anxiety, ayurveda, bliss, elephant journal, gratitude, happiness, home, joy, kids, law of attraction, tapping, wayne dyer

I made it myself.

When I first began this journey of happiness I wanted desperately for someone to take my hand and show me the path. I didn’t want to have to do this alone; but not only did I want someone with me, I wanted someone to save me and show me how to live a happier life. I wanted someone to do the work so that I didn’t have to dig deep into those dark areas of my soul and expose them so that I could clear them out.

That white knight never showed up, and I’m pretty sure if I had stayed waiting for him/her I would still be waiting at the end of my dark night of the soul. I would still be hoping things would get better, but not realizing the important role that I needed to play in my own happiness.

Because I didn’t have anyone around to guide me, and because I knew that I wanted to make steps towards a happier life, I realized that the only way to move up was to start climbing myself. It was really hard at first. Actually, for a long time it was brutally hard. Being isolated both in spirit and because I was in a place without anyone that I could talk to about things made it a very lonely time.

Fortunately, I decided that I could use that time of isolation to just shut down and work on myself. I had two goals, to look after myself and to look after the kids.  I worked on building a strong relationship with the kids – and I believe that was a success – we have a tight relationship that hopefully lasts us to the end of time. I knew that I needed to make myself a better version of myself in order to be the kind of friend that attracted people I wanted to hang with. So, I dug in and I worked on it.

My Ayurvedic studies have brought so many positive changes into my life. As a matter of fact, it has completely changed how I live my life and all for the better. Ayurveda led me to the readings of Wayne Dyer whose words calm my soul. I read his works every single day and it makes me feel so good inside. It has helped shift around a lot of old guck I’ve been holding. His writings led me to the Law of Attraction books which altered how I look at the world and how I think about things. I am a firm believer in that Law and I know that I’ve been attracting better and better things into my life.  A while ago I watched a video where Wayne Dyer was talking about tapping and that information has been tingling at the back of my mind for a while. Finally I decided to do some research into it and I’ve been experimenting with myself. It’s quite amazing and powerful and I’m excited to see where that leads me. I’ve felt a lot of things move in the short time I’ve been working with it.

I have found this blog to be so cathartic. It helps me to focus on things that make me happy and to celebrate them. When I first started blogging I had to look really hard for things that made me happy because I really wasn’t feeling it yet. I was still feeling hurt, lost, sad, and confused. Now I have things pop into my mind all the time will this be the happiness moment today?  Sometimes it is, sometimes not, but there are usually many things that make me happy throughout the day. I’m always amazed that anyone actually reads what I’m writing, and it brings me joy the number of people who have told me how much they enjoy reading it.

Today’s happiness moment is one in celebration of Jacob. Both kids have been so good about being the new kid time and time again as we have moved, but I know it’s hard. Jacob was sad last year because he started a new school here only to have to leave it and head to another new one this year. I told him that we lived in a small enough town that he’d still see his friends but I’m not sure he believed me. Tonight as we were getting gas he ran into a couple of friends from his school last year. He jumped out of the car and hung out with them while I filled up. I love that when we go into town now the kids always see someone they know. They already have a strong sense of belonging and we have only been home for 6 months. I suppose that’s because we are home.

It’s good to be home. It’s good to make our own happiness. It’s good to share that happiness with the world.

This photo is from Elephant Journal. If you haven’t checked them out i highly recommend that you do. They bring me inspiration daily. 

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ayurveda, cooking, happiness, recipes

Churna time and a day of bliss

I finally got to making my kapha churna. I’ve mentioned it the past couple of days when I posted recipes for saag and for kitchari.

A churna is a mixture of different dry herbs and spices and is used frequently in Ayurvedic cooking. Ayurvedic churnas combine all six of the ayurvedic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. While it enhances the flavour of a dish, each one of the spices has it’s own medicinal properties. They can be sprinkled onto or cooked into any dish, however for better absorption they can be sauteed in ghee before being added to the dish.

Here are the ingredients for a kapha churna (from Eat, Taste, Heal)
Ingredients:

  • 1 tbl. fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tbl. whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tbl. ground ginger
  • 1 tbl. whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tbl. ground turmeric
  • 1 tbl. ground cinnamom
  • 1 tsp. ground clove
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper or chili powder

Preparation:

1.      Put all ingredients in an electric grinder or spice mill and grind them.
2.      Store in airtight container such as a glass jar.

Don’t the spices look pretty? Jenna stood over the plate and smelled and smelled and said how wonderful they were.


  Put them in a coffee/spice grinder and grind until fine

 

Place the churna in an airtight glass container.

Enjoy!!

My moment of happiness on day 42 of the 44 days was more like a full day of happiness. I was trying to figure out what the best part of the day was, but honestly this entire day has been one of happiness. I’ve noticed that as I’ve spent these past 42 days really focusing on happy things that more and more happiness is coming into my life.

This is how the morning started

When there is a sunrise or a sunset that is this fabulous I always imagine God dancing around like an excited 4 year old saying “look what I did!! Look!! Isn’t it beautiful? Look!! Stop and pay attention!!!”

So I did. I sat with my cup of tea and watched the sunrise with the dog and the cat ignoring each other on either side of me. As the rays moved on, Ella and I went and played our game of fetch. The colours from the sunrise were still coming in the window and they lit her up. She looked so pretty.

Before church I met a friend at Mill Mountain Coffee and we sat outside (outside!!) and had a wonderful visit in a sunbeam.

I didn’t have to teach children’s chapel so I got to sit in through the entire service which was led by the kids. It was a joyful service.

Jacob and I took a church selfie. Is this ok to do? Probably not.

I ran into  friend I haven’t seen in a few months. After losing a child late in pregnancy she and her husband have a wonderful, beautiful adopted son. Joy! Joy! Joy!

We drove to the Co op after church and we could see buds (buds!!! Spring!!!) on the trees.

I had a nap. An awesome, blissful, middle of the day nap (Jenna was at a sleepover last night and I had to check my phone 10,000,000 times at night to make sure she hadn’t called as she sometimes does).
It’s 7:15 and it’s still light out! I love daylight savings time!
Sunday Funday
 
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ayurveda, happiness, recipes

Saag, my new comfort food

Saag, saag, saag, I love it. It’s my go to order at any Indian restaurant. It’s become my adult comfort food in the same way that grilled cheese and tomato soup was in my childhood. I’ve been trying to figure out how to make it at home, and to make it kapha pacifying (which is what I need right now).

I have a habit of finding something I like and then eating it for ages until I finally get sick of it. Then I have to rotate off for a while, enjoying something else before I come back around to it. These days I’ve been working on a kapha balancing saag. Perfect for what I need to be balancing for myself and perfect for kapha season.

I leave out the more traditional paneer and cream to lighten it up a bit to pacify kapha. Feel free to add some if it’s your desire.

Our local co op has their own garden and their spinach is ready. It has such a fantastic smell. Like real food. It reminds me of being in the garden back home. I can’t wait to have a garden again.

Fresh spinach in the pot

Combination of split mung dal and basmati rice in a separate pot

Add water to the rice/dal mixture- if possible let it soak for a few hours, then boil and simmer on low until done

Add boiling water to cover the spinach in pot. Cover and let it sit for a few minutes to blanch the spinach

Water on the spinach.

Meanwhile chop up some ginger. There’s fresh turmeric at our Co op right now so I add some of that too (instead of adding powdered later on)

Finely chopped onion

After about 5 minutes strain the spinach into a colander and put in a bowl with ice water (I get lazy here, I just put it in the colander and run cold water on it, shhhh don’t tell anyone) doesn’t it look fantastic? I love spinach. Have I mentioned how good it smells?!


In the pot that had the spinach melt some ghee ( I keep a bit of water in the pot to ensure the oil does not get to too high a temperature) and add cumin and fennel seeds, let fry for a couple minutes

Add the onion, continue to fry until the onion has turned kind of translucent

Meanwhile put the ginger, turmeric and spinach in a blender and whirr it all up until it’s completely blended (you may need to add a bit of water)

Here are the onions all done and ready for the next step

Add some chopped up fresh tomato. It’s March in Virginia and we have 6 inches of snow outside. There are no good tasting tomatoes, I’ve been using these ones by Muir Glen

stir it all in and let simmer a minute or so

Add the spinach mix into the pot – pretty green isn’t it?

Add some spices – here I’m using garlic, and a curry spice. We were snowed in and I had to use what was available. Normally I’d have made a kapha churna to add in

Here it is all done. I added some pumpkin seeds on top. I made this before my yoga class and put it in the warming oven for 2 hours. It tasted much better with the long slow low cook. 

I’m bad at exact measurements but here’s what went into one serving

1/4 cup basmati rice

1/8 cup split mung beans

1 3/4 cup water

(those things I actually do measure)

These go in the separate pot. Bring to a boil then simmer 20-30 minutes until done. Soak the mung beans first in water

3 or so big handfuls of spinach. Remember it shrinks up to nothing when it cooks

2-3 tablespoons of onion (I like onion, you could use less)

2 tablespoons of canned tomatoes. In the summer I’d use one smallish tomato

1 tablespoon kapha churna (in this case since i didn’t have the ingredients for it –  I used a tsp cumin and a tsp curry and a pinch of garlic)

Big pinch of fennel, big pinch of cumin

1/2-1 tsp ghee

little nub of ginger, smaller one of turmeric – do it to taste.

I am going to grocery shop tomorrow. I will make the kapha churna and post it then

My happiness moment on day 41 of the 44 days of happiness came this morning. Jenna has a sleep over tonight and decided that instead of going to buy a bag or wrapping paper that she would sew a bag to put her present in. She sat at the table and figured out all by herself how to put this bag together. She even put on a handle for easier carrying. It brought me such joy to see her sitting enjoying herself while learning a new skill. I was so proud of her – but mostly so happy that I got to be there enjoying the process with her. She’s pretty awesome.

(she was happier than she looks in the picture….)

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ayurveda, cooking, happiness

Barley Kitchari

Another snow day here. Seriously, it’s March 6th. Spring can not come soon enough for me. Most of the winter was pretty mild – until the last 6 weeks when it seems like we’ve had storm after storm. Then I go on Facebook and see pictures of our friends up in Rhode Island and the Boston area and realize we don’t have it so bad. Plus I have had a lot of bonus home days with the monsters – and I love that.

It was cold and damp feeling out today – Kapha like day. And we are entering into Kapha season, so I decided to make an appropriate meal – barley kitchari. Super simple and super yummy.

You need: (for one serving, increase accordingly)

1 tsp ghee

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 heaped tsp kapha churna (you can buy this at MAPI.com, and in the next day or so I will post a recipe you can make at home)

1/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed

1/8 cup split mung beans (let soak in water for an hour prior)

1.5 cups water

optional: steamed broccoli, pumpkin seeds, raisins

Heat the ghee in saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel and coriander seeds and saute until fragrant (3-4 minutes)

add the barley, mung beans and water and simmer for aprox 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If desired add broccoli, raisins, and pumpkin seeds.

So yummy

Kapha season is in the spring when it is wet and damp and sometimes still chilly. Unless you live in Alberta and then springtime is about an hour and a half sometime in June (but that hour and a half is awesome – I love standing out in my parents’ yard looking at the cherry blossoms – until that chinook wind blows them all off).  Kapha is comprised of Water and Earth and is cold, heavy and stable. It governs the structure and the lubrication of the body. Kapha is most aggravated by sweet, salty and sour tastes and is balanced by bitter, astringent and pungent tastes.

Kapha is what I need to be balancing right now, and since it’s the season for it – it’s kind of a double whammy reason for me to get some kapha recipes ready.

Happiness moment for day 40 (40 already!!) of my 44 days of happiness came this morning. Ms. Ella has stashed away all of her mice and we can’t play fetch anymore. She says she does not remember where they are, and has informed me that this is my problem and that I need to fix it. Jenna – bless her – sat down at the table and pulled out her sewing box. She spent a great deal of time figuring a way to stuff catnip inside a cotton ball and then sewing that inside some fabric.

Ella approved. She is content for the time being.

I am so proud of Jenna for learning how to sew and figuring things out as she goes. Goodness knows she’s not going to learn anything from me. But she is determined and loves making new creations.

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ayurveda, cooking, happiness

Ghee, that was simple!

For some reason I found the idea of making my own ghee quite intimidating. I don’t know what gave me the impression it would be difficult because the reality is that it is so very simple. The most challenging part of the whole process was trying to remember where I’d stored my cheesecloth.

We’ve had so many snow days in the past month (we get a 4 day weekend this week thanks to the latest storm), it’s given me a chance to try out some things in the kitchen I’ve been wanting to get to.

Ghee – or clarified butter – is widely used in Ayurveda. It is said to balance all three doshas (although it should be used sparingly for Kapha due to it’s oily nature). It can be used as a vehicle to carry herbs and other medicines deep into the tissues of the body. It also helps kindle Agni – or the digestive fire.

Here’s my ghee making process. I start with this grass fed unsalted butter – it’s so yummy. 

Put the butter in a pot on the stove, turn the stove onto medium heat and let the butter melt

Melt, melt little stick of butter

After a bit you’ll start to hear a crackling kind of sound. Turn to medium low and let crackle for about 20 minutes. My butter is less than a pound so it finishes at about 15 minutes. You don’t want to leave it for too long and have it burn.

Crackle, crackle…..

Put your cheesecloth over a glass jar and pour the butter into the jar. All the impurities from the butter stay in the cheesecloth and your butter is clarified. 

Look at how nice and golden it is! Let it sit on the counter until it hardens into solid form

Then you can put the lid on it and put it in the cupboard. It does not need to be refrigerated. It will keep in a cool, dry place for a couple of months (like it will last that long)

So ridiculously easy. So yummy.

The kids and I were home today because we had yet another massive snow storm. The storm was expected to hit early this morning, but didn’t come until early afternoon so we escaped the house to do a few errands. Because we were expected to be snowed in I left the house a complete disaster safe in the knowledge that no one would want to be out house hunting on such a day. Naturally we got the call. I was standing in Panera with the kids ordering soup when the realtor called and wanted to come see the house right away. Ummmmm – no. I just don’t live in a show ready home. I bought us a couple of hours to get ready so we had our lunch and raced home to clean up.

When we finally were feeling like the house could be seen by other people, I called the realtor and left him a message telling him he could come early if he wanted. Then the kids and I sat on the couch teasing each other about who was the most immature person in the house (this is a badge of honour for us). I was busy claiming most immature person of the year when my phone rang. Jacob was closest to it so he answered. I figured it was the realtor, but couldn’t understand why Jacob got this stressed out look on his face and turned kind of a funny colour. He handed me the phone – it was the realtor – and we sorted out times.

After I ended the call Jacob said “well, that was weird. I answered and the guy just started talking to me. He said ‘I just had a message from your wife about seeing the house earlier’ and I had to cut him off and hand the phone to you.”

This is what happens when you are 13 and your voice changes into a big deep man voice!!! Jenna and I literally fell down on the floor and rolled around we were laughing so hard. I said ‘I guess you’re the mature person in the house then, bwaaahaaa I’m off the hook’. Even Jacob found it funny – although I think he found our laughter funnier. That was our happiness moment on day 39 of the 44 days of happiness.

The people showed up at the same times as the snow storm. Here’s crossed fingers that they liked the house, because I’m right tired of this whole selling process.

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ayurveda, happiness

Good Vibrations

The case I’m working on right now in my Ayurveda course is dealing with colds and flus – a good topic for this time of year. I believe this is the first year in a long time that the kids and I are going into spring season strong, well rested, and in general good health. If we can avoid being knocked flat by the seasonal illnesses that’s a blessed thing.

In Ayurveda there’s more emphasis put on the host body (me or you) vs. the bacteria, virus, or illness. That is to say that if you have a strong and healthy body there is no place for the virus to take root and grow. It needs a fertile ground in which to plant root and flourish. The reasoning is that if your body is healthy and in balance these dis-eases will not be able to stay.

Western medicine looks at illnesses as something external that attacks the body. In reality we live with millions of bacteria and viruses surrounding us. Not everyone who is exposed to someone who is sick gets sick themselves. It is not the pathogen so much as the state of the host that makes the difference. These viruses, pathogens, bacteria, won’t have a place to take hold in the body if the ground is not fertile. It needs ama (toxins) in order to take hold and grow.

Something else that either prevents or encourages the chances of us being ill is the energetic vibration that we are on. Everything comes from the field of consciousness – humans, plants, animals, bacteria, viruses… That bacteria or virus is a physical form of a nonphysical energy just the same way that we are here in a physical vehicle (our body) for our nonphysical selves. The vibration of these viruses is on a lower emotional field, and in order to resonate with it we must also be on this lower field. The field that they resonate on is the same frequency of fear. Being full of fear can open to the energy of the virus and harmonize with it, allowing it to take root and multiply. When our vibration is high and we don’t identify with the vibration of fear, we are better protected against getting flus and colds.

Think of all the hype that comes out every year about the cold and flu. Every year it’s the worst year yet for being sick. The media throws out scare tactics – we must be afraid of getting sick. Go stock up on medicine, get flu shots (sometimes there is value to these, but not for everyone), be afraid of getting sick. Everything except make sure your body is healthy so that viruses can’t take root and flourish.

I personally can attest that when my vibrational frequency is low I get sick. When I’m happy and healthy and on a higher emotional frequency I don’t get sick. The Law of Attraction follows the same beliefs as Ayurveda – what you concentrate and put your focus on you attract. Think about being sick all the time and you will be sick. Think about being strong and healthy and you push yourself up onto a healthier frequency.

For me, releasing black clouds of doom (mine and other people’s) has put me in a healthier place than I’ve been in years. I can feel my emotional vibrations getting happier and stronger, and I can see my health getting stronger.

I have two happiness moments today for day 32 of the 44 days of happiness. The kids were off school for snow (again) today. I was sitting cross-legged in my chair in my bedroom getting my iPad ready to do my healing light yoga therapy class (there are recordings from the Saturday class we can do during the week if we choose – I’m loving this class). I was hunched over focusing on getting to the right spot in the video when Ella jumped up on the chair beside me. She glared at me and meeeooowwwwed, then jumped up onto the top of the chair. Well, she landed with such force she flipped the entire chair over leaving me stuck on the ground wrapped in the chair much like a turtle flipped on it’s back. I was lying there yelling for help – however when help arrived it was in the form of Jacob laughing so hard he was unable to do anything. Finally I was able to roll myself out of my mess. Because of course as soon as the chair flipped, Ella was out of there. She ran into Jenna’s room and pretended she knew nothing about what was going on.

The second moment came this afternoon when I was driving to the library to pick up Jacob. I was winding down the backside of the mountain and came around the corner to see a boy about 12-14 out shoveling snow. What was fantastic was that he was using the shovel as a dance partner. He was jigging all around, twisting and turning with the shovel. It was such a happy, glorious sight. So wonderful to see someone “dancing like no one was watching”. Made me smile for a long time.

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