The practice of offering

It is said that any action, when done with the right intent in the heart, that carries with it no expectation of reward, is an act of Karma yoga.  The practice of Karma yoga is one path towards self enlightenment. When I choose to consciously make an offering of an action, whether to another being or to the eternal & divine, I find it creates in me an  attitude of compassion, charity and peace. And on occasion a sense of humor and joy! The practice of yoga can be a way to ‘exercise’ the practice of offering. When I offer my own yoga practice, whether it is devotional singing, prayer, study, meditation, selfless service, asanas, I also cultivate non-attachment. I offer the practice as it is, neither perfect nor imperfect, simply offering. I give up my attachment to the experience I might want to have, or the result I might hope for, and then I am able to experience that moment of offering my practice or action as complete & perfect as it is.

 

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Practice of Yoga

Clover

There is no greater gift to a student of Yoga than the chance to share the practice with others. I have not posted on this site for many months, but I am today as it was my second ever class teaching Dharma Yoga Gentle, in Bliss MI. Afterwards I went home and had greens from the garden. My daughters picked the nice clover pictured below, which happens to be sour, not sweet, a bit like lemon grass, so I sweetened the salad with grated raw beets.

 

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Who is there to be enlightened?

Questions are wiser than answers, I am sure of it. Recently Sri Dharma asked the question, “who is there to be enlightened?”

What I have understood when reflecting on this question is that when I surrender my ego, when I realize there is no ‘who’,  what is left is my various layers of body and mind/consciouness. And, if it is true that ‘there is a small portion of God in everyone’ then God is already there. with my ego out of the way, it is now a matter of getting God consciousness. Said another way, being present to the presence of God.

When I have a daily practice of the yamas and niyamas, (non-violence, truthfulness, non- stealing, sexual responsibility, abstention from greed, cleanliness, contentment, austerity, self study, surrender of myself to God) the foundation for God consciousness is there.

If through my daily practices I am already God conscious, then, I can see in my life, it is the constant practice that allows me to stay close to and live in that light.

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Renouncing the fruits of action

Recently I found myself in a poisonous mood unable to be grateful. I was tired of washing dishes, clothes, cleaning house, and caring for everyone else. What had been for me my expression of devotion had become tiresome. What was missing was my own practice. I excuse myself from practice by saying a) I don’t have time, b) my practice is my devoted attention to the needs of others. Two amazing things that I knew to be true yet chose not to believe: time is mostly a creation of the mind – and we can create time for anything we need to do. Without a conscious practice of yoga asanas and meditation, my acts of devoted service became polluted by a desire to have some reward for my actions. When I do practice, meditation and asanas, it is easier to desire nothing, and have no ego to create disturbance or be disturbed.

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Vegan Pumpkin Pie (with sweet potatoes)

So no pix for this until tomorrow… but here is the low down on a pretty good vegan crust and pumpkin pie that is made mostly with sweet potatoes.

To make 2 pies use 6-7 med-small sweet potatoes
1 small can of pumpkin (organic if possible)
each pie needs about 8 cups of filling if you have typical pie plates/pans
[if you prefer you can cook your own organic pumpkin – I have done this – it is very time consuming and I find the potatoes taste almost identical to pumpkin once you add spice]

Prep:
Boil potatoes until soft, cool, peel and mash

In a blender or bowl using a beater
add pumpkin + mashed potatoes
1 can coconut milk (makes the pies taste amazing!)
1 cup brown/raw sugar or other sweetener to taste
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice or a blend of
nutmeg, allspice, cloves
1 tsp salt
blend til smooth and set aside until pie crusts are ready
or pour into crusts
bake for 10 minutes at 425, then 40 -50 minutes at 375

CRUST for 2 pies
3 cups raw almonds ground to powder
I use the coffee bean grinder
3 cups organic corn meal – fine
1 cup earth balance or vegetable margarine
[the non-hydrongenated kinds]
mix almond meal, corn meal and with the hand blend in the cold ‘butter’ substitute.
when the mix begins to get sticky you can take half into each pie pan and begin to press it down onto the bottom and sides to complete the crust.
It comes out very much like a graham crust, but more nutritious and wheat free,

Posted in Delicious and simple food, Food kids love, Gluten free, RECIPES - ALL, VEGAN | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving for Vegan Stuffed Squash

The ingredients I used for this:

Acorn squash – but any favorite will do – spaghetti squash is also nice
Saute together in 1/3 cup of cold pressed olive oil
Onion – 1 large or more if you love onion
Celery – approx 5 very large stalks or ten medium to small
Ginger – a large chunk – I used 1/3 of what is in picture
Cranberries about a cup and a half (fresh organic if available) dry can also be used
Raisins – 2/3rds cup
Chilis dried – to taste – or omit altogether
Garam Masala – 3 tbsp I use Garam masala as it is both sweet and spicy
Parsley – 1 large bunch
Brazil nuts  – about 2 cups – you can sub with your favorite

Here is the basic ‘how to’ , this is fun and easy so you can improvise!
Chop the onion, celery, ginger and saute lightly with the garam.

 

 

 

Add the cranberries and raisins after about 10 minutes sautéing and continue for another 5 minutes until the juice of the cranberries starts to come out.

 

 

 

Turn off the heat and add the chopped parsley and nuts


Prepare the squash – this is the hardest part – if they are HARD you need a very sharp hatchet to open them, be careful for your fingers!

 

 

 

Stuff the squash and steam!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steam in the oven or on the stovetop depending on your pan for about 45 minutes until the squash is soft. Serve as is or with rice. I rehabilitated the old turkey roaster!

 
And if you don’t want to bother with ‘stuffing’ the squash – you can just steam it in a pan then serve with the stuffing. My kids love spaghetti squash.

Save the seeds for the squirrels!

 

Posted in Delicious and simple food, Food kids love, Giving Thanks, Gluten free, healthy food on a budget, RECIPES - ALL, VEGAN, Vitality and love | Leave a comment

Prayer and non-violence

I have been praying for those who carry out violent acts against others. I pray that they do not feel they must justify their actions, instead, find ways to surrender, and set aside their actions, and become peaceful. I also pray for those who are subject to such violence, that they will not be afraid, and that God relieves their suffering.

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Organic seasonal fruit

There is truly nothing better for the health, except perhaps for the vegetables. I reflect on how mother nature can provide so well for us if we do not work against her.

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Feast Day

So this is a summer dish, and it is an adaptation of a Moroccan tagine, so I often serve it with couscous. or with quinoa, sometimes with rice. The flavors are sweet and spicy. Zucchinis were in season, tomatoes were not yet ready so I used canned organic. You can use your own favorite bean, and have more potatoes. less squash, or even add other vegetables like celery. The dish cooks better with a large heavy skillet. or large clay pot
of you have it.  The recipes below is enough for 8 -10 people, if you reduce quantities, you can use a medium to large frying pan.  Here’s the basic ‘how to’ make it.

Saute any color large onion, but red is nice, about 1 cup
in about 3-5 tbsp of olive oil
add 2-3 garlic cloves chopped or crushed
about one chopped fresh jalapeno, seeds removed
add 1/2 + cup raisins
1 tbsp each tumeric & cumin
1 tsp cinnamon & chili
blend and saute lightly
add a dash of salt and pepper
add one 8oz can tomatoes
add 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
add raw potatoes as desired I used about 3-4 medium
add 1+ cup precooked chick peas
add fresh corn if available about 1 cup
add 3-5 med to large zucchini squash
add 3-4 chopped carrots
start with a high simmer for first 10-15 minutes then lower heat
& simmer about 30 more minutes.
and voila! Truly a feast.

 

 

 

 

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Harmony

The key to harmony for my husband and I is to realize that any time we are feeling peeved with the other it is our past coming up, poking it’s head into the present. Once we see that, we can agree to let go of our complaints towards each other, and see them for what they really are. Insignificant. Compared to the blessing of life, all those complaints are petty. And even our kids can tell us that: don’t speak or be mean to each other.

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