WATCH: Peter FitzSimons brilliantly stitched up by The Project’s Lisa Wilkinson question

Timing really is everything. Any hopes Aussie journalist and author Peter FitzSimons may have had about avoiding questions surrounding his wife Lisa Wilkinson’s high profile exit from the Nine Network … Read more

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These highly complex paper pop-up sculptures will absolutely blow your mind … we promise

A German artist is turning heads all around the Internet with a series of incredibly complex paper pop-ups. These are nothing like the little clowns and cute animals you can … Read more

The post These highly complex paper pop-up sculptures will absolutely blow your mind … we promise appeared first on Lost At E Minor: For creative people.


Feeling Stuck? Check Your Baggage

Tris Thorpwoman with her head down

Baggage. Everyone has some. To what extent you’re able to maneuver through it is what determines your ability to achieve the success and fulfillment you want—in any area of your life. The key is learning how to know when your baggage is what’s holding you back from living a purposeful life.

What Is Baggage?

Baggage is a loosely wrapped term for unresolved mental and emotional toxicity. The word baggage is used a lot and everyone has a general understanding of what is meant by it. Interestingly, however, if you ask a person what baggage he or she carries or how, specifically, it prevents them from being the person they are meant to be you’ll likely be met with a blank stare. You know you have it and yet you don’t necessarily know what it is, where to find it, or how to go about offloading it.

Baggage is anything that prevents you from achieving your goals and creating the life you dream of, such as:

Overwhelming past negative emotions
Beliefs that limit you in any way
An inability to get rid of unwanted behaviors
Conflicting parts within you—part of me wants to start my own business and part of me wants to stay in corporate where I have a salary and benefits

What you may not realize, usually because it’s become a normal way of being, is that your unresolved baggage is what drives every negative thought, word, decision, and behavior. Sometimes, even the choices you make that you think are positive—I’ll put off my day of self-care because my family needs me—are driven by your deeper-level programming.

Identifying Baggage

One of the most important things you can do in life is to recognize when your baggage is holding you back from being who you are meant to be. Yes, you have obligations and responsibilities but, at the end of the day, if you don’t know who you are, where your choices come from, and how to manifest a life of happiness, joy, and fulfillment, you may end up with regrets.

The ability to pinpoint the specific things that derail your behavior helps you regain control of your mind and emotions, enabling you to respond consciously and productively. How would you like to be the calm one in meetings who brings the agenda back into clear focus so important decisions can be made? How would it benefit your relationships if you were able to resolve conflicts without arguing for days? How would you like to become aware of the behaviors that need changing so you could be strong in your resolve to create a positive outcome? What if you could feel clear about big life decisions that enable you to take the next step in your life? How powerful would that be?

Knowing what your issues are and what types of things trigger you is a huge step in knowing if it’s baggage that is holding you back. Start by seeing if you fall into the traps of denial, naiveté, or not taking action.


You may like to believe that all your problems stem either from other people or society. It’s easier to point the finger outside of yourself and continue to go on about your days. This is how you deny or avoid dealing with your own stuff. In doing so, you’re able to effectively go on pretending that you don’t have any issues to deal with and the problems are all “out there.” You know you’re in denial when you’re always blaming other people, external circumstances, or the world in general.


You may be genuinely unaware that you have any baggage. Outbursts of anger, debilitating depression, or settling for less than what you want or deserve may be normal. It’s just “how life is.” A flip side to naiveté is that you may believe you have dealt with something from the past because it’s not something that is easily triggered. In some cases, you may have cleared out the negative emotions and beliefs, but it is possible that you’ve become an expert at burying them. You may be in this boat if you’re simply unaware that there is anything left unresolved.

Lack of Action, Direction, and Focus

You may have effectively released your baggage but if you’re still not hitting your goals, it’s likely an issue of not having direction, not taking action, and not maintaining you focus.

There are four primary requisites for creating change:

Release the baggage
Have a direction
Take action
Stay focused

For change to take effect, all four of these requisites must be met. Not just Step 1. As importantly, you cannot skip over Step 1. Without taking each of these steps in this order, you will likely continue to cycle back through repetitive themes and patterns in your life.

Is Baggage Holding You Back?

Here’s the big secret. If you overreact emotionally, meaning you have a tendency to blow things out of proportion, it’s baggage. Feeling anger or sadness or fear that is proportionate to something you’re experiencing in the moment is perfectly normal, that is being human—no baggage.

If you have beliefs about yourself that prevent you from going after a job you want, a relationship you desire, or having the ability to create the health, abundance, and fulfillment you deserve, that is baggage. If you yo-yo back and forth, unable to make a decision because part of you wants “X” and another part of you wants “Y,” that is called a “parts conflict” and it is baggage. If your behavior patterns produce negative results and sabotage you, that is baggage.

Moving Past the Baggage

You will know you have successfully released your past negative emotions, limiting beliefs, unwanted behaviors, and conflicting parts, when you are no longer able to access them in a way that triggers you. You will still remember a time when you felt an emotional charge but now, when you think of the thing that used to make you see red, you will no longer feel angry about it.

When you think back to that old belief you no longer have, it will seem ridiculous that you ever believed that. As you observe yourself no longer running old behaviors that used to cause problems, you’ll know you’ve established new, healthy behaviors. When you can make important life decisions without feeling pushed and pulled in different directions, you will know you’ve integrated the parts and resolved the conflict on both your mental and emotional levels. Now you are free and clear of the old stuff that was getting in your way and you’re on your way to creating a new life that is baggage-free.

If you find that you’ve let go of the past and you’re still feeling stuck, it’s because you need to have a direction that you’re moving in and you need to take action toward getting yourself there. This can be scary. Doing something new—going after a meaningful goal—can seem big and unattainable and yet, if you just put one foot in front of the other, day by day you will find yourself evolving and inching closer to a life where you are living your purpose.

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4 Ways to Break Free From Tiresome Patterns

Tamara Lechnermorning tired man sitting on bed

Time isn’t static. Depending on the situation, you may find the same few seconds to seem never-ending or lightning fast. The seconds leading up to a first kiss can go on forever. However, blink and you may miss those same seconds when you are crossing the finish line in a race.

Movies like Groundhog Day or the recent blockbuster Before I Fall feature a time loop, where the protagonist lives the same day again and again until he/she gets it right.

How can you recognize your patterns and break free from the ones that are holding you back? The following tips will help you to avoid your own personal Groundhog Day.

Live an Examined Life

Build regular reflection into all aspects of your life. Most businesses include some type of performance evaluation. Why not schedule these into your parenting, your love relationships, and your health goals. Being aware of what you are doing that is working and what you are doing that is failing is only part of living intentionally. Checking in also allows you to clarify which parts of your plan you are implementing and which parts you are not.

For example, say you decide to cut out sugar from your diet but upon reflection you notice that since cutting it out you are eating more chips. In this case, you may need to think about why you wanted to cut out sugar in the first place. Was it to lose weight, to see if you felt more energetic, or to match what all your friends from yoga did? Notice how you feel in the pattern and how you feel when you break the pattern. Remember not to judge yourself, just make reflection part of your everyday process.

Take a Step Back and Observe

Deepak Chopra describes our patterns as software of the soul. The circle of karma (action), samskara (memory), and vasana (desire) can go round and round without ever stopping if you don’t step back for a moment to take notice.

Meditation is a way to strengthen your ability to seamlessly transition between living your life and reflecting on living your life. By spending time in meditation, you silence the doing and allow for being.

I think of witnessing life like those moments in a movie theatre where something pulls you out of the plot and back into the theatre. When I am pulled away from the deep involvement of the plot, I have awareness that I am watching a movie rather than being immersed in the actual drama. Meditation helps you to become more able to transition from living life to witnessing how you live life in a way that optimizes your ability to create healthy goals and then take the steps to bring those goals to fruition.

Fall Back into Your Pattern

Knowing the pattern you want to disrupt is one thing; actually doing it is another. Understanding that you will find yourself on auto-pilot doing exactly what you said you were not going to do actually works for habit formation. If you plan for setbacks in advance, you can create an if/then plan. For example:

If I cannot control my impulses at a restaurant, then I will limit my eating at restaurants for one month.
If I hear myself yelling at my children when I have a goal of not yelling, then I will apologize to them and take five breaths before I continue talking to them.
Replace the Bad with Something Good

When you take something out of the karma-samskara-vasana circle, you need to replace it with something else; otherwise, it’s like removing an electrical connection in a circuit and leaving a space—the circuit won’t be complete until you add something back where something was removed. Your action. Figure out what you can do instead. For example:

Instead of coffee with milk and sugar, I will have tea.
Instead of getting upset when I don’t go to the gym, I will do sit-ups at home.
Instead of three beers after work, I will have one beer.
Instead of having wine before bed, I will read a book.
Instead of rushing in the morning, I will get up 10 minutes earlier.
Other Ideas to Change Your Patterns

There’s no universal way to change a habit. Some things that work are:

Modifying behavior (think snapping an elastic band on your wrist when you curse)
Having an accountability partner to keep you on track
Having a schedule; what you schedule is more likely to get completed
Pairing your desired habit with something you already regularly do
Rewarding yourself

Tell a life story where you are the hero. When you are thinking about things in your life that you would like to change, make sure you don’t behave as though you are a victim—empower yourself and accept responsibility for your behavior up until now. This allows you the power to change as you move forward. As long as you are holding onto the belief that it is somebody else’s fault or someone else’s responsibility, you won’t be able to take ownership for really truly and effectively changing your life.

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Cooking with Tea: 5 Recipes Using Tea as a Spice

Jen Stiff Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Mousse

There’s nothing quite as comforting on a brisk fall day as curling up on the couch and sipping on a mug of spiced chai tea, or enjoying a cup of green tea with a touch of honey in the morning before you jump into your busy day.

But tea can be enjoyed outside the cup, too, in ways that extend far beyond the occasional scoop of Matcha green tea ice cream. Tea, in its many varieties (earthy, sweet, floral, astringent), can be used to balance, enhance, or add depth to foods both savory and sweet.

When you shift your thinking from “tea is a beverage” to “tea is a spice,” a world of possibilities opens up. The delicate aromas and flavors of tea can add so much to a dish, without much fuss or complication. And because the flavor that comes through during the cooking or baking process is so subtle, it’s hard to go wrong while cooking with tea. When you’re experimenting on your own with cooking with tea, just follow one simple rule—make sure you like the smell and taste of the tea before you toss it into the mix.

These five recipes can help you venture out beyond the mug. Try your hand at adding tea to breakfasts, desserts, veggies, and more!

Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Mousse (Vegan)

This mousse is rich, decadent, and velvety smooth, with just a hint of Earl Grey, almost as an aftertaste. It’s the perfect way to satisfy a vegan chocolate craving and best of all, you can make it in a blender.


3/4 cup water
1 Earl Grey tea bag
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coconut cream
Pinch of sea salt
Toppings (optional): coconut whipped cream, fresh berries, sliced almonds

Bring water to a boil. Add tea bag and coconut sugar, stir, cover, and steep for five minutes. Remove tea bag.

Toss chocolate chunks and vanilla extract into a blender. Pour hot tea over the chocolate chips and let sit for one minute to allow the chocolate to melt. Blend until creamy.

Add coconut cream and sea salt to blender and blend until smooth.

Pour mixture into small serving bowls and refrigerate for three hours.

Serve as is or top with coconut whipped cream, fresh berries, or sliced almonds.

Serves: 4

Chai Shortbread Cookies

These cookies have a classic shortbread crunch with a hint of warm, spiced chai. They’re a great alternative to the plain shortbread cookies you’d normally find on the cookie table at a holiday gathering, and they pair quite well with…you guessed it – a mug of chai tea!


2 tablespoons loose chai tea
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon water

In a food processor, pulse tea, flour, and salt until tea is chopped into small pieces.

Add powdered sugar, vanilla, butter, and water and pulse until well-combined and dough has formed.

Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log, about 2 inches in diameter.

Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice dough into 1/3-inch thick pieces and place on a cookie sheet (or roll the dough and use your favorite cookie cutter)

Bake for about 12 minutes, or until edges are slightly brown.

Makes 3 dozen

Chamomile and Strawberry Overnight Oats

If you’re looking to add a unique flavor to your overnight oats, try infusing them with the delicate flavor of chamomile tea. You’ll notice a subtle floral essence that complements the sweet, nutty flavor of oats.


2/3 cup water
1 chamomile tea bag
2/3 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup milk of choice (or yogurt)
Pinch of sea salt
Handful of strawberries, chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts or almonds

Bring water to a boil. Add chamomile tea bag, cover, and steep for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, remove tea bag, and allow to cool.

In a bowl, combine oats, chia seeds, milk/yogurt, salt, and tea. Stir well.

Add strawberries and honey and mix together.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Before eating, stir in nuts and top off with fresh berries or an extra drizzle of honey. 

Serves: 2

Rooibos Sweet Potatoes

If you’re one of those people who thinks a little bit of sweet potato goes a long way (because they pack in a lot of sweetness and their flavor can be a bit one-note), try adding rooibos. The addition of tea can add a layer of flavor and provide balance to an otherwise monotonous (but healthy and versatile!) vegetable.


3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons rooibos tea (ground, from a tea bag)
3 garlic cloves, minced
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place sweet potatoes in a bowl, and toss with olive oil, tea, garlic, and salt and pepper.

Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, and bake for about 40 minutes or until crispy and golden brown, tossing every 10 minutes.

Serves: 3

Green Tea Spice Rub for Chicken and/or Vegetables 

The addition of green tea to a classic spice rub can really spice it up. The green tea adds just the right amount of earthiness to this mix, and tastes amazing on everything from tofu to chicken to roasted veggies.


2 tablespoons loose leaf green tea
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until well-combined.

Store in a glass jar and add to savory chicken or vegetable dishes as you would any other spice mix.

*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center’s Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

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The world’s most popular scissors are celebrating their 50th anniversary with a special exhibition

We bet you know exactly which scissors we’re talking about. And you know exactly where they are in your mum’s cupboard. Designer Olof Bäckström’s iconic orange-handled scissors are the most well-recognised … Read more

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