6 things on my to-do list this holiday season

This blog is about creativity and all that wonderful junk, but I’ve honestly been too knackered these past few days to create much of anything. Even my gratitude lists are beginning to suck. Look, it’s the holidays, and everyone’s getting busy (trying to buy the best stuff), but as chaotic as it gets this time of year, there’s a lot of creative energy in the air. On the other side of things, the urge to consume is amplified to obscene proportions, too. So, how do we stay balanced and afloat during this crazy month of December?

Here’s my attempt: I spent the only morsel of creativity I had coursing through me this morning to make short list of things I want to consume before the holidays are over. Disclaimer: in the spirit of this blog, the following list is brazenly self-centred in nature. Oops.

someone took a bite
  1. Eat fruit & drink water like a maniac

    It’s winter. The heat is blasting, it’s freezing outside, and the sun hides on most days. Not only is my skin and hair hella dry, but my vitamins are lacking and my energy is low. Bottom line, I figure a surplus of fruit will do me good this season.
    It’s living food, after all: literally alive and in its “natural” form. The water you get from consuming raw fruits and veg is pure and quenching, and the fact is, water tastes really good when flavored with anything from cucumbers to raspberries. It’s all pretty compatible.

  2. Indulge in coffee, tea, and cocoa

    Not gonna lie, I love a hot beverage. Give them to me all day, every day, but if we’re being honest, all that dairy, sugar, and caffeine isn’t the best stuff for your girl. I’ve got plans to cut back on them in the New Year, but for this upcoming month, I’m going to let myself indulge. It’s the holidays, right? Yeah, it’s the holidays.

  3. Read a good ass book

    I found myself reading a lot this past summer, but over the fall, I turned far less pages. I’m setting a goal this month: I want to get into a really good book during my free time. I got one recently on a whim (I liked the cover) called The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church – maybe I’ll give it a try. I was also in the middle of a library book called The Hangman’s Daughter, and that was good, so I might finish it. Either way, I’m craving a novel.

  4. Find quality music to listen to

    I like to fill my mornings and evenings with music, so I’m always looking for good playlists, albums, and artists. Lately, I’ve been in the mood for sultry winter jazz and ambient natural music. My favorite evening playlist on Google is currently Scandinavian Stargazing, but in the mornings, there’s usually bossa nova coming out of my bluetooth speaker. The last indie pop artist I found that I’ve really liked is Toronto native MorMor, whose songs and videos are gorgeous to ingest. I’m hoping to discover more gems this December.

  5. Watch a captivating movie

    I’ve been wanting to sink into a good film and really like, watch it. It doesn’t even need to be an English movie, it could be in any language, but it needs to capture my attention for up to two hours, I guess. I gotta browse Netflix later and make a playlist of possibilities. I’m already stoked to snuggle up on a snowy day and watch a good ass movie.

  6. Finish a t.v. series

    So, this might make me look childish, but I recently started watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, and WOW. What an actually good show. Intense storylines, great characters and development, with an overall dope world. Good job, Nickelodeon, seriously. I’ve been slacking on it, but I’m trying to finish the last season this month. I genuinely can’t wait to see how the Fire Nation is brought down…lol.
perhaps?

That’s all for now – I’m about to make a huge cup of milky tea with honey, browse Netflix, and choose a book to keep by my bedside. ‘Tis the season!

xx
ree

P.S. Expect a bookshelf post in the near future;)

Back from the dead

Surprise! It’s been about three months since my last post, y’all. I don’t have a legitimate excuse for why I haven’t been writing, other than plain and pure laziness. There’s no use in trying to put it any different: I’ve been lazy, not just for the past few months but for the past two decades of my life, probably. I recently identified laziness as the source for many dysfunctional patterns of thinking. It’s a constant battle, but I’ve begun to conquer this pesky demon.

I once held a bit of spring in my hand

Here’s what I’ve realized: it’s a lot easier to throw your hands up in helpless defeat than admit the fact you could have put in a better effort.

When we forfeit our ability to act, we can easily blame everything and everyone else for our current misfortunes. The responsibility is taken off ourselves, and any feelings of guilt, shame, and frustration are held at bay. However, those things still lurk in our subconscious, because the wiser part of ourself knows better. We know that only we are responsible for how we feel and what we do. It’s a painful thing to realize, but I think it can also be extremely empowering. I’d like to share a few ideas around this that are quickly becoming second nature to me:

We can control much of our daily lives.
While it’s tempting to always focus on “the future” or “the past” with longing, regret, and anxiety, I’ve realized that it’s more logical to focus on creating a more desirable daily life. For example, I’ve recently given my mornings a makeover, dedicating at least 15 minutes for self-care and spirituality. This is within my control! Designing a more ideal daily life is a far less daunting task than trying to improve your life as a monolithic whole.

Time and attention are precious commodities.
I’ve tried to be more mindful and aware of what I choose to give my time and attention to, because I’ve realized that, along with information and knowledge, these are some of the most valuable things in existence. There are too many useless and upsetting things that demand our most precious resources and it’s essential to take back the power and decide how and where you want to allocate them.

Gratitude is one of the best frequencies to emit.
I believe that when you choose to be grateful for something, magic happens. You can transmute bad experiences into lessons that make you a better person. You can acknowledge the goodness in your life and attract even better things. No matter what you believe about the universe and higher powers, there’s no harm in giving thanks. I have found that it feels really good to be grateful.

So, that’s about it for now. I may or may not be bursting with inspiration at the moment, thrilled at the idea of sharing everything with anyone who’ll listen, but I won’t make promises of consistency. Three months is a long time not to write – all I’ll say is I hope never to repeat such an absence. Stay tuned!!

xx
ree

Free food!! Foraging wild milkweed for the first time

For the past few months, I’ve been really interested in foraging local edible plants. Free food without added hormones or antibiotics? Yes please. My copy of Lone Pine’s Edible and Medicial Plants Canada was my guide as I set out into the wilderness to find some snacks. There’s a pond in my neighborhood around which common milkweed grows like crazy, so we picked some young seed pods and whipped up dinner.

asclepias syriaca
baby seed pods

The best time to pick them is when the seeds are young, about 1-2 inches long. At this baby stage, the pods are nice and tender and the seeds inside are soft and silky. As they mature, the seeds get tougher and less edible. Crack open a pod to check if the seeds are still nice – if you see brown, it’s definitely too mature to enjoy.

blanching ’em

After picking some pods, I washed them in cold water, then I blanched them for about 3 minutes. They popped and hissed as they were boiled. I rinsed them in cold water afterwards to deflate the pods and stop them from cooking.

I battered them using eggwash and breadcrumbs – after that, I fried them in sunflower oil! It was my first time foraging and cooking any wild edible and the result was rather pleasant. I discovered that the smaller pods were definitely the tastiest, and the larger ones were tougher and perhaps more bitter. Milkweed seed pods have a rich flavor that borders on slight bitterness but is overall still enjoyable. They taste healthy, if that makes any sense. They were satisfying to eat and tasted pretty good with plum sauce.

ta-da! (some were burnt and bitter)

It was great cooking something free, local, and organic – and it was honestly fun. I’ll definitely cook them again, and hopefully find some more edibles in the area. Next on my list of things to try is sumac “lemonade” – stay tuned!

xx
ree

Dreaming of Caterpillars | tiny messengers among us

Some months ago, I was in the midst of a self-growth journey that involved me crossing sea and ocean and living with upwards to twenty-five cats. It’s a long story that I’ll get more into later, but one early Spring night I had the most unusual dream.

I saw a tall oak tree before me, and winding endlessly around it was a massive, hairy, yellow caterpillar. It was a striking image that roused me right out of my sleep. When I managed to get a signal on my cell phone later that day, I turned on my internet data and immediately Googled the symbology behind caterpillars.

dewdropped

I usually don’t put too much stock into those dictionaries that tell you what your dreams represent. I sort of believe that dreams are beyond meaning, and that to analyze one logically is paradoxical to the experience. However, what I read about caterpillars on various websites (some of which looked like they hadn’t been updated since the advent of the internet) resonated with me anyhow, so I’ll share it with you now:

Caterpillars, and butterflies for that matter, are powerful symbols of growth, change, and metamorphosis. Since caterpillars eventually become butterflies, the appearance of a giant one is an anomaly or paradox. To my waking self, it signified a thing in my life, whether it was a mindset, a belief, a relationship, or habit that needed to metamorphosize before it became something destructive.

It’s funny, because almost every time I see a little caterpillar crawling up a tree or through the grass, I think back on that alarming dream. I remind myself that, like my many-legged friends, I still have a lot of growing to do.

TTFN!

xx
ree

Being real with yourself: What to do when you realize you aren’t a very good person

“In general, people are not drawn to perfection in others. People are drawn to shared interests, shared problems, and an individual’s life energy. Humans connect with humans. Hiding one’s humanity to project an image of perfection makes a person vague, slippery, lifeless, and uninteresting.”

Robert Glover

*******

Throughout my life, I always thought of myself as a virtuous person with high morals. I had a bad habit of looking down on others to make myself feel good about being good. I used to only be able to percieve myself as a victim of others’ cruelty and carelessness, as if I were “too good” for this world. If someone asked me how my childhood went, I’d be sure to mention the racist bullying I experienced and to curse the town I grew up in for not being evolved enough. It would have never in a million years occurred to me that I could have been someone’s bully; I would be offended at the suggestion.

me being rather stupid

Nowadays, I have what I like to think is a more realistic attitude. Mistaking myself as being above others has been one of the biggest errors of my life. Only now am I beginning to realize what a truly mediocre and even lousy person I am most of the time. This hasn’t been easy to swallow, but I’m becoming alright with it. Here’s my reasoning:

I take a bit of comfort in knowing that I’m not perfect and never have been. I think perfectionism is an illness that keeps us from being real with ourselves and others. Of course, I still try to work on myself and reach new insights, but I no longer delude myself into believing I’m on a righteous moral path that excludes the majority of people. That’s a crappy attitude to have, in my opinion. It feels better to admit that I’m not above anyone. Because, in the same sense, nobody is above me. We’re all just trying to be good.

My advice for anyone who stumbles across this unpleasant truth is to forgive yourself, forgive others, and do your best to withhold judgement. Judgement of ourselves and others can be useful but it can also make us sick. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this topic more later. For now, realize that judgement doesn’t need to be hurled at everything. It’s possible to sit with your own judgemental thoughts and keep them to yourself, meditating on their usefulness.

TTFN!

xx
ree