Defining Relationships

When I was a child, I watched all those Disney movies. You know the ones where the lady meets her knight and shining armor? I grew up on TV programs like Saved by the Bell and 90210 and dreamed of the typical American things: to grow up and be able to drive, to wear red high heels with blue jeans, to have fancy clothes, to drive around in a convertible, to be a princess. I wanted to meet my prince charming and have my white wedding.

I did, at one time, really believe that these were things I needed and wanted. My life was set up for me because in every context this was the message, subliminal or not, that was sent to me: you should grow up and get married and have kids. Think “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast” or the “Little Mermaid” or any programme on TV- we’re just women floundering out here waiting for a man to rescue us. I played with Ken and Barbie dolls, who of course were a married couple living in my giant doll house. My monogamous committed-to-eternity parents also instilled these concepts deep into my brain- my mother was a stay-at-home mom who took care of us while my dad made the bread. Every white picket fence house around the corner emulated the same concepts.

My lifelong vision of a family was what I had in front of me and what I saw at home, with my friends, in publicity, on TV- everywhere. It was, and still is, a deeply ingrained social concept.

But was this the life I had to mimic? Was I just destined to do the same: grow up, finish college, get a job, get married and buy a house? Why is this context of life and relationships still so age old?

According to Oxford dictionary, a relationship is: “the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected.”

So, when along the way did relationship definitions become so tightly monogamous, so innately long-term or even life-long? When did they become end-of-the-road marriages or have to include the idea of kids to be a complete “family”? Since when did we all decide we were “meant” for someone else? That we were all destined to be swept off of our feet? Or we’d find “prince charming”? I won’t even touch on the homophobic, gender generic, and at times racist connotations that are ingrained in these relationship models.

Hm, maybe all those Disney movies had something to do with it.

After living in Europe for the past 12 years and here today a fully grown, single woman at 37, life has given me a lot of insight on what healthy relationships should and can be and how our age-old traditional notions on committed relationships can even be quite toxic. Side note: I AM NOT AN EXPERT. In fact, my opinions are this are ever-changing which I find exhilarating, honest, and necessary. I really believe healthy, loving, honest relationships, whether intimate or platonic, are based around strong connections and the right intrinsic energy- those where you bind with someone because of core values & morals, shared intellect and interests, and where together you see the potential of learning from each other and/or together. And I will go as far to say that these relationships can happen simultaneously, or if sexual can be non-monogamous, and that we may live out any of our relationships in very short or long terms.

We’ve spent too much time on the “one person for life” tag that we haven’t given ourselves the leeway to think outside the box and grasp the idea that MAYBE relationships can be very different from what we’ve learned since childhood. Maybe they have a much broader or narrower scope and can adapt as we grow older and change.

This TED talk video by Christopher Ryan discusses the outlook on sexuality and human relationships (based on biological and animalistic history and tendencies). An American author and psychologist, Mr. Ryan has released similar work in his book Sex at Dawn. We can start to pick apart the reason why we’ve spent lifetimes believing in monogamous marriages, when in fact, perhaps we are not meant to be monogamous “animals”.

I knew that something about me was different when my turn finally came to tie the knot. I stood inside a tiny church in the Basque Country with the man I was in love with, about to sign the papers to be married. I’ll never forget the feeling in my gut: “This isn’t going to work out”. It was so clear and so telling, that I immediately compensated that thought with: “Who cares / Whatever.” Literally, that was my second thought. I had been implanting “whatevers” in my head since I was 16 so I didn’t have to deal or investigate the things that I really wanted.

Something very valuable did not come to me until well into my 30’s. Basically after three horrendously toxic relationships (not including the man I was married to), I started to really come to terms with the fact that latching on to people that were not right for me to satisfy some goal that was not even mine was wasting my time and my life. I had grown up and become obsessed with the fact that I needed to be in a relationship: I was willing to be emotionally dependent with all the wrong people so that I wasn’t alone. So that I could make my parents happy. So I could start working on that marriage path. So I could have kids.

But my relationships were ugly. The men were non-committal, not willing to be serious or think about really investing in a life together. Some of them were narcissists. My last boyfriend actually made me believe I should be a different person so that I could have a happier life. What I was used to doing was SETTLING. Pulling the wool over my eyes and letting some other mediocre human tell me that if i just changed something about myself – if i just could relax more, if I just was a little thinner, if I just didn’t drink so much or laugh so hard or have such a hot temper- if I just changed, I could be married.

And suddenly I snapped out of it: why in the world would I do any of those things? Do I undervalue myself just so I could be in some committed relationship? Why would I sacrifice loving and respecting exactly how I am just to keep going on with some other person; the same person who was able to rationalize a 3 day silent treatment because they were angry? How much pain and suffering was I willing to endure just to “be” with someone?

Cut to a few years later.

Self-discovery and time off from this toxicity gave me much more than I expected. Through the process of self-realization in yoga and discovering who I really am (with all the scary weak parts), I would gather that something was off for me in how I acted in my relationships. It was time to put all the bullshit aside and start something new and fresh. A new way of thinking, loving, connecting, and filtering toxicity with anyone I would meet in my life.

Check out this eye-opening video on non-monogamy and polyamory. It’s one of many informative videos that has given my perspective over the years.

It is essential to dig dip. I believe that self discovery is the best place to start when finding what kind of relationship dynamic is right for you. And, like it has for me, it can change over time, depending on the person you are with and a multiple of other factors. I do not necessary define myself with any term like “polyamorous” or “non-monogamous” etc. I wouldn’t even say that my next relationship has to be closed or open- it just really depends on the connection and what real core values and synchronicity you have with any person you meet that you wish to engage with.

I would start by asking the questions: Why can’t we define love based off the terms that we find satisfying with our partner? Or our multiple partners? Why can’t women in their 30s feel good about being single (which doesn’t mean that be are lonely)? Why can’t we deviate from traditional definitions of being in love to real, pure, universal love? Can we stop comparing our path with those who did end up married at 28 with three kids? And can we understand that maybe that’s not what we want, need, or value anymore?

Investigate. Ask questions. Do it with your long-term sweety. Do it alone. But more than anything, engage in your relationships the way that makes YOU feel good.

I’ll leave you with one more exceptional video by Mandy Len Catron about the real meaning of love. After all, our end goal here is always the same:

LOVE AND BE LOVED.

Tumeric Paste

We’ve all heard it! Tumeric is a miraculous spice that dates back thousands of years in India. Tumeric contains a compound called curcumin which is a great natural anti-inflammatory and a strong anti-oxidant. Why not add a little Tumeric to your morning coffee? Or sip it during the day in the now popularized “Golden Milk”. Or how about adding a bit to curry recipes, warm carrot and pumpkin soups or hot broths in winter?

Whatever the recipe, this paste is handy and ready to add to your favorite Indian recipe.

Because curcumin is poorly absorbed into the blood stream, we need to heat it and add black pepper which can increase absorption by 2,000%. You can add a little bit of coconut oil and cinnamon for added flavour and health benefits too!

Let’s get to making the paste- it’s so simple and you can store it for use for up to two weeks.

What you need:

  • A 30g spice bottle of organic tumeric powder (can get this at most organic food shops or local supermarkets) – see image!
  • Appx. 1/2 cup mineral water (use good water!)
  • 2-3 teaspoons of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (optional)
  • Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

I literally eyeball the entire recipe. Add all ingredients to a pop and bring to a boil stirring frequently. You’ll will notice that it will start to turn to a paste rather quickly. Once it does, you’re done! Take it off the heat, pour the paste into a glass jar for storing, and that’s it!

For my “Golden Coffee”, I mix up a healthy teaspoon of the paste, vegan milk (I use rice & coconut), more cinnamon and a splash of Agave to a 1/2 cup of black organic coffee. I don’t use drip- I use an Italian Moke pot for stronger expresso. So yummy and a good healthy morning kick!

Overnight Pumpkin Spice Oats (Vegan!)

Yum! This is one of my favorite breakfast treats! And breakfast is my favorite part of the day 🙂

Best made in-season with pumpkin or butternut squash:

Ingredients:

  • Half butternut squash chopped & peeled
  • 2-3 carrots chopped & peeled
  • A small 200 ml can or box of coconut cream
  • 1 cup whole wheat or normal oats (organic, not quick oats!)
  • Appx. 2 tablespoons of Chía seeds
  • A few pinches of cinnamon
  • A couple squirts of agave or honey if not vegan

Toppings:

  • Coconut yogurt or Sheep Kefír/ greek yogurt if not vegan
  • 1 teaspoon ground flax seed
  • Pumpkin/Sesame seeds and mixed nuts
  • Any fresh fruit: I like banana and blueberry
  • Coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of organic, natural peanut butter

Boil your carrots and squash or pumpkin until soft. Drain most of the liquid (leave about 1/4 c water). Add back to pot with the coconut cream. Mix with a hand mixer or if you have a blender (or fancier), use that! Add cinnamon and agave and blend until smooth.

Add some of your blended squash mixture to a large jar and add your chía seeds and oats. Mix with a spoon. Fill up the jar with more squash mixture and oats until full! Seal tight and leave in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.

When it’s ready, spoon 1/2 c of your overnight pumpkin oats into a bowl. Add approx. 1/4 coconut yogurt (or sweetened Kefír or greek yogurt if you aren’t a vegan) and all your toppings! If you like it a bit sweeter don’t be afraid to add a bit more agave or honey.

Enjoy!

Kombucha

Sweet, efervescente, home-made kombucha

Kombucha is a new adventure. This sweet fermented tea dates back thousands of years ago and is known for its probiotic properties. Meaning, it’s good for your tummy and keeps overall digestion happy and healthy. Because it’s normally made with black or green tea, it’s also uplifting, effervescent and energizing!

I’m going to teach you how to make it today 🙂

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Put Her in a Box.

Continue reading “Put Her in a Box.”

Hello, Ego.

Egomaniac. Egotistical. Superegoist. Having a big fat ego.

Wait, what does having an ego even mean? When we use the word “ego” we often automatically think of people that are self-centered or pompous, self-serving and sometimes even narcissistic. They might like to toot their own horn, be a bit of a braggart and be wrapped up in themselves.

But when we get down to the core of ego, the truth is that we all have one. And while having an ego might be a way to describe someone’s inflated opinion of themselves, it’s actually also assisting that little voice inside our heads. You know the one- running it’s mouth to you all day. Telling you what to think, do and feel. Yeah, your mind. Well, the ego is the mediator between a situation that occurs and how we react and then attach ourselves to that situation through feelings, emotions and thought processes. Basically, we overly associate incidents with ourselves (our “I” and our ego) and becoming overly emotionally invested in these incidents. Our ego can even convince us of quite the opposite of stuck-up; it might even make us feel insecure, unworthy, or incompetent.

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Hatha Raja Yoga Flow

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A full intermediate “coffee cup” class! I had to edit some things down, and so my head is cut off in a few segments. I’m not used to filming longer sequences on my own, but I had to share today’s beautiful fiery practice.

You can also find the video on my YouTube Channel 😁😊

Namaste beautiful yoguis. 🌎

I forgive you.

Dear You. I am writing to tell you that I’ve moved on. It took me a long time, and even though I still feel moments of anger and sorrow, I can finally say that I no longer love you.  I lived trapped with you in a roller coaster of emotions; between love and fear, anxiety and pain, and some sick yet sweet knowing that we had to stay in it.  No matter how ugly, we would see things through, lick our wounds, and stay together. Even if that meant upholding violence, resentment, moments of hatred, abuse and vile behaviour. The very low lows, met with those very high highs. 

I got out.

Looking back I can see how far in over my head I was, living in a cycle of abuse I did not know was abnormal. You were my drug. I was entrapped in the ups and downs of psychological manipulation: losing my sense of self to please you, withstanding endless gaslighting, believing every sermon that you preached to me, allowing you to tell me that I should just be a different person. Believing when you told me I wasn’t good enough. Keeping quiet when I wanted to tell you my emotions. Pretending I was ok when I was miserable because I wasn’t allowed to be me. Feeding into your manipulation because I didn’t know my own worth.

How could I ever deserve those things? No one does.

But I’m here to tell you that I see it for what it really was; and you, for who you really are. And it took a long time, but I forgive you. 

Continue reading “I forgive you.”

The Gift of Balance

When I mention balance you might be imagining a tight-rope walker in the circus balancing across a fine rope and teetering slightly from side-to-side. Or maybe just the simple act of balancing on your tippy-toes. Or perhaps you’re thinking of balance in terms of a healthy lifestyle: the balance between exercising and lying around on the sofa with a glass of wine; the balance between that scrumptious date-night burger and your healthy midweek spinach salad.

But when I think about balance right now, in this present moment where we are forced to face tumultuous uncertainty and times of chaos, I think about how to find stability and centeredness in order to not fall off course from mental, physical, or emotional well-being. In face of racism, terrorism, sickness, and potential human loathing: How can we each keep our balance, stay centered and calm, and find strength and stability in such seemingly fearful times?

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Starting Over and Other Imperfections.

You might not be getting started with yoga for the very first time, rather, you might just be looking for a fresh start. You may be dreaming of getting back on the mat after a small (or big) break, or thinking about picking back up on your meditation habit that you left in the dust a few months ago. Or maybe, starting again means more than just yoga, like coming off that “vacation” week of eating out and wanting to go back to eating healthy. Or resolving to take the time to keep in touch with your family whose video calls you’ve been avoiding. Or maybe its a vow to go back to blocking your ex who you sought out for a little bit of attention in quarantine (COVID aftermath). This post is about starting over in every sense of the phrase, always with a yoga touch, but first and foremost with the knowledge that it’s ok to fall off the wagon.

Continue reading “Starting Over and Other Imperfections.”