This is a recipe I’m really excited to share with you all. I’ve become absolutely obsessed with it and I think I’ve finally perfected it. (At least for my taste buds.) The thing I love the most about this is that it’s so versatile. This pasta would be perfect for a more fancy dinner. Just crab a wine glass, put on some music and enjoy a tasty pasta dish in the evening. Perfection! But this recipe is so simple and easy to make that it’s also a perfect dinner option to make on weekdays if you’re looking for something different to stand out of the ordinary meals you might usually have.
Welcome to part two of the let’s talk about.. series, where I talk about topics that come up in books I read. This time the book we’re going to be talking about is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is a book that has sold over seven million copies and has been translated into forty languages, needless to say it’s quite wide-spread.
What grabbed my attention in this book enough to order it and then read it, was the fact that it talks about personal freedom. Now, freedom as a concept is something that’s been in the back of my mind for a long time. I’m quite sure I’m not talking only about myself, when I say that feeling trapped or quietened is a common feeling in our lives. It’s become such a normalized feeling though, that I at least have started to accept that freedom is something that can’t be achieved. That it’s something out of our individual hands and minds, something completely out of control.
I’d heard a lot of good things about this book before reading it myself. The ways its message was talked about really sank in me and made an impact in my every day life even before reading the actual book. It brought up a thought of possible strength we have inside of us. Which, at least for me is something that has been a bit lost to be honest. It’s so easy to give in to the sorrow and horribleness that surrounds us when we live in the society that has been built for us.
Time has gone by so quickly, I can’t even quite comprehend. It’s already April! Spring is catching up to us and the anticipation is huge. It’s the best feeling to realize and truly enjoy the growing amount of daylight that we have at the moment. To have moments in the evening when you’re looking outside on a sunny day and it’s still so damn bright at eight o’clock that it almost feels like summer.
So there’s some catching up to do, as in a little life update.
I can’t even remember how many times I’ve gone to a doctor in the past two months. Not to mention the hours I’ve spent in the hospital. About three weeks ago, I had a surgery on my ovaries. It went well and I’m all fine now. But it still was a surgery and the recovery, alongside with about ten things, are something I’ve never experienced before. It’s been a rollercoaster, to say the least.
After being on a sick leave for five weeks in December-January, because of a broken wrist, I thought, taking a break from work and having some time to reflect on your life, is kind of a good thing. Even though the time didn’t come from the best of circumstances. At least it ended up having a great timing, so that I had the possibility to start a new year with a renewed view of strength I had on myself.
This time around thought, I’ve had this time off with a mixture of feelings. I was at work only for a month and a half between these sick leaves and it didn’t really feel like I needed any time to take away from the life I was living. But on the other hand, this has been such a different time compared to the broken wrist situation, because it’s been a slow process (even though it’s gone much quicker than I had thought it would) to be able to move and do normal every day things again. I guess it’s a bit different having one hand off the game than recovering from having your stomach cut open.. I have to say I’ve never quite enjoyed walking outside and watching the nature changing as much I do right now.
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.
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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,
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.
200 g dairy-free butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
100 g sugar
300 g flour
- 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.
- Roll out the dough to 1/2 cm thickness and cut into shapes.
- Place on the baking sheet and bake for about 12-15 minutes in 175°c, until golden brown at the edges.
- Leave to cool before filling/decorating.
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.
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
- Bake the hazelnuts for 10-12 minutes in 180°c
- 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.
- Blend until a thin nut butter consistency is formed, scrapping down the sides occasionally.
- Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and well incorporated.
- 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.)
- Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to one week.
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)
- Defrost the berries.
- Crush them with a fork to release more juice.
- Add the chiaseed and the additional water or juice if needed. Stir to combine.
- Let sit in room temperature for 30 minutes for the chiaseeds to gel, stirring once halfway.
- 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!
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
- Mix the yeast, sugar, cardamom, salt and a little bit of flour with the warmed up milk.
- 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.
- Let rise in the bowl in a warm place, covered with a cloth, until double the size.
- Divide the dough into 16 pieces and shape into firm balls.
- Let rise for about 20-30 minutes.
- 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.
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes in 225°c, until lightly golden brown.
- Let cool down before cutting open and filling with cream, jam and nutella. Or a combination of your liking.
Bake with love and enjoy!
When you look around, what do you see? Look at the walls, the ceiling, all the corners. What does this space mean to you?
When you close your eyes, what do you feel? Are you able to let go of your thoughts and just be in the moment? There’s energy in everything. In every object, in each living creature. Are you able to take in the energy you feel around you, in your space, without your thoughts and concrete things shaping up your being in that place, in that moment?
Does that space allow you to breathe? Does it calm you down? Does it give you energy? Do you feel safe?
Giving in to the moment, letting go of all the thoughts going through your mind, is hard. There’s so many should’s and did’s and what if’s, that sometimes you might not even realize how much of your time you use, just going through those things, without actually doing or being a part of those things at the moment.
I used to think I was really good at being in the moment, of letting my mind rest from all the thinking. And to a certain extend that’s true. Quite rarely I have too much going on inside my head. But when we’re talking about being in the moment and feeling that moment, knowing my own energy and the energy around me, in my space, I’m struggling.
What I find myself doing, way too often, is spacing out. Sometime in the past, I “learned” spacing out, to ease.. my being. It was a safe space, away from feeling everything and anything. It wasn’t or isn’t something I consciously do. Now I can just name it and understand what I’m doing, better than before. But it doesn’t take away from it being unhealthy. If I had to explain it in words, I would say it’s like shutting down. It feels like I’m shutting down myself. It makes me feel safe, it makes me not think or feel, but it also means I’m not here. And I certainly am not in the moment.
In the past months, maybe in the past year, I’ve learned to start letting go of that safety blanket I’m so used to wearing. I don’t think it’s been really a conscious decision to start doing that, but I’ve come to realize many things that has automatically been in connection to that. For example, being inspired to connect with nature more and wanting to feel more grounded, has increased my power to be true to myself and have more balance with my emotions.
To practice being in the moment and letting go, the first step, I think, is to find a place you feel safe in. A place you can be 100% you, with no reservation. For me that place is my home. It’s when I’m alone. I find it in simplicity. I like to look around me and have open space. Bare walls and natural lightness.
The second step, I would say, is allowing yourself to feel and accept. I find myself quite often living with a mindset of ‘I have to try..’. It’s always ‘ I have to try to be better’ or ‘I have to try to start and do’. But the truth is, all that trying is not a way to make things change for good. I find it really toxic to always have that way of thinking, because ultimately it has the undertone of ‘I’m not good enough and I have to be something and someone I’m not’.
Be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to feel and accept the person you are. With that allowance you will be much more open to personal change and actually capable to work with yourself to create a healthy space for yourself. A space that doesn’t necessarily have to be stationary. A space that reflects your inner self wherever you are and lets you grow and learn and work with life.
Whether you have a hectic life or you find time slipping by for other reasons, take a moment to appreciate the state of life you are in, at this moment. Even if you’re not happy with the way things are. Breathe and let yourself feel. Look around and find things you’re thankful for. Close your eyes and look inside and find things about yourself you’re thankful for.
I’m at a point in my life, where finding serenity is the key point. All the pushing and trying is only giving me negative energy and for sure won’t give me any room to actually find any answers and move forwards in my life.
Allowing yourself to accept who you are and where you are at your life at this moment, being in the moment and creating space for your true self, doesn’t mean slowing down to a stop. It’s about building a ground beneath you. It’s hard work. It’s not waiting and hoping. It’s working with yourself and having faith that you will figure things out as long as you keep your mind open for change.
Thanks for reading,
I’ve never been that big of a calendar user. When I was younger, I often bought or got one and I was so excited get to it but it always fell behind unused. The reason I’ve kind of failed with calendar use before is because I don’t have meetings or much else going on schedule wise than work. So it’s always felt like I don’t have much to fill the calendar days with.
What I’ve now realized, is that a calendar can be used in many different ways. It doesn’t have to stand around work. It can be whatever you want it to be. Let it be a motivator to do what you have to do. And most importantly let it be a motivator to push you even further to achieve your dreams and goals.
The calendar I have this year is very simple. And I love it for that. Each week has its own spread. It has space for each day as well as sections for notes and ideas, to do – lists and for things to do later on. The only thing I’m missing at this moment is a monthly page between each month. It would be amazing to have a little space for reflection, but there’s empty pages at the end, so I can use those for that. Or maybe add my own pages in between? We’ll see how it turns out.
The front cover has an elegant silver writing of 2018 spelled out in Finnish. The back cover was just the plain color, so I wanted to do something to make it look more exciting and interesting. I had a couple of unused postcards and I thought the one I ended up using really fit into the style and colors of the calendar. I might end up decorating the covers more as the months go by.
With these two/three weeks I’ve been using this calendar I’ve realized I don’t have much stuff to put into the ‘for later’ section. And I started to think about what would be a more efficient way for me to use that space as and I read my new year’s resolutions list and there I had it. I split the bottom space into three sections. I still have the ‘for later’ space and in addition I put in a ‘budget’ section and a ‘this week I’m thankful for’ section.
I’m excited and pleased with this lay out and having the calendar as a whole. It’s helped me so much already with having my life moving forwards even though I haven’t had any schedule because I’ve been on a sick leave for the past month. I believe this will help me work towards my goals and do self-reflection. The most important thing for me is that I can look at this as an open page. It doesn’t reflect me if I don’t make it reflect me. I don’t feel caged to be this one person, because I have the power to make this what I want it to be. I have freedom to create and be open on these pages and with myself.
As you can see from this weeks page, it’s already filled out pretty nicely. I bought some stickers to be able to decorate the pages in an easy and effortless way. I know when work starts again I won’t have as much time to use filling out everything and decorating, so I think this is a great way to motivate me to keep using the calendar even when it feels like I don’t have any extra energy.
I’m also super excited to get to use a new device I bought to myself as a birthday present at the end of last year. A Sprocket. Have you heard of it? It’s a small photo printer. You can print sticker photos from your phone, using bluetooth. I think it’s a fantastic way to collect memories to your diary or calendar or in which ever way you want. I’ve seen other amazing ideas how to use those photos, for example in present wrapping to address a present to someone by using a picture taken together.
If I had or if I start using monthly pages in this calendar, I would put one picture to each months page. Like a highlight photo. I think that would be amazing to look back to and see everything I’ve done and experienced. It would be a great motivator, I think.
I’m taking one day at a time and reminding myself that even the smallest things can be big. Taking notice of those things and spelling them out and saying to yourself ‘ you did good today ‘ and we’ll face tomorrow with new energy. Building your energy starts from the moment you wake up. You have the potential to build that energy as high as you want. Take each day with grateful eyes and open mind and the possibilities are endless.
Wishing all the best to you,