We were just back from a 10-day trip and woke up late [vacation-lag], finding ourselves rushing somewhat frantically throughout the morning, just trying to make it out the door with hair combed and shoes on. Food was the last thing I needed to be bothered with.
I've learned, with a lot of practice, to watch these kind of thoughts with curiosity. It came from somewhere within me and is probably less about what I actually think and more of a red flag gently warning me something is off.
I watched and waited.
Pretty quickly I stumbled upon this: I was feeling rushed and out of control, unprepared and unsettled. My body and soul were at work, signalling my mind for a time of slow. Interestingly body/soul chose food as the medium, something I deeply care about. The point was so blatant, so obvious I had to listen. Give up food? Yeah. Right.
I wonder if the act of eating – the process of growing, storing, and preparing food is actually meant to slow us down. The act of creating anything really - food, music, tangible art, literature, children - all of it begs us to slow our steps. It tries to connect us to a more sustainable, livable pace.
In the same way the seasons can act as a guide if we allow them. Right now the high summer energy is transitioning to the more hibernation-like energy of winter, a time to re-coup from summer. I think our daily meals can show us a similar pattern. Chew or gulp anything really quickly, especially while traveling in a moving vehicle or in a state of anxiety, and you’ll soon find yourself suffering bloat, heart burn, indigestion, constipation, and abdominal pain. Chew slowly and intentionally a meal prepared with care and you’ll find yourself nourished and connected in a deep way. Not a new theory, however I need to be reminded of most things 70 times 7 to finally grasp the importance.
After a school pick-up, I settled my youngest in for a nap and took my oldest upstairs. We turned on music, shared kombucha, and painted together. We left everything urgent and delved into the truly important - finding meaning, purpose, beauty, and excitement in the now. We slowed down and created something. I listened to the soul within me and entered into an extremely holy moment. My world slowed down to one breath at a time, one brush stroke at at time, the sweet smiles and sacred glances from my child.
My shoes were off. I was on holy ground.
The more I listen to the whisper within me, the more I find power and transcendence within the slow, the quiet, the creativity in the daily.
After four hours had flown by and we set our paintbrushes down, I headed to the kitchen to cook dal. Simple ingredients, slowly cooked. Nourishing, warm, holy.
May you begin to be curious about the thoughts that pop up throughout the day. May you enter into conversation with them as if old friends are stopping by, ones who know you quite well. May you create time to create simply for the sake of creating and, in the process, may you happen upon holy.
Serves 6 - 8
Adapted from Rodale's Organic Gardening Masoor Dal
4-5 T. extra virgin, unprocessed coconut oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 - 5 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 T. whole cumin seeds, dried
2 tsp. ground turmeric or 2 T. fresh turmeric, minced
2 - 3 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. sweet paprika [and/or 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cayenne for spice]
2 c. split red lentils [or masoor dal]6-7 c. water
1 can regular, full-fat coconut milk [optional]
fresh cilantro, minced
cooked basmati rice
Begin by placing the lentils in a mine mesh strainer. Place under running water. Rinse the lentils until the water coming from the strainer runs clear [or really close to clear]. Set aside.
In a large stainless steel pot, melt coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add minced onions to the oil and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Cook until onions are translucent and beginning to soften [adjust heat as necessary to prevent browning]. Add cumin seeds and garlic. Saute 1 - 3 minutes or until cumin is slightly toasted and fragrant. Add turmeric, salt, coriander, and paprika. Stir to thoroughly combine. Stir in lentils and water.
Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat as necessary to retain small simmer. Cook uncovered until the lentils are very soft and consistency is a little thicker than a creamy soup, stirring occasionally [approximately 30 - 45 minutes]. If it becomes to thick, add water in 1/2 cup increments. Once the lentils are fully cooked, add coconut milk if you are using [milk is completely option - with or without is delicious].
Serve over a bed of basmati rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.