Soup from the Pantry: Yummy at Home

Start by dicing two medium-sized potatoes. Boil them in enough water to cover them for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Add a carrot toward the end with a cup or vegetable or chicken broth. Add any veggies you may have around. (We added some roasted sweet potato.) Finally, add a can or two of Chicken with Wild Rice soup and heat. Serve hot for a quick and easy meal any day of the week.

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Stay safe, Friends.

What the Body Remembers: Healing Somatic Muscle Memory

It’s important to learn where the pain started. My foot pain started rather suddenly five years ago, and progressed quickly into an acutely debilitating ailment. Not only was the pain sharp, it had no precipitating event that I could discern. That began a long journey into medical care, acupuncture and loss of mobility. Later I learned that part of my pain was psychic, and triggered by profound imminent loss.  After the loss, the gradual return of functionality has been punctuated with frequent pain similar to the early onset. Could it be that my body remembers this pain?

Looking at diagrams of human feet requires lengthy focused sessions, wherein I read the descriptions and try to match what I see in the textbook to my own unique female body. We are not all the same. We must allow for individual genetics, physicality and gender to inform what and how we see. I invite intuition to guide my educated guesses–willing to cross an option off the list. “Don’t get attached to the results,” I tell myself.

The foot has numerous bones, 26 altogether. Ligaments, tendons and muscles bind bone and nerve. The two hold up our entire body. Finally after hours of sifting through information, a story begins to emerge. I see clearly the pathway of the inferior and superior peroneal retinaculum that sheaths the peroneus brevis muscle that pulses red hot like embers during and after a walk. The tibiocalcaneal ligament evokes my sympathy when I see it on the page. I make a note of that. I’m not sure, yet, but this is important. I’m beginning to understand where the pain resides. Understanding will allow me to focus healing attention to the areas in need.

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In between, I’m determined to move, run and walk mindfully as I heal. I know that in the mornings, my pain is the memory of something: When my sister died and was torn from me in a particularly savage way? Is it the familiar signal the body sends like a cue from the bladder? Is my pain a signal broken on the “on” position? For now, I’m holding firm to my intention to heal myself, knowing that part of this experience is somatic, another physical. I pray to release any spent energies from my emotional, physical and spirituals bodies–to let go of whatever I can. I touch the area gently with Reiki and salve, creating new memories for these places within. There is no fix. There is only the journey inward toward wholeness.

 

Yummy at Home: Farfalle with Chicken Apple Sausages and Veggies

 

We still need to stay home as much as possible. We do not yet have a cure for COVID-19. Cooking gets my mind off all the many things that make me sad and mad as we witness our own pandemic. You’re invited to try this staple recipe from our table.

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This dish takes 30-40 minutes total time to prepare. Boil and salt water and follow cooking instructions for Farfalle or whatever pasta you have in the pantry. Slice precooked chicken apple sausages or other flavor. (For fresh, raw sausage, add about 20 more minutes cooking time.) For vegan pasta, skip the sausage. Heat the sausage in olive with onions, garlic, basil and herbs on high. Add sliced fresh veggies or add frozen/canned veggies, including but limited to green beans, peas, asparagus, broccoli and or carrots. Just make it pretty! Once the veggies are tender, add balsamic vinegar, red-pepper flakes, sun-dried or fresh tomatoes. Drain pasta and put in a large serving bowl. Add a little salt and pepper along with sausage, vegetables and pot liquor on top of the pasta. Sprinkle with cheese, and serve hot!

Arroz con Pollo is Yummy at Home! Dominican Fusion #2

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If you haven’t tried one of these Yummy at Home recipes yet, it’s not too late. We’ll be here for a while. In truth, many of us will not return to our “normal lives” for a very long time, even after COVID-19 is done with us. It’s an opportunity to make changes or start a new habit, like cooking! All of my recipes take about an hour or less and can be modified any which way from Tuesday. Try it while you’re at home.

My Arroz con Pollo is made with marinated cubed chicken breast. You may use boned chicken which will need more time to cook and will even more tender than mine. No matter what I make, I always start with side vegetables to go with any food I serve. Broccoli is my favorite for obvious reasons! (Tee Hee) But whatever is fresh will do!

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Start with your spices: salt, pepper, garlic, onion (which I didn’t use), oregano, basil, cilantro and bay leaf. Get the oil nice and hot in a large pot where you will brown the chicken (2-4oz. per person). Once the meat is brown on all sides, about 5 minutes, keep the heat up and add rice (2 cups for 2 people add one cup for each additional adult). Add orzo for a pilaf style, which I didn’t have so I put in stars, of course. Stir that around a bit, and add water as you would for cooking the rice. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Bring it to a boil, cover it and turn it down to simmer for 2-40 minutes.  Add turmeric powder or annatto for yellow rice with anti-inflammatory properties. You may also add peas, corn, olives and some sliced tomato.

Serve hot with wedges of ripe avocado or maduros. Enjoy!

 

Healing Begins with Paying Attention: Start by Identifying What You Want to Heal

Where is your pain? What is the shape of it? How long does it last? By interrogating our bodies, we can map out the areas that need attention. This requires quiet time, Quiet time can come in the form of prayer, meditation, even bath time. Once we know where it is and what it does, When we can study the body’s systems using resources developed by professionals, those resources provide a roadmap of what we already know and don’t need to invent. it gives us more power to discern the root of the disease and heal it.

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For my primary focus in this post, I’ll look to provide context for my ear to understand chronic ear infection and now a new sensitivity to cold and precipitation. I’ve had ear infections, throat and tonsil problems from the earliest I can remember until about the time that moved away from NYC. This lifetime, recurring illness seemed to leave me until some recent trips during the winter season and new colder evening weather in the mountainous region in which I live.

Two things are at play: The physicality of my ear and external, environmental factors. My physical ear canal is short and wide, allowing water, air and other airborne particles to enter easily into the inner ear. That’s obvious. This means, I probably get more direct exposure to in my ear region than people whose tragus covers the opening to the ear canal, and also, who may have a longer ear canal. Folks who have bent or long canals may have an advantage. Environmentally, I grew up poor in public housing, which comes with it’s own socioeconomic predispositions. I’ll examine this more for the historical context of my chronic ear condition.

After a lifetime of ear problems, two courses of action become apparent. First, I need to protect my inner and middle ear during winter, travel and bathing. Secondly, I need to investigate and understand what factors impact my susceptibility to ear infection. Healing for me is no more ear infections, because the cure is always harder.  In other words, we must define, identify and name our healing. I want to restore the ailing member to optimum functioning. In this situation, I have to ask myself, What is healing?

 

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Healing Practice:

You will need to choose an area of focus for your attention, healing and study. This requires love and compassion, not judgment. Handle yourself with tenderness. You may need to do these activities regularly to allow the spirit to speak to you. Ask for guidance through prayer.

  • Meditate on your body. This can be in the bath, seated or lying down and during applied Reiki. See what emerges. Document any insights in your journal for this practice.
  • Write about your healing and see what comes up. Explore questions that open as you write.
  • Focus on an area where you already have difficulty, injury or other disease. Use a quiet time to touch the area with your hands, mind or vision. You may also examine medical records and note important points with the area. Make notes of any patterns that arise.

As ever, I’m open for questions, comments and suggestions.

On the Path to Healing: The Practice of Intimacy

I have been thinking about whether we humans can heal themelves for some 35 years now. In truth I’ve been healing myself all my life and continue to deepen my understanding of healing and myself. There are so many things that I’d like to know, heal and accept in myself. Suddenly COVID-19 is giving me an accelerator in which to look at and heal myself. So let’s begin with a question: Can we heal ourselves?

I believe that we can. It’s not easy, but it is possible. Healing is a radical, positive change on a physical, mental, metaphysical or spiritual level. The problem is that we humans naturally fear change so we have built up resistance to it. Only a few powerful masters can probably heal something like a infectious disease, but most of us may be able to manage chronic conditions with which we live. This Coronavirus outbreak is making space for personal intimacy, which a wise massage therapist named Gordana once explained to me thus: “Intimacy really means: “In-To-Me-See”. Essentially, intimacy is the actual seeing deeply into the beloved. Who, then, could possibly be more beloved than the self? What kind of love exists in the absence of self-love?

In fact, we cannot love another if we cannot truly see them–(and I definitely don’t mean with our weak eyes). Seeing here, is the embracing, accepting and understanding of the beloved. By using this time of isolation to look at areas within ourselves that need healing, we can resolve situations in our lives in ways that bring radical change to an area using our consciousness–our applied awareness.

We can then use the ability to see into ourselves, the practice of intimacy, to study and learn from the situation as it manifests in us and apply new behavior or mental conditions to alter an area through meditation, touch and or visualization. Using this technique, I plan to look at two areas of my body: in the middle and inner ear and the feet in order to transform pain in the latter, and chronic illness in the other.

Please join me on the journey inward into ourselves. You can do all of this at home. Get comfy; we’ll be here for while. Email me your questions or respond directly to the post. Here is what you will need:

  • An anatomy book to help you understand the basics (How the Body Works: A Comprehensive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Anatomy edited by Dr. Peter Abrahams is excellent.)
    • Also you can use a massage or Reiki book using Chakras, meridians or acupuncture points
  • A journal or writing paper with which to document
  • A quiet comfortable area for study, meditation and practice
  • An open, curious and willing mind as more sources and recommendation are forthcoming
    • Please note: We will NOT work with emotional trauma, as I believe working with trauma requires a loving human presence with appropriate training.

 

Yummy at Home (YAT), Clam Chowder Soup-Up, R.4

Staying at home seems to be working against the virulent Coronavirus, so we need to keep up the good work. I’m still making magic in the kitchen, sharing my favorites with all my friends. If you want to share a recipe, send it through Karma Compass submissions. This recipe is for my friends with a stocked pantry of canned items. By personalizing these items, you add love and stretch the provisions so you don’t have to go out too much. The best way to make art of this meal is to think of the canned soup as your soup base, and simply augment it with fresh or frozen goodies.

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I started with two cans of Progesso Clam Chowder as a base; add additional cans of soup, stock or water (for a lighter soup use one cup) for extra people. Add salad shrimp or diced prawns or one can of salmon or crab meat. Drop in red-chili flakes, garlic powder and black pepper. Simmer in a pan on low heat. (Do not scald the soup!)

Chop one head of broccoli into small pieces and florets and season to taste. Place into a separate pan for steaming. Steam covered broccoli on high for 3 minutes. You can also add any on the following fresh, frozen or canned ingredients: peas, carrots, potatoes, corn and/or green beans. Cook potatoes until tender. Add cooked vegetable to the soup, or canned items directly. Stir frequently on low heat until it’s hot.

Serve with warm bread or rolls and a green salad. It’s totally yummy and only takes about 15-20 minutes to make it yummy at home.

Be safe, my friends.

 

Why I’m Staying Home

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Coronavirus is nothing I want to play with. I’m giving it a pass altogether. I remember watching Star Trek as a girl and seeing them analyze compounds with their Tricorders and read engineering reports on their mini-computer pads. Sound familiar? Way right. Everybody I know has one now. That’s why I’m scared of this virus. Every respectable Sci-Fi prophet has predicted our total decimation by disease, mostly viral.

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I’m not laughing. I’m staying home. This a global pandemic.

What makes my decision to self-isolate easy is how susceptible I am to illness–basically, I have a lot of ACEs. From my breached-birth trauma through adult-Black-woman trauma, I’m on that list of compromised individuals. I’ve gotten sick from just riding the BART in San Francisco. I hosted Strep Throat and earaches for most of childhood and adolescence. Coronavirus is looking for someone like me. This is serious. I’m not going out.

It terrifies me to think of all the people who haven’t been vaccinated for anything, waiting to cook up a fresh mutation with their virgin immunity. All I see is a sinister weapon unleashed by Mother Earth to spank our asses for our careless negligence; she deploys a handful of crowned-halo beads who scurry off with the voice and words of Smeagol: “Give it to me raw.”

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Those of us undergoing immunosuppression, transplants, poor health (hypertension, obesity), and/or recent hospitalization are likely to be susceptible to COVID19. If you have a loved one in any of these categories or even grandparents, you can carry it to them with along with all of your best intentions—all with nothing more than a mild temperature to show for your contribution.

Don’t be the one to open the door to this fast-moving virus. Take these simple precautions:

        • If someone needs help, drop it off at their door.
        • Wash your hands as soon as you walk into your home.
        • Don’t hug or shake hands for a few weeks.
        • Vaporize beneficial essential oils.

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Let’s live to tell the story. Stay in tonight.

 

 

Real Cures: 2018’s Best Health, Wellness and Bliss Treatments (The ENH Must-Have List)

If your vibe is deep relaxation, experience the cure that is literally in the award-winning waters of Desert Hot Springs, California. Fall in love with the simplicity and serenity of Palm Springs’ neighbor by booking a few days at El Morocco Inn and Spa, the oasis in the sandy plains, where visitors are tucked behind the walls of the sumptuous Arabian-inspired courtyard. The charming private enclosure allows guests to swim and soak away ailments without external intrusions—guests can’t see the outside world except for the sky. Renew and recharge in the adults-only environment in tranquility. El Morocco Inn and Spa lives up to its name with festive details like a plate of dates and dried fruit under a tagine cover, cool mint-lemonade on the ready and glimpses of ‘Rick’s Café Americain’ in its constant loop while you sip a glass sherry by the hearth.

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El Morocco provides the serenity necessary to recover from the frenzy of urban living. Add one of their signature therapeutic massages to seal the deal and walk away in a state of perfection. They offer some of the best, expert massages that include olfactory, visual and physical stimulation at a delightfully modest price.

 

 

The solution to chronic aches and pains is here. ICE Recovery and Wellness, LA’s best-kept health and wellness secret is affordable and accessible. ICE Recovery and Wellness offers the latest technologies to repair muscles suffering from fatigue, spasms and repetitive-stress injuries the same way that professional athletes do—with state-of-the-art cryotherapy and adjustable pressure Normatec compression sleeves for arms and legs. Their elite, premium package is the same care that professional athletes get but with a homey feel that invites relaxation and healing. Located in Valencia, California, ICE Recovery and Wellness gives every client amazing star treatment. You’ll encounter a warm cordiality from the staff that lasts until you leave. Plus, at ICE everyone is family, which is awesome, because they remember your name, attend to your needs and welcome you in a professional manner. It’s the kind old-fashioned, attentive, personalized service I adore. ICE offers a range of packages, including a-la-carte and membership plans.

 

If you can’t make the trip south, get the rewards of retreat close to San Francisco. Indulge in a Rich Body Awareness class. Take a Saturday morning neuro-reprogramming feast in “Awareness Through Movement® Class” Feldenkrais classes offered at Kaiser in Daly City with Futaba Alizoti, affectionately called Taba. Rich Body Awareness sessions are a Feldenkrais buffet of information. Taba’s classes allow participants to slow down and listen to the body. Plus, benefit from Taba’s intuitive teaching style, which stems from her history in ballet and Aikido, modalities with uncompromising physical demands. “Our bodies are an expression of ourselves,” Taba explains; “It’s up to us to understand ourselves.IMG_4069

With one-on-one Functional Integration sessions, weekly classes and monthly workshops, clients choose the type Feldenkrais experience they want to learn from themselves. During a session, Taba may gentle guide you in the direction of least resistance, instructing your body to move as it was designed. Eyes closed, you’re invited to “Notice” and after a time of intense self-focus, to “Let that go” and that “if you’re not breathing, you’re working too hard.” This is not an exercise class, but a place to transform consciousness. The movements in Feldenkrais are small, paced to allow breath-awareness and re-connection with self. The information gained from within, ensure that “You become the authority of your own body.”
 

Join Taba’s Rich Body Awareness Feldenkrais ATM®Workshop for Cultivating Self-Care: “Growing Your Backbone” Sunday, June 17, 2018, 10am-1pm at 43 Parsons Street in San Francisco for $60. Space is limited. Reserve your spot.