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Ash Wed 8/22

What I’m reading:
Poetry by Tyler Knott Gregson, I could read his poems for hours ❤

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What I’m listening to:
JOHN CRAIGIE. I’ve been loving him for a while now and am excited to see him live at a small venue in PHL in just a few weeks.


Product I’m loving:
MACA ROOT POWDER has been used for thousands of years in Peru for it’s medicinal proprieties. I have been adding it to my drinks, smoothies and snacks and really notice a difference in my energy and overall mood. I’m grateful that it’s now so readily available here in the west.

Maca is an adaptogen, a name given to certain herbs, plants and natural substances that help the body naturally adapt to stressors like a busy schedule, demanding job or illness.

Not only that, but maca provides a host of important micronutrients and is jam-packed with antioxidants, and it has been shown to improve sexual health, balance hormone levels, and boost energy, mood and memory.

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Word of the week:
Judgement – every time I judge someone else, I reveal an unhealed part of myself. It’s powerful to really look at judgements in this way and to work with them as a way to understand ourselves better.

Quote of the week:
“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive” – Joseph Campbell

Ash Wednesday 8/8

What I’m reading:
MycoMedicinals by Paul Stamets
This book describes and documents the health benefits of 17 different species of mushrooms. If you’re interested in learning how critical mushrooms are to our whole ecosystem read/listen to anything by PAUL STAMETS.

 

What I’m listening to:
Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations – Adyashanti: Falling into Grace
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/caroline-myss-discovering-your-lifes-
purpose/id1264843400?i=1000416549746&mt=2

I’ve listened to this podcast 3 times now! Have a listen and take. notes.

Product I’m loving:
Soap Nuts!! These are essentially just berry shells that act as an all-natural detergent. WHAT?! I started doing some research on different products that I was buying that come in large plastic bottles (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, dish soap etc.) and I came across this – I was skeptical at first but I am officially converted. Stay tuned for some alternative shower products 🙂

(The more I turn away from plastic products, the closer I get to nature. It feels so good.)

Word of the week:
Grace. My experience with grace is that it isn’t something to be learned or achieved. Grace is found in my body and in my spirit through the energy of allowing and remembering that it already exists inside of me. It bubbles up when I surrender to the moment. Grace is my essence. It’s yours too.

Poem of the week:
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
-Mary Oliver

Karuna Meditation: Compassion

In class yesterday we did a beautiful Karuna Meditation. Karuna is one of the Four Divine Abodes of Buddhism. The Four Divine Abodes are also referred to as the Four Immeasurable’s established by the Buddha himself – Metta (loving-kindness), Karuna (compassion), Mudita (sympathetic joy), Upekkha (equanimity). These four boundless qualities cut through the idea of separation. By dissolving the boundaries that separate us, we open ourselves up to the ease of equanimity, the full-heartedness of love, the tenderness of compassion, the radiance of joy.

Often times it’s believed that we have no control over the people and energy around us. As cliche as it sounds, collective peace begins with you. I encourage you to take responsibility, give this meditation a try and notice the consequences. Through sending love, compassion, joy, understanding to all, that energy is felt, it helps to transform and is eventually reciprocated.

KARUNA <COMPASSION> MEDITATION

When you first begin this meditation, perhaps you are just hearing the words in your mind. But in time you move past the words and begin to feel the energy beyond them, until the energy is embodied within you and all around you.

Focus on the heart space – the front of the chest, the upper back, the sides.. Feel your breath moving there, expanding and contracting. Can you soften your heart? Allow yourself to be open and receptive. Let go of any defensive layers that you may be clinging on to. Slowly, slowly – move through the phrases in your mind. Really listen, even taste the words as they ring through your mind and body. Let their meaning penetrate beyond the idea and into the feeling and energy itself.

MAY I BE KIND.
MAY I BE AWARE OF MY OWN SUFFERING.
MAY I BE OPEN TO MY OWN SUFFERING.
MAY I RESPOND TO MY SUFFERING WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION.

MAY I BE KIND TO YOU.
MAY I BE AWARE OF YOUR SUFFERING.
MAY I BE OPEN TO YOUR SUFFERING
MAY I RESPOND TO YOUR SUFFERING WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION

MAY YOU BE KIND.
MAY YOU BE AWARE OF YOUR OWN SUFFERING.
MAY YOU BE OPEN TO YOUR OWN SUFFERING.
MAY YOU RESPOND TO YOUR SUFFERING WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION.

1.Send this to someone that you love.
2.Send this to someone neutral (coworker, neighbor, old friend).
3.Send this to someone whom you have a difficult relationship with.
4.Finally, send this to all beings everywhere.
At the end, continue to breathe deep into your heart center. Let the vibration of compassion fill you up.

In love and compassion,
Ash

Ash Wednesday 8/1

Yo yo! I’ve missed you. I haven’t written a Wednesday post in a while. It has been a FULL past couple of months but damn has it been POWERFUL. Through all of the movement and change I am so grateful to the people and practices that support me.

What I’m reading: Tantra – The Supreme Understanding By OSHO. Tantra has a reputation in the West as being just about sexuality when in reality Tantra is all encompassing. Tantra comes from the root Sanskrit words tanoti meaning to stretch or expand and trayati meaning to liberate or free. So tantra (tan + tra) means to expand the frontiers of apprehension beyond the material into the more subtle realms of perception and hence through these increasingly more refined insights, attain spiritual knowledge (jnana) and liberation (moksha).

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What I’m listening to: I’ve been adding to this playlist for 2 months now. It’s a goodie.

Product I’m loving: Thinx underwear. You can have your period without the negative affects on the environment!! No plastic, no harsh chemicals, no BULLSHIT. They’re amazing and the future of fem hygiene products.

Word of the week:  Boundaries. Make a list before bed every night for one week of things that give you life and things that drain your life force. Notice any patterns, recurring people, places, activities that are on either list. This is important information! Take appropriate action to set boundaries for yourself. Ultimately, we are responsible for our own happiness – how rad.

Quote of the week: “Trust in God but tie your camel.”
This Arab proverb reminds me to accept responsibility, take ownership and follow through with appropriate action and then rest in faith. Both are necessary to find the balance.

Bless you,
Ash

 

Plastic Free – Tips!

Plastic. It’s everywhere.

We have become so used to the plastic epidemic that we hardly notice just how out of control our plastic use has gotten. To go just one day not using, buying or wearing a plastic product is a seriously difficult task.

It seems to me that most people would prefer to use less plastic, to have less of a negative impact on the environment and to support companies or products that share similar values. The way I see it, three things are necessary – 1. Consumers need to realize that personal consumption has a considerable impact. 2. People need to care about the impact they are imposing on the planet. 3. Consumers need cleaner/greener options to choose from.

Some days I feel optimistic about a less wasteful future but other days I am in despair about the current state of things. I love to see a cafe only offering smoothies in glass jars sans straw with an option to bring the jar back for a discount on your next smoothie. I cringe at the sight when I stop to take in the produce section at the large grocery stores. It’s hard to find anything that is not stamped with stickers and wrapped in plastic. It hurts me every time I see this because I know it can be different and as consumers, we can choose better.

One of my new years goals is to significantly reduce the amount of waste that I produce as a human being living on this planet. There are many different categories that I could talk about but for now I want to share some quick and easy tips to reduce your single-use plastic. I wanted to start here because these are quick and easy things to start doing TODAY.

Here are my top 5 tips for reducing your single-use plastic consumption:

  1. Eliminate straw use OR invest in stainless steel drinking straws.
    Most plastic takes 400+ years to biodegrade. Think about this the next time you’re at a bar or ordering a smoothie..straws are just simply not necessary.
  2. Stop buying plastic water bottles.
    I love my Berkey Water Filter that I have at home. It’s seriously one of the best investments that I ever made! When you leave the house, be sure to always bring a reusable water bottle with you.
  3. Shop at farmers markets or get involved in a crop share
    When you shop at a farmers market, not only are you supporting local farms but you also significantly decrease your plastic use because nothing is packaged or punched with a barcode sticker. Plus, locally or regionally sourced produce travels about 27 times less distance than conventionally sourced produce. It’s a win-win for everybody.
    Interested in a CSA? Take a look here.
  4. Use reusable shopping and produce bags
    My favorite reusable produce bags are these. I also use them to store food in the fridge which helps me to avoid using plastic baggies or plastic wrap. I simply do not buy these products and I never have trouble finding alternatives.
    Plastic bags are now being banned in some cities, states and even countries. Until everyone jumps on this wagon, it’s our responsibility to avoid using them. Always leave a reusable bag in your car or purse for the quick last minute trips to the store.
  5. Buy in bulk
    Buying grains, beans, nuts and super foods in bulk will not only reduce packaging waste but also save you some bucks! Bring containers from home to fill and you’re golden.

    bulk buying

    **More of my favorite eco-friendly products:
    -Weck food container jars
    -Bamboo reusable utensils. For when you’re on the go!
    Ball mason jars for to-go smoothies, soups and bulk food storage

 

THE WHY

1. 91% of plastic isn’t recycled – https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/ 

2. Plastic takes 400+ years to biodegrade – https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/

 

3. Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century. – https://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html 

 

4. The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year. –https://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html

 

5. In fact, more than half of all bottled water comes from the tap. –https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/about/live-healthy/tap-water-vs-bottled-water

 

6. Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest marine trash vortex, but there are many more in existence, and it’s far from being the only one. –https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/ 

 

7. Plastic is an endocrine (or hormone) disruptor. Plastics are xenoestrogens, meaning they mimic estrogens in the body. And an excess of estrogen can cause hormonal imbalance. This can effect weight, mood, energy levels, sleep, fertility, sex drive and appetite. Read more about plastic and hormonal imbalances and plastic here. 

8. You eat much fewer processed foods.

Going plastic free is a great way to ensure that you will be eating much fewer processed foods- which is better for our bodies, AND the planet.

Many of your favorite snacks in plastic are things you can easily make yourself (hummus, crackers). The benefits of making this stuff yourself is that you’ll learn how to make it, it will be healthier since you will be making it yourself and you’ll get a huge boost of confidence knowing that you can indeed make your favorite ready-made snacks at home.

Your choices matter.
You can make a difference,
Ash ♣

Ash Wednesday 1/10

What I’m reading – Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard. Yvon Chouinard-legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc.-shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth.

Also, this article titled Zuckerberg’s Dilemma: When Facebook’s Success Is Bad for Society. Facebook’s chief has signaled he will do what it takes to curb the social network’s negative effects – but how far will he go?
We are just starting to understand the mental side effects of social media (cool, we’re basically the guinea pigs to this whole thing). It would be amazing if big companies acted in the best interest of society versus their bottom line.

Music – The Evett Brothers, Joni Mitchell and Eddie Berman have been some of my favorites this week. Check out my new ‘It’s all good/god’ playlist.

What I’m watching – Tuck Everlasting was my favorite movie growing up. I watched it this past weekend and MY GOD, it’s as good as ever.

Word of the week – Trust. I have been so calm lately because I am just letting things unfold as they will. Taking action and putting things in place and then TRUSTING that all is good, all is god. It feels so good, and it’s bringing me so much peace.

Product I’m loving – My favorite blush is by 100% pure. Mostly all of their products are made from fruit pigments and I just love it.

Quote of the week – “Do something you really like, and hopefully it pays the rent. As far as I’m concerned, that’s success.” – Tom Petty

Ash Wednesday 12/13

What I’m reading – I was turned on to the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard and his unique journey to becoming a ‘businessman’. I just ordered his book “Let my people go surfing” which I can’t wait to read. Here is an article on him: Yvon Chouinard Interview

Also, this is a great short live interview with him: NPR Yvon Chouinard Interview

Music – I’ve been building this playlist for over a month now.. it’s pretty legit.

What I’m watching – How the economic machine works by Ray Dalio. This is a super short and simple breakdown that I came across when looking into Ray’s new book called ‘Principles’.

Word of the week – Creativity. I never used to think I was creative or artistic in the slightest but I’ve come to realize that everyone is uniquely creative, you just have to do it! I started drawing this week and I’ve quickly become obsessed. Ask yourself, “How do I express myself creatively?”

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Product I’m loving – I’m not a big makeup girl but when I do wear it, I make sure it’s all natural with simple ingredients. This time of year I find myself putting on a bit to brighten up – I’m loving this eye palette from Pacifica.

Quote of the week – 

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big hug,
ash