Monday, December 9, 2013
The end of a semester, the end of Thursday Night Meditation on Campus until next month, the end of watching the goldfish dart to the surface of the little backyard pond, frozen over now, the end of my husband's flowering garden, put to bed a few weeks ago, where now, only the fall blooming cammilias still burst dark pink without care, as if only for the discreet benefit of one another.
The end of time with my Studio assistant A, who was only here for the Fall, and is following more work west, in an old black car that may be seeing its end….
The end of hanging beautiful work in the gallery, though the promise of new beautiful work to exhibit already waits. The end of firing the kilns, washing aprons, purchasing supplies, running up to Community Aid to purchase used sheets to be torn for rags in the Painting and Printmaking Studios.
Who slept on these sheets, now used to clean brushes and wipe etching plates?
Who made love on them, who died, who was born?
What ended here and what began?
These are the never-ending cycles, magnificent and trivial, that mark my days, and I bow to the energy that rises to meet each task as if newly invented, newly created. Indeed, yes, newly generated. From past energies of which I cannot conceive, the numberless people who have gone before me, or who still stir the air around me, letting me sip it in like honey, and then unwind my own version of what they gave me, for someone else to pick up, a bright thread at someone else's finger tip.
Some gifts are obvious, most are not.
Most have inconceivable beginnings, no boundaries, no end.
Yesterday's snow is already creeping into the landscape and each footfall crumbles its crust to nourish what will emerge in the Spring, to nourish the living and the dead.
Namu Amida Butsu!
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Bodhichitta can be understood as a quality of intention, sometimes called a "great will." This great will does not come from the ego; it is paradoxically an intention that arises through the surrender of the ego. As the ego lets go of its assumption that it has a real understanding of what is needed in the path of awakening, it surrenders to a deeper quality of will and wisdom. The shift from the ego's center of will to the intention of our buddha nature to awaken us for the welfare of others aligns us with a source of will far beyond our limited sense of self. I have often described this will as a river of intention, which once stepped into becomes an undercurrent in all we do in our life.
--from Preparing for Tantra: Creating the Psychological Ground for Practice, by Bob Preece
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
People say that what we're seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking.
I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
Please open a window and share what you find!
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The arrival of an Autumn cold front, with the promise of blustery winds and brooding clouds is always a comfort to me. Taking me back to my childhood, when I spent so many hours outdoors after being released from the frequently stifling effects of school, of being still at a desk and doing mindless work, I felt liberated!
Like something freeze-dried and zipped-locked into plastic, add fresh air, the colors of the land and sky, the sense of exploration and freedom, and I was re-freshed. I expanded.
I expanded to meet everything half way in my environment, and sometimes more than half way, extending a curiosity that had been stuffed into a box.
Fortunately I had places to roam, and until I began working after school, endless time....these days still bring a sense of excitement, an open awareness of being big, enormous, as big as the universe!
So I walk when I can. Wide open spaces beckon. There aren't many folks on the paths when the wind is blowing a gale and numbs the ears, but a few intrepid souls pass me on the trail. We smile at one another knowingly. I can see that glint in the eyes, an expression of vibrancy. Sometimes the more challenging the weather, the sweeter the walk.
I'm reminded of Lizzie Bennett of Pride and Prejudice, walking through Autumn wind and rain, over the moors and through fields, to visit her ailing sister Jane at the neighboring manor. Which would someday be Jane's by the way....
And what awaited a bedraggled Lizzie at the end of trek, trailing her muddy hems?
Roasted Root Vegetable* Soup
1 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed
4-5 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large leeks, cleaned and cut into 1 1/2 in. slices
5 cloves of garlic, left in the peel
1/3 C good olive oil
1 T salt
1 T smoke paprika
1/2 t ground cumin
1/4 t cayenne (more if you want it spicy)
1/4 t ground black pepper
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of sugar
8-9 C good vegetable stock
(*You could easily roast sweet potatoes, parsnips, and other veggies to add to the soup)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chopped veggies and garlic in a big bowl, drizzle with olive oil and mix with all the spices. Roast veggies on a baking sheet until fork-tender, about 25 minutes.
2. Remove the peels from the garlic. Working in batches, place the roasted veggies and enough stock to mix into a blender, then pour into a stock pot. Add all the stock so that the thick puree is the consistency of soup, then bring to a simmer for a half hour to blend flavors. Adjust seasoning.
This is a simple, satisfying soup that can be doctored in many ways. Roasting the veggies brings out their sweetness. It is especially yummy served with something crunchy on top like roasted pumpkin seeds, thinly sliced apples or homemade croutons.
from The Crepes of Wrath blog
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Sunday afternoons this Fall have been spent making enough food to see me through 5 lunches, 5 easily packed meals that satisfy and interest me, so that I'm not running out from work to get something I truly don't want or need.
It's easy to make a soup, and during the week, it's all I need at lunchtime. Add some crackers and fruit and it's just right.
The cleanse I participated in last month was really valuable, even if I haven't continued with it 100%. I've added some dairy, I've switched the caffeinated coffee to a good decaf (Pete's is excellent), and I'm back to having a sweet now and then. I've stayed off the glutens for the most part and I've continued guzzling lots of water.
But probably the biggest change is a new connection with what my body really craves, what it really wants, and it seems like what it really wants right now is wholesome, healthy, fresh and simple. This comes as a surprise, being a very recent junk food queen and candy whore!
After paying a little bit of attention, my taste buds are calling out for fresh! My eyes thrill to the smoothie that appears in the blender every morning--every morning is a different color that can't be anticipated! My hands take pleasure in selecting, washing, chopping and combining everything in a big pot! A shake of cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne, dried thyme crumbling between my finger tips! And then the smell of everything in combination as it takes on a unique blend, never before concocted in exactly this way, what a revelation!
Tasting as I go, adjusting, realizing I added a wee bit too much heat (whoo!), or not enough cumin, or trying to figure out how to doctor a recipe to give it more pizzaz; it's like being a scientist in the lab.
It's liberating to finally have some fun with cooking and to dream up new taste sensations. To color outside of the lines so to speak.
Because I took 8 days to clean the slate, clean the palate, cleanse the body and begin anew, my body is now telling me exactly what would taste yummy and I'm able to hear, loud and clear. And somehow, listening, paying attention, has brought a new freedom to cooking and eating.
This was the soup I made last week, it's a winner!
Butternut Squash-Bartlett Pear Soup
3 Tbs good olive oil
2 medium leeks, white & tender green parts finely chopped (3 cups)
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 in. pieces (2 lbs--I used pre-cut)
3 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1 in. pieces (1 1/2 lbs.)
5 Cups low sodium veggie broth (choose this carefully, some taste much better than others)
1 14 oz. can coconut milk
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish, optional
1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium-low heat, add leeks and cook 10 minutes, or until soft, stirring often.
2. Add squash and pears, sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the veggie stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add salt, if desired. Simmer 20 minutes, or until squash is fork-tender.
3. Remove from heat, stir in coconut milk. Puree soup in batches in blender or food processor, or use immersion blender in saucepan; blend until smooth.
Return soup to sauce pan and stir in thyme. Reheat over medium-low heat 2-3 minutes, or until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper, serve with pumpkin seeds.
I roasted the pumpkin seeds in olive oil and salt until they were golden brown, which adds a great layer of flavor, plus some crunch.
from Vegetarian Times