Nature nurtures


I saw this meme and it made me laugh right out loud

And I started reflecting on the theme #NatureNurtures that was a part of our 5-day Yoga of Eating training.

I know that I feel my best, when I’m regularly spending time quiet in nature. 

When I can’t have that medicine I crave it. Then at some point I cross a line and forget about the soothing effect of non-human things. I start to experience a kind of shrinking in on myself physically while, conversely, my mind amps up and starts chewing on anything, everything. I now recognize that when that starts happening, I’m starved for prana  and the solution is sattva.

Sometimes I can’t just drop my responsibilities and take a playday outside. 

So cooking is one of the fastest ways to get me turned around in a sattvic direction. Smelling, touching, working with the fresh ingredients starts to bring back my connection to nature. I have to soften my mind in order to sense which spices and oils will best support my current state. Eating a warm savory meal made with love is like doing CPR on my spirit.

Growing fresh food at home is therapeutic and likened to printing your own money. I hope everyone gets to experience eating something they have nurtured. It is possible in nearly every situation and circumstance, on some scale. When I was running Hale Pule farms we would have apartment-dwelling visitors who thought there was no way they could grow food for themselves. 

Here is what I say: If you have windows, you can grow something.

Tips for growing things inside

  • Fresh herbs are a great choice for apartments. You can spend as much or as little time as suits with the process of picking containers and selecting varieties of seeds or starts

• No-budget setups are some of the funnest because we get to draw on our creativity. Empty bottles or cartons can be cut in half to make pots.

• Water from soaking beans or rinsing rice makes nice fertilizer. Or the rinsing from an emptied milk container.

Tips for growing things on a patio or balcony

You can grow serious food on a patio. There are ingenious tower garden systems now that need practically no care after planting. 

• Not ready to invest in a fancy system? My favorite budget option is a $5 bag of organic compost from any retailer. Lay it flat and cut holes in the top of the bag for each seed or start. Then only water it enough to keep lightly moist - do NOT over water. This system will support all measure of herbs, greens, squashes, bush beans, even root veggies. Plant things close and create a mini food jungle. 

• If it’s freezing outside regularly, bring the bag indoors by a window with full sun. To make it easy to move and not mess up the floor, place the bag flat plastic mixing tub which you can probably find your local home hardware type store (concrete section) that will fit the bag perfectly. Alternatives are wooden crates or a sturdy cardboard box (but cut it down to avoid any shadow on your green babies). 

• If it’s not freezing but it’s raining a lot or your patio gets shady, set the bag in a wheelbarrow and then you have a portable garden to follow the sun.

Plus kids love it

If you have kids, get them involved. They tend to love tending plants and preparing the fruits of their labors. 

Caring for green things is a joy, they are very patient listeners and visibly delight in my singing, regardless of my talent level. There is no better mood elevator than giving thanks to the plants, harvesting foods I grew, and then playing with sattvic preparations.

My favourite recipes for home-grown veggies:

Clear soups are some of my favorites, partly due to the speed and simplicity.

I always include a chapati - well, in truth, I call mine chawadis because I just shape them roughly in my hands and skip rolling them out. Those wads are scrumptious though.

This is here for you, too!

If anyone reading this is now beating the drum of reasons you think you can’t live like this, I want you to know that I had to learn to have this kind of self-value and self-care. Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.

When I discovered Ayurveda, my physical health was dismal and the mental and emotional aspects were worse. I can relate to the people struggling with making their wellbeing a priority. I had beliefs about putting others first that left me so depleted that I actually ended up with little to offer anyone. 

Like many people, I believed something outside was going to make me feel better.

I took that ride chasing highs followed by increasing lows, over and over again. 

I thought my value was in what I do and the approval from others that brings.

Usually during a “low” I would commit with conviction to some goal of bettering myself. Then I would go at it like mad for a while and start to feel better. Then my mind had a way of convincing me that I was being too strict or that turning in another direction would be even better. So I would switch to that until the next low set in. I felt like I was always chasing after something or running away from something without even realizing. I had become so accustomed to feeling exhausting and empty that I thought it normal. 

I was saved from all that by Myra’s teachings.

The relief of stepping out of the self-sabotaging trap and into a relationship with my true self cannot be overstated. 

I dedicated my life to helping get this approach to life out to as many people as possible. The piecemeal route I took meant that lasting progress took years. But it can go much faster for you. The myriad of components that changed things for me are now all put together in one place, the Heal Your Relationship with Food program .

It is a safe place to take this journey with others. Group support and accountability allows for much faster transformation. And being in a community wards off the intellectualizing tactic my ego still attempts when I get close to the underlying beliefs that need to be acknowledged and released. 

It does take courage to make the changes.

But I have experienced that gentleness and baby steps are actually much more effective than attacking the path.

There is so much more to life than chasing fleeting pleasures and acquiring more information to try to feel safe. This is not a path of deprivation and mental effort, it’s the exact opposite. I have a sense of fulfillment, enjoyment, confidence and adventure. Like gardening, the Ayurvedic lifestyle does not allow one to become old, because there is simply too much to look forward to.

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