Moringa goes dancing with a cantaloupe

You heard the news? Moringa gave birth to twin baby coconuts!

Mommy and babies are doing fine; in fact, they’re thriving, because…. Well, because we’re talking about Moringa, the superfood goddess of the century!… She’s a miracle tree…. and she’s one hot Momma!

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Moringa always has plenty of energy, and she loves to have a good time! She’s ready for a night on the town with her girlfriends… So, call the babysitter, … or better yet, have Daddy Banana stay home and entertain the little ones for the night!

Moringa called up her best friend Candy (a cantaloupe) and invited her to go out dancing.

In case you didn’t know, cantaloupe is a mystifying fruit. (It’s no wonder she is also a goddess.) Cantaloupe contains a wide variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and has a sweet, rich flavor. As a woman, the cantaloupe is very… complicated, yet alluring.

Candy: Well, I just don’t know what to wear—

Moringa: I’ll lend you … something green.

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Candy: No–wait…. Green’s just … not my color. Pinks and reds really complement my skin tone.

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Moringa: Okay,… whatever. Hey, can you bring some of that cantaloupe musk?

Candy: Yeah… Can we go dancing on the beach?

Moringa: On the beach? …. Sure, I guess….

Candy: Well, it’s a full moon, you know.

(Goddesses, especially fruity goddesses, like to dance on the beach under a full moon).

First, Moringa and Candy went skinny-dipping in the warm Caribbean Sea.

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Then, they tried on some different outfits (Girls just love dressing up for each other).

“I’m tired of this musk,” Candy the Cantaloupe said, “I want to try something new.”

“How about … something sweet and zestful?” Moringa suggested.

So … the two goddesses mixed together apple cider vinegar (for zest), coconut oil (for smoothness), and organic, locally sourced honey (for sweetness) — a personally customized dressing.

I poured myself a generous helping of smooth, zesty sweetness….

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Meanwhile, Moringa and Candy danced euphorically on the beach. They had plenty of energy, especially considering the health-enhancing qualities of apple cider vinegar.

I felt like this after eating my Zestful Summer’s Moringa Cantaloupe Salad….

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If you would like to dance ecstatically for hours, you might consider adding cantaloupe to your diet. Watch this video and learn about the many surprising health benefits of cantaloupe.

 

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Moringa marries a banana in Belize

beach blissMy friends and family know I’ve always been a finicky eater. My mom told me that when I was little, I annoyed her because I used to play with my food… a lot.

What’s wrong with playing with your food?

Isn’t food meant to be fun?

Well, nothing’s changed. I still play with my food… a lot. I like to experiment. I like to invent my own meals. It still annoys people. (“What are you making?”)

I’ve been house sitting at my friends’ beachside bungalow in Belize, a tiny country just south of Mexico with white sand beaches, tropical jungles, waterfalls, caves, monkeys, … and … more beaches. I normally prefer to howl with the monkeys in the jungle while painting my face with streaks of mud, but for the next few months it looks like I’m beach-bound, here beside the Caribbean Sea. (I know, I’m so bummed out, right?)

So, this morning, a little bird flew into the window of my bungalow with a tweet (a message, folks) and told me to write about what I’m having for breakfast.

First, I had to finish my daily morning yoga routine.

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Get your bliss on, baby.

Then, I made my way into the kitchen to inspect the cupboards and see what I could whip up. I found ….

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Well, … I’ve tried over a hundred times to eat all these tantalizing, commercialized cakes, pies, and doughnuts from the grocery store, but my body rebels, no matter how much I want it to cooperate with my taste buds’ flights of fancy. One bite of anything that contains wheat will send my digestive system into disarray. It gets ugly.

I engorged myself on wheat products my entire childhood, growing up in an Italian family where my Nonna and Papi (Italian grandparents) always made delicious home cooked meals (Grazie!) with plenty of pasta, fresh-baked bread, cookies, and more … pasta. (“Don’t you want more pasta? … Here, have some more!”) So, like most Americans, I acquiesced to the family’s mealtime traditions… until I discovered in my adult years that I was, like most Americans, allergic to gluten.

Yes, that most dastardly, nefarious ingredient. Gluten – it’s in all wheat products. It’s evil, I tell you, … evil.

I’ve joined the growing ranks of the health-conscious “gluten free” army, and we’re rising up, folks … Look out, we’re adamant and unyielding, and we’re proud of it.

So, … Lucky Charms? Not for breakfast. Maybe in my dreams. Well, maybe … in another life … if, say, i’m really super stressed out and don’t have any time to make anything because that person keeps instant messaging and i have to answer and i just want to numb out because of that stupid thing that stupid person said and i just can’t relax so i’m going to sit and have some cereal…..

I eat to live; I don’t live to eat. (Well, … okay, the one exception would be chocolate: If there’s chocolate anywhere near me, I have to eat it. It’s an obsession.) I exercise my body every day, so I exercise my right to healthy, conscious (shall we say, intuitive?) eating.

I found a ripe banana.

The gates of heaven opened up, beams of radiant, white light poured out into the room, and I was renewed in the spirit! (Well, sort of) .… My point is, I did not succumb to the temptation of filling my gut with things that would make me feel yucky for the rest of the day. I waited until I had found something nourishing — something that I could have picked off a tree with my own hands, which I can actually do down here in tropical Belize.

Banana trees grow everywhere in Belize! I even have one in my own backyard, and I can eat from it year-round. (Now that’s what you call “food security”….)

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With a banana in hand, I was ready to start inventing! Let the experiment begin!

I wondered, What other fresh, healthy foods could be happily married to a banana? Then, I thought about all the moringa leaves drying on that tray downstairs in my bungalow.

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These are the actual seeds I extracted from the pod (heart-shaped seeds, awww!) and the twigs that came from a moringa tree in our neighbor’s front yard here in Belize.

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Then, I heard the banana crying out for a companion to join him in a blissful bowl of raw food deliciousness. Poor, lonely fella. So I hurried downstairs to retrieve some moringa for him.

Yes, our neighbor “Junior” – quite a dude. A tall, strapping, native Belizean dude. Years ago he planted some moringa seeds in the dirt with his own hands and left it to grow into a tall tree, which he can shimmy up for anyone who asks him to get some fresh moringa. (Isn’t that great? It’s local; it’s organic!)

Moringa, known as the Miracle Plant, has become quite a fad in America’s health food movement. If you live in the US, you won’t be lucky enough to find it in your backyard, like me (hee, hee). You mostly find it in health food stores, all violently ground up into a powder and sold as capsules, but I prefer the real thing, because I can get the real thing!

Moringa trees are tropical, so I can grow them in my very own backyard (lucky me!)…. All I needed was to ask Junior to give me some of the seeds from his tree!

You can either plant the moringa seed (well, if you’re lucky enough to live in the tropics, like me – hee, hee) or you can eat one or two seeds fresh out of the pod. But be forewarned – the seeds are bitter, and they have a powerful detoxifying effect, which I had the privilege to experience first-hand.

I typically like to fast from food once a week. Recently, I decided to fast all day and then pop two fresh moringa seeds. Within a few hours I was … well, in the cathartic throes of detox. All the toxins came out, and I’ll just leave it at that. Spare ya the details.

The take-home for you, dear reader (Hey, thanks for reading!) is that after my detoxification, I felt like a superhero, because moringa, after all, is considered a super food and will go down in the foodie halls of fame as one of the most powerful, health-enhancing plants.

moringa-oleifera-powder2Native to India, the moringa tree has been planted in other tropical countries all over the world, including my home sweet home, Belize! While many things found in nature can have one or two health benefits, moringa has many. India’s ancient tradition of Ayurvedic medicine cites over 300 diseases that can be treated with the leaves of the moringa tree. Recent scientific research has proven that moringa is a powerhouse of nutritional value (You might even start feeling like the goddess in this picture if you eat lots of moringa).

Moringa leaf is an excellent source of nutrition and a natural energy booster. Moringa is also soothing, as it helps lower blood pressure and acts as a sleep aid. Moringa’s detoxifying effect may come from its ability to purify water: Moringa is a coagulant, attaching itself to harmful material and bacteria.

The other day, I was biting the fresh moringa leaves straight off a twig that Junior had plucked from his moringa tree. My friend noticed me and asked, bewildered, “Why are you eating sticks?”

I whinnied in reply.

Back to my lonely banana. He’s such a demanding chap. I have left him waiting for waaaay too long (sorry, dear, but first I had to come to Belize to find you).

Now that I had my moringa super food, all I had to do was add the filler ingredients – the glue to hold it all together. A newly married couple needs to celebrate with entertainment and gaiety! Let’s party!

I brought down the organic oat flour and steel-cut oats. I broke out the fresh, locally sourced, organic coconut oil, and I popped open the bottle of honey (in my mouth – oooh, baby!) … and….

Hmmmm. 

Still missing something….

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A cat? (awww) …

A bird! A plane! …

No, …. Sea salt, of course! We’re at the beach, remember? The waves of the Caribbean Sea are crashing (hear them?) outside the kitchen window to shore, and the salty sea winds are blowing my hair all over my face. [I wrap my long, unruly hair under a green shawl – green to match the moringa.]

And, let’s face it, after waiting this long: No marriage can go unconsummated. Let’s be sure to add a dash of spice to our after party with a few generous sprinkles of … cinnamon!

First, I invited everyone at the wedding party to get to know each other with some ice breakers (the banana had previously been frozen, unable to express himself fully, reluctant to warm up), but after those icebreakers and some casual fun and games, everyone was really having fun! I introduced the ravishing bride and her groom (the moringa goddess and her banana), and they danced together beautifully. Then, everyone wanted to get in on the dance.

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Drumbeat, please…. [Live drummers enliven the place with native rhythms].

By then, it was time to get real close together and start sweating (oooh, that can be so messy and embarrassing, but in the end it’s always worth it, to let loose)…. So, I used a fork to mash all the ingredients together.

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Here is what all these naughty ingredients looked like when I had everyone partying together and relishing in newlywed merriment:

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Rather have the Lucky Charms? (Believe me, I understand). Health food is … well, let’s say, an acquired taste. (You can add cacao powder, which I would have done in a heartbeat, but I was all out because I ravenously consume all cacao products in my midst).

Notice the white sand beach in the background (We just had to have the wedding in Belize; I mean, where else can a lonely banana find his moringa goddess? And this goddess, my dear readers, having suffered for so long, loved and respected the banana, and she had earned her white dress.)

I went for it, folks…. Banana moringa bliss on the beach.

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And how did I feel after tasting the first bite of naturally wedded, tropical splendor?

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Hmmmm, maybe I should let my hair down for this one….

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Divine….

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Like a goddess

Emerging from the sea

Holding a trident

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Early in the morning, when the sea is calm, I like to swim in the Caribbean. Yesterday I came out holding this three-pronged stick—a trident. 

My spiritual teacher Geshe Michael said, “Always try your best to treat everyone kindly. No exceptions. It could be the most annoying person you’ve ever met. It doesn’t matter. Everyone has something to teach you. You never know when you’re talking to an angel.”

(Look, mom, I’m an angel! Sorry I annoyed you by always playing with my food.)

And finally, some inspiration for you to play, too! 

Healing the past by focusing on the present

youth-summit-lg (1)In this Life Reading, a client asked the following question:  My partner and I are currently separated. What does the future hold for me?

Parama received the following information for this Life Reading: Since you sent this request for a Life Reading, you have come to grips with many aspects of your previous relationship. You have struggled with the pain of realizing how you compromised your integrity, wellbeing and happiness while maintaining an unhealthy relationship that drained you of energy and resources.

Now that you’ve realized this, you wonder how you can have a good, healthy relationship. Do not be hard on yourself for what happened with your previous partner. A new relationship is imminent for you, as you are now doing the hard work of reconciling your past and opening your heart to a new partner.

Nothing has been lost. The lessons you learned will serve you as you forge ahead with a new love relationship, informed by the failures and successes of your previous partnership. The focus now should be on yourself and how you can achieve the highest state of contentment, wellbeing, and integrity for yourself.

Reconcile the pain of the past not through regret and shame, but by focusing your life force energy on the present – on making the present be the best and most fulfilling it can be.

Let’s start with your job: Are you feeling stifled, stuck, dissatisfied? Consider a career change. This will require a bold step for you – taking action that you’ve been avoiding, since your energy was consumed by your previous relationship. Now that you have aligned your energy to focus on yourself, you are ready to take the step of finding fulfillment in your professional life.

You seek a greater degree of self-expression, creativity, and application of your keen, exacting intelligence, which your current job does not offer you. This has led to an overall lack of self-esteem, as you have been forced by the nature of your job to follow a set of inane, uninteresting procedures that go against your personal beliefs and convictions about how the same results could be obtained through a much more efficient, less time-consuming, and more conscious way. The overall feeling of boredom, lack of initiative, and discontentedness you’ve been struggling with comes largely from the dynamic that arises daily in your job, where you are obliged to sacrifice your intelligence in exchange for following strict procedures.

Be assured that your unique gifts, talents and abilities are destined to find their expression in a much more fulfilling professional position. You must be prepared to enroll in a series of courses to qualify you for the work that you’ve always wanted to do, but heretofore have been unable to apply enough focus and willpower to achieve.

You can and will succeed in the career of your choice. Now is a good time to take the necessary steps to becoming better qualified professionally. Be cautious about giving notice at your current job too early. The financial security it offers you will serve you as you invest in your continuing education. The drudgery you’ve been feeling about your job will be replaced by a sense of excitement and anticipation as you attend classes and refocus your attention on doing something that you really want to do.

Your career aspirations were inspired during your childhood by an adult mentor in your life whom you admired. Recall this person, and if you can get in contact, you are encouraged to ask for advice and insight. Mostly, it will help you to remember the qualities and achievements that you admired about this person. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What inspired me about this person?
  • Why did I admire him or her?
  • What do I have in common with this person?

Can I now see myself being in the same role, and accomplishing similar things as this individual? Why? What do I have to do to achieve this?

Your new partnership will emerge as you take the next steps, as you will be finding yourself in the company of new people in environments where you would not otherwise go, were it not for your newfound focus on self-improvement and personal fulfillment.

Consider a new, trendy wardrobe that will help you “feel” more a part of your new circle of social connections and professional colleagues. Let your wardrobe be an external expression of your new career focus and success. Clothing can be a powerful manner of self-expression and reveals the way one wishes to “show up” in the world.

A lot of hard work awaits you, especially over the course of the next year. You will succeed. Whenever you feel discouraged, you should turn to a loving family member who supports you emotionally and can offer useful advice and encouragement.

There may come a point where you feel that you have fully “moved on” from your previous partner, but this person will not. You may be pressured to re-enter into the relationship. Be well advised that this would be an unnecessary distraction for you, and it would require you to shift your focus to such a degree, that you may be taken off course from your truly desired goals and aspirations.

You will have to be strong and overcome the obstacle of denying yourself what you want in order to provide for someone else. As a new identity emerges for you, the people you’ve been close to (including your former partner) will expect you to keep showing up the way you had before. It will take inner strength and determination to forge ahead with your new plans and goals. Write them down. Hang them up on a wall where you can see them every day. Do not let yourself be distracted or pressured into giving up on yourself.

It will serve you well to establish a new network of friends as you begin to make some changes in your life. Choose people your age and gender who are focused on similar goals. Spend free time with them and get to know them. Your new social circle will become increasingly important to you as you come closer and closer to achieving your lifelong dream.

Remember: let the focus shift from your past to your present, where all the potential for happiness and success can be found, waiting for you to realize.

-End of Life Reading-

I wish you blessings of happiness, success and fulfillment. Thank you for writing. —Parama

Selfless service as a path to personal success and happiness

working-together-as-a-team-group_people1In this Life Reading, a client asked the following questions: 

  • I’d love to meet my soulmate/life partner. What do I need to do to make this happen?
  • I’d like to be successful in obtaining a job. What is it that I’m doing or not doing to make this happen?
  • I need to know at this point in my life where I am now in 2014 regarding my spirituality.

Parama received the following information for this Life Reading: It appears that you have neglected to properly attend to your home altar, an important observance that deserves daily care and attention. Take time to clean and refresh your altar space, filling it with auspicious, inspiring images and objects that uplift you and refocus your spiritual life. One important element to include is a spiritual text that contains scripture. You should read a passage daily and meditate on its meaning. This could be a text that you already own or could obtain locally. Be sure to choose a text that you will be motivated to read and reflect upon daily.

Is there someone in your immediate family who needs your help? An auspicious opportunity exists for you to offer help to this family member without expecting anything in return. Offering yourself with an attitude of loving compassion and non-attachment from the results (karma yoga) will provide you with some needed reconciliation from past offenses. Do not be concerned about how this family member may judge or criticize you; only offer your loving support with unconditional love, and be open to any positive outcomes that may arise from your selfless service.

You will benefit from improving your diet by reducing sweets and increasing your daily intake of pure water. Consider a more robust, disciplined exercise routine. This will help to cleanse toxins from your system and clear your mind so that you can focus and concentrate better.

Distractions seem to be one of the obstacles to maintaining a pure, clean state of mind. These distracting thoughts and cravings arise from a nexus of unhealthy habits that disturb peace of mind and mental balance. By improving your diet and maintaining an exercise routine, you will notice marked improvements in your ability to concentrate and enjoy a peaceful state of being.

This will further be supported by following the advice and guidance of your spiritual mentors, who have useful and practical wisdom to offer you in terms of specific spiritual practices that align you with your higher self.

Consider seeking the services of a local body worker to whom you feel an affinity. This could be a Shiatsu, Ayurvedic, Acupuncture, or Massage Therapy practitioner. Receiving therapy at least once a month will help you to access a state of mental, physical, and emotional wellness that you will benefit from for many years to come.

You are encouraged to enlist the help of a skilled practitioner of your choice who can answer your specific questions as they arise during the course of your treatment.

The opportunity for a trip to a faraway place will present itself to you through your affiliation with your local spiritual community. You are encouraged to take advantage of the chance to travel with a group of other people who will be aligned around similar values, and who will be prepared to pool their financial and social resources and connections to make this trip more affordable and accessible for everyone.

This trip offers a never-before, once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience aspects of a culture to which you are very attracted and connected, yet have been feeling estranged from. This sense of social disconnectedness and isolation can be transformed through your participation in this journey, which will connect you to people in a way that you otherwise wouldn´t in the course of your daily interactions.

It will be of great benefit to you to muster up the courage to participate more actively in the social events organized by your immediate community. When you are presented with a choice to either stay home or go out and be an active part of a community event, you are encouraged to show up and participate in any way you can.

You have valuable contributions to make that you may have been holding back from expressing due to some kind of self-doubt. As you participate more and more, you will overcome the obstacle of self-limitations and realize the joy of selfless, non-attached service to your community, which has a lot to offer you in return, should you be willing to show up – as you are – with no expectations.

You will be pleasantly surprised by the positive, fulfilling outcomes of your selfless service.

-End of Life Reading-

I wish you blessings of peace, health and happiness. Thank you for writing. —Parama

At any moment, you could be staring death in the face. The dance of life is your dress rehearsal for that moment.

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Recently diagnosed with cancer, a friend of mine (a man in his late 50’s) requested a Life Reading as he undergoes a spiritual transformation. He is currently making some important decisions that directly impact his family and his lifestyle. The following symbols appeared to Parama in this Life Reading:

  • Close-up to an owl’s face
  • Cross-section of a citrus fruit with clairaudient message, “Eat citrus.”
  • View of a forest canopy, as if lying on a lush, forest floor at base of a tall tree, looking straight up at the tree
  • Still image of the classical “dancing Shiva nataraja,” with the prominent feature of the image being the act of dancing and how Shiva is holding up his foot

The following is a letter I wrote to my friend about these symbols, their meaning, and how this information can be applied in everyday life:

You are now experiencing a major transition in which you must face death directly. The image of the owl’s face appears as very intense and confrontational, not in a threatening way, but in a way that you cannot avoid or ignore. At this time in your life, you are facing your own death.

The image of a sliced citrus fruit and the accompanying message indicates that there may be some health benefit for you to eat citrus at this time. It could also be a symbol of enjoying the fruits of your labor, of seeds that you planted long ago or even recently, which are now showing up in their fullness in your life.

Be mindful of the blessings that come to you, and realize that they are the result of how you’ve lived your life thus far. If you wish to continue enjoying such blessings, then focus on planting more of these seeds in the time you have left on this earth.

Looking up at a tall tree as you lie on a lush forest floor indicates that you would do well to find repose and perhaps a retreat in nature. To connect with nature at this time would be very healing and rejuvenating for you (symbolized by the lush greenness of this natural setting). It will also help you view life from a broad and uplifting perspective (symbolized by “looking up to the heavens”).

The image of a dancing Shiva nataraja signifies that you are now embodying the fullness of your spiritual understanding of reality and ultimate truth. A fully empowered being, Shiva is dancing to remind us of how reality itself is but a dance, a divine play of illusion through which we must all move in order to realize ultimate truth. This indicates that as you face your death, you are being presented with an opportunity to “be in the dance” and gain profound spiritual wisdom.

Consider researching the significance of the “dancing Shiva nataraja” in order to gain a deeper understanding, according to the classical Vedas (scriptures). You may wish to consider how you can share your wisdom with others. Now is the time.

Blessings to you on your life’s journey. Thank you for writing. –Parama