A Change Is Gonna Come

Although this post has nothing to do with the civil rights anecdote that stretches a good hundred and fifty years or longer in the great Sam Cooke record , this expression is quite relevant in each and every one of our lives.

Ever had a deep sense of knowing or an instinct tell you that it was time to make some life changes, but you felt too confused to make them?

I’ve certainly had those.

After graduating from university years ago, I felt completely confused about what I was going to do with my life. I was asking myself questions like: How am I going to find meaning? What should I do for a career? How can I make my dreams a reality? I put intense pressure on myself & it did me no good. I remember moving back home after uni, lying down in bed, and I would reading non-stop for hours, eager to run from the intense confusion of reality & the endless questions running through my mind; I was shit scared.

Scared to start a job, but scared not to. Scared to move away from the comforts of home, but deep down I couldn’t wait to get out. Scared of the unknown, but also excited by the fact that anything could happen!

Change alarmed me, so I mislead myself into thinking that it was too complicated & confusing. For a couple months, I did nothing & the frustration had grown into a monster.

Fear-based confusion is when you have a gut instinct that things are “off,” or you want to make a major life change, but you feel a jumbled mess & don’t know how to take action.

Sounds familiar?

Maybe you’re confused about making a career change, a move to a new city, ending a relationship, or about how to get your finances in order. I think we’ve all experienced this fear-gripping confusion in one form or another, and I know how frustrating it can feel.

But I’ve noticed that the awareness of fear as the base for your confusion can drastically reduce your stress about it.

You’re certainly not alone or helpless. And luckily, fear-based confusion is easy to move beyond.

1. Follow your excitement.

If the dread or fear runs deep, following your excitement will help. For example, instead of trying to answer the question, what should I do with my life, ask yourself, what excites me right now?

Write out a list of all the activities and experiences that excite you. Try and not judge this list. It doesn’t matter if things on your list seem small or insignificant.

For me, simply an early swim then a walk to a local cafe for a flat white and some reading  is something that really excites me first thing in the morning.

There are many benefits to following what excites you in this moment.

  1. You start to feel more excited about your life. And two,
  2. Your excitement usually leads you to people + experiences that will help you set a direction for yourself.

Following your excitement is much less daunting than trying to figure out your whole life. In addition, it leaves room for expansion and gives you the freedom to continually try new things.

2. Decide on your direction.

Decisions,decisions. They come in many shapes and forms. But it is crucial to decide very clearly on the direction you want to go in.

Making a clear decision is the quickest way out of confusion. I know this sounds obvious, but sometimes we have insane inner thoughts that hold us back. Thoughts like, “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t deserve this.”

But you most definitely are good enough & surely you do deserve peace no matter what you’re telling yourself. Believe in yourself enough to make a decision and know that you will make the right one. Don’t worry about making a “bad” decision. In my opinion, making no decision at all is often worse.

Once you make the initial decision, you will in turn be positively associated with people & experiences that help you flourish & move forward.

Breathe, become aware of how your decision feels in your body, and act on whatever option has a sense of lightness and openness to it.

3. Release your expectations.

This is a noble struggle for me. Most of the time I feel that expectations leads to disappointment. When I finally make the decision to change, I happen to proceed to come up with a detailed set of plans for how it should all go down, immediately in search for something that will make me feel secure in the face of change. But life doesn’t always pan out the way we expect it to.

It’s perfectly okay to focus on what you want, but I like to try and leave the details to The Beloved One, and simply focus on what I’m excited and capable of doing right now. This allows you to feel joy now instead of making your joy dependant on a certain outcome in the future. Release your expectations and let the world in. Release your expectations and let other people in, let life and love in, and let happiness in.

As you focus on following what excites you in this moment, the clouds of confusion begin to part and you can see your direction more clearly. Then, moving toward it with inner confidence becomes natural.

Once you take the first step, everything else will unfold for you.

Have a great weekend ahead! 🙂

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#TodayImChannelling: Meryl Streep

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“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”

Wow. Straight from the shoulder.

These are words to live by. If you disagree, then too bad. Life is short & I certainly don’t have time for B.S.

Cheers Meryl!

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Jamie’s Aubergine Daal

Taking up on a low-meat diet means looking elsewhere for a convenient source of protein. It was one afternoon when I was looking to cook up something delightful & out of the ordinary, I came across Jamie Oliver’s hearty rendition of Aubergine Daal. My mouth began to water as I watched Jamie work his magic in the kitchen. I had to give it a go!

Lentils is well known for being wholesome & filling. Full of fibre, low in fat and providing a minimal amount of calories per serving, lentils are a beneficial part of a healthy diet. The high fibre content of lentils can improve satiety & help keep you feeling full for hours.

Aubergines, on the other hand, has become one of my faves! Not only is it versatile & incredibly healthy, but its succulent texture adds a unique feature to most dishes, especially this one.

I would definitely classify this dish as a”comfort food”- feeds the body and soul, making you feel good both inside and out.

Being of traditional Indian cuisine, spices and seasoning are the heartbeat of this dish.

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Jamie’s Aubergine Daal | Road to Zealness

Serves: 4-6

prep time:  1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

Handful of fresh coriander (freshly chopped)

3 tablespoons EVOO

2 onions (finely chopped)

4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

1 teaspoon fresh root ginger (grated)

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon tumeric

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon black mustard seeds

2 tablespoons curry powder (heat as desired)

175 grams yellow lentils (dried, split)

1 aubergine (cut into bite sized pieces)

2 small to medium sized potatoes

I tablespoon tomato paste (or half a can of chopped tomatoes)

Instructions

Get your daals ready. It’s important to give it a good wash with fresh cold water before boiling to remove excess dust/debris. These lentils do not require soaking like other pulses.

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Get all your veggies ready. Chop up the aubergines into bitesize chunks & dice up your potatoes, remembering to leave the skin on (it tastes better). Finely chop the onions to add into the curry mixture. The second onion should be sliced into chunks and roasted along with the aubergines & potatoes.

Curry mixture

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat oil in a pan-add the items shown below (make sure onions,garlic & coriander are finely chopped) & allow it to splutter. Then add ginger and saute till slightly brown. Dilute this until you achieve a smooth paste.

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Lastly, add your tomato paste to the mixture and stir well.

Ensure that the curry is not too thick or thin as it will be used as a marinade on the vegetables before you pop them into the oven.

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Pour the flavour-packed marinade onto a roasting pan & add in your chopped veggies & mix. Get your hands dirty here, assure that all vegetables are drenched in this delicious marinade.

Toss in a generous amount of olive oil & roast for 20-30 minutes at 200C (gas mark 6),till potatoes are browned and tender. Then leave to rest.

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Next, we move on to the lentils. Boil the lentils at a 3:1 ratio (for every cup of lentil, add 3 cups of water).

Throw in a block & a half of stock of your choice. I normally opt for chicken stock but I thought I would give this one a go:

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Boil and boil,till the lentils are cooked but still hold their shape.

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Add in a little more than half of the roasted vegetables to the lentils. Allow this to simmer on low to medium heat for 5 minutes. Check for salt and adjust at this stage.

Meanwhile prepare some temper (flavoured oil). I stick to Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) as it infuses quicker than other oils & its clean, strong flavour makes it just the perfect choice. Heat a good amount of oil, depending on how spicy you like your dish. Chop 3-4 small chillis and add to the oil. Also, a teaspoon of curry for deeper flavour or even better,curry leaves. Heat for 2 minutes and leave to stand.

Check if the lentils are of medium to thick consistency. You can adjust using water if you like, but thinning the daal too much will spoil the taste. When ready, place the remaining half of the veggies from the roasting pan on top of the daal.

If you’re a fan of coriander,garnish with some more coriander leaves. Drizzle lemon juice on top. Lastly, add the temper that packs an awesome kick to the dish that isn’t too spicy but just perfect.

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As a side dish, I pick the traditional Cucumber+Yogurt salad. This is an ideal side dish and relish with daal. Chop a handful of mint & parsley and add to the yogurt.

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The winner of the dish, in its entirety, has to be this dashing bottle of organic EVOO and it’s freshy, fruity and exciting flavour. Brought all the way from the land of Greece where olive oil is consumed like water. Also a wonderful souvenir from my older brother.

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When accompanied with some rice or a flat bread(chapati & naan), toasted cashews or mango chutney, you’ve got an inexpensive, vegetarian main dish everyone will go crackers for-a true showstopper.

A secret weapon, inspired by the Goans, is to enrich the whole thing with coconut milk. This subtly creamy, decadent touch makes the dish beyond delicious.

Now go stuff your face 🙂

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#TodayImChannelling: Marco Pierre White

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 “There are many times in my life, when I could’ve thrown in the towel. Many times in my life when I was on the floor. And when you’re on the floor, never allow anybody to pick you up. It doesn’t matter how long you stay there, make sure you pick yourself up and dust yourself down…you take the knowledge from the experience and you grow.”

Prāṇāyāma

I do not own a yoga mat or speak with fancy pose names, neither do I chant or burn incense sticks. But there is definitely something about Yogis and Yoga as an art & science that piques my interest.

I have to say I truly admire people who devote themselves to yoga and can tie themselves into all sorts of knots. Unfortunately, being a peculiarly unknotty person, I am liable to be stuck in one position for hours if I try to be ambitious & attempt an asana. (Is that the right word?)

My curiousity had led me to read about the many different yoga movements & poses for instant calm and peace. One I had practiced recently and probably the easiest for any being to perform is the Pranayama-the process is concerned with the breathing.

Debbie-Rogers

How well do you breathe? How often do your lungs get a full change of air? When you take a deep breath do you just puff your chest out and draw your shoulders up or do you breathe with your abdomen as well?

Ralph Smart can elaborate the importance of taking in some good ass prandu

Every single cell in your body needs a constant supply of air, so to breathe fully and freely is important and more valuable than you think.

If your posture is poor (rounded/high shoulders, poking chin, hollow chest, flabby abdomen) your breathing will be rapid & shallow.  In serious cases, breathing out too much carbon dioxide can cause lightheadedness, palpitations, tingling in the arms, and even angina (to put it shortly-hyperventilation).

Breathing is quite closely linked to emotional state; when you’re feeling anxious, you’re more likely to hyperventilate and take short, shallow breaths. Anxious people are also more likely to be hyper-aware of their breathing, attempt to sigh too many times to get that satisfying “full breath” of air to no avail — something referred to casually as “air hunger.

Time to get it all right.


WHAT?

It is quite simple to train yourself to breath well using a variety of breathing exercises, but what I would like to share with you today is a technique called deep breathing pranayama. As for its yogaish name, the term Prāna means life force and āyāma means to restrain; prāṇāyāma translates to breath control. This is an ancient ayuverdic yoga practice in which the diaphragm muscle sat beneath your lungs is exercised properly & regularly to enhance healthy breathing, which in turn improves overall health. Inhalation is imagined as beginning below the navel and spreading all the way up to the forehead.

HOW?

Get into comfortable clothes then find a comfortable position.

Take a seat on the floor in the lotus position if you can. If you’re like me & find it almost impossible to find your lotus flexibility, a half lotus position will do, or sit straight on a chair if you find it easier.

Keep your head upright and your chin level, stretch your neck upwards & forwards, eyes looking straight ahead.Close your eyes or, if you prefer them open, focus on something appealing and not distracting.  Start to exhale slowly through both your nostrils, & as you begin to reach the end of the out-breath, pull your stomach in. Hold your stomach in for a second. Now inhale as deeply as possible, feeling the air enter your abdomen first then fill your chest, then fill the top of your lungs beneath your collar bones. As you breathe in, imagine a wave of energy travelling up from your abdomen to your foreahead. Hold the in-breath for a second, then exhale slowly as before, pulling your stomach in at the end of the out-breath. Pause for one second before inhaling again.

To be of real benefit, this breathing exercise should be repeated 10-15 times at one sitting, and 10-15 times a day whenever you have a quiet moment. It is an excellent antidote to stress and anger.

 

This meditation is best done during the morning or afternoon for an energy recharge, or during states of stress. It’s a great way to kick start your day, since the deep breathing will not only wake your brain up, but it will also provide you with ample life force to carry you from dawn to dusk. It can also work as a substitute for a midday coffee, since prana works as a lot better of a motivator than caffeine. For some it can aid in restful sleep when done before bed, but for others the increase in prana energy makes it harder to sleep.

Find the time that works best for you-let me know how it goes in the comment section below.

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