Do you struggle to get out of the house to work on time? This morning my husband Gord was wrangling with the empty glass jar of lemonade he used for sustenance yesterday. He’s a carpenter and yesterday he was tearing out walls in 90 degree Farenheit plus heat here in New Mexico, as his partner Matt put down new tile for the shower floor in the remodeled home of their esteemed client, and now, friend. (For a photo of Gord not on the job, click here.) The jar lid was so sticky Gord could barely get it open to wash it. “It’s the sugar.” I said. “Yeah,” he said, “They (Newman’s Organic Lemonade) make it twice as sweet as I need it.” “What about making lemonade yourself today?” (He is, after all, the creator of Gord’s Strawberry Lemonade, p. 77 in the new release Easy Healing Drinks from the Wisdom of Ayurveda, for all seasons.)
“No, I haven’t got time.” He sounds like the majority of my clients, smart and harried as they all are. “Plus we don’t have any lemons.”
“Can I make you some?”
Using the now clean glass Mason jar, I reach into the fridge and pull out the Lakewood Organic Lime Juice bottle (Santa Cruz Organic works fine too). Consulting his recipe on p. 77 for making lemonade, I pour just shy of ½ cup of straight lime juice (even more cooling than lemon, from an Ayurvedic perspective, and it’s what we’ve got) into the Mason jar. (These are available at any hardware store or most grocery stores, especially this time of year. Or use any clean quart glass jar with a good lid you have.) Next I put a couple packets of stevia in (you can use whatever sweetener works well for you) and fill the quart jar up to the top with water. I surreptitiously sneak in a pinch of ground coriander, to slightly lessen his chance of heat stroke in the hot day ahead. I skip the fruit in the recipe; we haven’t got banana or strawberries. I do throw in four very tasty bing cherries as festive decoration. I do not get out the blender. I screw the lid on the jar and shake it up, with a prayer. Three minutes from start to finish. It is faster than it takes to write about it. Faster than it would have taken Gord to walk into the store to buy the Newman’s. Huh. Can you imagine doing this?
Last week I was heading out of town with a good friend (Susan McDuffie of Death of a Falcon fame), and we stopped to pick up some snacks for the road. I scrutinized the shelves of unrefrigerated bottled teas and lemonades in front of me. The vast majority had caffeine and white sugar in them, even though this was a natural grocery store. I finally found some Hawaiian Ginger lemonade, sweetened with organic agave, for a couple of dollars on the top shelf. It was pretty tasty. But – it didn’t have many companions, there weren’t many other healthy choices for someone like me, whose blood sugar metabolism does a lot better without white sugar.
This is of course a big reason why photographer Renee Lynn and I did the Easy Healing Drinks: to create other choices, support people’s health and healing, offer fast simple tasty ways to be well, improve one’s quality of life, and provide earth-friendly options. Plus you can learn more about Ayurveda as you drink.
We’re in a pretty desperate state here in the US in the summer of 2018. It’s not just the decaying state of our government and its actions – we can’t even pause five minutes to make ourselves our own bottled drink, let alone lunch.
(I salute you, Margaret C.! This stellar client makes her own delicious lunches, despite a grueling work schedule. E ma ho! May your life be happy!)
Lunch is the protection. Yeah, I know you’ve probably read my evangelical stance on this before. Yet think about it. You’re too busy to stop and eat lunch, you push on or eat some small crummy thing instead. Four hours later, you’re useless. People can walk all over you at work, who cares that you’re normally sensible? By the time you head for home at the end of the day, you’ll eat or drink anything – and you most likely do.
Gord and his partner Matt protect each other. After a number of years of working well together, they don’t let each other skip lunch. They stop and eat together, either a bag lunch they’ve each made at home, or a meal at some favorite restaurant close by. This small shift in lifestyle has made a big difference in Gord’s life. He arrives home in better shape, and happier with his work flow in the second half of the day.
What about you?
What we’re doing as a nation is too disturbing to be able to eat or drink through placidly? You’ve got a point. Not every moment can be spent supporting the ACLU in its fight to reunite families, though a lot of us are doing this. (A great article about the ACLU’s Case No. 18CV0428, Ms. L. from Congo vs. ICE can be found in the NY Times Magazine, July 8, 2018. I honor the courage and love of Ms. L. as she continues to face what she faces.) Many of my clients and I struggle to keep some kind of equilibrium in the midst of large miserable changes that directly impact people, animals, plants, and energy all over the earth. Knowing that our challenges are miniscule compared to someone like Ms. L. is very humbling.
It can be easy to think that small measures don’t make that much difference when the challenges are so large. One less empty plastic lemonade bottle in the ocean – what difference does it make? Hanging out with Tibetans has been good for my perspective on this, and my spirit in general these last couple of decades. They see life as all one soup. What we add to it, our own precious ingredients of heart, mind and action, does matter. (c.f. Khandro Rinpoche, This Precious Life )
No need to get philosophical or debate the merits of heaven or hell in any given religion. Check out the present moment. Just try this out for yourself: imagine someone you love. Close your eyes, smile, and send them love. How does this feel?
Now imagine someone you’re not so comfortable with, someone you know personally who’s done something you don’t like. Close your eyes again, see them surrounded with love. You don’t have to like them, just imagine them enfolded in love. How does this feel?
Now, if you like, play with this one. Shake out, and bring forward some critical, judgmental or grasping attitude you have. (Who? Me? Yes, you . . and me.) Nothing fancy or complicated, just something along the lines of “I’m right about this.” Or “It’s mine.” Chew on this a while, develop it some, clamp on down. How does this feel?
States of mind and heart do matter. My Tibetan teacher, H.E. Garchen Rinpoche has said, “Generosity is the remedy against self-grasping. For example, if you have a hundred dollars, you have a hundred self-graspings. Even if you give only a single dollar away, you will have one less self-grasping. . . .The benefit of generosity is that, with each act of generosity, self-grasping diminishes.” And with it, a certain tight kind of misery.
Love is a kind of generosity. A smile, an act of loving-kindness is a sort of generosity. (One simple practice of this can be found here.) You don’t have to be rich to be generous.
What state of mind do you prefer to drink in?
Whose company do you wish to drink in?
Going back to that prayer I made over the lemonade this morning. Mine was, “May this help everybody somehow.” If you were to make lemonade, what would your prayer be today?
Speaking of nourishing experiences, I’ll be in Dallas, Texas next month leading a professional Ayurveda training, Dance with Rasa, at SimpleVeda. Do join us if you can.
Photo of Gord’s Strawberry Lemonade by Renee Lynn
Amadea Morningstar, MA, RPE, RYT is an expert in Ayurvedic health care . She meets you where you are, and is available with respect, bringing over 40 professional years of experience, academic training and hands-on knowledge to her sessions and books. Sessions with Amadea include Western nutrition, Ayurvedic nutrition and herbalism, Polarity Therapy, Marma therapy, Integral yoga, and nature-based approaches. She and Renee Lynn created the Easy Healing Drinks series together.
Khandro Rinpoche, This Precious Life
H.E. Garchen Rinpoche, The Commentary on the Essential Meaning of the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, p. 78