Meany Pants

There’s this saying, something about teachers being the worst students, and I’m so feelin’ it right now.

For my teacher training over at Om Land Yoga, we spent October focusing on the yogic principle of Ahimsa. Ahimsa translates into “nonviolence”, or as I like to think of it “loving kindness”. It’s what drives many yogis to become vegetarians, but the principle goes beyond that. Above all, it means to NOT do damage to yourself or others – physically or spiritually.

What do vegetarians like? ;)
What do vegetarians like? 😉

I am a quick learner, and usually do well with short, directive mantras. My favorite is Momastery’s “We can do hard things”. So I tried to keep the principle of ahimsa as simple as that. “Loving kindness”, I’ve thought. “You are a beloved child of God”, I’ve reminded myself, practicing loving kindness even when looking at that weird space where my ass meets my thigh and wondering just how it got SO damn close to the ground. I’ve looked at my child and husband and thought “He is a beloved child of God”. ‘Cause God doesn’t care if his beloved children load the fucking dishwasher, right? I keep trying to hold onto the thought, and it keeps slipping from my brain like that cornstarch goop seeps through a small child’s fingers. It’s there, then it’s not. I cannot find my kindness. Also, I kind of want to throw things.

I read one story about a monk and a snake and a village. The monk tells the snake to be kind and not harm others. The monk goes away, but returns some time later to find the snake all bruised and hungry and just NOT in great shape. He queries the snake, and the snake says that because he was no longer scary, the village children began throwing stones at him. Because of this, the snake no longer dared to leave to hunt. The monk responds, “I did advise you against violence, but I never told you not to hiss”.

My hiss needs work. Shouldn’t the hiss be preventative maintenance? That adult thing that communicates boundaries and expectations?

I’m all bite and no hiss, at home at least. Unless you count my refusal to let C purchase Call of Duty: Ghosts. I’m pretty sure that’s setting up some boundaries.

I manage, like many of us, to use up the best version of myself at work. I smile. I’m patient and diligent and thorough. I remember that my students are other people’s children, and that colors every interaction I have throughout the day. I’m having difficulty drumming up this same patience at home, and these are MY people!  I am the absolute worst version of myself here. I throw words like irretrievable darts. I wait for a reaction.

I’m not sure this, my sharp tongue and impatient heart, is the result of my inability to hiss, to set expectations and boundaries, or frustration that the hiss isn’t heard. But it surely is NOT the embodiment of ahimsa.

But we are all works in progress.

And while I tell everyone, always, to be kind – I’m trying to narrow my kindness focus this week.

xoxo

 

Heather

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Begin With Intention, End With Thanks

During my favorite yoga classes, the instructor asks us to set an intention for our practice. At the end we pause to be thankful for things like the time, money, and ability to be there.

It seems to me that this is the best way to begin and end anything. It could be as small as a dreary Monday, or as all-encompassing as parenthood.

 

I have yoga teacher training one full weekend of every month. This was my weekend. I’m sore from my intercostals to my gluteus minimus.

 

Preparing to do my "homework" - yoga on the patio with a classmate
Preparing to do my “homework” – yoga on the patio with a classmate

My house is dirtier than usual, and my parents took Colby to a soccer tournament (one which I really wanted to see). My intention, though, for this training is to learn and grow; breathe and think. I shrugged off the guilt of neglected domestic duty. I enjoyed my time, I explored the range of my ability, I learned a lot, and I spent time with good, like-minded people.

I also met this little lady:

I think her name is Sunny. All I know is that she made my morning 897% better. And she's soft.
I think her name is Sunny. All I know is that she made my morning 897% better. And she’s soft.

And a few of her doggy friends.

I came home to see one of my own puppies walking around with a beet she fished out of the vegetable crate:

 

Someone likes her veggies.
Someone likes her veggies.

I let her keep it just because she was having so much fun and, well, because she’s cute. Eventually it looked like a mass homicide occurred and I had to take it away. Parts of her muzzle and paws are still pink.

I had a rowdy pizza date with my husband, friends, and their kids.

I came home tonight famished and exhausted, but I had been thinking about supper for approximately two hours prior to arriving. I wanted chard gratin, sweet potatoes, and deviled eggs. It took about an hour to get together, but it was worth the wait.
Here’s the tweaked swiss chard gratin recipe. It’s simpler and much, much better!

A pic of the old recipe, but you get the idea.
A pic of the old recipe, but you get the idea.

If you have a large dutch oven or oven-proof pot you can do this in one pan. Otherwise get out a large pot  and grease a 9×12 pan. All instructions here are for an oven-proof dutch oven.

Ingredients

One to two pounds of swiss chard, cleaned and stalks removed. You can chop it or not. I just throw it all in the pan.

Grated Parmesan

Milk or cream

Salt & Pepper

one tablespoon butter

Flour

whole grain mustard

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a bit of olive oil in the pan or dutch oven. Saute chard until wilted and fragrant. While chard is cooking whisk mustard into milk. Take off heat and swirl a pat or two of butter through the greens. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of flour over the greens and add milk or cream. I use about one cup of milk to two pounds of chard. It depends on how saucy you want your gratin. Salt, pepper, and stir. Add a bunch of grated parmesan (1/2-1 cup) and stir.

If using an oven-proof dutch oven or pot, place the entire thing in the oven. If not, pour mixture into a greased baking dish. Place in oven for 30-40 minutes. It’s done when it’s bubbly, brown and crisp on the top. At best, this gratin has a crunchy top, deeply roasted flavor, and tender texture. It’s comfort food for grown ups.

 

So I’m ending my practice for today with thanks. Thanks for the opportunity and support to take part in the training, thanks for a still-rockin’ garden to create supper with, and thanks for a day off tomorrow.

 

xoxo