Katie

Nov 052014
 
forgiveness

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”- Mark Twain

violetPhotograph taken from here

If you read and follow blogs which are similar to mine or if you read spiritual books or texts, you will know that ‘forgiveness’ is a bit of a buzz-word right now. Some people might think they understand forgiveness, but when I really thought about it and took it on for myself, I think my healing sped up dramatically and made me look at things in a different way after practising forgiveness. ‘Forgiveness’ definitely deserves its buzz-word identity, but it often incredibly difficult to know exactly how to forgive.

How many times has somebody you know held a grudge against someone for a really stupid reason? “She didn’t bring me a present when we had our housewarming party”, “He said he’d take my son to football, but he never offered to”, “She told me she’d phone me, but she forgot”. Little resentments like this build up over time. When they happen they can be seemingly inconsequential- you can brush them off and put it down to them having a busy day. When you find yourself feeling irritated by the person however, recognise this feeling and know that it is hindering you moving forward, creating hidden negativity, but it is more importantly a huge energy zapper.

When I was first diagnosed, I lost touch with a lot of my friends- partly because I was too tired to make the effort, but mostly because I was embarrassed and didn’t know how to explain things to them. I then started thinking things like, “If she’d ever been real friend, she would’ve phoned me” and “He didn’t even get in touch when he came home from Uni- he must have known I wanted to him to visit me”. Resentment then built up and I felt completely alone, like all the friendships and years I’d had with them meant absolutely nothing.

After I’d let them go however and moved on with my life, I knew that I had to clear any negative thoughts about them and with it, any malice or resentment I was feeling. How were they to know how ill I was if I hadn’t told them? How were they to really understand what was going on when even I didn’t know?

Forgiveness was my opportunity to release the past, bless my family and friends and move on. More importantly, it was a chance to forgive myself, for being so selfish and thinking of my own needs all the time, for feeling jealous and resenting my friends and, more importantly, for being ill.

Your illness is NOT your creation or your fault. You can forgive all the people who’ve ever wronged you constantly for the rest of your life, but if you can’t forgive yourself, you can’t move on or heal.

Once I’d forgiven myself for thinking negatively and for feeling bitter towards my family and friends, my healing rapidly sped up…and I mean, rapidly. I gave myself a week to really work on myself. A week of meditating, writing down the names of anyone who’d ever done anything wrong or negative towards me but not examining the ‘whys’, a week of blessing these people, thanking them for the lessons I’d learned from them, forgiving them out loud and moving on. After a week, I felt lighter and freer, and almost saw the world for the first time all over again.

The one thing I learned in all of this though, is that self-forgiveness is incredibly healing. It is also very humbling and will make you feel utterly vulnerable, uncomfortable and completely out of your comfort zone. REmember that this is all part of the process though. Don’t just forgive people as a fly-away comment- you have to really mean it and live it. Feel the parts of you where resentment is hiding. Talk to it, thank it and let it go. It isn’t going to serve your healing or your future life- it’s time to love it and leave it. Feel the weight lift from you and pause for a while to embrace this new you. The ‘you’ you knew was there, but always seemed to be in hiding, the ‘you’ before your illness.

forgivenessPicture taken from here

Love the ‘old’ new, love the ‘new’ you. Cherish your family and friends, and all that you’ve learned from them.

Forgive yourself.

Love and forgiveness,

Katie      xx

Nov 042014
 

 

Starting the day with a big breakfast is absolutely vital for my health and wellbeing, and it’s become a non-negotiable for me. Gone are the days when I used to grab a big bowl of sugar-filled muesli and a cup of instant coffee. These days, my favourite lemon drink and an ultimate breakfast chia seed pudding get me off on the right foot.

chia pudding.jpg.jpg

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Setting time: at least 4 hours (preferably leave overnight)

Makes: 1 generous breakfast pot

To store: I absolutely love these Ball mason jars, which they had in my local health food store. They keep the jar completely sealed until the next morning and travel well.

Ingredients:

This is completely up to you and you can just use whatever you fancy for the morning. There’s no set recipe!

In the pot above, I used:

  • a few teaspoons of vegan pea protein powder
  • a mashed up banana
  • some coconut cream
  • almond milk
  • chia seeds (a generous amount)
  • a teaspoon of bee pollen
  • two teaspoons of maca powder
  • two teaspoons of goji berries
  • two-three teaspoons of LSA (linseed, sunflower seed and almonds ground up)
  • two tablespoons of oats (uncooked)

The Hows:

  1. Add the chia seeds in first. The chia seeds will expand in liquid, so make sure you use a reasonable amount of liquid for the seeds to soak up (not too much though!)
  2. Add any ‘larger’ ingredients, such as the banana and the goji berries.
  3. Add in any liquids here. You can always use extra water as well, if you don’t have enough almond milk.
  4. Next, add all of the other ingredients.
  5. Stir through with a spoon, making sure that you mix in all of the ingredients at the bottom of the jar.
  6. Store in the fridge until the pudding has completely set and is a thick consistency. If you tip the jar over (with the lid on!), and there’s still liquid moving around, it needs a bit longer.

The Secret? Don’t put anything too large into the pudding- everything should be mashed up, or as ground up as possible.

chia pudding collage.jpg

Chia Pudding Additional Extras

The world really is your oyster here. You can change the ingredients to suit whatever you have in your pantry at the time and/or your dietary preferences.

  • Add some diary- some organic vanilla or flavoured yoghurt would be great.
  • Add some cooked quinoa for a bit of a change (click here for more quinoa recipes).
  • Add some cacao powder. It has heaps of antioxidants in it- why not have chocolate for breakfast?!
  • Experiment with different fruits- blend them up before adding them if necessary.

Have fun with this recipe- you can throw in whatever you like, as long as it binds with the mixture well.

What are you favourite breakfast recipes? Let me know below!

Love, Katie    xxx

Click here for more on nutritious, lasting energy snacks

Nov 032014
 

 

I’ve always been one of those ‘in the mind’ people- always reading, always thinking, always overthinking and generally believing that if I think and/or worry about something, I’ll reduce the risk of it happening and/or be incredibly prepared when it does. Did this ever really work? What do you think?!

My overactive mind is one of the things I really needed to tame when I was recovering from M.E (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), as I knew that I’d be right back where I started if I didn’t change my worry-wart, monkey brain. I was incredibly wary about starting though. For something so simple, the amount of different styles, theories and philosophies is absolutely baffling, in a similar way to yoga. It’s easy to feel intimidated- which one should you go with and what should it really look like?

meditation-valerie-graniou-cook‘Meditation’ artwork by Valerie Graniou-Cook

My Meditation Practice

The truth is meditation doesn’t necessarily need to look a certain way- let that go. You don’t need to sit cross-legged every morning chanting next to the ocean to reap the benefits. My meditation practice is 20 minutes in the morning and the evening, but it doesn’t always look exactly the same. Sometimes I’m quite happy to sit with my own thoughts, sometimes I’m in the mood for a little background music. Sometimes I want to sit upright, sometimes I’m ok to lounge. Do I slip sometimes? Of course, but the important thing is that I notice the effects when I don’t do it and I just get back into it again.

How to Start a Meditation Practice

Here are few tips if you’re just starting out:

  • Don’t necessarily think that clearing your brain of absolutely all thoughts is what we’re supposed to strive for in meditation (and we can drop the striving for a start). We’re human, and we have a mind and thoughts. It will grumble at you while you meditate, but don’t get frustrated with yourself when it does. Just come back to your breath- the more you do, the time you’ll spend ‘in’ meditation as opposed to being ‘out’ of it.
  • Drop the guilt for taking time out for yourself- don’t let this gorgeous, beautiful practice be filled with guilt and stress because you feel like you should be doing something else. Everything else after that will flow beautifully and magically (this also applies to yoga).
  • If you experience any uncomfortable or unusual thoughts during meditation, write them down afterwards from a place of non-judgment and child-like curiosity. You might just have uncovered something you’d forgotten about yourself.
  • Know that meditation can take many forms- walking is one of my favourite types of meditation. I just look at the clouds, the birds and think about how lucky I am. Yoga is a form of moving meditation, as is dancing and taking a shower. Even doing the dishes can be therapeutic for some people (hi Dad!) Let go of the need to make it look a certain way- you might have already started meditating and not even know it.

Whatever meditation looks and feels like for you, let go of the need to compare it with what others experience. All you have to do is take a deep breath…

Love and serenity,

Katie      xxx

Nov 012014
 

As well as accepting my illness, for me, asking for and more importantly, receiving help from others was incredibly difficult. I realised very quickly that not only did I not know how to ask for help, I also didn’t know how to accept help from others. There are several members of my family who are not just a little bit stubborn, but almost infamous for it! I didn’t think I was one of those people until I became ill with CFS when it showed up in a major way.

As you’ve probably got to know by now if you’ve been following my blog, I pride myself on being independent and doing things my own way. I’ve always been a little bit quirky and don’t tend to follow the crowd (this isn’t a deliberate choice, it just seems to happen that way!). Having to drop out of Uni in your first year and move back in with your parents after a CFS diagnosis is one way in which the universe made sure that from then on, I would have to collaborate and eventually ask for help from other people. I learned recently however that once you learn to do this, and receive help fully and graciously, there is a sense of power and amazing collaboration which appears…

…and my god, does it feel good.

The key in the early stages of any illness is recognising the ways in which people try and help you (more on this here). When I first moved home, I thought my parents were nagging the life out of me and really didn’t understand me. In hindsight however, this was their way of caring for me and making sure that my illness didn’t completely take over what was supposed to be a prime time in my life. After their loving care and injections of positivity, I attended Uni a year later and managed to complete my four-year course with a year in France to boot. I honestly believe that if they hadn’t helped me in this particular way, I may not have been able to attend Uni at all. They knew I was independent and stubborn, so basically forced their help on me. I wasn’t very good at being grateful at the time, but now I hope they know how grateful I am to them and I hope I can repay this gratitude through my actions in years to come.

Asking for help from someone in itself, especially in our world today, is a great sign of strength and character. By asking for help, you are admitting that you are vulnerable and need assistance, and there is great beauty in vulnerability. I would say that when you ask for help, 99% of the time the other person is grateful to be of service and to assist in whatever it is you are going through, be it asking when your bus is due, asking a neighbour to mind your cat for the weekend or asking for advice with a difficult personal problem. I take it as a compliment when people ask me for directions in the street- I must appear to be kind and approachable. I can’t always help them, but I am incredibly grateful to be asked.

brene

Picture of Brené Brown at TED taken from here

Receiving help is an art-form in itself, and one which I think the world needs more of. There is a quiet power in receiving help. We are one, we are all connected, so receiving help not only benefits you in the short term, but it creates a ripple effect. Your friend then asks someone else for help, then they ask their neighbour, and it continues. Decide whether you need help or whether you can truly and honestly take the responsibility on your own. As soon as you decide to ask for help, the butterflies in your stomach will tell you that you are moving out of your comfort zone and into this ripple effect, enabling you to receive graciously.

I feel strong and vulnerable when I ask for help, as it was a foreign concept to me for quite a while. Babies and children never fail to ask for help and receive it with love, and we should learn from them as adults. We grow and stand a little bit taller every time we do, the world appears brighter and people smile that little bit more often.

What do you need help with today? Ask with love and feel that little bit more grounded when you receive their assistant. We are one big community, full of ripples, and it feel gorgeous.

(For a little bit more on the concept of vulnerability, please sit back and watch this amazing TED talk by academic, speaker and writer, Brené Brown. I absolutely love this video and think being vulnerable is a humbling and inspirational attitude to have)

Love and vulnerability,

Katie   xx

Oct 282014
 
chronic fatigue help

 

The 4 Week CFS Transformation Project is here!

Slide1

Who is the project for?

– People with or recovering from CFS, Fibromyalgia, Adrenal Fatigue or anyone with an ongoing illness

– People who want to learn how to lead a brighter life and focus on the positive

– People who are looking to create long-term improvements to their physical and emotional health

What are we going to learn?

– Techniques to clear the mind and de-stress

– How to focus on actions in the past and lessons learned to move forward into the future

– How to calm the mind in order to calm the body

– How to use affirmations

– How to create manageable and sustainable plans for the future

– How to begin to understand the possible root cause of your illness and health difficulties

change

The project will involve joining a private Facebook group, weekly videos from me and some worksheets to help you. We can come together and help each other in healing, and really drill down into how to create lasting healing in your life.

Interested?

All you have to do is like my Facebook page and fill in your details below to receive updates before anyone else:

sign me up

Click above to register your interest!

The First Round of the Project finished in May 2014, but the next round will start very soon- watch this space!

Thank you so, so much for being a part of this- I’m really looking forward to connecting with you all!

In love and transformation,

Katie   xx

Oct 282014
 
joy

It’s hard to believe that you can have any fun at all when you’re ill and recovering. I remember lying in bed for hours on end thinking about all the fun other people were having without me, people with more energy and vitality than me, people who didn’t have to think about illness for a second while they were enjoying themselves.

Then I realised that my definition of ‘fun’ was all wrong. To me (and maybe to society), the epitome of fun was raucous party scenes and dancing until the early hours. I’ve never been much of party-goer, but always felt when I was growing up that this is what I should be doing- stumbling home drunk at whatever time in the morning and not being able to remember anything, because this is what my friends were doing.

Feeling comfortable with what you like to do and searching for your definition of fun can often take some time. Your definition of fun might not be the same as someone else’s and this is great- find your joy! You’re often under pressure from others and conform just so you feel like you belong. This includes going places when you don’t have the energy or feeling forced to do something because someone is telling you to snap out of it.

fun

Write a list of things you like to do.  I consider all these things fun, however geeky and strange they might sound. This is what makes me unique and I love myself for it:

How To Remember The Fun In Life

Writing to you lovely people
Reading spiritual books
Oprah’s amazing programme, Super Soul Sunday
Going to bed early / having a lie-in, and not feeling guilty or bad about it
Studying Energy Medicine
Listening to birds singing in the morning
Anything involving bright colours and stripes
Juices and smoothies
Raw chocolate
Chia seed puddings
Singing
Stumbling my way through yoga 
Writing letters and cards to people (on paper and sending them in an envelope!)
Talking with someone and really connecting with them
Someone really confiding in you
Angel cards
Danish crime dramas (I know!) and Foreign Films
Laughter and comedy
Reading in French and German
Anything to do with France and all things Paris
Breaking down sentences into grammatical points (I know, I need help!)
Batman
Men’s brown leather brogues made for girls and old-school satchels
Big jewellery
Chatting with a friend for hours on Facetime or on the phone
Sushi / anything Japanese
Going out of my comfort zone and being me

joyPicture taken from here- notice the bright colours! Fun!

This is a slightly unconventional list, but remember life is for living and being joyous. Love what you love and love it unashamedly. You can create fun from the smallest thing if you get pleasure from doing it and it brightens up your day.

Where can you find fun in your day today? Write a fun list and post it below or on Facebook! Can’t wait to see what you’ve written!

Love and joy,

Katie   xx

Oct 272014
 

 

I used to be one of those people who would throw a cup of instant coffee down their necks with breakfast, whether I wanted one or not, before heading out the door in the morning. I would barely even have time to taste it, I drank it so quickly and mindlessly. I would then make myself another cup of coffee when I got into work, then another cup of instant at lunch and after work, probably followed by one when I got home. I used to tell myself that drinking this amount of coffee was ok because, to be honest, I very rarely got to finish a cup (teachers out there around the globe will know what I mean on this one!)

Before moving to Australia in 2011, I decided to have a major caffeine cut-out, so I thought it’d be a great idea to go cold turkey. I woke up on day three with possibly the worst headache I’ve ever experienced in my life- the only thing that cured it was, you guessed it, coffee! So I went back to one cup a day, but pretty shortly after that I had no need for it at all. I felt calmer, less jittery and to be honest, saved a hell of a lot of money in take-out coffee (You know those moments when you’re waiting for a train and there’s a kiosk right next to you? 9 times out of 10 I would always grab a coffee, usually just for something to do).

Since then, I’ve become a huge herbal tea addict- I just can’t get enough. I truly belief that they can have amazing benefits on our bodies and I love exploring new tastes and combinations. However, another little gem has recently become a non-negotiable part of my morning routine and it’s the best start to the day you could give yourself.

lemon_flower

Image taken from Chocolate and Chard

Water with lemon- how I love you!

How To Do It

Simple! In the morning, squeeze about a quarter of a lemon (organic, if possible) into a cup, picking out any pips(!). Then, place one or two slices of lemon into the bottom of the cup, and pour on some filtered cold water (to about the half-way mark). Top the rest up with freshly boiled water, and you’re done!

This is completely down to taste and your preferences. One of my friends who’s studying nutrition told me not to just use boiling water and always to put some cold water in the bottom of the cup first, as the boiling water zaps all the vitamin C from the lemon if not. I might use more boiling water in winter and more cold water in summer.

You can also jazz it up with:

  •  a bit of raw honey
  • a dash of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • a few shavings of ginger
  • all of the above for the ultimate cold remedy!

lemon water

Why It’s So Flippin’ Great

  • It’s a really amazing ritual- for me, it’s become a sacred, mindful part of my morning routine.
  • It’s a great source of vitamin C, so boosts your immune system, giving you clearer skin and more energy. Lemons also contain potassium, great for your nerve and brain function.
  • Lemon in water helps to hydrate the body first thing in the morning, leading to your adrenal system being supported throughout the day.
  • Because lemons help to flush out unwanted materials from your body, they’re great for removing toxins.
  • The warm water can aid digestion, as unwanted particles are removed and the production of bile is stimulated, thereby calming the digestive system.
  • As soon as you take a drink, you’ll feel instantly awake. It really is one of the best substitutes for caffeine you could imagine. Take-outs, be gone!

So there we have it! Have you tried lemon in water before? How did you feel after drinking it? I’d love to hear your thoughts below. Give it a go!

Love and lemons,

Katie     xx

For more on caffeine and nutrition, click here.

Oct 202014
 

 

Hands up and being honest here, my knowledge of the work of naturopaths is limited at best, but I do know that people have had amazing results from working one-to-one with these knowledgeable people. So, I knew there was only one person I could ask about this. I knew I had to as for a guest interview with Claire from Claire’s Holistic Pursuits.

I had the privilege of meeting this lovely lady a few months ago and she is so incredibly passionate, just brimming with enthusiasm for what she does. Her website is just beautiful and I love the way she writes- honestly, whole-heartedly, but with a bit of a whip of humour and light. (Try her Skin Elixir- it’s amazing! Click here for more details!)

Ladies and gentlemen, let me present, my beautiful Claire from Claire’s Holistic Pursuits! (Woohoo!)

Web Profile Pic cropped pic monkied

1) Describe yourself in 3 words.

Joy-seeking, passionate + veggie loving!

2) Why did you decide to become a Naturopath and what have you learned in your journey?

I decided while I was still teenager that the natural way was my way. Having my own health concerns + being left with no answers after going the medical route, naturopathy handed them to me almost instantly. I was sold!

It just makes so much more sense to me that the body is a complex interplay of a multitude of systems, how can one part of the body be treated without perhaps examining another? The fact that it’s rarely so cut + dry is why I sometimes think so many people feel the medical world has failed them. Viewing things holistically I’m more about bringing your life + body back into a natural alignment so it can thrive with minimal symptoms + maximum vitality. (Amen! – K)

3) For anyone who doesn’t know about the role Naturopaths play, what do they do and how can they help?

I really view my job as addressing diet + lifestyle related diseases from a holistic view. The nature of a doctor’s prescription targets the one specific organ or system that is diseased. Conversely, I’ll attempt to treat the same disease with natural tools whilst attempting to understand the interplaying factors within your whole being + how they are impacting on your health.

For example, a doctor prescribes antibiotics for a bacterial chest infection: a common + effective treatment. However, their treatment will always be the same if you find yourself getting 6 colds a year, still unable to shake the last one or always just feel run down. That’s where a naturopath’s strengths come into play. I would attack the infection using herbs + nutrients, but would also go on a search as to why you keep getting them in the first place. I’m here to create lasting change + educate you on what’s going on in that amazing body of yours!

My main forms of treatment are generally diet + lifestyle recommendations, herbal medicine + nutritional therapy. As a whole my profession really tries to gauge the root cause of your presentation so we can get you back on the road of lasting health + wellness!

4) Do you have any Naturopath tips for those with flagging energy levels or CFS?

I think a big key is to listen to your body’s messages, be kind + accept that if it’s taken several years (or decades!) to develop, its okay to give yourself enough time + space to work through it too.

We get told the answer to low energy, weight gain or a foggy head is just try harder/ hit the gym for longer/ decrease your calories.

Instead, consider taking a more gentle approach. Take your life + walk it hand in hand back to health. Eat plenty of easily digestible + nourishing foods like soups, stews, smoothies + veggies. Undertake nourishing exercise like yin yoga, walks + meditation.

A big one: give your adrenals so much love! These guys are the soldiers that come in to battle against all the stress we fight against each day, and eventually go on strike if they’ve been working too long without a break. Great herbs like Passionflower, Rhodiola + Siberian Ginseng will help to nurture them + you to heal.

It’s a time of continually putting energy back in, every day. Don’t feel guilty for doing it; it comes to be an act of survival to do so!

5)   What was the inspiration behind your website, ‘Claire’s Holistic Pursuits’?

The main message behind my website is one of self care. Its about giving you some practical tools to understand your body + health better, so you can implement some tweaks + changes to your life that will lead to dazzling vitality.

6)   What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your health?

I love a good green smoothie (grab my downloadable recipe card here!), ample rest, daily sunshine, heaps of good fats to feed my skin, moving my body + quelling toxic relationships. The closer to nature my life is + the simpler it is, the easier it is to be healthy!

Image 6

Claire’s amazing green smoothie!

7) What do you do if you’re having an ‘off’ day?

More + more I’m just starting to go with it. Knowing myself, I’m the kinda gal to have an off day + bounce back the next when I’ve had some time to wade through the funk, understand why I’m feeling sub-par + re-enter the world reinvigorated.

So if you’re feeling crappy, don’t think you have to smother it with a positive affirmation or paste on a smile. Sometimes giving your emotions space to surface allows you to understand more about yourself + why you’re feeling low in the first place.

Overall I believe it’s a fine balance between healthy expression of emotion + taking actionable steps to remedy how you feel.

8) If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?

I’m a passionate advocate that health cannot truly be addressed without taking into consideration the mental + emotional aspects that make you whole.

  • How can you stop drinking alcohol if there’s past emotional hurt your attempting to quiet?
  • How can you reform your relationship with exercise if you loathe the body you inhabit?
  • How can you kick your sugar addiction if it gets you through your daily stressors?

Yes, dealing with things on a physical level can do amazing things for your health. But lasting change? It’s so incredibly powerful + it comes from within.

9) What’s next for your life and your website?

Ahh, this is an exciting one!! In the grand scheme of things my website is still relatively new, so I am very excited to be bringing my lovely readers some juicy resources in the coming months. Long term my vision is to offer many layers of naturopathic knowledge + care from my online platform, so anyone regardless of location, time constraints or financial position will be able to receive some high quality health information with a big dose of love!

10) What’s one wellness secret that you could let us in on? (Ssshhh!)

I would say to make protein + good fat your friends while saving carbohydrates for your side dish. Filling up on good quality protein + good fat sources leaves you with a steady, slow releasing energy source that will keep your firing on all cylinders for hours.

Blood sugar drops + peaks keep you in a cycle of weight gain, fatigue, foggy thoughts + sugar cravings. So skip the sandwich at lunch time + have a big salad with some sweet potato or pumpkin instead – we need carbs for energy yes, but not as our predominate nutrient!

11) Any words of advice or support for CFS readers

Strip away from your life the advice or jargon of those who have sales targets or a marketing team. Their best interests are not yours. Instead, align yourself with nature as much as possible + unplug from this modern world. You will instead return to life + health as it should be: easy, simple + amazing.

Thank you lovely Claire! (You see? Told you she was pretty special!)

homepage image

Claire Murray is a qualified naturopath + creator of Claire’s Holistic Pursuits, an online space dedicated to self-care + aiding people in discovering their unique version of health. She aims to make self care practical, understandable + relatable through bringing tools, information + inspiration for natural living. She believes in the inherent ability of the human body to provide the answers from within to achieve dazzling + lasting health. 

Connect with Claire on Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Pinterest  //  Instagram

Oct 192014
 

Thought for Today on Energy

Let energy flow through you effortlessly. Even if you think there is nothing to spare, there is an abundance of energy which you can access now.

Let to flow to every part, membrane and cell of your body.

Affirm its existence.

Be peaceful. Be brave. Be bold. Be reassured.

Energy

Image taken from here

Love, Katie    xxx

Oct 182014
 

 

Aaah, chakras- one of my all time favourite subjects! As you may have read in this article I wrote a while ago on Energetic Healing, chakras form the basis of many amazing healing modalities. I’ve read countless books on chakras and there’s no way I’ll stop learning any time soon! If you’ve always been curious about chakras, but don’t have a clue where to start, here are few pointers:

What are chakras?

Chakras are, in very basic terms, 7 energetic centres which our energy flows through. Often when our emotions are out of balance, these centres become blocked which can manifest as illness, aches or pains in the body, so it’s important to know which centres are which and how we can balance them.

Where are they located and what do they represent?

7-chakras-beginners

The above diagram shows you whereabouts the chakras are located in your body. Each colour represents a chakra and has certain emotional feelings or attributes attached to it:

Root Chakra (Chakra 1 / Red) – Represents feeling ‘rooted’ or grounded, represent our foundation and stability

Location: base of the spine / tailbone area

Emotional issues linked with this chakra: survival issues and all issues related to this , such as money, food, family, security and financial independence.

Sacral Chakra (Chakra Two / Orange) – Represents creativity, sex and your ability to accept new relationships/situations into your life

Location: lower abdomen about 2 inches below the navel

Emotional issues linked with this chakra: sense of pleasure, enjoyment, abundance, sexuality

Solar Plexus (Chakra Three / Yellow) – Represents confidence, thoughts and feelings, and our ability to be in control of our lives

Location: upper abdomen/stomach area

Emotional issues linked with this chakra: self-confidence, self-esteem, positive mental attitudes and thoughts, self-worth

Heart Chakra (Chakra 4 – Green) – Represents our ability to love and be loved, to enjoy what we love

Location: centre of chest, just above the heart

Emotional issues linked with this chakra: joy, love, compassion, inner peace

Throat Chakra (Chakra 5 – Blue) – Represents our ability to communicate clearly and to speak our truth

Location: the throat

Emotional issues linked with this chakra: communication, self-expression, expressing your truth, creativity

Third Eye Chakra (Chakra 6 – Indigo) – Represents our ability to see the big picture, inner knowing, insight and vision

Location: on your forehead, between your eyes

Emotional issues linked with this chakra: ability to think clearly and make decisions, intuition, wisdom, imagination

Crown Chakra (Chakra 7 – Violet) – Represents our ability to connect fully with our spiritual selves

Location: at the very top of your head (at the crown)

Emotional issues linked with this chakra: pure bliss, inner and outer beauty, our connection to our own spirituality, divine wisdom

Why are chakras important?

In order for our bodies to function in an optimal way, all of our 7 chakras need to be balanced and allowing our energy to flow smoothly through our bodies. If one of the energy centres is not functioning well, then the others won’t function as well as they should. Some of them can even work too much or too hard (the third eyes, over-thinking chakra is typical of this!), which also sends our bodies and emotions into free-fall.

These days, it’s incredibly difficult to keep them balanced- we’re all rushing around, worried about what others think of us and not taking adequate time out for ourselves, but there are ways you can do it that are incredibly simple and mostly free! Check back tomorrow for more details!

I really hope this has helped you my lovely. Stayed tuned for more information tomorrow on how to tell if these chakras are out-of-whack and how you can heal them simply and easily.

Love and abundant energy,

Katie    xxx

 

Oct 152014
 

 

I’m absolutely delighted today to be interviewing the beautiful Lizzy Goddard from The Pillow Fort, a Chronic Illness support website, which is really making waves. Lizzy has created an absolutely beautiful community for those with Chronic Illness and is a shining example for those who live with CFS or Fibromyalgia every day.

Lizzy has not only created an amazing website, but several online support communities, as well as an online magazine and gorgeous shop. Her website is just glowing with hope and positivity and I can’t wait for you to read this interview. I really love what she has to say about feeling better, blazing your own trail and looking after number one.

I’m also incredibly grateful to Lizzy for supporting my website and being a faithful follower. Yey!

Let me stop talking for a while(!) and let’s hear from lovely Lizzy…

Love, Katie     xxx

Lizzy Goddard

Introducing Lizzy Goddard from The Pillow Fort..!

 

1) Describe how you would love everyone to feel in 3 words.

Enthusiastic, appreciated and free.

(My Core Desired Feelings are: Calm. Secure, Helpful, Open, Evolution and Alive). (Click here for more on Danielle LaPorte’s ‘Desire Map’).

2) Describe yourself in 3 words.

Driven, passionate and organised.

3) What inspired you to create your website and community, ‘The Pillow Fort’?

Originally, I posted a picture on Instagram of a PJ top that said, ‘Sleep is my therapy’, and then a couple of weeks later a photo of my microwavable slippers. The chronic illness community I was half part of went wild for them and a little light bulb went off. As I started to map out my idea, I thought the focus was going to be on selling cute/fun, but practical stuff for younger people living with chronic illness because I find a lot of disability aids rather clinical and marketed at old people.

It wasn’t until I started working with Rebecca Tracey, through her course Uncage Your Business that I realised that wasn’t quite the message I was going for. She managed to really hone down my message to the idea that life with chronic illness gets so much better when you start focusing on the positives. I know this to be true myself, and at that time had already distanced myself from a lot of ‘wallowy’ chronic illness communities because I just felt worse after reading endless pages about how awful life is with chronic illness.

It was at this point that the focus of The Pillow Fort really became combatting chronic illness with positivity and fun. I’d planned to make a community associated with The Pillow Fort already, but the Pillow Fighters Club has taken off beyond anything I could imagine. There’s only one rule: Positivity Only. Oh, and it’s exclusively for young(ish) people, about 30ish and under. Every day I’m surprised by the sheer level of engagement, originality and support my Pillow Fighters deliver!

4) I know that you suffer from CFS, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Migraines- could you share a little bit of your story with us?

My story is like many others’! Top student, national level athlete, all the potential in the world. Then at 16, bam. CFS. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was almost 21, which in many ways was a blessing as much as a curse. I thrived at University, but then was elected to a sabbatical Executive Officer position in my Students’ Union. It was too much for my body (and mind) and pushed me into fibromyalgia and depression. I (perhaps stupidly) kept on pushing through though. My mental and physical health was just a pile of mush on the floor by the end of 2012.

Today I’d say I have mild CFS and occasional migraines. I think it’d be fair to say I’m completely recovered from depression and Fibromyalgia now, which is fantastic, although I’m very quick to pick up on the warning signs for either. 

Pillow Fort magazineClick here for more information on The Pillow Fort magazine

 

5) Is there any one thing that really improves your symptoms or is a combination of different approaches?

It’s a combination, for sure. I’m trying to look back at the moment and see the path that led me to this point so I can share my journey with others, but nothing of note stands out! Part way through 2013 I stumbled across Conquering Fear Spiritually (thanks my darling! – Katie), which led me on this glorious trail around the internet to this new world of positivity, inspiration, spirituality, mind-body medicine, mindfulness and more. I started working with a fantastic health coach at the start of this year, coming off all my pain medication and generally cleaning up my diet. I started regularly doing 10-15 mins a day of yoga.

My mental health improved to the best it’s ever been, which has had a tremendously positive knock-on effect on my physical health. I’ve just got so much more ‘cope’ for the bad days now.

My toolbox just keeps growing: mindfulness, meditation, EFT, diet, dry body brushing, yoga, affirmations, oracle cards, self-care, Law of Attraction, energy healing, crystal healing. I’m very much from a scientist background, and have been a staunch atheist/humanist for many years. For the longest time all this ‘woo woo’ stuff went against everything I thought I believed in, but I’ve now decided to suspend judgement on it all. Who cares if it’s the placebo effect? Cumulatively it’s keeping me happy and healthy and that’s good enough for me!

6) What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your health?

The biggest one for me is that I don’t do things I don’t want to do! I was so trapped in this cycle of agreeing to do something, not really wanting to do it, getting so worked up about having to do it that my health would take a nosedive, then cancel doing it ‘because of my health.’ It meant that I was always cancelling things ‘because of my health’, and feeding into the idea that my health stopped me doing things. Now I make sure to check in with my gut feeling about something before I agree to it and I only do things I actually want to do.

7) How has fear appeared in your life and what do you do when it does?

Like many people who get struck down with CFS, I’m a very Type A person. It’s only now on my recovery journey, and knowing a lot more about the spiritual concepts of love and fear, that I’m able to see a lot of my ‘problems’ have arisen from fear and my ego being allowed to run the show. I think a few years ago I was extremely fearful of what life would be like if I did live up to my ‘potential’. I’ve completely had to redefine what success means to me, and focus on being happy now. I was very wrapped up in the whole ‘more more more’ culture and it was frying my brain. I think I’ve really had to sit down with my fear about who I am if I’m not doing all the things, for all the people, all the time. In many ways, my CFS has caused me to completely re-examine who I am and what I value. That’s been my greatest lesson on this recovery journey.

I must admit, that when I first found your website I had absolutely no idea what on earth the name (Conquering Fear Spiritually) meant. But looking back, that’s exactly what I’ve done. The more I’ve gone down the spiritual path, the greater understanding I have of how I’ve got myself into this mess, and how I can get myself out.

8) What do you do or say to yourself if you’re having an ‘off’ day?

I’m kind to myself. I remind myself it’s a bad day, not a bad life. It doesn’t mean the start of a relapse, tomorrow will be better. I’ll usually watch TV in bed and eat yummy things (hopefully that won’t make me feel like utter crap the next day). Nearly everything on my to-do list can wait until tomorrow. If for any reason it’s an off few weeks and I’ve lost my flow, I’ll then put an auto responder on my email and perhaps make a Facebook/Twitter post to let people know that I’m taking some ‘me-time’ to recuperate. I’ve found people to respond really well to the honesty and give me the space and time I need.

9) What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’ve just started a part time job (3 days a week) for the first time in over 2 years! It’s really helping me focus what I’m doing with The Pillow Fort and what will be of most benefit to my audience. The main two things I’m working on right now are an ebook/ecourse all about goals for people with chronic illness, due out late October, and the magazine subscription bundles which will be available in November. More often than not though I’ll have a weird/random idea and I’ll do it instantly – so my mailing list is the best place to hear all things new at The Pillow Fort!

10) Any other words of support and encouragement to share with my readers.

The usual ‘keep going’ stuff really! It was 7 years after I became ill, and 3 years after my CFS diagnosis that I stumbled across this world that finally turned out to be the sign post for my healing journey. Life’s an awful lot easier now I go with the flow a lot more, and I’m not constantly straining to feel a certain way at a certain time. Life has ups and downs and I’m learning to except and embrace that.

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Lizzy Goddard is the founder of The Pillow Fort, a glorious chronic illness-positivity-thriving-youngish people hybrid-fusion-mix thing. After realising that wallowing in chronic illness communities just made her feel worse, she’s now on a mission to make chronic illness suck less through fun and positivity. The Pillow Fort consists of a digital magazine, a community, blog, a shop selling physical products and more.

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Find Lizzy at: her website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter

Oct 102014
 

 

Quinoa- you’re either completely devoted to it or have no idea what all the fuss is about. Once you’ve figured out how to pronounce the bloomin’ thing (apparently it’s ‘keen-wah’), the next thing you need to sort out is how to use it.

porridge

Image taken from The Holistic Ingredient

Now, fret ye not. This beautiful and versatile grain is worth persevering with and does indeed live up to the hype as an amazing source of protein, full of essential amino acids, including folic acid and a good source of magnesium. It’s also gluten-free- what’s not to love?! I remember getting a bit of a shock when I went to see a naturopath a few years ago to see if there was anything  else I could do to optimise my diet. We discovered that there was very little protein in my diet- not great! Being a vegan, I had been prioritising iron and vitamins over protein, so quinoa was a great remedy!

Although incorporating quinoa into salads and meals at lunch and dinner is unbeatable, I find that eating quinoa for breakfast really sets me up for the day and keeps the 11am stomach grumbles at bay (oooh, that rhymes!) When my sleep cycle was at its worst, I used to skip breakfast completely and my first meal of the day would often be breakfast, lunch and early dinner combined! I have a fast metabolism, so I’m definitely not one of those people who can’t skip breakfast or just get by on a piece of toast.

Quinoa is such a great food, and it’s incredibly versatile. If you cook a batch of quinoa, you can then leave it in the fridge to have cold in a salad or to heat up again (thoroughly). The batch should be good for around 2-3 days.

QUINOA-PORRIDGE

Image taken from here

So, read on for some ideas as to how to get your day started with quinoa:

1)   Quinoa Porridge

Cook your quinoa in water, your favourite nut milk or, for an extra special treat, coconut milk (mmmm!) for a beautiful breakfast that’ll really get your day started on the right foot.  Adding a sliver of coconut oil into the pot while it’s cooking can also be great way to incorporate it into your meal.

Top with maca powder or goji berries, mix with raw honey or nut butter, add a sprinkle of raw cacao and some fruit- whatever takes your fancy!

2)   Quinoa Pancakes

Add cooked quinoa into your pancake mix together with your usual ingredients. Better still, use quinoa flakes or only use quinoa flour in the recipe to give your pancakes a bit of a nutritional boost- add some LSA or almond meal if you like as well. You can also make bread with quinoa flour and eat with your favourite nut butter. Perfect for a lazy weekend brunch!

3)   Quinoa Smoothies

Errrm, what now?! Yep, go for it! It’s all going into the blender anyway and will make you want to polish your nutritional halo because you’ve been so good to yourself. Put about half a cup-full into a smoothie for each person and off you go! (Perfect for those wanting a bit of a protein hit as well)

4)   Quinoa Egg scramble

Again, a bit of a hit with my other half for a hearty weekend brunch, while your quinoa is cooking, lightly scramble some eggs and tear/chop up some strips of kale. Combine altogether with some flaxseed oil and a bit of turmeric and top with almonds and coconut flakes. Fabulous!

5)   Quinoa Muesli or Cereal

After having grumbled for so long about not being able to find the perfect muesli in health food shops, I decided to make my own. I know exactly what’s going in it and it means I don’t have to pick out all the sultanas that people seem to be so fond of putting in muesli (not the biggest fan!)

A great alternative to dried oats, quinoa puffs (available in big bags at most health food shops) are a great alternative to quinoa is you fancy mixing it up a bit, as are quinoa flakes. Go crazy and choose your custom-made breakfast muesli! Sunflower seeds, flaxseed, inca berries, raw cacao nibs, dehydrated fruit- the sky’s the limit!

So there we have it- my mouth’s watering already! I’d love to hear how you use quinoa for breakfast or if you’re still to try it- all hail the most important meal of the day!

Love and quinoa,

Katie     xxx

 

Sep 262014
 

 

This post was reblogged from an article I had published on MindBodyGreen.

Wellness overload? Is there such a thing?!

wellness overload

Enough already!

Well, a few months ago, I was pretty close to it. I was doing apple cider vinegar, visualization, and rose quartz, but I wasn’t doing bean sprouts, mudras or clearing rooms with sage.

I was more overwhelmed than ever. I wanted to be doing everything at once, I wanted to be the very picture of wellness, right now! However, when these thoughts sent me into blind panic, I knew I had to take a deep breath and reign myself in, before I ditched the world of wellness forever never to return.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved reading about nutrition, spirituality, self-improvement and yoga, and I still do.

However, it’s all too easy for us to forget that people who are new to this area, and even seasoned readers and students, might find themselves baffled from time to time. What in the name of Ayurveda is oil-pulling? How much coconut oil is too much? How can I remember that what my yoga instructor calls Balasana (Child’s Pose) is what I usually call, “Good grief, I’m tired and need a rest” pose? Why are chia seeds so small and fiddly? Third eye? (I was convinced we only had two!)

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Luckily (phew!), there are a few things you can do to incorporate the knowledge you’ll find on this website into your daily life, gradually and so it works for you:

1. Take it slowly.

Don’t try and quit coffee overnight if you’ve been drinking 4 cups a day for as long as you can remember. Try going down to 3. Then, when you feel you’ve got a handle on it, go down to 2, then 1. Remember that some people take caffeine better than others and you might still like a cup of coffee once in a while, it’s OK.

2. Focus on one thing at a time.

Recently you read about oil pulling. You think you’ve just got the hang of it, when suddenly you keep reading about chakra alignment. Well, you’d better go do that as well then! Stop. Take a step back. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Give yourself time to incorporate new habits and routines into your lifestyle. Build up the good habits rather than doing too much too soon, ending up not doing anything and feeling demoralised as a result.

3. Go easy on yourself.

So, you ate a piece of cake to celebrate someone’s birthday at work, but it was probably loaded with sugar and wasn’t made with raw chocolate. Sometimes, life’s too short. Instead of berating yourself, remember that you were celebrating a special day in someone’s life- be grateful for this opportunity and enjoy.

4. Stop comparing yourself to other people.

Your best friend goes to yoga 5 times a week, has newly toned upper arms, and you can’t stop comparing yourself to her. You only manage it once a week if you’re lucky. (Which, by the way, is enough to reap the benefits!) Your friend’s probably comparing herself to you…right…now. Everyone does it. Be kind to others, including yourself. Everyone has their own battles to face. Don’t make yours any harder by wasting energy wishing you were someone else. Use this energy to celebrate you.

5. Find what works for you.

I always feel as though I should be going to yoga at 6am, but I know that I feel better if I go to a later class. If you’ve been reading up about going raw, but it’s freezing outside and all you want to do is eat soup, make yourself something hot, nourishing and delicious. Listen to your body and make all these amazing lifestyle changes work in your favour.

 

We have access to an amazing wealth of knowledge on this website, but don’t be bamboozled. Be grateful, start slow and love your decisions, whether you decide to implement changes into your life or not. Love your mind, love your life, love your body.

Love and wellness,

Katie    xxx