Mother nature makes the best yoga mat.

Mother nature makes the best yoga mat.

Acro yoga .
Love.
Breathe.
Just be.

Acro yoga .
Love.
Breathe.
Just be.

” Even educated people today believe they can find happiness outside of themselves and hold on to it. Our consumer societies pervasively reinforce this superficial expectation by advertising vacations or the purchase of various things as sources of real fulfillment. Others promise the same result if you vote for a certain political party or follow a new diet. And so people invest their energy , as well as the precious hours and years of their lives , in the search for an alleged happiness that they don’t understand or have the means to safeguard. Thus, holiday places are overfilled, women or men illogically destroy functioning relationships , hard - earned recognition at work transforms into malicious gossip because colleagues turn against someone , beloved children develop lifestyles that their parents can no longer connect with , or the family father dies suddenly, pensions that were invested in for a whole career are suddenly reduced , and diamond rings that were meant to be forever are lost.

The reason for this is clear : if happiness arises from impermanent causes, it can only last as long as its outer and inner conditions continue. When these circumstances fall away, any conditioned state will disappear. Like the Greek philosopher Heraclites said 2,500 years ago : “Everything flows. Nothing stands still. ” “

- Lama Ole Nydahl

Hello friends!
I hope you are having a beautiful day.

Hello friends!

I hope you are having a beautiful day.

Whatever happened to people hanging out in their underwear/lazy clothes all day, watching movies/playing video games, and just enjoying each other as company for a date night?

All I have been seeing lately is people going on these super extravagant and fancy dates, and sure that can be fun every once in a while, but just chilling with some music and good food could make a pretty rad night as well.

Maybe I’m just stuck in 90’s post grunge date of being in love.

"Beauty doesn’t exist in things; beauty is a projection. Beauty is not objective; it is subjective. So one day somebody looks beautiful, another day the same person becomes ugly. It is you who projects, it is you who withdraws, the other works just as a screen. Once you come to know that the mind projects beauty and ugliness, that the mind projects good and bad, you stop projecting. Then for the first time you come to know what objective reality is. It is neither good nor bad, it is neither beautiful nor ugly; it simply is. All your interpretations drop with the projections." - Osho
Even though I am working towards healing my body from massive amounts of stress over the years and have struggled with beauty in regards to my physical appearance for years, I am a lot more compassionate and loving towards my body. Sure I don’t have the standard beauty traits , and nor do I want to achieve that.  I know that my skin is far from being flawless with its sensitivity, my hair can be a wild mess, and my eyes don’t line up properly, but I am okay with that. I’ll use some organic concealer to spot conceal and calm down some pigmentation or general  blemishes, and some tinted chap-stick to have fun with for my lips. I don’t like to use makeup personally, and really like to keep to a bare minimum if any at all. Everyone should be able to express themselves, makeup or no makeup, and live their life the way they want to. Beauty is not defined by how hollywood declares it to be, and being ashamed of who you are is harmful to both your physical and mental health. Embrace yourself, take care of yourself, and honor yourself. Health is not only what you put in and on your body, but also what you tell your body. Let kindness flow through you, and let your body heal any insecurities that you have. Your body is yours for your lifetime, and no one can take away the love and respect it deserves.

<3

"Beauty doesn’t exist in things; beauty is a projection. Beauty is not objective; it is subjective. So one day somebody looks beautiful, another day the same person becomes ugly. It is you who projects, it is you who withdraws, the other works just as a screen. Once you come to know that the mind projects beauty and ugliness, that the mind projects good and bad, you stop projecting. Then for the first time you come to know what objective reality is. It is neither good nor bad, it is neither beautiful nor ugly; it simply is. All your interpretations drop with the projections." - Osho

Even though I am working towards healing my body from massive amounts of stress over the years and have struggled with beauty in regards to my physical appearance for years, I am a lot more compassionate and loving towards my body. Sure I don’t have the standard beauty traits , and nor do I want to achieve that.  I know that my skin is far from being flawless with its sensitivity, my hair can be a wild mess, and my eyes don’t line up properly, but I am okay with that. I’ll use some organic concealer to spot conceal and calm down some pigmentation or general  blemishes, and some tinted chap-stick to have fun with for my lips. I don’t like to use makeup personally, and really like to keep to a bare minimum if any at all. Everyone should be able to express themselves, makeup or no makeup, and live their life the way they want to. Beauty is not defined by how hollywood declares it to be, and being ashamed of who you are is harmful to both your physical and mental health. Embrace yourself, take care of yourself, and honor yourself. Health is not only what you put in and on your body, but also what you tell your body. Let kindness flow through you, and let your body heal any insecurities that you have. Your body is yours for your lifetime, and no one can take away the love and respect it deserves.

<3

Valentines day may have been corrupted by the materialistic world of business and marketing , but it doesn’t mean that this day can’t be applied in a differnt, non romantic drooling kind of way. Personally, I laugh at the paradigm of this day, as I disagree with the capitalistic and reassuring view point on expressing love , but to each there own. In retrospect ( even though I like to poke fun at valentines day) , I find this day to be just like any other day . Appreciating , admiring, and loving those within your life really shouldn’t be expressed on one day of the year. But, this day can be a little reminder for those who aren’t engaging in that practice already (including doing this for yourself). You don’t know how long someone will be in your life , and you never know what kind of relationship you can build unless you open up to love. Whether that be with a partner, a family member, or a friend , love is a universal emotion and aspect of our lives. Flowers, stuffed animals, jewlery, etc, can never touch the simple act of conversation and physically doing something with someone you love.

Tell someone you love them today , tell yourself that you love yourself today, go do something fun, write a letter or in your personal journal. Express yourself, and don’t dwell on not being in a romantic relationship. People will come and go within your life , so embrace the present moment(s) you have with them.

Happy valentines day everyone ♥

self love, the most powerful kind of love in your life.

"21 Tips to Release Self-Neglect and Love Yourself in Action

Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Tess Marshall

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

The most important decision of your life, the one that will effect every other decision you make, is the commitment to love and accept yourself. It directly affects the quality of your relationships, your work, your free time, your faith, and your future.

Why then is this so difficult to do?

Your Family of Origin

I grew up with nine siblings. I had two older brothers, three older sisters, three younger sisters, and a younger brother.

I never fit in. My sisters were tall and thin with beautiful, long, lush hair. By eleven years old, I was short and very curvy. My hair was fine, thin, and wild.

For the most part, my siblings did as they were told. I was outspoken, out-of-control and rebellious.

I wore my sister’s hand-me-down school uniforms. I rolled up the hems on the skirts and popped buttons on the blouses. My look was unkempt.

I was teased and bullied at home and at school. Yet I didn’t go quietly into the night. I fought for my place in my family. To protect myself, I developed a good punch and grew a sharp tongue.

I was 27 years old and married with four children when I became desperate enough to seek out my first therapist. I felt alone, stuck, and unlovable. I was determined to change.

After six months of working through my childhood issues, old thoughts, beliefs, and events, I felt alive again. It was like stripping off several layers of paint from an antique piece of furniture. I found myself restored to my original beauty.

Cultural Influences

We’re taught by society that our worth is found in the idols of our culture—technology, status, youth, sex, power, money, attractiveness, and romantic relationships.

If you base your self worth on the external world, you’ll never be capable of self-love.

Your inner critic will flood you with thoughts of, “I’m not enough, I don’t have enough, and I don’t do enough.”

Feelings of lack are never-ending. Every time a goal is reached or you possess the next big thing, your ego will move the line.

Shift Your Self-Perception

Feeling worthy requires you to see yourself with fresh eyes of self-awareness, , and love. Acceptance and love must come from within.

You don’t have to be different to be worthy. Your worth is in your true nature, a core of love and inner goodness. You are a beautiful light. You are love. We can bury our magnificence, but it’s impossible to destroy.

Loving ourselves isn’t a one time event. It’s an endless, moment by moment ongoing process.

It begins with you, enfolding yourself in your own affection and appreciation.

Read on for steps to discover your worth and enfold yourself in affection and appreciation.

1. Begin your day with love (not technology). Remind yourself of your worthiness before getting out of bed. Breathe in love and breathe out love. Enfold yourself in light. Saturate your being in love.

2. Take time to mediate and journal. Spend time focusing inward daily. Begin with 5 minutes of meditation and 5 minutes of journaling each morning. Gradually increase this time.

3. Talk yourself happy. Use affirmations to train your mind to become more positive. Put a wrist band on your right wrist. When you’re participating in self-abuse of any form, move the band to your left wrist.

4. Get emotionally honest. Let of go of numbing your feelings.Shopping, eating, and drinking are examples of avoiding discomfort, sadness, and pain. Mindfully breathe your way through your feelings and emotions.

5. Expand your interests. Try something new. Learn a language. Go places you’ve never been. Do things you haven’t done before. You have a right to an awesome life.

6. Enjoy life enhancing activities. Find exercise you like. Discover healthy foods that are good for you. Turn off technology for a day and spend time doing things that make you feel alive.

7. Become willing to surrender. Breathe, relax, and let go. You can never see the whole picture. You don’t know what anything is for. Stop fighting against yourself by thinking and desiring people and events in your life should be different. Your plan may be different from your soul’s intentions.

8. Work on personal and spiritual development. Be willing to surrender and grow. Life is a journey. We are here to learn and love on a deeper level. Take penguin steps and life becomes difficult. One step at a time is enough to proceed forward.

9. Own your potential. Love yourself enough to believe in the limitless opportunities available to you. Take action and create a beautiful life for yourself.

10. Be patient with yourself. Let go of urgency and fear. Relax and transform striving into thriving. Trust in yourself, do good work, and the Universe will reward you.

11. Live in appreciation. Train your mind to be grateful. Appreciate your talents, beauty, and brilliance. Love your imperfectly perfect self.

12. Be guided by your intuition. All answers come from within. Look for signs and pay attention to your gut feelings. You’ll hear two inner voices when you need to make a decision. The quiet voice is your higher self; the loud voice is your ego. Always go with the quieter voice.

13. Do what honors and respects you. Don’t participate in activities that bring you down. Don’t allow toxic people in your life. Love everyone, but be discerning on who you allow into your life.

14. Accept uncertainty. Suffering comes from living in the pain of the past or the fear of the future. Put your attention on the present moment and be at peace.

15. Forgive yourself. Learn from your mistakes and go forward. Use this affirmation, “I forgive myself for judging myself for __________ (fill in the blank i.e.: for getting sick, for acting out, for not doing your best.)

16. Discover the power of fun. Self-love requires time to relax, play, and create face-to-face interaction with others. Our fast-paced world creates a goal setting, competitive craziness that doesn’t leave room for play. Dr. Stuart Brow says, “The opposite of play isn’t work, it is depression.”

17. Be real. Speak up and speak out. Allow yourself to be seen, known, and heard. Get comfortable with intimacy (in-to-me-see).

18. Focus on the positive. Go to your heart and dwell on and praise yourself for what you get right in all areas.

19. Become aware of self neglect and rejection. Become conscious of your choices. Ask yourself several times throughout the day, “Does this choice honor me?”

20. Imagine what your life would look like if you believed in your worth. Dedicate your life to loving you. Make it your main event.

21. Seek professional help. Self-rejection and neglect is painful. You deserve to be happy. You have a right to be accepted and loved. If necessary, seek help from a support group, counselor, or coach. It’s the best investment you can make.

Because we are all interconnected, when I love me, I also love you. Together through our love, we can heal ourselves, each other, and the world. Love is our purpose, our true calling. It begins with and within each of us.”

Relationships should complement our identities, not define them

Relationships Should Complement Our Identities, Not Define Them

Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Jenn Hourani

“On a deeper level you are already complete. When you realize that, there is a playful, joyous energy behind what you do.” ~Eckhart Tolle

The first rain after a long draught gets people talking about cozy things. Being with others, being physically close to others, going out in groups, staying in with someone. Sharing affection. Cold weather seems to always entail groups and partnerships.

What about when those groups and partnerships are missing from the tableau? The other night I was sitting in my apartment with my lanterns on, some incense burning, and some good reading material. The rain was trickling outside my window. The moment was perfect.

For once in my life, I didn’t have my normal thought: “This moment is so beautiful, but it would be better if someone was here to share it with me.” I was completely at peace, enjoying the presence of my own heart and mind.

This might not seem like a huge “Eureka!” moment, but it was for me.

I grew up an only child, so I’ve always craved that group interaction and the comfort of crowds. I made friends easily and was sometimes accused of serial monogamy; I was rarely single for longer than six months. I always felt surrounded—and by being surrounded, I felt protected.

Three months ago, however, I quit a job that made me unhappy and a relationship that was going nowhere, which had filled most of my time. I was face to face with myself in a frightening and jolting pause. I no longer had the noise of others to fill my silences.

Friends advised me to go out, work out, or find someone else. I did all three, sometimes in excess.

It alleviated my pain for a brief time. But I still felt hopeless, directionless. I took the long way in realizing something important: I needed to fall back in love with myself, which meant getting to know myself again, apart from the influences of everything else in my life.

I had spent so much time being something for others, filling my life with adaptation, that I had forgotten what it was like to be me.

I started journaling. I meditated for fifteen minutes each day. I forced myself to do something I hadn’t done in years: spend time alone, once a week, resisting the urge to text or e-mail. I purposely blocked out the static I had surrounded myself with for so long.

It wasn’t exactly easy. I truly believe that we need others. No matter what anybody says, we receive fulfillment from the interaction, reassurance, and influence of others.

My problem was that without all of this, I didn’t know who I really was, and admitting that meant that some serious reconstruction had to be underway.

My self-confidence inched its way back to me as I recaptured things I liked, wrote down my thoughts, and defined what my dreams and boundaries were. My inner self began to emerge, little by little.

In that process, I learned that while relationships complement our identities, it’s vital to form them from a sacred space within, or else that complementarity is just veiled dependency.

This renewed approach wasn’t just a brief answer to a state of crisis, however. It’s the way I’ve chosen to live my life. The concrete rules I made for myself were:

1. Think before deciding to do something.

Before automatically saying yes, ask yourself if it’s something you really want to be doing, and why.

2. Don’t cancel on old plans because new, seemingly more exciting plans come up.

Staying consistent is necessary to defining yourself, even if the lure of adventure seems to place consistency on the backburner sometimes. Yes, you want to stay impulsive and spontaneous, but you can balance that spirit of adventure with being reliable and resolute.

3. Take time to know yourself.

List what makes you feel good. List what kind of friend you want to be. List what you want to achieve in the next five years, no matter how small or grandiose. These things may change, according with how you change, but at least you can track that progression on paper, versus abstractly thinking about everything and getting lost in an ocean of questions and doubts.

4. This slightly contradicts my first rule, but let’s not confuse alone time with cooping yourself up at your place and shutting the world out.

Of course, it’ll always be easier to stay in the comfort of your living room with a meal and a movie. That can be good for you on some nights. But alone time is just one facet of connection with yourself.

Your next steps are to use what you learn on your own and then apply that to interaction out in your world. When you commit to going somewhere, doing something you’ve never tried, being out and about, you never know who you’ll meet, what you’ll see, and what small moments of illumination you’ll encounter.

These moments can bring you closer to who you are and what you want if you’ve learned to nurture your independence and identity first. So, maybe this rule isn’t a contradiction to number one; it’s the complement to it.

5. Allow some space for you and the ones you love.

She may be your best friend, or he may be the love of your life, or she may be a doting mother, but everyone needs time alone. We need it to recharge, to evaluate our choices, and to rest our minds.

It’s okay to not be joined at the hip with people you might wish you were joined at the hip with.

I’m still disoriented from having a long-term job and a partner, and now being single and job-searching.

The detachment process is sluggish. And, as life goes on and we invest ourselves more into each new venture, that detachment doesn’t get any easier.

Time makes us more afraid to leap into the unknown yet again, causing us to deny dissatisfaction and emptiness. But we owe it to ourselves to try.

It won’t always be easy to live for myself; I know that. It might be lonely and unsteadying.

But if I can enjoy a rainy night in the satisfaction of my own company, then I’m happy, because it means I’m strongly connected the one person who can fulfill me the most.

Photo by mrhayata

About Jenn Hourani

Jenn Hourani is a twenty-something-year old San Francisco native, focusing on writing and working. She can be found roaming the Mission and Sunset Districts. For more information, visit her online headquarters 00358800.tumblr.com.

Gluten free and vegan donut recipe!

Fuck valentines day, I am now changing that day to DONUT DAY!

Because donuts love me, and I love them, and ultimately the hallmark day of the year is all about that.

nothing says welcome home more than donuts, right?

vegan mini donuts

while I was gone, Lori worked on a vegan version of our mini gluten free cardamon cake donuts that we have been enjoying lately. we had a reader and friend comment about making a vegan version, as most of our recipes can be made vegan and vice versa. but not all recipes, not just ours, but in general there needs to be a little tweaking done to make vegan and gluten-free recipes.

after 4 trails, we realized what works the best, what does alright, and what does not work.

gluten free egg free donut

a mix of starch flour in this recipe works the best to make these donuts without eggs. coconut flour in general can be tricky to bake with, so mixing in another flour helps with texture. we found potato starch works the best in terms of providing donuts with a light texture, just like in our gluten free vegan pumpkin donuts.  although we did make them with arrowroot and worked pretty good.

and last note, we found coconut milk works much better than water, and taking another step of making your own buttermilk out of the coconut milk would provide an even better donut . which is what we do most of the time in our baking. we just prefer the light texture “coconut buttermilk” gives vegan and gluten-free baked goods. just our opinion. if you are new to gluten free baking check out our post on our favorite gluten-free flours.

we will let you guys be the judge as what makes a better baked vegan donut, as everyone likes different things.

Pure2raw recipe : Mini Vegan Baked Vanilla Donuts (gluten free, egg free, dairy free, soy free, corn free)

gluten free egg free donuts

prep-time: 5 minutes

bake-time: about 2-3 minutes per round of mini’s in donut maker *if in oven, we would say 10-13 minutes

makes: 9 mini donuts

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar (we used xyitol and coconut sugar before and both worked)
  • 1/4 vanilla bean powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean extract
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, liquid (or oil of choice)
  • 6 tbsp coconut milk (or non dairy beverage of choice)

Directions:

In a bowl place all dry ingredients into bowl and whisk together. Then stir in your coconut oil and coconut milk. Mix everything together in mixing bowl. Stir till smooth in combined. The batter will be slightly thick with a smooth light texture. Easy to work with.

Pre-heat your mini donut maker. once your green light turns off it is ready. begin to scoop your donut batter into each mini donut ring. we used a cookie scooper to help with the scooping. *it is about 1 1/2 tbsp of dough into each mini donut ring

once all rings are filled close the donut maker and let bake for 2-3 minutes. check and see if they feel done. if so remove carefully with a knife.  repeat process till all our donut batter has been baked.

remove donuts from pan with a knife. then very lightly coat each donut in coconut oil and toss in cinnamon sugar.

Cinnamon Sugar:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Mix all sugar and spices in a bowl. Toss donuts in the mix. We lightly glaze the donuts with coconut oil to help sugar mixture stick on donuts!

Enjoy your mini vegan gluten free baked donuts!

*if you do not have a mini donut maker you can still make these donuts in a regular donut pan. and bake at 325  for about 10-13 minutes. also if you do not have any donut pans then you can make these as mini muffins/cupcakes. “