As the dust of the election starts to settle, I have found myself realizing just how distracted I have been. This year has been many things. While I have been totally grateful to be home full time with my two little ones, I realize that my mind has not been fully here. And it’s no wonder! Everything on the global and national stages have needed a lot of processing and action. Everything in the small bubble of our home has needed re-organizing, then re-re organizing to fit the demands of a new baby and the logistics of the pandemic. The result has been a lot less “presence” while I’ve been present with my children.
There is always an ebb and a flow with all our practices. Now, I feel the flow returning. I feel I have the space to re-engage with a presence practice at home. I want to invite you to join me. This is not a 14 day challenge. It is not an opportunity to judge ourselves or to add another stressor to our log list of stressors. It is not another item on the to-do list.
What it I’m offering is simply an invitation to join me in doubling down on being present while being present with our children. For February I plan to take 5 whole minutes every day to practice presence with each child. To me this simply means that when I am with my child I am doing whatever I am doing with them as a mindfulness practice. I am not making my grocery list in my mind, or planning the first thing I will do once they go to sleep, or re-organizing the play room one more time so that now that my son can stand it is still baby proof. I am not unloading the dishwasher or making dinner or watering the plants. Those things do need doing. But for 10 minutes each day (5 for each child), I plan NOT to do them. But simply to breathe. Breathe and just be. Together.
The practice will be to really let the fullness of my child enter into my awareness the way I would focus on the breath or on the sensations of a pose in my yoga or meditation practice.
When I was a teacher I did this regularly for each of my students. So many gifts came from simply giving my full presence to a child. I’m excited to begin cultivating those gifts in my home again with my own children.
If you need a reason to double down on presence, here are a few. You will benefit your own wellbeing. This is basically a mindfulness moment and you can expect similar benefits as you would from any mindfulness practice. You will benefit your relationship with your child. When we are present with each other, we are finally, really connecting. And connection is the birthplace of everything meaningful in a relationship. You will benefit your child. Your full positive attention is the most important “nutrient” you ever can give them.
If you feel to write me and let me know you are in – awesome! I would love to know you are practicing with me though we are apart. If you don’t write, but do still engage even every once in a while in this practice… still awesome. We do what we can do! We are in this together!
Springtime is here! This is a time of year for splashing in puddles and getting fresh air in your home. It is also a time that is vital for good clean eating. In Ayrveda, this is the time of year for cleansing. Instead of fasting, a great way to support the body is to eat easily digestible nutrient – dense foods. This is my new favorite meal that fits both those requirements while also being * delicious * and easy to prepare.
I’ll admit, that we actually eat this meal about once a week in our home – year round. It’s taken the place of the mac n cheese night. It is actually just as easy as mac n cheese from a box – but insanely healthier. This is a mash up of two slightly altered recipes from different Ayurveda cookbooks. The Kichadi recipie is an amended version of one in A Life of Balance: The Complete Guide to Ayurvedic Nutrition & Body Types With Recipes by Maya Tiwari. The Pressed Greens and dressing is inspired by The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook by Kate O’Donnell. Both amazing books. The first better if you really want to geek out on Ayurveda as a whole. The second has amazing recipes and great background on why they work.
Yes! There is a high chance your kids will eat this! My daughter loves the kichadi and asks for it all the time. She doesn’t love the texture of the Pressed Greens, so I usually make her a fresh kale salad. You may want to substitute plain butter for ghee if your kids don’t love the taste of ghee. My little one is four and a half (already!) and we have used this meal in particular to talk about nutrient dense foods. She loved learning the phrase “nutrient dense”. I told her it was a fancy way of saying healthy. We then went on a hunt through the kitchen looking for “nutrient dense” foods. This can be a fun way to teach your kids what foods really feed them and which are empty nutritionally. Make a pile on the kitchen table of all the “nutrient dense” foods you can find! Or make a list together! Greens, berries, beans, eggs, nuts, carrots…. delicious!
1 cup rice – basmati is traditionally used, I use an organic white rice that I can get from Costco
1/2 cup – Organic Mung Dhal
5 cups – water or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon – Turmeric powder
Ghee or butter
Start by rinsing the rice and mung beans till the water runs clear. I put them all in a strainer and run water through while massaging (and being massaged by) the beans and rice. Put these in a pot with the water and turmeric bring to a boil. Bring down to a simmer and wait till rice/beans are tender. You can add the ghee and butter to your serving once it’s in your bowl.
A mixture of greens
Here is what I do. I buy 2-3 kinds of fresh greens: kale, chard, bok choy, dandelion greens or spinach and I take out the stems if appropriate and chop them up. The I take however many carrots I’m in the mood for – lets say 1 cup of chopped carrots. Sometimes I add in Red cabbage. I put about 5 cups of all these veggies in a big pot with 2- 3 Tbs of water over medium heat with a lid on. I stir every few minutes. After 10 minutes they are done!
Olive or Safflower or Sunflower oil.
Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a jar, then add that same amount of oil. Add a little salt, cover and shake.
In a pretty bowl, spoon out some kichedi, top with veggies, pour some dressing on top, add a dollop of butter or ghee and you have a yummy, nutrient dense, easy to digest meal. We like to add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, goat cheese, cultured veggies… whatever we can find!
Let me know if you try this out and how you like it! What are you doing differently?