Saturday, March 28, 2020

Quarantine Food Diaries, Day ?, An Apple a Day...

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?"
—Mary Oliver
I may have lost track of time, I know I've skipped a day of journaling online and making videos for classes and swinging wooden spoons in my kitchen, whirling fragrant spices and vibrant veggies into edible art, I know I have. Yesterday brought me to a screeching halt. I have been quarantined with my partner, as many of you have, I consider this a gift, our dance of the day is not tethered to expectation but rather has a beautiful flow of weaving in and out of each other's presence and honoring each other's independent rhythms as well. So yesterday as I laid out my mat to practice with one of the teachers from the yoga community I call home at Balanced Planet Yoga, he decided to take a run. The class felt good, often as a teacher following classes gives us the permission to turn off and turn inward, at least that is what happens for me and so I am a fan. I release all control of the sequence of shapes, of speaking and making words find the right amount of time to occupy with the right amount of meaning, I love releasing all of that and just absorbing and moving into the physical and breath filled practice designed by someone else. I am a forever student, what is hard is finding the teacher that opens the mind of the student, that is hard, but when you find the one or few that do, the studentship of life, or the yoga class, is blissful.  
The hour flew by, I was peacefully resting in shavasana when my dog, Chloe, decided it was time to go out, barking and jumping near me, duty called. It was still ok, I live on the edge of a golf course now all but closed, and so I roam the greens with her off leash once we get deep into the woods. These daily walks have been a walking meditation, forest bathing so it was all still ok, in fact it was perfect. I wondered where Justin was and decided to return to greet him with my sunbeam of feelings that I had absorbed from the last hour and a half of the morning. As I walked in with Chloe I noticed he had made a smoothie and I began drinking when he turned and said he was having difficulty speaking. He looked ok, he's young and lithe and one would never think he had anything, but his heart used to beat out of his chest when he was little, they discovered an arithmia and at 17 he was having heart surgery. It's been years and years since he has been checked, being a yoga teacher does not allow for health insurance in this country easily. We talk about it from time to time, he should get checked, he had felt  his heart do what it used to when he was a teenager, but it would resolve itself and we would move on with our day. 
I sat with him, had him try to repeat words to me, tried to decide what to do, his legs were twitching as if electrified too and I had no idea what that could mean. I laid his head in my lap and held him, did what I knew, was drawn to hold his head. You see issues in the heart, left intreated I learned, irregular beating over time can lead to stroke. Living in America, uninsured and in the middle of this pandemic made going to the ER a complicated decision for an unknown, bizarre set of symptoms. So you see, I wasn't cooking, or thinking about food yesterday, what I was thinking about was all of this. I unbelievably am friends with a neurologist, turned yoga instructor, we did our training together and have stayed in contact. I called both her and another friend and yoga student who is a nurse, they both answered almost immediately and if it weren't for them I'm quite sure the day would've looked completely different. The neurologist put Justin through a battery of tests over the phone, and I was buying health insurance pretending with the agent that it just occurred to me, given the virus looming that Justin should be insured, the other ear listening to Justin explain how words were feeling stuck in his mouth, how his brain knew the words but his mouth felt stuck.  
Today I know we made an ok decision, yesterday my thoughts swirled with doubt. I can't thank those two women enough for all the information and help they gave, we felt held by them. I remembered a day last year when, though they never met each other they shared a yoga class that I taught,  that day was shortly after the great modern poet Mary Oliver had passed on and I read one of her poems.  The world goes on, without our control and all we can do is return to love. The events of our life will bring us around and around again to this simple state of being, big openhearted, unconditional love. I could never have known that this poem was perfect to read. These two played such beautiful roles in our lives yesterday, their life's work of open hearted service and our lives of service as yoga teachers in this beautiful dance of giving with a full heart makes me even more committed to the belief that love is service and service is joy.  

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

—Mary Oliver

I did actually cook yesterday, in the evening I made one of my favorite salads, inspired by my Aunt, as part of being a conscious chef, aware of medicinal properties of live foods I threw the kitchen sink of them so to speak at our weakened physical and emotional states. Herbs. Fresh herbs have been used for their medicinal properties in many cultures, eastern and western alike for centuries, properties including anti oxidant, anti inflammatory, and anti bacterial to name a few. They are packed with polyphenols and have high contents of vitamin A, C and K, making them a perfect way to neutralize acidity in the body and protect it from free radicals. Pairing this with probiotic yogurt and cashews which are known heart helpers preventing the coagulation of blood. 

Herb Salad, An Apple a Day 


Fresh organic or homegrown herbs:
1 handful each :Dill, Parsley, Cilantro, Mint, Basil
1 handful baby lettuces, spring mix 
1 handful blueberries
1 Pink Lady apple
1 tbsp plain yogurt or Skyr per plate
1 tbsp drizzled tahini per plate
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Himalayan pink salt, cracked pepper

Arrange a light fluffy swish of the yogurt on the side of your plate, fan out apple slices and mound lightly your greens atop both, place lightly toasted cashews and blueberries on top sprinkle salt, pepper and if you have it for contrasting color I sprinkled beet powder, lightly drizzle tahini and a few drops of olive oil and enjoy!

Notions on holistic  awareness and reading of Mary Oliver

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