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Vegan/Vegetarian “Beef” High Protein Spaghetti

Crush-Fitness-Recipes-Vegan-Spaghetti

 

Growing up spaghetti was a staple. It was a weird week if we didn’t have it at least once. It was hard not having it when I decided to cut as much meat out of my diet as I could. Since then I’ve been on the search for the easiest, tastiest alternative, and I finally found it! And it packs some killer macros too!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bag of Gardein Beefless Ground

  • 4 cans of oz Tomato Sauce

  • 1 can of oz Tomato Paste

  • 1 can of oz Rotel (choose your temp! I prefer mild)

  • Italian Spice

  • Garlic Powder

  • Salt

  • Chili Powder

  • Hodgson Mill Spaghetti (for Vegans)

  • Barilla Protein Plus Spaghetti (for Vegetarians)

 

Sauce:

Crush-Fitness-Recipes-Vegan-Spaghetti

  1. Start by taking the frozen Beefless Ground and using the wall or your hands to separate the large chunks. Once they are separated empty the bag into a large pan and set the burner to medium.
  2. Tossing the grounds, wait until they are defrosted and start to brown a bit. At this point empty all the cans of sauce, paste, and rotel into the pan. If you like a more “meaty” sauce just use three cans of the sauce and if you like less “meat” then use five. I prefer four for an even ratio! Mix this and leave until warm.Crush-Fitness-Recipes-Vegan-Spaghetti
  3. Add in the spices. I never measure mine, but generally I do around 1 tbsp of Italian spices, 1 tsp of garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and ½ tsp of chili powder. I’d experiment by adding little bits, and then taste testing to get your perfect mix!Crush-Fitness-Recipes-Vegan-Spaghetti
  4. Place the top on the pan and let this simmer while you make the pasta, stirring the sauce occasionally.Crush-Fitness-Recipes-Vegan-Spaghetti

 

Pasta:
  1. For a completely vegan pasta opt for the Hodgson Mill pasta. If you are a vegetarian and ok with eggs, try the Barilla pasta for extra protein.Crush-Fitness-Recipes-Vegan-Spaghetti

  2. Follow the directions on the boxes for cooking. The Barilla pasta will give you about four servings and the Mills pasta will give you more servings than you have for the sauce so I usually use 2/3 of the box.Crush-Fitness-Recipes-Vegan-Spaghetti

 

Crush-Fitness-Recipes-Vegan-Spaghetti

 

Macros for 1 serving with Barilla (split into 4):
Protein: 39.3g, Carbs 99g, Fat 5.8g

 

Macros for 1 serving with Mills (with the Hodgson Mills):

Protein 35.3g, Carbs 94g, Fat 5g

 

*If the carbs are too much there’s lots of options for low carb pastas like quest pasta or a squash or zucchini pasta!

 

Flexibility: Volume 3 Knees

Crush-Fitness-Flexibility-Knee-Ashley
“Better bend than break.” – Scottish Proverb

 

Flexibility throughout the kinetic chain is important because of the relationship muscles have with joints. If there is a weak link in one part of the chain it can be detrimental to other areas as well. The knee is no exception and is a complicated joint all on its own, not to mention the muscles it shares with the hip.

 

Anatomy

Components of the Knee
The knee is one of the more complex joints and there is an extremely ample amount of information. Instead of only doing the muscles, the tendons are also explained for a better understanding of flexibility at the knee. These are not the only structures responsible for stability but they go hand in hand when looking at flexibility.

 

Tendons: Attach muscle to bone. Although tendons are a fibrous collagen tissue they are still flexible enough to maintain proper function of a joint.

 

Muscles: As a stability joint, the knee has many muscles that participate in movement. The quadriceps and hamstring groups are responsible for flexion and extension at the knee. With a disproportionate muscular ratio between the hamstrings and quadriceps muscles, one may experience knee problems. Bailey Palmer, an exercise physiology professor at Texas Tech University, expands on this subject, “Athletes can strengthen their hip extensor muscles (i.e., hamstrings) to improve their hamstring to quadriceps strength ratio, which can reduce muscular imbalances and improve overall stability during sport specific movements.”

 

For the visual people (like myself)

Crush-Fitness-Flexibility-Knees

 

Movements

The movements of the knee and the muscles that are responsible for those actions:

  1. Flexion: bending a joint from a large angle to an acute angle; bringing the leg closer to the core.
  • Hamstring Group: Biceps femoris, semitendinosus, semimembranosus (gluteus muscles can also aid in flexion)
  • Gracilis
  • Sartorius
  • Popliteus
  • Extension: extending a joint from a smaller angle to a larger angle; opening up the hips by pushing the leg away from the core.
  • Quadriceps femoris (made up of four muscles): Vastus lateralis, vastus intermedialis, vastus medialis, and rectus femoris
  • Medial rotation: Movement toward the middle or midline of your body (small degree of rotation)
  • Sartorius
  • Lateral rotation: Movement away from the middle of your body (small degree of rotation)
  • Biceps femoris (gluteus muscles can also aid biceps femoris)

 

Where do I start?
Start by stretching the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and calves!

 

Hamstring Group: Hamstrings in my opinion are one of the most commonly missed muscle groups to stretch or strengthen. Neglecting such a large muscle group can have serious consequences. Some simple hamstring stretches are listed below including a flexibility test.

  • Flexibility Test: Stand upright. Bend at the waist while keeping your knees straight or slightly bent. The less bending at the knee indicates good flexibility. Don’t worry; some people will never be able to touch their toes, the smaller the angle at the waist means greater flexibility.
  • Stretches:
    • While sitting on the ground place your legs in a 45 degree angle or wider. Bend at the waist without rounding your back and hold for 30 seconds and repeat once or twice. Between each stretch, take a deep breath and try to decrease the angle at your hip the next time. The pull should come from the back of your leg and be slightly uncomfortable.
    • This can also be done with legs in front of you.

 

Quadriceps Group: This muscle group may easily over shadow the hamstrings because we can see them! Also, if you don’t like to run, it is easy to forget about them. How do we test and stretch them?

  • Flexibility Test: Lie on your stomach; bring your leg toward your gluteus. If you can touch your feet to your gluteus, you are flexible! Again, there are always exceptions! If you have huge hamstrings or calves, this may impede your ability to get a positive flexibility test. Also, if your hip flexors are tight, it may also not give you an accurate account of your flexibility.
  • Stretches:
    • Stand next to a wall and use it for balance. If no wall is available touch your nose with one finger for balance, it works! Bring your foot to your gluteus and hold it with your hand for 30 seconds. Breathe and repeat.
    • This also can be done lying on your stomach using a rubber exercise band.

 

Calves: Ashley, Why are we talking about the calves, aren’t they used in ankle mobility? Yes, yes, they are. Because muscles only know how to contract, they must cross over a joint to produce the desired movement. See ankle mobility to get the full scoop on calve stretches!

 

What if I have knee pain?

Knee pain is very common. Among those that suffer chronic knee pain, there are other options for strengthening the muscles in the thigh and hip that do not require great stress on the knee. Professor Palmer goes into depth here to explain more, “For those experiencing knee problems that may limit their ability to strength train, performing non-weight bearing physical activity (i.e., swimming, cycling) can improve flexibility and muscular endurance.”

 

Why is flexibility important for the knee?

Flexibility at the knee reduces the likelihood of injury. Stretching and properly warming up will reduce muscle strain or tears. It is better to teach your body to bend than to break from a stressor that can be prevented!

 

 

References:

Hitting A Plateau

Crush-Fitness-Hitting-Plateau-Olivia

 

Your fitness journey was off to a great start! You were making gains, losing weight, seeing changes in your body composition…whatever your goal was, you were getting there, one day at a time.

 

But then, you hit a rut.

 

The scale stalled, your body started aching, and your motivation practically ran out the door.

 

Worst of all? It feels like nothing you’re doing makes a difference.

 

Frustrating? Yes. Normal? Completely.

 

Plateaus. They happen to most everyone. Our bodies get stuck. Same workouts. Same diets. Same weekly check ins. Same everything.

 

As humans, we are adaptable by nature. And just like your body adapts to the seasons, it can adapt to your regime as well. Unfortunately, sometimes that means your progress can be temporarily stalled as a result.

 

But, not to worry! There are plenty of ways to push past a plateau, and today, I’m going to walk you through a few of them!

 

  1. Change up your routine! This is key. If you do the same exercise over and over again, your body is going to become accustomed to it, which may be why you’re not seeing those great changes in your physique you were seeing when you first started working out. So, try a spin class, go to yoga, lift some weights. Anything that will shock your body and give you that push forward you need!
  2. Switch up your style! If you love lifting weights, that doesn’t mean you have to completely change what you’re doing! If you always lift heavy with low reps, maybe try out a high volume workout with lighter weights and more reps. If you’re a natural born runner, try switching out those long distance runs with sprints!
  3. Add something to your workout! Go for a walk after your yoga class, add in a 10-minute run, throw in some plyo during your lift. Sometimes getting those few extra minutes of sweat time in is enough for your body to break free from that plateau!
  4. Make sure you’re eating enough! Even if your goal is weight loss, you still need to be fueling your body with the nutrients it needs! Not having enough food will only do your body harm, and just like your body can adapt to your workout routine, your metabolism can adjust to cope with a low intake. So, eat your protein and your veggies, and throw in some sweets for good measure! To see results you have to be taking care of yourself!
  5. Know change will come! Plateaus can be frustrating, but it’s important to keep in mind that we are our own worst critics. A fitness journey doesn’t follow a linear path. There will be bumps along the way, but it’s moving forward and staying motivated that will make the difference. You will get past this!

How To Beat The Bloat

Crush-Fitness-Beat-Bloat-Aubrey

 

 

If anyone were to look at my google search right now, it would be awfully embarrassing. Bloating, digestion, gas, and poop ( yes poop ) are probably my most google searched topics. Topics that many people don’t want to talk about but affect everyone daily. So let's end the stigma against bathroom talk and get down to the nitty gritty of bloating, why it sucks, and how to fix it.

 

Cramps, gas, burping, a swollen stomach, and pain are just a few symptoms of bloating. Why does this happen and how can I make it stop? The symptoms of gas and bloating can be simple, yet complicated. After researching and dealing with my own digestive issues, I have come up with a short list of causes and how to treat bloating when it occurs.

 

  1. Overeating - I noticed that when I ate very large meals in one sitting, my body had a hard time digesting causing discomfort and bloating. Eating smaller, more frequent meals is easier on the gut and the digestive process.
  2. Eating Too Quickly - Slow Down! It is important to chew food fully in order for it to break down making it easily digestible. Also, try not to talk while you eat. Talking while eating will cause you to swallow more air which can cause stomach gas and bloating.
  3. Chewing Gum - this was a BIG one for me. Gum is my sweetest downfall. Oh, how I love you yet you cause me so much pain. Gum requires you to swallow more air and is filled with artificial sweeteners that can reek havoc on your stomach.
  4. Carbonated Drinks - another weakness of mine is that bubbly bubbly. Unfortunately, carbonated drinks contain sweeteners and the ability to create trapped air pockets in the intestines, causing you to feel discomfort, gas, and bloating. If your body is not reacting well to carbonation - tea, juice, and water are a few better alternatives.
  5. Fruits & Veggies - Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and apples contain sugar and starches that are hard to break down by the body. If you feel discomfort, try eating these foods in small portions, cook your veggies instead of eating them raw, and make sure you are home for the night if you DO decide to eat a bowl of brussel sprouts :)
  6. Sweeteners - Many sweeteners and artificial sugars are hard for the body to digest. If you are experiencing discomfort, make sure to check the label to see if maybe this is the culprit! i.e. soda, gum, diet foods, sugar free food.
  7. Too much fiber - Fiber is necessary for normal bodily functions but too much can cause cramping, diarrhea, bloating, and constipation. Slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet and make sure you are drinking PLENTY of water!
  8. STRESS! Stress puts a great deal of pressure on your stomach and abdomen. Try to find things that will help you feel calm and peaceful. I.e., taking a warm bath, meditating, yoga. etc.
  9. Dehydration - DRINK WATER! I know it sounds crazy but dehydration can actually cause you to bloat, so stay hydrated!!!
  10. Food Allergies - It is possible to have a food allergy that you are unaware of. If you are unsure of what the cause could be, I suggest keeping a food journal to help figure out the culprit!

 

Other Helpful Remedies:

  • Probiotics: good bacteria that will help balance out your system.
  • Herbs & spices: peppermint, ginger, dandelion, fennel, dill, and chamomile.
  • Light exercise: go for a walk after a meal. Exercise to keep your body moving along properly.
  • Do not lay down after eating
  • Loose clothing during times of discomfort

 

It may seem complicated and a bit frustrating trying to figure out the cause of your discomfort. Through trial and error (and patience) I was able to figure out how to beat the bloat. I still get bloated and feel discomfort ( what can i say, I love soda) but now I know my triggers and what to do when it occurs. As always, seek a doctor or medical attention if pain persists and does not seem to get better.

How To Stay Healthy And Fit While Traveling

Crush-Fitness-Travel-Tips-Adrienne

 

One of the hardest things to do when it comes to sticking to a healthy routine is not falling off the wagon while traveling. I travel often for work and it’s always a challenge to find time to workout, eat healthy and get rest. I recently traveled to Las Vegas for a conference and decided to share my top tips for traveling fit so that it can help some of you next time you go on a trip. If you can prepare ahead of time you should be able to remain consistent even when much of your everyday routine is turned upside down. By the way if you plan a trip to Vegas check out www.Vegas.com for some great deals on fit things you can do while in town!

 Crush-Fitness-Travel-Tips-Adrienne

Packing is one of my least favorite things to do in the entire world and it gives me some anxiety no matter how prepared I think I am or how much time I give myself to get the task done. One thing that I make sure to always do is allow myself 2-3 hours of alone time to get everything packed. I never want to forget anything and that can happen when you are in a rush or if you are distracted, so I usually have my husband go out for a few hours so I can get packing done. Let’s get right on into what I put in my suitcase as well as purse and carry on bag.

 

What I pack:
Crush-Fitness-Travel-Tips-Adrienne

 

Fitness Gear: no matter how little time I have while traveling I always make time to stay active. Whenever I go on vacation or a work trip I make sure to find out if the place that I am staying has a gym on site. Most hotels thankfully have gyms on the premises, but I always include that as a filter option when looking for lodging. I usually always book my hotels on Expedia which has this filter and makes things super easy to narrow down my selection. I pack a pair of sneakers that are comfortable for training indoors and outdoors. If the weather is nice I will go outdoors for a run and do some plyometrics so I pack sneakers that are good for both running and lifting. This trip I am packing my Nike Juvenate which are very light and comfortable and these new wine colored Nike Air Max.

 Crush-Fitness-Travel-Tips-Adrienne

I also pack at least 2 pairs of Nike Pro workout shorts and one pair of workout pants because I never know what the weather will be like. I also pack 2 sports bras, socks, a zip up Nike pull over if it’s cooler outside and some tank tops. I also pack a hat so that it is easy to just get up early and throw that on and go get a workout in.

 Crush-Fitness-Travel-Tips-Adrienne

Supplements: I am a creature of habit and always need my pre-workout to get a lifting session or workout in. I pack my C4 Ripped with me to travel, but I don’t bring a shaker bottle to save space in my luggage and just add the powder to a water bottle or do a shot of it in a cup in the hotel room. I use 1.5 scoops and then drink water with BCAA powder during my workout. Due to the size of my BCAA powders sometimes I will skip bringing it with me and traveling with a ziplock bag filled with white powder isn’t such a good idea to TSA, lol. I also bring a few capsules of Quadra Lean thermogenic for energy to take 1 before my workout and for night time before bed I take 2 capsules of True Athlete ZMA which helps me to sleep really well and recover overnight. If you don’t pack a pre-workout you can have some black coffee before a workout to give you a bit of energy. I use a pill case to pack all of my daily vitamins and bring that with me when I travel. I never miss a day taking any of these supplements.

Crush-Fitness-Travel-Tips-Adrienne 

Crush-Fitness-Travel-Tips-Adrienne

Healthy Snacks: airport are notorious for being terrible for healthy eating. The good news is most of the convenience stores in the airport terminals are getting better about having more fresh and healthy options. I suggest packing your own snacks to save money and also have more than enough food so that you don’t need to feel impulsive and buy the junk they sell. It’s easy to buy chips and other bad for you snacks when you have nothing packed in your bag. I always pack almonds, protein bars, beef jerky or other jerky and that helps me to stay on track.

Crush-Fitness-Travel-Tips-Adrienne 

I put a ton in my checked back to have in the hotel room whenever I need a snack or in between meal fuel, but I also pack a few in my purse to have on long flights. I usually bring D’s Naturals No Cow Bars, Ostrim jerky sticks, Power Crunch bars or a single serve Lenny & Larry’s cookie if I need to manage a sweet tooth. I also love the Justin’s almond and peanut butter single packs for easy consumption too.

 Crush-Fitness-Travel-Tips-Adrienne

Stevia Packets: when I travel I tend to drink a lot of coffee. The early hour flights, always being on the go and just needing some caffeine means I need to pack natural sugar packs with me. I put a ton of stevia packets in my purse since most coffee shops and stands only have equal, splenda and white sugar. Now that I only use stevia in all of my coffee I just can’t use anything else so I pack those at all times in my purse to keep on hand whenever I grab a coffee.

 Crush-Fitness-Travel-Tips-Adrienne

Headphones, Book & Music Player: I can’t workout without music to get me pumped and energized throughout my workout so I always pack a pair of apple ear buds or if I have enough room in my suitcase I put in my solo Beats by Dre. I also pack my old school iPod which has tons of music on it for the flight or workouts. I bring a book or buy a book in the airport to entertain me while doing cardio and on the flights.

 Crush-Fitness-Travel-Tips-Adrienne

How to eat Healthy While Traveling:

When it comes to eating out it’s hard sometimes to stick to your normal diet, but here are some tips that you can use to make sure you don’t completely derail your hard work. Most of my meals are fat and protein only, limited carbs so as you can see above I just ate the eggs and turkey bacon; you can find ways to eat healthy you just have to be creative 🙂

  1. When eating out make sure you are always ordering foods you would eat at home. While it is fun to have a cheat meal here and there don’t fall victim to the “well I’m on vacation so let me eat this entire pizza”. Sure you can have a few things that are splurge foods but don’t just go balls to the wall every single meal. If you want to eat pasta for dinner, make sure you are eating pretty clean and healthy for breakfast and lunch. It’s all about balance, just don’t just eat yourself sick all day and night because you won’t feel good and you will have more work to do when you get home in the gym.
  2. Limit sugary beverages (both regular and alcoholic). Having a drink on vacation is normal, hell I do it when I go on vacation but I always stick to red wine or vodka with club. I don’t get things that are loaded with sugar like frozen drinks or fruity cocktails. Those are all empty calories that add up quickly if you have a few. Not only are they loaded with sugar but they usually will wind up giving you a pretty bad hangover. If you order drinks go with a red wine or a vodka with soda and skip the fruit juices.
  3. Eat most of your carbs in the beginning half of the day. I always follow this rule and usually most of my carbs come from vegetables, not wheats and flour foods. If you want to enjoy some oatmeal for breakfast or a wrap for lunch that is fine, just avoid loading up on lots of heavy carbs in the evening when you can’t really work them off.
  4. Always be drinking water. Most vacation spots are warm and you won’t realize you are actually thirsty until you are already dehydrated. Have a water bottle with you at all times. If you are drinking alcohol outdoors in the sun drink one bottle of water for every cocktail to make sure you don’t get over heated. Also make sure to drink lots of water when you are flying since you do get pretty dehydrated with the limited moisture in the airplanes.
  5. A lot of vacation spots have buffets which can be a nightmare when you are dieting or watching what you eat. Make sure to fill up on vegetables, protein and healthy foods first. If you want to have a few bites of something that you don’t normally eat that is okay just fill up your belly with healthy foods first so you won’t be tempted to overeat.

 Crush-Fitness-Travel-Tips-Adrienne

Other helpful tips when traveling:

  • Get REST! I can’t stress this enough but a good night’s sleep is essential to over all health. I aim to get at least 8 hours a night and if I have a hard time sleeping or adjusting to new time zones I take 1-2 melatonin gummies. They work well to give me a very restful night’s sleep and wake up refreshed to tackle the day ahead.
  • Find time to stretch. Sleeping in a new bed can tweak your back or make you sore so spend 10 minutes each morning to do some basic stretches to get your back warmed up, especially if you are going to be on your feet all day at a convention or site seeing.
  • After a long day on the convention floor or walking around town treat yourself to a nice, hot bath. Let the warm water soothe your aching feet and muscles and allow you to de-stress. When I travel for work conferences I am always on the go, but I make time in the evening to unwind so that the stress doesn’t effect my body and mood. If you want even more relaxation add a face mask and just pamper your face like I always do.Crush-Fitness-Travel-Tips-Adrienne
  • Don’t forget to pack your sun screen. If you are traveling somewhere warm, or even if you aren’t but plan to be outside a good amount of the trip, pack some sunscreen and apply all over, even your face. I wear a SPF everyday on my face and many makeup creams use them now. I like to use the Bare Minerals tinted moisturizers which have SPF already in them.
  • Travel comfy. Make sure to wear layers when traveling since many airplanes and airports can use AC year round. Wear a tank top under a comfy sweater in case you need to peel off layers. Wear breathable pants and sneakers. Most airports require you to remove your shoes so wear a pair that can come off and on easily.

 

What are some of your tips for traveling healthy and staying fit on vacation?

The Power of Now: Relationships

Crush-Fitness-Power-of-Now-Relationships
“Love is being.”

 

If you have been practicing the small steps from the first PON article you may find that you have been able to achieve some small pockets of peace, or “no-mind”, as Tolle calls it. You are also probably noticing that while you can achieve peace when you are alone, being around others or handling situations that involve other people, has made maintaining your peace very difficult. In this article, I will go over 5 pointers that relate the Power of Now into your relationships.

 

  1. “Listen to accept, not to judge.” You’ve probably heard the phrase: listen to understand, not to respond. That concept is problematic. If we are listening to understand, and we cannot understand the other person, then we are still in conflict. When we listen to accept, there is no need to understand. Next time that you hold a conversation, enter it after clearing your mind. If you have done rehearsing, abandon it. The only way to have an honest and present relationship is to empty your mind and listen to accept. Once you have done this, responding will not only come more naturally, you will also help draw the other person deeper into the present moment. Presence inspires presence.  If you cannot make such changes to personal relationships at first, try with simple encounters, like with the barista or the cashier for example. The only way to achieve success in relationships is to abandon drama and abandon conflict. 
  2. “Love is not the opposite of Hate.” Most relationships are deeply flawed. They rely on a cycle of positive and negative polarities. The negative side, hate, can manifest in many forms: possessiveness, control, withdrawal, unspoken resentment, the need to be right, insensitivity, self absorption, manipulation, anger, unconscious revenge for past pain inflicted by a parent or other person, the urge to argue, criticize, judge, blame, attack. The positive side, often mistaken for “love”, is a very intense illusion of wholeness and purpose, and it can often feel so overwhelming the rest of the world is drowned out. However that same positive side has an intense neediness and energy of unease. The positive side feels wonderful but never leaves lasting fulfillment.  If in an instant “love” can turn into a savage attack or dreadful grief, was it truly love? True love, creativity, and long-lasting fulfillment come from a deep inner presence. They do not come from another person or thing. True love can be felt if another person is also deeply present. What most people categorize as “love” is only people mistaking the positive side of the polarity cycle.  If your “love” has an opposite, then it is not love but a strong ego-need for a more complete sense of self. If you think I am wrong, picture the time of heartbreak that was so gut wrenching you didn’t know who you were anymore, and tell me that what you had was true love.

  3. “Playing the victim.” Believing that your past is more powerful and influential than your present is victim identity.  If you are in a relationship based on polarities and your partner fails to meet your needs, or rather the needs of your ego. You will see feelings of fear/hate arise. When this happens most people blame their partner as the cause of these fears. You then project this pain outwards toward the other person. This will hopefully cause them to change their behavior so your pain is not triggered. As you can see your partner is not causing the pain, but only bringing it out. The more exposure to the person there is, the more this happens. That is why after the honeymoon phase of romantic relationships, people find so much pain and unhappiness. The pain/pleasure cycle is an addiction. And just like any other addiction, it begins with pain, and ends with pain. The only way to release yourself from the cycle is to abandon the victim mindset. Only you are responsible for your pain, and the only way to dissolve it is to go deeply into your present moment and release all of the past and future. In releasing all of your fear; you realize that you are not your pain. You are a human being, in the being of now.

  4. “What is Love?”. Love is not exclusive. It does not make one person special. Exclusivity is not true love but love of ego. The intensity of true love, however, can vary. Love is not given, but reflected. Love is the sun, accessible to anyone. Truly feeling love turns you into a mirror, reflecting the warmth of the sun onto those around you. Even in addiction relationships, there can be moments of true love in things like physical intimacy, witnessing something grand, death, serious illness, etc. In these moments your ego and mind are silenced and your being is so present that true communication can occur. True communication is being completely present together. It is the realization of oneness. This realization is love. When this subsides, mind identification returns, pain returns, and you lose yourself again. You become a mental image of yourself and start playing games and roles again to get your ego needs met.  You are no longer a human being but a human mind playing out a drama called “love.”

  5. “Giving up the Relationship with Yourself" “Love yourself!” “The most important relationship is with yourself.” You see these kinds of quotes everywhere, but there is a flaw in pursuing a relationship with yourself. Being able to be at ease with yourself is important. Because if you are not, you will search for a relationship to cover up the unease, and then it will reappear in the relationship. Only when it does you will hold your partner responsible for it. Being at ease with yourself only comes about if you accept your current moment in its entirety. Why do you need to have a relationship with yourself to do that? Why not simply just be yourself? When you attempt to have a relationship with yourself you create two parts to yourself. The “I” becomes the subject, and the “myself” becomes the object. It creates mind duality and unnecessary complexity. If you are present in the moment you become yourself. The “you and yourself” are merged into one being. This means you do not objectify yourself. You don’t judge yourself. You don’t hate yourself. You are not proud or disappointed in yourself. This is all because the self is removed. When there is no self, you don’t have the need to defend, protect, or apply any resistance to the moment anymore. When you have reached enlightenment, or true “presence”, the one relationship you give up is that with yourself. You no longer need it.  You can just be. Once you have given that up, all your other relationships will be love relationships.

 

Ask yourself, “Do I experience peace?”  If you still experience unease in your life, why not try? Why not chase peace? It may not feel natural at first to forgive yourself and those around you by letting go of the past. It may not feel natural to give over to the present moment and abandon conflict. It will be a slow process, and remember from the first article, it’s not serious business. So laugh, forgive, and most importantly, be.