Oh yeah, I went there. Again. I made this cake for my mum's party, so fingers crossed that her friends like it. I'm also saving a piece as my secret santa gift for a party tomorrow night. Double fingers crossed. Or... fingers crossed on both hands; that's more comfortable. I am still on my Mariah Carey binge so please make this cake then eat it while listening to this (just wait for the chorus).
I want to talk about a new habit I've been trying to form lately. I will start by letting you know I am a very cynical, sarcastic person. I get this largely from my family, the von Euws have a dry sense of humour. In itself this isn't necessarily a bad thing; but I let it turn into judging others very quickly. Not in a serious way, but just in off-handed thoughts in my head or casual comments in conversation. I never mean anything important by them, but they are thought or said nonetheless. An example: Jack and I were in his car when he was bringing me to the airport several weeks ago and the car in front of us had a mini disco ball hanging from the rear view mirror. Jack said, "Look at that." And I responded with a scoff and, "That's obnoxious..." Another example: I was on the bus a few days ago and the driver pulled up about a metre past where he should have, to pick a few people up at a stop. I sarcastically thought, "Good job, buddy." Maybe these instances don't sound like a big deal, and in most ways, my responses were harmless. All my life I've taken this sort of judging, sarcastic attitude for granted, never analyzing it or questioning if it was good or bad. But as I spend more time with Jack - who is very calm and non-judgemental - and researching meditation techniques, I realize that it is kind of a bad habit to allow myself to have these automatic cynical judgements, no matter how casual they are.
This is because they are not positive and usually not fair. Instead of making fun of the people with the disco ball, why can't I simply say, "Hmm. Interesting! I wouldn't hang a disco ball from my rear view mirror but good for them." Or instead of negatively judging the bus driver's skills, think, "Oh, he pulled up a bit past the stop. I suppose he didn't see the people waiting." Jack has really helped me to realize how immediately judging I can seem, with the nonchalant comments I make; and this in turn helps me register when I simply have an automatically judgemental thought about something or someone. I also watched this TED Talk recently and it was inspiring for me, in terms of how we should allow thoughts to enter and leave our minds without getting caught up in them. Finally, I am also reading The Secret which essentially promotes trying to feel and think happy thoughts no matter what your situation is (there's more to it, but that's the message I am choosing to take away from it). The book talks about how positive, happy thoughts bring more positivity and happiness into your life, and negative thoughts foster negativity. So with all these things considered, in the past week or so I have been focusing a lot of mental energy into not allowing myself to manifest those negative thoughts or say those judgemental comments. When I have a negative or judgemental thought, I recognize it as such and then rethink it into something non-judging and positive. I saw an older, rather dirty man with a very... bright, unique outfit a couple days and ago and my automatic reaction was to think, "Oh God, what are you doing with your life?" Now since I am working on getting rid of this negative habit and replacing it with a positive one, I realized how judgy this was to think and so corrected my thought to, "Woah! Cool outfit, you must be a very original, independent person."
I'm trying to use this technique with familiar people and situations as well, not merely strangers in passing. When a friend or family member frustrates me (or vice versa) I try to remember to take a deep breathe and put myself in their shoes. I tell myself there's no reason I need to feel irritated, and the person(s) has an understandable reason for acting the way they are. None of us are right, wrong, good or bad. We are all simply organisms, thrown into this life by surprise, trying to find a comfortable mental, emotional and physical space in this world. There is no need to judge others cruelly or harbour negative thoughts or feelings within you.
I wanted to share all this with you because I imagine a lot of us probably do this; that is, have automatic judgements to people and things we see around us (or it could be that I am just a total jerk and the only one who does/did this). I think it is useful for us all to recognize, analyze and then correct our cognitive patterns when they are negative. For the good of your mental health, life outlook and - if you believe in thoughts having effective, external energy - those around us. All it takes is a little practice. Just a week in, I am already thinking fewer and fewer negative thoughts and thinking before I judge. Everyday I strive to improve myself, not because I don't currently love myself. I do, very deeply. But because I want to be even better, do even more, than the day before. Whether this be by being more helpful to others, developing my awareness of my own spirituality and personality, or simply finding deeper avenues of joy while experiencing this crazy thing called life. Get happy! Eat raw vegan cake!
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT and PEANUT BUTTER CREAM CAKE with WHIPPED COCONUT CREAM
1/2 cup oat flour
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Chocolate hazelnut swirl:
1 cup hazelnuts
1 cup dates
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
Peanut butter swirl:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Whipped coco cream:
Follow this recipe.
1/4 hemp seeds (optional)
To make the crust: mix the ingredients together until they aren't crumbly. If the mixture stays crumbly, add some more coconut oil or water, then press into the bottom of a 6 inch springform pan and put in the fridge.
To make the chocolate hazelnut swirl: blend all the ingredients together until smooth and similar to thick yogurt in consistency. Pour into a separate bowl and set aside.
To make the peanut butter swirl: stir together the ingredients until smooth.
Assembly: make the first layer by dropping alternating dollops of the chocolate and peanut butter mixtures onto your crust, then swirl them together gently with a chopstick. Continue doing this with each layer until you have used up your mixtures. Put in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Then coat the edges with hemp seeds if you like, and serve with the coco cream!
Alternative options: use cocoa or carob powder instead of cacao; use any other nut butter instead of peanut butter; use date paste instead of maple syrup; use cacao butter instead of coconut oil; use buckwheat flour or almond flour instead of oat flour. Substitutions are limitless!
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