Spirituality meets polyamory, and they fall in love

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Thoughts

My previous writings about polyamory resulted in me getting quite some comments and questions from friends along the lines of ‘this is all nice and good, but aren’t you just perfectly monogamous?’ Well, I may as well am, but this depends on how you see. My first post about the topic was intended to grow some familiarity with the term polyamory, with the possible interpretations and implications. Today I will tell you more about why I find polyamory important.

The bottom line of my previous post: Polyamory is about respecting your relationships and doing your best to make it work for everyone involved. It is about being able to love multiple people at the same time and it is in no way an excuse to treat others unethically.

What I didn’t mention explicitly is that for me polyamory is closely related to spirituality. This again depends on your definition of spirituality. I could use personal development as an alternative. I’ll use them both here.

What I mean with this spirituality or personal development is the process of cleaning your mind of everything that doesn’t help you being happy; the process of truly connecting with yourself. This is the most difficult thing, but when you do progress, you will find more space for happiness, peace and compassion: for love.

You will learn to be more compassionate towards yourself and others. You will get to see others as they really are, and then you will see there really aren’t so many differences. We all have these needs and feelings. We want to feel safe and connected and if we feel differently, we can do weird things in an attempt to feel whole again.

I believe people are not good or bad. We just are. And the most important thing is to do is our best to help ourselves and each other to be happy and feel loved.

For me growing understanding of myself and others and practising to be more compassionate has helped me to feel more love for myself and for everyone. I think polyamory is a perfect term for this love as it translates to loving many. One can practice to feel more love, to direct it to others and thereby help them feel more love as well. How can this not be polyamory?

I am in one romantic relationship. We help each other a lot, to learn and grow, etcetera. It won’t be possible to be in another equally intense relationship at the same time, time wise for the least. And I also don’t feel the need for it. However, this does not mean that there is no more love, or that other forms of relationships, more or less romantic, cannot happen.

I may use the broadest possible definition of polyamory, but it makes sense to me to see it like this. Practically I may be a regular person with regular relationships, but I prefer to look at it a little differently, because this serves me.*

I like to be in contact with people and I don’t want my relationships to be defined by some standards set by our societies. I don’t think having multiple romantic relationships is wrong; it just totally depends on the context, on whether you’re being ethical or not.

So this is where spirituality finds polyamory. But the other way around? I think that if you want to sustain multiple romantic or intense relationships you are bound to face huge challenges. Intense relationships always come with challenges, therefore they provide good ‘opportunities’ to learn. Everything gets more complicated with more people involved, so the challenges posed will be more difficult.

To sustain multiple intense relationships you will have to do a lot of work, a lot of personal development. Otherwise you will end up hurting yourself and others, over and over. I think that everyone who is interested in having multiple relationships at the same time will sooner or later learn that this is how it goes. Thereby, polyamory meets spirituality – or how you want to call it.

I think we all have to learn how to treat ourselves and each other well, but having more relationships or contact with people can help us to get there sooner. It doesn’t have to go like that, but it certainly can. Polyamory simply cannot work without compassion and lots of love.

So this was my pretty belated explanation! I hope you enjoyed it. If you know better terminology or anything, you know where to write a comment.

Love!

* Just as there is no need to label your relationships, there is also no need to label your relationship views. Identifying with being polyamorous may or may not serve you. Maybe you don’t have to identify with anything, but considering the theme can be useful.

Note: In this and alike posts I may seem to act pretentious, as if I ‘get’ it all or so, but that’s not necessarily so. I’m trying to be a good person, but I have my troubles. I’m also not sure if these super broad definitions and ‘vague’ words or talks are too useful, but again, for me it makes sense somehow, and I hope some others appreciate it too.

Beetroot ‘n bean salad

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Food
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I thought to make burgers, but then I realised that at the moment I totally lack a blender or so to mix it all together. I’d use a grater for the beetroot, but lupine beans are tough! So I decided on the simpler version of a burger: a salad!

As you can see, there’s (boiled) beetroot, lupine beans and kale in the mix. The kale is massaged with a dressing of tahini and lime (classic combo!), and pepper, salt and oil (everything to taste, and to texture).

I like the combination of the ‘earthy’ and more ‘fresh’ hints of flavours. The different textures go really well together as well! Beetroot, lupine and kale are all very different. The tahini/lime dressing also makes a great addition, as it makes the mix more interesting and varied, as well as more fresh-ish due to the lime.

How do you eat your beetroot? I’d love to learn more great combos!

The art of being like zen dog

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art / Other
zen-dog-880

“He knows not where he’s going
For the ocean will decide –
It’s not the DESTINATION…
… It’s the glory of THE RIDE”

For everyone who doesn’t know where they are going: be more like zen dog. Having a goal can surely help you, but most important is being happy in this very moment. This moment is all there will ever be. So let us enjoy the ride while it lasts, instead of focussing only on future destinations.

I like zen dog as an example. Happily floating in his little boat… We people make everything so difficult. Let’s take it easy. 🙂

Zen dog post card via Really Good, I miss you post card via Flying Tiger

See also: Why your life is not a journey (~ Alan Watts and David Lindberg)

Purple kale, smoky tempeh and shoyu tofu

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Food

Today I have some pictures of and notes on kale, tempeh and tofu for you.

I already knew I love kale, but then I found purple coloured kale! I roasted it, just like I described here. Actually, I misunderstood the oven and had to complement with using a frying pan, but then I got purple kale crisps! I’m not sure whether it tasted any different from usual green kale, but the colour made me a little happier anyway.

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I brought the kale crisps to a put luck dinner and everyone liked it. Win!

To the same (Christmas) pot luck I brought tempeh, which I had marinated with sunflower oil, liquid hickory smoke, rosemary, garlic and salt. All this gave it a pretty intense flavour!

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Liquid hickory smoke (of Mex-Al) is a very interesting substance which can make all your food taste smoked! Its ingredients are water, vinegar, smoke flavouring liquid hickory smoke, colour caramel E150d, emulsifier E433. I haven’t found many applications yet, but it’s surely nice to experiment with. See the a picture of the bottle on the bottom of the post.

Here’s a picture of well-done tofu.

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It can be hard to get tofu crispy. The reason is that from itself it contains a lot of moist, which makes it hard to fry it. What helps, is to squeeze out the moist before frying. After squeezing, you can marinate it for a while with oil and whatever you want, so the tofu can (already) absorb it. Then, just fry it in a frying pan (possibly with extra oil) and be patient! Crispy tofu takes time!

Here I fried the tofu in oil in combination with my favourite soy sauce: Shoyu of De Nieuwe Band. If you get the chance to try this one, do it! It tastes great. Or: if you have a favourite soy sauce: share with me, so I can try that one too! (The package of this shoyu recommends to only add it in the end to prevent the taste to disappear due to the heat, but I did add it earlier.)

The two mentioned tasty liquids accompanied by a tea egg bird and a plant shadow sweep (right).

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Shoyu soy sauce of De Nieuwe Band and liquid hickory smoke of Mex-Al

This was today’s collection of food pics. More generally, these days I’m enjoying loads of mushrooms since my boyfriend loves them, and I try to eat mostly local vegetables, like cabbages and tuber vegetables.

Have you developed new food habits or cravings recently?

Reflection time

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Other / Thoughts

Moving is exciting and exhausting. I try hard to stay graceful and equanimous, though I get discouraged by the fact that we have to do without internet and physical mail. I want to get my shit organised but the circumstances make it really difficult. On the other hand, being disconnected from the outside world sure has it’s pros and cons. This years’ Christmas family reunions were nice and crowded, so now we can happily redraw and rest again. We can take time to reflect.

It is good to revisit your core motivations to find if you let them lead you.

Here comes one cliché December topic: resolutions. Do you have ’em? I do see benefits of reviewing the course of your life and whether you’re really doing what you want to be doing. And of revisiting your core motivations to find if you let them lead you. For me this is a good exercise and now is really the right time for it. It also helps to think in time periods or phases and cycles. For me, the last years thinking in calendar years has made a lot of sense, since major changes has happened in winter time.

Most of all, I want to be good to the world. I hardly lose this aim out of sight, however, it is not concrete, which makes it hard to accomplish. How do we make it manageable? There are many ways and there is no right or wrong. There is hardly good or bad…

My course was one of being interested in nature and following from that in the environment that allows nature to be. Everyone benefits from a healthy environment, so that became my focus. But now, even though I am 100% behind what I’m doing in university, which is my main occupation, I find it hard to stay motivated when there is so much going on outside this institution and the scope of my little research. As a result, my focus is pretty scattered which mostly leads to me feeling as if I’m all over the place but really I’m just hardly there.

So it could help to realise what matters to you, what motivates you, and based on that to choose several focus points to work with. Focus points can be aims or themes, but at least it should give you some sort of direction. The next step is to think of concrete activities for each focus point, which lead to making progress in the way you want. It is important to check back to see if the activities are in line with your (core) motivations.

This is actually the same as what I already wrote about and quoted earlier: about an article named ‘The Easy Way to start Exercising’, which is about linking exercising or whatever to your primary values. I’ll quote again: ‘It became fulfilling to him because he could see it would help him in his primary values. That’s the key to easy exercise and to life – link it to what you already love and it will become something you love.’ That is so nice! We just have to remember why we do what we do, and if we are convinced of the reason and the activity, we feel fulfilled.

Now, I actually tried to make a tree of focus points and activities for myself, according to the ‘exercise’ I suggested. I already found that taking it too seriously will not work, for there will always be some disorder in the overview; in the form of overlap and inconsistencies. Let it gooo, and just enjoy what is there.

This is what I found for my focus point of promoting veganism:

  • join more vegan activities/initiatives/etc. and motivate others to do so too
  • contribute to organising such activities/initiatives/etc.
    • choose a specific organisation or initiative to actively support
  • experiment more with different dishes/specific products
    • get more familiar with aquafaba
  • write about veganism on blog and/or other platforms
  • read more veganism related blogs and websites

Promoting veganism is already quite concrete. I also had the focus points learn more about [certain topics], learn to self-care and prepare career. They are quite doable, not to at once make a full roadmap to a certain end goal, but some actions can be thought of. However, some other important topics are missing and I’m not sure what to do with that. I’ll make some notes at the bottom, as reminders to consider them again later in the upcoming year.

What do you think? I realise that some people are firmly against making resolutions for calendar years, so they may get annoyed by posts like this. I suggest that if you do not like to think in terms of resolutions or goals, you can still try to recognise your core motivations. What drives you? I’d say this is a good exercise for everyone, as it will contribute to leading a fulfilling life.

I’d love to hear from you.

Happy New Year everyone! 🙂

Moving up and down

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Other

Dear you,

I would like to share with you how I feel. I feel stressed, tired and vulnerable. I’m in a transition period, and hopefully for the better. I try to get more organised and take better care of myself, but at the moment I don’t really succeed.

I’ve been living in student houses for six years now and I am happy to be moving on soon. Everything feels so intense now that it surprises me that I’ve managed to cope with so much chaos around me for so many years. There’s always ups and downs, though. But I hope to find more peace and quiet when living together with my boyfriend, just the two of us in our space, with only our energies. I’m looking forward to feeling more at home in my home.

There is no special reason for me sharing this, except that it brings me some peace already and I see the benefits of sharing. I hope you do not dislike -overly dramatic- posts like this. There are so many important things going on, and it’s hard to properly divide your attention. Where do your interests lie? I am pretty interested in this whole transition that’s going on, or that should be going on. The transition towards higher levels of consciousness and all that comes with it. I hope it is happening.

I see how everything is connected, but is it really? I feel overloaded and I don’t know where I’m heading. All these talks about beautiful concepts and associated feelings and does it make any difference really? Or am I just pretending to be something that I’m not? Does it all matter?

With love,
me

PS I am confident that in my new home I will be more motivated to properly prepare food and share it here, so stay tuned for happier posts! Or not if I do not manage to get used to electric cooking.

The key lime pie to all your parties

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Food
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My birthday is usually the only constant yearly pie-baking occasion (or pi factor). Other, more rare occasions are Christmas, New Year and Pi Day if I remember in time. I do like pies and baking, but it doesn’t really have priority over other things. Also, when I start searching for a recipe, I find myself easily discouraged by the need for unordinary or seemingly expensive ingredients and nuts (which I cannot eat). So I sob and hide.

But as with most things: you just have to do it! Or if that seems too hard: start doing it, with the first step! So take an easy recipe and get those ingredients. After the hard step of finding and buying you can use them forever, or as long as they last. But getting them next time will be easier, ’cause you’ll know and appreciate them. And then just follow the steps of the recipe!

Did you need encouragement for pie-baking? I could use it. My main motivation is impressing non-vegans and showing how easy it is to be a vegan. So I could work on my baking skills, among others.

So, this year I made a change: in the past month I baked five pies and I impressed 40+ people. Score! Last year I made the Maple-Kissed Blueberry Pie from the book Vegan Pie in the Sky for my birthday. This year I chose the Key Lime Pie and it was a hit! And it’s really easy to make!

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It looks cool, right? Real simple, but cool. Kinda like an iceberg, so cool. It’s even possible to hold it vertically, and to make it wobble, and it stays intact! I was impressed (and a bit shocked at first) when I saw that happening.

Further, I don’t know how copyrights on recipes work. Can you own recipes like you can nowadays own seeds? Well, we cannot own seeds, only huge companies can, which leads to horrible situations.

Anyhow, to give you an idea about the Key Lime Pie procedure: The crust is a simple cookie crust made from crushed wheat cookies (digestives, because you’re supposed to digest them + I found some without palm oil!) with more margarine and sugar, baked in the oven. The filling is soy milk (or almond, according to this recipe) with agar agar and tapioca flour, brought to a boil and heavily stirred for a few minutes until it thickens. Then coconut milk is added with sugar, freshly pressed lime juice and zest. More boiling and stirring. Then: add vanilla extract, let it cool a little, pour into crust, and refrigerate for 3+ hours to allow it to set. Serve with lime slices for more fancyness, which I didn’t do.

As stated before, the pie is really easy to make, and really tasty! It resembles a ‘yoghurt pie’, with its texture and the fresh taste from the lime. Everyone seemed to really like it! And they asked for the ingredients, ha! Agar agar and tapioca flour are such cool ingredients. And so is the holy coconut milk, of course – your best creamy friend.

I realise I didn’t mention the amounts earlier. We can have an internet search for similar recipes if you like to learn more. I’d be interested in learning other good variations! After having made this one three times, for three different groups of people that is, I am up for something different.

Also, I did make something completely different as well: a sweet potato pie topped with chestnuts! It was quite abnormal and interesting and quite nice. (Possibly I did not mash the potatoes well enough and that mattered…) It did not look appealing in the pictures, so those I will not share. Only nice vegan food, yes? It’s for a good cause.

Do you bake pies? I’d like to learn your favourite recipes! Especially when they’re vegan, do not contain nuts and are fairly simple – or outstandingly delicious. It’s minimizing effort versus maximizing deliciousness. Oh, the trade-offs in life.

I turned 24 on the morning of November 6, oh everybody is looking for a fix.

Veggies from the oven, you just gotta love ’em

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Food

Through this post I want to express my love for fall/winter veggies from the oven. Preparing veggies in the oven is such a nice way to cook: it is super easy to do and the food gets really really tasty. I find it fun, comforting and satisfying.

You just cut veggies of your choosing, cover them in oil with herbs and spices, put in a warm oven, wait about half an hour, then take it from the oven, and tadaaa: you have a delicious meal! Plus, it is super easy to make in large quantities (in so far the size of your oven permits).

And it’s FUN! You can mix and match about anything you want; it’s amazing. It’s perfect in the fall and winter days in which they’re so many root vegetables around, and in which we can get about desperate to absorb more heat. (Though, maybe put no leafy vegetables in there, they will shrink… Except for not-too-leafy kale which you have to put there once every kale season.)

And I don’t know what it is, but food seems to get more flavourful in the oven. Does science know how that works? Maybe my food technology friends can tell us. Do they also get more colourful? I like to see all the different shapes, textures and colours together so clearly on a baking tray or plate.

I’m really enjoying writing this post. Hmm, roasted veggies! So, to spread the enthusiasm: here are some pictures of recent veggie palettes.

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Sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, parsnip and chestnuts with nutmeg, cumin and ‘Italian herbs’

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Quinoa salad with pomegranate seeds and roasted fennel, carrot and red onion with thyme

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Pumpkin, broccoli, an unidentified pumpkin or courgette from the garden, and chestnuts

Do you have oven-favourites?

Not shown in my examples here: potatoes from the oven! Those are the best too. Did you know you can easily make vegan mayonnaise? Here you can find a basic recipe written on our blackboard door. If you don’t like that one, you can try using aquafaba: legume liquid. More about that stuff later, if I succeed to get the hang of it.

And there is (no) aubergine! If sliced thinly, it gets nicely crispy. One of my housemates used to serve it with hummus to spread on top. Ah but aubergine is less wintery.

Then there is cauliflower…

Veggies from the oven, you just gotta love ’em.

Well, I hope you enjoy your veggies! And the weekend.

PS You can also have roasted veggies in a curry! Like in this ‘Thai curry’ recipe here.

Introversion in social movements

Thoughts

A week ago I left early from a trainings weekend of the Dutch Climate Movement, in which up to 80 involved people came together to do workshops, have discussions, make plans and have fun. After one day I felt like I had had enough stimuli and it was okay for me to leave. However, later at home I felt a little sad and disconnected. Had I made the wrong decision? That day we had discussed how the climate movement welcomes everyone, including minorities. Now I would like to write about the minority of introverts.

The fact that I am introverted plays a big role in how I experience events like this is. Most often introversion is explained as ‘social interactions cost energy’, whereas for extroverts ‘social interactions give energy’. I personally don’t like this explanation too much, because for me the kind of social interaction makes all the difference. I, as do most introverts, highly value intimate conversations and indeed these give me energy. Meeting new people can give me energy too, but it depends on the context.

What I like better as a more fundamental explanation of introversion versus extroversion is looking at the different ways of perceiving or processing information. In her book Quiet, subtitled The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain writes that ‘there are almost as many definitions of introvert and extrovert as there are personality psychologies’ (p.10). However, psychologists do generally agree on some points, among which ‘that introverts and extroverts differ in the level of outside stimulation that they need to function well’ (p.11). This means that introverts get more easily overstimulated (and extroverts probably get more easily bored).

I’m just slightly overwhelmed and need some time to take it all in.

For me this feels really real. I do not generally process information quickly. This really depends on the information and situation, but in situations involving many stimuli I just need more time than many others. And really, people are very many stimuli. So in group discussions and brainstorms I tend to just observe and process what’s being said by others, for that’s big enough of a task for me. So I don’t really get to contribute. It’s not that I don’t understand or don’t have anything to add, it’s just that I am slightly overwhelmed and need some time to take it all in.

Maybe this is not introversion but just my way of thinking, but I just want or need to be totally clear about what the others are saying, which takes time. Often the things people say in brainstorms or discussions are not so clear; information is lacking and ideas are still vague, etcetera. Somehow others seem to manage to reply quickly with smart suggestions and such, while I am still processing the previously discussed ideas.

But really, I also just enjoy watching and listening to others. I don’t feel the need to push myself into being more outspoken. I accept myself and my preferences, but sometimes, like today, it can make me feel a bit sad and disconnected.

I really like to feel deeply connected to others.

In the trainings weekend’s workshop about non-violent communication I realised that my most-often felt (unmet) need is the one of connection. I really like to feel deeply connected to others. Often I do manage to feel this connection, but in some situations, as the one of today with too many stimuli for my liking, this is just difficult. I then end up closing up and thereby creating distance, which is the opposite of what I really crave.

In general I find it easy to connect to (other) people who care for social justice, our environment and the climate, for animals; the people who are involved in social movements to make a positive change. These people are generally kind-hearted. I’d also say that many of them are actually soft-spoken, and those kind of people are the ones I find the easiest to be around and to connect to. Just not so much in big group discussions.

So, even though I left because the situation wasn’t ideal for me, I did like being there. I think that if I would have taken some time and space to be with only one other person for a bit, that that would have helped me to connect to myself and the other(s). Based on this I was wondering whether it would’ve been good if there would’ve been more opportunity for that, but actually there was a lot of space to take a little distance. I just didn’t find my way to do so.

Importantly, in social movements there is a lot of space for everyone to do what they like the most. Apart from these social gathering events a great deal of activism is done individually or in small groups.

Social movements are not built from loud, angry people.

Activism takes a lot of analysing and organising. It is not just shouting your message to the public. Social movements are not built from loud, angry people. Every demonstration is organised by a group of individuals doing the best they can, in their own way. Organising activities requires a lot of communication, also in the form of writing emails, and promotion, in the form of writing promotional texts, designing posters, etc. All these things can perfectly be done by introverts who for example don’t like public speaking.

If you take the initiative, others are likely to want to join.

And if you want to organize a crazy action and you need help from someone with different qualities or preferences, you are likely to be able to find it. A friend noticed that very many people are willing to help and get involved, but not so many people take up the initiative to start. So taking the initiative and bringing people together is really useful! You don’t have to do it all alone. But there is a lot of space for more individual activism as well, if you prefer that. You can for example write blog posts about activism.

Earlier I was slightly afraid my leaving would be misinterpreted as me being uninterested or not social, but actually, I think most people would understand. Right? Otherwise this blog post may help to some extent. I wrote it mainly to strengthen my feelings of connectedness, to help others feel more connected and to give interested people more insight in social movements, so to make getting involved easier and more attractive. If you have questions; I may be able to answer! If you have additions: SHOUT! Or calmly write it down.

Take your time to get involved, but surely we do need to take action to stop climate change.