A is for Artichokes

October 31, 2013

This is one of a series of 26 blogs that I am writing the A to Z Blogging Challenge

My A to Z Blogging Challenge

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Several months ago, I was invited to participate in a blogging challenge of blogging my way through the alphabet, which I successfully completed in Inspiritual Reflections. The owner challenged some of us to complete the alphabet, if we had not, or do it again, which I have chosen to do. So this time I am going to blog my way through the alphabet in The Zenful Kitchen, spiritually reflecting on foods, herbs, spices, and other things culinary.

I decided to start this challenge with an ingredient, which has always intrigued me, the artichoke.  Artichokes are interesting because from an alchemical perspective, they encourage personal growth and protect a person from negative elemental energies. Women were at one time warned not to eat them, as it was believed they were sexually stimulating.

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don Miguel Ruiz once said, “You know the word ‘Toltec’ means artist. When I talk about Toltec, I’m really talking about the entire humanity, because we all are artists. Even if we don’t have the awareness, we’re always creating. The biggest art that we humans create is a story – the story of ourselves, the story of our life. It looks so real, and we live in that story… We give a meaning to every single word that we use. We give our personal power to knowledge… and knowledge creates a massive piece also, which is the main character of our story. Which means it creates us, what believe we are…”

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Everything you’…

October 25, 2013

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.

–George Addair
http://www.inspiritual.biz/thought-for-the-day/

My life is worth something!

October 25, 2013

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I so love how the universe works. I was just talking to a friend and reminding her that her life is of value. I talked with her about how if she focuses on that understanding it will help her move out of her depression. She has told herself that her life is worth nothing so often that she now believes it. I can remember a time when people told me my life was worth nothing. I am so grateful part of me never agreed with them, or at least did not agree with them long enough for it to take root and push out all the light in my life and heart.

My life is worth something. This was the affirmation I read this morning from don Miguel Ruiz Jr’s new book Living a Life of Awareness: Daily Meditations on the Toltec Path. He wrote,

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Gluttony

October 23, 2013

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I came across this quote this morning by M F K Fisher, an American food writer, who wrote, “It is a curious fact that no man likes to call himself a glutton, and yet each of us has in him a trace of gluttony, potential or actual. I cannot believe that there exists a single coherent human being who will not confess, at least to himself, that once or twice he has stuffed himself to bursting point on anything from quail financiere to flapjacks, for no other reason than the beastlike satisfaction of his belly.” [1] I had to smile when I read this quote because I know that for myself this is so true. While I have never stuffed myself to the bursting point on quail financiere, nor have I ever had it, I have stuffed myself to that point on lobster in clarified butter, shrimp cocktail, sushi, sashimi, scallops, and a few other items, which just seem to scream more when I am eating them.

So why is it that we have all had our gluttonous moments, but none of us likes to own them? Why it is that we each have those stories of eating our way to this space of beastlike satisfaction of our belly, but we do not feel free to openly talk about it or share those moments, or to even acknowledge the possibility of their existence? Perhaps one of the reasons is because gluttony has been described by many spiritual writers as one of the seven deadly sins. Most people do not like to acknowledge participating in these sins during their daily lives.

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Have you been burglarized?

October 23, 2013

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In the last month, two people I know have had their homes burglarized. Sadly, for both of them, this was not the first time, nor will it most likely be the last time. Fortunately, for both of them, they were unharmed and/or not home. However, they did lose possessions and one of them reported that their basement was a mess. So what would you do if someone burglarized your home? My guess is you would call the police and report that you had been burglarized.

Now, what would you do if someone broke into your life and robbed you of your blessings? What would you do if the person who was burglarizing your life was you? We may have limited control over whether someone breaks in and burglarizes our physical homes; however, we do have control over how we burglarize our own lives.

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This past Wednesday I had the last of my four Reiki 1 classes and as with last week, it began with my teacher asking me to close my eyes and pick three cards. The three that I picked were Destiny, Wisdom, and Nonjudgmental. As with last week, she smiled and she said yes those are you; read the backs if you would like. You just need to walk in the fullness of them

Wisdom – Treat everyone and everything with loving compassion. When you see no difference between the sacred and the profane, the saint and the sinner. That is the ultimate wisdom.

Destiny – You can look . . . and you will find it. You can not look . . . and you will find it. That which is yours will surely come to you.

Nonjudgmental – To straighten what is crooked, you must first straighten yourself. Once you are aligned, the whole world looks different.

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It’s Legendary

October 17, 2013

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Last night, my Reiki teacher brought some of her left overs to share with us after my attunement. So I brought out our leftovers as well. This included collard greens Chilean butternut squash, cauliflower with cheese sauce, cabbage casserole, macaroni and cheese, and salad. As things made it to the table, Maryanna expressed how excited she was to try the casserole and the macaroni and cheese, as they are legendary. Her comment caught me off guard, as I have never thought about food or a dish as being legendary. I had no idea my cabbage casserole, which I still do not like, or my macaroni and cheese were so well known as to be legendary. However, apparently they are.

As I thought about this, I began to remember a conversation earlier in the week between my friends Nina, Sam and my wife Zoe. They were all talking about the dishes I had made for them that left them lingering for more. They enjoyed them so much that months after eating them the memory of the experience in their mouths lingered on and left them remembering and savoring every delectable bite. To be honest, nothing that I make leaves me with that feeling, although I am glad it does that for others.

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Replace Fear with Love

October 14, 2013

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I have long believed that the opposite of love is fear and as a friend once told me fear is false evidence appearing real. Love is real, fear is not. Fear just appears real. Yet fear is like a self propagating weed which seems to take over an entire yard. It continues to keep coming back until you are able to dig them up by their roots and permanently remove them.

The soil in which our fear is planted is in our mind. Our mind is like fertile ground where these weeds exist until we have stalked them down to their roots and removed them. We have a choice as to whether we plants weeds of fear or seeds of love in our minds. When we are impeccable with our word, which is the first agreement in Toltec Wisdom, then our mind is no longer fertile ground for weeds of fear; it is only fertile for seeds of love.

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Wednesday was the 3rd of what will now be four lessons for Reiki 1. So after a celebratory birthday lunch for my teacher (I made “fried” chicken, collard greens, “mac” and cheese, and biscuits), we began our lesson. After blessing and sanctifying the space, she said close your eyes and using your left hand (not my dominant hand), hover your hand over this deck of Zen cards and pick three.  The three that I picked were Compassion, Wisdom, and Community. We laughed and she said yes those are you; read the backs if you would like.

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