Would it be the sight of your big infectious smile?
Or the way your nose crinkles every time you laugh?
The way your tears trickle down your cheek?
Or would it be the look you give me when I’m in the wrong?
If I was blind what would I miss?
Would it be the view of the beautiful sun rise?
Or my personal favourite the way the sun sets?
Would I miss the sight of snow?
Or the rain on the window?
If I was blind what would I miss?
Would I miss the sight of my own reflection?
Would I feel any older despite not being able to see the ageing of my skin?
Would I miss seeing colours in the form of art?
And most of all would I miss seeing the world through clear vision despite what state this world is in and If I lost my sight would I change the way I viewed things and try to make them right?
If I was blind what would I miss?
By Yasmin Elizabeth
This week I wanted to do something different. I feel that all too often we miss what is right in front of us, allowing our phones and other screens to distract us. We sometimes only see things for how we want to see them rather than taking in the bigger picture.
The other day I was taking a video of my son and I realised I was watching him through the screen, no different to watching somebody on tv, not realising how detached I actually was to what I was viewing. Everybody that knows me knows I love taking pictures but it made me realise that some things are best enjoyed in the moment and recorded in memory.
We have eyes, yet we don’t see.
My short poem is just a few things I wonder if I would miss if I lost my sight. The funny thing about them is they are all free, yet most certainly taken for granted.
I hope this makes you question what you truly appreciate and what some of us may take for granted aka our ability to see and realise how truly lucky we are. Despite the bad times the world is truly a beautiful place and to live and see is a privilege denied to many.
Love&Light to all and I hope this gets you thinking.
So I’m posting on something that weighs heavy on my heart and head, our surroundings.
Seeing so many youth clubs and community halls in the South London area being closed or on the verge of closing has resulted in me feeling very concerned. Concerned for community spirit and for the young people who live there.
One of my passions since working in schools has to be the development and understanding of today’s young people. Whilst adults worry about putting food on the table and paying a mortgage these youngsters are literally fighting for their lives. Gang wars or being in the wrong place at the wrong time has resulted in many innocent lives being taken.
I feel closing down these community halls and youth clubs sends the message that the inhabitants of them are of no importance.
These halls are booked by the community for things such as wedding receptions, wakes and parties. A place where the community can afford to hold such functions shouldn’t be taken away. The funding has been cut back massively in youth clubs to the point of where they are nowhere near as fun and vibrant as when I used to attend. This saddens me as I feel youth clubs could be such a turning point for these young adults/teenagers. Especially the relationship between the police and the younger generation which in my opinion is at an all time low, especially in areas such as South London.
Having a place where young people can go and be heard I feel could bridge the gap and change the horrible ‘life for a life’ attitude that seems to be followed in the streets.
I haven’t always had a positive relationship with the police and I have seen a lot of wrong doings on their behalf. But isn’t that the same for all of us? We hate that black males all get painted with the same ‘gang’ brush. So we can’t paint all police with the same ‘they’re all pigs’ brush.
I never see police on the beat in areas that need it most and I think this is a real issue.
Growing up losing people left right and centre is such a hard thing to deal with. The lack of after care and support for young people who have lost somebody is appalling. If you are an adult reading this, I want you to think back to when you’ve lost someone close to you. How did you feel? Angry? Lost? Scared? Snappy? Making rash decisions because your head wasn’t in the right place? Well just imagine what that’s like for a 14 year old or a 16 yr old? We didn’t get time off in school or extra support when a friend got murdered. Now would be the time to have mentors and support groups in community centres not be closing them down.
All lives matter and I don’t think we should wait to lose another one to take action. Please sign the petitions tagged in this post and lets work together as a community to support one another.
Whether the youth clubs are kept open or closed we can’t turn our backs on the youth of today.
The most common questions I get asked is “how can I lose weight quickly” or “help me stick to a vegan lifestyle, it is way too hard!” I never know how to answer these queries; after all there is no right or wrong answer. But what I do encourage is SELF LOVE!!!
Self-love is the foundation to almost everything we do/feel. Self-love determines things like what attributes you desire in a partner or the way you regard your own well-being/happiness. It is one of the most important things we can have in this life. If you don’t love yourself, can you expect love from anyone else? No … you cannot.
Can you look in a mirror, look at yourself; your whole perfectly-flawed self, and say “I LOVE YOU!” with confidence. With meaning! With BELIEF!!
Most people laugh when I ask that questions. And I get it; in a world that is set up for self-loathing, loving yourself is often deemed strange. To love yourself is almost an act of rebellion.
But everyone needs love! It is so easy to love those around us. To hug them, kiss them, ask them how they are, cook them food, care for them. It should be just as easy to do these things for ourselves too!
Self-love & health:
Self-love is such an important characteristic for a healthy body! The more you love yourself, the more you will begin to innerstand how what you eat affects your body. And the more you love yourself the more mindful you will become of the food & drink you consume. Self-love is not easy but it is achievable! Take baby steps J
I am no self-love expert but, from my own experience, I can confidently say the moment you start to love yourself everything changes. Small doses of self-love is the reason I find it SO DAMN EASY to follow a healthy lifestyle: I value my body at a level where I make a conscious decisions everyday not to pollute myself with junk foods.
Self-love is deep and, at times, strangely emotional. But it is something I’d like to encourage you all to practice.
Practice makes perfect:
Here are my 4 tips for practicing self-love:
1. Be mindful – Question yourself and process situations properly. If you feel uneasy and don’t know why, ask yourself and find out. If you feel happy and don’t know why, ask yourself and find out! Innerstand who you are, what makes you happy, sad, excited, anxious etc. Act on that knowledge as opposed to other peoples expectations. 2. Forgive yourself – It is important to take responsibility for your actions, but don’t be so hard on yourself! Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from it, grow with the lesson and move on.
3. Live with intention – If your intention is to eat well and be healthy, you will make decisions and choices to create this reality for yourself
4. Practice self care – It is always great to pamper yourself once in a while; get a massage, get your haircut, get a manicure! But daily pampering is also vital! Small things like getting a good sleep each night, eating nutritious food and ensuring you are involved in healthy social interactions will all help boost self-worth and self-love.
Also try writing a list of all the things you are good at you might be surprised at how amazing you are!!
This will be a quick post from me but it has really been made apparent that we can get so caught up being busy we forget to make time to have a good time.
This afternoon/evening I cooked for team member Hipster Veggie and we sat, ate, spoke and literally had the best catch up. It just made me realise I don’t do this often enough. I’m always busy and forget to make time to do the things I love. To enjoy an evening with my friend and family has made me super happy and I feel ever so grateful to have such inspirational and beautiful souls around me.
I wanted to share with you guys just to remind you it’s important to slow down and make time. Organise your day so you can allow time to catch up with a loved one or loved ones.
MAKE TIME TO HAVE A GOOD TIME!
Just a pretty picture of this evening, because! Ha-ha!
This week has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs and like most people when I’m going through a hard time I think back to all my hard times. Sometimes this can be motivating and other times it can drag up old feelings about the past. For me this week a lot came up about my childhood, I was apart of a household with domestic violence. You don’t realise how much DV can affect the child because here I am a 24 year old young woman still dealing with the invisible scars, yet determined to not be a prisoner of my past.
I wanted to write this post to say its ok to have different emotions towards your past, but it is also very important to address them, sit with them and understand them because if you don’t they will destroy you. As someone who used to self harm it is a constant battle not to retreat back to that angry, scared and sad person but I use different coping mechanisms and wanted to share them with you.
WHEN PAST EMOTIONS COME KNOCKING
1. Answer the door! Sit with the emotions that are coming up, listen to yourself.
2.Jot down in your journal how you feel (If you don’t have a journal get one ASAP!)
3.Call a family member, friend or seek professional help. Honestly, DON’T bottle it up. Seek help and confide in somebody. You don’t have to be ashamed or embarrassed. Even if it was years and years ago, your feelings count and there is help out there.
4. Cry if you need.
Those are 4 simple steps, but steps that can make a big impact. Im one of those people who find it so hard to confide in people especially as I am the one who is normally there for others. But we are all human and we have to learn to hold our hands up and admit when we are down or need some support.
You are not your past, you are not a victim and you are not what happened to you. You deserve happiness and you deserve to feel free. Life isn’t all easy and sweet, no it can be bitter and challenging but I do believe it is our birth right to find happiness and I believe each and everyone of us has a choice to create the life we deserve, that is the beauty of it. You are so powerful and you are stronger than you think.
I hope this post brings you some comfort, people look at me and assume I’ve had a happy, easy life. I haven’t. I’ve worked hard to become the person I am today and fighting the demons of the past. I want you to know that you won’t arrive at a state of happiness and just forget it all. You won’t. But you will learn to live with it and not let it feed off of your present. Arriving at a state where you can accept that things were crap but realise how far you have come and how far you still have to go. You will find a certain kind of peace and you can laugh and enjoy life once more.
I am living proof that you can do this, because here I am pioneering a company to pick people up because that’s what I needed at the time. I turnt my negative into power and my power into purpose. I’m still learning and making mistakes but at least I get to share them with you all and help in any way I can. You will smile again, that I promise.
Buddha was asked “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied “Nothing! However, let me tell you what I have lost: Anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.”
Now it seems extreme that one can lose all of the above just by simply meditating but it can be done, I for one have experienced amazing benefits through meditation. Im going to write a very simple introduction to meditation, as it can get very deep Im going to try my best to keep it very basic. I hope you like and maybe have you attempting to meditate yourself;)
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
People always ask “What is meditation?” and I find the most simple answer is: “A time where one can enter great peace and be fully present”
Ok, so now you’re probably thinking, but my mind is always on the go? How do I silence the mind? Im far too busy! Why would I want to be quiet? Surely I am better off sharing my problems with another? What will I actually get out of it? Which leads me too…
There are so many health benefits to meditating, meditation allows you to enter a calm space, reducing stress levels. If we can reduce stress many health benefits follow not to mention the positive affect it has on those who suffer with insomnia, anxiety (me) and depression. It also allows you to have a deeper knowledge of self, allowing you to tap in to your passions and inner desires. When you are feeling centred and grounded it’s so much easier to be aware of what is going on around you and even more easier to respond to situations, whether negative or positive.
My personal experiences with meditation have lead me to a happier and healthier life. Im conscious and more aware now than ever and the most incredible thing about it is I am only at the beginning of my journey. Meditation has allowed me to tap in to my higher self and really get to know me, I have explored my limits and boundaries and by remaining quiet has also allowed me to monitor my emotions and energy. I now know when I am in a situation that is not good for me in one way or another, this is all energy and signs that were being blocked due to my busyness and constant on the go attitude. I thought I was working hard but in fact life was just passing me by and I wasn’t happy. I owe it to myself and my body to stop, clear my mind and just be still.
I was super nervous to start a class as I felt like a newbie who wouldn’t know what I was doing but all the centres I have been too have been so welcoming. (I will add links in this blog) Going on the buddhist retreat I went to also helped me massively and adopting the art of meditation with beautiful surroundings and consistently allowed it to flow more naturally.
WHO CAN MEDITATE?
Anyone!! Honestly I get asked all the time if a religious person can meditate and the answer is YES! When you see a buddhist bowing to a shrine they are not bowing to the shrine as an act of worship, they are bowing to their potential. The buddha stands for enlightenment, compassion and love. You are bowing to your potential. There are no boundaries and you do not have to be a buddhist to meditate.
HOW TO MEDITATE?
Ok, so there are many ways to meditate. I personally meditate whenever and wherever I can, in the queue whilst shopping, whilst cooking or even waiting in traffic. These are all a chance to check in, take some deep breathes and be fully present in the moment. There are many other times as well but I will now concentrate on the traditional method of being seated and still. I choose to sit cross legged with pillows to help my posture, but you can find any position that suits you. You want to be comfortable! Trust me! Nothing is worse than trying to meditate yet your knees or back are killing! Ha-Ha! When I started I would always meditate with guided meditation CD’S or I have 2 apps which are on my phone for when I am on the go.
Its really nice to create a calm space where you can meditate, maybe burn some incense, burn some candles, you could have flowers, a buddha, stones or crystals. Anything that makes you feel happy, calm and relaxed. Once you have your space set, its time to get comfortable. (Don’t forget to turn off all phone notifications as nothing kills a good meditation then a txt msg or call coming through!) Some of the apps just have sounds if you would prefer no talking and some have pure silence and just sound with an opening and closing bell. Once you have chosen your preferred guide click play and enjoy:)
To meditate is to be fully present and check in with you. Thought’s will come to your mind but you just allow them to pass without holding on to them or creating some scenario which then turns in to a big story board in your head! ha-ha! Believe me, I have been there! Just let them go like passing clouds. Breathing is everything in meditation and learning mindfulness of breathing is probably the best place to start. It also takes your mind off of thinking because you are concentrating solely on breathing;)
I hope this simple and short guide to meditating has helped and maybe get you to start trying it out! I would love to hear your feedback and you can e-mail in:
“Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” Buddha
As humans, our digestive tract is probably the most underappreciated system of our body. The way we treat this system has a major affect on our overall health and wellbeing: what we eat truly affects our mood.
Without getting into too much detail, our brain is directly connected to our digestive tract and vice versa. Our brain and stomach literally communicate with one another, which means the food we put into our stomach stimulates brain activity and hormone release. If you fill your body with carbonated drinks, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners/colours and processed foods your digestive system won’t be happy, which means your brain won’t be happy and, overall, YOU will not be happy!!
FOOD & DEPRESSION:
Many factors contribute to the development of depression: these can be biological, psychological, environmental etc. However, nutritional imbalances can also increase the risk of developing depression.
The neurotransmitter serotonin plays a huge part here. In essence, serotonin is a mood regulator and there is a wealth of research that suggests an imbalance in serotonin levels may influence mood. Taking this into consideration, it is no surprise that serotonin is released by both the brain and the gut. In fact, many studies show that the most concentrated serotonin levels are actually released in our gut.
So, what we eat affects our serotonin levels and thus affects our mood.
INCREASE SEROTONIN WITH FOOD:
When our serotonin levels are low, we often become depressed, lose focus and have trouble sleeping. I truly believe that food plays a huge role in solving these issues!
The following list of food contains high levels of an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is what our body uses to make serotonin!
If you are feeling a bit low or have a troubled sleep cycle, try incorporating these foods into your diet:
* Kidney beans
You may also want to try avoiding caffeine as it prevents the body from creating serotonin.
In conclusion, when we fuel our bodies with whole foods and organic fruits and veggies our gut flora (gut microorganisms) THRIVES!!! And so do we!
When you eat good, you feel good and you live good! 🙂
Thank you for reading! I hope you found this information useful. Feel free to leave any questions below and I will be sure to get back to you!
It’s so lovely and weird to be back! Lovely because I’m back refreshed, energised and calm but weird because after 7 days of meditation, yoga, periods of silence and nothing but amazing scenery surrounding the retreat I’m finding it hard to get used to busy London, phones buzzing and other electrical sounds. I have received many messages regarding the buddhist retreat I went on so I thought it only right I blog about it but because of the nature of the trip I shall do so in three posts, this one will be an overall what it was about, where it was and the routine. The retreat I went to was at the Dhanakosa Buddhist Retreat Centre, Scotland.
First things first, Why did I go on a buddhist retreat?
Well, before you read the word buddhist and think ‘Oh I can’t go’ please don’t be put off, all humans from all walks of life and religion gather at Dhanakosa. There are all types of retreats from yoga, hillwalking, Tai Chi, arts and many more all complimented with a introductory teaching in meditation. For those that wish to go deeper there are also retreats designed for those with more experience when it comes to meditation and buddhist studies. But for me I booked the Yoga and Meditation introductory retreat and it was amazing!
My reasons for going on this retreat was I wanted to be guided through my meditation, I have been meditating for nearly a year now with the help of apps and guided meditations on youtube. But I finally felt I was ready to go and be with others as I was a little too nervous to just join a class (I have no clue why, just a little embarrassed I guess). Although I must say I had done a class with a family friend which was a lay down based meditation, absolutely amazing but I was ready to learn about the mindfulness of breathing and metta bhavana (love/kindness). I picked yoga because I’ve always wanted to practice yoga but being so busy mumming, blogging and working I hadn’t found time to find a good teacher and get to a class, I felt being able to dedicate the week to it I would know for sure if I loved or hated it.(I loved it btw). My emotional reasons for going on a retreat come from the fact that I had been suffering with some slight anxieties and feeling rather emotional and overwhelmed recently. Also lately a lot has come up from my childhood and I guess I wasn’t as at peace with it as I had once liked to believe.
Being super busy and allowing the days run into each other, not making enough time for friendships and spreading myself too thin, it was time for a break. So I booked it:) 7 days, no phone, no tv, internet, only contact with those on the retreat, yoga, meditation and periods of silence. I was nervous and excited as I ventured into the unknown.
Retreat life was absolute bliss! After a plane, a train, two buses and a taxi I was in what I could call heaven on earth. Greenery that looked like I was on a movie set and a view to wake to that I was sure was a back drop! From sunshine to rain the hills and the lakes remained as stunning as ever. But enough about the surroundings, what did we get up to??? Well retreat life from day to day looked a little like this
7AM- Wake with a rising bell
(we all had a chore, mine was to do the dishes after breakfast)
3:45PM- Optional afternoon yoga
7:45PM- Either activity in the shrine room or small group activity
9PM-Free time or on some days periods of silence until the next morning.
I loved the routine and I loved that in between yoga and meditation I got to explore. The food was vegetarian and amazing! Being a veggie anyway the food wasn’t a shock to my system and if you do eat meat I promise you won’t be disappointed and may even sway to the veggie side! ha-ha! I have been told though that breakfast was a one off as we had an amazing woman called Amanda on the retreat who put on a awesome breakfast for us and instead of just the regular porridge we had porridge amongst an array of other toppings like fruit salads and home made granola.
I grew a quick liking to rice cakes topped with peanut butter and honey and myself and my roomie Jenny probably went through one to many jars of peanut butter (oops). But speaking of my roomie that brings me on to my next point…
The people! The other strangers who had also booked this week long retreat and also our teachers:) The first thing I learnt on retreat is that we are all a little fucked up (excuse my language) but we all have issues, we all have demons and we all have parts of our lives that we would rather forget. But I also learnt that its not what happens to us that matters its what we can learn from it or how we can improve as human beings. It has reminded me that we are all in this together and every single person we meet is fighting a battle we know nothing about.
Its safe to say that all of us at the retreat were all probably a little nervous, even those that had been on a retreat before as no retreat is the same! But in the first few moments of meeting there was just an incredible energy and buzz around the group. Ageing from 18-60+ there was definitely a mix and a few men amongst the women but if I am totally honest gender nor age mattered. We all laughed, cried, hugged and learnt and each and everyone of us played a key part in the retreat being what it was.
We had two women in charge of the retreat and a lady organiser who was fabulous, 1 female yoga teacher and the other male. Firstly the team in charge of the retreat were amazing, super friendly and all being different brought their own personal qualities to what I would call an amazing week. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to try the female yoga teacher but spoke to her on other occasions and she was absolutely beautiful inside and out. The male yoga teacher was awesome and those that were yoga addicts even said he was one of the best teachers they had had. He stretched, pushed and encouraged me and I have now been converted into a yoga addict! ha-ha!!
It can be nerve wracking going to a new place with all new people but I urge you to do this ALONE! No matter how tempting going with a friend may be. You will only stick with that person and not gain as much from the experience as you probably could. Some do come together and its fine but one lady had been previously with her friend and preferred it alone. I would say if its fear holding you back, just do it! Take the jump and go it alone! You won’t be disappointed! It felt amazing being around like minded people, after all we had all booked the same retreat so we must have a few things in common. I learnt so much and this trip played a vital part in my journey.
I have so much more to say but know I have already written a fair amount! I will be posting again next week providing more information on the mediation and techniques I learnt and also touching on the periods of silence we participated in, what it brought up for me and how I dealt with finally facing some of my fears. But for now enjoy a little video I made of all my little adventures throughout the retreat, from car journeys to climbing waterfalls and calming surroundings, just making it made me miss this little treasure, this heaven on earth. I hope you enjoy and any more questions you want answered in the next blog please feel free to comment or e-mail in.
“Good rising Gods & Goddess’s! So excited to share this video with you all: my first ever Monday Motivation J ! Hope you all enjoy it, hope it gets you thinking and I hope you have an AMAZING Monday <3
So I haven’t posted my normal book review today, I will be posting that before I go away on Wednesday! But for now I wanted to use this Sunday to share some good news! As the brand grows its only right the team does too! So it gives me great pleasure to share that our newest member is none other then Jez Kaur aka Hipster Veggie! For those that don’t know Hipster Veggie is all about what foods and products you put in and on your skin, how it affects your body, your mood and much much more.
I am super excited to have Hipster Veggie on the team as it will put an amazing spin on Pick Me Up Inc and even I can learn a thing or two. It will be awesome to see how food links to our emotional sides and what foods we should avoid but also what amazing foods we should stack up on. Hipster Veggie has the most infectious energy and she picks me up all the time so to have her apart of the team is an absolute honour!
I can’t wait for you to see what we have in store for you guys! To read more on Jez’s story click the family link on the front page or if your using your mobile use the drop down bar:)