Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Bending over backwards
My Bikram yoga instructor said today that our spines are designed to bend as far backwards as they do forwards,
but because we spend so much of our time bending forward and very little bending backward the backward bends are difficult.
Amen to that. They are so challenging!
8:18 pm edt
See how far back it is possible to go here and find out why it is so beneficial for you here.
Fact is it is hard to visualize the possibility of bending this far backward if you had not seen someone
else do it. And, for me, this is not difficult to visualize because long before I began practicing Bikram yoga I worked for
the Social Security Administration. My first position there was as a receptionist. I saw every kind of human being walk through
the door into our office. And, one of those individuals would walk in totally bent over backwards. Others in the waiting area
and all of our staff, including myself, were flabbergasted by his talent. I don't know why he walked around like this ( I
saw him at other times downtown and he was walking upright, seemingly normal); I suspect he had some mental issues. But! I
am grateful to him for being the first one to show me the potential of the human body to bend over backwards and I thank him
each time I attempt to achieve this posture myself.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Mindfulness and Thomas the Train
12:26 pm edt
Mindfulness and Thomas the Train
For many years before I had what I call a 'meditation practice',
people would ask me if I meditated, and I would honestly say “No, but, I walk almost everyday for an hour and this has
become my meditation.” Deep down inside somewhere I felt this was somehow not the real way to meditate and eventually I managed to sit myself down on a regular basis to meditate.
Nearly three years ago I began to care for two of our grandchildren and because their
mother's work schedule is not consistent and involves many overnights and very early mornings, I find myself many days unable
to 'sit myself down' to meditate.
This spring I happened upon a Thomas the Train set
complete with the little landscape table and lots of trains and tracks at a garage sale. I thought it would be the perfect
rainy day activity for my two grandchildren who just turned three and four in July. I brought it home, cleaned it up and put
it in the basement for that rainy day. There have not been a lot of rainy days this summer, but on a few occasions, when I
have been doing laundry or ironing, they have played with Thomas the Train. And, though their playing was not satisfactory
to me, since I had not taken the time to really set up the tracks so there was an actual loop for Thomas and friends to travel,
for them it was fine! They were happy setting the many trains and cars here and there and placing all the little trees into
the building that was supposed to be the train station.
My dissatisfaction with the Thomas
the Train table set up led to my finding myself down in the basement last Saturday afternoon. It was not raining, in fact,
it was quite nice out, and my grandchildren were not here, but I had gone down to fold some laundry and then I was drawn to
the little Thomas table. I started setting tracks and building bridges and getting the big building that all the colorful
trains with faces and names go into at the end of the day positioned just so with the tracks radiating out and passing around
and then, I had to back track because some of the tracks were not lining up properly and I had two sticky-out parts coming
together instead of a sticky-out part and a inny part. ( This actually led me to some time on ebay later that weekend where
I learned that these are called 'male' and 'female' connectors.) I dug through the blue wooden Thomas the Train box that held
all the extra tracks and trains and trees and sign posts. I finally managed to get a continuous loop going around the table
and was working on a connecting track when I heard from upstairs my husband's voice. “What on earth are you doing down
there for so long?”
And, I realized I had been so in the now. So very in the now and mindful with Thomas the
So, I have come full circle. It is wonderful to have a meditation practice, and an
altar and the essential oil diffuser and a cushion and 20 or so delicious minutes of solitude.
Or, I can play with Thomas the Train.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
these are a few of my favorite things
4:57 pm est
I went into my garden yesterday and cut parsley and kale for my fresh juice this morning. Love being able
to pick fresh organic greens in central NY mid-December! Love just going out into my own garden to do it! These are two of
my favorite things.
I have paperwhites(Narcissus tazetta papyraceus) on my windowsill. These are so easy to grow and bring some seasonal
beauty to what can be a dark and dreary time of the year in the Northeast. After all, it does get dark about 4:45 these days.
Who couldn't use some fresh blooms? All you do is buy some paperwhite bulbs (right now Home Depot has them at 75% off!), place
them in a container and cover the bulbs about halfway with a planting medium. I use pebbles ( I used to buy the pebbles at
a pet store where they sell aquarium supples, but now you can find them in most gardening and craft stores); it is not necessary
to use soil. You could also use colored glass, you just need something to hold water and to anchor the roots as the bulbs
grow so they don't topple over. Once planted, water to the bottom of the bulbs and place in a bright, and, ideally, cool spot.
(They will grow to be less spindly if they are grown in a cooler location.) In about two weeks you'll have lovely blooms.
When they get old and papery (hence, the name!), just compost them. Unlike other bulbs that you can plant into your garden
after they have been forced to bloom inside, these will not prosper the following year as the nutrients in the bulb have been
depleted. I also cut the flowers from the bulb and place them in a vase when the greens get floppy but the blooms are still
flourishing. Just a note on the fragrance- I like it, but some, like my mom, think they smell a bit like cat urine. Nonetheless,
they are another one of my favorite things. Oh, and they do like a spot of gin! Yes, it will stand them back up when they begin to flop.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Farmers Market Favs
4:22 pm est
I am so happy to be so close to the Farmers Market in Syracuse! And today I found some incredible items-locally
produced and locally grown. I bought locallly produced veggie burgers that Genga Ponnampalam makes from his own recipe.
www.goveggies.com will take you to his website where you'll find information about what Genga is doing.I also tasted
some absolutely delicious freshly made hummous, baba ghanoush, tabouleh and a rice dish prepared by GOODIES
in E. Syracuse (315-877-2798). A container of the baba ghanoush came home with me. I make hummous all the time but I don't
often make the baba ghanoush because it involves roasting or grilling the whole eggplant first.
Then I ran into a table full of Brussels sprouts! An entire table just towering with stems of the most adorable vegetable
ever grown. Ironically, Brussel's sprouts used to be the only vegetable I did not like-but, that was before I ever cooked
them myself. This sounds egotistical, I realize, but, the truth of the matter is that most of the little beauties are way
way overcooked and become odorous and obnoxious. The only restaurant where I ever order them is Salute's in Key West. They do a great job with them!
And, daikon radish-locally grown!! I was so excited to find
these, (and, may I say they totally leave in the dark the pathetic daikon I bought at Wegman's the other day). The
small ones were at least a foot long and three inches in diameter and were only 2 dollars! The most beautiful leeks also,
and this was interesting because I just submitted my column to the Sierra Club publication (you'll need to open the pdf file for the article on the last page) last night and one of the recipes I decided to include
was leek soup. Writing it made me want to make it, and then the leeks appeared! Unlike many of the leeks you may find, these
were almost all white-just look at those leeks in this photo.
A bar of Lemongrass Ginger and one of Cinnamon soap from Syracuse Soapworks. These are for my husband, but would also make great gifts, as would any of the many soaps, lotions and creams
A couple of packages of tofu made in Ithaca, some local free range eggs and raw milk cheese rounded
out my haul.
Now, I can't wait to try my black bean veggie burgers and Brussel's sprouts and I must get busy making
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Meaning what exactly? I am thinking about this because I read an item on FB about only buying gifts this season
from local artisans, crafters and businesses. This seems to be a logical extension of the 'buy local' mantra for produce,
which is something I attempt to do always. Farmers markets and CSAs and local farmers who sell seasonally (i.e. u-pick apples,
strawberries, blueberries etc.) are where I spend the bulk of my produce dollars. I am not immune to the pull of that ripe
mango or avocado in my northern grocery store in January; I am not a saint- but I do it with awareness. And, I believe,
that is the first step to living consciously- being aware. So, how about during this holiday season, and all the rest
to come, we make the effort to be aware of what we are buying, from whom, and the finances we are using to make the purchase.
Ideally, we will be supporting our local community with cash rather than credit. Please share your comments!
4:59 pm est
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