Pumpkin Soup and Scones

Standard

Pumpkin soup never fails to make me think of my mum. She was very particular about the fact that it only be made with pumpkin. No potatoes or kūmara (sweet potato) were allowed, just pumpkin along with onion and plenty garlic of course. One year, when mum was out of work I remember pumpkin soup being on ‘the menu’ almost everyday. We had a massive collection of pumpkins which were all saved and stored from the pumpkin patch she had created at the end of the garden; a mound of compost which the vines sprawled over and their large round fruit inhabited. The two are forever linked in my brain I think.

The main stars of the show

Even after that year of pumpkins I still loved them, as most kiwis do. I never realized though , until moving to Ireland, that New Zealand has its own wee love affair with the humble pumpkin that the rest of the world doesn’t really share. In New Zealand pumpkin is just standard savoury vegetable fare; none of the this sweet pumpkin pie stuff. We like to roast it, steam it, mash it, make it into soup and even add it into our scones at times. It has to be said though that the pumpkins found in New Zealand (namely Crown) have a lot more flavour than those I have encountered and eaten overseas, lending themselves to being eaten more readily.

We even have a recipe book dedicated to pumpkins written by a relative of himself

With Halloween looming pumpkins can be spotted on the shelves again. Although now (Spring in NZ) isn’t really the time for pumpkins, the supermarket has obviously realized the potential of more revenue by having them in the stores as more and more people are celebrating Halloween in New Zealand which invariably entails good old pumpkin carving. We too celebrate with a bit of Jack-o’-Lantern making (again after my education in Ireland that Halloween is actually an Irish tradition and not an American one) but Pumpkin Soup is the first thing I think of when I see a pumpkin anywhere.

So of course when I got a wee pumpkin the other day, into soup it became. It is such a simple recipe; chop onion and garlic then saute in some butter or oil depending on your dietary preference, chop the pumpkin into smallish pieces and add to the pot with water to cover. Add some stock/salt/pepper/herbs/seasoning to get the taste you like. Then boil until everything is soft. Themselves and I like to blend our soup smooth whereas himself likes it chunky so I’ll let you take your pick there. Soup by itself can be a little unfulfilling it has to be said. This is where the second part of my memory of mum comes in ….. scones.

Scones all ready to bake

Scones (like biscuits in USA) are a great accompaniment especially when they are warm from the oven which mum would often do when we had visitors coming. The best thing is that while your soup is ‘brewing’ you have the perfect amount of time to rustle up a batch of scones. Traditionally they have butter in them however to keep the vegans in the family happy I have adapted the recipe a little. This recipe is best consumed warm or least within the day, unless of course to like little rocks to dip in your soup! These scones are also great for a morning or afternoon tea with loads of jam on top. So without anymore ado I’ll let you get on making your soup and scones.

Vegan Scones

  • 200 gm flour (GF or plain, white or wholemeal or a mixture of both as in original)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 30 gms coconut oil (cold from the container)
  • 1 flax-seed egg (1 TB ground linseed/flaxseed and 2.5 TB cold water)
  • 100-150 ml non-diary milk (I used soy milk this time but also use rice for a sweeter scone)

– Put the flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the coconut oil so that it is fully blended with the flour.

– Add in the flaxseed egg and milk (start with 100ml and add some more if the mixture seems too dry) then ‘cut’ the liquid into the dry ingredients with a knife until a ‘dough’ is formed.  It will still be sticky so some extra flour will help you get it into a tidy ball. I often just combine it as much as a can in the bowl with my spoon and then dump it onto a well floured baking tray. Then sprinkle some more flour on top and gently form it into the rectangle shape mentioned below.

– Flour a baking tray and flatten dough into a flat rectangle shape.  Cut this into 12 or 16 pieces depending on the size of scone you desire.

– Separate the scones a little on the floured tray and then bake at 200 Celsius of 10 mins or until golden on top.

– Spread with jam (and butter or cream for the non-vegan among you) and enjoy

Hope this finds you enjoying the fruits of life whichever season you are in.

Lunch is ready!

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Keeping on going

Standard

Every December or January I write down 108 things that I want to achieve for the upcoming year. It isn’t a hard and fast list that I must complete but rather a visual reminder of where I want to head and what I’d like to do on the way. Some of it is pretty basic stuff; write a letter to a friend, read a book, go to the movies or visit a loved one. Then there are others that are more work orientated such as combining all my mini e-guides into one book, writing our family history stories and creating online courses from my workshops. The later are the ones that ‘nag’ at me the most, the ones I feel guilt over when they sit in my list for more than a year, usually while actively procrastinating.

I have loads of ideas for projects swimming around in my brain and it is hard not to have more than one on the go at once. I really admire those ‘wood pecker’ people who can just get stuck into one project and complete it before moving on. Honestly though I am more of a ‘hummingbird’ when it comes to activities. I have multiple ‘projects’ going, flitting from one to another, making them all drawn out. Each day I aim to do a little on each of my projects and interests in the hope that they will come off my list. It also helps me feel like I have been productive and a lot more positive. They are little steps I know but they are all moving me towards my goals and even though it means they aren’t being achieved quite as quickly as I would like I tell myself I am building consistency.

This is all well and good when I’m in a routine at home and have the day to structure how I like. The kicker comes when we need to be out and about or away. It doesn’t take much to distract this little hummingbird! I quickly get out of the swing of taking productive action each day, whether that be eating well, exercising or working on projects, and invariably items get dropped. I enjoy the change in scenery for sure however then I find it really hard to great back into taking action and making decisions which align with what I want vs what is the path of least resistance. After a few days I can feel my mood head south, doubt creeps in. Am I doing enough? Am I enough? Will I ever actually finish what I want to do? Am I doing anything of value?

Sticking to your path can be tricky sometimes

It can be hard when this happens and harder still to re-frame my thoughts towards getting ‘back on track’. The pull of sliding into the wallow is great and the discomfort of taking positive action to create change never fails to surprise me. Over the years though the realization that ultimately I feel better when I am exercising, eating right, meditating and working towards where I want to be (a healthy, relaxed and happy person) helps me to make the changes I need to get back to my daily little steps. I notice too that over time I am faster and faster at getting back on track after I’m ‘way laid’. I still have off days where all I want to do is ‘veg’ and procrastinate however I’m now I tend to just let them visit and enjoy them as I know that they won’t be here forever. I’m more confident that a return to productivity will return.

Why am I sharing all this? Well I guess sometimes I think I’m the only one going through this internal (sometimes external) chaos but then I chat to someone and realize we are all the same. We are all going through the same ups and downs. We all have things we want to do, be it small like finishing a project or large like seeking the help we need to heal. We are all striving to do our best with what we have. All trying to feel better, happier and healthier each day. So, I thought today I’d be that someone to let you know I hear you and understand, maybe not the full picture of what you are experiencing but the struggle to journey through life in the direction you want while navigating the ‘potholes’ as they are encountered.

And while the discomfort of doing those little things which help you feel more productive, happier and healthier can be awkward, uncomfortable and even bloody hard at times in the end they will get you where you want to be so keep on going, don’t give up and always look ahead. Little steps will bet no steps every time.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Secrets and Lies

Standard

My first thoughts on hearing this writing group topic were when is a secret really a secret and when is a lie really a lie?  How often do we withhold information from others because we don’t want them to think badly of us? Withholding stories because we don’t think others would be interested or maybe because we don’t want to acknowledge the truth behind the story?  Is that being discreet, thoughtless or having a secret?  How often do we tell ourselves stories about what we can and can’t do without any basis of truth?  When we tell someone they look good when really we’re thinking ‘why on earth are you wearing that?’ If someone tells us what we want to hear rather than the full story, is that being protective, tactful or telling a lie? Does the intention behind the act change it from something sinister into something benign or is it all up to the recipient to decide? 

We don't always have to fly solo; keeping things hidden from others

I consider myself to have no secrets; no events that I intentionally withhold from others.  While I haven’t told everyone every story, if anyone asks and sometimes even when they don’t, I am willing to discuss any aspect of my life. Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway and what I aim to do.  Sometimes though, I have been in situations where after assessing the recipient I modify my truths or limit the information I give.  Knowing that ultimately the relationship would be better off for not sharing too much.  In the dictionary though the word ‘secret’ is defined as not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others. Something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others.  In which case it looks like I may be guilty as charged.  It would appear I have to admit that much of my inner life is a secret.  I definitely keep my insecurities to myself along with events which don’t paint my life in such a rosy light, justifying it as protecting those involved.  I often put on an act of bravado to give the impression that everything is fine while secretly crumbling inside. How many of us have things we’d rather not have known or seen about our inner lives? Most, if not all, I would imagine.

The dictionary also describes a lie as an intentionally false statement, used with reference to a situation involving deception or founded on a mistaken impression. Hmmm ….  Caught out again! It seems that while I consider myself to be a very honest person with others that may not really be the full picture with myself.  My tendency to ‘create’ a story as to why I can’t go through with things or haven’t got time to complete a task may just make me guilty of lying to myself or at the very least guilty of believing my own B*@! S^#+.

The interesting thing is that I can see this so clearly in others; this tendency to give very plausible reasons for not doing things, for not moving forward towards where they actually want to be. In reality, these reasons hold very little real truth. In others I can see through these excuses dressed up as reasons.  In myself though it is a much harder task.   I hear people tell me things while all the time I know they are keeping the real reasons they haven’t taken action secret and hidden away. Hidden from themselves that is.  

Even as I write this, I can hear that little voice (yes, she’s here again!) telling me that there are legitimate reasons for my actions or lack thereof.  Many things that have happened to me which I can use as plausible reasons (read excuses there) but ultimately it is a lie to say that I can’t do something because of my past. I’m still physically and mentally functional after all and even then, if I wasn’t would it be reason enough to hold me back?  Even Christopher Reeve regained some movement after being paralyzed, continued directing and went on to start foundations to support and help others.

I create stories which I try to rationalize as truths when in actual fact they no more hold me back that a piece of string on the floor. In reality all the ‘lies’, all the BS I feed myself, help to cover deep fears which I hold secret; fears of failure or maybe it is actually a fear of success.  A fear of putting myself into possibly vulnerable situations where people can see me ‘warts and all’. The truth is they have probably already seen my hidden ‘lies’ and ‘secrets’ just as I have seen them and theirs.  

This is being human though; the need to protect a part of us.  All of us do it, well everyone I’ve ever met, so it is completely normal in our society. We all want to feel we’re doing our best and so we rationalize and create reasons for when we feel we aren’t living up to our potential.  I think though that if we actually acknowledge what is going on instead of trying to hide it, we can come at things from a healthier perspective rather than berating ourselves or pretending we have it all sorted. 

It is OK to not take action and if you are honest about why then it can empower you. Acknowledging what is behind our actions can help lead to resolving issues.  In our society we attach morality to tasks when in reality most of the tasks we engage in are morally neutral. Our ability to do or not do for the most part doesn’t make any dent in our value as a person. It means we are human. Maybe in seeing those vulnerabilities, allowing the ‘lies’ and ‘secrets’ which all we share to come to the surface we may actually pave the way for us to connect at a deeper level. It may even allow for us to take the action we want with the knowledge that others are in the same situation, feeling just like we are.  We don’t always have to fly solo. When we’re honest about how we are feeling then others will feel able to be honest too. Creating a bond between us, a bond shared by humanity worldwide, a bond which levels us and allows for meaningful connections.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

The Roller-coaster of Life

Standard

Life really is unpredictable. Even when we think we have it all sorted, things can be taken completely out of our hands. We get sent in a different direction, one which we never expected to have to take. This can be hard to accept and often a grieving process can occur. We are faced with the alternatives of rolling with it or fighting and struggling against it, which usually only leads to us suffering more.

If you’re anything like me then you kind of expect life to keep getting better when you put effort in. I anticipate a future where the highs and lows of the roller coaster ride lessen until eventually they level completely. This is what I have in my mind’s eye as I go about my daily practices though it hasn’t happened yet so maybe I shouldn’t hold my breath too much. The reality is that there is always something happening; a curve in the track, a dip, a tunnel, a sudden plunge into god knows what or a breath taking view from the ‘top’ where everything seems great.

What will tomorrow bring?

I notice too, as I have been paying more attention to my life, that even when I’m feeling like I have life ‘sorted’ a loved ones’ roller coaster can sometimes come crashing into mine. Entwining us in a wave of emotions and actions that no-one saw coming. We’re caught unawares and left scrambling with whatever we have at hand. At those times, it can be hard for me not to go into panic mood or my usual rescue mood. More and more though I’m learning a bit of ‘roller coaster maintenance’ and I’m slowly learning to separate the two. Create some space for repair, reconstruction, separation and leveling of the track as I remember and use the tools I have sooner and sooner.

Recently I read a quote from Pema Chödrön which was like a penny dropping. It made me re-think how I approach life and its roller coaster ride. She wrote ‘We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.’

Maybe in knowing in advance that things will be up and down we will be able to prepare ourselves easier. We will be in a better position to accept the seemingly unacceptable. We can create the emergency kit early, ready for when ‘disaster’ occurs, so that we have an easier time of it when things rock our world. By practicing healing techniques before these life changing events we will be in a better space to use them. They will be a common, everything tools that we are familiar with using The time to get good at meditating, at relaxing, at self care, at EFT, at breath work, at gratitude is now before the proverbial hits the fan. Having these tools feel like second nature, ready to be used at short notice, can only be achieved by us taking time now to use them regularly. Now before we really need them.

So take a minute now. Don’t wait. Practice one of those techniques you have heard about, or one that you want to learn more about, which help to reduce stress. Find some time to use it each day and begin to create a habit out of it . That way when your roller coaster ride overwhelms you or when another roller coaster careers towards you you’ll be ready and fully prepared to go with whatever life is bringing you.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Banana & Walnut Bread

Standard

Without any face to face Infant Massage or Baby Reflexology courses lately there hasn’t been a pressing need for baking. The other month however, after herself baked and decorated yet another master piece, I felt like making something a little sweet for me too. That combined with all the rainy weather we have been having has sent me into the kitchen to create!

Cloudy skies that lighten for a bit before pouring with rain

The trouble is that so many things don’t agree with me that it can be hard to find something to hit the spot. Something vegan and gluten free was required. Combined with this I have been trying to have a better relationship with the food I’m putting in my body; being more mindful about what comes in, how often it comes in and how it impacts my health. There are definitely up and down days however on the whole I am feeling much better physically and mentally as a consequence. As part of that process I have been finding and using a lot more vegan recipe books from the library in a bid to nourish my body and of course find some new sweet treat recipes.

Although I have shared another Banana and Walnut Bread recipe a few years back, I really think this one is much better as it is a more flavoursome and denser. It is a super easy, fail safe recipe however in my usual style it is an adaption from the recipe I first saw, which was called Banana Bread, to suit both what I had in the cupboard and my own tastes. While I found the original recipe in ‘Vegan Intermittent Fasting’ by Dr Petra Bracht, which despite the name actually has a whole heap of delicious recipes, what follows is my adaption of it. The book is worth the purchase or at least getting it out of the library just for the nourishing recipes within!

Sliced up ready to enjoy

As with most of the bread recipes I use, I cut up the loaf on the first day and freeze the slices. Two slices per bag waiting to be toasted up and enjoyed at a later date. This recipe toasted up better than most and is so nice warm that I highly recommend using this option for yourself …. or enjoying it straight out of the oven! The recipe in ‘Vegan Intermittent Fasting’ used chocolate but as my body doesn’t like it very much, this was swapped out for walnuts. Not only because I love them but because of they are good for the brain and body. I also changed the flours to create a gluten free version using a combination of two gluten free flours. Completely omitting the sugar from the recipe created an even healthier sweet treat too.

Banana & Walnut Bread

  • 2 Tbs coconut oil
  • 3 ripe bananas (I often use frozen too)
  • 100ml unsweetened soy milk
  • 3 Tbs Almond Butter
  • 1 Tbs Apple cider Vinegar – see here if you want to make you own for next time 🙂
  • 150gm buckwheat flour
  • 150gm rice flour
  • 60gm chopped walnuts
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 Tbs baking powder

– Preheat the oven to 180°C

– Blend the first five (wet) ingredients together until smooth and well combined. I just have a hand blender that I use as everything fits in the large ‘cup/jug’ that comes with it

– Mix the last six (dry) ingredients in a bowl

– Combine the wet and the dry ingredients ensuring that you mix really well. There is a tendency for the walnuts to get a flour coating on them if everything is not blended well

– Pour the mixture into a baking paper lined load tin

– Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown.

– Remove from the oven, you should be able to easily lift the loaf out with the sides of the baking paper, and place on a cooling rack.

– Allow it to sit for at least 15 mins before slicing and enjoying with a cuppa 🙂

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

How kind are you to yourself?

Standard

Lately I have been reading a chapter each day out of Jack Cranfield’s ‘The Success Principles’ along with Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’. It is multi tasking at it’s best I think! Most interesting to me though is that while many of the topics overlap at the base of it all it seems to be the need for having the confidence to keep moving forward and a belief in yourself that you can put all the good advice they have into action.

For me this is probably the hardest part of running a business and making the most of everyday. I’m sure hat many of you reading this can relate too. After all my ‘great ideas’ occur there is often that little voice that whispers ‘ but what about ….’ and continues to list numerous reasons why I can’t follow through. While my little voice is not nearly as obnoxious or as loud as it was (thanks White Chestnut from Bach Flower Remedies for that ) it is still there. I find that getting getting out in nature each day helps quiet it too along with reminding myself of all the things I am proud of about myself. Little affirmations which I repeat to myself each day as I walk to help keep them at the forefront.

Enjoying some sunshine, nature and adventures

That little voice often knocks us down rather than builds us up and it is tireless. It doesn’t seem to give up which is why we can’t give up in building ourselves up either. Becoming mentally healthy and resilient is a daily job and hard work I know however it is also important to help have a happier and healthier life. We often endeavour to be kind to others but how kind are you to yourself on a daily basis? So, inspired by a writing prompt I thought I would share a simple exercise that you can do today. A simple exercise to help remind you just how awesome, unique and amazing you are.

Step one: Get some paper and a pen, old school I know but getting off here will help you to focus on the task rather than flicking over to another tab when procrastination calls.

Step two: Write the letters of your name down the left hand side of the page. Each letter should take up a few lines.

Step three: Create an acrostic poem from the letters of your name of all the things you are good at and/or love about yourself.

Step four: Have fun and keep your poem of all the great things about you somewhere for future reference.

My Acrositic Poem about what I love about me

If you’re anything like me it will take you a while to get into a good mindset to write anything down! This is where being off line with pen and paper can help; it will give you headspace for the good stuff to come in. The good stuff is there, honestly, it just may be a little hidden from view. at the moment. No need to be modest here or to worry about any ‘tall poppy’ syndrome as this is for you and you alone. It is a reminder to look at when that little voice gets overwhelming or just pipes up too much.

Enjoy focusing on you and all the things you love about yourself. It is an opportunity to recognize those great things about you and to be kind to yourself 🙂

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Turning mindfulness into meaningfulness

Standard

On the 20 January 2022 I decided to undertake a task in mindfulness; a task to fold 1000 cranes. I had been inspired in part by a passing comment online and then by the book ‘Senbazuru’ by Michael James Wong. I was delighted to read that the author had some New Zealand ‘roots’ too which ultimately connected me even more with the concepts he was sharing. It was Michael’s beautifully sculpted and thoughtful book that truly began my journey into this mindfulness practice. Though the thought of actually putting it all into action and folding 1000 cranes was a little daunting to say the least. I wasn’t sure what the end date would be or even if I was capable of completing it within the suggested year however I began, endeavouring to fold at least five cranes each day. This way if life presented me with any ‘hiccups’ I would be ahead in my folding rather than getting further and further behind

I knew I had some washi paper in the cupboard, left over from making washi eggs many years ago, so I decided my first cranes into the world would be folded with this and be as beautiful as I could muster. To begin with I took the cranes into the world daily , leaving them places and hoping that they would be ‘adopted’ into someone’s home or at least bring a smile to someone’s face. It wasn’t long though before the mental list of places I felt I could leave my cranes began to be exhausted. Whenever we went somewhere different I took the opportunity to deposit them somewhere new. In restaurants, cafes, libraries, shops, bus stops, music gigs and even laundromats my little birds remained. As my ever increasing collection of cranes continued though the question on everyone’s lips was ‘What are you going to do with them?’

23 July 2022. Finally 1000 cranes!

It was a question that I constantly played with in my mind. What would I do with them all? The story behind the cranes had been a topic of conversation a few times during my folding journey so the fact that the 6th of August fell on a Saturday this year felt a little serendipitous. Quietly I made a decision to complete my 1000 cranes before the end of July. This way I could send the cranes in to the world on the day they were linked with in so many minds. I could gift the cranes into the world, hopefully raising some money for a peace based charity too, on the anniversary of the devastating Hiroshima bombing which in a way triggered the popularization of origami cranes internationally.

Many thanks to Kevin Jones and Warwick Halcrow of Paraparaumu Beach Saturday Market for assisting me in turning my mindfulness exercise into a more meaningful one along with answering the question in everyone’s mind. This past Saturday, 6th August, Kevin and Warwick very graciously allowed me to have a stall in their market so that I could gift my cranes to the community; hoping to spread a little joy on a winter’s day and if anyone wanted to ‘pay’ then to pass the money over to UNICEF. With a date set I began thinking of everything I would need for the day.

Thanks to my amazing daughter and her friend for creating beautiful strings of cranes

Despite the threat of rain and a cold breeze blowing, Kevin and Warwick had thought ahead and offered me a great spot, protected and under cover. After all paper cranes aren’t that hardy. Despite the occasional gust to tempt my cranes into flight they thankfully all stayed put until some generous souls came to collect them. There were in fact many generous souls that day. I found the generosity of the community immense and thoroughly heartwarming. I would like express my thanks to everyone in the Kāpiti who supported me, both in ‘adopting’ a crane and in donating money for me to pass on to UNICEF. Ultimately the later was an act of trust and faith, on the part of people, which I am grateful for.

Market Day

Getting home that afternoon we were delighted to count up $268.40 in donations, which we have now passed on to UNICEF. Just as the folding of 1000 cranes is believed to bring good fortune I know that the donations made by our amazing community will help bring a little good fortune to many children in need both in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the world. As an added bonus, later that day, it was fantastic to see one of my cranes adorning a cash register in a local store. Their daughter had gifted it to them after being at the market that morning.

Thank you so much everyone who played a part in turning mindfulness into meaningfulness.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Life Lessons for the Living

Standard

Recently I attended a couple of writing courses which have been great inspiration for writing of my book on health and well-being along with my long-suffering family history stories. Better yet though is that a little spin off group has occurred, which I was lucky enough to be invited too. Each week we share our writing and discuss our progress with the security of knowing we are among trusted friends. The other week we were given a topic to write on. It was a topic which got my brain firing and my fingers moving as I combined information about my self and well-being.

Some South Island sunshine and nature to brighten your day.

The topic was ‘What story would you tell if you only had one year to live’. I thought I would share it here too. Maybe, just maybe, there is something in it for you or those you love even if it is just some inspiration to write your own story……….

‘In my life there have been many stories that I have shared with those who matter and some with those who don’t. In fact, I can think of only one story that my children haven’t heard the full detail of.  In my mind it is the one story that would be better told by another, if at all.  In all my stories though there are themes which often repeat themselves; life lessons that are presented to me continuously.  Some have had to be presented via a proverbial ‘brick to the head’ while others have simmered away growing in strength as time goes by. So, with a year to live the story I would tell is ‘Life Lessons for the Living.’

  1. It is never too late to start

While Mum always told me I didn’t have any patience and was always in a rush to do things, both of which are true, I have not always met ‘expected time frames’ with regards to societal norms.  It maybe the quiet rebel in me that made me start driving much later than all my peers, go to university and beginning my degree at least a decade later than others and learn Spanish in my 30’s after wasting so much time at school determined not to learn French.   I finally traveled New Zealand in my 40’s; fulfilling my dream of living in a house bus.  Then at nearly 50 I started learning drums and roller-skating again, though not simultaneously.  So, whatever it is you want to start doing, be it learning, forgiving, moving or maybe just being don’t let anyone tell you it is too late. Especially not that little chatterbox in your head. Opportunities abound to support you starting your dream when you begin to look.  Thankfully, my mother passed on in unspoken deeds that there was never any age limit on life, never any limit  to what you could do or when it was possible to do it.  As Henry Ford once said ‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right’.

2. Trust your intuition

This is one of the most important lessons I have learnt and which I am still learning every day.  Research tells us that we actually have two ‘brains’, the brain we all know and the stomach or more accurately the digestive system.  The cells in the brain and the gut originate from the same tissues and basically decided to take two separate roads of development.  Both have the power to help govern what we do.  That churning stomach or those ‘butterflies’ may be just as informative as any thought power we give to an issue.  These two, the brain and the digestive system, are also linked with the Vargas nerve so are constantly working together with their shared neurotransmitters and hormones.  My advice, for what it is worth, is to listen closely to that little funny feeling you get or that gut reaction to events and trust it. Too often I have ignored my intuition only to have it proven correct at a later date.  Our brain rationalizes events whereas our gut instinct or intuition invariably reads the situation exactly how it is. So, trust yourself and reap the benefits. 

3. Find and follow your own path

I know, I know it’s a complete cliché but it’s true.  The importance of following your own path is beyond expression.  For much of my life I tried my hardest to adapt, mould and modify myself into what I thought others wanted.  In the end it was always in vain; you can never please people who want you to change nor those who aren’t happy with who you are.  Only in those times where I did what I truly wanted in my heart, following my intuition of course, did I feel happiest and actually attracted the feelings I had previously searched for.  Often, we change things about ourselves and our behaviour because we think we need to.  We assume that in following others’ expectations we will make them happy, achieve our goals or even be happier ourselves. In my experience though those achievements are short lived and hollow unless you feel that the whole of you is still there. We are all important and invaluable to life in our own unique way so find your ‘path’, stick to it and share your treasures with the world

4. Keep the joy in your life alive

Sometimes life can be a bitch.  We all know it and we’ve all experienced it however what we sometimes don’t realise is that ultimately, we have power to decide how life impacts us in the long term.  Whether a horrible event causes us great suffering or whether it directs us to joyous new places is up to us depending on the perspective we take.  Lessons in adaption and growth, lessons in how to find more joy can only occur when we are willing to look at life differently.   As the Archbishop Desmond Tutu says in The Book of Joy, ‘We are meant to live in joy.’ Joy can be found anywhere, at any time when we look.  An event may send us into a spin.  It may sap the joy from our day quicker than we thought possible yet in breathing deep and changing our perspective that same event may direct us to joy as we distract ourselves by going for a walk and seeing the beauty of nature. We are hard-wired to remember and focus on the negative; it is one of our oldest survival tools. In changing our perspective though we can also see and savour all those little things that bring a smile to our face, that light up our day and bring joy into our lives.

5. Invest in your health

I really wish I had learnt lesson earlier in life but as my first life lesson states ‘it is never too late to start’.  At nearly 50 years old I am now in better health and have a greater sense of well-being than I did 30 years ago.  In all honesty, it was a classic case of not listening to the advice I am now giving; I certainly didn’t listen to my intuition or my gut as I blindly skipped along the garden path of all and sundry. Overeating, overspending, oversleeping and over drinking.  Even when it didn’t really fill me with any joy, even when it ended in pain I still continued. I now realise too that health is not just the physical and if you ignore the other aspects of health such as emotional, spiritual and mental then you can become even sicker than just ignoring the physical.  I love Mason Durie’s Te Whare Tapa Whā model where he likens health to a home; the walls that protect you are Spiritual, Physical, Mental and Community well-being, which includes family, while nature is at the base of it all.  Research backs this up as a connection with nature can be a great foundation which ensures our whare or well-being is secure and stable.  I also like to add that all the tools we learn along the way act as the roof. A protective cover which helps us when the ‘bad weather’ comes.  Humans are intrinsically lazy; we will often opt for comfort and ease over effort.  It is easy to make an excuse not to exercise, not to contact a friend, not to meditate, not to expand our horizons. I know I have done it many times! However, that little bit of effort to take action, to make the unfamiliar familiar will reap more rewards than you can imagine. Creating connections, moving our body, stimulating our mind and being in nature will always leave us feeling happier and healthier.

So, with a year to live this is the story I would tell.  A story about the lessons I have learnt. A story of life lessons for the living.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Hello there!

Standard

Well it has been a while since I was on here that is for sure. I can’t believe that almost a year has passed since I last wrote! I figured it was time to touch base quickly and let you all know what is happening in this part of the world.

Life has been a bit all over the place with work I have to say. I have been majorly re-evaluating everything and trying to decide the best way forward; both for the business and life. This blog was obviously one thing that slipped and some of you who are subscribed to my newsletter may have noticed that I have not sent any out for a while – or maybe not :). Things were just beginning to feel a bit forced and creating content wasn’t really bringing me joy anymore. It was beginning to feel more and more like a challenge and one that I didn’t see the point in. Letting go of posting blogs and sending newsletters, along with the guilt I felt at first, was the start of wee changes with regards to my business and my mindset.

Enjoying some time out in nature with the dogs

So many of my endeavours have begun with me projecting in the future, out into the ether rather than focusing on the here and now. The newsletter in particular was one of those; I began it hoping that it would reach millions, sky-rocketing my business into an online success, never mind that I didn’t really have an online business to match. I also began it because I felt I had to and that it was expected of me but that gets exhausting after a while. It felt like it was time to give myself a break. Coming to that realization has been liberating and challenging in equal measure. I want to share the knowledge I have because I really believe it can help others and make a positive difference to their lives, I’m just not 100% sure how most days. Is putting energy into online content better or those face to face interactions?

So many ‘signs’ and ‘messages’ have come to me lately, from many different places, about being in the present moment and doing things because they feel right that I figure it may be time to listen. So, I’m trying to live a bit more in the now rather than my usual racing into what may come. I’m taking some time out, re-evaluating life in general and making some space. I am also working on doing things because they feel right and are life affirming rather than because they are expected or that they may bring me validation in some way. Everyone likes being validated I know and I’m no different but I could feel that what began in my head as something good to do for others quickly turned into something that may bring me validation or praise. This was even before I had put the project into practice.

I have still been teaching at the local Woman’s Centre which I always love and also , taking some time to cultivate a few skills. I have been working on connecting more with people despite my natural introvert tendencies, listening more and talking less. In my bid to do stay in the moment with positive action I have been giving away some of the print versions of my books to people I have worked with. It has felt good hearing the need and then gifting the books to people who will use them. The extra space on my bookshelf is very nice too. In doing so though it also highlighted some errors that were in the text, missed edits that needed rectifying. So I have begun updating my e-books which I created so long ago to ensure that the best copy of them is available online. It has been its own validation of sorts as I read the words over and realize that I wouldn’t change the content even 7 years later.

It has also made me see that the time has come to combine all this knowledge, in my e-books and in my head, into one. I can see that reflexology was a little ‘light’ on the ground in those earlier e-books due to my feelings of not being good enough so now it is time to add it in. Combining all my e-books and some extra information which I teach on my ‘Balancing Life’ course is my mission at the moment work wise, that and having my regular reflexology clients. It is a slow start and I’m yet to make a deadline for myself however everyday I am carving a little space for it. Wish me luck and hopefully I’ll be posting about its release before the year is out!

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Vegan Comfort Cookies

Standard

Every Baby Reflexology or Infant Massage course I bake up some goodies for the mama’s to munch on and invariably chocolate chip cookies are on the menu. I confess I have a major sweet tooth … one that is uncontrollable at times …. however since becoming a vegan it often means I just watch others enjoy good cookie.

Finally some cookies we can enjoy without having to buy them

I have tried some recipes that I have found online (like this vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe I tried a couple of years ago) but many of them involve weird and wonderful ingredients or lots of prep. So after much thought I have created a recipe to put things right in the world … for these vegans anyway 🙂 This one is fairly minimal prep, uses things I have in the cupboard and is gluten free and sugar free (depending on the chocolate you use). Both the vegans in the house think they are delicious. The non-vegan have other thoughts, probably due to them being a softer chewy biscuit than the regualar crunch, so maybe worth trying before you go offering them at your next afternoon tea!

It does involve a bit of time in prep but not a huge amount; the soaking of the dates, preparing the chia seeds and the chopping of chocolate and the main ones. I have tried the recipe now with three different types of vegan chocolate all with similar results. I used eating chocolate, both sugar laden and sugar free, though with the sugar free one I had a slight after taste from the stevia sweeter. Himself actually preferred these so I guess it is just personal preference. I see that Sweet William has a baking chocolate, sugar laden, which may give an even better results if I was able to source it here.

So here it is for you to try at home. I’d love to hear your feedback, especially if you have ways of improving them 🙂

Vegan Comfort Cookies

1 1/8 C Gluten Free Flour (I use Edmonds)

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 C Coconut oil

2 TB chia seeds

2 TB boiling water

1/2 C dates

1/4 C boiling water

1 tsp vanilla essence

3/4 C chocolate bits (for sugar free I use Sweet William or Loving Earth, or for minimum sugar I use Whittakers Dark Ghana)

  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Prepare a date paste with the 1/2 C dates and 1/4 boiling water. Combine & leave to sit for a bit before mashing together
  • Prepare a vegan egg using the chia seeds and 2 Tbs boiling water mixed together
  • Melt the coconut oil
  • Blend oil, chia seeds, dates and vanilla essences together until completely blended.
  • Add the flour and baking soda
  • Add in the chocolate bits
  • Create small balls and place on the baking tray. Flatten a little with a fork
  • Bake for 10 mins and then leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
  • ENJOY!!

Hope this finds you happy, healthy, warm and dry!

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz