Monday, December 17, 2012

Forgiveness


Untitled, originally uploaded by veggy.

”For me, My family, Our Entire Lineage
And All Humanity
Throughout All Time, Past, Present And Future
Let’s All Forgive Each Other,
Forgive Ourselves
Forgive All People
And All People Forgive Us
Completely And Totally,
Now and Forever
Please And Thank You
Let’s All Love Each Other And
Love Ourselves
Be at Peace with Each Other
Be at Peace with Ourselves
Love Each Other And
Love Ourselves
Now and Forever
Please and Thank You
Thank You”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12:12:12 This is the time to elevate your consciousness


granada alhambra, originally uploaded by veggy.

The message of the Mayan Elders, Hopi, Tibetan, and many other indigenous cultures about consciousness is that one must find their own truth. We are all an active part of the change and we all have choices (free will).

Meditate, remember to take action, be clear with who you are and your relationship to our environment, listen and think with your heart, eat nourishing food, exercise (yoga, tai qi, qi qong), respect differences and strive for unity. Indigenous knowledge shares its simplicity that truth is found by sitting quiet in observation of the world while experiencing and being in the present moment with wisdom and insight. Respect and honor everything in nature equally and appreciate the delicate relationship with our environment. Just listen with your heart and you will know - this represents the transition into and the new era!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Whispers


Regents Park, originally uploaded by veggy.

I am no longer fooled
Into giving my attention
To headlines full of news
and fear-filled distractions
I AM HERE TO LEARN TO LOVE
Through focused concentration,
Forever in devotion,
Humility and compassion.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Everything is new


Spiced Lentil and Kale Soup, originally uploaded by veggy.
Coming back to London felt like I was coming back home, which is odd for me to say because I have always considered Vancouver to be my home but after living in London for 7 months it has become my home. When you live like a Camino pilgrim with two pairs of pants (ugly ones), a few tops, hiking boots and flip flops, no hair brush, minimal toiletries, that all easily fits into a 40 liter carry on bag coming back to some more things can be very rewarding. Everything is new. I even loved my Costa soy latte! Blow drying my hair.. what a luxury. I wore make up last night for the first time in months. I have been buying groceries, the first of course was hummus and spelt crackers (something that doesn't exist in spain even though they have a ton of garbanzo beans). I am wearing different clothes, and even taking some photos with my camera which makes me appreciate it so much more. What is even nicer is seeing my friends again. I have to thank Josie for her unending hospitality and dealing with my stupid mail (UK mail has managed to lose very expensive postal packages of mine, I don't trust them anymore). Lesley for storing my massive bag, Swati for storing my bicycle. I am hanging onto the idea of staying in London but I have some more traveling left as it seems cheaper to travel in Spain then live in London, I am heading to Andalusia and Morocco to avoid the western consumer holidays. After that I may head home home for a west coast visit, but I am very tempted to come back to London.
Oh and someone had wrote a book on how I live my life, it's called Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel. People wonder how I do it, but it's pretty much documented in this book. Of course I will give you tips if you want them, but until them I am still for two weeks in London making organic soups and enjoying the unending amounts of free photography exhibits, markets, music, and friends.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Being a vegetarian in Spain


dead baby, originally uploaded by arimoore.
Yes, yes, you all warned me. I know Spain is the land of Jamon or Ham in Spanish. But was it really going to be as bad as the whole of South America, or Vietnam where I ate oreos out a desperation for days? Well yes it is much worse. It is so bad that they hang dead pig legs up everywhere. A proudness in their slaughtering that I have not really ever seen in any culture. Most people don't want to see or meet their meat, but here you really don't have a choice. I have kind of had to tune out to the point where I had strangers making me aware and apologizing for the grotestqueness of it, even though they aren't the ones hanging it up for all of us to enjoy, but really they should be saying thanks to an animal that has lived a really shitty life, confined, and treated extremely poorly so they can have a salty snack. We so often forget that animals actually feel something, like our pets that we love and adore, pigs are no different. Considered more intelligent then dogs, and cleaner then most animals as well, yet we treat them like slaves and slaughter them with the known fear that they are going to die.. which is probably better then living they way they had been living. Spain is horribly stuck on Jamon. As a European country it seems absurb that the only thing you can eat in a day is bread, cheese, eggs, and jam. But this is it! It can get exhausting in small towns where every single "bar" sells the exact same microwaved meal.. all show cased in the exact same picture menu all across Spain. 6 to 10 euros for a microwaved meal? You can walk for 100's of kilometres and see fresh fruits, and vegetables.. yet the Spanish don't eat it. Most of it gets exported out of Spain, and the Spanish stick with their white bread.
As the city filled with protesters against the banks .. yes the banks are scammers, I felt like yelling.. "You are all hyprocrits, you don't even care about life when you hang dead meat at your door and consume it all day". It's fucked, and it is not something I can relate to, or relate with, a culture of so much slaughter, and unecessary consumption.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lisbon, Portugal


F1000033, originally uploaded by veggy.

Portugal often gets forgotten by the people who travel to Europe.. but that seems to be happening less and less. Known for its natural coastal beauty, good food, artistic culture, and possibly the nicest people in all of Europe you really can not go wrong. After spending over a month in Northern Spain the niceness of the Portuguese is noticed right away when you need directions and someone will walk you all the way to where you want to go (something that happens in Brazil as well).
I have been mainly taking it easy, getting lost, catching up with friends, and eating amazing food. Terra vegetarian restaurant is a treat among the land of bread and queso. 12.50 euro gets you a feast of vegetarian amazingness, and fresh made iced tea. Desert included the best vegan mouse I have ever had. Taking tram 28 almost feels like being on roller coaster, squeezing through the old streets it provides a unique way of seeing the city. A 5 euro load up of a transit card will get you unlimited travel on the local metro and buses which are a blessing as the city is built among the steep hills of Lisbon. A visit to the city is not complete without a visit to a Fado night. Which is the locals eery and powerful type of vocal and acoustic music, usually performed in small, crowded club, full of smoke and locals drinking stiff cocktails. I am waiting to go with some locals to this night.. and also to Sintra a castle that recommended by all. So more updates soon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Santiago de Compestela - Camino completed!


shot_1351427262286, originally uploaded by veggy.

Well I did it. I survived the snoring, the weird bug bites, the sandwiches with just cheese and nothing else on them, the lack of tiolet paper and soap, the pains which i was in denial of and now realize I have achilles tenditis.. but wow did I get lucky. I probably only suffered through a couple days of rain, a couple of beautiful frosty mornings but all in all, what a trip. To walk into Santiago to the sound of the bag pipes (the Galician, or Gaelic traditional pipes) on a sunny day, at the end of 28km (or 750km total) and say I did it. To be greeted on the walk to the cathedral by old friends from the path, and hugs is nothing short of beautiful. An experience that many people seem to get addicted too, but the one thing I do know is that there are many other paths to walk and I don´t necessarily have to walk this one again. Never in a millions years would I have ever thought or wanted to walk a month wearing the same outfit every day, no make up, no hair brush, carrying a sleeping bag and foot cream. But when I heard about this walk something intrigued me and I really wanted to do it and I am glad I did. After working on the biggest show on earth (The London Olympic Ceremonies) I was worried about burn out afterwards and going into my winter sloth state so this got me moving, and walking. As a fellow Vancouverite I met along the way told me on one of our ´´strolls´¨that it is the easiest thing you can ever do.. you just have to get up and walk. But there are times you really get tired of walking but you do it anyways. The one day I took off in Burgos, half way through the day I felt really restless and wanted to leave but I told myself I needed the rest. I don´t know if that is true though, walking is really simple, except when you add your 10 kilo (max weight) bag to the picture. But I loved my bag, and my sleeping bag. It has inspired me to take longer walks in the future, and now I really want to do some camping trips.
As I say goodbye to the trail and head south to Portugal, I feel good and excited to shop for some new clothes since my old ones are falling off, and I don´t know if I can take wearing the same thing in urban cities much longer. My pilgrim days are done but will live long in my heart. If you ever want to make a pilgrimage or a long walk feel free to message me and I will give you my tips. Buen camino amigos!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Camino de Santiago


photo-2, originally uploaded by veggy.

After 3 weeks on the road I am finally sitting at a computer. It does feel foreign and sort of wrong. It does draw away from the experience of walking every day 20 to 30 km from village to town to city but I thought it would be nice to update everyone. It has been a trip and a half. People of all ages and sizes, from all over the world and all sorts of motivation take to the Camino. Something that I didnt know existed till a couple years ago when my step father decided to do this walk himself for his 60th birthday. I began to read a couple books of peoples experience and I was enamored by this pilgrimage route that people have been walking for 1000s of years in the name of god that has now morphed into a walk for all people no matter whether they are religious or not. A day does not go by that doesnt have some sort of special event, for example walking the last 10km into Astorga I was dying for a lemonade, saying outloud to my new friend Sam, I would die for lemonade. A couple hours later we come upon this man named David from Barcelona who has been living in this run down shelter offering pilgrims all sorts of goodies, including LEMONADE, peanut butter, tahini, fruits, teas.. etc. He gave up everything and lives here year round very simply on donations and giving to the people that choose to walk items of food or a roof if needed for free if necessary. Fascinating and perfect.
I am constantly getting goose bumps, and teary eyed from moments of bliss, but this has been equaled by a day one when blister turned into 8, and then a stomach virus, and a head cold slowed me down. At that point in time I began to get home sick for the first time since I have been away. I think being sick and away from those that love and care for you is a tough go, but I survived and was well taken of by the most amazing, positive and loving people that I meet every day that will give you whatever you need when you need it. The say that the people you meet on the way are mirrors to yourself so I have been reflecting on this.. also on asking on what you need and miraculously having it show up. The landscapes, the colours, the sunrises, and sunsets, the dormotories, the snorers, and the surprising bad food a long the way is part of the adventure. It is truely a walking meditation and encompased in one of the safest places I feel like I have ever been. The locals greets you with Buen Camino all the time, and often stop you to feed you the fruits from there trees. I have eaten more food from the branches of trees then I have ever in my life. It is truely a beautiful journey. I just hope the weather sticks out as the rain makes things even the more challenging. I have a couple more weeks to go and thanks to you all for your kind words and thoughts. I think of you all constantly and miss you all dearly. xo

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Amsterdam


Damrak - Amsterdam, originally uploaded by MorBCN.

Amsterdam welcomes you like a long lost home. Everything is easy and convenient. If your lost you don't even have to ask for directions some smartly dressed and very attractive Dutch man will point you in the direction of the hidden vegetarian restaurant you are looking for and give you advice on it as well.
A city built on sand surrounded canals and streets perfectly laid out for transportation on bicycle and cable cars. The best thing to do in Amsterdam is do as the Amsterdamers do and rent a bicycle. Cycling around this city is pure joy, because you will not be killed.. well one odd bit is that they let motorized scooters on the bike lanes who are mostly insane and I don't think they should be allowed in the bike lanes if there are just going to cut in and out like mad people.
The boutique shopping and design stores are some of the best I have ever seen. There has been a lot of care put into creating things that are useful and so beautiful that it makes me want a home so I can fill it up with these 'things'.
Of course everyone is fit, and gorgeous, so people watching is an easy way to spend some time. Watching women leave their tiny babies outside shops on their bike carriers is something you don't see in many western countries.. but also short skirts and high heels on bikes aren't something you see very often anywhere as well.
The streets are full of coffee shops (marjuana shops) that cater to different crowds. The locals don't really care much about this but interestingly they are changing the laws to make it only legal for locals to smoke in 2013 which will be interesting as most of the shops in the center are littered with tourist getting stoned all day long.
The red light district is something that still haunts me in what we think as progressive, but is ultimately a support of revictimization of women come from eastern europe as a way of escaping and sold into this industry and are stuck in this industry. The majority of women in the sex trade are not there because they love to have sex, they are there because they were molested/raped as children and don't know any different and fall into this path. The women looked very young, orange skin from over tanning, skinny but not sickly skinny, and dyed hair with way to much make up. The clientele on the street was mainly men from other countries. I do know this goes on all over the world and will go on for quite some time, and don't believe in criminalizing this, but there needs to be an awareness and understanding of every women's story as it is never a pretty one. If we get to the root of the issue we can start to get women into healing and doing something more compassionate for themselves.

On another topic I have done two days of yoga in a row at Breathe yoga studio on Overtoom street. It has been wonderful to reconnect and enjoy a normal schedule of somewhat luxury. Yoga, bike rides, coffee, and I got to see my brother William for a few days :)
I have been couchsurfing with an awesome girl here named Jolijin who has her own blog on vegan cooking here (it's in dutch) : http://www.vegadutchie.nl
My next stop is Barcelona for a day and then the train up to Pamplona to start the Camino de Santiago. Wish me luck!
xo

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Isle of Mull


Isle of Mull, originally uploaded by veggy.
Taking the ferry from Oban to the Isle of Mull has been a life long trip in the making. As soon as we pulled into Oban I felt at home. It may also have to do with not seeing the ocean for almost 4 months.. the longest I have ever been away from the ocean.
The Isle of Mull (Scottish Gaelic Muile, pronounced [ˈmulə]) — or simply Mull — is the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland. We are staying at quaint and homely bed and breakfast.

Our bed and breakfast is set above the shores of Loch Scridain in the village of Pennyghael with stunning views of Ben More and surrounding mountains.
Driving from the ferry to here is a one way road of rolling hills and lush greenery of epic colours and contrasts. A landscape photographers dream because it is rare to see shades of colour like this.
An afternoon of tea and biscuits followed by a dinner at the Pennyghael hotel where I got to try the local amber ale from the Isle of Mull brew company. Tomorrow we are off to explore the Isle of Iona and Staffa.
Beauty

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's been a long time.. a London update


Untitled, originally uploaded by veggy.

Well my friends, it's been a long time. So very much has happened. I have been living in London, England for the last seven months working on four of the largest shows in the world. With that now under my belt I have had time to reflect on what I have seen and done and am feeling more inspired to write again. One of the most lovely things about London (the place I love and hate at the same time) is the free museums. You are able to walk right into these absolutely stunning architecture marvels and see almost any single thing you want to see or learn about. London has it all! One does think.. how did they get it? Of course they stole most of it from say Egypt but at least they have preserved it for only the most fortunate who are able to get to one of the most expensive cities in the world to see. Having lived most of my time in East London in the largest Bangladeshi neighborhood outside of Bangladesh, London is a city of amazing culture and depths. People who will never learn "English" and children who wear full hijabs yet full British accents.. the lines of culture and living here come together. The city is now mainly owned by the Saudis as noted most prominently by the owners of Harrods but the list goes on. Nowhere in the world do you see wealth like you do here. (Sorry West Vancouver). London is still the land of opportunity. I can see it everywhere. Still stuck very much in the past, living and choosing to live in the bureaucratic inefficiency. People still smoke tons, run right over cyclists, and spend all their money on alcohol. Londoner's are not healthy. Chip/Burger/Chicken shops are most common, leaving a whole generation spending their welfare checks on this instead of real food. Microwaves are very popular and a chosen option for cooking in most homes and work places. I asked about having a toaster and it was a fire hazard.. just a little taster of reasoning that makes little sense.

It is all very interesting to watch and be a part of it culturally. It will be interesting to see the last health effects on the National Health system in the years to come.
Environmentally, every single item is wrapped in plastic, including produce so shops don't have to employ people and you can scan the items yourself. People throw things into recycling bins even though there is nothing that states what can actually be recycled because as most of us know you can't recycle everything but the system here sure makes you think you can.
I know I have been living in the Vancouver bubble of environmental sustainability and well being and I thought we had a way to go in Canada.. but boy does the UK have a long way to go. What Canada misses in culture, it makes up for in every other single way. The UK continues to output the most amazing musicians, actors, shows year after year and it is because it is supported. People care here about seeing things. There are constant festivals about everything you could ever want, but it also has the population to support it.
As you can see the pull is strong in me. I love culture, and I love nature. Balance in London is tough but possible but right now I am a much deserved holiday. More updates to come.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Yoga and kindness


Josie - yoga, originally uploaded by veggy.

You think yoga and kindness would go hand in hand. That women who can put herself in a pretzel, that has been practicing yoga for 20 years must be a nice person right? Not necessarily. She may be flexible but may not have a well rounded practice of meditation, mantra, karma or whatever else would be needed to explore her need to do asana all the time.She probably isn't breathing properly either. Human beings need balance, not just in asana but in every field of life. I have been having a hard time with my yoga instructors who stand up at the front of class and teach what they believe is the truth but then when you get on the tube with them they don't give up there seat to a senior, or they treat people in their studios poorly. It seems like an epidemic. Like politicians who seek power, there are yoga instructors who are not kind. I feel kindness is a foundation of yoga and this was reiterated in my weekend workshop with Max Strom. I don't claim to be perfect, and the good teachers will share this statement, you do your best and work on being a better person.
Maybe it is hard to be kind in a city that is moody, busy, where your space in constantly invaded? We are in primal attack mode constantly, but yoga instructors are known globally for being not very nice ego maniacs.
Kindness is key to any practice.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Yogi Nomad yoga teacher training

If you are considering doing a teacher training please contact me if you have any questions from past students.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Impressions from London


Portobello market - colours, originally uploaded by veggy.

Having picked up and moved to London this week for an amazing job, i couldn't be happier, minus the groggy jet lag of course.
London is an amazing place with energy and personalities that make you feel challenged yet inquisitive. Culture here runs deep and thick, so many layers, and from all over the world. Lacking a smart phone, getting lost is part of the adventure, which means having good shoes because i have been walking a ton.
I am getting the lay of the land, having explored different transportation routes, and discovered my favorite is the overground lines which are new, and quieter, and upgraded for the Olympics i suspect.
London has an abundance of everything, but it has been hard to find a good coffee surprisingly, but thanks to my wonderful Vancouver friend Jen, she has a book on where to find the best coffee. We explored the Coffee Plant on Portobello Road during the market on the weekend. One of the massive, historic places in Nottinghill that offers a selection of foods, antiques, knick/knacks among many other things. Crowded and a smidge touristy, the sun peaking out of the grey sky made for a lovely afternoon stroll.
An unusually warm spring has brought the cherry blossoms out, which gets me excited for the warmer season, and longer days.

My transformation into a Londoner wouldn't be complete without some whinging:

1.Women wear way to much perfume in public spaces, i would like to start a campaign of awareness against how toxic it is in the first place and how many people are allergic to it.
Click on the link to find out more information.


Cities are never perfect but this is a city that seems progressive (or maybe i am just new?), or maybe i just arrived at an interesting time. The class divide between the rich and the poor is very evident as people live closer together and you can walk from one snooty area and then be in a totally run out migrant neighborhood. I can see how this would cause problems like the more recent London riots. I am excited to be apart of this energy, and have such good friends here already. It really makes so much of a difference.



Today i move to East London so i can walk to work for now and avoid the tube altogether for now which i think will make me healthier mentally.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

What is with all the make up ladies?

Ok. I went to a yoga studios one year anniversary where they served booze, meat, and i saw more plastic surgery, peroxide, and make up then i would at a drag show. What would Patanjali say? 8 Limbs of Yoga out the door and in with what we have translated into our superficial money making machine. Who's lineage are we respecting now? Who is Patanjali anyways? Is he that new hair stylist?

Is Yoga lost in the west? Been twisted and churned out into heated rooms, glass mirrors, and good smelling soaps? I hope not, but it took me almost a decade to pull myself out of the vortex of western yoga (which i am still in i guess, and don't claim to know it all).
I don't want to judge, because i have been there so i can understand when we don't see things as they are.
For example, I used to dye my hair, until my body rejected it when my glands in my neck swelled up to the size of golf balls and didn't reduce in size for weeks and my scalp was so itchy that sores developed. That is because ultimately peroxide is bad for you. It is a toxin, and we let it sink into our skull and run through our blood stream, so it can stain our hair, and change the colour, so we can look like someone different, someone that isn't truly ourselves. I was scared to accept myself if i am not different in some way. I know this. I spent my teens exploring this concept with piercings as well. It took me a long time to have contentment with my natural image, but i realized my body was telling me that this was bad and that it was a blessing that i couldn't die my hair jet black (red, blue, blond) anymore, and my tongue piercing swelled up one day and i let it go. Funnily people ask me to this day if i my hair is its natural colour, and i have to laugh, and say yes, and thank god for that lesson. Would i have learned it if my body hadn't showed me? I am not sure, but i hope so. Lessons come to us all the time, and we have to listen when our body says something.

We try so hard to look like what media wants us to look like and it made me sad at this party. So many possibly gorgeous women all hiding behind masks of costume like make up and afraid to make eye contact or smile back. We have become a product of a immense successful multi billion dollar marketing machine, and have failed in the areas of basic love and acceptance, and grace of who we really are?
I have faith that we will pull ourselves back into what is real, and where are roots and reality lie and know that we are beautiful just the way we are. We are all so unique, why would we ever want to mess with that?

The fundamentals of yoga and eight limbs tell us to practice yoga we need to accept these basic rules before we can proceed, yet in the west we through them out the window, or most of us don't even know they exist.
Can we practice non violence on ourselves in society (ahimsa)? Contentment of our real selves (Santosha)? Truth and honesty of who we are trying to be (Satya)? and still have studios and call ourselves yogis? Non stealing? Non possessiveness?

It is a challenge. I personally would love to see you without your Cover Girl, Lancome, Mac etc mask on though, because i think there is something beautiful underneath it.