Category Archives: Blog

I’m on a Reading Kick! Book Reviews Spring 2017

Most uncomfortable chair ever. photo by @joeburke108

Reading has always been one of my biggest obsessions. Each book is a fascinating world, waiting patiently for when I have the time to dive back into it’s intimate portal. Since my goal with spirituality is to stay connected to my more subtle feelings and intuition, Television is abrasive and directly counters my efforts of emptying my mind of excess. Now that I have become more personally aware of the power of the mind, I don’t want unfiltered commercial messages even whispering to my subconscious mind.

While watching TV, the brain isn’t required to do anything at all, it’s being spoon fed. The body is becoming soft, the muscles atrophy, the blood pools and the body systems go stagnant.  When you’re reading, you can be anywhere, even outside, and you can take breaks whenever you need to move your body easily.

photo: @joeburke108

I read so many books that I forget what they’re about, so I started writing a  little synopsis once I complete reading them to remind myself of the plot or main points. I love so many books that I would love if my friends read them so I could feel understood and could refer to certain information and have someone understand!

Everything on TV is carefully crafted to hold our interest and keep us distracted, entertained, placated. The ultimate intention of media messages and commercials are creating desire, inciting fear and driving consumerism, by a handful of incredibly powerful and adept marketing corporations. Any information you’re receiving on TV should be subject to extreme scrutiny due to the fact that the government is very aware of the power of our subconscious mind.

Studies show that many Americans don’t read.  India reads the most in the world at an average of 10.7 hours spent reading per week. One in four Americans didn’t read a book in 2015.

This book isn’t on the review list, but isn’t this antique cover lovely? I gave it away as a gift, was probably worth millions, oh well

When we are forming opinions based upon information received from corporations who have vested interest in our consumerism and compliance to systems and social structures, we are shaping our viewpoints from skewed foundations. Not reading further into things and swallowing reports from major media sources leaves us susceptible of falling victim to indoctrination, unwittingly. Here are some amazing books I’ve recently read and why I think they are worth your time!

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

This book is Not just a comedy, it is a well-researched and thorough study of the modern state of dating compared to recent generations, and the new challenges presented by the prevalence of technology. It is narrated by Aziz though, so he manages to still make these psychological concepts entertaining with his witty interpretations of the studies and explanations. I cannot recommend this book more highly, especially coming from someone unfortunately still swimming in the dating pools. The explanations about the unspoken rules of texting, the ego games where you wait to respond, and the other person judges you on how quickly you respond, it’s all a mind-fuck that has heretofore been uncharted territory, because this technology of having phones and texting to sift through potential partners is new. Never before have we been given SO many choices presented to us in such an accessible and clandestine way. We write people off without even having met them by judging a photograph or a text response, knowing there are dozens more where that person came from, just a swipe away. We have lost the human connection of meeting someone and sensing how someone makes us feel, or perhaps noticing charming mannerisms or personality traits that cannot be expressed through droll listings of likes and dislikes. I loved this book! A quick easy and hilarious read, and now I feel more ready to play this stupid fu—rather, ahem, this lovely dance of courtship with some worthy gent who asks with confidence and has a plan.

The Source Field Investigations by David Wilcock

This book is a complete thrill ride dive into ancient secrets and fascinating science explaining in unprecedented detail, the nature of reality. This book is like a machine gun with the revelations, giving such exciting information rapid-fire. I honestly had to put the book down at times and look around like, *deep breath* WHOA. Seriously. Wow. It shares suppressed information about inventions that have been presented numerous times that would allow for free energy for everyone. The secret power of pyramids and the quantum science behind exactly why and how they work, studies done on plants that prove their ability to entrain with our thoughts and emotions. If you’re an open-minded, curious truth seeker, this book will have you looking at the whole world differently.

Addicted to War by Joel Andreas

I cannot remember where I first discovered this illustrated graphic novel exposing the United States Government, but it changed my life in the best way. I have peace of mind and understanding thanks to this book. I used to listen to NPR thinking that was an unbiased news source, only to come to understand that absolutely every news source is biased in some way. It’s about looking at the reports from all sources and critically discerning the underlying intentions of each report, which I’ve come to know is to create particular emotional reactions. This book is easy to understand and yet in depth, and the author obviously spent a tremendous amount of time researching. The pictures are hand-drawn but there are some actual photographs of war footage, so this book isn’t what I would call “fun.” I would describe it as important, imperative even, especially for Americans. Once you gain this insight and understanding thanks to this comprehensive distillation of years of research, it will help you gain a clear understanding of the true objectives of our government. You won’t be confused anymore as to why our health care is ludicrously expensive, why our schools can’t afford to pay teachers decent salary and yet we are able to endlessly spend trillions overseas in questionable military operations, terrorizing civilians in the name of freedom.

What are you reading lately that is non-fiction or educational in some way? I tend to read less fiction nowadays, digging into the truth of reality and our conscious existence has overcome all desire to wrap my mind around imaginary interpersonal dramas. Perhaps I’ll make my way back into fiction with a great recommendation! Thanks for reading, hope you find something exciting to read soon.

Tip for Napa County California residents: The Napa Library often has many of the books I see in the new section at Copperfields! If you haven’t been to the Napa Library in awhile, it’s worth a visit to walk out with a stack of new books, music and DVDs for free!

 

 

 

 

Raw Vegan for 108 Days

Why Are You Doing This, Jayne?

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One day I was minding my own business at work when my coworker walks into my office, stands there and says, “I dare you to go raw vegan. If you do it, I’ll do it too.”  I responded with a cocky and curt, “Sure, how long, 30 days? How about 108 days?” Thinking he would never agree to so long on such an extreme diet. He agreed instantly. We both looked away and were quiet, taking a moment to comprehend what we just agreed to. I was like “Hold on a minute..” and he was like “Holy shit that’s so long.” Then I realized 108 days is almost a third of a year! I won’t be drinking alcohol, which is good, but what will my boyfriend think of this? Will we still be able to go out to eat? What about our anniversary dinner at the Thai food place, I want to eat Thai food just that one day! My thoughts were racing.

So we made our parameters for the challenge:

108 Days Fully Raw Vegan

  • Edamame Hummus is ok as training wheels
  • Miso soup broth only is OK
  • My Anniversary Thai Food Dinner is OK
  • NO Tofu
  • No processed foods whatsoever
  • No bread
  • No caffeine
  • No alcohol

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I was instantly excited by the idea of this diet! I had done it before in a very half-assed way when I first went vegan, but didn’t look into recipes and couldn’t keep it up. I did lose a lot of weight quickly, which was appealing!

I decided I was going to do this completely, and do this right. I have a lot of trips coming up and I want to feel amazing this summer. A drastic change will bring drastic results. I was totally excited! I decided to not even eat the warm miso broth or hummus. Fully raw with no exceptions!

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I instantly looked up ‘raw foods’ on my Podcast app because I’m obsessed with podcasts. I found The Rawtarian and fell in love with this cute Canadian lady named Laura Jane. Her podcast is very clear, friendly, respectful, comprehensive and completely friendly for beginners. She has an adorable personality and the recipes sounded so insanely easy. Three or four raw ingredients in a blender and I have soup?! Even I could do that.

I have been burning toast my entire life and messing up boxed macaroni and cheese somehow for years. I found myself loving preparing this food, since it’s not really cooking! It’s embarrassing how inept I have been throughout my life in the kitchen. I basically try to hide this fact and buy prepared foods for parties. It’s terrible, you guys, I know! I was made fun of about it a few times, so I built up a mental block, it was a whole thing in my head.

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Pre-Raw Vegan Faves from the College Market in Angwin: Love their Vegan Burritos!!

The thing that appealed to me the most about this way of eating at first, was how detoxifying it would be, and that I wouldn’t have to cook. Now that I have been doing this for 12 days, the most amazing part of this experience is that I’m learning to  really enjoy preparing food! I cannot believe how easy and delicious these recipes are.

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I started by buying a Ninja Blender. I tried really hard not to be biased and just buy it because it was called a ninja, but it had more horsepower than the others and it has so many blades sticking out if the center axis, I’m kind of scared of it. It was $100 but it is so worth it. It crushes ice and cashews easily, so I’m very happy with it. I started by making mushroom soup. Just raw mushrooms, cashews, water and sea salt! I made that for my dinner and felt so happy about this simple, clean food!

Living Foods

Over the next few days I continued learning more about the benefits of raw foods, and started to really understand the powerful healing effects of raw foods. What I’ve learned is that the enzymes in living foods are still active, and help feed your immune system, giving you the best possible nutritious value. Since the food is alive, the nutrients haven’t been depleted, giving the body more energy and health benefits. I am still learning a ton. I love learning this information about how every plant benefits different parts of your body and systems, it’s becoming so obvious to me that plants in their most natural state would be the best way to consume them.

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I Have So Much Energy I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands

The energy I felt surging through my body after my morning green smoothie was crazy. I felt like jumping, running! I woke at 4 in the morning about three days into this diet, feeling completely refreshed and energized, enough so to go for a run. This energy surge perplexed me. I always wake at 5:15am, like clockwork. To wake this early, and feel this wired was absolutely new!

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Detoxing and……….Defecation

Another interesting fact: Detox Symptoms. About two days in, I noticed I had a vague, but persistent headache. It was always there, but barely uncomfortable, just an awareness. I also noticed on the second day, my bowel movement was bright army green! I started to realize that I could actually read my excrement and see what meal had been digested. I know poop is gross, but the way our bodies work and how the food passes through fascinates me. Depending on the consistency of the movement, I knew whether or not I needed more greens, fats, or fruits. I’ve never been able to “read” my body this way, it’s been so empowering to start to learn how.

Another Digestive “D” Word: Diarrhea

I made some banana cream freezer pie that was delicious! I also made chocolate cookies. They were easy and fun, and I kept sneaking bites of pie, a couple cookies, another bite of pie. I knew I was eating too much sugar, but I was like whatever I’m raw vegan there are nutrients in these foods! WELL! Just yesterday, I woke up at 1am with cramps in my stomach. I woke to try to use the bathroom, and kept having to return, with uncomfortable diarrhea. That lasted a few hours, thankfully it was mild. I looked it up online, and diarrhea is also a normal symptom of changing your diet drastically to a more-than-usual amount of fruits and vegetables.

I drank lots of water and ate broccoli slaw with avocado and sunflower seeds, and I felt a lot better. I’m learning how to make sure I consume enough food, and what KINDS of foods I need at any given time to have a balance. When I feel like I need something heavier, I have nuts or an avocado. When I feel like I’ve overindulged, I’ll eat a huge green salad. In the mornings, I make big 32 oz green smoothies and that has me feeling amazing. I’ve fully recuperated from the bout of diarrhea and have learned a valuable lesson about over-eating sweets and skimping on greens.

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My friend Claire made me this incredible raw meal! Asparagus, pesto with pine nuts, beets, carrots, romaine, beet chips, english pea dip, and jicama?! I can’t fathom my luck <3 Follow her on IG @Mcconnellculinaryadventures

I highly recommend this diet so far. I’ve lost 7 pounds in these 12 days! I think the hardest part is planning your meals in advance, and getting used to not eating the foods you’re used to eating. For me, it was hard giving  up olive oil popcorn and my favorite “science chicken” (Trader Joe’s Chicken-less Orange Chicken.) I had become a junk food vegan without realizing it! It feels incredible to eat this clean. My energy is unbelievable, I feel like my body is shrinking. I feel light and my pineal gland has been throbbing. My meditations have been much more focused. I love eating this way, and right now, I feel I could do this for a long time. Which is great because I have 96 days to go!

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MY BIGGEST TIPS SO FAR ARE THESE:

  • If you want to try raw vegan, be normal vegan first. To try to give up meat, dairy, and bread in one fell swoop is quitting three lifelong habits, three major addictions with genuinely addictive properties. It will be way way way too hard and not fun, and won’t be sustainable. When you do it slowly and just add more raw foods, it’ll be easier to celebrate small victories and move up from there, rather than beat yourself up when you can’t stick to the extreme changes you’re asking your body and emotions to accept. Be nice to yourself. This is a HUGE change and it’s not a socially normal thing to do, so it takes tremendous internal strength. It’s hard, but like anything, you learn how to do it and it gets easier! The way you begin to feel and look makes it all worth it.
  • Educate yourself. Listen to podcasts about nutrition, read books, get information from MANY different sources. Research the people giving the information, ask yourself, who is this website sponsored by? Look into it. Look at all angles. Ask questions and dig deep in the rabbit holes. There is a lot of information out there, sift through it with a mass amount of info and then use your ability to deduce and your intuition. Test the theories!
  •  Eat PLENTY of fruit, vegetables, GREENS and water. Do not overdo it with the desserts or your stomach might tell you it isn’t happy like mine did to me!
  • Have Fun! Enjoy the energy, bring food with you everywhere, and snack all the time on fruit. Let me know how it’s going for you, if you decide to add more raw into your diet! Good Luck and have fun! Try to remember, your attitude regarding change can make it so fun. This is not a burden, it’s a joy, it’s all your choice about how you choose to feel about it. I feel that feeling this healthy is a beautiful gift and worth every effort.

Links:

This website has the best easy recipes! Laura Jane is my raw guru! therawtarian.com

This man is extremely smart and is an expert on raw foods and nutrition. So much to learn from him, I’m a bit obsessed.  davidwolfe.com

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Yogic Solutions for Vertigo

I have a private meditation client who is suffering from Vertigo. Through research, I have compiled a list of Pranayama techniques as well as asanas (yoga poses) that help alleviate and supposedly, can completely eradicate the symptoms of Vertigo!

 

Poses that are beneficial for those suffering from Vertigo are those that activate the nervous system and the balance centers in the inner ear. The following practices listed below help improve blood circulation throughout the brain and body.  Such methods have been proven to  be effective natural remedies for Vertigo when performed regularly as an active solution for this disconcerting condition.

Our sense of balance is created by a complex interconnected relationship between the inner ear, eyes, skin on the bottom of the feet, muscle/ joint sense receptors, brain and the spinal cord.  I recommend this particular order when completing these exercises. Please do not consult this blog in lieu of receiving professional help with your Vertigo, as the causes of Vertigo can vary widely between allergens such as dust, mold, and pollen, and range all the way into nerve diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and tumors.  You may want to really be seen by a Doctor to ensure the Vertigo isn’t a symptom of a deeper issue.

1st:

Nadi Shodan Pranayama or Alternate Nostril Breathing 

This particular kind of Pranayama enriches the blood with oxygen, balances the nervous system, and purifies the respiratory system.

Begin in a comfortable seated position. You can be sitting on your knees and ankles in Hero Pose, with the tops of the feet on the ground and toes pointing back behind you.  Alternately, you could fold your left foot in so that your heel is in toward your groin, and fold the right leg in front of the left, instead of stacking the ankles in a regular cross legged pose, for ease and comfort.

Freckled Fairy almost has her legs in the right position, she just needs to pull her left leg in closer to her groin.
Freckled Fairy almost has her legs in the right position, she just needs to pull her left leg in closer to her groin.

Bring your left hand onto your lap with the palms up, fingers gently curling inward, resting the back of your hand comfortably on your left thigh.  Bring your right hand to the right side of your face with your palm facing out forward the same direction as your face, fingers toward the sky and thumb naturally pointing to the face, like an unmoving wave of “Hello.” Drop the index and middle fingers of the right hand down to the palm. Use the thumb of the right hand to block the right nostril. Inhale deeply, smoothly, slowly from the left nostril. Once the lungs are filled, ribs expanded, let the ring finger drop down and press down on the outside of the left nostril, closing both nostrils now and holding the breath with the lungs full. The inhale should be a count of 4, hold lungs full for 2 counts, then lift the thumb and exhale out of the right nostril completely, letting the shoulders drop.

Then inhale through the right nostril you just exhaled out of for a count of 4, hold at the top for a count of 2, then lift the ring finger and exhale for a count of 6. The longer exhale releases carbon dioxide buildup in the bottom of the lungs and calms the heart rate, as it replicates the natural breathing rhythm of your sleep.

Throughout this practice, you are relaxing your face, sitting with your spine tall and chin level with the ground. The top of your head pulls toward the sky, but never in a straining way. Relaxation is the goal.

2nd:

Malasana/ Garland Pose

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Bring your feet to hip distance apart in a standing position with the toes pointing out, the heels in. Put your hands out in front of you toward the ground and start to drop your hips into a squat position. At first, you will sink down with your hands on the ground for balance, then let your palms come together with the thumbs at the center of the chest. Let the top of your head come up, pulling the crown toward the sky, the chin level with the ground. Stay here for about 20 seconds, then let the hands drop to the ground in between the feet, below the shoulders and about a foot away from the body, letting the forehead drop toward the ground. Stay here for another 20 seconds, breathing slowly and deeply to calm the heart and nervous system. Then lift the hips, and bring the hands under the body, putting the webbing inside of the first finger and thumb on the back of the ankles, with palms resting on the ground. If this isn’t possible for you just yet, try not to feel discouraged and simply do what you can today toward that objective. Let your forehead and the top of your head drop toward the ground, breathing deep and slow for 20 seconds. When you want to get out of this pose, lift the hips and drop onto the bottom slowly to not exacerbate the Vertigo symptoms. From a seated position, you can gently, carefully roll to one side and press yourself up to standing.

3rd:

Halasana/ Plow Pose

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This comforting pose improves memory, normalizes blood pressure,  and increases spinal health and flexibility. Begin by lying on your back. Bring your feet straight up, straightening the legs and feet toward the sky with palms face down at your sides. Pressing into the mat with the hands and forearms, let your feet drop back behind your head, lifting your hips and letting your knees softly bend if that’s more comfortable for you. Stay here for a count of 50 to 100. To come out of it, slowly lift your feet and allow your spine to slowly uncurl with ultimate control, dropping one vertebrae at a time onto the mat from the upper back to the lower back, engaging  your abs to slow the descent.

 

Finally:

Salamba Sirsasana/ Supported Headstand

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This pose has been touted to “cure” Vertigo! Start on your knees with your forearms on the ground, palms facing down. Bring the inside web of your forefinger and thumb and rest that on the inside of the elbows to measure the correct distance between your arms. The goal is to make a perfect triangle as your foundation, then to drop the very top of your head into the center of the triangle. Press strongly through the entire forearm, from the elbow to the inner wrists, and lightly clasp your fingers together without strain. Your knees are still on the ground, the toes are tucked under. From here, start to straighten the legs, keeping the balls of the feet on the ground, lifting the hips, and walk the feet in toward the body, lifting the hips higher until they are almost stacked above the shoulders.

Engage your abs fiercely, and start to lift the toes off of the ground, letting them begin to float up toward the sky. You’d be surprised, it seems perhaps difficult, but once you get into the position, your feet start to lift naturally. The most challenging part is keeping your balance as your feet come up. It helps to lift one leg at a time, finding your balance slowly. If this pose isn’t in your practice just yet, you can receive the same benefit from staying in Dolphin pose, with the forearms on the ground, hips lifted, legs straight, and toes resting on the ground on the balls of your feet. In this way, the head is still below the heart, and you are still receiving the benefits of the posture. Try to remain in this posture for 10 seconds, breathing slow and deep to stay calm.

Best of luck to you and your yoga practice. May you be healed quickly and feel relief from your Vertigo!

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Lucid Dreaming Part 2

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I AM A LIFELONG DREAMER AND ESCAPIST

When I was a kid, I had vivid dreams nightly. I would very often fly in my dreams and remember exactly how it felt to fly. It felt like swimming, it took effort and practice, but was so thrilling. I had many insights into past lives in my dreams, and as I grew older my dreams remained very important to me.

Recently I went to the library sale and picked up a book called “Out of Body Experiences, 30 days to the most exciting experience of your life” by Rick Stack. The esoteric subject, fifty cent price tag and classic 80’s style cover had me intrigued. I read the book cover to cover several times and discovered a profound connection between the lucid dream state and the Out-of-body experience.
One of the most fascinating things to me about dreaming is how real everything feels. This new information helped me to understand the reality of how the brain processes our senses in different states of consciousness. It made so much sense to me as to why my dreams had felt so real; we are definitely sensually experiencing them!

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photo by Jayne Forest

NATURAL STONES AND CRYSTALS

One of the last tips I gave in my video on becoming lucid is the use of crystals. I realize that the subject of crystals has strong associations with gypsies and psychics and other loony characters, but crystals have a scientifically proven electro-magnetic field which gives off steady frequencies that can help meld with our energies, and balance our life force energy if we are open to them.

The subject of crystals is much too scientifically extensive for me to attempt to explain in a concise manner, so I highly recommend watching on Youtube: Spirit Science: The Crystal Movie. It has an incredible amount of information crammed articulately into this very entertaining animated video about the molecular properties of crystals, how they work and how they can help you.

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photo by Jayne Forest

Before bed, I put my Fluorite crystal on my third eye because Fluorite is said to help facilitate clear thinking, which I figured would help whilst attempting to become lucid, and put an amethyst on my heart to aid with manifestation. I was attempting to manifest a lucid dreaming experience for myself.

If you’re open-minded and interested, crystals can be very helpful tools for getting into a relaxed, healing state with meditation and in assisting with lucid dreaming and other spiritual practices.

I was blown away when I tried using crystals and they worked for me the first time. If you let go of any ideas you have about them and just feel the way they feel in your hands, you may start to understand why people revere crystals as ancient powerful spiritual tools.

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photo by Jayne Forest

LUCID STABILITY WITHIN YOUR DREAM

Once you have employed all of the techniques and become consciously aware within your dream, you may notice that the first thing that happens is you start to feel like you’re going to wake up. Try to stay calm, breathe deeply and rub your hands together. When you do this, you are using your senses to stay grounded within the dream world so that you may have the opportunity to explore. You can also spin around in a circle to bring your awareness back to your dream rather than back to waking consciousness.

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photo by Jayne Forest

IN CONCLUSION!

I hope so much that someone out there in the world is enjoying my blog/videos/art, that it makes you happy and that it inspires you to live a creative, dreamy, magical life. This world is fucked up if you choose to look at all the darkness. The only way to make our dreams come true and make the world a better place is by focusing on the light, following our passions, trying things and failing, living life without fear. This is why I’m making this blog, to have fun creating and hopefully inspire you to try something new and believe in magic again. This whole world is an illusion that reflects back to us what we are projecting. Focus on the beautiful and stay on the other side of fear and this world will show you so much more than you can see with your eyes. Best of luck lucid dreaming, you guys, Thanks for reading!

The Top 5 Reasons I am Vegan

WHY WOULD ANYONE CHOOSE A LIFE WITHOUT ICE CREAM AND CHEESE?!

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Jayne Forest pre-veganism

I worked in the fine-dining and hospitality industry for 10 years. Short ribs and ice cream were a huge part of my passion for life. I made fun of vegetarians and ate entire marinated calamari squid bodies to make my friends squeal and squirm. I thought it was annoying when I had vegans at the tables I was serving. I would roll my eyes internally and think to myself “Why go out to eat at all if you can’t eat meat or dairy?!” I was a tomboy, and I considered it a mark of pride to be a girl who hung with the boys and proudly and unabashedly enjoyed meat. Ice cream was one of my favorite things about life! I considered cheese and ice cream to be a part of my personality. I was always an animal lover, and was always mildly lactose intolerant, but a proud and happy, contented person eating meat and dairy.

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One day while pregnant with my son, I watched the documentary “Food Inc.” I had a rude awakening from the self-imposed ignorance I had shrouded myself with. My previous thought process had always been, “I know that meat comes from dead animals, of course! I don’t need to see slaughterhouse footage, I’m sure it’s awful. I will feel bad and then I won’t want to eat meat! Don’t show me that sad shit!”

 

What I didn’t realize is that by watching that “sad shit” I cemented a new understanding in my heart that I could never again provide any kind of support to such horrible atrocities. Once I started studying the food industry, I dove into a deep rabbit hole that quickly became one of my biggest passions: veganism and animal rights. How could I love animals and pay for them to be tortured and stabbed/bled out/boiled alive by desensitized professional animal murders? What is the difference between the soft fur and beautiful eyes of a cow, or those of a dog? If I saw someone hurting any animal on the side of the road, would I just drive by? Absolutely not! So how could I continue feeling good about myself while supporting and consuming animal cruelty with my own money and mouth?

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The transition was not easy. I cried for days and felt panicky not knowing what options I had to eat other than chips and salsa, or apples and peanut butter. I was changed forever, and since I wasn’t ready for this change, it was jarring and made me question my entire personality, who I was, what defined me. It shook me to the core to realize that I wanted to be vegan. I had found vegans previously so annoying! And now suddenly I was one, and there was no going back.

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BECOMING VEGAN IS A VERY PERSONAL AND CHALLENGING CHOICE.

This post is to provide information to individuals who desire to know more about why I choose to live this unorthodox lifestyle. This post is not meant to make people feel badly for consuming meat. It is information that I have been studying and collecting for years. Becoming vegan took years of vegetarianism, cheese relapses, fish cheat-days…It was admittedly difficult to adjust to this completely foreign lifestyle. Now I don’t consider animal parts and secretions food, and I absolutely love the lifestyle. I’m leaner than I’ve ever been in my life, my skin and my conscience are clearer than ever, and my energy levels soar without coffee. The best part is knowing I am not voluntarily contributing to the animal agriculture industry’s devastating impact on the environment, and, most importantly for me, not contributing to animal suffering.

photo by Jayne Forest

 

5) Water consumption. The USGS (United States Geological Survey) states that the livestock industry in this country uses 2 billion gallons per day. There is much conflicting information on the internet, but to produce one hamburger is said to use between 440 -1,800 gallons of water. Beans take on average 5 gallons of water per gram of protein, as opposed to 9 gallons per gram of protein for chicken, and 29 gallons of water per gram of protein for beef. An 8 minute shower uses approximately 17 gallons of water. Taking shorter showers may make you feel as though you’re helping the drought, but consuming meat is using exponentially greater amounts of water.

photo by Jayne Forest

4) The environment. The leading cause of deforestation in tropical countries is creating land for livestock to graze. The Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations (FAO) says: “Livestock production is one of the major causes of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.” This same organization estimates that “livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport.” Meaning livestock industry is more of a contributor to global warming than cars, planes, trains, all of it.

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Photo by Jayne Forest of the Yuba River

3) Health. The top two leading causes of death in this country are heart disease and cancer. Atherosclerosis is the narrowing and thickening of arteries and develops for years without symptoms. Atherosclerosis is caused by excess deposition of cholesterol in the arteries. Cholesterol is only found in animal products. When cancer researchers were searching for links between diet and cancer, one of the most noticeable findings was that people who avoided meat were much less likely to develop cancer. Studies in England and Germany showed that vegetarians were about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat eaters.

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photo by Jayne Forest

2) Anarchy. The American government spends $38 billion each year to subsidize the meat and dairy industries so that meat can be affordable. The USDA then indoctrinates children with the food pyramid and other false information that has been disproven in huge studies such as The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, which is the largest scale and most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted.  The most heavily subsidized commodity crops are corn and animal products, which are used to produce the foods that are the leading causes of disease in this country; Corn is used to make corn syrup which is prevalent in cheap convenience food, and induces spikes in blood sugar which is associated with developing type 2 diabetes. Animal Products are the leading cause of a build-up of cholesterol as stated above, which is what leads to Atherosclerosis and eventually sudden heart failure as the deposits cause little to no symptoms until the condition has become dire.

So basically what I’m saying is, the government is subsidizing food that makes humans die of cancer, then makes it cheap and markets it to impoverished communities with fast food and highly processed , antibiotic-ridden public school lunches.

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When people start getting fat and sick, what must they do? Go to the doctor. The doctor that you definitely have because the government forces you to pay for health insurance. The doctor finds that you have high cholesterol and high blood pressure and gives you a prescription for blood pressure medication instead of telling you that 2 celery stalks a day will help you decrease cholesterol up to seven times. Celery also stimulates the secretion of bile acid that is responsible for the elimination of cholesterol from the body. The doctor can’t make money if they tell you that! Why do you think the government wants you to have health insurance? Is it because they care about your health? Or is it because they MAKE MONEY off of you being sick?

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1)THE ANIMALS. Did you know that animals in slaughterhouses are legally completely exempt from animal cruelty laws because they are considered commodities, inventory, as opposed to live beings? This is why the idea of “humane slaughter” is utterly meaningless. Do you feel that rape could ever be considered humane? If not, how could murder of a struggling, sentient, innocent being that desires to live, possibly be considered humane? Cows, pigs and chickens are imprisoned, tortured slaves and to try and believe that the disembodied body parts belonged to an animal that lived a happy life and died a painless death, when meat is purchased from massive wholesale retailers like Costco and Safeway, is unfortunately the farthest thing from the truth. Cows are routinely dehorned without anesthesia, baby pigs are castrated without anesthesia, baby chick’s beaks are sliced off with a hot blade. Animals in these environs are unhealthy mentally and physically and are regularly given antibiotics and growth hormones. No matter if they have huge tumors or disease, all are slaughtered and consumed just the same. Ground beef is all processed together, so diseased cow flesh is mixed with the ground flesh of 100-400 other cows, which is then cleaned with ammonia to eliminate pathogens. So it’s safe?

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photo by Jayne Forest

Being vegan isn’t easy, and the jokes about bacon never cease. The most exciting thing for me about being vegan is how I feel. I used to think that burping, farting, and feelings of bloating and lethargy were normal symptoms of digestion. After I eat now, I feel light and energetic, as if the food I ate was actually fuel for my body. Knowing my money is voting for foods that don’t use animal bodies or bodily fluids as commodities, makes me feel fantastic. I know most people won’t be willing to make the extreme choices that I have, but if reading this post makes someone think twice about ordering a burger or makes the connection in their mind of seeing pigs as individuals with intelligence and feelings, equally as worthy as dogs to a long, healthy, happy life, then I will be overjoyed.

Gary Yorofsky gives a compelling argument with this eye-opening speech

Bill Clinton is Vegan

Even Steve-O from Jackass was appalled and became vegan

Click here to read about my experience being Raw Vegan

How Veganism led me to experience a spontaneous spiritual awakening

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I used to be an atheist. I didn’t care about God, or finding a religion. I thought it was a strange compulsion that I was relieved to not be afflicted with. The closest thing I had to religion was yoga. I have been doing yoga since I was a small child unknowingly, throwing my legs overhead into plow pose while watching David the Gnome, rolling my head down into rabbit pose. I continued doing yoga as an adult because I was into fitness and loved stretching. I always thought yoga people were kinda strange with their sanskrit and chanting and symbols, but I loved that they were kind, capable, flexible and calm.

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I became a vegetarian after watching Food Inc. I was horrified and traumatized by these truths, and couldn’t bare to continue. I was left feeling panicky and in shock from the intense loss of footing with my life’s foundation. I felt so stupid for not realizing that it took torture and violent death to make my favorite Short Ribs dish at Martini House. I couldn’t kill animals myself, I couldn’t pay someone else to kill animals for me. I had realized that animals desire to live, they never choose to “give” their life. Their life, dignity, and comforts are violently taken from them, and I pay someone for that service. How could I ever eat meat again in good conscience?

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Well one day, shortly after the newness of being vegetarian had worn off, I was starving on my way back from a job. I pulled into a drive thru and ordered a burger. No one would know, and I was getting hangry, so I justified it easily. I took a bite and immediately was disgusted by the texture, flesh and blood just like mine. I imagined the cow who died that I was eating, I saw her bleeding out of her neck. I wondered how many cows were in my burger. I let my mouth fall open and the meat tumbled out. I was appalled with myself and knew burgers were over for me. I wasn’t vegan though. No CHEESE or ice cream?! You’re hilarious to suggest such a preposterous notion.

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I went through a string of bad relationships. I went through bouts of depression, anxiety, self-loathing and emotional wallowing. I turned to yoga more and more to help dig myself out. Meditation at the end of yoga became a place of release, I just poured tears and breathed shaky, labored breaths.

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I started meditating at home. I broke up with the guy I was seeing and suddenly felt FREE. I felt so empowered, I starting smiling brighter. I was already vegetarian, but I decided to go vegan again to lose weight. I had no desire to drink alcohol because I was doing so much yoga.

I stopped drinking coffee which was HUGE. I used to ADORE coffee. I drank it black daily, religiously. I didn’t want it to make me jittery when trying to meditate, and being vegan, I had a ton of energy. I honestly felt like running everywhere, I felt incredibly light.

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One day I was at a concert. I was sober, surrounded by drunk, silly teenagers in bikinis and tiny shorts, and I was so happy in my sobriety. “What is happening to me?” I thought to myself.

It was Easter Sunday. My Atheist sense of humor had me joking to myself all day about this Zombie Jesus holiday. I was browsing Facebook’s newsfeed when a headline jumped out to me. “Are You Having A Spiritual Awakening?” I clicked on the article and pressed play on a YouTube video.

I was slouched over my computer screen, watching this video, and everything it was saying was fascinating me. The video was reiterating my observations of my lack of desire to partake in my normal vices. It explained my strange and abnormal lack of a sex drive, my desire for solitude, my enhanced sensitivities, all of it. I even stopped smoking weed because I was reaching greater depths in meditation without it, and it gave me similar feelings to being high on cannabis when I reached a certain state of meditation.

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Photo by Jayne Forest

Suddenly, while watching this video, I felt an energy come up from my stomach and out through my mouth, a profound feeling that was so intense and unexpected that my body rolled upright physically and I began breathing heavily and crying immediately with wide eyes. I looked up at the sky and said aloud “Thank you! thank you! Thank you!” In my head, I was like “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?! WHY ARE YOU THANKING THE SKY? WHAT WAS THAT?!” I was beyond confused in my head, and all the while, I was crying and feeling an INTENSE presence of love within my body. I felt like I was jolted with a Loving energy. I was so happy, and I had NO idea why. I KNEW I wasn’t alone. I KNEW I received a gift. My brain was so confused, I cannot begin to explain how demolished my mental foundations were. My heart, on the other hand, was rejoicing.

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The next day, I went to work and told my Atheist co-worker (whom I had always related to because we shared the same beliefs!) and tearfully and shakily told her my strange, overwhelming story. She did not know what to think or how to respond at all, understandably. My other coworker Joe, had overheard the story and was like “That was your Kundalini rising!”

Thus began my spiritual journey. There is SO much more that happened, but the point of this story is to explain the connection between spirituality and veganism. What I learned in the past two years, after hungrily diving into as much spiritual philosophy as I could get my hands on, is that the spiritual journey begins with raising your vibration.

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Photo by Jayne Forest

If you’ve studied Quantum Physics or Nikola Tesla, you are aware that everything in this world is made up of vibrations. Matter is actually an illusion, and on a molecular level, everything in this entire world is made up of atoms and ether, or space. There is more space between atoms in objects that are less dense, less space between atoms in heavier, denser items. These atoms are constantly vibrating.

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Everyone talks about vibes, but what people sometimes don’t realize is vibes are literally vibrations. When people are negative and have bad vibes, they are vibrating lower. They don’t feel in control of their lives and they often have unhealthy habits. Happy people vibrate higher. Their atoms are actually moving at a faster pace, making them feel lighter, happier, and the Law of Attraction brings more happy things into their lives faster.

 

Food also has vibrations. Fruits and vegetables have high vibrations. They are colorful, you feel light and energetic after eating them, and they provide your body with valuable nutrients that protect your immune system. Meat and dairy come from animals that experienced torture, enslavement, murder and early death. These extremely negative vibrations permeate the animal’s being and the stress hormones that have coursed through that animal’s body throughout it’s life are being ingested. This causes you to vibrate much lower, inhibiting spiritual growth.

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Photo by Jayne Forest

The main ideas I read over and over regarding spiritual growth and expansion of consciousness, is that compassion is the KEY element of spirituality. Through meditation, raising your vibration, and quieting of the mind, the consciousness within your body expands outwardly into the world around you, making you aware through personal, visceral experience that you are ONE with everything. Your consciousness within your body can be spread outside of your physical body so that you will actually FEEL as though the trees are part of you.

You begin to be able to sense subtleties in energies in rooms you enter, your innate psychic abilities start to show themselves, and you start noticing synchronicities in your life. You start being able to manifest things faster. You start to understand on a deep spiritual level that every single person you meet has the same desires you do, the same desire to live that you do, and that every person is just another aspect of YOU, which is the whole universe of consciousness. This is why I’m vegan. Through these experiences, I have come to feel within my heart and soul the pain and suffering of the animals in the world.

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Photo by Jayne Forest

The idea of being vegan is a huge turn-off for most people. Cheese is so very delicious and soothing, fried chicken was as enjoyable as sex for me at one time. Now that I’ve experienced the spiritual, healthful and peace within my mind, I could never eat meat or dairy again. The feeling of knowing I’m not supporting slaughterhouses, or the rape of female cows, is a permeating feeling of inner peace. Through meditation, I’m learning to ascend beyond my thoughts and ideas of how the world works, and instead I retain an open mind, a loving heart, and a burning desire for TRUTH. Truth even if I don’t like it. What do I know about the world, when new information can erase a lifetime of belief? I’m endlessly humbled. All I can do is share my experience with others in hopes of raising the vibration of the entire planet.

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The tree is on private property in Napa and it is amazing, I love it photo by Jayne Forest

Famous Vegetarian Quotes:

” A man of spiritual intensity does not eat corpses.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Know that the same spark of life that is within you, is within all of our animal friends, the desire to live is the same within all of us.” – Rai Aren

“Whatever we sow, we will reap. When we harm others, we harm ourselves, when we enslave others, we enslave ourselves. Spirituality is about Liberation, calls us to awaken to the interconnectedness of all life and to practice kindness and respect for others.”-Unknown

 

 

Lucid Dreaming

 

Photo by Jayne Forest

I’m a little obsessed with dreaming, specifically lucid dreaming. In bringing up the subject of dreams casually to friends and acquaintances, I’m always shocked when I hear people say they don’t remember their dreams, or that they have strange recurring dreams but they don’t really care, or that they don’t see them as important. Dreams have always been such a vivid, huge part of my life because I used to fly regularly in my dreams. I used to actually cry as a child because I was mad I couldn’t fly anymore. I’ve spent my entire life trying to regain my ability to fly.

 

One day I had a bad dream and my Dad told me “Honey, you can control your dreams. You just have to decide to change them.” No one had ever told me that! It fascinated me to know that I could choose not to have bad dreams. The following night I had a scary dream where someone was chasing me with a gun. They stuck a rifle in my face, and I realized that I was dreaming, and remembered what my dad had said. I put a tampon into the front of it, and it was unable to shoot, fully disabled! I walked away and realized he was still chasing me but had ditched the gun, so I ran off of a cliff into water. I was so scared and in the instant I was falling I said quickly “Please be warm water with tile at the bottom like a nice pool!” and IT WAS.

artwork by Jayne Forest for Trader Joe’s  @jaynesartaddiction on IG

TIP #1:

KEEP A DREAM JOURNAL

I know, that sounds like something that a ten-year-old girl would have, but seriously people, if you want to have lucid dreams you have to reiterate to your subconscious that your dreams are important to you. Writing them down is a great way to do this.

It is also is a valuable record of your recurring “dream signs”, which are things/places/people that often come up in your dreams. When you see your dream signs in waking life and do a reality check, you will do the same in your dream state and it will hopefully help trigger your awareness, and induce lucidity.

Keep your journal and a pen right beside your bed, so that you can write down any details you can remember immediately upon waking. You basically start forgetting all of your dreams within seconds of waking, so the best thing to do is just wake up and jot it down with bleary eyes.

You may find yourself remembering only a few tiny details at first, but in time you will find yourself filling pages with details. The most amazing thing to me is that I will write down details, fall back asleep, and when I wake, I barely remember having written what I wrote! Experimenting with my states of consciousness like this is fascinating to me.

TIP#2

GET PLENTY OF SLEEP

You can’t be tired, or drunk, or stoned. I knoooooow probably not what you wanted to hear. We are depending on the sharpness of the mind to become lucid, so clarity, sobriety and a rested mind and body are of utmost importance. It’s really good motivation to be all healthy and stuff though! The window of time you are most likely to lucid dream is two hours before you would normally wake up. You have to get about 4-5 hours of sleep before you begin to hit prime lucid dreaming time. So you’re looking at 6-8 hours of sleep for a few nights in a row to be rested enough.

RIP Amica

TIP#3

REALITY CHECKS

The main key thing to realize is that while you are in the dream state, everything feels totally normal. This is why we don’t always become lucid in our dreams.

By making a point to become consciously aware of your surroundings and to ask yourself “Am I dreaming?” you will start to do this in your dream state as well. What we do in ‘real life’ is what we do in our dreams, so if you do enough reality checks, you will eventually do them in your dreams and become lucidly aware!

There are a few ways to do reality checks, my favorite is to look at your hands and ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?” If you are dreaming, your hands will look very strange, melty, wavy, you might have three or seven fingers.

You can also jump wherever you’re standing, and if you’re dreaming, you will float. You can also plug your nose with your hands and try to breathe in. In dreams, you will still be able to breathe. Perform these reality checks as often as you can think of it. The more, the better odds you will do it in your dream that night!

North Shore Lake Tahoe

TIP #4

AFFIRMATIONS

Your own mind is the gatekeeper of your ability to lucid dream. If you learn to control your mind with affirmations, you are much more likely to lucid dream.

Throughout the day, or right before bed, tell yourself aloud, with conviction and focus, “Tonight in my dreams I will realize that I’m dreaming.” “Tonight in my dream I will look at my hands and realize that I’m dreaming” Over and over and over. The more you believe yourself, the better it works, the more you repeat it, the more you believe it. This has totally worked for me numerous times if I start diligently repeating this a few hours before bed!

TIP #5

WAKE BACK TO BED

One trick for people who don’t suffer from insomnia, is the “wake back to bed” method. Set your alarm for 5 hours after you’ve fallen asleep, or for 2 hours before you are supposed to wake up. When your alarm goes off, find some mellow way to kill time for 20 minutes. This way you will wake your mind up, but you’re keeping yourself in a mildly dreamy state of consciousness. After 20 minutes of yoga/reading/peeing/meditating, lie back down and tell yourself your affirmations before drifting back to sleep. This technique worked beautifully for me! I don’t recommend this method for insomniacs, because you may not be able to fall back asleep, and that shit is terrible.

Viparita Karani is great for insomnia and lower back pain. Put your legs against a wall for relaxation and restoration.

I wish you the best of luck lucid dreaming! I have more tips, but this is just a brief beginner tips kinda thing. Write to me with any questions, or if you have any tips to share with me by clicking here!

Beginner’s Guide to Meditation

Meditation changed my life.

 

I am a highly sensitive person, an empath, and a water sign. Most of my life I’ve been watery and tearful with ever-shifting moods like the ocean’s tides. This used to be out of control, this emotional volatility, though it was more deeply sad self-loathing than outwardly directed anger. I felt as though I was flailing in my own dark ocean, and meditation showed up like my lifeboat, showing me how to separate myself from the depths and instead ride the surface like a surfer.

 

This is why I’m passionate about sharing the benefits of meditation. Everyone with a brain can benefit, and what an incredible joy it is to experience those precious brief moments of internal peace and silence. I’m no expert, but I have a regular meditation practice that is always evolving. If you’ve ever been curious about learning to meditate and why it’s so life changing, I will attempt to elucidate.

 

Benefits of Meditation:

  • Lengthens your attention span
  • Lessens Stress Levels
  • Helps you master your emotions
  • Unhooks you from addictions to internet, TV, food, drugs, sex: You learn to be happy just existing without endlessly seeking satisfaction to quell restlessness with external stimulation.
  • Increased creativity: A clear mind is an ideal substrate to see past mind-chatter and tap into intuitive creativity.
  • Scientifically proven to build your prefrontal cortex, which controls impulses, strengthens your willpower, makes you sharper and better able to think clearly and quickly.
  • Improves your performance in life, as everything you do will be coming from a calm, relaxed, alert state.
  • Loss of pettiness and ego
  • Enjoy life more since you will be more fully present, less stressed and less preoccupied.
  • Brain health: Meditation is like brain exercise. It reduces the effects of age-related brain degeneration and helps prevent Alzheimer’s.
  • Makes you happier! When you learn to calm yourself and reach a state of peace through gratitude, breathing and being fully present, you detach your joy from external stimuli. Once you’re able to do that, NO ONE can take away your happiness. You surf through life instead of capsizing with every wave.

 

How To Meditate:

Meditation is simple, but not easy. The best part is, you need NOTHING other than a comfortable place to sit and your breath. One VERY important thing to realize right away, is to let go of the idea of being able to clear your mind the first time you meditate. It is a practice and a skill that is not learned quickly or easily. Realize that your practice is successful if you just make yourself sit for those 20 minutes a day. It doesn’t matter if your mind chatters the entire 20 minutes, your practice is still successful, because you are learning to be aware and mindful of your thoughts and your separation from them. Each time you practice, your mental agility is improving, so don’t judge yourself if you can’t seem to calm down or focus. Consistency is the most important factor in creating a meditation practice, and the very fact that you sat there for 20 minutes is beneficial and a bonafide success.

 

  1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for your meditation practice by taking a shower, washing your face, your hands, changing into light, loose, comfortable clothing, and taking your shoes off. You don’t need to do any of those things, but basically you are trying to make yourself as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Find a quiet place that you won’t be disturbed, put pets and children in another room, and put your phone on silent (or ideally, put it in another room). If you would like, you could play ambient sounds like rainfall, or better yet, go outside and experience natural ambient sounds. Set a timer for 20 minutes.                     
  2. Find a comfortable place to sit. You can sit on the edge of your bed with your feet flat on the ground, cross-legged on the ground, on a pillow, on a couch, wherever you can sit and feel at ease. It is best to sit upright, with your spine tall, but not rigid. It’s important that you keep your spine straight, imagine stacking your vertebrae and allowing gravity to keep your spine in place. Allow your shoulders to drop back and down, again not forcibly. Imagine a string on the very tip of your head like you’re a marionette, being pulled gently upward, and imagine your sit-bones grounding into the Earth below you, as if you’ve grown roots. Let your hands rest in your lap, with your hands facing up if you are meditating on gratitude or open-ness, or hands down resting on your knees to ground yourself. Allow your body to be heavy and devoid of tension. All of these feelings are subtleties, there is no straining. Loosen your shoulders and neck, and gently let your eyes fall closed.                          
  3. Take 4 deep, full, audible, slow breaths with big exhales, imagining all current thoughts being blown out of your body. Let your breath calmly come down to a natural, effortless pace. Imagine your breath entering your body and filling your lungs, spreading into all corners of your body. Turn your attention away from external stimuli, and instead toward inward sensations. While exhaling, feel the air leave your body and the feeling of your body constricting and pushing the air out. During your inhale, think about the life force that is oxygen entering your lungs and keeping you alive. Realize that your breath and this moment is the only thing that exists. Everything in the past is a memory, everything in the future is uncertain, during meditation the only focus is on this very moment, your breath, your inward focus, and this feeling of the weight of your body on the couch/chair/ground. 
  4. Since you are attempting to clear your thoughts, your mind chatter is going to get LOUD. The goal is to sit still, so your mind may tell you “I think I have an itch. OH damn I think I left the car unlocked. Did I lock the car? Damn I don’t want it to get broken into again.” Since you  are meditating, you will observe these thoughts and acknowledge them as clever stories to try and draw you in, but you will let these thoughts pass by saying in your head “THINKING, Breathing in…” and allow the enticing thoughts to pass like a canoe on a river, while you sit peacefully on the shore.  It’s not about getting all thoughts to go away, it’s more about finding that one point of concentration and making your practice basically just bringing your attention back to that point of attention, again and again and again, being gentle with yourself.                                                                                                                                                                                           
  5. Buddhists often compare the untrained mind to a drunken monkey. This belligerent monkey is not going to let you shut it out easily, it does not want to sit still and be silent. It is beguiling with the stories it begins to tell, and sometimes these stories will carry us away for minutes before we catch ourselves and remember that we are meditating. Just remind yourself “THINKING, breathing” and put yourself back on that shore, watching the canoes of thoughts pass by. You are expecting chatter when you begin your meditation practice. Peacefulness and silence come in time, realize that your journey is just beginning and that reaching mindfulness and tranquility takes time. Boredom, sleepiness, tiredness, all of these things are signs that you are doing meditation right. It’s the trudging through these states and staying consistent with your practice that will bring the desired results. It’s a strange paradox that the more expectation and results you make efforts to attain, the further away your goals get. Try and deeply relax, letting go of expectations and attachments to outcomes. Don’t judge yourself or internally berate yourself for not being able to make your thoughts shut up. Your mind is so conditioned to multi-tasking and completely unused to being forced to shut up and sit down. It will not do so without creating an entire circus of ruckus for you to quell. Luckily, you are stronger than your mind, and in time, the glorious permeating peaceful feelings that come from meditation practice will be experienced and it will be completely worth the journey.
  6. Meditation is like exercise, in that it is only beneficial when regularly practiced. You can’t get fit or expect to be healthy with only one workout, and same goes with meditation. The best way to ensure a successful meditation practice is to plan for a regular practice at the same time every day. Meditation may seem like hard work, and it is, but the pleasure of experiencing the timelessness and peace of meditation, and the incredible emotional and mental benefits, has made meditation one of my healthiest and most enjoyable hobbies. I often hear people say they can’t sleep because their brain won’t stop chattering at night. Learning to meditate eliminates those problems with techniques to maintain control of my own mind, making my life less stressful and more restful!

You may find meditation at first to be an annoying pointless practice. You may find yourself bored, tired, and feeling like a terrible meditator because you can’t get your brain to shut up. What you must realize is that like anything, getting past the learning curve is the hardest part. Once you start experiencing moments of silent, thoughtless awareness, your TRUE self, the person observing your thoughts, starts to really enjoy making your monkey brain shut up, and you start learning to truly control your mind and it’s thoughts, which in turn  will absolutely change your life for the better. Your practice will become easier and more enjoyable over time. If you are able to stick with it and experience the benefits, you will see why meditation has become my secret weapon that saved me from being a drowning and flailing emotional octopus, to becoming an adept Sea Captain, contentedly navigating the tumultuous waters of life safely within my hardy ship.

LINKS

This is a hilarious meditation with expletives for a humorous beginner’s meditation experience

This guy breaks meditation down with an entertaining explanation for kids

How to Begin a Spiritual Practice and Raise Your Vibration

These are the practices that worked for me as a coadjuvant system that helped me discover different experiences of my own consciousness. It changed my life Completely when suddenly I had a WHOLE new sense of the scope of possibility of my reality, and this exponentially expanded my understanding of the wide range of depths of consciousness that can be reached within the human experience without the aid of drugs.

Spiritual practice is called Sadhana in Sanskrit, and daily Sadhana keeps my focus and intention on spiritual advancement. The idea of advancing spiritually is not driven by ego, but rather as a natural progression that we move steadily toward, and then slightly away from, spiraling back, learning lessons and gaining deeper understanding as to how this whole life game works!

photo by Joe Burke Instagram: @joeburke108

*Breath control: Pranayama. Every breath we take is life itself. Every emotional state we experience has a corresponding breathing pattern. If we learn to use pranayama and consciously and mindfully adjust our breathing pattern, we can in turn change our state of mind at will. Pranayama is insanely powerful and in India, it is commonly  understood that there is a different pranayama breathing technique for almost every ailment.

A Dutch man named Wim Hof  learned about some of these techniques and has been able to scientifically prove and document that he can fight off viruses by releasing adrenaline at will and boosting his immune system consciously, all through breathing techniques. Click the link for a super fascinating documentary to learn more about that guy!

Photo by @joeburke108

Pranayama used to only be taught to those initiated, and was not taught to women. You could only learn Pranayama if your Guru deemed your practice sincere enough and that you were mentally and physically worthy of knowledge of Pranayama, and you were only given one at a time, working with one until you earned the right to advance. I can’t stress enough how magical and powerful Pranayama is, and how working with your breath requires respect and understanding of it’s power.

Photo by @joeburke108

*Twice daily meditation practice . For myself, if I only meditate for 10 minutes, that is barely enough time for my mind to settle. When first beginning a practice, ten minutes can seem like a treacherous goal. Like anything, with practice, your brain will be able to dive into meditation mode easier and easier, which will make the whole process more enjoyable and in turn, you’ll be able to reach deeper states of meditation. Even 5 minutes of mindful breathing each day to start is a successful practice if done consistently. The more you practice, the more adept you become, like everything!

Photo by @joeburke108

Although the learning curve can seem daunting, once you get past the first few weeks, I promise it’s an infinitely rewarding practice. The way that it changes how you FEEL and handle stress, and the way stressful feelings happen less often because calmness becomes your default mode, makes life SO much more enjoyable! I can’t type complex enough explanations to give it justice how much this practice is imperative and completely life changing. Baby steps, and just try to stay consistent! Visit my “Beginner’s Guide to Meditation” post here!

Photo by Jayne Forest

*Complete sobriety from alcohol, cannabis, and caffeine.

Alcohol lowers our consciousness to the point that we are saying and doing things we aren’t even aware we did the next day. Not only is it drowning our prefrontal cortex so that we aren’t making rational decisions, drinking alcohol poisons our body, which causes our liver to have to work hard to process it.

When doing yoga, we are purifying the mind AND body to prepare our bodily vessel for higher levels of spiritual experience. Alcohol will not help you advance your spiritual progress. Everything in moderation of course, but remembering that everything is either helping or hurting your goals, it becomes easier to abstain completely. Not to mention how good and right it feels NOT to be hungover! 🙂

Aaaaand here’s a beautiful temptation for ya now that I just told you drinking lowers your vibe. Temptation is everywhere, it’s a test of your fortitude! Photo by Jayne Forest

Cannabis is used in sacred spiritual ceremonies and can absolutely lead people to spiritual experiences. I have loved cannabis for years and have found it to be infinitely beneficial. HOWEVER….the more I study spiritual advancement, and look at my own personal experience, I’ve come to realize that the only way to really dive deeply into spiritual experiences is with complete sobriety.

When trying to explore expanded states of consciousness, such as dreams, or deep meditation, it’s best to have a clear mind to be able to stay conscious within your dream and have much better recall. It is a known fact that cannabis affects lucid dreaming ability and dream recall, which is unfortunate because there are many spiritual messages sent to us in dreams.

When we are foggy of mind it becomes even more challenging than it already is to expand beyond normal awareness and maintain memory and full waking consciousness in different states of consciousness.

When you are meditating, you are riding the line between sleeping and waking, your brain goes right in between alpha and theta brainwaves, like between being sleepy in the morning and riiiiight before you fall asleep. Obviously it’s challenging to stay conscious during this sleepy state, so cannabis does not help, in my humble personal experience. I’ve spent weeks falling asleep during meditation instead of staying conscious and possibly receiving insight, it was very frustrating!

As for coffee, it speeds up our heart rate and makes us jittery and unable to sit still! The body and mind work together, if the body is moving, the mind cannot be still. Coffee creates the opposite of what we are trying to achieve with meditation, basically.

Photo by Jayne Forest

*Conservation of sexual energy with periods of abstinence. I know you’re like “hey whoa” right? Don’t stop reading now, haha. Definitely not suggesting you give up all of these
things, sex CAN be an insanely spiritual experience. When we have sex with someone we are merging energies, body fluids, thoughts, pain, everything. So we should be aware if sexual intimacy is meaningful and helps us feel more connected with our partner, or if it makes us feel empty. If we experience the latter we can be sure this sexual union is sucking energy away and lowering our vibration. Sexual Energy is an energy that can be used for spiritual advancement, according to The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. There are 8 limbs of Yoga, and the first one is called Yamas. The Yamas are moral imperatives on the yogic path, having to do with self-restraint.  The Niyamas

photo by Jayne Forest

*Dedication to daily yoga practice. This doesn’t have to mean going to a yoga class every day! Just a handful of easy poses done daily for just a few minutes even, can make a big difference in your body over time. The thing about our bodies is, it is constantly evolving according to what our lifestyle is like. If we spend 8 hours on a chair in the office five days a week, and do yoga once a week for one hour, the chair sitting is going to have the most impact on our body.  The more often we can consistently train our muscles and ligaments to become more pliable, the more you will start to see the benefits of the practice.

Photo by @joeburke108 on IG

*Abstaining from consuming dairy, eggs, and meat. More about this later, but when you are consuming the corpse of an abused and mutilated innocent sentient being, it grounds you firmly in this Earthly reality.  Everything in this entire universe is comprised of vibration obviously, and there is a kind of photography called Kirlian Photography that can document energy. Here is a visual representation of the energy you’re consuming when making the choice between plant foods and animal foods.

Raw Vegan Pizzette from Lydia Organics. Photo by Jayne Forest

*Plenty of Sleep, not too much or little
*So Much Fruit and vegetables! The more plant based foods you consume, the more smoothly your digestive system will function. Plant foods contain information in their DNA that becomes our body. The more we consume plant foods, the more we tune ourselves into alignment with nature.
*Avoidance of negative people like the plague

Photo by Jayne Forest

*Exercise is key! Moving our energy is a guaranteed mood booster and will have us feeling good and moving into alignment with our highest self.

Photo by Jayne Forest

*Doing selfless and kind things for others
*Speaking your personal truth honestly, but of course mindfully, tactfully, without shame or guilt (yeah, I’m working on this one.) The more you come to know yourself in meditation, the more your faith and confidence grows, and it becomes more difficult to stay silent in the face of injustice. This is a great sign of growth because it shows that you are in alignment with your highest self by acting from the heart.


*Consistent practice of all of the above. One thing that has helped me tremendously is recognizing that every decision we make is either helping or hurting our goals, there are no neutral decisions!

*Not trying too hard. We strive so much in life and we tend to use that same trying energy with our spiritual journey out of habit. Recognize that our higher self is available to us at any moment when we learn to just be, without striving and effort. In moments of effortlessness and deep, conscious relaxation, we can receive insight. These experiences are not impossible to achieve,  they are available to every single human being who is willing to do the work, it is our birthright!

Photo by @joeburke108 on IG