The Newborn Year

This is the annual list of high-vibe brands and products that I found in 2017, and which I want to recommend. I also want to review new practices and discoveries that have blessed my life, and there are many to name.

Ayurveda became a big thing for me in 2017. I've dabbled in Ayurvedic practices for years, but in 2017, I embraced it. Last summer, I took an honest look at some of my personal choices in diet and hygiene, and decided it was time for growth.

Dinacharya adds about 20 minutes to my morning ritual. Paying close attention to the doshas as they ebb and flow, and responding accordingly; ditching damaging practices like applying heat to my hair and chemicals to my face; giving my body some soothing love; nurturing my third eye through daily neti cleansing and nasya lubrication; all these changes have blessed my hair and skin - and my spiritual path. The nose is the portal to the third eye: energy enters us through the nose and migrates to the brain. I never knew what a powerful doorway to Shiva and higher consciousness the nasal passage is.

Fermented foods also took center stage in 2017. In our little kitchen (dubbed the 'fermentation station') we made sauerkraut, jun, kombucha, coconut yogurt, water kefir, and mild Korean kimchi. Fermenting is easy, fun, and affordable. Homemade fermented foods are chock full of beneficial enzymes and fresh, wholesome probiotics. I hope to explore other fermented foods in 2018.

Alaffia products are still among my favorites. I use their coconut shampoo and conditioner and nourishing eye cream. Alaffia supports women and community empowerment in West Africa; it's fair trade and gender equal, and supports the excellent Alaffia Women's Clinic Project. Their products are wild-crafted, gentle, and fairly priced. It's nice to use products that don't have misery behind their making. I've been putting the used plastic containers in our recycle bin, and the waste company has been accepting them all year. All good.

I found raw African black soap this year. Astringent and deeply cleansing, it works wonderfully with my cool Kapha dosha. I'm sticking with it in 2018. Banyan Botanicals also took stage this year. I use their sesame oil for oil pulling and their nasya oil for lubricating the prana portal. I also used their foods - namely spices, basmati, and mung dal - for kitchari. 

In 2017, I was down with Happy Hippie (, vegan and cruelty-free brand Pacifica (love their Hawaiian Ruby Guava roll on all-natural scent), Elate cosmetics (earth-friendly and packaged in bamboo infused with flower seeds, plant it after you use it!; ECOS brand laundry detergent, Hippie Pits deodorant, and Bach’s flower remedies (especially Rescue Remedy). 

On a friend's recommendation, I first ordered from iHerb online in 2017. More good high-vibe, earth-friendly products and near-wholesale prices. They also offer bulk, which is a great way to reduce packaging consumption.

In 2018, I’m trying Goddess Provisions, another earth-friendly, plant-based endeavor that ships out monthly subscription boxes of vegan treats, spiritual interest items, earth-friendly cosmetics, and more. It’s $33 a month, and I’ve already signed up for my first box in January. And if I come to discover - as I did with online grocer Thrive Market - that their values don't line up with mine as much as they could, I'll cancel the subscription. In the meantime, it all looks good and I'll treat myself to this little monthly box of innovations.

2017 was the year of Indian fiction writers Rohinton Mistry and Jhumpa Lahiri, and American authors like Joan Didion. My first new book to read in 2018 will be Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ ‘Women Who Run With the Wolves’. 

So many beautiful sisters have told me about this book, that I must read it, that it's woman enabling, that it affirms femininity and will nurture strength and compassion in my heart. Can't wait to get started on it. Environmental authors Ed Ayres, Marilyn Brown, and Arthur Firstenburg are on my radar in the new year. I'm interested in learning as much as I can about alternative energy and our world's energy future.

I discovered Soi Dog Foundation in 2017. Thailand's stray dogs keep multiplying: their suffering is hard to imagine. Soi Dog is at the forefront of rescue there. They do good work, and they have my financial support. 

On June 2 of 2017, I marked one year as a vegan. Veganism is a spiritual journey above all else. You begin by changing your diet and soon your your heart is evolving. What we eat transforms us inside and out. I've discovered pacesetters and activists like Earthling Ed, Chloe Slattery, and Amber Allen. I continue to look to other vegans for inspiration and beauty. 

2017 ends at midnight tonight. Looking back, it was a year of strong personal growth and discovery. I feel incredibly blessed and increasingly driven to pay these blessings forward. I have ideas for activities and ministries in 2018 that I won't mention here yet. My husband and I had some personal losses in 2017, and 2018 will probably bring more. Every loss is a lesson, a chance to learn and grow and be of service to others.

Our individual efforts are important. We have over-used Mother Earth. Biodiversity is plummeting. Forests and wildlife habitats and pollinators are disappearing. But solutions do exist: they're well documented and supported by science. 

We have to educate ourselves daily: neither corporations nor our government will do it for us. As a larger community, vegan or not, we should press to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. As individuals, we can change our lifestyle practices to reflect sustainable living. Growing your own food is a great place to start. Solar energy is heavenly power. In 2018, my husband and I plan to install a solar panel at our home, even though we're also looking to leave this home, to move and join a community of people who reflect our own values. 

The new year is almost upon us, beautiful people. Tomorrow, I'll be watching the awesome annual Twilight Zone marathon, drinking hot chai, meditating, poring over seed catalogs, and dreaming. Just 59 days until spring.

In 2018, let's try new things, learn, love, hope, push ourselves, dig within, magnify our minds, grow our hearts, find our compassion potential, and change the world. We'll make our mistakes in 2018 and in years to come - some of them will be amazing mistakes, some not so amazing. Each new year is immortal inspiration, a new chance to get it right. I'm already in love with 2018.

Barbie xo

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