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My parents take the 45-day Vegan Diet Challenge!

I am back in California after nearly 2 years of travelling.

I never would have predicted I would be back home or that my parents would agree to try a vegan (plant based) diet for 45 days!

During my last Vipassana meditation course in India my inner voice told me it was time to go home, which I thought was strange as in my mind I thought I would be in India for years. The inner voice was more than a voice it was a knowing. I knew I had to come back and soon.

I arrived back in California 5 days ago full of enthusiasm from all that I have learned on my travels. My latest inspiration was to watch the movie Forks Over Knives about the health benefits of changing to an all plant based (Vegan) diet.

http://www.forksoverknives.com

I told my parents I was excited to watch this film and would they be open to the idea of seeing what it had to say and if it was convincing to try eating plant based for 45 days.

THEY AGREED!

The very next day my father ended up in the Hospital with a heart attack scare.

Talk about timing.

I thanked God that I was there and that I listened to the knowing.

The doctors all wanted to pump him full of medication, and ran a bunch of tests and monitored his vitals.

Both my parents were very against the idea of my father having to take more medicine. He is already an insulin dependent Diabetic and also has Parkinson disease for which he is taking Dopamine.

I strongly suggested that we could use food as medicine. He agreed to stick with the plan and see if changing his diet and also including meditation into his daily life would make a difference.

My mothers intentions are also health related. She has been overweight and addicted to sugar for years. She said she was ready to change, and wanted to be kind to her body and this approach sounded good to her.

It has been 3 days and she has already lost 4 pounds and is overjoyed that maybe there is a solution to her eating problem.

Maybe she can enjoy food and feel good too!

I also wanted to try the diet. I have been eating a vegetarian diet for 3 years now, but wanted to take it to the next step of eliminating all animal products. My reasons are two fold: for preventative health measures, to feel at my best and optimal health, and for the environmental and animal concerns.

So far we are all so happy with the changes. My parents are loving the food and being all in it together is great for the support and determination.

I am so proud of my parents! For having the openness and willingness to change, try something new, and be open to another way.

And just maybe we all might end up feeling amazing!

(I am getting inspiration from the recipes on the Engine 2 diet challenge website http://engine2diet.com)

 

Bean Tofu tacos Vegan Diet IMG_6313 IMG_6322 IMG_6323 IMG_6328

Vietnamese Spring Rolls A Fire Within Vegan Diet

 

 

 

 

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India- adventures of an enlightening kind

I am back in India for the third time.

My intention is to deepen my spiritual practices and to find a teacher that can help illuminate the way.

It has proved to be another soul searching adventure. Not easy. Facing doubts. Wondering if there is a better place to be. Watching my mind which constantly creates negative chatter, doubts, and senseless disturbance.
It has been an adventure of a different kind.

My partner Oliver and I have been asking for guidance, and have been led to many different spiritual teachers.
We were told by a spiritual Indian friend upon arriving here in Rishikesh that:

* we may not find one teacher that will guide us, but many along the way.

* Be open and you will receive

* get clear with why you are here and what you are asking for
* pray/ask for what you need, and what is for your highest and best good – you will get it

* dont judge or try and figure it out – remain in equanimity

* leave it to the universe and ask “help me move ahead from where i am now in the highest & best way”

* surrender

* you will get something from everyone, sometimes the journey is just that & it works within yourself
We have been led to many spiritual masters here, and have been hearing the same things.

Not only from them but also in the books I am reading.

Osho’s Yoga the Science of the Soul & rereading Ekhart Tolle’s The Power of Now for the tenth time.

* stay open and receptive
* you are devine light

* what are you dependent on? what are your attachments?

* we spend alot of time looking outside of us for that which is within us

* become aware of reality- of where you are within you

* enlightenment is like planting seeds- for a period of time they are in the dark mystery and need trust, patience and surrender because at a certain point seeds will sprout

* suddenly you are in the light
* it just happens. you dont control it
* it can happen at any moment
* with calm and tranquility it happens in its own time

Coming from an achievement orientated culture following this philosophy can be frustrating, and I have “thrown my toys” more than once already since being here.

Wishing I could be comfortable with life as it was before.

But I cant.

I know I am here for something more. Something deep down that I know in my truest self is real.

But has gotten covered up.

I am here uncovering what I know.

What I heard yesterday from Sadvi Bhagawati Saraswati, the teacher here that I resonate with the most, was just this.

That I am not this body, my achievements, my story, my past, my mistakes. This is not me.

Sadviji said this is what causes the anguish that I feel when I know there is more.

She said “we are the light, there is nothing separating us from the light.” “Just because we are in a body doesn’t mean we are separated from the light.” “It is our mind that creates the separation and illusion, the pain is coming from the mind telling us we are separate but this is a lie.”

Some how this made sense to me.

She said the anguish is good. Because it keeps us searching. Deep down your true self knows this.

She said work on seeing yourself from the light. Instead of being in you looking at the light – change your perspective. Be in the light looking at your body.

Something has changed in me since hearing this.

and I am so grateful that Sadviji was able to answer my deepest question in a way that I am able to understand and work with.

Rishikesh is pure Shiva energy.

Shiva is the power that comes through and destroys our concept of who we are. Destroying everything that is in the way of awakening and being in the light.

I know that is why we are here.

Clearing out all that is within me holding me back from embodying the light.

In 2 days we are going on another ten day Vipassana meditation course. It will be my third one, but first in India.

Guruji Shri K. Patabi Jois says that yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.

So these ten days will be intensive practice of the theory I just learned.

Clearing the mental chatter, being the watcher, seeing reality as it is, and taking it to the extreme.

Thank you India for once again giving me what I need.

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Meditation/Yoga

Polly Reverse Triangle - Photo by Jo Tito

Lotus - Oil on Canvas - By Polly Green

Meditation and Yoga have become a foundation in my training and in my life. Yesterday I went on a one day meditation course designed for “old Students” of Vipassana Meditation. I have previously sat 2 ten day courses so am considered an old student. However this one day course was HARD. 8 hours of sitting in meditation. In my last ten day course in September I didn’t have nearly the struggle as I did on Sunday. Why? I have no idea. But the practice says that the whole point is to just be with what is. To crave a previous experience only creates misery. So I made it through. And felt fantastic afterwards. But during it I was constantly questioning myself…

1. Why am I doing this when I could be outside enjoying the sunshine?

2. Does this work?

3. Man this is Hard..why am I here again?

Well it does work. Someone afterwards asked me why I meditate and the answer I gave was that I think it makes me a better person. I am more aware, grounded, and it helps me remember I am not my thoughts and ego. Also after sitting for 8 hours it makes everything else seem easy.

When I went to Yoga this week, which was also very challenging. I was able to hold the postures for longer and tell myself I could and made me realize how much of everything we do is mental.

Meditation is my mental exercise. And altho it isn’t easy I am very glad to have found the practice.

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