• Spirited Solstice

    ~a tanka by Emily Ness

    Morning kiss of rain;
    Silk drops caress weary soul.
    Stirring thunder groan,
    White hot love sears like lightning;
    Cloud duvet his downy grasp.

  • Tao Te Ching text, attributed to Lao-tzu

    “When you are content to be simply yourself
    and don’t compare or compete,
    everybody will respect you.

    Fill your bowl to the brim
    and it will spill.
    Keep sharpening your knife
    and it will blunt.
    Chase after money and security
    and your heart will never unclench.
    Care about people’s approval
    and you will be their prisoner.

    Do your work, then step back.
    The only path to serenity.”

    The Tao Te Ching is a short and elegant book.  There are many different translations from the original, which is ascribed to the Chinese philosopher, Lao-tzu, from the 6th century B.C.  This book, composed of 81 beautiful verses, is hard to describe.  It feels like it is written from the perspective of a wise and all-knowing soul.  The soul is akin to a grandparent or great-grandparent who has reached the end of their life, figured out the way to live, and is looking back on it all with a mischievous and knowing smile. It is reminiscent of someone who is too content with their own wisdom to attempt to change things that can only be figured out by others living and learning.

    Written like an abstract poem, this text somehow covers the ideas of governance, generosity, love, gratitude, spirituality and acceptance in a voice like a lullaby.  This is one of those books that I keep nearby and like to pull out when I am having a difficult moment.  Pretty much any verse I open to somehow helps me step back and put everything in perspective.  The passage above is one of my favorites to reflect on when I feel like I’m not good enough or like I am being judged.  It is a way to let go of achieving perfection.  The perfection is in the effort and mindfulness, but not in the over achievement at the expense of everything else.

  • Anxiety – The Canary in a Coal Mine

    What if I told you that anxiety can sometimes be good for you?  That’s right.  That horrible, gut-churning feeling and runaway train of a mind can be the proverbial canary in a coal mine.  It can warn you of toxicity entering in to your life before it affects you on a more profound level. I have had a few brushes of anxiety in my lifetime.  It has taken me a few times to recognize it for what it is.

    When the little bird first began to show signs of struggle, I was so out of touch and unaware of my mind-body connection that I didn’t recognize it as anxiety. I had just moved to Houston, my first really big city, and I couldn’t figure out why my heart was beating so quickly at night when I lay down to sleep. I would gulp for air and try to quell it, wondering if I had a heart condition. I went to a few doctors picked out of a phone book with these strange, unkempt offices and dismissive staff which served to amplify the beat of my already stressed heart. They hooked me up to various EKG machines, listened to my heart and asked me questions. After two or three dead-ends, one doctor finally suggested it must be anxiety. I was completely confused and taken aback. I was somewhat offended to think that someone was implying that I couldn’t handle life. And what’s more, I kept telling myself that I had absolutely nothing to feel anxious about. My life was just fine.

    As I adjusted to my new job and surroundings, the anxiety slowly began to fade and then reared its head again as my marriage was failing. Once again, I didn’t recognize it for what it was and visited a few doctors about my unknown condition that was causing shortness of breath, heart palpitations, nausea, TMJ, weight loss, shaking, insomnia, nervousness, and exhaustion. It would get worse when I was anticipating an event that I wasn’t interested in attending or spending time with people that didn’t act in line with my values.

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  • Welcome to Discover Sukha!

    “I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.” ~Jack Kerouac

    Thank you for stopping by my blog!  The idea for this site was seeded quite some time ago and I finally decided to give it some legs.  I hesitated to launch this site for two reasons: 1) disjointedness of my ideas and 2) privacy.

    I love to write, but topics I find myself spilling out are all over the board.  Some days poems crystallize in my head, and other days I like to live in fantasy lands and dream up stories involving anything from feral cats to teenage dramas, which I suppose have some parallels.  At some points in my life, I’m highly focused on my health and quality of life.  On some days, unfortunately, I encounter major impediments to my well-being.  On those days, I write to determine how I can prevent that from happening again.  I write to thoughtfully berate myself.  More importantly, I write to encourage myself to get back up no matter how many times I fall.

    I vacillated about how personal my entries should be.  Please give me latitude as I stumble around and try to determine where my Goldilocks Zone is.  I want what I share to be “just right.”  So, I guess my life is something of an open book.  But it is a book that sits dusty on a shelf.  Like a 1990 encyclopedia – never investigated too thoroughly.  Some of the information might be correct but it is frozen in time as I add it to this site.  And I’m sure some of it I’ll look back on and laugh at the naivety, like that 1990 encyclopedia referencing the internet.  But my life will not be as open and accessible as a People magazine at a nail salon. Some things must be kept tucked away in that odd cabinet in the living room.

    One thing I’ve learned in my 30-odd years on this planet is that all of us tend to have the same struggles and epiphanies.  We may have them at different points in our lives and to different degrees but, all said and done, we experience the same emotions.   I feel we can all learn and grow from each other in this capacity. I don’t see any reason to keep our lives wrapped up tightly and our experiences held so closely and hidden.  I find that this wisdom that comes from living is often times only gleaned when people die.  It’s a shame because I think they have often withheld insights and stories due to the fear of being judged.  Once they are gone, we discuss their life and simply accept them for who they were.  We lament we weren’t able to assemble their thoughts.  How would they have lived differently?  When would they have tried harder? When would they have released earlier?  Read more

  • Dark Chocolate & Cherry Chia Seed Pudding

     

    Ch-ch-ch-CHIA!

    Chia seeds are a whole new craze this time around. You know the ones. We previously knew them better for their ability to grow fuzzy little grass creatures through terracotta shapes from the chia seed sprout contained within. It is these seeds that are one of the “newest” superfoods. In actuality, chia seeds have been around since pre-Columbian times but have only recently been re-discovered by health foodies. Most health food stores have them and they can be purchased in bulk for a relatively low cost.

    The Aztecs harvested them for their nutritional value. They have omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants. The protein in chia seeds is unique in that it contains all nine essential amino acids. Our body cannot produce these on its own and so they must be consumed. Normally, it is animal protein that provides these complete proteins. Chia seeds, therefore, are a very healthy addition to those of us who do not have a lot of meat in our diet or for those trying to add protein to bulk up or stay full.
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  • Oatmeal Milk & Honey Bath

    Feel like Cleopatra for a day…

    This bath is a sensual delight and does wonderful things for your skin.  Whole milk contains lactic acid, which softens the skin. Honey moisturizes and oatmeal calms and soothes the skin.

    Ingredients for this bath are as follows:

    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1 packet Aveeno colloidal oatmeal (or use a food processor with whole oats)
    • 10 drops essential oil

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  • Make your own body powder

    Kitchen Beautician: Make your own body powderYou can make your own body powder using very inexpensive ingredients that won’t irritate your lungs like talc can.  The best bases include arrowroot, white clay, rice flour or cornstarch.  For everyday use, I like to use a mixture of half a cup or cornstarch with half a cup of arrowroot (available at Whole Foods or somewhere similar).  Simply add 10-12 drops of your favorite essential oil and cover lightly and let stand 24 hours.  If you are going to be using the powder someplace where you want to absorb oil or odor (oily face, feet, or armpits- white clay or rice flour are slightly more absorbent).  Some ideas are listed below:Gym bag: Create a singular fragrance or a combination of peppermint, eucalyptus or an uplifting citrus scent (tangerine, lime, grapefruit, bergamot or some combination).  Try storing it in the Bare Escentuals travel case or something similar http://tinyurl.com/23xfztyIt’s nice to put on your skin after you’ve showered but are still warm from your workout or to put in your shoes after you remove them, or on your feet.Bedsheets: Add some of your favorite oils to a pretty glass jar and keep it by the bed to keep your sheets fresh and cool, especially during the summer months.  Cater your scent to whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish in your bed.  If you’ve been having trouble sleeping, try a very relaxing and comforting potion of lavender, chamomile, neroli and geranium or any of these fragrances by themselves.  If you are trying to spice up your love life, add jasmine, ylang ylang, patchouli, and rose.  Note to men: women come most alive when they are relaxed so use the relaxing and comforting oils in addition to the sensualizing oils.  Note to women: Men get most in the mood when they feel they are being cared for and pampered and cinnamon and vanilla usually reminds them of being spoiled and baked cookies when they were little so try that!Mothers: If you look at your baby powder, you’ll see the ingredients is simply cornstarch and fragrance, so if you run out, or want to save some money, try making your own.  Children tend to love tangerine scent and you can find this essential oil for only a few dollars.  It’s also a nice fragrance to add to the bath at the end of the day and has the aromatherapeutic property of being “cheering.”  What mother doesn’t appreciate that?!  Of course, calming lavender and chamomile are always good bets too.

    You can make your own body powder using very inexpensive ingredients that won’t irritate your lungs like talc can. The best bases include arrowroot, white clay, rice flour or cornstarch. For everyday use, I like to use a mixture of half a cup or cornstarch with half a cup of arrowroot (available at Whole Foods or somewhere similar). Simply add 10-12 drops of your favorite essential oil and cover lightly and let stand 24 hours. If you are going to be using the powder someplace where you want to absorb oil or odor (oily face, feet, or armpits- white clay or rice flour are slightly more absorbent). Some ideas are listed below:
    Read more