Thursday, August 21, 2014

" No Harm ... "

I'm the true recluse, 
Blissful as a loner, 
And all that we have left
Is never lied for

Delivered on a word
Never near the target
Seen for what it was
And never eye to eye 

Baby there's no harm, 
There's no harm ... 
So watch what you say, 
There's a beast that's in me

~ Boxer Rebellion ~ No Harm ~
***


The more and more I hear the statement “do no harm, but take no shit”, I identify with it.  I realize that I am not that important, but what I do, matters.  And every single thought, intention or action has an effect.  Always.  

I always knew that life was too unpredictable to create bullshit, but learning not to take it from others is entirely different story.  And it is not about being a rude, inconsiderate, insensitive, impatient, angry ... ... it IS about choice.  


We equate peace with passivity and conflict with violence ... but how do we bring assertiveness within our peace and then how do we bring peace to personal conflicts?  How do we pause and wait out reactivity?  How do we give ourselves the opportunity to explore the infinities of other choices?

... practice non-action, remaining silent, taking a pause and letting things settle.  This may appear to be passive but it actually requires huge assertion, because it intercepts the expectations and anticipation of the outcome and focuses on the essence of what is ... 



A moment of hesitation, a moment of stillness, a moment of truth ... when you may respond avoiding regret.  We’ve all been there when as soon as it comes out of mouth, we wish it was still back in there. 

When our intentions come from a place of compassion, love, integrity and truth, no harm is possible.  This purity provides us a glimmer into the true essence of human nature.  We have it in us to do no harm when we operate from our higher self, rather than our ego.  

Plus there is always an opportunity to observe ego, yours or another, in action.  Indulgent feelings of righteousness as well as overbearing beliefs that “their” opinion must be shared and forced onto others.  Ironically, they don’t see this negative trait in themselves because they’re too focused on their belief that they are somehow justified and allowed to act that way.

Personally, I’d rather than be happy than right ...







Sunday, August 17, 2014

" Chocolate ... "

This could be the very minute
I'm aware I'm alive
All these places feel like home

You're the only thing that I love
It scares me more every day
On my knees I think clearer

Goodness knows I saw it coming
Or at least I'll claim I did
But in truth I'm lost for words

A simple mistake starts the hardest time ...
~ Snow Patrol ~ Chocolate ~

***

During our recent trip to Costa Rica, we had the opportunity to learn about raw cacao and how to make 90% dark organic chocolate within the rain forest Eco-resort we lodged at.  



What is Cacao ...

The botanical name for the tree that chocolate comes from is the Theobroma Cacao.  The word cacao comes from the Olmec people from what is now Mexico.  History shows that chocolate was passed on from the Olmecs to the Mayans and then to the Spanish.  

Cacao is a top source of antioxidants, and it contains an abundance of magnesium and iron.  Cacao powder has been an important food in South America for thousands of years.  Free of any sugar or fillers, raw cacao powder provides a healthy abundance of antioxidants.  Cacao is usually inter cropped with other plants and trees, such as plantains, maize and spices.  


“ ... Cocoa trees grow to between 12 to 15 metres high, and it is about 3-4 years before the flowers first appear. The tiny blossoms are so intricate that insects have difficulty finding their way inside to fertilise the pollen. Because this vital journey to reach the flowers' stamen is so difficult, out of the 10,000 blossoms produced by each tree, only about 20 - 30 are pollinated and become cocoa pods. Each pod contains about 40 seeds which become cocoa beans. It takes one tree's whole crop for the year to make three big bars of Divine ... “



How Chocolate begins ... 

Chocolate begins with the harvest of the cacao pods. Because the pods grow in all degrees of ripeness and at any location on the tree, most harvesting is done by hand with machetes ... 



The pods are split open to reveal the cocoa beans which are surrounded by the fruity pulp of the pod.  This pulp is sometimes used to make drinks or desserts, as it has a 
pleasant fruity taste with subtle chocolate flavour   





The beans and pulp are scraped from the pods and left to ferment in baskets for two to eight days. This step is crucial, as the fermentation process mellows the flavor of the beans and imparts the fruity undertones of the pulp. Without fermentation, the beans would be too astringent and bitter to enjoy. Many high-quality chocolates undergo a long fermentation process, which can be tasted in the floral, fruity notes of the final product. 











After fermentation, the beans are spread in a single layer and left to dry completely, usually in direct sunlight.Then, they are roasted to bring out the most intense chocolate flavors and colors. After roasting, the shells of the beans are removed and the “nibs”remain which is the essence of the cocoa bean that’s full of cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

The nibs are ground to a thick, rich paste called chocolate liquor (a misleading term, since the product contains no alcohol). This liquor is the foundation for all chocolate products, and at last begins to resemble and smell like conventional chocolate. The liquor is pressed to remove the cocoa butter, which leaves a powdery disc known as “cocoa press cake.” 



Press cake, when pulverized, becomes common cocoa powder. At this point, the chocolate process differs depending on the recipe and formulation of the manufacturer. If the chocolate is low quality, the pulverized press cake will be mixed with vegetable fats, sugar, and flavorings to become substandard chocolate. If the chocolate is going to be higher quality, cocoa butter will be re-added to the chocolate liquor, along with other ingredients like sugar, vanilla, and milk ... 






The final step in determining the ultimate flavor and texture of the chocolate which is up to the creator.  Finally, the chocolate is poured into molds and cooled for up to 4-6 hours until set.  




One ounce organic raw cacao powder contains:
Calories: 120, Calories from Fat: 23
Total Fat: 2.5g, 4% Recommended daily value
Saturated Fat: 1.5g, 7%
Sodium: 20mg, 1%
Total Carbohydrates: 19.0g, 6%
Dietary Fiber: 7.0g, 28%
Protein: 5.0g



Thursday, August 14, 2014

" Version ... "

We could live
In a house outside of town
We could build
Our own version of society ...
There'd be no one to answer
To and complicate our lives
We could be
The epitome of self-sufficience ...
Modify your version so we can carry on ...
~ Incubus ~ Version ~
***

We live in a society where it is a commonly held conviction that illness is the fault of the person who is sick.  This delusional way of thinking is due to conditioning.  Why?  Because we are told if we do “something” we can avoid ... illness, aging and/or death.  So if you “get sick”, it must be your fault.  Add to this, how many feel uneasy and even fearful when a friend is ill.  They don’t know what to say or what to do.

... it is not about the perfect words or the perfect gift ...

Begin with your intentions.  I’ve said before that if your intentions stem from kindness, compassion and generosity than they are likely to enhance the well-being in others as well as ourselves.  
From my perspective, although cancer lives with me, I don’t really know what someone else who has been diagnosed is “going through”.  Simply put ... I only know my version of it.  I will not even begin to try to figure out where they are.  I know the fear, the dread, the sadness, the shame.  And I also know the blessing, the gift and the clarity it has brought.  Again a version that is shared through through my writings.  So I bring forward my challenges and lessons, my success and failures, in hopes to help others.

... in the end, 
it doesn’t matter what type, stage, duration or treatment ...

You see, regardless of the chaos in life, it is about speaking or acting in a way that you believe in your heart will ease suffering ... and maybe help find peace with life as it is.  When your actions are motivated with these intentions, your inclination to behave in this way is strengthened.  

... being told to “think positive” and old cliches help no one ...

We all know that you cannot control the results of your actions, ever.  But with forgiveness and compassion in your heart for both of you,  just try again ...


www.walkstrong.ca


Monday, August 11, 2014

" Feed ... "

I erased you
From my every waking memory
I replaced you
With a vision that you - won't see

Pity is a four letter word
And so is quit
(and so is left but I'm)

Right where you wanted me
Feed from the inside
Out of bitter sympathy ...

~ Sevendust ~ Feed ~
***


I use to believe that people that support you, love you and respect you will not only acknowledge your emotions but affirm them.  Shoot, I got it half right?! It IS about awareness of what you are IN ... but it is not about affirmation.  Personally, it has taken me to a place, where I ask, “ what am I nurturing in myself?”

You see, in the midst of any crisis, love, kindness, empathy, compassion, humility, peace and honesty are required.  Not only from within but from your primary relationships.  But it doesn’t always work that way.  You don’t need someone to dwell on everything that went wrong, complain about it to anyone who will listen, focus on what is lacking and feed your days through negativity.  


Basically, victim hood does not require a cheering squad!?!
Le sigh ... I know makes no sense right ... I mean if they care about you, why?


Well, my guess is that they are frustrated, angry and feel helpless.  Perhaps they cannot do the one thing you need, rather they jump on your bandwagon and help you down the vortex you are so quickly falling into.  And basically, they are projecting their fear onto you.  Yes, FEAR.  And they genuinely have no idea of what is happening because they. just. love. you.

Yet what you need is a helping hand.  An honest voice.  Someone to tell you that it is time to take responsibility for your actions.  Someone to tell you can’t blame practitioners, authorities, family, friends or employers.  Because at some point in your life, YOU made a decision.  And now this is the consequence.  Acceptance to what is, in my humble opinion, this is where deep healing begins.

Yes, finding yourself surrounded by negativity can be scary.  You could have build your whole life around it.  But ask yourself ... are you better than you were yesterday ... healthier, happier, stronger and more at peace  

Because if you are obeying others, you are not listening to yourself.


Engaging in conversations that feel right, talking about things that excite me, focusing on what makes me feel fortunate is where I am.   I may never feel permanently peaceful, but I can choose to question discontent ... from there I can then develop a self-awareness and hope to give what I’ve gained.

www.walkstrong.ca


Thursday, August 7, 2014

" New Realization ... "

The time has come to reach a new realization 'tween me and you
Time to clear the rumors, sensations, and things that just are untrue
Well I thought I heard you behind me with a knife straight for my back
It's quite clear that I'm back in the swing of living ...
You may hold some vision of truth, if truth can found in a lie
Maybe some grain of inspiration, for song that's deep inside
Oh, passions there for those who want to
Pay the price of loving you in more ways than one
A mind is a precious thing to taste
~ Sublime ~ New Realization
***

I remember when I was younger I always wanted to work in the health field.  I wanted to dedicate my life to helping others.  Yet those that know me, know that this is not where my career took me.  Instead, I followed the promises for great money, fame and fortune.  I was driven by greed and thought I would build my life first ... security, wealth, etc ... and then work on helping others later.
But just when I had it all figured out, life had other plans.

And so since this diagnosis, I have had countless realizations.  I try to share as many as I can in my writings, but I have also realized that some of the best things that happen to you, you just can’t put into words. 

Yet those you do share with are more special than the experience.  Because those special people stayed and didn’t fade away.  Because they didn’t drop out of your life.  Because they believed in you more now than before you got sick.  



So I’ve asked myself if there is room in my heart to have compassion 
for those who cannot face the ugliness of cancer?  

So I’ve asked myself how much anger can I have for those who fear my mortality?  



In the beginning, I dreaded the idea of being alone ... I felt that isolation was a type of punishment which affirmed why I got cancer.  I felt abandoned.  And that fear of the possibility of being left behind in childhood, started to manifest.

And then ... clarity ... the way life was unfolding, the way relations were changing, the way life was expanding and contracting ... THIS exact space and time was were the healing would begin.  
It was the source.  And it only required me.  


real lies... realize ... real eyes


I started to notice a difference.  Again hard to put into words.  I just  stopped feeling like a victim.  My inner voice spoke to me saying “if you created this, you can heal it.  It didn’t matter what any ONE believed.  It didn’t matter.  Those words like abandonment & loneliness, which stemmed from my fear, started being replaced with forgiveness & love all around.



I knew I had to let go of the anger, the jealousy, the guilt and the shame ... 
I knew I had to let go of the chaos, drama and expectations ...
I knew I had to let go of them ...