The Importance of Being Human.

hengyangheart

Fall has been a haze of colour to me: all I seem to remember is waking to work. I’ve kept God in my thoughts, prayed, been aware of His presence, longed for Him and asked Him questions not at all expecting to be answered (or at least answered the way I’m looking for). On the other hand, I know I have sipped the punch that reality is pouring all around me and I’ve started to submit myself to the world, selling my soul for the  buck the world has told me it’s worth. I come home every night feeling like something’s taken a bite out of me. Doing this life routine goes against what I’ve always thought I was, however, there is some reason for it even though I cannot distinguish what that may be. Instead of being more alert to the present, I have opted for soothing one-hit fixes that keep me fogged from…

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My Spiritual Journey Thus Far…

I grew up Christian. I was dedicated in a Christian church as an infant and spent my youth in a Christian pre-school. As a family, we didn’t do church often and although I knew who God was I wouldn’t say I gained a relationship with Him until I was a teenager.

At around the age of 13 my mom and I started attending a church ritually. This church is where we found relationship with God and His people. We learned and dedicated our lives to Him. I learned to pray, read the quote-a-man-who-was-completely-innocent-offered-himself-as-a-sacrifice-for-the-good-of-others-including-mahatma-gandhi-67972Bible and also that I needed to hold myself accountable for my actions. I was definitely a wild child growing up, having done things that are cringe worthy and hurting people who didn’t deserve it along the way. I dealt with a lot of shit without anyone to really guide me through the emotions, until we found this church.  This church is where I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I honestly believe this is when I truly became saved. In terms of other religions, this is where I believe I had my spiritual awakening, developing an ability to open myself to the Divine in a way I never had before.

The Dark Night of the Soul

I believe it was after I received the Holy Spirit that I experienced what I have learned is called the dark night of the soul. I think Eckhart Tolle describes it well,

“It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness.  The inner state in some cases is very close to what is conventionally called depression.  Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything. “

 

Although at that time I was already considered depressed, having taken anti-depressants for 3 years, the depression got to the point of being so bad that I didn’t want to live anymore. I took drugs, self harmed and cried a lot.  I truly felt as if there was no point to any of it. I gave up on my relationship with God, thinking that God couldn’t exist.  I spent weeks in an inpatient unit to try and get my medication where it needed to be so that I could be stabilized mentally. So why do we go through all of this?  Again in my opinion Eckhart Tolle describes it damn near perfectly,

“They awaken into something deeper, which is no longer based on concepts in your mind.  A deeper sense of purpose or connectedness with a greater life that is not dependent on explanations or anything conceptual any longer.  It’s a kind of re-birth.  The dark night of the soul is a kind of death that you die.  What dies is the egoic sense of self.  Of course, death is always painful, but nothing real has actually died there – only an illusory identity.  Now it is probably the case that some people who’ve gone through this transformation realized that they had to go through that, in order to bring about a spiritual awakening.  Often it is part of the awakening process, the death of the old self and the birth of the true self.”

bow

My dark night was the hardest time in my life, but from it I gained much. It took me a couple of years  to turn back to God but when I did my heart was open. At the time I  developed anxiety and panic attacks. I felt I needed Him above all else to get through it. If He could bring me through and out of the worst time in my life, how could I not repay Him with my devotion. When I cursed Him He showered me with love. He was protecting me the entire time although I didn’t see it.

As I was being brought out of the dark night I met my husband. We were immediately connected on a spiritual level. We like to joke that we are an arranged marriage. I will never forget a moment in one of our first dates, we walked around the bus station and I bent down to feel the petals of a beautiful flower. He seemed surprised. He said he’d never seen anyone do that before, let alone seen someone notice something so small. I felt he could see things other people couldn’t, and he felt the same about me.

I believe God was prepping me in my dark night to meet my husband, and in order to gain a true relationship with him I had to grow up fast. I had to lose the ridiculous ego I had created to hide behind. My husband is much older than me, but mentally and spiritual we connect so amazingly. We were baptized together in a non-denominational church where we spent about 5 years. We certainly weren’t the perfect christian couple from then on. We were two people who met in years of brokenness that were just starting to finally heal. We certainly have needed each other in order to do so.

Questioning my Faith

The church is an imperfect place because it is filled with imperfect people. Being apart of this church I learned of the politics of it. I learned that many Christians have view points that I not only disagree with but go against the teachings of Jesus Christ. I began to understand what Gandhi meant when he said, “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians, they are nothing like your Christ.” My husband and I felt extremely alone and unaccepted. It was so hard.

I began to question my faith. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in God and the Holy Trinity. I don’t believe at this point that Christianity is the only way to have that relationship. As a Christian I find it becomes easier to judge people and harder to love people when in fact love is the greatest commandment. I believe that eastern practices can help to develop my faith in a new way. I don’t think there is any right or wrong way to love God and express your devotion and if there is, I’m sure He will let me know.

 

My spiritual practice is extremely important to me, so I share with you. A big part of creating my kale life is finding a spiritual path that feels right to me. I look forward to the journey.

 

Cheers!

Slow Cooker Vegetable Broth

Yay for my first recipe post! If you know me then you know I love to cook. The kitchen is my happy place. Who knew since I grew up having no idea how to cook anything except mac n’ cheese from the box!

Since the beginning of 2014 over 109 billion pounds (and counting) of food has been wasted. Crazy right? There is nothing more annoying than realizing I let something in my fridge go to waste!

This veggie broth was born out of the idea of saving the scraps that I don’t use and turning them into something useful. Not to mention good, organic, low sodium vegetable broth is a bit pricey. I mean fall is the season of soup so what better time to pull my money saving trick out of the bag?

veggie broth

How I did it

  1. Save all of your scraps from dinner or the stuff in your fridge that’s going bad by sticking them in the freezer. My broth mostly veggiebroth1consisted of carrot and leek tops, garlic peels, onion bits and the inside of celery stalks. You could also use vegetable peels. There was no real method I used. I threw everything together in a freezer bag and walah! My scraps provided around 8 cups of vegetables, so if you don’t have that much just use less water, vinegar and salt.
  2. Dump it all into your slow cooker along with 8 cups of water, 1/3 cup of white wine vinegar and 1/2 tablespoon sea salt or salt to taste.
  3. Allow your broth to cook overnight on the low setting.
  4. Wake up in the morning to a comforting smell that will make you think of Thanksgiving dinner.
  5. Now for the straining. You will need a fine mesh strainer for this part unless you only used large chunky vegetable scraps. Of course I don’t have a good strainer so I used my Teavana Perfect teaMaker and luckily it worked like a charm.

veggiebroth2

There you have it! Simple and tasty. Keep it in an air tight container for about a week for peak freshness.

Enjoy!

Letting Go Of People

Who knew my week would include life altering change? I’ve been in a group of women through an online forum for about 3 years. We all have children the buddhasame age and went through pregnancy together. It is such a blessing to, as a woman, have other women you can lean on, bitch about husbands to and share the joys of motherhood with. However, with such a large group of strong women, comes strong disagreements. Over the years as we have gotten more comfortable with each other some of us have forgotten what it meant to be supportive and have chosen to be critical based on what they believe is right or wrong. Cliques developed in order to crush anyone in disagreement with certain opinions. Needless to say, many of us mentally disconnected even though some are going through the hardest times of our lives and really could use a strong support system.

How did we let it get to this point? As a good friend told me, women NEED to support each other. Not everyone’s situation is going to look perfect in my eyes but does that mean I should judge them? Should I think negatively of them based on their choices? In my opinion, hell no! Not about that life.

An argument ensued this week within our group, and I began to contemplate whether or not I wanted to remove myself. I knew that If I did, I wouldn’t be able to come back. I decided to turn to God to help me choose.

” So every single one of you who judge others is without any excuse. You condemn yourself when you judge another person because the one who is judging is doing the same things.” Romans 2:1

This scripture stuck out to me because the argument was based on the judgement of a fellow woman. I knew with all my heart that it was wrong, and if there is one thing I cannot stand it’s when women talk about other women negatively in my presence. It goes against everything I stand for.

Another reason I love this scripture is because I definitely have done things that I don’t stand for. I’ve talked about women behind their backs, and it took this situation to make me realize how wrong it is. We are all made uniquely, every one of us has imperfections and loving each other despite those is the point of all of this right? We are first and foremost meant to love.

At midnight I went to the computer and removed myself from the forum. It’s not worth the stress of wondering whether I’m offending someone, wondering if they like me or not, or if I can truly trust them. I know the women who are my real friends in the group will keep in touch with me and I can start over with healthy, empowering female relationships based on trust and acceptance. If you’re a women you know the struggle can be real! So I left, holding nothing against anyone and leaving only the best wishes for them all.

This morning I felt awesome! I still do. I don’t know if it has to do with the weight of it all being lifted off my shoulders, the meditation, or maybe a combination. I wanted to share a little part of my most wonderful morning with all of you.

morning playlist

I’m About This Life!

Earlier this year I was able to introduce a couple of my friends to a whole foods plant based lifestyle. We coined the term “kale life” in the same way someone would say “thug life”. For example I’d post a photo of an awesome salad I had made only to get a “#kalelife” comment posted underneath. Another example, if a friend said they were eating brussel sprouts and I make a comment about how bitter they are, friend would say “you’re just not about this kale life”.

So here I am to prove that I am indeed about this life.  Not necessarily because I need to, but because I WANT to. I realize now how much I want to change my lifestyle. Although watching reality shows and drinking copious amounts of wine is quite nice, I feel like I’m missing out on something big.  So what is the kale life exactly? What does it mean to me? Oh funny you should ask!

respect bodyFirst and foremost it’s about respecting my body. I’ve spent my entire life overweight and unhealthy. Over the past four years I’ve discovering what exactly healthy eating is. I love to cook and spend my time learning more about food and how it can heal us. For some reason though old habits die hard. I spend all of this time dieting, counting calories, overeating, not eating enough. NO MORE! Enough of this, time to try something new. From now on I will just focus on eating real foods (I’m a plant based eater but respect all eating styles), exercising, and gentle loving kindness toward my body. Why am I getting so pissed when the number on the scale wont budge? Why am I punishing myself and disrespecting the body that allows my spirit to be here? This doesn’t make sense and I ain’t about it.

self love

Who doesn’t need to love themselves just a little bit (or even a lot) more? As a mom and wife, I get so busy with the day to day and usually it feels like I barely scratched the surface at the end of it all. So here’s to not beating myself up about it, to loving myself regardless of what I check off my to-do list. Here’s to positive affirmations, relaxing bubble baths and reading fabulous novels because sometimes I just plain deserve it.

spiritual practice

Now I know not every body has a higher power but God is a major part of who I am. It’s been a confusing aspect of my life lately and I’d love to devote some time to get clarity and grow in this area. I plan to meditate, practice yoga, spend time in my Bible and find a church that fits my needs.

experience life

Lastly the kale life is going to be about experience. There is so much going on out there yet I find that when my husband asks what I’d like to do for the day my answer is usually “I don’t know” which leads to sitting on the couch watching Bravo. Everyday is a gift and from now on I intend to spend them as so. We are going to get out more, try new things and start some major home improvement projects this year. If you find any great DIY projects on pinterest don’t forget to send them my way!

 

So that’s it. That’s the kale life for me in a nutshell. Respect, practice, explore, experience. Pretty good stuff. I can probably make an acronym out of that. REEP? EEPR? Ok I’ll stop while I’m ahead.

 

Cheers!