Body & Soul Day

This beautiful fall Sunday was perfect for nourishing myself, body and soul. The weather lured me outdoors. My desire to cook was present in full force. I had another new plant based recipe to try. And this afternoon I enjoyed relaxing and catching up on a new series. This was a day of deep self care.

My soulful Sunday began with caring for my body. This was Day 10 of my 30 Day Walking Challenge. Not only have I walked every day, I have also met my fun intention of walking in a different location each time.

With a relaxed schedule today, I headed south of Joplin, to the trails meandering through Walter Woods Conservation Area. I appreciate Greg accompanying me. In this remote location, it is good to walk with a companion.

I am loving the daily walks. My body is responding, feeling stronger and more flexible. The walks in neighborhoods and city parks deepen my sense of connection with my community. I’ve met some wonderful people as I walk. And the walks in nature nurture my soul as well as my body. The beauty found in streams and falling leaves, mossy tree trunks being gently embraced again by the earth and flittering butterflies on their migration paths, awakens my senses and fills my heart with quiet joy.

The last time I explored the trails at Walter Woods was before switching to a plant based lifestyle. My pain wracked left leg necessitated frequent rest stops. I was surprised today by how quickly we made the loop through the woods. I was immensely grateful for pain free legs that moved freely without a limp. And I was saddened to recall what I used to consider normal, in my health or lack of health.

We walked further, to the pond on the other side of the property, and sat on a bench, enjoying the darting dragonflies and the gorgeous weather.

Back at home it was more body care, mixed with creativity, which enlarges my soul. I’ve been in the mood to cook. This afternoon provided the perfect opportunity to cook up a couple of hearty and healthy plant based meals. After popping the Macaroni & Broccoli Bake into the oven, I made a large pot of vegetable soup, with lots and lots of veggies.

The Macaroni & Broccoli Bake is an amazing and very comforting dish. I use brown rice pasta and fresh broccoli. The “cheese” sauce is made from cashews, lemon juice, garlic and a chopped date, with sea salt and chili powder. With colder weather coming, this satisfying meal will become a weekly favorite. See the recipe for Macaroni & Broccoli Bake HERE.

I also tried another healthy cookie recipe. Similar to the traditional No Bake Cookie recipe, this version has just four ingredients.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Coconut No Bake Cookies by Beaming Baker

• 1 cup natural peanut butter (no sugar added)

• 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

• 1 cup gluten free rolled oats

• 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Combine peanut butter and maple syrup in medium sized glass bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds, stir, and continue, microwaving for 20 seconds and stirring, 4-7 times, until mixture is warm and fragrant and just beginning to dry out a bit. Add oatmeal and coconut flakes, stirring until well combined. Drop by spoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Press down on cookie mounds with a fork, to desired thickness. Pop into the freezer for 20 minutes and then enjoy. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 24 cookies.

This recipe was another success! The cookies are delicious and so quick to make. I enjoyed a couple for afternoon tea. I appreciate how wholesome they are.

As I had afternoon tea, and later a bowl of Macaroni & Broccoli, I settled onto my bed and caught up on the newest Star Trek series, Discovery. While some might not see watching Star Trek as a soulful experience, for me it is.

Watching episodes 2 and 3 today, my eyes filled with tears several times. I was deeply moved by the stories, which while offering hope in standard Trek ways, were much grittier and darker. I was captivated by the action and special effects, and quite on edge during episode 3!

My cat Shy Boy slept through Star Trek, only because I had ear buds in, to spare him the noise of space battles.

I am loving being back in the star Trek universe. Subscribing to CBS All Access is worth it to me, to follow these adventures featuring wonderful new characters amid familiar Trek favorites such as tribbles and the wise Vulcan, Sarek. It is hard for me to explain the teary eyes. So much of who I am is connected to Star Trek, in ways that most would not understand. No one has to get it, except me.

And even I can be surprised by the depth of my emotions for this long running series. When tears gathered after a starship was destroyed, full of characters I never saw, I muttered to my cat…“I didn’t even know those people…why the tears?” I can only surmise that my soul knows why. Under the tender care it is receiving, my spirit, my essence, is very expansive and responsive.

What a beautiful day. How perfectly suited it was for the care of my body and my soul. I feel rested. I feel nurtured. I feel nourished. I feel ready for more walks, and more creativity expressed in the kitchen…and another Star Trek episode.

Journey 270: Super Sunday

Sunday is my favorite day for caring for myself, body, mind and soul. It’s been a wonderfully restful day, spent mostly at home except for an excursion to greet my daughter Elissa at a welcome home celebration. She attended a women’s retreat over the weekend and the tradition is to have family present when the ladies return, to cheer and hug and give tokens of love. I rejoiced over Elissa’s bright and beautiful face as she climbed off the bus. She was tired…who sleeps on retreats…but happy. Perhaps she will do a guest blog post for me someday, and share her soulful experiences, because it is her story to tell. 

 

I arrived back home, just as the sun was sinking. And I knew precisely how I wanted to conclude this gorgeous day. Tonight another Supermoon will grace the sky. And not only is this a full moon that appears larger than normal, it is a full lunar eclipse as well. I wanted to be outside to watch for it. It was the perfect evening for another activity that I’ve been wanting to do as well, out in the garden…color. 

 I started a cozy little fire, that soon blazed into a cheerful roaring fire, and brought out an unsweet tea from Sonic, my colored pencils,  and a new coloring book that I have enjoyed this weekend. The book is The Time Garden, by Daria Song. The pictures are detailed, which I love, and each page tells the story of a little girl who journeys, via her father’s antique cuckoo clock from Germany, to magical places. It’s a whimsical collection of pages to color. I completed the first page today, after beginning last night. I started on a fresh page, in my own enchanted garden. 
 

I am totally captivated by coloring in these books for adults. The colored pencils give me a lot of freedom to mix colors as I add layers and create subtle shading for interest and depth. I love how being creative awakens an artistic side deep within my soul. My senses are more acute. As I was driving this afternoon I noticed colors and textures and the play of light on the old buildings in downtown Webb City. I observed more keenly, noting how shadows form there beneath the eaves of a tall brick storefront, so I could duplicate the effect later with my pencils. 

  
I stood to peer over the fence as the sun slipped below the horizon. It was beautiful. And I studied the sky, awash with colors, thinking about how to best capture such a stunning sight. I like how an act as simple as coloring has a profound effect on me, shifts me, opens me to more possibilities, more beauty in the world. 

 

 
In the darkness, relieved only by the glow through the neighbor’s windows and the flickering firelight, I sit at peace, with myself and with my world, and watch the eastern sky. The moon has appeared and the earth’s shadow is crossing her shining face. My cat Shy Boy has claimed my lap and enjoys the night with me, staring into the fire. What a magical evening. 

  

  

 

Journey 249: Loving Me, Loving You

Sundays are soulful days for me, a time to disconnect from busyness as often as I can. On these self care days I can focus inward on my heart and soul, upward on my Creator, and then outward on others. I’ve looked forward all week to this time of reflection and solitude, of peace and quiet joy, and deep connection.

  
It was a beautiful journey this morning, spent alone with my thoughts and a full and grateful heart. I relaxed in the backyard garden in spite of the higher temperatures, soaking up sunshine, my senses awakened by the sights and sounds and scents of life stirring among the grasses and flowers surrounding me. 

I sat with my thoughts, at rest, in a state of deep peace, and let them rise one by one and pass through. There was nothing to deal with, no urgent matters, no conflicts to resolve. My heart opened and enlarged and flooded my being with love, which then overflowed and radiated outward. 

  
After a time of refection I enjoyed the rest of my day, doing some of my favorite things and later connecting with others. 

I strolled through my local DVD rental store, alone except for a solitary worker who waited for me near the register. I slowly walked past rows and rows of recent releases, until a movie captured my attention. I brought home the one meant for me, to watch later this week. 

And I had a long and soulful conversation with a family member this evening, to complete an amazing day. I enjoy connecting with others at a deeper level, sharing about our journeys, weighing in on life in all of its intricate complexities and marvelous curiosities. I am grateful for the heart to heart, soul to soul chat that blessed me and enriched me as much as the time of solitude did, in the garden. 

A friend posted the meme below this morning, on Facebook. It was a perfect reminder of the value of practicing self-care, of loving myself enough to make sure I take time to rest and play and sometimes, do nothing at all. It is a great question to ask oneself, I think. I answered that question, beautifully, all day long.