Life · Uncategorized

Turning Away From Toxic Relationship Patterns.

I read and watch and listen to so many high-vibe living blogs and Youtube channels and podcasts. And I always wonder: why is every single segment or topic about how something is wrong and what to do to fix it? How is that possible when this person claims to live a high vibrational life filled with good things and contentment?

Well, I am in that boat now.

And let me tell you, it’s because every day I find a new way to expand and live a better life, and it’s usually as a result of overcoming something new. And all of the things that have led me to live a better life, ever, have really been about overcoming. Overcoming a limiting belief, my own emotions, etc.

There are so many angles from which to write about this and they are all so important.

So in short, that is why! But don’t fret. I must have thanked God at least 20 times just today, genuinely, from the bottom of my heart. Life is so good. So with that, let me finally get into today’s post.

It’s about the toxic relationship patterns.

You know when someone brings out something in you that you thought you’d already kissed goodbye. Some behaviour pattern maybe or some way of responding that just belongs to your past (or maybe you feel it doesn’t belong to you at all), but somehow, being around this particular person long enough just brings it out!

So what gives?

What gives is validation. Ugh, the v-word, I know… It’s like, haven’t we been over this already? Yes, yes; we don’t need validation, etc. But there’s more to it, I think. For me, validation is a part of most healthy relationships. To see the truth of who you are in that moment seen and accepted by another person even as it contrasts with theirs is such a beautiful and healthy thing. It’s part of what makes life, relationships, friendships so juicy!

And I think we all subconsciously know that’s part of the beauty of a relationship. We know it’s part of that juiciness, so we’ll go a ways to find it! We’ll make sure our manners are squeaky clean and we’re showing people our best sides, we smile when we don’t mean it sometimes, we show the most “acceptable” parts of ourselves to others, etc.

And then there’s that one person! We do everything and more and it just doesn’t work. Our best self, the most angelic we can be, just doesn’t cut it with this person. In fact, in my experience of somebody who has been in my life, my highest vibe self was rejected and looked down upon.

Every time I was happy, this person was clearly not happy for me. Every time I talked about something I was grateful for, they were only half listening. You get the point.

And then I discovered something else. If I indulged this person with gossip and judginess about others, if I gave into the arguments they picked, I suddenly had that validation. Gossipping about another human being, or better yet outright putting them down, got me their undivided, positive attention.

And I found that, with enough time in this person’s presence, I would crack and give in to the need to be validated. I spoke badly about shared acquaintances or even family members that I love. I truly love these other people… As I spoke about them, I felt I was telling lies and getting away from my own truth. But even as I felt dirty, I kept doing it, time and time again.

One day it dawned on me why it was happening. I was looking for the validation. I felt I needed those moments of undivided attention… It felt like water to a plant. And gossiping and judging others was just a hoop I was jumping through to get it.

Except it wasn’t… I was giving up my integrity, and feeling terrible for a really long time each time it happened. What I did for the validation simply was not worth it. The awareness of why this person brought out “the worst” in me made all the difference.

Even as I have felt tempted a few times to “give in” again, I now am keenly aware that I simply don’t and can’t have that deep connection with that person at this point. I have turned away from that part of our relationship lovingly. The experience has been humbling; it’s been about recognizing the boundaries I need to draw to protect my soul and psyche while at the same time recognizing the other person’s free will.

Does this expand your understanding? Let me know with a comment.

 

 

Advertisements
Life · Uncategorized

living free. (online dating.)

We live in such a wonderful age of possibilities, of new connections with like-minded others at the tips of our fingertips, one swipe away. I have downloaded an online dating app, and I have been exploring the world of virtually meeting others—before meeting them in “real life.”

pinkroses

It has been an illuminating experience. Tucked into the comfort of my favourite nook in front of the television, or picking up my phone on a break from projects through the day, I have been surprised to find how energetically affected I can be by coming into contact with just photos of others on a small screen.

Mindful online swiping has become nothing less than essential. Here are a few things I try to keep in mind before opening my app… I strongly encourage you to consider these points. They can make all the difference.

  1. Feeling happy and self-validated: It’s easy to turn to external sources of validation, and what is both immediate and “fulfilling” in that sense other than an online dating app? Yet seeking this type of validation can quickly become a drain on our inner source of strength and diminish our ability to self-validate and take stock of ourselves for who we truly are in the context of our alignments and experiences. It is for this reason that I make it a priority to only turn on my dating app when I feel good and happy within myself.
  2. Five swipe rule: With what seems like countless “options” all available in successive swipes, an online dating app can turn into a black hole. Yet, as the app user, that facet is completely in my control! I have made it a point to not “swipe” more than five people at any given time, and I usually don’t turn my dating app on more than once or twice a day. This keeps me from spending precious time during my day distracting myself, instead of focusing on what brings me joy, and it also stops me from treating other beautiful humans as commodities available for consumption at the touch of a button on my screen (more on this).
  3. Other people’s beauty: Online dating has brought me virtually face-to-face with people from all walks of life. I have been gifted with glimpses of some of these strangers’ best memories (photos) and bits of their lives, favourites lists, etc. It can be tempting to want to judge someone before pressing x (or swiping left for a no). But prodding into my mind, I’ve found that this need to justify comes from a sense of guilt… And yet, there is supposed to be no rhyme or reason for why we’re attracted to some people and not to others. Love is not a set of cold, emotionless mathematical equations, so don’t feel pressured to judge those who simply don’t inspire an aspect of you… This is just part of being human. There is still a 100% chance you are both looking for love, fulfillment, happiness, safety, and healing, and have more in common with each other than the minutes in a single lifetime would allow you to share. Forgive yourself for not wanting to love everyone romantically and never forget the humanity of the other people on the screen.
  4.  Your own value: Just as you let yourself like who you will, let others like who they will, too, without judgment towards them or yourself. It’s very likely that the true reflection of who you are cannot be glimpsed in five pictures and twenty-five words in addition to your job title, but if it was, remember that not being someone’s cup of tea romantically is not a judgment towards you or your value as a person, or even as a partner. We are all ever-changing, magical beings in different stages of self-realization, some of us better at manifesting the pure truth that lies within all of us than others. None of that is a reflection of how good we are or who we are. If you find yourself delving into self-judgment, put your app to sleep and turn on your newest favourite song, turn to a creator that inspires you, close your eyes and breathe, do five minutes of yoga…whatever it is that puts the magic back into your heart.

This human experience is so temporary and there will literally never be a point where your outside experience matches all that you are and feel inside, for you will always be more than it is. And that is okay; it’s part of the deal! You are an infinite being on a blip of a beautiful human journey. Take the quirks but never let them suck a single ounce of joy from your beautiful heart.

 

Life · Uncategorized

Things That Make Me Happy

A few weeks ago, I stopped my job hunt and decided to settle into a routine with my remote work and to take on a larger course load with school. Having spent so many months in limbo, often overexcited or worried about one interview or the next, and feeling as though my entire life routine and even place/city of residence could suddenly change, I didn’t take a lot of time to just enjoy life. Now that I know that for the next year or so, this will be my life, and I will not need to look for another job, I can just settle into this and focus on everything good.

I can’t describe what a relief this realization has been; I feel like I can stop waiting to live and just live now. And this post is a list/celebration of the simple, accessible things that bring me joy.

20190101_115630

— A good hike with friends. I stipulate “with friends” because I recently had an awkward experience with a member from a Meetup hiking group—generally things were fine with them, though, so this is not meant to reflect badly on the website. I love hiking and getting out in nature. Depending on the season, the same trails can look completely different, and the Bruce Trail in Ontario has over 880 Km, so exploring new sections is a favourite hobby. Winter hiking is an especially satisfying experience. I feel twice as adventurous going out when it’s snowing outside (though if you plan to do the same, please read about safety and don’t go alone).

— Writing dates with myself! I’m genuinely surprised I like this one so much, but it’s true. I feel so, so good going to a coffee shop and working on my creative writing project. I am working on a story outline, but it’s been getting pushed back because it seems like there’s always something else to do. Home is just not a place where I can leverage my focus when it comes to things I don’t have to do, unlike studying or work. Well, it turns out that going to a coffee shop does the trick; it’s just so official, and once I’m there, I can focus on my project with abandon, without feeling like there’s something else I should look up or do. It feels like I’m taking time for myself, even though it’s productive time, and finishing this project would be a win professionally and personally.

—Meditating after a Tone it Up workout (and the Tone it Up workout). Hear me out! I don’t have a gym membership, and no fancy exercise equipment (I own a Weslo bike I bought two years ago for $120 CAD and some dumbbells and a yoga mat). The Tone it Up app subscription runs at about $12 CAD per month, and it offers so much. There are daily workouts that are 20–30 minutes long, and daily and weekly schedules. In addition to that, there are guided meditations available. Sometimes I’ll go a few days without working out with my TIU trainers, and I forget how amazing I feel after one of their workouts. The combination of the vocal encouragement and the exercise moves leaves me feeling like I’ve taken a plunge into a pool of endorphins and drank it all. To turn on one of their 10-minute guided meditations after that and enhance that feeling is amazing. It’s definitely the type of thing that can turn the day around for me; the hardest part is convincing myself to actually go for the workout on those days (they’re not always easy!).

—Salads and protein smoothies because they represent the purest, truest form of self-care to me. It’s true that positive/constructive self-talk and a good attitude are realistically even more important to me, but I feel a nagging sense of pride eating a salad. And as someone who eats a lot of salads and drinks a lot of smoothies, it’s weird that I STILL get this feeling every single time. But it’s been years, and the magic is still alive. That probably has something to do with why I keep going back to my super green, super “earthy” tasting smoothies. I feel like I’ve won a competition when I eat well, and that’s a positive feeling of joy that nothing else other than winning an actual competition can give me.

—Mindful Youtube or Netflix watching. That little adjective at the beginning of this is SO important. Here’s a little tid-bit on me: left to my own devices, I fluctuate between over-control and eventually, after a crash and exhaustion, under-control. So it’s important that I intentionally create balance between work and “life,” times when I put in concentrated, hard work and times where I can take it easier and live more slowly. One way I genuinely enjoy taking it slowly is watching TV shows or my favourite videos. But that can easily turn into a binge if I’m not careful, and not only is that potential lost time that should have been dedicated to other things, but it also makes me feel really guilty. So instead, I like to plan exactly what I’m going to watch before I do: is it two episodes of Lucifer? Five Youtube videos I can chuck into a playlist? Whatever it is, I make a plan for when to stop and what to do after. And then after that,  I grab a blanket and a mug of tea and rid myself of every distraction and just relax. This can be so therapeutic if done with intention and mindfulness!

I’d love to know what everyday parts of your life you find joy in. I think sometimes it takes looking over our day and finding out where we can make space to do the things we already do a little more intentionally that can make the difference between a meaningless routine and a space/time of joy. Would you agree?

 

food · Life · Uncategorized

Friday Favourites

ONE: The Price of Free Youtube has acquired the award-winning documentary called “The Price of Free.” Incidentally, the documentary is FREE, and I really recommend you take an evening to watch it. It’s about child slavery and labour, particularly in India. I was appalled to see HomeSense wares are made through child slave labour. HomeSense of course carries products of individual companies, but they should have a much better vetting system in place than one that allows malnourished, imprisoned and abused children to work for free for 16 hours a day to make discount goods. One of the main messages of the documentary is that the price of cheap and discounted goods is paid by someone even if it’s not the consumer.

TWO: Uber Eats I have only used Uber Eats twice before, but it’s not until today that I realized what a total life saver it can be. Even though I’m pretty good about making frozen entrees and meal prepping for those just-in-case days where I don’t feel like cooking (or I’m too busy) even defrosting and plating a ready frozen meal can take 15 minutes or more. So today, I had a few things that needed taking care of urgently, and I decided to use Uber Eats, and it just took away that little bit of stress because it was just one less thing to take care of.

THREE: Uber Simple Meals See what I did there? No, not the company uber, just the word. I’ve learned how to make a microwave Thai rice curry soup, and it’s amazing. Instead of steaming or sautéing the veggies (one cup shredded kale and 1/2 cup shopped red bell pepper), I put them in a bowl with one tablespoon of water, covered, and microwaved until they were soft. Then I added 1/2 cup of black beans, one cup of rice, and 1/3 cup of coconut cream and water to make it into a soup. For seasoning, I used 1/2 tbsp of thai curry powder and salt (my curry powder is unsalted). So good!

 

Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 9.19.07 PM

FOUR: Spinning With Netflix It’s a little over a year ago that I bought the tiniest Weslo stationery bike (see it here). It’s amazing what it’s done for me in that time, and how much I’ve used it. Recently though, I’ve been wheeling it out to the TV and watching Netflix while cycling. Right now, I’m watching a mix of shows. My last watched is Cable Girls, but I’ve also been trying to get through a boring spot in Wanderlust (which started with a fun premise, but has sort of come to a halt now). With Netflix, you could easily go on for 20+ miles within two episodes, so it’s a great way to make an indoor cycling workout a lot more fun.

FIVE: The Global News Podcast by the BBC I have been listening to this podcast nearly daily for over a year now. It’s amazing because I really feel that they curate some of the most important breaking news from around the world into two 25-minute (or so) episodes on weekdays, and usually just one on each weekend day. It’s extremely informative, and it makes me feel connected to the issues that matter most. While much of the news can be negative, I try to detach myself from negative emotions to keep my day (or morning) from spiralling. Self care is still important! I use the Pocket Casts app to listen.

 

 

 

Life · Uncategorized

Confessions: Things I Want to Do More Of

A little bit of a casual writing post today! (But not a New Year’s resolution post, if that’s what the title made you guess.) These are just a list of things that I basically think about doing more of anyway, but I’d like to set it in stone (or blog) and make a  “from now on” list.

Lately, I’ve noticed how much of my mental space and how many of my thoughts are spent on things I’d like to own, buy, services or activities to purchase, etc. I’m ashamed to say that based on my thoughts, I have to admit that I self-identify as a consumer more than anything else. Rather than investing in making the best of what I have, my mind is constantly attuned to getting or doing the next thing. So of course, I’m here to atone for that a little by making a list whose that I 100% intend on integrating.

Some of these things seem super small, but they would be genuine game-changers.

  1. Set up my work space every day:// I clean and organize my work space maybe once a week. That means that for about six days out of every week, my desk doesn’t look nice and inviting (yes, I only manage, like, three hours of clutter-free per week). And the truth is that that’s just a little sad considering how much I actually enjoy having a well-organized and nicely set up desk to greet me in the morning—or even after my lunch break. So it might take a few minutes each day, but I just want to set up and beautify this part of my life where I spend so much time.
  2. Tone it Up three days a week with three hours of cardio (per week):// This seems like such an overreach even to me, but honestly, I pretty much already do a similar amount of exercise. I absolutely love how exercising makes me feel, and I cannot overstate how much of a change-maker Tone it Up has been for me the last three months. That’s definitely another blog post. But I’ve gotten more fit and doing a TIU work out is like taking an endorphin shower. So the reason I’m putting it here is that while I already exercise, I want to do it in a more predictable and organized way.
  3. Write more:// Writing is something I legitimately enjoy. I am ashamed to admit about the prejudices about this activity that sometimes literally stop me from logging on and writing a post, whether here, in a journal, or even on a creative writing project (and yes, I do mean logging on to my computer). But writing is something that I enjoy doing, and something I even take for granted. I think I could be very proud of myself if I kept this blog consistently updated, and I’d like to do that, though for this particular intention, it doesn’t matter to me where I write or if it’s every day.
  4. Have completely free time every day:// I have often spent my time either studying, working, thinking about my next job, etc. most of the time. That’s all fine, but I want to create the space for something new. And I know that with better planning and making a commitment, I can treat myself to guilt-free free time each day.
  5. Go somewhere new once a week:// This seems so intuitive and easy, but there are so many weeks where I’m in such a routine that I basically go nowhere new. I’ve decided to go somewhere new and do/try something new every week. I don’t want to give into some totally contrived touristy-type activities/experiences either, but to actually go places and do things that feel both authentic and interesting to me. Actually, ideally, these places would be free to go since my goal is to get out of the whole “what to spend money on next” thought-stream.

Is there anything else you recommend I put on my list? I want to know. How do you turn the focus on the good and keep yourself from becoming consumed with all of the “opportunities” to spend money that surround you? After it dawned on me how much time spend “window shopping” mostly thanks to Instagram clothing ads, I realized that this is a serious problem. Too many of my thoughts are focused on buying and too few on just being doing where I am, with what I have and have access to.

20181210_174355

Also, here is the photo of a vegan black bean burger patty that I made. I am working on perfecting the recipe, so how I made this particular batch (it’s just okay) won’t make it on here.

food · Life · Uncategorized

Vega Double-Chocolate Baked Donuts (Not Vegan, Contain Egg)

Donuts pair perfectly with coffee, but at nearly 500 calories and deep-fried, it’s hard to justify these classic coffee house treats on any old day. But with a few recipe adjustments, it’s possible (and easy) to make healthier donuts at home!

20181124_145652

These donuts are made with chocolate-flavoured Vega One protein, and a handful of other ingredients. To make them, you will need:

  • A donut baking tray (mine is a Wilbur tray I bought at a sale for $5)
  • 3/4 cup whole grain all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Vega One chocolate protein powder
  • 2.5 tbsp coconut oil + 2 tsp
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6–8 packets of stevia
  • 1 cup plant milk
  • 1 medium-size egg
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

20181124_134411

  1. Heat oven to 380 degrees and mix all dry ingredients evenly with a whisk
  2. Add all wet ingredients to dry and mix evenly with a whisk for 1–2 minutes until mixture is smooth
  3. Brush 1 tsp of coconut oil to grease donut pan or spray to grease
  4. Fill each donut compartment to 3/4 full
  5. Once the oven is heated, set timer to 30 minutes and bake
  6. Once ready to take out of the oven, leave to cool for 15 minutes and very carefully take out of pan. I find using a very thin, sharp-edged knife helps with this
  7. Heat 1/3 cup of dark chocolate chips in a small bowl (that can fit each donut for dipping) with remaining 1 tsp of coconut oil and 1 tbsp water for 45 seconds or until everything is melted
  8. Dip each donut face down (so that you’re dipping the rounded side) and place on a tray to set at room temperature

20181124_145750

This is a really simple recipe. I wanted to make it lower fat, but things get a little too dry with less coconut oil, so maintaining the specified amount of fat is pretty important. As well, because of the protein powder, it takes a little longer to bake than flour-only donuts would.

As well, because of the protein powder, it’s not as easy to use an egg substitute while maintaining the dough’s adherence.

What are your thoughts? This was a nice experiment, and I personally like the taste of stevia. The resulting donuts contain some protein and are lower in sugar and fat than regular donuts.

But, I have to admit that I prefer full-flour donuts much more. I will post these on the blog one day. If you’d like to make those straightaway instead, use one cup of flour and two tablespoons of chocolate powder and leave out the protein.