Monday, 25 January 2016

Liquid Lunch

M: I have a random question for you
Me: Hello! Fire away
M: Aw, it's fine, I know you're a busy lady
Me: No, not at all, I'm at home. Actually I have a ridiculously full bowl of soup on my lap
M: Ooooo. D will be jealous, whereas I will be disgusted I'm afraid
Me: Ah, are you not into soup?
M: Noooo, why have liquified food when you're not even an astronaut?
Me: I have secret astronaut aspirations, you caught me
M: Hahahahaha excellent. I hope that wasn't a joke. Tim Peake is making everyone reevaluate their life choices

Friday, 22 January 2016

Becoming Myself

But if I tell people what I need maybe they'll walk away. And if I open up and show them all of me it will hurt all the more when they walk away, or worse when they reject me. These are the stories that I tell myself. Because of this I show people some and keep the rest hidden, then if they go, I say 'it's ok, they didn't know the real me.' I feel this emotion in my heart, all this pain surfaces and aches, disappointment and sadness, rejection and abandonment. A tight ball of hurting energy.

But what is the greater truth here? If I reach out and ask people will help me. I do matter and my needs will be met. But people are not mind readers, I have to ask.

'Deep down there is a recognition that you, me, all of us in becoming ourselves, that by realising the possibility of who we are, that that is a world changing act.' I have always wanted to change the world but I never knew how. Now I know, be myself. In this day and age, that is world changing.

'You need a tribe of support around you. We need to gather our tribe to make the greatest difference with our gifts.' So here I am, grounding my energy into the earth, reaching out to those around me, to my deeper intuition and to life itself and developing the trust that life will catch me if I fall. Don't turn away, don't disconnect, look, see, pay attention, the sweetest moments are yet to come.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Goodbye, Starman

I woke up this morning to the sad news that David Bowie has died after an 18 month battle with cancer. Goodbye starman, your contribution to this world will be sorely missed.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Tiny Wellies and Messy Hair

Sometimes I get this pain in my heart, I feel constrained somehow, my energy trying to break through. Recently I've been sitting with that feeling, trying not to push it away. It feels like 6 year old me, in white woollen tights and little wellies, her curly hair all dishevelled. This is a vulnerable part of me. How do you feel? I ask her. Scared, she says. I can see that you are scared, I say. She leans in for a hug. What do you need? I ask. Love, she replies, looking at me with big anxious eyes. I can see that you need love. I hug her and repeat this again. I can see that you need love.

When I feel all this in my heart, the adult part of me expands, I feel compassion for that small girl in the wellies with messy hair. I don't try to fix it, for now I'm just trying to sit with it, to listen to her. When I finish hugging her, I imagine light coming from my heart, expanding, big enough to wrap around that hurt energy of hers and make her feel heard. In this way I connect and integrate those parts of me that are stuck, that dictate my fears even now.

Some days, on those black dog days, that pain in my heart is all I can feel. I don't matter, I think. I won't get my needs met, I have to do all this alone, it's never going to work out for me. But other days I tap into a deeper truth, behind all the flotsam and jetsam of hurt, the truth that whispers Love is everything, you are finding people who love you how you are, you matter immensely, the world is beautiful. On those days, I pause to look at my life and I realise: I'm not alone now, people love me, Life will take care of me, I matter and I'm completely worthy of love. Those days the little girl inside me jumps in leaves and dances around in joy. Those are the days when my adult self becomes grounded in truth and my light shines brighter and further than before. Maybe every day could be a wellies and messy hair day.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Ride it Cowboy

I've been having an allergic reaction to something for the last week and I have no idea what it is. I thought it might be the new conditioner that I tried, which makes me sad because it made my hair look so great, but the rash on my skin was not so good. Oh well. In the meantime I went into Lush to get more cleanser and got chatting to one of the staff. She told me about the pie that her mum made her for Christmas and it sounded too good not to share.

Hollie's Mum's Vegan Cowboy Pie

one tin of mixed bean salad, with spicy sauce
a small tin of butterbeans
2 sweet potatoes

- Prick the skin of the sweet potatoes and put them whole into the oven at about 180 until they are soft (anywhere between half and hour and an hour). Put all the beans into a pan and heat through on the hob

- When the potatoes are soft, take the skins off and mash the rest of the potato in a bowl.

- Put the beans in a casserole dish and then spread the mashed sweet potato over the top and pop in the oven for about 20 mins until the beans are bubbling.

She serves it with kale, I might try roasted vegetables. Easy and very tasty!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Jam for Tea

I made jam! Look, look! And it didn't caramelise this time, ha ha, it was spreadable, edible quite lovely raspberry jam. Hurrah!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

A New North Star

Sometimes I feel like I don't quite belong in this world and it perplexes me, I'm here but not here and that is very curious. What's wrong with me? I ask in the dead of the night, why can't I be happy like other people? The truth is that I'm not alone, nor am I that strange in this regard, there are quite a few people who don't feel like they fit in the world as it is now, and this is a feeling of change that is building across the world. In the words of Claire Zammit, 'In many ways we need to create structures for ourselves to be able to be ourselves. The structures don't yet exist in the world for us to give our gifts, to make a living in ways that are true to the new values that we are waking up.'

I was talking to a colleague the other day about our spiritual paths, technically they are very similar but I noticed that the language he used was very alienating to me, I felt cut off, left out of the equation. As someone who is trying to understand what I need from my path at the moment I need to explore this feeling. I often feel like I don't belong, that I am on the edge, missing out on the joke somehow. Maybe this experience holds some insight.

Structure. Control. Angular. Hard. Purpose driven. Contained. Perfection. Linear. Focused. These are all words of masculine power, I find they bring up sharp edges and discomfort in me. This is the paradigm of power in our time, someone else provides structure and definition, gives my life order - I start work when classes start and end when they end, there is a regimen. In some ways this structure is important - without structure there are no boundaries, where I end and you begin, where work ends and play begins. It makes me feel safe and protected, something I don't feel much of in this life. But it also constrains me, I am unable to listen - to myself, to nature, to joy. There is no room to play in these structures, no room for frivolity until all the proper work is done.

Emotional. Related. Flow. Surrender. Soft. Nurturing. Love driven. Chaotic. Wild. These are all feminine qualities, the places that speak to me more, the places I belong. I feel less like someone is constraining me and more like I have agency, here I rely on my intuition, on what my body tells me. I have a strong urge to relate to others, to care about them, I feel at home here, in a way that I don't within the more masculine view of power. Indeed, as Zammit points out, if you look up power in the dictionary, it is defined as to do, to act, to accomplish, force, command, control. She says, 'there is not really a word in the English lexicon that would begin to evoke what a feminine version of power might look like. The closest word I found is 'magic' which means to harness the forces of energy'.

Thinking about this has been very important for me, to validate the way I live my life. Many things have happened the last few years and I am low on reserves, being ill taught me that I must live in accordance with my intuition and my body but this is a lonely path in this part of the world and this validation from others serves as a lifeline: I'm not alone! And I'm not even that strange. I'm just oriented in a different power system, I just find value in other things. I believe that the current way of running things, that definition of power has been very important - it kept us all safe, it gave us clear goals. But I also believe that there are other things that are important now, the world is complex and nuanced and needs to be treated as such. Another form of power needs to enter the equation too, a new north star for us to orient ourselves by. What will I be doing in all this? I will try and live a magical life, a powerful life as I have been, to show other people that there is another way of being for all of us who don't fit into the world as it is now. Carving out that space is the beginning of building the structures for us to safely be ourselves. By really being ourselves, we change the world.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year!

I had a lovely, quiet new years eve with some friends - it turned out to be pretty international! Of the six of us, we had one Russian, one Belgian, one who grew up in the Middle East, one German and a one living in Switzerland!

I got there early enough to help with the cooking - we had two Russian salads, and one of the other girls brought a lentil soup - because in Germany lentils are seen as giving you good luck in the new year. I'd brought a carrot cake and someone else brought a lemon cake as well. The food was delicious!

We drank gin and champagne, ate dinner, played with the dogs, watched the German show 'Dinner for One' which is something that is repeated every year on German TV at new year, listened to Russian new year songs and then watched the fireworks at Big Ben on TV to count in the new year. Then we sang Auld Lang Syne, did some champagne toasts, and then went outside which is the Russian custom, where you head out to meet the new year. After that the neighbours came round and we drank more champagne, petted the dogs and finally at about 1.30 all of us who didn't live there headed home. It was a really genuinely lovely start to the new year.

Then today I had lunch with a friend, and headed to Pret to have a coffee and say hi to the barman - he gave me a free coffee! While I was there someone I hadn't seen in a while came up and told me that they were really grateful for the meditations I had taught them and the support I had given them, it was a really difficult time, he is much happier now, but he wanted to tell me how grateful he was at how understanding I had been. That was really surprising, and very moving. What a beautiful start to the year!

Vegetarian version of Herring in a Fur Coat (Shuba)
serves 6

1 large beetroot
2 or 3 carrots
2 nori seaweed sheets
3 or 4 medium potatoes
200ml / 7oz mayonnaise
3 big pickles

1. Peel the veg and put in water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 - 40 mins until the beetroot is  completely soft but not mushy

2. Then grate the veg separately. Arrange a layer of grated potato at the bottom of a baking dish and pat it down with a fork.

3. Spread 3-4 tbsp of mayo over the potato. Cover that with a nori sheet and wet it a bit with a tbsp of water to make it soft.

4. Cover that with a layer of finely sliced pickles, then spread some mayo over that.

5. Place the second nori sheet over that and wet it with some water. On that place the grated cooked carrot and flatten with a fork, and then cover that with 3-4 tbsp of mayo.

6. Then cover that with a layer of the grated beetroot, flatten that with a fork and cover with mayo. Place the dish in the fridge for at least half an hour. You should be able to cut it into slices like a cake.

Olivier Salad
serves 4

3 potatoes
2 salted cucumbers / pickles
1 cup green peas
2 carrots
3 tbsp of chopped sundried tomatoes in oil
4 tbsp mayonnaise

1. Peel and cook potatoes and carrots for 20 - 30 mins over medium low heat until they are soft.

2. Cube the potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and pickles and combine being careful not to overmix.

3. Cook the peas if you need to, add that to the salad, and stir in the mayo.