Weekend Inspiration #6

It’s early morning here – the dawn is just blushing at the base of the horizon and the stars are disappearing one by one. The stillness and quiet of the morning is restorative to my soul. Today is day 10 of a 40 day heart kriya practice which I’ll tell you all about soon – suffice to say that the impact of this heart work has been much more intense than I expected – but today feels like a reprieve of sorts – the calm in the middle of the storm perhaps – thank goodness :)

Anyway, so the best of my week – lets get into it!

Best Short Read:

Happy Birthday Brain Pickings: 7 things I’ve learned in 7 years of Reading, Writing and Living – click to read

I was introduced to Brain Pickings by Jamie Wallace at Live to Write – Write to Live (one of my favourite writerly blogs) last weekend. Brain Pickings is a gorgeous blog, chock full of wisdom and beautiful words, and I happily whiled away an hour or more here, just looking around. I loved this particular article because I felt Maria Popova, the writer at Brain Pickings, had succinctly distilled her years of writing, living and loving in a way that we would all find useful. This article is well worth reading, but as a summary:

  • Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.
  • Do nothing for status, prestige, approval or money alone.
  • Be generous.
  • Build pockets of stillness into your life.
  • When people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.
  • Presence is a far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity.
  • Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.

Best Learning:

This week’s best learning occurred in my yoga class. This week, I have found to my joy, that I was able to do some asanas that I haven’t been able to do in the past because I wasn’t strong enough or didn’t have enough confidence in my body. This pleased me more than I can say – in fact I grinned like a big kid and lit up like a lamp :). My first surprise was forearm balance – historically my foe. When my teacher told us that we would be doing forearm balance, my heart sank. Noooo. I still needed help to get up, but when I go there – I could stay there. I immediately wanted to do it again :)

 

This is not me, but it's exactly how we practice it in class.

This is not me, but it’s exactly how we practice it in class.


The next surprise was shoulder stand. Who would have guessed that when there is a teacher to help you set up the foundations correctly, combined with increased strength and confidence, shoulder stand becomes easy? My teacher walked past me and said that looks good Sara. I nearly fell over with shock – high praise indeed :)

shoulderstand

 

Then there was the Half Moon Pose. This asana used to terrify me – I guess I was frightened of overbalancing. But guess what? I can do this one too! Not perfectly by any means, but I can do it! Yay for going to yoga classes and yay for a regular home practice which has given me so much more to work with :)

ardha-chandrasana.1

 

And, lastly, after months of trying to figure it out, trying and failing – this morning I managed to do a headstand in the middle of the room with no wall to kick up to! Thank you to the Australian Yoga Journal for sharing a technique that worked for me, and thank you also to the woman at my yoga class for giving me the impetus to try and master it – because if she can do it why can’t I? Who said competition is always bad thing?

On a different note  – I learned something else this week: something tiny but useful for writers. You know how when you press enter in wordpress and other documents, the cursor jumps immediately to a double spaced conclusion? This is fine for your average paragraph, but when you’re typing poetry, it’s a pain in the butt! Guess what? If you press <shift> and <enter> at the same time, the cursor only moves a single space!

Best Eating

It’s been a good eating week – different because my son was away, which freed us up to eat things like corn fritters with avocado, tuna and salsa (he doesn’t like corn). We had a sleep over at my parents house and my second Dad (my first Dad being my ‘real’ Dad, and my second Dad being the man who has been married to my mother for the past 30 years – and step-father is such a cold term don’t you think?) served us up chicken, leek, fennel and mushroom pot pies with broccoli picked fresh from their garden. Yum :) I think though, that my favourite meal of the week has to be the pumpkin, feta and sage baked risotto I made for a friend on Wednesday night, which was finished off with a pear and blueberry crumble and yogurt for dessert.

Pumpkin, Feta, Sage Oven Baked Risotto

  • 50g butter
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced crossways (I used onion)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1L (4 cups) chicken stock (I used vegetable stock)
  • 330g (1 1/2 cups) Arborio Rice
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine (I substituted with extra stock)
  • 1/2 (about 500g) butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 25g (1/3 cup) finely grated romano cheese
  • 100g crumbled feta cheese (this is my addition)
  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh sage, extra
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Melt butter in a large flameproof dish over medium-high heat until foaming. Add sage leaves and cook for 2 minutes or until crisp. Use tongs to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Set aside

  2. Add leek and garlic to the same pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until leek is soft. Remove from heat. Add stock, rice and wine. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or foil and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 35 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed

  3. Meanwhile, place pumpkin on a baking tray. Drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake on top shelf of the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

  4. Add pumpkin, romano cheese, feta and shredded sage to the risotto and stir until just combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

  5. To serve, divide risotto evenly among serving bowls. Top with reserved sage leaves and serve immediately.

pumpkin, feta and sage oven baked risotto from Australian Good Taste magazine

Pumpkin, feta and sage oven baked risotto from Australian Good Taste magazine

Best Listening

I don’t have an album to share with you this week – my iPod was returned to me with the screen repaired after I smashed it – and I’ve been happily listening to all of my music just on random :) However, there is this one song, requested by my daughter on the way home last night. It’s such a reminder of my 16 year old self, and it tickles me pink that my 6 year old daughter likes it too:

Best Words

SILENT SEAT

When you finally take
your calm and silent seat
on the throne
of your own heart
everything begins
to fall into
its proper place
because
You
have

Tosha Silver

That’s all folks! Have a beautiful weekend everyone :)

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6 thoughts on “Weekend Inspiration #6

  1. Those moments of finding a yoga pose are exhilarating. It doesn’t matter how it looks on the outside…it’s about that feeling of finally knowing the shape from the inside–that is the the most gratifying. And how cool is that your yoga teacher knows you by name.
    I love Brain Pickings too- but missed that piece. I’ll check it out this wkend. Thanks, Sara.

    • Yes! It is about how the pose feels from the inside – beautifully put. It made me smile when you said about the yoga teacher knowing me by name – I live in a small town – I have known my yoga teacher all my life and her mother, a senior Iyengar teacher taught me for years as well :) Enjoy brain pickings and your weekend as well :)

  2. So lovely to read your words Sara. Camp has ended, and I am returning to the world. I have been able to start up yoga again, and feel so strong right now. I love hearing about your progress. But especially, that poem is so stark, simple and powerful. Thank you :)

    • Oh! How wonderful to find you here darling girl :) I thought the poem so simple and beautiful – as are all the best poems in my opinion! So glad you have come back to the world xo

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