Relax

I have a “spiritual running buddy” as Gabrielle Bernstein likes to put it. It’s a friend of mine, with whom we’ve been through a lot together. Our sisterhood started in high school, but not for the purpose of our supporting each other to be good to ourselves, so much as the exact opposite. We both had eating disorders at the time and were basically giving each other pep talks on how not to focus on eating, but exercising. Fast forward thirteen years, we found ourselves back on the same path, this time towards self-love, personal development and spiritual journey. And I couldn’t be more grateful that we are in this together.

This morning we talked about keeping that intangible connection to ourselves when the times are a-trying. She recently went travelling to this dreamy tropical destination, and being off work for three weeks, she was certain how she could really practice her presence over there. In the end what got in the way was her own mind, constantly asking: “Am I present now? Am I present now? How about now? And now?” Giving in to our thoughts is what keeps us from being in the now, right? Her mind was so obsessed with the idea of being in the moment, that she actually missed being in the moment because she was thinking about being in the moment. Absurd, isn’t it? And yet it happens to all of us.

It happens to me, too. The only difference is that I’m not pushing myself to be more present (although it might be good sometimes) but – happy. I come from a family where complaining is the norm. Complaining brings forth unacceptance of current conditions, which pushes us to fight our lives and the Universe, rather than accepting and cherishing it. We end up being cranky most of the time, and in that we forget how it is to be happy, thus accepting and cherishing of all no matter what. So I often find myself checking up on my happiness, and when I establish I’m not as happy as I could be, the very fact of not being happy as I could be makes me – unhappy. A circle, a vicious circle! This is not freedom. It’s like being anorexic and obsessively thinking about food all the time, even though you’re not eating it. That is not freedom.

Now what?  

Relax. Celebrate. I mean it.

Let’s celebrate our showing up for ourselves no matter what. The next time we find our mind being a total control freak, not letting us experience what we set out to experience, let’s thank it. Let’s really thank it, because it’s trying to help us. And then, let’s put the mind where it belongs: into a safe little nest, where it can watch over all of the experiences that enrich our soul, only speaking up when the soul gives our an S-O-S.

DSC_1661

 

Highs and Lows

Yesterday was Mary Magdalene’s memorial and my desire to spend it in a women’s circle came true. I went to an Indian sweat lodge at a friend’s place. It was held exclusively for women and each and every one of us felt the strong, natural, raw feminine energies that are present when women gather in a circle, sing and share. The feminine energy has a lot to do with the feeling of support that I was talking about yesterday, and it has nothing to do with shame, comparison, or jealousy. The sisterhood means we are all equal in front of The Great Spirit, Wakan Tanka, God and/or Goddess, the Universe, and at the same time every one of us has a special flavour to her essence.  At one point in between our chanting, our fire-keeper (also a woman) went from sitting to lying down on her mat, opened her legs and showed her yoni to the sacred fire in the middle of the circle. Can you imagine how relaxed she must have felt? Being natural is what happens when you shave off of shame.

As this was my first sweat lodge ever, I didn’t know what to expect and I felt a bit of tension. However, everything turned out amazing, though: Svarun visited me and talked to me about our mission, and at a certain point I even had a totally unexpected vision of a totem animal. All of this was possible because of surrender. During the second break, where we delved deep into the relationships with fellow humans, I felt the urge to run outside and lie on the ground, tummy side down. In the moment when the cold, humid grass kissed my hot body, I had this transcendental experience of not being totally in the body anymore, but somewhere in between. It was then when it crossed my mind: “The Indians really knew how to push their bodies to the limit and make them surrender to the experience, so that the soul could have a spiritual experience.” All in all, we had an amazing time.

As we were closing the circle this morning, one of the women said: “I wish I knew how to keep this elevated feeling forever, but it always vanishes after a few days.” I remembered my experiences of flying high and then crashing down low when reality hit in with bills to pay and things to take care of. It’s a contrast. One day you’re all centred, calm, hyped up and blissfully aware of all and everything, and then the next day you’re back in a non-tidy home, back in all of the relationships and back running out of time to do your yoga. Abraham says we should love this contrast, but sometimes it seems like a really hard thing to do, doesn’t it? I mean, who wouldn’t want to be high-flying all the time? The thing is, if we were flying high all the time, it wouldn’t even seem that high anymore. Until there is a contrast, we can’t really grasp how high we actually were. Life doesn’t go straight down the road, it goes in circles so that we are able to: a) appreciate how high we can get, and b) train ourselves how to go back up as quickly as possible. Practicing how to get on a higher vibration gives us power, gives us strength, and it convinces us that we are the captains of our boats.

How do we do it? The best way is to be mindful when something awesome is happening by closing our eyes and becoming aware of everything that we are feeling. A tingling in your nose? Mouth corners up? A beating excitement in your chest? Stardust on your crown chakra?

Consider it all.

Memorize how it feels when you are flying high, and where in your body you feel it.

Practice applying the indicators when you don’t feel on top of the world anymore. The will is the key.

DSC_0636
With my dear sister Nika, who took piano lessons with me in third grade. Our friendship started thus 20 years ago.

Happy Feast Day, Everyone!

Today is the 2nd time we get to celebrate St. Mary Magdalene’s Day since Pope Francis raised her memorial last year. Once considered a prostitute by the Church, she was now proclaimed a saint. There is nothing more terrifying to men in position than an awakened woman, says Dale Allen Hoffman, who has been studying the topic of Biblical mysticism for decades now. I encountered his work a few weeks ago, and I just can’t get enough of the inspiration. He is a “civilian scholar”, mystic and energetic healer, who works with sound a lot. At the beginning of each of his events, he does the arameic (the language that Jesus and Mary Magdalene spoke) toning, because he says that us humans we can feel the sound vibration of words better then understand the meaning of them. Amazing.

I consider Mary Magdalene one of my guardians, which simply means that I keep her energy close to my heart at all times. The sacred feminine is something that I’ve been drawn to embody for the past six years, and I got in touch with Mary Magdalene’s archetype via a dear friend. As a priestess of the Temple of Isis (the ancient Egyptian virgin goddess, whose story suspiciously resembles the story of Mary, mother of Jesus), her biggest quality in my opinion is drawing together women of all colours and sizes, but with the same burning desire within their hearts and their yonis. This desire is to embrace the sacred feminine energy into our bodies, minds and souls and to live it. Mary Magdalene draws together priestesses, and this quality is highly necessary nowadays, because us women need sisterhood. We need it just as men need brotherhood, none is more important than the other. But up to this day, it has been easier for men to “join in circle” (ha, men would never say that) because in most cases women are the keepers of the home and thus … well, stuck home. Women need sisterhood not in order to survive – although this is debatable – but to thrive and grow and expand beyond the imagination of our minds and into the limitless potential of our souls. Because all we are really up to is grow and expand. Grow out of yesterday’s skin and expand through the experience of a new day. Now just imagine what it would be like if you knew that there was a circle of women, a circle of sisters standing behind you and cheering your way every time you faced a challenge?

The world needs women who are stepping out and into the world, to give that precious gift that only they can give to help our planet thrive. Giving is the most natural thing to women because of our innate knowledge that the well of love cannot be emptied. But if this giving is not in balance with receiving, we are left tired and unkept. So what the women who are stepping our need is to receive support and acknowledgement and respect. And if this patriarchal society won’t give it to them, then their sisterhood will. Won’t we?

If there is a women’s circle where you live or nearby, go attend, or have a girl’s night out. I’m just heading out to join women at a sweat lodge, where we’ll have a ritual. I am really looking forward to it, because there are a lot of things that are no longer serving me and I need to let go and give them to Mother Nature, trusting that she will transform them into something that serves all of us. As ever. If there is no such thing taking place, at least go listen to one of Dale’s amazing lectures and tone with him in the ancient language that cannot leave you stoic.

Happy sisterhood day, loves.

Hasta mañana.

DSC_1416 (2).JPG

Magnesium Menstrual Smoothie

Yesterday was quite a day. I was expecting my period. It usually comes the moment I wake up in the morning, but yesterday was different in that regard. I did my yoga, meditation, started photo shooting this very smoothie, finished, started writing, had a meeting, went on writing and managed to visit my son’s kindergarten teacher. I rescheduled the meeting from today to yesterday, because I knew that if the red moon didn’t come yesterday, it would come today. And on the first day of my period, I want to be able to do whatever the heck I want.

 

DSC_1072

DSC_1254

I knew I was going to get my period, because I experienced the famous drop in body temperature, according to Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) that I’ve been practising quite consistently now (well done, me). Do you know it? FAM helps you determine your fertile days by monitoring three bodily factors daily: your body temperature, vaginal secretion, and the position and softness of your cervix. Basically, FAM is natural birth control, but really it’s much more than that. It’s a way of getting closer to your body and your cycles. Something I wish I had known before, at least prior to popping the birth control pills a decade ago, and feeling oh-so-grown-up as I did it. Of course, every other girl was doing it, and when I got my first white and orange box (that would afterward challenge gigantic emotional turmoil), I finally felt like part of the clan; I somehow felt initiated into womanhood, if you will.

Funny, isn’t it? Funny and absurd, that I felt grown-up as I was numbing and deceiving my body, when in fact true wisdom comes from knowing and cherishing your body.

But how could I know? Nobody told me. In fact, how could anyone know if women of the last few centuries had to forget about the power of their cycles, if they were to survive, and not be burnt at the stake?

I’m not going into much detail about the inquisition today because frankly, I’m still not quite over it; I get goose bumps and tears flood down my cheeks uncontrollably every time I even think about it. But I will tell you this: every month this very thing reminds me of the great power us women possess. Shakti!

Why the frequency, you might ask yourself? Oh, just because of my Holy Menstrual Trinity. Whenever I have my moon cycles, all I want are three things. The first one is chocolatey-something for breakfast. The second one is endless scriptures, books, talks and interviews on the topic of feminine power and spirituality. The third one is me-time to do whatever the heck I will. If I thick all of the above boxes, I’m a happy woman.

DSC_1190

DSC_1218

I asked my mother to babysit Svarun yesterday, so I could reschedule and see his teacher. What she told me was: “My goodness, why are you telling everyone about your period as it were an illness, for God’s sake!” And I thought to myself: “Is it wrong to schedule my days around my cycles? It’s not that I’m crying for attention or want everyone to pat me on the back. I’m not being “poor me”. I just … want to be true to my body. That is, after thirty years of neglect.” But then I remembered. I was eleven when I got my first period. My mother looked at me pitifully and said: “You poor thing, you.” Poor thing?  For becoming a woman? Now this makes me want to choke, you see. This has to do with Christianity, that’s been deeply rooted in Slovenian belief systems of what our social roles should look like. Women here are expected to take care of everyone except themselves; to give it all and ask for nothing in return. Their happiness is granted by seeing others with full bellies. While I do feel happy when I see Svarun happy, that’s not the only thing that makes me happy! That is to say, although I do feel happy when I give, accepting makes me happy, too. And for a lot of us women, the latter is something that’s not being practised enough.

Did you know that the greatest feminine virtue is that of acceptance? Can you accept … the air into your lungs, the money into your wallet, the painful memories into your story, your man into the whole of your being? Can you accept that you’re different every week, as part of being a woman? Can you accept that on the first day of menstruation, you don’t want to see or hear anyone/ don’t feel like cooking/ working/ being all patient and giving? Can you accept that your family still wants you to play small? Can you accept … all that you are?

If you’re still struggling with any of the above, I’m pretty sure you can accept this smoothie recipe without much thought.

DSC_1220

Mind your Magnesium

 It is said that magnesium deficiency is the commonest of all deficiencies, but virtually nobody talks about it, because it’s a new thing. And blood tests don’t show it because only 1% of magnesium is stored in your blood, while the rest lies in your bones. The catch is that magnesium dietary sources don’t grant it anymore, because the majority of it is lost in the refinement process. Magnesium content in vegetables has declined for up to 80% since 1950’s because of industrial farming, and grain refining processes remove up to 95% of total magnesium. What can you do about it? Your best bet is to grow your own vegetable garden, if you can; dark leafy greens are one of the easiest crops to grow and they are loaded with magnesium. If you don’t have access to a piece of land, at least boycott industrial farming by purchasing organic crops only. Since pesticides destroy organisms that provide nutrients to plants and fertilizers diminish the absorption of minerals, organic fruit and vegetables are way more likely to contain more magnesium.

I noticed a huge shift from very painful to slightly uncomfortable periods once I started minding my magnesium intake around menstruation. As you may know, magnesium is vital in nerve function, blood sugar control, and neurotransmitter release. It also relaxes the muscles and thus prevents cramps, which is good to know if you have painful menstruations. My speculation is that if I were mindful about my magnesium intake all through the month, the moon cycle discomfort would totally be gone. I’m about to try this, just for the experiment’s sake. I don’t expect my back pain, the heaviness in the legs, and general tiredness a week ahead will subside, and frankly – I don’t mind. Why? Because what I want the most is to know my body. I want to it so profoundly, so that I am able to aid my discomforts in ways of finding the right yoga poses, the right mindset, or enough rest. Know what I mean?

A few days ahead of menstruation I thus up my magnesium intake. I consume a lot of dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, cashews, cacao nibs, and use magnesium oil (that I highly recommend). I might experience a craving for chocolate, and it’s not a coincidence, since one square of organic dark chocolate contains approximately 95mg of magnesium, which is 24% of RDA. Other foods that include high values of magnesium are: bananas, avocados, almonds, figs, black beans, goat cheese, dates, yogurt, etc. But two months ago upon seeing this list of magnesium-rich foods, I took as many as I could and blend them into a delicious, chocolatey breakfast smoothie that I’m sharing today. It’s the best thing you can do for you, and the prescribed quantities will amount to two big bowls for you to enjoy.

DSC_1223

DSC_1243

Magnesium Menstrual Smoothie

1 banana
½ avocado
fistful of dark leafy greens (I use the chard from my own garden, yay, 
but you can use spinach, kale or other)
fistful of soaked (or soaked + dehydrated) almonds, around 35g
fistful of Medjool or soaked regular dates, around 80g
3 tbsp of organic (possibly fair-trade) cacao, around 45g
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of pepper
a squeeze of lemon juice (very important!)

Pit the dates, peel the banana, pit the avocado. Use only ripe fruit. 
Put everything into blender. Blend. Enjoy and accept the luxury of it. 
You know you can.

 

DSC_1252

DSC_1057

DSC_1119

I wish you all big love and acceptance,

Tamara