A delicious and simple green soup

I did a craniosacral therapy session last week on a friend whom I hadn’t seen since the start of the pandemic. I went to his home since he has a massage table. We wore masks during the session with the window open.

The session was successful. He’d taken a spill on his bike, hit his head, didn’t seem too badly injured, went home…and noticed that he just didn’t feel right for a couple of weeks and called me. He felt shifts and releases throughout the session.

I sent him my Post-Concussion Self Care guidelines. If it was a concussion, it was minor, but any time the brain gets sloshed via head injury, craniosacral therapy can help.

Anyway, he’s a great cook, and he invited me to share a mid-afternoon meal of his homemade green soup outdoors on his patio. Of course I accepted!

It was so delicious, I want to make it myself.

Here’s how he described making it:
1. In a stockpot, sauté an onion in olive oil.
2. Chop 2-3 different bunches of greens and stir into onions and olive oil. Choose from chard, spinach, kale, beet greens, collards, dandelion greens, arugula, or whatever leafy greens you like or have on hand.
3. Add 1 teaspoon salt.
4. Add about 6 cups water, cover, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
5. When cool enough to handle, pour into a Vitamix and blend.
6. If purée is too thick, add water to thin to desired consistency.
7. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.

After heating it, he added chunks of avocado, a handful of pumpkin seeds, fresh garlic chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Oh, and bird peppers! I tried one. Too hot for me.

Yum. The amazing thing is how simple this recipe is. Of course, you could fancy it up by adding garlic, herbs, lemon juice or vinegar, and veggie or chicken stock instead of water. You could add a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream or some croutons, or grate Parmesan on top.

I’ve since made it in an Instant Pot. Even quicker! Use the pressure cooker setting for 5 minutes, then let it naturally release.

How to get centered: the second energy

You’ve heard people say “I’m not feeling centered right now” or “He seems very centered”. If you do not relate to statements about being centered or experience that yourself, you can benefit from increasing your kinesthetic awareness. Being centered is a real aspect of the felt sense that is integral to living a healthy, happy, embodied life.

Like being grounded (my previous post), being centered is a body energy that has a direction:

bullseye

There are many ways to find your center, and there are different names for it: the literal center, the energetic center, the center of gravity. What’s important is to find one that makes you feel stable in your being.

Here’s how to find your literal center:

Stand up barefooted. Wiggle a little to release tension. Ground yourself.

Locate the plane that divides your body into left and right halves. In the front, your sternum (breastbone), navel, and pubic bone mark it; in the back, your spine (unless you have alignment issues like scoliosis).

Here’s a little trivia: This “line” corresponds to two meridians in Chinese medicine, the conception vessel (front) and governing vessel (back).

Now imagine the plane that divides your body into upper and lower halves. It can help to look in a mirror or even a tape measure to find this. Depending on the relative length of your legs, torso, neck, and head, it will lie between your pubic bone and solar plexus somewhere around your navel.

Now imagine the plane that divides your body into front and back, somewhere in the center of your torso.

The place where those three planes meet (left/right, upper/lower, front/back) is your literal center.

three planes dividing the body into halves

To find your energetic center, send your awareness into your literal center. Move your attention around in that area, and you may notice a slightly stronger sensation marking your energetic center. Practice moving your attention out of your energetic center and back in.

A quick way of finding center is to put your hands in prayer position with shoulders relaxed and forearms parallel to the floor. The place where the bottom of your hands meet or thereabouts marks your center. It is not exactly a pinpoint. I experience my center as being about the size of a tennis ball.

Here’s another way to get centered: Stand with your feet hip width apart, knees relaxed, body slightly loose, and close your eyes. Rock slightly forward, shifting more weight onto the balls of your feet. Rock slightly backward toward your heels. Rock to the left and then to the right.

Now center yourself with your weight evenly distributed front/back and left/right. Are you feeling a sense of stability? Good. You’re centered.

Each body also has a center of gravity, which has to do with the body’s mass. Think of ice skaters spinning. They could not perform safely without keen awareness of their centers of gravity.

Usually women’s center of gravity is a bit lower than men’s, because of how the chest and pelvis are proportioned.

If you already know where your center of gravity is, you probably already know how to be grounded and centered. If you don’t know, it’s discovered through movement, and you can begin to discover it by standing and twisting your torso from side to side, or by whirling/spinning.

Whirling Dervishes

Words indicating the centering energy: being centered, off-kilter, balanced.

I hope these methods have helped you experience first-hand being centered.

Now combine it with being grounded, and notice how being both grounded and centered may differ from how you usually experience life. Does it add a dimension of feeling, sensation, or awareness? Does it add richness to everyday experience?

Thanks to Brian Mahan, SEP, for the inspiration.