2017


I started reflecting on 2017 back in early November. Initially it started with a hint of defiance and judgment. I use the word defiance because when I started reflecting, it did not feel much like reflecting, in fact, it felt like a questioning of why certain goals I intended to accomplish I didn’t. Having been down that sort of a thought spiral in the past I know too well what sort of a black hole it can become. (Detour coming up ;-])

..It has been only very recent that I started practicing self-compassion. Only a couple of years ago I learned (and am still learning) a better approach to reflection; I have realized these words to be very true – “The inward journey to peace and self realization begins with self compassion.” I do not remember where I heard this but it had a profound effect on me. Also, by practicing mindfulness and compassion towards others I understood how paramount it is to practice self compassion…

While I started with a very dangerous way of reflecting, very early on I caught myself being cruel to myself and therefore I was able to correct and adopt a loving and compassionate approach to my reflection. I am careful also not to mistake non-judgment with justification of actions. It is also important, for me, that I am objective when I am reflecting.

This has been a wonderful opportunity for me to dig deeper and understand myself better. I have come to understand the reasons behind my actions – some are driven by emotions and some by logic, both give me an insight into my thought process.

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Today was perhaps when my reflection was at its peak as I sat on the shore of the grand Pacific Ocean and looked out at the massiveness of the ocean, the infinite horizon and our gloriously burning Sun. When I first planted my backpack and then my tushie on the sand I felt melancholy and that brought up to the surface some unpleasant feelings. After sitting there for a while and letting my emotions flow and making every attempt to connect with those emotions in an attempt to understand the reason(s) behind it I was able to feel less emotional (in a good way) and more objective. Following those moments, I was 100% in the moment and began to enjoy the scene in front of me and not be distracted by the scene being played out in my mind. It was sheer bliss as I took in the warmth and magic of the late afternoon sun while seeing surfers catch waves, dogs digging holes, humans walking or simply laying on the sand.  Just by sitting there and taking it all in made me smile. I felt connected with the moment. Nothing else distracted me. Towards the end when the sun started tucking itself under the blanket of the horizon and the breeze started feeling a bit too cool for my comfort, I consciously thought about what I wanted to do for the rest of my day, I wasn’t ready to go back to the concrete walls. I drove along the coast for just long enough to witness the golden hour as the sun said its final au revoir for the day.

Now I sit in a lovely vegan restaurant savoring my dessert and penning my thoughts down on here. I feel hopeful and optimistic about 2018, I know what I can do differently and what I can do better in 2018, thanks to the lessons I’ve learned, the observations I’ve made.

I’d like to leave you with this…. for most of us it’s easy to get caught up in what went wrong thereby missing to appreciate and celebrate our victories and what went right. Hope you all take time to appreciate the victories of 2017 – events, things and all earthlings that made the achievements of this year possible. I also hope that you take the time this year to make objective, non-judgmental notes for what can be done differently in the new year.

WISH YOU ALL A FANTASTIC 2018. MAY ALL BEINGS BE HAPPY

 

 

 

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Believe


Day 2 of Making May Matter and thankfully I do have a topic to write on.

Have you gals and guys heard of The Oatmeal? If not, today will be the day. Such a profound and complex philosophy(?) put in an amazingly simple way! That man surely is gifted! Wow! I am blown away.

If there is anything you should make time to read today, let it be this! It’s a quick and very interesting read, oh! and also thought provoking.

So make some time and read his article/blog post I am linking here and comment on my post so that we can engage in fun, healthy exchange of ideas.

I too have pondered about this concept in the past.

Hope you enjoy reading his post as much as I did

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Image courtesy: The Oatmeal.

Believe – by The Oatmeal

 

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Make May Matter


A few friends and I are doing this challenge for May aptly titled Make May Matter. The goal is to choose four to five things that we would like to accomplish this month, this year or in this life and commit to working on/towards it this month. For example, it could be a book that you’ve wanted to read but all it’s doing is gathering dust sitting by the nightstand by your bed or it could be better eating habits you’ve wanted to adopt or it could be getting back into writing. One of my friends thought of this and I thought it was brilliant and took up the challenge. Plus it will be fun because we will support each other, encourage and keep each motivated to keep going. One of my goals for this challenge is to re-develop a regular practice of writing that I once had. It’s definitely going to be a challenge to write every single day, but it will be fun because I will be forced to think about things close to my heart, not-so-close to my heart but do my best every single day and whether it’s a few lines or a few paragraphs, give it my best shot! I am not going to write just for the sake of writing. I will write because I love to write, I love to spread awareness, help my readers in whatever way I can. If you’d like to join, comment and let me know! Oh! what fun it will be!

Here’s a very useful tip – I employ it all the time. START SMALL! For example, if you want to make changes to your diet, don’t flip a 180 or start cold turkey, perhaps start by replacing one unhealthy item from your plate at a time, reducing portions of unhealthy items on your plate and then working your way towards a 180 degree transformation!

BTW, it (the thing you commit for 30 days) could also be kicking a bad habit out of your life… and you could do so gradually over the month of May.

Please note that the cover image I used for this post is my friend’s. You’re more than welcome to use my content and my images as long as it’s strictly for personal use and you do not make money or profit out of it. Please use the honor system. I trust you. 🙂

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Meatless Monday


Yesterday while I was grocery shopping I felt like making pasta. I haven’t had pasta in a while so I bought basil and tomatoes – the only ingredients that were missing from the list for a recipe I had in mind.

Perhaps a lot of us do this but here’s an important tip:                                                                                         –>NEVER GROCERY SHOP WHEN HUNGRY! <– I ended up buying some yummy snacks and of course as soon as I come home and empty out my groceries, I plant myself on the couch and snack on those mostly healthy goodies and so out the window went my dinner plan with my appetite. Oh well!

Still craving pasta I decided to make it today (Monday night dinner). For those of you who may not already know I am vegan so for me every day is a Meatless Monday! I can’t tell you how much healthier and stronger I have been since I went vegan. Not only did I shed pounds and body fat, I also have more energy to get more things done in a day in addition to saving many many animal lives and saving our environment

Before I start cooking, I usually lay out all the ingredients in front of me. As I opened the fridge to get some of the ingredients I saw I had a zucchini in the crisper drawer. In the spirit of eating healthier and wasting less food I decided to make zucchini pasta instead of using actual pasta. I had initially planned on making angel hair pasta – simple yet bursting with taste, my slight tweak? Replaced organic whole wheat angel hair pasta with fresh zucchini pasta. If I may say so myself not only did it turn out great, it was so delicious, filling and tasty that I finished everything I made 🙂 and I do not feel too full or like I over ate. Here’s the recipe for those who’d like to try it out:

Zucchini Pasta with home made tomato sauce

Zucchini Pasta with home made tomato sauce

Serves 2, Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 10 minutes or less

Ingredients:

  1. 1 medium sized zucchini
  2. 1 Lb tomatoes finely chopped
  3. 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
  4. 1/4  red onion thinly sliced (you can add as much or as little as per your preference)
  5. 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced (adjust as per your preference)
  6. 1 Tbsp of italian dried herbs (oregano, thyme, etc..)
  7. A pinch of chili flakes (optional)
  8. Roughly 1/4 cup of chopped basil (Set aside a couple of leave for garnish)
  9. Lemon zest (as per your liking)
  10. Cracked blacked pepper (as per your liking)

Method:

  1. Using a spiralizer (doesn’t have to be fancy, I have a very basic $5 one), spiralize the zucchini into noodles (of course you always use good ol’ pasta too :)) and set aside
  2. Pour the olive oil in a pan and set it to very low heat
  3. Add garlic and onion and cook for a minute or two, stir to prevent it from sticking to the pan
  4. Next add the dried herbs and chili flakes and cook until garlic starts turning golden brown.
  5. Then add the tomatoes and cook a little more. Cook it longer if you’d like it to be more saucy or for a few minutes until it’s softened enough
  6. Lastly add the chopped basil, lemon zest, salt to taste and cracked black pepper
  7. Give it another minute or two before turning off the flame.
  8. Toss the zucchini into the bowl using salad tongs such that the noodles are covered with the goodness of the tomato-basil sauce (or you could eat like shown in the photo)
  9. Season with more black pepper and lemon zest if you’d like
  10. Eat to your heart’s content (^_^)

 

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Feature Friday


For better or for worse, our smartphones have taken over our lives. Necks pointing down, thumbs always engaged, swiping left, right, up and down. I am not kidding when I say this.. last year I was out on a morning run and as I waited to to cross at a traffic light I noticed a woman standing right next to me watching Netflix on her phone while walking. When the crosswalk sign was on, instead of running off I decided to slow down and observe her. She did not take her eyes off that screen even while she was in the middle of this huge intersection crossing the road.

I digress slightly from the main point but while it’s amazing to have everything available all the time in our digital lives, it’s important we not be addicted to it. Of course, all of this tech revolution has improved our lives too. Ultimately it’s up to us how we use anything in our lives – to improve ours and others’ lives or to make it worse.

In the spirit of making things better, giving our eyes and minds some rest there is an app I highly recommend – available in most countries and on most OS types.

It’s an app called InSight Timer

insight

  • It’s an app for meditation – guided and silent.
  • It has a community feature and there are thousands of people around the globe using it
  • It has some really neat features such as location based stats on who is meditating along with you.
  • You can set daily reminders for meditation
  • You can set the time you want to meditate for, starting bell, ending bell, interval bell etc..
  • Best of all, it is FREE!!!!!! FREE!!!!

Click on the title or the image to visit their website.

Give it a try, if you don’t like it don’t use it but you’ll never know if you don’t try. Happy Friday y’all!

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Thanksgiving Tuesday


Last week I was chatting with someone who’d lost his phone and was distraught. I felt bad for him and tried to comfort him. I said “Things could be worse. You’ve only lost a material object, you are safe and healthy. Look on the bright side.” To this he told me “Well, but things could be better.” I was in a mindset of trying to help him feel better and so in that moment I stored what he said in my mental filing cabinet for reviewing later. Later when I thought about my conversation with him and what all he had said it made me wonder how often we take things we have for granted and not take a moment to be grateful for what we have. I have been guilty of this more in the past than now because I today I have awareness. Perhaps we need to step outside of ourselves and think from a different perspective and then look at our lives.

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How often do we take people – close and distant, things – important or not so important for granted? Maybe we take our family for granted the most? When was the last time you told a family member or a close friend that you’re grateful for their presence in your life?

When was the last time you were grateful for where you are in life, for what you have, for what you do? I often take myself for granted. Slowly but steadily I am learning to be grateful for myself – my body and my mind.

gratitude1

Let today be the day, you thank at least one person either in-person, or over the phone or via email/text or even through vibrations that the universe will carry for you to them.

Let’s play a little game. Take a notepad and a pen(cil) or notepad on your phone or computer and write down:

  • A person you’re thankful for
  • A place you’re thankful for
  • A food you’re thankful for
  • A thing you’re thankful for
  • An animal you’re thankful for
  • Anything else that comes to mind besides these you’re thankful for
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Money Hacks Monday


The cost of living in most big cities is increasing exponentially, to that add taxes and the fact that wages don’t increase in proportion – aye-aye-aye!  We all want to live the good life but for many of us, it’s often beyond our means. Last night as I was emptying my grocery bags, I had a thought about how small things can help us save more and waste less. What I am about to share is not how to make a million dollars from ten, but small hacks that save you good money in the long run.

  1. One person’s junk is another’s treasure – With apps/websites such as Craigslist, Poshmark and Offer Up selling stuff from the comfort of your home that you don’t use anymore has become easier than ever. I moved into a tiny apartment and realized I had way too much stuff, most of which I barely or never used. So I started posting those things up for sale. I purged, became lighter, more free and also made some cash.
  2. Karma bucks – For stuff you cannot sell but is in great condition, DONATE it! Go to your local shelter or GoodWill store and donate those items. You not only earn good karma, you can also get a tax deduction at the time of filing your taxes.
  3. Cook more at home – When I decided to commit myself as a life long vegan middle of last year, I realized eating out wasn’t as convenient anymore. So I started looking up vegan recipes that were easy to make and multiple recipes that involved common ingredients (less wasting or rotting in the fridge… we’ve all been there, eh?) I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed it and saved a few $$
  4. Shop bulk – These days you’ll usually find me in the bulk section isles of a grocery store when I am out buying groceries. Shopping in the bulk section is great in so many ways
    • It is usually cheaper than packaged food
    • You only buy as much as you need thereby not over-buying or over-paying
    • Less wastage
    • Less packaging/plastic involved
    • Pride and glow of being a money-savvy, deal-savvy person and also a better citizen of the Earth
  5. Cash or go home – A friend once told me about how she would budget. She would withdraw ‘x’ amount of dollars from the ATM on the 1st of every month – that would be her allowance she could choose to spend on going out, cab rides, dinner, drinks whatever she pleased. However, once the cash ran out for the month that was it, no more spending until the next month
  6. Starbucks is over-rated – When I say Starbucks, I mean all the chain or fancy coffee shops such as Peet’s, Philz, or whatever your local famous coffee shop is that charges you an arm and a leg for coffee. Indulging occasionally is fine, I do it, we all do! But on a daily basis, try and get your caffeine fix at home before you head out. What I do is buy coffee from the bulk section, buy and grind as much as I need and use my simple French Press that I had bought for $20 and it makes the best coffee! Well, I love it! ^_^ OR if you are a tea drinker, hopefully it’s not so much of an issue for you but the same applies
  7. I am no wealth investment guru, but we all have a few of those friends or family members who can advise us what we can do with all the money we save (and/or make) from the tips listed above.

Hope you find these tips helpful. If you have some tips to share please comment and let me and other readers know! Hope you save some moolah today! ($_$)

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