Floating through Depression 

I found the sea, the water the great teacher or did she find me?

It was raining when my depressed self first walk through the doors of self discovery,

It was dark when I first woke to ride down to the sea for my first wild swim, not sure if I should or could!

I knew I was lost, I felt defeated, I felt that sickening feeling of hopelessness,

I wanted it to end and yet I saw know way out,

At that moment my darkness was greater than my light,

A final throw of the dice or at least that’s how it felt would change all this and that was roughly three years ago,

I would wak and wonder down to the sea and embrace her like a lost child who had found their parents,

I would laugh and cry, scream and shout and I would shake and tremble,

I would be given insight into my nature, into my emotional self I would travel,

I was weak, but the sea was slowly giving me strength,

My rock of a family encouraged this journey despite my moods still changeable, but progress could still be seen and more importantly felt,

The gap between my darkness and light began to get closer until they were equal, at this point I had discovered more about my nature than I had conceived possible,

I know I had to swim in the darkness of my being in order to find myself floating in the lightness of my soul,

As I floated out of my depression, I say floated for I learnt very quickly this cannot be forced or rushed it must be taken a wave at a time I began to see and experience life in a much lighter way, I saw the humour rather than the frustration at life’s contradictions, I grew compassionate and developed a great sense of gratitude, 

The journey continues, its destination unknown and I am now ok with that.

To you all with a wish for a bright and happy life that knows the surf of a dark wave.

Matt

Grey days at sea lead to happiness within.

On days like these when the weather does not invite happiness, but rather asks one to seek for it within are some of the most challenging days.I awoke feeling the heaviness of the grey clouds, that feeling of sluggishly dragging one self from the bed and into clothes takes a strength I often feel is missing and yet know it is there,

The walk to the sea, so often greeted by the beautiful colours of a rising sun, always sure to raise ones spirit, however today was a grey morning.

I stood on the jetty as it outstretched into the sea, looking for the sun, but only seeing grey looming clouds with that wet damp feel to the air,

I moved through my qi gong practice and breath to awaken the heavy body I had begrudgingly dragged down to the sea, little sparks of life begun to shimmer within,

I looked at the sea, grey and gloomy, I was talking myself out of going in for a swim and yet a deep yearning to embrace the spirit of the sea rather than the aesthetic beauty of the often present vistas overcame my doubt,

I stripped down still doubting my decision, however I was now committed,

I waded into the grey gloomy abyss, hello stranger she said, I am no stranger I am here often I replied, but you are not you in this moment, where is your play, where is your heart and warmth she asked? I dived deep and touched the sand,

I returned back to the surface with lightness, happiness and joy restored, welcome back she said it’s good to see you again.

I left the sea feeling a million dollars better than before I had gone in, I have had this same experience many times over the past couple of years and I know that the cycle will continue and that like the sea has taught me, happiness is so often a choice.

Have a great sea day today everyone.

Vegan Dahl Stuffed Marrow

Marrow season has passed and I meant to share this awhile back, but life happens.

In its simplest form I filled a marrow with Dahl Lentils and vegetables and it was great.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Marrow
  • 1 cup of red split lentils (3cups water)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (ideally your have fresh ones, being honest I went for the tin this time🤔)
  • 1-2 tsp of Garam Masala spice mix
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • A glug of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh date
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • A variety of vegetables to your liking.

Method:

Add the lentils and water to a pan bring to the boil and simmer, add the rest of the ingredients to a blender to make your sauce and mix till smooth. Prepare the marrow by cutting it in half and then cut each half down the middle and clean out the seeds from the middle, place the 4 marrow slices on a baking tray and pre heat your oven.

Once the lentils have cooked add the sauce and any vegetables you want to, no need to over cook at this point as it will cook in the oven, this part is more for the benefit of making your marrow filling.

Pour the filling into the marrow slices cover in foil and place into the middle of your oven on high heat (I’m not good at looking what temp I cook at, I’ve simply figured out how food comes out great from my oven😀). It roughly took 30 minutes for the marrow to cook to a point where it slid of the skin.

I personally was a big fan of this dish, it was simple and very tasty, it can serve 4, but we shared it between 2. 

Enjoy.

Matt

The Teacher with no Words

Recently Cotopaxi got in touch with me and asked me to share a ‘health hack’, which I was more than happy to do. I was motivated by their simple and sustainable approach to business and overall philosophy of life, below is my version of a simple and sustainable health hack.

Words are consider by many to be spells, the words we use are the spells we cast and create as if by magic the life we live and experience. When embarking upon a journey towards great health and wellbeing these words and spells can actually get in the way, whilst they can serve to both inspire, educate and motivate us they can also be a source of confusion and contradiction leaving one lost in their quest to reach new heights of health and happiness.

Being lost is actually a good place to be! One can only find themselves when they recognise they have lost themselves and so an opportunity for growth, healing and great health and wellness begins or at least continues from this point of being lost.

If words can be misleading at times then who is the teacher without words?

There are many and some we even intertwine in our words with phrases such as ‘silence is golden’.

The one I refer to in particular is the sea, a friend once said to me, ‘why do you go and dive into the sea most days?’ I simply replied ‘I wanted a teacher without words’. He was left aghast, but also inspired, he had realised that through everyone’s best intentions to inspire and guide we had lost something profound and beautiful within ourselves, we had lost a connection, a connection with ourselves and nature, there was to much noise between us and our inner selves.

The sea is never the same, no two days follow the same course, at times she’s rough and other times she’s calm, sometimes she makes you laugh and feel playful at other times she scares you so much you surrender all of your fear and dissolve into her flow allowing yourself to be carried upon her waves.

I have personally learnt so much from the sea, deep internal relaxation, movement free from tension, how to be playful, how to float, how to dive, how to hear the sound of the pebbles dancing upon the sea bed.

The list could go on, but one thing I have also learnt is that I am my most powerful and authentic self after a morning dip in the sea, she cleans all my physical, emotional and spiritual dirt every time I make it into her embrace leaving me feeling fresh and anew.

The teacher with no words develops wisdom from within, she does not judge or scold you, but instead shows you what you need to see, feel and hear in any way that will nurture your growth.

When we truly listen we can truly trust, when we can truly trust we are strong in our faith, when our faith is strong so is our love, when our love is shining bright we can give freely of ourselves with no fear or desire, we are stewards of this land, shepards of this moment.

To you all a happy, healthy life

Matt

Ostara’s naming celebration cakes (vegan)

On the 1st of June we as family and friends gathered on a plot at Stanmer Park where the mood and spirits were high, the heavens opened to bring a fresh supply of rain for the surrounding wild life, it reminded of the saying ‘do not wait for the storm to pass, instead learn to dance in the rain’. This was for sure the case, it can be easy to let the weather dampen and raise your spirits, but if you remain inwardly present you see the beauty in all expressions, not to mention that great cake always saves the day no matter the weather.

The vegan cakes I made were inspired by this recipe Pineapple and Banana Cake

That link will also give you the base recipe, however as is the case with all creation and what I always actively encourage is add your own twist, your own jazz into anything you make, with this in mind I have added my twists below, but am grateful for the original inspiration that came from the linked recipe.


For base ingredients follow this link Pineapple and banana cake.

  • I added an extra 50g of hemp flour to add that nutty hemp flavour, to bind and strengthen the cake, I love strong cakes, fluffy sponge cakes are not my flavour, but they maybe yours.
  • I used coconut syrup instead of honey, simply because it jumped of the shelf at me whilst shopping and I hadn’t used it before and was curious, I think honey worked out better for flavour in my opinion.
  • I used a coconut and hemp oil mix instead as it was on special offer, no real difference hear except I’m a big fan of hemp, however most of its nutritional benefits are lost through cooking so it doesn’t warrant being a replacement unless like I did, you find it on special offer.
  • The rest I kept the same.

The Topping

Here’s my Jazz✌️

Avocado and Chamomile Chocolate with rose pet the decoration.

  • 140g – cacao butter
  • 150g – cashew nuts
  • 3 – baby avocados
  • 60ml – mix of honey and coconut syrup
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt
  • Dried rose petals for decoration

Method

It should be noted that I soaked the cashews and then mixed them with the sweetener and cacao butter after it had been melted alongside a tbsp of coconut oil in a Bain Marie, then during the mixing process I noticed the consistency was all wrong, it had lost its smoothness, however fear not, I threw in an extra 50g of dry cashew nuts and turned the mixture green with the whizzing of 3 baby avocados, I added extra sweetener to amend for the extra fats going into the mix, after I had made the mixture and saved it from ruin there was enough to sink a small ship, we refrigerated the excess and used it to fill medjool dates YUM is all I can say about that and that if you fly and roll with your mistakes magic happens. Once the mixture had setted I iced the cake and decorated with the rose petals.

Oh yes avocado chocolate works.


Now I made two cakes so you guys and the guys who attende are and were in for a real treat, those who know me know I cannot roll up to a celebration without chocolate cake it’s rude not to😀. 

I used the same base recipe which can be found following this link Pineapple and Banana Cake

This time my chocolate and cherry cake had some real jazz played to make it super awesome.

  • The most notable difference is the chocolate, I used 150g of Wonky Willys dark cooking chocolate, which may not be available in countries outside the U.K those in the U.K can grab some easily enough from Waitrose, but I chose it because it’s the best quality. You add the chocolate in by melting it alongside a tbsp of coconut oil in a Bain Marie and then whizz it up with the other blended ingredients.
  • I also added 2 tbsp of Cacao powder to the dry ingredients (if you gonna do it, do it properly and with style)😜
  • Note that all ingredients have been doubled I used a 12inch cake tin for this baby.
  • The size meant an extremely long cooking time, at least 2 hours to get it cooked right through, plus I kind of burnt the edges so I shaved the outer edge off the cake, life with out those last minute obstacles and challenges is no life😀.
  • Cherries replaced the pinapple and I used good old fresh cherries (remember to remove the stones).
  • Again hemp flour was added, I used roughly 50g.

The icing.

  • This was very simple, I simply melted down to bars of cooking chocolate and added some coconut syrup to the Bain Marie, add to your liking. Whilst the chocolate was melting I placed cherries cut in half round the perimeter of the cake, then once the chocolate had melted I simply poured it over the cake and made sure it went round the cherries, this then acted like glue to keep the cherries in place. Simple, but rediculously yummy.


Both cakes were fantastically yummy and there is plenty of room to play with recipes as you see fit.

Enjoy.

Matt

When a Yoga Posture becomes Uncomfortable

Eckhart Tolle explains beautifully that the pose is not a yoga posture until it becomes uncomfortable. This I have found to be very true and like many I had my resistance to this notion at first, but like I was reminded just the other day learning is painful until it has been learnt and when one becomes familiar and comfortable with what they have learnt it is no longer painful or uncomfortable.

What is then being suggested is that at the point of the yoga posture becoming uncomfortable a student is then beginning the beautiful journey of learning and because we are talking about yoga we are talking about self discovery to.

Why is it uncomfortable discovering YOU? Well your going to have to practice to find out the real answer to that question, but the key is not to get caught up in your concept of uncomfortable and painful and instead let go of your analytical mind for a moment and surrender to the experiences that you are having whilst practicing.

Simple but not easy, it’s simple to practice, but its not easy to let go of the internal chatter and that internal chatter can and often does get in the way of a regular practice, when we stop practicing due to the uncomfortable nature of our practice we loose the very essence of why we begun a practice in the first place.

I was curious and I have continued to be so and this has guided me well through my practice because rather than running away from the uncomfortable elements of practice I was curious what would happen if I persevered and carried on.

The first thing to note here, is that you soon realise the ego can get very inflated by forcing your way through an uncomfortable posture, which you come through the other side thinking you have mastered, but have actually only just begun to play with, if you continue to force your way through your practice eventually you will burn out and give up, you can only force something for so long before it gives way and this gives birth to the profound nature of surrender.

When a student allows themselves to be comfortable with the uncomfortable true transformation and growth becomes possible because you are no longer forcing anything, you are no longer trying to escape anything (when forcing you are trying to hold on until the end) when you surrender you simply accept the nature of existence in that moment, the comfortable and uncomfortable and if you truly surrender then even duality dissolves and all thats left IS, but lets stay with duality and focus on accepting both comfortable and uncomfortable for now.

To get to this level of acceptance and surrender a student must master observation, as an observer you can honestly view your reactions free from judgement and you can notice the sensations of force and the sensation of surrender when in an uncomfortable posture. When you practice you can ask yourself how does it feel to accept myself in this posture right now? If your patient with your practice the answer will come, if you will the answer to arrive you will not be paying attention when it does, hence you are an observer and a creator in the practice, but absolute knowing does not come from thought alone.

Like I said the true learning lies in the practice, Sri K Patthabi Jois once said ‘do your practice and all is coming.’ Practice now in the realms of the uncomfortable and let go, surrender to the experience free from attachment or expectation and be as curious about the journey as possible, willing yourself to be an honest observer of your practice.

I am personally very passionate about this exploration because once you transfer this way of practicing from the Yoga studio and into your everyday life true magic, transformation and growth happens. The Yoga studio is only a training centre, your life is where you apply your tools you have trained on in the studio.

To you all in great health

Matt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creamy Hazelnut & Cacao Mousse

I love hazelnuts, cacao and mousse. This is a great combo and it produced a real thick and creamy mousse just how I like it.😀.

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 hazelnuts (soak in water for one or more hours)
  • 8 fresh dates (pit the dates)
  • 1 dried prune
  • 1 tbsp of flax seed
  • 1 tsp wheatgrass powder
  • 2-3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cacao butter
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 2 baby avocado 
  • 1 tbsp wild forest honey
  • 300ml of filtered water

Note: the above quantities are estimates, I rarely if ever exactly measure or count anything out.

Method:

I use a Vitamix, in the Vitamix I fill it up with water just above the blade and then I add the nuts, seeds and dried fruit, I leave them to soak for an hour or so.

Upon return I place the rest of the ingredients into the Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy.

Serve with a smile on my face and happiness in my heart for a cacao party is about to begin.

For extra creamy results leave in the fridge overnight.

Enjoy

To you all in great health

Matt