One of the things the election made acute for me is how long it takes to feel connected to, and rooted in, a place. It left me feeling desperate for community, people, familiarity, comfort. And while I have many acquaintances and new friendships in Portland, simply by virtue of not having been here long, these relationships don’t run as deep.
It has been a lonely and rudderless couple of weeks. Punctuated by anger. This week, I know how important it is for me to guide myself back to the things that ground and anchor me. We, all of us, need that. Whether because we find the holidays stressful, or winter’s darkness throws us off, or we still can’t wrap our head around what is happening in America: what a good moment to prioritize the things that make us feel good, that bring us into the present, that fill us up.
Here is a little list of the things that are helping me out right now:
- 10 minutes of simple sitting meditation. There are tons of apps out there, but dang if Headspace doesn’t make it ridiculously easy. Even just the smallest commitment to this and/or yoga is a really effective way of soothing our frazzled nervous systems and bathing our minds in calming neurotransmitters. A passive resistance to cortisol, if you will.
- Yoga. It is my medicine. I love Yoga Anytime because I can start my day with something brief or long, depending on my schedule, and often will practice again at night. I always feel better after.
- This list! If you are feeling angry, call your representatives. Let this amazing list of simple things to do guide you. Engaging with politics makes me feel like a participant, and a tiny bit less helpless and overwhelmed.
- Rebecca Solnit. She is my warrior hero right now.
- Krista Tippett and On Being. Her voice – a compassionate stand – is inspiring me so much right now. Their blog http://www.onbeing.org/blog is filled with wisdom from Parker Palmer, Omid Safi, Courtney Martin, and so many more.
- Humans! As an introvert, I can easily spend all day working happily alone, and not realize why I feel weird in the evening. It’s cuz I’ve been isolated. As hard as it is for me to reach out sometimes, it is so important right now. I think finding and relishing our community is so important for all of us. We are, after all, social creatures. We need each other.
- And, of course, cooking. COOKING. COOKING! I always am drawn back into the kitchen this time of year, but right now it is keeping me sane. It anchors me, and grounds me, in a way that I find so rewarding. Last week I made a simple rice porridge, and this lovely quick bread.
CARROT CRANBERRY LOAF
I just LOVE this loaf. I’ve had my eye on it since I got Sarah Britton’s My New Roots cookbook, and now that fresh cranberries are at the market, I am all over it. I didn’t make it necessarily for Thanksgiving, though I think it would make for a delightful light breakfast or snack the day of or the day after – especially if you have some leftover fresh cranberries. (And, even better, some ghee to slather on it.) I switched up a few things based on what was available in my pantry.
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 cup milk of choice
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted, plus more for the baking pan
2 teaspoons grated orange zest (used clementine, because it’s what I have)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I was out and it still tasted great)
1 1/2 cups loosely packed grated carrots
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (or cloves – as called for)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup fresh cranberries (or frozen)
In a medium bowl, combine the chia seeds and milk. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
To the bowl with the chia gel, add the grated carrots, maple syrup, orange zest, vanilla, and the melted coconut oil. Stir to combine.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, oats, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, baking powder and soda, and salt. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir until just combined. Fold in the cranberries.
Generously grease and flour a stanard loaf pan.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Mine was still a little gummy when hot – perhaps the gluten-free flours instead of her spelt – but came together as it cooled.)
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the loaf pan, then remove from the pan and allow to cool entirely. Seriously, try it with ghee. Heavenly.