Week 22. Tree Meditation

 

Begin standing with feet parallel about a foot apart.

For a moment take your weight onto your toes then onto your heels. Now find the spot somewhere in the middle where you feel the most grounded or stable.

Push your feet down into the earth and stand tall.

Become aware of your breathing and as you breathe in imagine your feet becoming more stable, you might like to imagine your feet as roots growing down into the earth. Spend some time with this. Close your eyes, see your favourite tree, strong, stable and steady and the roots we cannot see that travel deep into the earth.

Now place your left hand on your chest and your right hand on top of your left.

Feel your breath flowing and your chest gently rising as you breath in.

You may like to lift one leg off the ground and then the other.

Now extend your arms and imagine them as the branches of your tree - you probably need two feet firmly planted on the ground for this part! But with practice you may be able to press your foot against your calf or even higher against your thigh.

Explore the air around you. Imagine your arms are branches gently moving in the breeze. I like to practice this meditation with music. Twirl your arms, move them behind you and down to your feet (bend your knees) be intuitive and move freely, enjoy and imagine your connection to the trees around you.

After a while place your hands back on your heart. Feel your breath, feel yourself strong and grounded.

Be like a tree

Stay grounded.

Connect with your roots.

Turn over a new leaf.

Bend before you break.

Enjoy your unique natural beauty. 

Keep growing.

Week 23. Meditation - Belonging

 

"The best things in life are free.

Put your left hand on your heart.

Close your eyes and feel life flowing through you."

 

Spend time in nature every day - Take a nature bath.

Touch plants and trees.

Smell flowers and the air.

Taste rain drops and herbs.

Feel the wind, the sunshine, the rain.

Look for the beauty around you.

You belong and are part of the Earth

Week 24. Growing Your Own Medicine

Photographer: Julie Ivison

 

Planting a Seed - Sacred Beginnings

Aboriginal Dreamtime written by Mel Brown

"Back when the sun was still weak and the world was still in its predawn phase, the first seed nestled deep within the earth began to fight its way to the surface. The tiny seed could feel the warmth of predawn and wanted to push beyond its imprisonment within the earth to see what was creating the wonderful warmth it had never felt before.

The little seed began to grow large roots to stabilise itself for its journey upward. As the seed continued to slowly push its way forth the other seeds were watching in amazement. Never before in their familiar darkness had any other seed wanted to push upward to see where the new warmth was coming from.

As the seed emerged from the earth it became a small but strong stem, and then as it was no longer restricted by the soil in the earth, it spread its wings which grew into leaves. The stem told the other seeds about its journey and growth above the soil and other seeds were so excited about the prospect of adventure, they decided they too wanted to grow and have experiences.

So, over the next thousands of years many other seeds found their courage and became brave, covering the world with trees, bushes and flowers, and most importantly creating a new environment for animals and insects to be born into.

Everything starts small, and to move forward takes courage. The search for courage is the hardest part of any journey but in turn is the ultimate achievement. From courage you gain confidence and whether it's just the confidence to give it a go....well you're already a winner.

Take a deep breath and just move forward.

Week 24. Miso With Tofu

 

This is easy, quick and delicious. 

It is usually cooked at the end of the week when the groceries are getting low because all the ingredients are in the fridge.

The seaweed, miso and tamari are bought from my local Organic Shop and last for at least 6 weeks in the fridge.

I start with pouring a litre of filtered water into my frying pan.

Then I add 2 Tablespoons of Tamari which is a better and Japanese version of Soy Sauce (gluten free)

A large packet of Organic Tofu squared. This is available in Coles and I buy it weekly. It is high in protein and naturally fermented. *Do not eat unfermented Soy products. 

Seaweed. At the moment I am using Dulse Flakes about a dessetspoon. Seaweed is full of trace minerals including iodine.

A clove of garlic.

*Mushrooms are lovely in this as extras.

 

Noodles about half a packet. Japanese Udon etc or Vermicelli or rice noodles. It depends if you are gluten intolerant, check the labels.

The Miso and seaweed are very special foods. The Miso contains beneficial gut bacteria which die if boiled so it is added after the soup has been removed from the heat. Give it a very good stir.

Spring onions and fresh coriander top it off,  if I have them available in the garden.

 

Week 25. Growing Your Own Medicine

 

Prana Plants - With love.

My garden is full of plants that also will live happily indoors. They improve the indoor environment. They can create a lovely space in your house and they also help absorb toxins. 

My latest creative burst has been buying or recycling nice pots and gradually adding decorations such as shells and of course a plant. My house is starting to fill up with plants and I am enjoying watching at close quarters, tiny new leaves appearing as they settle into their new home.

"Help to stem the loss of Prana or energy caused by working at a computer by cultivating a cactus or a spider plant nearby, which produces oxygen and energizes stale air. 

Let it be a visual reminder to boost your prana by taking a break to practice a breathing exercise."

The Power of Breath by Swami Saradananda

Cactus and succulents are great in the car and help absorb all the toxins used in the interiors and keep the air fresh.

 Even NASA who conducted a clean air study has found that many plants can filter, purify and oxygenate the air. Its results suggested that, in addition to absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through photosyntheses, certain common indoor plants may also provide a natural way of removing toxic agents such as benzene. In indoor air this is found in glues, paints, furniture wax, and much more. It is a known carcinogen. As is Formaldyhyde used in making building materials and many household products. It is used in pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard; glues and adhesives; permanent-press fabrics; paper product coatings; and certain insulation materials.

It is very easy to cultivate your own house plants. I use coir peat and simply keep it moist. I push my cutting, spider baby or bromiliad pup into the peat and watch them grow !

Week 26. Minestrone Soup

 

The Weather is cooling down here in Australia 12/4/19 and it is time to add some Winter Recipes to the menu. I love soups and stews and they are highly beneficial for health, they are warm and nourishing and easy to digest. 

Experiment with beans, each taste slightly different.

 

I soak my beans overnight, give them a good rinse and then cook them the next morning. This is easy with electricity. I bring them to the boil and then turn the ring off and keep the pan lid on. They keep cooking slowly and I can forget about them till I need them on the evening.

Add a little Olive Oil to your pan

Add a chopped onion and caramelise them. Allow them to go brown around the edges, they become sweeter and tastier.

Then add beans and veggies. 2 Carrots and Kale are staples for us.

1 tin of Organic Tomatoes or 3/4 fresh tomatoes.

3 Bay Leaves. Bay Trees grow easily in a pot and are very hardy and attractive. In the ground they grow like crazy in Australia. I guess it depends on how much space you have. But everyone should have a Bay Tree in their garden for their soup recipes. 

A large handful of fresh basil or dessertspoon of dried basil.

A teaspoon of salt.

Fill your pan almost to the top with filtered water.

Bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Check the beans are cooked and if they are add bits of left over pasta and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Grate a lot of lovely parmesan cheese and sprinkle on the top.

Pepper to taste.

Serve with crusty bread or sour dough. Don't forget to butter your bread and enjoy it. Their is little fat in Minestrone and you need it to help absorbed all the nutrients in your soup.

Keep any left overs for lunch the next day.

Guess what's for lunch today ?

 

Week 27. Moosewood Cauliflower & Basil Pesto

 

Ellen's favourite.

This is a delicious meal and a favourite recipe for many years from the Moosewood Cookbook.

It is easy and tastes great with quinoa as in the photo but the original recipe is with spaghetti.

Add a generous amount of butter or coconut oil to the pasta at the end to make it extra rich and nutritious.

If you see an organic cauliflower in the supermarket - take it home. 

In a saucepan add a generous amount of olive oil and the cauliflower, cleaned and broken into florets. You may need to add a very small amount of water if the cauliflower becomes dry and starts to burn. Put the lid on the pan and check it as it cooks

Let it cook until the cauli is soft.

Then add a tablespoon of tomato puree and cook for another 10 minutes.

All done.

See the recipe for seedy pesto and quickly whiz this up, parmesan cheese is best.

When the cauliflower is the texture you prefer add seedy pesto and stir it in.

Delicious and quick to make.

Serve with pasta, rice or quinoa.

There was an extra large cauliflower at the organic shop yesterday. Leftovers were placed in a pyrex container and are now warming in the oven for lunch. 

 

Week 28. Growing Your Own Medicine

 

Lemon Myrtle - Sandras favourite tea.

Lemon Myrtle is a small rainforest tree that will grow in pots or in the ground. 

It is an Australia Native Tree and makes the most delicious lemon flavoured herbal tea.

Children love this tea and my daughter and her toddler friend enjoyed many lemon myrtle tea parties. They still love it as teenagers.

It is uplifting and helps with depression.

It stimulates the heart and solar plexus chakra.

Simply step outside and take some leaves - at least 5.

Cut them up with scissors, place them in a cup and pour on boiling water. When the tea is ready to drink the leaves sink to the bottom of the cup and the tea continues to brew as you drink it.

Add honey if you have a cold or a sore throat. 

The essential oil is one of the most welcoming and lovely oils to put in an infuser.

It has amazing health and wellbeing benefits. Rich in antioxidants, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, lemon myrtle has been known to be effective in easing the symptoms of :

  • Sinus Problems
  • Sore Throats
  • Digestive Issues
  • Allergies
  • Acne
  • Depression
  • Oral Health
  • Headaches
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Cramps
  • Viral Infections

Week 29. Do you know anyone who suffers with depression ?

 

Metta Meditation

I have recently read two books that inspired me to teach you a simple variation of Metta Meditation. 

The first book is called How To Love by Thich Nhat Hanh and based on Ancient Buddhist teachings. 

This is a very small and lovely book, inspiring, full of wise words and meditations. I was drawn to this book because it has 2 birds, a branch and flowers on the front - Bird Song!

The second book is called Lost Connections and as I know Yoga in Sanskrit means connection or union, I thought it would be interesting. The Author is Johann Hari.

His book details a lot of research, visiting world renowned scientists and researchers and asking them about their findings. He discovers that medication is not the answer to depression - Do not stop taking any medication without a Doctors advice! Read and learn - this book was in my local library, discuss what you have learnt with your Doctor.

This is part of his wonderful conclusion. This is what he wished someone had said to him as a teenager. Instead he was handed his first anti- depressants.

"You aren't a machine with broken parts. You are an animal whose needs are not being met.

You need to have a community.

You need to have meaningful values, not the junk values you've been pumped full of all your life, telling you happiness comes through money and buying objects.

You need meaningful work.

You need the natural world.

You need to feel you are respected.

You need a secure future.

You need connections to all these things.

You need to release any shame you might feel for having been mistreated.

Johann leant this meditation from a friend and now practices it regularly.

 

Loving Kindness Meditation.

Find a quiet place to sit every day, make it a ritual, light a candle, place flowers or other favourite objects in the area, burn essential oils.

Or simply sit in your favourite chair.

Music can help open your heart. Choose some music, sing along if you wish.

Now think of a person or animal that you love. 

Feel the emotion if you can. Imagine them close to you. Imagine the connection. Hold hands or cuddle or stroke. Breathe gently and allow any emotions to come to the surface - tears are recommended!

If that person or animal is no longer living it doesn't matter. You still have a connection to them.

You only need to spend 5 minutes.

Next time imagine another person or animal joining you.

Gradually add all the people and animals that you love.

To progress:

Now you need to imagine that love directed to yourself. 

Look in the mirror smile at yourself and send yourself love.

I love you ------ Say your name and repeat three times. This can be very challenging.

Do this every day.

If you wish you can repeat these words from the origanal 5th century buddhist text.

May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.

May I be safe and free from injury.

May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.

 

May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.

May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.

May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving and delusion in myself.

May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.

May I be able to live fresh, solid, and free.

May I be free from attachment and aversion, and not be indifferent.

To progress:

Start with your family and think of someone you don't get along with. Send them happiness, send them your best wishes, notice how difficult this is but anger you feel for another person or jealousy or any negative emotion does not hurt them it only hurts you. If they have hurt you, forgive them. This does not mean you need to connect with them again face to face. You have learnt from your experience and grown stronger.

Send love out to your work colleagues, your neighbours, people you see every day.

Send love out to animals, trees, the earth. 

Don't underestimate the power of this meditation. It will change your life.


Another book I highly recommend is

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.

Week 30 - Orange

The Black Birds Garden

 

A colour meditation

Work, Rest & Play.

There are 7 colours of the rainbow.

There are 7 energy centres in our bodies

There are 7 musical notes.

There are 7 days in a week.

Colour affects us, how we feel, it is taught in art and advertising.

The knowledge stems from Ancient Yogic Teaching, connecting colour with emotions, with parts of our spine and body. We are a rainbow of colour!

Each part, centre or chakra has a musical note, an element, a sense, a chant. (Om is the most well-known and is connected to our mind)

Orange, what colour is it?

Bright, vibrant, energising.

A joyful, empowering colour.

For this visual meditation you need Orange.

Maybe a bowl of oranges, orange flowers, an orange scarf?

Place them somewhere visually pleasing, making a special space.

Sit for a while with your eyes open absorbing the colour and become aware of your breath.

As you breathe in, know the colour is energy, it is prana.

It is connected to the area just below your belly button.

Focus on this area, feel your breath flowing in your belly.

It is connected to your Sacrum. (Lower spine) Your sacred self....

Any thoughts as you breathe into this area?

What brings you joy in life?

What can you create?

Breathe it in.

What makes you feel joyless, depressed.

Let it go, let it go, breath it out.

 

Orange is a paintbrush in your hand, take it, paint your future, paint a pretty picture and create in your own unique way.

 

SWADHISTHANA CHAKRA  

The seat of your creativity. Brings positive change.

I TRUST MYSELF TO FOLLOW MY DREAMS

I TRUST MYSELF TO FOLLOW MY DREAMS

I TRUST MYSELF TO FOLLOW MY DREAMS

Create a better world - Breath into your belly.

Let go of guilt and frustration - Breath out of your belly.

Colour - orange

Musical note D (Vedic System)

Chant - Vam

Element - Water

Sense - Taste

Namaste

Week 31. Wild Fermentation.

 

An inspiring book by Sandor Ellix Katz

"Fermenting vegetables is the ideal way to begin fermenting. It requires no special equipment: you can use a jar you probably already have. There's no need for starter cultures, either; all the bacteria you need are already on the vegetables."

"Fermenting vegetables are so safe, with no case history of problems"

"Fermented vegetables are probiotic, improve digestion, and have been credited with wildly varied benefits, from preventing cancer to reducing social anxiety."

We have been taught to fear bacteria. We live in a society where anti- bacterial wipes and cleaners are growing. Where bacteria is seen as something bad for our health.. But we have as many bacteria living in our bodies as human cells and without them we would not survive. 

Most bacteria are good and a necessary part of life, some can cause disease. When disease causing bacteria in the bowel for example grow rapidly and get out of control they cause things like giardia. But if your bowels are healthy, if they have a lot of good bacteria or probiotics. The bad guys are unable to grow in such large numbers.

Build up the good guys! When you use anti- bacterial sprays and wipes you are killing both good and bad. A childs immune system is very sensitive and it needs to build resistance and it needs bacteria. I have read somewhere that families with dogs have better immune systems because dogs bring lots of bacteria into the house. 

Pro- biotic or lactic acid fermentation occurs with vegetables, cabbage being excellent.

Lactic acid bacteria creates omega 3 fatty acids. Isothiocynates and indole-3-carbinol found in vegetable ferments are both anticarcinogenic. But enough of the science.

They are really, really good for you and simple to make. Buy organic or even better grow your own.

Start small with half a cabbage.

Keep outer leaves. Wash then chop up half a cabbage.

Put it in a bowl with a teaspoon of salt (make sure you use real salt with no anti- caking agents etc.) Give it a mix in with your fingers.

A couple of hours later squeeze the cabbage and place in a jar with the tough outer leaves on top pushing them down and using them to submerge the chopped cabbage. Any juice put it in the jar. The cabbage needs to be covered with juice and you can add a bit of brine. (Water and salt.) 

I use a wide jar with a metal lid that I can get my hand into. Now and again I push down on it and do a taste test, usually it has all been eaten within a week!

The longer you leave it the more good bacteria but the stronger the taste. It bubbles and the jar lid needs to be removed daily. You know you have produced probiotics then and it tastes delicious and vinegary but gives off quite a strong smell which increases with longer fementation. Put it in the fridge when you like the taste and it will stop fermenting. 

You can add all sorts of chopped vegetables and fruit if you want it sweet. I like apple in mine.

You can add seeds, fennel is really nice and ginger...make it your own. Experiment and enjoy!