I Meet My Golden Self

by Maria Theresa Maggi on September 27, 2018

 

"I Meet My Golden Self" sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

“I Meet My Golden Self” sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

I’ve long held that the real test of anything I undertake to heal or help myself comes at especially trying times. It’s easy to stay on track with walking, eat whole plants, or doing my yoga every day when nothing is getting in the way. But it’s most important to do such things, and others, when it’s most hard, when it isn’t convenient, or there’s not enough time, or conditions create stress through the roof.

The times we are living in are a true test of such convictions. That’s when I’m ever grateful for my wacky tendency to make a game of something that’s deadly serious for me if I want to stay as healthy as I can manage. And that’s why, at the last minute, right before it started, I added this “Chill Out Challenge” to my daily meditation routine.

Like my yoga teacher and her teacher, too, I follow the tenet that “whatever happens in meditation IS meditation.” This helps me stay on track each morning making my yoga stretches part of my meditation, and also when I sit in meditation after I am done with my simple asanas. This way it doesn’t matter if I have to get up and let a dog in or out, or if my mind wanders and then returns, or I get an idea I just have to write down. It’s all part of it.

Nevertheless, when the triggering stress of identifying with Dr.Christine Blasey Ford took hold, as I know it has for millions of women,I decided I needed something in addition to my morning practice. My amazing artist and healer friend Sacil’s Chill Out Challenge which you can find on her site art & being (which I highly recommend) is a basic beginning primer for belly breathing and meditation, and I decided I would participate, using it as what I called to myself a “Pop-up”meditation that can happen at any time during the day I needed it. This had me trying it to relax after writing Senators, or during my nap time or before bed–or even all three.  It would reinforce a dictate my son’s Dad and I joked about when we were separating long ago and trying each to find our way. We would laugh that his motto needed to be “Don’t just stand there, do something,” but my motto needed to be, “Don’t just do something, stand there.”

Even a few minutes of “pop-up”meditation makes a huge difference, I find.  It allows me to “parachute in” to a few moments of quiet and communion with my body, mind and emotions in the present moment. And in so doing, I met some remarkable parts of myself and made some startling discoveries.

Morning of the day before yesterday, the morning of the day before Dr.Christine Blasey Ford was set to testify, I shared this experience in an online meditation and resistance support group I’m in:

“Good Morning, Friends. On my yoga mat meditation this morning the intention came to me to strengthen in all who feel it today an inner strength they didn’t know they had. No matter who they are, where they are, my intention is to bless that inner strength they discover, and see it helping each one of them stand up for love, truth and justice like never before. I hope you’ll join me.”

So I started my day and my morning meditation buoyed by that felt shared intention. I had also requested addresses from Postcards to Voters in order to use up my 5 last postcard stamps, and was given the campaign of this amazing young Ohio Democrat advocate for women and children running for Congress, Aftab Pureval. His name means “sunshine.” Remarkably, after just a few days of these extra popup meditation sessions, I was able to write all 5 of the cards that afternoon. I have never been able to write that many in that short of a time.

In my afternoon pop-up meditation, to relax after finishing the cards, I had this most wonderful thing happen when I meditated a third time. When my mind would wander and I would “return” to the present moment of my breathing, I became aware of this wonderful presence. The words that came to me to describe it were “my golden self.” It was there waiting for me–overjoyed and saying “you’re back!” and enfolding me in golden and beautiful turquoise “arms.” I felt the wisdom and unconditional love from this aspect of myself as long as I could.When I would inevitably flutter away, which was understood as completely okay, when I would  “come back” to that welcoming completely accepting “golden” embrace,  I would be so thrilled I would giggle to be reunited. I was literally filled with delight that this aspect, my “golden self,”was so glad to welcome me and enfold me. The kindness of it reminded me of a moment many years ago before I changed my eating. I was in the co-op where I shopped, struggling to be able to button the buttons on my coat and a friend of mine saw me struggling and gently said, “let me button those for you. I’d love to”–and she bent to button the buttons I could not do myself. And I was made whole, almost overcome by her acceptance and kindness, I who so struggle to be “OK” all the time, or a lot of my life. This “golden self” had that capacity a thousand exponential times over.

I’ll also add that this seems to be an outgrowth or manifestation of another game that’s occurred to me to engage in since meditating more than once a day: when I start grousing to myself about not wanting to do some chore or other or untangle some problem or other, all of a sudden, out of the literal blue, I’ve had the inspiration to ask, “what if I loved doing this instead?” and sometimes it’s just so outrageous that it’s plausible to consider that that it makes me laugh and I just pretend I love it! I’m laughing out loud just at the preposterously revolutionary thought of it.

___

I knew I’d have trouble going to sleep in anticipation of the historic testimony going forward the next morning, so I parachuted into another pop-up meditation before bed. I’d done this a couple of times already and was astonished at how much better and more soundly I slept afterwards when I did. I had read Dr. Blasey’s opening statement the day before, and although I wanted to, was uncertain whether I would be able to listen to any of the testimony live. (For those of you who may remember my post “I Knew I Had To Go Deep,” the previous week I sent Dr. Blasey a card with the drawing from that post on it in appreciation for her bravery in coming forward publicly.) It turned out I was able to listen to at least some of the testimony, and to cry a little, and then to take a break, and go walk the dogs, not knowing how far I’d have the stamina to go, or if I should hurry back or not.

As we walked down a street in our neighborhood close to the ocean, I thought of how Dr. Blasey loves it too, enough to become an accomplished surfer, I had read, and so suddenly, visiting the ocean seemed like a fitting way to honor her. When I got there, the ocean had a surprise for me: there were 3 whales, very close in, in the breakers, feeding in the kelp beds. At first it seemed like one, but after a while it became clear there were 3, intently feeding, circling just off shore, right in front of our noses. I could see their mottled markings, sometimes a back, a fin, a tail, and even once a mouth, open. It was amazing. We stayed for an hour, just watching. Here is a quick charcoal sketch of one of the whales heads surfacing

"Whale's Head," charcoal pencil memory sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

“Whale’s Head,” charcoal pencil memory sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

I’ve lived at the Oregon Coast for two years now, and I’ve seen many whales make their spectacular and brief appearances. But I’ve never seen 3, up close, for such a long time. It felt miraculous.

When we got home, I pop up meditated again, before listening to the rest of Dr. Blasey’s testimony and some of Bret Kavanaugh’s outraged display that his white  male privilege even be questioned. I was also able to make my lunch and to focus my energy to screw in some picture hangers on a frame that has stubbornly refused to cooperate for the last several days, in preparation for a small community art show I’ll be in. That meant I was able to both call on my own strength and channel it into something that empowered me rather than something that leached my power away.

When I let the dogs out tonight, I’m betting the rising moon will take my breath away as it has the last few nights, rising above the silhouette of old trees while Mars sets and the emerging stars twinkle in the indigo sky. I’ll probably need to meditate again so I can sleep. It’s been hard for so many of us to relive harmful memories; last night I kept having the thought “I am nothing.” But I think it was my golden self who reminded me this morning of the Sweet Nothing I’d written about before here, where I said that “sometimes, if only for a moment, I know that sweet nothing, is indeed sweet, and not the kind of nothing that needs to be filled.” That made me smile, and be okay to just “stand there.”

Everything changes so fast, it could all be different tomorrow. So tonight, I’m writing this love letter to my golden self, in gratitude for the moments of emotional courage and expansiveness she’s given me. It’s not likely I’ll be able to meet her every time I meditate. Most likely, more often I’ll meet the aspect of myself who forgot to put mustard on the grocery list, or who keeps wondering where that second pair of scissors went. At least now, though, I know she’s there, willing to button up my coat against the icy hand of fear, always at “home” to greet me, always willing to welcome me back.

Maria (moonwatcher)

 

 

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impromptu carob raspberry coconut gluten free birthday cake

One of my favorite things about whole foods vegan eating is the creativity. It suits the inclination of that question I asked myself more than two decades ago, upon first learning the results of an ELISA test: what can I eat? With that question I embarked on a long fascinating voyage through the ups and downs of changing plant-based dietary limitations that I’m still traveling today. One of the best ways to continue that voyage is to sail the waters of YouTube after a google search like “gluten free pizza crust.”

I had no idea when I typed those words in that beside the recipes with gluten free flours, there would be a constellation of recipes I could make entirely without flour, from such staples as quinoa, millet, sweet potatoes, oats and yes, even black beans and lentils, and that all of these were oil free, and some were fat free as well. I jumped right in to experiment.

The first one I tried was simplicity itself: Savy Vegan’s Two Ingredient Quinoa Pizza Crust. It’s literally 1 cup of raw quinoa and 1 cup of water, blended. You can add any spices you want. It worked even in my no frills Osterizer. If it worked with quinoa, why not millet? And I was off to the flatbread pizza crust races.

I read other recipes, too, ones that said to soak the quinoa, soak the millet. I tried that as well, but ultimately it doesn’t seem necessary. I came up with one that combined millet, quinoa and cooked potato, inspired by this sweet potato oat pizza crust from Vegan Nomad Chick.

There are many recipes for red lentil pizza crust, but since I didn’t have any red lentils I tried versions of this one from Vie de La Vegan for brown lentils. The jury’s still out on that.

But by far the most intriguing to me was this Black Bean Crust Pizza from Sweet Potato Soul. I was very impressed with this one and wanted to try a version of it I would not have to do the fancy cookie sheet flip on she is able to pull off in the video. The way to do that, I reasoned, was to include some millet (often my answer). The result is probably my favorite one, and the most original or unlike all the recipes I’ve tried. So I’ll share my version here. Couldn’t a done it without the innovations of all these other great young ladies inspiring me, especially Sweet Potato Soul,

Black Bean and Millet Pizza Crust

impromptu carob raspberry coconut gluten free birthday cake

I cup of cooked black beans
1/2 cup of millet, uncooked
between  tbs-1/4 cup of ground golden flax seed.
garlic or garlic granules
oregano
cumin
1/2 cup of water.

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

Starting with the millet on the bottom and moving through the solid ingredients add everything to your blender, water last. I just have an old “beater” Osterizer, so I start on grind, to help get the millet going. Then I move to liquify. When I have a wet batter, I pour/push it out of the blender with a spatula, spreading it in a circular shape on the cookie sheet. (This is going to make a pizza for one very hungry person, or, at the most, two polite eaters. So even if you don’t have a round pizza pan, you should be able to make a round shape on a rectangular cookie sheet. Or heck, make a rectangular one if you want. But the round one is easier to flip.)

Place the spread batter into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Take it out and flip it over like a large pancake. I just loosen it all around with a spatula and then slide it under and flip. It’s worked every time I’ve made any of these pizzas, and by now I’ve made at least a dozen, if not more. This one with the beans is a little more precarious, but it still flipped. If you’re afraid of doing that you can try Sweet Potato Soul’s need trick for flipping hers, which does not have any millet in it. I think the grain gives the crust body and helps to flip it the way I did.

Bake ten more minutes. Take it out and spread your sauce and toppings on. The sky is the limit but on this particular crust I made my tomato paste like barbeque sauce, adding a little vinegar, date paste, garlic and lots of smoked paprika.  Then I put some baby arugula, some sliced yellow squash, sliced in half cherry tomatoes, chopped garlic and seasonings of choice.

Put it back in the oven for 5-10 minutes to let the topics warm and cook. Take it out and tear fresh basil over the top. Grate a cashew over it for fun too. And get ready to enjoy your very own gluten free flatbread pizza party.

I hope you have as much fun exploring these videos and pizza crusts as I did. Nothing like pizza to make a meal a party!

Maria (moonwatcher)

 

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