Monday, September 30, 2013

lately on gypsy hill

there is the mixing of oils to create my own thieves blend to combat the onslaught of viral and bacterial ickiness that autumn can bring with it.  i use this recipe.

there are new vegetables to explore and a new csa to ride out the harvest.  okra is my dad's favorite and today is his birthday.

there is organizing.  and much shedding of unnecessary stuff to be done.

there is yoga on the back deck under the rising sun.

there are lots of indie kindred posters to share around town.  three weeks until i get to hug jen and experience her amazing project in my own little community.

Monday, September 23, 2013

sunday grace: yoga in the woods

on a bright sunday morning, the morning of the autumnal equinox, we gathered in crystal clear brilliant sunshine at the edge of a forest to mark the transition from summer to fall.

the lovely jen waine led us through restorative poses that allowed our bodies and spirits to express and honor the balancing point between light (summer) and darkness (winter).

it's been a while since i've been on my mat.  this practice was the perfect invitation back to yoga.  i love that yoga is always there, no matter how much i deny her or pretend other things are more important.  she is always forgiving, always accepting, always worth it.

being able to step off my mat onto the soft wet grass was incredibly grounding.  this is something i need to remember to do every single day:  stand on the earth and be strong and still.

and then there were the healing rays of the sun, warming me and infusing me with clarity and a good chunk of vit d.  my friend dawn calls these "jesus rays".

a little altar and jen's hands.  those hands move energy with tenderness and compassion.

  (this beautiful photo by paul tucker)

the view from savasana.

grace.  every single second of it.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

happy happy autumn

my favorite time of year.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

soul salad {№5}: chopped artichoke salad

chopped salads are my favorite.

i love that you can take random ingredients and cut them up into tiny pieces and create colorful and healthy goodness.

this salad is a pantry salad and uses what you probably already have in your pantry or fridge.  i make pantry salads all the time; i love the improvisational feel to them.  there is really no exact recipe here, just a variety of good stuff mixed until happy.

  • artichoke hearts, chopped.  i use frozen hearts, but you can also used canned, just rinse very well before chopping because they have that weird salty can taste.  you can also use marinated if that's what you have, but rinse first.
  • olives, pitted and chopped.  i had a mix of marinated olives from the olive bar at whole foods that needed to be eaten.  in they went.
  • roasted tomatoes, chopped.
  • pepitas, toasted (a handful or two)
  • tons of herbs.  use whatever you have.  i still had end-of-summer basil, parsley, rosemary, oregano, lavender and thyme from the kitchen balcony.
  • season with sea salt and course black pepper.
  • olive oil and balsamic or lemon as needed to taste (because my olives were marinated, i did not need to add any type of dressing)

this one is topped with the most glorious grilled salmon.  see the table?  mr. parks made that with his own hands for under our pergola.  more photos of that goodness coming soon.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

sunday grace

this week grace showed up in the form of nostalgia.

while on the road, i discovered a small county fair in southwest virginia.  growing up in the farm belly of california, the fair was a huge deal in my childhood and teenage years and i will jump at any chance i get to visit a real county fair.

there is something about the juxtaposition of bright color with dirt paths and twinkling lights with barnyard smell.

the fried green tomatoes were transcendent.

i don't always ride the carousel, but when i do, it's because there is a giant rooster.


when i was a little girl my big brother used to rock the car on the ferris wheel, scaring the bejeezus out of me.  i can't ride one to this day but i love to look at them.

love a country girl and her fancy teal shitkickers.

tastes like home.  sounds like home.  feels like home.  grace.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

patience, process, progress, peace

{day four of the sand mandala}

when i was a child our family car was a source of embarrassment for me.  it was a huge lumbering brown cadillac with an 8-track player and four very large doors.  that wasn't the embarrassing part.  my mom put a bumper sticker on the back that read, "please be patient god isn't finished with me yet", complete with cartoon person in all her hapless happy glory.  i despised that cartoon person's inability (or intention) to get with the program.  in a counter-intuitive way, this bumper sticker may be the foundation of my lifelong issues with perfectionism.

yesterday i sat again in the peace of the college's chapel and watched the monks quietly at work on the sand mandala. and i started thinking about progress and how it never seems to unfold or look like you thought it would.  

eighteen months ago, i became a vegetarian for the third time in my life.  this time around the decision was made because of mostly ethical reasons.  i could not in good conscious eat animals when i loved them so much.  and i wanted to feel some political power in a world where i feel mostly politically powerless by saying no to inhumane and unhealthy food processing.  i felt really really good about this decision and was very proud of myself.

in the last few months, i was surprised by the increasing frequency of cravings for animal product in conjunction with really low energy.  i tried upping my intake of plant-based iron and protein and increasing my b12 supplementation.  to no avail.  also, as with the other times i was vegetarian, there was the slow weight gain.

i slowly added more eggs into my diet.  then fish once a week.  i witnessed that i felt much more whole on the days i ate fish.  last month, i totally caved and ate a hamburger (an organic hamburger from a local humane source).  i was amazed at the almost instant response in my body.  i can only think of the word wholeness to describe it.

but while i felt whole, i also felt shame.  and disappointment in myself for not being disciplined, clean, ethical, etc.  i thought maybe it was a phase and i could go on identifying as a vegetarian (an identity that i love).  but deep down i knew that this was a connection i was going to have to let go.  my body told me so.

so now what am i?  conscious meat-eater?  locavore?

maybe i am just a girl paying attention to her body and her needs and all the other junk that comes with that is part of the process.  by maintaining awareness, witnessing my own process, being patient and remaining open to how things unfold, i can be in progress without being that "unfinished" hapless cartoon person on the back of the cadillac.

i am really looking for peace, not perfection.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

sunday grace

the monks of tashi kyil monastery are at randolph this week creating a sand mandala in the chapel.  the creation and destruction of the complex design made from tiny grains of sand is a tibetan buddhist tradition symbolizing the impermanence of the material world.

the chapel is silent except for the occasional hum of a singing bowl and the insect-like sound the monks' brass tools make as they are rubbed together to release precise amounts of sand.

today is day two of their work.  on wednesday the mandala will be complete.  then it will be destroyed.

last week i devoured the entire season of orange is the new black.  so many words and images from the show are seared onto my heart and mind.  in one scene, yoga jones tells piper about the buddhist sand mandala and says, "work hard to make something as meaningful and beautiful as you can and when you're done, pack it in and know it was all temporary.  you have to remember that--it's all temporary."

words that apply in many situations other than a prison sentence.

it's all beautifully temporary.