Blossoms of summer
fragile as tissue paper
recall sunny days
Blossoms of summer
fragile as tissue paper
recall sunny days
Soup is simmering
the ultimate comfort food
a hug from inside
Coffee and paper
Sunday morning ritual
reset for the week
A Moment in Time
Hidden in attic
a moment in time frozen
Young tendrils of green
stretching from a snow blanket
soon back to naptime
Change of Perspective
What does life look like
through the eyes of a baby
change of perspective
An altar to spring
sweet fragrance, nature's incense
green leaves in prayer
Sound of singing bowl
silence of the snow
with circular symmetry
A wintertime feast
table set for snow creatures
Snow falling gently
predictions of a blizzard
now just beautiful
Bitter cold outside
yet inside the cactus blooms
laughing at the snow
Clementine in Winter
clementine for breakfast when
minus nine outside
A New Year
Open a new year
gift of possibilities
with no instructions
Who wants to start 2018 with a mindful challenge? Some of you may remember that I issued a haiku a day challenge in 2016...let's do it again in 2018!
Want to jump start your mindfulness in the new year? Join me and friends from around the globe in a 31 day challenge! Here are the guidelines:
Write one haiku a day for the month of January. The Japanese form of poetry called haiku is simple yet profound and pares down our observations to the essence. A haiku is a short sensory thought/poem that captures a feeling or image through words. The format is one that you may remember from elementary school...first line is 5 syllables, second line is 7 syllables and third line is 5 syllables for a total of a 17 syllable poem/thought. Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment and so is the writing of a haiku. Please join me and others in this fun challenge during the month of January. To share our haiku, we will be using the hashtag #haikuchallenge18 to aggregate the haiku. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc are great places to post your creations. You may also paste your haiku into the comment section of each day's haiku on my blog. I can't wait to read them!
Holidays are often the most stressful time of the year. Here are some of my favorite tips to rein in the holiday stress machine. What are some of your tips? Share them with us in the comment section below.
Lower the bar on expectations--Our expectations have been unnaturally shaped by sites such as Pinterest and Facebook. Try lowering the bar this year on decorations and holiday preparations and regain your sense of control.
Embrace both gratitude and grief--We often forget that the holiday season is laden with emotions that can comprise grief and gratitude both for ourselves and our patients. Practice self-compassion by engaging in journaling, art, meditation or self-care activities.
Delegate or Delete--Look over your to-do list and choose one item that you can either delete or delegate to someone else.
Practice the fine art of saying “no” -- Demands for our time and energy can derail even the most effective strategy for stress reduction, holidays may exacerbate our feelings of obligation. Remember "No" can be a complete sentence.
Engage in mindfulness--Mindfulness simply means pausing in the present moment to actually notice thoughts, emotions and sensations. Try pausing amidst the busyness to notice the present, not the past or the future.
As I continue exploring the qualities of connection with the ubiquitous comfort food, soup, my friend Wendy gifted me with an extraordinary book. Soup for Syria began as a grassroots humanitarian project to aid Syrian refugees. Acclaimed chefs from around the world have lent their favorite soup recipes to this cause. Since Soup for Syria was published in 2016, more than $300,000 has been donated in the form of aid to directly assist Syrian refugees. In our turbulent times, we often struggle to find ways to make a difference -- here is a one way...with a simple bowl of soup.
I encourage you to check out this amazing book filled with recipes and photographs that span cultures and bridge our shared humanity through the universal sharing of one bowl of soup at a time.
Last month I invited readers to share soup recipes as a way of connection during the cold, darkness of winter. I have been overwhelmed with responses! The process of making soup, the slow cooking, the simplicity of ingredients, the ability to pause and savor, make soup the ideal mindful food. Soup is also part of our collective cultures, it gives us sustenance and connects us when the world feels very divided. I am grateful to my friend Karen for sharing her wonderfully satisfying Chicken and Kale Soup. In the spirit of mindfulness she remarks, "The more you gently simmer it, the tastier it will become" Enjoy mindfully and keep those recipes of comfort and connection coming!
Ingredients for One Full Soup Pot
2 large, chicken breasts, with skin and bones
6-8 Celery stalks, leaves included
1 large yellow onion
Big handful of fresh parsley
Ground black pepper, about 2 teaspoons (we like it spicy, less if desired)
Thyme (2 -3 teaspoons dried), lots, if fresh, remove little leaves from stems
3 boxes of chicken broth
1 1/2 pound of carrots (about) sliced into rounds
Several large bunches of washed kale. Remove leafy parts from thickest stems and chop, not too finely
Wash, dice/chop onion, celery, parsley, thyme
Drizzle olive oil into soup pot, enough to cover bottom of pot and a bit more
Saute chopped onions, celery, parsley, thyme, ground black pepper in oil
When ingredients are thoroughly sauted, add the chicken breasts to pot
Stir the ingredients while continuing to saute, turning chicken breasts frequently to
mix with the celery, onion, herbs
When the chicken breasts begin to brown, add one box of chicken stock, or more, so as to barely cover the chicken with stock
Stir the pot, so chicken stock mixes in with everything else
Bring pot to simmer, add two other boxes of chicken stock
Simmer gently until the chicken meat is cooked and tender
Remove the chicken breasts, let cool enough to removed meat from the bones
Return the chicken meat to the gently simmering pot
Add carrot rings to soup
Add chopped kale to soup
Simmer gently until the carrots are tender
Soup is ready! Enjoy! The more you gently simmer it, the tastier it will become!
Serve with some sort of artisan/tasty bread. We like to have St Andre cheese for the bread, or some type of chedder