Self-Help Book Reviews:Top 5 Things I Learned From The Queen’s Code

Queen's Code by Alison Armstrong

Self-Help Book Reviews by Siri Mera Kaur, writer, yogi, healer, shift-stirrer.  Episode 1.1.

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I first read The Queen’s Code 3 years ago.  I have since read the book so many times I can’t count.   It is a fictional story but it’s also similar to a Bible for masculine/feminine communication dynamics and problem solving.  Hence, it’s useful to go back to the book to form a deeper understanding of many key concepts you might encounter in your real life.

This book is full of super-actionable techniques.  I’ve used this while I was single and not dating, while dating, while in a serious relationship and even with my children, co-workers and family members, male and female.  Most importantly it explains an amazingly accessible perspective on the feminine self.

Here are the top 5 things I’ve learned from reading, re-reading, studying and workshopping with this book, it’s techniques and it’s author:

 

  1.  Almost no one is as a good as a listener as they think they are.  Particularly me.  I’ve been told many times over that I am a great listener.  I’ve had people tell me many things they wouldn’t normally tell people.  I can be a good listener sometimes, but before I read this book, I was ignorant to how to listen.  Yep, with all my training on listening to people.  The techniques were great, but they weren’t ingrained.  It was something I had to “put on”, until I read this book and learned, to listen without judgement (in my personal life this wasn’t so easy) and to give the masculine at least 10 extra seconds to talk before responding.  A lot has been revealed in the time I haven’t interrupted to share my view!
  2. Modern Western Society perpetuates gender wars.  For the typical female, this means we look at men as stupid, hairy women and expect them to do things that a woman would do which of course, they can’t, which makes them then look like they are misbehaving.  And um, when you’re being perceived in that way, it doesn’t make you feel very open, accepted or respected.  So why do we then expect men to act in these ways when we think of them in this way?  Conditioning much?  Yep!
  3. Women wear themselves out with our overuse of masculinity.  In the aforementioned society I know it is very difficult.  We have a long way to go in terms of social norms and expectations, but if we can play the game, but keep our personal standards in mind, we would fare much better.  Instead we pride ourselves on being independent, making money and being able to bust balls.  Not all of us, of course, but it’s a very prevalent viewpoint.  This makes us addicted to stress and cortisol and dries out our femininity and its respective hormones.
  4. There are really great ways to get someone to listen to you.  Particularly someone masculine.  A great way is to find out if they are in a great place to be able to fully listen to you.  You can also find out about how long they can focus on listening before they tune out.  Basically, communicating with people about how they like to communicate makes communication more communicated!  That was a fun sentence!
  5. The masculine and feminine brain are profoundly different!  I don’t mean the word “profound” lightly.  In my studies in Kundalini Yoga and Tantra I learned these things already.  But there was something about this book that made it very concrete, convincing and undeniable.  I have considered myself to be a tomboy and very masculine.  That was mostly because I thought of “girly” as feminine and valued logic over everything, including emotion.  This book goes in on what masculinity and femininity is and why.  It also explains how and why we unconsciously go into feminine and masculine and why to shift for specific purposes.

 

Reading this book once is not enough, but not reading it is silly.  It is a paradigm shifter and I am shift stirrer, so I recommend reading it and diving in deeper to make sure you adopt the concepts into your consciousness and habits.

Reading this book and diving into the concepts enabled me to feel confident, secure and excited about dating, making up with old friends and family members and embracing sides of myself I didn’t feel justified doing so before.  It also gave me the initiative to reestablish my study and commitment to Kundalini Yoga and Tantra Yoga, as well as intuition development, writing, dance and literacy.  Basically my major loves in life.  Oh yeah, my relationship is also a direct result of my reading the Queen’s Code.  More on that another time.

For now you can join my book study and writing group here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chanting Mantras and More Sound Healing

chanting mantras and sound healing

Currently I am chanting So Purkh for 40 days.  I’ve done this a few times over the past 3 years.  I was first introduced to So Purkh about 8 years ago, but I thought it was too difficult to learn.  I tried it a little, but I was also 8 months pregnant, super busy and super impatient at the time.

When I finally attempted it around the end of 2011 it was because of Marcia Canestrano, whose website had an English and Gurmukhi video of Nirinjan Kaur’s recording of the prayer.  Nirinjan’s voice, the calming music and the fact that the video was subtitled helped me a lot.  Marcia Canestrano’s site also introduced me to an idea I’d never heard of before…a chanting circle.  In Pasadena she holds 40 chanting circles and has been doing so for years.

Coincidentally she is a part of another group I’m in (Kristin Sweeting Morelli’s Pleasure Tribe) and when I saw her post there, I let her know just how amazing the prayer has been for me, and that it was because of her that I finally committed to the practice.  She invited me to join her online So Purkh group and since then I’ve been chanting So Purkh like I never have before.

Years ago So Purkh helped me to see my life completely differently in an extremely short period of time.  It helped me to see my long-term committed relationship for what it was.  It helped me to understand what I needed and deserved from a man, although I didn’t totally accept what it showed me, I knew at least that I didn’t have that and that I needed to leave.  It gave me strength as a woman and faith in myself that I’d never had before.  It also helped me to heal my relationship with my father and with parts of my past.

Now I am chanting So Purkh again and I find myself chanting it all day some days.  I find myself in awe of it’s power and my own creative power more often than not.  I find myself feeling warm and fuzzy, in the coldest part of the year that I usually want to hide away from.  And I feel myself becoming much more powerful in my understanding of masculinity and femininity and for the first time in my life, secure and certain in my romantic life.

I highly recommend So Purkh (The Power of Prayer) by Nirinjan Kaur and Marcia Canestrano’s real and facebook chanting circles.  I also highly recommend Simrit Kaur’s Supreme Sound Course.  Check it out here.

You can also learn about sound healing and my recommended mantras, by signing up for my “Mantras to Move You” Guide here: Click Here

Review of Give Your Tyke What He Likes by Karmyn Malone

It almost seems like some sort of fairy tale, or maybe if you watch the news, a nightmare. Children eating mostly fruits and vegetables, is barely an accessible idea to many.   There are certainly some bad stories out there, and most people have only heard the bad ones, so it’s no surprise that it is completely unheard of by many.  Karmyn’s raw vegan recipe book makes it look completely easy, normal and popular though.

The recipes have great names, simple ingredients and look extremely attractive.  Which is great for children who love to eat by sight…aka picky eaters.   I’m the kind of person who likes to make very simple foods and they don’t always look pretty, however with a 3 year old, that doesn’t really work well.

I read this book with my kids last year and immediately they were asking to make the recipes in the book.  There are great pictures, and pictures of Karmyn’s kids who helped “write” the book.  Several of the recipes have become regulars in our routine and my 6 year old likes to make these recipes herself.  The ono dogs and ono cucumber sandwiches are my kids’ favorites.

This is a great book and well worth the price.  If you want your kids to eat healthier, eat more fruits and veggies or if you’re looking for help transitioning your kids to a high raw or all raw diet, this is definitely the raw vegan recipe book for you!  If you’re an adult with picky eating habits or you’re just into pretty raw foods this will not fail you either.

I am not exaggerating when I say this book really helped me, permanently, with making foods for my kids.

You can purchase the book here: Feed Your Tike What He Likes

The Transformation of Sound Healing

Sound healing is one thing that really helps me stay grounded and achieve transformation.

Simple forms of sound healing are the sound of laughter and kindness, nature sounds, healing music and mantra.   This video below really struck me because I remember the first few times I did Kundalini Yoga and how the chanting made such a big impact on me.  I was very quiet and self-conscious the first time. When I opened my mind the next few times and let go of my fear it transformed my perspective on life.  I never expected the power of mantra to work so fast and so profoundly.  I’m continually transformed by mantra on deeper and deeper levels.

Music has always been a love of mine. Before I happened upon Kundalini Yoga, I had no clue about the magnitude of sound healing.  In my first few weeks I started to process the meanings of the foreign mantras.  I didn’t remember the translations and I wasn’t very dedicated to trying. However, I was energetically integrating the practice and vibration of the mantras.  I could physically feel it!

Benefits:

I’ve used mantra to focus, heal from physical pain, change my mindset and much more. My dedication to chanting almost constantly in my last trimester transformed my high stress in my first pregnancy.  I used mantra to get me through the anxiety I had about traffic and hecklers when I used to bike to work. When I made mantra a routine my tendency to be flighty, nervous and insecure went away.

As much as I feel confident in the power of subtle sound healing, I’m as passionate about more wild versions of sound healing. One method is making primal noises, sounding out feelings, verbalizing thoughts loudly, directly and aggressively, and more.  This form of sound healing is amazingly effective at being a catalyst and catharsis for difficult times in one’s life.  If you’ve never truly explored the power of sound healing I have a free guide I’d like to offer you with some beginner mantras and how + why + when to use them (and more).  Sign up below to get your guide.

~Sat Nam

Summer Festivals & Events: Kundalini Yoga and Fruit

Summer festivals season is here! That means there’s no exception of workshops, events and retreats in either the Kundalini Yoga world or the Fruit-based nutrition world.

Want fruit and fitness?  Check these out:

Aug. 18-25 is when the Woodstock Fruit Festival in New York starts.  http://www.thewoodstockfruitfestival.com/  You don’t have to attend for the whole festival and if you can’t attend at all, maybe you can attend the post-fest party on August 28th…here is a link for more information…Aimee and Chris are kinda my faves in the raw fruity world!  http://sundayisforlovers.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/you-are-invited-chris-kendall-plenty-of-fruits-plenty-of-friends-me/

Sept. 1-7 Then there is the Raw Fruit Festival in Spain in September, this is a festival on the farm site, with camping, tons of fruit and fitness and outdoor activities. http://www.raw-fruit-festival.net/festival.php

Sept. 15- 22– Strength, Health and Fitness Week with Dr. Doug Graham in Washington state in September.  http://foodnsport.com/store/health-fitness-week

So you want yoga events?…Here’s a few choices:

Aug. 19-28 Brazil Yoga, Music and Eco-Adventure Retreat:  I can’t do a better explanation than this: http://www.yoganonymous.com/featured-event/micheline-berry-brazil-yoga-music-eco-adventure-retreat-arena-copacabana-hotel-rio-de-janeiro-brazil/

Aug. 30- Sept. 2 Yoga Hoedown in New Lebanon, NY  music festival and yoga retreat in one

August 30-Sept. 2 Ecstatic Chant, Rhineback, NY With Snatam Kaur, Krishna Das, Ram Dass and many others

Sept. 5-8 Bhakti Fest in Joshua Tree, CA  A Yogic music festival with lots of chanting music.

Sept. 19-22 Pranafest Ashland, Oregon Sept. 20-28 Into The Mystic: Yoga, Music and Irish Culture , Westcove House, Castlecove, Kerry Ireland

Sept. 26-29  Sat Nam Fest East, Waynesboro, PA:: A Kundalini Yoga and music festival…if you can’t go during this time you can also try for the Sat Nam Fest party on Aug. 18th in New York City

Sept. 23-26 Liquidland Festival, Jalisco, Mexico

There are no more summer festivals, but it’s equally awesome… on Sept. 1st a concert with Nirinjan Kaur in Sacramento, CA!

If you’re really fast you can register for the Y.O.G.A for Youth Teacher Training, if you can be in the L.A. area right now: http://www.spiritvoyage.com/neweventPage_2012.aspx?eventId=TIX-902072

 Related articles

Mostly Raw Vegan Spring Menu Plan

This raw vegan spring menu plan was created in April when I was traveling.  Right now I can say I’m eating mostly bananas, then bananas w/ frozen fruit in smoothie form and then sometimes the same thing for dinner or either rice noodles, vegan homemade pizza, potatoes w/ okra, rice w/ okra, green salad, etc.  Breakfast might also be datorade, watermelon or some fruit salad combo w/ peaches & plums.  Tonight I made a quinoa dish for dinner and ate smoothies all day before that.

raw vegan spring menu staple

Fruit salad April 2013.

Grocery List for this week:  Bananas, dates, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, potatoes, oranges or pears or berries(whatever can be found), apples, avocado, pineapple, coconut water, carrots, raisins.

Sunday: Breakfast: Banana icecream  Lunch: Salad w/ hemp seeds & citrus & raisin Dinner: beet/cabbage slaw & rice salad w/ citrus & pineapple

Monday:  Breakfast: banana icecream  Lunch: Salad w/ nuts & grapefruit & berries Dinner: cinnamon raisin rice  & beet/cabbage slaw

Tuesday: Breakfast: Banana icecream Lunch: Pine nut hummus w/ tomato/citrus maybe tahini Dinner: Rice in lettuce wraps w/ tomatoes & cooked veg soup (beets, carrots, zucchini)

Wednesday: Breakfast: Bananas & citrus Lunch: Grab & go snackies  Dinner: Potatoes & curry salad

Thursday: Fruit salad Lunch: Dates stuffed with berries & bananas in coconut water Dinner: Curry rice in lettuce wraps

Friday: Bananas in coco water Lunch: Pineapple/fruit in lettuce Dinner: bell peppers stuffed w/ berries & guac & cuke chips

Saturday: banana berry icecream  Lunch: Green salad w/citrus/hemp Dinner: Potatoes & cuke/tomato/citrus salad

Sunday: Mono fruit of choice Lunch: Dates & berries & mint Dinner: apple/cashew butter “sandwiches” Dinner 2: pasta salad

Even though this raw vegan spring menu was created in April, most or all of these meals can be achieved up until mid to late summer in most places.

This is where you can check out more menu plans(tons more):

Watermelon menu link-up

Summer Menu Plan Monday

Sadhana: The Cornerstone of Kundalini Yoga

立石光正

立石光正 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this blog you will hear me talk about sadhana a lot.  It is basically a dedicated(hopefully daily) spiritual practice, specifically a yogic practice, especially emphasized in kundalini yoga.

A traditional sadhana as taught by Yogi Bhajan is done in the ambrosial hours(before the sun rises). It includes chanting, meditation, pranayama (breathwork) and at least one kriya that is repeated daily for a period of time, hopefully to mastery.  A cold shower before yoga is recommended.

It’s a great way to begin each day.  Sadhana can be done with a group (and is great that way) or alone.

Most Kundalini Yoga teacher trainings will require sadhana practice.  I fell in love with Sadhana during my teacher training.  Yoga festivals (such as 3HO Solstices, Sat Nam Fest, Wanderlust, etc.) also have sadhana. Many yoga centers in big cities also have sadhana, though the hours are usually not the traditional hours (4-6:30am).  Sadhana classes are often free or by donation.  It is usually a more relaxed, meditative and atmospheric class than regular yoga class, but there can be a portion that is a work-out.

If you’re doing sadhana on your own, in private, it’s important to have a good location in which to practice.  You can however do sadhana at whatever time works best for you.  If you’re not experienced I’d recommend sticking to a sadhana organized or recommended for you by a yoga or spiritual teacher.  If you are experienced, feel free to experiment.

My sadhana has at times consisted of transformational (reichian) breathwork and ecstatic yogic dance, along with chanting and meditation.  At other times I would do traditional kundalini yoga warm-ups, pranayama, a couple of kriyas, meditation and chanting.  Sometimes I split my sadhana into morning and evening.  Doing just an hour in the morning of meditating with music and doing a very simple (non-noisy) kriya, usually spinal kriya, so as not to disturb others sleeping, and reserving my energy to move with force and ability to chant loudly for my evening sadhana.

For more information about setting up your own Sadhana practice, check out this article.  Sadhana Q & A with Yogi Bhajan

For Kundalini Yoga and spiritual practice advice check out Siri Mera Kaur, where you can sign up for a free “Bliss Path E-course” to get you started on the yogic path.

What’s Ripe Where You Are? (Fruit of course) Pt. 2

Update By: smk
Date: July 13, 2013

Ripe fruit, is my favorite thing ever.  Ripe fruit, that was grown where I live and picked fresh that day or a few days ahead of time is even better.  I have moved to a place where more fruit grows compared to where I was living before.

It’s not exactly fruit season here though.  There are melons galore, and I’ve seen huge ones for just $2 on the side of the road.  There are peaches and plums as well as berries.  But I’m not quite in the tropics.  The next few months will be better for variety.

However, I could very happily base 80% of my diet on the four fruits listed above!

Could you base your diet on what’s ripe where you are right now?  What’s ripe in your 100 mile radius, at the moment?

Let’s Play…What Ripe Fruit Is Near You?

I’m in the Southeastern United States.  I really, really enjoy having an abundance of one ripe fruit to mono on as much as possible. So far this year has been bananas and pears for me…neither being domestic.  I really can’t stand to eat conventional produce, so this is organics that I’m talking about.  Naturally grown, farm-fresh stuff would of course do, but I personally don’t have that access at the moment.  So what’s ripe right now?

(Let me daydream for a moment about mangoes……..aaaaaaaaah)

Sliced Mexican mangoes.

Sliced Mexican mangoes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, so right now…in the Southern U.S.  I can get dates from California.   Apples(that aren’t the bestest, being end of season) from North Carolina, I think or maybe Washington(above California) and some citrus(particularly minneolas) from either California or Florida.

Recently while perusing www.localharvest.org I saw that there might actually be a possibility of getting ripe persimmons from Indiana.  (I see your shocked faces…or maybe that’s my own shocked face)  In case you didn’t know, persimmons are my favorite fruits and I was pretty sure I dragged out their season as long as possible.   I will be looking into this Persimmons in April idea though and if you know anything about this, please feel free to enlighten me.   This link blew my mind yesterday: http://www.localharvest.org/american-persimmons-C11218

Now since we’ve gotten away from what I can get in my grocery store, let’s talk about some other “exotic fruits”.  I don’t order fruit in the mail much, but I certainly intend to do it more.  Apparently California avocados are ripe.  (I can technically get CA avocadoes probably, but I usually see them from Mexico, and also, avocodos don’t excite me much)

Guavas are in season.  I haven’t had really good guavas, but the pictures look really nice.  Feijoas(pineapple guavas) go up to the top of my list for favorite fruits, but they are not in season.

Kiwi is also in season, and I’ve gotten a lot of them(although the kids ate them and not me), I’m not really sure where they were from though.

Apparently passionfruit is in season, but again, not one of my faves.

Black(chocolate) and Mamey Sapotes are in season right now!  I’m looking into mail ordering these guys. 🙂

Diospyros digyna (Black sapote)

Diospyros digyna (Black sapote) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A bunch of mamey fruit in a market in Tepoztla...

A bunch of mamey fruit in a market in Tepoztlan, Mexico, December 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course all sorts of citrus fruits are in season right now, but it hasn’t been the best season.  The quantity and variety of domestic citrus has been very low in my grocery stores, so I’m looking into mail ordering some valencias from the Orange Shop in Citra Florida.  I have very fond memories of eating bags of oranges from that shop 5 years ago, when I first started eating a high-fruit diet.

I will never forget the taste and fragrance of the oranges from that fruit stand and I think it’s a good time to spoil myself(and my kids) and renew my love of citrus.  (this has been a disappointing season, see how excited I was with my valencia picnics every morning last year!)

So…that is basically what’s in season right now in the U.S.

I’m patiently waiting for melons and peaches and plums and more tropical fruits to come into season.

What ripe fruit is where you are and what are you sadly saying goodbye to, or excitingly waiving through?

I’d love to have some fruitfull daydreams about it!

~ Sat Nam and May the fruit be with you!

Citrus fruit slices

Citrus fruit slices (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What I Ate Raw Vegan, Early Spring 2013

bananas

bananas (Photo credit: Fernando Stankuns)

As you can see…the last few weeks I haven’t written anything.  I’ve been much higher on the raw vegan fruity spectrum and it becomes more difficult for me during those times to want to write about what I’m doing.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s the blog format.

Anyway, I’m just going to let you know what I’ve been eating this week and how I’ve been feeling. The past couple weeks, I think I had salt maybe 1 or 2 days.  So I’m eating much less salt than usual.  Which is a great thing.

I’ve been eating really simple for the most part and I’ve been eating mostly mono-meals and mostly, like even more than usual…raw vegan.   I may have had potatoes or cooked veggies for about a week, during the past 3 weeks.  I also had some cashew butter recently.

I am low on fruit right now and I am trying to stick to a budget, since I spent a lot this month already. (I bought a lot of nuts which I don’t usually do)  I’m just speculating about what I’ve eaten because I haven’t really recorded all this, but since I’ve eaten really simply.  It’s pretty easy to remember.

Sunkist oranges, bananas, pears, apples, and a...

Sunkist oranges, bananas, pears, apples, and a watermelon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sunday: bananas all day, probably a little over 20…haven’t had a huge appetite

Monday: bananas all day; salad at night…ditto

Tuesday: bananas for breakfast & lunch(approx. 18), grapefruit/cucumber/tomato salad, cucumber w/ cashew butter

Wednesday: bananas for breakfast & lunch, soup: cooked broccoli, zucchini, carrots, sweet potato

Thursday: bananas/pineapple, grapefruit/cucumber/pineapple salad, cucumber/cashew butter

Friday: banana/strawberry icecream, salad w/ beets, spinach, who knows what else, salsa & raw vegan hummus w/ zucchini chips

My kids don’t exactly eat what I eat.  They snack on or eat a lot more nuts/seeds than I do.  I actually don’t eat nuts at all. They also require shnazzy exciting meals sometimes, if it was just me, I’d be on some fruit island all the time.

They also prefer to eat potatoes for dinner most nights, because in our house, there are much worse cooked food scents buzzing around, so I give them cooked potatoes or sweet potatoes most nights.  Things have changed a lot this week though, I haven’t really needed to make breakfast or lunch for them.  They’ve been mostly feeding themselves with bananas, apples, kiwis, citrus, dried fruit- and nuts/seeds.

English: Different potato varieties. – The pot...

English: Different potato varieties. – The potato is the vegetable of choice in the United States. On average, Americans devour about 65 kg of them per year. New potato releases by ARS scientists give us even more choices of potatoes to eat. Deutsch: Verschiedene Kartoffelsorten (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My nose was snotty and I was sneezing a lot on Sunday and Monday I think.  Now I am a tiny bit sniffly.  I think it is from decreasing my salt to zero, but I can’t be sure.  It doesn’t matter…I feel fine.

I did have a slight fever for a very brief period one night.  But I went to sleep and I was fine the next day.  So all in all this is a pretty satisfying way to eat although I tend to love the way I feel a little more without salt and with more fruit and less cooked stuff…also more juicy fruits usually equals more fun…but again, overall, I’m satisfied.