Stop Cushioning Your Home with Fear

Maple Leaves - stop cushioning your home with fear

Western culture is buried under a blanket of fear. We’re afraid of guns and school shootings, and many children have to pass through metal detectors each morning before entering their schools. We’re afraid of other crime, too – home invasions, gang violence, serial killings, terrorism…. We’re afraid of immigrants and drug abusers, of environmental collapse and deadly disease. We’re afraid of strangers and ISIS and the seasonal flu. The fear is almost addictive.

But, in a very real way, we have nothing to fear but the fear, itself.

Continue reading →

25 Ways to Find Peace Amidst the Stress

Teen boy beside lake - stress relief tips list

Years ago, I could be a pretty wound up girl. Now that I’ve learned to live simply, I’ve gotten to a place in my life where I’m centered and calm, for the most part, and if you were to ask anyone who’s met me in the past several years, they’d tell you I live a slow, tranquil, happy life. For a very long time, though, I was unable to deal with the everyday. This was a shameful thing for me, and I hid it well. Okay, pretty well. I kept it all inside, flooding my body with anxiety and guilt (oh, the guilt…). It spilled out from time to time, but mostly, I kept it all for myself.

Continue reading →

Living Simply at Home

Flowers on porch - Living Simply at Home

I’ve been thinking about home, recently. My family’s little home is our peaceful pocket in an often chaotic world. This is where we come to recharge ourselves, and this is where most of the important moments in our lives take place. We connect with each other here. We’re not afraid to be our true selves. We can relax and enjoy life within these walls.

Which got me to thinking about all the ways people are making home a greater part of their lives….

Continue reading →

Mindful Eating: Serving Food Thoughtfully

breakfast - mindful eating

Before you sit down to eat a meal, there are several things to be done first. You must prepare the space where you will eat so that it is conducive to eating mindfully, with your full attention and awareness. When you are serving, you must choose how much food you will eat. If you are with others, you must connect with them, joyfully, understanding how precious it is to have friends and loved ones with whom to share food. And, you must look deeply into the food you are about to eat, recognizing that it is truly a miracle that it has come to be on your plate.

Continue reading →

Mindful Eating: Cooking with Awareness

Preparing food is an especially sacred act. It is how we nourish our bodies and minds. It is how we show that we care for others, how we help. It is an elemental part who we are as humans. When you choose your foods carefully, when you boil the water, when you peel the onion, slice the carrot, sauté the garlic, when you spice the dish, taste it, add salt, you can do these things with mindfulness.

Staying present with the food – the aromas, the textures, looking deeply into a potato or a fig or a clove of garlic – this is such a simple act. In fact, there is little that is simpler. Taking care of the present moment, though, takes practice. First, you must be aware of what you are doing – slicing peppers or washing fruit or adding pasta to the water. You must look deeply into the food and understand its connection to you, to other beings, to the Earth. You must recognize that this food will nourish your body and mind and that it will become a part of you.

Continue reading →

Mindful Eating: Choosing the Foods We Eat

Supermarket fruit - mindful eating

One of the most important things we do for ourselves and for each other is to choose what foods we will put into our bodies.

But, choosing what foods to eat is becoming more and more difficult, with so many new food products appearing every day. This choice, though, is one that we all must look into deeply if we are to change our relationship with food.

Mindful eating allows us to see deeply into the foods we eat, and we come to understand that there are three main considerations when choosing what foods will nourish our bodies and minds – morality, healthfulness and frugality.

Continue reading →

Mindful Eating: Thinking About Food

peaches on tree - mindful eating

How do you think about food? Do you see a miracle in a cucumber? The whole Earth in a plum? Do you see preparing food as a loving way to nourish yourself and others? Do you choose the foods you eat carefully, knowing they will become a part of you? When you look at an acorn squash, do you see the farmer who planted it? The rain and the sunshine that helped it to grow? The tired worker who harvested it? The driver of the truck who traveled through storms to deliver it to your town? The young produce clerk who set it so tenderly on the supermarket shelf? Do you see other humans around the world and around the corner who don’t have enough nutritious food to eat?

Continue reading →

Mindful Eating: Learning to Eat Mindfully

Apples - Mindful eating

When I meet a person for the first time, I imagine which foods they love the very most, which foods delight their senses, which ones embody their childhood, which they choose when they are sick, which remind them of their grandfather, their first love, their firstborn. I wonder which they choose when they are in a grocery store or at a farmer’s market surrounded by so many different foods – plump, ripe fruits, bright and glistening vegetables, grains, spices…. I imagine preparing a simple, sublime meal for us to eat together, because we are humans working and playing and living together on this planet, and sharing food is one of the ways we care for each other and care for ourselves.

Continue reading →

A Simple Activities Advent Calendar – and 40 Ideas to Inspire You

The holiday season should be the season of togetherness, of warmth and closeness and simple joys. Instead, we find ourselves rushing around to buy things to eat, things to decorate with, things to give away. We believe we must live up to expectations – society’s, our family’s, our own. We feel stressed and anxious, irritated and worn out, from our trips to stores jammed full with other shoppers. We buy our holidays, plain and simple.

It doesn’t have to be that way (even if the television is screaming that it does).

Continue reading →