A wintry snow storm outside. One foot of snow and now freezing rain. For a nice crusty covering to crunch through. It’s the inside-by-the-fire time. After shoveling the walk and the driveway. After several spins down the hill on the new blue plastic sleds.
When it’s over, I want to say
All my life
I was a bride married to
I was the bridegroom, taking
The world into my arms
When it’s over, I don’t want
If I have made of my life
Something particular, and
I don’t want to find myself
Sighing and frightened,
Or full of argument
I don’t want to end up simply
Having visited this world
~ Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver died one week ago. Let me live in her honor. Let me live in my own honor. Let me live in the honor of God, the Great Spirit who gave me this body, mind and spirit. Who gave me this life. Who gave me this material to make meaning of. Let me die only after knowing that I have at least tried to dive into and expand each present moment.
The white expanse outside beyond the window. The sparkling magic crystals spiraling down. The stark dark trees becoming glazed in glass. The children quiet after strong play and work in the snow. This is my moment of quiet and wonder, my moment to muse and ponder.
I sat down to share some words about organizing time, about plans for the new year, about the hearth. But I changed my mind.
Instead I want to know how you want to feel this year.
What is the energy you want to sit in most of the time?
Make a list, write it down. Feel it. Expand it.
Do this every day. Every morning.
Like a mantra. Like an incantation.
Beginning from there, you can move in reverse to create the one wild and precious life you want to live.
And to help keep you nourished and your heart fire strong this winter.....a few of my favorite winter remedies:
1) Fire Cider - one Tablespoon a day
2) Sinus Blaster - this is a tincture made of horseradish. It will clean everything sinus-y out. Take it seriously! One whole dropperful in water 2x/day if you are in the thick of it. (click here to find online)
3) Herbs/Spices: Cinnamon, Cardamom, Paprika, Black Pepper, Cloves, Cumin, Ginger
4) Warming Foods: Congee (any kind! see recipe below), Lamb, Slow cooked foods, meat or veggie stews, french lentils, black rice (also known as forbidden rice), dark sautéed greens, mushrooms.
5) Laughter! Joy! An Attitude of Astonishment & Gratitude!
A YUMMY WINTER RECIPE
CONGEE Congee (or hsi-fan : rice-water) is a common food in China. It is essentially a porridge, made by simmering rice in five to six times the amount of water. Millet, spelt, and other grains can be used in place of rice. Congee is a wonderful recipe for the winter months; it is warming, supportive of digestion, and good for the kidneys and adrenal glands. To make congee, combine rice, mung beans or yellow lentils with any other ingredients you’d like to add (see below). Cook the mixture in 5-6 times the amount of water for 4-6 hours on the lowest possible simmer, or use a crockpot. It is better to use too much water than too little, and it is said that the longer a congee cooks, the more “powerful” it becomes!
Benefits of Congee:
Easily digested and assimilated by the bodyTonifies Blood and Qi, harmonizes digestion, deeply nourishingGood for inflammation and other heatsymptomsAids in assimilation of other foods added to the congee
Some Common Congees:
Aduki Bean: diuretic, curative for edema
Carrot: digestive aid, eliminates flatulence
Chestnut: tonifies kidneys, strengthens knees and loin
Chicken Broth: recommended for wasting illnesses and injuries
Eggplant: softens hardness, moistens, lubricates, replenishes fluids
Fennel:harmonizes stomach, expels gas; cures hernia
Ginger:warming to viscera; used for diarrhea, anorexia, indigestion
Leek: warming to viscera; good for chronic diarrhea
Liver: benefits diseases of the liver – very powerful (*use organic)
Miso: promotes disease resistance
Mung Bean: cooling, reduces fevers, relieves thirst
Mustard:expels phlegm; clears stomach congestion
Black Pepper:expels gas; recommended for pain in bowels
Pine Nut:moistening to heart and lungs; harmonizes large intestine
Seaweed: eliminates mucus, promotes water production and metabolism
Sesame Seed: moistening to intestines; treats rheumatism
Spinach: harmonizing and moistening to viscera; sedative
Yogurt and Honey: beneficial to heart and lungs
Basic Congee In a large pot, combine 1 cup white rice with 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. Add ¼ tsp salt. In a separate pan flash sauté ½ bunch green onion heads with 1 T of olive oil. In the meantime, soak dried seaweed until fully reconstituted. When congee is ready (pudding like consistency), add 1 T chopped ginger and seaweed. Mix well. Serve.