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.

Wherever I Stand…

Occasionally a quote catches my attention and gets snagged within my soul, rather than passing on through. When that happens I sit with it for a few days, or many days, and reflect on it, drawing from it what is intended for me. 

Such has been the case with a Rumi quote that crossed my path several weeks ago. 

“Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place.”  Rumi

Wherever I Stand...

Those words resonated with me. Soulfulness has been an important part of my recent journey. As my heart has found freedom and my creativity has been unleashed, my soul has expanded. 

Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, suggests there is a strong connection between creativity and soulfulness. He wrote, “Creativity means making something for the soul out of every experience.” That has been an important aspect of my journey the past three years. I write about those experiences.  Inspiration is my guide this year. I recognize that this is soul work I am doing. 

What does it mean to me…wherever I stand, be the soul of that place? First of all,  it means that I must be aware of my soul, I must be soulful. I must be connected to my deep feeling and emotions, and have a heart that is open and unattached to expectations. A heart in hiding is shut down, closed off. I lived for many years with such a guarded heart. Fear closed it down, fear and disappointment. My soul wasn’t free to express itself nor was it expansive. Moving past fear and letting go of expectations were the first steps toward greater soul awareness. 

Wherever I Stand...

Being the soul of a place is easier for me in spaces such as my backyard garden. There I feel the deep connection with the earth. I am grounded there, rooted. I can feel my soul respond to the beauty around me by enlarging and moving outward. 

However, being the soul of a place means living in that state of awareness, that expansiveness, in all the places I find myself, whether I am surrounded by peace and the extraordinary, or chaos and the ordinary. I can be the soul of a place standing on a riverbank or in line at Walmart, at the park or in the office, playing with my grandchildren or listening to an agitated client. My ability to feel with my soul, to inhabit a space by expanding my soul into it, is not determined by how receptive that place is to me but rather how deeply connected I am to my own spirit. 

Today, I had another realization about Rumi’s words. For months I have been experiencing a heightened sense of joy. I know part of that is the feeling of renewed health in my physical body. I feel good. I feel strong and healthy. This afternoon, experiencing that wave of euphoria, the assurance came on a whisper that the deeper truth is that I am feeling my soul express itself, with great delight. I see the connection between improved health and an ecstatic soul. The body houses the soul. A healthy body creates a better place for my soul to live and thrive…and yes, express itself. 

I am still feeling my way into Rumi’s powerful quote, just as I am still feeling my way into a more present, mindful, soulful existence. Wherever you stand…be the soul of that place. What a beautiful truth to guide my journey. 

Wherever I Stand... 

Day 362: Soul Care Sunday

soul care quote

It is with wonderment and amazement that I recognized today that my year of firsts ends in three days. On day 365 I’ll recap the year and share more about what this year has opened up for me and what I have learned. Today, I spent time thinking about 2015 and how that year is shaping up. As I was thinking about a new vision board, new word and theme, a symbol and a song, I decided to make a list of the things that I hope to incorporate into my life next year, for my first today, and share it.

Here’s my list:

  1. Engage life at a soul level, discovering and embracing that which deeply stirs my soul and brings soulfulness to me.

That’s it. That one sentence, I realized, includes it all. In my relationships, work, interactions, hobbies, home, family, fun times, meditations, solitude and creativity, I desire soulfulness. If my soul is being stirred, that’s my signal that I’m on the right path.

Thomas Moore defines soul as “not a thing but a quality or a dimension of experiencing life and ourselves. It has to do with depth, value, relatedness, heart and personal substance.” My journey these past few years has allowed me to go inward and become acquainted with my soul, chipping away the fears and the limiting beliefs and the false selves that molded themselves around other people’s expectations. Those things that choked my soul loosened and fell away and the real me began to emerge, shining brighter, expanding beyond the confining space of playing small. There is a depth there yet to explore, an expansiveness that I occasionally get glimpses of.

My desire is that next year, as I journey, my soul will be my guide….that spiritual, connected, intuitive self that knows and understands beyond what my mind can comprehend. And so, with a few days left in this year, I am shining the light of soulfulness on all areas of my life. It is time to release some things, give away stuff, rearrange, simplify, and allow. My home office is the first room in my house that will undergo transformation, even as the area of my life that it represents is shifting. I am excited!

I declared today Soul Care Sunday. What a perfect day for reflection, rest, and connecting and for feeding my soul. I had no time schedule, no need to do anything beyond what the moment and my soul offered. I enjoyed awaking slowly, reading, making plans around an event in January, visiting my mom and having a very soulful conversation with Greg. I sun gazed. This is a practice of closing my eyes and lifting my face to the sun as it streams rays of golden light through my window and across my chair. For 10 minutes or so, I relaxed  the muscles in my face and my body and enjoyed the warmth and the light. Red, orange and yellow colors swirled behind my eyelids and for a few moments, I meditated and breathed and was still. And then the sunbeams moved on and so did I. In the past 10 days I have only enjoyed sun gazing twice, due to heavily overcast days. This afternoon, it was a real treat and very soulful.

This evening, as I blog, candles are lit throughout the house, 81 of them in total. This Sunday evening ritual, during the Christmas season, brings peace and quiet joy to me, the light of each flame calling to the light within me. It is such a gentle and beautiful way to close the day and conclude the weekend. I believe I will continue the lighting of the candles, even after the Christmas decorations are packed away, using whatever candles and holders are on display.

Reading today in Thomas Moore’s book, titled The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, my soul responded to the call of creating spaces of enchantment and beauty, sanctuary and peace. These will be vital elements of my journey in 2015 and it was confirmed to me once again that “journey” is, indeed, my word for the new year. Moore says, “The soul has an absolute, unforgiving need for regular excursions into enchantment. It requires them like the body needs food and the mind needs thoughts.” I can so easily substitute the word journeys for excursions. The daily journeys into soulfulness, into enchantment, into curiosity, promise to be so sustaining to my soul. Let the new adventure begin….

Scotland Trip 011e

“The soul is partly in time and partly in eternity. We might remember the part that resides in eternity when we feel despair over the part that is in life.”   Thomas Moore

(picture is my own, of the Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow, Scotland 2014)