BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

 

 I love a good cup of Butternut Soup on a cool fall day!  Here is a great recipe.

Recipe

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons good olive oil

4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large)

2 tablespoons mild curry powder

5 pounds butternut squash (2 large)

1 1/2 pounds sweet apples, such as McIntosh (4 apples)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups water 2 cups good apple cider or juice

 

Warm the butter, olive oil, onions, and curry powder in a large stockpot uncovered over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot.

Peel the squash, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into chunks. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut into chunks. Add the squash, apples, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and apples are very soft.

Process the soup through a food mill fitted with a large blade, or puree it coarsely in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pour the soup back into the pot. Add the apple cider or juice and enough water to make the soup the consistency you like; it should be slightly sweet and quite thick.

Check the salt and pepper and serve hot.

Yummmm

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Are You Perfect?

Most people would answer a resounding “NO” to that question.

After all, “Nobody’s perfect,” right?

Yet I bet the last time you experienced holding a newborn
or being with young children, you noticed how they naturally
and effortlessly express their Essence.

They are magnetic. Alive. Authentic. Vibrant. Energetic. Spontaneous.

Because when we are very young, we are deeply connected
to our innate perfection.

We are whole. Singular. Aligned. Complete.

Then as we go through life, most of us tend to unconsciously
absorb the limiting belief systems and coping behaviors of our
environment to fit in and survive as best we can.

And little by little . . . and sometimes suddenly . . . we lose
touch with the fundamental perfection we were born with and
may even completely forget that part of ourselves.

The good news is that underneath all that “stuff,” we are
fundamentally still perfect. That purity and perfect pattern of
us still exists.

And we can tap into it at will and create a life beyond what
we may even think is possible right now.

Taking time to just be with yourself to contemplate life can bring you back to your perfection.

As you experience the perfection of you . . . more and more . . .
your nervous system automatically begins aligning all your
beliefs and behaviors to express and support your fundamental
wholeness. . . your Essence.

And as this happens, the world around you also begins to
shift . . . mirroring back to you the ripples of your Essential
Frequency. . . unimpeded by past conditioning, habits, thoughts
and non-useful ways of being.

You’re free to truly create what you choose.

Take a moment today to contemplate your perfection folks.

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APOLOGIES TO THE DIVINE FEMININE (from a warrior in transition)

I found this article in my wonderings and thought that I just had to share it.  I hope that you agree….

I apologize for my inability to distinguish the benevolent warrior from the heartless warrior, a reflection of my own confusion dealing with the battlefields of yore. When I opened my heart too wide, I was vulnerable to attack from warring factions. I was conditioned to believe that I had to stay rigid, focused, prepared for any eventuality, in the desire to protect myself and others from attack. But I went too far, and closed too tight, and eradicated the bridge between our hearts. I am seeing this now and I am sorry.

I apologize for my perpetual absence, a reflection of my own inner absence, my inability to connect from a heart jammed tight by unresolved emotions that I did not have the tools to work through. I still lack many of these tools, but I am open to their emergence.

I apologize for my inability to distinguish relationship from war. Like a warrior in enemy territory, I would sneak in and out of your life in the night, plundering and selfishly taking what I needed, then crawling back to the other side of the abyss with the spoils. I gave little back for fear that I would become vulnerable to attack. I had war on the brain and I could not see the river of love waiting on the other side of the battlefield. I now recognize that love is the antidote for the armoured warrior, but I could not drink the antidote in my driven state.

I apologize for not seeing you, my eyes blinded by congealed rage and unshed tears. If it is any consolation, and I imagine it is not, I could not see myself either. I saw only that which served my hyper-vigilance, my warrior focus. My mirror was a battlefield.

I apologize for my ungrounded materialism, my power driven tyrannies, my obsession with accumulation. Somehow I imagined that accumulation would protect me and those close to me, but I failed to recognize that it just perpetuated the madness. I also apologize for my egoic abuses, a reflection of my own misguided ego, pumped up to deal with an inherently competitive world. I couldn’t distinguish the healthy, confident ego from the cocky, unhealthy ego. I went much too far in the wrong direction.

I apologize for a sexuality that was objectifying and disconnected from the heart. I know you longed for real intimacy, a merging of our souls along the heart-genital highway. But there were too many defences around my heart, and no bridge could form between our souls. There were moments when your loving ways freed me from my body masks, but I had no template to stand in that heart-fire. I am sorry for this, for I know that the path you longed for was the path to God.

I apologize for my horrifying acts of violence, a reflection of my own congealed rage, my own inability to distinguish real enemies from friends. There are no words that can undo what I have done in those moments of madness. I know this, I do. I would hide my face in shame, but that won’t make things better. I need to own my misdeeds, and then find a way to believe in my capacity to move from a more loving place. I call out to other male warriors to be accountable for the actions of our gender, not in a way that is self-hating, but in a way that is courageously self-honest and genuinely compassionate. The heartfelt warrior acknowledges the error of his ways, and has the courage to do all he can to make amends over time.

I apologize for my inability to develop a conscious relationship. You were right there with your beautiful heart on your sleeve but I was too attached to my individualism and afraid of this unknown terrain. I know the forests, the marketplace and the ways of the outer world so well, but my inner geography is foreign to me. You called me to a place I was ill-prepared to go, although I sensed, below the surface of my bravado, that you called me home.

I am grateful for your willingness to believe that who I was in those rare moments of vulnerability was the real me. You were right- the real me lives inside of my heart- but a few moments now and then was the most I could handle. I saw you as dangerous, for in your presence I began to taste a surrendered way of being. Nonetheless, your faith in my goodness kept me going through many a battle, and restored my faith in life when I most needed it. You were the light at the end of a barbaric tunnel, and I am blessed.

I am grateful that you stuck with me through thick and thin, and I also understand those times you had to give up and let go. I now recognize that there is meaningful difference between a love-ship and a relationship. Love alone is not enough. Without a shared willingness to become conscious, there can only be frustration. I was so often impossible, clinging to my unconsciousness like a soldier clings to his weapons. I recognize the courage it took for you to keep your heart open in the presence of my resistance. You had every right to seek an authentic relationship, as your spirit was ignited in its presence. Your beautiful heart had every right to be met in its openness and willingness. I am grateful for the time you gave me, a moments respite from the hiding places I mistakenly called home.

I am grateful for Grandmother, for no one saw my tenderness more clearly. I am grateful for Mother, for choosing to bring me into being and for nourishing my body until I could find my feet. I am grateful for Mother Earth, for grounding my expansion and enlivening my spirit. I am grateful for the Divine Mother, the real Mother of us all. I now feel her divine presence, so close. Fiercely compassionate, she was always right here, breathing life into me, holding me safe. I sit in her lap as she breathes me.

I look forward to the day when the only thing that ignites relationship is two souls calling out to one another, two soul-hearts beating in the same direction, a whisper of longing that bridges one essence to another. I want to want you not because it gratifies my ego, not because you are outwardly beautiful, but because your very presence invites my Godself out of hiding. I want to touch you with my heart on my sleeve, to know chemistry between us that is not gender identified, but that is essence sourced, loves liquid lava flowing from the heart to the genitals to the great beyond. In this love-struck world, relationship will always be experienced as spiritual practice, a devotional expression of our God-self.

I had always believed that sensitivity is impossible to hold to in a harsh world. Yet in this moment, I feel sensitive, but without the fragility. I am still wearing armor but there is a shift in the direction of my intensity. I can linger in the heart-space a little longer than I once could, I am softening in places. After so many lifetimes with weapon in hand, a tenderling warrior is being birthed in the core of my being. He is confused, but he intuitively knows that this is the way home.

Please don’t give up on me or my fellow warriors. Forgive us our misdeeds, or, at the least, be open to the possibility that we will change as the trail expands to meet our shifting intentionality. The day will come when our warrior spirit loses its harsh edge, and comes into alignment with benevolent action. Some of us are already there, and many more of us will follow. The road to transformation is dependent on a bridge between genders, a benevolent bridge that celebrates our differences with respect and kindness. That work must begin with healing the rifts along the gender continuum, working hard to heal the collective heart until one day we can stand on a bridge across forever, hands held together, hearts open and alight, embracing the sacred masculine and divine feminine living at the heart of us all. I will meet you there.

May you feel the love of the Divine Mother crashing down on your heartfelt shores, graciously lifting you up above the madness of the world, nestling you in the grateful arms of those you have nurtured. Those of us who have received your blessings may not always acknowledge it, but your acts of love have landed within us, growing us stronger and infusing us with love’s light. Thank you.

© Jeff Brown, 2010 (www.soulshaping.com)

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Declaration of Inner Independence

Today we celebrate the birth of our free nation.  Yet even more important than national freedom is internal freedom.  We may live in a democratic society, but unless we are free of the inner bondage of fear and separation, we are not truly free.

Today, break free of the power you have given to others to make or break your life.  While others may invite, suggest, guide, or influence you, ultimately you alone must live with the choices you make, and so you must choose in accordance with your heart’s guidance.  If you have given any person power over your life, take back your power now.  No one can hurt you, and no one can save you unless you ordain it.

Today, declare a revolution of consciousness.  Oust the old dictators of self-doubt, attack thoughts, jealousy, and the replaying of old negative patterns of thought and feeling, and replace them with a belief in yourself, trust in the wisdom of life, positive visualization and speech, and the willingness to be grand.

Today, move beyond human politics, and find unity at the core of your being.  At the center of yourself, all states of consciousness within you merge into wholeness.  Your economy is based on love: the more love you give, the more you have.

Today, let the world know that you are a sovereign and powerful nation, comprised of all the experiences and wisdom you have leaned over a lifetime.  Raise the lamp of liberty high, that all may know that you stand for truth.

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Tigers or Strawberries

A man being chased by wild tigers scurried down a vine hanging over the edge of a cliff.  Looking down, he saw two more hungry tigers waiting for him at the bottom of the vine.  Unable to move backward or forward, he noticed a succulent, ripe red strawberry growing out of the side of the cliff near him.  He smiled, plucked the fruit, and enjoyed the sweetest strawberry he had ever tasted.

While our past and future seem to threaten us, we can take refuge in the current moment.  Anxiety springs from regret or resentment over past events or fear of anticipated pain.  When we relax into the now moment, we are not vulnerable to the past or future, and we discover that eternity is a golden necklace strung of an infinite number of present moments. We can live quite well on fresh strawberries.

~Alan Cohen

I found this little story and thought that I would share it with all of you.  Be Here Now as Ram Dass has always said.

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The Awesomeness of Authenticity

I just came across this little editorial and thought that you-all would enjoy it.  It really hits home in this day and age when we are pressured to do, be, have….  Remember we already are…

All too often, we succumb to the self-imposed pressures of success and notoriety in this world. In our desire for attention, recognition and love, it’s easy to try to “be something” to please others. We’ve all done it and we all know what it feels like to try too hard to impress someone or gain their approval.

Unfortunately, after months, years or a lifetime of behaving this way, we may find that while others are pleased with us, we’re not so pleased with ourselves.

Authenticity is used interchangeably these days with words like transparency or vulnerability. While those three qualities can certainly co-exist beautifully in the pantheon of human experience, authenticity is something of its own accord. The definition of authenticity I like (because it’s short, sweet and to-the-point) is: “undisputed credibility”. When you are in alignment with being who you really are, standing in truth with your innermost sense and your highest values and ethics – you are living authentically. It’s a quality that is becoming somewhat rare these days, especially with the worldwide dominance of social media and the global media village. These days, we can post the sexiest, most joyful, most Photoshopped picture of ourselves on 10 different social networks while selectively posting only the pictures from our lives that serve to gain attention and provide daily status updates to elicit reactions, approval or sympathy from our “friends”. But in the swath of all the attention, posts, photos, status updates and recognition… what many of us have lost is our authenticity. My call to you is thus: get in touch with your body, your true emotions and your life goals. Ask yourself, “Why am I allowing myself to be distracted by this need for attention and approval all the time?” Get real with yourself and let your true self be known. A lifetime of getting to know who you really are is better than a lifetime trying to impress others with what you think they want to see. Start with yourself. Give yourself the attention, love, approval and recognition you so badly want from others. You’ll start to feel more confidence; trust, power and passion arise from within. And, at the end of the day, true abundance is the amount of self-worth that you have, not your net-worth. Be good and be real!

Much Love,

Jason Wrobel

 

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The Soundless Center – Silence of Your Heart

We spend a lot of time attempting to put the feelings in our hearts into words, to communicate to others our passions, our emotions, and our love. Often we are so busy trying to translate our heart’s roar into language that we miss the most profound experience the heart has to offer, which is silence. Every poem arises from this silence and returns to it. When all the songs have been sung, the soliloquies delivered, the emotions expressed, silence is what remains. As each wave of feeling rises and falls back into the silence, we have an opportunity to connect with the vast, open, powerfully healing wisdom at the soundless center of our hearts.

Our hearts may seem noisy and tumultuous so much of the time that we do not even associate them with silence. It takes a sensitive ear to tune in to the silence of the heart, but it is there in each one of us – so close and so large that we do not even notice it. We can begin to become aware of it in the same way we become aware of the negative space in a still life, the background of a photograph, or the open sky that contains the sun, clouds, moon, and stars. We are accustomed to tuning in to objects and sounds that are one-pointed, solid, and three-dimensional. Seeing and hearing the apparently empty space that contains these sounds and objects takes a little practice.

You can bring your awareness into your heart by simply breathing into the general area of your heart. The first thing you may notice are feelings like joy or sadness and physical sensations like tightness or tenderness.  Simply acknowledge these as you continue to breathe and focus – listening attentively. Surround these feelings and sensations with breath and recognize that they are contained and held in an immeasurable substance like water or air – intangible, ineffable, but utterly real. This is the silence of the heart, and the more we listen for it, return to it, and accept it, the more we bathe and purify ourselves in the soundless center of our being.

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