Monday, March 28, 2016


On my counter I have a cactus. It sits right in front of where I sit each morning for breakfast, six inches lower than plate level. This particular plant hasn't always held such a regal place in my kitchen. A couple days ago I uprooted it from a spot a bit tucked away, one I don't often have cause to pause at. Frequently I would forget to water it even the meager amount it requires. So here it sits, relocated and eager to be noticed.

There are actually two varieties of cactus in this pot. One that flowers at Christmas and one around Easter. The latter plant is covered in a ripple of buds that slowly open over the course of the day, revealing itself in fullness around noon. After a few hours of shameless display, it draws inward returning to bud and self.

This opening and closing is rhythmic. Cyclical.

A pattern I can expect to repeat each day until the flowers fall to the ground.

A couple days ago I posted this:

In the same way flowers are created to bloom only then revealing the full breadth of their beauty, we too are created to reveal our beauty to the world. The more I lean into the things that bring me life and joy and peace; the more I sink into being created fully enough; the more I open all of me to the world, trusting in it's goodness, the more I'm finding the world to be filled with a tangible pulse, a beat, a Spirit. There is fear. There is pain. Much of which I can't explain. But as I come back to beauty and peace, this is what the world consistently offers back to me.

As I continued to meditate, I began to see the pattern of the plant. What I find intriguing as I watch this plant each day, is how it so closely mirrors the natural patterns within my own being - this idea of outward and inward. In order for its flowers to continue to open, for it to continue to give its beauty to the world, this plant must draw in, close, seek rest and stillness. Carving out space for this rest, this inward movement towards the soul, has been the only way for me to seek with clarity the things that fill me up, bring me life and joy and peace. There is rest, there is stillness, there is silence and from this well we draw movement and creativity and life.

Sometimes it takes moving things around, clearing the dust, bringing things out of corners and into light for us to see.

I almost missed it.

I almost missed the insights this plant had to offer, offers still. I nearly rushed passed it's rhythmic movements and holy pulses.

But I didn't. The discipline of cleaning, of clearing the literal dust, caused me to notice and change. And that's what this inward journey takes. It takes discipline, courage, and faith. It requires saying no to many things and yes to a few. It demands I put away the to-do list, silence the phone, turn off the computer and be present.

It asks me to stare at a plant. To do nothing but watch.

May you shuffle and move and poke around the things that need it. May you draw inward in the same way you give outward. May you seek the pulse that binds everything together as one and immerse yourself in this work of creativity and peace - for you. For all.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

CARDAMOM LATTE with ginger, vanilla bean, and reishi

There are times when I'm called to the kitchen less for the creativity of it but more out of a primal desire for something my body desperately needs in that moment. Not in a surface "I'm craving sugar but that's probably covering up a deeper need" sort of way.

This desire is deep and earthy - flowing from a bodily wisdom I have yet to fully understand.

Over time I've learned to pay close attention to this call and surrender to the part of me governed by ancient wisdom. It's been interesting within the context of recipe creation. There's an undeniable inner intuition that drives what I take from the cupboard and add to the pot. In these moments, brain follows visceral.

I call it meditation.

It's less about the recipe and more about the sacred within the daily. It's not unlike waking on a cool summer morning to the sparkle of sunrise wrapped in a dance with mist on the calm of the water outside my window. The world is alive with enchantment and possibility within the dew and earth and air.

It's tangible, physical, earthy magic.

Sometimes I have the wherewithal to write down what my hands are doing. This is one such time and I'm so excited to share it with you. Move slow, feel what your body is doing while you create. Lean over the pot and take in the changing aroma. Feel the steam on your face. Notice what this does in your body. If you have the sudden urge to add something, do it! Follow this beautiful intelligence we each have within the muscle and bone and blood and organs of our body.

Sip mindfully, with loving intention, and smile. Invite a little magic.

Medicinal Note: If you're familiar with Ayurvedic medicine, this tea is excellent for balancing vata and kapha dosha types. It's grounding and gently warming; acts on the spleen, lung, stomach, and large intestine; improves the circulation of chi [life force]; and works to dispel mucus, cold, dampness, and phelgm. The recipe came to me on a very windy, cool spring [vata aggravating] day. Cardamom is such a wonderful whole-body tonic. In addition, reishi mushroom is fantastic for boosting the immune system.

Serves 3

Note: all herbs dried and cut or whole.

6 c. water
4 T. whole cardamom pods
2 T. fennel seed [optional]
2 tsp. cut ginger
1 whole vanilla bean, cut in half [reserve other half for use at another time]
1 slice reishi mushroom
3 c. tigernut milk or milk of choice
2 - 3 T. pure, raw honey [to taste, orange blossom honey is wonderful]

In a medium size saucepan combine water, cardamom, fennel, ginger, half the vanilla bean, and reishi mushroom. Bring to boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to to simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until liquid is reduced to half [approximately 3 cups].

Meanwhile, place milk and honey in a small saucepan. Heat on low until milk is very warm but not boiling, stirring occasionally.

Pour reduced tea through fine mesh strainer into three large mugs [approximately 1 cup of tea in each mug]. Divide the warmed milk between the mugs [approximately 1 cup of milk in each mug].

Serve immediately or store in refrigerator for 24 - 48 hours to serve at a later time.

These herbs aren't necessarily inexpensive so you can reserve the cooked herbs to use a second time. Tea will be less intense so either reduce water or add a few more herbs.