Friday, August 2, 2019

Reducing Waste - What is Waste Anyway?

What does that mean for you?
What images come to mind when you hear this word? has quite a bit to say regarding this word. 34 line entries to be precise.

This is a word that I have heard used in an almost accusatory manner in our modern culture. It seems currently to be used with so many underlying meanings that indicate that the person or entity it is applied to are of lessor intelligence, care, or cultural moral standing. And while that may be true in some cases, I'm not convinced that is appropriate as an absolute. And in a time in our culture when blanket terms are so liberally used to categorize, and thereby compartmentalize people, it makes me sad that innocuous words can be turned into weapons. Much like any other inanimate object, it is not harmful without the direct and purposeful intent of the actions of a human being.

Is that a wasteful use of our language?
I have a sense that this word, and many others, can be applied subjectively.
Disregarding clear conditions of waste.

What one person sees as a waste of time, another person might see as productive.
One person's wasted money might be another's investment.

My challenge for you today is to consider what the word *waste* means to you and in your life.

Are there areas where you could be less wasteful? For example, would planning your dinners for the week ahead of time when you go grocery shopping help you waste less money at the store? Create less waste in packaging, and trips to the store or drive-thru? Waste less time and stress thinking and planning dinner as an after thought at the end of an exhausting day?

Are there areas where you could look at something you currently consider waste and change your perception? An example: That pile of food scraps leftover from cooking and eating dinner. Is that waste? Trash? For some it is. Straight into the trash can. Others might see compost, or food for the chickens. Perhaps that towel that now has a hole torn in the middle looks like trash or waste at the outset, but could it be cut into smaller pieces and hemmed for hand towels or cleaning rags?

Can you think about what our parents or grand parent, or even great grandparents might have done in a time before plastic food storage and plastic wrap? I believe there is much to be learned from our pioneer and depression raise ancestors about how to reduce the creation of waste.

Archeology shows us that every where on the planet and in every age, there is always a place where the trash goes, often to be buried to rot away (or become preserved forever). But, what level of use happened before an item was relegated to the trash pile? And there are now multitudes more humans on this planet now than ever before, and those numbers are not going down. And so much more of our cast off is now made to be thrown away.

That's an interesting concept isn't it!? The creation of waste. There are industries around creating things for the intent of throwing them away! Think of the packaging that so many of our products come in! Someone is getting paid to design and make those things. What is it's TRUE purpose? Is it necessary? Maybe to keep things from getting broken. Sometimes just so that the things can be stored and shipped more efficiently. It's easier to stack boxes of the same size and shape on a pallet than 100 coffee pots. If it is necessary, could it be made from other materials that could have another life after it's current job was over?

There is such an opportunity to reconsider the merchandise on the market. Can we fix it when it's broken, instead of throwing it away and buying another? Can we use it or part of it for something else? Can we choose products that do not have unnecessary packaging that needs to be discarded?

Can we as the consumer change the economy by choosing our products differently? What about things that are made closer to home and require less transportation and packaging? Or products that are packaged more thoughtfully?

Waste used to be the off cut from things, the fabric trimmed away in the creation of a dress; the wood scraps left from building a house. But were those things truly waste? Some might argue that case, but how often did our predecessors sew those fabric scraps together to make a quilt, or stuff a pillow or bed? Wood scraps might have been used to heat the home or cook food.

Waste is everywhere! We cannot avoid it. But what can we do? How can we encourage as the consumer to help reduce the amounts of it that are not getting repurposed.

It begins with our own selves. We do not need the government to tell us. We know. We can adjust our consuming. We can adjust our own repurposing. We can adjust our perspective. We can think like our ancestors. We can be creative. One person, one household, at a time.

Let's think about that next time we are about ready to throw that thing in the trash.
In a time when everything is extra, that extra does not have have to be waste! Consider how you can made it a BONUS!

Have a beautiful day Living Well!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Emotional Leaking - Journal About It and Have a Ceremonial Bonfire

Last time we talked about what Emotional Leaking is, and a bit on how to recognize it.
Today we are going to talk about what to do next.

First. We need to begin to recognize that it is happening.
To be honest, it can more often a subtle ongoing thing, rather than a dramatic emotional vomit.
When we leak, whether a tiny occasional drip, a constant trickle, or a pressurized stream, t's much like that leaking pipe in the bathroom wall that I talked about in the last post and causes damage in our lives. Whether slowly, or suddenly.

But, recognizing is always the first step. Acknowledging it. Accepting that it is happening.
No blaming. No victim mode. Just recognition. Just seeing it.

Try having a little conversation with your Leak:

"Oh. Hey there Leak. I see that you have decided to show up for today's activities. I know that you have a job to do in helping me release pressure, so I do appreciate and thank you for letting me see that there is an issue going on that needs to be addressed. But right now, your behavior is causing more damage than it is fixing the source of the situation, so I am going to ask you to back off a little so that I can clean up the mess and try to find the source, and do some repair work."

Sometimes it requires an immediate apology to someone directly impacted.
A lot of the time it requires more internal work; digging in to get a better understanding of the source of the leak.

In a similar way that it is not always obvious where exactly that pipe leak is coming from because water always runs to the lowest point of release; so do our leaking emotions. In order to find the source, we have to stop the flow, clean up the debris, and follow it backward until we can locate the point of origin.

Some of this we might be able to do through a mindful journaling practice. Just do some emotional vomit on the paper. In a beautiful journal. On scrap paper, a napkin, whatever. But I DO recommend physically writing with a pen(not erasable pencil) on paper, becasue the process of gathering your thoughts in your head, and the emotions in your heart, and collecting them together in your shoulder and releasing them down your arm, through your fingers, and out onto the paper is POWERFUL! It's messy. It's hard. It's painful. It's helpful. It's worth it.

If this feels scary, to put all that hard yucky messy stuff on paper, I suggest that you DO IT ANYWAY. Let the tears flow. Let the words flow. Let the yuck out. It doesn't have to make sense. It can be a list of words and feelings! Doesn't even have to be complete sentences! Doesn't have to be a cohesive story. Just brain DUMP it OUT of your body onto the paper! It might fill pages and pages. It might be a 3x5 card! It doesn't matter, just get it out of your body!

And then burn it!

Have a ceremonial fire, in a fireplace, bonfire pit, or some other safe and contained place; please don't just light it on fire in your living room!

I like to do this outside where we have a bonfire pit in our back yard. It's an additional time of prayer and meditation for me watching the fire consume the paper, the words, the emotions and experiences. I imagine as the fire consumes it, and the pain becomes smoke that the air is lifting it up to my God in Heaven (or however you want to think of your higher power) and I am giving it back to him to turn into something more productive and useful in my life.

Sometimes I will make a duplicate of the original writing before I burn it: photo copy, or maybe I'll write in my "real" journal a summary of the emotional vomit, then in a month, or two, I'll re-read that entry and see what has changed.

I am amazed every single time at how healing and change can happen so softly and gently that I hardly notice it, until I look back and see where I was compared to where I am not, and those journal entries are milepost markers.

Keep working through the hard stuff. The healing is worth it.
And everything you learn about yourself on the other side is extra bonus stuff in living your life well!
As much love as ever,

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Emotional Leaking - What is it?

Emotional Leaking.
Have you heard that term before?

It's when unspoken emotions "leak" out of our bodies through unintended words, misdirected frustration or anger, actions, tears or other emotional actions like laughing inappropriately, tone of voice, facial expressions, or energy.

Sometimes the cause of the leaking is really obvious to us. We had a fight with with someone, or had a bad experience that left us in a bad mood, and we're having a difficult time separating that experience from the rest of our day (Week? Month? Life?) and we drag that negative emotion around with us and end up sharing that negative energy with other people that had nothing to do with the negative experience.

Maybe we just had to most happily amazing experience with a loved one, or experience at a store or business, and we want everyone to know about it. Maybe we don't tell anyone, but we just start smiling a little more intentionally at everyone we pass, hold a door, leave a flower, sent a message.

Sometimes the cause is deeper. Long held unspoken fears, hurt feelings, seemingly long forgotten childhood experiences, anxieties, even our deeper mindsets, can rise to the surface and leak into our daily experience, and we might not even recognize that it is happening.

Sometimes, we know we are leaking. Sometime we do not.

Is this bad? Not necessarily. Let's take a look at a couple of analogies.

The first one is a story:

There was a woman who had to walk down a path every day to get water from the well. She had 2 buckets, and carried one in each hand. One bucket had a crack, and she always carried it in her left hand. Each day she went to fill the buckets, by the time she walked back to the house the bucket in her left hand was empty becasue it had leaked out along the path. The 2 buckets were talking on the porch where they were left, and the cracked one was lamenting and feeling useless for never being able to successfully bring water back to the house. This caused the woman to have to make additional trips to the well. She was old and this trip was getting more and more difficult for her, and the bucket felt like it was letting the woman down. The intact bucket looked out and down the path they traveled daily and pointed out to the cracked bucket that the side of the trail where she carried the cracked bucket was rich with lush veggies and flowers.

This next analogy, I want you to think about the effect of a leaking pipe in the wall of your bathroom. Even a tiny occasional drip, over time can cause detrimental damage to the structure of your home. And just becasue you cannot see the leak, and you cannot see the wetness that it is leaving, does not mean it is not happening! And how do you KNOW that it is happening. You often times cannot know until you break open the dry wall. You might be doing a bathroom remodel, and discover that there has been a leak for a long time that you were unaware of! And with a bit of luck, you discovered it before any crucial damage was done!

I think one of the differences in determining if it's good or bad to leak, is to determine the underlying aspects.

Maybe we have pressed those emotions and mindsets down tight and deep and are avoiding dealing with them on a conscious level. Trust me. They will leak out. And sadly, it is usually the more negative and difficult to face emotions and mindsets that leak the most. And are certainly the most toxic for our lives, and for those around us.

So, now that we understand that this is a real thing that is happening, what do we do about it?
I'll write about that in the next post.
So, for now; pay attention to your underlying emotions, and how they might be leaking.
I had such an experience just this morning, which is what prompted me to write on this topic.
I figure if it happens to me, it happens to you, and maybe through sharing we can all heal a little bit more!

Because everything we learn to make our lives better is EXTRA in this journey and process of Living Well!
All my Love,

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

How to create more abundance in your life.

We all want more, don't we?
More peace. More money. More time. More love. More fresh air. More cheesecake LOL
Whatever it is, what if you could have more?

What if you already have that MORE?
and don't even know it?

What if every thing in your life is extra?
What if every thing you experience happens FOR you, instead of TO you?

We all come into this world naked and dependent.
Through the course of our journey on this planet, things are added to us.
Some of those things are soft and gentle. Some are hard and callusing.
Is it the thing itself or the way we experience it that determines it's positive or negative influence on our life? And what is it that determines how we receive those things?

Take some time today to just notice all of the abundance you have right now. Do you have food? Clothes the wear? A place to live? Are your bills paid?

If so, be thankful. Say it out loud. Write it down.

If not, those are the things you already know you need to be improving. But have you taken the time to consider how these deficiencies are shaping you? What are you learning about your deeper resiliency skills?

In this world, every thing is extra.
You get to decide if that means it's a bonus!
Or if that mean something more transactional.

Be blessed lovelies!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

DIY Homemade Power Protein Bars

I first learned a version of this idea a couple years ago from a web search, but I have changed it a LOT and I like it even better with the changes I made! (updated again 9/17/2020)

This is an easy project, though it is time consuming and messy!

You will need a food processor and either a stand mixer or a big bowl and a strong mixing arm! (side note ... I have had my Kitchen Aid 5qt Tilt Head Stand Mixer for 25 years and it's still going as strong as ever! TOTALLY worth the investment! I'm not always gentle with it LOL)

I have chosen ingredients that are nutrient dense to make this a POWER PUNCH of nutrition fuel. You can research the nutritional values for each item, I include some comments about why I chose each ingredient.

Choose organic, bulk, local or homegrown ingredients as suits your lifestyle, but I always recommend getting the highest quality ingredients that you can afford and are available for you. I have included some Amazon affiliate links for items I buy.

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (it's a complete protein and a pseudo-grain, and helps provide the sustaining fuel for your morning! I make a decent batch and use the rest for salads and pilafs! YUM!)

  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (high in protein)
    • optional add 1 cup of any sort of nuts you like. I occasionally throw in walnuts or Brazil nuts. You can substitute for the pumpkin seeds, but I tend to add them as additional.

  • 1 can drained or 1-1/2 cups cooked beans. Mung beans are the most nutritionally dense, but are are more expensive and can be difficult to find canned, so you have to buy them dry and cook them. I most often use garbanzo or black beans for ease of access. The photos show canned drained garbanzo.

  • 12 dried figs. Darker figs are more nutrient rich, but are not available everywhere.

  • 1 cup fresh ground nut butter of your choice. I use peanut because I like it best and I'm allergic to almonds. Do NOT use the peanut butter that has ingredients (Skippy or Jiff)! If your nut butter has ingredients other than nuts and salt put it back on the shelf and walk away! The added industrial sugar and hydrogenated whatevers will wreck your bars and your health! And that's not nutritionally sound. Check those nutrition labels.

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder. Cocoa is not only tasty but is high in antioxidants. Make sure this is 100% cocoa, no added sugar or flavor. No, chocolate milk mix is not a substitute.

  • 1/2 cup unflavored unsweetened protein powder. I use a pea powder because most of the whey powders I have found in my area have added soy which I do not eat. Again, read labels.

  • 1 bar of 100% cocoa baking chocolate all chopped up. Unsweetened. You can also use a cup of carob chips, or dark chocolate chips, I just don't like all the added sugars.

  • 1/3-1/2 cup dark or black strap molasses. You COULD use honey, but molasses is amazingly rich in minerals and adds a richness to the overall flavor of the bars that I LOVE! (click here to get molasses on Amazon)

  • coffee or water as needed for the texture.

Ready? ... let's get messy! I've got lots of pictures to walk you through each step.
  1. First up, get out your food processor and put in the beans, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, nuts if you are using them and the figs (take the little stems off as you toss them in! You'll be glad you did!)

  2. Whir that around until it's as blended up as your machine will get it. It DOES NOT need to be smooth or creamy.

  3. Dump this into the mixing bowl.

  4. Add all the other ingredients and mix it up.

  5. It can be dry and crumbly, so add 1 tablespoon at a time of coffee (the beverage! not the grounds!) until you have a dough about the consistency of playdough. If you don't want the added caffeine of the coffee, use water.

  6. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. You can use a brownie pan, that seems to be a good size. The one I use is a 1/4 sheet commercial pan that I got at a local food service supply. You will thank me for this step of lining your pan with paper! It makes everything that comes later so much easier!

  7. Dump in your dough. Using a second piece of waxed paper, pat, press and rub the dough out evenly into the pan. Snip the corners of the parchment paper as necessary to miter them so it's not all bunched up in the corners and causing issues there!
  8. After it's all flat, trim away the excess parchment that is sticking above the pan.

  9. Bake at 325 degrees for only 15 minutes! You are not COOKING this! The ingredients are already cooked. You are heating it to meld the ingredients. If it cooks too long you will have a crumbly mess.

  10. Take it out of the oven and put it in the fridge to cool for several hours. All day or all night is great! You want it to be cold all the way through.
  11. After it's cold, turn the cold pan upside down on a cutting sheet or another piece of parchment, and peal away the paper that lined the pan!
  12. Now, cut into brownie sized squares!

    Store in a container or zip-lock bag in the fridge. They are NOT shelf stable! BUT will be fine for the day in a lunch box.

And there you have it! NOW! Go clean up the kitchen!

Did you try this recipe?
I'd love to hear your experience with it! Please comment below and share the link to this article so other people can find it too!