April 2012


I was being really bothered recently by someone I found really annoying.  Me and this other person – let’s call him Joe – just were not seeing eye to eye.  He really bugged me.  And then i was finding that i was thinking about my annoyance when i’d much rather be enjoying my weekend, say.  Or sleeping.  And then that would annoy me even more.

One morning i was in the car listening to a podcast on Lovingkindness meditation.  I love it, i do the meditation in my yoga class all the time.  My favourite one goes like this:

May you be happy.

May you feel loved.

May all your suffering be healed.

May you be at peace.

We do the meditation silently during relaxation and i say each line and pause so they can repeat it to themselves.  We say it first for ourselves, next for someone we care about , again for someone who’s totally neutral (the person who sells you coffee in the morning) and then finally for someone who we have a harder time with.  The kind of relationship that has been difficult or needs some healing.

When we got to that part of the meditation in the podcast I immediately thought of Joe.  And I put the lovingkindness out to him.

And it was really cool because I felt myself soften toward him with each line.  I didn’t feel so resistant and on-the-opposite-side-of-the-fence to him.

When it was done i really felt like i didn’t need Joe to be any different.  I felt like I cared for or respected him enough to allow him to be exactly who he is, without the annoyance this time. It felt really freeing.

You know that Gandhi quote, “be the change you want to see in the world”?  I always thought that was for really big change like world peace.  But it ocurred to me driving to work that morning, that I had just done it.

I had wanted Joe to change and be less annoying.  But instead i managed to change my perspective so I was less annoyed. I was the change.

But it gets even better.  You know what happened when I saw Joe?  I was much more open to him without even trying.  I was warmer and more accommodating instead of resistant and shut down.  Just waiting to be annoyed.  I was genuinely interested in how he was doing.

It was pretty cool.  Because I think of the lovingkindness meditation as something we put out to the people that we’re thinking about.  And that may be true.  I like to think we’re sending those people good stuff. But the real juice is the gift you give to yourself.

Being open and caring and genuine is such a better way to be in the world.  I can attest that it sure beats being annoyed.

There’s a guy I know who is really cranky.  He’s one of those people who seems to believe that life is dealing him a tough set of circumstances and he’s unhappy and growly about it all the time.  Sometimes i wonder if his life can really be that tough, he seems to believe it is.  But regardless, his wife is having a baby soon.  And i thought about how he finds life tough now and i think, dude, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

You haven’t seen random until you’ve had a newborn in the house.  You haven’t seen “things i can’t control” until you’ve had a kid high on sugar at Easter, Halloween, Christmas and every birthday party, especially his own.

It’s so easy to get caught in needing things to be ok to be happy.  And man, if there’s one thing that parenthood has taught me, it’s that i can attempt to be happy regardless.  And i get to relearn that one regularly because i forget all the time.  I can also remind myself that this was my choice (although I’m sure I was drunk) and I can choose to find the good, anytime.

I was reading “Excuse Me Your Life is Waiting” and read these gems in her family section.

I will be open to…. wellbeing no matter what crazy thing you’ve done.

I don’t need conditions to be right to be happy.

I’m not going to pay any more attention to your silly habits, because I don’t need everything to be perfect for my love to flow to you.

I don’t know how it’s going to turn out for you, but i know it’s going to be fine.  I never worry about you, because I know whatever is in store will be good.

I was at the farmers market the other day and picked up a bag of big honkin’ beets.  I was so proud because a health foodarian friend of mine tells me that beets are ridiculously good for us.  They’re a good veggie to eat in the spring because they give our livers a kick start and that’s useful after a winter of eating heavy foods.

But I got home and wasn’t sure what to do with them.  Then I remembered looking through some of the 101 Healthy Soups on Cooking Light.  I looked through them again and sure enough there was a beet soup recipe lurking.  Beet soup seemed like the perfect thing.  It’s a good detox food because the soup is hearty and on a chilly spring day it nicer to eat than a ice cold salad.

Making a borsht soup would have been nice but i didn’t have the time.  This one recipe looked so darn easy that i thought i’d give it a shot.  The recipe provides proportions, but I actually used my whole bag of beets (5 or 6) and added more broth and water.  I also  modified it to make it detox friendly:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 cups detox friendly chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a bay leaf, and/or a good shake of thyme and dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and chopped

Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until beets are tender.
  2. Let it cool a bit.
  3. Fill your blender nearly to the top with soup and process until smooth. Pour it back into the pot and use a slotted spoon to remove more chunks, putting them in the blender.  Keep blending until the soup is pureed.
  4. Warm soup over low heat for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and eat ‘er up.