Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Little Bare Foot

Recipe: Ghee

The New Year. It starts with a bang and rush to DO! Kids are back in school, slower routines are suddenly back in the fast lane, and it’s back to ‘business as usual’.

I’ve had to deal with a sense of urgency to ‘get things rolling’. The pusher in my head has a lot of great ideas about the class I’ll be teaching, the sourdough sticky buns I’ve been wanting to experiment with, the kimchi I need to get fermenting so it’s ready for class in a couple of weekends, the newsletter, the website, the sample coaching sessions I want to set up, the meetings I want to have with colleagues, ... the list is endless. Phone calls, emails, projects.

The really important things in life can get squeezed out in the urgency to produce. To do.

There’s a spiritual teacher I’ve spent time with who works on addressing our culture’s obsession with doing by recommending short moments of meditation practice as often as possible. Short moments. Walking down the hall to the bathroom, check in with your bodily sensations, the feet touching the floor, the feeling of your clothes touching your body. Standing in line at the grocery store. Waiting at a red light. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, touch? What do things really look like, sound like, smell like, taste like, feel like? Let the story in your head fall away, and just be present to the senses.

Time is tight for most of us, so much on our plate to accomplish. I find myself grumpy when my youngest crawls in bed with us in the middle of the night. My sleep is interrupted, he pulls the blankets off me, I got to sleep late anyway, I’ll be tired in the morning, I have a coaching session in the morning and lunch with a colleague I admire, I’ll be tired, I won’t function well, why can’t he sleep in his own bed! And suddenly there's a story I’m living, rife with frustration, judgement, chronic exhaustion, fear of failure, and overwhelm.

And then I stop. Short moments. A little bare foot on my back, warm and soft. Sounds of soft breathing. A train whistle in the distance. Short moments.

I take the moment to, fairly quickly, run through a visualization I used to do regularly sometime back. A Tibetan purification. I’m convinced it kept me free of infection years ago when I was in the hospital with ruptured membranes with my first born. Three weeks free of infection, giving him three weeks more time to bake. 10 weeks premature is a lot more hopeful than 13 weeks. I got tired of keeping it up, though, and when I dropped off on the practice, I developed an infection, and born he was.

Tiredness is a state than can be worked with. It’s a kind of a toxin, often purified by rest and sleep. And short moments of practice are a form of rest.

Feeling that little warm foot on my back and running through the visualization, I soon found I was ready to get up. I was calm and clear headed. Perhaps not totally rested, but certainly feeling ready for my day.

Sometimes I find my thought patterns are like a sumo wrestler trying to pin my life to the ground and MAKE it work the way I think it should. It’s a pattern full of effort and force. And it’s been a thread through many years.

I was musing over that and it’s similarity to how I’ve learned to make sauerkraut. The traditional instructions for sauerkraut call for slicing the cabbage, adding the salt, and then pounding the hell out of it until it gives up it’s water. It’s a lot of hard work.

Then I discovered that if you add the salt and leave it alone for a while, when you come back and toss it gently, there’s a pool of water sitting in the bottom of the bowl. Stuff it into a jar and push down firmly, and the water rises up above the level of the vegetable, just the way it’s supposed to.

Or take ghee. Clarified butter. Like the light of attention in a moment, all we have to do is apply gentle heat, and the butter clarifies of itself. When the popping sounds stop, it’s done. Crystal clear. Yes, you can skim the foam off the top, stir it, hover over it - but it’s not necessary. If you just listen for the sounds to change, and remember when to turn it off, everything is fine. Strain it. Done.

Have a great day. Don’t forget to hug your kids. And your partner. And your dog or cat. We’re herd animals, let your body have the contact. It’s as deeply nourishing as good food.

gluten, dairy (for the most part), salicylate free, low carb, grain free

Ghee is often tolerated by those with dairy intolerance. Not all! Please pay attention to symptoms. It’s a fairly high heat fat, and I use it for a lot of my cooking. If made with butter from grassfed cows, it’s a good source of Omega 3 and vitamin K2, and will help with the absorption of vitamins A and D. Kerrygold is a good choice if you don’t have access to local grassfed butter. And Trader Joe’s usually has the best price on Kerrygold.


1 pound unsalted butter from grassfed cows.


Place the butter in a clean, stainless steel pot. Heat gently over a low flame. When the butter is liquified and gets hot you’ll begin to hear the popping sound of the liquid evaporating out of the fat. Stir it occasionally if you like, but it’s not really necessary. Skim the foam off the top if you like, but it’s not really necessary. When you can see through the ghee and the popping sounds quiet down, it’s done. Take it off the heat, cool it for a half an hour or so, and strain it through a metal tea filter or a ‘Gold filter’, the reusable coffee filters that come from Switzerland, and make terrible coffee. I’m so glad I finally found a good use for mine.


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Durga Fuller said...
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