Looking for a work/life balance? I know I am. And in my quest for balance and enlightenment I am always excited when I come across antidotes in magazines or realize observations from my everyday life. Regardless of where I pull my inspiration from, I am always appreciative that these moments invite me in to take stock of where I am. I am not always in a good place, but I try to pull myself above it.
I recently read an article on the healing attributes of kindness. My ‘ah-ha’ moment was to think of kindness as being a practice vs. an action item or a process.
Let’s be honest. It is not always easy to be kind; challenges are inevitable. (And as a parent, I can attest to the challenges!) Bottom line- Someone will always be driving slow in the fast lane or passing on the right. Mean-spirited gossip will forever be circulating at school or work. There will always be angry online commenters, personal upheavals. And that’s OK — as long as we keep looking for ways to practice kindness. It’s all too easy to fall into the kindness trap of thinking that benevolent acts are an achievement that has an endpoint: You did all the right things, so now you can check “being kind” off your to-do list. The cure for the ‘kindness trap’ according to psychologist Elisha Goldstein, PhD, author of Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, is to strive to develop a growing awareness of what happens when we stray from kindness, and then gently direct ourselves back toward the compassionate path.
The act of focusing on others can reduce our eat-or-be-eaten anxieties. And in the process, it may actually improve our health and well-being. And kindness does get easier with practice. When we’re good to others, says Goldstein, our mental habits of scarcity, negativity, and rigidity begin to shift. We become less and less worried about getting our share.
I do find that as the wheels start coming off, it helps me to try to cultivate a sense of satisfaction. Even when I feel like life is a chaotic mess and I am not getting the love, respect, or personal time I deserve, I try to take a step back to recognize a few good things in my world. I try to remind myself that every day is a gift and to take nothing for granted. But let’s face it, I am human, and this doesn’t always happen. But like yoga or cooking, I remind myself, that it is a practice and I keep trying to refocus my mental views. The brain is a phenomenal muscle – I am committed to exercising it like I do my palate. And on that note let’s talk about starting off the day with a bowl of yummy goodness- Bountiful Fig Bowl.
The delicate fig flavors blend perfectly with the creaminess of unsweetened almond milk. And the toppings make eating it an event. There is no end to the creativity you can do to make an art of breakfast. Until this invention I was the only fig eater in the house, now I am starting to guard my figs as this recipe takes its place in our kitchen.
Bountiful Fig Bowl
1 cup almond milk
4 figs, sliced into quarters (I used both Sicilian (yellow) and Mission Figs (dark purple) in the two bowls photographed)
2 majool dates, pits removed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp protein powder (optional)
1 TBS psyllium husk
Topping options: sliced banana, sliced figs, quinoa puffs, sliced figs, nuts, etc.
Place all ingredients except Psyllium husk in a blender on high speed until smooth. Add in Psyllium husk and blend to combine. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to thicken up. Decorate with toppings and make your food into art!