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While sensuous aphrodisiacs like rose or chocolate take center stage on date night, twig-like burdock root has largely been ignored. Growing deep in the earth, burdock’s downward gathering energy nourishes the lower half of the body, including the reproductive organs. But unlike stimulants that activate the adrenals temporarily, burdock provides healing benefits that are long lasting. When your reproductive organs are healthy, so is your sex life.
Deeply strengthening to the intestines, kidneys, and reproductive organs, burdock root is also used in the macrobiotic diet to purify the blood and cleanse the liver. Its meaty flavor enhances sautes, stews, soups, and gravies. A traditional Japanese healing dish called kimpira uses braised burdock and carrot. Because it contains volatile oils, saute burdock a few minutes to allow oils to evaporate before adding burdock to a dish.
Burdock, Carrot, and Caramelized Red Onion Kimpira
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup burdock root, matchsticks
3/4 cup carrot, matchsticks
1 pinch sea salt
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add red onion and saute until caramelized. Remove onion from pan and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and burdock and saute over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add carrots on top of burdock. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Bring to boil, lower heat, and simmer 20 minutes, covered, or until vegetables are tender. Add water if necessary to prevent pan from drying out. Season with salt. Continue cooking, covered, 2 minutes. Remove cover and cook until water is evaporated. Top carrots and burdock with caramelized red onion.
Whether you are feeling lethargic or just want to improve your sex life, burdock is a natural way to increase youthful vitality in all the right places–without pills or surgery!
Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.
You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.
Ah, morning! The fresh smell of dew on the grass and the musky odor that comes out of the earth when the sun comes up! What smells entice you into nature? Cultivating mindful awareness of your sense of smell helps you strengthen your relationship with nature and universal forces. These universal forces are also known as intuition or inner guidance. Your sense of smell is a profound resource you can use to awaken your intuition for healing from the inside out.
Connecting with inner guidance may be new for you. You may have learned to shut your body down, instead of savoring what your body is doing and being guided by it. Mindfully focusing on your sense of smell can help you notice your energy shifting. This process can help you awaken your intuition.
- While seated, ground yourself by placing your hands on your abdomen. Scan your body for areas of tension. Tension may appear as tightness in shoulder muscles.
- If your body is holding tension, your mind and emotions will reflect this. What emotions are you feeling (for example, sadness, oppression, anxiety)?
- What thoughts are you having?
For contrast, smell your favorite herb while you focus on your body, thoughts, and emotions. Finally, do the exercise again, but this time without smelling the herb. What did you notice in your energy as you did the exercise before, during, and after smelling the herb?
Practice awakening your intuition through your sense of smell and notice how your energy shifts. As you begin to listen to your inner guidance, universal energy will flow through you as the natural healing process unfolds.
Everything is the product of one universal creative effort. There is nothing dead in Nature. Everything is organic and living, and therefore the whole world appears to be a living organism.
~ Seneca, Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD
Eating whole foods grown without pesticides and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are two ways to create a holistic organic experience. How are you living an organic life?
You’d be surprised to know that you are already living the basic meaning of the word organic. Here are three reasons why:
1. Each part is integral to the whole.
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the essence of the word organic means “of, relating to, or derived from living organisms.” An organism is defined as “a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole.” This suggests that life itself is organic and that each element is integral to the whole. Everything around you is part of a whole living system.
2. Your choices have consequences.
The choices you make begin a chain of events that affect the whole. The cosmos adjusts to balance the pendulum of the living organism of the universe. Because each part is integral to the whole, when one part of an organism becomes diseased, the rest of the organism compensates to allow healing to begin.
3. To heal is to make whole.
The choice to be open to universal energy creates a natural healing pathway in the body. This begins at the spiritual level. In fact, the meaning of the word heal is ”to make whole.” At the spiritual level, when an organism chooses to heal, all of its members reconnect in an ancient dance of creation and destruction, rebalancing and making adjustments for the continuation of life.
Universal energy connects everything together, and your gratitude keeps this energy flowing. So, say a prayer the next time you bite into that deliciously crunchy salad, and remember how important it is to the organization of the whole of life.
Word of the Day
Organic-ism is “a theory that life and living processes are the manifestation of an activity possible only because of the autonomous organization of the system rather than because of its individual components.”
This pleasure, appears as poison in the beginning but is like nectar in the end, comes by the grace of Self-knowledge.
~ Bhagavad Gita
Love is the energizing elixir of the universe, the cause and effect of all harmonies.
~Djalal ad-Din Rumi
How would you like to transform ordinary food into healing elixir Ambrosia? Like Greek gods and goddesses, you have the power to transform everyday food into nourishing nectar through the healing power of intention. More than its biological effects on the body, food contains divine essence, your source. A loving, meditative awareness of food, when consciously cultivated, becomes a bridge to Mother Nature, the Divine, the mystery that is life itself.
Spiritually imbued food is food that has been transmuted with loving, healing energy. Your thoughts and state of mind directly influence other living beings, such as soil, plants, and animals. Likewise, you can transfer energy within your own system into your food, changing it from one form to another.
Spiritual ceremonies (chanting, rituals, prayers, cooking) initiate this transformation of energy from one form to another. By viewing food preparation as a sacred ritual, you can use loving intention to improve the quality of food for healing. In his book Messages from Water, Japanese scientist Masuru Emoto had amazing results in his experiments on water. He discovered that water exposed to limiting thoughts deformed crystals, while water exposed to loving thoughts created beautiful crystals. Does this inspire you to set your loving intention before cooking?
Like a divine offering to the gods, food transformed by love provides nourishment for the spirit. So, when you sit down to eat, say a prayer to acknowledge the contribution of all living beings to the food: sun, wind, rain, soil, plants, farmers, animals, friends and family. After all, much love went into transforming your food into Ambrosia!
There comes a time in the seeker’s life when he discovers that he is at once the lover and the beloved.
Are you ready to kindle your soul and embrace the sacredness of life on all levels of your being? Any time you spend in the wild is an opportunity to develop an intimate relationship with nature. As you begin to trust the relationship, the healing energy of nature merges with your being, and you become more open to receiving universal energy.
A relationship with nature is no different than a relationship with a person. If you have a lover, then you want to spend time with him or her. The more time you spend together, the closer you two become until, eventually, you begin to trust the relationship. You begin to relax into the arms of your lover, and you move in sync together. Does this sound familiar?
In the beginning, a new relationship is a little scary and exciting all at the same time. Perhaps you are meeting someone for the first time, and you are not sure how to behave. Can you relate to this? Likewise, this same feeling happens when you go out into the wild. In the beginning, it’s very powerful, but it may be a little scary as well. These feelings mean that a powerful potential exists, that something really magical can happen.
As you develop a profound and loving relationship with nature, you will feel more open. Take a moment and lie down in nature, and feel yourself let go. Pay attention to any sense of discomfort and be open to it.
- Ground yourself by connecting with your body. Are there any places where you feel tension? Tension may appear as shallow breathing from holding diaphragmatic muscles tight.
- If the body is contracted, this is will be reflected in the mind and emotions which are also contracted. What emotions do you have? How do you feel?
- What thoughts are you having?
If you trust it and give it time, go back into the wild on a regular basis. Your relationship with nature will open and flower, deepening along with mystery of life. Embracing what you love opens up a profound path of healing from the inside out. So, developing a relationship with nature is really about developing a relationship with yourself.
I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.
~George Washington Carver
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Did you know the natural state of your heart when unblocked (no contractions or distractions) is unconditional love? Unconditional love radiates naturally throughout nature and the universe. Cultivating universal energy helps you open up this pathway of giving and receiving. Then unconditional love can shine from your heart naturally; the radiance of the sun mirrors the radiance of the open heart.
Reasons to cultivate universal energy:
- Good health
- More energy for deeper self-reflection
- To realize your unity with nature
- To clear away mental and emotional blockages that prevent you from realizing your source
Mother Nature is balanced. By connecting with her, you can rebalance yourself. Walking barefoot on the grass is a fun and easy way to do this. An acupressure point on the bottom of the foot, called Bubbling Well point (K1), is where you kiss the earth, give love, and receive vitality. (An alternative is shoes with leather or cotton soles to make a direct energy connection with Mother Earth.) By allowing your whole foot to embrace the earth, you become a natural conduit for universal energy. Can you feel a thread of energy traveling from the earth, through your body, to Heaven? Your body is where Heaven and Mother Earth join in you.
This flow of energy begins to accelerate throughout your body to open your heart. When you cultivate universal energy, your heart naturally opens in state of unconditional love. As natural radiance of heart begins to manifest, you connect more deeply with the Divine. How open is your heart today?
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
Do you have a favorite place to play in nature? Nature provides many places in which you can both play and pray. Tension dissolves as you embrace nature, which is the natural state of oneness with the present moment. By strengthening your awareness of the present moment, you can cultivate a deeper connection to nature. Your senses are the secret to connecting with universal energy for healing in body, mind, and spirit.
In the blog ”Walking Meditation,” I spoke about the importance of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the profound ability to perceive present awareness. This is the process of unlearning the habit of focusing on past and future. Instead, you learn to focus on one thing at a time without being overwhelmed by distractions. The more time you spend in present awareness, the more you become aware of subtle distractions. As these distractions drop away, your awareness of the present moment deepens. Bliss, joy, and happiness manifest. These are nature’s gifts that come with cultivation of mindfulness.
Embracing nature in the present moment is how you cultivate your connection with the outer world. Your energy is constantly exchanging with nature and vice versa. For example, nature provides food for your sustenance, and this food is eventually returned to the outer world. Can you see how boundaries are self-imposed?
You can turn around your everyday mindset of separation with nature through your senses. Every sense organ can become a doorway to an experience of natural connection. Close your eyes and take a moment to smell your food. What does this smell remind you of? For example, when I smell sea vegetables, I am immediately connected with the ocean. I imagine the waves crashing on the beach, pelicans gliding over the water, and boats sailing on the horizon. Through my sense of smell, I experience myself as being part of the whole family of life. Can you see how everything experienced through your senses connects you with the outer world?
By cultivating present awareness through your senses, you connect with Mother Earth. This pathway of coming into union with nature connects you to universal energy. The best part is, your meridians (energy pathways) begin to open as blockages are dissolved, bringing organ systems back into balance to create a healthy long life.
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.
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.
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)
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.
In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Eventually you will come to understand that love heals everything, and love is all there is.
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:
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.
Water symbolizes new birth and change. It cleanses your energetic fields on all levels, recharging the mind, body, and spirit.
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.
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!