“No, it’s not possible.” The fact that she kept denying it made her know it was true. She was pregnant. She stared in disbelief at the positive red mark on the tester. She had been careful, and the father was someone she loved. But this? Neither of them were ready for this. She thought for a brief instant about terminating the pregnancy but she had been raised Catholic, and while she did not object to abortion, she knew that she was too internally conflicted to be able to choose that.
She threw the tester into the trash, folded her arms and stared out the window. Snow was falling, coating her yard with frozen tears. She didn’t even know where to begin. Even though she knew her partner would support her, this would turn both of their lives upside down, and ultimately she would be the one most affected. A hundred questions raced through her mind at the same time, colliding with each other, pushing to get answered first. Could she even finish college? or even finish this semester? She had an intense workload and the unrelenting nausea of the last few days is what led her to take the pregnancy test. And she had been so tired lately. How could she complete her school assignments when she was having trouble just staying awake? And her job? Her head began to hurt with the weight of the questions.
She turned away from the window, walked into the kitchen and picked up the tea kettle. She filled it with water and put it on the burner. A cup of tea seemed to be one of the few things that calmed the nausea. When the kettle began to sing, she realized she had not moved since turning on the burner. She shook her head, turned off the flame and poured the hot water into a cup. She looked out the window and watched the snow piling up. She sipped her tea, feeling it warm and calm her body. Slowly her awareness opened up, there was music playing in the background, she heard the lyrics of the Taj Mahal song and thought if she were still religious she would have thought God was speaking to her, “leave your yesterday behind and take a giant step outside your mind.”
NO WINE, NO BEER FOR ME, JUST A GUAVA COCONUT SPRITZER
8 oz coconut water
2 or more oz of guava juice
2 or more oz of sparkling water
Mix together and serve over ice.
NUTRITIONAL TIPS: Coconut water is one of the highest electrolytes known, it has the same electrolytic balance that we have in our blood, but with less sodium, more potassium, more magnesium and added medicinal benefits. Guava is beneficial for the skeletal and lymphatic systems.
WARMS MY HEART CAULIFLOWER TURNIP SOUP
1 white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t white pepper
1 t sea salt
1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
2 turnips, peeled and cut into cubes
1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
dash of tabasco
5 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
blanched sugar snap peas tossed with fresh lime juice
Saute the onions and garlic in oil till translucent. Stir in seasonings. Add the stock. Add the cauliflower turnips, and dash of tabasco. Cook over medium heat until cauliflower and turnips are tender (about 20 minutes). With a hand blender (Cuisinart Smart Stick works very well) puree the soup till smooth and creamy. Serve hot and garnish bowls with a few sugar snap peas and basil chiffonade.
NUTRITIONAL TIPS: Cauliflower and Turnips have sulfur which is a natural antibiotic and antiviral. Cauliflower is also a good antioxidant and can help purify the blood. Turnips are said to energize the stomach and intestines. Raw turnips can serve as a digestive aid.
SOME CRAZY MIDNIGHT CRAVINGS SALAD
1 lb carrots
2T cherry balsamic vinegar
toss with carrots
1 fire roasted pascilla pepper, peeled, seeded and diced
1/3 c chopped dried cherries
2 thin slices of red onion, finely diced
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
toss with balsamic carrots
1/2 c sliced almonds
1 T olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Coat a skillet with olive oil. add almonds and stir through oil so they are lightly coated with oil. Lightly brown over medium to low heat, then season with salt and pepper. Toss through carrot salad.
organic arugula leaves
make a bed of arugula leaves and squeeze a meyer lemon juice over the leaves. Top with a serving of carrot salad. Enjoy!
NUTRITIONAL TIPS: Carrots are rich in vitamins, minerals and enzymes and they are one of the best foods for the liver and digestive tract. Carrot juice is one of the best detoxifiers, it cleanses, nourishes and stimulates almost every system in the body. Peppers have capsaicin which aids in healing and cleansing. Peppers also help normalize blood pressure, and can help make the body more resistant to colds. Cherries are rich in antioxidants and help eliminate excess body acids.
“Whose idea was this of fun? Somebody really had to do something about those marketing images. This was definitely not a leisurely ride, it wasn’t even a ride!” Thoughts of anger and frustration were filling her mind. When she had been asked to come on this trip, Bess had thought mountain biking would be so relaxing. All the ingredients were there: cool dry mountain air, all that majestic awe-inspiring natural beauty, nighttime campfires under an endlessly starry sky – what could be more rejuvenating? The dog days of summer hitting the humid Midwest were debilitating. From June to August her hair was a continuous frizzy ball, her skin shone like she’d just finished running a marathon and the only relief from any of it was to walk past the open doors of shops that blasted frigid air conditioning onto the streets trying to entice woeful souls like herself to spend money they didn’t have. This trip was supposed to be a much needed break.
Bess pushed her bike another few steps up the mountain trail, then stopped to take another breath. She felt nauseated, head-achy and angry. The locals had told them this was an easy path. And apparently it was – for them. She and her friends had been passed numerous times by more athletic riders than any of them. Bess knew she was a little out of shape, she’d been working such long hours lately that she hadn’t had time for exercise, but these hearty bikers were making her feel positively geriatric. Jeez, the only consolation was none of her friends were doing much better. They’d been “biking” for several hours now, if pushing a bike up a steep mountain trail and stopping every 100 feet to catch your breath was biking. Even at this snails’ pace, she was having trouble enjoying the fields of wild flowers that were in full bloom. All she could think about was wanting this “bike ride” to be over.
“We’re at the pass!” one of her more robust friends called back. This trail had so many switchbacks, she had been fooled at each turn as to when it would finally reach the summit. She grunted her bike forward and met her friends at the pass. “Finally” she said, “we get to ride.”
“Did you look down?” a friend laughed. Bess pushed though her friends to look over the narrow pass. The first part of the trail heading down was ridiculously steep and full of loose gravel. “Umm,” she nervously asked, “any ideas how we do this without doing somersaults down the mountain?”
They worked together to help each other maneuver their bikes over the slippery path. Moving slowly they were glad at this moment that none of the locals were stacked behind them judging their cautious efforts. Once through the gravel the the trail lay before them, studded with rocks but ride-able. “Let’s go!” one of them yelled as he jumped on his bike. Bess started down after them. She was fearful at first, keeping her handbrakes squeezed tight, worrying over every protruding rock. But after a while she realized that if she eased her grip the ride began to flow Her bike seemed to understand the boulders and bounced effortlessly over and around them. “Wow!” she shouted with delight. If was as if she were a kid again, unaware of all the dangers, real or imagined, that lay ahead of her. The grip that daily life had on her began to ease as well, her grumbling thoughts fell away from her and for at least this moment she laughed.
VARIATIONS ON A GRILL OR
“I’M STARVING AT THE SUMMIT” SANDWICHES
These sandwiches are best warm, but can be eaten later if allowed to cool before wrapping. Wrapping too soon will cause the bread to become soggy. If desired, the vegetarian sandwiches could have a slice of chicken or turkey added.
HAM & CHEDDAR WITH PEAR
thin slices of sharp cheddar or gouda cheese
slices smoked or honey-baked ham
2 bartlett pears thinly sliced
Cranberry walnut bread
unsalted butter for grilling
To make the sandwich spread one side of the bread with mustard. Add several slices of ham and 1 slice of cheese. Lay thinly sliced pears on top of ham and cheese. Top with another thin slice of cheese. Butter outside of sandwich and grill sandwich till crispy and browned. Eat immediately or let cool wrap in foil and take on you bike trip!
ROASTED POBLANO PEPPERS AND HERBED CHEESE
1 fire roasted poblano pepper, seeded and peeled and sliced into strips
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and grated (use food processor)
8 slices of whole grain bread
4 slices of provolone cheese
unsalted butter for grilling
TO MAKE HERBED CHEESE
1/4 c finely minced fresh dill, basil and parsley
1 minced garlic clove
8 oz cream cheese (may substitute non-fat fromage blanc or cottage cheese if desired)
salt & pepper to taste
Blend minced herbs, garlic and cheese together in food processor until creamy.
Spread herbed cheese on one slice of bread. Spread grated carrots over cheese, add a few slices of red onion and poblano peppers, a few arugula leaves then finish with a slice of provolone cheese. Butter outside of sandwich and grill till crispy and browned. The cheese should melt quickly so the carrots and arugula do not really cook. Eat immediately or cool and wrap in foil for later.
GOAT CHEESE AND FRESH TOMATO
1 farm ripe tomato, sliced
roasted red peppers, seeded and peeled and cut into strips
fresh small zucchini, thinly sliced
one log of chevre, plain or with garlic
rosemary sourdough bread
unsalted butter for grilling
Thinly spread goat cheese on both slices of bread, lay a slice of mozzarella on top of one side of the sandwich, add 4 zucchini circles, several strips of roasted pepper, 2 basil leaves and 1 slice of tomato. Top with another slice of mozzarella. Grill until cheese melts and bread is golden. Enjoy now or later!
He had thrown the money at her. The money he owed her, just threw it as though she were so poisonous he couldn’t bear to look at her or have any contact with her. Why was he so angry? That was a mystery. The relationship ended because of indiscretions on his part. Now he desired someone else, even if she could understand how it happened, it didn’t mean she could live with it. She picked up the money and went back into her house. She had spent months emotionally sorting through the affair and the changes that came with it, but she hadn’t been able to bring herself to sort through the boxes that housed the memories they shared. Shoe boxes, wine boxes, moving boxes, the randomness of the cardboard containers of memories proved a metaphor for the fragile nature of their relationship. It was now evident that there was no depth to this relationship. Any perception of that had been created in her mind and had no real substance. She longed for a deep love, the kind that lasted through hardships and illnesses, that traveled through the life stages she dreamed about from babies to grandchildren. Why was that so elusive?
She sighed and felt again the invisible slap of the thrown cash. When had he turned so mean? He had never been romantic, the birthday gifts he gave were always practical accompanied by humorous cards about aging or politics. And despite the disparity of their characters, his rigid nature clashing with her spontaneous outbursts, they had had fun together. And with the passage of years there had been vacations, holidays, family tragedies and celebrations, and the daily minutia that eats away at time but creates a framework that life weaves in and out of. Was it really possible that all that could be capsulized into a handful of boxes? She had been the romantic forever gathering and saving fragments: Broadway tickets stubs, subway tokens, acorns from a hike, flowers pressed flat by books, photos of smiles, videos of journeys. Her snippets of intimacy were like pieces of a puzzle, held for an instant then dropped into a box and forgotten in a closet, until now when it was clear that none of those pieces would ever fit together.
COMFORT ME WITH CARBONARA
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta or slab bacon cubed or sliced into small strips
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Saute pancetta/bacon in a deep skillet over medium flam for about 3 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Toss the garlic into the fat and saute for less than 1 minute to soften. You want just enough fat in the skillet to toss through the hot pasta, keep 3 tablespoons and drain off excess.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm. Drain the pasta
Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.) Thin out the sauce with a bit of milk or cream if desired. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Pass more cheese around the table.
COOLING OF EMOTIONS CUCUMBER SALAD
White Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Peel and seed the cucumbers if necessary. Slice onto a plate. Sprinkle with vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I saw the two pans of entrees as soon as I opened the trunk. Sam had done it again, completely spaced out delivering them to the cafe yesterday and left them sitting in the hot trunk, two hundred and forty dollars of income spoiling in the summer heat. Sam was a musician who worked for me in the kitchen of my cafe and catering business. One of our customers had told him he had chef’s hands, and he did have a natural knack for cooking and knew his way around the kitchen, when he could keep his mind on his work.
Sam was in charge of two things: making all the bowls of prepared salads that we sold from the cafe’s deli case and delivering everything prepared at the off-site catering kitchen to the cafe. Maybe it was the rhythmic sound of the knife chopping the vegetables, or the dance around the kitchen as he moved between cooks grabbing the ingredients he needed, or the staccato-like interruptions of stopping everything to check and see if the orzo had finished cooking; all this created music in Sam’s mind. When the music began weaving it’s melody, it took Sam along with it and nothing could penetrate long enough to outlast the song in his head.
“What do I put in this salad again?” Sam asked.
“Julienne then blanche organic carrots, toss with balsamic vinegar and minced fresh dill, then season with salt and pepper.” I said.
“There was this drummer I really liked last night. He was amazing. Very simple but really creative. Such a small drum set. That other guy last week was so overly technical.” Sam got out his bowls and utensils, “What are those ingredients again?”
“Julienne then blanche organic carrots, toss with balsamic vinegar and minced fresh dill, then season with salt and pepper.” I repeated.
“The music didn’t flow, it flowed like a calculus problem , like some abstract math equation.” Sam looked down at his cutting board, “What besides carrots?”
“Balsamic vinegar and fresh dill.”
“I don’t like over complicated drummers because it is like they are ADHD and excessively bored.” he said mincing the dill, “What else goes in this besides carrots and dill?”
“Toss with balsamic vinegar! It’s three ingredients! Focus Sam focus!”
“Huh, oh yeah”
LEW’S FAVORITE CUCUMBER ORZO SALAD
1 package orzo, cooked and tossed with 1 T. walnut oil
2 cucumbers, diced
juice and zest from 1 lemon
Toss lemon zest through cucumbers.
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
Mix all the above ingredients then toss with dressing until well incorporated.
1/2 c. yogurt
1 t. dill
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Mix together and toss through salad.
This is goes well with blackened salmon. Round the meal out with seasonal fruits and the balsamic carrots described in the story (it is only three ingredients and very easy to make).
FARMERS’ MARKET RASPBERRY TOMATO SALAD
Fresh yellow tomatoes, sliced
Fresh basil, chiffonade
sweet onions or white onions, thinly sliced
assorted peppers, hot and sweet, roasted and peeled
raspberry vinegar or balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Arrange tomatoes on a salad plate. Top with fresh basil. Saute onions and peppers in skillet till just tender season with salt and pepper. Add raspberry vinegar let steam then top tomatoes with mixture.
This is the perfect salad to make during tomato season, when tomatoes are bursting with flavor. The raspberry vinegar balances out the less acidic yellow and orange tomatoes and the poblano peppers add a subtle bite.
If you are a vegetarian, this goes well with pesto pasta. Or pair it with grilled chicken and roasted vegetables tossed with olive oil and garlic and a spritz of lime for an easy summer meal that celebrates the bounty of the season.
I WANT MY LENTILS AND MUSHROOMS SALAD
1 15 oz. can organic lentils, drained and lightly rinsed
2 portabella mushroom, thinly sliced
1 T olive oil and thin slice of butter
1 roasted red pepper
1/2 c grated carrots
1/4 c minced curly parsley
2 scallions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
4 T Roasted Hazelnut and Extra Virgin Artisan Vinaigrette by Lucini (because I was really tired that day and didn’t feel like making my own vinaigrette)
Mix the drained and rinsed lentils with the carrots, red pepper, parsley and scallions. Toss with the vinaigrette until everything is nicely coated. Stir in the sauted mushrooms, then season to taste.
This pairs well with pork tenderloin and a chunky Grannysmith Applesauce. Serve with a chilled chardonnay. For a vegetarian option serve with a Greek sandwich of pita and hummus or falafels.
It was one of those days. I had to get to work early with barely enough time to grab a latte and a scone. The morning passed into the afternoon and I became aware of a deep gnawing in my stomach, I needed food and I needed it now. There was a little Cajun cafe around the corner with a gumbo so delicious it creates fantasies about catching the next flight to New Orleans. I could run in, grab a bowl and be back at work in minutes. Of course, the line was torturously long and no one seemed to have the same impatience that I did. A southern spirit seemed to pervade the crowd. Maybe it was the heat and humidity of the day that inspired the slower mood, maybe it was the anticipation of the New Orleans cuisine, but my twitchy nervousness to get in, get out and rush back to work seemed decidedly out of place. I took a breath and inhaled the spicy savory aromas, settled into the blues music playing in the background and waited my turn.
The key to a great roux is to be careful about the temperature of the stock when you add it to the roues
Add the roux to room-temperature fish stock (made from shrimp and clam juice) to prevent separating.
One secret to smooth gumbo is adding shrimp stock that is neither too hot nor too cold. For a stock that is at the right temperature when the roux is done, start preparing it before the vegetables and other ingredients, strain it, and then give it a head start on cooling by immediately adding ice water and clam juice. So that your constant stirring of the roux will not be interrupted, start the roux only after you’ve made the stock.
A long-handled, straight-edged wooden spatula is best for stirring the roux. Be sure to scrape the pan bottom and reach into the corners to help avoid burning. The cooking roux will have a distinctive toasty, nutty aroma. If it smells scorched or acrid, or if there are black flecks in the roux, it has burned.
Bring reserved shrimp shells and 4 1/2 cups water to boil in stockpot or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 minutes. Strain stock and add clam juice and ice water (you should have about 2 quarts of tepid stock, 100 to 110 degrees); discard shells. Set stock mixture aside.
Heat oil in Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed sauce-pan over medium-high heat until it registers 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in flour gradually with wooden spatula or spoon, working out any small lumps. Continue stirring constantly, reaching into corners of pan, until mixture has a toasty aroma and is deep reddish brown, about the color of an old copper penny or between the colors of milk chocolate and dark chocolate, about 20 minutes. (The roux will thin as it cooks; if it begins to smoke, remove from heat and stir constantly to cool slightly.)
Add onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, thyme, salt, and cayenne; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1 quart reserved stock mixture in slow, steady stream, stirring vigorously. Stir in remaining quart stock mixture. Increase heat to high; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, skim off foam on surface, add bay leaves, and simmer uncovered, skimming foam as it rises to the surface, about 30 minutes.
Stir in sausage; continue simmering to blend flavors, about 30 minutes longer. Stir in shrimp; simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Off heat, stir in parsley, scallions, and filé powder. Let rest until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt, ground black pepper, and cayenne; serve.
When I look around, I see blue skies, I see butterflies for us. Listen to the sound and lose it, Its sweet music and dance with me
“So what do you want to do?” he asked her, “Have you looked at the schedule?
She laughed and shook the paper in his direction, “This schedule is crazy! How do we choose?”
Side by side they looked over the calendar of events trying to sort through and absorb everything the festival had to offer. In a city of artist and musicians, dancers and actors, storytellers and comedians, this festival was a platform for all of them.
“Let’s get something to eat and then decide.”
“Good idea, food before art, or would it be,” she smiled, “let’s start with the art of food?”
The restaurant was one of many that a local artist had opened. Artists must create but any real income from their work can take years and starving artists have to eat, thus restaurants are born. Good food and a colorful atmosphere made for a successful place. The tables were each uniquely designed by different artist. One was a patchwork of cigarette lighters, another an interpretation of arcade and video games, a flower garden made of Splenda packets another, and a large rendition of a rat sat in the middle of another.
“Well I know where I don’t want to sit” he said, “I can’t eat with a rat staring me in the face.”
You say yes, I say no, You say stop and I say Go go go!
The first show was an improv group. Six comedians divided into three groups, threw a group of verbal balls into the air and batted spontaneous humor back and forth as if they were juggling while playing a quick witted volleyball game. The humor is thrown up in the air and game on, the comments and physical humor fly quickly back and forth, then spike! A new series of jokes built upon the last set of circumstances start flying, each player supporting and outplaying the last . For nearly an hour they played hard to never let any ball hit the ground. The last joke hits and game over. The winner? The audience.
“Well that was fun!” she said, “What next?”
“Maybe the cabaret?”
Trust in me. Close you eyes and trust in me. Bring some peace to your mind for today is a new day. Don’t give into that sinking feeling
Black lace, fedoras, chairs, sultry music, fabric and ropes were the makings of a cabaret style aerial ballet. Music is the first player in the seduction, next a dancer strolls onto the stage and slowly begins her effortless ascent up the length of fabric hanging from the rafters. More dancers enter, drawn to the silk by an unheard whisper that entices them to play. Several strategically placed video screens multiply their dance into a series of black and white films. As one dance unwinds into a finish, fabrics fall quietly into stillness, enthusiastic clapping ensues until the seductive pulse begins again and the audience is at its mercy.
The couple steps out of the steamy cabaret and into the cool summer night. There was an air of promise to the rest of the evening, the two shows left them hungering for more. A full moon shone brightly in the clear night sky as though the heavens were in on the festival and had placed it there for theatrical effect. The night was young and art was everywhere, in fabric, in voice, in movement, on paper, on people, in buildings, even in the night sky. They walked to the next venue. Who could ask for more?
Change is going to come like the weather, so stop and smell the flowers and lose it in sweet music an dance with me.
THAT IS SO TOMATO BASIL! Soup
2 1/2 lbs. tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut up (about 6 c.) or 2 (16 oz.) cans tomatoes
1/4 c. lightly packed basil (fresh) leaves or 1 tbsp. dried, crushed basil
1 c. chicken broth or canned low salt chicken broth
1 tbsp. sugar
Dash to 1/4 tsp. salt
Dash ground red pepper
Dash ground black pepper
Dash bottled hot pepper sauce
Desired fresh herb (optional) for garnish
In blender or food processor container place about half of the tomatoes or undrained canned tomatoes and all of the basil. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Transfer pureed tomato mixture to a medium saucepan. Repeat blending or processing with remaining tomatoes.
Stir chicken broth, sugar, salt, red and black pepper, and hot pepper sauce into the tomato mixture. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve immediately or, transfer to a covered container and refrigerate.
To serve, ladle warm or chilled soup into small bowls. If desired, garnish each serving with a fresh herb.
Makes 6 (3/4 cup) serving.
STEAMY SALTY SPINACH SALAD for a HOT CABARET
1 lb fresh spinach
1/3 lb pancetta, crumbled
2 – 3 organic pears, peeled and cut into chunks
½ dried tart cherries
½ red onion, cut into thin slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T honey
1 T apple vinegar
dash of Tabasco
freshly ground pepper
Cook pancetta till crisp. Remove pancetta and add garlic and onion to bacon fat. Saute till tender and add Tabasco and honey and let the honey liquefy. Add vinegar and let it foam up quickly then pour the hot dressing over the spinach leaves. Toss quickly and place on plates. Top with pear, cherries and pancetta.
MAKE EM LAUGH CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 lb ricotta cheese
1 t vanilla extract
1/3 c honey
Combine the melted chocolate, ricotta, vanilla, and honey in food processor. Whirl until very smooth. Pour into dessert cups and chill.
Whipped topping (optional)
1 c heavy cream
½ t vanilla
1 T maple syrup
whip together till stiff
Top mouse cups with whipped cram and fresh raspberries.
The first morning she was at the house she noticed the sunrise. She hadn’t even moved in yet. In her anxiousness for the move she had decided to make an early run to take over some paintings and a few boxes of fragile glass bowls. She was walking across the back patio when she saw the sun glowing behind the branches of the tree. She stopped and looked at it, “I could come out here and do yoga she thought.” She closed her eyes and let her senses take in the cool morning air, the soft warmth of the Eastern sun, the distant sounds of traffic and the delicate fragrance of mint. Part of her wanted to stop, take a break from the manic pace of the move and breathe. The temptation to forget the commitments that hung over her drop everything for just an hour and indulge in a healing hour of yoga was strong. She took another deep breathe, opened her eyes and carried the box into the house.
The past year had been difficult. A long slow exercise in learning to release and let go. “You’re trying to fix something that can’t be fixed” a friend had told her. She couldn’t fix it, but could she repair the damage that had happened to her because of it. So many of the yoga poses were about opening your heart, making yourself vulnerable. She didn’t want to expose her heart; she wanted to shield it.
She walked into the house and placed the box on the dining room floor. Golden streaks of sunlight danced across the room. She walked over to the window and looked out at the massive oak tree that guarded the southern corner of the yard. She smiled at it and thought, “What stories you could tell”. In yoga, whenever she would do the tree pose she would think about how both strong and flexible a tree is. In Vrksasana, one foot is firmly planted on the earth as you lengthen through the spine reaching the crown of the head towards the heavens, the arms extend to the east and the west while the other leg tucks up, challenging your balance. “No matter what life throws at you, this pose helps you understand how to remain stable and grow at the same time” her teacher would encourage them, “Notice the three lines of energy. Feel the energy move through the body. As you explore this energy breathe into it and discover any tight or restricted areas. These are areas that need to be opened up. Breathe into them and let them release. A tree cannot move with the strong winds will break.”
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”
The morning was so peaceful and pure, a stark contrast to the stressful environment that had been her daily life for the past year. Her new beginning was emotionally raw and physically bare, she wouldn’t have much in this new house, save the tree for inspiration, the sun for salutations and a few odds and ends that she was able to take with her. This past year, a coil of rage had nearly consumed her as she struggled with anger at the circumstances that had slapped and turned her life upside down. It wasn’t easy to breathe into those tight areas and let them release, but she had learned if you hold your breath all that happens is you turn blue and faint
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world”
THE HEALING POWER OF AVOCADOS
Avocados are said to resemble the womb, a symbol for new beginnings. They are also packed full of nutritional benefits for the body. They supply healthy fats, they contain nearly 20 minerals, vitamins and beneficial plant compounds, they contain beta-sitostero which can help you maintain healthy cholesterol, and they contain carotenoid lutein which can help your eyes.
small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 avocados, cut into chunks (choose avocados that are firm but yield to gentle pressure)
1 tomato, cut into chunks
a handful of cilantro, stemmed and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
a few pinches of cumin powder
freshly ground pepper to taste
In a small bowl combine the onion, garlic, and avocado. Don’t over mix the avocado; make sure to keep it kind of chunky. Stir in the tomatoes and cilantro. Squeeze the fresh lime over the mix. Add the salt, cumin and freshly ground pepper. Give everything a good stir. Taste and adjust seasonings.