Home Brew Booch

I’m sure most of you agree that “Fresh is Best”, and when ever you can make your ownIMG_0725 products or grow veggies at home, I am sure you get excited like I do. Whole organic foods are one of our passions, and not only do they taste better, but knowing what really is “in” the food and where it is from is so vital for our vitality! Food awareness really sets up an over all focus of self-improvement, wellness, and a IMG_0728shared discipline and responsibility advocating choices which helps us steer away from processed and GMO foods. I continue to become more educated about our choices in food and how those choices affect our bodies, first, from a microcosmic perspective, to our entire planet, environmentally, on a macrocosmic level.

Whew! That was rather a “seriousish” tone, but now I’ll move into your kitchen, setting the stage for your home-brew of a wonderful elixir, Kombucha!

I love it when I get introduced to something awesome, that I get to share with others, and this happens to be a great gift you can give to your friends, as the mother scoby reproduces each time you make a batch! That is what is happening with our home- made “Booch”, and we are quickly becoming a Kombucha Community!

Luckily, it also is very tasty, for grown ups and children alike!

This probiotic fermented beverage is sometimes called “The Immortal Health Elixir” and has been around for over 2000 years. It’s health benefits have been associated with preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.

You make Kombucha from pure tea (black, green or white tea), sugar, clean water, and a scoby, and allow it to process for about 5-10 days. S.C.O.B.Y, stands for “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast” (known as the “mother” for its regenerating properties). The  “mama” scoby mushroom may look a bit strange, but is worth embracing her beauty in what she can produce for you and your family! If you can, try to get a scoby given to you by another Kombucha maker, or you can order one online in most areas.  If you are in Australia, I recommend a  site called The Whole Daily for a scoby, as we are very happy with the results from the scoby that Alice sent us! Thanks, Alice!

The Food Renegade had some great info on the amazing health benefits of Kombucha , and answered a lot of my questions which gave a great kick-start to this newbie brewer! Hopefully this is something your body will smile and thank you for, and you will enjoying making Kombucha at home for your friends and family!

Cheers!

What a pretty sight!
Apple/Ginger, Goji Berry, Blueberry/Chia, Apple/ Wheatgrass…What a pretty sight!

Our Homebrews

Go Sober In October

Drink GlassOcsober is a fundraising initiative that encourages people to give up alcohol for the month of October.

I think this initiative is a good cause. Any alcohol awareness campaigns that target young people can only be beneficial in my opinion. Also, what I like about the idea of Ocsober is that the “grown up” who is participating will undoubtedly benefit from this clean living month also! Even those who have no issue with alcohol, per se, still may from time to time have a few too many. Or perhaps it is just a bit more of a habit or ritual than one would like. I feel this is a personal knowing in yourself to how you line up with this topic, and what you, personally, may get out of it.

So, for the person who thinks this is a great idea for someone else to commit to a dry month (this person is possibly the same person who thinks running a marathon for charity is also great for someone else) can still help a lot by contributing on the financial front. The goal is to raise ‘$700,000 to empower 700,000 children’ to make safe and healthy life choices.

So any and all of us can support the cause by either signing up ourselves, or as a group, or by financially contributing for someone who has signed up for the sober month of October. Cool huh?

And, it may also be a good incentive for someone who is wondering about their own drinking to take a look at it and take the challenge for themselves.

Even if you don’t drink, you still can join the campaign and continue your sobriety through it,  showing support and encouragement to those around you by sharing your experience of what living a wonderful, fulfilling life without the need for alcohol looks like!

Here are some facts about the devastating effects of alcohol on us and on our adolescents:

  • Every 24 minutes an Australian dies through either legal or illegal drugs
  • Alcohol related harm was responsible for 5,554 deaths in 2010 and same year 157,132 people were hospitalised due to excessive alcohol consumption (Alcohol’s Burden of Disease In Australia, 2014)
  • Teenagers who start drinking before age 15 are five times more likely to become dependent on alcohol than those who don’t start until they are 21
  • Nearly 50% of 16-17 year old drinkers say they intend to get drunk most times/ every time they drank alcohol
  • More than 20% of 14 – 19 year olds consume alcohol on a weekly basis
  • Alcohol is involved in 13% of all deaths among 14–17-year-old Australians.
  • One Australian teenager dies and more than 60 are hospitalised each week from alcohol-related harms.
  • Drinking contributes to the three leading causes of death among adolescents – unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide.

So, all in all, the main point of Ocsober is to help our young people. But I see that it can have powerful effects on the adult population as well.

Think about alcohol and your life. How often do you feel you need a drink? There are many tests out their on the internet that clarify quickly if you indeed have a drinking problem. One of the main problems with an alcohol problem though, is denial. It sneaks up on people, and is quite cunning in its ability to justify a big night. Again, only you can be the true judge of what effect alcohol has on your life, and what role modelling you may be presenting to your children. I think it is a valuable dialogue to have with each other.

Alcohol is such a crutch in society as a whole, and it is excused so much more readily than illegal drugs or smoking, yet is just as harmful, just as fatal or more. The glamorised alcohol campaigns by alcohol companies is atrocious and really sets our young people up for binge drinking and problem drinking early on. The seductive bottles, fancy wines and the indulgent lifestyle depicted by attractive, rich and successful people who seem to “wine and dine” all the time, with no repercussions whatsoever.This is not accurate at all. We all know that, right? Alcohol  does a lot more harm than good for anyone who drinks (I know what they say about a glass of red wine) but the dangers far outweigh the benefits, no matter what demographic you come from. We all have a liver, blood cells, and a pancreas, and no matter how much money or prestige we have, the effects of alcohol don’t seem to really give a stuff about what income bracket we find ourselves in. The alcohol industry is not that different from the fast food industry in that it sells itself through very misleading advertising. The main victims of this advertising are our young people who are not yet developed enough to make responsible decisions. The seductive advertising and social pressure is enormous. I speak from personal experience, as I fell deep into this trap myself in early adolescents. I have been on both sides of the drinking game. From seduction to destruction. Fine line. I’m sure I am not the only one. Anyone else feel like being candid?

The main reason I chose to write about this topic was to be a voice to mysSplitShire-0061elf and other parents about how our own choices affect our children. What we do, our behaviours, are far more influential than what we say. Children imitate us, and there is generally no differentiation between what behaviours they imitate. They just do what we do. We make choices every day that will impact the rest of our lives, and those around us. We have more influence and power than we think. We don’t have to buy into the masquerade of society and be brainwashed anymore. We can make conscious choices to live wide awake. Individually when we delve into our self- understanding we can determine how this applies to our lives, and collectively we can support each other in passionately wanting to give our children the best chance for their life. Both adults and children having clear heads, healthy bodies and courageous hearts….

So check out the website for the Ocsober campaign for more thorough information and how to sign up.

It seems like a win-win to me.

 

Moving Your Body, Freeing Your Soul

Have you ever just let yourself go?

 

Have you ever just moved your body like there is nothing stopping you?

The very freedom in movement can be confronting and overwhelming if you aren’t used to allowing yourself to move. I know. I find it really strange when I do actually allow this to take place, spontaneous movement of my being, whether I am in my living room, out on a mountain top, or doing intuitive yoga movements. It’s sounds a bit cookoo, I know. It feels that way too, until I absolutely let go. The challenge is in how to do that.

I have always had what I call “dancer envy.” I love seeing the fluid movement filled with grace and angst, and the communication without words that can be so cutting and confronting.(Check out Young Soon Kim with  Emily Pope Blackman and you will see what I mean about fluidity coupled with superb technique.) Dancers have had to learn to let themselves go (and a lot of training to support the ability to communicate so brilliantly as well.) But I am sure that they, too, had many moments of complete vulnerability, and nakedness. It is confronting, moving our bodies, as our body language is more revealing than our words ever are.
What we say with our body “language”:

Have you ever gotten a “look” from someone, and then the words that follow don’t seem to match?  Which part of the communication do you trust more? The body language, or the words? This creates so much confusion and mistrust in our daily communication with loved ones down to the guy on the street, when our words don’t match what our bodies are saying. When we communicate freely with both aligned, then others can “hear” what we are saying, and they can trust us.
Most of us aren’t professional dancers, yet we all have a body to express through, to others and to ourselves.
Back when I was a rebellious pre- teen and into my teenage years, I found a love in a “scene” of folks called deadheads. I loved the music of the Grateful Dead, and I especially loved the free expression I felt from the family of followers. I wanted to be able to be free too. I was so bottled up in knots of who I was, and what I thought I should be, what other people thought, and the hippie scene seemed to have many people hanging around that might just accept me for me. I am sure they did, but I didn’t accept me for me, so there it was. I watched the whirling dervishes dance, I saw the Dead Heads spinning (Jay Blakesburg captures this so beautifully, check out his amazing photos!), and I went along with it. At moments I felt alive, really free, but on and off I still very self-conscious, and a bit silly too if I forgot to stay in the moment for a moment!

I knew I had something to release, I had a story to tell, I had blocks in my body, mind heart and soul that needed freeing…

Fast forward to graduate school at California Institute of the Arts. (Cal Arts). I was in full swing with my cello playing, and had become very skilled in performing classical music, and composing/songwriting, but I still had a longing to get in touch with my body. Even after years of yoga, standing still holding in a pose, and pranic breathing, I hadn’t ever truly let myself move. I decided to take a West African Drumming and Dance class with Alfred Ladzepko. I found it very confronting, as we thrust our feet deep into the earth, with full feminine confidence yet it had a hardness and a suppleness at the same time. It was demonstrative of true release, true grounded freedom. I was not ready for that, yet I learned a lot about myself and where in my body I felt self doubting. It was brilliant. Brilliant because I saw where I was lacking in myself. It wasn’t about technique, It was all about freeing myself up!  I’m not a dancer, but I sure did learn a lot from Alfred Ladzepko. Thanks Alfred!
So many years later, I am a mother, having pushed out 3 babies, “un”self  consciously, and have had many life experiences where I should know myself, and I still had locked up emotions,and tension in my body, and knew there was more to me that I should let out.
I stumbled across a Shiva Rae DVD when I was doing my yoga teacher training and she moved us through some yoga trance dance. Wow! It was intense. I felt so locked, and so stiff, and every free movement I tried to do, was accompanied with analysis. I embraced the challenge, and started to incorporate this into my classes with my students. We all learned so much from this, being in a room of people and fully letting go, without even needing the libations of liquor!
Years ago I read something about how we as humans respond best in curved spaces, architectures and dwellings, because the four walls and harsh edges of most architecture goes against our natural fluid body. If we look at the natural world, most things are rounded,or have soft edges even the symmetrical objects in nature have organic shapes and curves. Our body being forced into these unnatural settings dictates our physical and emotional response to these environments. Even if we can’t escape these “walls”, when we become aware of this phenomenon, we can choose to break free of them by actively moving in more flowing ways. I believe this is why moving in these “fluid” ways can feel so confronting, and can seem unnatural, because of what our man-made environment has taught us. it is so healing and I believe necessary to get back to our natural, organic, fluid state by breaking down these physical barriers society has laid upon us.

A story:
When my first son was born, and he came out of my fluid body, I knew of the absolute miracle of birth, and of life. He had been immersed in the waters for nine months in his perfectly safe environment, and then the realities of the outside world confronted him. He cried. My father who was very close to the end of his life really wanted to see our first born child, so we threw him in a baby capsule at less than 24 hours old. I had the thought “how bizarre to go from the organic world to a car seat!” He had no choice, and I could tell he would not have chosen that plastic child constraint if he had a choice in the matter! In this world we live in, we are trained in life to sit at desks, to live in boxed houses, to put our bodies in confined spaces, more like a “round peg (us) in a square hole “.
This is not our natural state. This is not our natural environment. We are meant to be free, and flowing, yet we put all these expectations and rigidity and formality on our lives to “keep up with the Kardashians”, or whoever.
It doesn’t suit us. But I understand, it is the world most of us live in most days of most weeks, which explains why it is so difficult to remember our natural state of flow and movement. This can be adjusted. We just have to learn to remember. If we start moving freely, our intuitive body will start speaking to us, it will remind us of what being natural is, it will guide us to move in ways that support us, from a muscular level all the way up to our crown chakra

The marriage of our spirit to ourselves.

We all are dancers inside, we all have something to express, we all can heal our bodies by listening to our bodies. Like a morning stretch, which is a natural instinct, so is our movement for the rest of the day, if we break out of the confines of our daily lives, and get on with “pumping and grinding” to the universal song and dance.

One Pair Of Stilettos

IMG_5262
I  Really Love Clothes!

So I decided to go through my closet today, and purge a few things that I don’t ever wear. It is a funny thing, because I buy clothing sometimes based on what I want , i.e.,  I fantasize scenarios where I may wear a certain outfit, or dress, or shoes, yet it has no real purpose in my life as it is. Why would I need 5 pairs of stilettos when I live in a little village in the hills? Maybe one pair?  Maybe….

There was a time in my life where these would have been appropriate and even necessary, in Los Angeles when I was in the music industry and was going out 5 out of 7 nights, but now?

Not really..

So, I am waffling because I am making a point. I used to have a need for these shoes, but they don’t serve my life now.

But wait, I also purchased them because I was projecting what I wish I had, the fantasy of being swept away in the private jet for a luncheon in Paris. Would you call that manifesting? Hum…

It all depends on what is really important, and for me to remember the importance in my life. It is so easy to want for things that I do not have, especially when I see consumerism all around me, and I had the lifestyle that supported that mentality for many years in LA.

But the bottom line is why do I want these things?

I see that my life is full. I have everything I need, and on a good day, I am content with what I have, and I have gratitude. On other days, I am wanting for more.

Why?

So as I sort through my confrontational closet of fantastic clothes, I can see and feel each item as it represents longings I have. These clothes are the ones I am getting rid of, because they serve no purpose in my life as it is. They are only reflections of where I must feel inadequate, where I feel that my life is not enough, not exciting enough, not grand enough, a basic “lack mentality” looking outside of myself to fill the void that I hold internally.

So, as I sort and purge, I am responding to the emotions that are coming from seeing concrete examples of where I feel insufficient.

It is very revealing (not unlike a few skimpy tops that I am parting with!)

I come to a few understandings in myself.

I realise that I lose perspective on my life, and I look to the wrong direction to gain it. My perspective must come from inside myself, as a grounded understanding and self-appreciation/ self-love.

I see that I fill the voids with consumerism, whether it is to mask what is going on inside of myself, or to gain compliments from external sources.

I know that when I am in that place of looking for distraction, I need to check in with my heart, and find the source of my discomfort.

I know that the more I avoid peering into the glass window of my soul, the longer I will stay in that pain.

I know that I have tools to do the work needed to gain clarity back, and gain back my perspective and joy of everyday living.

I enjoyed the feeling of being proactive in checking in with my heart.

I knew it was time to get into my spirit and body centre by doing some yoga and meditation.

I remembered that when I feel self-doubt or am just running on selfish desire, I can take a step back and do something nice for someone else. Getting out of my own way by engaging in selfless tasks and deeds is a fantastic way to align my heart.

I remembered to not take myself too seriously, that life is fun and beautiful and a gift every single day!

I remembered to have gratitude for what I do have, and the gifts that I am given.

I can feel good today from having taken some time to look at areas of my life where I have been “stuck” in my thinking. That is a gift to myself that lasts longer than the latest fashions on the rack.

So, first things first. I got rid of the “old” so I could make room for my “new” attitude of appreciation. My closet is more spacious, I listened to my heart, and I now have room for the important things in my life.

And I kept one pair of stilettos… Just in case.

 

 

How Yoga Quiets My Crazy Brain

I really needed to get into my body today. Believe me, I did..

On any average day, I get up early, and do a “sit”, (meditate) with binaural beats, (Profound Meditation Program from John Dupuy at iAwake is a life altering jam), and then tap into my body before I even really speak to the outside world. Well, that is an ideal  morning, as it gets me focused to feeling balanced, and I travel more smoothly if I get that quiet time for my body, mind, heart and spirit. No matter what by my first breath in the morning, my mind is going Full Speed Ahead! It can yank me out of bed chatting all kinds of spread sheets to philosophies to transmissions to meal planners, which lends itself to being a huge motivator to get straight into meditation and yoga first up.

It doesn’t always go to plan that way, though, as life, schedule, kids, blogs, (excuses, basically) can delay this for me, or even cause me to miss out completely!

Finding My Centre- Headstand
Finding My Centre:Headstand

Today was one of those mornings. But with no real excuse, except I was just excited and focused on writing. I was doing a semi-committed yogic breath “Pranayama” practice while writing, but I hadn’t done anything else for my body or heart space. So obviously the connecting links between my Body, Mind, Heart and Spirit had not been properly tended to as of yet.

It seem easy to “forget” about this delicate balance until something reminds us. My morning played out in the way that it did with just that.

I received a phone call from a blocked number.

It caught me off guard.

It triggered a reaction filled with anxiety and tension. I tend to dramatise and overreact easily if I feel out of control or put on the spot, and I was, and I did. (Please don’t call me a Drama Queen, I might just answer!)

So, a no brainer, I knew that tension filled my body. My muscles tightened, my heart constricted and palpitated. My mind began to race with worrying thoughts (none of which were realistic) and my heart space (my emotional body) felt scared, unsure, not in its power of embracing life/ love. I knew that I needed to get the Four Awakenings ignited, and in BALANCE.

I regained my personal power by getting straight on my mat, positioned in Downward Dog, breathing deeply, finding my centre, and flowed through some Vinyasa Yoga (check out Shiva Rae) that brought me to a calm yet empowered place in myself. After a short but grounding session, I sat for 20 minutes to meditate. I finished my meditation feeling soothed, strong, centred, calm, in control (of myself which is ALL I can control) and with a great deal of perspective about the truly insignificant phone call that really only served as a reminder that I am responsible for my happiness, my own calm, and my own awesome life.

I hope this offers some insight into how important it is to seek balance of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. When these are in balance, we are more of our genuine self, we can handle situations easier, we can flow through life with more ease and grace with the gift of awareness.

Feel free to ask any questions that may come to you, they are always welcome….

Namaste and Love On!

Guenevere