Cowspiracy

Cowspiracy, taken from Youtube .. an interesting educational (?) watch ….,

Love and coconuts,

Lila xo

Multi-Tasking Damages Your Brain

As part of my teacher training in Restorative Yoga, with Judith Hanson Lasater, we were given a number of articles that I found really valuable.  They were research-based articles relating to the rise of chronic stress, insomnia and disconnection that is becoming a bit of a world-wide phenomena, and sadly sort of becoming the new normal.

There was a short one titled “Multi-tasking Not Smart”, and addressed the common presence of multi-tasking in society, and how it can actually lower your IQ.

I’m never sure quite how to raise it with friends and colleagues who talk about how good they are at multi-tasking like they should be patted on the back and applauded!  My initial response in my head is “nooo don’t do that to yourself”!!!  But I usually say nothing as I’m still learning how to present ideas in scientific research without being concerned with sounding like a know-all, haha!  Oh, and actually remembering statistics and things to back my spiel up!!  🙂

And anyway, science, like everything, is ever-changing, so maybe I’m better off practising quietly!

 But I will share here, that way you can follow up on the research yourself if you’re skeptical, or if just reading this doesn’t make some basic sense to you.

For me I do know, that as a way of getting stuff done, I am a CRAP multi-tasker!  I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve read some of this research and that’s now in my head so I don’t want to be good at it, or whether I’m genuinely a poor multi-tasker.

As someone whose equilibrium tends to be easily knocked out of balance if not mindful (hello VATA!), I believe that multi-tasking messes with my head and inner-calm.  Whilst I know I can do it when I need to, and I actually can look like I’m very good at it if I want to, I try to reserve it for necessity rather than making it part of how I do things.

At work – my desk job – I have to do it as part of my role.

 

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I will admit I can get a bit of a buzz out of it,

as it involves dealing with people too, so there is the performance side to it!  But far out, I get completely exhausted by it!!  (More Vata imbalance)

I guess that’s why I really enjoy doing meditative things like colouring in colouring books, yoga practice and mindfulness meditation, things that involve using my hands and focusing on one thing at a time, and practising that.

And it can be quite challenging.

Have you ever been driving along or doing something and had the radio on, only to realise after a while that you really do not like what you’re hearing!  This happens me sometimes – and I’m like “what is this  s h i t  I’m listening to”!!!?  It’s because I’m doing more than one thing at a time – for some of that time I am not conscious of one (or more) of the things, but they still have an effect on me.

Honest admission #2: sometimes it happens vice versa – I’ve got some brilliant audio book or podcast on and I’m not sure if I’ve just gone through a red light because something I just heard was so bloody profound, all perceived reality to date has just fallen away!

So to counteract this kinda stuff, I try to be a bit more conscious.

How?  Well, if I’m going to turn the radio on in the car, I try to do it consciously, not out of habit, and accept that something might have to give along the way!  Or, I might go to punch the radio button on, and then stop to ask why?  Do I need some company?  Am I trying to fill space, or is there something I really want to hear?

What about driving in silence (as if my head would not be like a radio all in itself anyway hahaha!).  Well, sometimes I do it.  And it’s rather pleasant.

Anyway here is an article from Forbes Magazine, talking about how Multi-Tasking Damages Your Brain.  (Warning: It may raise more than one thought in your head at anyone time.)

You’ve likely heard that multitasking is problematic, but new studies show that it kills your performance and may even damage your brain.

Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers also found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

A Special Skill?

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Ouch.

Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

 

Read the full article here

The darkness in every one of us

I just read this and wanted to share it …. I found it compelling and profound, and really quite stirring ….

The darkness is in every one of us

The author of ‘This House of Grief’ and ‘Joe Cinque’s Consolation’ on writing about darkness

We Are Stardust!

YES!!  Did you ever think about that … WE ARE STARDUST!

I guess the ancient yogis were quantum physicians ….

The other day in my yoga class, when the students were in Savasana, I felt an immense sense of connection, a hug from the universe if you like, and I heard this loud, clear and confident voice in my head ( it was me! ) telling me to remember this:

I AM JUST AN ENERGY, A FORCE, AND A SPIRIT HAVING A HUMAN EXPERIENCE ….

When life throws it’s curve balls …

I didn’t realise when life starts going all nonlinear, how easy it is to just completely forget all the stuff I intellectually and experientially know and have learned and practiced over these last few years.

It just gets emptied out of the pot in one big gloop, like thick, chunky soup and all that gets left are the BITS THAT STICK TO THE SIDE OF THE POT – old gooey patterns and burnt bits of behaviours that don’t serve anyone.

Never saw that coming!  

I thought it had it all figured out and would know what to do and how to respond when the world of matter and form closed in with all it’s free gifts of fear and anxiety!

Anyway, guess that’s really when we’ve got to knuckle down to ‘the work’  … and I have to acknowledge that perhaps for the first time in my life, I’m grateful for the opportunity to turn towards and sit with the challenges, instead of running away from them.  And grateful too for the mental, spiritual and physical strategies, and support with which I am truly blessed.

It’s bloody hard work, but isn’t it funny how sometimes, that which you think is the object of all your problems, can be the very thing that holds all the solutions.

Or more precisely, if objectively studied, can turn out to be the map and toll fare for the roads that will lead you in the direction of the City-Of-Resolving-The-Issues-All-By-Your-Own-Self!! 🙂

I feel such a great sense of relief, comfort, inspiration and excitement, when I can remind myself of what I feel I already know at such a deep level (the energy / spirit part) , and just keep forgetting (the human part) … and it’s little videos like this one, that for me, are the markers on the road that get me on my way again, with my wholesome soup in my backpack, all set once more for the trip!! 🙂

“The fact of the matter is, the substance of the universe is consciousness …” 

Thought it was time to share it with you.

                                           

              Love always, 

Image 2 

PS.  I wonder if I had read THIS book when I was a child, if it would have made it all a little easier now?!

You Are Stardust

This innovative picture book aims to reintroduce children to their innate relationship with the world around them by sharing many of the surprising ways that we are all connected to the natural world.

Grounded in current science, this extraordinary and beautiful book provides opportunities for children to use their imaginations and wonder about some big ideas, and is available HERE at Pure-Li Marketplace.

Who’s Fault Is It Anyway

I am a great admirer of Brené Brown and a fan of her work … it resonates deeply with me and my learned behaviours.

I am familiar with this story, but here is a cute animation to go with it from the RSA, (who do some really cool stuff!).

Hope you enjoy it, don’t blame me if it irks you!

Monica Lewinsky: It’s Time TO TALK

I just watched this TED talk by Monica Lewinsky.

Best thing I’ve seen on the screen since I don’t know when.  It was compelling.
It made me cry, it made me smile, it made me feel sad, & really quite angry.  It also made me feel comforted & gave me hope.
Lucky for humanity that Monica decided to speak up.
What I liked: she has force without being forceful, she has honesty without over-sharing, she has conviction because she knows what the fuck she is talking about, uhm … she was there, right?!
She is talking about PUBLIC HUMILIATION & how MAXIMUM PUBLIC EMBARRASSMENT is what sells in ‘society’ today.  Sells newspapers, sells magazines, sells TV shows, sells on social media, sells ‘news’.
She talks about the rise in BULLYING on social media & some of the devastating consequences as a result.  (My feeling is social media is just a more tangible barometer for measuring this behaviour & it’s results, but it is omnipresent.  Let’s be real, we are bullied by the system, this is what we have created.  We all just find our best way to make it work for us. #HumanInstinct #Survival)
She reached me,  I felt really touched … by my own shame & guilt, by my empathy & compassion, by the truth of it, this acceptance & mindlessness to buy into this crappy judgey behaviour, and the truth of the MENDACITY of it, is this TRULY how we want to be, what we want to be a part of?
I don’t want to believe that it is.
And yet as humans, we seem to be allowing it to exist. “NEWS”.  We feed it & support it & allow it to manipulate us, to the point where we have become blind to the possibility of another viewpoint, all the other possible viewpoints.
Desensitized to the suffering that the ‘newsworthy’ people might be feeling, whatever our judgement of their ‘crime’.  They are people not inanimate objects, they are our sisters & daughters & girlfriends & wives & mothers, our brothers & boyfriends & sons & fathers & husbands.

 They are you & me.  

AND WHO ARE THESE UNACCOUNTABLE DISSEMINATORS OF OTHER PEOPLE’S MISERIES, MISFORTUNES OR MALPRACTICES?
Are they above faltering or making mistakes in their own lives?
Are they so perfect & wonderful & flawless?  I wonder how they would feel if the ins and outs of one of their personal disasters was made available to all to see!?
I think they too, are you & me.  
Hmmm …. digesting that … ?!
Yeah so this culture of public humiliation has reached saturation point, which means to live this way appears to be acceptable, normal even.  WTF?!

Yes please Monica – I want to be an ‘UPSTANDER’, I do not support or accept this ‘norm’.  Please friends, remind me when I fall victim to it.  And I will, I am not innocent either, but I WANT to be more mindful and not be a part of it.

IS THIS NOT a pathetic & ignorant way of life, to spend our precious time, reading about the fall or this person & judging on the deviance of that one.  Dividing and separating humanity, into the good & the bad, the moral & the immoral, maybe because it makes us feel a bit better about our own lives.  Is that not a very SMALL way to live?
She talks about the hook for selling most media being maximum public embarrassment. Is this not  BULLYING & CRUSHING & INHUMANE?
Are we not more evolved than this? Are we so above other people’s transgressions and violations?  Really?

WHO THE HELL DO WE THINK WE ARE?!

My guess is WE DON’T KNOW.

So would not it benefit us more to get to know that?  Get to know who we are ourselves instead of knowing the ins & outs of so & so’s humiliating experience?  When we spend time reflecting on our own lives, experiences & choices, & looking at some of our own misdemeanors, or things we could have handled differently, does it not open us up, make us BIGGER more expansive humans, more ready to embrace our brothers & sisters in this life, & accept that they make mistakes? And maybe promote a more mindful existence, & remember that none of us are above making mistakes.  In fact it’s part of the human condition.

I don’t remember thinking too much about Monica Lewinsky, back in the day.  Or imagining what it must have been like for her.

That really shocks me.  

Soak: Sea Creatures … How great is she?!

I love making fresh almond milk.

And it’s creeping comfortably into my routine of late, I seem to be preparing fresh batches every few days.  And then I realised I could freeze it!

It’s really satisfying to drink.

And  so much creamier, and tastier than anything store bought.  Plus of course, it doesn’t have anything in it I don’t want, like crappy ‘vegetable’ oils, preservatives or the carcinogenic and inflammatory carageenan which are some common additives you’ll find in store bought packs.

Once you’ve separated the pulp from the milk, you can always add it to your breakfast cereal or smoothies, dry it out and store it in a jar to use as flour, but I wanted to make something else more solid with mine.

So the other day I made up these brownies and truffles with the left over almond pulp.

They are quite simply DELIGHTFUL, and what’s really handy about them is that they’re stored in the freezer, so they’re just sitting there waiting for you whenever you feel like something rich, sweet, and nutritious, and you don’t have to worry about keeping them fresh.

Their consistency straight from the freezer is surprisingly accessible – they’re cold – but not tooth-nervy cold, they’re firm but also sort of chewy.  

I’m thrilled with them!

This recipe makes up quite a lot of goodies – the quantity can be reduced accordingly, depending how much pulp you’ve got.  We go through quite a lot of almond milk, and I yielded approx. 30 brownies AND approx. 50 truffles, or maybe a little more?!

Now you can keep them plain, without adding any flavours to them for a pure chocolatey experience, but I’m a choc-orange and choc-mint fan, so I use these combos quite frequently …  you can add whatever flavours you love!  ‘Drop and try’ to find your desired taste – I used about 6 – 8 drops in this mix of each.

For a special occasion, some of you might even like to use Baileys or Kahlua or something like that?!  

I like to have a selection, so once the basic mix is blended, I separate it into little dishes and add the essences accordingly.
Medicine Flower

Medicine Flower Organic & Natural Flavours

I have a lovely collection of natural & organic food flavours, a brand called MEDICINE FLOWER, they are pure extractions without alcohol or additives.

But using a good quality 100% essential oil of orange or peppermint works too, and you can get them from your local herbalist/naturopath/healthfood store.  Quality oil and nothing less than 100% pure essential oil is best, maybe ask to check it’s food grade first, if you’re unsure.

I made my brownies plain with no flavours added, and the truffles using orange, and some more using mint essence.

These oils and essences might seem pricey, but you’re only using a few drops at a time so they last for ages.  I use them in smoothies and to flavour other foods, so it’s not just for one recipe!  (And you could even double up on their use by burning them in your oil burner to fragrance your home, or add to your bath if you so wish!)

 As I said, THIS MAKES A BIG BATCH.  Halve or quarter the ingredients if you need to, but remember they keep in the freezer so they won’t go off!

Ingredients:

1.5 cups almond pulp (squeezed, dry to touch)

1.5 cups raw unsalted cashew nuts

3 cups pitted dates, rinsed, or 1.5 cups date paste.

15 tablespoons raw organic cacao powder

12 tablespoons dessicated coconut (no nasties added)

1/2 cup rice malt syrup

10 drops liquid stevia

3 tablespoons of coconut sugar syrup (optional- just if like me, you’ve got some in a jar in the fridge!)

1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla powder (if you didn’t use my date paste recipe above)

A few drops each of 100% essential oil of peppermint and/or orange – to your taste

Maybe some fresh or freeze-fried raspberries to prettify.

  Method:

1. First place cashews in your food processor and process until they become small and turn to flour.

2. Add to the cashews, the date paste or dates & vanilla, process again until the mixture sticks together and the dates are well processed. (If you’re using dates, I like to squidge them as I throw them in, to be 100% sure there’s not one pit left in there!)

3. Add the remaining ingredients, and process again until the mixture turns a lovely dark chocolatey brown.  Stop processing before it gets too buttery.

4. Elect how much of your mixture you want to use as brownies and how much as truffles.

To Make My Bangin’ & Beauteous Brownies:

Decide if you’re going to add flavouring and add it here, mixing it in well, in separate bowls if making a selection, or perhaps keeping them just a chocolatey affair.  

Empty & scrape the mixture into a brownie dish or cake/oven pan that’s been lined with parchment paper and press down very firmly using your clean hands.

Place this raw almond pulp fudgey brownie mix into the freezer for at least one hour.

I like to slice mine up, sprinkle with chopped almonds, pistachios, or freeze-dried raspberries and keep them in sealed containers in the freezer ready at a moment’s notice for gob-popping!

Always keep them in the freezer to preserve and to retain their consistency.

To Make My Triumphant Truffles:

Add your flavouring if using.

Roll them into small balls (they are quite rich), I like to use gloves if I’m making balls for entertaining, it’s just polite really,  isn’t it?!

Roll the balls in chopped nuts or desiccated coconut or BOTH! and freeze!

Et Voilá … they’re the bomb!

 

Brownie Tray Lilapuds

Lay Brownie Mix On A Parchmented Dish & Freeze!

 

My Raw Chocolate Brownies & Truffles Recipe

Give them a whirl and tell me how you go!  

Hope you love them,

Lila, xo

Devastating Realité In Mali

Toumani & Siddiki Diabate & Me!

Today I met these LEGENDS!  Toumani Diabaté & his son and apprentice, Siddiki Diabaté.  

They play tonight in Sydney’s City Recital Hall.  Don’t miss it if you have a chance to attend, they are simply superb.

And I’m so glad to see that they are still playing and continuing the centuries old tradition despite what some Islamist group tried to do to music in Mali a few years ago …. Which I’ve reposted below.

Incredible what can happen in this crazy world.  We must keep fighting for good, hey?! …

 

Here’s the original Lilapud Post dated March 2013:

I came across this article in The Guardian a while ago ….

I am a huge fan of Amadou and Mariam, and Toumani Diabaté, and have experienced their joyful and wondrous offerings live here in Sydney, this is definitely not something that should be shut up.

Mali music ban by Islamists ‘crushing culture to impose rule’

Rebels’ clampdown on live performances, from Amadou and Mariam to Tinariwen, is driving music underground

by Robin Denselow

The Guardian

Tinariwen band performing, Johannesburg

Mali music … Tinariwen performing in Soweto, Johannesburg, in 2010. Photograph: Jon Hrusa/EPA

Nowhere does music have a greater social and political importance than in the vast desert state of Mali. It is shocking, therefore, that it has been banned across much of the two-thirds of Mali currently controlled by Islamic rebel groups.

As “Manny” Ansar, the director of the country’s celebrated Festival in the Desert, which has now been forced out of the country, explained: “Music is important as a daily event. It’s not just a business, for it’s through our music that we know history and our own identity. Our elders gave us lessons through music. It’s through music that we declare love and get married – and we criticise and make comments on the people around us.”

 Click here to view video

Malian musicians have become household names in the west. The list is remarkable, from the late Ali Farka Touré to the soulful Salif Keita, from Toumani Diabaté, the world’s finest exponent of the kora, to the bravely experimental Rokia Traoré. Then there’s the rousing desert blues of Tinariwen, who have performed alongside the Rolling Stones.

There is the passionate social commentary of Oumou Sangaré, and the rousing, commercially successful African pop fusion of Amadou & Mariam.

These musicians, with varied, distinctive styles, have educated western audiences about Africa and their country’s ancient civilisation, and the way in which traditional families of musicians, the griots, had acted as advisers to the rulers and guardians of the country’s history, and kept alive an oral tradition for generation after generation.

And yet the Islamic rebel groups are trying to wipe out this ancient culture – and in the process have forced Malian musicians to examine the role they should now play.

Ansar said he was “ashamed at what has happened has happened – and it was provoked by people who call themselves Muslims, like me”.

When I met him at a censorship conference in Oslo, he said the militias were stopping the music “to impose their authority, so there’s nothing to threaten them”. He added: “That’s why they are attacking the traditional chiefs and musicians. And they’re using concepts of Islam that are 14 centuries old and have never been applied. I find it strange that these ideas are being imposed now. It’s as if they took a computer and wiped the hard drive, and then imposed their ideas instead.”

Click here to view video

The situation is particularly painful for musicians from the north of Mali, for bands such as Tinariwen from the nomadic Touareg or Kel Tamashek people, whose international popularity has been helped for the last 12 years by the Festival in the Desert.

There have been upheavals in the region in the past, including a huge rebellion in 1990, when Tamashek fighters turned against the Malian government, demanding greater autonomy, a right to defend and support their culture, and even demands for a new country, Azawad.

It seemed at first that the latest rebellion, now a year old, might follow a similar pattern, yet it splintered and changed course, and Islamic groups took over from the nationalists, partly because the former nationalist leader Iyad Ag Ghali (whose songs were once covered by Tinariwen) has now converted to a more extreme form of Islam.

Click here to view video

Tinariwen are currently back in northern Mali, or living in exile in southern Algeria, but when they played in London last year, guitarist and bass player Eyadou Ag Leche talked of their problems since the Islamists took over the north.

Young people have been stopped from listening to music and families have had their televisions smashed for watching music shows, but music was still being played “underground”, he said.

As for the Islamists, he said that he “didn’t know where these people had come from”, and suggested they were financed through Qatar.

Other bands from the rebel areas reported similar problems. Pino Ibrahim ag Ahmed, of Terakaft, said he had been forced into exile in Algeria and “lost much of his land”. He said: “I don’t know these groups, or what they want, and it’s dangerous moving around.” But he was determined to keep playing.

In the Malian capital, Bamako, outside the rebel-controlled area, musicians are also determined to keep working, but face different problems.

Bassekou Kouyate, the world’s leading n’goni player, said that musicians in the city are unable to work at the moment as clubs have been closed, all public concerts have been postponed, there are very few weddings taking place, and “even the concert in honour of the great balafon player Kélétigui Diabaté, who died recently, has been cancelled”.

He said: “The government is nervous and afraid of terrorist attacks on public gatherings. They are asking everyone to wait until the situation in the north has calmed down.”

But he and his wife, the singer Amy Sacko, did take part in a national television programme, along with Oumou Sangaré, in which they “all sang against all forms of sharia law”.

Click here to view video

Asked about the French military involvement, he said “they have saved Africa. They have saved Mali from the Islamists. I am going to buy a French flag to put in front of my house, to say thank you. That is how us Malians feel now”.

In another musical unity project, the singer Fatoumata Diawara has just finished a new song and video, Peace, which will be quickly released in Bamako on Thursday. The aim, she said was to promote peace and “show that not all Touaregs want an independent state in the north – we want one Mali”.

Touareg musicians appear on the song, as part of an extraordinary 45-strong cast that features 13 musicians, including Toumani Diabaté and guitar hero Djelimady Tounkara, and 29 singers, including Sangaré, Amadou & Mariam and Ivory Coast reggae artist Tiken Jah Fakoly. “There has never been anything like this in Mali,” she said. “The political situation is bad so it’s time for the musicians to come together.” She also agreed with Bassekou that “people are happy” about the French military involvement.

Outside Mali, other musicians are involved in an international campaign to promote the culture of their battered country. Rokia Traoré, arguably the most adventurous female singer in Africa, is currently on tour in Australia. She explains: “I can just keep going and doing the best in my work, to try to make people think good things about Mali and see good things from Mali.”

There will no doubt be similar sentiments expressed in London and Glasgow on 26 and 27 January when three Malian artists appear together at the Sahara Soul concerts, at which Bassekou Kouyaté will be joined by the young Tamashek band Tamikrest, seen as a younger answer to Tinariwen, and Sidi Touré, a griot from the ancient city of Gao, currently under rebel control.

When those shows are over, Kouyaté heads back to Mali for further events, which will only take place if security allows. A major festival in his home town of Ségou is to be followed by an appearance at the Evening for Peace and National Unity in Bamako, organised by Oumou Sangaré.

Both events will also feature musicians who are also taking part in a two-pronged Caravan of Artists for Peace and National Unity, which will travel around west Africa next month, ending up in the town of Oursi in the neighbouring state of Burkino-Faso.

It’s here that Ansar is hosting his 13th Festival in the Desert, now being staged in exile.

“The brutal sound of weapons and the cries of intolerance are not able to silence the singing of the griots,” he said. “The Festival in the Desert must survive all this.”

• Sahara Soul is at the Barbican, London, on 26 January and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (celticconnections.com) on 27 January.

 

Did I mention I love Amadou and Mariam?!

 

Love An Aul Protest Song!