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Embodied Rituals for Skin + Soul

Filtering by Tag: music

Punk Rock Medicine

Katie Gordon

My life, my business, my greatest joys, and some of my deepest hurts have been shaped by my love for punk rock and music in general.  Don't get me wrong, I can't PLAY an instrument to save my life.  But the majority of my middle school, high school, and college years were spent either at shows or with my headphones in, music turned WAY up and being carried away by anyone from Johnny Cash, Bad Religion, Against Me!, and The Clash to local OC bands that no one's ever heard of (and probably never will).   I wasn't trying to escape.  It was actually the opposite.  I finally heard something that sounded familiar, that sounded like everything I thought and felt but didn't have the words to express.  It was my medicine. This was the first song that I fell HARD for.  I listened to it over and over and over...I grew up in Orange County, CA, the same place Social Distortion is from, and so I definitely felt some geographic solidarity.  But more than that, I loved the rawness of Mike Ness's words...and voice...and guitar.  And while I realize not everyone appreciates good old fashioned punk rock, the sentiment conveyed by this song in particular rings true for all of us rebel sensitive souls.

It's the "don't tell me what to do" combined with the "sometimes it's all a little (or a lot) too much" attitude.  To me the underlying message of the song is this...Everyone's got some shit in their past they'd rather had never happened.  We carry the stories of our ancestors with us.  Our families pass on beliefs that we may reject.  AND we all have the ability to see it for what it is, say "thanks but I'm done with that", and go on to do something great with the incredible souls and powerful (albeit sometimes painful) lessons we've learned.

For those of us trying to set ourselves apart, to do something different that the world desperately needs, this song is for you...

My War of Art

Katie Gordon

colorsWhen I was young, aside from wanting to be an herbalist and "good witch", I also wanted to be an artist.  My 4th grade class took a field trip one day to an artist's studio and from that day forward I decided that when I grew up I needed to have my own creative "workshop" where I could make art AND potions. As I got older, my ego voice showed up in my head to tell me there was no way I could make a living as an artist.  There were only a select few who could support themselves making art of any kind and I'd probably have to go to art school if I wanted to be any good.  Who was I to think I could spend time and money on something like that??  I should just go to college and major in something useful (BTW, I majored in medieval history).

Fast forward to present day...

In a moment of clarity a couple weeks ago, I had a vision of what I want my life to look like and it dawned on me that I need to be making art.  I feel most grounded, at peace, and in my flow when I'm in my right brain, watching as colors and lines take shape on paper, writing poetry, or even fumbling through chords on a guitar.  My ego wants me to be good at everything before even trying it.  That voice doesn't give me the space to play, experiment, try and fail and try again.  It doesn't allow me to be a beginner, to mess up.

So I've created a new practice for myself.  Every other day I schedule time in my calendar for creating.  I give myself permission to play.  It can be music, painting, poetry, drawing, writing, making vision boards, etc., fully acknowledging that it may not look or sound good at first and that's part of my process.  I'm allowing myself the space to fail.  During this time I can set aside my ego and give myself over to my inner guide, listening to what my HEART wants to be doing right now in this moment.

It's just been a few days but here's what I've noticed so far:

  • I feel more grounded in the moment AND in my body
  • My self-critical ego voice has quieted down
  • In other aspects of my life I'm gentler with myself
  • I approach other tasks with more creativity and mindfulness
  • I actually get more done!!

SO - here is my call to action for you...

Schedule creativity time for yourself.  Write it in your calendar and commit to this practice.  Start with just an hour a week and then gradually give yourself more time.  Give yourself space to mess up.  Notice what starts to shift in other areas of your life.  I hear so many people say they're not creative, but it's because we don't generally give ourselves the time and space to tap into our inner creativity, our own intuitive, artistic brain.  Stop thinking and start doing.  Give your heart a chance to speak to you and really listen to what he or she needs from you today.  Let this be an experiment to just play with your time and let yourself have fun doing it!  I'd love to hear your feedback, ideas, and experiences with this, so please leave comments below or visit my FB page!

So much love to you all! ~ Katie

Toots and Peanut Butter Banana Cookies

Katie Gordon

This past Sunday, Cam and I saw Toots and the Maytals play at the House of Blues.  For those who don't know, The Maytals are a reggae band from Kingston, Jamaica that go way back to the 60's.  As in pre-Marley.  Toots coined the term "reggae."  He's kind of a big deal.  Their sound combines ska, reggae, soul, rock, and even gospel with hits like "Monkey Man", "Pressure Drop", and "Take Me Home Country Roads".

The crowd on Sunday was eclectic, to say the least.  There were kids around 11 with their parents, all the way up to people my grandparents' age, who, by the way, looked to be having the best time out of everyone.  Anyway, I tried taking pictures, but they didn't turn out well, so here's one of my favorite pictures of Toots:

And now for the recipe portion of this post...

I don't only make cookies...I promise.  I have tons of recipes for salads, bowls full of grains and veggies, beverages, stir fries, sandwiches, scrambles, soups, and other goodies.  But for some reason, I've been more than a little obsessed with baking recently, and cookies are so easy and satisfyingly delicious.

The other night I promised Cam some kind of baked good in exchange for bailing on going to his weekly gig at Serafinas.  I had bananas in the fridge that were that perfect color of yellow-almost-brown necessary for turning into a  bread, but did NOT have eggs.  Now, just to warn you for future posts, I've also been unusually excited about vegan baking, so I figured, why not try substituting bananas for eggs?

I came across a recipe on Fat Free Vegan that didn't have too many ingredients.  Normally when things say fat-free, I steer clear.  Fat-free usually means not very good, especially when it comes to baking.  However, as the title of Susan's post says, they're "lower-fat", so I decided to make an exception.  And let me tell you, these were AMAZING!  Also, I don't think I need to remind you that peanut butter and bananas are one of the greatest combinations in the world.  So, I had to share the recipe with you.

Peanut Butter Banana Cookies: adapted from

1/2 c. natural, no-sugar added, unsalted peanut butter (chunky or smooth) 3/4 c. raw sugar 3/4 c. mashed banana (about 2 medium bananas) 1 1/2 c. unbleached flour (you could also use whole wheat pastry flour) 1 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 c. non-dairy chocolate chips, optional (the original recipe called for 1/4 c. but that didn't seem like enough to me)

Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the peanut butter and sugar, then add the mashed banana and mix until creamy.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, to the peanut butter mixture.  Add the chocolate chips.  Avoid over-mixing the dough, otherwise the cookies may come out too dense.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the cookie sheet.  It's very sticky.  You just have to deal.  Flatten with a wet fork (yes, it's important that the fork is wet, or else the dough will stick to the fork and you'll get frustrated because there will be peanut butter dough stuck all over your fingers, hands, arms, face, and shirt...and no, I don't know that from experience).  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown.  They'll be soft when you take them out, but they'll set nicely as they cool.  Also, they'll stay somewhat moist because of the banana and oil in the peanut butter.  Don't be alarmed.  This is what makes them so good.

This recipe makes about 20 cookies.  They are especially delicious dipped in almond milk.