giving thanks

 

 

Today, as I wait for a gigantic spaghetti squash to roast in my oven, I’m reeeeeally feeling the gratitude. I’m cozied up in my beautiful apartment, sunshine pouring in, after an energizing morning yoga practice and a leisurely and delicious breakfast (and a whole french press of coffee).

I’ll narrow it down. The first thing I’m grateful for is my health.ImageTHIS is a big part of santosha for me – being personally responsible for my wellbeing, investing time in my yoga practice and lots of sleep, and investing some dollars into the best food for my bod. Is there anything more important? (Thank you to Dara, for being my role model when it comes to this.)

I’m grateful for my teachers.

ImageMaybe not the most flattering photo of Ryan, but a good indication of the joy he brings into every room. I’ve developed in my practice and in the rest of my life through the teachings of Reno, Ryan, and so many others – and, of course, from that little teacher who lives in my heart and my mind. Sometimes that one is the hardest to listen to, but she usually teaches me the most profound lessons.

I’m grateful for the beautiful planet and the places I’ve explored this year.

ImageAdventure is out there! I’ve managed to chase down a few, on both coasts, and a few more in Thailand. I’m grateful for Noah, who is always up for another one, and who has been my best guide on this side of the nation.

Image

ImageThese are just a few of the people who have been on my journey this year – every one of them has lit a little spark in me, and has reassured me that I’m on the right path. I’m giving thanks for my family, most of whom are far away, and my pseudo-family, who are all over the world and also here in Vancouver. I know how fortunate I am to love my job every day, and to be inspired by the people who work alongside me.

Anyway, you get the idea. I count my blessings every day, but today it seems particularly appropriate. I’m off to pack up my squash and scoot it over to Michelle’s place, where I will feast with several other beautiful friends – all relocated East Coasters who make me feel a little closer to home.

Big love!

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and now for something completely different

After sobbing a little while Skyping into the Shad Bay Christmas party last weekend, I have pulled up my bootstraps. I’ve decided to find a balance between being a little bit (!) homesick for the Christmas I know and being excited about creating an alternative, for the time being.

it's pretty great.

The images running through my mind are of my gigantic family, the Muppet Christmas Carol, mountains of food (an 11kg turkey this year, according to mama won-ton), the unofficial HGS reunion, cruising around town with Will, tobogganing in the Shad, and nuzzling my favourite canine companions.

pupskis

What I have to look forward to is a fun Christmas Eve at the store (with fellow Christmas orphans BKidd and Silly), the extravagant Christmas day brunch that I’ll be making myself while videoing myself into Christmas morning at Casa Johnson, a noontime yoga class with Karlito at One Yoga, and a potluck dinner at my house, incorporating everyone’s favourite holiday treats and traditions.

HELLO!

Plus a package of surprises from home.

And, of course, it’s yet another time of year when I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for all the beautiful people in my life (many of you have received cards and letters from me this week expressing just that – if you haven’t, it’s probably because they haven’t arrived yet OR because I actually ran out of envelopes).

the photo that brought me out here in the first place.

I also know how lucky I am to have been granted the opportunities that I’ve had over past few years. (And every year.) As my mama would say, I seem to have a horseshoe up my ass. (Thanks, mom.)

sitting in a beauty of a coffee shop with my tunes and some fresh wool, rolling it into balls for upcoming projects.

Happy pre-Christmasing, all of you! If you have a few spare moments this weekend, please Skype with me. I’d love to see your faces.

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my first love story

I am missing home today. I love you guys!

me and Boogs

“The minute I heard my first love story

I started looking for you,

not knowing how blind that was.

 

Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.

They are in each other all along. “

- Rumi

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today my practice is: slowing down.

Another reminder that my practice is ongoing and the guru is everywhere…

I jumped (dragged myself) out of bed this morning at the crack of dawn (the snooze button turned 7:30 into 8:30) this morning. Mondays are busy work days for me, and I almost always schedule myself so that I can do all I need to do AND make it to one of Reno’s classes. (The Monday 10am option is a favourite of mine.)

I was committed to condensing my morning rituals/vacuuming my apartment/cooking lentil soup for lunch/making & drinking coffee all into the one-hour window before I needed to hop on the bus to take me to my sweet class. I did okay.  I packed up my laptop, my go-mug, my mat, my jar of soup and scooted out the door only 2 minutes behind schedule.

damn.

As I hauled up the hill to hop on the 8, a little voice in the great space inside my head whispered, “did you turn off the stove?” My other voice replied, “of course I did.” But after three more steps up the hill, I had replayed the scene three more times in my head, and I truly couldn’t remember. Within three more steps, I had weighed the scenarios:

a) I probably turned it off. I’ll go to yoga. But I will probably be nervous about this all day.

b) I forgot to turn it off. I will have a distracted yoga class and then be nervous about this all day. Then I’ll come home to a blackened heap where my house used to be.

c) I go home and find out for sure. I won’t make it to my class. Sigh.

it's not all bad

Needless to say, I’m now at home enjoying an oatmeal feast, blogging about this, and letting it go (through these words, actually). Today’s lesson: if I want to do everything, I can’t just hope to find the time to do it. I have to make time for it.

(And if you’re wondering about the burner – I’ll never tell. But remember – there will always be another yoga class. Burning your house down is forever!)

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always!

 

That’s all.

 

 

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path of contentment

First, Buju Banton will provide the soundtrack for this post:

And let’s go. So, my super dope teachers, Reno and SJ, are hosting this unbelievable retreat in Thailand in February.

click on this bad boy to make it big and readable

I am going. And I could not be more excited. I feel like my ever-so-brief jaunt to Bali with Ryan was just setting me up for this. (Meaning, I got a taste of how delicious and beautiful Southeast Asia can be. I also learned a lot about the importance of sunscreen on my freckle farm, and how it might prevent a few sleepless, sunburnt nights spent crying under an ice-cold shower. FML.)

I'm probably writing in my journal about how much my skin hurts. Bali 2009.

Practicing One Love has been the biggest blessing to come of my move to Vancouver. Finding my teacher has ignited a totally new kind of dedication in my practice, which has, in turn, propelled my physical practice in a big way. And with that, my body and my monkey mind are way more supportive of daily sitting meditation practice, so my mala is staying warm and my cushion has re-established its place of honour in my room.

SO… come to Thailand with us. There will be beaching and yoga and coconuts, and sweet tunes like the dulcet tones of Buju Banton that you’re probably still listening to right now, if you hit play. (If you didn’t, go back and start again.)

amen.

Thank you Dara (my future traveling partner!), for the words that have run through my head every night since you shared them with me: “Cows roll over and go to sleep. You say your prayers.” Isvara-pranidhana!

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let me eat cake

On the eve of what is sure to be a delightful vegan-ish potluck at the Liz-Haze cavern, I am digging into a bowl of lentil and quinoa stew and a couple of slices sourdough toast covered in olive oil and nutritional yeast. (It’s like cheese on toast for vegans – my obsession with nutritional yeast is a whole other blog post…)

nom

But the star of the show is really the chocolate beet cake that I can smell cooling over there in the kitchen. This treat came into my life in Byron Bay, when I was living in the blissful bubble of my yoga teacher training. We were deep into the clean eating – all fruit, veg and grains, and once a week or so, we’d be treated to an incredible (and highly hyped) sweet something. Chocolate beet cake was my favourite! It was a test of my aparigraha practice not to snag an extra piece for later.

buried jewels - purple and golden beets

1 cup oil

1.5 cups brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1.5 tsp baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups cocoa

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 cups flour (I used a whole wheat one tonight, but I’ve added some barley, coconut, rice flours in the past)

1.5-2 cups cold water

1 cup chocolate chips (if you want, or coconut is a good addition)

1 large beet, grated (I usually use 2)

2 tsp vanilla

juice and zest of 1 lemon

Heat oven to 350. Grease a pan (I’m using a 9×13). Combine oil and sugar – the recipe recommends a food processor, but I’m pretty good with a spatula so I just go for it. Beat in all dry ingredients. Add water and stir until combined. Add beet, vanilla, chocolate chips, lemon. Pop in the oven and check it with a knife after 20-25 minutes – wait til the knife comes out clean. (That’s how I roll. Timers are for sissies.) Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn it out onto a cooling rack.

as grown-up as I'll ever get

If you’re feeling crazy, try icing it with something. Tomorrow pre-potluck, I’m going to whip up some avocado chocolate mousse for mine. (Buzz some avo, honey/agave/whatever sweetener, a touch of water, and cocoa in the blender.)

The recipe comes from Gitam’s Garden – a cookbook assembled by Gitam, the beautiful teacher who nurtured our bellies for those months in Byron. This particular treat was submitted by Alex, my asana mentor and just about the bendiest person I know. The yogi life is pretty sweet.

If you want more from this unreal cookbook, then follow the link and buy it online. Or just be my friend, and I’ll share my eats.

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