The “M” Word

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Mindfulness has recently been creeping, front-line-and-centre, onto mainstream magazine, newspaper and blog headlines, and is being featured as the panacea for everything from losing weight, parenting more effectively, having more positive and productive social as well as work-related interactions, eating less, managing anger and getting more restful sleep.

However Mindfulness isn’t a ‘trick’ or a gimmick or even anything new, nor is it something mystical, exclusive to those who are spiritually-inclined. Mindfulness is a  process that any human can undertake and one which requires no physical resources.

But that does NOT mean that Mindfulness is easy, especially if  you have never undertaken such a mental and emotional journey before. In fact, the contrary is true! Nonetheless, the strategies required to cultivate Mindfulness are accessible to most of us and, when we stick with it and practise regularly (like with all things), Mindfulness actually becomes easier.

So, what is Mindfulness? In short, it is the ability to be fully present in the moment without wishing or trying to make it different. We often find ourselves functioning on “autopilot mode,” floating from one activity to another without even thinking about what we are doing, predisposed by and preoccupied with the past which is over and/or a future that has not been guaranteed to us. It is no wonder at all that we often find ourselves feeling stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, depressed and simply exhausted!

Mindfulness practices can help to restore and strengthen the connection between our minds and our bodies, which can further contribute to improved health, functioning and well-being, despite and in spite of everything else that is bound to happen all around us.

Try one of these simple Mindfulness exercises today to get you going 🙂

Mindful Breathing

You can perform this exercise while standing up or sitting down. The goal is to be still and focus on your breath for one minute. Start by breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth  (Inhale to a count of 3 and exhale to a count of 3).

Let go of all your thoughts as you do this, including that never-ending list of to-dos. Just let yourself be still for one minute and focus on your breath. When thoughts come up (which they will), acknowledge them and then let them pass, do not dwell on them – this is the key.

Watch your breath renew you with life, as it enters your body and fills your lungs and chest, and then watch this same exuberant energy leave your body and release into the world as your breath releases through your mouth.

Mindful Observation

You can also perform this exercise while standing up or sitting down. The goal of this exercise is to help you connect with your environment, something that we easily miss while rushing around in “auto-pilot mode”.

Choose an object (preferably an organic and natural object from your environment, such as a plant, a tree, an insect, a body of water, you get the point!) and focus on watching it for a minute or two. Try not to focus on anything except noticing this object and being aware of what you are looking at for as long as you can manage to. Allow yourself to be consumed by this object, try to connect with its energy and its role and purpose in your world. Look at it as if you are seeing it for the first time and explore every aspect of its presence.

Food for Thought…

Cultivating Mindfulness can help us to cope better with the thoughts and feelings that cause us distress in our everyday lives. By regularly practising Mindfulness, rather than functioning on “auto-pilot mode” (this state, by the way, is influenced by negative past experiences as well as fears/worries of future possibilities), we can teach our mind to be present in the moment. This not only allows us to appreciate our lives a lot more more than we usually tend to, but it also allows us to deal with life’s challenges in a more calm, clear-minded, patient and assertive way. Before you know it, being present in the moment will become as much of a habit as being distracted used to be and even better yet, you can develop a consciousness that frees you from unhelpful, distorted, self-limiting thought patterns and instead enables you to focus on your positive emotions that increase compassion in ourselves and others.

I’m going to start a new tab for Mindfulness posts on this Blog and will strive to post articles on various themes. If you have any suggestions or questions please feel free to comment below or email me your suggestions 🙂

Simple, Healthy and EASY Recipes with Avocado – # 1: Chocolate Avocado Pudding

dessert-282385_1920Chocolate Avocado Pudding Recipe

1 Medium Avocado

5 Tsps Cocoa Powder

5 Tsps Brown or Coconut Sugar

3 Tbsps Coconut Milk

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

A little tiny bit of ground cinnamon

Blend all the above ingredients together to your desired consistency and enjoy ! You can add an ice cube if you want an icy frozen texture and taste 🙂 I sometimes also top this off with bulgar and/or cranberries and/or figs and/or shredded coconut. Use your imagination and let your taste buds guide you!

How to Keep Avocado (Guacamole) GREEN for 3 Days !!!

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I have struggled forever to keep raw avocado-based dishes (i.e. Guacamole) GREEN for beyond 24 hours! I’ve heard lots of tricks – leave the pit in, add cilantro or mint or lemon/lime yadda, yadda, yadda…. that were intended to stretch out the life of avocado, and tried them out, but none of them worked for me 😞 Although I manage to salvage post 24-hour avocado-based dishes by scraping the browned part off and eating the rest (which usually remains green for a day or, if you’re lucky, two), I was recently taught a trick (which is not a myth but rather science-based!) that has helped me keep my Guacamole and other raw avocado-based prepared treats GREEN for about 3 days 😀 This makes the decision to buy a bag of avocados super easy for me.

Here’s what you do. Once you prepare your avocado-based dish, you transfer it to tupperware (preferably glass ware) and then smother it until there it very little or no air left. Then you spoon a few teaspoons of water (based on how much avocado-based dish you are going to store – I use 3-4 Tsps for a Cup) on top and cover the tupperware with its airtight cover. Refrigerate. When you remove the tupperware from the refrigerator , spoon out as much of the water as you can (without letting it get into the mixture) and then mix together your dish and serve!

Whats the secret? The H20 prevents oxidization which otherwise causes the avocado to brown 🙂

Enjoy your GREEN avocados!

P.S. I’ll post the recipe for this avocado spread (which I use on toast and top with tomato, cucumber and sprouts) as soon as I can along with other easy and simple raw avocado-based recipes.

Happy Thursday Thought 

Good morning and Happy Thursday ! I hope you all woke up in positive space today, feeling hyped to conquer the world, but since that’s unlikely because we are all human 😉 I thought I’d offer a positive affirmation and motivational thought.

Regardless of what state you woke up in today or didn’t, regardless of what you thought you’d have by now but you don’t, regardless of what pains in your mind or your body or your heart, know that your will controls your outcomes and that today you can choose to write or rewrite whatever story you have been living and creating. Actually, it is only you who (with the Almighty’s grace and will) can choose the story you are a part of and the legacy that you leave behind.

Whether you formally meditate or not, I encourage all of you to spend some time this morning (or afternoon or evening, Hey! It’s never too late 😉) reflecting on the story you want to write for today so that when you read it later on tonight, with your mind’s eye, you are proud of yourself and content with your contribution to our shared world. I encourage you to do this not only today but everyday, and to do it with intent, conviction, a whole pure heart and modesty, while being aware of and simultaneously embracing all your own vulnerabilities. When you begin to get a better grasp on managing this tricky but not impossible trick, you will surely watch the discrepancy between your desires and reality disappear.

I pray, hope and wish each and every one of you have a blessed, content, meaningful and productive day ❤️

Anti-Stress+Acne+Redness+Dullness Face Mask

 

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I have been struggling with dull skin for too many weeks on end and decided to re-vamp my face care routine because in the process of trying to reinvigorate the natural blush in my cheeks, with not-so-good-for-you but easily accessible face masks (not to mention easier to apply, and contained in super cute packaging – I am guilty of being a fanatic of Korean Beauty Products), I was actually irritating my skin (redness) and likely enabling some of the acne that I have been suffering from as well.

I decided to scale back to the basics and called my mom so that she could remind me of a face mask remedy I swore by in my teens and early 20s. While I wont share the entire details of my face care regimen (in this post), I will share this beauty secret with you. Most of you have probably come across posts on the internet flaunting the benefits of turmeric face masks, so as a token of my appreciation 🙂 I have decided to share, in the first Wellness post since my return, a not-so-well-known concoction for a face mask that soothes skin as it nourishes and protects.

I had to experiment, for about an hour last night, in an attempt to develop a recipe for the perfect consistency as my mother’s instructions, as well as various internet-based variations, resulted in massive gobs of permanently-staining turmeric dripping off my face and onto and all over my washroom and house!

This mask can be used up to 3 times a week and should be applied to a clean face (sans moisturizer) and left on for about 20 minutes (or until you cant move your face anymore!). You can prepare two face masks at a time by doubling up on the recipe (although this is not recommended as the mask will slightly lose its potency) and refrigerating the unused portion for up to 2 days  (according to my own personal experience). Do not skip any ingredients as each plays an integral role.

Besan (Chickpea Flour)- Reduces oiliness, fights acne

Honey – Treats and prevents acne (antibacterial), slows down the signs of aging (antioxidant), moisturizes, soothes irritated skin, adds glow to skin

Cinnamon – Treats acne , adds glow to skin

Yogurt – Naturally reduces fine lines and wrinkles, lactic acid dissolves dead skin and tightens pores

Turmeric – Clears acne scars and inflammation, reduces oiliness

Enjoy and please feel free to post your experiences using this mask 🙂

Recipe

2 TBSP Besan (chickpea flour)

1 TSP Honey

0.5 TSP Ground Cinnamon

1.5 TBSP Natural Yogurt (strain as much water with a strong paper towel before adding to mixture)

1 TSP Ground Turmeric

Mix dry ingredients together well before adding yogurt and then honey. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken before applying on clean (unmoisturized) face.

 

we’re Baaaaccckkk!!!

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After a LONG overdue hiatus, this blog is finally back up, and hopefully will be running again in no time with all of your support. I will address this hiatus in upcoming posts, as it truly was a part of my Journey of and to Wellbeing, but for now I’ll just wholeheartedly THANK all those who sent emails wondering about why the blog came to a screeching halt, just as it was picking up momentum, and encouraged me to reconsider starting back up. If it wasn’t for those emails, as well as friends and family who have come to me, asking for a forum to explore their own Journeys to Wellbeing, I would not have found the time and more importantly, the courage, to come back to this project. That said, this Act of Return is super intentional, super meaningful and I invite you all to join along again, on this Journey to Personal Wellbeing!