Essence of Spring

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
~John Muir

Imagine seeds sprouting in the earth, buds opening on branches, and bright yellow daffodils smiling in the sun. The air is light and refreshing, as life stirs and awakens to the dawn of spring. You can harmonize with this essence of spring by including foods with upward rising energy in your macrobiotic diet: wild plants, sprouts, fresh baby greens, lightly fermented foods, lentils, fresh peas, and grains like barley, wheat, oats, and rye. Cooking styles for spring also include light cooking such as blanching, quick saute, and light pickling.

Because the liver is the organ for spring, this time of year is ideal for cleansing the liver. Along with upward growing plants, sour flavor supports liver function in digesting fats that have accumulated during winter. You can nourish your liver by including sour condiments, such as sauerkraut and umeboshi plum. Or enhance your dishes with a splash of lemon juice or grated lemon peel (zest).

A colorful and delicious recipe that supports liver energy is Essence of Spring Salad. This refreshing salad highlights spring plants like sprouts, herbs, and edible flowers. Edible flowers were used for centuries by Roman, Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern cultures in cooking. Bring your garden indoors by adding edible flowers for color, flavor, and texture to your dishes. (Consult a reliable source to make sure they are edible before consuming.) Use fresh herbs to alleviate symptoms and improve physical and emotional well-being.

Essence of Spring Salad

You can include freshly-picked, delicate herbs like basil and tarragon. However, harder herbs such as rosemary, lavender, and savory have stronger flavor and are tougher to chew. Grated orange, lemon, or lime peel (zest) also adds color and flavor to your salad.

Serves 6

1/2 bunch organic flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup organic sprouts (kohlrabi, red cabbage, tatsoi, mizuna, & arugula)
1/2 cup sprouted beans (garbanzo, pea, aduki, & lentil)
2 medium scallions, sliced thin or 1/2 bunch chives, sliced thin
1/2 cup organic edible flowers (nasturtium, pansy, borage, or lavender)

Dressing:

1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt, to taste

In a bowl, add herbs, sprouts, and flowers. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.

Enjoy this salad at the end of a hearty meal to balance heavy energy, cleanse your palate, and aid digestion.

Walking Meditation

In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
~Navaho Prayer

Mindfulness is a state of being in the present moment. It is common in your day-to-day existence to “walk” through life unaware of your present experience. You may hold on to thoughts about the past or the future. Practicing mindfulness through walking meditation allows you “be in the present moment.”

Connecting with your body, emotions, and thoughts can help to bring you back to the present moment. To become more mindful, use this process as you begin walking meditation:

  1. The first avenue of mindfulness is body awareness. Your body has a sacred language which can communicate when something is out of balance. Begin the walking meditation by “grounding” yourself in your body. Notice any physical sensations as your feet touch the ground.
  2. In Buddhism, the word “citta” refers to both mind and heart. As you do walking meditation, become aware of your emotions and state of mind. Follow your emotions on your journey, and watch how they change as often as your state of mind changes. You may start off feeling curious and interested about the practice, but by the end, you may feel joyful and relaxed.
  3. Notice that your thoughts also change throughout the exercise. They may be busy and distracted at the beginning and become more focused and calm when you connect with the meditation practice itself.

Being aware of your emotional and mental states during walking meditation helps you practice being in the present moment. As you fill your mind and heart with beautiful experience of walking, you focus less on distractions and illusions. Rather, you are deeply aware of your present experience as you become more centered.

As you practice, you develop greater awareness of your emotions and state of mind. With this awareness, you can be more receptive to universal energy as well as inner guidance. As your mind becomes more centered, you are more open to the beauty of the world both inside and out.

Cleansing Your Aura

Eventually you will come to understand that love heals everything, and love is all there is.
~Gary Zukav

Today, people believe their thoughts are their own, quickly choosing words and speaking without showing proper respect to the spiritual origin of the thoughts. However, all thoughts are not your own; they are from the spiritual realm.

You transmit your thoughts into the universe like a radio signal. Other people can pick up these signals and react to your thoughts. You may even react to other people’s thoughts. If you are sensitive to other people’s thoughts, you may feel drained around someone whose aura (energy field) is heavy and dark. Cleansing your own aura can help you feel lighter and more receptive to universal energy.

Because your thoughts make up your energy field, you can keep your aura clear with positive thinking (affirmations). Choose your words carefully. Before you speak, feel those words in your heart and know they convey the truth. Then you can speak the words from your heart, allowing universal energy to flow through you.

If you come into contact with someone who has limiting thoughts, use sacred rituals to cleanse your aura:

1. Visualization

Close your eyes and imagine your aura becoming cleansed with showers of white light.

2. Burn Sage or Incense

Fire and smoke have cleansing power. They have the ability to alter the energetic field of a person or a space.

3. Spiritual Thought

Chanting, meditation, or prayers, which invoke your spiritual source, have the power to attract assistance in achieving your goal.

4. Loving Shield

Love heals all things, so imagine yourself surrounded by a protective loving shield.

5. Water

Water symbolizes new birth and change. It cleanses your energetic fields on all levels, recharging the mind, body, and spirit.

6. Nature

The easiest way to cleanse your aura and ground yourself is to connect with Mother Earth. Use natural elemental forces in food and plants to brighten the energy in a space.

7. Animals

Intuitively, animals can pick up your thoughts and emotions. With their unconditional love, they help bring you back to the present moment.

In your journal, make a list of inner and outer resources that help ground you when you feel tense. Inner resources may be meditation, humor, or prayer. Outer resources may be writing in a letter, listening to music, or taking a walk. Finally, write positive evidence that validates your ability to stay in your own energy. Remember, you’re a work in progress, so enjoy the journey!

Loving What Is

Resistance is thought transformed into feeling. Change the thought that creates the resistance, and there is no more resistance.
~Robert Conklin

Is it difficult for you to love yourself and openly express your truth? Holding onto the past and feeling unfulfilled can be a safe route for you, if that is what you are familiar with. But to life your life to the fullest, your success lies in releasing resistance and staying in your authentic energy.

If you choose to hold onto grievances, you fulfill a story of yourself, which is that you are limited, worthless, unloved, etc. Focusing on your limitations can help you stay in your comfort zone. However, resistance is often an indicator that your true needs are not being met. This is an unnatural state, because you are not living your truth and energy is blocked. Have you ever heard of a flower saying, “I cannot grow today, because I’m not good enough?”

Yet, when you focus on your inner beauty and unlimited potential, you surrender to BEING and your potential expands. If you want to be greater than your self-image, ask yourself what is holding you back, and speak your truth about what you really want. Are you ready to let go of past grievances and live your dream?

Remember, thought is the precursor of manifestation, so think yourself into your dream–visualize the story that represents your truth. Ask yourself what is the path of loving what is and go with the flow. My client, Lumina, did just that, transforming a limiting situation into a beautiful journey of healing and self-acceptance.

Ready to begin a sacred relationship with herself, Lumina received divine guidance telling her that uterine cancer (BeaUterine cAnswer) was the beautiful answer. Here was her opportunity to walk her path and connect with Love. Through macrobiotic cooking, Lumina was able to reach inside herself for the answer to healing. This was a transformative experience that allowed her ultimately to love herself.

“I had no idea that literally letting go of crap would also be a letting go of ‘crap’ on so many levels,” she says. “That night, subconsciously I wanted so badly to hold onto all that I felt was holding me together. Where would I be without my angers, fears, heartaches and resentments? Who am I without all the walls and protection? I’ve learned that without them I am nowhere near empty or dead but am full, whole and more alive than I have been in years. Being able to still love myself through all of my fears, angers and resentments I’ve found that I can love my family with theirs and that today, tomorrow or next lifetime-I will be there for them. That old vision of payback is no longer where I get another day’s strength to go on without the support of my family. It’s the new vision of my heart no longer being broken that gives me all of that and more.”

Through the blessing of cancer, she chose to manage her thoughts and behaviors to align with her truth. By acknowledging that her old stories were no longer serving her, she could release them. She chose new stories that more accurately reflected her inner beauty and unlimited potential. Her blog (http://www.beauterinecanswer.com/) is her way of journaling positive evidence that reflects this new change in perception.

Lumina’s journey shows that life is about choices, not chances. It really is very simple; it’s about being open to living your dream. And don’t worry about what other people think of you, just think about what you want. Life is an exercise in staying in your own authenticity.

New Beginnings

A good traveler is one who does not know where he is going to, and a perfect traveler is one who does not know where he came from.
~Lin Yu-t’ang

One of the principles of macrobiotics is, “What has a beginning has an end.” Beginnings and endings are so intertwined and dependent on each other, neither one would exist without the other. Indeed, the word “beginning” itself implies there will be an end result, just as the word “end” implies there was a beginning.

Yin and Yang

Just as there is a beginning, so must there be an end, and it follows that there must be both yin and yang forces in everything. Complementary opposites of yin and yang at the extreme transform into each other: yin changes into yang and yang changes into yin. For example, a seed is the source of the mature tree. Yet, in looking at the seed, you can not see the mature tree inherent in it; the tree is waiting to be born.

One Infinity

The seed and mature tree, although separate in appearance, are one and the same energy force. Thus, there is one infinity, not only with complementary opposites that transform into each other, but also with beginnings and ends that change into their opposites in a never-ending cycle of life.

Allure of the Rose

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
~Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Wondering what to give your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day? Try roses for women and patchouli for men.

Roses For Women

Roses not only make a beautiful gift, they are sensual as well. The rose has been used for thousands of years as a female aphrodisiac, in love potions, perfumes, and massage oils. The sedative property of rose oil lowers inhibitions by helping to soothe emotions that block arousal. In aromatherapy, essential rose oil is used by women to alleviate depression, impotence, insomnia, frigidity, menstrual disorders, and headache.

You can make your own aphrodisiac by adding organic rose water in tea or your favorite beverage. (Add a third of a teaspoon rose water, which is rose essential oil diluted with water.) Or try this recipe for tea, using your own organic rose petals.

Rose Petal Tea

This tea stimulates appetite and improves digestion.

1 cup organic rose petals, rinsed
3 cups spring water
brown rice syrup, to taste

  1. In a saucepan, bring water to boil.
  2. Pour boiling water over rose petals in a teapot.
  3. Steep 5 minutes.
  4. Pour tea in cups and sweeten with brown rice syrup, to taste.

Patchouli For Men

While women prefer the smell of roses, men are attracted to the scent of an aphrodisiac called patchouli. Found in half of men’s colognes, patchouli has sedative effects like the rose, helping women relax and lower their inhibitions. The widely held belief is that patchouli stimulates the pituitary gland to release endorphins, opiate-like hormones that block pain and promote a feeling of euphoria.

Therapeutically, patchouli helps relieve depression, nausea, headache, abdominal pain, anxiety, and frigidity. (To treat anxiety, apply patchouli externally in small doses, as too much can be a sedative.) As a culinary addition, this herb can be used in many foods, alcoholic beverages, and soft drinks.

Whether it be the allure of the rose or the patchouli, natural aphrodisiacs can turn a good date into a spectacular one!

Health is Wealth

The power of love to change bodies is legendary, built into folklore, common sense, and everyday experience. Love moves the flesh, it pushes matter around…. Throughout history, “tender loving care” has uniformly been recognized as a valuable element in healing.
~Larry Dossey

The founder of macrobiotics, George Ohsawa, said that it is very easy to cure a disease with macrobiotics, but it is much more difficult to cure the person. He meant that just by following the principles of macrobiotics and eating healthy foods, the person will cure her illness, but if she holds resistance in his body, she will go back to old habits and the dis-ease will return.

Let’s look at the underlying cause of dis-ease, which is the belief that you are separate from the whole. You must be willing to undergo a transformation on all levels for healing to occur. Because thought is the catalyst for action, it is a your thoughts that manifest dis-ease, and if these thoughts are not changed, you will continue to be stagnated.

Your thoughts have the power to affect your choice of food to eat. By managing limiting thoughts, you can make better choices in terms of food and lifestyle, change your eating habits, and achieve a healthy body. Eating energetically balanced foods strengthens your aura, which in turn helps you continue to manage your thoughts. In this way, healthy food is the foundation for spiritual thinking. For example, in Hinduism, those who meditate avoid eating garlic and onions, because these foods carry a certain energy which agitates the mind.

Energetically balanced food is important to keep your body strong to achieve all you want to accomplish. Your body is a tool, which will manifest your ideas, if you take care of it. If your body is healthy, your mind will be healthy, as well, since the energy of body, mind, and spirit are merged and influence each other. When your organs are healthy, your emotions will also be balanced. Spiritually speaking, food carries the essence of the universe, which nourishes you on many levels. When one level is imbalanced, it affects the other levels, and you become unable to function wholistically. Thus, you may see yourself as a victim, choosing to become dependent on others to make choices for you. However, when you are healthy, you can make decisions for yourself and participate in the growth of society.

Besides providing important nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for healthy organ and immune functions, the role of food in health is important in maintaining overall energetic balance of the body. Cooking is an alchemical process, so you can adjust your cooking styles to balance the constitution and condition of your body to prevent and recover from illness.

You can also eat according to the seasons, which imbue food with certain energetic qualities that nourish your energetic body. As each season unfolds, plants absorb the energy of the sun and environment. This seasonal energy is incorporated into the leaves, which is then transmuted into your aura when you eat them. Just as miso is aged for two complete summers to produce the full enzymatic activity necessary for fermentation, plants contain the activity of all the seasons.

Your energetic body is fluid and changing in response to the subtle frequencies of the universe. This energetic body manifests as your physical body. So, if your main channel of receiving universal energy is blocked, then growth of your body is stunted and illness develops. Healthy food and loving thoughts help unblock your meridians and nourish your main channel (spine), so that you can receive universal energy and live in harmony with nature.

When you forget or choose not to listen to your intuition, you rely on information from outside sources for guidance on your food choices. When your energy is out of alignment with nature, your body can become weak and vulnerable to attack from viruses and bacteria. But when you live in harmony with the environment, you can learn to listen to your intuition. An energetically balanced diet allows you to receive energy from the universe so that you can communicate with your inner guides. By listening to your intuition, you can regain health by eating foods that balance your constitution and condition and your immune system and organs clean up cancer-causing toxins and pathogens.

Your awareness of your Oneness with nature becomes clear when your universal antenna is open. Eating food that is balanced and avoiding extremes allows you to be grounded, while aligning our energies with that of the universe. By eating food that is clean of toxins that create stagnation, your body is able to receive universal energy to manifest health in the wholistic sense. This health and wholeness is true wealth, because it is not achieved through any material object.  So, remember to include some good old fashioned TLC in your cooking!

Keep Your Motor Running

When it comes to living a wholistic lifestyle, a change in diet is oftentimes the hardest part of the transformation. I know that sometimes nothing tastes better than a Big Mac, but our bodies naturally crave something much more nutritionally balanced than cheap meat topped off with random condiments and out-of-season vegetables. So if it is not enough for you to think of all of the advantages you can get by eating a better macrobiotic diet, think of all the disadvantages you can avoid by making some simple dietary adjustments and becoming one with nature and with yourself.

Creating Abundance

Some people believe that the love of money is the root of all evil, while others believe that money is the path to happiness. However, from a spiritual point of view, money just represents energy and the means for manifesting your ideas. When money is passed freely from person to person, this symbol of wealth engages universal forces to manifest mental images into physical form.

When you have issues with money, you create blockages in the energy flow. Your ideas do not materialize and you are unable to move forward. But when you believe you are abundant and money comes easily, you become the creator of your life and use money as a means to manifest your ideas. It is important to have universal energy flowing freely within you so you can give freely, knowing your own abundance is within you, and trusting that you are provided for.

Recipe for Success: Creating Abundance

Using these questions, create a recipe for what you desire in your journal:

  1. List your ingredients, which are the components you need to fulfill your vision.
  2. How will you feel? Remember why you want this vision. What is your passion? Connect in with the essences of your feelings. What do you really want? Examples are Love, Freedom, Joy, and Peace.
  3. What thoughts and beliefs will you have when you have it?
  4. Visualize what actions you will take when you have it. Remember to visualize in Technicolor, Techni-sound, Techni-everything.
  5. Every great person has a great team behind him or her handling the details. What team members do you need?
  6. What are you inspired to do right now to amp up your energy that will carry you forward?

Money is a symbol of abundance, energy that is flowing and circulating in your life. When you have lack thoughts and save (hoard) money, you indicate to Spirit that there is a barrier to opportunity and creativity. Inspiration cannot flow when you are hesitant to share wealth with Spirit and acknowledge your Oneness. The words “In God We Trust” had power when they were written by the fathers of our country, suggesting that money is backed by spiritual forces. The physical objects you desire are symbols of the spiritual abundance of Love, Joy, Freedom, and Peace that you are lacking in everyday life. When you desire physical wealth, your ego is seeking to find the happiness your higher self knows is already within you.

Creating Your Goals

As the creator of your life, you can design your vision as general or as specific as you like. Some people like to be in the flow with universal forces, accepting situations as they come, feeling grateful for the gifts they receive. These people are like reeds in water and bend with the current, moving in harmony with universal forces. Other people like to plan their life, taking an active role in creating their future, planting the seeds to harvest the fruit they wish to eat later.

In macrobiotics, the first approach is more yin in nature, passive and receptive. The latter approach is more yang in nature, active and direct. Since the universe is a balance of both approaches, I suggest making appropriate choices to create the life you want, while being open to unexpected gifts that come your way.

The following goal setting format is a general approach to creating your goals (this tool is also useful for New Year’s resolutions). If you want to get more specific with your vision, add some details like dates. Then visualize how you will feel when they magically appear.

Recipe for Success: New Life Goals Format

By Dave Cunningham, Front Runners LLC

  1. For each category below, consider the first things that come into your mind. Don’t question it or try to think it through. Just write it down (or ask someone to write as you speak). For some categories, you will immediately think of several goals. Again, just write them down (or dictate them to someone who will write them for you.

    New Life Categories

    • Physical
    • Spiritual
    • Mental
    • Emotional

    Optional Categories

    • Career
    • Relationship
    • Financial
    • Other
  2. After writing goals for the categories, go back and read through each one. Prioritize them. You may want edit them or add others or delete them altogether. Go ahead and do so.
  3. Finally, make a finished list of goals by category.
  4. Now make a sacred agreement with yourself that you will read them every day for two weeks or a month or whatever you are comfortable with. Then do it. Over the period of the year, you will think of re-reading your goals. When you do, do so. It will become less important, because the acts of writing them down and reading them regularly in the beginning (or January for New Year’s resolutions) will plant them in your mind and heart. You will effortlessly follow the path to achieving your goals.

To get the long term goals accomplished, you must do short term goals step-by-step in an organized fashion. Dividing the yearly goals into twelve monthly goals makes the vision less overwhelming and more attainable. When you surrender and release limiting thoughts and beliefs on the inside, you become open to the many opportunities on the outside that you were unable to see, because you were blind to them.

A Personal Note

Everybody has different needs in their lives, so your list may look quite different from someone else’s. When you try to determine your optional categories, think of what means the most to you. Is it playing with your children? Is it spending time in the garden? Is it trying new and different things? Whatever it is, add it to your list of optional categories. Only you can dictate your priorities, so make sure to include everything that is important to you.

Let’s reiterate these points by exploring two quotes by men who had a clear grasp on their life ambitions:

“There is no security on this earth, there is only opportunity.”
~Douglas MacArthur 

“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”
~
John F. Kennedy

I cannot stress the importance of opportunity enough, so it is a good thing that Douglas MacArthur and John F. Kennedy could!

Recipe for Success: Creating Your New Life

Create a recipe for your New Life in your journal. For each category, list your ingredients, which are the components you need to fulfill your vision. Then answer the following questions:

  1. How will you feel? Remember why you want this vision. What is your passion? Connect in with the essences of your feelings. What do you really want? Examples are Love, Freedom, Joy, and Peace.
  2. What thoughts and beliefs will you have when you live your new life category?
  3. What actions will you take?
  4. Every great person has a great team behind him or her handling the details. What team members do you need?
  5. What are you inspired to do right now to amp up your energy that will carry you forward?

Recipe for Success: Step-by-Step Guide to Monthly Goals

For each month, list the following for each new life category:

  1. What are your goals?
  2. What are your dates and time frames?
  3. What actions will you take to accomplish your goals?
  4. What is your progress so far?
  5. What are your limiting thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back?
  6. What you will allow Spirit to offer you? How you will allow Spirit to love you?
  7. What you will allow for yourself? How you will love yourself? (Connect with your Bliss Guide for the answer to this one.)
  8. Visualize yourself receiving the gifts in Technicolor.
  9. List the opportunities and positive evidence as they appear.
  10. Be grateful.

Actively participating in the creation of your life instead of reacting to what comes gives you more awareness of your own power as you follow your bliss. This trust of your intuition will become stronger everyday, and you will be better able to speak your truth and teach others to do the same. As each day begins, you will reflect on what your goals are and visualize yourself attaining them.

Because the mind does not distinguish whether the event is happening now or in the future, the emotions of gratitude that arise will create a flowing energy that manifests the event. The most important thing you need to improve your life is to remember that you are connected with the universe and to speak your truth, using your inner guidance. In this way, you can live a balanced life in peace and happiness.

Imagination Game

“It is our duty – as men and women – to behave as though limits to our ability do not exist. We are co-creators of the Universe.”
~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Do you remember as a child how fun it was to pretend? That fun doesn’t have to end. Even now you can tap into your imagination playground to create the life of your dreams. This is a fun exercise that will help you take control of your own life and bring your life’s screenplay to fruition.

Recipe for Success: Imagination Game

  • Close your eyes.
  • Relax and let go of tension.
  • Imagine a table in the middle of the room. On this table is a bright red round apple, wider at the top and narrower at the bottom.
  • Imagine that you reach out your hand and pick up the apple, feeling the heavy weight of it in your hands.
  • In your mind, touch the skin and feel the smooth, cool texture.
  • Bring the apple up to your mouth and take a bite.
  • Listen as you hear the crunch when you bite into the apple.
  • Feel your teeth break into the pulp, and taste the sweet, tart juice in your mouth.
  • Bring the apple up to your nose and smell the sweet, fresh aroma.
  • End the game by bringing your mind back to the present.

Once you are back in the present, stop and think about what you experienced. Then answer the following questions in your journal:

  1. Could you experience a whole body visualization of the apple in your mind?
  2. What emotions did you have?
  3. What thoughts did you have?
  4. Were you surprised at the experience? Is it what you expected?

Next, test your imagination skills even further. Try this game with a macrobiotic meal. Using your imagination, begin with the grains, move to the beans, and then end with the vegetables. Write your answers to all of these questions in your journal and keep them for future reflection.

If Shakespeare was right when he said that all the world is a stage, then your journal is like your official actor bio. Make your biography as clear, complete, and concise as you can so that you will be able to add to your spiritual credentials as the years go on.

You Luv

You are Love.

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