By Caryn O’Hara
Is it just me or do we get antsy at this time every single year?
At the end of October when I was about 6 years old, my mom was putting me to bed. I was wide awake and resisting. Naturally she asked why I was bouncing off the walls. I immediately exclaimed, “I’m excited!” When she asked why, I explained Halloween is almost here! And after that will be Thanksgiving! And then it will be Christmas!!
My excitement for the holidays hasn’t changed for a number of reasons. The connection with loved ones tops the list. The close second is the smells. The Dutch oven filled with traditional Ayurvedic beans and rice (kitchari) for daily lunches, the pot of soup simmering on the stove for a dinner to share with friends, and muffins in the oven for an indulgent weekend of baked goods are smells that ignite a joy within that nothing else does any time of year. I’m basically on a cycle. I draft up a modified recipe for a casseroles or cookies or visit Kudzu Bakery for one of their delicious savory pies. On serious repeat.
Despite the hustle and busyness we experience this season, it’s important to hover over the question of how we approach the last quarter of the year. What are we focused on? The full schedule? The not enough time story? The can’t make everyone happy because I’m a failure of a human being story?
Or are we able to recognize that this time of year is all about savoring? Are we sinking into the activities we choose? Are we looking ahead so we feel confident saying “no” to invitations that may bottleneck the rest of our schedule? Or cause a panic attack?
The practice this time of year is to regain presence through staying warm. It’s time to acknowledge life will move at warp speed if we continue to repeat the story that we need to be everything to everyone. Living this way has an effect on our relationships that is surface level at best and potentially cold because we simply can’t fully, mentally be where we are without the distraction of an email or phone call or nagging thoughts about what we need to do before we go to bed that night.
What we truly need is to ask ourselves about our approach to life. And the zone of genius here is how we respond to the answer. The sensory body gives us helpful insight.
Instead of focusing on what isn’t being accomplished, ask questions that point to what we want to make happen for our own enjoyment and happiness. What do I love about this season? When am I most happy? What are my surroundings? What’s on my plate? What are my ears hearing?
When we truly savor, we are reminded that the best experiences can be felt. Smelled. Tasted. In fact the simpler we make things, the more awe we experience. And when we are in that place of awe about the everyday beauty of things, we are connected to real life. We are in a place of connection, fun-loving commitment and health. Isn’t this where we accumulate wisdom, after all?
If we want to savor the spice in life, it involves the company we keep, the food we eat, and the choices we make about how we spend our time. If we want to stay present, we need to invite all things related to warmth: loving relationships, hearty meals, cozy blankets and fuzzy socks.
One of the ways we can stay warm from the inside out, is to use culinary spices that warm and heal us naturally. Here is a spice mix that does this. Aside from the soothing effect these common spices have on the body, there are a ton of health bonuses!
Everyday Fall Spice Blend
3 parts cumin seeds
3 parts coriander seeds
6 parts fennel seeds
1 part ground black pepper
6 parts ground turmeric
1 part powdered dry ginger
¼ part ground cinnamon
- Roast seeds (cumin, coriander, fennel) and black pepper.
- Grind with mortar and pestle.
- Add turmeric, ginger, cinnamon.
- Mix and store in a dry, airtight container.
After oiling a pan, add to veggies as you sauté them or use in your favorite chili or curry.
Keep it simple for an upset stomach, heat spices and add to a small pot of white basmati rice.
Food for Thought
Cumin boosts the brain’s neurotrophic factor, which can help reduces the risk of developing brain diseases. Coriander contains high levels dietary fiber, manganese, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin K and protein. Fennel has a high fiber content and substantially supports heart health. Black pepper (the most common culinary herb used in the U.S.) is often overlooked for its ability to make curcumin (found in turmeric and cumin) more bioavailable, so the body can absorb turmeric up to 2,000 percent better! Turmeric is one of nature’s wonder medicines as a powerful antioxidant. Ginger supports vibrant metabolism and decreases inflammation. Cinnamon is a powerhouse antioxidant that naturally warms the system, reduces blood sugar levels, supports a healthy cardiovascular system and reduces inflammation.
Caryn has wisdom beyond her years and offers it to the world by connecting clients to their innate healing wisdom. Caryn is an expert in surviving cancer. She is a published writer, public speaker and yoga + meditation instructor. Caryn a natural connector who inspires others daily with her vulnerability and force to be reckoned with ability to create and hold space for others.
On Dec. 1, she will co-host The Mini Retreat where guests will gather downtown to connect to Personal Power through five hours of aligning with themselves using the sensory body through yoga, guided meditation, delicious brunch and pampering sessions.
Learn more about Caryn, her programs, including luxurious and delicious Remedy Cleanse, and how to book her at carynohara.com.