The BEST Veggie Stew

I don’t know about you guys, but as fall creeps in (YES on Thursday!!) my soul aches for warm, soft, mushy stew. Full of squash and local bounty, this recipe can be changed to fit what you find at your farmer’s market, and all ingredients can easily be found at the grocery, if you want my version.

This stew does several things: It’s high in protein, vegetarian (or vegan if you don’t use butter) and FULL of antioxidant-rich ingredients to fight colds. Plus, the garlic in it will ward off vampires, or whatever.

Serves 4:

1 Large Yellow Onion (diced)

3 Stalks Celery (slice or dice…make it bite size!)

3 Carrots (diced)

1 Large Sweet potato (diced ) – you can also use a butternut squash, pumpkin, or any other yellow squash here. You need about 2 cups total.

1 Can Cannelini Beans (15 oz) drained, NOT rinsed

1 Bunch of Kale or Chard (shredded up)

1 Cup Quinoa

4 Cups Vegetable Stock

4 Cups Water

4 T Butter or Olive Oil (or mix them; I used butter only)

5 Cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp salt (or more, to taste)

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ancho chili pepper powder

 

Start with a large soup pot, warming your oil or melting butter. Add in first 4 ingredients. Cook on medium heat about 10 minutes (onions sweat) and add last 5 ingredients. Mix together and cook another 5 minutes to unlock spices with oil/butter.

Add liquids, beans, quinoa, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, uncover, and simmer at least 30 minutes, letting quinoa cook and thickening the mixture. Taste to see if more spice is needed. The beans will be a bit salty, so you don’t need as much salt as you do for other recipes, but everyone’s taste is different.

Serve with a crusty sourdough loaf, smothered in grassfed butter, or something equally as magical. Drizzle the stew with olive oil.

Enjoy! What is your favorite fall recipe?

Selah

The Womb as Our Emotional Center

Recently I had an incredible experience that showed me the truth of the idea that the Womb, for women, is where we store all emotional reactions.

I had a terrible morning. Three nasty things happened in a row, leaving me feeling vulnerable, angry, alone and scared. I felt out of control, which is my LEAST favorite way to feel. And this terrible mood followed me home, to my nest, and into the interactions I had with my husband as the day wore on. A crappy old day indeed.

So in the late afternoon, I was reading a book, letting go (or trying to) of the events of the day, and my uterus started clenching and spasming very intensely. This isn’t really the “norm” for me. I took some breaths, placed a hand on my belly and offered mySelf Reiki. It didn’t do a darn thing (usually, that works like a charm for me). The pain was severe enough for me to get up out of bed, and into the shower, in hopes of the heat and water soothing me.

There is also a acupuncture point, three finger widths below the navel, that can help unlock pent up energy (i.e. cramps) in the lower abdomen. I gently rubbed this spot and it was deeply tender. So I’m in the shower, rubbing my belly, moving my hips, singing a little, letting the heat transform everything. And I got a HUGE release of energy. I got dizzy in the shower.

And all of my irritation, all of my armor, all of my anger completely went away.

I did a TOTAL 180. My husband was avoiding me (for his safety at that point) and I went to find him, apologize and communicate it. We had a great evening together.

So what the heck happened?

Well, the emotions that I had been storing in my body from the morning and early afternoon were all being stored in the tissues of my body, specifically, in my womb. I have “known” that the second chakra is our emotional center, “known” the the womb is a sacred place of sensitivity and emotional processing, for years. I had never experienced it like this. When the heat, my chanting, and stimulation of the Dan Tien point (below the navel), I opened that chakra and the energy processed through my body. I didn’t re-live anything. It was not scary. It was just the thing my instincts told me I needed, and I knew that it was a healing. That is often how healing unfolds: through discomfort and intuition, through the shadows we work hard to deny.

And I thought to myself that more women need to know this.

All women deserve to cultivate this sensitivity. All women deserve to know that there are energetic techniques that unlock energy and help the bodymind process reactions and stress that no longer serve. So I share it with you.

The components for getting stuck energy moving again are:

Movement (I was swaying my hips and gently moving side to side)

Touch: Use that acupuncture point I described, or just place your hands where it hurts. Rub gently. Massage. Your body is a holy temple.

Sound: I was chanting and singing. Anything will do, but making long vowel sounds helps the most. Envision the locked part of your energy asking for a balm to aid its healing and release. What does that balm sound like?

Heat: Heat transforms. It draws blood and fluid to the area. It gets stuff moving. (Please don’t use heat on burned skin, and if you aren’t sure if it will help you, ask your doctor first).

So investigate! What is tight? What is yearning for release, healing, letting go, and transformation?

Keep me posted ❤

Selah

Daily Tarot for Self Care

Today’s offering is in support of a previous post on rituals for moving inward. I have, over the years, done a lot of Tarot readings and study. I have read for myself, and others, and I love it, I really do. But it can be SO overwhelming. There are SO MANY CARDS with SO MANY MEANINGS! In the beginning I would do a 3 day reading for myself almost daily, to see the different stuff at work in my life. Even that became too complicated.

So I present to you my ultra-simple, perfect-for-beginners, takes-5-minutes-in-the-morning technique for getting amazing guidance from Tarot. And, this technique can be used with all sorts of oracle decks and different Tarot decks, just so you know. Don’t feel like the cards you have now won’t work. They will work perfectly, no matter what they are!

Before the technique: Why Cards?

Well, for me, there is no easier way of getting information from Source energy. The cards work on a basis of the Law of Attraction, which means 2 things: 1.We cannot choose wrong and 2. If you don’t like the cards, draw them again. Nothing is set in stone, and the cards offer ONE perspective on ONE part of our lives…nothing that cannot be changed or learned from. So the cards are my guides each morning as I sit in meditation, wondering what kind of energy or challenge or whatever is floating through my day. Cards have no religion attached to them, and I find they work beautifully with any level of awareness you are bringing to the game. Take them at face value, or extrapolate your OWN inner symbolic meanings: it’s all good.

I *will* recommend a deck for beginners (because it is SO gentle, sweet, and lovely to use): Doreen Virtue’s Angel Tarot is one of the best. All of her Tarot decks have messages RIGHT ON THE CARDS so you don’t need to look anything up (and come with books to help, too) as well as lovely art. If you are unsure of where to start, start with her. I don’t make any income from recommending her decks, I just love them all!

NOW: The Technique:

On Sundays, I draw 7 cards: One for each day of the week.

Before drawing cards, I shuffle gently and pray that I receive accurate, helpful answers for my life, each day. I then rotate cards through my hands, and when one pops up, I take it out for that day.

I then place each card, face up, and right side up, in a line from left to right. I look at the overarching theme (is one number popping up a lot? A lot of major arcana cards? Messages that support each other like “balance”, “heal”, and “detox” or “communicate”, “love”, and “play”? ) I then place these cards, being careful to keep them in order, in a pile on my altar.

Each morning, I look at that card’s messages. Sometimes (usually) I draw one more card asking: “How does this card apply to my life today?” Or “What more information do I need about this card?”

And drawing the SECOND card of the day often gives me a great amount of perspective! I get context and clarity. I sit for a moment, murmur thanks, and then move into my day!

Example: Daily Card: The Chariot, symbolizing self-assertion, using our Will, taking control over a challenging situation, and asserting ourselves

Extra card (asking “What does this mean for me today?”) Seven Cups, symbolizing fantasy, illusion, wishful thinking and imagination.

My interpretation: Time to make some decisions and take some steps! Rather than waffling time procrastinating and avoiding certain situations (which I am going to keep private, but I knew EXACTLY what these cards were telling me about) it was time to get GOING.

So I did! And it was all easy stuff, that just needed to be finished. And I felt SO much more free and easy after having taken those steps. If it wasn’t clear to me, I could have even drawn another card.

If you are getting cards warning of a major conflict or challenge, ask “What is my best course of action to overcome this?” Or, “How can I best handle this situation?” and draw another card. But keep it simple. The idea is that this is just a little bit of Universal guidance for you for your day. It’s meant to not overwhelm you or feel like a burden. Just a doorway in.

Tell me how it goes!

Until the next,

Selah

 

End of Summer Rituals

Guys, it’s happening. Autumn is around the corner, bless Her beautiful gowns of glowing colors and chilly breezes. It’s time to review the season we have had, and make room for the next. In terms of our energy, the transitions between seasons are turbulent times, as light shifts and temperatures veer away from the previous highs and not-so-lows of high Summer. I always relish late Summer as much as possible…to trees as they *just* begin to shift into splendor, the cool nights, the humidity being cut by fresh air, and  even the beginnings of the scent of rot, as the Earth turns back on Herself, as such a pleasure to my senses. Tomatoes fall in droves from the plants, herbs are harvested and dried or made into pestos and frozen. The last summer squash get plucked and put into frittatas. It’s cool enough to bake bread again, and to want to eat it.

There is a tremendous amount of abundance offered to us right now, but many of us are distracted by planning for the next thing. hmmmmm….sound familiar?

So in hopes of bringing you back into your delicious, abundant present, I offer a few ideas for late Summer rituals, to offer both gratitude for what has been, and prayers for what will be. Take it all with a grain of salt, mix them all together, or make your own Way. It doesn’t matter…it only matters (and by that I mean, it only makes life more enjoyable) that you actually engage in a ritual that works for you.

Ritual Ideas:

First, clean. Use the fresh air and clear sunlight. Open all of your windows and doors. Clean with gentle, non-toxic products (Seventh Generation is a great brand, and I end up using vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice for most things). Clean your living space. Clean your sleeping space. Clean your altar space, making sure to dust any figurines, crystals, or special items you have there.

Cleaning gets rid of stagnant old energy. You are also paying attention to your dwelling space, and therefore, telling the Universe: ‘Get ready, I am making some changes here!’ It sets the stage for sacred work.

Bathe yourself. Take a hot epsom salt bath with some essential oils, or a nice hot shower. As the water drains off your body, set your intention: Dear Spirit of the Water, thank you for cleansing me of all that no longer serves me, and purifying me for the next season (or, part of this ritual).

When you’re done bathing, use a sumptuous body oil (my favorite blend is almond oil and avocado oil, with a drop of favorite perfume oil added in).

Dress in white, or whatever you consider your Power Color. What clothes make you feel totally alive and like the best version of yourself? Wear those. I like white because it is clean and a fresh slate. I like bringing nothing with me except my intention when I perform rituals.

Go to your altar. This doesn’t have to be fancy or big. Just a fresh flower in a vase, with a tea light candle, is perfect. The idea is that the altar gives you a focal point to work at. Grab a journal. Sit down and close your eyes, taking some deep breaths.

As yourself: What have I learned this season? Where have I been abundant this season? What lessons or challenges have I worked through?

Don’t dwell on negativity. This isn’t a pity party. It’s a time to simply take stock of your previous 3 months. Journal your answers.

Then, rest with closed eyes, and ask: What am I creating this season? What am I releasing, letting go of, and allowing its natural death? To what lessons do I intend to apply myself?

Again, journal. Make a plan. Set a few goals.

Write down 3 prayers, goals, or wishes on some dry bay leaves (yes, the kind you get at the supermarket, or your garden). Go outside and burn them on a fire-proof plate. As the bay leaves burn, your intentions are carried to the Universe.

Go inside, and give thanks at your altar.

Other ideas:

Draw oracle or tarot cards to help answer your future creation questions.

Make art symbolizing what you worked through in Summer, and what you anticipate for Autumn.

Gather some dry grass to weave as you focus on your prayers. Place it on your altar and let it hold your intention for the coming season. You can also do this with branches or other natural materials. Please be respectful when gathering such things, and thank the Earth for Her gifts.

Until the next turning,

Selah

On Creating a New You

On Creating a New You

Each year, “new year’s resolutions” are everywhere. We are admonished and recommended to take stock of the previous year, and to vow certain improvements will be made in the new year. Most of us (all of us?) end up disappointing ourselves a few weeks into January when we fall back into our old behavior and patterns. The fact is, change takes consistent attention and energy, and it can be deeply challenging.

In recent years, I have started to honor the winter Solstice as my New Year, and I like to take time on that day, or right around it, to look at myself and see the shifts I’d like to make. I make this a sacred time, and my vows that I take are for myself only, or for things that affect my husband and family, I will share them with those people, in hopes of creating support and some accountability.

The language is SO important as I make my vows…I don’t say, “I vow to lose 10 pounds.” But I might vow to “treat my body with the respect it deserves, starting with a gratitude practice I check in with, daily.” The difference between these two sentiments is palpable: one is a judgement of where I am right now, and my behavior that put the weight on in the first place. The other, is a gentle shift in the relationship I have with my body. And by deciding to do a gratitude practice daily, I set up a different relationship with ALL aspects of my life.

I don’t make specific rules about how the gratitude practice looks, by the way. If one day I write it down, maybe the next I simply take a deep breath and say Thank You to myself. Or I thank someone else. I thank my body. I thank my patients. I thank my food. Gratitude brings us into a place of peace and freedom, and even worthiness, if we practice long enough.

Something else I heartily recommend and have come to rely on, is drawing oracle cards. This is an easy way to connect with Source energy, but you could also do a nice meditation, or book yourself a Tarot card reading. The main questions are: What is my main lesson for the year? What’s the best way for me to help myself? How can I change and become the best version of myself this year?

When we slow down and listen, we often get answers that ring deeply true, that maybe we haven’t wanted to hear or face in previous years. The reason these things are coming up now, is we are more ready to face them! Along with the answers and information we glean from our highest Self, I also suggest asking for help. Sometimes, the answers we get are overwhelming. This isn’t a reason to ignore the information, but it’s a GREAT reason to expand your support network and get the help you need. It’s easier to do when the answer came from within yourself, so you KNOW it’s not about someone else trying to change you. You will find (as I have) that when we really want to engage in change and ask for help and support, that it comes, often in very unexpected ways.

Lastly, I suggest writing a letter to yourself and burning it. Write about the year, about your successes and failures. Write what you have learned. Write what you might want to change the next time the lesson comes around. Write your goals and dreams and aspirations. Write your vows. Write the bad stuff. Write the good stuff. Then, go outside and light it on fire and let it burn up, in something fire-proof. Light some sage and cleanse out the negative energy. All of it!

When we do this, we get all the pent-up stuff OUT and let it GO in a big way! We are signalling to the universe that we are ready to move on, and it can feel amazing. It’s even nicer to go through this process with other people who can really engage and dig in. The energy you generate with amplify and support everyone’s collective process.

Armed with these tools, I hope you can find your way into an easy and empowering new year! May change come easily and naturally. May you be blessed and content in all the best ways life has to offer.

Selah

Pixie

On Easy Holidays…

On Easy Holidays…

Every year when the winter solstice and Christmas come around, I turn into a ball of tension. My skin crawls in anticipation of forced-encounters, too-much-sugar and the crash that inevitably follows, and the dry skin persisting despite how much castor oil and whatnot I slather on.

Not so this year!

And my sanity is so welcome, and so unexpected, I thought it might benefit my readers to share some of the things I am doing differently this year.

First of all, I started a deep meditation practice, daily. In years past, I have meditated or rested most days, but only for 20-30 minutes. This year, I sit for 45 minutes. It’s time that I carve out (and no, sometimes it’s not easy) so that I can shift my energy and take stock of what I’m working with on any particular day. The meditation gives me infinite gifts, but what I notice most during this time of year is that I am more OK with giving my body what it needs to stay healthy (and to say No to things that don’t serve me). I am also projecting less into the future and more content in my present moment, which makes me easier to be around. I *also* notice that I am more aware of my triggers, and less likely to engage in them. So there’s real change happening for me, and I like it.

Part of the change is that I have distanced myself a LOT from the typical frantic energy. These holy-days are just that: one DAY at a time, when we see family and eat good food. That is all. I am cultivating this perspective so as not to spend time anticipating and second-guessing (which both induce anxiety in me). Rather, I have made ONE list of things that must be finished in order for expectations to be met, and I have scheduled time to meet these expectations.

Normally, I try to keep it all in my head, and just get things done at the last minute. This year, I have been planning ahead just a little more, and wow, it really changes everything. While I plan, I refuse to worry about how it will all work out. It always works out. And if, for some reason, I can’t get all the baking and making done in the time I have, I am OK with going to the store and purchasing whatever I need. I let go of my expectations of MYSELF, as well as of the people around me.

Because of my increased awareness I am also eating more cleanly between holidays. If I eat too much at night, or too much sugar, or too much alcohol, my body rebels in very clear, very uncomfortable ways. So rather than get irritated, I thank my body for it’s clear messages and clean up the decisions I make. For me, this looks like intermittent fasting (I skip breakfast and only eat during an 8 hour window of the day), break my fast with raw fruit, and eat a nice dinner, early. In between the fruit and dinner, I eat a lot of vegetables, nuts and seeds, and avoid animal protein most days. I do eat plenty of fat, and drink plenty of water and tea. I am not denying myself anything…in fact, I feel marvelous! I lost a bit of weight, and when I want to indulge on those holidays, I know  that I can, and I know exactly what the consequences will be! How empowering! I don’t feel as though the holidays are a season to “get through” but rather, bright spots during a cozy stint of the year.

I also decorated my lovely home with homemade ornaments, greenery, and vintage ornaments, to bring in the feeling of cozy warmth to the home. I don’t personally honor Christmas, but Solstice is my new year, and I grew up celebrating Chanukah…so all the holidays of bringing light back into the world feel good to me. I set up a platter with crystals and candles on it, and we light it almost nightly.

All of these little changes and tidbits have resulted in my taking real pleasure in the late autumn and early winter seasons. By feeding my body and soul more consistently, and creating beauty in as many places as possible, I have left the stress and strain out of my heart and mind.

I hope you can find places of peace and light as the year turns again, that you find blessings in all areas of your life.

 

Blessed Be, Selah…

Pixie

On Taking Time Off

On Taking Time Off

I am self-employed, and it’s not entirely realistic for me to take week-long vacations very often. But I DO need time to get away. I need time to replenish, receive, and nourish myself, after giving so much to to community I serve. And I need (and take) this time consistently. It’s not unrealistic.  It’s not hard. It’s not expensive. So I wanted to share with you how I take my time, and make the most of it.

The easiest way to take time for re-setting, is to keep a day of Rest sacred in our home.  Neither my husband nor I are particularly religious, but we both love lighting candles on Friday nights, sharing what we are ready to let go of, and eating some freshly-baked bread and butter. It’s a very simple ritual, and it sets us both up to “power-down” for the coming 24 hours.

I tend to be more stringent in the boundaries of my Sabbath, but that’s because I tend to like those structures in my life. I like a daily practice, no matter what. I like daily, weekly, monthly, and annual rituals. They mark time and help remind me to connect to something higher than my mundane stuff.  My husband doesn’t have that relationship with ritual, so he doesn’t do it. He respects and understands me, though, which is more than enough.

During my Shabbat, I don’t spend money. I don’t go online. I don’t have my phone on (unless I am alone, in which case, it’s on…in a corner, on silent, but “on”). I take the entire morning for reading, yoga, and meditation. In the afternoon I generally get crafty, do something with my sweetheart, and take a nap. Friday during the day is when I get all my cleaning done, and also some heavy cooking so we have leftovers and I am off the hook. I scrub, get dishes done, do laundry, and it all feels awesome. Sometimes I buy flowers for our table. I clear off the table. I get everything ready.

The next day is just for rest, for connecting to Divinity, for playing, and for enjoying the comforts of my life. You don’t need to take Saturday; you don’t even need to take an entire day…but unplugging and changing patterns is great for the creative soul, and for our stress levels!

My next favorite way to Take Time Off is to take a weekend ALL FOR MYSELF! This happens rarely. My husband occasionally goes out of town for a seminar (or vice versa…if I travel in my car, I load my car heavily with everything I might need for a “mini retreat”) and I am left in our cozy home, with only myself to please.

When this happens, I get to really indulge. I make sure the tub is clean (not that I can’t take a bath when he’s home…but we all know how amazing a hot bath for WAY longer than “needed” can be). I stock the fridge with my favorite foods. I look for movies on Netflix, or pull out my favorite black and white ones, and make a stack. I go to the library for a pile of murder mysteries. I set myself up with everything that I love, and don’t have to share, for a few days.

It’s not that it’s not possible to act on these impulses when my darling is home. I don’t mean to imply that I can’t do what I want when he’s there. That’s not it at all. It’s just that when I live with someone else, I am always taking into consideration what they want and how they will enjoy what I am preparing or watching etc. It’s not hard, it’s just automatic. So for a couple of days, to just please myself, is really delicious.

I light my scented candles. I bring snacks up to the loft and stay there all day. I leave my phone two floors below. I let the sun tell me when to do things. I change the sheets. I cuddle our animals and take care of them.

For me, the quiet and solitude are deeply healing. I believe that, in a world of noise, social media, instant gratification, and constant connection, that we truly need the balance of silence.  We need to be alone. We need to get comfortable with our own inner voice, our own selves, again. And the only way to do that, is to shift the environment we live in.

By environment, I don’t mean only our living space, although a weekend at a B&B can do wonders for a relationship, lemme tell ya.  What I look for in my shift is how things FEEL.  How does it sound? I might play an opera, or tune in on the radio for a symphony, because those are not our default playlists.  I cook something that takes longer than 10 minutes and 3 steps, with new ingredients…because 1. I have the time, and 2. it gets my mind working in a new way. Sometimes I will make big art, or paint a mural on a wall, or spend time putting color into a space that I didn’t love. Again, it’s about change in environment.

And yes, I still keep Sabbath. In fact, when there’s no one to talk to, I do my best talking with my Highest Self and Source. I rest more. I let go. I mull over previous weeks’ and months’ worth of junk, write it down, and burn it up on my back patio.

My neighbors think I’m nuts.

I’m fine with that.

How can you Take some Time  to come back to center, back to presence? As the holiday season approaches, so many wonderful (or maybe not-so-wonderful) events will be unfolding in many of our lives. It becomes even more important to take care of ourselves, and not get wrapped up in the craziness of the season.

All my Love

Selah

Pixie