domingo, 19 de abril de 2009

One New Habit a Month Challenge #4: Developing Intuition

I've been wanting to develop my intuition for a very long time now. About a year ago, I bought Unlock your Intuition by Andrea Hess. It's not just a book about intuition, it's a practical guide to accessing it accurately and reliably. I kept forbidding myself to work through it though, because I had "more important things to do".

However, I kept feeling strongly drawn to working with this book. It turns out that those "more important things" do not nearly mean as much to me as getting in touch with my intuition, training my psychic abilities, or learning fun things like telepathy and energy healing. I cannot explain why, but I'm feeling incredibly fascinated by all this. One of my major motivations for going raw, along with health reasons, was to be able to enjoy better psychic communication.

So I have now given myself permission to develop my intuition. I'm already about halfway through the book. The next exercise is to ask my Higher Self at least twenty questions every day for two weeks. Isn't that a perfect opportunity to create a new habit? I'd love to do intuitive work every day! Not just for two weeks.

This coming month I will communicate with my Higher Self every day, either completing some exercise from the book, or just chit-chatting and asking random questions. It's just about getting comfortable and gaining confidence in my intuitive abilities.

I already got a few very surprising answers. Of course I intend to act on the intuitive information I receive. I'm very much looking forward to seeing how things will unfold.

I'm so excited!!!

What about my other habits?

I'll talk about the muscle building habit in my next strength training report.

The dancing habit and the walking habit are both getting boring. I have to admit it. My fitness has improved, it's just not a serious workout anymore. I need something else.

I've started cycling again since my friend Tom found a very nice bikeway to the sea. I love cycling, so I think I'll replace walking with cycling. This way I'll still have one endurance activity.

As for dancing, I'll replace it either with dancing with a partner (if I manage to find one at last), or with some combat sport. I'm also considering climbing, but I'd need a partner for this one too. Or rugby, if I find a team that accepts women. I think I'll go for some combat sport.

What are your new habits? :-)

martes, 14 de abril de 2009

How To Sprout Stuff, for Beginners

Sprouting is easy. It works like this: soaking, draining, rinsing.

Step 1: Soaking

Let your sprouting material soak for one night in cold water. One tablespoon seeds should be enough, as they grow much bigger when they sprout.

If you can, buy organic sprouting material.

Those are special sprouting glasses. They are very practical, but you don't absolutely need such a thing. Normal jars are fine too.
In the picture, the green things are mung beans, and the red ones are adzuki beans.

Step 2: Draining

In the morning after the soaking night, drain the water out of the glasses.

Now you can see why sprouting glasses are convenient.

Step 3: Rinsing

From now on, rinse your sprouts twice a day: just fill the glass with cold water and then drain it. Do it once in the morning and once in the evening.
If you are using normal jars instead of sprouting glasses, please drain them carefully, or else your sprouts could mold.
Keep mung beans in a dark place (for example inside a closet). Other species enjoy light. Avoid direct sunlight though.
After some time (a couple hours to a couple days), your stuff will start sprouting.

If you sprout beans like these, they'll drop their green/red skins during the process. Remove the loose ones. Same for sunflower seeds.

And soon the sprouts will be ready.

The time it takes until your sprouts are ready varies. It can take one day or five of them, depending on what you are sprouting, and also on your taste. Some sprouts taste differently as they grow older. Just experiment and find out what is best for you.
You'll find detailed information on appropriate soaking times and rinsing frequencies for each kind of seeds online. In my experience, one night of soaking then rinsing twice a day works for pretty much everything I sprout. I have no experience with sprouting grains and pseudo-grains, though. If you think the sprouts have a too strong or unpleasant smell, rinse more often.
What to sprout?
You can sprout all kinds of things:

small beans (adzuki, mung...)
other legumes (lentils, chickpeas...)
nuts (almonds...)
seeds (sunflower seeds, sesame...)
veggies (mustard, radish...)
grains (wheat, rye...)
pseudo-grains (quinoa, amaranth, rice...)

Truly raw nuts can be difficult to find. Sprouting them is a good method to find out if they're raw: it will only work if they are.

Do NOT sprout large beans (kidney, soy, fava, pinto, navy...). These are toxic!

Is sprouting ethical?

The only problem I have with sprouts is that I always feel sorry for eating them. It's magical to see them suddenly awaken to life, unfold, and, if you wait long enough, grow little leaves. Instead of eating them I'd rather plant them and see them grow. I always feel like an ogre raising cute little babies to devour them. :-(

lunes, 6 de abril de 2009

Raw Vegan Strength Training

As you know, I dream of being very strong. The new habit I'm adopting this month is "at least five minutes of strength training every day". Things are going great so far!

The second project I have for my body is weight loss. I've had mixed feelings about both my overweight and the idea of losing weight in the past. I wanted to lose weight, but also refused to lose weight, thought I couldn't lose weight, but should lose weight, and simultaneously didn't care about my weight! Consequently, my weight has been going up and down in a quite chaotic way. But now that I'm befriending my body and getting to love it the (overweight) way it is, I find myself better able to formulate clear wishes and goals about it. One of them is to reach my ideal weight.

So I am now starting a challenging project: fat loss + muscle gain. I'm starting from zero (untrained and overweight), and want to end up with little fat and lots of muscle. The challenge will be to do it on a 100% raw, vegan diet.

I officially started on April 1st. Every month I will post a report about both the weight loss part and the muscle building part of the project.

April 1st report:

Weight: 68,4kg
BMI: 27,2

Weight loss report:

I have no target weight. I said I want to reach my ideal weight, but I have no clue what this ideal weight is. I've been overweight (even obese for a few years) for all of my adult life. Having never been thin as an adult, I have no clue what my weight should be. I do not even know what I look like as a thin adult. This is exciting but also scary.

What's going to be difficult for me on this journey is that I'll have to address a bunch of limiting beliefs and fears about weight loss. Losing weight definitely is a scary thing for me. When I went raw I lost so much weight initially that I had to take a break from the raw diet after three months, simply because I couldn't stand the quick melting away.

Now I am determined to lose weight, but I know I'll have to overcome serious blocks and probably a psycho-energetic reversal as well. Maybe I'll write about that in another post.

The weight loss part of the project won't be difficult from a physical viewpoint: I automatically lose weight when I'm 100% raw anyway, without having anything special to do about it. However, I expect it to be very challenging psychologically. I'll share what comes up.

Muscle building report:

Here it's the contrary: I expect it to be challenging physically, but very easy mentally. I love lifting weights! I feel so happy when I'm training. It just feels right. It feels like I'm doing what I'm meant to do. No problem.

I'm still in the input phase, learning a lot and randomly trying things out. What's sure is that I train daily, but with varying intensity (varying weight and/or varying numbers of reps). I tend to alternate "fit" days with maximal power and "lazy" days where I do about half as much or less. I don't try to progress every day. I also do not train to failure. Instead I focus more on being fully concentrated and on learning the proper technique. And on having fun. :-)

I do a few bodyweight exercises, but I admit that I prefer training with weights and with my kettlebell. Yesterday I bought a few new weights and have now a 28kg barbell. And a big problem! Because the barbell is both too light and too heavy. 28kg isn't heavy enough for squats or deadlifts. I could do much more. Unfortunately 28kg is also way too heavy for me to get the barbell on my shoulders! I have no problem with lifting it up to my waist. Once it's on my shoulders, I have no problem with squatting. But there's no way I can get it from my waist to my shoulders alone. Every time I want to squat, I have to ask my friend Tom, who's currently staying at my place, to first place the barbell on my shoulders. >:-(

From now on I will be keeping a training journal, just for the record. I won't put it online though, this would be boring for you. I'll just post my current weights in my monthly reports. It won't mean much to you, it's just to keep track of my progress. Here are they for April 1st:

Squat: 28kg
Deadlift: 28kg
Shoulders: 10kg
Triceps: 4kg
Biceps: 8kg
Back: 2kg
Kettlebell: 12kg (swing, one-handed swing, clean)

And since I said I'd post more pictures, here is what I looked like on April 1st:

Admire the soccer player legs. ;-)

viernes, 3 de abril de 2009

Ending the War with my Body

I want peace in the world - but the world cannot be at peace as long as I am at war. Including at war with myself. What we are inside we also generate outside. There can be no peace in my reality as long as there is war in my consciousness.

For many years I've been at war with myself. I'm ending this war now.

"Be the change you want to see in the world." (Mahatma Gandhi)

I have several conflicts with myself. For example, sometimes I still have a hard time accepting that I am a scanner. I also have difficulties coping with my high sensitivity. It annoys me that I'm thirty and still don't know what I want to do when I am grown up. There are quite a lot of things that I reproach myself for.

One of my goals for 2009 is to resolve all of those conflicts, starting with the biggest one. The biggest conflict I have with myself is about my body. There are (were) so many things about my body that I don't (didn't) like! Most of all that I am "too fat".

So I have decided to end this war now, and to accept and love myself exactly the way I am and am not. I think the lesson for me in being overweight is to learn unconditional self-love. I'll be able to let go of that fat when I have grown to truly love what is, now.

Approach one: The Work

Loving what is is the title of a wonderful book by Byron Katie. I'm applying her approach to my body problem now: I'm doing The Work on it.

The Work is a very powerful process that you can use to address all kinds of negative emotions, no matter whether they are about people, situations or other issues like finding yourself too fat. I highly recommend The Work! It will set you free. How to do it is explained here.

I'm not done with it yet, there is so much to work on! But since I started to do The Work to befriend my body, I'm already feeling much better.

I had an interesting dream. In my dream I was going around completely naked, and I was feeling perfectly comfortable this way. I didn't have an ideal body or anything like that, it was my real body, with fat and all. I was not even shaved! Yet it felt great and natural to be naked. At first the people I was talking to were a little embarrassed, but soon they too got comfortable with seeing me this way and talked with me as if everything were normal. In the end, everybody was fine with my being naked!

I think this was a very cool dream.

I can feel that I am slowly falling in love with my body at the moment. For example when I look at the stretchmarks on my hips, instead of resenting them for being there, like I did before, now I look at them with love and I'm damn proud of my great battle scars.

I especially love my legs! Actually I can't stop looking at them anymore. I've always disliked my legs, because they are not only covered with a layer of fat, they're also quite muscular. I like to say that I have legs like a soccer player. And I used to beat myself up for that. "This looks awful with a short skirt and high-heels! It's not feminine!" Blah blah blah. While doing The Work I suddenly realized: "Hey! Wait a minute! I never wear short skirts and high-heels in the first place! I dream of being a muscle beast. And I resent my legs for being muscular? How illogical is that!!"

"You will always suffer when your mind wants two opposing things at once." (Byron Katie)

I cannot be a muscle beast and have legs like a petite girlie. That's just not possible, I need to make a choice. This choice is a no-brainer for me! I don't care about being feminine, but I do care a lot about being strong.

So now I totally love my soccer player legs. And everything else as well. I just love my body! I can't touch it and look at it enough, I'm amazed at how fantastic it is!

You have no idea how wonderful a feeling it is to be allowed to love my body at last. What a relief.

Approach two: taking action

I'm asking myself "How would I feel, and how would I behave, if I were perfectly fine with my body as it is now?". That's actually a part of The Work ("How would you feel and behave if you didn't have this  thought?"), but I extended it a bit for myself. The Work is meditation. But I'm going to actually do those things.

I made a list of things I would do if my body were a non-issue for me, and now I'm going to do them regardless! Ha! Good way to overcome my fears and to build courage.

One of those things is to post pictures on my blog. I found out that if I didn't have any problem with my body, I would post way more pictures on my blog. Oddly enough, not only pictures of myself. I would also post other pictures unrelated to me. I don't know why feeling bad about my body prevented me from posting pictures of landscapes and stuff, but that's the case. So, expect to see more pictures on here from now on.

I'm also considering learning how to strip-tease. Just for fun, as a way of getting more comfortable with my body, with being seen naked, and with feeling sexually attractive.

I tend to feel anxious when a man finds me attractive. I'm confident about my sexual skills, so once in bed everything's fine. The problem is the fear of being sexually attractive when I'm not having sex, if this makes sense.

I don't know exactly why I feel this way, but asking why is not an empowering question anyway. I'd rather ask myself what I can do about it. Maybe learning to strip-tease could be one possible solution. It would be a fun thing to try out anyway.

What about you?

Do you love your body unconditionally, as it is right now?
What are you being at war with yourself about?
What can you do right now to make peace with yourself?
What are you generating in your reality? Peace, or War?

Much Love to you. I wish you a wonderful day!