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What does diet have to do with pursuing your passion? Some may say nothing, I say everything. How you think, your self-image, and your motivation are all directly tied to what you put your body and how that makes you feel and the choices you make. Put in bad fuel, and you may feel depressed and unmotivated. On the contrary, good fuel, can brighten your spirits and give you the energy you need to push on towards that finish line. Below is a post I wrote last year for Abiola.TV about pursuing your passion that I am finally sharing on the blog. It’s three months into the New Year, but its never late to set a new goal, reinvigorate your passion, and last but not least, EAT TO LIVE. -XoXo Raw Girl
1. Discover It.
Some people come out of the womb knowing what they are meant to do. There are countless stories of young prodigies or people who say that even as a child they showed some inclination towards a particular passion. On the other hand, there are also people who discover their passion later in life, or have absolutely no clue what their passion is.
Not knowing at all is definitely not the end of the world. If you don’t know what your passion is and you haven’t been led to it yet, you must simply cultivate the desire in yourself to find it. If you pose the question, the answer will come.
Leave yourself open to trying new things, going new places, and trusting your gut instinct no matter how silly it seems. You’ll find it, eventually, and you may also have a lot of fun stories to tell in the end.
2. Nurture It.
So now you know what your passion is? You’re excited to wake up every morning and do that particular work or expression. Now it’s time to put in the work. As the saying goes, you reap what you sow.
All of the greatest artists, innovators, entrepreneurs started with their raw talent and passion but they usually found training, or got life experience that allowed them to deepen their craft and cultivate discipline. Your passion is like plant. You have to make sure it has the right nutrients and nourishment to flourish. Every person is different so figure out what works for you, and get started RIGHT NOW.
3. Make a Committment.
When things go awry or get difficult, it’s easy to throw in the towel. There are countless examples of innovators and personalities who found that passion, but then had to face years of rejection. Bestselling children’s author Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 publishers. Twenty seven rejections! In a recent video entertainment mogul Tyler Perry spoke of six years in his life when he was promoting shows and no one would come.
The only way to continue following the passion even in those times when it feels like the passion for doing the work is gone, is making a commitment. You must decide now, that come what may, if the roads are smooth or rough, you will prevail. When you do this, you can surmount obstacles and rejection much easier because your eye is on the prize, the bigger vision.
4. Find Your Cheerleading Squad.
You are now super excited to be pursuing your passion and so you want to run and shout it from the mountaintop! You get there grinning, sweating profusely, panting, and full of all this positive energy and sometimes you find a really somber audien
ce staring back at you. Some of these people may be your family or even close friends. Even worse, you may have someone flat o
ut tell you that your passion is absolutely crazy and that you will never reach your goal. Your grin quickly melts to a frown, maybe even a grimace.
Every successful person needs someone that they can call on, who will be their number one fan. We all have doubts, some days we feel brilliant and others rejection may make us feel less than. The key is choosing to get back up again.Having a cheerleading squad that is genuinely excited for our triumphs and helps us put into perspective our low moments is a key element in staying the course to living a passion filled life.
5. See the Vision. Have a Game Plan.
Having a passion is one thing, but sustaining the pursuit of it can be another. In order to have a destination, you need a vision of where you are going. Not just any vision, but a specific, juicy, mouth watering, heart thumping vision that really puts you on edge. You think about achieving that thing and your heart flutters a little bit.
Once the vision is clear, then it’s time to make a plan. You’ve got to take some action. This action plan isn’t rigid at all. Depending on your type of personality “plans” may freak you out. That’s okay. I’m a firm believer that with the vision in place, you can be led and even draw the things you need to you, but you have to be open to them.
“Coincidences” surrounding your vision may happen, and you have to be there ready to notice and act on them. Perhaps that’s partly what the saying means: “luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” Prepare yourself by seeing the vision, cultivating your talent, and knowing the specifics of what you want.
6. Work Hard. Persevere. Be Flexible.
Most people who love what they do say it doesn’t feel like work at all. It doesn’t feel like work and because of that they may work all the time! Working hard when you are pursuing your passion should be like breathing. It’s not something you have to force yourself to do. You become engrossed and you want to do your best because it’s what you love. Then there may be moments that are trying where you may have to call your cheerleading squad or recommit to your purpose, but you must stay the course.
You must persevere. Flexibility is key. Sometimes you are lead one way that isn’t at all the way you planned but leads you straight to your goal. Joel Schumacher, now an award-winning producer and director once upon a time ago was a costume designer who wanted to be a director. He started there, then wrote scripts, but kept his eye on his goal of directing. Sometimes to start just getting close enough to observe the thing you want is enough.
Don’t assume it’ll be hard, and don’t assume it’ll be incredibly easy either. Some paths are long highways, and others are short alley ways. Just have your vision, stay on your particular path, and enjoy the ride!
7. Celebrate the NOW. Propel Into the Future.
Accept that wherever you are right NOW is perfect. It’s exactly where you should be. It’s so easy to get sucked into the trap of comparing our journey to other people’s journeys, or holding ourselves up to cultural or societal standards that make us feel like we should be, should do, or should have done already.
Focus on the NOW, where you are, and do the best you can. Live in this moment and love what you can do today, what are doing right now, and that energy will help propel you along your path. Every passion needs revisiting and sometimes reviving.
The beauty of being alive is that each moment we have the gift of creative imagination, we have the ability to desire and pursue. If you’ve found it, don’t take your passion lightly. Treasure every single moment you get to be alive and do what you love, and you will truly LIVE.
It’s December already! This month and next are probably the best months for new gym memberships, nutrition plans, and health classes because of all of the enticing discounts that hope to get you to commit to a healthier version of you in the New Year. We all say we want to make changes come January, but then what happens? For many, by mid-year their resolve to stick with that new diet or workout regimen is completely gone and they are back to square one, right before bikini season. Below are a few thoughts on how you can make some resolutions that you will stick with in 2013. -XoXo Raw Girl
- Use Whatever Word Works for You. I personally don’t like the word resolution. I usually set goals for the New Year. Having a goal for me, is more activating than having a resolution. That’s just me and how the words affect me psychologically. Figure out what works for you and use the word that motivates you to make something happen, rather than just dream about it. Here are some other words you can use if you don’t like resolution: goal, objective, target, intention. Many people are afraid to even begin the process of resolution setting because they accept defeat from the beginning. Give yourself permission to dream but obviously don’t make your goals too far of a stretch so you don’t loose heart before you begin.
- Make The Resolutions Measurable. Avoid the tendency to set vague intentions for the New Year. Don’t just say, I want to lose weight, say I want to lose 10 lbs and decrease my body fat percentage by five points. Use numbers, use a time limit if you want, just make sure your goal can be easily quantified. If you want to go raw or eat more raw, maybe you set a goal to eat completely raw three or four days a week. You get the idea. This is super important because without the specifics you cannot know when you’ve reached your goal and should be celebrating, or what numbers or data you should be tracking on a regular basis to obtain the goal.
- Find Someone to Hold you Accountable. It’s so much easier to fall off the healthy bandwagon if you have a goal an no one else knows about it. Then you can slip right back into your bad habits with no one to shame you but yourself. Having someone hold you accountable, whether it be a workout buddy, a trainer, a nutritionist, or your bestie may help you feel more motivated to stick with the plan. The trick here is that the person must be understanding but tough enough on you when you fall off so that you feel the need to get back on track. Don’t pick friends who will listen to your lame excuses for missing the gym for two weeks and tell you it’s OK.
- Have a Plan. As the saying goings, vision without perspiration is hallucination. Don’t say you are going to loose 10 pounds but not have a strategic plan. Write down in detail what you need to do daily and weekly to see that goal through, and be willing to seek advise of someone more seasoned in whatever area you are trying to change if you need pointers on how to go about it. Having your plan is also a way to hold yourself accountable to whatever actions are outlined in it. It saves you from being vague and missing your mark altogether.
- Write it Down and/or Visualize It. Apparently most people skip the essential step of writing down their goals. There is magic in writing it down, it starts the process of creation. It’s just on paper but its a start, now you can work from there to create steps to achieve it or even better let them come to you. As someone who is intense about goal setting, I have learned that it is possible and perfectly OK to have the goal and have no idea how to make it work. Just holding the intention can be magical and you will run into the right people or situations that point you to yor final destination. However, that can only happen when you have a clear, written objective. You can also do something I love to do and vision board it. Cut out images that correspond to your resolution, collage them, and put them in a place you will look at daily. I love the Vision Boarding application through Oprah.com called O Dream Board. It lets you make vision boards online using your images and stock images, collage them and make a jpeg image of the board. I made mine and then uploaded it as my desktop image on my computer.
- Track Your Progress. So you have the goal, you wrote it down, you visualized it, and maybe you also have a game plan. You are way ahead of the crowd, but still in danger of waking up mid-year wondering where the resolution went if you do not track your progress. A personal example I can use, is that I have workout goals I am trying to meet, so I track my workouts weekly and monthly. I have a calendar in my room and for each day I workout a sticker goes on the day with a brief description of what I did. This gives me a very visual evaluation of how I am doing. If I look at the calendar and its virtually blank by weeks end I’ve missed my mark. Find whatever methods of tracking work for you and make sure they are fun and not obsessive. For me the sticker on the calendar thing is fun and I feel awesome when I see a month where I really put in work.
Happy Thanksgiving Veggie Lovers! Wishing all of you a wonderful day filled with love and laughter. I know some people get caught up in the troubling origins of this holiday, but I think what is to be treasured and focused on is creating room in our lives for gratitude. We all get so caught up day to day in measuring what we think we need that we neglect to cherish what is right in front of us. This year I feel an even deeper sense of gratitude because of a recent experience. Early this week I attended a film premiere for a film I am in about homelessness. In the film I play a homeless girl from South East DC who is literally living out of a car with her boyfriend and has to prostitute herself to get money. The screening was a benefit for a shelter called Central Union Mission. I was reminded through the movie and talking to the employees at the shelter that our basic necessities should never ever be taken for granted and no matter how rough your current situation is, someone out there has it worse.
The question is, can you find something in your life that you can be grateful for? To start off, you woke up this morning. If you have all your family members alive and with you today, that’s another thing to give thanks for. When we shift to a place of gratitude we are telling the universe THANK YOU for all this wonderful stuff, and sending the message that we are open to receiving more. It’s a magical and powerful thing that we should all tap into from day to day, and thankfully, Thanksgiving is the formal day that forces us to remember. Today I am thankful for many things, my life, health, family, friends, and also very thankful to all of you readers. Thank you for reading my blog, for commenting, for sending me messages, and sending lots of love and light and appreciation. You all give me fuel to continue the journey. I am getting ready to get in the kitchen and make some blueberry pie for my Dad. Recipe is on the blog, link is below. We are having a vegan thanksgiving over here! First time ever that my parents are on the vegan bandwagon. Pretty cool. Enjoy your day, don’t over do it, and EAT TO LIVE! -XoXo Raw Girl
Exactly a week from today on October 15th, is my birthday. Yep, Libra is in the house! I’m getting all sappy and reflective and thinking about the meaning of my life and all that Oprah-like stuff. I woke up this morning totally NOT feeling like blogging, but I sat to write anyway. Then I came across the lovely news that YOU ALL have helped Raw Girl in a Toxic World make it to the finals in the BlackWeBlog Awards!!!!! Yes, the competition started with 10 blogs in that category and Raw Girl is in the top 5!! I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for this pre-birthday present. Voting has started and will continue until October 23rd, and I would definitely love for my birthday to WIN Best Health/Wellness Blog. As your gift to me, please VOTE. If all of you lovelies voted, we’d be sure to win. The ballot is live now and you can VOTE HERE.
Each year that passes in my life I feel I learn something new. This year I celebrate a new year of life, but it’s bittersweet because exactly a day before my birthday last year, our family buried my dear brother. Health means so much to me, it is truly a priority of mine to do everything in my power to live the most optimal life so I can be fully present in the lives of those I love. Beyond guarding your health though, life happens. We never know when our time is coming and the one thing that is for sure is that all of us want to make an indelible mark on the work in some way big or small. We want to feel that our voice is heard, that somebody saw us, and even more so that somebody loved us. In the end it’s only the love that lasts, it’s the good intentions that linger, and the selfless thought that truly counts. We can do things, and amass accomplishments all day long, but without that love, it doesn’t have the power to touch someone’s life forever. As I’m sifting through my birthday AHA! moment I am hoping that the love and desire I have to help people live the healthiest lives possible has come through to YOU.
I’ve started thinking about what I really want for my birthday. If I could list material things and lovely pleasures I would want to experience in the next week it would include things like a night out at the opera to see Don Giovanni (Kennedy Center to be exact), a hot yoga class or two, unlimited coconut water, dinner and dessert! at Pure Food and Wine, and perhaps a mini-shopping spree. Since I cannot have my brother back in physical form, which would be at the top of my list, and I am on a budget at the moment…I’m mining for a less material birthday wish. What I have come up with thus far, is that this year, I wish to find the deepest expression of love for myself. That may sound strange but everything is to be said about true self-esteem, and being able to root your happiness in a lasting way that is not swayed by others criticisms, what job you have, what relationship you are in, what designer shoes you wear, or how much money is in the bank. It’s the kind of self-love that only can happen from being filled up in your spirit. From that and with that, really I feel anything is possible. Thank you all for continuing to read, thank you for your comments, your support, your letters, and your encouragement. You all inspire me to keep going and I continue to learn a great deal by showing up every week to write. This blog as come a long way in the past three years, and that in itself, is a birthday wish come true. -XoXo Raw Girl
Skeptics are quick to say nothing happens for a reason. All occurrences in life are merely coincidences devoid of meaning. As I delved into raw vegan living and increased spiritual practices of prayer and meditation the synchronicity in my life jumped off the charts. It happened all the time. There is something about the peace induced by plant energy that can deepen your connection and awareness of the ultimate Source. I would think about doing something, going somewhere, or need something and it was almost like magic. Someone would appear seemingly out of the blue and give me what I needed, or be a connector to a certain person or place that was just what I was looking for. There is something about this unique concept, which was conceived by psychologist Carl Jung, that is extremely easy for some people and yet hard for many others to grasp. Jung called synchronicity ” an explanation for meaningful coincidences,” and this principle was meant to show the link between the mind and the external world of perception.
My thoughts, today, as I write this post led me to this principle. Specifically I started to think about how prayer and meditation are gateways to the unseen mystical side of our universe and God. If you cannot believe in a God or a force, you may have resigned yourself to believing that things just are the way they are, and that you are not meant to have the things you want or live the life of your dreams. Tapping into this gateway with spiritual practices or just the courage to believe, opens up your perception and becomes the catalyst for the good you seek to come to you. Just like the tale in the Alchemist, you may be led down unexpected paths or go through rough times, but all of these things teach you, strengthen you, and prepare you for that end goal. Or perhaps you are living your dream but devoid of true inner peace that real success brings. You may attribute everything in your life to mere luck or happenstance. It’s all about perception. With one shift, and a little bit of openness your same situation may be seen as a serious of “meaningful coincidences” that have brought you to the place you are right now. The only way you can know it, is it to give it a try.
The universe and God, are inherently good, despite the drama and chaos we’ve created in this world. Choosing to alter our perceptions can literally turn our lives upside down. I am a firm believer in the magic of synchronicity, and the power of God to lead me to my destined path and to help me fulfill the dreams and aspirations that were given to me by the Source. That dream you have is no accident. It is yours to fulfill, that is why it presses on your heart. I thought about this tonight as I near almost three years of writing on this blog, which once was just a dream. I hope today you may choose to take the first step towards a goal or dream you thought was dead and buried or challenge yourself further if you are someone who can’t believe in divine coincidence by playing devil’s advocate with your own beliefs. Renew your faith and chose to entertain the thought that anything is possible if you just believe. Then watch as the miracles and synchronicity begin to unfold, and follow the signs. -XoXo Raw Girl
About two months ago, I kept getting a “hunch” that I needed to do a fast. Not a fast for health reasons. A fast to confirm and deepen my relationship with God, the ultimate force. Right at that time, a friend of mine who is actually a meat-eater, was doing the Daniel fast for 40 Days. The Daniel fast is based on the prophet Daniel’s diet that consisted of only fruits, vegetables, and drinking only water for a period of 21 days. Additional restrictions include no wine, no breads, meat or sweeteners.
I knew my soul was craving a 40 Day fast and after speaking to my friend I thought that was it, I would do a Daniel fast for 40 Days too! But in the weeks after my encounter with her, I allowed myself to get lazy about it. It’s too long I thought. Then a couple of weeks later God made it pretty clear that I was not going to get away with avoiding a 40 Day fast. I was in New York at the beginning of May, and another friend who knew nothing about my desire to fast and subsequent laziness, gave me a Christian book called The 40 Day Soul Fast. I almost laughed out loud. AHA! Here was another sign, and this time I knew that I could not ignore it. The next day, May 7, 2012, I began my 40 Day journey. During the 40 Days I chose to be 100% raw and read excerpts from the book, as each chapter was dedicated to a day of the fast. Funnily enough, at the exact same time by happenstance, my mother and father decided to embark on a vegan fast together for 40 Days.
During the fast, at times I would feel like I was going through the motions. Probably because I was. I ate raw food, focused on prayer, meditation once a day, attended Bible study, read the book, listened to an awesome CD of gospel tunes made for me by a friend. Nothing seemed to be HAPPENING. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I continued to go day by day and eventually my impatience was replaced with devotion to being present and engaged. The fast ended on June 15th and it seemed to happen so suddenly I was left wondering what I had gained although I had noticed the immediate effects of meditating. Now a week following I have been inundated with daily blessings, miracles, and a deep sense of peace. It’s an amazing sense of grace that has emerged from feeling an intimate connection with THE SOURCE. Post-fast, I am continuing to cultivate that relationship with continued daily practice of meditation. Health is beyond just the body, it’s the soul/spirit, body, mind. All must be nourished in order to create optimal wellness, so it’s important to find what mindfulness practice works for you an incorporate it.
I happen to be Christian, and in the Bible the power of fasting is advertised regularly through the struggles and triumphs of many biblical figures. Across all religions examples can be found of how fasting unleashes extraordinary power and connection with THE FORCE. The great news for veggie lovers is that the way we eat already connects us with the divine flow. My mother, who after fasting for 40 Days on a vegan diet has now become a vegan, said that she is amazed by how at peace a vegetable diet has made her feel. Yes, we are what we eat, and when we eat plants we become one with the stillness of nature. A raw food lifestyle can accelerate your spiritual journey even further, intentionally or unintentionally. Years ago when I went raw and also happened to begin meditation simultaneously, I experienced an increase in synchronicity, heightened energy, and noticed that things I desired or thought about seemed to be drawn effortlessly to me. All that said, fasting is not for the faint of heart. Listen to your body, mind, and soul. If you are feeling cluttered, overwhelmed, disconnected, want to break bad habits, or just want to discover or renew your relationship with the Divine source, I highly recommend a spiritual fast. -XoXo Raw Girl
For more insights on fasting, check out this past post Wise Ones on Fasting.
So, I know I’ve bothered you all with a little bit of fashion rambling a couple of times in the last two months because I can’t help it. I love, love, love, fashion so I want to share a new side of my fashionista self I am exploring–the ECO-Fashionista. Summer Rayne Oakes, a colleague from my college days, is now a full-fledged Eco-Supermodel/TV host/Superwoman, and featured me in her book, “Style Naturally.” Prior to this I never thought of my clothing as eco-friendly, but I discovered that it was because I wear mostly vintage, clothes that I barter in clothing swaps, and also clothing that I make myself. I do not wear real FUR, ever, and never will, but I do wear leather. I hear you hardcore vegans growling, but I only wear vintage leather–I made a conscious decision awhile ago to not buy new leather and contribute to the continuing cycle of animals being slaughtered.
Two weeks ago I was invited to a conference at Fashion Institute of Technology focused on eco-fashion, eco-friendly, green, and sustainable design and living. It was very interesting and some really cool products caught my eye that I plan to purchase very soon. What excited me most about this movement is that just as we consume green juices, and make sure to get our daily helping of greens in our salads, it is important in this toxic world to also live as green as possible. Meaning, we take into consideration how our lifestyle, our clothes, our food, everything is affecting our planet, and the welfare of our fellow humans and the animal kingdom. Hope to share some cool finds and inspire you to join me on the green journey, inside and out! – XoXo Raw Girl
Click below for an article posted recently about Summer Rayne Oakes: