What You Seek Is Seeing You

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“Nirvana”

There is a silence,

a gentle breeze,

that takes over me when I empty myself.

What I’ve been looking for,

this tenderness,

this profound peace,

was in me

all along.

-DS

There is no price that can amount to the happiness I feel after a good workout. Working out at home and at the gym is by far the best “self-emptying” method I’ve found (long walks come in second, and meditation comes in third). It gives me an opportunity to connect with my mind and body. It gives me some sort of physical stress, but I can tell this is the kind of stress that my body wants…and need. When we empty ourselves, we break the habit of carrying negative stress caused by interactions from our immediate environment.

I used to push ‘fitness’ to the side when I was in my 20s thinking that it’s not a vital part of living. I always said, “don’t have time for it.” Fast forward to my 30’s I began to feel my body more, I have stress coming from different places, and I didn’t know where to begin my personal overhaul–I just know that something different needs to be done. It was overwhelming to have so many symptoms of unhealthfulness. I would constantly medicate just to pacify all these feelings of stress and anxiety from thinking too much about my health.

Luckily we have 2 young dogs that are eager for walks. Long walks was where my fitness journey began.

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These two special souls remind me that I need to stay on top of my health. They saved me when I couldn’t save myself. My Obi (Rhodesian Ridgeback) and My Akira (Shiba Inu). 

I started taking long walks with my husband and our two dogs. Washington is such a beautiful state for doing this kind of thing. The air quality is really good because of the trees and there are hundreds of trails to choose from. Luckily, we live close to a trail alongside a river that streams from Mt. Rainier. I started to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. The feeling was similar to waking up after a long frustrating dream. Like, “oh, was I the prison guard all along?”

This gave me the idea that the more movement I add in my life, the better I would feel. I incorporated routine workouts, and wow, it’s truly life changing.  I love this place where it takes me. Which I think may be my personal nirvana. It’s so beautiful, so peaceful, and it’s a place where I know that everything is okay.

I see now that when we operate from this place, we feel good and confident that even the toughest storm will have a hard time shaking our foundation.

So I invite you to embark on a journey. Find what empties you, what brings you that genuine happiness, what makes you surrender in joy and peacefulness. When we know how to access this place and we continue to show up to the part of ourselves that want to be in healthfulness, our life and our well-being will improve dramatically.

Aloe Vera and its Healing Properties

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Experience the freshness by going to your local health food store. ❤ 

Aloe Vera Plant (believed to have originated from Sudan) is one of the most revered plant worldwide for it’s healing properties. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, saccharides, amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, lignin, saponins and salicylic acids–all of which our body can recognize and know how to process. 

There are many benefits in including aloe vera in your medicine cabinet, refrigerator, or freezer. 

Here are some of the benefits of Aloe Vera that I’ve gathered:

  • It soothes burns and skin irritations (some claim that it may even help soothe symptoms of psoriasis
  • It instantly moisturizes the skin and hair
  • It can be a laxative (so if you are new to eating aloe vera, you might want to test a small amount). 
  • Aids in digestion when consumed in its juice form
  • It can be used as a topical on inflammed body parts.

I hesitated buying it because I was lazy, until one Saturday morning while shopping at Whole Foods (at $3.29 for a good sized leaf), I finally added it to my cart. My husband smiled and jokingly said, we now have a lethal weapon in our cart. Yes, it’s got spikes on the sides but they can be carefully and easily removed using a sharp knife. 

Here is an article by Wellness Mama on how to deal with fresh aloe vera, she includes how to remove the sides, how to extract it, and how to turn it into aloe vera gel: click here to read it

I am amazed by the instant gratification effect that this plant have. I used it for both my dogs and I. 

Purifying Mask For the Face:

  • Mix 1 tsp of aloe vera gel with 1 tbsp of raw honey. Leave it on for 30-40 minutes and rinse in the shower or cold water. 

The Result: Clear, smooth, glowing, rosy complexion

Leave-on Conditioner For the Hair: 

  • Apply the gel from the roots to the tips of your hair. Massage some gel on the scalp as well. Leave it on.

The Result: Shiny, hydrated, moisturized hair

Conditioner for the Dogs:

  • I lathered the aloe vera gel on their coats and bellies. My Rhodesian Ridgeback’s belly is a little bit on the dry side this time in the winter. My Shiba Inu, just loves to look like a goddess. 

The Result: My Ridgeback stopped itching, and both their coats looked amazing!!!

Aloe Vera plant will now be a staple in our home. I hope you give it a try because it’s as good as it’s reputation, and it is very affordable. There’s a lot of recipes for aloe vera concoction that are worth a try once you have a plant in your hand. Here’s the one that I liked: Click here to visit the face mask recipes.

 

 

 

How Elimination Diet can Improve our Quality of Life

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We save ourselves from trauma when we are conscious of what we put on our plate.

It’s not easy to make good food choices and eat healthy in this culture. Luckily for us, our built-in body intelligence  knows when have eaten something that we shouldn’t. With awareness, time, and practice, we learn to understand this intelligence. Eating and doing good by our bodies are habits that drastically improve our quality of life.

On occasion, I indulge in something I know that contains one of my allergy triggers like red wine. Food additives that trigger my allergies which can cause body inflammation and my skin to break out are: sulfites, tartrazine, benzoates, grains, sugar, and other processed foods with preservatives. These are the ones that I know of so far that cause suffering and stress to my body.

Dealing with suffering takes away so much of our good energy. I remember being at the peak of feeling unwell (inflamed skin, abdominal pain, leg cramping, low energy, frequent migraines, and insomnia all at once) I felt powerless, I just kept asking how much more of this I can handle. All I know in that moment is that if I go see a doctor, they will put me on a medication that can potentially destroy my organs and affect my fertility over time. My health is not an option I can risk or gamble. 

The reason why I got into elimination diet is that I needed to be done with my physical and internal suffering so that I can focus my energy on my passion and my essential task (my family and my work). I had every reason to believe that I can gain control of what’s happening to me. 

One of the first things I had to remove were all highly processed packaged foods. If it comes in a box or a bag, I’d avoid it. I got into reading ingredients list on everything that I am buying. I stopped shopping at places that sell foods that are unfriendly to my body. If a store is not transparent on where they are sourcing their food from, we don’t go there. A year later, I followed it by detoxing from cannabis (both THC and CBD). Then I developed an exercise routine that can easily be done at home. I was surprised to find out how much it made me feel better and more connected to my body. I am reminded of how sacred life is. Now I have the energy and the will to focus on what matters most in my life (my marriage, our beautiful dogs,projects and little things that gives me happiness :)😘) 

What I would hear from my community when I tell them that I cannot eat from certain food group was, “oh how sad you have to give it up, it’s so delicious,” or “that’s so crazy” or “oh that’s great, but are you actually happy?” Insome ways, elimination diet may appear or sound extreme. But the results that we get when we eat only the food that’s good for us is priceless. 

We all have different body types, blood types, and allergy triggers. That’s why I recommend elimination diet by personalizing your journey. It’s easy to follow health gurus and popular diets. It’s hard when there’s something in that box that doesn’t suit us and we only get frustrated and give up hope.

What we mostly do in our home is a hybrid of Ketogenic and Paleo Diet. I mention these two diets because it is easy to find recipes online and modify them if there is something in the ingredients list that you are allergic to. The foods in these categories have eliminated highly processed foods + bad oils and is a good start if you want to learn what whole foods are. 

This article by Mark Sisson from 2012 helped a lot when I was beginning this journey, he has a good list of what to avoid when learning to eat clean and only shopping for what is good : click here to read it

When doing elimination diet, it is important to: 

  • Pay attention to the way your body feels after having a meal. If you suspect something on the food triggers negative impact, write it down. You will need to test it again in two ways: both in its isolated form and combined (mixed with other foods) form.
  • Make notes to remember what foods trigger your allergies. This is only until you remember what to avoid.
  • Read labels when food shopping (pay special attention to ingredients). Do not shop in a hurry. Allergen triggers can hide in those bottles of condiments that are sold in the market. 
  • Choose organic produce when you can. It’s better to know that somehow the food you are buying passed certain standards (organically grown fruits and vegetables still has pesticides but it is grown with limited application and the pesticides used are derived from organic matter instead of harmful chemicals that not only poison us, it also poisons the environment). 
  • Buy meat and dairy (if you tolerate it) that are not treated with antibiotics.  Although the labels will claim that there is no proof that this impacts us, the consumers, do we really want this stuff in our bodies when our goal is to kick what doesn’t serve us?
  • Get into meal preps and DIY snacks of only stuff that you know that’s good for you. The internet is filled with amazing resources. Find your favorite food blogger who is on a similar path. 
  • Prepare and eat meals at home as much as you can. This way, you have full control of what’s in your food. Most restaurants will cook with bad oils / fats to cut cost. Our  brain is made of fat and needs good fat to power through life. So learn to use and cook with good fats.

The hard work is only in the beginning. This is a path that will have long term positive results that will improve our quality of life. Know that there are others from all around the world that’s doing this journey. This is the truth that I keep reminding myself as I go along. I am not alone. 

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Meat and vegetables make me feel at my best.

Showing Up is an Expression of Love

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Photo by Ian Parker

What does it mean to “show up”?

To the best of my understanding and experience,  “showing up” is our ability to grant our passion and accountabilities our full presence. It doesn’t necessarily mean that our physical bodies need to arrive somewhere. Showing up pulls from our capacity and willingness to focus our attention where it is needed (either by something or someone).

Showing up is key to achieving success in our lives. It is a vital part of our creative process because that is when the REAL work gets done.

When we show up to our life and to our immediate environment, the things that need our attention and support gets taken care of. When we show up for the people in our community, not only does it strengthen our relationship, we also learn a lot from each other in the process of showing up for one another. These interactions that happen in our immediate environment has the most impact on our personal evolution and therefore are the ones that we need to pay attention to.

Showing up is an expression of love, both to ourselves and to our community. We may have friends and family that are not affectionate, or expressive of their feelings, but are always there showing up for us when we have a crisis or we just want to catch up. 

The people in our lives are here for the reason that we chose them to stay in ours too. To keep the connection alive, we simply must show up. 

We each have our own way of expressing ourselves, our love, our gratitude, irritations, anger, and all of our other human qualities that don’t necessarily define who we are. These are very short-lived feelings. What matters in showing up is that we are willing to do the work that is involved and we are willing to work through it, even on days we don’t feel like it.

This may be coming from a self-ISH place: there is a very satisfactory feeling that occurs in our inner self when we show up to our commitments. A part of what can keep us happy is when we feel that we have accomplished something, whether we are in the prepping stages of a project, or at congratulatory stage for the completion of it’s life cycle.

When we have a lot of things going on, the best we can do is keep track of our commitments and show up for it.

How to create a healthy environment for ourselves so we can keep showing up:

  • Self-care. Eat well and get the amount of rest that your body needs. We function better when our personal needs are taken care of. Make sure to create a ritual for yourself that will allow you to feel how special you are. Whether it is working out, a long bath, a cup of wellness beverage, sitting down doing absolutely nothing, a drive in the forest, a good read, …whatever floats your boat. That ME TIME is a must. When we show up to ourselves and our own needs, we can be sure that we can handle everything else that needs our brilliant presence. 
  • Create a good routine. (a.k.a setting yourself up for success) It’s all about the flow. Good time management is helpful when have a lot going on in our daily grind. So setting a time for the tasks that we need to show up for can help manage the stress that comes within the territory of being accountable. I start the day with a shower followed by a good hearty meal before my many things. If I have an appointment, I create reminders on my phone that alerts me three days before (in case there’s prep work that needs to be done), again the day before, and another one two hours before. For my daily tasks, I like to keep it old school with a notebook with an itemized list of what needs to be done that day, followed by other things / interests outside of work that I like to do that day a.k.a, play.  Before I end my work, I try to make another list for the next day’s important tasks. This helps me get a better rest at night. 
  • Pay no mind to procrastinating. It is a distraction to the real entity (a.k.a the brilliant, YOU) that shows up and does the real work. 
  • Make time for your passion. The things we are passionate about are what makes us happy, so it’s important to make time to show up to your passion. This is us feeding our soul. This is the kind of happiness that affects us on a cellular level which is really great for our health. I notice how much happier I feel when I make time to get into things I am interested in. 
  • Show up for the people you love. In this day and age it is impossible not to be able to reach out to our friends and family no matter the distance. The Internet has just made our world a much smaller place and there are so many tools we can use to let the people we care about know we are here for them.
  • Honor our commitments. By showing up. 🙂 

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Side Effects of Caffeine

My top concern is the health and well-being of my family. That is why I have decided that  we need to cut down on the stuff we drink or eat that our bodies don’t really need, as well as enhancements that only lead to suffering when all is said and done. For us, one of those things is caffeine. This is a tough one because we love the main effect it gives, which is a good focus on our work and that is why I go back and forth with this. But ultimately, I’d love to just not have it in my life because when I think about all the side effects, I can already tell that it is not worth adding this substance to our system on a daily basis.

Although the effects may vary from per person, here are some side effects of caffeine based on our experience: 

  • The body temperature tends to run cold shortly after caffeine intake.
  • Our body responds to caffeine like how it would if we were in danger, hence the sweaty underarms, palms, and feet.
  • It disrupts the normal function of our nervous system.
  • Because it takes time for caffeine to leave the system, it disrupts sleep.
  • Too much caffeine can make one so anxious, and lose focus.
  • After the boost of energy has worn of, we want more caffeine thinking we can dodge the fatigue that comes after. The fatigue wins regardless of the dose.
  • There is urgency to use the bathroom afterwards
  • If you have an autoimmune disease, it triggers adrenal fatigue and it can make certain body parts hurt as the body’s way of telling us that it’s too much to handle (ex. joint pain)
  • Caffeine is no bueno for our heart and blood pressure. It can cause our heart rates to go up as well as our blood pressure.
  • For women, it can put the “Pain” on our PMS. Click here for more info on this.

The first day of no caffeine consumption is always the hardest if your intake has been regular. It would feel as though you are orbiting space. So trust the process because the next day will always feel a little better knowing that you are making a conscious decision for your health.

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Howdee space cadet, we got this!

There are alternative beverages you can have if you are into having a morning beverage, research a good herbal tea that you will enjoy to replace your morning joe, matcha, or energy drink.

In addition there are supplements in the B-vitamin family that can boost your energy without giving you harmful side effects.

I started making lemon water, and do enjoy a warm cup of it.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Water

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I’m a big fan of the Beyonce’s Lemonade album and the emotionally liberating book I read that reminded me of  how good lemons are called The Clarity Cleanse by Dr. Habib Sadeghi (where the lemon water is part of the Intentional Unsaturation Diet Plan that I got into so much that it has become a regular part of my meals.)

I am a believer exerting continued efforts to being well and staying well. So recently, I started making lemon water in a big batch. I love how energizing it is when consumed early in the morning instead of a caffeine beverage.

Benefits of Lemon Water:

  • It’s a good source of vitamin C
  • It’s hydrating than drinking plain water
  • Great for the skin
  • Aids in digestion
  • It helps prevent kidney stones. The citric acid in lemons help combat development of new calcium stones
  • It helps flush out toxins from our system
  • It has antibacterial properties that can help with sore throat and other respiratory related symptoms

I would usually just squeeze the lemon on a cup of water and call that lemon water. Reading from The Clarity Cleanse book, I learned that boiling it with the skin on is actually better and more nutritious.

How to make Lemon Water:

  1. Bring 3 liters of water to a rolling boil
  2. Wash and chop lemons
  3. Drop the lemons to the boiling water and cover for 5 minutes
  4. Turn the heat off and let it steep for 15 more minutes
  5. Serve some for yourself and have the rest throughout the day.
  6. Strain before transferring to a glass pitcher. 

I put the rest of the lemon water in a mason jar. Next time I’ll put it in a good thermos to keep it warm.

If We Are Not Growing, We Are Dying

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I was stuck in a rut not so long ago. Lost is a better term for it, depression is the most widely used term that is associated with stunt in our growth. 

How do we feel when we are NOT growing? How do we feel when we are not nourished and our needs are not met? We feel helpless, we see no hope only darkness, and we usually blame others for our circumstance. We delve on things that are not in our present moment. We sightsee in hell. The voices inside our heads telling us we won’t make it is louder than the voice of that wants to make it. And so on. 

I was heavy on the self-judgement side of things that it clouded my perception so heavily and I soon started forgetting I have priorities that need prioritizing and I have dreams that need actualizing.

“Worry is a misuse of our imagination.”

-Dan Zadra

It took recognizing the ownership of my own feelings and actions for me to realize that I am responsible it. We create thoughts which are manifested by our consciousness (a.k.a the intelligence that lives within all of us) and if you believe it, it’s highly likely that they get translated into our reality. And that is why we need to recognize within ourselves the  thoughts that are real, the thoughts that aren’t real, and what thoughts are healthy for us. 

 

Example of unhealthy thoughts: “I’m never gonna afford a house.” ; “All of this sucks.” ; “My coworkers are idiots.” ; “My partner doesn’t see me.”

 

Example of healthy thoughts: “I love how I can set goals and be proactive about it.” ; “I am hungry, what should I cook?” ; “Maybe Gina is having a rough day. I wonder if I should ask her to go for a short walk with me?”  ; “I appreciate how my partner shows up for me when I need him / her the most.” 

 

It helps to write down ill feelings so they don’t live inside us. There is an exercise that I learned from a book called Clarity Cleanse by Dr. Habib Sadeghi that is called Purge Emotional Writing 12 or PEW 12. This is basically a writing exercise where you don’t judge what you write, and you write for 12 minutes (I set a timer) whatever is bothering you, your soul, your thoughts, or any clutter that might hinder you from loving your life and your productivity for the day. And the best part is you don’t read what you write, you crumple it, throw it away, or burn it. I like burning mine.

 

Learning to unclog our heads and our hearts truly help in letting some new energy flow inside of us. 

“Every moment is an opportunity to grow.” 

Who is the thinker? Who is the doer? the answer simply is YOU. You have all the power to steer your whole being in whichever direction you want it to go. 

I saw some similarities on how I can better take care of myself the same time I was learning how to garden and take care of my plants last year.

What I learned is that we are the gardener of our own being. A good gardener sets his / her grow up for success so the plants can thrive and produce well. A gardener watches out for pests and gets rid of them so the plants don’t suffer and die. 

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Everyday we learn something new about ourselves and how we can continue to thrive in a world and a culture that sometimes fill us with doubt. The key to avoiding permeability, is to ignore the rest of the chatter and do our own thing. 

Do more of what makes you happy.”

WHAT WE NEED TO GROW (because we are full of life).

  • Room to Grow. The first thing we need is space. We thrive when we give ourselves enough room to grow, for our roots to go deeper, for our branches (relationships, work, interests) to extend and stretch and grow healthy leaves. So continue to clear your physiological (outer) and psychological (inner) space. It makes my work easy to manage when I have a clear head. I work from home and I notice when our home has less clutter, I can think better, I work better, and get satisfaction with my output. 

 

  • Nourishment. Eat well by finding what your body likes, and what it doesn’t like. When I was younger, I usually ask, “what’s good to eat?” now that I’m a little older and can feel my body more, I added an evaluation process before I put something in my body and ask, “what’s good for me to eat?” As we grow and change, our needs change as well. So always keep a listening ear to your inner voice and how your body feels. 

 

  • Proper Care. Apart from nourishment, we need a good amount “shut down” time. We are thinkers and doers and all that can be exhausting. So know when to take a rest. After all we cannot do our best when we are tired as hell. I find that creating simple hacks for our day to day helps add manageability amidst the craziness. I am learning to plan our meals when I know it will be a busy week for both my husband and I. 

 

  • Accountability. What are we truly responsible for? Who are we when we show up to ourselves? Who are we when we show up to others? Who are we when we show up to our community? I feel good when I take care of my own needs, and I feel even better knowing that I am doing my best to take care of my family’s needs. 

 

  • Creating opportunities for ourselves. Daydreaming is a healthy way of exercising our thoughts. And when we dream good things for ourselves and for our family and friends, we breathe in and invite the good energy. We take more actions towards self-actualization than we procrastinate. Because truly, if it hasn’t happened yet, we can make it happen and we can take steps towards our goals. 

 

  • Some opportunities disguise themselves as failures. Growth comes in many forms. So don’t take failures too hard because what it really is is another opportunity for us to grow. We bounce back and we try harder. Because we can. 

 

  • Openness. Being open is setting aside our fears and embracing and appreciating our vulnerabilities. Being open brings us blessings that can change our life in an instant. There are words that I come across everyday that I will remember for the rest of my life, from books, from a friend, from my husband, etc. There are people that have come and gone in my life that have made a huge impact on the way I see some things to date. The idea of being open has taught me how to tame the part of me that was judging and rigid. 

 

  • Self-love. This is perhaps the biggest and most important factor I can attribute to in jumpstarting my stunted growth. Self-love is listening to our voice that wants to love ourselves and treat ourselves so very kindly. Self-love has to power to heal the damage of our early years and it will protect us from further suffering and damage.  Self-love is treating yourself with a kind inner voice, with forgiveness, and compassion. Self-love is having the courage to stand up for yourself. Self-love is sharing the love you have for yourself with the people you love, your creatures, and your environment.

 

  • Movement. The importance of adding exercise to your routine is as important as feeding our body the right nourishment that it needs. Movement connects our inner self to our outer self. when you create movement in our body it is as though these two are dancing together in unison, celebrating YOU. Exercising releases a happy hormone a.k.a endorphins that make us feel really good about our life.  I think about it as though I am ‘cleaning house’ because it feels really good internally afterwards. There is a moment of stillness that comes after a long walk, or a workout session. I love that. 

 

  • Surround yourself and your space with beauty. Our environment is key in helping us thrive. This is one of the aspects in our lives that is often overlooked but is actually really important in our health and our growth. Whatever beauty means for you, I hope you surround yourself with it. 

 

  • Interests. Our brains love healthy interests. Curiosity can give us hours and hours of brain and physical activity. My work (for a living) interests me, and I have other interests outside of work. Sometimes a day is not enough to cover everything I want to learn because I have responsibilities outside all of this too. This gets me so excited to wake up the next day and pick up right where I left of.

 

Keeping the mind, body, and heart clean, healthy and alive will keep us growing and thriving. I wish you a happy day ahead! and happy growing! 🙂