Friday, February 7, 2014

Cultivating cocoa as an act of resistance

This video is so beautiful this woman reminds me of my own grandmother. There is something for all of us here and we all connected through love and cocoa.
An Act of Resistance from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Series: My life is like a Jewel Album PART II

This is PART 2 of the series: My life is like a Jewel Album. If you missed part 1 of this series and you want to read it the link is here.

In part 1 of the series I talked about the song Deep Water and how it helped me achieve self love.

I explained how I realized that I had embodied my interpretation of the messages from all my favorite songs off the album Spirit by Jewel.

Some of these songs became my mantras in times of loneliness and despair. I sang them with all my heart and they changed me.

In part 2 of this series I will tell you about the life lesson I took from the song Hands. Aren't you excited?!

First things first if you haven't heard it and wanna listen to what I am talking about here it is.


If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry because worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I will not be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light's the darkness most feared

My hands are small, I know,
But they're not yours they are my own
But they're not yours they are my own
And I am never broken

Poverty stole your golden shoes
But it didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after

We will fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what's right
Cause where there's a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing

My hands are small, I know,
But they're not yours they are my own
But they're not yours they are my own
And I am never broken

In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters

I will get down on my knees and I will pray
I will get down on my knees and I will pray
I will get down on my knees and I will pray

My hands are small, I know,
But they're not yours they are my own
But they're not yours they are my own
And I am never broken

My hands are small, i know,
But they're not yours they are my own
But they're not yours they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken

We are God's eyes God's hands God's mind
We are God's eyes God's hands God's heart
We are God's eyes God's hands God's eyes God's hands
We are God's hands God's hands We are God's hands 

For a long time I felt like I was broken. 

I didn't even know it but I was paralyzed by my anxiety and fear. 

I worried and spent a lot time feeling sorry for myself. 

I was taking a walk with a friend one day and he turned to me a very intent look on his face and said: "You think you're damaged goods don't you?". I was shocked and hurt by that comment. I denied it completely and skipped over it's significance for a long time.

But the truth was that I was surprised that he saw this side of myself that I thought I hid so well. What I knew subconsciously in my deepest darkest moments was suddenly exposed and forced into my present moment consciousness.

I resisted the truth of what he said even within myself for a long time but I couldn't let it go.I would feel so angry even though he had added in the next breath: "I just want you to know that you're not."  

I actually resented him so much for bringing this truth to the forefront that it took a long time for me to hear the other half of what he said. At the time I just felt confused and angry but it was so unsettling that those words were not able to be ignored. I resonated with what he said and absorbed it even though I didn't know what to do with it at the time. Being broken was my identity and I thought it served me even if it caused me pain.

When we have limiting beliefs you can be sure there is some sort of payoff otherwise we wouldn't do it. Hearing this is not easy when you are stuck but it is the key to figuring out why you're stuck and getting unstuck. In my case by being broken I didn't have to try so hard. It was okay if I failed. I could make excuses. I could blame others for my problems. I didn't have to do the work. I didn't have to face my fear of failure. 

Another problem was that I tried to make sense of it all in a logical way. I thought even if it is the truth and I'm not broken I feel broken and my feelings are real so how do I change that? I was trying to fix the problem intellectually and manipulate the outcome. What I didn't know was that my perception or feelings were working hard at keeping me feeling broken because I believed it.

The pesky thing about beliefs is that you feel them in your heart so trying to change them with your mind isn't possible. This is where it gets fun! You have to feel it. That means that instead of staying home in fetal position nursing your wounds with 600 elastics around your heart that you need to practice radical self care. That can mean many things for different people. In my case at that time it meant cleaning, organizing, decorating and this was done with music. 

Copyright Duane Bryers

One of my favorite songs was Hands so it had the honor of the repeat button. Imagine what effect this song sang out loud could have on you when you feel broken? Just the opening verse itself set the stage for me to relax and enjoy the moment: "If I could tell the world just one thing it's that we're all okay" That alone made me happy but the more I listened the more of it I absorbed. 

I am convinced that this song is enlightened. I think that Jewel saw herself as love in that moment and was able to express that we are all love and in turn I was able to feel love for myself. At some point the energy inside me shifted and I believed in love. When I was ready to believe that, I shifted towards the truth of my wholeness and stopped feeling broken. I heard those words  and I was able to make the transition to actually feeling whole and not just being whole without knowing it and feeling broken. Now I could happily accept that my friend was absolutely right.  

We are all whole.  

I was best able grasp this when I stopped thinking about it and just felt connection to something greater than myself. Some people call this God or Goddess, Jung calls this collective unconscious, Mastin from the Daily Love calls this the "uni-verse", Gabrielle Bernstein calls it your "ing", I call it spirit and many people will call it many different things but the newborn baby in us knows this as the truth:  we are all connected

As I said before, at that time cleaning, organizing and decorating were what brought me joy while I sang along to my music in the background. But now it is when I run, play guitar, write in my journal, try a new recipe with a vegetable from my garden, do pottery, spend time with my family. What brings you joy will always change and never be the same for anybody but the trick is to do more of what brings you joy. When you do you are bringing love and healing to yourself and in turn to the world. 

Lesson Learned: Practice Radical Self Care 

So thank you Jewel for that lesson it is a part of me now. Whenever I feel broken I remember to stop and perform radical self care by doing something that brings me joy and trust that "we're all okay, not to worry because worry is wasteful and useless in times like these...In the end only kindness matters"  This is my mantra, This is my prayer to turn my angst into love and in turn to offer up my healing to the world in the hopes that it might heal them too.

This is my act of spiritual activism this week what's yours? Tell me in the comments how you practice radical self-care?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Series: My life is like a Jewel Album PART I

Every morning my alarm rings at 5:00. I have to leave with a coffee in my hands to walk to the train to be sure not to miss it at 5:45. So I get up brush my teeth all the way into the kitchen grind my coffee beans, and start a brew, wash, get dressed, grab my coffee and my lunch and go.

I arrive in the city at 7:25 and walk or bike (I LOVE BIXIS) to work depending on the season. By the time I get to work it's about 7:53 and I have just enough time to go to the washroom and log in and get a coffee in time for work at 8:00am.  

All this to illustrate how little time I have and explain why it is that...

I just re-discovered the joy of listening to a whole album. I just didn't seem to have the time anymore. 

I know that sounds ridiculous but I'll explain. The main place that I could enjoy an album in full was in my car. I don't use my car to get to work anymore so I don't get to enjoy that.

Ipods don't encourage listening to a full CD. I always end up listening to a podcast or something.

When I have dinner with my family we will often pop on an album but my husband is usually in control of what we listen to because during those times we just want some nice sounds to support our interactions with each other and he's good at finding that. 

If I play music that I choose, I end up in my own musical and I am just on stage by myself. I can't help myself! 

I have to sing it is a requirement to enjoying the music for me and that is not very interactive. It is actually the opposite and makes my teenagers and husband run except for my sweet "bonus daughter" K who will enthusiastically have me write the lyrics down to sing with me.

But I digress.... I wanted to talk to you guys about how an interesting thing happened when I popped in a CD that I used to listen to about 10 years ago. 

I realized that I had embodied my interpretation of the messages from all my favorite songs off the album.

These songs became my mantras in times of loneliness and despair. I sang them with all my heart and they changed me.

In this series I will tell you about the life lesson I took from each one of my favorite songs! Aren't you excited?!

So for PART I of this series we are going to talk about the first song on the album: "Deep Water" on "Spirit" by Jewel;  This excites me because just the title alone evokes so many things. If you haven't heard it and wanna listen to what I am talking about here it is. 

You find yourself falling down
Your hopes in the sky
But you heart like grape gum on the ground
And you try to find yourself
In the abstractions of religion
And the cruelty of everyone else
And you wake up to realize
Your standard of living somehow got stuck on survive
When you're standing in deep water
And you're bailing yourself out with a straw
And when you're drowning in deep water
And you wake up making love to a wall
Well it's these little times that help to remind
It's nothing without love
You wake up to realize your only friend
Has never been yourself or anybody who cared in the end
That's when suddenly everything fades or falls away
'Cause the chains which once held us are only the chains which we've made
When you're standing in deep water
And you're bailing yourself out with a straw
And when you're drowning in deep water
And you wake up making love to a wall
Well it's these little times that help to remind
It's nothing without love, love, love
It's nothing without love
We've compromised our pride
And sacrificed out health
We have to demand more
Not of each other
But more from ourselves
"Cause when you're standing in deep water
And you're bailing yourself out with a straw
When you're drowning in deep water
And you wake up making love to a wall
Well it's these little times that help to remind
It's nothing without love, love, love
It's nothing without love
It's nothing without love

 Lesson Learned: Self Love; Learn to love yourself in this deep down way.  

In my thirties realized that I had a lot of compassion for others but not for myself.

I would look at old pictures of my self during the critical ages of about fourteen to nineteen and remembered how much I sincerely didn't like myself. 

I realized I was so mean to myself. I still had self defeating messages that carried on into my thirties.

I had been bullied in elementary school but I was free of that now and I still found a way to perpetuate it. 

I became my own bully. 

When we have a victim mentality we think that others are the enemy and get stuck in blaming others. 

I decided to take control and stop being my own worst enemy. It was easy form me to understand this intellectually but it took me a long time to embody it or feel it in my heart.

But I did and you can too! 

When I talk to my friends about these experiences I try to give as many details as I can to help them make the switch in their mind that liberated me. 

I hope this helps but keep on reading because if it doesn't I will give you a trick to stop those pervasive thoughts when you get them.

I still get these pervasive thoughts when I am not doing well.They go something like this: "You're a loser; What is wrong with you? Why can't you...". 

This is no way to elevate yourself to be all that you can be whether it be on a personal, inter-personal, professional, spiritual, physical or unnamed happiness you are trying to achieve when you don't have love for yourself.

You paralyze yourself. 

The song "Deep Water" may be interpreted in many ways but the way it spoke to me was:  "If you cannot love yourself you have no life at all. You are only existing, compromising your health and well-being and it is not up to anyone else to change that but yourself."

There are times when you feel like you are just spinning with bad self defeating thoughts and the worst part about it is that even if you do care about yourself and have some measure of self love when or how do you stop the pervasive/bad thoughts that I like to call "noise"?

The noise stops with self love and you have to demand it from yourself.

Here is my trick to get rid of the noise: think another thought that is positive. I know it sounds over simplistic but it works.

It is actually really hard to do because bad thoughts are like biting your nails. Often times you don't even notice you're having them they aren't even conscious. I'm not telling you to perform miracles but when you do notice the noise:"You're a loser" change it to a positive thought:"I'm worthy" and say it to yourself instead to banish the noise.

Songs are really helpful in that way. Songs are also pervasive and they can help you associate good memories with them depending on who you listened to them with or by reminding you of a happy period in your life when you listened to them.

You don't have to be a Jewel fan to overcome those pervasive BAD thoughts. Just find your own song or take mine I am willing to share and I'm sure Jewel is too.

With my interpretation of that song every time I sang: "It's nothing without love." I was able to concentrate on the song, the conversations I've had with it playing in the background send myself love every time.

A final thought to leave you with on synchronicity. 

I have been mulling over the idea of writing this blog series for several months. I had started writing it and knew what I wanted to say but did not finalize it yet.

Today on the day that I decide to finish writing my first post I got my thought for today newsletter from Oprah and the subject was: "5 ways to find peace in less than 5 minutes; How to stop bad thoughts". 

When I read it number 3 was:

Head It Off With A Decoy

When our brain insists on reminding us of that awful thing we said at the party last night, most of us react by suppressing the thought (and perhaps groaning). This often works, found British neuroscientists Roland Benoit and Michael Anderson, who used an MRI machine to trace the brain activity of people who were trying to forget something. In a study published in the journal Neuron, they explained that when we push a memory out of our head, activity in the hippocampus, the region of the brain critical for remembering the past, is inhibited. However, there's always the threat that the thought will pop up again... and again. Another trick that the scientists tested was thought substitution: Whenever you start rehashing the night, tell yourself instead to think about your vacation to Aruba, or reimagine every bite of a meal you enjoyed. Doing this will induce frenetic activity in the parts of the brain that need to work to retrieve memories and along the pathways to consciousness. The two thoughts will literally compete for your attention, so make the substitution memory engaging and pleasurable enough to win.
This is my act of spiritual activism this week what's yours?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I love Marie T.V.

 If you don't watch Marie T.V. yet and you want to be free and happy and have entrepreneurial ideas you must take the time and watch at least one of her videos. This is my favorite right now I am telling anyone who will listen about it.  I can guarantee that if you take the time she will say something that will inspire you.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I went to Ireland this summer and I was enchanted

I tried to bring home some Irish cheese but you cannot bring it to Canada. 

All over North America and Europe we are all experiencing a sort of food revolution, getting back to the basics about where our food comes from and taking an interest in preserving and growing our own food.

In Ireland they have some well established traditions and they have a glorious food revolution.

Watch this video you'll see how I felt inspired when I was there.

Small Green Fields from Imen McDonnell on Vimeo.

If you haven seen the producer Imen's blog: "I married an Irish Farmer" you must her pictures and stories are just as beautiful.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Music: Years by Amelia Curran

This song has been in my head rent free for about two months.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Adventures on my quest to the best veggie burger EVER!

So this whole obsession with the best veggie burger ever began when my husband came home from his annual camping trip with his girls and told me that he had to take me to Miss Patate to taste the veggie burger there.

He loves my cooking and in our twenties I introduced him to his first vegepate sandwich with sprouts and he never forgot it. He said he tried to re-create it many times but was never able to do it without me he just couldn't get the combination of ingredients quite right.

Photo credit to Ken Nagano via blog Mont Tremblant

After he had that veggie burger at Miss Patate he was feeling the same way. How did she do that? I have to take you there so we can make something like it at home. He kept asking questions like: :Why can't we find a veggie burger like that in Montreal?" Even up to a year later! 

Since we got a new used car last spring we have been going on little day trips because we are not so afraid that we'll get stranded somewhere and today we finally went to Miss Patate and he was absolutely right! The veggie burger was delectable.

Photo credit to Ken Nagano via blog Mont Tremblant

 There it is in all it's glory. What is unusual is, you are, what we Montrealers say,: "Up North" which is known for it's "cantines" and maybe some fancy restaurants around ski resorts but definitely not for any vegetarian friendly fare. So to begin with that is special in itself but like so many great things the passion and the love put into the product comes from a special woman Huguette. 

When she saw me picking away at the bun trying to figure out what this amazing bun was, with all of it's freshness, softness and ORANGE specks all over it she asked me: "Do you like your veggie burger?" . Seemingly worried that I didn't and I said I love it but I am trying to figure out what this bun is made of because it is so delicious and she didn't just smile me away. She actually got the buns out from the back and showed me the packaging and told me where I could get some. 

She uses these carrot buns from an organic bakery in Sainte Sophie, a veggie patty with white melted cheese (not necessary for vegans) along with her house grown sprouts, some sweet onions, lettuce, tomato, banana peppers and her special sauce. As she puts it it's almost like cake and I agree. It was so good. 

When I asked what inspired her to do this in such an unlikely place she said that it was because she didn't eat alot of meat so she was trying to find easy things to eat at work and over five years she developed this product. After talking for a while I found out that her poutine was also veggie, no meat gravy, just vegetable. 

Huguette and her son Julien photo credit to Ken Nagano via blog Mont Tremblant

She also serves veggie pogos and hot dogs. So vegetarians eat your heart out. It is not healthy food or anything but vegetarians like to go to cantines too and now they can and enjoy more than some fries. Her son is there to help her and it's impressive the way they all work together, we got there in a rush and they were rushing about cooking everyone's food and still had time for a friendly chat. 

I didn't even tell her I was going to write a blog post about her. I didn't know I would but I was so impressed with her passion, kindness and generosity that I didn't see how I couldn't. Thanks Huguette et Julien!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Occupy Movement and A Painted House by John Grisham

One thing you may not know about me is that I read a lot of books! All kinds of books, any books,  people give me books all the time and they are all read and then passed on. It is pretty rare that I don't like a book. 

I find I learn about life and life experiences with fiction even more than an informational or non-fiction book. I admit it may be my  state of openness when I read fiction because I am doing it with pure joy without any obligation and complete receptivity.

I think all stories even science fiction which is even in worlds that don't exist have elements of truth or something to ponder about; a place, a time and relationships. I mark off passages that move me or made me think about something I want to talk about or share with my family or write about; either in my journal to help me along with something I'm struggling with or just explain something I've been feeling but couldn't put into words. 

I thought I'd share this one with you today because sometimes we think the stock markets and the world we live in today puts us at the mercy of wall street. Now what you may know about me is that I love the underdog so I resonate with the occupy movement much more that I do with the one percent but this passage on page 78 of "The Painted House" by John Grisham assuaged me somehow.

The story is told in the voice of a young boy which was really refreshing it was a great little read: 

"My pop says the cotton prices are goin' down," Dan Montgomery said as he tossed a rock into the darkness. "Says the cotton traders in Memphis are pushin' down prices 'cause there's so much cotton."

"It's a big crop," I said. The Montgomery twins wanted to be farmers when they grew up. I felt sorry for them.

When the rains flooded the land and wiped out the crops, the prices went up because the traders in Memphis couldn't get enough cotton. But the farmers, ofcourse, had nothing to sell. And when the rains cooperated and the crops were huge, the prices went down because traders in Memphis had too much cotton. The poor people who labored in the fields didn't make enough to pay their crop loans.

Good crops or bad crops it didn't make any difference."

See what I mean? This made me remember that we have to be careful with nostalgia. Many people have struggled for a long time and well there have always been the ones who beat it or find another way and even thrived when things were much harder so we can too. What do you think?