Sunday, April 27, 2008

balad to salad

There are a few things in life that make me uncompromisingly happy... to name a few... being nuzzled into my boyfriend Sonnie's armpit, a campfire, a majestic mountain, good sweet music, an americano that is as black as the night sky, a good teacher (in yoga and in life) and a good salad.
This post is a tribute to the good salad that makes me smile from ear to ear. All the colors, all the wonderful ingredients, the smells and tastes. I would like to share with you some of my favorite toppings and if you have any for me that I might be missing out on... please let me know!
A little history on the cause of my pleasure...
Food historians tell us salads (generally defined as mixed greens with dressing) were enjoyed by ancient Romans and Greeks. As time progressed, salads became more complicated. Recipes varied according to place and time. Dinner salads, as we know them today, were popular with Renaissance diners. Composed salads assembled with multiple ingredients were enjoyed in the 18th century. They were called Salmagundi. Today they are called chef's salad.
The French use the word salade for anything that is messy. ha!

My favorite topping is mixed nuts and seeds (raw sunflower) fried lightly in a mixture of tamari soy sauce, honey, good quality oil and a sprinkle of curry powder. (It sounds crazy, I know, but it is sweet and salty at it's finest).
I can't diminish the simple toppings of grated beet root, carrot or avocado.
My friends and I are also keen on throwing some raisins and or cranberries in the mix.
Lately I have been experimenting with water chestnuts grilled with shitake mushrooms in a sesame ginger sauce. They give an unbelievable and satisfying crunch.
I have been known to add grilled and roasted red peppers and asparagus with a touch of balsamic. To make a warm bowl it is also nice to add some quinoa (red is something to really marvel at) or organic brown rice.
Of course goat's cheese and goat's feta.
For the greens I especially like spinach and a little bitter taste like arugula or swiss chard. Bean Sprouts! Organic kale is wonderful if it is lightly steamed. I also enjoy rosemary and fennel with an olive oil and balsamic dress.
I shouldn't forget that dried blueberries make an excellent touch of sweetness or that wild strawberries may make the finishing touch.

Dress it mix it toss it up to super salad status and dish it to those that you truly love.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Rising to love

Falling in love can be many things. It can be an afternoon in an atmosphere of delight. It can be waking up. It can be crying to the sound of your own heart breaking.
It can break you into small pieces that fly like spores in the wind to the foot of another. Your memory fails you and you choose to commit to falling again like a mother birthing the next child.

But Is it not you that falls in love? And is it not from this love that you create that you have to rise from again like a phoenix rises from it's ashes, more brilliant than before in it's transformation?

The shimmering and provocative gloss of falling in love may be a shred of the kind of energy we want to live with. Understanding it and prolonging it has more to do with our own ability to stand alone dripping with a lust for life. It has more to do with falling in love with the lover in the center of our own heart in order to rise to love another. Shouldn't it be rising instead of falling?

Is relationship truly with the other or with ourselves or both?

"To be loving should become our very personality. It should be our state of being, it should not depend on "to whom". But all lovers want the beloved to love only them, to love no one else. But they don't know that one who cannot love all, cannot love anyone."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Firmly Established in Fun

I am of the school of thought that the child in us is the most ancient and sacred part of our whole.
Could our impulse to take ourselves seriously and to internalize what others think of us be eclipsing our pure energy?

If so, I would like to throw them off my boat in an attempt to keep it afloat.

If I am to be firmly established in truth I should see a dandilion as a flower and not a weed. I should be open to being tickled and getting my feet dirty.

If I am to be established in freedom I may need to practice this by kartwheeling.

It is the truth that we were made to climb things and stand/walk on our hands, to make out in the tall grass and give each other eskimo and butterfly kisses. To sing really loud and out of tune.

It's time to make a paradigm shift to playfulness.

If it is ignorance of our real nature that causes the self to be obscured , I will peel away the fear and anger and go swimming in the rain or stare into the campfire wrapped in a blanket. Laugh effortlessly. Fall painfully in love.

If I must stimulate friendly feelings among all, I should smile huge and wink at people when they least expect it.

I plan to make the nascent direction to return to the ancient.

C'mon. Some fun should be there.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Exclamation Point!

I approached dog sitting in a relatively sophomoric way... a little overconfident and under experienced. I knew this the first time the old girl (16) wouldn't go out in the morning and gave me a vacant, obdurate look when I gave her a bowl of food. She had no intention of getting her nose dirty in something that I so impudently put in front of her with such lofty expectations.
It took a lot of love to exchange energy. Of course, the impetus for change.
The essential beauty of this exchange is exactly what it is. Dog could be man's greatest teacher.
Not only for the principle of exchange, but also for the ability to hang out in lucid consciousness.

Tacumshe is an old dog. 16 years with the mountains and the rivers. Her eyes are opaque now, and her pelvic girdle quivers with uncertainty. A few days ago I was running with the other dog Kina, across a field. After some time, I ran back to Tacumshe to ensure that she didn't feel any jealousy. The moment I stopped running, she took off across the field with a look of shockingly obvious youthfulness. She lasted about 7 or 8 jovial leaps and bounds until her eyes glazed over, the inertia of age blanketed her and you could almost hear the sigh of exhaustion escaping her mouth. We stopped together and she put her head in my hand with her eyes downcast and I could tell she was smiling. She limped to the house, ever in the present moment. Untouched by her inevitable fate. Happy to have a few seconds of play.
Now we sit together in silent conversation often.
I had an idea of what dog walking should be like. I let Kina (the other dog with the shiny black coat) out of the house and set off thinking... I am dog walking now and we are going to go to the river and then the bridge and then...
Kina had no idea of my destination nor did she care. It took me a few times of stopping impatiently for her, to recognize that the stopping was really the dog walking. All Kina wanted to do was smell the many scents and move leisurely. I began to stop and observe. I could notice if the river was moving faster than the wind. I could take a deep breath and turn my head up to the metallic peaks and let my eyes feast on the immensity of the scape around me. I could notice that the sky and the earth give generously all the time. Kina knows this because she puts her head up in the air and the wind whispers it to her.
When I practice in the house the dogs make their way over to me from wherever they are and situate themselves on either side of me like protective Cherubins. They fall asleep to the sound of my breathing and I dance to the rhythm of theirs.

I took on a house and dog sitting job for all of May to help pay for the teacher training in Boulder, so I may become a dog lover and settle down to raise one of my own.
Or maybe not.
But it certainly has felt like the exclamation point in my day to play with two dogs!
While the meditation feels like the comma, and looking into my boyfriend's eyes the pause ...