Come For The Fellowship, Stay For The Vision Quest

2016-11-30T18:01:15+00:00

This month-long fellowship has been one of the most transformative experiences of my entire life.

No joke.

Although, it is also kind of funny. Its funny how, in such a short amount of time, you can let go of patterns that have been keeping you stuck for years and alter your whole perspective on what you are doing here.

I came down here to Costa Rica for the Epicself Fellowship with a inner commitment to shift myself out of this holding pattern I'd been in around my business and my relationship to money. What I got was an entire re-orientation of my sense of self-worth, and a newfound trust in myself and process of life unfolding.

The things that used to make me feel hesitant or insecure about moving forward with my business, the really deep stuff like: Who am I to be doing this kind of work? Or who is going to want to pay me $200 for one of my necklaces? Or what if no one can afford to come on my retreat? Those stale worries have entirely lost their power over me in a way I can't fully explain.

They have since been replaced with a sense of my own worthiness and a faith in the Universe to reflect back to me the love that I am putting out into the world through my work. I have discovered a wellspring of motivation in me that will never run dry because it comes from a sense of responsibility. I have a responsibility to not only put 100% into what I came here to do, but to allow it to sustain & nourish me. And who am I not to do that?

How did all this happen in a single month? Well to be fair, arriving here in Manuel Antonio and working with Amber and Daniel was the culmination of a journey already well underway to level up in my life, my biz, my soul's purpose.

Leveling up, of course, has to do with doing all the practical things required. So that means building a website, having a marketing plan, etc. And that is what I thought I was coming down here to do. To learn how to do those things that don't come naturally to be from the experts. That, and to detox my body with raw vegan food and get my butt back in shape with yoga and pilates every morning. Upon reflection, like with most experiences in life, what I actually came here for was far beyond what I had been able to foresee.

The real meaning of this experience was deeply spiritual. It was nothing short of redefining my entire relationship to myself and to my work. I thought I was here to find clarity around my logo but I really came to find clarity about my destiny. I thought I was here to crystallize my business offerings, but I came here to crystallize my soul's purpose. This fellowship was essentially a vision quest that included web design and sale's training.

To get there, I had to face one of my greatest fears, the fear that I am not enough, don't know enough, can't do enough, blah blah blah. The plant medicine ceremony I participated in here opened my eyes to the ways in which I have been sabotaging myself again and again with these misleading beliefs. I was brought to tears and humbled to the point of prostrating my ego before Mama Ayahuasca. She then gave me the loving embrace I needed to trek back up from that place of surrender & submission to the summit of my divinity and power. Making the ascent to meet my highest Self was the journey that helped me to truly see my enough-ness. I am so much more than enough.

I have so much gratitude to Amber and Daniel, to the best fellowship fellow ever, Kait, to my family, my Beloved, & everyone who supported me on this journey. To Ayahuasca, the master teacher and to the wonderful beings who held that sacred space for me. To the Earth and her infinite blessings and finally to myself, for showing up to do the work.

 

Come For The Fellowship, Stay For The Vision Quest2016-11-30T18:01:15+00:00
  • mind your movement

Change your mind, Mind your movement

2016-11-29T02:24:12+00:00

This morning I woke up feeling tired. I stayed up working way too late and didn’t get enough sleep. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. Even though I wanted to sink back into sleep and ignore the world for an hour longer, I didn’t. Every morning I wake up my body and mind through movement and stretching (aka I get my sweat on). An older version of me would have made an excuse along the lines of, “but I’m so tired, I should rest instead,” or “I just don’t feel like it. I’ll do it later on today when I feel more awake.” The updated 2.0 version of me knows better.

You see, I finally understand that there are two parts of my mind that are always vying for my attention. One part of my mind is completely and utterly resistant toward change, movement, and growth. It wants to be as lazy as it can get away with. The other half knows what’s best for me: change, movement, and growth. Guess which one I choose to listen to? Hint: the latter. Wouldn’t you rather be seduced in to success by a positive voice than succumb to self-sabatoge?

Change your mind, mind your movement

I decided that I’ll show up for myself, no matter what. We often create and accomplish more than we ever dreamed possible when we are pushed into tight, uncomfortable places in life. When we are thrust into the unknown and uncomfortable, we want the scenery to change as soon as possible, which challenges us to problem-solve and practice courage, focus, and determination against all odds. Those attributes of success are, more often than not, born out of practice and failure.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  Elizabeth Appell

Make movement a priority

Do you know the telltale sign that you need to be moving your body? When it hurts, when you’re tired, and when you really don’t feel like it. We actively (and often stubbornly) resist moving our bodies. It’s our resistance toward change at it’s most basic expression in our body and mind. The more apathetic our view toward movement, the more we really should get up and cut a rug. Yes, I know it sounds contradictory, but think of it in terms of Newton’s First Law of Motion:  An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.

What we focus on, grows; what we put our energy toward, increases; and once we get the body moving and grooving, it likes to stay that way. It thrives on movement. The challenge? Getting over the initial hurdle of stagnation and immobility. The answer: making the daily choice to prioritize your health and honor your body. Sure, you’ll have days where conditions are perfect: you wake up with a twinkle in your eye, ready to run 5 miles. Most days, you’ll have to simply make the choice to show up and push yourself a little further than yesterday.

A method to push to your edge…every. time. 

Retrain the internal dialogue that wants you to give up. Equip it with affirmations, and turn it into your personal coach. Set a goal (one more lap, 5 more breaths, 30 more seconds, etc.) and when you feel your muscles shaking and your mind cracking, call upon your inner coach for support. Practice mantras like: You’ve got this. You only have one more lap. It’s just a breath, you can do 5 more no problem. You’re so close, just 30 seconds longer. One more lap, you know you can do it!  An internal dialogue that encourages you around every corner helps you reach the edge of your limits, and push beyond them.

Trust me, it will feel good

When you’re done with your daily movement practice, take a moment to appreciate the open, free feeling in your body and the clarity of your mind. The process of changing your mind is one of awareness. Being mindful of your alignment, muscular engagement, and breath during movement is the golden key to unlocking the treasures of a powerful mind-body relationship.

Change your mind, Mind your movement2016-11-29T02:24:12+00:00

Mindful Movement

2016-11-29T00:43:09+00:00

When someone says Mindful Movement, what comes to mind?

In my mind, I always imagine someone moving really slowly. It's a little silly picturing it that way but it makes a clear point, and that is that an overabundance of movement or movement done very quickly is generally superfluous, not mindful. During my stay here in Costa Rica for the Epicself Fellowship, I have learned so much about mindful movement from Amber and her style of teaching pilates and yoga. Since I have been down here, I have made huge strides in my physical abilities and energetic posture simply from exercising mindfully.

Mindful movement refers to movement focusing your attention on your body while observing the subtleties of what you are feeling. It can be applied to any form of movement, any type of exercise, as long as it is performed with awareness.

Ok so let's break down this word, awareness. What does being aware of your body and really mean?

In my experience, one of the most powerful techniques for cultivating awareness is paying attention to your breathing. Whether you are running an errand, an a Zumba class, or just sitting in front of your computer, notice your breath. Are you breathing deeply or is it shallow? Are your breaths rapid or slow? Does your chest or belly expand when you inhale? Are your sinuses so stuffed you can hardly breath through your nose? Becoming aware of how you are breathing in any given moment is the beginning of cultivating the awareness necessary for mindful movement.

So mindful movement is firstly any movement done with attention to the breath, and secondly how the harmonizations of movement with breathe affect both the body AND the mind.

This conscious coordination of body and breath was THE thing about yoga that changed my life. I became a pranayama addict! Pranayama is the Sanskrit word for the practice of harnessing life-force, or prana, through implementing breathing techniques.

What I love most about pranayama is the way in which it not only affects your body, by slowing down your heart rate and activating your parasympathetic nervous system, but it also has such a profound affect on your state of mind! By bringing that awareness of the breath into your movement practice, you will not only deepen your understanding of your body but also your mind.

There are so many scientific reasons why breath awareness and mindful movement are so beneficial both in exercise, and in life in general but I want to focus on some practical uses of mindful movement using the breath.Mindful movement practices such as yoga, pilates, and qigong focus heavily breathwork, implementing a plethora of techniques that boost energy, increase flexibility & strength, even help release trauma. Sure, breathing sounds simple enough but to really understand how profound of a effect it can have, we really need to experience it directly to get why it can be such a powerful tool for healing.

Boost you Energy - Through gentle back-bending yoga postures, like Extended Mountain pose, Bridge, or Upward-Facing Dog, we are opening up the chest and thus are able to take full deep breaths, thereby increasing our energy. We can also increase the speed of our breathing, using a practice like breath of fire in a pose to energize the body and increase mental alertness..

Increase your Flexibility - Do you hold your breath when you stretch? Taking deep breath while stretching can be a powerful tool for increasing the intensity of posture and thereby increasing your flexibility. When breathing in, try to hold the pose while directing the air in through your lungs and down to the part of the body that is most feeling the stretch. As you exhale, allow your muscles to soften and release further into the stretch.

Increase your Strength - If your hardcore about physical fitness, you probably already know how crucial breathing is to building strength. Martial artists have known this forever, making sounds like "Kiai!" to leverage their breath for strength.  By turning up the volume on your breathe, you are able to exert greater force in your movements.

 Release Physical & Emotional Trauma - Breathwork with or without movement has an enormous capacity to help us release & heal emotional wounds that can be hard to access otherwise. Often these trauma's are lodged somewhere in the body and by actively and consciously directing our breath, we can access emotional blocks to clear them.

My experience here in Costa Rica practicing mindful movement every morning has transformed my body and mind. I have seen how working with my movement and breath has re-energized me when I was feeling exhausted. I have seen both my strength and flexibility increase dramatically and I have let things go, emotionally, that were no longer serving me. observing your body and cultivating breath awareness are some of the most simple yet powerful, and terribly under-utilized tools for transformation.

What do you have to lose?

 

 

Mindful Movement2016-11-29T00:43:09+00:00

Curried Raw Kofta Balls in Tomato & Vegan Cheese Sauce

2016-11-29T00:47:52+00:00

I love Indian food.

I mean I really love Indian food! Back in collage there was this amazing vegetarian India buffet near campus where I was eating lunch at least once a week. It is interesting to note that my earthy friends were typically so down for Indian buffet, but several of my "non-hippy" friends just couldn't stand the smell of Indian food. If the smell bothers you, it means you probably aren't use to the scent of curry, which is an amazing Indian spice blend that tends to have a lingering odor. The blend usually consists of hot pepper, cumin, coriander, & turmeric with endless varieties throughout the Asian continent. Not only is it deliciously flavorful, it is an incredibly healing spice as you can well imagine.

Some of the numerous benefits of sprinkling curry powder into your food includes stimulating the immune system, improving bone health, reducing risk of bacterial infections, improving digestion, relieving inflammation, reducing cognitive decline with age, and reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease. That is no joke! So worth getting over your aversion to the smell and incorporate some curry powder into your diet.

Since going raw, I have been hankering for a good and spicy Indian dish that I could make raw and would keep that authentic texture and taste.

This is it.

Kofta balls, if you've never heard of them before, are traditionally prepared as a meat dish that is ground up, mixed with spices, and rolled into balls and then served with a spicy curry sauce on top. This raw vegan version has the same warming qualities, ideal texture, and savory taste without all that meat.

Here ya go:

Ingrediants:

For Kofta Balls

3 cups sunflower seeds, soaked and sprouted

1 cup almonds, soaked

handful fresh parsley

handful fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1 zucchini

4 cloves of garlic

1/2teaspoon Celtic sea salt

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1 inch piece of fresh ginger root

pinch cinnamon

1 teaspoon raw honey

 

For the sauce:

3 tomatos

1/2 zucchini

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup vegan cheese (sunflower seed cheese)

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 teaspoon paprika

handful of fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

2 tablespoons raw honey

juice from 1/2 a lime

 

Directions:

Put Kofta Ball ingrediants into a food processor until thoroughly processed.

Then, laying out your dehydrator trays, form the mush into medium size balls and place onto dehydrator sheets for 6 hours. 3 hours in, come back and flip the balls over to ensure a consistent texture throughout.

When the balls are almost ready, mix all the curry sauce ingrediants into a high-speed blender and blend up until creamy and smooth.

Lastly, pour sauce over the warmed up Kofta Balls and enjoy! This typically serves 5

And there you have it! Classic Indian dish made raw, vegan, and yummy just like that!

For my balls, I decided to spiralize some zucchini and make a pasta and serve the Kofta Balls on top. I also drenched mine in that sauce because it is just so good! Finally, I garnished mine with a sprig of fresh cilantro.

Note about the vegan cheese. You can use a store-bought vegan cheese but making your own is ideal. You can find the awesome recipe for home-made vegan cheese that my girl Kait made and that I used in this recipe here.

If you have been missing your favorite Indian dishes since going raw vegan, fret not. There is hope!  Who would have thought you could make a raw vegan version of a predominately meat based recipe that takes just as good, if not better than the original? Just play around and get creative with your substitutions!

Share with us your favorite raw vegan Indian dishes below. I'm dying to know what you come up with!

Curried Raw Kofta Balls in Tomato & Vegan Cheese Sauce2016-11-29T00:47:52+00:00
  • beyond comfort and complacency

Beyond Comfort and Complacency

2016-11-25T13:26:10+00:00

I hate to break to you, but you’re lazy. Before you get offended, let me just say: I’m lazy too. Now, you and I may be lazy, but that doesn’t mean that we succumb to its spell. Laziness is natural, but it won’t get us anywhere in life. Living a conscious lifestyle requires the daily decision to push oneself beyond comfort and complacency. Embodying the transformation and growth we seek is a rewarding journey in and of itself. There are many tools and techniques that can help us bridge the gap between vision and manifestation, however they all require one thing: your willingness to commit to the process.

Think you’re up to the challenge? First, let me ask you:

Have you subscribed to commitment?

Commitment does not have an auto-renewal subscription. It is a daily choice to recognize that the voice inside our head (that *ahem* we all have) is one that we don’t have to listen to. You know, the voice that tries to keep from consistently trying in the first place? It is not always the easy, exciting choice to make, yet the fruits borne of commitment come in the flavors of discipline, self-love, and unshakable confidence. As your tastebuds begin tingling from the flavors of that rainbow, you will soon find yourself within reach of the pot of gold.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

Will Power and Self Confidence are two key attributes of success that are inseparable. They are a double yolk within the same eggshell. In order to build self-confidence, we must simply begin doing what we think will give us the confidence we seek. When we are confident in our lives, we have the will power to continue working when the going gets tough because we have begun to  the results of our efforts. When our will power is strong, we feel confident that we can accomplish anything we put our minds to, because as the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Obstacles are inherently a part of a every success, and seeing your life as endless opportunity to rise above and transform through the face of challenge will skyrocket your willpower and confidence.

So just do it already!

Nike’s trademark phrase ‘Just Do It’  just about sums how. Begin by just doing whatever it is…from exactly where you are. Sure, you may have high expectations and your goals may seem a million miles away, but don’t let that stop you. We all started somewhere, and at first, we all sucked at it! Begin by breaking down your goals into bite-sized morsels. Think: 6 month plan, monthly goals, weekly goals, daily tasks. Once you begin breaking down your big goals into more manageable tasks, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and more confident that you can achieve them.

Strengthen your mind-body connection

Those that make decisions and live from a place of clarity and certainty have one thing in common — they move from the core of their being, both literally and energetically. When you activate and strengthen your core muscles, you are capable of supporting your spine, back, ligaments, and joints more efficiently. There is such a strong mind-body connection, and when you consistently push yourself in a daily movement awareness practice, the results will show not only in the waistline. Your mind will become clear and ready to meet life with compassion and focus.

Stick to it every single day, whether that means 5 minutes of laying on your yoga mat connecting with your breath, or breaking a sweat during a high intensity training. Whichever way you choose to move, always bring yourself back to your breath and the chatter in your mind. Choose an affirmation or mantra to keep you going when you feel like giving up. My go-to mantra? I can do this. I am capable. My mind is focused, my body is strong.

Follow the 5 Minute Rule

We’ve all heard of the 5 second rule, but not too many have heard of the 5 minute rule. If you decide to implement just one of these techniques, the 5 minute rule will give you the biggest bang for your buck. It’s straightforward and simple in theory, but if your mind

Case in point? Think of the last time you thought, “I’m just going to spend 5 minutes on Facebook.” Now think about how much time you actually spent on Facebook. I think we can all agree it almost always turns into much longer. Once you put a few minutes of energy and focus into an activity, project, or practice, it becomes much easier to keep the momentum going.

Your energy can be used to focus or to flounder; to spring forward or stay stuck and stagnant. You always have the power to refocus your mental energy. So give it a try — for at least 5 minutes.

Connect with your Why

If there is no basis, no passionate motive, or reasoning behind the habits you wish to transform and the goals you aspire to accomplishing, then you could be trying in vain. The true momentum comes from connecting with your why. It could be simple or elaborate: I want to lose weight because I want to be a able to have the energy to play with my grandchildren. I want to work as an interior designer because I want to feel valued for expressing my artistic esthetic in the workplace. I want to stop drinking coffee because I hate having coffee breath. Remember, these are examples. No one really stops drinking coffee, let’s be honest.

The point is, connecting with your why on a daily basis proves to be a positive reminder and serves as motivation to inspire your efforts.

Celebrate Yourself

Do you realize how awesome you are? By keeping track of your goals and working toward them one task at a time, you’ll soon find yourself accomplishing dreams that you once thought too overwhelming to deal with. You’ve come a long way in your life to be able to consistently and consciously working toward your goals. Remind yourself of the good work you’re doing by reflecting on how much you’ve accomplished to get where you are now. Celebrate yourself by renewing your vows to live a fully engaging life that inspires you.

Remember the wise words of Nelson Mandela as you transform your life and manifest you greatest visions:

“There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

 

Photo credit: Jenna Belevender Photography

Beyond Comfort and Complacency2016-11-25T13:26:10+00:00
  • Remembering my true nature

Remembering My True Nature

2016-11-28T00:07:09+00:00

They say hindsight is 20/20 and that sometimes we find what we were looking for in the least expected places. Both are popular sayings because of their relevant and timeless truth. This past week, the meaning of both phrases merged together as I found exactly what I had been looking for in an unexpected place and in hindsight, it made absolute and undeniable sense. How did these deeply personal insights arise? They arose while spending three nights in ceremony with an ancient, sacred plant medicine called Ayahuasca that helped me through a process of remembering my true nature as a creatively expressive human.

First, allow me to back it up for a moment. You see, for the past three weeks I have been living in Costa Rica at the Epic Self headquarters for a month-long Epic Fellowship. Each day I have been steeping my soul in self-reflection, strengthening my body during daily movement practice, and building new habits and a mindset that reflects the life I am intentionally creating. My body has been cleansing itself of accumulated toxins through an entirely raw vegan diet and I have been shedding the literal weight of a life that wasn’t in alignment with radiant health.

Everything I’ve done during the fellowship has helped me crystalize my voice as a conscious entrepreneur, work diligently toward my vision, and build the foundations for my business. Each day has been challenging me to push beyond my preconceived creative limits. Building a business and figuring out exactly how I want to be serving the world is no cake walk, but my self-inquiry and meditation practices were helping me gain some clarity, slowly but surely.

All of the above was, unbeknownst to me, preparation on many levels for the ceremonies that I took part in last week. Detoxifying my body through clean and pure food for the past several weeks while also adhering to the specific pre-ceremony diet allowed for a much different experience with the medicine. My body is a much cleaner vessel than it was during previous ceremonies, which allowed Ayahuasca to work less as a physical medicine (through purging) and more as a healing experience through emotional and inner self exploration and expression.

For the first two weeks of the Epic Fellowship, I couldn’t quite articulate the purpose of my business, what exactly I’d be offering, and how I would tie my unique gifts into offerings that would uplift, inspire, and better the lives of the people I’d be working with. Before the ceremonies, I had been overwhelmed with a number of different ideas that I couldn’t seem to weave together into a cohesive, strong business plan that highlighted my lifelong passion as a musician and my gifts as a coach and advocate for a healthy, creative lifestyle. During the Ayahuasca ceremonies, however, my prayers for clarity were answered and the uncertainty and confusion that had been clouding my mind was dispelled.

During the first ceremony, I was invited to share a few songs. Ayahuasca gave me greater control over subtle nuances in my voice and I was able to open it in ways that had been previously inaccessible. I felt so comfortable sharing my musical gift in a ceremonial space. For the past several years, I have been enamored with learning and carrying medicine and prayer songs from different cultures and traditions around the world. To be able to share some of them in a prayerful setting was a gift.

Playing music during that first ceremony was a journey deep into my body, my mind, and my purpose. I was invited sing and play music for the next two ceremonies to be of support to others. It was an honor to be entrusted with responsibility. I felt understood, valued, and respected for the art that I have been practicing my entire life and for who I am — as a musician and open channel for divine inspiration. I felt completely supported and I stepped into my power.

My music is my medicine. It has been a constant, solid rock throughout my entire life. It brings me such peace and is my greatest joy. It is life’s greatest gift to express myself through music. It has been a healing journey to unlock the power of my voice, yet through that process, I have transformed my life into one that is aligned with curiosity, health, and self-awareness.

It was uncanny how natural and right it felt to be sharing music during the ceremonies. It became very apparent that it was not only medicine for my own life, but for the lives and experiences of others and that it was my responsibility to continue sharing it.

Music always brings me back to my center, no matter how far I may have strayed. The inspiration that flows through me has no beginning or ending — it is always there, patiently waiting for me to turn on the faucet so that it can pour through me. It is the one thing that, without fail, always connects me to my Creator and a sense of purpose and beauty beyond comprehension.

Ayahuasca helped me uncover the vision I’d been praying for. It showed me how to integrate two integral parts of myself. I was also shown the ways in which I had been unconsciously self-sabotaging my creative efforts. With the help of this plant medicine, I tapped into the areas of self-expression I had been shielding myself from. It became clear that my passion for singing and playing music cannot be separated from my never-ending journey to greater health and vitality. The two are inseparable in my life. The better care I take of my body, the more energy I have. Translation? Energy is life, inspiration, love, expression. Each day is a new commitment to take better care of myself than I did the day before. As I make that commitment, I open opportunities to create, receive, and be of service in the world.

This past week, a quote by Marianne Williamson has been my mantra:

“Our deepest fear is not we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be.”

When we remember our true nature, we remember the fearless love that yearns to light up the world. As I remember my true nature as a creative, divinely inspired and integral part of life, I effortlessly shine my light. Ayahuasca is a medicine that I have deep respect for. In my experience, it has always uncovered the imbalances in my life, helped me reflect on the path I am on, and how to reroute if necessary. Though it may show the pathway to healing, it is always up to me to listen, act upon, forgive, and follow the awakened path of the heart.

Photo credit: Jenna Belevender Photography

Remembering My True Nature2016-11-28T00:07:09+00:00
  • gluten free raw vegan rosemary onion bread

Gluten Free, Raw Vegan Rosemary Onion Bread

2016-11-25T04:45:27+00:00

For the bread lover with a gluten allergy, finding a tasty recipe to quell the craving for a fresh baked loaf is like searching for the holy grail. To the gluten-free raw vegan, however, that search becomes a hungry, relentless hunt.

At least it has been for me.

For the past year, I have been staying far, far away from gluten. In the couple of years leading up to that decision, I ate it on occasion but began noticing signs of a gluten sensitivity popping up in my body. I had to say bye-bye to baguettes, adios to arepas, and sayonara to sourdough. Saying goodbye was difficult and my heart ached, but not as much as my belly when I ate bread.

The art of baking bread is a tradition that spans generations and bridges cultures. The aroma of bread baking, in most minds, conjures memories of comfort and family. If you’ve ever walked into a home where there are fresh loaves in the oven, then you speak the universal language of bread. Don’t worry, there’s only one word in this language: “mmmm.”

I’ve become extra sensitive to the intoxicating aromas of cooked and baked food as I’ve eaten a purely raw vegan diet for the past few weeks. Just thinking about a fresh baked bread is making me hungry, even though I haven’t eaten it in months. Last week during the Epic Awakening Retreat, an immensely talented chef named Pedro joined our team. On the last day, he made an onion bread that almost made me cry — not from the sting of onion, but from the fact that it tasted like bread. It smelled amazing, had a crust, and it was warm! I even made a sandwich. This, my friends, is something I did not know I would be able to eat as a raw vegan. Thank God I was wrong!

With Pedro’s onion bread as my muse, I decided to try my hand at making a dehydrated raw vegan bread. This bread is actually much easier to make than a traditional loaf of whole wheat.

Rosemary Onion Bread

3 C Sunflower seeds

2 Red onions, chopped

2 C Flaxseed, freshly ground

1 1/2 Tbs Rosemary

2 tsp Black pepper

1 tsp Sea salt

1/2 C Water

To prepare:

Place the sunflower seeds and red onion in your food processor and process until it reaches a fine meal. Scoop the mixture into a large bowl, then add the ground flaxseed, rosemary, black pepper, and salt. As with most bread recipes, it helps to use your heads to incorporate the mixture. Slowly add the water continue to mix all of the ingredients evenly.

On a nonstick dehydrator sheet, spread the bread mixture into a large square about 1/2” thick. It should take up almost the entire dehydrator sheet. Dehydrate at 118 degrees for 4 hours, then flip it over to a mesh tray and score the bread into 12 pieces. Dehydrate for another 3 hours if you’d like a softer, warm bread, or leave it in longer until it is firm to your liking.

Servings: 12 pieces of bread*

*Only 10 pieces of bread made it out of the dehydrator. Sabrina (also here for the Epic Fellowship) and I were really doing the rest of the team a favor because we thought we should test out the bread for safety’s sake. I mean, we wanted to make sure it wasn’t poisonous or anything…

I’m happy to share that this bread is off the hook. If you top a slice with some avocado, tomato, a squeeze of lime, and a pinch of salt, you may just find yourself in heaven. What are your favorite open-faced sandwich toppings? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

Gluten Free, Raw Vegan Rosemary Onion Bread2016-11-25T04:45:27+00:00
  • meow

5 Warrior Hacks to Fire Up That Solar Plexus Chakra

2016-11-28T00:07:09+00:00

When I was in high school, I used to have a huge issue with self-confidence. Sound familiar?

My self-talk was so Mean Girl. Even for being a natural extrovert, when self-doubt would creep up I would suddenly find myself slinking into a corner, wishing I could just disappear. I thought confidence something you were born with, something that the popular girls had.

Good thing high school is long over because guess what? That couldn't be farther from the truth.

What do self-confidence, willpower, and discipline have in common? They are expressions of a well developed solar plexus chakra. Like a muscle, it is not just naturally super strong and well-defined at birth. Nope, it takes actively developing it through daily practice, lifestyle choices, and mental attitude to get ripped.

I have certainly come a long way since my high school days! Here are my top five warrior hacks to fire up your solar plexus chakra to develop self-discipline, exercise willpower, and feel more confident.

1.Strengthening your Core

Confidence and core strength go hand in hand.

Why is that? Well it is really about strengthening the muscle of your commitment to a daily practice just as much as it is about the actually core strength itself. Every time you choose to work-out, regardless of your excuses or objections, you are strengthening your discipline muscle, giving your determination definition. And every time you feel that burning in your abs after doing crunches or holding plank pose, you are building the courage to be able to conquer even greater challenges. Every time your minds say's "Nope, not today," and you choose to get on your yoga mat or hit the gym anyway, you are building the discipline muscle required to not just change your body, but to change the whole world.

2.Breath of Fire

This is a yogic practice of rapid diaphragmatic breathing where we breath only through the nose, emphasizing the exhalation by sucking in the tummy and blowing out the nose, and then relaxing to allow for a passive inhalation. This is repeated for about three cycles of 30 breaths to start. Breath of Fire is usually done rather quickly and is meant to build up fire in the abdomen.

Physically this is a workout for your core but energetically, practicing the Breath of Fire is really stimulating the solar plexus. It helps to raise your energy, increase you endurance, tune-up your nervous system, and clear out unwanted toxins. Doing this pranayama, or breathing practice, regularly will support your willpower and mental fortitude.

3.Life as Ceremony

This hack came from my recent plant medicine journey with Ayahuasca where I was told that to truly strengthen my solar plexus, I needed to shift my attitude about discipline and confidence. Instead of seeing working out or meditating daily as chore that needed to be checked off my list for me to be happy and healthy, I should approach it as a ceremony or sacramental ritual. That is how I would find the endurance that I needed to keep it up. Stepping onto your mat or preparing your daily green smoothie, or whatever other practice your are trying to commit to maintaining as part of a healthier lifestyle, if done with the reverence and presence of a sacred ceremony, will bless you will miraculous returns in terms of personal authority and poise.

This tactic applies to confidence as well. So instead of feeling nervous about having to give a lecture, or perform for a crowd, or something else that makes you feel nervous and sick to your stomach, flip it around. See that what you are really doing is sharing a sacred offering with the world. Seen as a gift, there is no place for judgement to creep in, nor perfection.

4.Doing Begets Confidence

"Confidence is a habit that can be developed by acting as if you already had the confidence you desire to have." Brian Tracy 

That is to say, fake it till you make it. But you're not really faking it at all! You are stepping into a place of action even though you don't have it all figured out yet, and trusting in your ability to learn what you need to know as you go. This tenacious attitude is what builds mastery. It requires facing fear of failure head on, and each time you do you add to the record of successful experiences behind you, strengthening your sense of personal power and firing up that solar chakra.

5.Step into a Leadership Role

This is really is an extension of the last hack. Find opportunities to level up in your life and take them. Think of an area in your life where you could increase your leadership. It could be work, it could be authoritatively writing about or speak on a subject you have been studying for ages, it could be taking the lead on a volunteer project. If it is something you've never done before, that is even better. To step into your power, you have to actually step up. Moving up the totem pole we go from timid follower to competent leader, radiating confidence and paving the way for others to follow.

These five hacks are not the only ones but are some reliable techniques to give your solar plexus chakra a hardcore workout and build that assuredness and inner authority to take your life to the next level. Use these hacks to conquer your fear, hesitation, and doubt and become the empowered, determined, and confident person you were meant to be.

5 Warrior Hacks to Fire Up That Solar Plexus Chakra2016-11-28T00:07:09+00:00

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips

2016-11-28T00:07:09+00:00

I've never really been a chip person. Some people are always scooping up a bag of chips at the grocery store. Maybe they are the worst hydrogenated oil chips out there or maybe some fancy Whole Foods brand of 'healthier' chip alternatives, but that was never me. In truth, my sweet tooth will win out over salty anything on most days. I say most days though because there is a certain time of month when I can get a terrible hankering for salt and back in the day I would go straight for salt and vinegar chips.

Don't care about nacho, not interested in sour cream and onion. Nope, just give me that salty tartness and no one will get hurt,

It was only during that time of the month when those mad cravings for salt would hit me and usually, if I gave in and reached for a greasy bag of S&V chips, I would end up feeling way more bloated than before and probably even find myself with a massive headache. Craving salt around your menstrual cycle is not unusual but giving in to the cravings with ionized table salt is NOT the ideal solution.

So for years I flip-flopped. I would either resist these cravings by sheer force of willpower, or give in, devour a bag of salty tatter chips, and feel gross.

Then along came kale chips.

The introduction of the dehydrated kale chip was a game changer. At this initial point, there were only a few flavors on the market such as cheesy (made with nutritional yeast) or spicy. But my first thought was, where's the salt and vinegar flavor? Now this was way before i had a dehydrator, so I was working with your run of the mill oven, (which by the way works just fine) but I certainly wasn't going to wait for those salty vinegary kale chips to show up for sale at my local healthfood store. Nope, I was determined to make my own.

Yes, it is salty. And yes, you don't want a lot of refined salt in your diet but also, yes, we have a serious mineral deficiency and people need minerals and particularly high quality sodium in their diet. Just not a ton.

My answer? Himalayan pink salt or celtic sea salt (heck even Hawaiian lava salt if you can swing it). Why not? Good sources of sodium like those are great for the adrenals and give your body the minerals it needs. Just be sure to drink enough water to help those minerals move their way through the body.

And then there's vinegar. Not that gluten-y malt vinegar, no way Jose! We're working with only the best organic apple cider vinegar with the mother in there.

OMG, my mouth is watering already. Anyway, here's the recipe

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips

Ingredients

2 large bunches of organic kale

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
6 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt/pink salt/or other nutritious real salt

Directions
  1. Wash kale and remove stems, tearing into bite sized pieces. Then place kale in a large size bowl.
  2. In a small bowl mix the oil, vinegar, and salt. Drizzle mixture over the kale.
  3. Massage the dressing into the kale till well coated and the kale begins to wilt a little.
  4. Spread kale on a few dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 115 degrees for 4-6 hours or until the chips are super crispy. If you don't have a dehydrator, spread kale out on to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Then turn the oven down to the lowest temperature possible and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, with the oven door slightly ajar. Check to see if the chips are crunchy. If not continue to check every 5 minutes until you get a crunchy texture.

Last step is to hide the chips from yourself if you don't want to devour them all in a single sitting.

Ready, Set, Go!

Salt & Vinegar Kale Chips2016-11-28T00:07:09+00:00

The Faces of ONEness

2016-11-28T00:07:09+00:00

This past week has been one of the single most transformative weeks of my life, as the culmination of a long journey and simultaneously an awakening to the conscious unfolding of my destiny.

Before I start to get too heady, let me back up for a sec and give you some context.

I am down here for the Epic Fellowship where I have been mentoring with Amber and Daniel, working tirelessly on my personal growth and professional development. It has been one breakthrough after another. Every moment of everyday here has been filled to the brim with self-improvement, releasing old patterns that no longer serve, creating new wellness habits, and re-aligning with my center, spine and all. Either I am working on my fitness, nourishing my body with organic healing foods, feeding my soul with time out in Nature, or I am working on my business. Even that hard work feels like play because the business I am building encompasses all my passions, celebrates my life's purpose, and cultivates in me a tenacious sense of personal power. So that's what I have been up to since the beginning of November.

Now add to that a Kambo frog medicine ceremony and two ayahuasca journeys with an amazing group of human beings....

GTFO right?

No, this is my life.

Now, I had been waiting to sit with Mama Aya for maybe six or seven years now. I had been invited on several occasions to join friends in ceremony but I knew somewhere in my gut that the time wasn't quite right yet. Now I know that this experience here in Costa Rica was what I had been waiting for. The plant spirit calls you when she is ready for you, and that is only when she knows you are ready to receive her message.

Cleared of the toxic residue of my former life with my ex-husband. Free of toxins in my body. Free of other people's doubts and limitations. I was finally ready to step up in life a way I never had before. I was finally ready to meet her.

I went into my two ceremonies with a clear intention. I was coming to the medicine for clarity around my purpose here on Earth. Tall order! I meditated around this intention for the days leading up to the ceremony, I called on my spirit guides to be with me, I picked oracle cards to offer me wisdom and guidance on my journey. What I am saying is that I did all the things.

Doing all the things matters. Being mindful and intentional sets the space for the type of experiences you are going to have in plant medicine journeys, as in life in general. Equally important is honoring the sacredness of the ceremony,  embracing its structure, committing to the dieta leading up to the ceremony; fully participating in its living essence is quintessential.

I'm not going to even begin to go into the details of my experiences with the medicine. It will take a book, one I may write someday. For now it has taken up all the remaining blank pages of my notebook. What I will do is share with you my most significant revelation and what I took away from this epic experience.

I have a spiritual responsibility here on Earth, as someone who has received this message, to share it through all that I do, with my brothers and sisters. The message is simple, it is not unique, it is rather cliche in-fact, but it is critical nonetheless.

We are ONE.

That's it.

But of course there are implications that necessarily follow such a general statement.

When I say we are ONE, what I mean is that you reading this, and myself writing this, and everyone else here on planet Earth with us are not individual entities unrelated by anything other than homo sapien genetics. No, I literally mean we, the idiosyncrasies of our individual personalities, the apparent singularity of our physical bodies are, on a deeper level of reality, illusory. On the basement floor of the Universe, at the foundation of all reality, there is just ONE of us here.

The medicina allowed me to directly explore that ONEness though the experience of shapeshifting into different people and through doing so, allowed me to reconcile the "challenging" relationships with all the perceived "Others" in my life; my ex-husband, a old lover/friend who left my life, my stepmother, etc. They are all the faces of ONEness! Overnight, those relationships where healed through a quantum paradigm shift in perspective, all for the purpose of allowing me to move forward to the greater work that needs doing.

This medicine has transformed me, irreversibly, mind, body and spirit. Mentally, I gained the clarity I had sought. It is simple, I am here to lead others back to the ONEness. Physically, my body underwent a healing that I can't fully comprehend but felt as the medicine worked its way through my organs, my ligaments, even my chakras. It spread its way through the places where I was holding trauma in my body and cleared it out. Spiritually, I feel a sense of profound freedom and peace that is unlike any other. I feel re-aligned with Spirit. Like a clear channel, I feel open to receive divine inspiration and humbly serve.

The Faces of ONEness2016-11-28T00:07:09+00:00
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