THE KATIE MALA

When I think of what it means to be “feminine”, the first word I think of is fierce. Because women, over the ages, have endured and risen through the most trying of times. Our bodies are designed to perform miraculous feats. We have the emotional capacity (and relentless desire) to heal ourselves and the world. Our hearts are touched by the suffering of others. More than anything, we care.

When I think of women I the women I most admire, they are the ones that have two feet firmly grounded on the earth, with wings reaching for the heavens above. The women work diligently with passion, devotion, and sobriety. Those that take compassionate action, with a generosity of spirit that comes only from being full within. This is the kind of woman Katie is.

The first mala I made for Katie was a sweet, delicate piece of rose quartz and moonstone – but when she told me the silk snapped upon arrival, a lightbulb went off in my head.

Maybe delicate isn’t what she needs – maybe what she needs is strong. 

They say your mala will break when you don’t need it anymore – it is the end of a cycle of your life. This is the best time to re-evaluate, set new intentions, and welcome in a new one. So as I re-designed a mala for Katie, I knew something else was calling. I struggled at first with what that meant. I experimented with bigger beads, gold frills, the works. But nothing felt quite right…

And then one morning, I woke up, and my hands pulled these gemstones together. Amethyst, jade, golden rutilated quartz. For spiritual sobriety. True seeing of the self. And active manifestation. I didn’t even know it was for Katie at the beginning. My hands just couldn’t stop. But as soon as I strung the last bead on, I felt instantly that it was hers.

The mala still kept its original delicacy, but this time, it was strung on a much sturdier substance. There were extra clasps at the end to keep it all together. And I knew it was the internal re-wiring that was the most important, just as in all matters of the heart.

I chanted to Lakshmi Ma through the making of this mala. She came so naturally, so beautifully. The devoted and beloved feminine, the giver of joy, wealth, and all blessings of the Universe. May all beings everywhere be abundant and free! ♥

Om Namo Lakshmi.
Om Namo Lakshmi. 
Om Namo Lakshmi.
Prema Devi Mata-ji. 

c r y s t a l   m e a n i n g s

AMETHYST
⬩ a stone of calm wisdom and spiritual sobriety
⬩ soothing and faithful, one of nature’s best healers
⬩ inspires new creative ways of solving old problems
⬩ revered for its great beauty; the beauty of the highest truth

JADE & PINK JADE
 a gentle, compassion-centered healer
⬩ aids in dreaming and ritualistic insights
⬩ encourages one to see themselves as they truly are
⬩ calls in friendship, abundance, strength, good luck
⬩ protects against intimidation and authoritative abuse


GOLDEN RUTILATED QUARTZ
⬩ a powerful amplifier and manifestation stone
 highly psychic stone, becomes programmed with intentions
⬩ infuses your etheric body with power and divine light

Coco Cacao Balls!

When I was eighteen years old, living in a white adobe house in Southern New Mexico, I was obsessed with raw desserts (in other words: with art). We had a farmer’s co-op right down the street, and I would walk over every morning to pick out fresh fruits, veggies and raw nuts. I had a popular little food blog that I would update religiously, with a new experiment every night. I had roommates and classmates and yoga students as my taste-testers, and no one objected to free treats in class!

I haven’t made many raw desserts since. I lived in New Mexico for a full four months, the longest chunk of time I’ve spent anywhere since moving to Philadelphia. It was my first little kitchen, and, though temporary, a haven of creative energy for me. Making these little balls made me reflect on those days, and the delightful similarities of then and now. I was on university exchange at the time — studying art, film photography, theatre and dance; teaching yoga in the desert; blogging like crazy. It was a joyous time of creative expression and self-discovery. I wistfully dreamt about becoming a real artist. Maybe I could really do this all my life? But, after that semester, I returned to my medical studies (in between travelling for yoga) and put those thoughts aside…

I’ve been hungering since then for raw, physical making. The shaping and sculpting of wild messy materials, of the desires coiled up in my heart. As I ground and shaped these balls, I felt a very primal, childlike joy re-kindle in me. My inner artist is alive, and she is stronger and wiser than ever.

NOTES

I hand-ground all my nuts in the tiniest mortar and pestle (🙄), so this took me waaaay longer than it really needs to take – BUT, now I know it’s possible without a food processor! lol! This dessert literally came out of blood, sweat and tears (I was crushing the nuts so hard that I banged my finger on the mortar and pestle and started to bleed, which made me cry…) but really, this is one of the simplest and most classic raw desserts that you’ll find on pretty much every raw foodie’s blog.

I love these balls because you really can’t go wrong – I’ve never made the same ones twice, and it’s a constant ongoing experiment of whatever’s in my cupboard. All you need is something sweet and sticky (dates, honey, etc) – and something rich and filling (I love pecans + macadamia nuts best!)

THE SIMPLEST INGREDIENTS

  • 1:1 ratio of dates to nuts. Seriously. So easy.
  • Whatever fun spices and additions you’d like!

WHAT I USED
(measurements totally approximate – most of it was mix and lick and taste and see! 

  • 8 fresh Medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconuts + more for decor
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • glob of local honey from the hood
  • gogi berries

STEPS

  1. Grind all nuts in a food processor (or, if you’re still living in ancient times like me, crush ’em by hand!)
  2. Un-pit (de-pit?) dates and chop in food processor (or use a knife and cut them into teeny weeny pieces)
  3. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and mix ‘er up!! (I love the feeling of squishing dough between my fingers, but you do you.)
  4. Once fully mixed, shape chunks of the big globby ball into cute little balls.
  5. Dip in shredded coconut (optional) because it’s pretty.
  6. Add gogi berry hearts! (totally not optional)
  7. Feed to someone you love! (most definitely not optional)

Enjoy, beloveds!! And a challenge for you: if you’re not already in the practice of artist’s dates, set aside one hour this week to do something purely creative, all by yourself. Cooking, painting, dancing, whatever – heck, it can be taking a walk in nature and creating a collage of sticks you find! May your heart be nourished and happy and full. Loving you always! ♥

 

THE LORI MALA

This sunstone mala is made for one who warms every heart she touches. An earth-angel of the highest vibration, Lori came to me a year ago to attend my very last yoga teacher training. She flew all the way from Ireland to Canada (and lived in my home for 10 weeks!) to devote to the practice of Yoga — and that was the very beginning of our exquisitely beautiful friendship.

Generous, radiant and kind, people bloom in Lori’s presence. It’s no surprise that she’s evolved into a well-loved teacher, a beaming source of wisdom and light. She’s at the very beginning of her journey, and yet she’s overcome so much already. I made this mala to remind her of the sun, of the days that will come after every dark night.

I woke up this morning at 4 AM with a burning desire to create. This came pouring out me during my morning sadhana, amidst chants to Lakshmi Ma. The goddess of beauty, prosperity, abundance and love – of the outer worlds and the inner heart – arrived, and her shakti rose passionately through me.

When I finished, the first rays of sun started to creep into the sky, and I carried Lori’s mala out to our deck. I sat with delight to watch the sun rise and meditated with mala in hand. The sky turned a rich blue, with the most angelic of clouds, and a deep peace settled into my heart. The entire world felt entirely beautiful. And everything, in this moment, was right.

c r y s t a l   m e a n i n g s

SUNSTONE
⬩ inspires self-nurturance to nurture others
⬩ radiates vitality, generosity, joy and warmth
⬩ empowers the self and removes co-dependancy
⬩ sunscreen for the spirit – wards off all negativity
⬩ a beacon for childlike peace and play!

RHODONITE
a deep emotional healer
⬩ releases self-destructive tendancies
⬩ balances the soul after grief, loss, or illness
⬩ increases sensitivity to sound and music

PINK OPAL
 known as “the stone of hope”
⬩ brings peace, tranquility, and faithful love
⬩ encourages the gentle resolution of painful memories
⬩ calls on the guidance of angelic powers

THE LAUREN MALA

This sacred mala holds a collection of the first gemstone beads I originally chose for myself – jade, malachite, and a stunning chrysoprase pendant (pictures do it no justice!). This pendant is one I’ve worn on my own heart for the past month, but when my dear Lauren asked me for a mala, I knew that it was meant for her.

Lauren took her 200-hour yoga teacher training with me in 2016, and prenatal yoga classes at the beginning of 2017. Little did I know that they would be the last classes I taught in Prince George — or that I would soon be following her journey into motherhood!

Lauren is the kind of mama (and human) I aspire to be like. Soft-hearted, introspective, and inherently wise. I remember seeing her and her beloved at an outdoor summer festival we held the year before. I remember seeing how gentle they were with each other, how tender, how kind. That’s the kind of love I want, I thought to myself.

I have to be honest: I strung this mala on game night with my beloved – to laughter and light-heartedness while playing Monopoly! I felt it was perfect though, for a budding family. To infuse this mala with the energy of play. May all beings everywhere be joyful and free! ♥

c r y s t a l   m e a n i n g s

JADE
⬩ a tranquil stone of wisdom
⬩ supports happiness and harmony in family
⬩ releases guilt and self-imposed limitations
⬩ inspires love, trust and fidelity

MALACHITE
known as the “stone of transformation”
⬩ draws out deep emotional blocks to be cleared
⬩ protects from negative energies and pollutants
⬩ encourages expression and empathy

CHRYSOPRASE
 a deeply heart-healing crystal
⬩ brings a light, joyous energy to all situations
⬩ promotes happiness, self-acceptance and forgiveness
⬩ the sacred stone of Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty

THE EMMY MALA

I met Emmy when I was eleven or twelve, at my first debate provincials. We were both fiery little creatures, intensely competitive, full of vibrancy and spirit. I remember watching her speak and admiring her eloquence, her passion, her intellect, her charm. She was so damn alive and I loved that.

Fast forward many years – we had both converted into yoga teachers, had our hearts a few times broken, gone into the darkness a good many times, and crawled back out into the light. She came to one of my yoga retreats in Costa Rica, and held me like a baby in the water. This girl knew exactly how to mend my heart.

Fast forward more years – we would call each other to cry, and end up laughing till our tummies hurt. She always knew exactly what to say to me. We were honest as heck and devoted to spiritual inquiry. What is real here? 


On our last phone call, these exact beads found their way into my hands. I played with them for over an hour without even realizing it! At the very end of our conversation, to my surprise, she ordered a mala, and I laughed because it had already designed itself!

This mala is clearly for you, I smiled. And it took me till today to bead it together, but the arrangement had come on its own. Tiger’s eye and yellow jade to balance the yin and yang. 2 parts feminine, 1 part masculine. Black tourmaline for protection. And a just a hint of onyx to remind us of the darkness – and how far we’ve come into the light.

I chanted to Durga Ma throughout the making of this mala, to honour the fierce and feminine. The goddess that so embodies all that Emmy is. May all be fearless, may all be free! ♥

c r y s t a l   m e a n i n g s

TIGER’S EYE
⬩ all-seeing, all-knowing eye
⬩ encourages right use of power

⬩ a call to action, strengthens the will
⬩ brings abundance, balance and insights

YELLOW JADE
attracts fortune, friendship, and loyalty 
⬩ restores and cleanses the digestive system
⬩ inspires a sense of joy and lightness

BLACK TOURMALINE
  revered by shamans for protection
 dispels negative energies and EMF radition
⬩ grounds scattered energies back into the earth

⬩ heals on all planes: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual

ONYX
 aids a recognition of what needs to be released
⬩  reduces uncontrollable sexual impulses
⬩  encourages wise decisions

ROASTED CARROTS + BACON-WRAPPED ASPARAGUS

When Bear and I started dating, he introduced me to the Paleo diet. After years of experimenting with different food choices – vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, and feeling guilty for eating anything else but – this actually felt really good to me. It’s a little (a lot) ironic that my first food blog is on bacon, because I avoided this like the devil for years. As a yogi, it was almost impossible to eat meat without coming across judgment in every circle. People always asked me what I ate, and I felt compelled to keep a strict and “clean” diet.

Nowadays, I’m a lot gentler with myself, and I listen for what my body needs. This varies from year to year, from season to season, from location to location, with the amount of energy I expend, and the feelings I feel. When I got pregnant, I started craving grains in my diet again, and I ate accordingly.

That said — we do make it a priority to source the highest-grade food there is out there. Our meats are always pasture-raised, grass-fed and hormone-free, purchased locally and sustainably from farmers we trust. We buy small batches of local fruits and veggies, and eat them fresh within 1-2 days. Everything in our kitchen is organic and whole, and I cook our meals from scratch.

I made this little dish for dinner last night, and the pairing was absolutely delicious. Being a newbie in the kitchen, I loved how simple and easy this was to make. A quick prep, a roast in the oven, and voila! That’s my kind of meal.

bacon wrapped asparagus roasted carrots recipe

I didn’t have time to style any pictures because it was late and Bear wanted to eat (teehee), so this is all I have for you. But the colours and the flavours make this a gorgeous dish to serve at meals or a dinner party!

NOTES

The bacon is so rich in this dish that I chose not to use any oil – I simply alternated the placement of carrots and asparagus in the baking tray so that everything would soak in the goodness. I loved the garlic-y addition to the carrots, but simple pink salt will do. I read somewhere not to pre-heat the oven so that the bacon wouldn’t shrink, so I put the veggies in a little longer and let it all warm up together.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • 4 carrots, sliced lengthwise in half
  • 8 thick stalks of asparagus
  • 4 slices of bacon, sliced lengthwise in half
  • pink himalayan salt or garlic salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • half a lemon

STEPS

  1. Slice carrots lengthwise, set aside.
  2. Slice bacon lengthwise (scissors are great here).
  3. Wrap bacon like candy cane stripes around the asparagus (lol!).
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment foil.
  5. Alternate placement of carrots and asparagus on baking tray.
  6. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
  7. Bake at 400°F for 25-ish mins, or until veggies are soft and bacon is crispy.
  8. Remove from oven, let cool for a moment, and squeeze a half lemon on top!
  9. Bless it up and savour it all. 😀

We enjoyed this little dish so much that I felt compelled to document (for myself) and share (for you). I’d love to hear about your favourite recipes and dinner go-tos. Now that I’m a domesticated homemaker (lol), I need ideas for new foods to cook! Wishing you love and light and hugs and happy meals! ♥

THE KARA MALA

There is a certain kind of beauty that is seen only in the eyes of one who has suffered. Never mind the light getting in – no, the breaking of the heart is for one’s light to shine out; to be shared, to be seen. Grief is a rite of passage that sows the seeds of grace, compassion, and radical self-acceptance. And the most powerful healers are those who have walked the journey themselves – courageously into the darkness, and out the other side.

I met Kara as she was moving through a major transition in her own life. She started coming to my yoga classes, and, knowing pieces of her story, I was humbled by her courageous acts of self-care. She had a smile that radiated sunshine, a gentle heart, and a strong, resilient spirit. She reminded me of the lessons of the oyster: to turn all that disturbs you into that which is most beautiful. This is the wisdom of the pearl.

These lepidolite beads spoke to me as I browsed through an extensive gallery of gemstones. They stood out in the way they were not-quite-uniform, in the way they sparkled, in the way they owned their casual, imperfect magnificence. I held them in my hands and asked them to lead me to their final piece. Moments later, I saw the perfect stone: a banded agate, with threads of indigo and deep blue. She was full of character and rich in history, with the layers and cracklings of one who has lived.

As I beaded this, I sat silently in meditation, without any fancy mantras in mind. The hum of AUM rang through my body and I prayed for a universal peace. May all be loved. May all be light. May all be at ease. ♥

c r y s t a l   m e a n i n g s

LEPIDOLITE
⬩  soothing and spiritual
⬩ awakens sahasrara (crown chakra)

⬩ guides transition and transformation
⬩ re-organizes one’s thought patterns 
⬩ releases emotional and mental dependancy
⬩ attracts synchronicity and positive coincidences

MOTHER OF PEARL
calms and balances the thoughts of the mind
⬩ brings clarity, protection and abundance
⬩ heightens intuition and imagination

BANDED AGATE
  grounding and stabilizing
 gentle healing over time, works on subtle bodies
⬩ works on the roots of an issue instead of the symptoms
⬩ overcomes past anger and opens the heart to love
⬩ a powerful facilitator of radical self-acceptance
 gives the courage to start again

THE JESS MALA

Sensual, sweet, and strong, this fiery mala is a fierce (yet loving) representation of the Divine Feminine. I made this for a dear new friend, Jess, an inspiring mama and entrepreneur. Knowing her story, my intention was to create a grounding mala that brought physical health, passion and success, while keeping her rooted in a tender self-love.


I drank a good dose of cranberry juice while making this mala (my pregnancy wine, lol!) – and chanted to Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. I gave this to her on the night of the full moon, at our monthly gathering of moon-loving mamas. We ate, drank, celebrated, blew bubbles, and burned away all that held us back. May all burdens be light and hearts be free! Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha. 

c r y s t a l   m e a n i n g s

ROSE QUARTZ
⬩ a stone of love, tenderness, compassion, sensuality
⬩ promotes healing and bonding of relationships
⬩ dissolves fears and resentments
⬩ inspires a love of beauty

FIRE AGATE
⬩ promotes passion in love and life
⬩ awakens the lower chakras: stability, sexuality, will
⬩ encourages one to speak up and stand up

RED JADE
⬩ a warrior stone of courageous action
⬩ gives strength in difficult circumstances

 roots deep into the physical plane

A Special Feng Shui Consultation

I spent all of yesterday feng shui-ing this lovely girl’s lovely home.

feng shui, home decor, philadelphia

Feng shui, which literally translates to “wind” and “water” in Chinese, is the ancient art of arranging spaces to encourage the optimal flow of energy (qi). Lately, through the process of domestication (and nesting like crazy in preparation for Baby), I’ve become obsessed with studying this life-changing practice. I’ve been reading and re-arranging my entire home, and developing an awakened relationship with my immediate environment.

There is nothing within our home that is not wanted and beloved — no clutter, no old books, no unworn clothing, no unnecessary maybe-I’ll-use-that-one-day items. As Bear and I are both fairly minimalist (thank goodness), him having few belongings and me almost none, we both value space and openness a great deal.

This is the very first home that has really felt like a home-home to me, a real place to root down and settle into. I wanted our home to be an outward expression of who we are, and investing the time and care to do so has been such a wonderful learning journey for me. Cleaning, clearing, placing, decorating – this has all been a luxuriously joyous act for me.

So when Casey came to our home for a song circle the other day, loved our space, and asked me for a feng shui consultation, I laughed and jumped at the opportunity! I had to say yes – sharing what I love with people I love is always a win.

Back to yesterday. We spent a solid five hours unpacking and re-purposing the contents of her space to more accurately reflect her vibe. I really wish we took “before” pictures so you could see the full transformation, but I didn’t even think of that before getting to work! I’ll try to describe what I can to you though, and hopefully it’ll be helpful for your own space.

feng shui, bookshelf, home decor, interior design

We started by pulling everything off the bookshelf. This was a FULL shelf of books, magazines, old journals, training manuals, photo albums, stuffed animals, crystals, the works. A totally normal bookshelf, in other words. This was located in the Career and Life Journey sector of her space, and while it was packed with many relevant things, it was packed. Knowing how busy she’s been with her work schedule, I knew this was a great place to begin.

“Do you read all these books?” I asked her. And, like most of us, the answer is usually no.

We sorted through all her books and magazines, and created three piles: keep, donate, and trash. We saved a few of her more artsy mags for future scrapbooking crafts and tossed the rest of them. Old school notebooks and broken picture frames were out. Pictures of people she didn’t keep in touch with and unused cat toys were out. Only the things that she really loved were kept and featured in a cherished way.

We arranged all her books by colour (I can’t help it! I like things to look nice), and placed a few select items to balance out the space. Her two beloved teddy bears – one from her University, and one she’s had since a little girl. Her vintage film camera. A buddha. A squash to represent autumn. Two joyful elephants. Her Tibetan sound bowl. An arts and craft section. And a family heirloom teapot.

We carted away two boxes of things – one for storage, one to give away.

Next, we moved to the closet. A similar process – keeping only the really important things – and removing the rest. We managed to carefully store a few more things that she wanted to keep but didn’t often use, things that were taking up precious real estate!

In her Creativity and Joy sector, we took down a few paintings that were gifted to her (mostly to fill the space) and arranged a temporary wall until she could create her own. She was living a home filled with too much external energy, without enough of her own work – she’s an incredibly talented artist and photographer, and her space needed to showcase her own creativity. She showed me a few gorgeous black and white prints she had developed, and her homework is to get them framed and up. I can’t wait to see more of her art on these walls!

Her Love and Relationship sector started off as a pile of old music equipment on top of an old wooden table, framed by a three-prong light. Loose wires and extension cords sprawled across the floor, unsure of what to do with themselves. We set about creating a more intentional space for her and her beloved, to properly honour their bond.

We removed all unnecessary cords, and taped the rest down to the floorboard. The little table was given a makeover with two beautiful tapestries her mother had brought her from Mexico. We topped off this corner with one wood-framed picture of Casey and her man, and two pairs of white and pink crystals.

To activate her Wealth and Abundance sector, we re-arranged her plants and tidied up her selection of musical instruments to kept it high-energy. We made a few other minor adjustments within the room – re-placing her yoga mat and block, placing her song book on the drum, etc – but after all that, the major work was done.

We sat and admired our handiwork and revelled in the difference. We talked a lot about her personal and professional life and how much her space both reflected and amplified the challenges she had gone through. I won’t share much more than that, but I will say: it is always humbling to me how intricately our internal/ external environments are linked, and how much we can learn about ourselves through the way we interact with our space.

At the end of the day, we parted ways with a hug, both of us relieved after a satisfying day of good, hard work. I’m excited to see the shifts that will inevitably happen in both our lives after clearing our spaces – this story might have a Part Two someday!

All in all, I feel very happy to be invited into this beautiful sacred space.
May all homes be blessed and bright in all ways! ❤

 

THE JOELLE MALA

For my niece’s 18th birthday, I wanted to design a mala that would suit both her personality and her aesthetic. She’s a down-to-earth rocker chick born on the first of October, a beautiful young musician with a strong, sharp mind.

I was immediately drawn to Tourmaline – the “Poet’s Stone” – for her, later realizing it was also her birthstone! It always astounds me how powerful intuition is, and how simple all our life choices can be, if we take the time to really listen.

I chose to blend a variety of different tourmaline gemstones into this one, to activate all the powers of this crystal. I paired them with sacred rudraksha, a few funky wood beads, and a midnight green tassle I’ve been saving for a special occasion.

sacred crystal mala, gemstone mala

After giving her the mala, I sat with her and explained the purpose of malas, how to meditate with mantras, and the meanings of these particular gemstones. Wishing all an abundant and joy-filled year! ♥

c r y s t a l   m e a n i n g s

BLACK TOURMALINE
⬩ a powerful stone for cleansing and purifying
⬩ highly revered by shamans and healers
⬩ a protective shield to deflect negative energies
⬩ grounds and calms the spirit

PINK TOURMALINE
⬩ soothing yin vibrations to awaken the feminine
⬩ heals and softens the heart
⬩ inspires compassion, wisdom and unconditional love

GREEN TOURMALINE
⬩ attracts abundance, luck, and prosperity
⬩ inspires creativity and manifesting one’s creative potential

 helps to overcome emotional problems associated with the masculine
(i.e. a father figure or other male relationships)

RUDRAKSHA
meaning: “capable of seeing and doing all”
⬩ the sacred seed of the Elaeocarpus ganitrus tree

⬩ worn by sages and sadhus as a tool for enlightenment
⬩ acts as a cocoon of one’s personal energy

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free,
May the thoughts, words and actions of my own life
Contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all

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