Archive for the 'life' Category

Riding off into the sunset of the year

I have celebrated 9 New Years here on the Waffle, the first one shortly after creating the blog. It is only fitting that I turn off the lights just as the sun is going down on another year.

Nine (and some change) years are like as many decades in the ever-changing world of the internet. It’s been a good run, but everything ends sooner or later. A lot has changed since 2008, and my heart is no longer in the kind of sharing I’ve been doing on here. It’s time to let go.

I’m not going to delete the Waffle; there will be no more content updates, but do feel free to browse around and enjoy what I have shared over time as you need. I’m not disappearing from WP either; I have a couple different projects in the works that are not ready for unveiling yet, so check the Side Projects tab from time to time, if you are so inclined.

Cheers to you all, and see you around!

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Solace in Service

When we feel bad, often our first instinct is to isolate ourselves and focus on what’s upsetting us. Sometimes we really do need some downtime, but many times the best way to get out of the blues quickly is to turn our attention to other people. In being of service to others, paradoxically, we often find answers to our own questions and solutions to our own problems. We also end up feeling more connected to the people around us, as well as empowered by the experience of helping someone.

When we reach out to people we can help, we confirm that we are not alone in our own need for support and inspiration, and we also remind ourselves that we are powerful and capable in certain ways. Even as our own problems or moods get the better of us sometimes, there is always someone else who can use our particular gifts and energy to help them out. They, in turn, remind us that we are not the only people in the world with difficulties or issues. We all struggle with the problems of life, and we all feel overwhelmed from time to time, but we can almost always find solace in service.

In the most ideal situation, the person we are helping sheds light on our own dilemma, sometimes with a direct piece of advice, and sometimes without saying anything at all. Sometimes just the act of getting our minds out of the obsessive mode of trying to figure out what to do about our own life does the trick. Many great inventors and artists have found that the inspiration they need to get to the next level in their work comes not when they’re working but when they’re walking around the block or doing dishes. We do ourselves and everyone else a great service when we take a break from our sorrows and extend ourselves to someone in need.

DailyOM

Potlatch

We can learn much from the Native American tradition of the potlatch. It is a tradition that values generosity above all else, and a potlatch, which is a very grand ceremony, is an exercise in giving away material possessions, food, and money. It is not uncommon for the host of a potlatch to give away so much of his own resources to his guests that he ends up with nothing. However, he can regain his wealth by attending potlatches at which he is a guest. In this way, a potlatch validates generosity and encourages the flow of resources in a community, while at the same time continually reaffirming the importance of community ties.

When we are held in a web of trust and connection, we can give generously, knowing that when it is our turn we will be supported. In this way, our whole sense of ownership becomes less individualistic and more communal. Resources are in an acceptable state of flux, moving within the community through the vehicle of the potlatch, which serves the additional function of strengthening community ties. This seems clearly preferable to isolating ourselves from one another and hoarding our resources.

Perhaps we can find ways in our own lives to create a community in which a flow of resources happens in this way, in which we support one another to be generous. We might begin by celebrating our own type of potlatch, having a dinner party and giving each guest an object that is dear to us. Or we could give everyone a little bit of money in an envelope to spend on themselves just for fun. Someone might get inspired to throw their own potlatch, and before we know it we might have a tradition that supports and validates generosity even as it creates a safety net for leaner times. In the most profound sense, that is what a community, a tribe, and family do best.

DailyOM

Foodie Friday: Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Linguine

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
Frylight olive oil
3 courgettes, sliced
200g linguine
3 garlic cloves, crushed
400g can cherry tomatoes
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Dash of Tabasco
2 tbsp capers
300g mini mozzarella
Several basil leaves

Method:
1. Squirt a non-stick pan with Frylight, add the courgettes and fry for a few minutes over a low heat, turning as needed. Meanwhile, cook the linguine in boiling water, according to pack instructions.
2. Add the garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, Tabasco and capers to the courgettes and simmer for a few minutes.
3. Drain the linguine and toss together with the sauce. Add the mozarella, season and serve sprinkled with basil leaves.

Foodie Friday: Meatballs and Crushed Potatoes

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
500g new potatoes
2 tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
100ml red wine
200g mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp caster sugar
150ml vegetable stock
395g pack Swedish meatballs
Basil leaves, to finish

Method:
1. Boil the potatoes for 15 minutes. Drain and crush lightly. Stir in the yogurt and season with salt and black pepper.
2. Meanwhile, pour the tomatoes into a pan and cook with the onion for 5 minutes. Add the wine, mushrooms, sugar and stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Microwave the meatballs according to pack instructions. Divide them and the potatoes between 4 plates, top with the sauce, garnish with basil leaves and serve.


Month at a Glance

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