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Simple Living for Beginners: Enjoying a Life of Fulfillment

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What comes to your mind when you hear the words simple living? Living in a cave, without your favorite gadgets or the Internet? Cooking with firewood? Well, relax, you got it all wrong, but maybe closer.

If living in tiny homes off the grid is not your cup of tea, today, we’ll share with you other ways you can achieve simple living within your limits. We will also discuss how this new lifestyle will be beneficial to you and our society at large.

But first;  

What Is Simple Living?

Let me start by clearing the myths. Simple living is not about having very few items or living in a home without furniture. Not at all! You start your simple living journey by identifying what adds value to your life, and what makes you happy. Then you start doing away with the clutter that distracts you from focusing on what you enjoy most.

So Why Is It Becoming Essential for Modern People to Switch to a Simple Life?

We will answer this by first asking you a simple question: Why do you wake up very early each morning and retire to bed late in the evening? You’re probably thinking, I’ve got bills to pay, I want to drive the latest jeep, my kids need to go to the best schools and the list is endless, right?

Now, this is what the modern lifestyle has preconditioned us to believe.

That’s why depression and suicide are on a high rise especially in this era of social media. We’re also experiencing high levels of environmental degradation because eventually, manufacturing companies have to keep up with all these demands.

So how do you detach yourself from the crowd?

How To Start A Simple Living Lifestyle: Beginner Friendly Tips

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#1: Identify Your Motive

First, it’s important that you understand your motivation or the reason you need to change your current lifestyle. Are you trying to save more money, or creating space, or reducing the clean-up burden? Hang on to that thought because change is not always easy. However, understanding your reasons makes the transition smoother. 

#2: Set Goals

You don’t just wake up one day and trash all your belongings. Or delete all your phone apps. You will get overwhelmed with emotions. But with reasonable goals, you can start say with your purse. Sort out the old receipts. Then transition to your office. Next to your closet, and eventually your kitchen pantry. Before you know it, your entire home will be fitting your new lifestyle.

#3: Create New Habits

After decluttering, the last thing you want is to start bringing in new things. Are you addicted to books? Create a habit of reading in the library or install a reading app. The latter is not really advisable because now your phone becomes the new home of clutter. However, for the lovers of books living in remote areas, it’s a better option.

Start a meditation routine to calm your anxiety instead of resulting in negative countermeasures. Changing your lifestyle can be stressful and it’s even worse when the people around you don’t understand or appreciate it. Luckily, it is most important when you’re just getting started. After you fully transition to simple living, your anxiety naturally disappears.

Similarly, join a gym instead of creating a fitness room full of gym equipment in your home. See, we all get excited at every new purchase we make. But this joy usually lasts for a few weeks because then a better gadget hits the market. So, unless you stop this vicious cycle internationally, you will never live the less is more lifestyle.

#4: The Power of Gratitude

Be grateful for what you already have. Be grateful for your kids. Be grateful for having a meal each day. Be grateful for all the small things you own. Gratitude opens you up to reality. And unless you are content and can create happiness in your current situation, you will never understand the joy of simple living.    

#5: The All Under One Roof Rule

Why do you need a toaster when you already have a pan and an oven? Why do you need a steamer when you already have a rice cooker? Why do you need a tablet when you already have a smartphone and a laptop? These are basic examples to help you understand that we don’t need to own everything.

We live in a world designed to make us want to spend more than we need or even realize. When your social media icon advertises a new gadget, you also want it. In the end, you just dump them in your garage and probably dust them up once in a year when special guests show up.

What Are the Benefits of Simple Living?

Living a simple life tips and benefits Image

#1: Real Happiness

Imagine coming home to an airy living room without all the clutter and irrelevant furniture. Or going through a well-organized closet with just enough outfits for the day. Or never having to worry about saving up to buy a bigger home because your clutter makes you think you’ve outgrown the current home.

That day when you finally get to live a truly meaningful and rewarding life. Having more time for your spouse and children as well as enough time to reconnect with your friends because you don’t have to do your laundry the whole day. What can be more rewarding than this?

#2: Financial Freedom

It goes without saying that once you break the habit of bringing in stuff into your home, you end up saving more of your income or even using it in projects that really matter to you. Again, you no longer feel the pressure to keep saving your salary in order to buy some trending designer outfits.

#3: Better Health

When you break away from doing what everyone else is doing, life stresses no longer bother you. You can simply sit by the river, listen to the birds chirping and happily wander away without feeling guilty about wasting your Saturday afternoon later.

Similarly, when you finally manage to declutter your pantry and indulge in healthy home-cooked meals, your body will reward you. And you no longer have to worry about the regular medical checkups we’ve all been conditioned to accept as a part of our life.

Travel

5 Magical Destinations to Visit For Halloween If You’re Fascinated by Witches

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Almost every culture has some concept of the witch – a woman with seemingly otherworldly powers who operates outside of traditional patriarchal systems and lives life on her own terms. Witches have been both hated and revered throughout human history. They have been loved as skilled healers or feminist icons and feared as servants of the devil and practitioners of mysterious dark arts. The fascination that witches and witchcraft hold for many of us is undeniable. Whether you are a witchcraft enthusiast or are just fascinated by witches, paying a visit to some of these magical destinations could be an incredible adventure for you.

In this article, we will share with you a list of breathtaking magical destinations with a rich history of witchcraft or a thriving tradition of mystic healing.

5 Magical Destinations for Witchcraft Enthusiasts

#1: The Village of the Witches (Village of Triora, Liguria, Italy)

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Photo credit: @pennaspuntata

The first on our list of the 5 magical destinations, is the Village of the Witches in Italy.

The village of Triora in Italy’s Imperia province is known as the “Salem of Europe.” Why is this little village of fewer than 400 people referred to as the “village of the witches” (il paese delle streghe)? The reason is part of a cruel history that subjected countless women (and men) to unspeakable cruelties.

In 1587, following a devastating famine, villagers decided that local witches were to blame, having used their dark craft to taint the crops and livestock. Naturally, they were said to be in service to the devil. Over the next few years, around 200 women were accused of witchcraft in Triora and in the neighboring villages. Many of them were tortured, jailed, and murdered, and some committed suicide.

Historians now know that a terrible drought preceded these events creating a severe grain shortage. Ignorance, superstition, and lingering paganism made these women the perfect scapegoat.

With cobblestone streets and many of the medieval buildings still standing, this village near the French border looks pretty similar to how it did back then. Today, however, the few hundred residents eagerly embrace their magical roots. There is a witchcraft festival each summer and a Halloween celebration in the fall.

The Ethnographic and Witchcraft Museum is dedicated to witch hunt events and contains artifacts from the trials. You can also visit La Cabotina, a tiny stone cottage where the witches allegedly held their secret meetings. There are also several ghost tours available, where you can even see some of the alleged witches’ homes. Shops offer witchy souvenirs and tarot readings. Make sure you check out La Strega di Triora with its enchanting artisan foods, crafts, and potions.

#2: Mother Shipton’s Cave (North Yorkshire, England)

Ursula Sontheil, aka Mother Shipton, was England’s most famous prophetess. She was born to a young single mother in a cave near the River Nidd in Yorkshire in 1488. Though she was later taken in by a foster family, she returned to the area around her cave and taught herself to make natural remedies from herbs and flowers. At age 24, she married carpenter Toby Shipton, and they set up a home near Knaresborough.

Ursula Sontheil continued her herbal practices and also began telling fortunes which she was really good at. She attracted prominent clients and even royalty allegedly sought her counsel. Her visions and prophecies, written in rhyming couplets and first published 80 years after her death, are said to have foretold events including the Spanish Armada in 1588; the Great Plague of London in 1665; the city’s Great Fire one year later; and even the Internet.

Mother Shipton’s Cave and Petrifying Well has been a popular tourist attraction for centuries. Here you can hear stories about the woman who saw the future and the well that turns objects to stone.

#3: Tierra de Brujos (Catemaco, Mexico)

Alongside Catemaco’s beautiful waterfalls and untouched beaches, the main tourist attraction is their long history of sorcery. Within devoutly Catholic Mexico, Catemaco is where Christianity and magic collide. Megan Spurrell writes in Conde Nast Traveler: “Pentagrams decorate homes in which Catholic saints are revered, and churchgoers place faith in local sorcerers for problems no priest or doctor can solve. Once home to the Olmecs, the earliest known civilization in Mexico, much of the non-Catholic beliefs and practices can be traced back to these Indigenous roots. With time, the fusion of pre-Hispanic and Hispanic beliefs has evolved into esoteric religion of its own that modern-day Mexicans call ‘magic’.”

Catemaco is known throughout Mexico as a center for witchcraft and, to the dismay of some hard-core practitioners, magic has become a big tourist draw. The town holds an International Congress of Witches on the first Friday of every March. During the event, a black mass is held at the mouth of the cave where the devil supposedly loiters. An oversize six-pointed star is set alight. Believers flock to the town to have their auras cleansed. Lake Catemaco allegedly emits energy from which witches draw their power.

Witches’ markets sell potions and supplies. There are plenty of shamans and sorcerers, mystics and healers, who practice “white magic” in the open. They’ll happily assist you in any manner of readings, healings, or cleansing.

#4: Bell Witch House (Adams, Tennessee, the United States)

This tone has been called “America’s greatest ghost story”.

In 1804, John Bell built a house and started a farm on 1000 acres, located on the Red River in Robertson County, Tennessee. The Bell family enjoyed both social and financial success in the area, until 1817 when John encountered a strange half-rabbit/half-dog in his fields. From there, things started to go bump in the night, literally – mysterious sounds, rattling chains, etc. Eventually, an entity began pulling sheets of the children, and youngest daughter Betsy would wake up covered with bruises.

John told a neighbor and they started investigating the ghost. The entity told them that she was the spirit of the Bells’ neighbor Kate Batts, who had allegedly had a few bad business dealings with the Bells. She vowed to kill John and prevent Betsy’s upcoming marriage.

Stories about witch Kate spread far and wide attracting the curious. Gen. Andrew Jackson, who had served with three of the Bell sons, even come to check Kate out. Allegedly, the future U.S. president said: “I had rather face the entire British Army than to spend another night with the Bell Witch”.

Ghost Kate continues her torment until 1820 when John Bell died. His youngest daughter Betsy broke off her engagement soon after. And then Kate left, promising to return. Some believe that Kate’s spirit fled to the nearby cave on the property, others claim she never left.

#5: Marie Laveau’s Haunts (New Orleans, Loisiana, the United States)

Last but not least in our list of the 5 magical destinations is Marie Laveau’s Haunts.

New Orleans is for sure one of the most magical destinations in the U.S. This is the place where you can learn more about voodoo and discover the fascinating world of famed Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.

Marie Laveau was a free woman of color. She was born in the French Quarter in 1801 and was raised primarily by her grandmother who taught her both the traditions of Catholicism and Voodoo. Laveau became a healer, a clairvoyant, and a herbalist. Despite segregation laws, people of all races participated in her famous public rituals full of dancing and singing in Congo Square. She had many clients from far and wide who sought her advice.

After she passed away in 1881, The New York Times obit said: “Besides knowing the secret healing qualities of the various herbs… [Laveau] was endowed with more than the usual share of common sense and her advice was really valuable and her penetrations remarkable. Adding to these qualities, she also had the gift of great beauty, no wonder she possessed a large influence… Lawyers, legislators, planters, merchants all came to pay their respect to her.”

Marie Laveau’s tomb in St. Louis Cemetary No.1 still attracts lots of tourists. It is actually the second most-visited grave in the United States after Elvis Presley’s at Graceland. Since 2015, however, it’s been closed to the public. But you can still sign up for the guided tours with access. You can also walk by her former house on 1020 St. Ann Street. Or, you can be interested in getting a psychic or a spiritual reading at Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo.

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Travel

Earth Chakras: Exploring The 7 Sacred Locations

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What comes to mind when you think about chakras? If you pursue spiritual awakening, you know that our bodies have seven energy centers, the foundation of our spiritual power. Also, these energy focal points allow energy to run through them to create harmony between the physical body, mind, and spirit. However, did you know that our planet earth has its own set of chakras, viewed as sacred locations around the world? Yes, like our body chakras, seven earth chakras align us with the earth’s magnetic core.

Why Are Earth Chakras Important to Us?

Chakras are a vital aspect for anyone practicing yoga or active in pursuing their spiritual journey. The upper chakras control spirituality, while the lower chakras control materiality. They line up to facilitate the flow of our chi through the body.

In contrast, any blockage or imbalance of one or more of the chakras can cause emotional or physical illness. Attaining a spiritual awakening requires our bodies to be in harmony with the universe. In addition, knowing the earth chakras helps us connect with them either by visiting these locations or using crystals, or looking at their photos when doing yoga, or visualizing them during meditation.

The 7 Earth Chakras

#1: The Root Chakra: Mount Shasta, California, USA

Mount Shasta Earth Chakra Image

The Root chakra, also called Muladhara, is our source of stability and security. Symbolized by the lotus flower with four petals in red or pink colors, it is at the base of the spine. This chakra grounds us and gives us a solid foundation to withstand such life challenges.

Likewise, the Root chakra on earth is at Mount Shasta in California, USA. Often referred to as the Alchemy of Stability, the mountain is a dormant volcano with healing powers and a spiritual connection. Since ancient times, the Native Americans and anyone else visiting this sacred place could sense its energy as they near it.

#2: The Sacral Chakra: Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca in Peru Image

The Sacral chakra or Svadhisthana controls our sense of creativity, confidence, and desire. It has the tangential circles of the lotus flower petals in vibrant orange color for its symbol. Plus, it is associated with the water element and is located above the pubic bone and below the navel. This second primary chakra serves as the energy center for pleasure and attaining fulfillment in life.

Now, the Sacral Chakra of the earth is at Lake Titicaca on the border of Bolivia and Peru. Like the body sacral chakra, this sacred site has masculine and feminine qualities, forming the core for self-expression and creativity. As per Artisan Farmacy, Lake Titicaca may have been the birthplace of mythological royalty. Lake Titicaca is easily accessible and navigable by boat.

#3: The Solar Plexus Chakra: Uluru, Australia

Uluru Australia Earth Chakra Image

The third primary chakra is the Solar Plexus or Manipura, depicted in yellow color. Located in the upper abdomen, it controls our self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem. This chakra develops when we attain 15 years to 21 years.

Uluru or Ayers Rock is a massive desert rock and a World Heritage Site located in Australia. It dates back to 600 million years ago and emits powerful energy that attracts visitors each year. In turn, the rock face remains sacred to indigenous Australians, where the Anangu people hold their traditional customs.

#4: The Heart Chakra: Glastonbury & Shaftesbury, England

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The Heart Chakra or Anahata acts as the bridge between the upper and the lower chakras. Hence, it is located at the center of the chest and takes on the color green. Anahata controls our ability to give and receive love, joy, and inner peace.

Likewise, Mother Earth’s Heart Chakra is at Glastonbury and Shaftesbury in England. Like the body’s heart chakra, we associate this earth chakra with giving, forgiveness, compassion, and love.

#5: The Throat Chakra: The Great Pyramids of Giza & Mount of Olives, Egypt

Pyramid of Giza Earth Chakras Image

The Throat Chakra or Vishuddha is at the throat. It controls our ability to express our feelings. Consequently, if you have a blocked throat chakra, you may struggle to express your true feelings about yourself or those you love.

Similarly, the earth’s Throat Chakra is at the Great Pyramids of Giza and Mount of Olives in Egypt. It is associated with speaking and seeking the truth, self-expression, and overall communication. The site emits such powerful energies that Pharaoh Khufu honored it by building his tomb there in 4,600 B.C.

#6: The Third Eye Chakra: Currently at Glastonbury

Ajna or the Third Eye Chakra is at the center of the head, parallel to the eyebrows. It controls our perception, spiritual communication, and overall awareness. This chakra is the key to spiritual connection when you lack wisdom and insight.

Now, the universe’s third eye chakra has no permanent location. It shifts by 1/12th of the earth every 2,000 years. It is associated with attaining a deep spiritual connection, intelligence, and intuition.

#7: The Crown Chakra: Mount Kailash

Holy Mount Kailash Image

Sahasrara or the crown chakra is at the top of the head. It serves as the meeting point between our mortal bodies and the soul and universe. As the highest chakra, it controls our spiritual connections and inner and outer beauty. Through it, we can achieve our divine consciousness, enlightenment, and awareness.

In contrast, any blockage at the crown chakra causes physical imbalance and confusion. Crown chakra uses the symbol of a thousand-petaled lotus flower in violet or white colors.

Now, when you seek wisdom, divine guidance, understanding, and cosmic consciousness, visit the Crown Chakra of the earth at Mount Kailash. It is the most sacred mountain in the Himalayas, standing at 22,000 feet high. It is here that the local Tibetans and visitors connect to the spiritual power. Still, you can tap this spiritual connection by arranging Himalayas Salt Lamps, Clear Quartz crystals, or essential oils as you meditate.

Conclusion

The earth chakras are the energy reservoirs of Mother Earth. They attract pilgrims, tourists, and locals for reasons that we can’t explain. Knowing the location of the seven earth chakras is crucial in aligning our chakras to those of Mother Earth. It helps us achieve the harmony necessary for spiritual growth.

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recipes

A Vegan Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Recipe on a Budget

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Pumpkin smoothies are delicious. We spice the traditional smoothie to make a refreshing vegan pumpkin spice smoothie. This is an easy to make recipe, and I will make use of locally available ingredients this season. Let’s get started!

The Ingredients

  • Pumpkin – The Orange Squash is perfect for this recipe
  • A banana – To act as the smoothie base
  • 1-cup non-dairy milk – I prefer almond milk although coconut milk and soymilk will do just fine
  • ½-cup ice cubes
  • 1-tablespoon maple syrup to sweeten

The spices:

  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Procedure

Pre-boil the pumpkin until tender and puree. We will use just 1 cup of this puree in our recipe.

Add the rest of the ingredients in the blender and puree until smooth.

Garnish with freshly ground cinnamon and enjoy your vegan pumpkin spice smoothie.

This recipe serves two. You can double or triple the ingredients quantities for additional servings.

For That Extra Oomph

I like to add chopped nuts for a crunchy texture. Walnuts and pecans go particularly well with pumpkin.

Feel free to experiment with different spices but don’t go overboard. Pumpkin is rather mild in taste, and too much spice will overpower the flavor. In addition, If you’re on a diet, you don’t have to use a sweetener especially with the sweeter pumpkin varieties like butternut. Ideally, maple syrup offsets the cinnamon and nutmeg spice to create a balanced flavor.

If you have trouble with the resulting pumpkin flavor, add a tablespoon of instant espresso powder. You might not distinguish the ingredients in your vegan pumpkin spice smoothie afterwards.

To garnish, add a scoop of whipped coconut cream. It looks just like the non-vegan whipped cream, and it tastes even better.

Finally, for extra probiotics, you can add plain dairy-free kefir.

The Nutritional Value

Pumpkin spice image

Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A and C, complex carbohydrates, calcium, iron, anti-oxidants, and dietary fiber. They don’t contain any fats or sodium which makes them a healthier option. To harness even more of this pumpkin goodness, dry the pumpkin seeds and roast them. Then grind the roasted seeds and add this powder to your smoothie. You can use the powder in other meals as well. Pumpkin seeds are higher in nutritional value than soybeans according to this research.

Bananas are rich in potassium, fiber, vitamin C and B6, phytonutrients, and various antioxidants. Like pumpkins, bananas don’t contain any trans fats or sodium.

The spices we used in this recipe have several benefits in the human body:

  • Allspice is ground pimento tree berries. The berries are harvested while still unripe and sundried before grinding. It is native to the Caribbean islands and, therefore, some people call it Jamaica pimento. Traditionally, allspice was used to ease indigestion, to relieve intestinal gas and abdominal pain. Allspice is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. Studies show that it also has cancer-fighting and antiviral properties.
  • Cinnamon is made from the bark of Cinnamomum tree. It is rich in antioxidants, which help our bodies to fight diseases.
  • Vanilla is also rich in antioxidants. However, be careful when buying commercially processed vanilla. If possible, buy the vanilla bean pods and use them in your recipes.
  • Nutmeg is a spice originating from Indonesia that is rich in essential volatile oils like safrole, myristicin, eugenol, and elemicin. These have anti-inflammatory properties hence ideal for treating joint pains.

The Bottom Line

I’m certain that you can now appreciate the nutritional value of our vegan pumpkin spice smoothie. Feel free to experiment with other ingredients but stick to the basics.

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