Wednesday, January 6, 2010


HAPPY NEW YEAR! I can already feel the vibrancy of this new year and a roaring start to a new decade. Finally we've had some real winter....who can argue with 2 feet of snow, frigid temps and windy days. This winter weather has called me to rest more, eat more and stay indoors more and that has made perfect sense except for the fact that the pace of life has demanded me to work more, think harder, and scurry from place to place. Let's face it Spring weather is at least 8 weeks away and we are in it for the long haul so what are we to do while we wait? Quiet activities like cozying up on the couch with a good book or watching a good movie, going to bed early, spending time indoors, and cooking are some of the things that come to mind. However, the busyness of life with all of its pressing matters has been taking its toll and leaving me feeling somewhat in conflict. So as a result I am looking for ways to calm myself and my spirit while I wait. I've started my meditation practice once again and feel the effects already.

The other day I observed a mother with two young chidren and one child was annoying the other and the mom quietly but firmly reminded the annoying child to take a moment alone to find their center. She instructed the child to sit down and take three breaths. The child did this and became much calmer and stopped the annoying behavior. I thought great that is to get taught this habit at such an early age. This is such a simple tool but one I forget too often. And so a meditation practice can be as simple as this, just concentrating on the flow of breath...nothing fancier than that and it doesn't have to take too much time. One thing I've been doing on a daily basis has been taking an afternoon tea break even if I don't have time to sit and drink it just simply making myself my favorite tea and setting it on my desk while I work allows me to have a moment of warming and comforting stillness with each sip.

Another calming practice for me has been the making and eating of soup. Of course the making of soup takes more time and preparation than the actual eating of it. The creative process however can be very rewarding, the chopping, stirring, simmering and boiling becomes an alchemical process in and of itself and then the by product of your work is pure nourishment on all levels.
The actual eating of soup requires slowing down with each spoonful. You have to sit down when you eat soup and it simply takes more you can use soup time as a time for mindfulness and the partaking of a meditative feast.

Obviously winter time is soup time so it makes perfect sense to transform these ordinary moments into moments to treasure. So honestly now......all I want to eat is soup. Soup for breakfast, soup for lunch, and you guessed it soup for supper! Well maybe I'm exaggerating just a little bit. But seriously I'm making soup everyday and sometimes two soups a day! Soup is great because anything goes, it's easy and soothes the palate and the soul. The soup recipe I'm going to share is standard fare, probably everyone has their own version of Minestrone. Well this is mine and it comes out different everytime but always delicious. Feel free to modify the recipe to meet your desires. I usually cook up a small pot of pasta on the side for anyone who wants to add pasta. Cooking the pasta this way instead of in the soup keeps it from getting too mushy and you can also regulate your intake of carbs easier.

Minestrone Soup

2 Tb. olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced in thin rounds
1 cup cabbage, shredded or chopped small
1 15 oz can chickpeas
1 15 oz can pinto beans
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 qt. chicken or vegetable stock
2 bouillon cubes
4 cups water
fresh ground black pepper
fresh parsley, minced
fresh garlic, minced
olive oil to drizzle
In a large soup pot saute onions and garlic in olive oil til soft. Add the rest of the veggies and saute for a few minutes. Add the canned beans, tomatoes, bouillon cubes, water, stock and spices except for fresh parsley and garlic. Bring up to a boil then turn down to simmer til all veggies are tender. Right before serving taste for salt and pepper and toss in lots of fresh minced parsley, garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Serve and enjoy!

As I mentioned in my last post....I would be including another installment of Handbook 2010. I don't know who to credit for this it was circulating on the web and came to me via my dear friend here is part two.

11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13.. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously.. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...

As the card on my desk says.....
" We have only this moment,
sparkling like a star
in our hand
and melting like
a snowflake."

Marie B. Ray

Enjoy the quiet moments while waiting for Spring,

My best to you always..............Lisa