Raw//Live//Local

Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds.


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Wanna be happy? Here’s how

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Our thoughts and perspectives shape us. The personal stories that we create about who we are and how we got here are what make us the people we are. Happiness is the same. It is not a result of circumstances but of a mindset, a piece of our identity that must be cultivated so that it lives within us, no matter what comes our way. Everyone is on a journey to happiness, but it’s time to realize that everything we need is within us. It’s not about looking for something but tapping into what already exists within us, and stripping away the things that hold us back from true happiness. Here are some ways to do that.

1. Train your brain

Our thoughts create grooves in our brains that become the building blocks for our habits and personalities. Every thought we have creates matter and over time the thoughts that we nurture become our identity. So, to change our outer circumstances we must first change our inner circumstances by cultivating healthy thoughts, even if we don’t believe them at first.

This means having healthy self talk, being positive, assuring, loving and kind in your head in every situation. First, you must become aware of your thought patterns, and then consciously make the effort to create different thoughts. Practicing gratitude is one of the best ways we can do this, as it makes us focus on the little things that matter, like a thank you note from your boss, instead of the things that don’t, like that idiot talking way too loud in the gym.

2. Know that getting what you want doesn’t always necessarily make things better

We all have goals. Get a promotion, save more money, take a trip, find a new lover, whatever. Goals are great because they give us a clear vision of what we want so that we can create a way to get there. It’s important to remember, however, that the achievement of our goals comes with issues of their own, and that they won’t ultimately change our level of happiness. This is because as humans we look to the next big thing as soon as we get what we want. Ie you get your promotion, which involves learning a new skill that you haven’t had to work on yet. Or, you meet someone amazing you have a real connection with, and then you start wondering when they’ll tell you they love you.

We are constantly evolving, changing, growing. The only way to ensure happiness is to commit to it now, and not look to the future for it. No matter what the circumstance, to resolve to be happy so that you know that when things change, for better or for worse, you’ll still be happy.

3. Do things that are good for yourself

Call an old friend, join a sports team, ride a rollercoaster. We have these rigid ideals of what constitutes being a good human, and they usually involve lots of stress and very little self-nurturing. Being gentle on ourselves and doing something every day that makes us feel whole and happy is the best thing we can do for ourselves. It makes us more sincere human beings capable of focusing on the needs of others because we first value the needs of ourselves. Have fun, be lighthearted, and do what makes you feel good, because that’s the only way to be happy all the time.

 

 

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How I Learned to Trust Myself

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I just got out of a four and a half year relationship. It was the biggest shock of my life. I needed a reset, so I decided to travel alone. Here’s what I learned.

Go towards the fear

Courage doesn’t mean not having fear, it means going into the unknown despite of all of your fears. I was so scared of being single. Of loosing everything I had known for over four years. But obviously, I’m still alive, and a lot more whole than I was leaving it to someone else to make me happy.

Going towards my fear strengthened my heart and gave me faith in myself and conviction in my decisions. It opened me up to things I didn’t know about myself, and made me realize that ultimately, nothing is ever as bad as we expect it to be.

When you want to do something but it seems scary, go for it. Only good can come of it. And even if the other side is worse, it’s still better than staying in the situation you were in, because otherwise you live wondering what could be.

I am responsible for my own happiness

Traveling alone, it was up to me to give myself the exact experience I desired. This is an amazing position to be in because you have to be completely sincere with yourself, which is actually quite rare. You learn to trust your intuition, to accept every situation, and to give yourself what you want, all of which nourishes self-love.

This in turn transfers to your everyday life so significantly. When you learn to give yourself what you need, you don’t wait for it from anyone else, and accept complete responsibility for every piece of your life. When we take responsibility for our own happiness, it exists complete and whole within us, and no person or circumstance can take it away.

Surrender to every situation and be present

Every time I had to make a decision to go to a new location, I really had nothing to base it on except for the fact that I had to keep moving. This resulted in a mini panic attack every time I booked a ticket anywhere.

To move away from the discomfort of having no idea what to expect out of my totally baseless decisions, I surrendered to every situation. This included not questioning myself, committing to fully observe every emotion I felt, and waking up each morning and putting a smile on my face.

Whatever uncomfortable emotion I felt, I recognized and accepted it, and every situation became really alive. When I felt unhappy, I actively changed my response from frustration to gratitude for the opportunity to do something that showed me more about myself than something I was totally comfortable with. This enabled me to be happy and relaxed everywhere I was, and helped me learn to really enjoy my own company.

To the rocks and the trees and the stars our life is nothing but the life of a fly, a blink of an eye. Yes, life is long, but it’s also meant to be lived, and if we don’t do what scares us, we submit to mediocrity, so I try to always remember these words:

‘…once one has tasted the joys of freedom and fearlessness, one never repents because then one knows what it means to live at the optimum. And even a single moment of that intensity is more gratifying than the whole eternity of mediocre living.’

– Osho

Photo by Monika Majkowska


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10 Ways to Empower Yourself & Change Your LIfe

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1. Plan a trip

Stop making excuses. Go rock climbing in Joshua Tree, walk across the Great Wall of China, learn to surf in Mexico. In the big scheme of things, doing what you want to do will give you so much more than saving a couple thousand dollars and spending an extra few days or weeks at the office.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Do your best and mind your own path.

3. Smile always

Seriously, when you frown, you look ugly.

4. Stop caring what other people think about you.

It’s none of your business.

5. Eat real food

Your body is alive so nourish your vibrance. Don’t eat shit, because it makes you look and feel like shit.

6. Send love to everyone

Quietly bless everyone you meet, especially if they suck. They have to wake up in their own grumpy body every day. You get to wake up in your blissed out life. Remember that.

7. Listen to your music loud

Dancing is good for you. Do it often.

8. Challenge yourself

Find something that makes you uncomfortable and do it. Yoga, talking to strangers, speaking in front of a group – put yourself in positions you can’t back out of. You’ll get through it faster than expected and will realize you can do pretty much anything.

9. Let go of expectations

Do your best every day, be kind to your besties and to strangers, take care of your body, and know that everything will be fine. Don’t hold people or situations to expectations, accept challenges, and know that the infinite power of the universe is gently recalibrating your life at every moment to help guide you to your highest potential.

10. Practice gratitude

Be thankful for your parents and friends, your job, your apartment, and those tiny moments of happiness that you get from your morning coffee. This is your life, send appreciation and love to every corner of it.


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I made it to the top of an active volcano and it really hurt

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Eight grueling hours of hiking the steepest and slipperiest slope I’ve ever come across in my life.

It started harmlessly. A long walk up a rural path dotted with simple homes and farm animals snuffing out their breakfast at around 6 AM.

By the time we got to the entrance of the hike, however, I was sweating profusely.

We trekked out through the beautiful jungle accompanied by the sounds of howler monkeys and birds. Weaving up through varying terrain and surrounded by tropical trees, the lush setting distracted me from how steep the hike was getting.

When we stopped for a rest and my guide Alberto offered me a day-old piece of bread, I noted that we had gone from a warm and slightly windy temperature to what I would imagine it felt like to be in a cloud. I asked Alberto how much longer we had, as I was already quite tired from the steep incline of rubble, to which he responded, ‘dos e media, tres horas.’

At this point I realized I was in for way more than I had expected, and it was doubtful I’d get to catch up with my friends later on at the swimming hole for a coconut beverage as I had hoped.

As we climbed on, the terrain went from rubble to huge boulders, to slippery boulders, to slippery rocks, to pure mud and swamp that sucked at all edges of my once brightly colored pink Nikes. The air pressure became thinner and the temperature turned icy cold. The moisture on my body that before was perspiration was now rainwater from the heavy vapor that was coming from the, yes, cloud we were climbing through.

I began to understand that this was not a casual hike, and that maybe I should have paid attention when people told me that many hikers had fallen to their deaths on that very same volcano.

The moment this fact passed through my head, I began to panic. I wanted my parents. I wanted to turn around. Tears welled up in my eyes. The pain in my legs was becoming unbearable, and as Alberto hiked ahead and disappeared into the cloud, my resolve began to weaken. The eighty-five degree staircase of rocks and bushes went on for hours with no reprieve. My vision blurred, my calves began to cramp, and I seriously started wondering why this death trap trail even existed.

I knew I couldn’t turn around, mostly because I didn’t know how to say it in Spanish, so I began repeating positive affirmations to myself. ‘You got this Liv,’ ‘If anyone can do this it’s you,’ ‘It’s an adventure!’ This helped a little, until I would glance up into the howling vortex and wonder if I could ever actually make it to the top.

Then, at a certain point, I swear to God, Whitney Houston popped into my head, and ‘Dance with somebody’ got me motivated for the last two hours up. It was a miracle.

We finally made it to the crater, and it was absolutely miserable.

The wind was roaring at this point. I was freezing and soaking wet. There was heat blasting through the rocks and I could feel the power of the volcano beneath my feet. Visibility was absolute shit and I was more than ready to start the descent.

Going down, at first, was an amazing relief. My legs relaxed, I could plod along without the use of my walking stick, my neck relaxed. It was luxurious.

But then the injuries started. I began slipping and sliding everywhere. Scraping my legs, banging my knees, catching my backpack on bushes. The journey down would prove to be longer and more fearful than the climb.

After three hours, the wind quieted and I was able to see more than five feet ahead of me. My nerves slowly began to settle, and I came to believe that I probably was going to live. When I finally got to the bottom, flat ground had never felt so good.

All in all, it was the most painful and terrifying experience of my life. Would I do it again? Fuck no. Do I wish I hadn’t done it that day? Maybe. But where did staying in my comfort zone ever get me? I just hope that taking on challenges like that will help create the framework for future challenges of life; that I can learn to be calm, to persevere, and if all else fails, to put on an 80s song and dance through the pain.


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The Way of the Heart

“The way of the heart is the way of courage. It is to live in insecurity; it is to live in love, and trust; it is to move into the unknown. It is leaving the past and allowing the future to be. Courage is to move on dangerous paths. A person who is alive, really alive, vitally alive, will always move into the unknown.”
-Osho

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From Italy: 5 Ways to Live More Holistically

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Known for their excessively long lunches, luxurious beach holidays, and shameless promiscuity, Italians truly live a sweet and unapologetic lifestyle. Italy is a fantastic place to learn how to slow down and savor the delights of life. What is most fascinating however, is the longevity experienced by this indulgent culture.

Sitting at the dinner table my boyfriend’s grandparents at eleven o’clock at night, we share stories and I watch their tenderness towards one another. Both in their late eighties and practically perfect health, you see that their joy and wellness does not come from following every dietary rule there is or limiting wine to one glass per night.

Their health comes from living a full life – finding love, holding family at the core of life, and taking time in their daily rituals. They take vacations, drink wine, stay up late and eat bread (and pasta!) at every single meal. They grow gardens and cook extensively, ride bikes, and enjoy the natural beauties of the country. I’m quite sure guilt doesn’t even exist in Italy – indulgence is to be enjoyed it and every sweet moment savored. Everything is done in moderation but also with passion.

Living holistically means living in harmony with your surroundings. A truly happy and fulfilled life does not come from limiting yourself through diets or pushing yourself through extreme workouts. It comes from a community of loving friends and family, enjoying the beauty that surrounds us and giving thanks for the many joys that life has to offer. Here I offer a few simple tips I learned from my truly holistic Italian family.

1. Take your time – Slow down, savor the goodness in life and live in the present. Don’t think about your next task, meal or deadline. Take time to listen, taste, smell and enjoy each detail of every experience you have.

2. Eat whole foods – One of the many perks of technology is that we now have access to processed foods that make cooking and eating a lot faster. Unfortunately what we now know is that these convenient meals are costing more than they save as they are filled with dangerous chemicals and fattening sweeteners. This is why it’s so important to base your meals around whole foods. Growing your own garden is the most amazing way to get back to your roots, to self-sustain and to have fresh foods ready for every meal. Just a small herb garden can be so healing in itself. I recognize that this is a luxury and many of us do not have the space or time, so the next best thing is to take your time at the farmers market or grocery store choosing whole grains and veggies for your meals. A wholesome and nutrient rich meal should be filled with bright fruits and veggies. If pasta or delicious local cheese is part of it, all the more to enjoy, just make sure to balance.

3. Cook your own meals – You don’t have to be a great or creative cook to eat delicious meals. Dishes like sliced tomatoes or asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper is a fantastic addition to a meal. Decide what veggies you and your family enjoy and go from there. Cooking and eating well doesn’t have to be complex. A great rule of thumb is to cook once and eat twice – prepare something that can be stored and fixed for dinner that night or lunch the next day. It saves you time and money and means you don’t have to worry so much about every meal.

4.Eat your largest meal at lunch time – Between twelve and two P.M. our digestive systems are working at their full potential, so this is the best time to eat a lot as our bodies can process and utilize nutrients and energy most efficiently. Many people hesitate to do this as they don’t want to feel sluggish afterwards, but if you eat low glycemic load foods such as vegetables and whole grains I assure you this won’t happen. Feel free to enjoy a coffee or desert also, as your body can process it well at this point in the day. A lot of us eat a large meal for dinner but this puts a toll on our bodies as the evening is for winding down and re-energizing for the next day, not spending extreme amounts of energy digesting a calorie dense meal.

5. Incorporate physical movement into your routine – Because gas is so expensive in Italy (almost $10 a gallon!) and things are so close, most people find it much more convenient to ride their bikes or walk. This has a double benefit as it gets the heart rate up and pumps fresh blood throughout the system, improves brain function, and keeps one looking fresh and feeling young and energized. Staying active doesn’t mean pushing your body to the limit five days a week in a gym; many studies show that thirty minutes of gentle movement a day proves to have positive effects on most people. Simply using the stairs instead of the elevator at work, taking your dog (or going with a child or friend) for a thirty minute walk in the evenings, riding your bike three days a week instead of driving has excellent effects on your physical and mental health. Find what works for you and commit to it.

These steps may seem simple but the point is to simplify your routine. As the burdens of work, family and responsibilities build up over time, life gets in the way of living. Our bodies and minds suffer as a result and time flies by without notice. It’s time to slow down, bask in the sweetness of life and nurture our souls. Choose one of these ideas and see how it feels. Once you incorporate one positive change into your lifestyle, many other good things come effortlessly. Good luck and let me know what works for you!


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Hello and Welcome!

Health doesn’t mean abstaining from things that make you happy, like champagne and chocolate, it means waking up everyday feeling inspired and ready to experience new things. I believe that the first step to this is by taking the best care of yourself and living a life you are proud of.  I am here to help you on that journey.

Good nutrition is our best protection against aging, stress, and disease, and is what keeps life exciting. As a holistic nutritionist I provide my clients with support and guidance to reach their health and fitness goals. Whether it’s to lose ten pounds, have more energy, or sleep better at night, I develop a personalized roadmap to get my clients to their optimal health.

My philosophy doesn’t focus on counting calories or using diets. My nutrition philosophy is based around organic, whole foods that are local and sustainably sourced. Food nourishes our bodies and minds and brings friends and family together, it’s not here to stress or fret over! I believe that the only way to successfully overhaul one’s diet and improve one’s quality of life is to make sustainable and mindful changes one step at a time.

There is no combination for perfect health, and food plays a very different role in everyone’s life, so working one-on-one with myself provides the framework and support for success.