Good morning guys! I hope your Wednesday is off to a cracking start and that your week is flowing by easily.

Reading: study notes Sorry, but this section is really boring this week. I had three tests last week (as end of semester is upon me) and so I literally spent most of the week reading over my carefully constructed (and beautifully colour coordinated) study notes. However, I am looking forward to the post-exams break so that I can really start making a dint in my ever-growing list of books to read and sharing my thoughts and revelations with you!

Listening to:The Importance of Sleep with Ariana Huffington Yes, this is another Lewis Howe's podcast... But they are just so freaking wonderful that I can't help but share them with you. This interview is with Ariana Huffington, the founder of Huffington Post, who talks about how she came to understand the importance of sleep after she collapsed from sleep deprivation whilst trying to run her company. Ariana gives great perspective on the importance of sleep for all people, whether that be elite athletes, busy mothers, entrepreneurs or students. She also outlines some practical tips on how to create good sleep hygiene and a nightly routine to prepare you for sleep. In addition to this, she exposes how our society has created this paradox in which we expect people to run like machines with very little sleep, which is simply impossible.

As a university student I can personally appreciate the sleep deprivation culture that seems to be ingrained in students, as many of my friends and peers run on less than four hours sleep per night and have been know to pull 'all nighters' in the name of study. This is insane, because sleep is so crucial for our brain to integrate and remember the information we are bombarded with each day. We know this is true, so why do we keep failing to prioritise sleep?

Watching: Can We Auto-Correct Humanity? This video is definitely a thought-provoking video that popped up on my Facebook newsfeed (mildly ironic, I know). I have seen videos by this guy before and they are always fairly confronting and challenging, but equally poetic, in the best possible way. I would encourage you to take the time to watch this video, consider his lyrics and then reflect on your own usage of social media and whether it is impacting on your ability to connect in real life.



Quoting: I woke up this morning to a friend who sent me this lovely little quote....

She lives in Adelaide and I live in Melbourne, so this quote is very pertinent to our friendship. In the past two years since I have moved away we have grown separately in big ways and become very different people to the people we were when we first became friends, but of course that doesn't change anything. I personally find a great deal of comfort and strength in this quote, as I am physically separated from many of my true friends in life and I don't even get to speak to some of them very often because our lives are very full a lot of the time. But then you have mornings like this morning, when you wake up and are reminded that no matter how far away you go, your true friends will always love you and accept you exactly as you are. That is some kind of special magic and I am so grateful for it.

Eating: Cauliflower Pizza After several failed attempts I am proud to announce that I have finally mastered the art of the cauliflower pizza base - crispy, cooked and strong enough to be picked up like real pizza. I have actually now made it twice in the past week, both times topped with an array of roasted veggies including capsicum, tomato, red onion and sweet potato, plus tahini and rocket!

A not so photogenic, but utterly delicious, cauliflower pizza
A not so photogenic, but utterly delicious, cauliflower pizza

I didn't really use a recipe, but basically my pizza based involved blending half a cauliflower and then adding one egg, some psyllium husk (approx 2 Tbsp), salt, pepper, herbs and enough arrowroot/tapioca flour until a sticky dough formed. I then spread the dough a lined baking tray and baked it in a hot oven (200C) until it was almost cooked through. At the same time I had the veggies roasting with some olive oil in a pan. Just before the pizza was fully cooked, I took it out, spread tahini over the base and added the toppings and cooked for a final 5-10 minutes.

And if that method made no sense to you at all, here is a recipe from The Whole Daily for a cauliflower pizza base (with cheese, if you eat it). Another good tip for mastering cauliflower pizza is to blend the cauliflower and then press it through a nut milk bag/muslin cloth to strain as much water away as possible. Less water = less soggy base = crispier pizza!

Pondering: We attract people who trigger our wounds. There seems to be a fairly widely accepted theory that our childhood experiences create the groundwork upon which our personality and adult life is constructed. It is from this theory that this idea about attraction stems. I was reminded of this idea whilst listening to another podcast with relationship expert Tracy McMillan on why relationships are meant to trigger us, who explained why we seem to be attracted to people who trigger us, in some way or another. This appears most often, but not exclusively, in romantic relationships. Tracy also explored the concept that when these triggers occur within a relationship that we can either acknowledge and consciously move through our residual childhood issues, or we can ignore and suppress the issues even further, thus continuing to attract people who trigger those same wounds.

I find this whole concept very interesting both in my own life and in the lives of my friends and family. Sometimes I will see a friend struggling with a relationship and it seems immediately obvious to me what wound is being triggered, and this is likely true in reverse too. Since listening to the podcast it has made me reflect on my relationships with friends, family and acquaintances and how and why certain people trigger me, whilst others don't cause me any grief. It also made me acknowledge that whilst I would like to imagine a world in which it is all smiles and hugs and happiness, the whole point of relationships is that are supposed to challenge us. As Marianne Williamson says, relationships are our spiritual assignments.

Moving:Gravity Initiative Yoga Classes The Gravity Initiative for student wellbeing at Melbourne Uni puts on weekly events that are literally everything I love in one place - yoga, fresh juice, meditation, and great vibes! I was put onto this initiative by a yoga friend who linked me to their event a few weeks ago. It sounded too good to be true; a free yoga class held at uni, run by a fabulous local Vinyasa flow instructor, with Lululemon mats provided and Pressed Juices afterwards! I went along and of course absolutely loved it. I also immediately connected with the founders of this initiative, Will and Em, who are honestly two of the loveliest people I have ever met. Having these events at uni is incredibly convenient and provides me with a great midday/mid-week stress relief when uni starts to get a bit crazy.

Last week's Gravity Yoga on South Lawn (Melbourne Uni)
Last week's Gravity Yoga on South Lawn (Melbourne Uni)

I took a couple of friends along to the class pictured above last week and even as non-yogis they loved it. I am heading to the final class for semester today and I cannot wait. If you are at Melbourne Uni and interested, head over and like their Facebook page (link in the title above).

Aiming to: get more sleep. This probably comes as no surprise, as it is a direct consequence of listening to the podcast with Ariana. Although I am generally pretty good on the sleep front, I know there is also always room for improvement. I am personally prone to staying up on screens (TV, phone and laptop) way too late, which means it takes me longer to fall asleep because my brain is trying to wind down from all the light pollution. I also know that as exams are approaching at lightning speed, now is the perfect time to establish a really solid sleep routine that will carry me through SWOTVAC and exams with ease and an abundance of energy. In addition to this, the busier I am during the day, the more I need my restorative sleep at night, so that my body and mind can relax, repair and rejuvenate for the coming day.

Really, I think you would be pushed to find a person in today's society who couldn't do with more sleep, or better quality sleep. So start with small changes, such as turning off all devices half an hour before bed or sipping on some chamomile tea before you go to sleep, and gradually you will notice your sleep, and your life, changing for the better.

Grateful for: morning meditations Towards the end of last week I 'dropped the ball' somewhat with regard to my regular yoga and meditation practice, the effects of which truly hit me on Friday afternoon/evening. Even though I know how incredible meditation is and how much better my day flows when I do it, I sometimes I let it slide... It usually doesn't take long for me to get back on the band-wagon though, especially when I am reminded of how much better I feel. This occurred for me on Monday, when I took a 10 minute break between two lectures to do a quick guided meditation. I was amazed at how much my energy levels increased and how much more focussed and motivated I felt after just 10 short minutes.

Anyway, the past two mornings I have gotten up a little bit earlier and made time for a juicy meditation before I start my day and I am so grateful for the energy and vitality that these morning meditations give to me. I swear it is better than anything else I've tried before. Even if I don't have time to do a full yoga practice, a 10-20 minute meditation makes a world of difference to how easily my day flows.

How has your week been? What are you loving this week?

Love Erica x