A New Year

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

 

The only way to deal with an unfree world

is to become

so absolutely free

that your very existence

is an act of rebellion.

Albert Camus

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Fresh herb salad with pomegranate and lemon dressing

I love Tabouleh! It’s one of my favourite salads in the world. It’s this combination of freshness and herbs that I love so much –  that creates a true sensation of party in my mouth.

I had some leftover cooked bulgur in the fridge as well as a bunch of fresh coriander, and there was fresh mint in the garden!  I also had a big juicy pomegranate laying on the table begging me to play – so inspired by Tabouleh salad, I created this:

Fresh herb salad

Fresh herb salad

Fresh herb salad with bulgur and pomegranate

One cup of cooked bulgur

one bunch of fresh mint

one big bunch of Italian parsley

one big bunch of fresh cilantro

one bunch of spring onions

one pomegranate

1/2 cucumber

one lemon

1/4 cup olive oil 

Sea salt

Rinse and finely chop herbs and spring onions  – mix with the bulgur in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon and stir in the olive oil, mix in the salad. Add sea salt and serve with pomegranate seeds on top. Serve and enjoy! Perfect for lunch!

Pomegranate

Pomegranate

While chopping away, I was thinking how much I love spending time in the kitchen, creating – for me it’s the perfect way to relax. Kitchen meditation or even kitchen therapy for my soul  – how many problems have not been solved around a kitchen table? Not to forget the amount of amazing ideas that have been given birth to in the kitchen, deep talks, laughter, and love shared in this almost sacred space of the house.

Lots of fresh herbs

Lots of fresh herbs

Summer without stress

I’m off! Today is the day I have been longing for – for months – the first day of the summer holiday!

I am off to spend 3 delicious weeks in a summer-house by the sea.

I can hardly wait.

Summer

Summer

I am so excited and at the same time I know it’s important to plan ahead, so that we make the most of it. Successful holidays don’t just happen. Holidays can be disappointing! We all have expectations and dreams and they may not turn out the way we wished, hoped and longed for. Unfulfilled expectations cause stress and disappointment!

The time leading up to the holidays can be particularly stressful.

We all need our holidays – to recharge, rejuvenate and fill ourselves with new energy.

So how can we increase our chances of fulfilling it …

This is “my” plan for a stress-free summer:

  • Unplug. Actually turn of all electronics and be out of reach. Yes, no need to check emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs etc.
  • Mindfulness – live in the moment. Practice mindfulness, breathe, and be in the moment.
  • Meditate – to reconnect with myself through daily mediations
  • Read books – instead of computers and internet, I want to read great books, in the shade …..
  • No plans – be spontaneous. No schedules, just feel the flow and be part of it.
  • Play – God yes, be crazy, play let go, have fun, look silly
  • Bare feet – connect to the earth and the ground -lots of research on this …. great idea.
  • Go slow – nothing I need to do or nothing I need to get to – just inhale the moment – remember to stop and smell the roses.
Smell the roses

Smell the roses

“Every Sweet-scented rose tells from it’s heart the secrets of heaven and earth” –Rumi

Bare feet in the sand

Bare feet in the sand

Beach

Beach

I know this will not be easy and I am sure I will have withdrawal issues for a while 🙂 But I also know how vital, how crucial, it is to disconnect to reconnect – and recharge.

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” And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”

Khalil Gibran 

I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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Stop Shame-attacks

Shame is brutal  – it robs us of life and happiness. It undermines our health, self esteem and overall well-being.

While we are feeling shameful, it’s impossible to enjoy life. We bombard ourselves with hurtful self-defeating messages. Messages like; I am not good enough, I am hopeless, I can’t believe I am so stupid, I am a total failure………………..

It’ s like drinking poison for the soul.

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When we are feeling shame, we feel awful. We feel there is no hope for us. It’s like a never ending spiral of self-loathing and self-reprisal.

In psychodynamic therapy, shame is considered as a defense mechanism. A defense against emotions. Whenever we feel shame, there are emotions of anger, guilt and grief underneath.

“Before you diagnose yourself with depression and low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes” William Gibson.

I use shame as an indicator, when I feel shame coming on, when I start to blame myself or be hard on myself. I know something is going on underneath and I remind myself to look deeper and ask questions like:

  • Was there something someone said or did that hurt me?
  • Was there something someone did or said that reminded me of something painful?
  • Is there a need I have not acknowledged and or expressed?
  • Are there feelings I have not acknowledged and or expressed?

 Shame is like turning anger inwards and we end up blaming ourselves with no mercy.

This causes tremendous stress and pain in the body. When we feel shame, we are much more likely to make unhealthy choices that undermine our health and even feeds the shame.

We don’t talk about it, we keep it to ourselves and bottle it up.

We may drink, take drugs, binge, over -work, or sit in front of the computer to numb out the painful feelings of shame. We are caught in a spiral of shame.

What we really need most of all when we are caught in shame is:

  • First of all notice what is going on and that shame is at play.

Then we need:

  • Empathy and compassion
  • Self-compassion
  • To share it with someone we trust. Someone who will listen with compassion and without judgement.

Dr Brene Brown is a researcher of vulnerability and shame. She is an author of 3 wonderful books. I recommend them all!

1. The Gifts of Imperfection

2. I thought it was just me

3. Daring Greatly

Her messages about shame and vulnerability are profoundly important.

The last 2 Sundays she has been interviewed by Oprah on Super Soul Sunday.

Watch the first episode here

and the second episode here

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Unplug

Last week it was “National day of Unplugging ” did you know?

It went by without me having the slightest clue even of its brilliant existence. Probably while I was myself plugged in and most likely busy working online, tweeting, blogging, updating Facebook,   Unplugging Day came and passed me by!

Hmm, I asked my two gorgeous teenagers – “did you know it was National Unplugging Day, a few days ago?” No reaction – and not surprising – they didn’t know either.

But when talking about health and well-being, unplugging is crucial! We need to unplug and create space to slow down, be quiet and simply just be.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness

 

We need this quiet time to listen and tune in to our needs. Even though, the body is amazing, the perfect GPS, always reliable; it has to have the space to tell us what we need. It can tell us if we are happy and content, if we are stressed and out of tune. So often we look outside ourselves for the answers, but the best answers come from within. The body never lies it always tells the truth. But, it needs to be “unplugged” from the outer influences and given time to relay its messages.

Our happiness and health rely on us taking that time to tune in.

I remember when I trained to become a psychotherapist, part of my training was going through intense therapy sessions and I remember how difficult and humbling it was for me to try to answer the simple question “How do you feel?” – How did I feel? Really feel? I didn’t know!

The honest truth was, I was so used to, when asked that question, to say “fine” without ever actually feeling my body responses. It was a new experience to me to connect to myself, to listen to my body and then be able to answer honestly how I felt. An even worse question was “What do you need?” – Again, I honestly had no clue. That was painful!

It took time and practice to learn and relearn. We are born with the ability to feel and know what we need, but early on we learn to suppress those feelings – in order to fit in.

I am a great believer in creating unplugging moments, every day. But how do we do that in a world that is so plugged in all the time?

I have devised a set of unplugging strategies, that works for me:

  • Getting up 1/2-1 hr before everyone else to meditate, sip tea, write my journal (with a pencil), run, jog, or just sit.
  • Unplug over the weekend just giving myself time to hang out with the family, read good books, wear my gumboots and do gardening, hike, walk, feed the hummingbirds and generally just be.
  • Before bed some quite time for a hot bath, a good book, some journalling, a lit candle, some gentle music, an evening meditation.
  • Sitting still with a hand on my heart, closing my eyes, while asking my heart (not my mind) the questions “how do I feel'” – ” what do I need” and quitely wait for the answers.

How do you unplug?

Presence

Presence

Here are some great links to inspire you further:

http://www.expresswhoyouare.com/

http://zenhabits.net/

 

May I be Frank

Last week I “met” an incredible man, with an amazing story. He is one of THE most inspiring persons I have ever “met” and I am in awe by his story I saw the documentary “May I be Frank” –  An incredibly inspiring story about Frank, a Sicilian from Brooklyn, living in San Fransisco. Frank is on drugs, overweight, actually morbidly obese, depressed, pre-diabetic and fighting hepatitis C. He is living life in the fast lane with drugs, women and alcohol – and suffering.

Some day, some how (?), he walks into a Raw Food Vegan Restaurant and they ask him “What do you want to do before you die?” He says “I want to fall in love one more time, but I don’t think that will ever happen with the body I have”. The young guys in the restaurant convince him to try to change his life and in the process be part of a documentary.

The movie “May I be Frank” was born and Frank was “reborn”!

To watch the transformation he goes through is incredible. He goes on a plant-based diet and gets rid of the toxins in his life. He starts to only eat pure food. He learns to meditate, to practice yoga and he learns to be kind to himself.  I laughed and I cried throughout the film – and I absolutely love when Frank at some point says “I am becoming the Frank I was supposed to be all along”!

Watch the trailer and be inspired!

On the website you will be able to read more about Frank and you can rent or buy the movie. I watched it on “Play it fwd” paid to watch it on-line and was able to pass it on to a friend for free.

Today Frank is a walking testimony of what is possible. He looks drop dead gorgeously handsome and, yes he has fallen in love – with himself, with life and with a beautiful woman who loves him back!

He is Frank!

http://mayibefrankmovie.com/