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Posts Tagged ‘heart’

Forcing the Soup

In Mindfulness, Recipe on January 24, 2015 at 3:37 am

“Be a lamp to yourself. Be your own confidence. Hold on to the truth within yourself as to the only truth.” ~ Buddha

coconut red lentil soup

Second time is the charm.

Fueled by dark chocolate coconut haystacks, decaf chai, and the Bon Iver Pandora station, I banged out this soup one afternoon mostly because the light in my kitchen was waning; therefore, my window for decent food photography was closing. That was my first red flag. You know red flags? Those super obvious banners alerting you – but only in retrospect, of course – to the situations, turns, decisions, or people you should have ran from. Well, everyone knows you can’t rush the soup; however, that’s exactly what I was doing. And the soup ended up terrible because I forced it…to be made…well, I forced it into the trash as well.

lentils colander

Split red lentils are really tiny. Like, tiny enough to fit through a colander hole.

Second red flag: attempting to rinse lentils in a colander. Those suckers are tiny. Red flag #3: I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed and was actually considering subbing goji berries for golden raisins. When a friend rushed over with her supply of raisins (who actually has golden raisins on hand?), I falsely thought “this soup is meant to be”. Final red flag: I glanced at stove clock at 5:33pm and realized that, damn it, I’d missed the sunset. I had a pang of regret that grew exponentially after a blizzard of sunset photos stormed my social media feeds.

Why did I continue on despite feeling uneasy and unfocused? I know better. I’m in tune. I’m a yogini. I don’t force things to happen. I allow things to happen. I meditate. I set intentions not goals. OK. That last part is not true and that’s where the problem lies. I had made it a goal to make a new soup every Thursday regardless of whether or not SoupAsana commenced. So…even though I was tired and had a lot scheduled for the following day and had a lot of space in my weekend (where I could make soup!), the specificity of my goal (to Thursdays) forced me to move forward with soup-making against the signs of the universe.

lentil soup - bad

Inedible. In the trash.

Perhaps I am being dramatic. A terrible pot of soup is not such a big loss. But, really, how often have you done this with important things? Like your health, your relationships, your career. We insist on things happening in a certain way, at a particular time, and we set measurable goals to make sure that it all goes down as planned. And then eventually, after enough forcing and ignorance, there’s an injury – physically, emotionally, spiritually – and you just knew it was coming. You always knew. The signs were there. You just didn’t want to see them.

Anyway, it’s just soup. And it’s also a tidy little reminder to heed the nudges of the universe and tuggings of your heart. Your ego is the one making the goals and setting the timelines but your heart can see the future and knows that timing is everything. Follow it.

I made a second attempt at this soup the following day. I tweaked some measurements and ingredients. I was more present. It made all the difference.

1 cup yellow split peas
1 cup red split lentils (masoor dal)
8 cups water
2 cups carrots, cut into rounds
2 TBSP fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 TBSP curry powder
2 TBSP ghee (or butter or olive oil)
8 scallions, only white and light green parts, finely chopped
2/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 14oz can coconut milk
4 tsp fine grain sea salt
handful cilantro, chopped

Give the split peas and lentils a good rinse – until they no longer put off murky water – just don’t rinse them in a colander! Place them in an extra-large soup pot, cover with the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft (important to test this as I charged ahead with soup-making and peas were still hard!).

chai and coconut haystacks

Dinner of chai and chocolate on the first night.

Add ghee to a pan over medium heat along with scallions, ginger, and raisins. Saute for about five minutes stirring constantly until everything is greasy and glassy, then add the tomato paste and saute for another couple minutes.

Add the curry powder (the original recipe recommends toasting curry powder. It’s stressful. Don’t do it.) to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so (this is your opportunity to make it taste good. Let it simmer. Taste it. Add salt. No texting.)

Enjoy topped with cilantro and yogurt if your curry powder had some kick!

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Opening to Curiosity

In Yoga on August 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm

0119_130502_SalmonberryMy journey into a daily, at-home, yoga practice has been long and varied with fits and starts and shifting focus. But all of it has been progress and a continual building on itself even if it didn’t appear that way at the time. Maybe to someone other than myself, it looks like a bunch of detours and u-turns but I’m just following the light that bubbles up inside of me when I practice – when I sit in meditation, when I kick up into a handstand, when I surrender to a forward bend.

Sometimes yoga feels like a struggle both physically and emotionally – but within any struggle there comes that moment of light, that burst of relief from the tension, a softening of the pushing and striving.

Practicing yoga makes you curious. You start to tap into and uncover parts of yourself that you didn’t know were there which then stimulates an interest and yearning to keep exploring and finding things outside yourself that encourage these ‘new’ parts of you. Sometimes you uncover light, sometimes you uncover dark. Either way, if you stay open and curious, it will lead you to miraculous places.

0143_130502_SalmonberryYou can start with any of the eight limbs of yoga or you can start with the most obvious, accessible, and least subtle. The asana or posture practice. For many, the physical practice is the beginning of being curious. The poses move your body in ways that are counter to it’s habits and challenge you to hang in there mentally. This physical opening, or energetic release, of the parts of your body – your hips, upper back, hamstrings, shoulders – that are tight or locked down allows something new to rush in.

A curiosity about your mind, a curiosity about your dominant emotions, a curiosity about the effect of food on your body and mood, a curiosity about the inherent beauty of nature, a curiosity about that neighbor whom you never bothered to speak to, a curiosity about your ancestor’s native country.

These peaks of interest – the places where you never realized the light was shining – lead you to take that belly dancing class or stock your pantry with new foods or pick up a different book or talk to a local artist or read old journals or ask your grandmother about her childhood or take that road trip or apply for that job or walk into that meet-up group.

The light will catch your attention anyway it can. Following your curiosity and consistently stimulating your innate knowing through yoga leads to a flowering of the heart and the realization that life can be, and, actually, always is, joyful.

Hurricane

In Uncategorized on July 12, 2013 at 10:49 pm
0230_130502_Salmonberry

Ganesha – remover of obstacles

You have finally found your calm center in the eye of the hurricane where you realize that all is love and all is waiting for you. You just have to see it, really see it, and choose.

Don’t hesitate.

All the choices and decisions of life are swirling around you in this hurricane and it’s not so hard to see the ones you should reach out for. They pause for you for just a millisecond and you see them, your heart recognizes them as the path towards your deepest desires and joy. All you have to do is reach out for them and they are yours.

All the other things that don’t serve you are whipping by at high speed and it’s much too hard to grasp on to these things and yet we try with all of our force and will. And we grip and we grasp and we cling and it still gets away.

These things that you desire, that your heart notices, can be yours but just for the moment or the day or the year or the lifetime. You won’t know and your intention is not to cling too tightly to these as well. They have their time and place and need to be released back into the hurricane eventually. You won’t be sad and you won’t regret because other things come swirling by and pause and your heart recognizes and reaches out.

All things come swirling back around. There is always another opportunity to feel it in your heart and this time you aren’t afraid and you reach for it.

Cleanse – Day 4

In Mindfulness, Nutrition, Yoga on May 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm
tea

All tea. All day.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” ~Albert Einstein

I awoke feeeling rested on Day 4, aka All Tea, All Day, and, as a I made tea and sat down to meditate, I had every intention of writing (well, maybe I ‘planned’ it…) after I got up from my meditation cushion. Instead I ended up checking email, facebook, twitter…anything but starting to write. Although I was rested, I didn’t feel super sharp or motivated. At my morning yoga class I had a deep meditative experience and found myself very present with all that I was doing and with whom I was interacting. It’s an amazing experience. I felt so full and engaged and “ON”. Like everything I’m feeling and doing at that moment is exactly what should be happening and all of my energy and attention is a laser beam to the present moment. It’s the elusive “FLOW” and I want to live there always.

As a result of my amazing yoga class, I felt very energetic and alert when, after a quick stop for avocados and lemons, I returned home and started on food prep for the next 3 days of the cleanse. The 3 days following All Tea, All Day are known as the Raw Days where I would be eating only raw fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, a bit of raw honey and cold-pressed plant oils, as well as plenty of fresh-pressed fruit & veggie juices. Additionally, I would be entering that 1/2 of my week know as “full-on, single-parenting” and I needed to have a stocked fridge or I wouldn’t eat often enough to keep me pleasant towards my children or have enough variety to keep me interested in sticking with the cleanse.

stocked fridge

Prepared for the raw days of the cleanse.

While making my raw food staples, Chakra Salad and Salmonberry Spread, I rocked out to the Sgt. Pepper’s album. Who didn’t love the song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ when they were a kid? I thought it was the most imaginative and wacky adult song I had ever heard (it all made sense once I got to college!). And it is still a fun song to sing along to even with all that talk about tangerine skies and marshmallow pies fueling my appetite.

yogi teabag

Yogi Tea tags are my fortune cookies.

I felt very productive as I admired my stocked fridge and satisfied that I was able to kill 2-3 hours. And then it crept in. Now what? Sure, I could’ve filled my time with any numerous productive activities that may or may not have needed to get done. But they would have been distractions, another opportunity to not still myself, to not feel the feelings that I’d stuffed inside yesterday or last year or the last decade. I had wanted to cleanse myself physically and emotionally but I was also scared of truly letting go. My mind was saying “your kids will be back in 4 hours, get some stuff done before then. Make sure you’re ‘prepared’.” What does that mean anyway? Prepared? Isn’t it part of the Boy Scouts’ motto? Prepared means you are focused on the future. You are anticipating how it will turn out and what ‘things’ you will need for these future expectations. If you are prepared, you’ve done some planning.

I consider myself in recovery from ‘excessive planning disease’ which reached epic proportions when I become a mother twice within 18 months. I do believe some planning and preparation is necessary in life (I had just finished food prep for the next 3 days!) but it is so easy to get all self-righteous and control-freaky about planning. And, for me, it takes some serious mindfulness to ACTIVELY NOT PLAN my entire life away. Allowing myself the freedom for spontaneity and synchronicity to bubble up, taking equal precedence in my life, has opened me to some of the greatest opportunities for joy and playfulness that I’ve experienced since becoming so ‘adult’ about everything. This excerpt from the poem “What to Remember When Waking” by David Whyte sums it up for me: “…what you can plan is too small for you to live…”.

IMG_3503

Listen to your heart. Eat chocolate.

When my heart said to me “the best way you can ‘prepare’ is nurture yourself right now”, I followed my heart’s advice into a steaming, hot, bubble bath at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon! As I soaked in the bath I was conscious of how my body felt as it was supported and surrounded by the hot water. The scalding heat. The tickle-y bubbles. The slippery wetness. Conscious breathing took me deeper into my body as I inhaled the lavender scent of the bubbles and felt my muscles release and relax into the bath.

My mind, trying to rationalize as always, said, “of course! this is exactly what you needed to ‘prepare’.” But I wasn’t taking the bath to prepare myself for anything. I was taking the bath because it was most supportive thing I could do at that moment. Letting go and slowing down my breathing, along with my mind, allowed to me uncover messages, insights, epiphanies, aha moments, knowing, whatever it is that you want to call those magical, heart-centered moments, and then I could continue to stumble along…a little bit closer to those desires to which I’m being guided.

Tune-out Shut-down

In Mindfulness on April 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm
closed computer

No electronics – including phone!

From Saturday night at 11pm until 245am on Monday morning, I went entirely without electronic communication and almost completely w/out verbal communication. I spontaneously designed a mini-silent retreat at my own home on an ordinary Sunday. Well, maybe it wasn’t so ordinary since I was actually able to disconnect so suddenly and easily. I had no social or work obligations pending, I live alone, and my children were with their dad for an overnight. A friend prompted me to go deep to hear more clearly my inner voice. She had recently observed me doling out wonderful heart-felt advice to mutual friends while seeming a bit disconnected and shut-down when it came to matters of my own heart.

For most of my life I’ve considered myself an extrovert. I’ve always made and kept friendships easily. I’ve been seen as a leader who speaks up as well as listens and people tend to gather around me. And if I’ve got an issue or problem, I quickly gather the sisters and girlfriends and talk it out. Beginning in my early 30s, I’ve been going through a lot of transitions – becoming a mother, changing careers, learning to co-parent, embracing my singleness, starting my own business. As the years go on and the transitions get more weighty, I’ve realized that seeking advice outside of myself is the least effective way for me to find any solace or direction in the situation. Perhaps I need to more consciously embrace the introverted parts of myself and stop crowding out my inner voice with outside advice. All the answers lie within my own heart. And the answers usually make sense to no one but myself. Excessively talking it out and asking others opinions puts me in the position of defending myself and what’s on my heart. I find myself resisting other’s ideas not because I am trying to be contrary but because my  heart is saying ‘no, follow me, listen to me!’.

When I was about middle school age, I would almost obsessively ask for my mother’s opinion on the most mundane issues – should I wear the neon pink shirt or the purple one? should I put the Johnny Depp poster over the head of my bed or the foot of my bed? side ponytail or regular ponytail? rosesShe would resist giving me an answer but I would force her hand and then, inevitably, ALWAYS do the opposite of what she suggested. Why did I insist on asking her opinion? Was this the age where I stopped trusting myself to make the right decision? Until the last 5 years, I thought I had lost the ability to listen to and trust my own heart. As I look back on my 20s, there were plenty of moments of clear-as-day instinctual messages coming right up to the forefront of my consciousness. Things that I just KNEW. And, yet, I did not trust myself to act on this knowing. I needed outside counsel, outside approval, I didn’t have the confidence to defend my decisions or realize that I didn’t have to answer to anyone who expected me to defend my position.

So, about Sunday…I had the time and space and I was given the suggestion. At 11pm, I put my phone on airplane mode, turned off my computer, and took a bubble bath. After my bath I meditated and went to bed. I woke in the morning and went to yoga class. I had a minor whisper conversation with my friend who was on the mat next to me (and she had seen my Facebook post about going silent!) and then quickly left after class so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. The rest of the day I took a long walk on the beach, journaled, read a book about becoming spiritually naked (which I am attempting here by telling you of my day of silence). My phone stayed on airplane mode and charging in my bedroom all day. Although I was not tempted to open my computer, I did find myself thinking about meal preparation and eating even when I was not hungry – perhaps to quell some restlessness or boredom in me? On two occasions I had a mild attack of panic because I hadn’t told my ex that I was going off-line. What if he was desperately trying to get a hold of me because the kids…what? Needed absolutely nothing from me and were in safe hands? I started imagining all the group messaging conversations I was missing between my girlfriends.

I was starting to feel insignificant and not needed by anyone. Every time I started to get too far into my head with projections and assumptions, I turned to my journal and reaffirmed my purpose for this day. It was to quiet my mind, quiet the outside influences, quiet the planning and projection and get very real about what was on my heart. candle and rosesI come from a long line of doers and busybodies and as I am still in transition with quite a few big things in my life (aren’t we always just going from one transition to the next?), I have to consciously resist the urge to constantly DO and instead just BE. If I don’t slow down, I’ll miss the next set of instructions (from my heart) and the opportunity to take effortless action. If I insist on continuing with my perpetual motion machine, I might still end up at the same place but I will have wasted a lot of energy and missed out on the joy of living in the flow. After dinner, I meditated, finished my book (I almost tweeted from my kindle that I finished it – terrible!) and fell asleep early. Maybe because I fell asleep early or maybe because I was having very vivid dreams, I awoke at 245am and could not get back to sleep. So I turned on my phone and went for it! Checking email, texts, and Facebook for some sort of confirmation that I was missed, loved, needed. There wasn’t much action. Apparently the world did not stop spinning on it’s axis because I decided to tune out and shut down for a mere 24 hours.

I feel calm and confident and more deeply connected to myself after taking the time to limit outside influences and instead rely on myself for the next right action. I have the ability to validate myself. I feel alone and singular and empowered. It feels good.