Thursday, December 30, 2010


I've been reflecting on this notion of authenticity. My reading has led me to the work of Dr. Brene Brown, an author, speaker, and research professor who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. Here are her big questions:

"How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?" (

Wow. After writing a blog post a few months ago on using a mantra "I am enough" to reduce my anxiety and worry, I got goosebumps after reading that question.  Someone is actually studying this? And not just studying it, but writing and speaking about it? I felt this sudden realization that I am not alone in my ramblings. I felt a sudden sense of connection. It was like Dr. Brown was speaking directly to me. Because the reality I believe is that we are all somehow connected within our personal journeys. It's what makes us human.

I also viewed her TED conference video on vulnerability and authenticity. Her talk was so heartfelt and insightful, yet lighthearted and funny. The last slide in her presentation brought tears to my eyes. Watch it here:

In her website I came across this postcard of writings by Dr. Brown. It was like a personal message. A friend of mine calls it "God Winks".

You can download your Authenticity 4x6 card (for free) from Brene Brown's website. Click here!

Some thoughts I will be thinking about before the new year...

  • How do I define and practice authenticity in my own life? 
  • How can I balance being authentic AND productive (i.e., in my work)? Can these two qualities work together compatibly?
  • How can I be most authentic in my relationships with others? In my inner/spiritual life? In my professional life? 
  • How do I let myself be vulnerable, so that I can also be compassionate to myself and others?
Happy New Year everyone! Here's to our own journeys towards our most authentic selves in 2011.

Pin It!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

this year's Christmas treat: Alfajores

A couple of weeks ago, I had been overcome by a sudden craving for Alfajores. It happened just out of the blue, as most cravings do. But it must have been the longing I have for home, as my homesickness gets extra strong this time of year.

I had not eaten an alfajor in years. I have memories of having them back home, and I distinctly remember the last time I had it. It was the last Christmas I spent in the Philippines, before I left to come here. I was teaching at that time, and the mother of one of my students gave me a box for Christmas. That was probably the best I had.

You're probably asking - what are alfajores? It's yumminess in a neat little package.

 It's smooth, creamy, sweet dulce de leche sandwiched in between crumbly, light, buttery vanilla shortbread.

Isn't that enough to make you hooked?

So I was on the prowl (ok, so that's a little dramatic). I searched online for recipes, and one of the first few that came up was this recipe from the blog Matt Bites. Being an occasional reader of his blog, and admirer of his food photography, I went ahead and tried his recipe. It had been featured in Martha Stewart, after all.

Later, every empty surface in the kitchen was covered by either some ingredient or a cookie sheet or cookies on a cooling rack. Even the rack of the oven toaster (powered off, of course) was used for cooling cookies! But during all that kitchen mayhem, the apartment smelled like butter, sugar, and vanilla. And I waited in anticipation to try one alfajor.

So I spread some dulce de leche -- homemade* -- on a cookie to try.

Sadly, it was not how I remembered. The recipe produced a cookie that resembled something more like a sponge cookie, not the shortbread kind of texture I was looking for. Also, after the cookie baked, it was not flat -- it was shaped more like a mound, so when you turn it into a sandwich cookie, it does not sit level on a surface because of the rounded bottom. I must have done something wrong in the mixing, as something made the dough rise during baking, and my results did not match the picture on his blog. It's not that the cookie wasn't good -- with all due respect to Matt Bites -- but it just didn't match the idea of alfajores stored in that part of my brain devoted to my food memories (you do believe I truly have a strong food memory, right?).

Back to the drawing board.

So I searched for more recipes, and I finally came across this one, from the blog From Argentina With Love. Something in me made me trust the blog title. And, as I looked over the recipe, the ingredients and the proportions seemed to more closely resemble shortbread.

Back to the kitchen mayhem, with bowls, spatulas, jars of flour and sugar, cookie sheets being swapped in the oven, a sheet going in as one comes out. It's the chaos I love. There's a method to the madness here.

And finally... Eureka!!!

I even brought some with me on my trip to New Jersey last weekend to give as Christmas presents. Thankfully they survived the flight. I even crumpled some small pieces of baking parchment paper to fill the nooks and crannies of the containers, to make them travel-ready... then took the crumpled pieces of paper out right before gifting.

So I'm now on round 3 of my alfajores baking adventure. I'm still making them as post-Christmas presents, for those I have not given treats to yet. I'm trying to figure out how to make the dulce de leche not run out of the cookie. I want it to ooze out of the sides just a little, just perfectly so that people know what's inside, but not too much so that it drips out. I think I'm going to try freezing a couple of cookies after they are filled, to see what happens.

Meanwhile, I think that even if you get a box of alfajores with homemade caramel oozing and dripping out of the cookie, you wouldn't mind. I bet you would even lick the caramel off the container.

Alfajores (recipe courtesy of From Argentina With Love)

2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg plus one yolk (also at room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-2 cups dulce de leche
powdered sugar (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar.  Add in the egg plus yolk and vanilla and beat over medium speed until incorporated.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch and baking powder together.  (My addition: I sifted the dry ingredients together to make sure there were no lumps.)

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and continue mixing until it forms a consistent dough.

Remove the dough from the mixer and divide the dough into two balls.  Wrap the balls in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least  half an hour or overnight.

Position the baking rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Unwrap the dough and roll it out (it will be cold and stiff at first) onto a floured surface. 

(My addition: I let the dough sit at room temperature for about a half hour. I rolled the dough in between the 2 sheets of plastic wrap which I used for wrapping the dough to cool in the refrigerator. It made the rolling much easier! No worries about rolling it into a perfect circle like you would with pie crust - as you will be cutting the dough anyway.)

Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness, then cut with a small round cutter (or a juice glass).  Repeat the rolling and cutting until you have used all the dough.

(My addition: I rotated the dough a quarter turn every so often when rolling -- again, this is easy when the dough is in between the 2 sheets of plastic wrap! Rotating the dough helps ensure that you roll it out evenly, so that one side is not thicker than the other. I floured the rim of my glass before cutting the dough, so that the dough doesn't stick to the glass. As you roll and re-roll the dough scraps, the dough becomes warmer, so you will have to use a lighter hand with the rolling pin. If it gets too soft and you are no longer making clean cuts with your cookie cutter, you can refrigerate the dough again for 20 minutes or so.)

Place the cookies on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet, and bake for 15 minutes, just until the edges start to brown.

(My addition: I baked them for 6 minutes first, then rotated the cookie sheet 180 degrees-- just to make sure it bakes evenly -- then baked them for another 6 minutes. I only bake one sheet of cookies at a time for even baking.)

Let the cookies cool completely, and then place a generous dollop of dulce de leche on one cookie, topping with another cookie to make a sandwich.  Press gently together.  Cover in sifted powdered sugar, if desired.

This recipe makes about 30 alfajores. Enjoy with coffee, hot chocolate, or tea!

(The mug above with the word "cocoa" was a present from my nephews! They know how much I love big mugs. Sweet kids :) )

* I used Alton Brown's dulce de leche recipe. Click here. I added a teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt to the recipe to balance the sweetness somewhat, and also to bring out all the flavors. I found that making the dulce de leche a day or so in advance helps, so that it has time to thicken in the refrigerator. You can buy store-bought caramel, but the homemade version is SO WORTH IT. (Was that enough emphasis?). With homemade dulce de leche, you really taste the complexity of the butter and vanilla and cream. It's just amazing. Make sure you use good unsalted butter and really good vanilla extract (not imitation vanilla, which is a sin in my world). I use the Nielsen-Massey brand of Madagascar vanilla. I store the dulce de leche in a glass jar, tightly covered, in the refrigerator. Based on my online reading, it can keep well for a month or so. Not that I would need it for that long ;-)

Pin It!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

yoga thought for the day: post-holiday reflecting

After the frenzy of the holiday rush and traveling, I am happy to get settled back into my routine. I loved my short-but-sweet visit with my family in the East Coast, seeing my nephews and niece, and spending a fun, relaxing weekend with (some of) my loved ones. Perhaps someday, my whole big family -- now living far apart -- can spend Christmas together. 

I'm thankful that we did not get caught in the recent East Coast blizzard, and that we were able to fly back here in the nick of time.

The day after Christmas, I tend to enjoy my quiet moments. Moments in which I can look back and reflect on the year.

I came across this quote in an article:

"Behind every inner block, every painful feeling, every surge of resentment, is a bit of life force waiting to be freed." - Sally Kempton

What a great thought to ponder on as we prepare to usher in the new year.  What are the inner blocks I am holding? What resentments do I have that I want to let go of and not carry with me into the new year? How can I let go of these to free up some of that "life force", so that I can put in more energy towards the people and things I love and value, the things that lead me to my highest, most authentic self?

Pin It!

Monday, December 27, 2010

joy is in the simple things

During the holidays, it's easy to get wrapped up (no pun intended) in the idea of presents and material things... but at the end of the day, the true happiness lies in the simple things - being together with family and loved ones.

Sure, all the Christmas traditions are great fun:

Watching the children anticipating the arrival of Santa...

The frenzy of presents...

The element of surprise...

But it's also in the simplicity of handwritten gift tags from children...

* "Tita" means "aunt" in the Filipino language.

Children's handmade presents...

Watching my niece scribble with crayons and markers...

A three-hour (or was it four?) game of Monopoly with A., my 10-year-old nephew, my brother, and sister-in-law...

Endless peekaboo and hide and seek games with my niece...

And listening to my favorite Christmas carol Silent Night, while expressing gratitude for this day.

Pin It!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

something to warm your heart this holiday season

A friend asked me to share a story. "Some kind of specific human connection they had/have had during the Christmas season, either this year or years past" was her specific request.

I can't remember a story of my own, but I do have one to share, for which I cannot take credit. This is from my nephew, 3 years ago. He was 7 years old at the time. From the time he was little, he was always asking very interesting questions and saying the darndest things. Below was what he wrote in his letter to Santa:


December 13, 2007

Dear Santa

My name is Martin. I am in second grade. Did you go to second grade? I have a brother (I don't have an older brother). My brother is 4 years old. My mom is a dentist. My mom is 32 years old. My dad is 33 years old. My dad is a builder. My wish is everyone who is poor to have money.

PS. Did you go to school?
PPS. Do you have brothers or sisters?
PPPS. Do you like your job?


That just melts my heart...what a wish from a little boy who has had no experience of, or exposure to poverty. Life's lessons from a seven-year-old.

My brother scanned this letter into a pdf file and sent it by email to our family. I still look at it -- with his cute little handwriting and all -- and it warms my heart to this day.


Pin It!

Friday, December 17, 2010

blackcurrant spice cake

I love warming spices such as cinnamon, allspice, and cloves this time of year. It's so festive, yet comforting. Here's a very simple recipe for a delicious, moist cake which can be enjoyed with tea or for dessert with company on a cold winter afternoon. Or for breakfast, if you're like me.

Blackcurrant Spice Cake with Lemon Glaze

1/3 cup dried black currants (or raisins, but I prefer currants here)
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract - the real kind, not imitation vanilla
1/2 cup extra-virgin cold pressed coconut oil* (or safflower oil)
3/4 cup sugar (I use raw turbinado sugar)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 2 tablespoons water (or 1 egg, lightly beaten)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (note that this is different from regular whole wheat flour for bread)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I like Vietnamese cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Heat oven to 350 F.

Line a ceramic or metal baking pan (9-inch square) with parchment paper or aluminum foil, then lightly grease the paper/foil. Or, skip the paper/foil and just grease and flour the baking pan. I find the former method makes my life easier though.

Combine the black currants, water, and vanilla extract in a small saucepan until it simmers. Remove from heat and stir in the oil, sugar, and flaxseed and water mixture. If using egg, remember to cool the mixture first before adding the egg, or else the egg will scramble in the hot liquid!

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure all spices are well combined throughout. Pour in the liquid ingredients and stir. Stir in the walnuts or pecans. Avoid overmixing, as this makes the cake tough.

Pour into the baking pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes until a knife/toothpick/cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (a few moist crumbs sticking to the knife are ok too).

Let the whole pan cool on a cake rack. Meanwhile, make lemon glaze:

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar/powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest (a Microplane works great for fine zest)

Mix the above ingredients, then drizzle over the cooled cake.

The cake is delicious even without the glaze, but I think the lemon brightens up the flavors. But as you can see, I already dug in while it was warm, before I added the glaze...

*You might be wary about extra virgin coconut oil in a cake. It does have a strong smell, but believe me, when you taste the cake, you won't be able to tell it was made with coconut oil. I wouldn't recommend it for recipes where the butter should stand out and recipes where you need the consistency of real sweet cream butter (like pound cake, buttercream frosting, etc.). But for recipes such as this spice cake, the coconut oil worked really well.

Coconut oil used to have a bad reputation, but that is rapidly changing within alternative health communities. Read about the benefits of coconut oil here. Aside from olive oil, EV coconut oil is the only other oil I use now. I use it for almost everything, except Italian, Greek, or Mediterranean cooking where you really need the bright, fruity flavors of olive oil.

This is the coconut oil I use -- sourced from the Philippines! (I know, I can't help it... saying that makes me proud.) This coconut oil is organic, extra-virgin, cold-pressed, unrefined, and hexane free.

Butter, however, is a different story...

Pin It!

Friday, December 10, 2010

"it's the most wonderful time of the year..." (some holiday ideas)

I've been working on this post for a while, trying to put together (hopefully) useful information for the holidays...

I've also been trying to shy away from the tendency towards over-commercialism and over-consumption that goes along with the holidays. That makes it feel a little bit too chaotic for me, and I think it takes away from what I believe is the essence of the upcoming holiday. Whether you celebrate it in a sacred or secular way, what do the holidays mean to you?

Now I have to admit, part of this has to do with the fact that I am now a full-time student and only receiving a meager stipend for part-time work (meaning I have very little wiggle room in my budget to shop for big-ticket items as presents, from corporate chains and big box stores). But being in this situation has also made me reflect on what's necessary and what's truly essential.

But I'm also trying to avoid being prescriptive and preachy... so I'll stop there.

So for whatever it's worth, here are some ideas for an "alternative" shopping list. Websites of fair trade stores, websites of products from micro-grants (Click here and here for information on micro-grants). Hope you consider...

Ten Thousand Villages (in-store and online): Beautiful handmade items from around the world - home furnishings/decorations, clothing and accessories, paper goods, and even toys!

Global Exchange

Janet Rhodes fair trade store (in-store and online): I loved this store when I saw it in a neighboring town. Got a few unique gifts from here last year.

Global Goods Partners : Handmade gifts that support women in need.

Global Girlfriend: This one supports micro-grants for women.

* Some of the above websites have either free shipping when you reach $100's worth of purchases, or have standard/flat rate shipping, or other shipping promotions. Just check the individual website.

If you have a crafty side, how about handmade edible or non-edible gifts? Here are some links:

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


Mulled apple cider (can be packaged in a stainless steel thermos for gifting)

I like what Ina Garten (aka Barefoot Contessa) says about holiday gifting. Her philosophy is that holiday gifts should be edible or consumable. I like that. :)

Shea butter hand cream

Salt scrub

Masala chai blend (spiced black tea mix)

I've been spoiled with A's homemade chai. After trying his chai, I never wanted the packaged ones or the ones from pre-made mixes that you get in coffee shops. We jokingly say that what brought us together was his chai and my cake. Oh, and one thing he clarified way back was that "chai" actually means "tea", so saying "chai tea" is redundant. Ok, it is his language after all. :) Oh, and masala = spices. So now it drives me just a little bit crazy when I keep seeing "chai tea latte" in restaurant/coffee shop menus. Anyway...

- 1 tsp loose leaf black tea (Assam is recommended)
- seeds of 2 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger (if making it for yourself, use about a 1/4 inch slice of fresh ginger, chopped)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (if making it for yourself, you can also use 1 small piece - about 1 inch - of cinnamon stick)
- 1-2 whole cloves

 I don't always use cinnamon and cloves actually... usually ginger and cardamom are fine for me, but the combination of spices is up to individual preference. So have fun, experiment and see what combination of spices you like best.

If making it for yourself, boil some water, add your choice of sweetener (I like turbinado sugar), the tea blend, and your choice of milk (cow's milk, almond milk, or soy milk).

If making it as a gift, just multiply the ingredients (tea leaves and spices). I'll let you do the math, as that is not one of my strong points. :) Mix everything in a glass jar, and maybe some written instructions for the recipient would be nice.

Or you can check out more chai recipe options here.

As an additional note:  The spices used in chai -- cinnamon, cloves, ginger -- these are all warming spices, which are great for the winter months! And ginger is great for digestion.

I think a big reason I like making handmade gifts (edible or otherwise) is the time it gives me to pause and enjoy the moment without the hustle and bustle of going to a crowded shopping mall. Just thinking about the parking lot chaos on a Saturday afternoon in December is enough to make me run - or drive, I mean -- in the other direction. I will admit to making an exception though if it's something from a toy store or bookshop that I think my nephews or nieces will really, REALLY like. In which case -- as much as I can help it -- I will opt to go to a smaller, locally-owned store like this one or this one , or this little book shop, rather than a big-box store in which I will have to dodge crowds, shopping carts, and wait in long checkout lines. And, how can I resist store names like Off the Wagon, My Little Red Wagon, and The Learned Owl Bookshop?

I don't know the math exactly, but when we support and shop in local businesses, every dollar spent is worth threefold (or something like that). Basically the money goes back to the community. How can that not be a good thing?


If you live in Northern Ohio, click here for an idea for a charitable gift. For a small donation, you get entered in a drawing to win all sorts of gift cards to dine out in at least a dozen restaurants! And I'm not talking about just "any" restaurant... I'm talking about chef-owned, gourmet, local businesses. This would be a great "experience" gift - to yourself, or to someone else if you make a donation on someone else's behalf.

What are some "alternative" things you've done for holiday presents? Would love more ideas...

PS: Let's talk about packaging... I know this makes me sound like the Grinch, but the other thing that bugs me about the holidays is the amount of waste that is a result of wrapping paper, bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts, etc... many of which are completely non-recyclable (for instance, the shiny or foil kind of wrapping paper is harder to recycle than regular paper; Styrofoam peanuts are completely non-recyclable). However, some of them are reusable. Which is a good thing, because it takes less energy to reuse than to recycle. And it takes the least energy to reduce. Hence the order of least-to-most energy: "reduce-reuse-recycle". So anyway... gather up all the Styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap that comes in your shipped packages, place it all in a bag, and take it to your nearby UPS store, for them to reuse.

And while we're on the topic of packaging... why not bring a reusable cloth or canvas bag when Christmas shopping? They're not just for markets or grocery stores :) There's your opportunity to "reduce," right there.

Ok, I think I've already done what I tried to avoid.... prescriptive/preachy.

However you choose to celebrate...enjoy being present with yourself and with others this holiday season.

Pin It!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

oh, how it sparkles

I'm not talking about Christmas ornaments and twinkle lights.

I'm talking about snow.

Those of you who know me know for a fact that I love sunshine. I love the sea and the sand and tropical fruit. But living in Northern Ohio is teaching me some things. One, as much as I dread winter driving, I have to see some positives about the season - beyond the everyday excuse to make old-fashioned hot chocolate (not that I need any excuse for that, anyway). I have to learn to like the snow, even just a little. Because I'll be staying here for a little while longer.

Second, there's a certain kind of quiet that goes along with winter. The kind that encourages you to pause, reflect, and feel grounded. To slow down amidst the busy holiday rush. After the heated excitement of summer, the changes and transitions in the fall, comes the silent retreat of winter.

Today, after a few days of staying indoors and working, I attempted to take a walk. So I bundled up (read: running tights, with leggings under the running tights, tank top, turtleneck top, lightweight jacket, then the outer heavier coat, hat, gloves, scarf, 2 pairs of socks) and walked around my neighborhood. It had stopped snowing after we had maybe 12 inches dumped on us over the past several days. And, the sun was shining!

Which made the snow actually sparkle. The rays of the late afternoon sun reflected on the snow like millions of little crystals. It was amazing. I wish I could say I was able to capture it in photos, but I couldn't quite approximate it.

Now this is not some earth-shattering discovery. I'm sure you (meaning you who live in places that get snow, or have seen snow) have seen snow sparkle before. But for some reason, despite year after year of experiencing snow, seeing the sun shine after a snow storm makes it seem like the first time every time.

There's the magic of nature.

Whether it's sunlight reflected on the water...

Or on dewdrops...

... nature will always find a way to sparkle. And wrap you in its sweet, grounding embrace.

May you enjoy the magic of winter and the holidays...

Pin It!

Friday, December 3, 2010

breath and spirit

Words from one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver:
"Are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"

Words I've been thinking about this week. And in my mom's usual intuitive way, she sends me this in an email:

The words "spirit", "Spiritual", Spirituality' come from the Latin word "spirare": to breathe.   
We breathe in, drawing in oxygen which gives life; without it we would quickly die; it is our first food. But we cannot breathe in forever; we must breathe out too; we must give away what that has been given to us. There we have an image of the spiritual life: breathing in and breathing out.  Everything we receive is a gift, free as the air.  Everything we have, we have to give away, a gift, free as the air we breathe.

Breathe in:  we need to go to the deepest center and find God/Spirit/Universal Energy there.

Breathe out:  we need to go out to the whole world, find God/Spirit/Universal Energy and bring Him/Her there.

Wow. Quite powerful words. It's making me think about how I breathe life into my days. Which is a tough question considering how I have been living my days this week. So my mother's email was quite timely, as it gave more insight into what I've been mulling over recently.

These words are also resonating with me right now:

work as love
work as art
work as harmony with the pulse of the earth

- Pamela Slim

I've always considered my work to be a form of spirituality. In my previous job, it wasn't hard to make that connection - especially when working directly with young children and families in the human services field. This time, being a full-time student/graduate assistant/college instructor, I work mostly alone, or with a few colleagues, or with adult students in graduate classes. I've been thinking about how I am making my current work a spiritual practice. What kind of energy am I putting in? How am I breathing life and spirit into my work? But also, how am I nourishing myself so that I can keep giving my energy?

This week was especially challenging, as it has been very solitary. I spent hours and hours on end on my computer, and just relatively minimal chunks of time talking to a colleague to discuss our project over Skype. Don't get me wrong, I love my alone time. I like opportunities to be in my head or in my heart as I walk, cook, practice yoga or meditation, take photographs, or write. But I also crave conversation and community. I welcome opportunities to connect on a deeper level with like-minded people. To connect as an I and a Thou, as the philosopher Martin Buber wrote.

But my current lifestyle can be very... isolating. Which makes it difficult to find that sense of spirituality and connection. Part of the reason connecting with others is so nourishing is that it's a cycle of giving and receiving. Not of material things, but of energy. This week, I felt Mary Oliver's words so strongly. I have been "breathing just a little".

No wonder I felt so out of balance. But I have to remember, that there's a reason it's called a spiritual practice. It's not going to be perfect. It's not going to be great every day. Life itself is a spiritual practice.

I've been reflecting on this word as well:


It's a word that I love. I love how it sounds. I love the feeling it evokes. It's strange, I know - how I tend to love words for the way they sound and for the feelings attached to them. Much how I like the word "spring" for the way it sounds, and its associations with everything fresh and new and reborn.

But back to "spirited". The online dictionary defines it as:

"having or showing mettle, courage, vigor, or liveliness, etc.: a spirited defense of poetry."


I think this definition is somewhat limiting though. Because what happens when your courage wanes? When you feel a decline in your energy or a loss of liveliness? What if you don't feel like bubbling over with joy or "bursting with fruit flavor"? (my favorite line from that old movie, Reality Bites)

I think being "spirited" is much more than that. It's that sense of conviction, that place of stillness, that quiet wellspring of energy deep in your gut, from which to draw strength to propel yourself forward. Even when your energy wanes, even when you don't think you can go any further. Even after you've felt like you've been giving and giving of yourself.

It's faith. In someone, in something, whoever or whatever that may be to you.

The question is, how do you call upon it? Especially in the often-hurried pace of work life?

How do you breathe life into your days? What makes you feel spirited?

Pin It!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...