and warm lymphatic massage brush bath every day during the cleanse.
  • Quiet, alone time for yourself during the cleanse.
  • At least 12 minutes each, of yoga, meditation and cardio every day.

Morning Panchakarma

1. 12 minutes of Yoga, sun salutations, outside is best, do whatever flow you are used to.

2. Keto creamer organic coffee or Kapha keto creamer chai tea with ginger and cinnamon, and a pinch of clove.
For the keto creamer, I add 1 tbs grass-fed whey power, stirred together with almond milk add stevia if needed.

3. 1/2c organic yogurt and 1/2 c raspberry, blackberries, and blueberries, or apples and pears
or 1/2c organic cottage cheese and 1/2c sliced red peppers and cucumbers (if dairy free, soy yogurt can be substituted)

4. Morning after breakfast meditation for at least 12 minutes, you can recite a calming mantra or affirmation.

5. Mid Morning, drink a quick shot of 2 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar

kitchari-102882436_horiz-1040x430-1

Courtesy of: https://www.marthastewart.com/1165773/kitchari

Afternoon Panchakarma

Since your digestion is strongest when the sun is brightest, it’s best to eat your biggest meal at noon, also have a little lighter dinner.

 

Recipe for Kitchari

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked split red lentils
1 cup uncooked organic white basmati rice (rinse with water until water runs clear)
1 tablespoon of ghee (can substitute olive oil)

I used 4 tbs of quality bulk curry powder or you can use:
[2 tbs turmeric and 1 tbs fresh grated ginger root or 1 teaspoon ginger
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon per black mustard seeds, cumin, and garlic powder
Optional: ½ teaspoon each coriander powder, fennel, and fenugreek seeds]

6 cups water
½ teaspoon salt (rock salt or sour pink salt is best)
Sliced carrots, and or chopped spinach, chard, or beet greens
Pan fried, cubed tofu.

Instructions:

Rinse the mung beans till the water runs clear. I soak mine overnight or a for a few hours before cooking. Bring beans to a boil 6 water cups
Cook beans and rice together until until become soft (about 30 to forty minutes).
The the beans and rice are cooked, I heat up 2T ghee or olive oil in a fry pan and cook the spices lightly, and then add them to beans and rice.
Add vegetables and tofu, cilantro leaves as a garnish just before serving, if desired. Add salt to taste.

1. 2 c. kitchari with vegetables and tofu.

2. Lemon or mint water room temp or warm, 8-10 glasses per day, ginger or mint tea or tea and dairy free chai can be alternated.

3. Cardio walk or workout interval is best for at least 12 minutes.

4. Listen to healing music, read, light spiritual or poetic reading, long walks outside, 5 element nature bathing.

Early Evening Panchakarma

1. Eat 2 cups of ready made kitchari.

2. Add 2 teaspoons of oil- flax, ghee, olive or coconut.

3. Early evening sunset walk, celebrate each night and try to see the magical sunset to seal the day.

4. Massage your body for 15 to 20 minutes with 8 oz of lightly pan warmed organic sesame or coconut oil, from head to toe, hair too! The coconut I warm in my hands.

5. I then do my evening meditation for 12 minutes with a towel under me, to let my skin absorb the oil, then take a shower or bath. Scrub your body with natural or Dr. Bronner’s soap and use a dry brush over whole body toward your heart as this provides a lymphatic massage, but let some oil to stay on the skin before bed. You can do the oil and bath in the afternoon instead as well.

6. Get at least 7-8 hours of good, nourishing, self care sleep.

 

Basic Retreat Shopping List:

✓Dry Wooden Brush

✓ 2 Jars Raw, unfiltered organic Coconut Oil

✓1 lb. Basmati Rice

✓1 lb. Red Lentils

✓Bunch fresh spinach, carrots

✓1 block organic Tofu

✓Large bag of bulk Curry Powder

✓1 large container of Organic Yogurt

✓Berries, Pears and or/ Apples

✓1 small carton almond milk or sugar free soy creamer

✓Grass fed whey powder

✓Mint or ginger tea

✓Fresh lemons or lemon juice bottle

✓Coffee or black tea (mornings only, as desired with almond milk)

Download Recipe Here

Check with your doctor before beginning any diet, exercise or weight loss plan, and not recommended if pregnant or lactating. This diet is not intended to diagnose, cure any disease, this is what I personally have found, heals me… Try it if it’s safe for you, and please let us know how it worked for you!

Here’s to your new, yogic and healed self!
Dawn Boiani
Owner

Originally Published on: Jun 24, 2019 on Sakura Designs

I am grateful to live part time in southern Colorado in a small, remote spiritual community in the Sangre De Criso Mountains called Crestone. We have a lot of varying spiritual centers here, about 34, and a number of them are Tibetan Buddhist. For many years my Bhutanese friend Tsering and his family ran a local restaurant called the Desert Sage that sadly just closed this month. We will miss the restaurant and his family but in celebration of the many treasured years, I tried to make our very favorite stir fry dish at home- a vegan version of Tibetan Shapta. Ours came out well using vegan Be’f tips, but it is… spicy and warms you from the inside!

Vegan Tibetan Shapta Recipe

Shabda or Shapta is a traditional Tibetan dish of stir-fried meat and vegetables with a little bit of chili and herbs.

tibetan-shapta

Ingredients:

• 1 tsp. powered ginger or 1 T. fresh chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
• 6 chopped crimini mushrooms
• 1 tomato chopped
• 8 T. organic tomato sauce
• 1 sliced organic zucchini
• 1 small head of broccoli florets, separated
• 1 organic red pepper chopped
• 9 oz. vegan be’f tips sliced
• 4 T. soy sauce
• 1 large organic onion chopped
• 1 tsp. garam masala (optional), 1/2 cup peanuts(optional), 1 tsp. honey to taste (optional)
• 6 dried red chilies cut in half
• 6 T. olive oil
• 1 cup vegetable stock, from vegetable bullion is fine
• 1/2 cup chopped green onions
• 1 cup cooked basmati rice, with salt, olive oil and vegan butter to taste

Instructions:

1. Slice the be’f and marinate in a bowl with soy sauce and ginger.
2. Make rice, and season with salt, olive oil and vegan butter to taste.
3. Heat 4T. of the olive oil on med. high heat, and saute garlic, ginger and onions in a large skillet or wok.
4. Add hot peppers, tomato sauce and spices.
5. Add a bit more oil and lightly fry vegan beef tips with soy on the other side of the skillet then add broccoli, cook on low.
6. In a separate frying pan add oil and pan fry the mushrooms and zucchini.
7. Add all items to main skillet, add vegetable stock.
8. Place a lid on the skillet, stir and simmer on medium heat.
9. When ready to serve, mix in green onions and use some on the top for garnish.
10. Serve with warm basmati rice!

Serves 4.

 

tibetan-stir-frys

tibetan-shap-ta

Vegan Be’f Tips

 

tibetan-stir-fry

 

tibetan-stir-fry

Vegan Tibetan Shapta Recipe

Shabda or Shapta is a traditional Tibetan dish of stir-fried meat and vegetables with a little bit of chili and herbs.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tsp. powered ginger or 1 T. fresh chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • 6 chopped crimini mushrooms
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 8 T. organic tomato sauce
  • 1 sliced organic zucchini
  • 1 small head of broccoli florets separated
  • 1 organic red pepper chopped
  • 9 oz. vegan be'f tips sliced
  • 4 T. soy sauce
  • 1 large organic onion chopped
  • 1 tsp. garam masala optional, 1/2 cup peanuts(optional), 1 tsp. honey to taste (optional)
  • 6 dried red chilies cut in half
  • 6 T. olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable stock from vegetable bullion is fine
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup cooked basmati rice with salt, olive oil and vegan butter to taste

Instructions
 

  • Slice the be'f and marinate in a bowl with soy sauce and ginger.
  • Make rice, and season with salt olive oil and vegan butter to taste.
  • Heat 4T. of the olive oil, and saute garlic, ginger and onions in a large skillet or wok.
  • Add hot pepper, tomato sauce and spices.
  • Add a bit more oil and lightly fried vegan beef tips on the other side of the skillet then add broccoli.
  • In a separate frying pan add oil and pan fry the mushrooms and zucchini.
  • Add all items to main skillet, add vegetable stock.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, stir and simmer on medium heat.
  • When ready to serve, mix in green onions and use some on the top for garnish.
  • Serve with warm basmati rice!

chai pumpkin bread

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread- Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free

Honestly, this fall pumpkin bread recipe is incredibly satisfying even without there being any wheat flour, dairy or sugar. It’s perfectly sweet and moist and your whole kitchen fills up with the warmth of harvest baking. My daughter who is a precocious teen, doesn’t really like much of what I cook because it’s generally on the “healthy” side- says “mom your bread slaps.” I suspect that means said she liked it because she asked for a few pieces. Have this warm bread standalone or with some vegan butter slathered on it.

Ingredients:

1 stick vegan butter, softened
1 T. coconut oil
1 cup Truvia/ Stevia, Xylitol or Monkfruit equivalent
2 organic eggs
1 (15-ounce) can organic pumpkin puree
2 cups gluten-free rice based flour (not almond flour exclusively)
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cardamom and more to top
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. raw honey and 1 tsp.coconut oil to baste on top when finished

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Cream the vegan butter, coconut oil and sugar substitute together.
Crack eggs and add to pumpkin and vanilla and hand beat, about 20 strokes.
In another bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, spice blend, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the creamed ones and blend.
Well grease a 9×5-inch bread pan. Pour in the batter, it should look similar to peanut butter in texture, thick.
Bake for about 1 hour and 1/2 at high altitude.
Glaze with 1 T. honey and coconut oil and cardamom while still warm.
Let cool before serving.

IMG 5618

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread- Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free

Honestly, this fall pumpkin bread recipe is incredibly satisfying even without there being any wheat flour dairy or sugar. It's perfectly sweet and moist and your whole kitchen fills up with the warmth of harvest baking. My daughter who is a precocious teen, doesn't really like much of what I cook because it's generally on the "healthy" side- says "mom your bread slaps." I suspect that means said she liked it because she asked for a few pieces. Have this bread standalone or with some vegan butter slathered on it.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 stick vegan butter softened
  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • 1 cup Truvia/ Stevia or Xylitol or Monkfruit equivalent
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups gluten-free rice based flour not almond flour exclusively
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom and more to top
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. raw honey and 1 tsp.coconut oil to baste on top when finished

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Cream the vegan butter, coconut oil and sugar substitute together.
  • Crack eggs and add to pumpkin and vanilla and hand beat, about 20 strokes.
  • In another bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, spice blend, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the creamed ones and blend.