Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Mantra: When We Lie to Others, When We Lie to Ourselves

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Trust your gut instincts

Trust is a fragile, delicate thing.

It is not something easily repaired with tape or glue or even time, in some cases. Time does not heal all wounds.

That is a lie in itself.

Once upon a time I was lied to. A lot. For a very long period of time. It was an awkward and uncomfortable situation because a lot of people on his side knew I was being lied to, they helped with the lying, and they agreed not to tell me the truth.

There were small signs and clues along the way, but I ignored them. I'm not sure why entirely, but for the most part it was a combo of denial + giving the benefit of the doubt + not wanting to be a statistic = "Overlooking" the facts in front of me. On top of that, there was a feeling I could never shake. No matter how much logic I tried applying or what I tried to tell myself, my gut knew something was up.

When I found out the truth, I was furious. Things were heated and angry and bad, but eventually we worked past them and tried again. It took me years to get to a point where I could trust him fully and completely.

And then it happened all over again, exactly the same way.

I was lied to. A lot. For a very long period of time. Everyone knew and everyone kept it from me.

This time, though, the key difference was that he got better at lying and hiding everything from me. Over the course of the years I was lied to, I only had one moment when something appeared to be out of order, but not enough to cause me to second guess it. No big signs or clues like before. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing to alarm me.

All of that being said, throughout this time frame something was wrong. Something I couldn't put my finger on, but that I could feel instinctively. Something that didn't go away until the day the truth became unhidden.

There's a saying..."Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Shame on all of us.

I used to consider myself a second chance (or third chance, fourth chance, fifth...) kind of person. That part of me died that day and I have no intention of ever bringing it back. It did not serve me well.

I think it's important to note that I wasn't cheated on. The lies that were told to me hid other things. I mention that only because lying is most often associated with someone cheating, when in fact lying encompasses many different forms. All lies - no matter their size or shape or reasoning - are damaging. 

People lie all the time. We use small lies, white lies, big lies, hurtful lies. We lie because we're scared, because we're selfish, because we think we won't get caught. We lie because we're trying to be polite, because we don't want to hurt someones feelings, because we actually do want to have our cake and eat it too.

We lie to get things, to keep things, to have things we can't have. We lie to protect our own feelings, to avoid facing the truth, to try and "skip past" what we don't want to deal with.

We use lies to excuse ourselves from the terrible, horrible human beings that we are. We lie and we lie and we lie until we believe our own web of deceit that we've spun.

We lie because we can and we continue to lie until we get caught. And then, maybe, we lie again.

The worst part of all of this is that each and every time we choose to lie to someone (let's be honest, lying is a choice) we're really just lying to ourselves. About what we can have and what we can't, about why lying is easier than just telling the truth. We try and trick everyone - including ourselves - ultimately hurting everyone collectively and digging a much deeper hole than necessary, had we just faced the truth from the beginning. Trust is the hardest of all hard things to rebuild. Many times, it never can be.

I didn't write this post as a way to lament over my past or to punish the people involved. 

I wrote this post today for two reasons, my friends.

First, in the event you yourself have told one (or more) lies that have hurt someone or are continuing to hurt someone, please stop. You are creating irrevocable damage. You don't have to believe me - it's there. It will always be there and it will only get worse unless you immediately head down the path of honesty. Do not dig a hole of lies so deep that nothing, not even years of truth, can fill it. Maybe, just maybe, the someone you're lying to is yourself. The same damage will happen. It most surely already has. Love yourself enough to face what is happening in your life.

Second, because we all, unfortunately, have been or maybe are being lied to right now, it is critically important to pay attention to your gut when it tells you something is wrong. If you have "a feeling" do not ignore it. Our bodies are equipped with mind-blowing instincts that date back centuries. Instincts that tell us we are in danger, that we need to pay attention, that we need to run. Instincts that cannot be bound by logic, rather set free with belief.

Remember this next time you're faced with an uncomfortable situation. Remember this next time your inner wisdom knows something is wrong.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: Rusted Wheel

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
Melia Metikos

Rusted Wheel

Is the button
That I’m stuck on.
I am
Weaving in and out
Of knowing.
All this
Is so pointless
When there’s nothing,
But a
And an endless
Numbness growing.

Monday, April 20, 2015

In the World of Wellness: The Power We Give Away

Wellness is a term widely used that has multiple meanings around health and positive life style changes leading to well-being. Here we will use the term "wellness" in those ways and also as a means of defining a life free from disease as well as a way to explore alternative medicines, what they offer, and what this could mean for you.

Every month I'll do a post on a health and wellness related topic. This will give you a chance to explore other options, become informed, and make the best overall decision for your own well-being.

In the World of Wellness: Take back your power

A friend of mine found out she had cancer back in October. They were able to remove all of it, thankfully, but she's had complications and serious, serious exhaustion ever since. This has made me become acutely aware of life in far more pressing ways than I've experienced prior. Of how I can either reign in my power and take the best care of myself possible or give that power away- to bad food, to bad habits, to unhealthy things.

Giving our power away - remember that. This is the focus point. This is important.

Years and years and years ago, human beings had to work their asses off to survive. We had to grow, kill, and prepare our own food. It was that or starvation. We did everything for ourselves - everything. We sewed our own clothes so we wouldn't be naked. We home schooled our kids so they would be wise. We cleaned with cleaning solutions we created from baking soda and vinegar because that was all that existed. We did absolutely everything on our own because we had no other choice. While this gave us great power over ourselves, our lives were much shorter, much harder, and much less fun.

Now we waste countless hours watching TV, playing video games, playing on the computer, and staring at tiny phone screens. Instead of seeking out food and shelter, we seek out entertainment. We get bored in a time when there is NO REASON to be bored. We demand, well, everything. We are never satisfied. We want it all, we want it now, and we want it delivered to us so we don't have to get dressed and leave our houses. Somehow, with all of this convenience that we have, we still manage to literally kill ourselves from stress that wouldn't even be considered stress back in the day. Somehow, instead of finding a balance with the conveniences we've been given in life, we threw ourselves completely off balance.

And because of that, because of all of that, we have given our power away.

Some of this is good, helpful, beneficial to us. Having some of these conveniences has made our lives easier. For other things though, not so much. We no longer create our own food - we buy it from someone else, from a manufacturer, a grocery store, or a farm. Food that has typically travelled thousands of miles. For the most part, for most of us, we have no idea where this food actually came from. We don't know who touched it, what touched it, what went into it. We know nothing about it and yet, we eat it. We consume - constantly - things that we know nothing about.

We put things on our hair, on our bodies, in our air, on our plants, all around us that we know, truly know, nothing about. We have no idea how to pronounce the chemicals contained within these items or what they even do. We rely on the people making the money off of these products to tell us the truth, to only give us good things, to be concerned about our well being. For the most part, we don't question any of it. And when we do, when we know it's bad for us, we still use or eat it.

We do all of this because we've given our power away. We do all of this because it's easy and because we can't be inconvenienced. Because we are too consumed and busy doing all of these other things that are in all actuality not that important in the big scheme of life. Things that years and years and years ago wouldn't have mattered, not one bit. If one day we have an end-of-times scenario on our hands, most of us will be screwed because we have absolutely no idea how to truly take care of ourselves and we don't have the skills we'll need to survive. We rely on everything to be provided to us. We have given our power away.

And we continue to.

If I ate Hostess cupcakes all day long (which I can't do even if I wanted to because they're not gluten free) and I gained 20 pounds and became diabetic, it wouldn't be Hostess's fault. I gave my power to them. I freely gave it away. If I sat on my butt all day watching Scandal (which would be easy to do because I love that doggone, crazy show) and, thus, my butt became as big as a house, it would not be my TV's fault. It would be mine. I gave my power away.

I know you all get this. I know you do. But you also don't. I don't always either. Why do I say that? Because things like this don't sink in until we're sick, or dying, or until someone close to us is sick or dying, or until something really, terribly, horrible goes wrong in the world and we become directly impacted. We know we're not immortal and immune to illness and disease, yet at the same time we act like we are. We don't care until we're forced to- plain and simple.

Don't you want to change that? Don't you want to take your power back?

I do.

Now, for my rant, which I promise will tie this all together.

As you, my loyal and wonderful friends know, I am very seriously against GMO, well, everything. I'm against a lot of things, but this is the easiest example to use in this particular rant I'm about to go on.

I constantly have debates/discussions with people about health and wellness things. I love these conversations and I'm totally open to them, but I am sick and tired of people who have done no research, have no education in this area, and who are forming opinions just to have opinions go off on tangents like they know what they're talking about.

I'm not a doctor or a research scientist or a genius. I fully and genuinely admit that I don't know everything and that information can change based on new studies being conducted. I am, however, educated on health and wellness. I have literally put in hundreds of hours studying nutrition, wellness, and all things health related. Hundreds of hours. Hundreds! Not to mention actually traveling to some of the countries who have been negatively affected by GMO's and talking directly to the people - completely cutting out the middle man, going to the source. When someone who hasn't done a fraction of any of this heatedly argues with me, I become frustrated. Especially if that person doesn't take care of themselves at all- never exercises, eats terrible food, has health issues, and is, to be frank, lazy about their health and well being overall.

Here's the deal: Many of us rely on sources to educate us that may not in fact be worthy sources. We base our opinions off of this insufficient information. We hope they're giving us good, honest, correct info, but we don't really know that unless we put in the time, do the work, and actually research the information ourselves. This, friends, this is taking our power back. Not just so we can have better debates and discussions, but to allow ourselves to get the best, most accurate information possible so we can take the best, most appropriate steps for our health.

This is why it's important that we stop giving our power away. This is why it's important that we educate ourselves, with real, genuine information. This is why we need to let our egos step aside so that we can logically look at a situation. This is why we need to take our power back.

This is why we need to ask questions, the right questions.

This is why we need learn how to take care of ourselves with skills that are truly valuable.

This is why we need to take back our power.

This is why we need to start now.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: Giving In

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
Melia Metikos

Giving In

I pushed past every moment, every single hesitation,
In a fraction of a second I sought out my dedication,
I gave into the wanting, the awaiting, the desire-
And in that final moment I blew through my raging fire.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Mantra: The Distance our Devotion Travels

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Pay attention to where your love goes...and why

I've been thinking about this one for a while. How far our feelings for someone go - whether in true distance that can be measured or in actions, in thoughts, in pain.

Example 1: My grandmother, my gramma, my guide and my compass. Words do not adequately express the absolute soul shattering pain one has, and must endure for the rest of their lives, when someone they love dies. It is incomparable. It is sudden bursts of sadness for absolutely no reason. It is tears being shed on the loveliest of days when everything has gone right. It is when a single moment, a single memory, creeps into your mind and undoes you. It's having not cried, not thought, not even considered the person who has gone, and then suddenly, because you saw/heard/watched something that reminded you of your person, if only by a fraction, you are biting your lip so as not to cry in public, at a meeting, in a yoga class, at the grocery store. It is me sitting here right now crying because I thought about my gramma today, over and over and over.

I know, at least in this human life, I will never see her again. Never talk to her, never laugh with her, never be able to tell her how much I love her. In her place - in the place of her hugs and her love and her, just her - is pain. All of my hoping and wishing and wanting will not bring her back or somehow make us closer to each other when we are now so far apart. We are separated by - I don't even know what to call it - breath, air, space? Expanses that cannot be measured or quantified, yet my devotion to her is unfaltering. 

Example 2: Friendship. I have friends that live thousands of miles away and friends that live in the same town. I have best friends and close friends and friends that are more like family to me than anything else. My friends sometimes fail in our relationship, and I sometimes fail them. For instance, years ago one of my best friends moved  far, far, far away. We would call and write letters to each other, however, in all humbleness and embarrassment, I admit that I was (and probably still am sometimes) a horrible long distance friend. 

I've thought about this a lot- why I'm so bad at it. I've come up with several reasons specific to this case, but in general the problem (my problem) is that I'm far too much of a visual person, in the sense that I truly need to see them in some way, shape, or form. So as much as I love/hate social media, it's helped with this tremendously. When I finally stopped being an idiot, we reconnected as if nothing had ever changed. I can genuinely admit that across the years when our friendship was lacking, I still thought of this person as a best friend, one of the best of the best. I still loved and cared for them. My devotion to them did not fail, even though we were thousands of miles apart, but my participation in the relationship did. 

Example 3: Significant others turned ex-significant others. This fascinates me because it's the most obvious, visible case of just how far one's devotion travels. People kill for love, they die for love, they lie and they cheat and they hurt- for love. Married couples pledge themselves to one another and when the relationship goes South, for so many reasons that relationships do, the two turn from deeply devoted lovers to little or no caring of each other. 

Couples who have been together decades can be more like strangers to each other than actual strangers, all because of the space that is between them. Space that cannot be measured in inches or feet or miles. Space that can only be summed up as a distance created by words left unsaid, dreams turned to dust, and promises unkept.

It's truly bizarre when you think about it. How far our love travels. How far we're willing to let it go, to let it change, to let it end.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: Brother Wind

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
Cliffs of Moher
Melia Metikos
Brother Wind

Brother Wind, I need you now, the pain is almost here,
Whisk away my haunted feelings; take away my tired tears.
Flitter through my stirring mind and rustle all my heavy doubts,
Lift them high and make them vanish, deep within the mighty clouds.
Stir up all my darker moments- mix in sunshine, warm and bright,
Blow away my empty aching, whistle to me in the night.
Take my weary, hidden smile- lift it up and keep it strong,
Guide my soul through seasons changing; never let me feel alone.
All the while I will I sit here, watching all your gust and might-
Brother Wind, I need your courage- blow away the fears inside.

Monday, April 6, 2015

In the World of Wellness: What To Eat When You're Allergic to Everything

Wellness is a term widely used that has multiple meanings around health and positive life style changes leading to well-being. Here we will use the term "wellness" in those ways and also as a means of defining a life free from disease as well as a way to explore alternative medicines, what they offer, and what this could mean for you.

Every month I'll do a post on a health and wellness related topic. This will give you a chance to explore other options, become informed, and make the best overall decision for your own well-being.

In the World of Wellness: Food is food is matter the time of day.

"Having 24 food allergies is so much fun," said no one ever. 

Update on the food allergies: I'm past my 60 day food avoidance and finally getting back to "normal" (whatever that means in this case). I decided to take another blood test so I would just know what I could and couldn't eat (I'm cheating, I know, but it's easier this way) versus trying to add in one food a week for the rest of my life. No results yet, but I'm anxiously anticipating being able to eat things like spinach and tomatoes and coconut again. I do feel much better and I can see a difference in just about everything, having now healed my intestines. To be honest, these past 60+ days have been a really great journey. I've gotten so creative in my cooking and so super, duper, uber healthy in my approach to everything, that I'm actually quite thankful I was in this mess.

Having said that - since I had to avoid so many foods - I did have to get really creative with meals. I've always been weird and eaten non-breakfast foods for breakfast, but many of my go-to's were forbidden, so I had to try some new things. Without further adieu, here are a few of my new favorite breakfast (or anytime) meals.

Up first, my most favorite could-eat-this-all-the-time-but-won't-just-so-I-don't-become-allergic-to-it-too meal.

Sausage and Sweet Potato Bake

 - 2 GF Mild Italian Sausages
 - 3 Gold Sweet Potatoes
 - A Sprinkle and a dash of Sea Salt and Rosemary
- Roughly 2 TBSP's of Olive Oil

Just typing this up right now kind of makes me drool. I LOVE this meal. It's easy and the leftovers heat up nicely. I love this for breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper...all the hobbit meals.

1. Pre-heat over to 400 degrees.
2. Chop sweet potatoes into thin, half circles. Add a good amount of olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary. Stir it all up.
3. Bake ONLY the sweet potatoes for 40 minutes. Give them a good stir at about the 20 minute mark.
4. While those bake, cut up the sausage into about 1 inch pieces. NOTE: I get these sausages from the Whole Foods meat case and honestly, friends, these are the best I've ever had, but check with your local store for gluten free sausages that are similar in nature.
5. Once the timer goes off at the 40 minute mark, add the sausages to the dish on top off the potatoes - don't mix them in. Put the whole thing back in the oven for 20 more minutes.
6. When the timer goes off, stir everything up and BAM - you're done. Eat it all, eat it up. Actually, save some for leftovers because It. Is. Amazing.

Sausage Stir Fry

 - About 1 Cup of Snow Peas
 - About 1 Cup of Sliced Carrots
 - 1 Package of GF Applegate Farms Chicken and Sage Breakfast Sausages

These sausages are technically for breakfast, but I actually think this makes a really nice dinner.

1. Slice up carrots.
2. Slice up sausage into little chunks.
3. Put carrots and snow peas in a pan. Add olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and Italian seasonings. I use a mix between basil, oregano, and thyme.
4. Let the veggies cook on Med-High for about 10 minutes before adding the sausage. Then, let everything finish up together for about 5 more minutes (or whenever sausages are done, depending on how thick you cut them up).
5. Eat.

Bacon Bell Pepper Stir Fry

- 1 Package of GF Bacon (I like Applegate Naturals Sunday Bacon for this)
- About 2 Cups of Sliced Carrots
- 2 Red Bell Peppers
- Some red onion, diced up
- Basil, black pepper, oregano

1. Slice up carrots, bell peppers, and just enough red onion to give it flavor (about 1/4 cup).
2. Cut bacon into squares.
3. Put bacon in pan on medium heat and let it cook a bit on it's own. Timing of this depends on personal preference. If you like really crispy bacon, let it cook longer before adding the veggies.
4. Add veggies and seasonings. Cook until veggies are done, but not soggy - you want a little crunch left in them.
5. Nom nom nom

Note: This makes 4 servings, at least!

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: Now We All Fall Down

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
Melia Metikos

Now We All Fall Down

In history
Of lessons learned,
Of cultures tortured,
People burned-
Where unimagined
Evil’s lurked-
Still we punish
Those who hurt.

The blood’s been spilled,
The battle fought-
We always want
More than we’ve got
True satisfaction
Can’t be bought-
No life is worth
A life that’s lost.

No victory
Has fixed the world,
Not one religion
Has the cure,
No single person
Can be sure
That there’s one answer
For the earth.

In all we know,
In all we’ve done,
With all the lessons
That have come,
With every memory
Of every wrong-
Still we push
And all fall down.