Making Room for Each Other

A personal prayer, centering or meditation practice is so important. Growing peace inside ourselves isn't something we can put off for another day. There needs to be room inside.

The most important thing is that whatever form of practice we choose, we feel it is a genuine expression of our heart. Our practice will serve us best if we feel truly aligned with it.

One example is Tonglen. Tonglen is a Buddhist practice aimed at relieving suffering. Our own suffering and that of others. This article guides a Tonglen practice, offered by Joan Halifax. She is noted for her extraordinary commitment to Social Justice and Hospice care. She's a Zen Buddhist teacher. 

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How to make Khichadi

Make a simple, nutritious dish to aid digestion


Special thanks to Susan and Jeff Turner of Living Ayurveda for this recipe and for sharing ancient wisdom. They introduced me to this recipe years ago. This recipe is how I prepare the dish for my family. It is a mild dish we enjoy all year long. There are many variations. This one is for ease in digestion. Consult with your nutritionist if you have special needs. 

This dish will feed a family of two for about two dinners. Serve it with white basmati rice and steamed veggies, and optional condiments: Coconut Aminos, chopped organic cilantro and fresh lime. It's a light but satisfying way to give your digestion some rest.

Here's a gift from my belly to yours!

Khichadi combines mung dahl, white basmati rice, a blend of spices and homemade broth (my variation.) I choose mung beans that are hulled (mung dahl); they are much easier to digest. It's also why white basmati rice is recommended for this dish. The picture above, shows hulled mung beans. I ordered online when our co-op no longer carried them. Soaking the beans and rice is important for digestion too.

To begin, measure 1 c. mung dahl and place in a glass or ceramic bowl. Add 1/8 c. white basmati rice to the mung dahl. Rinse until the water runs off clear.

Cover the top of the beans/rice with about 2" pure, filtered water. Soak 8 hours or overnight. If you have less time, soak anyway. Meanwhile, rinse and soak 1 c. white basmati rice in the same way.

Take out homemade broth from the freezer. 

Now, the beans and rice mixture are soaked. Rinse and drain them. Assemble what you'll need to prepare the dish. 

Get out your pressure cooker. We use a stainless steel pressure cooker that we bought for $5. at a house sale. It works great. Check that the inner sealing ring is in place, inside the lid. Look through the small hole on the top of the lid and be sure it's clear. 
If you don't have a pressure cooker, no worries, it will just take longer to cook. Plan about an hour to cook in a regular saucepan.

Take out a quart of homemade broth. If you/your loved one experiences distress with your gut, consider making your own homemade broth. Recipes abound online or feel free to contact me. I used to make this with filtered water. That is great too.

You'll need these spices. Assemble #1 into a small bowl; keep #2 in a separate small bowl.
#1:
1 pinch of hing
1/2. t. cardamon
1/2 t. ground fennel
1 t. cumin
1 t. coriander
1 t. sea salt

and #2:
1 T. turmeric

 

1 T. ghee. I buy ours in bulk from Ancient Organics.
Substitute coconut oil in the summer, organic butter, or healthy fat of your choice.

Turn the heat to low, melt the ghee in the pressure cooker. Saute spices in #1.
Stir to avoid burning. Saute about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add the turmeric. Continue to stir for about 15 - 30 seconds.

Stir in the well drained rice/beans mixture, until the grains/beans are coated. Add a quart of liquid. Stir together with love.

Place the lid on the pressure cooker and lock it securely in place. The little pressure regulator sits on top. 

Cook on a low/medium heat. Gradually the pressure builds. When the pressure regulator starts to rock, count 30 seconds. Then turn off the heat, and wait for the pressure to drop. The small round air vent on the top will drop. 

Open carefully. Avoid having your face, hands, arms, body, in or near the steam.

Serve and enjoy!
To your good gut health,
Charlotte

We are a vast system inside

I've studied how to make Yoga relevant for various needs. Here's a long winded quote that gives depth to what this means. Check out my comments, below. 

"Yoga approaches the individual from the inside, through the mind. Yet the individual is not simply a mind, but a system. A vast system. The system is more than the body, which is nourished by food. It is more than breath, more than my relationships, more than my faith. Any influence upon one aspect of the system will affect every other aspect.  What we experience in Yoga is a conscious influence and change in the overall system. We may choose to begin with the body, the breath, our food, or our relationships. Whatever the point of beginning, we change the totality of the system. It is impossible to overstate the possibilities of this gradual approach to well-being in our lives.  

~ TKV Desikachar

I like Desikachar's reference, "Yoga is a conscious influence and change in the overall system." Yoga isn't about "being twistier than your neighbor," as Tom Myers said.

Yoga is a way of integrating this human experience, which truly is a system made up of various parts like: circulation, digestion/elimination; respiration; musculo-skeletal; mental/emotional; neurological. Yoga suggests that this integration happens through bringing more clarity to the mind.

This system idea is cool. If we're prone to migraines we might find relief from becoming more conscious of stress in our gut, how we're digesting things. Or feeling  confidence come back right away when knee pain (or hip or back pain) clears up. Or understanding that I wasn't a bad person; it was just that my hormones were going crazy with menopause.

"Any influence upon one aspect of the system will affect every other aspect."

We get going so fast in our lives. It's tricky to maintain some connection with these different systems inside. The great majority of us haven't been taught how to feel connected with our own body. And it takes time, when the body has gotten out of kilter, to get it back on track. And there's no guarantees, no refund policy, you can't send your body back if something stops working - like your nose falls off.

That's where the next line really speaks to me: "It is impossible to overstate the possibilities of this gradual approach to well-being in our lives."

Maybe you have a mechanical way of going through the motions, how to stretch, how to exercise. Your body is listening. It might even be talking to you. If you can pay a little more attention to her voice, then your approach to well-being can be gradual. If something happens suddenly, though, a change that affects how you walk let's say, or there's accumulated wear and tear, the body's voice is not so subtle.

What I keep noticing is that the body responds to loving kindness. Subtle signal or not so subtle alarm, the body is doing his best to be your friend. Even if your nose falls off. 

A distinction needs to be made. We can promote healing. We can't control the outcome. We can do our best and at the very least, find more peace inside of ourselves to manage what life presents.

An approach like Yoga Therapy can be useful. Yoga Therapy is a way of applying tools for the uniqueness that is you, and for how that uniqueness that is you is always changing. You start to recognize what you might have not understood before. And maybe pick up some new pointers about how to communicate through simple awareness; getting enough sleep; being in nature; stretching after spending concentrated time working at your desk.

This has shaped me so deeply. I squared the benefits of becoming a better friend to myself when I began bringing new feelings of self-care into my workout. 

However your "Yoga" looks to you, apply these ideas. Become a better listener to your body. Get acquainted with practitioners that you resonate with and get some regular tune up on your listening-to-your-body skills.

An extra set of eyes and a caring presence is a big part of how these teachings were passed on for generations. We're not meant to do this life alone. Our bodies know that.
 

We're connected

We are wired for connection. The fastest way to soothe a baby is with safe, warm, caring touch.
We never lose the need to feel connected.


Read more in an article written by Barbara Fredrickson, author of Love 2.0. She's researched positive emotions and how we are impacted by them. Click to be redirected to the full article: What Is This Thing Called Love? A Whole New Way of Looking At It.

 

Looking Out, Looking In

Nature gives me opportunities to look inside in new ways.

Moon Bathing
I've recently said "yes," inside myself to a new project that is stretttttttching me. Since saying "yes," I've woken up in the night with two million ideas swimming around in my head.

Instead of thinking about them and evaluating them, for what might feel like an eternity, I've gotten out of bed and walked outside. The moon was in her waxing phase, moving toward full.

In the yoga therapy tradition that I'm certified in, the full moon light represents soothing energies, gentle and kind.  In meditative practice we might imagine taking in the light, letting those qualities wash over any anxieties, busyness of mind, too much thinking.

For me spending too much in my head doesn't help work out problems, especially if my wheels are stuck spinning around in a mud puddle. To soothe myself when my mind is agitated is to be dedicated to my own well-being enough to not dwell too much in my head.

Standing in this circle, feeling the bright, gentle moonlight, I gave myself a big hug. It was a hug that for me as a nature lover, was filled with full moon light; filled with the care of so many friends and loved ones. That love went right in, comforting those tender places inside.

It's kind of cool to see how much there is to focus on in nature that lets my attention/energy/mood shift, to come back to the present, to Things As They Are. I wonder how and where this shows up in your life?

This taking in kind of practice begins to rewire our brain and makes a stronger groove each time we do it.

@2017, Charlotte Nuessle

Freely Given

What else has that scent that wraps around you except a bunch of warm, smiling roses opening to the light?

True Love is Just an Offering

This excerpt is taken from the teachings of Swami Kripalu, as recorded in The Journey Home, shared by John Mundahl.

"True love is just an offering. It does not expect something in return. There is no hesitation in true love, because it does not expect anything back. That is the principle of love. It is a free will offering. It isn't an exchange. There's no begging. To enter the heart of another is to forget our ego. This is the offering. This is the surrender. It is the grand experiment of our existence. We are born to love each other. What a beautiful way to purify our ego."

I offer support to grow resources inside you that contribute to living a meaningful, happy life. If you're interested in my services, please visit my website and get in touch. Thank you! Charlotte Nuessle

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