Posts Tagged 'comfort'

Your Comfort Zone

cosycornerOur day-to-day demands can quickly take their toll on our well-being if we are not vigilant about caring for ourselves as best we can. One way we can ensure that we have an opportunity to relax and recuperate each day is to create a soft place to land when we arrive home. This landing pad, whether it is an entire room or merely a small corner of a larger area, can provide us with a safe and comforting refuge in which we can decompress and recover from the day’s stresses. There, we are enveloped in feelings of security that transcend other issues that may be unfolding in our homes. Our landing pads also act as way stations that enable us to shift our attention away from our outer-world concerns and back to our inner-world needs.

To create a soft place to land in your home, begin by scouting potential locations. Or perhaps your entire home is your landing pad in which case you may only need to declutter. Your habits can often provide you with insight into the perfect spot, as there may be an area of your home you gravitate to naturally when you are in need of comfort. Any space in which you find it easy to let go of stress and anxiety can become your landing pad. A basement or attic, spare room, or unused storage area, furnished with items that soothe you, can give you the privacy you need to unwind. If you appreciate the elements, you may find that spending time in a section of your garden or outdoor patio helps you release the day’s tensions. Preparing these spaces can be as easy as replacing clutter with a small selection of beautiful objects that put you in a relaxed frame of mind. Remember to consider noise and activity levels while choosing the site of your landing pad. If you know that ordinary human commotion will distract you from your purpose, look for a secluded spot.

The soft place to land that you create should inspire within you the mantra, “I can breath here. I can relax here. I know I am safe here.” When you return to your home after braving worldly rigors, you will feel a subtle yet tranquil shift occur inside of you as you settle in to this most personal of retreats and feel centered once again.



Wordless Wednesday: Comfort factor, maximum


Foodie Friday: Speedy Chilli Beef

(Serves 4)

450 g minced beef
400 g canned red kidney beans
800 g canned chopped tomatoes
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
1 onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, chopped very finely
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1-3 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

1. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring, until lightly browned.
2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, pepper and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, or until soft.
3. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except coriander. Bring to the boil. Simmer over a medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes.
4. Stir in the coriander just before serving.

Healing With Hurt

Pain is a fact of being and one that permeates all of our lives to some degree. Since the hurt we feel may be a part of the experiences that have touched us most deeply, we are often loathe to let it go. It is frequently easier to keep our pain at our sides, where it acts as a shield that shelters us from others and gives us an identity—that of victim—from which we can draw bitter strength. However, pain’s universality can also empower us to use our hurt to help others heal. Since no pain is any greater or more profound than any other, what you feel can give you the ability to help bring about the recovery of individuals whose hurts are both similar to and vastly different from your own. You can channel your pain into transformative and healing love that aids you in helping individuals on a one-to-one basis and spreading a tide of curative energy throughout the world.

The capacity to heal others evolves naturally within those who are ready to disassociate themselves from their identity as victims. In fact, the simple decision to put aside the pain we have carried is what grants us the strength to redeem that pain through service. There are many ways to use the hurt you feel to help others. Your pain gives you a unique insight into the minds of people who have experienced trauma and heartache. You can draw from the wellspring of strength that allowed you to emerge on the other side of a painful experience and pass that strength to individuals still suffering from their wounds. You may be able to council individuals in need by showing them the coping methods that have helped you survive or simply by offering sympathy. A kinship can develop that allows you to relate more closely with those you are trying to aid and comfort.

Helping others can be a restorative experience that makes your own heart grow stronger. In channeling your pain into compassionate service and watching others successfully recover, you may feel a sense of euphoria that leads to increased feelings of self-worth and optimism. Your courageous decision to reach out to others can be the best way to declare to yourself and the world that your pain didn’t defeat you, and in fact it helped you heal.


Instant Calmer

After a season of overindulgence, reconnect with the purer things in life by preparing a feast of ‘temple food’, sprinkled with a pinch of magic

These days, the frantic pace of modern life means it’s hard to prepare food with the loving care it deserves. Meals are often hastily thrown together with scant regard for their content or value. The concept of temple food involves cooking with more thought and maybe saying a little prayer of thanks to Mother Earth as you do so. It’s all about simple, low-fat food, mainly consisting of vegetable, rice and noodle dishes that ease the stomach and soothe the soul.

For Buddhist monks at the Tongdosa Temple in Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea, the traditions behind preparing everyday meals involve strict procedures, like rinsing dishes with water that’s then drunk to make sure even tiny grains of rice aren’t wasted. The entire process disciplines the monks about the value of food, sustenance and self-control.

The mildness of the Asian-inspired recipes we’ve featured here is important. With the exception of a few female communities, most Buddhist temples in South Korea ban the use of certain spices, like garlic and spring onions, which are reputed to increase male stamina—potentially a distraction for meditating monks! Most of these dishes are not heavily spiced.

If this all sounds like a dreary detox, be assured it’s not. Domestic goddess Nigella Lawson, known for serving up indulgent meals, describes the temple diet as comfort food, and what better time for a bit of nurturing than in the long, dark nights of January, when a few balanced dishes can provide a welcome opportunity to heal and regenerate.

To usher in the new year, we chose our four favourite temple food dishes and then asked our resident witch, Silja, to add her own brand of magic to boost the properties of each recipe and help us achieve our new year resolutions.

Continue reading ‘Instant Calmer’

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