Monday, January 6, 2014


Today I did something very uncharacteristic of my Type-A full-steam-ahead personality. After finishing cleaning the kitchen, I took my lunch, sat down by the fire and thought to myself, “Wow, I just cleaned the kitchen.” Then I took a break.

This is unlike me for two reasons: 

1] When I have a to-do list, generally I feel the insane urge to plow through. Only upon completion do I allow myself a tiny moment of relief it’s over. Then I add another item to the list and bam! moment vanishes and off I go. Rarely does cleaning the kitchen feel like an effort worth pause and celebration.

2] The idea of sitting quietly and enjoying myself for a moment mid-day a few times over has, until fairly recently, been a foreign concept – one that tends to make me twitch. I’m inclined to bow down to accomplishment and success in the work I do yet never allow myself to fully embrace the “after” of such work. My mantra [I’m sorry to say] has been “What else needs to be done?” My answer? Everything.

And then today, with the help of a little divine intervention, I actually sat down. Not in the “well, I’m practicing mindfulness and being present so I should” sort of way but in an “I really want to just be for a minute so I’m going to” manner.

Let me make this clear – I am not giving anyone an excuse to be sluggish and lazy. With a world full of good, life-giving work there is no room for sitting on your laurels with the TV on, eating another microwave dinner, and repeating this charade day in and day out. If that’s you, this is your wake up call. Get up, the world waits! As important as it is to have rest with work, it is equally as important to have ample work with rest.

On the other hand, I do support the practice of putting accomplishment in its proper place understanding I can achieve many things and still refrain from letting accomplishment define who I am - it is not my God. Achievement does not own me - defining my mood, my energy level, my personality. By taking a moment to sit in the present and consider the thing I just did [whatever it was], I am allowing myself to feel the pleasure and gift of hard work. I compare it to savansana after an intense yoga class or long day. It’s natural for me to give everything to my practice or day but even more innate, if I allow it, is to sink into the rest that comes after.

When we live in the present and give ourselves fully to something, there can be no other response to the act but to be still.

Of course we can push through, railroading any form of rest and reflection on the way. But in yoga this is where injury happens to our bodies. In life this is where damage happens to relationships with self, others, the earth, and with God. 

If we don’t take the time necessary to reflect on our decisions made and actions taken, how can we possibly make well thought out choices that will benefit the people and world around us?    

As we enter this new year swelling with both promise and challenge, may we take intentional time each day to recognize that our accomplishments, the things we do, cannot define who we are. 

It’s the spaces in between the doing that truly form us into our best selves.

Now, if you’re not convinced to rest amid bouts of work simply because it’s awesome for your body, your spirit, and actually allows you to be more productive overall, then maybe adding an immunity boost to sweeten the deal will get you. That’s right, rest [both mental and physical] is bar none the most important thing you can do to prevent illness. I’m not messing with you – you can do everything I've listed on the Colds & Flu Prevention page [all good things to do regardless], but without giving yourself space to break, will still be culpable to colds and other illness.

That being said, this is my go-to tea blend in the event a cold pops up. I drink at least 4 strong cups a day throughout the duration of the cold and then a cup or two each day in the week or two after as sort of "I mean it!" finale. You can also use this tea as a preventative if you feel something coming on.

This, along with some of my other tried and true remedies [by this I mean I have personally tried and found them to be true], ensures any illness will be short-lived.

Oh, and did I mention? This recipe is as simple as they get. This means you can combine the herbs while the water is boiling, steep a cup, and go rest basking in the accomplishment of just making your own tea blend!

A note about measuring in "parts": "parts" is a general measuring term that can mean any form of measurement. The thing to remember when using parts is if you start with 1 tablespoon equating 1 part then you need to continue that measurement throughout recipe. For example, if 1 tablespoon equals 1 part then 2 parts would  be 2 tablespoons and 1/2 part would be 1/2 tablespoon. 


2 parts each:

Yarrow Flower, dried
Elder Flower, dried

1 part each:

Peppermint Leaf, dried
Olive Leaf, dried

Place all of the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, leaving at least a two-inch space at the top. Gently shake the jar to mix herbs. 

To use, place 2 - 3 teaspoons of tea mix in a metal tea strainer, tea ball, or unbleached cotton tea bag. Put tea bag in a mug suitable for hot liquids and pour 1 - 1 1/2 cups of boiling water over tea. Steep for at least 10 - 15 minutes to make a bold tea [the stronger the tea the more health benefits you receive]. I like to let my tea steep to room temperature and drink warm rather than hot. 

If you're dealing with a sore throat, add a good splash of lemon juice and a bit of honey. 

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