Just back from 4 days in Big Bend National Park, with the big sky, desert, mountains, river, hot springs, ravens, Mexican jays, javelinas, and numerous trails.
And most of all, quality time spent with my beloved 22-year-old granddaughter, Hannah.
And…it’s great to be back home, in my own bed, with comfort, solitude, and time to sit.
After over 3 months of daily meditations, when I start sitting, things start happening…perceptions of radiance at my face, the motions of the Tide, the vitality of my life force swirling within.
I remember when I started doing yoga (asanas) 40 years ago. At some point after my practice became habit, I realized I didn’t just DO yoga, I WAS (and still AM) yoga. It was in me.
Same now. I AM the radiance, the Tide, the swirliness, the health. It’s in me, and it’s in you too, and I can help you find it, if that is your desire.
So…I will continue my practice but won’t be posting so much about it. I will be reviewing my posts (I started on 11/11/22), exploring ways of teaching it, as one-to-one private sessions now, and later as a guided meditation/yoga nidra, for small groups, and whatever else emerges.
Thank you for checking out my posts on this inquiry. Please stay in touch! Links are in my Instagram bio.
My Biodynamic Meditation session this morning was about breath, awareness of my central energy channel, awareness of the Tide moving up and down and then settling at my sacrum as healing energy for a bit, moving up to my solar plexus region, and then to my crown chakra.
The energetic sensation was that of effervescence at my sacrum and my crown, and like soothing kindness at my solar plexus.
Once upon a time, people didn’t know about viruses, bacteria, or hand-washing. They tended to live shorter lives than we do now. They got sick more often, and a whole lot more infants and children died than do nowadays. It was rare for people to live past 60.
But they were observant, and they developed practices like yoga and Qi gong to strengthen and balance their bodies, to keep their energies vital and strong. They created medicines from herbs that we now know have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties, without knowing about these things. They walked everywhere and grew their own food and got plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise.
Think about it: all their food was organic because there was no alternative! They enriched the soil with manure and dead plants. The soil produced healthy food. The water was clean for the most part, the air unpolluted. They saved seeds from the best plants. They stored what food they could, and they fermented foods to strengthen and lengthen the nourishment.
In Russian and Eastern Europe, they made a fermented drink called kvass, from bread and other things. In Ukraine, they made kvass from beets, which are easy to grow, produce leafy greens you can also eat, and keep well. Kvass was common in every kitchen during those long cold winters and kept people healthier than they would otherwise have been.
Kvass may have even kept viruses at bay, or at least minimized the severity. We’re all very interested in that now!
You can make your own beet kvass at home, and here’s what you’ll need:
A jar — quart size or larger.
Filtered water (tap water has chlorine in it, which will slow fermentation).
Good non-iodized salt.
A medium to large beet.
A little bit of sauerkraut juice or whey from the top of plain yogurt (not whey powder).
This recipe below makes half a gallon. Put equal amounts of each ingredient into two quart jars if that’s what you have. If you want just one quart, halve the recipe. If you want to make a gallon, double the recipe.
I like to use an organic red beet, medium to large in size. Rinse any dirt off and cut it into half-inch cubes. Do not peel or scrub. You want 1 to 2 cups of cubed beets. Place them in the half gallon jar.
Fill the jar to an inch below the top with filtered water.
Add 1/2 teaspoon good salt.
Add 1 tablespoon of sauerkraut juice or whey.
Stir and put the lid on.
Every day, open the lid to let any fermentation gases off so pressure doesn’t build. If any scum forms on top, scoop off as much as you can.
Knowing when it’s done: The water will have turned a beautiful deep red color that is opaque — you can’t see through it any more. The water has thickened a bit to have more viscosity.
You can start tasting it on day 3. Beet kvass tastes earthy, salty, and tangy. This is hard to imagine because there’s nothing else quite like it. The flavor strengthens each day.
When I tasted my first batch, I didn’t know if I’d like it, and I just tasted a tablespoon of it. Wow! It’s a unique flavor, and my body wanted more so I drank more. I’ve been making it ever since.
Taste it every day for 7-10 days, and when you feel it’s done, put it in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation. Then drink some with every meal.
You can strain and refrigerate it, keeping 1/2 to 1 cup of the kvass and the beets and starting over to make another batch. Add filtered water and salt as above. Remnants from the first batch serve as a starter for the second batch. What’s not to like about that??
I recommend making this plain version the first time. You could add slices of ginger root or whole cloves to the next batch.
In my experience, it’s not worth it to try making a third batch. Too much of the goodness has left the beets by then. Start over with fresh beets and compost the old ones or add them to broth or soup. (They still have some flavor and all the fiber.)
And while you are making it or drinking it, you can imagine old Ukrainian ladies in their babushkas making this for their children and grandchildren to increase their vitality and resilience.
And you can imagine this kvass delivering all kinds of health-giving properties to your digestive system and immune system. (Seventy percent of your immune system is in your gut.) The probiotics from fermenting, plus the nutrients from beets (Vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, iron, and more) make this a nutrient-dense food.
I eat a Paleo diet, and right now I’m being rather strict about it: no grains, no dairy, no sugar, and lots of healthy meat and veggies. My energy levels are good!
My nutritionist, Olivia Honeycutt, tells me how good it is to eat liver. I’m pretty sure it was not one of my favorite childhood flavors (actually, my dad didn’t like it so my mom didn’t cook it, but she — having grown up on a ranch where they raised a lot of their own food — liked it).
As an adult I tried liver and onions and came to like it enough to eat occasionally, but not very often.
Liver is loaded with nutrients. One ounce (28 grams, or about 2 tablespoons) contains the following: Continue reading →
If you’ve friended me on Facebook, you might be aware that I’ve been taking classes in functional movement since August, so four months now. I thought I’d post something about what it is, what I’ve been doing, and my results.
What is functional movement?
Functional movement refers to fitness and the movements we use in everyday life. As opposed to yoga, for instance. Continue reading →
The Enneagram is a system that classifies people by type, like personality typing. It’s kin to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. But it’s about more than personality—it’s based on fixation.
According to Enneagram theory, we are either born with or acquire in the earliest years of life a fixation that deeply influences our identity: who we believe we are and how we view life. The fixation is what keeps you from experiencing your essential (healthy) self. It’s how you get in your own way. It’s a filter that in some ways has worked for you, but it can eventually limit you into a habitual way of living that feels too small. You may suspect there’s more to you than that. You can transcend your fixation to find more essence, more freedom, more joy.
Maybe this is what enlightenment is.
There are nine Enneagram types. Each type has two wings and three subtypes. Furthermore, each type moves toward two different types when you are stressed and when you feel secure. Plus, your development level changes with age, experience, and your desire and ability to grow. So it’s a fairly dynamic model, even though (according to theory) people remain their type their entire lives.
To illustrate, my type is Five. Other names: The Investigator and The Observer. We Fives are classic nerds: bookish, shy, avoiding conflict, private, attracted to minimalism, curious, alert, intense, innovative, insightful, cerebral, having a rich inner life, seeking mastery.
I also have a Four wing. Nickname: The Iconoclast. I am interested in people and healing. The Four wing adds sensitivity.
Would you believe that part of the path to my essential self is exercise? Living in my body connects me to a vitality and presence that I could never experience just living in my head. It took the painful aftermath of a car wreck in my 40s—and the subsequent healing journey—to really understand this.
Daily yoga, the outdoor activities I love like snorkeling and kayaking, dance, meditation, giving and receiving massage, hugs, touch, and sex all help me more fully occupy my body, and be more present in my full vitality, my essential energy that radiates joy, love, peace, and happiness.
So if you knew me as a child, you’d have known a shy, bookish, smart, aloof nerd. If you know me now, you’d see some of those qualities at times, but you’d also see someone who has a lot of vitality, who lives with an open heart (and who still really likes to think).
For me, the journey from being immersed in my type to living more from my essence has been like moving from a black-and-white world into a world full of amazing colors of infinite variety. I can’t say it’s all due to knowing about the Enneagram, but it has helped and provided much insight.
If you are interested in using the Enneagram as a tool for personal growth, and you don’t know your type, here’s how to find out. It’s not always easy (but sometimes it’s very obvious). You can definitely narrow it down to a couple of types, and then you’ll get an aha! (And you may change your mind later on.) Plus, you will easily recognize some people you’ve known.
It’s important to first note that we often do not see ourselves as others see us. Therefore, learning your Enneagram type might make you feel uncomfortable. Prepare yourself. The truth often hurts before it sets us free.
Watch the videos with people you trust with the intent to identify each person’s type with compassion. Others who know us can be honest yet tactful and supportive (as you can be with them—agree on this beforehand and don’t invite anyone who is insensitive).
I found more videos of Tao Porchon-Lynch, the world’s oldest living yoga teacher. I just can’t get enough of her! She’s my inspiration, my role model for wellness, because what she can do now is based on what she did when she was much younger: a lifetime of good habits.
She looks, sounds, and feels so healthy! She seems to be wonderfully sweet and so full of vitality! Seeing her living so well is very motivating.
In the first video, she talks about yoga, and you see her teaching a class:
In the second video, she displays amazing ballroom dancing skills. That was filmed in 2009, when she was “only” 91. Her partner looks to be about one-third her age, yet they are well matched on the dance floor.
If you didn’t know, would you ever have guessed she was even over 70?