My Prize-Winning Poem

I received a second place prize (and even money, when does that ever happen for a totally amateur poet!) in an international poetry competition. I entered a poem which I wrote decades ago in college.

The poem “came through” me, like most of my earlier poems, in just a few minutes time.

Whether I was channeling a past life or the collective unconscious, it certainly points to an experience I have never been anywhere near in this incarnation. (Fair warning: it is rather intense).

After They Named My Granddaughter

I stood

and thought

about this nascent spark                              baby mystical

arriving, open and ready

 

Alexandria Jai

 

Such a solid first name

invoking wisdom of ages

the famous ancient library

in the middle of the world

 

Middle name like a bird

flying though the forest

betraying

no one in its flight

Egret, Capitola California

alighting, just to look

 

A name stable yet fluid

ancient and of the moment

a name fitting

a name just right

for my granddaughter

 

so apt

for that precious little

bird

who came through the

thighs of the one

who emerged from my

own

 

Alexandria Jai                                                           baby sky

You did not get to fly

or even be a scholar, dreamer, dancer

born and dead at the same instant

the flame cold

little hands frozen

forever

 

Did I not love deep enough

Did I not burn bright enough

to make the flame last                                    Colorized Rendering; Beach

one more round?

 

 

 

©Elizabeth Good

Start the New Year with…Chocolate?!?! Here’s a Super Healthy Way to Indulge

If you have been following me for a while, you know that I

(a) am not much for New Year’s Resolutions

(b) am not much for traditionsbrownies

(c) like to think outside the box and

(d) want to empower my clients and readers towards a healing, joyful lifestyle.

So. This whole idea of giving up all the goodies from the past year (or month), nixing all of the indulgences & getting on the straight and narrow certainly has some good points to it.

However, we all know how the best of intentions can fade, for numerous reasons. This is why I want you to learn about how to make perhaps the World’s Healthiest Brownies. Your go-to-back up when that “I can’t be good any longer” voice rushes in! Why not be prepared? This recipe is gluten & grain-free, sugar-free, low fat, and thus, totally guilt free!

I am NOT a food blogger of course, so there will be changes you might choose to make to improve the recipe below. I’m frankly winging it recipe-perfection-wise. However, I DO know a lot about healthy foods, and I want you to have options as you embark on whatever your goals are for the New Year.

I began with my favorite of the many–yes, you are reading this correctly–black bean brownie recipes (I bet you didn’t even know there was one, never mind several pages on a web search!). I like this one because it is lowest in fat of the many I found: Fudgy Bean Brownies. If you are gluten-free, but indulging in alternative flours much (rice, tapioca, potato, corn, etc), you are doing no favor to your health, blood sugar, and weight. This grain-free recipe is truly healthier in those regards. And surprisingly delicious–I promise, you won’t taste the beans!

However, with your (and my!) health in mind, I made it even healthier with some fabulous upgrades, changing the sugar to a healthy sweetener, using a healthier fat & reducing the fat amount even further, using the healthiest cocoa I know of, swapping out the sugar-loaded chocolate chips for healthy chocolate nibs with a little additional healthy sweetener, and opting for organic all the way.

My recipe is below. My explanations and sources are below that. I apologize that I don’t know how my changes affect the nutrition information from the original recipe, but I assure you it is in a healthier direction. Do let me know if you try it, any additions or changes you make and how they work out. Here is to a healthy and yet also delicious 2015!

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Place the black beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.  Add the eggs, oil, erythritol, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, peppermint extract if desired, baking powder, and salt, and process until smooth.  Add ¼ cup of the chocolate nibs and pulse a few times until the nibs are incorporated.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate nibs.

4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before slicing into 2-inch squares.

Thanks again to Meal Make Over Moms for the basic recipe!

For those interested, my changes, why I made them, and the best sources to get them (and affordably!):

First, let’s just get it out of the way that I use iHerb for most of my supplements, body care, and many foods, so I have included links above and also below. Much of what they sell is half the prices in stores (supplements & body care even more so than most foods), are speedy in delivery, fast to navigate, and have over 40,00 products. It’s easy to set up an account, and if you order, use my code at check out, LIZ 264, to get $5-$10 off (depending on size of your order). Feel free to share that code with friends or on your own blog. I will get a few pennies on your order in credit if you do, which I appreciate, and please do forgive me if this seems promo-ie, but honestly, I was shouting the praises of this company long before I had that code. This shopping cart that has all the linked ingredients above in one simple place. 

Secondly, if this recipe looks expensive, you are welcome to cut corners where you choose, or order smaller sizes than some of the links show (on some I give you options, or of course you might be buying them locally). I’m just going for top-grade ingredients, because what we are doing here is promoting healthy indulgence!

For those that are still with me, reasonings, sources, & more info on the changes:

BPA-free cans: Best explained by this article. BPA in cans.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Even if your canola oil is non-GMO, I’ve read enough to be convinced that canola is not the healthiest choice. I have found only good information on olive oil. The brand I feature, BioNaturae, is considered by many health bloggers (and gourmets as well!), to be one of the purest and best. It’s made in traditional ways, on small farms. I also found that reducing the oil by 1/3 didn’t seem to affect flavor or texture.

Sweetener. Ah, here is the rub. What is really a good one, safe for blood sugar, weight, candida, and other concerns? I have found this to be my go-to for years. It’s corn derived, so of course don’t use if allergic, and stick to non-GMO brands. Here is a great article about it.

Cocoa and chocolate nibs: Chocolate is notoriously full of detrimental health aspects–and I don’t just mean fats and sugars. Pure cocoa often has molds and other impurities! Molds can be very health harming. I trust the Sunfood brand, as they test for these impurities, and are a cleaner product than most.

Vanilla, Peppermint extracts: Frontier is a long-trusted brand with many organics. I even trust their non-organics to be pure.

 Salt: Real Salt has tons of good minerals in it. My Guides have been saying for over a decade that this is the best salt, and I am noticing more health blogs recommending it as well these days.

To your health in the New Year!

A Different Approach To Avoiding Over-Eating, Over-Spending, Over-Indulging and Over-Extending During the Holidays!

Here we are on Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. of A. The “official” start of the Winter Holiday Season…Chanukah, Christmas, New Year’s, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, and Winter Solstice. Thanksgiving is ostensibly about being thankful, of course, for one’s bounty…a roof over one’s head, family or friends, Cornucopia_of_fruit_and_vegetables_wedding_banquet-1024x770health, music, art, nature, life in all the many forms that feed you.

Yet, it does wind up being for many–perhaps the majority of people–about overindulging in food, being the main food focused holiday of the year. And so it begins…a period of four to five weeks where the collective energy, at least in many developed Western countries, is about consuming in every form…buying gifts, eating holiday foods…and also about HolidayStress-SSoverextending, doing too much, being too busy, getting run down and stressed in a time that should be more about self-nourishment.

My take on all of this is different from the usual advice you will see such as: make a budget, make a food plan, exercise more, commit your plan to someone else, rest more, and so on. These are all excellent ideas!!

However, I have been struck for decades by something I’ve never noticed anyone else talk about. Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT an astrologer; I am a psychic. Astrologers are far more scientific than I am, using calendars, mathematics, and other specifically detailed information. I only have a smattering of knowledge about astrology. My psychic information comes “from the ethers,” so to speak.

Nonetheless, I have noticed that Thanksgiving Day is always during Sagittarius; in fact, the very earliest Thanksgiving ever comes is November 22–the first day of Sagittarius! Since it is always on the third Thursday, the date of course varies, but Sagittarius rules the skies right through Winter Solstice, so the main period of buying gifts, pre-holiday office parties & other food saturated events, and feeling the overall building of holiday pressure, is during this time.

Sagittarius is a sign of expansion, ruled by Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. sagittariusSagittarius energy, which has some wonderful, bountiful, and optimistic energies, also includes the qualities of extravagance and impatience—not so useful when feeling holiday pressures of social and consumer demands.

While some people can really hold their own in regards to the collective affecting them, others are more sensitive to it. This influence, along with the obvious family and/or general expectations, can really put a dent into the best-laid plans!images-5

My advice then, is to actively court the aspects of Sagittarian/Jupiter energy that you want right now. You are more than likely to “expand” in some ways during this phase, so choose where you prefer to have that occur. Rather than trying to avoid it all, roll with it, use it. Sagittarius IS great for socializing…just know when to pull in and pull back. That expansive, bright, optimistic energy can be utilized to greatly enhance your own inner connection with your Source at this time, and in potentially amazing ways, so divide it up between being social and going within. It’s a fantastic time to be crafty or small-gift-bag-and-tag-how-to-make-neededcreative–making your own gifts & cards, or creative playtime just for you, is a wonderful use of the jubilant, buoyant energy of Sag. Because it is also a highly generous energy, this is a great time for helping those in need. And instead of letting the potential impatience of Sag get the best of you (tempers with family events, impulsively buying or eating too much, frustration in traffic), let that sizzly energy go into exercise or lively fun and games (a great time for Charades at holiday parties!). Alternately, slow your pace down consciously and feel into that fiery potential…using your energy in helping a friend with a big project, doing some breath work, singing at the top of your lungs.

Try to notice and be aware of how this energy is playing into your next four to five weeks—that alone will help. In spite of the hullabaloo out there on the consumer level, the energy itself actually calms down by December 21. Pay attention to the quiet that comes with that, no matter your busyness level just before Christmas or in the midst of other celebrations such as Chanukah. Meanwhile, I wish you lots of JOY (a big Sagittarius trait), laughter, gratefulness, spiritual expansion, generosity, creativity, and love—all things this time is astrologically suited for you to feel in big ways!201110-orig-joy-600x411

 

 

World Series Madness: The Archetypal (& Yes Of Course, Sexual) Meaning of Baseball

This was an easy blog to write as I have 100% stolen this from an email sent by an astrologer friend of mine, Rico Baker. I just couldn’t resist sharing it here. Thank you Rico!! He starts the email by saying, “Dear Friends, please forgive me, my Muses made me do it.” So take this in his spirit of lightness and fun, and with a few grains of salt. Interesting reading, though, whether you completely adore the game or fail to grok the American love affair with it.

THE DIAMOND’S GLAMOR: An archetypal psychological baseball rant.~by Rico Baker

With the advent of the San Francisco Giants’ dramatic 3 run homer to win their entry into the World Series, I have been thrust once again into wonderment about the American love affair with this particular sport. Here are some of what my eccentric muses have been whispering into my inner ear.

First of all baseball does begin with a diamond. There are three bases and home plate. For Carl Jung the movement from unstable Three to complete Four was a basic motif of wholeness. Called variously a “Mandala” or “squaring of the circle,” or the “Quaternity,” it represents integrating all the aspects of the psyche or the facets of the diamond if you will, into the whole of the circle or the encircling stadium. Carl Jung is said to have written a note of congratulations to Pope Pius the XIIth for his role in accepting Mary into the godhead as the fourth counter-gender addition to the masculine Trinity, completing the mandala.

Within the center of the diamond is the pitcher’s mound or mount, where from on high, as from Mt. Meru or Mt. Olympus where the divinities control mortal men’s destiny, the “pitch” is delivered to the lone batter, hoping to confuse him into “striking out” after three strikes. The batter however, is hoping to either “walk” after four balls or get a hit, especially a home run. The pitcher’s mound being near the diamond’s center is like the center of the mandala, which represents the mysterious heart center with its dimensionless dot or point where the infinite realm of the unmanifest comes into manifestation – the place of the Fifth or quintessence. This white hole in the form of a white ball, or world egg, comes hurling towards the brave heroic man with the long phallic bat deciding his fate at the “plate.” Will he be able to walk or run around the three or four bases or be struck down by the third strike. The bat and ball or balls are symbolic in this process as every man and woman intuitively knows and feels. The size of the bat probably does matter.
The fourfold diamond is also a version of the sacred four directions, the cosmic cross or the rosy cross – Santa Cruz. In the center where the pitcher stands is the central rose, Santa Rosa, which is comparable to the World Tree or the fountain in the center of the garden from whence the healing waters spring forth from the Source.
Once on base, the runner in Life’s game must take the life-threatening journey around the quaternity of bases deciding whether he will be “safe” or “put out” of the game, whence he is forced to return to the underground dugout, reminiscent of Hades and Persephone’s underworld, awaiting his next turn at bat or on the field of life.Persephone and Pomegrante

The home run is the pinnacle of success in this game of life, when the batter becomes the hitter, and then the runner, eventually making it all the way back to the home plate. Hints to the sexual symbolism of the home run is suggested in the connotations of “making it to first base” on a date. The ideal, of course, is to make to all the bases, returning home, and “scoring.” Home, I assume, has something to do with the first house, the mother, and returning to the tentative safety of the womb. The warm embrace of his fellow players greeting the home run hitter is thus symbolic of the hero returning home like brave Odysseus to his faithful wife Penelope after the long journey back from the Trojan War.

The naming of the team should be carefully considered (meaning decided by help of wise astrologers, con=with, sider=stars) as the archetypal power of the name is vital. For example, in this “World Series” (or Life Serious), we will get to witness the meeting of the San Francisco Giants, sponsored by the Vatican and the Anunnaki vs. The Kansas City Royals, sponsored by the Queen of England, and the annual Kansas City livestock show and BBQ competition.
Further numerical symbolism reveals that each team is composed of Six in-fielders, Number One the pitcher; Two, the catcher; Three more basemen, and the added Fourth shortstop, equaling Six; plus a Trinity of out-fielders, totaling the magic archetypal number, Nine, reminiscent of the 3×3 grid of the vaastu mandala.
So as we can surmise, there is definitely a sound numerological and metaphysical basis for the popularity of baseball as the great American Game of Life, which basically stated, is to get paid for scoring or striking out or putting out the other suitors (oops, I mean players).

How To Finally, Finally, Totally, Really Change (While Still Staying Your Own Wonderful Self)

It’s a spiritual truism, running through the great religions, alternative spiritual paths, even psychological health approaches: accept (even love, if you can) yourself…as you are right now. Accept, embrace, love, and be kind towards all that comprises the one known as “you.”

photo by Alice Popkorn

photo by Alice Popkorn

That being said…most all of us have things we would love to change about ourselves. Sometimes big things, sometimes little things. We want the “more,”–even if we have been lucky and wise enough to move beyond wanting that more to be about things “out there”; the material things. For some, it might be as basic as something like ditching too much time in mindless internet or television. For others, there may be more consequential issues, such as a problem with rage or low self-esteem. And often for those on a spiritual path, there can be feelings of never being quite satisfied with ourselves due to a keen sense of ideal qualities for which we yearn.

So, all the while accepting that you are fine and precious and wonderful just as you are NOW, I offer a humble cheat sheet of ways to–hopefully–finally–be able to implement some of those changes you dream about. These are in no particular order, so let’s just dive in. And don’t expect yourself to do them all—this is a pick-what-sings-to-you-and feels-like-the-missing-piece(s) list!

photo by Ernst Moeksis

photo by Ernst Moeksis

  • Support, support, support!  I am really big on the buddy system, support groups, and/or getting yourself to a paid helper (coach, therapist, psychic, organizer, nutritionist) both for the sweet energy of support and the more defined energy of accountability. I think we often need both of those qualities; the yin and the yang of having both empathy from and responsibility to someone else can be magic. The choices are endless. A truly supportive pal in the same boat is great, 12-Step programs are life saving for some, and there are other free options (sometimes a MeetUp group, or the numerous online approaches). Or start a group yourself! If you can afford it and it’s appropriate to your goal, I do recommend professionals (such as above) of course, too.
photo by Lemon Toast

photo by Lemon Toast

  • Hydration, and proper nutrition. I am amazed at how often people try to push through obstacles mentally or emotionally without having the support in their bodies to make that happen! Again, there are a multitude of ways to get knowledge and encouragement about this (books, internet, friends, & nutritionists, for example). Some of this is basic stuff you know. Water, for instance, makes a huge difference. Are you drinking one to two quarts/liters daily? You’d be surprised what this alone can do for your drive, mental clarity, mood, and motivation.
  • Breathing. Now here is another biggie. Are you making time and space to breathe deeply every single day for a few minutes, or every single hour for a minute even? This realigns you with your Self, your Center, your goals, and focuses and calms the ever-distracted-21st-century mind. You can do this with no instruction whatsoever, or search out a guided recording or written instructions on various breathing techniques.
  • photo by Wonderlane

    photo by Wonderlane

    Help Someone Else. If you are in a helping profession or tend to over give, you may bristle at this sugestion or feel overburdened just by the thought. If so, this one is probably not for you. But it can be surprising how helping a friend in need, or volunteering somewhere, can really start your energy moving. There is so much need in the world, and putting yourself in the thick of that can bring things into a new perspective and a brand new flow. Realizing you have the power to help others can get you out of yourself, being hung up on your issues, and the perception that you are powerlessness to change your own life.

  • Meditate…in your OWN fashion. Meditation for you does NOT have to be sitting quietly on a cushion watching your thoughts! I know many great people whose lives are changed by such practices. I, on the other hand, no can do. This is one of the things I love about working with my clients. I am ever amazed at what “comes through” as just the right process or technique when needed. Your ideal empowering yet soothing meditation might be (as above) just breathing, could be a guided meditation that gives you strength, hope, or sweet support, or might be moving your body through chi kung, yoga, or even sweaty exercise. Find what FEEDS you and notice how doing more of that allows you to relax into the changes you seek in other areas.
  • Creativity-Wallpaper

    photo from embracecreativity.com

    Creativity and Play. There are plenty of studies showing that those who play or engage in creative outlets get things done more readily in areas that are difficult for them. I see it as a kind of crowbar effect—it pries you up in one area to get some traction for another area of your life. Figure out one or two or more options that work easily for you and engage. You don’t need to go buy a hundred dollar easel nor join a soccer team to start.

  • Don’t torture yourself! Be compassionate with your slips and setbacks. And, only try to change one behavior at a time. Please please please just pick a single new idea from the list for this month. And if you care to add more, do one per month; no sooner. It’s well known that the best way to slip back in defeat is to try to add 5 new behaviors all at once. Slow and steady wins the race…this gives you time to make the changes more lasting and also find any impediments that arise, and strategize on how to solve those.

And let’s not forget: Love, love, love yourself (or at least accept!) for who you are right now. You are one of many millions of people struggling with life’s lessons in an imperfect world. We come full circle to our starting point here: to change you have to start right from where you are.

Yoga Class, Capitola Beach California.

photo by Elizabeth Good

If, by the way, one (or many) of your so-far-unreachable changes is to do the very something above (love yourself, be more creative, eat better) where you’ve long struggled, don’t worry about that one. Take another one from the list as your starting point. Get the support system or breathe more or hydrate or find a meditative practice that you just love to death and wouldn’t miss for the world. Don’t get caught spinning your wheels in the very area(s) where you couldn’t change before.

Let me know below what you want to try, what helped you to read about here, or other ideas that work for you. Good luck and have fun watching the changes!