I am not the most impressive cook but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve. I try to do well what I can do. I tend to gravitate toward recipes that are relatively uncomplicated, things that wont keep me on my toes for too long. I'd like to be able to relax and enjoy the experience and the aromas. I like the opportunity to slow down when I can. I feel my wholeness more in rituals, especially in cooking.
So here is what you will need:
24 oz of dried Beans – (mix of your choice - black, pinto, red or white)
1 can of garbanzo beans – rinsed and drained
1 can of corn or hominy (or both) – drained
1 Large onion (red or white), diced
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced (or canned jalapeno)
¾ cup Quinoa (rinsed)
4 TBSP Chili Powder
1.5 TBSP Ground Cumin
1.5 TBSP Paprika
1.5 TBSP Mustard Powder
2 TBSP Onion Powder
2 TBSP Garlic Powder
1 TBSP Salt
½ TBSP Ground Pepper
1 TBSP Cayenne Pepper
1. Soak the dried beans overnight in some water (about 3 times the amount of water to dried beans.) Drain and set aside.
Respect their process. Allow them to come into themselves. Let them sit and get used to the water. They need to be in the water. Detach. Trust the water will do what it needs to do and trust the beans will open up to them.
2. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot. When the oil is ready, add the onions, garlic, jalapeno (and any other vegetables you want, like carrots or celery). Sautee until translucent and soft.
Respond and nurture. Pay attention to what the heat is doing to the ingredients. Be a witness to transformation. Observe. Smell what it does. Respond accordingly.
3. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, quinoa. Sautee the mixture. Add in the dry ingredients (chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, mustard, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne). Add more oil if needed. Stir constantly to allow all the ingredients to blend together.
Mix. Collaborate. Respond. Watch. Observe. Savor.
4. Next, introduce the beans and corn/hominy. Sautee all of the ingredients together until the spices become goopy and coats all the beans. Allow the spices to become fragrant and “bloom”.
Again, observe. Be attentive. Trust it will do what it is meant to do. Have confidence. Respond.
5. Next, add heaps of water. Add about 2.5 times the amount of water to the chili.
Water cools the spices. Water will cook the beans. Water heals, water enhances. Water transforms.
6. Let the pot simmer for the next 2 or 3 hours.
Let things simmer and let them get used to each other. Let them interact with minimal interference from you. Step back and have faith they will do what they're supposed to do.
7. Taste it toward the 2nd hour or so when the mix starts to thicken. At this point, taste the chili and add any ingredients to alter to taste. You can also add honey or brown sugar to tame the spice level of the chili.
Taste. Even if you have a recipe, you can change and alter where it is headed. You don't always know how it is going to turn out but there is something you can do about it. You have an element of control working in your favor.
8. Once you are satisfied with the overall taste and the chili has cooked down and become thick, turn off the burner.
Evaluate. Is this what you want it to taste like? Get to know your ingredients. Get to know your tools. Alter some more if it calls for it.
9. Serve over a scoop of rice (to activate the proteins in the chili), with some cheese or sour cream. I also like to add a splash of olive oil to get more omegas and apple cider vinegar for some brightness.
Celebrate and reap the rewards of your work. Appreciate what your hands have done, what your body has done and what your soul has experienced.
The death card is one of my absolute favorites in the tarot deck. When perusing a new deck, the death card is one of the ones I need to look at to make the decision to purchase or not. (I haven't been buying many decks lately but that's mostly because I'm trying to have more self control. Doing pretty good by the way!). This card means so much to me that it's not enough for a deck to be beautiful. (And truthfully it is a pet peeve when artists pursue without understanding.) (And pet peeve #2, when people fall back on the ability make pretty things or just be or sound pretty and abandon the necessity for depth. *Eye roll*.)
Moving forward and thank you for reading on and tolerating my train of thought..to sum it up, the death card is the fucking shit. It gets a bad reputation outside of the Tarot community (at least I hope no Tarot reader actually thinks this card is bad in any way and if there is I pray to God to never meet them). This reputation is in part due to the name of the card, DEATH. Death has so much unnecessary energy attached to it which is essentially a result of a lack of understanding to its perceived opposite, LIFE.
When one goes beyond the perceived dualities, one begins to get closer to the real meaning of this card. The essence of this card is about powerful change initiated by the individual. Change is inevitable and it is wise to develop discernment when it should be resisted and not. A lot of change happens TO us and that is just how it is. But the most powerful kind of change is that which we initiate. It is at once empowering, purifying, enlivening.
What dies are the old patterns, old ways, old mindsets, old relationships, old feelings, old identities, toxicity, burden, etc. The list is endless. As we initiate the change in our lives, we embody the protagonist more in our story. We live on purpose, like how we are meant to. There is more power and meaning in what follows. We take power back from where it was once surrendered.
In the traditional Rider Waite rendition of this card, the armored skeleton is the hero. This figure is the most alive in the image. He wears armor to protect himself. Protecting oneself and having and asserting our boundaries where needed is our right. He says no to things that are no longer relevant. He does it with conviction and proceeds toward the light, toward a new day, toward a new beginning. We lay these to rest. We let them not be a part of us anymore.
As a result, we are lighter and even liberated in a way. It takes a toll on the energetic body to hold the heaviness in. When things don't match your vibration it takes more effort to sustain it and hold onto it. We have more energy for endeavors that are closer to our hearts. We manifest more efficiently. We live more efficiently. Our lives align better. And it will just feel better.
That is all. I fucking love the Death card.
Ustrasana as a model for deliberate and mindful loving.
Love is something we are all capable of and it is something we all learn about throughout our lives. Loving – others, ourselves, ourselves in relation to others, and so forth - is the general blueprint that connects all of life. On some level, life is discerning how to love better. Thriving in life is the embodiment of self love.
I grew up over-identifying love with duty. In our home we did the “right thing” without a second thought. I am thankful to have developed a strong ethic for myself because of this environment and having grown up with such conviction in performing duty. However, these “right things” included being there for others, at times compromising the most important relationships in my life growing up. Duty felt like sacrifice. Duty felt like denying personal joy. This was part of my story and I am grateful for all of it. Self love is the greatest mystery that reveals itself to me in this lifetime.
I am no expert in anatomy. Thoughts shared here are based on what I learned in my Yoga Teacher Training about backbends and from my exposure in energy healing and general nerdiness. These are my not so random thoughts that seemed profound enough to share with the world. This is me expressing a deep appreciation for the body as an intelligent vehicle and as an abundant source of wisdom for living.
Ustrasana: Camel Pose
1. Open from the thoracic spine.
The thoracic spine is the part on the back that is meant to bend the most. This part of the back is the part that has the most mobility, not the lower back. It is most natural to bend from here. What is most natural is more supported. We open where we are meant to open from. Let the self be supported as one opens up. Love from a place that isn't going to hurt. We are beings meant to love, undeniably capable and worthy.
2. Bend with intention.
Bend slowly. Abrupt, blind surrender robs one of the experience of opening up. Bending gradually keeps the destination of the pose in mind. It gives more value and reverence to the destination. Just as in love, every moment has the opportunity to be relished. There is an opportunity to be present every step of the way. The beloved (whether another soul or the self) and love itself, is absolutely deserving of that attention.
We engage the parts of the body that are associated with the root chakra. The thighs must be engaged. The shins and toes press into the mat. We are connected to the Earth and we yield to her. We reach for the ground to support the self. We reach for the ground to remember our own Earthliness. We remember that we are a soul in a body. Here, we let the Earth be supportive. We are souls taking form in a body.
I went to Catholic schools most of my life. In university, one of the things that stuck from my Theology of Marriage class was that it wasn’t enough to let love just be there. Love needs to take a form. It must be expressed for the other person to receive it. It is not enough to let it just be there, just being. We must let love take form.
4. Inhale and exhale.
We receive with every inhale and give with the exhale. In every pose and every step to get to a certain shape, we keep breathing. This keeps the energy moving. Backbends are widely known to be heart openers. The heart chakra is the chakra tasked to govern the giving and receiving of love. Love is dynamic. Let the breath be a reminder of its dynamic nature.
5. Come back to neutral slowly.
One mustn’t lose our self in love, however tempting it may be. Sometimes we surrender because its less work. We surrender and give in because it can be the least painful. But no matter what happens, we come back to the self eventually. We integrate, remember and celebrate that we are capable of the miracle of giving and receiving love.
Love joyfully, love mindfully.
We were just in one another’s life long enough to grow fond of each other and remember the love we have shared in previous lifetimes.
We are not blind to the other’s faults. I see the cracks in the foundations. I see how he could have loved better. And he is not blind to my neurosis, to my insecurities. But we care anyway. We love anyway. We love to the best of our ability and in this life that means being apart - and being okay about that. It means supporting each other's joy and being truly happy for the other.
In this lifetime, the love is in friendship. There is respect. There is honor. Boundaries. Honesty. Support. Freedom. Connection. Love.
Love is present in the exhale, in the quiet moments after the big moments. Love is unseen, unheard, unfelt by earthly bodies. It is palpable to spirit. There is a sense of knowing and complete faith and trust. Where egos are kind and at peace and have their guards down. Even they know they are safe. Darkness is in repose.
Tonight I'll breathe for us both
My tears as salve to a tattered spirit
lost visions and sweaty palms
Close both eyes while you sleep
Know it is safe to dream
Air out your wounds
Unfurl your brow
Savor the stillness.
Ramblings of the soul.