Fermentation

After spending the last few months falling in love (again) with fermented foods, I just adore the concept of fermentation. In Sandor Katz’s book ‘Wild Fermentation‘, he talks about fermentation being an agent of change in our society. I have to say that I swoon over words like these. I am a hopeless idealist (or is it hopeful?). Yes! I am a hopeful idealist! I like spending more time thinking about how brilliant we are as humans and how we have the collective ability to sort out most of the issues that face our world.

This is where the metaphor of fermentation really gets bubbling. For so many years, we have been packaged and processed, much like our food. There has been a great cultural homogenization that has happened and bringing fermentation back into our kitchens is a powerful first step. Why? Why does food matter? Why would retrieving and experimenting with old time methods of food preparation mater? Because food is basic to life. Unless you have become a sungazer, drawing your prana from the sun, you need food to eat. Food is more than calories and macronutrients, it is energy, vibration. The vibration you consume as food affects your whole body-mind. Everyone knows the curative properties of Grandma’s cookies. Food prepared with love and consumed with gratitude is completely different than food that is plopped down by uncaring hands waiting for a shift change. There is a huge array of biochemical changes that occur when we digest food, and our emotional state is directly tied to our bodies.

So making food that makes you feel good, that is nourishing and healthy, that uses local ingredients, that bubbles with life, this is a recipe for health. But there is more. The process of fermentation is slow. It relies on a few brave pioneering microbes to get the party started. Slowly, the change bubbles through the whole dish, and the food is transformed. I think change, lasting change is like this; a few brave pioneers, with a radical view of a harmonious world, begin to share their vision with anyone who is near, they just beam and bubble with their enthusiasm and dream. The dream catches the imagination and slowly, the whole world is bubbling. A complete transformational shift, to love, to harmony, occurs as if overnight.

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In the gaze of angels

Roe deer with yellow flowers 3c

Roe deer with yellow flowers 3c (Photo credit: Dluogs)

I am held
In the gaze of angels
Two strong women
Two strong men

No wait.
There are more.
Cousins, greatgrands… Ancestors.

My ancestry, they watch over me.
Waiting for me
To ask for their help.

My aunt Roe,
She was a feisty one.
She got things done.
I don’t pray to God, I pray to Roe.
She still gets things done.

My uncle Mike,
He had a good time.
He knew
Which ones to trust
And which ones to toss.
He helps me with the math.
He still has a good time.

And my Grandma,
She loved and listened.
She helps me keep my yap shut.
And know what to say when no words will help.
She still listens.

And Alice and Cliff,
They help me in my garden.
Anne,
She still writes and tells me to travel.

And… And… And… So many more.

All of them.
Still here but not here.
Just like me.

I am more than just here.
There is more here than meets the eye.
And when your eyes no longer see me.
I will be here still,
Holding you in my gaze.

How Lucky are You?

Four leaf clover

Image via Wikipedia

It is St. Paddy’s Day. A day normally filled with green and Guinness. I spent my day at a memorial service for my aunt who passed suddenly. Even though it was a tough day emotionally, I cannot shake the feeling of being lucky.

How lucky am I to have known such a wonderful person. I stood before the room to share a tribute and I was just amazed at all the wonderful people in it. I am lucky. I have room after room of amazing, talented, oddball, rebel geniuses in my life. Every single one of them have something that makes them a brilliant shinning  jewel,  just like the woman we were there to honour. It was a room filled with love. Lucky. Lucky me.

So I did not have Guinness or wear green, but I did have to pinch myself. I am a very lucky lady and I will never forget it.

Lucky Woman

Five years ago today, I met the man I was going to marry. He was an amazing manifestation. I had written a list of what I wanted in a partner and he was, and is, every one of those qualities. What is more, when I wrote the list of what I wanted, I made sure that I had those same qualities. Meeting him was effortless.

It worked. I am very happily married to a man that is not perfect, but perfect for me. I am grateful everyday that this amazing person is in my life.

Tonight we did an emergency home repair to replace a cracked toilet. Ah, the magic never stops! 😉 Seriously though, it is moments like these when we pull together as a team and work through our challenges that really make me appreciate what I’ve got. We get through these bumps by having humor, teamwork, and a focus on gratitude.

My husband and I play what we call The Gratitude Game every time we have a challenge in life. We take turns listing off what we are grateful for about the situation and our lives. It works wonders when life goes sideways.

I am a very lucky woman.

Make it good

Sunrise First Light, Last Lights

Image by cobalt123 via Flickr

“Macht gut” is something my Grandma used to say. It roughly translates to “make it good” or “makes good”. The true meaning of this phrase, though, is profound advice for life. Basically you only have one shot at this life, so you might as well make it a good one. The concept of ‘makes good’ is also there too; you take your life, the world around you, and you make it better. You make it nice for people. You help when you can (even if butting out is the best thing you can do).

This phrase also teaches without telling. She rarely told me what to do to “Macht gut”. It was implied that I already knew what ‘good’ was and all I had to do was do it. How true is that. Most people could easily sit down and write out a long list of things that would help them live better, happier lives, but how often do we follow through? Things like ‘drink more water’, ‘eat more vegetables’, ‘exercise’, ‘forgive’, ‘spend more time with my children’, ‘use less throw away containers’, the list goes on.

Where to start? If you start, how do you keep it going past the first week? When you apply the “Macht gut” principle, then it all gets pretty easy.

You can filter the list of things that would improve your life by asking yourself: “Does this new behaviour, make it good, for me, for others, for the world?”. You get a quick sense that some items are better than others and will make a bigger impact. The ‘goodness’ part of you knows that small little changes, done every day add up to a big, great, wonderful life.

It really is the small things that make  the difference. Taking time to listen. Taking time to play. Taking time to share a few laughs and a few tears. Saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’; they are so basic. These small things add up. People hold these little things in their heart for years. Ultimately, these little kindnesses are very big, important things. Those little things are the foundation of friendship, of marriage, of love; without them we wither just like untended house plants.

There is another aspect to this phrase that a bit of Googling taught me, but what my understanding always knew. “Macht’s gut” means ‘Take care’ or ‘So long’. It means travel well, get home safe, call me when you get there. It is also a request to care for yourself as much as you are cared for by the person. Take care of yourself because you mean the world to me. Be good to yourself.
I miss her.
But her words and wisdom live on; and now I get to share them with you.

So, macht gut!

Extra Time

Prague - Astronomical Clock Detail

Image via Wikipedia

Time. Weird stuff. By mutual agreement an entire extra hour gets added to our day. It always seems odd to me that we rigidly adhere to 9 o’clock as 9 o’clock (don’t be late!) and then twice a year we decide 9 o’clock is 8 o’clock or 10 o’clock.

Quality time, time out, time for tea, time’s up. We can measure our moments with ticks of the tock or we can pace our lives by the love in each step.

Today we get an extra hour. Spend it well. 🙂

Eleonore

a feral cat in Beijing

Image via Wikipedia

Eleonore

Listen.
Listen.
Listen to the beat b-beat of my heart,
Inside the stormy chambers,
Inside the cells,
Inside the spaces between the spaces,
She is there.

Listen.
Listen.
Listen to the dishes clinking in the sink,
Between the water and the pan,
Inside the bubble and the water,
She is there.

Breathe in.
Breathe in.
Breathe in the warm smells of cinnamon and cloves
and everybody’s favourite favourite.
She is there.

See
See
See the tiny baby.
See the birds at the feeder.
See the wild cats purring.
She is there.

Look around.
Look at the neighbours and the cousins.
The uncles and the aunts.
The grands and the greats.
And she is here.

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