Thursday, 7 April 2016

Rising Strong

"The bottom line is that we need each other. And not just the civilized, proper, convenient kind of need. Not one of us gets through this life without expressing desperate, messy, and uncivilized need. The kind we are reminded of when we come face-to-face with someone who is in a deep struggle."
~ Rising Strong

I'm currently reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown and BOY is it a goodie! I've been reading it on and off for the last two months or so - I tend to get really into a book for the first half and then life gets busy and it gets pushed on to my bedside table for a few weeks and then something comes along in my personal life to launch the book back into my field of consciousness again. When I re-picked up this book again yesterday I thought - YES! Why did I wait so long to keep reading this? This is ground-breaking!
With books like Rising Strong and Daring Greatly we need time in between chapters or paragraphs to process. Some of the ideas presented poke me to directly look at my own behaviours and habits and reactions and thus we need time to unravel and maybe journal or simply sit with what that stirs up within us.

The quote above is from a chapter which really struck a chord with me - "Easy Mark: Rumbling with need, connection, judgement, self-worth, privilege, and asking for help". In this chapter, Brene talks openly and honestly about her own personal stories with such vulnerability that, as a reader, you want to take that leap of honesty about yourself also - it's magic :)

She mentions that under times of stress as a way of managing anxiety we all have patterned ways that we will go to- some of us over-function and others under-function.
"Over-functioners tend to move quickly to advise, rescue, take over, micromanage, and basically get in other people's business rather than looking inward. Under-functioners tend to get less competent under stress- they invite others to take over and often become the focus of worry and concern. Many of these behaviours are learned and line up with the roles we play in our families. It's not uncommon for firstborns to be over-functioners."

Although there have been times in my life where I have experienced both over-functioning and under-functioning as a response to managing stress and anxiety, I'd say I'm mostly on the over-functioning team (yay for being firstborn!) And there are definitely times in my life where I have taken on the co-parent role with my sibling and parents!

When moments of stress and anxiety hit us like a tonne of bricks what is your instinctual response? Do you immediately grab a pen and paper and write a list of all the tasks you think can be done to restore "order"? Do you run inside your home and sit there until someone rescues you from the pain?

Both ways of functioning in the face of anxiety and fear are forms of armour to protect us. If we stay busy we won't need to feel the pain because we are 'helping' to make it better. If we don't do anything and just lean on everyone around us to fix everything, we won't need to feel the pain either.

As Brene talks about, we need to view both of these with vulnerability as opposed to judgement. If we judge ourselves or someone else judges us for having this immediate response then all that will happen is that we retreat further into our holding patterns. Having vulnerability in times of doubt and fear and pain requires IMMENSE courage and strength. To sit in the moment with the people around you and open up honestly about what has unfolded and the uncertainty of the situation ahead - that's mammoth! And then to ask for help from those people around you - that's even more scary! But it's also liberating and freeing and an INCREDIBLE asset to learn.

One of keys Brene mentions and that really struck me as something we don't value enough is the capacity to RECEIVE that help. Until I met my husband I wasn't very good at receiving help, in fact, even now I still have to check myself! Two years ago I thought I would be able to plan a whole wedding from the other side of the country all by myself and come out smiling - HAH! Nice try Allyce! Fast forward to a month out from the big day - I'm having a complete emotional breakdown trying to be in twenty places at once and still adding more tasks to my never-ending to-do list. And I'm extremely organised person - I didn't leave anything to last minute, so I thought I could handle it all by being prepared. But I forgot one important thing - to ask for help and more importantly to be willing to RECEIVE that help. Because there wasn't a shortage of helpers - I had so many gorgeous friends and family contacting me asking how they could help every single week! But I thought that if I asked them I would be inconveniencing them and knowing they were busy in their own lives I didn't want to burden them with my worries and tasks. Because it was MY wedding - so shouldn't I be able to handle all the stresses myself?

"We don't have to do it all alone. 
We were never meant to."

When I had that breakdown moment I stopped and took a good look at what I was attempting and what I was creating. And with advice and prompting from my gorgeous mother - I reached out and asked for help. I made myself open to receiving that help from my family and friends and I trusted in them and their abilities. And it was the BEST thing I could have done. Having all of them so intimately involved meant that I created a lot of beautiful memories and experiences but also that the actual day itself went off without a single hitch! I didn't have to worry or stress on the day because I knew I was supported by everyone around me. It was so scary for me to admit to them that I didn't have it all together and that I didn't have all the answers but there is no way the end result could have been so wonderful if I had simply forced my way through alone with my pen and to-do list as my only buddies.

"In a culture of scarcity and perfectionism, asking for help can be shaming if we're not raised to understand how help is human and foundational to connection. We can encourage our children to ask for help; however; if they don't see that behaviour, they will instead attach value to never needing help. We also send strong messages to the people around us, including our children, friends, and employees, when they ask for help, and in return, we treat them differently - as if they are now less reliable, competent, or productive.
We accept our dependance as babies, and ultimately, with varying levels of resistance, we accept help as we get to the end of our lives. But in the middle of our lives, we mistakenly fall prey to the myth that successful people are those who help rather than need, and broken people need rather than help. Given enough resources, we can even pay for help and create the mirage that we are completely self-sufficient. But the truth is that no amount of money, influence, resources, or determination will change our physical, emotional, and spiritual dependance on others. Not at the beginning of our lives, not in the messy middle, and not at the end."

If you haven't already, I wholeheartedly recommend buying a copy of Brene Brown's Daring Greatly and Rising Strong. My copies have scribble marks and turned down pages all over them :)

If we can take the leap into vulnerability and show our true selves to those we trust and love in our lives, then we can learn that important capacity to both give and receive help. I truly believe it makes both all the more sweeter - once we allow ourselves to be truly loved and appreciated and supported, then our capacity to do the same for others increases tenfold. And maybe we have to keep reminding ourselves of this over and over again for the duration of our life but if we have people in our lives who can help us recognise those moments and remain supportive then it's way easier than going it alone!

So jump in. It's scary to take the first leap but it's beautiful on the other side :)

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Travelling with a plant based lifestyle - how to????

I've been following a plant based lifestyle for 9 years now and as I am constantly travelling for work, one question I get asked almost daily is - how do you stay a vegan away from home?

And it's a good question!

When we are at home with our fully stocked fridge, favourite cafe down the road, a car, and convenience plus it is relatively easy to get exactly what we want when we want it. But what about when you're in an almost third world country, without your fridge, car, safety, where the locals don't even know what vegan means?

It's always a challenge, but one you can totally rise up to! It's really about being super prepared before you go. More on that in a moment :)

And plus, it's a great chance for us to stop and take stock individually of how much we rely and depend upon the 'conveniences' of home. There's often times when I am travelling in non-western countries where I find myself getting sooky over not being able to get a green juice or an almond milk cold brew coffee... and it's important to ask myself - am I able to survive without those things right now? Yes Allyce. Are there options available for you to just make the most of what you actually have in front of you right now instead? Yes Allyce.
Reality check! I am super lucky to live in a beautiful country like Australia but these people who live in this country I am a visitor in are also lucky! They have their own beauty and positives to offer and they may be different to what I am used to or expect but it's so important to make the choice to allow yourself to discover the positives of this new country! If we always focus on and wish for what we don't have then how can we discover and find joy in the new?

That being said - if I arrived in a new country with absolutely no snacks on me and I couldn't find some plant based foodies easily then I would be a super grump and it then becomes that much harder to be open to the new and exciting discoveries!

I have a few tips and tricks to share that I have learnt over the years to make the initial transition stress free for you:

  • Before you leave research the area close to your accommodation for supermarkets, cafes, health food stores, and restaurants and make a list or bookmark folder of them. Some good phrases to search are: "whole foods" "organic" "health food" "vegan" "vegetarian" on google maps or in your search engine with the area you are staying in. I have a bookmark folder on my computer for every single city I've travelled to so that if/when I revisit I already have my recommendations from the last time I went and don't have to search again!
  • Bring ALL THE SNACKS. Before you leave stock up on essentials that are liquid free, and can be easily transported in your luggage. My favs are: chia seeds, green powder blends, plant based protein sachets, nut and seed mixes, some of my fav dark chocolate, rolled oats, organic soup or noodle packets, herbal and green teas, and protein or superfood bars. Make sure you pack them in zip lock bags or in sealed containers to prevent spillage. It's not unusual for my luggage to be 1/2 clothes, 1/2 food haha but then I'm prepared as soon as I land and just focus on having fun in my new destination rather than stressing about what I'm going to be able to eat as I settle in.
My haul from Healthy Options in Manila :)
  • After you've settled in, source out a supermarket or health store and stock up on things you can carry with you or have in your hotel room to snack on so you never have to be stuck in a state of hunger with only rice as the only vegan option - oh the amount of times I've eaten watermelon and white rice as breakfast in Asia HAHAH. Sometimes I am in a taxi for an hour just to find an organic store but it's super exciting once I get there and I do a big shop so I'm set for a good week or so and don't have to travel there again.
  • Be gentle on yourself - if you have to eat a little of something you usually wouldn't back at home but you're with awesome people and you're enjoying your adventures in a new place then just do it! At the end of it all - having fun and loving times with the people around you trumps everything else. It's never worth stressing yourself out with an anxiety attack over having some egg in your vegetable stir fry. (Trust me, I've been there too). Just do the best you can! It's only temporary and your mindset around what you're eating is the more important than what it actually is ;)
    •  If I'm going to a country with a compromised water supply I take some travel probiotics before I leave and while I'm over there. I recommend Ethical Nutrients Travel Bug. I also never go anywhere without my ArmaForce! It's wonderful at boosting your immune system at the first sign of a cold or a flu. Bringing over a green blend with spirulina, chlorella, and reishi or chaga will also keep your body fighting fit with all of the good things if you are having trouble finding fresh food.

    • Breakfast can sometimes be one of the trickiest meals especially if the people you are travelling with aren't plant based and want to have breakfast at the hotel. That's why I love having some oats, chia, and plant based mylk on hand. I soak the chia and oats in the liquid overnight and then the next morning I bring my oats combo down to the breakfast buffet with me and add some nuts, seeds, fruits etc and I have a beautiful filling and nourishing breakfast with minimal effort and stress!

    Overnight oats a la hotel style!

    So it's about maintaining a balance of being prepared, and also open to adventures and travelling to find what your new destination has to offer! And plus, the one day you stumble upon an unexpected vegan delight or green juice will mean it is the BEST tasting one you have ever had because you appreciate it even more as you journeyed and adventured to find it!!!!!!

    Embrace who you are :) I love living this plant based lifestyle while travelling and when people ask me about it both them and I learn something new while we chat about it. So just be you and enjoy the freedom in that!

    Monday, 28 April 2014



    One of my core beliefs in life, the subtle undercurrent of it all – is our mind body connection.

    It rumbles underneath us, quietly weaving in and out of our consciousness and sometimes VERY LOUDLY PULLING at our conscious to remind us all is entwined.

    One of the simplest ways of looking at the body mind connection is observing a common feeling like nervousness. When we are nervous about an impending adventure we often talk about having ‘butterflies in our stomachs’ or get jittery feet or hands. So let’s break it down – we have a thought or an emotional response to something, and our brain turns that into an actual physical sensation we can feel in the present.

    To me it feels like a way of working through things. If we let something linger too long in our thoughts or repeat a line of perception regularly our mind becomes overwhelmed and in order to release these patterns a little seed plants in our physical body and if we continue to feed this with the same patterns of thinking this seed will grow roots and manifest in a physical sensation – usually of pain, tightness, causing injury or illness. Our body is fluid and can move with grace and beauty so when this pain comes along we have the opportunity to recognise it, trace it back to its conception in order to release and relax it, or we can choose to battle through, ignore it, and those roots will grow stronger and deeper still.

    One of my other favourites is a cold/flu. Both are a build up of fluid and mucous in the body (stuffy nose and head, runny eyes, throat). Water is linked to our emotions and is naturally moving. We may be working long hours at work, feeling like no one is giving us a break, and that we are stuck against a wall. We often say ‘I just need some time out!’ It is in those times that we end up with a cold or flu because we feel that we cannot justify time out for ourselves unless we are ill. The extra fluid in our bodies allows us to cry and release all those pent up frustrations and also when we are sick we are more likely to allow ourselves to be nurtured instead of battling through.

    Our bodies are so much smarter than we give them credit for – they recognise diseased thoughts in our mind often long before we do and decide to bring them to our attention so we can learn and grow and continue to be awesome in this life. So listen to your body, it will always give you all the information you need. It does not judge or act out of malice, it merely responses to the food and fuel you give it- mental and physical food.

    Sometimes our bodies just need to be recognised. All they want is for us to stop, take a moment to send them some lurve, and acknowledge all that they provide for us as we travel through life. If you are feeling pain or illness, instead of beating yourself up about it, thinking how you could have prevented it, or pretending it is invisible - take some big deep beautiful breaths and reconnect. To you. To all that you are right now. Let go of the fight and love yourself :) 

     If you are interested I highly recommend the work of Louise L. Hay. ALL of her work :) One of my other favourites is a book called ‘The Secret Language of Your Body’ by Inna Segal.

    Listen, take time for yourself to go within, and love your body and all its pain because it is showing you the path to healing!
    Namaste wonderful people

    Sunday, 23 March 2014

    A feeling of… what exactly?

    The word ‘balance’ is thrown around a lot. Most of us spend our lives constantly striving for a state of balance. How would you define balance? The perfect point where we are able to juggle our family, friends, relationships, me time, creative outlets, physical outlets… goodness me, the list could go on and on!
    But what exactly is that point? If I asked you the same question again in 1 weeks time you would probably have a different answer, right?

    I know for me the world not only around me but WITHIN me is constantly changing and what brings me peace and balance one day could throw me off the next… There is no constant answer. The only thing we know for sure is that we are and will continue to constantly change. We can fight and argue against it but as the world flows around us and as we are affected by our and others comings and goings we are changing and evolving. Ebbing and Flowing. So the only thing we can do is change and evolve with it right?
    If there is a strong wind blowing, it is much easier on our bodies to walk with the wind than against it. Same as the current of the ocean.  Once again, nature shows us the simplest way- gotta love it!

    I am one hundred percent still learning this, as I expect we all will for our whole lives! Because we are always encountering new things, people, and experiences, our bodies and psyches are having to always check back in and recalibrate. And it’s important to give ourselves the space, freedom, and time to do that. If you have gone through a big life change recently (and it could be in any area – relationship, home, work, travel, lifestyle – anything!) make sure you acknowledge that your balance has shifted and that it will take time to recalibrate and for your emotional body to process your discoveries. We are so much more than just our physical encasing and the surroundings that we can literally see. There are so many layers to our beings and experiences and they can very easily lose track of one another. Give credit to your emotional and energetic bodies too!

    Balance is a process, it is not an achievement. Even as you physically balance on one foot, all your muscles in your foot, leg, and core are fine tuning the movement and subtly changing to find the most stable position. The one where your thoughts are at peace and all you feel is grounded in your physical body holding that pose.
    So I guess we could look at balance as the process of finding the mental ‘pose’ in which we can carry out our tasks with ease, focus, confidence, and clarity…

    One of the most beautiful ways to allow your true self to take over and shine through while your thinking mind takes a back seat is through sound – music, chanting, mantras, singing – and allowing the vibrations of that to work with you to retune your own vibrational body.
    You can do it by yourself, in a group, if you can get outside near the ocean or near dense trees woo hoo for you :)
    Follow your own rhythm and sounds if you feel confident, or otherwise you can choose to chant a mantra, which is simply a repeated phrase used as an instrument to focus our thoughts. Listening to a Tibetan Singing bowl is also a HEAVENLY way of experiencing the healing and balancing nature of sound as well mmmmmmmm!

    Love and Light to you all

    Friday, 17 January 2014

    What will we choose?

    Sometimes it seems like new things are being discovered and uncovered everyday. 

    There is always a new scientific discovery, a new way of eating or living, a new promise to help you become the best you… And that's all wonderful and no doubt the people behind them are incredibly intelligent and have worked hard to make these discoveries, however I can't help but wonder- that with all of this intelligence that we have in this wonderful world, why is so much of it put to use in creating dispensable ideals?

    Scientists spend so much time and money researching the latest flavour craze, the one missing ingredient to banish wrinkles forever, the quickest way to get from A to B…

    And they do it because we support and feed these 'needs' and 'desires'. Yes they are major corporations that seem to spoon feed us what to do and think and say, but there has to be a market for them to continue right? We have a choice. We can choose not to follow. To find our own way. 

    Have you stopped and thought about how manipulated we are by not only social trends, but also by the food industry? Do you know how much time and money goes into creating exactly the right balance of salt and sugar (in mammoth amounts mind you), in a potato chip that creates the perfect saturation of flavour in your mouth so it actually overrides your neurological programming and forces you to consume an entire bag in one sitting? It's actually mind-blowing.

    This is cleverly thought out by the powers that be. There is a reason junk food is so widely consumed and that is that it is completely manufactured to be incredibly addictive! We can't wait until the governments make rulings and changes to overthrow this, they are too tied in with where the money comes from - and that unfortunately is the food and pharmaceutical industries that are creating all of these addictive foods and drugs in the first place!

    It's up to us. We need to show that we are no longer interested in mindlessly sabotaging our beautiful bodies that we only have for this one life. We need to educate ourselves, not wait until we are told what to do. We need to DEMAND change, by DEMONSTRATING that we are capable of that change. It starts with us =) 

    Imagine if all of the funding that is used to research and concoct the 110 varieties of sugary cereal on your supermarket shelf was funnelled into helping this world become a habitable place for each and every person? Or instead of using some of our brightest minds to create yet another weight loss pill we harnessed their brain power to ensure our grandchildren's children will have a planet to live in that is plentiful and brimming with life...

    In the Western world we are so fortunate to have access to beautiful land and produce and the ability to create almost anything we need - we are just so conditioned to believe we don't have the power, that we need to look outside ourselves to have a good life. 

    Please, be proactive and research exactly what is in the food you are buying and feeding your loved ones with. Is it full of man made processed chemicals which will only continue to strip our earth of its resources? Wherever you can, please make it yourself. Get inspired about your life, and get inspired about this world we live in. Because it goes hand in hand and we can't have one without the other. 
    If we continue to fuel and feed this highly processed junk food industry, we continue to show to others and the world that we don't believe we are worthy enough to make our own choices for a happy, long, and easy life. 
    Don't wait. Get online, buy books, listen to Ted talks, visit your local Co-op, and make a change with you. No matter what those around you think =)

    Shortly after I wrote this article, a serendipitous email popped into my inbox, so if you have time have a read through of this:

    Namaste lovely people!

    Saturday, 19 October 2013


    The word pain can have so many different meanings, so many different manifestations - physical pain, emotional pain, empathetic pain... yet its imagery is so strong, and just the word elicits such a sensory perception from you doesn't it? That alone proves to me the incredible power it can have over us. Why do we feel pain of any kind? I believe it is a signal. A warning. Our bodies are so much more intelligent than we often give them credit for and genuinely only want to do right by us. So if we knock back a couple of panadols or nurofens or continue to run through that twinge in our knee we are dulling our own intelligence. We are quieting that signal that there is something amiss. Pain happens when something needs to shift or change. When there is a blockage, be it emotional or physical (although personally I believe the two go hand in hand and our physical body has a direct correlation with our emotional body), and our energies are no longer flowing with ease. 

    And if we suppress that pain or dull it with painkillers it gets stuck, and the longer it stays stuck the longer it takes to release and the more resistance it puts up to let go! As we are taught in yoga, we hold onto trauma in our physical cells and our muscles and ligaments can often become tight and heavy with past hurts and negative experiences we have not fully released. Our cells remember EVERYTHING. Gosh we are smart! It blows my mind! And these physical responses show us that we are REAL, that we are ALIVE, and not just walking zombies!

    This year I feel like I have had a higher than usual amount of physical injuries and alot of them have been to do with my lower body - hips, pelvis, knees, feet. It has been incredibly frustrating and I have often questioned whether what I am doing in my life at the moment is right as I once again hobble to the chiropractor. I am feeling quite stable and all areas of my life seem to be flowing with ease at the moment so it puzzled me for a while to continually be presented with this physical pain. Speaking to Mum last night she gave me some interesting food for thought - that most of the time, we hold onto our pain and trauma in our bodies until we feel safe and supported enough to release it, when we feel we are surrounded by people to help us, and when we feel confident that we are strong enough to confront and move through it.

    Because for whatever reason at the time of physical or emotional injury we couldn't fully incorporate all  that we were experiencing and so went into coping mechanisms and stored it away until we were calm once again. I know that you all know this- we witness it with our friends, family, and loved ones all the time but do we offer the same support and nurturing to ourselves? 

    If you feel a pain, it is your signal to be still for a while. To tune back into you and nourish yourself with kind loving thoughts and words. Remind your body and spirit how incredible it is and give it the time and gentleness it is asking for. We don't need to be up and go all the time, and we certainly can't put a time frame on healing - we are all such unique and diverse people each with our own story. And most definitely I need to heed my own advice - we all feel pressure to make the most out of every moment ;)

    But what I am finding and being guided to over the last few days is that if I dive into this pain and make a commitment to confronting and releasing it, I will have released it for life and I can make room for lightness and clarity. We always emerge out the other side, sometimes it just takes a while =)

    Sunday, 1 September 2013

    Let the Sunshine In!

    Is it just me or does it feel like the air is clearer, colours more vibrant, and life just more awesome???? Today is the first official day of Spring but I've been watching it slowly creep in for the last few weeks =) and it is soooooooo welcome!

    Today I just wanted to get things done, to move my body, to clean and spruce, and spend time in the sunshine - It sounds so cliche when I think about it as the term 'Spring Clean' is way overused... but I wasn't following what I thought I should be doing, I genuinely had the instinct to move and become light again! 

    Way way way back in Pagan times we followed the natural cycles of the Earth and modelled our lifestyles around the seasons. We honoured and worshipped the comings and goings of the waters, winds, moons, and suns and acknowledged the effect they have on ourselves as well as the animals and plants around us. 

    So it is inbuilt in our genes to want to emerge out of winter hibernation and spread our arms wide once more to welcome the warm sun again - but somehow along the way we have lost touch with that.
    Air conditioning, heating, fluorescent lighting, climate change - all of this has distanced us from our surroundings. 
    It is always important to make time to get in Nature, to spend time outdoors breathing and just being, but at these pivotal seasonal changes it is even more important. We need to remind our bodies to reset, to shed what we no longer need, and find a lightness in our thoughts and energies once more. 
    Hey, if we all lived in forest dwellings I'm sure our bodies would go through this change naturally and instinctively but I live in the Inner West of Sydney and as much as I lurrrrve tree houses it is not quite conducive to my life and career at this point to live in one soooo... it is up to us to give ourselves a gentle nudge in the right direction =)

    What reminds you of Spring? Rebirth, bloom, a smile, fresh crisp fruits and vegetables, walking... take a few moments to muse on what you personally resonate with. And when you go about your day, incorporate some time where you are utilising or enjoying one of these Spring motifs. Actively seek the sun and tune back into your natural rhythms and instincts. 

    This morning I started the day with a guided meditation (I recently did the 21 day meditation challenge with Deepak Chopra and this was from Day 12). At the moment this particular meditation is FREEEEEE so I wanted to share it with you and I encourage you to jump on and do it NOW before it ceases to be freeeeeee anymore! 

    They explore the idea of the word Dynamism -  that our individual energetic imprints are a FORCE. That we get to choose the essence that we send rippling out into the world around us. We have this incredible POWER in all of us! That we can affect others, ourselves and the world so greatly with only our energetic imprint - Wow. So today on this day of blossoming and blooming, make the commitment to gently notice what the energy you choose to bring to people and situations is. And from there, find a centre of compassion to give out to the world and yourself.

    Much love and light to all!

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