Energetic Liberation

When I'm stuck:
• I'm not satisfied with the way I treat my body.
• I'm not at peace with what IS.
• I find error in the actions of myself and others.
• I feel oppressed by myself and others.
• I have the desire to impress others by being who I think they want me to be.
• I'm not still.
• I look for things to cling to.
• I don't see or understand things clearly.
• I resist the things that will help me to see clearly.
• I become self destructive—through thoughts and actions (or inaction).
• My emotions are restricted and judged.
• I fear being judged and looked down upon by others.

When I'm free
• There is beauty in everything in the world.
• The line between *good* and *bad* fades and everything just IS.
• Judgment fades.
• What needs to be done for the health of my mental and physical body happens easily.
• *I* am not the one doing anything.
• There is stillness and peace with what IS.
• I'm comfortable just *BE*ing.
• Mind is quiet.
• There is unconditional love for all beings.
• Emotions flow freely—unjudged and free of attachment.
• There are no thoughts about what others may think of me or my actions.

Last night I attended a workshop that incorporated some gentle vinyasa yoga with Reiki healing—both self healing, and hands-on healing from the yoga instructors who are also Reiki practitioners. It was an enlightening class, and I'm in awe of the powerful effects that yoga and reiki combined can have. Both yoga and reiki have the same purpose in my life-to bring balance and stillness; to connect me to the oneness that is, and to help me see and be truth. Each of them alone can connect me with these things, but the to of them together opened me up like I've rarely felt before.

This class was held at a different studio than the one I'm used to going to. Google Maps said it should take 36 minutes to get there, so I gave myself just over an hour because it was during rush hour. There was a lot of traffic, and I stressed that I wouldn't make it before the class was scheduled to begin. A lot of tension built up in my body. I did make it, with 2 minutes to spare. I parked in a lot that they specifically say not to park in—because they tow frequently. But I had so little time, and there was SO much traffic, I had no other choice.

Finally, for the short time before class began, I meditated and slowed my heart-rate with breath. In the class, we worked through opening the chakras by doing a few yoga poses for each, visualizing the color of that chakra, then laying in savasanah for a few moments with our hands providing reiki on the area of our body that corresponds to that chakra. The teachers would come around the class and share reiki with us as we did the yoga poses, and while in savasanah.

While working on the first two chakras I could tell I was still tense and restricted. But when I got to the third chakra, I could really feel the breath working into every part of my body. I could get deep into the poses and rest there. In savasanah, with my hands on my belly, the breath pulled the reiki in deeply, to the point that my belly was shaking with each in-breath, and tears were rolling down my cheeks. Something was unlocked—cracked. Like a glow stick getting its first crack. The light could then shine.

One of the instructors spoke of self acceptance, of not needing to live up to anyone's expectations, of allowing myself to be who I am. It really touched me.

I have been struggling to understand the third chakra, to see what its purpose is. I have a better understanding of it now. Before, I could see the two extremes—the ways in which it can be unbalanced. If it's overly active, one might become self-absorbed and think they're the head-cheese, and that the world revolves around them. If it's under active, one might think little of themselves, as if they don't matter, and they are not important in the world. To be balanced is to accept you as you are—no inner judgment or criticism. I am worthy of allowing myself to be as I am. At least… that's how I'm understanding it right now, and it seems to feel good.

From that point in the class I was glowing and flowing. Experiences just happened and I was there to experience them. That was it.

Another thing one of the teachers would often say has really made an impact on me. While we were going through the yoga poses, she would instruct us to come into a pose, then she'd say "and that's it." In my mind I'd repeat that… "This is it." then breathe deeply. It was very comforting to know that there was nothing else. That what was happening was all there was, and nothing else was there with me. It allowed for a lot of space to open up.

The drive home was significantly easier, faster and stress-free.
This morning some stillness remains, though I feel a bit restless. I should probably eat something, then do a bit of yoga to jump start my day.

What's happening in your world today?

<3 Namasté <3


Reiki, yoga, raw food, knitting… these things currently seem to be imbalanced. Lately I've been concentrating on one, or maybe two, but ignoring the others… I wonder what would happen if I concentrated on *balance* rather than any one thing? Perhaps balance would help me do what is needed most at that time, rather than obsess on just one aspect of my life.

I want to listen to and obey my body, rather than my mind. My mind becomes obsessed and fixated on one thing, to the point that I'm no longer interested in it… then it moves on. But my body knows just what it needs in each moment. If only I would listen to it. I need my body to speak to me louder than my mind.

Today feels balanced so far. I woke up, but continued to lay in bed and give myself Reiki, then I had some fresh OJ, showered, knit for a little while, went food shopping, ate some dates… and I can now feel my body asking for some physical activity.

Looks like it's time to get outside and move!

Requesting Reiki

As I continue my Reiki journey, I've decided to offer distance Reiki to anyone (or any pet) who is interested in receiving it. If you're interested in receiving a distance Reiki healing session, click the Request Reiki link at the end of this post and send me an e-mail including your first and last name, and if your name is common, please also include a location. For your pet, please include your pets name, type of animal and location. If you would like to include a photo, that is also welcome.

What is Reiki?
Reiki is a Japanese method of energy healing that balances a being's physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energies to their highest good, allowing the body to cleanse and heal itself. It often brings a sense of relaxation and peace.

As proven by quantum physics, everything is made up of vibrational energy, including the human body. Reiki assists in balancing the body's energy field to promote a sense of well-being.

Reiki can do absolutely no harm, it always works towards the highest good of the one receiving it. No belief is necessary in order for Reiki to work. The more open one is to receiving, the more their body will receive. The recipient is in complete control of how much Reiki they receive.

How is Reiki sent from a distance?
The vibrational energy that makes up our bodies is universally connected, and is not limited to the time and space that we perceive ourselves to be limited to physically. Therefore the energy can be received from anywhere, and in any time that we intend.

To begin sending the Reiki I sit in meditation. Once relaxed and ready to begin I open by saying the Reiki precepts aloud in Japanese. Translated, the precepts mean: "Just for today, I release anger; I release worry; be grateful; I work hard on myself spiritually; be kind to all beings." I request the presence of your energetic essence, and ask if you would like to receive Reiki. If I receive a positive response, I then surround your essence in a protective white-light bubble and request Reiki to flow into the protective bubble. I allow the Reiki to flow into the bubble until it overflows. I seal the bubble and ask the Reiki to continue flowing to your energetic essence in what ever way it is needed, for as long as necessary. Then release the bubble to flow freely home to where it belongs. I'll then thank Reiki and your energetic essence for the opportunity to work with them.

How is Reiki received?
Sit quietly when you're ready to receive Reiki. Sitting as straight as possible with your feet on the floor, and without crossing your legs will assist your body in allowing an unblocked flow of energy from head to toe. Place your arms where ever they are comfortable without crossing them. Take a few calming breaths then set the intention to receive Reiki from Kristen. If it feels right, say something like: "I am open and willing to receive Reiki from Kristen". Adjust the wording to whatever feels best for you. Loosely concentrate on your breath and let yourself be open to the experience. Sit for as long as you feel necessary.

How can my pet receive Reiki?
Reiki is sent the same for an animal as it is for a human. Animals can sense when the Reiki is present, and know subconsciously when it is available for them. Nothing *needs* to be done on your part. Although, if you talk with your pet, telling them that Reiki will be coming to help them heal might prepare them to be open and receptive to receive it.

What will this cost me?
In return for the time I spend sending the Reiki, I ask you to consider making a donation of $15, or whatever amount you are comfortable. Or you may respond to me with feedback about what you experienced, how your pet responds to it or anything else you feel inspired to share about Reiki.

Reiki Cleansing

Read my more current perspective on this subject.
Or, continue reading what I wrote in September, 2010:

After a Reiki attunement there is a cleansing process that happens. A Level I attunement provides the ability to send healing energy to anything in the physical realm through the hands. Therefore, the cleansing process associated with Level I has to do with the physical body.

After my level I attunement, I experienced a physical cleansing that kept me between the bed and bathroom for a day or two. It's strongly recommended to continue doing self-healing sessions for the first 21 days after the attunement—three days for each of the 7 chakras to cleanse. The 21-day cycle continues after the first 21 days, and it's important to maintain self healings very often. I however eventually drifted away from the physical self-healing sessions out of boredom. It really didn't hold my attention much.

If you've been following the Reiki posts on this blog, you may remember that I had always intended to get to level II. That's where I really wanted to be, and what fascinated me most about the idea of Reiki. So, it seems natural to me that level I didn't hold my attention.

Last November (2009), just before moving to Texas for the winter, and only 2 months after my level I attunement, I choose to get a remote attunement to level II to help with the journey south. I had the attunement done remotely by Alice Langholt. It was an interesting experience.

I had never received Reiki remotely, so I was unsure what to expect. I sat with my legs folded, and my hands on my legs with my palms up to receive the gift of Reiki. My body was tense and my mind was racing. I tried to maintain a simple focus of receiving the level II attunement from Alice, which I turned into a mantra of "receiving level II from Alice" and repeated over and over. It helped keep my mind from jumping all over the place.

I interpreted the tension in my body as a resistance to something. I investigated the resistance, and decided to accept whatever I was resisting, and just let things happen. Almost immediately, my hands then went into gassho, my body relaxed, and my mind opened.

I began to visualize and feel 3 sets of hands moving around me, as if they were rubbing my aura. It was very subtle, but it seemed very real at the same time. When my attention fixated on the hands, they faded into the background, but I was left with a warm, tingling sensation in my back.

It all seemed to happen very quickly, but it lasted about 15 minutes.

After I felt the energies subside I e-mailed Alice and told her of the experience. She explained the she called on Usui Sensei, Mrs. Tataka and my guides to help in the attunement process, and that perhaps they were the presences I was sensing. She had also drawn symbols onto my back, which perhaps I was feeling.

Alice had send me some information to begin practicing with the level II symbols. I learned the symbols and began using them when doing physical self-healings. A level II Usui Reiki attunement, with the use of sacred symbols, allows energy to flow into the emotional and mental bodies of the aura for healing, as well as through time and space.

I tried sending Reiki to my family members back home, and to myself in the future. But I never really *felt* anything. So I became discouraged that it wasn't working and did not maintain the self-healings. As time went on Reiki seemed more and more difficult to tap into and feel.

However, even though I didn't *feel* it, Reiki was hard at work healing my emotional and mental body. Throughout the winter I experienced some deep emotional cleansing. There were a lot of things about my psyche that were exposed to me—things I was in denial about and resisted seeing as truth. I saw things I couldn't believe, but knew to be true—though I resisted them. I spiraled into the worst self-loathing depression I had ever been in, totally unable to accept these aspects about myself. I was mentally and physically destructive to myself and my friends. I was isolated from my family and basically felt all alone to deal with what I was experiencing. I often tried to use Reiki to help me, but I didn't understand what was happening. I didn't want to understand nor want the help. I just wanted everything to go away. But the only way out is through. One night, as I basked in the emotional uncertainty, my ego shattered itself with judgement and delusion… Then, with help through unconditional love, understanding, and logic-based thinking of my boyfriend I was able to see things more clearly and not take things so personally. Self acceptance has been a continuing effort since then…

At the beginning of this September I decided to begin another 21-day self-healing cleanse using the level I and level II attunements and symbols I had obtained. When I began my chakras felt very blocked—especially my heart chakra. The first few days of healings were met with physical resistance, yet I proceeded anyway. I was confident that the energy was there, and working, even though I could not *feel* anything. As the days continued I became more sensitive and open.

I was then pulled very strongly toward attending a level II class with Starr—the Reiki master who attuned me to level I and who I always intended on having my level II attunement with.

I attended that attunement 1 week ago today. You can read some of the highlights of that day here. Since that day I've felt very different—like my body is floating in sparkles. My heart chakra has since been softened greatly, and my third eye seems to be more acute.

Each morning I awaken in a way that seems relatively normal—somewhat groggy and heavy. But I feel something pulling me up—something urging me to tap into it and awaken. Like the sparkles are calling to me—they want to be acknowledged. It's a very strong calling that I cannot deny for long before it becomes overwhelming. The calling is to meditate, and to do a self healing session.

I'm very thankful for this calling. It's inspiring me to continue healing myself and I'm feeling confident that I'm on the right path. After my morning meditation/healing, I feel light and more in-touch with life. I'm more aware of everything on a subtle level and able to sense the energies in and around my body in a more aware way than ever before. I'm often drawn to small meditations and healings throughout the day that slowly amplify the sparkles.

The sparkles… I suppose I should define them. They're like a tingly sensation all around my skin—like a carbonated layer of bubble-wrap surrounding me—an energetic protective/loving/healing layer. It seems to amplify the awareness around me so that it may align itself with what IS… It's hard to describe. It's loving and comforting and peaceful.

Since the level II attunement there have been spontaneous emotional break-downs. Unresolved emotional blockages are resurfacing to be looked at. I'm so thankful to have a boyfriend around with a logical understanding of the mystical side of life who I'm able to talk with to work through things that come up. Without his guidance I'm not sure I'd have as deep an understanding of what could be happening as I do. I'm such an emotional person—I feel things, then trust the feelings. He helps me bring those feelings into the mind helping both the left and right sides of my brain understand.

The other night, I had the urge to look through my journal—which is basically filled with sketches and questions asking for guidance… and an occasional answer from something beyond. I flipped through each page, and James and I discussed the things that were happening during that time. I got to one page that was drawn while I was learning how to live after my mom had been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. Immediately upon seeing that page I burst into tears… there is something unresolved there. I witnessed myself resist the emotion and suppress it back to where it came from… then upon witnessing that I considered allowing it to resurface to look more closely at it… but I don't think it was something I'm entirely ready for just yet… or it's something I need to deal with privately. Even as I write this I can feel the emotion well up reminding me to look into this as soon as I have a private opportunity.

I'm loving the emotional cleansing. It's helping me to see clearly and openly. I really think the level II cleansing was necessary for me to do in 2 stages. There were some really deep, hard-to-accept aspects about myself that I needed to sift through over the winter in order to be ready for the level II attunement from Starr. Without the first remote attunement I don't think I would have been emotionally ready to handle the strength of what I experienced during Starr's attunement.

I'm thankful for all that Reiki has brought into my life. It's balancing me and helping me to clearly understand the path that I am on. It's quite a ride that I'm eager to continue experiencing.

Reiki II and Grammum

I had a class with Starr today to attune me to Level II Usui Reiki. It was an amazing and trans-formative experience.

The days prior to the class were spent trying to lighten up my bodies—attempting to eat well, meditate, doing Reiki healings on myself my cats and James, and vinyasa yoga. But still, upon entering the class that morning, I felt anxious and spiritually closed up—as I have been for the majority of the weeks prior.

As the class progressed, and I became more comfortable with Starr and Carolyn's presence I could slowly feel my body release tension and begin to open. I discussed with them how I had been feeling closed recently, and just getting that out into the open helped it release. I felt I could be honest with them about anything that came up. I shared things about my childhood that I felt were relevant to the conversation, such as remembering "sam" as a frequently occurring name that I would use when playing with dolls, without knowing or understanding why.

For those of you who don't know, sAM has become a nickname of mine. At the time that it did I did not recall the memories from childhood right away. It wasn't until I began investigating who sAM was that the memories resurfaced.

When we talked about sending distance Reiki, I learned that it can be sent to ourselves in our own past. I think that my adult self has worked (or will work) with my childhood self to release trauma from certain experiences, therefore making them less impacting on me as a child. Everything is after all, all happening now…

We talked some about working with people who had passed on to the other side. I recalled a few dreams of coming in contact with my paternal grandmother, Arlene/Grammie, with whom I was very close throughout my childhood.

After sharing our experiences with Reiki 1, going over the chakras and the different parts of our aura, we had our attunement. Starr said that a Level II attunement can be shared with someone on the other side—they will also be attuned. The idea intrigued me, so I invited Grammie to join me.

Just before being attuned, while sitting in meditation, completely out of the blue I got a strong feeling, and a closed-eye-visual of my maternal grandparents arriving. First my grandmother (Grammum), in a very strong way, then in a lesser way my grandfather (Pop-pop). I was really, REALLY surprised to see them.

Throughout the time we shared on this plane of reality, I didn't get the feeling that they cared much about me. My mother was often treated as the black sheep in their family, and they didn't seem to respect her much. Therefore, I never felt welcome or loved when at their family gatherings. I didn't grieve much when either of them died, as I was never very close to them. When I think of people I know who have passed on, they are never in those thoughts. So, needless to say, I was stunned when they choose to arrive for my attunement. It felt like the first thing in my life that they arrived for… I felt really honored, and happy to see them.

I invited all three of my grandparents to be attuned with me, though I think Grammum was the most enthusiastic about receiving it.

Later, when we were learning how to send distance healings I was being strongly pulled toward sending some to Grammum. So I did.

I called her name 3 times, and waited for a response after each. I visualized something with the energy of a small child, but I knew it was Grammum—she seemed very excited to be invited. Then I asked if she'd like to receive some Reiki. I got a very enthusiastic nod yes.

I surrounded her with a protective white-light bubble, drew the Reiki II symbols, connected with her third eye, then began to allow the Reiki energy to flow into her bubble. There was SO much love and emotion. And at the same time, so many feelings of regret, guilt and shame surfaced for me. Yet, I'm also so happy to have this opportunity now to heal anything that had happened in our past—to help us both move forward.

As the Reiki flowed between me and the white light bubble surrounding the energy which I recognized as Grammum, I tried to see her face, but had a hard time focusing. None-the-less, I knew it was her, so I accepted I couldn't see, and just continued to allow the Reiki to flow.

Photo of Grammum, taken by my Aunt Jeanne.

I still feel deeply moved that she choose to come to me, and I feel as though a new bond has been formed. For that I'm very thankful, and have such a great appreciation for her.

When I arrived home from the class I was VERY emotionally drained and stirred up, like a muddy pond… I lay down, surrounded myself with Reiki and napped for a few hours to awaken fresh and new.

I'm really looking forward to sharing Reiki as much as possible now. I feel confident that I can do it, and enthusiastic about surrounding myself in it as much as possible.

The feeling of hunger and its relationship to death anxiety.

September is always an interesting month for me—in some way or another things shift. Similar to how March feels like a birthing month when I feel reborn—September feels like a grounding month—a time to get back in touch with reality.

When I was younger, September brought a lot of fear and paranoia. I seriously felt as though something was always watching me—stalking me. I now recognize that feeling as my senses opening up to the darker side of reality — Autumn: the time of year when the earth begins falling back to sleep for the Winter. I'm not fearing the dark right now. In fact, I'm very open and accepting of it. Last Winter was the darkest ever, and I learned that it's nothing to be feared. In fact, darkness is what is encourages the light to shine.

In that way, September is feeling as refreshing as this past March. In March I felt reborn into the light. September is feeling like a rebirth into the darkness. It's all beautiful and perfect.

A trend I've noticed as far as my raw lifestyle: it seems to be easier for me to eat raw foods during the cool and cold weather than it is for me to eat them during the warm and hot weather. This intrigues me, and I can't help but wonder why it seems to be so.

Lately, I've been noticing anxiety come with the feeling of hunger. When I'm hungry my body tenses up from the resistance to the hunger—so much so that I often become irritated, and end up eating whatever is closest and easy. I have the feeling that investigating into the way I respond/react to this may be the answer to why I seem to have more trouble eating raw in the summer.

Perhaps it's because Summer is a lively time—a time to feel alive. I'm going to presume the anxious feeling that arises from the feeling of hunger has something to do with death anxiety. We need food to live, therefore feeling hungry must mean I'm going to die, right? Well, I guess my body believes that because it's been programed to do so by society. I know full well that the human body can go for days without food and still live. So, I understand that there's really nothing to fear when I'm hungry.

Now, what does summer vs. winter have to do with how I relate to the hungry feelings I get? Well, in winter I'm closer to a state of survival and more accepting of being closer to death. There isn't as much life in the New England Winter—the earth sleeps; the air is cold; I need to protect my body from the elements. Therefore, I constantly have in mind that my body needs to be cared for. One way of caring for it is to feed it the healthiest foods I know—raw fruits & veggies.

However, during the summer, in the bright warm sun, surrounded by lush green foliage, etc… I feel protected and safe. So, I don't feel as though *I* need to put any effort towards survival. It all happens for me—or so it seems. I go along for the ride, and with it comes whatever food is there. I don't necessarily care to make the effort to eat healthy.

So, it has to do with how tolerant I am about the concept of death. When I'm in an accepting mode of death (winter), I can accept hunger, therefore I'm not anxious about having hungry feelings, and therefore can put more thought into what I feed myself, in contrast to the summer, when death is far from my mind. In the summer, because death is so far from daily life, when the hunger strikes I relate it to death and become anxious about the idea, then try to do anything and everything possible to make it go away. This often means I lean toward heavy, starchy foods that I know will numb the feeling away.

This is pretty much just a theory… as nothing I say can be thought of as *fact*. But it's an interesting theory that I will enjoy watching as we become closer and closer to the still, quiet, Winter.

What's this?

The below text was written after an overwhelming heart-opening experience. I was sitting at my desk when all of a sudden I began feeling really overwhelmed with emotion and a growing feeling in my chest that actually arched my back as if something burst out of my heart. Then I got the strong urge to type.

It's been awhile, old friend. I have some things to say.

Change is big right now. I've quit my steady job of 5.5 years. The security and safety net of having a consistent weekly paycheck will soon be a thing of the past. It's been something I've been being pulled toward doing for quite some time—years, I'd say. But until now, the time was never right.

What's different now? What makes this the right time?
Mostly, I just can't do it anymore. I can't live by the structure and regulations put on me by society. I need to feel the freedom to be able to live by what feels right in that moment. I have skills, and I can use them to keep food in my belly and pay the bills. I know the ability is there to keep me surviving.

But this is more than just that. Survival is something for the body. Thriving is for the spirit. To thrive I must be free—without restraints to any time, or place, or ideal. Not one that someone else puts upon me, nor one I put upon myself.

I'm being reinforced by the universe. There have been signs… left and right, more and more often that this is the right choice. It's the appropriate response to my life at this time. How can one ignore them? They're so clear and precise. That's just what I asked for. If I can't see, I won't know… so I've asked to see, and so I can. Clear as a bright sunny day.

But there too, is fear.
It creeps its way in sometimes. Change has always brought fear for me. But I feel strong enough, and I've dealt with change so much lately that I trust that everything will be okay. It always is. I know what works for me. There's always a solution—an appropriate response to every situation. All fear does is make that response harder to see. I can see, and I'm strong, and there's nothing in this world that I want to be attached to.

None of it is worth the suffering that comes through identifying with it. It's all empty.

What is happening right now is really all there is. There are future "now's" that I'll work with when the time is right, but being here, now is all I can do.

I've surprised myself lately, and feel different. Solitude can do that. I've grown and detached. Everything I have, I can find within. There is nothing you have that I want, or need—energetically. Anything I supposedly *seek* is all within…

Your attachment to me, well that's your thing. I need not be resistant to it, nor encourage it. Be as you will, and allow me the same. What's there to fear?

Gods money

The addiction my mind has to cooked foods lately is ridiculous. I *know* what my body needs for fuel, but *I* just don't want it. Instead, I'd rather sedate myself with heavy complex carbs and fats… even animal fats!

I'm getting to the point that I can't do it anymore… but it's not because of what I'm eating… it's because I can't afford it… really… it's because of the money that I'm deciding to eat more healthy. One part of me judges that as being shallow… but whatever works. If that's the reason I need to get myself to eat healthier, then so be it.

We've been eating out at restaurants WAY too often. I added up how much we spent since April first and was AMAZED that it was so much.

I just decided that I need to start saving for a house, and I feel really strongly about doing it. I really want some pet sheep, and a small farm house… maybe something like what's in that picture.

So, I created an inventory, based on my debit card transactions of everything I've spent money on over the past 2+ weeks. I plan on continuing to keep track of where my money goes… after all, it's not *my* money, it's God's money, and I'm just the treasurer. It shouldn't be spent on eating animals, drinking alcohol, or anything else that's destructive to me, my loved ones or the environment. Keeping track of what I spend it on makes me feel more responsible. It helps to keep me more aware of what's happening if I can look at it written down, or if I need to keep track in my mind of what I've spent until I get home to write it down.

I've stopped going to yoga again because I can't afford another whole month. I may still attend a class here and there, and pay the drop in rate. Yoga is something money *should* be going toward… yoga and fruit.

We are planning our trip back to Massachusetts. We should be leaving TX in less than a month. I've found a new yoga studio in MA closer to where I'll be staying than my previous studio. Plus, they're cheaper. All that should encourage me to go more often.

I've arranged my bank accounts (yes, I have eleven of them), to automatically distribute my weekly paycheck into separate sections… among them is a "yoga" account, and $25 each week is deposited into there, only to be used on yoga classes. I had been neglecting this account, only putting $9 in each week because I needed the extra money for restaurants… but I really can't justify that any longer, at least not at that rate. By the time I get back to MA, I should have enough in there to begin a monthly pass at this new studio.

Be who you are!

First, let me start off by saying that none of this may be true…

I've been struggling a lot lately with self confidence, and pretending, and being radically honest with myself…

Lets start with the radical honesty. It's challenging to be honest to yourself—completely, 100%, no holds-barred honest. Our egos get in the way, and try to convince us of things that just completely aren't true. We make up stories to justify the way things are—stories that are often untrue, and only there to help make us feel better about the deeper aspect of what is really happening.

We listen to the stories, and believe them because we WANT to believe them—they're better than hearing what's true—easier to handle and they justify YOU. They make you think YOU'RE right, and that you are better than the other… The stories we create help us believe we are unique, and individual. Now, you may not think this sounds like anything you do… but it can be so subtle that we aren't even aware of it, and don't notice that it's happening.

Before you shrug off the idea and believe that you're special, and you are someone who doesn't do this (say "hi" to your ego if you're feeling this way), I urge you to investigate your actions for the next hour or so… witness your thoughts to see when you might justifying something, and investigate the purpose of those thoughts.

My stories lately have been consisting of ideas that I'm responsible for the actions of others… I take responsibility for the choices they make, and choose to berate, and punish myself mentally because of it… My reactionary, ego-driven response is to blame myself, and oppress future actions out of fear that they will cause emotional reactions in others.

No one is responsible for the actions of another person. Each person makes their own choices—to respond mindfully, or react out of fear (instinct, intuition… whatever). Just as it's their choice to react or respond the way they do, it's my choice to take it personally or not. If I choose to take it personally, more often than not it's because I've begun telling myself stories about WHY the other person responded or reacted the way they did, and these stories usually contain ME. Why wouldn't they? Don't you like to include yourself in stories you create? But are they true, or just fueled by fear?

Fear can completely take over our lives! It's how our ego holds onto us—how it keeps control, and makes sure we don't make waves in the status-quo. The part of us that is afraid wants to keep others afraid as well—fear feeds on fear and needs others to verify its story in order to feel justified in it's place. BUT IT'S ALL JUST A STORY—A LIE to make us feel like our fear is justified. Fear keeps us stuck—standing still and un-alive. When I'm afraid, life is not being lived—I'm wrapped up in the things I'm afraid of, rather than experiencing the moment, and all the beautiful things that are happening.

So, what is true?
Now, isn't that an age-old question?
Right now, all I think to be true is that there are sounds—there's movement—my fingers are moving—there's an ache in my back—my throat feels dry…

These things are what I can pretty much trust as being true… now, if I start telling myself that those noises are birds, or that the ache in my back is because I'm sitting funny, or that I'm typing a blog post, or that I'm dehydrated and need to drink some water—those are ALL stories. Things we begin to tell ourselves to bring ourselves away from feeling what IS HAPPENING in the moment. We try to understand them, and analyze them in an effort to make them into something other than what they are. We give them labels of things we think we understand in order to shrug them off rather than BE with them.

If I begin thinking about the pain in my back, and tell myself it's there because I'm sitting funny, then I'm no longer WITH the pain in my back… I'm now with my thoughts, trying to figure out what caused the pain in my back. Once I figure out what caused it, I can then take actions toward changing it in order to make the pain stop—or at least that's what I *think* I'm doing. It could also be my ego trying to make it think it's special, and that it *knows* something and that it can do something about it—when really, it just IS. That's it. Life just IS. BE WITH IT.

The sounds outside… they're birds—birds that are talking back and forth to each other, torturing my cat… or they are vibrations that enter my ear.

I may make it sound easy to recognize and understand the stories our ego creates to help keep us stuck, but that ego is a sly one, and it knows how to fool us. I encourage you to get to know your ego as well as it knows you. Be aware and watch—see when a story arrives, but don't judge—judging is just another story.

Breathe and just BE—or don't. Whatever… everything you just read may be wrong.


Disorderly eating

According to Wiki, an eating disorder is characterized by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individuals physical and emotional health.

The three most common eating disorders are:
Binge eating
By the definition above and what I've read about binge eating, I'd have to admit that I probably have an eating disorder whenever I'm in a phase of giving in to cooked foods. Eating meat, dairy and grains certainly cause my body pain, and I've gone over the emotional side of eating such foods in some of my recent posts. So, how do I stop?

I need to start thinking of my food intake seriously, and take a good close look at why I do the things I do. When I consider eating something, what is it that makes me want that, and how will I feel after consuming it? Do I still really want it? If so, why? And is it really true?

I only really feel comfortable with what I'm eating when I'm eating 100% raw vegan. These past few weeks I've been continuing to eat poorly, and my body is really hurting because of it. It's about time I really take a look at what I'm doing here…

These are the signs of Binge Eating Disorder:
• Periodically does not exercise control over consumption of food.
Yup—this will happen when I'm around almost any cooked food.

• Eats an unusually large amount of food at one time—more than a normal person would eat in the same amount of time.Perhaps this is true. When around cooked foods, I'll often find myself continuing to eat after my body has made it pretty clear that if I eat anymore I'm going to feel sick.

• Eats much more quickly during binge episodes than during normal eating episodes.
Yup—I'm not as aware and I feel like I'll never get enough. (Dr. Wayne Dyer's definition of an addiction says something like "never getting enough of something you don't want".)

• Eats until physically uncomfortable and physically feels like they're on the verge of throwing up due to the amount of food just consumed.
Yup—more often than not, when I'm eating cooked foods I feel like I'm going to be sick afterwards and I don't stop just because of that feeling.

• Eats when depressed, sad, or bored.
Doesn't everyone?

• Eats large amounts of food even when not really hungry.
Yeah… just because it's there, I'll eat it.

• Usually eats alone during binge eating episodes, in order to avoid discovery of the disorder.
Heh. I've been doing so well, I've been hiding it from myself! :(

• Often eats alone during periods of normal eating, owing to feelings of embarrassment about food.
I always prefer to eat alone. I feel a lot of judgement from people about the foods that I eat.

• Feels disgusted, depressed, or guilty after binge eating.

So, that about says it all—every one of those symptoms pretty much sums up my relationship with cooked foods these days. I feel like an alcoholic who's finally given in and gone to their first AA meeting… Hi. My name is Kristen and I'm a cooked food addict.

Now to start the healing process… eating a grapefruit.


I'm my own worst critic. I feel guilty when I eat something cooked, something with grain in it, or refined sugar… I judge myself for it, and then project those judgments into the thoughts of others—thinking that they too are judging me for the same thing, and I continue to feel guilty and ashamed. It's amplified if it actually appears as if others ARE judging me. I end up just diving deeper into a sort of self-hate because I ate something I *shouldn't* have.

For example, I just ate some cookies… some relatively natural cookies, without high fructose corn syrup or much of anything super terrible for me. But grain and refined sugars are 2 things that I've put onto the black list of foods that I shouldn't eat—foods that treat me poorly and don't love me back. So, now I feel guilty, and I feel like those around me look down on me for succumbing to eating them.

How do you all deal with this?

I think of the easy answer of "just don't eat the cookies". But that's so much easier said than done. Cooked food is an addiction to me, and it takes a LOT of will power for me to stay away from it. When I'm in a low-energy state of being, that will power just doesn't exist. It's like a downward spiral. I KNOW raw, living foods will give me the energy I need, but when I'm low energy, I don't necessarily *want* the energy. So I eat the cookies… then I get here. I'm hoping eventually I'll get sick of this cycle and stop hurting myself like this…

I'm learning a lot lately about how eating foods that don't love me affects my emotional state of mind. It's a rough process that I need to work through to fully understand. I'm slowly learning that eating foods that are not ideal for my body harms much more than just my digestion. I'm an integrated being—body, mind and spirit. What affects one, affects all 3 parts of the whole.

Climbing back up…

I’m not sure what happened to me… but I feel like lately I’ve been eating worse than I have in the last 2 years… I became a vegetarian 2 years ago, then began incorporating more and more raw foods, then cut out dairy… but something snapped in me like 2 weeks ago—I began eating a typical SAD diet for dinner… greasy foods, pasta, CHICKEN, FISH, DAIRY… ugh. I am still eating fruit throughout the day, and it’s just my dinner meal that has been horrible, but it’s been REALLY horrible. I guess there is something that needs go get out of my system emotionally, otherwise I don’t see why I’d go back to eating meat and dairy.

It really doesn’t feel very good, so I’m not sure why I’m doing it. Masochism, I suppose. It’s like I really just don’t care.

I’m beginning to get back to the point of caring… of being tired of feeling like I’m dying every night because of what I ate for dinner. Today’s the first day in like, 2 weeks that my boyfriend and I DIDN’T go out to a restaurant for dinner.

I feel like I’m back at square 1… again. But I feel fortunate to know that there is a path that seems to work for me… more fruit during the day—lots and LOTS of fruit. I did have leftover pasta for dinner tonight… still heavy, but at least it didn’t include the heavy salad dressing, the appetizer, and the bread that comes with it from the restaurant. A step in the right direction. There are some salad supplies, and an avocado that will be going bad soon if I don’t eat them—that might motivate me to eat them tomorrow. Cross your fingers. I’d really like to get back to eating high raw. It’s how I feel best.


I have the hardest time keeping myself from indulging in cooked food when it is available to me. Friday night James and I ventured over to Whole Foods for some things, and we investigated their prepared food section. There was a tomato/basil soup that didn't have anything too harsh looking in the ingredient list. So we bought some of that, and I got some raw veggie spring rolls with a rice wrap and a peanut sauce. The soup tasted great, and I enjoyed the warmth it provided my body, but after eating a small amount of it my mouth began tingling, so I stopped, thinking that if my mouth was tingling from it, that the rest of my body probably was too. I spent the rest of the night experiencing a swelled head. The soup seemed to have a lot of salt in it, which I haven't had since I decided to begin eating raw 2 weeks ago. The salt was very dehydrating, and the onion and garlic seemed to add to the intense body high that I was feeling. I'm glad I stopped eating it when I did. Saturday AM I was back to fruit & drinking water.

Saturday evening James and I were invited to a BBQ, and decided to go. I packed up a savory salad with guac dressing, and James prepared some steamed carrots with some maple syrup on them. I stuck mostly to my salad at first, but once I was finished with it the rest of the food began looking rather tempting—lays potato chips were the hardest for me to resist. Steamed carrots and some soy beans were also rather tasty… there was also chocolate cake… which I sort of felt obligated to indulge in. To be honest, it was dry and not very sweet, but I ate it anyway. Upon leaving the BBQ I felt heavy, but nothing too terrible. My body handled it pretty well overall.

It really helped me appreciate that I've been away from tempting situations these past 2 weeks. I thought I would be able to be satisfied with just the salad, and not tempted by the other, familiar cooked options. However, it was more challenging than I thought it would be. So far today I've been back to fruit and salad. I'll continue to just take it one day at a time, and not think too far ahead. I was doing great with not having any cooked food cravings, and I think I got ahead of myself thinking that I was beyond them. These past 2 evenings have been a helpful reality check, and I'm thankful for them.

What I consumed this past week:

• 56 bananas
• 18 grapefruit
• 15 apples
• 3 dates
• 2 zucchini
• 1 cucumber
• a cup or so of dried grapes
• 2 limes

Veggies:• 1 pkg of spring greens
• 3 leafs of romaine lettuce
• 2 leafs of kale
• 3 celery stalks
• 1.5 bags of chopped carrots
• 7 baby bella mushrooms

• 4 avocados
• 4.5 pure bars
• small amount of peanut butter
• .25 cups assorted roasted/salted nuts
• tiny handful of macadamia nuts
• a few small scoops of macadamia nut cheeze

A Raw Journey

I've been working toward eating a raw diet (on and off) for about 2 years. The first time I tried transitioning to raw I scoured the internet searching for gourmet raw recipes that would help satisfy my cravings for cooked foods. I used my magic bullet and dehydrator religiously and could never keep up preparing enough food to keep myself satiated. I never was one for successfully following a recipe, so raw recipe's were no different. Nothing ever really came out very good, and I was eating a lot of oil and nuts. I tried for 100%, but there were a lot of temptations—dinners with family & James was still eating a cooked diet including meat. After a short while I gave that up and tried to eating a mostly vegetarian cooked diet—with eggs, dairy and fish still included. Some raw foods carried over—I was still enjoying chopped apples mixed with banana and cinnamon for breakfast, but the transition was feeling forced and I couldn't handle the pressure.

After not *trying* for a month or so, I decided to try again. I had stopped eating meat (chicken, beef, turkey…) but I kept my idea of raw the same—gourmet & complicated. So, again, I struggled and gave up after a short time.

Then I began slowly transitioning. I would eat fruit before noon, then I could eat anything I wanted. This worked really well so long as I ate plenty of fruit in the morning—enough to satisfy me until lunch. I would occasionally bring a savory salad to work—often with gorgonzola cheese, pecans, dried cranberries and spring greens. This lasted for a while. I enjoyed this process of slowly incorporating more fruit into my diet. I read that it gives the body the energy it needs in the morning to cleanse from the previous night, and starts off the day with a nice, smooth energy boost. I kept the "fruit before noon" mentality for a long time. Some days it worked, some days a bagel with butter and cream cheese would scream my name first thing in the morning, and I couldn't resist. Over-all though it seemed like a healthy approach toward transitioning to eating more raw food. It didn't feel like I was forcing anything.

Then I began going to a hot vinyasa yoga studio and eating more raw foods began to feel a lot more natural. Some cooked foods had been naturally falling away from my diet since I began. Ice cream was gone, meat was gone, dairy in general was beginning to make me feel crummy each time I ate it, so it was being eaten less and less often.

Things in my life began shifting—my consciousness began opening to more and more possibilities. In March 2009, around the cosmic new year, I let go of a lot of things. I stopped peeling my fingernails, which I had been doing since I was a child; James and I, and our friend Kevin all began striving to eat a vegan diet—no more eggs, no fish, no dairy. Of course that had its challenges as well, and it gradually removed many of the cooked food addictions I often struggled with while trying to stay raw.

Dairy had a strong emotional hold over me for a long time. I used it as a form of self destruction. I knew it didn't treat my body well, but there were times when I needed to become emotionally numb—so I'd eat something heavy with starchy carbs and butter and cheese. It hurt my body to digest something like that, but it preoccupied me from thinking about any emotional pain. It was very subtle, and it took me a long time to recognize that it was what was happening. Denial can be a very strong thing, and unless we're willing to really open up to the truth of what is happening in life, often times we can be self destructive in simple little ways that seem innocent.

Around that same time—March 2009—I began reading more about nutrition. I read the 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Doug Graham and the China Study by T. Collin Campbell. Both of these books changed my life. I was done with dairy, and fruit was my new best friend. James and I both experimented eating a high-raw 80/10/10 diet, and we were more successful than we'd ever been. The fruit seemed to be the answer to maintaining a raw diet. It kept our calories high enough to feel satiated, and it didn't take forever to prepare, like many gourmet raw recipes. We then began changing many things in our life—we moved, many times, began building a tiny house. Basically chaos ensued, and we went back to eating a cooked vegan diet, with a lot of fruit during the day and a cooked, heavy dinner. With this new year I'm hoping to continue this journey and continue to be as healthy as I can be.

These past 2 years I've spent weaning myself away from the addictive habits I developed throughout my lifetime. There was a lot of greed and delusion involved with my relationship with cooked foods. If I had something I enjoyed, I really didn't want to share it with others. I'd be selfish internally, although on the outside I'd share it anyway. I didn't really WANT to share it. It was as if I'd never get to have it again.

I deceived myself into thinking cooked foods—starches and dairy particularly—were *simply* comforting. They were comforting, but in the way that a band-aid is comforting over a wound. It doesn't solve the root issue—whatever emotional problem that might have caused me to need the band-aid in the first place. That's what I'm learning now. Food is not a band-aid. Food is fuel—the energy my body needs to survive. It's not something to be used as a drug. If there's an emotional problem that needs addressing, I should be addressing it, and not shoving it under a big bowl of strawberry ice cream. That's why yoga is so important. Not just the physical yoga, but the yoga of daily life. Being in each moment, experiencing what is actually happening by being aware of when my mind creates stories that may or may not be true. I've been learning to listen to my body—hearing what it needs, when it wants water, or calories, or nutrients. When we can listen with an empty mind, we can allow our body to have the things it truly needs, rather than giving it things to continue hiding the truth from ourselves.

It's been an interesting journey, and it's certainly no where close to over. I'm continuing to learn a lot about myself and my relationships—what's healthy and what's toxic. Removing toxins from my life is much more than just food related. It's a slow process of accepting that things I'm accustomed to, despite how much I've grown attached to them, can often be toxic to my well-being—physically, mentally or spiritually. Then willingly allowing them to drift away. This is a wholesome adventure—involving not only my diet, but my entire life.

Things I get asked a lot:

Why do you eat so much fruit? Isn't it really high in sugar?

Yes, fruit is high in sugar. That is exactly why I eat so much of it. Every living cell in the human body is fueled by glucose. Before our body can utilize any food as a fuel, whether it's a carbohydrate, fat or protein, it must first be converted into simple sugars. Of the three, carbohydrates are the easiest for our body to convert. The sugars that are in fruit are already simple sugars, and thus can be absorbed directly into our bloodstream through the intestinal lining, without the need for conversion. There are other types of carbohydrates with short-chain or complex sugars (rice, corn, potatoes, yams, carrots, beans, etc…), that need to go through a complex stage of conversion before they can be utilized by the body as a simple sugar. To do this uses the body's energy and is therefore not efficient or ideal. Many of these more complex carbohydrates also need to be cooked to be digested without extreme difficulty, which is another can of worms I'll get into at another time…

Simple sugars can also be found in many processed *junk foods*, such as cakes, cereals, cookies, soda, etc… So when a human body doesn't get the glucose it craves from a natural source, we are often drawn toward other sweet foods—junk food. Now, don't think that eating tons of cookies and cakes will be just as good for you as fruit—that's entirely the opposite of the truth. Junk foods have had their sugars refined, and anything healthy and nutritious about them have been removed. That means other than satisfying our sweet tooth, there is nothing good for us in processed, refined sugars.

Fruit on the other hand, is a 100% whole food—containing the perfect ratio of sugar, water, fiber and nutrients. Nothing has been removed or added—it is precisely as mother-nature intended it to be.

What about protein?

How much protein do you think the human body needs in a day? I often hear that people think protein (especially animal protein) gives their body energy. If you read above about what was said on fruit, you'll know that our body is fueled by glucose—that is what gives our body energy. I'm not sure where the idea came from that energy comes from protein. Think about it for a second—how do you feel after eating a big steak, or turkey dinner? Are you full of vibrance and ready to go run around the block? No, I didn't think so. You're ready to sit still for an hour or so and digest. If anything I'd say that eating animal protein depletes the body of energy.

That said, how much protein do we need? Despite the advertising from meat and dairy industries, humans require a VERY LOW amount of protein. A human mother's milk provides a growing infant with 6% of calories from protein. An infant has the highest need for protein per calorie of all humans, as their growth rate is amplified. The US National Academies' Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council suggest that eating 10% of our total calories as protein is sufficient. The average American eats about 21% of their calories from protein.

So let's say that 10% of our daily calories should be from protein. I'm not going to get into discussing the difference between plant proteins and animal proteins, as it's a lengthy topic. However, it's interesting and fascinating stuff—I suggest looking into it. I don't eat animal protein, so how do I get 10% of my daily calories from protein? Fruits and veggies contain amino acids, which are the building blocks our bodies need to create proteins needed by the body. Many fruits and veggies contain the required percent of protein or more than what we need. Here are just a few examples:
• Apricots 10%
• Bananas 4%
• Tomatoes 12%
• Watermelon 7%
• Broccoli 20%
• Spinach 30%
As you can see, it's easy to obtain 10% of the daily calories while eating just fruits and vegetables.

Too much protein is associated with all sorts of health problems, yet we rarely hear of any health problems associated with eating too little protein. Protein based foods (especially animal based proteins) form an acidic environment in the body, thus leading to depleted calcium levels—causing osteoporosis, as well as premature aging, impaired liver function, kidney failure, etc… Take a minute to read more about acidic vs. alkaline foods. Reading it could save your life.

An insight to my addiction…

A new year—and with it comes a bright outlook and a more healthy style of living.

I've been eating very high raw for about 6 days now. I love how sensitive my body has become to different foods—how I know how each food makes my body feel. Throughout the day I stick mostly to fruits because I know the my body needs the carbs, and calories from them, and they feel the best to digest. But come the end of the day I feel flighty, and somewhat out of touch with my body.

I find that I miss feeling my body when I eat mostly light, easily digestible foods. The feeling of energy being used toward digestion is such a nostalgic and comforting feeling—the feeling that would continuously drive me toward eating dense, heavy cooked foods. When our bodies digests a large, dense meal it makes us heavy and numb. I've realized that it's that feeling I crave—not the cooked food—and I can seek other RAW ways of getting that nostalgic, comforting feeling of my body digesting.

I began thinking of the different raw foods that give me that digesting-feeling—mushrooms, onions, avocado, dried fruit (raisins, dates), nuts, etc… Then last night when I began craving something heavy, I made a big salad with a small amount of onion, some mushrooms & a whole avocado. I also ate a Pure bar (chocolate brownie) for dessert. It really seemed to help. I noted that after I ate the salad & the pure bar that I could feel my body tingling and slowing down, and I really did feel more in touch with the physical reality. It felt comforted.

This is interesting for me to notice—as it helps me realize that it's not the *cooked foods* that I have an addiction to. It's the feeling that comes from eating cooked food. I don't need to eat cooked foods to get that feeling, it can come (in smaller, and healthier doses) from heavy raw foods.

The past 6 days have gone well for me. I've been sticking to fruit throughout the day, then eating a heavier salad at night. This seems to be working for me right now. I haven't had any cooked food cravings, and the heavier feeling I'm getting from the salads at night helps me to relax and fall to sleep easily. I think I'll stick to this system for now, and just keep watching.
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