Ode to chocolate (the healing kind)


I have been away,
one would say in Lalaland,
(which doesn’t happen every day)
or rather, unwinding from that feeling,
which some days happens to be a long and winding road.
I am back because something said I was becoming lazy,
that this story is written through us and why not share what happens to be                            sometimes magical about it.
(Marco in Italy this weekend)
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What almost home has looked like lately:
my dad with dementia, obsessed by being nude and throwing furniture from his balcony,
Skype calls catching up with my Italian boyfriend who is away for 3 wks, from his bed in the mtns of Italy, while I am cooking,
wondrous moments with super Poppy, beloved dog of all dogs,
awareness that I need to become a gardener, or someone will be hurt in the backyard….
and plenty of in between times when I am developing that inner voice that says, more!

Most of all, I am here for now to share through story about what breaks my heart open.

DIsclaimer: Besides this utter longing, daily diary swirling in my mind: I WILL NEVER STOP MISSING MY DAD. If I drop in to the feelings, it is the saddest sensation on earth. It is not fair nor ok, just insane goops of a really sad thing. And it is – and people have been there before – a reminder that life is like NOW. Doesn’t make the feelings go away nor my heart fully heal.

Loves, for this I am sharing with you the feeling of chocolate.

I started a new job this week working for this awesome eco company (TBA!) and they asked what kind of snacks are cool, ahem……………
((chocolate))

Health Benefits of Chocolate (why it is cool)

Magnesium

Did you know that when women crave chocolate around their moon cycle, they are actually deficient in magnesium, which acts as a muscle relaxer? Raw cacao has the highest content of magnesium of any food. Wow. That’s a lot.

Sulphur

Cacao is chok-full of the beauty mineral sulphur. Eating it in the raw form can help your skin be radiant and clear, you to have lustrous hair and nails to be stronger and to feel more beautiful. I once dipped into a sulphur spring in the Bahamas, a place where Martin Luther King, Jr. had been inspired to write his ‘I Have a Dream Speech’, where sharks swim and a mystical mangrove forest grows in the middle of the ocean. A spring rises up from underneath the ocean, and you swim through it to reap the benefits. Afterwards, it is said that any disease is washed away and that you are healed! That’s eco-power.

Serotonin & Endorphins

A dose of pure & raw cacao heightens the sense of euphoria in the brain by enhancing the pituitary gland, the place in the body responsible for stimulating our spiritual vision. It is wildly successful in drawing to you positive feelings of happiness and bliss, which means less PMS and depression, more clarity and purpose.

Phenylethylamine & Anandamide

Introducing the love drug nutrient and the bliss chemical. Thanks be to chocolate.

Oleic Acid

Healthy fat. Beauty fat. Skinny fat. A super fat found in olive oil which is extra good for you because it enhances a sluggish metabolism!

Vitamins & Minerals

Raw cacao offers plentiful vitamins, A1, B1, C, D and E to name a few,  and is abundant in bone-building, metabolism-boosting, blood sugar balancing super minerals such as sulphur, iron, potassium, manganese, chromium, sodium phosphorus, zinc. Many nutrients readily available in cacao in it’s raw form are destroyed by heat. Consider raw cacao to be extra virgin chocolate.

Antioxidants

Ok so chocolate in the raw has, are you ready…
    360% more antioxidants than regular cocoa
    41 times more antioxidants than red wine
    21 times more than green tea
    7 times more than dark chocolate
(more antioxidants than any other food on the planet)

Sexy Goodness

Raw cacao has incredible benefits on the libido with nearly instantaneous aphrodisiac effects. Bringin’ sexy back….woo!

How I make it:

super chill choc (to beat the crazy’s and sleep!)

3 T cacao
5 T cacao butter
1.5 T palm sugar
1/2 t ashwaganda
1/2 t shatavari
1/4 t pink rose
1/8 t vanilla
pinch of sea salt
 
Place cacao, cut into small pieces, into a double broiler. Allow to melt. Add to dry ingredients, and stir to incorporate. Pour into a mold or a small cup. Place in the freezer for half and hour or so, before pulling out to indulge. Enjoy before bedtime to get your chill on in lalaland……………….

hugs with chocolate and tons more magical moments,

Waller

How to Heal from Sunburn.


 A yoga student called last week and said, “must go to the beach tomorrow. Can you go with me?” He has been saying so for months. I took care of what needed doing and we left 12 hours later for a weekend on the coast of the Florida Gulf. It was a lovely idea! The weekend was chilly and cloudy, conducive for laying on the couch at best. It was still relaxing though the both of us knew it may take a few days to unwind. Come Monday and the warm sun (though not blazing) came out to shine! I laid on the beach alllll day. Upon sundown, my face was apparently red. It’s Saturday and I’m pretty much a peeling gal. I feel it in my bones even, like I just lost a piece of myself.

 

1. To begin, BUILD THE BLOOD to heal thy sunburn, from heartbreak or on a sunshiney day to get your happy healthy on :)

edamame,

pesto on a Spring day….

  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/3 cup aloe vera juice (inner hydration:)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 T lime juice

Blend well and serve over noodles, gluten free if so!

2. HYDRATE INSIDE AND OUT

I am obsessed with coconut oil….for the skin, nails, teeth, in smoothies, to saute and just a dab if the brain feels not quite fed.                 It’s mid-way through Saturday and I’ve used it to slather on the sunburn a handful of times. It feels good. Hydrating the sweet skin of the face. First thing in the morning especially, or before bed.

3. LOVE THYSELF (take care of the bo*dy and the bo*dy will be able to love further)

A yoga mudra for self-love,

for when the skin gets burned, it becomes traumatized, and the heart feels everything that occurs to the mind and body.

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Kaleshvara Mudra : hold in front of your heart, your fingers in a heart shaped position

in order to alchemize and cleanse the body of excess toxins, dead skin cells inside and out.

I am love. My body is healing, healthy and whole. I take care of my skin. I give and receive pure love from my heart. I am open to being honest and awake in all areas of my life.

love love,

Waller

 

 

Feel-Good Potential


Feeling good is a choice we make each moment of every day. Moving towards optimum health is an agreement between the mind and body…….to decide to be healthy, to acknowledge your health, to realize your wellness and to accept an invitation to be well. Moving beyond a phase of poor health involves the mind as much as it does the body. My Pilates teacher trainer says: physical health is the first key to happiness. I want that imprinted on my brain. Sometimes we get off track, forget what we are here to do, why we are here to feel good, so we can gather up the resources, accept the support, realize our potential, move towards what feels good to us, even though that might not look like what anyone else is up to. It looks like you, moving like you, feeling like you, becoming yourself again, inviting yourself to emerge, even though…..(and we all have reasons why not).

I ran into a woman today I used to work with, for an organization that provides free alternative health resources for cancer patients. I was hired as a chef to start-up a meal delivery service for people undergoing cancer treatment. This challenged me beyond what I thought I knew about healthy diets and balance, to create healing meals for people who have no taste for food or life. I brought this home as I ate lunch and remembered…..to chew. To chew like life depends on it. It does, for all of us, our commitment to life is related to our ability to digest it. In everything we do. From how we feel waking up to who we are around, and even more, our relationship to the things we do.

Recovering….wellness, from an illness or injury or addiction or a breakup, is a pathway to the center of your being. To cultivate a life based on what you truly value. I’ve seen what happens when we break our own heart, I’ve witnessed and experienced depression in the deepest since. From taking care of my dad through a psychotic breakdown resulting in dementia, to healing from an eating disorder that nearly took my life, to moving back to my hometown and falling down before I learned to stand again on my own two feet, I understand fumbling through life and then rewriting a health history. It’s a choice first and foremost, to see yourself in your best body, to feel in the deepest place within that there is nothing wrong, to remember fully the precious balancing act that is life. Your potential lies in the hear and now, in recognizing where you are now, was created just for you. That the holding yourself back takes more energy than is worth it.

Inside of the radiance of you, is your light, a connection to the earth and a sense of safety from a place that is uniquely you. Finding our way home is lifelong work involving taking amazing care. Good nutrition in itself is a way to learn to live again, like yourself and to believe in your potential. Good nutrition coupled with loving relationships will keep the body strong lifelong. Having endured negativity that takes a person so far off track that coming home seems impossible, the pattern of returning seems fundamental to who we are as creative people. To be good to the body and the body returns the favor. To even though, in the meantime, while discovering who you are, what you want and why you want to continue growing and improving yourself, remembering that you already are amazing and perfect, and from that place, know life. Know a peace that is with you always. Find your way to a life that you love and a love that will keep you home because it comes from a place within the body that is your sacred connection to the ground beneath supporting you, the world around nurturing you, and the place within protecting you. A choice to be healthy becomes infinitely more easeful when we have developed the integrity within to stay strong throughout difficulty, awake to our needs, and aware of what feels good.

Seeing a light in you, each of us, and believing we are here to be free and in the lightness of being alive and well,

Waller

wearealiveandwell-MYSTICMAMMA

Puppy Love


I’m obsessed with my puppy. Maybe more than chocolate, I adore Poppy. I would not be surviving, in the 32nd year of being single for thirty years. The way she paws my head when I meditate, or ignores me while sniffing the ground gazing up only to say please leave me be. If we all live an instinctual life like a dog, where do you think we would be? In bed? Outside smelling the earth? With each other or alone more so? Would there be more or less chocolate?photoIn an attempt to shed worries, overcome fear and slash a pattern of worrying about food and body image, busy hands seems to ease the pattern of feeling severed from belonging here. Cooking or moving or just learning to accept things as they are reduces the stress of being single and thinking that state is gonna be forever (it sure feels that way). Also living in a town where people continuously remind you that your only hope may be to be a miserable single person forever. That doesn’t help. Neither does trying to think your way to it being okay. In order for something to come to be, there needs to be hope. Being a hopeless single person is sort of a cop-out, according to my mother. It’s like trying to diagram a sentence that gramatically is incorrect. I want love, but not sure yet that I deserve it. I want to remain hopeful and true to my desires, but I keep falling off my rocker and ending up…..me, myself, taking care of the world and wanting to, well, run away to the other end of the world. There is something magical though, to have an Italian PhD student as a roommate who claims everything that culturally seems impossible to him: “THIS, it’s unbelievable” : That I don’t have a boyfriend (which I did not really notice until he moved in and don’t really want according to above). And “why do American girls love Italian guys so?” Ha.They pay attention to women, with heart??

So they say you have to release blocks to love, which creep in when self-nourishment is lacking…………..some chocolate to pretend it’s gonna be okay.

healthy yummy brownies

ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, broken into chunks
1.5 cups palm sugar or, 1 cup brown sugar + 1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/4 c cocoa or cacao powder
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t sea salt
3/4 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup dried cherries

preparation:

Place butter and chocolate in a sturdy bowl over boiling water. Melt, stirring to induce a liquified chocolate.
Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until combined.
Add sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, nutmeg and sea salt. Stir in the spelt flour.
Fold dried cherries in to mixture. Yum.

Pour into a well-oiled 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Smooth over with spatula.
Bake at 350˚ for 40-45 minutes, until a knife tip placed in the center comes out clean.
Let cool completely before slicing……to enjoy.photo 1“Silence can be prayer. Rage can be prayer. It’s truth. It’s all prayer. When we are talking to something that the rest of the world may not be seeing right that minute and we’re talking from the deepest part of out heart, we’re telling the truth. That’s prayer.”     -Ann Lamott

 

Feminine Bliss Retreat


createalifeDo you ever feel like you’ve woken up from a bad dream? Been struggling and then started to carve a new path inside that is unique to you and not for or because of anyone else?? A detox may feel that way. Or a relationship gone stale could provoke a new way of being when you discover you are living for someone else and not for a higher purpose or intentionality of loving. I am on a home retreat that involves cooking, daily yoga nidra, abhyanga massage, delicious Ayurvedic and macrobiotic meals, restorative yoga, meditation, journalling and heavenly chanting sessions. It is possibly as blissful as it would be at a retreat or my favorite yoga spa getaway, Kripalu in the mountains of Massachusetts. Only a few people know I am in town. I am not at the mercy of clients or wondering why people are not calling. It is good guys. A reclaiming of goddess, feminine energy and a true, palpable vision for what I want this year.

Besides having balanced chakras, (which always feels good, but we are in process and it is not be reality without little annoyances as a compass for what is needed to come back into balance) what are things that are important to you to feel?? Bliss? Loved? Easeful? Connected? Loving??

I have always envisioned there being an effortless flow to life. This takes work, systems and structures to balance energy so you can flow through the day safely and ease fully. Years ago I read a book by Harvard Business Review called Balance Your Energy, Not Your Time which confirmed an outlook I have always known, since time is just one of those annoyances that if your energy is not on track, it’s pretty much a given you will be late. I usually know just after waking how the time will be used in a day, and it comes from practices to keep energy in balance and clarity of mind from staying committed. This is a yang, or masculine process. We need the masculine so the feminine can flourish. The feminine mother, nurturer, spaciousness and light energy that keeps us so sweetly engaging with one another. The masculine is the grounding, structured, logical way.

A feminine bliss retreat, however requires more yin than yang cultivating dear ones. It is essential taking-care-of-self practicing and can be added in to your day, in to any area causing subtle undertones of excess or imbalance for recovery from an addictive pattern, to enhance fertility or increase sexual energy.

Such as with food….

I know how it is to be obsessed with food, worried, not sure what or how or when to eat…

A few questions:

Do you love what you eat? Do you eat with pleasure or do you wonder why you are eating, and pick apart the food because it tastes not right or that you don’t really think you are good enough for it?

Maybe it is time to sexify your food. Ok really, make it ooze with pleasure. Add plenty of oil, use sweet vegetables in every meal, sauté the kale rather than boiling, always add a dash of ghee or coconut oil to your grains. If you are eating meat, include greens and follow it up with chocolate. …in order to make it more yin. 

Nurture that body and some ways to :

  • take a long, slow, and deep bath with candles and oil of frankonsence and sipping a cup of rose tea
  • abhyanga self-massage first thing in the morning, lay out an old towel, heat coconut oil and cover your bo-dy head to toe, then lightly brush the oil in just to adorn the skin, rest in meditation or yoga nidra and take a warm shower to cleanse
  • get moving, but not to punish yourself for eating chocolate, go for a walk and invite in the sights and sounds of nature, rest all of your attention each footstep

Open the mind to LOVE

  • yoga nidra is my preferred way and I will write more later, however for now know that it is a specific meditation to unravel energy stuck in the koshas to open the bliss body (anadandamayakosha) and awaken to a sense of oneness. It helps the dust settle, from anything that may feel triggering or leave you with the feeling you may not be good enough to let yourself dream big. And YOU ARE
  • meditation – taking time out to breathe and affirm that your essence is DIVINE LOVE, the rest is a joke that something less than holy is playing on you
  • chant – i am just beginning and it is a wonderful way to clear energy. You can find chants for what you are wanting to manifest (abundance, clarity, love) or clear (fear, doubt). Chanting works to calm the mind and open the heart
  • the energy of love is a vibration, soothing and creative

just for you…Hot Chi-colate

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 T cacao (for the power of polyphenols)
  • 1 T maple syrup or palm sugar
  • 1/4 t cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla

Heat until simmering and drink out of your favorite mug while nestling in to the sofa or in a bath filled with rose petals.

Feel amazing,

Waller

Achieving Bliss when you just don’t Think You Are Worth It


youyourself

There are times in a day when I would rather hang my head low becomes it is heavy. Remembering  to maintain bliss at all times is a superhuman behavior, because life is a process… of coming home and honoring what we need to find balance, rather than choosing to make it more difficult for ourselves. Becoming centered is a continuous process of shedding the parts of us which inhibit our ability to embody beauty and access our light. There are layers to any relationship which begin within ourselves in the mental, physical and spiritual bodies. These are represented through five sheaths which move from the outermost layer of consciousness inward to the center of our being. The order of these sheaths, or koshas, which work synergistically to create internal balance is:

Anamayakosha :: physical body
Pranamayakosha :: energy body
Manamayakosha :: mental body
Vijnanamayakosha :: wisdom body
Anandamayakosha :: bliss body

“The Yoga path of Self-realization is one of progressively moving inward, through each of those lampshades, so as to experience the purity at the eternal center of consciousness.” (swamji.com)

Bliss is provoked through consistent practices that shed difficulty and are deeply centering. It is embodied peace which flows through by attuning to our inner needs to access moments of grace, bliss, beauty, flow. The work involved to attain bliss is to clear energy, feed ourselves well, tend to our emotions through meditation and prayer, access wisdom through self-contemplation and study. Yoga is a way of moving through the layers of separation to embody our highest truth. Yoga is a practice of joining the body to quiet the vrittis, or fluctuations of the mind, a state of being which is not only attained through stepping on the mat to practice. A yogic state, or practice can also be done through anything that brings you into a state of being at peace, at one with the core of your being. Through art, writing, sex, and other mindful activities in which the mind saturates the body with a state of ease and remembrance of the divine, yoga as a state of being is palpable.

The bliss body is that feeling of joining the body, feeling safe and held and deeply supported by your inner self. A state of being in which the parasympathetic nervous system functions fully, the brain is balanced and nourished & creative energy flows, to reveal a state of inner freedom…
You are whole perfect and complete with access to the radiant core, “where unconditional love and communion with life arises” (YogaJournal) no matter where you have been or what you have done or who you are or aren’t……….

A few basic practices which encourage the awakening of bliss and a remembrance of wholeness:

1. Learn to Feel Good and to do what feels good to prevent the after effects of having to clean up messes (still learning this in subtle ways…)
2. Be Kind to Yourself (I am wonderful. I am loved. I deserve abundance and joy.)
3. Believe YOU CAN FULFILL YOUR DESIRES  and that you already are

  • make a desire list
  • affirm that you have, are doing and are feeling yourself having your desires

4. Take time out for prayer and to REMEMBER a connection with the divine (Ishvara Pranidhana, where there is God, there is grace and connection–which is always available:)

5. Nestle in to YOUR LIFE

  •  create your space, relationships, work and all areas so that you feel alive, and free and fully yourself
  • when you feel stuck, create something new, clean out a drawer, file, your desktop
  • wear things you love and that make you feel good
  • move towards love, away from what feels triggering and unsafe (even if it is in your head)
  • heal yourself through getting physical to clean out the mental and emotional

6. REST WELL TO BE WELL

  • sleep, restorative yoga, yoga nidra are all ways to quiet the mind and access a state of inner bliss and wholeness

Continue reading

Being and Becoming


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I am beginning a new book called Body of Work by Pamela Slim. This year my goal is to read a book a week, and last week it was Linchpin by Seth Godin about how to be indispensable (Review coming soon). Through Body of Work, I’m seeing that the times in between where it feels like work is difficult to define and I’ve lost touch with clients and momentum in a purpose, looking to what is working and where energy is going is key in staying positive.

One thing that has been consistent over the past 16 years has been service or community work, working with under-served populations. It is not necessarily about the what is being done or how much effort is being put in, but what the intent is and whether you are listening to feedback and open to changing. I appreciate greatly working with people who are rising above adverse situations because the work is palpable. They look to you as the expert, and I reflect back to them that the work is inside of them, to call themselves home into this moment where all is truly safe and well.I also see that spending half of my life doing this has been an intention to share my knowledge, yet also it is time to do so in a wider circuit, hence a recent opening of the floodgates to the creation of content.

Steve Jobs says that it is the experience you are bringing to customers, your community, the planet that matters. If you are out of touch with your center, what do you need to get back in tune with the sacred experiences of your life? The answer comes through practicing nourishing and listening to your inner world. A successful person has many talents they are leveraging, not just what they are being compensated for but how much they consistently attune to their inner lives and preserve their energy for the creative process of personal growth. Behind the scenes there are structures which keep all of us in place. From our homes, to self-care routines, relationships, a spiritual connection and those things we must do to stay in balance.

A big picture of your life reveals things that support the little day to day must-dos so what you can do well becomes an expression of who you are. This process can be cultivated in a day yet the seeds have been planted over periods where you know you must dig a little deeper to access who you want to become. For instance, I teach yoga a few days a week to teenagers in a domestic violence shelter and women in a recovery program out of prison who are former prostitutes and recovering addicts. The structure they have been given in which to blossom is a healthy community, where they are learning new resources and ways of relating to maintain inner stability and well-being. I love working with these women, but there are some days I question service work when relative to my business, it does not seem balanced. While at the same time, sharing of ourselves as a resource is invaluable to grow as a human being, we also need compensation for our work! I realize where my energy has been going and am digging into creating more stability in my own house so sharing comes from a place of honest balance. I deeply value community work, even in the times in between when uncertainty is present.

The work of digging deeper to discover what your needs are that are growing through you is always taking place, within every relationship, every thought and good deed. Every act of giving comes back your way not only with gratitude, yet with an underlying opportunity to accept an invitation to be generous. As well, a chance to pause and acknowledge that in being of service to the community of your family or work, you are contributing to the web that makes the world a better place.

While we are not all setting out to launch a company such as Apple, Steve Jobs’ path to innovation begins with doing what you love. This may be as simple as loving to spend time with certain people. Then do more of that. Loving to be outside, then certainly, spend time each day in nature. Busy schedules, children and all the reasons to stay tending to the world around are not enough when the body is crying out for balance. And subconsciously, we are always moving into a state of balance, regardless of how hard we try to avoid tending to our own needs, it will continue to be the primal urge inside of each of us, to feed ourselves well, drink plenty of water, rest and be calm in our spirits. Life can get truly complicated when energy is given away without compensation either through taking care of self or recognizing a relationship that is pulling at your heart strings.

Imagine where you are in the present moment is the best place you know to be. It is carved out just for you, at this moment in time and space. From there, take every next step towards what brings greater ease and joy, with a sense of listening to what you may need to come home. Besides seeking balance, the home inside of ourselves is a place to discover what truly matters. There is meaning behind all that you see and do. Take a deep breath and bow in gratitude for what is awesome about you.

Namaste,
Waller