let’s talk about.. us

This current year has started out quite spectacularly for me. Saying that doesn’t necessarily mean everything has been fantastic and I’m having the best time of my life. What I mean, is that I can feel my personal journey of understanding and accepting, learning and remembering moving forwards and getting stronger.

Even though I think everyone has this journey with them their whole lives, it’s not always conscious and therefore, I think, it’s not optimal and often causes a lot of extra struggling.

I had a moment of connection and understanding at the start of this year, when I was scrolling through books online. I had this strong pull towards wanting to read about spirituality and mind work etc. and one book lead to another, until I ended up to a synopsis of a book called Witch by Lisa Lister. Immediately after reading the little blurb, I felt such a strong feeling within me. I can’t really compare it to anything else I’ve ever felt. It was a connection with so much strength in it that it left me almost breathless and I didn’t have to think twice about whether to order it or not.

” A WITCH IS A WOMAN IN HER POWER. She’s wise, a healer, someone who is aligned with the cycles of Mother Nature and the phases of the Moon. Yet for so long, the word ‘witch’ has had negative connotations – being used as an insult, a slur and to perpetuate fear. In this book, third generation hereditary witch Lisa Lister explains the history behind witchcraft, why in the past centuries the word ‘witch’ has led women to be tortured, drowned and burned at the stake, and why the witch is now waking once again in women across the world today.”

Now, having been reading that book for the last couple of weeks, I’ve found it to have a reassuring message to me. Many times I’ve had to stop reading, to have a moment to think and be in awe of the way the things it talks about is actually within me. It’s not so much teaching me new things, but more like reflecting the thoughts I’ve been having in the past months and the past year. These kind of books can quite easily be ones that tell you what to do, but how I’ve found this one to be is quite the opposite. It’s helping me process my own thoughts and find a place to put them into practice.

One of the things I love having gotten the reassurance of from this reading experience, is the fact that being in your power doesn’t mean having it all together. The problem with this society and everything social media feeds us, a point that patriarchy basically has forced us to, is the pressure to be something, to fit into a mold, to be a perfect version of whatever it is we are on some levels told to be and to achieve. It doesn’t leave space for us to be the most, to have an overall power in life. It takes us away from our true nature, where the strength truly lies.

“It’s in the darkness that roots grow deepest; and in that basement, the divine feminine has continued to grow strong.”

“This reconnection with the Self and remembrance of your magic takes time, dedication, and lifelong commitment to the incredible, awesome, complicated and delicious messiness that is you.”

I’ve never been one to want to label things, myself or others. It hasn’t been something I feel comfortable doing, it doesn’t have a freeing or settling feel to me. All it does to me, is feeling pressured, uncomfortable and unconnected with myself. I’m not saying labeling yourself is a bad thing, because for some it’s an important part of themselves to be able to have a name and self found explanation on who they are. But let’s leave it at that, self labeling. Let’s stop labeling each other.

General labeling is something that I struggle with the most. I’ve had times in my life when even choosing woman in a form as a gender has been a daunting process. I’ve screamed in void “I’m a human. I’m a human. Why do you need me to label myself and make me identify as one that you tell me to be?” Now you might be thinking, huh, do you not identify yourself as a woman? What do you identify yourself as then? How can you be connecting with being a witch if you don’t see yourself as a woman, when a witch is a woman in her power? Well, to be honest, I don’t have an all-telling answer to you. I don’t even have an answer to myself. Generally I have a connection to a female self, I feel empowered by that energy. I know that I don’t have to identify myself, that I don’t have to put a label on myself, that’s a truth I’ve found a balance with in my life. But facing the moments where it’s expected, where it’s being seen as a norm to be this and that, and there’s no questioning that. It makes me want to throw up.

Where I’m going with this label talk, more specifically woman talk, is an important topic that I think should be talked about more. Because what are we doing? What I see daily in real life and in social media, is a lot of women putting down other women. We judge, we forcibly put each other down, we emotionally abuse each other, whether it is in straight contact with that person or with various amounts of quiet behind the back. We gossip. I’ve started to make a conscious effort to quit doing that myself altogether. Because what the hell? We should be lifting each other up, not telling others to be and act this way and that. We can work with positive and negative energy and learn to accept that being a human is not all sunshine and rainbows, we can work those true life feelings together, but it can be done without taking that negativity on others. And what I truly believe in, is that what you give outside is what you get inside. If you keep giving negativity, surrounding others in a negative light in your thoughts, it’s yourself that’s going to get that negativity reflected on yourself.

“And the world that you see on the outside, is a reflection of what’s on the inside / So if you see something you don’t like, check in with your own life” – Let It Be Alive by Tubby Love, Paul Izak & Anna Surento

What this book has left me graving more information of, is our history. What is the story of women. I want to read more about witch hunts and patriarchy and the progress overall. That is a subject that I haven’t had an opportunity to educate myself on before in more detail. It’s not something that was brought up that greatly in my school years when I was younger. And I’ve never just thought that I should seek out that information myself. Of course I haven’t lived under a rock or something and been completely naive when it comes to gender equality, but some things are kept so quiet that you don’t even think to have a second thought on why things are the way they are. But something I’ve learned in the past couple of years, is to QUESTION EVERYTHING. Find your own truth, not someone else’s truth.

I know I’ll be coming back to this book a lot in the future. There’s a lot of things I’ve connected deeply with and have marked them up to help me in the process, to have a little back up if some reassurance and guidance is needed. Mostly it’s all intuitive work, but even the best of us have doubting moments in life, no matter how invested and passionate we are.

This is a certain kind of starting point, like a conscious one. There’s a lot of directions I could be going from here and it’s all very exciting. Working with the moon cycles is my current focus point, along side with getting a firmer hold on myself. I think the most important thing is to let things go at their own pace, to find a balance and trust yourself and the universe to lead you to the right direction as you navigate your thoughts one step at a time to the possibilities.

** ** **

This is chapter one on the let’s talk about.. series. In these posts I’ll be talking about topics that come up in the books I read and the thoughts they wake in me. If you have any thoughts, questions, personal experiences etc., please feel free to leave a comment and have a discussion.

Hope you enjoyed reading this.

 

Wishing you all the best,

Nora

 

February inspired baking

February is a month when days really start to become noticeably longer in Finland. Instead of four hours of daylight, we now have eight and counting. This is a month that makes me want to go outside and have a little picnic/trip in the snow-covered and freezing cold nature, with hot chocolate and sandwiches to keep me warm.

Since this is still a full on winter month, it’s nice to keep things warm and cosy inside. I’ve loved baking quite much lately and since Valentine’s Day is coming this week, I thought I’d share some vegan baking ideas for this time of the year. I think all of these can be used in the theme of Valentine’s Day or just to lighten up the winter-y days of February. Or really just to have an excuse to bake and eat delicious sweet treats.

image2 (27)

Vegan Shortbread

200 g dairy-free butter

1 tbsp vanilla extract

100 g sugar

300 g flour

  1. Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar together. Stir in the flour and mix into a dough. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up.
  2. Roll out the dough to 1/2 cm thickness and cut into shapes.
  3. Place on the baking sheet and bake for about 12-15 minutes in 175°c, until golden brown at the edges.
  4. Leave to cool before filling/decorating.

(original recipe)

I decided to cut them into heart shapes to make them look cuter and more fitting to the season. And since it was the World Nutella Day at the beginning of this month, I made a vegan nutella filling that I used in the cookies as well as in the filling of the Shrove buns coming later on in this post.

Vegan Nutella

1,5 cups (225g) raw hazelnuts

1/3 cup (80ml) unsweetened plant milk (soy, almond, oat..)

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp maple/agave syrup

6 soft pitted dates

1/3 cup (35g) cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

  1. Bake the hazelnuts for 10-12 minutes in 180°c
  2. Peel the skin of the nuts after they’re cooled down by rubbing them between your palms and letting the skin fall off from between your fingers. Place the clean nuts in a high-speed blender or food processor.
  3. Blend until a thin nut butter consistency is formed, scrapping down the sides occasionally.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and well incorporated.
  5. Check the taste and consistency to your liking. (Add more milk to make it thinner or add more dates or syrup for a sweeter taste.)
  6. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to one week.

(original recipe)

I also made a chiaseed and berry jam that I used as a filling with the nutella. This is honestly the easiest, healthiest and the tastiest jam! No added sugar, just the impeccable taste of some amazing berries.

Chiaseed Berry Jam

2 cups  frozen berries of your choice (I used blueberries and raspberries)

3 tbsp chiaseeds

1 tbsp water or juice (if the berries don’t give enough liquid when defrosted)

  1. Defrost the berries.
  2. Crush them with a fork to release more juice.
  3. Add the chiaseed and the additional water or juice if needed. Stir to combine.
  4. Let sit in room temperature for 30 minutes for the chiaseeds to gel, stirring once halfway.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

In Finland, Sweden and Estonia there’s a delicacy called Shrove bun, also known as Samla, which is a bun with whipped cream and jam or almond paste as a filling. I can’t remember baking vegan buns before, but definitely will be making them again after this try out. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything as cloud like soft as these. Yum!

image3 (25)

Vegan Sweet Buns

5 dl plant milk (soy, almond, oat..)

11g dried yeast

1 1/2 dl sugar

2 tsp cardamom

1 tsp salt

14 dl flour

150 g dairy-free butter

  1. Mix the yeast, sugar, cardamom, salt and a little bit of flour with the warmed up milk.
  2. Continue adding flour until a dough is formed. Add in the room temp. butter and the rest of the flour and keep kneading until the dough is firm, elastic and starts coming off your fingers and the sides of the bowl.
  3. Let rise in the bowl in a warm place, covered with a cloth, until double the size.
  4. Divide the dough into 16 pieces and shape into firm balls.
  5. Let rise for about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Make a mixture of 1/2 dl water and 1 tbsp fair syrup and brush the dough balls with it and put a little bit of nib sugar on the top.
  7. Bake for about 12-15 minutes in 225°c, until lightly golden brown.
  8. Let cool down before cutting open and filling with cream, jam and nutella. Or a combination of your liking.

 

Bake with love and enjoy!

Nora