Work

The people here in Tiruvannamalai work so hard. Everyone at the ashram is truly dedicated to their service and seems more than happy to do their part. And, after reading more about Ramana Maharshi I can understand why.

But, in the city of Tiru the daily grind of hard work seems to never cease. Sellers are always near to offer you the best price for their wares. Sadhus are hard at work begging for alms. And, people on our street are working tirelessly to dig a ditch (for why purpose I do not know).

It puts a lot into perspective when I’m frustrated at the wifi speed at the local internet shop while a small 12 year old boy drives an ox cart, screaming at the animal, down the road.

But for the record to the man at the front gate peddling Ayurvedic massages…no I don’t want a massage from you just because you think we shared a past life together.

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Tiruvannamalai

So I’m sitting here at The Dreaming Tree on my birthday dinner enjoying the nice breeze from the fan and listening to the bells off in the distance for some procession happening. We have been in India for two days and are slowly beginning to acclimate. Here are some things….

1. I saw my first dead body today…in a funeral procession walking down the main road. She was strapped to a table like structure on a moving car with people all around walking and ringing bells. A loud boom went off and the man we were speaking with explained that it was a cracker (firecracker).

2. It’s hot. I mean I knew it would be hot but I didn’t expect the muggy nature. It’s sticky but wonderful. And the cool marble floors in the ashram feel lovely. As does sleeping without blankets.

3. The Indian head bobble is amazing. It is truly wonderful to see the smile spread from ear to ear in concert with the wiggle of the head.

4. I’m kinda tall…

5. The ashram food is freaking delicious. But what I never thought is would be eating off of a banana leaf with my fingers. It’s an art form I have yet to master.

6. There are lots of wild dogs…and cows…and cow poop.

7. People remove their shoes to go into most places. Businesses and religious places. This is fine…and I even believe in the reasons for it. However, one should not walk through a main temple a noon on the first day in India. Why? Your feet will be burned to a crisp. And everyone who you thought might be watching you because you are a tourist…is definitely watching you as you run as fast as you can from each shady part to the next.

Soooo much more to come!

Namaste y’all… I don’t want to be late for dinner!
Xo

T minus 2, I mean 4, I mean 7

So…when you’re counting down to a fun activity (such as going to India), which day do you use to countdown? The day you start the journey? Or, the day you arrive at your destination?

We leave for LA on Thursday (2 days), our plane leaves Saturday (4 days) and we arrive in India on Tuesday of next week in the weeeeee hours of the morning.

When I started counting down to this occasion I decided on the middle one. Seems like a good compromise. But, as the days get closer the meaning of time seems to change. Some moments seem to take forever while others seem to slip through my fingers like silky sand.indian-time-watch1

One of the teachings that I expect to practice repeatedly during this trip is the importance of being in the present moment. Already, I have experienced the phenomenon Indian time (trying to create an account with the Indian Railway is not for the impatient!). I have already practiced the hurry up and wait attitude and I know this is only the beginning…So, I better get comfortable with the concept of time bending. Ru and I can practice our magical skills while we travel.

 

while you are waiting

 

Either way, it is a very interesting time. I feel anxious and nervous, yet calm and ready. We’ve been planning this for a long time, and it has almost arrived. A dream almost realized…Another lesson in being in the moment. Staying out of the future as well as the past to completely embody this moment which is truly full of every emotion.

Awesome!

no gym?

As the days grow nearer I am bombarded daily with the list of things to do..Get copies of this, confirm reservations here, get your last vaccination, oh! and don’t forget to go to the gym!

In fact this last little part is what has me spinning lately. I mean…7 weeks without the gym? What’s a girl to do?!  I imagine I’ll do just fine after I get into the swing of not having the daily routine of an elevated heart rate. And, my muscles will surely be limp noodles by the time I return, right? Well, at least the sweating part won’t be a problem. From what I understand…it’s a bit warm in India. 

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Among other lessons during this trip, one for me will certainly being one of ‘letting go’. There’s nothing I can do about not working out and eating fried foods (eating anything raw is pretty much prohibited by the travel nurse)…So, I guess I’ll just look at it like I’m getting a head start on my Thanksgiving Thighs :)…After all, I truly am very thankful for this journey!

Getting Ready!

Alright India! Two weeks until we join your dusty Tamil Nadu streets, sandy Goan beaches and lush Kerala hillsides.

We are so excited and prepared for it all. The love, the joy, the sorrow, the heat!

I am hoping this platform will prove to be a great way to share our journey with family and loved ones. So I’m starting a few weeks early to get the hang of it.

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part of the puzzle

Well, yes! What we do DOES have an impact on those around us. Are you shocked?

Do people squeal with joy when you arrive? Or do they run away to the other room to avoid you? I know that’s kind of harsh, but it can be a cold hard truth that we don’t often want to look at.

I’m not saying that it should be the goal of your existence to want others to like you, or to really even focus on others impressions of you at all. However, taking notice of others reactions to us can be a good barometer, we are all mirrors to each other. My point is: You matter, and your energy and actions affect the world around you. It is up to you what impact you want to leave.

It is true, whether you are happy or sad, joyful or tearful, you are a unique piece of puzzle called the Universe. What you project matters. Have you ever taken a step back to recognize what your presence contributes to the room around you?

Today might be the day to do a little self-examination. Notice, as you walk into a room, how does the energy change? Do people smile and become open and friendly? Or, do people contract and become cold? Does your energy promote peace, positivity and calmness? Maybe you bring an element of humor or happiness. Conversely, you could bring a dose of pessimism or sadness. What do you bring to the table?

This type of reflection can be quite an eye opener to some of us. Sometimes, we have become so unaware of ourselves that we forget how strongly our personality, our energy, influences others. Once you have a better understanding of how you interact with others in a non-verbal way, you may decide to change your ways, or not. Either way, at least you know.

It is now your decision what to do with the information. It is in your power to make a change and a make a difference.

Om,
Renata

onion and southern greens socca

As you may know, I love to bake.  And, while doing the Eat to Live cleanse during the first six weeks of this year,  I learned a lot about oil-free, grain-free baking. For one, it’s hard. There are not a lot of oil-free, sugar-free, grain-free recipes that taste good. So, I started playing with more of the savory baking and I learned that I absolutely love the idea of cooking with garbanzo bean flour. It is nutritious, filling and quite tasty.

Here is a recipe for a type of dish called socca. Traditionally, socca contains oil and is cooked in a socca pan. This recipe is adapted for those looking for a healthier alternative and still want something substantial to snack on. It’s similar to a flat bread but thicker, like a dense pancake. If you bake it first, let it cool and then re-toast it in the toaster oven, it is absolutely heavenly.  Enjoy!


Ingredients:

1 C garbanzo flour

1 C water

1/2 C greens (I used Southern Greens from Trader Joe’s)

1/3 C onion

1/4 C nutritional yeast plus more for sprinkling

1/2 T Bragg aminos

1-2 t Herbs d’ Provence

red chili flakes to taste

Directions: Line a pie dish with parchment paper and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Add all ingredients to  blender except red chili flakes and blend until all ingredients are well mixed. There may be chunks of onion and greens, which makes for a more textured experience.

Pour mixture into the pie dish and sprinkle with nutritional yeast and chili flakes.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and there it is cooked all the way through. The inside of the socca will still be a bit chewy, that’s just the nature of the socca, a little crepe-like.

Mmmm…now how’s that for an oil-free, grain-free vegan treat? Your body will love you…

Om,

Renata

self-love and self-acceptance

I began to think about the difference between self-love and self-acceptance. While they seem like they go hand in hand, I’m not so sure.

You see, a person could finally accept themselves, flaws and all but still not have a feeling of love coursing through their body. If one defines love as the source from which all Creation derives then we certainly have a lot to work toward in terms of loving ourselves. Sure, there are certain days when I love this thing or that thing about myself. But to really love oneself, through every cell is not an easy thing to do.

We can see that it is a difficult task just by looking around at all of the self-help books and workshops that are offered. People all over the planet seem to believe that self-love is extremely important, that we must be able to love ourselves in order to do anything else.

Do you agree with this? Do you believe that before all else we must have self-love?

I’m not saying that I have all of the answers but to some extent I disagree with this. I believe if we can tackle self acceptance than we have come a mighty long way. It occurred to me the other day when I was doing a self-evaluation of myself. And, in complete neutrality I realized that while I may not be pleased with every part of myself, my life, my being…I accept it. There is not a feeling or emotion attached to the acceptance, it just is.

Self-acceptance can be a very calm place to be, like when meditating. It allows for space in the mind to cease judging and analyzing. It is a peaceful place to rest and reside.

Sure, having self-love AND self-acceptance is the ultimate goal in many cases, but each sentiment holds a unique value.

What do you think?

Om,
Renata

 

in tune

Have you ever thought about why we grow apart from some of our closest friendships?

I like to think of people as vibrating energetic beings. We all operate at our own frequency, some go slower, some faster, some are louder and some are very faint. We have all had the experience of meeting a person and immediately feeling a connection. We feel ‘in tune’. And truly, we are in tune. Think of it like an orchestra. When the instruments in the orchestra are in harmony it is beautiful, easy and powerful. However, if one instrument is out of tune or off beat it creates a discord. When we are in discord or ‘out of tune’ with someone it feels awkward, weird and like it is work to to remain engaged in conversation.

At some point along our evolution, especially those who are on a spiritual path (which I believe we all are, some people are just more aware of it than others) begin to notice that some of their friends don’t come around so much anymore. For some reason that old best friend that used to spend every Friday night at your house has stopped coming over so frequently. And, this is normal. As we change, so does our frequency and we begin to hum at a different rate. This means, that potentially we could start to transition to a new group of people.

Many people I have spoken with find this transition to be difficult and somewhat painful, but it doesn’t have to be. If you can take a look at your relationships and honor them for what they are, then you have already started the process of creating a new symphony of supportive and loving friends.

If you are having trouble during this transitional phase, take a moment to realize what that relationship offered you; in your heart and mind, thank that person and that relationship for existing in your life. Visualize sending love and peace to the individual and to yourself to allow for any healing that needs to take place. It may take a little while to let your physical body, mind and emotions become in sync. But, with love and acceptance you will open up new pathways to  connections that you never dreamed possible.

Remember, you are never alone. The Universe is full of proof to show just how very important you are to Creation. You matter, your existence matters and your service to the world is important. The connections that you had, and the connections that you will create are merely ways of expressing your gifts to this world. Thanks so much for being alive and present!

 

Om,
Renata

don’t force it

Don’t force it, find it.

I heard this phrase last night while watching my hubby’s ninjutsu class. His sensei said it when they were practicing blocks and punches. As soon as he said it something inside of me resonated with it. YES! I thought…how often do we try to FORCE something to happen when it would be so much more efficient and less taxing to just go with the flow?

When life throws punches do you find the flow that will allow you to move through it with grace?

I think, too often we as humans are so accustomed to fighting that we prepare for war unconsciously. We are so ready, and on guard to block attacks from our enemies that we forget that life can be a beautiful symphony of give and take, ebb and flow.

What would life be like if we could just begin to stop forcing the energy of life into what we believe it should be? Instead, we could find the flow, and ride it out like a wave we are surfing.

So this is the om of the day…as much as possible become in tune with the energy around you and to go with it. Even if your internal human-ness wants to fight it, try something different and find the flow.

Om,

Renata

afraid of the ball

So last night at the gym I learned a new exercise where the objective is to squat, pop up and then throw a heavy medicine ball over a TRX structure (think of a jungle gym about 12 feet high) to another person, they catch the ball, squat and throw it back to you, and again you squat to catch the ball. As I was standing there getting ready to catch the ball from my fabulous and fearless workout buddy I realized…I AM AFRAID OF THE BALL! What?!

Here I am a grown woman and I’m about to tear up thinking that the heavy ball is coming my way, but I didn’t say much I just tried my best. Not only was it a challenging physical exercise, it was an exercise in overcoming fear. I suppose the fear gave me a slight advantage considering that there was some great adrenaline coursing through my body. I was on edge, nervously laughing and anticipating the worst. I’m not sure exactly what the worst was supposed to be?. My guess is I was afraid to get hit and to get hurt. But, you know what? One of those times volleying the ball I DID get hit in the head. And it DID hurt, for about 30 seconds…and then it was over.

So what is the lesson here? Yes, it is OK to be afraid. Yes, you may get hurt. No, it does not last forever. And, each time that ball was tossed to me, I was a little less afraid. Practice makes perfect right? I’m still not fearless, but I’m a little more confident. Now, where is this concept true in the rest of my life. Because, as we know all areas of our lives are mirrors for the other areas of our lives. What happens at the gym, happens everywhere else in life. Or as someone once said; ‘The way we do one thing, is the way we do everything’.

So that’s my lesson for today and I encourage you to look at places in your life where you may feel fearful. Really take a look at the fear, feel it, and do whatever you are afraid of anyway. You may get hurt, but I promise it won’t last forever and most likely it will create confidence and trust within yourself.

Happy Leap Year!

Om,
Renata

looking outside

Today I went to the Center for Spiritual Living, or as I sometimes call ‘church’. I haven’t been in a very long time and I was really searching for a nice dose of inspiration. I’ve been increasingly interested in opening up the pathways in brain for more spiritual understandings.

But, as life would have it…I didn’t really get it. It was a nice service overall, but I found myself nodding off during the talk. How rude right? I mean, here I am sitting in an audience full of people listening to a discussion that is obviously speaking to many of the group and I’m nodding off! I kept asking myself, why did I come? Why did my intuition guide me here today? I was expecting to listen to one of my favorite speakers and get a GIANT dose of LOVE! But, instead I just spent most of the time wondering what brought me there. I was even lucky enough to run into a student of mine that I hadn’t seen in years…

And then it dawned on me, I was looking outside myself for inspiration. Truly, inspiration must come from an internal place. Sure, others can help us to find connections that we were not able to see or feel before, but really I must look inside. So now the question is; how do I find my own inspiration? Sometimes it just happens naturally and sometimes it needs a little coaxing. And how to coax? Set my expectations.

So I’ve set my expectations to find more daily inspiration, instead of ‘wanting’ to find inspiration, I expect to find it. It makes a difference, you know. Expectation is far more powerful than want. So instead of searching and seeking something that I expect ‘might’ be out there. I expect that it ‘will’ be within me. So tell me, what are your current expectations in life? Do you think that any of them could be adjusted to be in alignment with what you desire out of life?

Lots of love -

Om,
Renata

sole changing

Today I changed my soles. No, not soul, soles. I was at the gym and decided that today I would put a different pair of insoles into my shoes to see what that would change in my workout. It wasn’t life altering or earth shattering but it did provide a different perspective.  It allowed me to move a little differently, notice movements in my step and create a new experience.

So I’m taking that lesson for today, and I’m going to shift things juuuust a tad. What can I glean from changing? And, what should I change? I’m going to start with what I usually do. Instead of sitting in my favorite spot, I’ll choose a new one. I’ll brush my teeth with my left hand, I’ll choose a different flavor of gum! Today is an experiment in minor shifts.

I’m not sure what I’ll learn, but I’ll be sure to share it with you.

Om,

Renata

lent

Lent to many people is about giving up something, but what if we decided instead to shift the idea of ‘giving up something’ to ‘adapting something new’?

I read a great article on how to create new habits today and it got me to thinking. What if I decided that I want to create a new habit to overpower a habit that I’m not so excited about?

So, for lent this year that is exactly what I’m going to do. I have so many bad habits to choose from (as do we all, I’m sure) but for me I’m going to change the habit of ‘self-sabatoge’. I know that is a broad topic but I’m going to start with the small things. For example, if I’m having a great day and I notice myself beginning to speak negatively in my head I will shift gears and do something different.  I’ll start a new habit instead…maybe I’ll sing to myself. Oh wait, I can’t carry a tune, maybe I’ll just focus on something pretty :)

Hopefully, by the end of lent I’ll have a much better outlook on myself and the world.

Here we go!

Om,
Renata

an om transition

Well, today is the day! Welcome to the transitioning om of the day. When this blog started it was all about oatmeal, and learning the simple joys of creativity and life through experimenting with my daily om.  And now, it is time for a change.

Exactly two years ago this blog started, and so what a perfect time to have a little birthday celebration! The gift for om of the day is  a little different, however. The gift is about what is happening in the ‘present’. A shift, a change, a transition…

This blog will be so much more than oatmeal. Yes, sure it will still have recipes that I love. But, it will also include a little bit more about life, love, spirituality and maybe even a little humor.

My mission remains the same, and I hope that you will enjoy om of the day EVEN MORE than before.

So here we go…the first goal is to write every day until Easter (since it is the start of Lent today), I think it can be done.  What should we talk about? Should we have pictures, essays, jokes, articles? Who knows how om of the day will manifest over the next year…but I’m excited for the change.

Lots of love to all of you!

Om,
Renata

strawberry socca

This socca bread is meant to be a healthy treat. High in protein and naturally sweetened it is a perfect weeknight yummy for you and your hunny.

Ingredients:

1 pint of strawberries (or more!), sliced

1 c garbanzo flour

1 c water

1 t vanilla

salt to taste, can be omitted

Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour and water together until no lumps remain. Add in vanilla and salt, if using. Stir in about half of the strawberries in the mixture and pour into a parchment lined (or sprayed with cooking spray) pie dish. Place remaining strawberries on the top of the mixture for adornment.

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the socca bounces back slightly when pressed.

Let cool, and enjoy this healthy treat.

 

Om,

Renata

hazel-bites

I saw this recipe and knew immediately that I needed to make it.  So here it is, with my adaptations…

Ingredients:

Bites:
120 g dates
240 g hazelnuts
40 g chocolate chips, melted
40 g cocoa
1/2 c maple syrup plus 2 tsp
1 t vanilla
1/4 t salt

Icing:
20g cocoa powder
1/4 c maple syrup
120 g avocado

Toasted Hazelnuts
40 g hazelnuts
1 T maple syrup
pinch of salt



Directions:

Pulse 240g (2c) hazelnuts in food processor until it’s finely ground, like a flour. Add dates, 1/2 c maple syrup (plus 2 tsp extra if dough seems dry), 40g (1/2 c) cocoa powder, melted chocolate chips, vanilla and salt (to taste). Process dough until it become sticky and thick.

Transfer dough into an 8 x 8 pan and spread out into an even layer. Cut into even pieces so it will be easy to layer with the icing.

Mix 40g (1/3 c) chopped hazelnuts with 1T maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Place in 300 degree oven until slightly toasted. Keep an eye on these, they will burn quickly once they are done. Set aside to cool while making icing.

To make the icing blend the avocado (1 medium) with 20g (1/4 c) cocoa powder and 1/4c maple syrup and 1/4 t vanilla. Blend until smooth.

Assemble the bites by spreading icing on bottom layer, adding the second bite, layering more icing and finally topping with the toasted hazelnuts.

Enjoy!


Om,
Renata

mOMent: What’s your favorite nut? What’s your favorite nut-butter?