I’m taking a break from blogging

I need some more time to be still.

I need to get back some space.

I don’t know whether it is the fact I’ve just started a new job, that my study has ramped up, that I’m about to move house or if my mind is just winding down after a busy year but every part of my being is shouting that I need to pull back my commitments a bit. This means taking a break from blogging.

At this stage, I don’t know how long this break will last. It could be one week or one year. All I know is that I need to stop pushing myself to meet the expectations that I imagine (because that’s all that is going on here: I’m imagining things) other people have of me. It has taken me a few days to even build up the courage to write this because I was worried that I’d be judged but I have finally realised that the only one judging me is me. So, it’s time to stop. Judging, that is.

I write about (and wholly believe in) living your truth, and putting your health and wellbeing at the top of your list of priorities. Lately I feel like I have been burning the candle at both ends just to keep up with everything I think I should be doing. I can’t keep the pace and that’s OK.

I want to really get stuck into my studies so that I can learn how to be the best naturopath going ’round and, to do that, I need to create some bigger pockets of space in my life and in my to-do list. I need to live my words and spread the truth that’s it alright to say, “I need a break”.

I need a break.

Thank you, dear readers, for your support and understanding. I’ll be back!

Laura

Manifesting: important life skill or total woo woo?

Look for the magic in life.

Look for the magic in life.

Note: Sorry for the late-in-the-day post!  A 5:30am wakeup call to get on an early flight to Sydney for a business trip isn’t conducive to inspired writing. I want to always give you my best and to do that, I need to be awake. So, from my hotel room in Surry Hills, here goes…

There’s this game that I play whenever I’m about to enter a busy car park. I take a deep breath and press pause on the running dialogue of thoughts, then I visualise a free car park right out the front of where I need to go. If I really let myself sink into the moment and trust in the system, it works. Every time. The times that I think, ‘Ugh, how stupid. As if this will result in there being a free car park!’ I end up spending 20 minutes driving around, trying to find a spot. Coincidence? Sure, it could be, but this technique has worked enough times for me to suspect that something more is going on.

I was first introduced to the idea that thoughts become things (i.e. you create your world in mind) in my teens but I was too caught up in partying and hanging out with my friends to really take the key message in. A few years later, I was chatting with my beauty therapist about how I felt like my life had completely derailed itself and was heading to disaster, and she asked if I knew of The Law of Attraction. If you haven’t heard of it, The Law of Attraction is the fleshed-out, predecessor of The Secret. The way that the information is presented is a bit… well, left of centre… but its premise is solid. If your mind is gunked up with negative thoughts, or even if you just aren’t focussing your thoughts well, your life will reflect that.

You see, manifesting isn’t a blind crusade to only think positive thoughts at all costs. That’s not realistic and pretending like reality doesn’t exist isn’t helpful. The key to manifesting is to rewire your brain which, if it’s anything like mine, will leap headfirst into catastrophising (is that a word? Who even knows!) a situation. What this does is to tune your frequency into the bad vibes and stops you from being able to identify the opportunity in a situation, because there is always opportunity for good in a situation.

For me, manifesting works best when I pre-pave my path; that is, before I enter a situation, be it an important call, a meeting, or driving through peak-hour traffic, I take 30 seconds to visualise how I want the scenario to play out. I’ll just take a couple of deep breaths to clear my mind, then run a mini movie in my mind where the scenario plays out how I want it to. If nothing else, this super speedy exercise puts me into the right frame of mind, and when I’m feeling (and thinking) positive, I respond better to challenges, which results in a better outcome: the desired result is manifested. This is manifesting 101. It really doesn’t have to be all hippy dippy; it’s just about putting the right foundation down to help me to see the good things in life (and there are lots of them).

That’s the thing about manifesting: even if its critics are right and it doesn’t actually work, it makes me feel so very supported as I navigate my way through this crazy ol’ baby called life that I actually don’t think it really matters one way or the other.

If it makes you feel good then go for it! Life is way, way, way too short to be missing out on the juicy stuff because logic tells you it can’t be real.

Go get juicy.

Laura

Musings on eagles and fear and trust

Finding the beauty in darkness.

Finding the beauty in darkness.

I had planned to write a completely different, much less soul-achy, crack-the-heart-open-and-put-it-on-display piece today but when I sat down at my laptop my fingers started pouring this out and I had to trust that this was just what I needed to write today; that it might be just what you need to hear right now.

A couple of years ago I heard this analogy about certain people we meet in life, and it has stuck with me ever since. It goes something like this: a mother eagle carefully selects the safest, highest point of a cliff to lay her eggs on. She will spend days building the perfect nest; one that is just the right mix of softness and support, of protection and openness. Once the chicks are hatched, the mother eagle tends to their every need, fetches them food, ensures their comfort and makes sure they have the very best start to life.

Then, one day, she stops bring them food.

She starts dismantling the nest.

Eventually, she abandons the chicks all together.

At this point, the chicks face two choices: either stay in the once-comfortable nest and succumb to an almost-certain death or sidle over to the edge and take a leap of faith, trusting that their wings will work, that they will soar. And soar they do.

We all have that person who infuriates us, the one who pushes so damn hard on our buttons and makes us wonder what we did to have the misfortune of ever crossing their path. It seems as if they were put on this planet of ours simply to cause us grief.

These people are our mother eagles. They’re the ones who show up and say, “Hey! You know this situation? The one that used to feel so comfortable and right and good but now feels a whole lot like discomfort since I showed up? Yeah, that one. It’s time to do something different, something that terrifies you, something that feels big.”

Mother eagles show up when your life is set to cruise. Their point is to be the catalyst for change, to propel you into new things, so instead of ruing the day you met them, what would happen if you stopped and listened to what they were telling you? What if you told your ego to be quiet for a moment in order to let your heart really hear the message you are being sent? Imagine the possibilities. How much easier would life be if instead of resisting the mother eagle, you thanked them, and jumped?

Real, tangible, grabs-you-by-the-heart life happens in those moments after your feet leave the edge and you momentarily hang before your wings propel you into whatever is next. And your wings always appear. None of us are ever set up to fail at this. I know with every inch of my being that our inherent truth as humans is to soar, to grow, to thrive. We’ve just forgotten it along the way, so more and more mother eagles are appearing in our lives. You feel it too? Let’s just listen, jump and fly.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

Go and do that thing, you cute baby eagle you.

Laura

The importance of gut health

Kefir = probiotic goodness

Kefir = probiotic goodness.

Gut health is teetering on the edge of becoming The Next Big Thing in wellness circles, mark my words (or don’t. You know, whatevs.). This topic is less glamorous than organic food and green juice (what, you don’t think those topics are glamorous?) but it is so very important. Why? Because the gut is the concrete slab we lay the foundation of our health on. If it’s out of whack, our health will be too. Conditions like eczema, behavioural issues and digestive problems, as well as a whole host of others, have all been linked to gut imbalances.

Our gut contains a complex microcosm of bacteria that, when in balance, provide us with vibrant health. Our immune system is stimulated by good bacteria, so it is vital that we have the right balance of bacteria to ensure we can fight infection. And get this, you guys: after just one dose of antibiotics it can take 16 weeks for your internal flora to rebalance. 16 weeks! That’s a long time for your gut to be out of whack and your immune system to be out of commission.

How can we show our gut some lovin’? We all know that the most important part of a gut-health protocol is probiotics. The word probiotic actually comes from two Greek words that mean “for life”. That’s a pretty clear indication of how important this stuff is. While your garden-variety probiotic tablet is great for maintaining an already-balanced gut, to rectify an imbalance it just won’t cut the mustard (or bad bacteria, as it were). This is where my good friends kefir and kombucha come in to play.

Kefir is a drink that is made using kefir grains, which you can buy here. The grains are fermented in either milk (I like the coconut milk varieties) or water, making a super-strong probiotic drink. You end up with a slightly fizzy, tangy drink that tastes very similar to unsweetened yoghurt. You can make it yourself or you can buy it premade from any good health-food shop, which is what I do. It can be pretty intense if you aren’t used to taking probiotics so start slowly and work your way up to higher doses.

Love kombucha muchly.

I love kombucha muchly.

Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been around for thousands of years. It is thought to have originated during the Chinese Tsin dynasty. Kombucha is commonly touted as the immortality tea because of its long list of health benefits, which include improving cholesterol levels, supporting weight loss and, of course, promoting the growth of good bacteria (and inhibiting the bad). Like kefir, you can make this yourself but it has started popping up everywhere, which is fantastic for when you are on the go.

In addition to upping your intake of probiotics, you can speed up the rebalancing process by cutting out sugar, alcohol and processed food for a few weeks.

If you want to know more about the importance of gut health or how to make your own fermented drinks, check out these videos.

Laura

How to travel wellness style

Hawaii 1

Our goodies for the flight.

I’m back! Despite being a bit tired from the long flight, I feel great. The trip was exactly what I needed. It nourished me mentally, spiritually and physically. Not all of my holidays have been like this one though and I often find it hard to stick to my wellness regime when I’m travelling. Unfamiliar food choices, different restaurants and a lack of knowledge of what’s available in the area, can lead to my healthy diet being derailed.

It doesn’t take long for me to start feeling the effects of poor eating (I end up sluggish, moody and bloated) and this is not how I want to feel at any time, let alone when I’m trying to enjoy my holiday.

Here are some of the ways I kept on top of my health game while in Hawaii:

Pack food for the flight

Loving Earth's Luvju bars are the perfect travel snack.

Loving Earth’s Luvju bars are the perfect travel snack.

Plane food generally tastes awful and is loaded with salt, sugar and flavourings to make it more appealing. I packed a tonne of snacks for the flight to Hawaii but completely forgot about including a more substantial meal! Next time, I’ll be more prepared and make something like a quinoa salad. So, what was in my pack?

  • Raw kale chips
  • Brown rice and nori chips
  • Loving Earth Luvju bars
  • Pana raw chocolate
  • Coconut water (to drink while waiting at the airport)
  • Homeopathic jetlag-ease tablets
  • An assortment of herbal teas (just ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water when they come around to offer tea and coffee)

I also had a huge green juice (cucumber, lemon, celery, kale and green apples) when I first woke up, to fill my body with nutrients and chlorophyll, in preparation for the onslaught of toxins I was about to ingest at the airport and during the flight.

Research your destination

The Beetbox Café breakfast burrito was scrunch-your-face good.

The Beetbox Café breakfast burrito was scrunch-your-face-up good.

A key criteria when choosing where to stay was whether or not there would be organic cafes and restaurants nearby. I jumped on Google and checked out my favourite blogs before to find recommendations of places to eat, and discovered Beetbox Café, which is a tiny café tucked in behind a health-food shop. Beetbox Café offered all-organic, vegetarian meals (including their famous acai bowls) and it was by far some of the tastiest food I have eaten.

Stay somewhere that has a kitchen

Organic salad, made with fresh veggies from the property and farmers' markets.

Organic salad, made with fresh veggies from the property and farmers’ markets.

We booked a house through AirBnB so we had access to a kitchen to prepare some meals in. We picked up fresh produce from local farmers markets and then created delicious and healthy meals with it. I get sick of eating out pretty quickly so it was great having the option to do our own cooking. We were fortunate enough to pick a place with an organic veggie patch. It doesn’t get much fresher than that!

Find ways to move your body

Trail riding along the beach.

Trail riding along the beach.

Sitting on a plane for hours wreaks havoc on your body, not to mention the negative effects of jetlag. The quickest way to start feeling good again is to do some gentle exercise like walking, yoga or swimming (you get extra props if it’s in the ocean). I always feel so much better when I’ve headed outside and got my heart rate up a bit. As you know, exercise helps flush out toxins, which is great for when you’ve been around airports and on planes. Jet fuel only does bad things to you!

Flush out radiation

Airports and planes are cesspits of radiation. I prepared my body by upping my dose of chlorella in the days leading up to travel, drinking green juice before and after the flight and taking zeolite tablets.

All of this might sound like hard work but it took barely any time at all and made such a difference to the quality of the trip. Instead of coming back with a couple of new friends in the form of kilos, I arrived home feeling fit and healthy.

Hawaii, I’ll be back.

Laura

The importance of taking time out

I can't wait to be hurtling through that clear blue sky.

I can’t wait to be hurtling through that clear blue sky.

You guys, GUESS WHAT? I’m going to Hawaii! (Queue internal happy dancing.)

Only three more sleeps before I’m on my way. I can’t wait. This trip is long overdue. I haven’t taken a holiday that is purely for recharging my batteries since, well, ever.

Sure, I take holidays but they’re always packed from start to finish with activities. I have this  compulsion to get the most out of every minute because I know I’ll only be on holiday for such a short time. I stress myself out in my pursuit of planning the perfect holiday. Have you met my friend, Counter Productive? We’re tight. Anyway, this time I’m doing things differently. My holiday will be all about sitting on the beach, reading, catching up on sleep and maybe a bit of shopping and hiking. Oh and eating incredible food, of course.

So much of my day-to-day life is lived at full speed that I really struggle to put on the brakes unless I have physically removed myself from my regular setting. You too? This is not an ideal way to live and I am very aware of that but whenever I start trying to address it, I freak out about the seemingly insurmountable task before me. What do I cut out? Which of my friends should I see less of? Should work, study or my blog suffer? Can I survive on less sleep (clearly, for anyone who knows me, this one is rhetorical. I need my sleep.)? I’ve well and truly thrown it in the too-hard basket for the moment. Instead, I’ve decided to take smaller breaks more often because I know it is so important to rest.

Here are my top three reasons why I think taking time out from your regular schedule is critical for your wellbeing:

  1. You will be more productive. This seems counterintuitive but it’s not. If you’ve ever pushed through the point of exhaustion because you need to finish a task, and then realised the next day that you made a tonne of errors while doing it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. There’s a reason why companies give us an annual leave allowance. Study after study has shown that employees who use their annual leave are more productive, happier and healthier employees than those who don’t. So, leave the guilt behind when you board that plane!
  2. You need some sun. The sun is not something we should fear. Of course, I’m not advocating lying for hours in the sun until your skin blisters but that big ol’ ball of fire plays a hugely overlooked role in our health and wellbeing. We are a nation of vitamin D deficient people and it is causing us myriad issues, including depression (explains a bit about our office-working depressed society, right!). The best way to get vitamin D is from the sun. And you need to get out there without sunscreen covering every inch of your skin to get the benefits. (Sunscreen is incredibly toxic but that’s a topic for another time.) Spending just 20 minutes in the sun will give you your daily dose of vitamin D.
  3. You need to get grounded. We spend most of our lives in high-rise buildings and in shoes, completely detached from the earth. This is a relatively new way of living and it isn’t doing us any good. We need to ditch the shoes, or sit on the ground, and connect with the earth to absorb negative ions. These guys help us counterbalance the toxins in modern life and they help reduce inflammation. Remember: inflammation = illness.

On that note, I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the next week so that I can live my message. I’ll be back next week to share my top tips for staying healthy while travelling.

Aloha!

Laura

6 lessons I’m unlearning about life

Keep your focus on the now, rather than looking to the future.

Keep your focus on the now, rather than looking to the future.

Hard work is the only way to succeed

Doing smart, innovative and game-changing work is critical for success, but hard work? Not so much. You can work hard all of your life but if you are going about your tasks with an end-result-is-all-that-matters approach then you’ll never find the true success in life, which is learning how to appreciate the current moment. Future successes don’t exist and can never bring you satisfaction. Being able to get right into the present moment and really wiggle your way into the task you’re currently doing so that everything else becomes irrelevant for that time? That’s the way to succeed. Approach your work with joy and success will naturally be a by-product of that.

It is better to give than to receive

This is actually an abbreviated version of the original saying, which was: it is better to be in a position to be able to give rather than be in a position where you have to receive. This talks to tapping into the abundance of life and understanding that there’s never going to be a shortage of anything; not money, not lovers, not jobs. Giving is great, of course! But, there’s much to be said for being able to gratefully receive. I recently heard someone say that those who don’t know how to receive attract those who don’t know how to give. It’s so true. Everything in this beautiful universe of ours is always in perfect balance, so open your hands and heart, and start saying thank you to the things that come your way rather than brushing them off and playing small. If someone compliments the way you handled yourself in a meeting, don’t dismiss it. They saw something great and took the time to share their praise. Don’t brush them off. If we can’t learn to receive the small things in life, how will we ever be able to receive the really big things?

You should tolerate others 

This smacks of fear. Tolerate them? How about love and accept them! Being able to step back from your ego and carefully constructed sense of the world in order to see people for what they are (which is a connection of yourself, in case you were wondering) is so important. All of us are living our lives in the only way we know how. We’re all doing our best and interacting with the world in a way that minimises our pain and helps us to grow. There are no exceptions to that. You don’t have to agree with what someone is doing but trust me when I say that your life will be so much smoother if you let people be what they want to be.

If you don’t have a clear plan you are setting yourself up to fail

Every time something amazing has happened in my life it has been when I’ve stepped off the edge of the cliff without knowing what was next (except for that time when I actually did step off a real cliff and ended up in a bit of a pickle. Here’s a little jingle for you all to remember this crucial rule: if it’s a real cliff, proceed with caution. If it’s a metaphorical cliff, jump! OK, so I suck at jingles. Never mind. You get the idea). The point is, your only job is to take that first step and then focus on the next one. Sure, occasionally glance up to check you haven’t wandered into the abyss but don’t fret if what you see looks different to what you imagined. Giving yourself room to move in the direction that feels right is so much more fulfilling than putting on your blinkers and doggedly clawing your way to a goal you set ages ago and never reassessed to see if it still felt right to head in that direction.

You should take other people’s advice seriously

One thing us humans are fabulous at is giving (often unsolicited) advice to each other. Receiving advice is a bit of a double edge sword though. While it can be helpful to get a range of opinions from people you respect, it can also be damn confusing because they are speaking from their experience of life and are often overlaying their words with their own fears. Ever been excited about a new business venture, travel plan or change in education direction only to share your plans with someone and have them lay out all of the risks and downsides? Well meaning they may be but remember to take their opinion with a very big grain of salt (make sure it’s pure sea salt). Ultimately, you’re the only one who you have to answer to. If it feels right, go for it. Don’t let someone else’s fear scare you off from doing what you know your heart wants you to do.

If everyone else is doing it something you should be doing it too

This is probably the biggest life lesson that I am unlearning. I used to be so worried that I wasn’t doing life right, that my passions were the wrong ones because no-one else seemed to care about them, and that I was propelling myself in the opposite direction to everyone else. The older I get, the more I realise that there is no everyone, there are just people making the decisions that feel right for them. Sure, in some circles I’m in the minority for being vegetarian but in others, that’s the norm. And, yes, some people look at me like I’m crazy when I gush about how much peace meditation has brought to my life but that does nothing to diminish the peace I’ve found. What I’ve discovered is that the more true to myself I am, the more I see those authentic qualities in everyone else. This isn’t about labelling behaviours and choices as right or wrong because those labels only exist in minds; rather, it’s about recognising that part of you that says, “Yes, this is the right thing for me.”

Laura

Have you noticed that it’s hip to be healthy?

My bestie and I after finishing last year's Melbourne Marathon, which had record entries.

My bestie and I after finishing the 10km race in last year’s Melbourne Marathon, which had record entries.

I’m pretty passionate about health. Oh, you hadn’t noticed? I love how I feel when I am nourishing my body, mind and spirit with vibrant food, healthy thoughts and a loving attitude. I want to see others experiencing the sort of transformation in their lives that I have seen in mine, which is a big part of why I am vocal about my understanding of health (hence, this blog). I wasn’t always this open about my diet and lifestyle though.

For a long time, I pretended I didn’t meditate frequently (I do), that I thought pharmaceutical drugs weren’t harmful to you (they are) and that, you can’t heal your body by rebalancing it naturally (you can, and it’s the only way that true healing can ever really take place).

Why did I pretend I didn’t think the way I do? Fear. I was scared of what people would think, worried that my friends would think I’m weird and wouldn’t want to know me anymore, and that I’d be an outcast. I’d love to be able to say one day I just decided to forget about what other people think and never looked back but that’s just not the case. It was a slow but steady process for me to reveal my truth beliefs. And you know what I have found? The more I am open and upfront I am about my passion for health, the more people around me open up about their own journey toward vibrant health. It’s contagious.

We are waking up and discovering true health, and it’s marvellous. Day by day, we are using clean food to emerge from the fog that is induced by the white-bread, processed-food, sugar diet that we have been eating for too long. As we crowd out the less-than-fabulous food with real food, we start to hear the messages our bodies are constantly sending us. When we feed our body and mind well and it repays us with a clarity about life that we might never have thought possible (I sure as heck didn’t). And we are sharing the news with those around us. I love this!

I get so excited whenever I see a colleague drinking a green smoothie with pride or when I get an e-mail from a reader who has just tried quinoa for the first time or is seeing great results from their oil pulling practice. This is what it is about: sharing our discoveries and spreading the word.

Everywhere I look, I see yoga studios popping up, organic juice bars opening their doors and sustainable, healthy cafes and restaurants filling up with patrons. My favourite vego restaurant in Melbourne, Vegie Bar, has always been busy but over the last year, its popularity has skyrocketed. While this means it is sometimes hard to get a table, it makes me so happy to see so many people eating the food we were meant to eat.

I think this mass awakening is the result of a number of things. We are sick of eating substandard, tasteless produce that often goes bad a couple of days after we get it home from the supermarket. We no longer want to save a couple of dollars by buying factory-farmed meat that is pumped full of water and smells slightly off. We want to reconnect with our local communities and we want to get to know the farmers who grow our food.

That wonderful invention, the internet, has meant that now more than ever we can connect with people who share our vision. Worldwide communities are forming, and they’re making a real difference. It’s an exciting time to be a health nut.

We are creating a global community of likeminded, inspired healthy people. So, if, like I was, you have been keeping quiet about your travels down the path to wellness, can I encourage you step out into the light and share your story? I’d love to hear it.

Laura