As Spring buds turn to beautiful flowers and dormant grass again displays vibrant hues of green, life feels more promising and hopeful.
I recently had the good fortune to join my son and daughter in law's family for a weeklong trip to Florida's white sand beaches in the panhandle. The atmosphere of the seaside towns was glorious! Families were building sand castles, burying each other in the sand, gathering seashells, chilling on beach chairs, taking walks on the beach, running and playing in the chilly but swimmable waters and taking in the beautiful landscape.
There was a feeling of freedom, mixed with joy and gratitude. The easily flowing laughter and smiles on people's faces were plentiful wherever we went during our trip and wonderful to see. The worry lines of the past year, so prevalent on many people's foreheads seemed subdued and almost gone. People's faces radiated joy!
There, at the seaside, the beauty of life in all its forms was resplendent and our spirits were renewed! May Spring bring you hope and the joy of renewal.
May you and your loved ones be healthy and safe
Join Mary (Padmavati) in conversation with Aparna Khanolkar on Heal & Awaken Podcast. They talk about her Ayurvedic odyssey into health and healing. Mary talks about how her journey helped her to shed the layers around her heart and become happier and more compassionate. Please listen in wherever you get your podcasts.
Thank you to the Ayurvedic Center of Vermont for this lovely rasayana recipe. It aids in digestion, helps to calm the nervous system, decrease inflammation and joint pain - all aids to a better sleep - and it is delicious!
1 cup whole organic cow’s milk or nut milk of choice (I prefer coconut-almond milk unsweetened)
(optional to cut the cow’s milk with using ½ cup milk and ½ cup of water)
1 tsp turmeric
½–1 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp cardamom
1 tsp coconut oil or ghee
Pinch of black pepper (black pepper enhances absorption of turmeric)
½–1 tsp raw honey
Pinch of cinnamon
In a small saucepan, warm and whisk the milk uncovered over medium-high heat for 3–4 minutes or until you see steam rising out of the pan. Add all the other ingredients. Pour into your favorite mug, sweeten with honey (if using), and top with cinnamon if you like. Adjust all spices according to taste.
May you and your family be safe and healthy.
What a surprise to learn that there is a popular TV series called The Chosen about the life of Jesus! This is not mainstream TV. Episodes are available to watch for free on YouTube. The concept they’ve used to fund the production, “Pay it Forward” is quite original, and it truly seems to be working. There are brief ads that can be skipped after 5 seconds. Though some of them are interesting and not the typical mainstream commercials. The casting is brilliant, and the acting is quite good. Sets seem appropriate for the time period, and I am definitely swept up in each episode and look forward to seeing the next one. I've watched 6 episodes thus far and really enjoyed them. The third is my favorite so far. The 1st season is also available to purchase on dvd and on Netflix.
I’ve been intrigued by this series and have learned so much. Over the years, Jesus has mainly been portrayed as a very serious teacher, from my experience. I have known his disciples through their writings, relayed in the gospels each week at church. They’ve seemed somehow distant, even if revered and loved for their teachings. Many of the gospel teachings as written in the Bible have required translation from clergy to be understood. This was the case back in Jesus’ time as well. The anointed clergy interpreted the Torah and biblical scriptures. It was not accepted that the common man could have proper understanding without the guidance of the clerics. Jesus, however, spoke directly to the people.
What this TV production interpretation has shown is Jesus as a joyful human, who related well to children and everyone. He danced, laughed and enjoyed life’s celebrations. Yes, he taught serious life lessons, and his teachings were often in the form of stories. He related well to the people, and they felt close to him. His look and his words captured the minds and hearts of those in his presence, even before he began performing miracles. I’ve felt as though this view I am watching of Jesus is more real than any other I have seen, and yet it is simpler, less dramatic and not so rigid. He is not portrayed as having a stern and commanding presence. Instead, he was gentle, wise and exhibited much warmth toward those he encountered. People were quite naturally drawn to him.
I also appreciate gaining some understanding of the disciples. I’m sure there are those among you who have studied about the Christian faith much more than I have. Basically, I religiously attended Catechism class as a child, taught by strict nuns and went to church weekly throughout most of my life. We raised our children Catholic, as we were raised. I’ve experienced my ups and downs with the Catholic Church, but have always had a strong spiritual connection in my life. All that said, I admit I know little about the apostles. Watching The Chosen has given me insight into the lives and personalities of these men and women. It’s great to see them as people in their daily lives and think of them with families and know their positions in their communities. Seeing how each came to know Jesus has also been fascinating to me. For others, this may be knowledge you already have, but for me it is truly all new. If I heard any of it as a child or in church, I evidently didn’t really learn it. Even if I had known the information, I’d still enjoy this series.
I encourage and invite you to check out The Chosen. It has been a wonderful way to spend my time, both from a learning perspective and to uplift my spirits. May you also find wisdom, peace and light from the teachings. Enjoy!
May you and your loved ones be safe, healthy and happy.
What do I mean by a teacher can guide but ultimately we teach ourselves?
As a student and a teacher for many years, I’ve thought a lot about this statement. I believe it completely. No matter how outstanding or learned or qualified a teacher is, no learning takes place without the active engagement and understanding of the student. And real learning is more than just active listening, paying attention or regurgitating information on a test. I can recite all sorts of data. Over the years, I’ve memorized many names, places, dates, “facts”, but I didn’t and still don’t know many of them until I experience the ‘aha, lightbulb moments’ of understanding.
For me, teaching isn’t just about sharing information. We’ve all had experiences where the teacher has shared lots of data and information and spoken many words, while we felt as though we hadn’t learned a thing. We also have different styles of learning and understanding comes to us in many different ways.
To really learn, a critical element is to attain a new perspective or experience some kind of change of understanding because of what was learned.
It’s the difference between a teacher explaining about the color, size, shape, texture, taste of an apple to someone who has never seen or eaten an apple, and then actually holding and biting into a crisp, sweet, delicious apple. ‘Aha, so that’s what an apple is.’
It is the difference between a yoga teacher giving instructions to bring your foot forward from a stretched out plank position, and then one day, as you shift your weight in just the right way, you can finally do what teachers have been demonstrating and saying to do for years. ‘Oh, so that’s what I am supposed to do. Now I get it!’
It is the difference between a teacher explaining about fractions, equivalents and the effects of heat in a chemical reaction and then following a recipe and baking a cake. ‘Oh, so that’s why I need to know that 4 ounces = 1/2 cup. Adding water to baking powder makes tiny air bubbles that when heat is added, causes the air bubbles to expand and the cake to rise. Now I get it.’
Those moments of understanding come from within us. The really good teachers inspire us to make the discoveries or lead us down the path in such a way that interests us enough to explore further and fully engage until the learning and understanding is realized.
When I think of how many times I may have heard the same lesson without it having much significance to me - and yes I listened, and yes I understood the words, and yes I believed I understood the lesson. Then one day, a presenter or teacher gives the same basic teaching and I hear it in a different way or I am at different point in my life or both ……and suddenly, the meaning makes so much more sense and I really “get it”. It is at the “aha moment “or the “I get it” moment that the learning takes place.
Since that teaching moment happens within us, I believe we ultimately teach ourselves.
May you and your loved ones be healthy and safe,
I've made this soup a couple times this month and my son is still surprised he likes it so much. He didn't think he liked lentil soup. I've combined a few different recipes into my own creation, and it's quite delicious and nice on the cold days of January and February. I hope you will enjoy making and eating it.
6 cups liquid vegetable stock (I prefer low salt)
Olive or Avocado oil - enough to wet and sauté onions, veggies
In a skillet, sauté onions, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, basil - then add remaining fresh vegetables and spices - approximately 15-20 minutes until veggies are slightly softened and lightly browned
Serve in bowls with freshly baked crispy sourdough bread or serve over Basmati rice made to instructions.
Parsley and Shaved Parmesan Cheese can be served as garnish on top.
May we all be healthy, happy and wise.
Everyone wants to be happy! Yet, so few people are. We experience fleeting moments or hours of joy and fun, but truly feeling happy is a deeper peace, contentment and freedom within. Attaining lasting happiness has been sought by humans since the beginning of time.
I’ve learned over time, that whatever we seek to attain, success will not come without discipline and balance. If we think about it, we know it is true. From the time we are born, each new lesson or mastery of a movement or task, came with practice and discipline. The rules of the universe dictate for example, that in order to grow a garden - the right soil, right amount of water, enough sunshine and vigilant care are required to have a good yield of fruits, vegetables or flowers. Ignore these necessities and the results will show the neglect.
Real discipline is an expression of respect for life and for yourself. It is a dance of balance. We so often think of discipline as negative or punishment in some way. Yet true discipline allows us to live what we believe. What do I mean by this? If I believe in being healthy and think it is important, am I making decisions that coincide with that belief?
Do I choose foods and beverages that will balance my mind and body?
Do I eat at the optimal time for digestion?
Do I have a positive and grateful attitude when I eat?
Does my attitude put positive energy into the food as I enjoy it, allowing it to nourish me?
Do I make sleep a priority, as I know it is important for good health?
Do I exercise my body and mind regularly?
Do I live a full life that is also balancing for my mind, body and spirit?
Do I consciously choose healthy visual and auditory stimulation - movies, social media, music, books, television shows? (Visual and auditory stimulation is also digested.)
Do I provide relaxation and balancing activities for my eyes, body and mind compared with the amount of time spent in technology based activities?
Do I nourish and foster connections and relationships with others?
Do I balance the negative input of violence, anger, abuse, etc., often the themes of today’s technology and book offerings, with the positive input of kindness, compassion, love, generosity experienced in acts of giving and helping others?
Do I feed my spiritual soul with prayer and meditation?
Health is about finding balance between opposing forces. Effort and rest - Elimination and assimilation - yin and yang - day and night. Extreme action leads to death and so does extreme inaction. Finding balance leads to health.
Balance isn’t a destination, it is a moment-to-moment juggling between the opposing forces. Some moments are better than others, but the beauty of it all is that we get to make a new choice in the next moment. Here’s to more balancing moments!
May we each be blessed with good health, joy and true happiness!
I’d like to give a ‘shout out’ to all the moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins, dear friends - all those who kept love in their hearts and the magic alive this holiday.
It is what I’ve been privileged to witness in the midst of this pandemic way of life.
My daughter’s and son’s family kept the spirit of Christmas alive for their children, despite lockdowns and restrictions. Whether in London, where Santa had to visit my daughter’s family in the midst of a move and a complete lockdown, or in Arkansas, where my son’s family experienced a virtual chat with Santa this year, the reason and spirit of Christmas have been kept alive. Families all over the world have done what was needed to celebrate the season and make it special.
Grandmas, grandpas, relatives near and far, FaceTimed and Zoomed and captured pictures of the precious moments to share with their loved ones. Neighbors lit up and beautifully decorated their homes, and some were able to share a meal together while remembering the Faith, Hope and Love of Christ and connections among us all.
Traditional Christmas carols, the joy of getting Christmas cards, the fun of making special holiday foods, the memories rekindled by watching holiday movies and the warmth of giving - each activity ignites the flame of light within us. Watching via FaceTime, my grand children playing with their special gifts from Santa - from roller blading around the kitchen to dressing up as the Hulk to playing Nintendo and eating special Gingerbread treats - I gained much inspiration by the children’s glowing faces and the pure joy they experienced on Christmas morning!
A pandemic could not deter their joy.
So, while not being able to physically attend church was a disappointment and not having many hugs was sad, as my 88 year wise mother says…….”we all muddled through it.”
May we each experience good health, joy and prosperity, and May 2021 bring us closer together!
2 very ripe medium to large avocados
4 oz bittersweet chocolate bar or chips melted (vegan chocolate chips also work well)
¼ cup cacao powder (no sugar - Navitas is a good brand)
1/4-1/2 cup almond milk (depends on texture - start with 1/4 cup and add as needed)
2 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
Coconut whipped cream for topping (optional)
Strawberries for topping (optional)
Chopped walnuts (optional)
In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine avocados, melted chocolate, cacao powder, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes, stopping as needed to scrape down the sides.
Divide the mousse equally into four bowls or jars, and chill for at least one hour to get a more mousse-like consistency.
Serve mousse cold with coconut whipped cream, some chopped walnuts and strawberries, if desired.
Lasts for 4-5 days in the fridge