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Embodied Rituals for Skin + Soul

Filtering by Category: Uncategorized

And now for something completely new...

Katie Gordon

As many of you know, I just moved back to Boston in March (I can't believe it's already been two months!) and am trying to adapt to the pace of the city once again.  It's been challenging.  Luckily I have awesome teachers and even awesomer friends (yes that's a word now) who have been wonderful in easing this transition, and when necessary, brutally honest in telling me when I'm not doing such a great job.  Like yesterday when one of them lovingly told me "You don't look good.  You need to take care of yourself."  I told her, "I'm trying."  To which she said, "Stop trying.  Just be."  So today was my first attempt at doing nothing.  And  I kinda suck at it. I started out sleeping in as late as I could.  I made it until 8 a.m. before hunger and a caffeine addiction forced me out of bed.  On the plus side, at least I didn't set an alarm this morning.  Baby steps, guys.  After a fairly leisurely breakfast, I walked to the coffee shop down the street where I started out reading a book over coffee, but then quickly found myself pouring over my anatomy notes.  I probably should have left those at home.

After running some errands around town, I came home and managed to take it pretty easy, made myself some tea, read a bit, and did some mellow yoga.  Every time I thought about actually doing nothing, though, I started getting anxiety.  "Why?" I asked myself.  What would it really mean to sit and do nothing for even a few minutes?  I realized that for me, there's a certain amount of guilt attached to it.  I should be working, studying, cleaning something, organizing, reading, doing.  After all, there's so much to do, right?  But is there really?  Why do we always have to be doing?

Now, I'll admit it, I don't have the patience to read a lot of those articles in Yoga Journal and similar publications that talk about dharma, meditation, etc.  Some day I hope to be one of those people that does.  It's something I'm working on.  I love reading, but trying to wrap my head around some of the concepts sometimes leaves me feeling like I'll never be as good at life as the person writing this article.  So for those of you like me, who see all those pages of writing and think "I'll come back to this article later...," I'll make this short.

We could argue that it's our society, our culture, teachers, or our parents/families that instill this "doing" pattern in us from a young age.  That pattern to always be doing, accomplishing, being productive.  And that may or may not be true.  But so what?  How long can we hide behind that argument.  Even if it is true, it'll only get us so far in our journey.  Understanding where our beliefs come from is only half the battle.  The rest is about reclaiming our Self.  That which is deeper than our patterns, belief systems, what we've been programmed to do.

Today I learned that sometimes you have to be ok with doing nothing for your own health and sanity.  With not trying, but just being.  Breathing.  Because otherwise we'll just keep spinning our wheels, getting nowhere faster.  They call this a practice.  Because sometimes it sucks at first.  But I've started to notice that the things, emotions, thoughts that come up are meaningful and each tell me something about the way I think of myself.  It's a work in progress, and I'll chip away at it a bit each day.  Some days I'm sure will feel great, and others will probably feel some form of terrible.  I'll let you know how it goes.  See now that wasn't too long, right?

An apology...and a cookie

Katie Gordon

Wow, thanks for sticking around!  Let me tell you what I've been up to the last few months.  It's been a doozy (is that how you spell doozy?).  First of all, I'm just about to finish my first 15o hours of Shiatsu massage.  It's been amazing, exhausting, humbling, and totally worth every minute.  Now starts the intern clinic that I'm super stoked for and hopefully more workshops full of anatomy and chinese medicine fun! I've also been teaching two new yoga classes every Saturday, which has been awesome because my students are bad ass and continue to show up every week :) Anyway, between work, school, and teaching I haven't had much time for cooking and other fun things, so it's good to be back.  As a way of an apology, I'm leaving you with an awesome new recipe for cookies that I adapted from Joy the Baker.  They're chocolate-y.  They're delicious.  They're vegan.  You should definitely make them.  And sneak lots of bites of cookie dough in the process.  *Bonus: Since they're vegan you don't need to worry about salmonella! (not that I do anyway) :D

Vegan Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. sea salt 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional, but you should really add it) 1 c. vegan sugar 2 Tbsp. flax seed meal 1/2 c. apple sauce 1/4 c. coconut oil 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1/2 c. vegan chocolate chips

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In a small bowl, mix the sugar, flax meal, apple sauce, oil, and vanilla.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the chocolate chips, and mix with a wooden spoon (or spatula) until all the dry ingredients are moist.  I kneaded the dough a bit with my hands, but be careful not to over-mix.  Dump the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap, form into a disc, wrap, and refrigerate for an hour (or overnight).

Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the racks in the center and upper third of the oven.  Form tablespoon-size balls, roll them in granulated sugar, and place on the prepared sheets.  Press each one down slightly with the heel of your hand because they won't spread much.

Bake for 9-10 minutes.  They'll be slightly soft in the middle.  Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to wire racks to cool completely.

Yields about 28 cookies.

Hello world!

Katie Gordon

Hi friends! Now that I finally have some free time, I've decided to start a blog that can serve as a creative outlet and an exchange of ideas.  It will definitely be full of lots of good recipes since I come across so many that I like and would love to share with you all, but it will also include stuff about yoga, wellness, books, art, history,  projects I'm working on, thoughts on life, interesting tidbits I pick up (Did you know a fig is really an inverted flower?)...basically all "Katie" things.  

You may be wondering about the name.  I liked the idea of a state of harmony between health, food, personal environment, etc.  As I was talking to different people about what I would call my blog, I kept coming back to the word "zen".  It calls to mind simple and wholesome, supple, natural elements, which are essential to cultivate in mind, body, and soul.  Zen, to me, means finding these elements and the divine qualities which already exist in us through meditation and self-study, though I've only just begun to delve into the world of meditation and all its different schools of thought.

As for saffron, I love recipes that use the spice, but more than that, I love the red-orange color and the feeling it evokes.  Do you ever feel colors?  When I see the color of saffron, it brings me warmth and groundedness, which is especially welcome during the long New England winters.  For me, it brings images of faraway cities in Spain, Turkey, and Morocco, sunny courtyards, sparkling blue fountains, Moorish art, cultures with layers upon layers of history.  Maybe I've just been reading too much travel writing recently.  In any case, there's a short explanation for you.  

I'd love any feedback, suggestions, ideas, or your own recipes that you'd like to add.  Any discussion is much appreciated :) look forward to hearing from you!