Nothing ever goes as planned

I felt the need to write a follow up post to a blog I wrote a while back. Well two, actually. The one where I decided Project Hope was my destiny, and the one where I started to have doubts.

 

Things have a funny way of working themselves out. We think we know what’s best for us, but it isn’t always the case. When I heard about Project Hope, I thought I had everything figured out. The opportunity, in the moment, was perfect. But as time went on, I did have doubts. Clearly, from the post I wrote. I was meditating and I freaked out. I may not have gathered it at the time, but that was my intuition telling me it wasn’t right.

I need to be better about listening to my doubts. Sure, sometimes they stem from fear. But sometimes, it’s my intuition telling me which path to take. I guess I have a hard time discerning between the two. But in this case, I remember having doubts about the rigidity of the program; I’ve always been a free spirit and thrived on “going with the flow.” Project Hope would have been all curfews and uniforms and time schedules, I would have been miserable. But what that opportunity did was truly pave the way for my upcoming trip to Peru. Because I told everyone I was leaving one way or another, and I had to be accountable for that, but also it was a good first step to making traveling less scary. It eased my mind into the idea and once I saw that’s what I wanted, I knew I had to go for it anyway.

Here’s the other thing, not going on Project Hope led me to have one of the best summers of my life. I went on plenty of vacations, saw amazing live music, made new friends, got in a relationship with someone who reminded me of the type of person I’m looking for. I drove across the US with a friend that I now consider a best friend, rode a roller coaster at the top of a 1,150 foot building, visited a number of places I’ve never been before, got a last-minute tattoo, and broke into a college football stadium in the middle of the night. I stayed out too late on a regular basis, let go of my strict diet regime, stopped caring about what others thought of me and therefore drew people towards me. I managed to have a crazy adventure almost every single weekend this summer. I can’t even imagine having missed out on all those experiences.

This summer has prepared me for my trip to Peru. If I’d left in May, I’d have left prematurely. I’ve learned so much about myself this summer and everything that has happened validates that its the right place for me to be. When I go, I’ll be confident in who I am and that will guide me on my trip. I have no questions in my mind that this is how it needs to go down. The rest, I’ll figure out as I go cause clearly, I’m not in control here. And thank God for that.

Take me away

Sometimes I get an intense urge to run.

Not like jog, like hop in a car/on a plane at a moment’s notice and not look back. Figure things out as I go.

Whenever things get a little hard in my life, the inclination to bolt reaches a climax and I start getting the itch to wander. In case you couldn’t guess, today is one of those days. The title of this blog is also the title of a Spotify playlist I just made to calm myself down.

I realize I’m already leaving. Soon, in fact; in less than three months I step on a plane to Peru with no return date set. But I think that’s part of why I’m getting the urge now. I don’t want to say goodbye. I’m terrified of getting more and more attached to this place and these people, knowing I’m going to leave it all behind in a few months. I’ve had the best summer of my life so far, connected with some amazing souls and had the time of my life. Work has been flexible, the weather has been great, and I’m the happiest and most confident I’ve been in a long time. And yet that doesn’t make anything perfect. I haven’t come all the way yet, I still have a lot of work to do on myself and one of my biggest issues is attachment. I get attached so easily, convincing myself I need certain people, places and things to make me feel happy and secure. And for some reason, the only solution my mind comes to is to run away and leave it all, which I’m assuming if I ever actually did, I might seriously regret. But in the moment, it sounds perfect.

I’ll be honest. I’m confused as shit right now. The only constant, the only thing I know for sure, is that I have to go to Peru. I don’t know what I’m doing when I get there, or how long I’ll stay, or where the money will come from, but I have to go. I don’t know why, although that makes me feel more confident about it – it’s a calling from something higher than me that I can’t deny. But everything else is up in the air. I have an inkling of what I want to do career-wise, but no specific direction for when I get back from my trip. I know I desperately want the romantic soulmate relationship I’ve always dreamed of, especially now as I’ve always wanted a partner in crime for my adventures, but I’m not sure I’m ready maturity-wise…I have a lot of craziness I need to get out of my system still. I know the type of person I want to be, and I’m definitely well on my way, but I have so much to learn with regards to how to love unconditionally and treat people equally.

What I can say is since buying that ticket, I’ve learned so much about who I am. I’m a true extrovert, I feel most energized surrounded by people who love me, and even when I need solitude, I find it surrounded by people rather than alone. I can charm the pants off anyone if I really put my mind to it, and I think I radiate a specific kind of energy that most don’t have. I’m unique to my core, and I love every part of that truth. When I’m myself, I shine and people really respond to it. So I guess I just need to remember that even when things get a little rough and I start to get overwhelmed with confusion about my future, it’ll all work out as long as I’m true to me.

Sorry about all the self help hippie talk, this is how I talk things out for myself haha. Feeling slightly less like running now, so I guess it worked. I suppose I’ll stick around here a little longer ;)

Thoughts on change, acceptance and haterrrrs

Warning that this post is going to be all over the place. I just need to get some thoughts out.

In the last month, I’ve faced a lot of big changes. My grandma’s partner, who has been like a grandpa to me since I was young, passed away and though we saw it coming, I’ve never lost a close family member before and wasn’t really sure how to handle that emotion. I moved out of an apartment with two roommates I knew well and loved and my own room into the kitchen of my friends’ house on an air mattress. My parents sold the house I grew up in and now live in an apartment I have yet to even see. My manager at work, who I loved and was a huge supporter in both my professional and personal life, got a great job in Seattle and left the agency. My sister is moving to Austin, TX with her boyfriend in 2 months and I bought a one-way ticket to Peru.

Last week I was starting to wonder why I felt so off. I couldn’t put a finger on it, but it finally occurred to me that I’ve become completely ungrounded. This safe, comfortable, predictable world I’ve always known has shifted, and it’s a very unsettling feeling. And for someone who is energetically sensitive, it’s a lot to handle. I’ve been keeping myself busy with trips away and social engagements, but I’ve really just been avoiding dealing with change.

Change is good though. I mean even when it’s bad, it’s there for a reason. We are forced to change because our old ways aren’t serving us. I’ve felt stuck in a rut for a long time. I’ve had this nagging feeling that I’m meant to do something more, that I’m supposed to have a profound impact on the world. And I’ve ignored it for a long time and played small – to stay safe, to avoid rejection and discomfort, and most of all, to avoid failing. But lately I’ve been getting a lot of interesting affirmations from people. I’ve been told a lot recently how inspiring I am to talk to, how I should make a living out of talking to people and helping them understand themselves and their problems. And really, there’s nothing like it. I’ve been so much more open to sharing my views on the world and my observations of others with people and it has been met with nothing but positive feedback that affirms what I believe to be my position in the world. That and I’ve never had so many compliments on who I am as a person before. I think the last few vacations I’ve taken just allowed me to let loose and be 100% myself, and people have responded well to that. Hearing that I’m fun, charismatic, the life of the party, infectiously energetic – these are qualities I always believed I had deep down, but was honestly starting to doubt.

And here’s the thing. The reason I’ve gotten down on myself in the past is due to this need to be accepted and affirmed by others. So while these compliments are awesome and totally great to hear, I can’t get in the habit of taking them to heart to determine my self-worth. I need to believe it at my core so that even when the haters pop up, I won’t waver. I’m on a high right now because of all the positivity coming at me, but I have to remember that I always have the capability to be the best version of myself.

That said, “the best version of myself” is everchanging. And thank God for that because sometimes I feel like a hot mess. Right now, dancing with strangers, being goofy, engaging in spontaneous adventures and inspiring others with my love for the world is that “best self.” But I have to push myself to keep growing and evolving. There are so many areas for improvement. I still get caught up in petty drama, get down on myself for not being/doing this or that, and I don’t always spend my time in ways that are constructive. But I’m 20-effing-4 years old. I am who I am and I’m exactly where I need to be. All I need to strive for is to be the best version of me right now, and keep my heart and mind open for opportunities to evolve.

The second point I want to make is about acceptance of others. We are all guilty of wanting to change people. Doesn’t matter if they are family, our best friend, or a complete stranger who is doing something we don’t agree with. We think everyone should think like we do. I’ve been guilty of this with people I know. Wanting them to be different in one way or another because I don’t understand why they do the things they do. I’ve been quick to judge and slow to change those perceptions. But again, I’ve recently been awakened to this. Often, our first, second, twelfth, twentieth judgements are wrong. How well do we really know most people, who they want to be, what makes them tick, what they’ve been through. We don’t. And yet those things are the driving factors for all of our actions. We don’t need to understand people. Sure, it helps, but like them or not, we have to accept them. We haven’t had their experience and they haven’t had ours. When I opened my mind to people I’d initially judged, I came out with some amazing friendships I never would have been privileged enough to have otherwise. It’s truly an amazing thing.

And the last little piece of this – the haters. Like I said earlier, each of us has had a completely different experience in life. We have triggers, and when those triggers are hit, we don’t always act in ways that align with our loving purpose. Happens ALL THE TIME. I consider myself a loving, accepting, eternal optimist, but honestly, I get annoyed with people all the time. And then I become a hater. But when I react that way, it’s not really me talking…it’s just that some trigger was hit and I reacted – it’s because of me and my beliefs, not because someone else was wrong. That said, I’m learning (slowly) I can’t let haters bring me down. Because even if they hate me or what I’m doing, it’s really not even about me, even if it seems that way. My job is to be true to who I am and live my purpose in the world despite what anyone says. Fear of rejection will always keep me small, and I’ve honestly let it for so long. But I see that pattern in myself, which I believe is the first step to changing it.

So, I leave you with this. Embrace change, even if its uncomfortable. Accept that others aren’t ever going to live to your “standards,” so instead of lashing out, try to love them or at least respect those differences. And don’t let the haters bring you down, cause homie, it ain’t about you. Let your light shine. <3

The fear of being stuck

So as I’m sure you’ve gathered, I’m on the May Cause Miracles journey.

I had a weird experience today, and I can’t seem to sleep, so I suppose it never hurts to get things out.

The day went really well. I felt light, full of love, and at ease for the majority of the day.

Then, when I sat down to do my evening meditation, I lost it. Just started crying, hard, for no reason. So naturally, I felt like a crazy person. And then all the sudden all this doubt surfaced about my impending travel plans. As you know, I’m waiting to hear about the status of my Project Hope application. Apparently, the people at the mission love me, but the Navy is cutting budget for the trip, so things are a bit uncertain. They are no longer sure they’ll be taking a photojournalist, but if they do, it’ll be me. Which is great, but it also means that I’ve truly done all I can do in this situation. It’s with the universe now, and I need to trust that things will work out.

But I’m just filled with doubt. Fear. Emotion. I worry that without this trip, I’ll be stuck here, which has always been my biggest fear. Hell I ended a year and a half relationship for that reason. Being stuck makes me feel like I’m not good enough.

There’s fear on the other side too. If I go, I leave everything I know and love behind for complete unknown. Yes, I know it will absolutely change my life for the better, that’s the point. But there’s so much comfort in the life you know and the people you love. I think that’s always how it goes. We are faced with situations where we have to choose one or the other, so that we can eventually have a life where we get all the things we want. I truly believe that will happen for me too. But I’m human, and though I know this trip is my destiny, doubt has crept in. Now its my job to use the tools I’ve been learning to keep it from growing roots and allowing me to self sabotage.

I think what it comes down to is I’ve gotten too attached to the outcome of this situation with Project Hope. Yes, I believe its fate that I was presented with this opportunity. Yes, I feel with every fiber of my being that it’s where I belong. But I’ve let my ego use those things to assume I have it already and that I’m fucked, excuse my French, without it. But the truth is, if it doesn’t work out, a greater opportunity awaits, and it will present itself exactly when it needs to. It’ll just be my job to grab it by the horns.

Alright, I feel better. Glad I did this. And for that, I’m grateful. Now let’s see if I can sleep.

 

In losing everything, we find freedom

You are going to laugh at me when I tell you what my super dramatic title refers to.

This morning, I noticed my iPhone had a new software update with bug fixes and stuff. Since the last update totally screwed with my phone, I downloaded the new one immediately. When I went to check on it, however, I realized that the stupid thing had restored to factory settings, and being the technically challenged person that I am, I never backed any of my stuff up. So yeah, I lost everything. Apps, photos, notes, alarms, my calendar, contacts, all my texts and voicemails…

Given this age of technology that we live in, this is devastating.

I was frustrated to tears. I knew I was being kind of ridiculous and dramatic, but that phone has honestly chronicled my life over the last few years. I’m a picture freak especially, so to lose all my photos really broke my heart. I let myself be upset and just wallow in the feeling for a while. I asked myself over and over why I even did the stupid software update, wishing I could take it back.

After the emotion passed though, I decided to find the silver lining in this situation. I’ve been wanting to get rid of social media on my phone for a while, because it’s a distraction I’ve been overusing lately. But I couldn’t quite bring myself to delete those precious apps. Apparently, when you resist something you know you need, the universe finds a way to give it to you anyway. I guess this is my wake up call, in that respect.

This got me thinking about the clutter in my life. All the material things I keep around that I’ve become attached to. This whole iPhone restore dealio knocked out all my virtual possessions, if you will, but what if my house burned to the ground tomorrow? I’d be devastated at the loss. Why? Because I’m totally attached to my possessions. But those attachments separate me from my source, my inner truth. Same goes for people, or anything else we attach ourselves to. The more attachments we have, the more we have to lose. But loss is an illusion, we already have access to everything we need when we connect to the divine within ourselves.

After coming to this realization, I checked my phone. Miraculously, the one thing I truly need, my contacts, had been restored. Everything else was still missing, but at least I still have access to the people in my life. And honestly, I kind of had to laugh. I mean, call it what you want, but the iPhone is just a phone. And phones are for calling people. It can still perform its basic function, and to be honest, that’s all I really need from it.

What was a devastating loss just minutes before was now an illuminated path to freedom. I feel a little lighter, less obligated to be technology’s slave. In her video for “Ride,” which I’m inexplicably drawn to, Lana Del Rey says “It takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is.” No I didn’t lose everything, not even close. But what I did lose got me a step closer to being free of the shackles of constant connectivity, and eliminated one more distraction from my true purpose.

I hope that I can release attachments in other areas of my life as well. Because only when we release our attachments can we find true freedom, and freedom is where infinite happiness lies.

“I am f*cking crazy, but I am free” – Lana Del Rey

Miraculous shifts cause miraculous opportunities: A “May Cause Miracles” Case Study

From the moment Gabrielle Bernstein announced pre-sale for her new book, May Cause Miracles, I knew I had to buy it. Little did I know at the time that this book would have life-changing side effects.

I’m one of those people who’s always looking at things to spend money on, but never actually pulls the trigger. Be it books, workout programs, or basically anything that could potentially improve my life…I just have a hard time committing. But this book was different for some reason. Clearly, something bigger than myself was intervening.

I’ll admit, the first week was rough. I’d done Gabby’s meditations pretty frequently, but as soon as I started MCM, I felt blocked. I was down on myself for being unable to open up to this practice. But I worked to forgive myself for getting discouraged and forged forward even though I felt no miraculous shifts. Looking back, I realize that my willingness to trust the practice was a miraculous shift.

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Before I continue, I want to give a little back story. It’s been my dream, as my readers are well aware, to travel the world. I have a desire to experience other cultures that is so intense, I know the idea stems from a divine purpose. I’ve felt for a long time that I won’t be able to figure out I want to do with my life until I’ve spent a good amount of time traveling. In September, I broke things off with my boyfriend of a year and a half because I didn’t feel that his life plan aligned with my dream to travel, and decided then and there that I’d start saving for a solo tour of South America. I even picked a departure date: May 15th, 2013.

And then I freaked out.

Could I really travel to a continent I’d never been to, where they speak a language I don’t understand, and put myself in a potentially dangerous situation by being alone? All the potential problems with this plan became glaringly obvious, and suddenly I felt uncertain about the one thing I’ve always felt certain about.

This freak out was smack dab in the middle of Week 1 of May Cause Miracles.

When I start to doubt myself (which generally happens if I’m left alone to think for too long), my uber-social nature kicks in and I unload in the best way I know how: I call a friend. One of my best friends, Tiffany, has been through all the trip-related ups and downs with me since before my breakup and has remained confident that traveling is truly my purpose, so she seemed like the best person for the job. She suggested that I look into signing up for some kind of structured program that allowed me to have a place to land and get my bearings before I went off on my own. Coincidentally, my roommate, also one of my closest friends, offered the same advice. But all I really felt after talking to them was frustration. How on God’s green Earth was I going to find such a thing, and if I did, how was I supposed to know what potential program was right for me?

Week 2 of MCM came, and I felt myself open up a little more. I cultivated self love and forgave myself for all the uncertainty I was feeling. I took some time off trip planning and focused on other things I love. I spent my weekend honing my country swing dancing skills, spending time with family, going out on the town with some of my favorite people and watching football. It was truly one of the best weekends I’d had in a long, long time, and I was overwhelmingly grateful to the point of feeling giddy come Sunday evening for this amazing life I’ve been given.

And that night, my prayers were answered. My path was illuminated, and my certainty returned full-force.

My aunt, who was in town for the weekend, is a doctor, and she has spent the last few years traveling the world volunteering with Project Hope, a Navy-based organization that provides medical relief to countries in need. At Sunday dinner, it was clear that she’d been talking to my parents about my impending trip; I know they too have been worried about the lack of structure in my travel plans. She mentioned that Project Hope needed a photojournalist for their next trip in none other than Central and South America. I’m a blogger, Broadcast Journalism major and current public relations professional, so the opportunity couldn’t have been more perfect. If selected, I’d be fulfilling my traveling dream, feeding my altruistic spirit and doing a job that fits my skill set and allows me to build my resume while I take a hiatus from the working world. And, the trip departs at the end of May, perfectly aligning with the date I’d set in my head. There are no coincidences. This opportunity was made for me.

My application is out in the world, but I won’t hear if I’ve been selected for at least another month and a half. So technically, this story’s happy ending is still pending. But that’s kind of the point isn’t it? I already feel as though I have my happy ending, or, more appropriately, my new beginning. I wake up each morning energized and excited, knowing that what I desire is on its way. And it has made me more confident that the same will happen in other areas of my life, especially as I continue on the May Cause Miracles journey.

So here’s to life’s synchronicities, to trusting God’s plan for our lives, and to living the life we dream of not once it arrives, but today and every day. Thank you Gabrielle, for teaching me the meaning of miracles.

Got Behind, Big Shocker

So it turns out blogging every day of my cleanse was a little more difficult than I’d expected. I guess technically I’m on day 12 of the cleanse, but during this whole process I’ve restructured and changed things here and there, so it’s turning into something else entirely.

For starters, I will not go a whole 21 days, mainly because Joe and I will be in Bellingham and Seattle this weekend and I’m afriad that a liquid only diet will be too hard to maintain away from home. Which basically means I have to start adding solid food back in before we go, so I don’t completely shock my system.

I also decided to go juice only for a few days. I started yesterday, so I’m halfway through day 2. What I can’t decide is how long to go for. Normally, I’d try at least a week, but seeing as I’ve already been cleansing for so long, I don’t know how much more cleansing my body requires at this point. It’s all very confusing. As of now, I think I’ll juice until dinner tomorrow night, adding back a smoothie or blended soup for dinner.

What I really want to blog about today, though, is our culture’s views and norms that surround eating. From day one of this cleanse, Joe was complaining about feeling anti social since he couldn’t drink booze or eat out at restaurants. I suggested we go out just to spend time with our friends, without eating, but he responded with “I don’t want to look weird, I want to be able to eat like everyone else.”

That comment really got me thinking. What have we come to if we can’t even enjoy a social event without putting something in our mouths? We go to happy hour for drinks after work. We grab lunch or coffee to catch up with a friend. I’m just as guilty as the next person of relying on food and alcohol to entertain me, to serve as a buffer between me and another person so we don’t have to awkwardly agree on a different activity. Do I want to be stuck in this trap? My boyfriend would tell me its just normal, its what people do. But look where normal has gotten us…Americans are notoriously fat and sick.

Yes, I will agree that it sucks not being able to eat at my favorite restaurants or even cook from scratch with another couple. I don’t think that using food as a way to interact with others is a bad thing to do, I just don’t think it should be the only option.

So I’d really like to make it a goal to do things with my friends that don’t involve eating or drinking. Taking walks and hikes, going shopping, volunteering, whatever. Just something that allows me to connect with others without shoving anything into my mouth. And when I do socialize while eating or drinking, I want to slow down, enjoy my food consciously, and focus on the connection I’m making with that other person, rather than eating to avoid deep conversation.

I challenge you to take this step with me. Let’s make a world where we don’t worry so dang much about food, and hopefully learn to truly enjoy and value food as a result.

Kitten!

Day 5

After taking a momentary lapse in the cleanse to fully enjoy VegFest, I decided Monday would be a juice-till-dinner day, rather than having a smoothie at lunch.

So, my lease on my apartment is up September 30th, which means both my roommate and I are looking for new spots to live. I haven’t had much luck, but Cori, my roommate, already moved into her new place, leaving me with pretty much nothing. The couches, TV, coffee and end tables, and most of the dishes were hers. So I have a kitchen table, a computer desk, and a wide open space in my living room. Which for the most part is extremely depressing. Unless you have a hula hoop!

For a workout, I put that little baby to work! Prancing around my empty apartment to upbeat top 40 cuts, swinging a hula hoop around my waist, was ridiculously fun. I did it for a half hour straight, which left me sweating, my abs burning, and my energy better than it’s been all week! So hey, when life gives you a sad empty apartment…make lemonade!

The best part is, that wasn’t even the highlight of my day!

This was:

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That’s right, Joe got a kitten! He’s probably the coolest kitten ever too because he’s extremely social and cuddly, but also super playful. 2 months old…is that not just the sweetest thing?

It’s pretty easy to forget your hunger when there is a baby animal to play with. Joe and I didn’t end up having our dinner smoothies until like 8:30, sucking them down quickly while watching the little bugger go.

I think these little joys are what will really help this cleanse improve my life. There’s only so much that can be said for the actual physiology of it, a lot of your success depends on what you do emotionally and spiritually to support cleansing. Laughing, giving your love to other people and animals, moving your body, meditating…that’s the stuff of life, not food (or juice, whatever).

Cleanse your soul people, in addition to your body. After all, the soul is all that will be left in the end.

Day 4 – Feeling Refreshed!

After a bit of a downer day, I really needed a pick me up. Luckily, I got it.

The majority of the day was boring, until 3 p.m. rolled around.

It’s VegFest time.

Ilan and I had been getting excited about VegFest for weeks now, and the day we’d planned on attending had finally arrived. Neither of us really knew what to expect, so we gave ourselves a few hours of wandering and planned to watch a screening of Forks Over Knives at 5 p.m.

A little back story on my friend Ilan: for awhile, she lived in San Francisco. A couple months back she was in town for our friend Jamie’s birthday, and on the drive out to the coast we talked a lot about my newfound veganism (I hadn’t seen her since I’d cut out meat). At first, she was skeptical; worried about my health and weather I was eating enough substantial food. But after a weekend of talking to her about it, she decided she wanted to give it a try. She gave up all but fish at first, but she found that she loved the plant based diet so much that she gave that up as well. She’s been happily vegan ever since, and now that she’s back in town, I’m loving having a friend who shares my views on nutrition!

So both of us being fairly new to the vegan world, we’d obviously never attended VegFest before, and wow, I had no IDEA what I was missing out on. Tons of vegan vendors giving out samples, speakers and demos, and all sorts of vegan goodies to buy. It was seriously heaven. Even Joe got into the spirit by devouring fake meat products and buying a VitaMix (our smoothies are about to get a serious makeover). I wrote a more detailed account of my favorite products on my other blog.

Between that and seeing Forks Over Knives again, I couldn’t have had a more renewing experience. Amidst the craziness of detoxing, it was so nice to be reassured that I really am doing the right thing for my health. I haven’t felt so alive and invigorated in weeks, and my passion was sparked once again, reminding me that this really is my purpose in life. I left feeling like I was walking on air, and ready to take on the world. I’m still kicking myself for not spending the entire weekend in that convention center…

To top things off, both Ilan and my parents commented on how healthy I look. Ilan said I’m looking a lot slimmer, which is a major plus, and my parents said I look healthier than I have in months. Well, I feel healthier than I have in months, thats for damn sure. It’s nice to hear that the cleanse is working, even only 4 days in.

Only 2 more weeks to go!

Day 3

Day 3

Ughh. Just, Ughh.

I’m still not like starving, I don’t feel weak or anything, but today was just not a great day.

To start off, I woke up to rain. It’s hard to believe that exactly a week ago we were tubing on the Columbia River in 90 degree weather, and only 7 days later, I’m in jeans and boots and layering sweatshirts to go outside. Sometimes I wonder why I still live in the northwest.

Thanks to the weather, I had no interest in going for a walk. I did a little yoga inside but I just couldn’t get into it today. I also walked on the treadmill for about 40 minutes, hoping some endorphins might improve my mood, but apparently I didn’t go hard enough because it didn’t do the trick at all. Blech. And it definitely doesn’t help that I have this nagging ache in my back from my job. Its becoming excruciating.

To make matters worse, Joe is going absolutely stir crazy about the whole not drinking thing, and we’ve been getting on each others nerves constantly.

So the combination of arguing with Joe, the rain, and the back pain doesn’t make for a great cleansing day. Even my shower routine that I’ve come to love so much couldn’t snap me out of it.

The day did look up a bit when we met up with some friends to watch the Washington State game. Although seeing my beloved Cougs lose to San Diego State sucked, my friend and fellow vegan, Ilan, suggested we double date and make dinner at Joe’s place. She mentioned she had a recipe for cream of broccoli soup that would ahdere to the guidelines of my cleanse.

So the two of us and our boyfriends had some delicious soup while watching a really disturbing movie, and honestly it was just great to be around people and feel social even though I’m not eating like a “normal” person. And, I have a new recipe to add to my repretoire!

Ilan’s Cream of Broccoli Soup

5 c. water

1 heaping tbsp. powdered veggie broth (I use Rapunzel)

1 c. cashews (we used roasted but I bet raw would be better, soak for 2 hours or so to get the best results)

1 large head broccoli, chopped

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 tsp. sea salt (or more to taste)

Boil 4 c. water and add veggie broth mix. Stir until dissolved. Steam all veggies over boiling broth for 3-4 minutes, or until veggies are just starting to soften up. In a high powered blender or food processor, blend cashews with remaining 1 cup of water until completely smooth (this is important! If they aren’t completely blended your soup will be watery). Add veggies and broth and blend until mostly smooth. Serve warm. Sprinkle with ground pepper and nutritional yeast.

Serves 4.