Tool Kit for Life’s Hard Days

TOOL KIT POST (1)No-one escapes tough days in life, it’s part of the experience. There are hundreds if not thousands of reasons for these challenging days, but there is a common set of events that unite them. We are all built the same way, but it’s not so much the painful or disappointing situations that crop up in our daily lives that give us so much grief, more so, it’s the way we deal with them.

This common event is the body/mind reaction. It’s the way your mind, emotions and body reacts to the difficulty which arises. We can’t end suffering but we can find a way to be with the difficulty without adding to it.

Dwelling, giving in, denial, feeling sorry for the self, guilt, criticism and victim-hood are all approaches which prolong the pain. Whereas acceptance and appropriate action can bring about more peace whilst you deal with sadness, pain and other feelings, which we tend not to like spending much time with.

As a society, we have an aversion to “negative” feelings, but in fact, we can chose to stop seeing these emotions as a threat, and instead, acknowledge them more of a part of life. Trying to avoid unhappiness will only make it more painful when you experience it. It also sets up an in-authenticity and a shallow need for the constant good. Which we all would prefer, I’m sure, but if you realise that life is ultimately about growing, then you can’t grow if you only experience one side of life. What goes up, must come down, at somepoint!

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Guide to Setting Smart Goals

Taking action provides us with a sense of personal power. When we don’t like something, are unhappy, or want more positive qualities in our life, we must make a conscious choice for it to come about. Rather than giving in, or resigning ourselves to more of the same, we can get stuck in and make an effort to be proactive.

Do keep in mind however, that especially when it comes to situations of recovering health, that in some cases, the action may be less about doing and more about making a decision to accept a current situation and make the best of things, until more activity and ability to move forward can be taken. Acceptance in general can be deceiving, we may at first think that it is giving into weakness, or even apathy, yet it’s often the first stage to true transformation; and this stage cannot be rushed. Things don’t end at acceptance, it’s just an essential step for any type of new birth in life.

Once you have accepted your current reality as it is, including all “perceived” and real limitations, then you are ready to see what is truly possible. Often we don’t know what we are completely capable of, until we try. This is especially true when treading new horizons in our world. Be prepared for all manner of events, as you step into a slight unknown.

A goal comes about once the desire for change is big enough for you to devise a plan or create an aim to make a new or different step. This visionary stage is the first step. Often, if the feeling for something more positive in your life is strong enough, then you will have the fuel to get you through each stages of achieving your goal.

There are certain highly regarded qualities which are normally at the heart of our desire, which lie behind our goal. We don’t always recognise these at first, but it can help to look deeply into our bubbling passion, because once we understand these universal qualities, we can attract greater assistance from the universal flow of our life. In a nutshell, it brings us into a place of deeper manifestation.

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Vegetable Curry

VEG CURRY

This curry is so easy and really warming and filling! You want to cook this in a super big pan if it’s not going in a slow cooker. This creates about 4/5 portions. You can add a couple of diced chicken breasts, if eating meat.

Ingredients:

  • 5 large potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 200grams red lentils
  • 500ml veg stock,(normally 2/3 Kalo cubes)
  • 3 tblsp mild or medium curry powder, (I like a mixture of both)
  • Additional sprinklings of paprika, garlic salt, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, (make it as hot as you like).
  • Salt and pepper

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Simple Morning Muesli

  A taste of fruity, natural heaven, this simple muesli is so fresh and filling. A great way to start the day.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbls Bio yogurt
  • Small banana
  • 4 tbls porridge oats
  • Couple handfuls chopped walnuts 
  • 5 dates
  • Handful raspberries 

Just dice all the fruit and mix up the remaining ingredients with the yogurt. Then enjoy! 

How Meditating Can Change Your life 

Meditation

Building a firm meditation practice can really transform your unhelpful habits, behavioural patterns and relationships. It can literally make your body, mind and life, in general, a much better place to exsist.

The type of meditation that can really help to transform your life is one where you spend time aside from your mind. It’s a reflective exercise where attention is payed to the breath so that you observe your mental patterns, rather than simply being them.

This practise is often called mindfulness meditation. It’s different to other relaxation methods, such as guided creative visualisation or hypnosis, where there is an aim or an experience of intending to lift up and out of yourself. This is incredibly useful for the purpose of relaxing, or in the case of hypnosis, for working on changing, an already identified negative habit.

However, these techniques may not offer, true transformational change within us, without the addition of a meditation practice. This is often because it can lead to escapist tendencies or avoidance of truly being with, and seeing the mental constructs which are keeping us stuck in the same cycles of behaviour. Of course, becoming more present and awake to the moment doesn’t have to arrive solely out of meditation. Many people can come to this in other ways, through shock, life trauma or just an evolving entry into an alert being state. However meditation for many, remains a useful tool to become steadily more free from the mental suffering.

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Spicy Coconut Lentil / Sweet Potato Soup

Spicy Lentil &Coconut Soup
Playing with my new slow cooker, I made a favourite all orange ingredient, soup of mine and it was fun to just let it simmer away all morning. In fact in only took around three and a half hours until it was ripe for the hand blender. This recipe has evolved each time I’ve made it, and today I think it’s reached the peak of flavour. It’s a thick, harty soup for cold days and hungry tummy’s.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 5 large carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cans, drained butter beans
  • 175grams of red lentils (around 6 handfuls)
  • 3/4 can coconut milk
  • 2 veggie stock cubes in 700ml water
  • 5 tblsps curry powder (mild or medium depending on how spicy you like it)
  • Salt, pepper, splash cayenne pepper

Method:

  1. Peel and chop veg and add to either your slow cooker or very large soup pan, (if using soup pan you may need to top up the stock water a little more).
  2. Literally chuck in all the ingredients and allow to simmer until ripe to blast with the hand blender
  3. You can play with adding more spice or coconut milk to make hotter, or cool it down again with the milk.
  4. Serve with a swirl of coconut milk, dash of spice ontop and eat with bread. Alternatively, because it has a chunky Indian taste, a nan bread or chapati may be nice for dipping.

Enjoy the veggie, curry, coconut orange soup and share with your buddies if you dig it 😉

ME/CFS and Fibro in a Nutshell – My Own Theory

Key Cause – Long term over-arousal of nervous system: An abnormality in the functioning of the Hypothalamus / Adrenal Axis, (causing a maladaptive stress response) and leading to problems with the metabolic system, primarily in the production of ATP

Differential terms – Chronic fatigue or adrenal burnout is not the same as ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia which are more serious health conditions. This does not however mean that one can not recover, although the level of recovery is likely due to be different for everyone and perhaps largely based on how many contributing factors have been present and fome/cfs explainedr how long, equally the time in getting diagnosed will effect things. Moreover the level of commitment to seek healing for the body and to do work on transforming ones individual psychology, in addition to biological factors will greatly accelerate things.  A healthy spiritual attitude and the development of mindfulness meditation and present moment is key to this.
Further explanation: The ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia experience is when things have tipped beyond the state of stress overload. Likely a collection of prolonged stressors or a single trauma has lead to a crash state of ill health, which often culminates in malfunction in a number of different systems in the body. Once in this position further over-stimulation will lead to pain and an immune or nervous system reaction. Over-stimulation can be anything from moving, talking, thinking more than is possible, or exerting any energy beyond what is capable at your particular stage or level of severity.

Symptoms – This can result in some or many of these factors: depleted / weakened immunity (with auto-immune related symptoms, such as swollen lymph glands, low grade fever and raised inflammation, gut and digestive problems including Candida, IBS and subsequent nutritional deficiencies). Additionally further problems with autonomic nervous system over-activity which can cause, sleep disturbance, nerve pain, adrenal burnout, eye problems, hormonal imbalances, neurotransmitter dysfunctions / anxiety and depression, cardiological abnormalities including arrhythmia and POTs, migraine, muscle and joint pain, and metabolic dysfunction

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Courgette fritters – Wheat free!

A great and quick way to use up your veg and also get some lunchtime protein is to have a fritter, mmm! You can also make it vegan by using a chia seed alternative to eggs, see below. There are only three staple ingredients and it takes minutes to make.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium courgettes or one large
  • 2 eggs or 3 tblsps chia seeds with 9 tblsps water
  • Half mug wheat / gluten free flour or buckwheat / brown rice flour
  • Seasoning
  • You’ll need a jelly cloth or kitchen cloth to squeeze excess water from the courgette

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Are you Balanced Physically and Spiritually? 

PHYSICAL - SPIRITUALHave you got your head in the clouds? Or are you disconnected from the soul of life? Walking with our feet firmly on the ground, partaking in everyday life, whilst embracing our connection to our deepest self and the earth can be tricky to master.

Like all extremes in life, we can get caught up in one camp and lose touch with its counterpart. This leaves us imbalanced and with a feeling of missing something. On one-hand, it doesn’t take a great deal of effort to be present, embodied and connected, although often the simplest of things evade us. Much like the practice of meditation, it is so easy, yet equally highly complex with many layers of profound experience and learning.

Why do some of us reject or miss out on the more abstract and spiritual experience of life? Yet others dwell in this realm daily. Furthermore, why do some dwellers in spirit become out of touch with the material and physical domain?

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Homemade Chocolate with Fruit & Nuts

 First time making healthy homemade chocolate today, and it’s rather gorgeous! Just three staple ingredients needed. It’s so totally easy, so get cracking and make some if you haven’t yet tried the experience.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 3/4 cup cacao
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 4-6 tblsps date syrup, (can use agave, coconut blossom, maple syrup or honey)

For extra taste I added a sprinkle of chopped fruits and nuts:

  • Pecan nuts
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Dates
  • Dedicated coconut

Method:

  1. Heat the coconut oil
  2. Once it’s a liquid take off the heat and sieve in the cacao powder with a whisk
  3. Add your natural sweetener and whisk
  4. Transfer the chocolate to a tin, with grease proof paper if it’s not non-stick
  5. Allow to set in the fridge for 20-30mins
  6. Slice and keep in fridge for up to a week

The raw fruit does make it a little wetter but I didn’t mind imperfect slices and I liked having fresh fruit combined. If you want firmer slices then use dried fruit and nuts only. You could also up the amount of chocolate for thicker chunks.

Enjoy! And share your choco stories or variations…