Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Great Night

Ever decide to do something, not really knowing what it was you were signing up for, only trusting that it felt like the right thing? There have been many of those moments in my life - times when a friend suggested I go somewhere, or try something new. Or times I noticed the signs and followed them. And trust me, I am not a person who normally does anything without careful thought and planning - but there are times when it just feels like the absolute right thing and the head is not involved. I guess it's what you call that "gut feeling". Mine has never steered me wrong. Ever. Not once. How cool is that? I think it is very cool.

So recently a friend I have known for a long time but not really seen much the last few years, reached out and asked me if I wanted to come to this group she was starting up. And it felt like the right thing to do, so I said yes. And I am so glad that I did! For one thing, it is nice to be connecting with her again, along with another woman I haven't seen in a few years and really like. And there were new people there and yeah, I just see it working. I have learned not to question what feels right and just trust.

So tonight I sat with this group of people and we talked about spirituality. And we all shared and we all listened and I came away just feeling really good and connected and, most importantly, that I am doing something good for my spiritual health. Because it's so easy to be all spiritual and mindful when the bottom drops out and things fall apart. Oh yeah, then I am all mindful and doing the work. Then a couple years ago, I decided that maybe it made sense to not become complacent and let those spiritually nurturing things fall away until I "needed" them again. That maybe, just maybe if I paid attention and kept working at it when things are going well, well, perhaps I would not get struck down with the spiritual sledgehammer again.

I've been looking back over my spiritual journey lately - there is so much I have not thought about before now. It's amazing. I remember the exact moment that the door opened for me. I was 28, mother to an infant, and my life was falling apart. The details are best told another time, but I know without a doubt who it was that showed me to that door. Mere weeks after my daughter was born, my cousin took her own life. We were only 4 months apart in age and growing up, I had adored her. We were like sisters. In spite of the many, many rifts in our family, we had managed to stay close. But, shit happened, and she and her siblings had severed ties with my side of the family, once again. Anyway, I had no idea what had been going on, until it was too late. A few months after that, I went to this womens weekend retreat. I was petrified, the only reason I went was because my therapist was one of the facilitators and she really thought it would be good for me. Well, let me tell you, the door flew open to me that weekend. I heard, saw and experienced things I never knew existed. Meditation. Crystals. Tarot cards. A safe, nurturing space. I left there and I knew I wanted more. And, I never looked back. Shortly after that weekend, I was meditating, and I received a message from my cousin. She was the one who had led me to this open door. Her message was simple. Don't end up like me. Please. 20 years have passed and here I am. So grateful for everything in my life, good and bad. So grateful that I know I have not only been guided, but that I also trusted that "gut feeling" to know I was being led in the right direction.

Tonight has been a full circle for me. I'm sitting back and kind of feeling "wow". I like my life. I embrace it. Because 30 years ago - if someone could have shown me the life I have today - I would not have thought it possible.

So, to answer tonight's question: "Do you think spirituality is important? Why or why not". You bet I do! See above :o)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

More thoughts on eating local...

I had a small epiphany this morning as I was putting together the fixings for pot roast. I realized that when I start a new endeavor, that I have the expectation that it will be difficult. When it turns out to not be difficult (most things are not difficult, at least in my experience), at first I feel as though I must be doing it wrong. Or not good enough. When that is just not true. Because I know this about myself - when I take on a project, a task, learning a new skill - whatever - I give it my all. I don't give up easy, if at all. I've always had this belief, even as a kid, that everything is possible and I will find the way to make it happen. I digress...

These were the thoughts I was having this morning as I was slicing up the most perfect,delicious smelling, local, organic carrots. You see, I have found that one of the differences between the carrots at the grocery and the carrots in my hand is that the local ones come with a story. When I cut into those carrots I thought about how much I love going to the market on my way home every Thursday, and how delightful this one particular small organic stand is - the people running it are so nice and I swear their produce is actually happy! And I observed how long and perfect these carrots were, compared to some of the shorter and stubby ones alot of the other farmers have. I imagined rich, damp earth that nurtured these carrots until they were ready to be pulled and delivered to my kitchen. Those bagged Bunny Luvs at the grocery store - they have never told me a story. We have no history. I don't know where they were grown. Not to mention that they lack the same flavor.

Then I thought about the meat. It's the meat part of the challenge that I am struggling with. Buying local meat at the local store is expensive. I didn't budget well for that. Next year I will start purchasing extra meat all through the summer and freezing it. I'll have to buy a small freezer, but they are pretty inexpensive. Plus it will get me back in the habit of making more of my own pet food again, and that will save me some money as well.

So aside from still buying about half of my meat and chicken from the grocery store...I'm really doing pretty good with the challenge. I realize I had the expectation that this was going to be difficult, and in reality, I realize just how much of my day to day eating DOES come from local sources! So go me! I've made some really great changes in the last year or so. I also make a point when I find new local items at the grocery store, to find the store manager and let them know that I appreciate they are carrying local products.

So October is nearing the half-way point. I promise November blogging will not be about food! Well, not entirely anyway. It won't be about baseball either, because my boys, well, they are just not there this year. Sorry, it has to be said, I cannot live in denial. They are not a world series team this year. I don't know what happened, or what they can do to fix it...I still love 'em though and will be counting down the days to spring training!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Eat Local Challenge Update

So much for my best intentions of blogging about the challenge. It's going ok. I could do better. More important to me right now though is not sabotaging my weight loss/getting in shape goals. There have been times when I have added some Kashi cereal to my local yogurt. I have shopped the farmers market every week and most of my food has come from there.

One of the nicest things I have realized is that I have become a person who can take inventory of the food that is on hand and whip something up. I used to be the kind of person who first found a recipe, then went out and bought the ingredients. Belonging to the CSA last year taught me to think differently. I never knew what ingredients I would find in my bag each week and the challenge was to use everything.

Tonight I am cooking up a new recipe. I bought a squash - not sure what kind, and I forget what the girl at the market told me it was. But she went on and on about how she loves to stuff these particular squashes with whatever and make a meal out of it. So, that's what is in the oven. I found some sausage - Mailhot's, from Lewiston, ME. It's not preservative free, but I didn't want to risk my expensive local sausage on a new recipe. So, I cooked up 1/2 lb of sausage with a small onion, a stalk of celery, (all chopped) and I pressed a large clove of garlic. Then I added some chopped carrots and mushrooms. The mushrooms and the celery were not local, everything else is. I mixed up the cooked ingredients with 1/2 chopped apple (honey crisp) and 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (made in Boston). Then I cleaned out the squash much like a pumpkin and added the stuffing.

Then I stopped writing this blog entry, did some stuff around the house, and now it is after eating my concoction. Wow...it was SO YUMMY!!!

I cut it in half and ate that for dinner. I'll have the other half tomorrow before the movie (going to see Whip It - can't WAIT!)

I feel good about my mainly local feast, since for lunch I went to Antiquities with some most awesome Manchvegas knitters!

I hope we do it again next year...I love my knittahs!!!