Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Home to the Heart

I was recently at a dinner party, and being the person not from the region, I was asked where I called home. Without missing a beat I replied, “Where my heart is, for the moment it is here with friends.” The person asking the question who I later nicknamed ‘the Griller’, was in no way pleased with my response. The people next to me, one to my right and left, understood right away, on my left, a hand came up laid itself on mine. A soft – “Good answer, Thank you.” ; it came with a warm smile and eyes that danced. To my right well, we both continued to smile as, ‘the Griller’ continued on his path of interrogation till I said at the moment I reside in Maine. Which I had previously informed him, for he had said he has friends in Bar Harbour, Cape Elizabeth, and Harpswell;

Thought most of that is not what’s important it is a setting for the stage of what came up for me later on my returning drive toward ‘home’. As some of you know I moved around a lot as a small person it was the nature of the beast for my family. When I had a child to raise, I choose to stay in the same small town, though I will admit we still moved a fair amount – I wasn’t used to staying put.

On my trip to see my friend who sat to my right, I had found myself caught in a vortex of being lost and taking the wrong; yet not so badly placed turns on a very dark, very rainy road, called the Saw Mill Parkway – this was supposed to be a short-cut. Ah, only when one knows the way. I did not use this way home.

Yet, all of this got me to wondering, if we all find the path to our Heart, a winding road, a difficult meandering. To find ourselves, does it always take longer? And how is it that we come so far away from the core of who we are that this road back to us, must even be traveled? What is it in our humanness that we set out to seek? How is it that we lose parts of us, along our life path, that then we drive hundreds of miles away from ourselves looking to find who we are? That we make relationships with people, who may or may not look or seem like us on the outside, yet inwardly we know that some of these friends will be with us till the end.

That there is no need to be other then us? [Come now – we have all found ourselves acting a part to fit in, at some point –remember being a teen.] That we are perfectly – imperfection!

So, I find that I am still holding space, a Sacred Space within that is my HeartHome. I find it most often with others that are close enough to know all the prismatic parts of me and alone. Those moments of Being, connected in ways that have no words, a rightness. I give Thanks that I am have been able to live a life full of traveling toward this adventure of knowing me. Of having the luxury to make time to seek and find the HeartHome of me. To fully take in the gift that is me. And yes, there are days I am still driving to find that person. I am so very Grateful for friends, who are real, with patches worn thin, filled with a curiousness to know more of life and themselves and me. I hope I gift that back in a way that they know what I mean.

I invite each one of us to take this journey, I will again note that it seems to be a road with many funny turns. Some full of laughter so deep tears run down your checks, roads that seem to be full of the ‘mundane’; the everyday-ness of being that we wonder could this be all there is? Then there are the roads marked with Grace. Others so painful we cry rivers of tears till we find ourselves laughing with a stitch in our side. And yes, some roads simply are. We find ourselves traveling in certain sets of circles, is this our HeartHome? I wonder, I turn this question over to you. Travel safe and wild on the road to you. I will keep the fire warm, the candle lit waiting for your return. I hold you, friends in my HeartHome, wrapped in warmth and laughter.

photo taken in Bethleham, PA Nov '09 by me just down from 'Cupcake G's'

Friday, November 13, 2009

but for Grace...go I

I would share with you that there is a great sadness in my heart. People are homeless, jobless, family-less. I can not change these things. What I can offer is an ear, a smile as I walk by. You may think that it doesn’t matter or what good is that…

What it does is it preserves another’s Dignity. Our turning away as if we don’t see them, says they are less then nothing~ unseen, unheard. They are also part of a Divine Grace. Though I am not sure how or why this is part of a greater plan. I know that it is.

I am learning that it cost me more to turn away. That the tears that run down my face, as I walk away, after I have stood for a few minutes allowing a homeless person a chance to tell me a little about themselves; because I noticed them. Was nothing compared to what it cost them to see that I noticed them, then gather themselves enough to call after and follow me as though they might know me.

At what cost did I look him in the eye? Did it hurt me to stand at a corner for a moment to hear his story as I walked to meet a friend for coffee? He asked for nothing more then to be heard, something I take for granted. I have a voice. Who will have voice for the voice-less, the silent?

I sit with a heart heavy, I told him I would listen, would buy him coffee in the morning, he would need to meet me. For I will not give out money . I picked someplace I knew would be safe for me, what about safe for him? He would need to trust that I would in fact be there. How much would that cost him? I am feeling more then what he was willing to chance. He wasn’t there; nor did he arrive in the time I was there.

I can’t answer for him. I am only able to recall a saying… “There but for the Grace of God go I.” Dear Creator, as winter draws near I ask you watch over those that for what ever reason, Veteran , mental illness, loss of job, family find themselves homeless and on the street. I ask that you guide my eyes, my heart to look in their eyes. Remind me of how much I have, not that which I do not.

“There but for the Grace of God go I.”

Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Itch of Power, to the Heart

I have always been offended by the fact that it is assumed that when women are in Power they are bitchy, whinny, manipulative and repetitive in their requests. And I hate that it seems to me that in our society that a lot of demeaning put downs are words about Women ~ which makes them about ME, which is WE in reflection of the mirror of Women. So I am taking the B out and it really is about an Itchyness.

So first of I would like to note that in Power and from a place of Power are two very different stances. The second is the one that has me Whirling around the juicer of Life. Because the two stances are often mixed together, the out come turns toward women, myself included oft times shrinking away from taking charge; though our inner compass tells us we are the person best suited toward the task.

I find and would invite us to notice that when that place of the Itchyness shows up, it is our inner compass telling us to put our Heart and Soul back on the tiller, the rudder set for a course that allows us to be held in the face of the storm, our team at the lines, helping guide us. I believe that all humans get that itchyness when they let go of their core or the Source of their inner knowing.

It is also my belief that as a culture, as the race of Humans we must put the Heart back into how we do things as a community, government, even business. It is from this place of caring for each other that will in fact Co-create what it is we are Envisioning. It is from a place of heart that a clearer vision can come forth. That we are invited to as Michael Meade calls it the ‘World behind the World’.
[http://mosaicstore.org/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=6 ]

I would ask that we all look at how much courage it takes to be in a connection to our Source, to notice when we are in that place of Itchyness, and how it doesn’t serve us.
I would also ask that we look at these questions – inviting ourselves to a new way of Being. No one is free while any one of us is enslaved.
What might it look like when I choose to see my power as a friend/Allie?
How have I diminished that friendship over the years?
Might I notice the beauty of my power?
When have I been IN power yet not En-powered? How did that feel.
What is at the Heart of my Source?

I would like to note that most of this showed up on Facebook on a Discussion board at SheChanges. A little differently as my voice there was purely from a place of being a Women. And though I do not see our Enpowerment as a gender issue; I do find that in my experience People IN Power, do not necessarily come from a place of Being in their Power. Giving them the change to Abuse their power, children, women, and those that are different from those IN Power often suffer because of this.

May we all some day walk in a world that invites us to be connected to each other with love, hope and the Grace that we were born with.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Winter Squash Soups

Our body, the earth both love it when we eat what's truly in season. Due to the wonder of planes, and world travel we are now able to eat all manner of fruits and vegetables that are either out of season for us or don't grow in our area at all. This is something we have learned to take for granted. Yet, nature has a way of growing and having available to us what it is we really need or crave in the season.

Fall and Winter are all those wonderful root vegetables and cabbage. The bounty of Winter Squashes. All are here during this time as a Powerhouse of healing. They have an amazing amount of vitamin A- a anticancer crusader. Also topping the winter food list for vitamin C and fiber. Hell-o potassium to boot. All of these help in the fight for colds, flu, and other winter maladies. As root vegetables, another thing they help our bodies do is ground. Keeping us planted during the season of dreams. Adding chili peppers or ginger also help our immune system.

Before they are cooked they don't take up valuable refrigerator space either.

All this said, let me share a base soup and then give you some options on different ways to play with them, to create different tastes. Now that you've got the idea ~ see what you might do.

Basic Winter Squash Soup 4-6servings for lunch or dinner 8 - if soup course

1 med size squash,(butternut, acorn, buttercup or Hubbard)about 2 pounds or a small pumpkin
1 TBS butter or olive oil
1 onion -diced
2 stalks celery
1 -2 large carrots
1 clove garlic
4-6 cups stock either vegetable or chicken.
salt and white pepper to taste.

Start by baking your choice of squash/pumpkin - to do this you'll cut it in half, take out the seeds with a spoon, place face down on a cookie sheet with- the oven set for 350 degrees, bake for about 30mins or until a fork inserted through the skin slides in easily. (Baking the squash/pumpkin gives the soup a richer taste- though you can make the soup by cutting the squash/pumpkin into chunks instead, and simmering them till soft)

Meanwhile - as the squash/pumpkin bake. Dice your [onion, garlic, celery and carrots]. Heat your soup pot - hot pan, cold 'fat' the food won't stick - throw in this [mixture] and sauté till onions are transparent. Set aside to add baked squash/pumpkin.
Add stock - *tip don't have stock~ easy fix ~to make a quick make shift one- take the peelings from the [mixture] add a potatoes or two chopped, throw into 4 cups of water simmer while the squash/pumpkin bakes. For easy stock I save the bits and pieces of onions and things -no broccoli or asparagus - in a container in the freezer for this sorts of moments- makes a richer stock. Strain you now have 'stock' -if you choose not to bake the squash/pumpkin due to timing needs throw the peelings into the stock pot as well.

When squash/pumpkin are ready - dig the wonderful 'meat' from the shell, add to the [mixture] pour in your stock cook on low heat for about 15 -20 minutes. Let it cool till lukewarm - now it's ready to be mashed or run through your 'quesy' (food processor). Reheat add salt and pepper to taste, serve topped with fresh parsley, scallions and or curtons.

*tip to make a heartier and heart healthy - to give it that creamy texture of heavy cream, blend in a small can of cannellini beans ( sometimes called white kidney)rinsed and drained - or about 1 1/2 cups soaked and cooked. This can be done to most soups and gives it a milky look without the dairy. A way to add more fiber - nobody knows but the cook

Changes to make something fancier.

Curried Butternut Squash
Follow basic recipe adding:
1 large apple
1more clove of garlic
1 finely chopped Anehiem chili
1/2-1 teaspoon Cheyenne pepper-this is a matter of how many stars
1-2 Tablespoons Curry Powder
optional - add 1star anise.

Roasted Red Pepper and Squash Soup
Following basic recipe add
2 large red roasted peppers
1/2 -1 teaspoon Cheyenne pepper

to roast your peppers- place under the broiler till skin turns black - gently pull this away from the pepper throw into the soup you can also roast a third then chop it as a garnish.

Apple Pumpkin
Following basic recipe using pumpkin add
2 Apples, like Courtland or Crispin - something with a lot of snap -Granny Smith could also work
1/2-1 teaspoon Cheyenne pepper
1-2 cinnamon sticks (this is a matter of taste- optional
replace 1-2 cups of the stock with apple juice.

Basque Pumpkin and White Bean made easy
Following basic recipe using pumpkin add
1 leek chopped and washed
3 more cloves of garlic
3 fresh sage leaves or 1/3 teaspoon dried
1 can cannellini beans -rinsed and drained or 1 1/2 cup cooked beans

you are not sending this soup through the 'quesy' - stir the pumpkin in well to incorporate it then add beans
garnish with fresh parsley and fresh ground pepper.

Hope to hear about some of the results! Have fun ~ love what you are cooking the food knows as do the ones who eat it. As Julie would say Bon Appetite!