Healing and Releasing Painful Memories

Painful memoriesSomething I have personally learned is that when people are hurt badly by an experience or a person they tend to cling to it and even begin to identify themselves with that pain and that experience to a large degree. It is not possible to stop forming your identity around that pain and that experience until you forgive the person or persons and let go of the experience that caused your hurt. It has to be released before it will stop hurting you over and over. It is the only way to really care for yourself and heal. Purposely going back and revisiting painful experiences and holding onto hurt feelings is dangerous. You are recreating that pain anew each time and this is only destructive and will lead to anger.

Memories may resurface, but there is no need to dwell in them. Very painful memories can tend to flood us with overwhelming amounts of emotion and it seems to only grow stronger over time when we allow ourselves to stay with the thoughts. Our perception of the memory is not the same any longer. It begins to take on a life of its own and this is how we can form our identity around it. When children have started forming their identities around painful memories, like loss, then it is even more difficult for them to comprehend how to break this cycle and heal. This understanding must come as an adult for them, and it will be a struggle as they continue to cycle back through the pain, thinking they are doomed to live in misery forever. This thought itself perpetuates the cycle and leads them into more difficulty.

Not continuing on with thought processes or speech patterns that follow this cycle can help break it and that is an important thing to do for healing to begin. As long as a person continues to feel that they were wronged, or that something should have gone a different way than it did, that person will continue to feel miserable. Railing against your loss or your suffering in anger and sorrow, no matter how long you do it will never change what happened. It only makes feelings of suffering and anger stronger and the experience of loss or suffering is essentially being relived inside. This can only lead to further harm. It also leads to us creating many incorrect perceptions based on the flooding of pain from previous life stages and previous states of perception. It becomes very difficult to see the peace and happiness that can be found in your present if you are looking at things through a lens of altered perceptions fostered by revisiting painful memories.

However, starting in the present moment and recognizing good things with gratitude is helpful and begins the process to healing and breaking the cycle of going back to pain. Focusing on the small things, like breathing, gradually brings awareness back to what you are feeling right now. This awareness can be used to acknowledge and accept the feelings as they come, learning how to feel them and let them pass without holding onto them. Emotions about very difficult events arise and these emotions are not easy to feel without dwelling, especially at the beginning. Taking five or ten minutes of quiet time in which you can sit alone and let these feelings come is helpful. This is short enough to not be difficult to find in a day and to not allow time for ruminating on the feelings that come up. Each one comes, is recognized, and then is let go. This begins to allow for sorting. The recognition will also come that thoughts and emotions arise but they also fade to the background. This can give a sense of peace that the true inner self is not truly as rocked by external events as we tend to believe.

Surrender: Non-Attachment & Peace

peaceWe all want things to go the way we believe they should go.

We want things the way we want them. While we may sometimes allow some room for discussion and potential compromise, ultimately, we tend to think we know how things should turn out. We seek that end goal and lose sight of appreciating the process it takes to get where we really need to be.

What we all need and want on a deep level is safety, comfort and peace. When things get difficult, as they inevitably do in life, we want to feel better. Now.

We can talk about releasing the need to have immediate relief all we want to, but when we are the ones hurting, afraid or angry, it gets very difficult to keep peace in our hearts and surrender to the next moment.

The paradox is that it is that very act of letting go of our need to control the situation that brings us peace and comfort and often leads to our safety.

When I was a young child, I played in the woods of Arkansas every day. I ran through these woods, jumping over fallen trees and skipping through creeks. I was not afraid of anything, despite my mother’s constant warning that I should be afraid of rattlesnakes.

Instead, I learned respect for all the creatures of the woods, including the rattlesnakes. I came across rattlesnakes occasionally, but I never let myself give over to my fear. I knew that fear of the snakes would make it more likely that I would react in haste and therefore be bitten. Instead, I always stood quietly in my place, looking peacefully at the snake. I sent calming thoughts to the creature and backed away slowly.

If I had reacted with fear of being bitten, energetically, I would have sent that signal out to the snake. When we know another is reacting out of fear, we tend to be fearful of them and prepare to protect ourselves.

The thing is, if both parties are doing that defensive dance, it leads to hostility. Someone gets hurt. Someone has to be willing to let go of their fear and detach from trying to control the outcome. It makes it less likely that anyone gets bitten.

Applying this to a real world practice we all experience, we can use the example of showering. No one wants the water or soap in their eyes. It burns like hell. But, have you ever noticed that when you squeeze your eyes tightly closed you actually force the water and soap into your eyes? The best way to prevent getting soap in your eyes seems to be to relax.

Of course we don’t leave our eyes open and just let the soap run in, but when we gently close our eyes (no squeezing!) the soap runs harmlessly right over our eyelids.

Yoga practice gives us another daily life exposure to non-attachment. When we are trying to force our way into a pose, we make it that much more likely that we won’t be able to do it. Or, we hurt ourselves and feel frustrated at our efforts.

When we practice surrender, we are able to remember that it’s the practice that is important, not the ability to achieve a specific pose.

We are able to keep softness in our muscles and pay attention to our breath. The paradox is, when we do this, we often achieve our poses with more ease and less pain. We go to the edge of discomfort, but we don’t force through to pain.

It is much more difficult to practice taking this attitude of surrender into our relationships, our work and our finances. These are the things we fear will cause us the most harm, so we struggle against them the hardest.

But, this fear and struggle is what creates and perpetuates the many issues we all face in our day to day lives and we are all waiting for the other guy to lay down their weapons first.

We want to make sure that we are the ones with our mental guns always aimed and ready. We are expecting pain and clenching on that fear. No wonder we keep seeing and experiencing drama. We haven’t completely let go of it, ourselves.

Of course, our own way dealing with the world becomes the way that our family and society deals with the world. We are reflection of each other. There is no they, only us. Each of us is a part of the greater “they.”

We are like cells in a body—tiny parts that make up the entirety. Each cell responds in unity with each other in order to ensure their own survival and the survival of the greater whole. When cells fight each other for their own survival, at the expense of the whole, we call it disease.

If it goes on indefinitely, everything dies, including troublesome cells.

None of us knows the ultimate good of even our own lives, let alone the lives of the entire world. It seems the smart thing to do might be to admit this and relax in the knowledge that we don’t have to control the outcome of everything.

We only have to be responsible for our own inner harmony.

The result is not our business.

But, when we breathe and soften, we are more likely to get where we all want to be.

Originally published at http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/09/surrender-non-attachment-and-peace-angie-webster/

Homemade Pizza with Seasoned Crust (gluten free, vegan option)

I LOVE pizza! And I used to be really intimidated by the thought of making my own pizza atpizza home. Even if I thought of doing it at home, I would by a pre-made crust or a crust mix and I always bought a pre-made sauce. I enjoyed the results when I made a pizza at home, even doing it with pre-packaged mixes and sauces, but I still had that feeling of disconnection and intimidation. I usually just ordered a pizza or bought frozen. All that had to change when I had to go gluten free several years ago for health reasons. It was either go without pizza (NOT!) or learn how to do it at home inexpensively (which means without the gluten free pre-packaged mixes!) I am glad I learned how to get past my fears, because, like most things I have discovered in the kitchen, once I looked beneath the mystery, it was not hard to do at all! I only had to trust myself! Here is a pizza sauce and crust I have developed since then. I love how easy they are and how there is room for flexibility.

Start with the pizza sauce. I get this going an let it simmer while I start the pizza dough. Works out perfectly. The sauce can also be made up in big batches and then frozen in individual containers for later use, if you want to double or triple the recipe.

Pizza Sauce

1 Tablespoon butter or margarine

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion or 1/2 medium onion, chopped (use the other half for pizza toppings!)

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small stalk celery, diced

15 oz. can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes

2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (optional)

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon fennel powder

1/2 teaspoon sugar, honey or pure maple syrup (grade B works best)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 bay leaf

 

Melt butter or margarine with olive oil in pan. Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent (about 3 minutes). Add all other ingredients, stir. Simmer on low heat for  at least  a half hour, up to one whole hour.  Remove bay leaf and it’s ready to use! 

While this is simmering, start the pizza dough. You can have it finished and on the pan ready to bake by the time the sauce is ready.

Seasoned Pizza Crust

3 c. flour (1 c. brown rice, 1 cup millet, 1 cup sorghum)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if using regular flour or a gluten free blend containing xantan gum)

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 Tablespoons sugar, plus 2 Tablespoons more

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon yeast

3/4 cup warm water, plus 3/4 cup more (@ 110 degrees, or what feels comfortable to the inside of your wrist)

1 egg (can substitute flax egg mixture–see below–or leave egg out for a thinner, drier crust)*

*Flax egg mixture to substitute for egg–1 Tablespoon flax meal mixed with 2 Tablespoons warm water in a small bowl. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then use as you would an egg. Works in many recipes.

Pour 3/4 cup water in a small bowl and stir in 1 Tablespoon yeast. Let sit for a couple minutes, then add 1 Tablespoon sugar.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, 2 Tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum (if using gluten free flour), basil, oregano and garlic powder. Mix well.

In a measuring cup, measure 3/4 cup warm water and add 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 egg. Beat with a fork until well blended. Add yeast, sugar and water mixture and stir. Then add to the flour mixture and mix well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the bowl of dough on top of the stove where it will get some of the warmth of the oven (not where it will cover the oven’s heat exhaust!) and let it rise for about 10 minutes. This is a good time to get some toppings ready, shred cheese, prepare your pan, etc.

Grease two pizza pans or one large cookie sheet. When your dough is done rising, then sauce should be about done simmering, so turn that off. Dump the dough onto the cookie sheet and dust it and your hands with a little flour, then mash it evenly into the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake it without toppings for about 15-20 minutes until it begins to turn golden brown. Finish chopping toppings while it bakes. Sliced tomato, mushrooms, chopped onion, some fresh or frozen spinach, even broccoli is really good! Use your imagination!

When the crust comes out of the oven, put your sauce and toppings on, then bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly. Slice and enjoy!

 

 

Zucchini “Apple” Cobbler

zucchiniZucchini  “Apple” Cobbler

This is a delicious and easy dessert and a fantastic way to use up the abundance of zucchini that rolls in during the summer months!

Filling

6 cups or so of peeled, cubed zucchini (I used 1 large and 1 medium)

juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup sugar or other replacement, such as honey

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8-1/4 cup raisins (I just threw in a good sized handful)

Topping

1 cup almond flour/meal (other flour would probably work fine)

@1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup softened butter or coconut oil

handful of chopped pecans or walnuts(optional)

1. Put cubed zucchini in saucepan with lemon juice and sugar. Stir. Slowly bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat, add raisins & spices, cover pan and simmer for about 5 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a square baking dish.

3.Prepare the topping by mixing the flour, salt and cinnamon, then cut in the butter or coconut oil with then side of a spoon. When the filling is done simmering, pour in to greased dish and sprinkle pecans or walnuts on top, if using. Then sprinkle the topping over the nuts.

4. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown on top and the zucchini is tender.

Taste just like apple crisp/cobbler! Top with ice cream or whipped cream or just enjoy it straight out of the oven!

 

What Is a Budget, Really??

money
What is a Budget, Really??
There is a whole lot of misconception around the word ‘budget’. Scary thoughts are conjured up in some people’s minds and others close off in anger and resentment. Others shut down altogether at the sheer mention of the word, thinking that ‘budgets’ are for the wealthy or for corporations. Not for “ordinary people.” Though I began using a small scale budget for the first time when I was 16 year old, I admit I have been through nearly all of these cycles and it has led to some serious mismanagement of money!
The truth is, a budget isn’t to meant to restrict your money or to complicate your life. In fact, the entire point of a budget is to simply allow you to see where your money is coming in and going to, and in what amounts. This may seem obvious to you, especially if you don’t make very much and it seems to be gone in a flash. But there’s something to writing it all down that makes it gel and organize. It all becomes clear in ways you just can’t get as numbers float in and out of your head. Priorities seem to form themselves without much effort at all. It really is pretty much painless.
It seems that when you don’t write down your incoming and outgoing money, the small expenses slip your mind easily and the little priorities fail to become priorities at all. Except that you will still spend money on them because somewhere in your mind, they are still a priority. Once you start keeping track, all this stops on its own. So how do you start a simple budget? I’ve seen some of the templates online and they can be a little mind-blowing for a basic household.
Start by making a column of all your incoming funds, from any source, and how often you receive them. Even if they seem too small to mention, write them down. Then make another column of your outgoing funds/expenses, no matter where it goes, no matter how big or small the amount and how often you pay that out/spend it. Below is a basic chart to give you an idea of what I mean. It includes most basic expenses and a small amount to savings. This is just a made up budget, but it gives you an idea of how to write it down.

income chart

 

Make sure you include categories for all the things you really and truly spend money on! Don’t worry about feeling guilty. Remember this is for your eyes only and it is meant to help you, not shame you. If you write something down and you see it’s not really working for you, then you can see how to re-work things, but not even acknowledging it doesn’t even give you that chance. Be honest with yourself! For example, if you smoke, you know you will be buying cigarettes, so budget the money. Buy them the most affordable way you can and budget for that in advance.
Once you have it all written down, you may see a few areas you want to start shifting more money to, or areas you realize you are able to spend less money in. You may see areas where you didn’t realize you were spending so much money or other areas where you aren’t really sure how much money you spend at all. A good way to get an better idea of how much you actually spend is it to keep receipts for 2 weeks to a month for every single purchase you make. Keep an envelope to store them in and sort through them occasionally to give yourself a clearer idea of how much you spend in each category. You may be surprised how much those morning coffees or afternoon sodas add up to over the course of a couple weeks! You may decide to shift that money elsewhere, but even if you don’t, you will know to budget the funds for your activities so they don’t get siphoned off of your electric bill or your rent!
The true purpose of a budget is simply to allow you to see where your money is flowing in from and flowing out to. Money is in a constant state of flow, like any form of energy. Like any form of energy, when you work with it and understand what it’s actually doing, it can work to your benefit.

Grain Free Chicken and Dumplings

cauliflowerGrain Free Chicken and Dumplings

Comfort foods are amazing. They can remind you of a special time in your childhood and just generally soothe and heal your body, mind and spirit. My husband and I are contending with a bit of a cold today and some chicken and dumplings, like my Mom used to make sounded just right. Only grain free.

Once a month I buy 2 chickens, as well as my eggs, from a local farm that I completely trust. They are family owned and they let the chickens live a free and happy chicken life, not a caged one. They provide amazingly kind shelters for their “ladies”, as they call them and treat them like fellow family members.  I get about 4 meals and 8 cups of chicken stock from each of the chickens. Nothing goes to waste and all of the bird is honored deeply.

This recipe uses shredded chicken picked from a previously roasted whole chicken, frozen and thawed for this meal as well as stock made by boiling the bones and skin from the chicken after all the meat was removed. You could also buy chicken thighs or breast, cook it and shred it and buy chicken stock, but it’s cheaper to buy a whole chicken, roast it (or crock pot it for several hours) and then pick it clean and freeze what you don’t eat in 1 or 2 cup portions for later meals.

Grain Free Chicken and Dumplings

1 head cauliflower, cut in half

@ 2 cups shredded chicken (leftover from cooked whole bird)

4 cups chicken stock, split in half (made from bones and skin left from picked clean bird)

2 cups water

@ 2 cups chopped carrots

@ 1 cup chopped celery

@ 1 cup parsley or carrot tops (optional)

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt

additional 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt

1 egg

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot

 

1) Chop half of the cauliflower and add it to 2 cups of the stock and 2 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for 10 minutes.

2) While that is cooking, chop the other half head of cauliflower and run through a food processor until it is very fine and grainy looking. Add a half inch or so of water to a pan and bring to a boil, then add the cauliflower grains to the water and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain through wire mesh strainer and rinse with cool water. When cool enough, place on a doubled over piece of cheesecloth or a thin dish cloth and squeeze while twisting to get all the liquid out. Set aside in a medium bowl.

3) Pour the cauliflower and stock into a blender and liquefy to make a smooth and thick cream like base. Pour back into the pot and add carrots, celery, parsley, salt, pepper, thyme the rest of the stock and the chicken and bring back to a simmer for about another 10-15 minutes while making the dumplings.

4) Add an egg, both flours (or arrowroot) and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the cauliflower grains you set aside in the medium bowl and stir well with a spoon. Then knead with your hands for a couple minutes until it feels nicely pliable and holds together well. Only takes about 2 minutes.

5) Check on the soup. If the carrots are tender and seasonings are as you like, then form the dough ball into about 9, 1/2 inch dumplings and drop then into the soup. Let them rise to the top on their own. Put the lid on the pot and let simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Serve.

Adapted from: http://paleoparents.com/2013/guest-post-popular-paleo-cauliflower-dumplings-with-creamy-chicken-soup/

Shampoo Free Hair Washing (No-Poo)

july2014

Nearly a week into “no-poo” hair cleansing!

Shampoo Free Hair Washing(No-Poo)
For the last year and a half, I have been hearing about the “no-poo” method of washing your hair. There are a few ways to do it, but the most common way is to replace your shampoo with baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse. When I first heard of this, I was completely grossed out. I was totally on the road of using all natural cleaning and hygiene methods, and I used baking soda and vinegar to clean most everything in my home, but I wasn’t ready to think of using it on my hair as the only method of cleansing it. However, as usual, my curiosity got the better of me after awhile. I kept hearing praise for the no-poo method and I had to try it for myself.

I read an article that described how to do no-poo so simply that I couldn’t resist and about a week ago I quit using shampoo. I was not sure what to expect, since I have curly hair and all the people I had read about had straight hair, but I have to say, I am loving the results so far! My hair feels and looks so clean and the curls behave nicely, even though I haven’t used any styling product or conditioner on them in the last week. It’s not frizzy, even though it’s been incredibly humid here in the Midwest.

My hair (and curly hair in general) tends to be a bit dry overall, especially on the ends, yet a bit hard to keep clean and well rinsed close to the scalp. Build up can be an issue on the scalp, which sometimes leaves me with an itchy or irritated head. That doesn’t seem to be an issue with this method. In fact, within the first few days, I noticed the residue dissolving and coming off my scalp as I rinsed with the apple cider vinegar (ACV). It felt a bit weird and I was sort of worried my hair would dry looking dirty, but it didn’t. It was shiny and clean.

So here is how you do it:

Put 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a pint jar or container (I used an empty peanut butter jar) and fill with warm water. Stir to dissolve the baking soda or put the lid on and shake. Pour this over your scalp, letting it run down your hair. Work it into the scalp, loosening debris and massaging the scalp a bit.

Put a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV) into the same jar and fill with water again. Pour over head to rinse. Work through slightly and then rinse immediately with warm water. You’re done!

I measure the ACV into the lid of the jar so that I can just dump it in after I finish with the baking soda rinse and refill with water. Saves time and hassle. Also, if you have longer or thicker hair, you may need to use 2 teaspoons of baking soda. See what works best for you. I recommend using an organic, raw, unfiltered ACV when using it for food or directly on your body like this. Bragg’s make a very good one, but there are others, too. The regular ACV can be very harsh and not so good for you, especially to use long term. It still only cost a penny or so, even using organic. And don’t worry, your hair won’t smell like vinegar!

I needed to use this every day at the beginning, probably because it was working the residue loose from my scalp. But now that I am coming up on a week, I was able to skip doing it today and just spray lavender water (filtered water & 15 drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle) on my hair to refresh my curls and wet them down a bit.

I have chosen not to put any styling product in my hair as it released the residue to see if that helped the process and to see how well it did with just the no-poo method alone. I’m glad I did, because it did better without it.

If you’re curious like I was, be brave and give it a try! You truly have nothing to lose but a bunch of bottles in your shower and the expense of buying them.