Imagination is often misunderstood, defined as a fanciful flight away from reality – and sometimes it is. But there is another kind of imagination, one that is based on deep inner listening with a quality of calm presence, and a curious, open-minded focus. When images arise into that kind of spacious awareness, imagination is tapping into a source of wisdom, a type of intuition, that puts us in touch with more of reality, not less.
With deep listening, we bring our ourselves into relationship with the unknown. This is similar to the creative process, whether we are facing a blank canvas with a handful of paints, jotting notes for a speech on a napkin at the café, or in the scientific crowd, pondering how quantum gravity helps explain the origin of the universe. We step outside what we already know, send our inner critic on vacation, and make room for messy, confusing bits and pieces of insight to swirl and shift before connecting in new and meaningful ways.
Cultivating creative imagination has a powerful role to play at this pivotal time in human history as scientists around the world are reporting that the impacts of climate change on civilization and the natural world are accelerating. We need to cultivate a pragmatic form of hope by discovering clarity followed by empowering actions, resilient individual and systemic support with effective methods that support eco-harmonious change.
This is the kind of salad that goes straight to your blood bank. It’
s so iron rich that even the ocean gets jealous. While kale is all the rage right now, seaweed is just catching up. They’re sure to be BFFs.
Ingredients (Serves 6-8)
1 cup loose dry arame (seaweed)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp grainy mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)
2 tbsp chopped chives or green onions (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
2 bunches kale, such as Lacinato, Red Russian, or curly Winterbor, stems removed
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
In a small bowl, cover the arame in tepid water and soak for 20 minutes.
Whisk together all the ingredients for the vinagrette. Set aside in a sealed jar.
Coarsley chop the kale. Steam the kale leaves for 1-2 minutes, just until tender and transfer immediately to ice water. This stops the cooking process and preserves their bright color. Drain.
Drain the arame and toss with kale leaves, vinaigrette and sesame seeds. Cut the avocado into long slices and arrange on top immediately before serving.
A powerful way to shift things in your life is by aligning your unconscious thoughts with your conscious desires. Yoga Nidra is a simple and elegant way to do that. Through a guided meditation, you allow the mind to relax and soften and then you insert a conscious desire while the mind is like soft clay. This desire, or vow, called a Sankalpa, helps you align with your deepest truth. Sankalpa translates literally as – the vow made in the heart that is greater than all other vows. We are constantly making vows to ourselves, and some of those vows are unconscious. These could be powerful internal voices that we don’t even realize are ‘vows’. Things like, “I’ll never amount to anything,” “No one will ever love me,” “I’ll never get a job I love.” Even though these just seem like our internal dialogue, they are actually vows that our internal computers read and enact as if they are computer code.
Most of you know that our behavior is run almost 90% unconsciously. This is why we keep getting the same outcomes in our lives, despite the fact that we really, really, really want to change and transform. But change is not always easy. There are energetic flows in the body whose job it is to keep you from change. Even when that change would be good! All the yoga and meditation and running and swimming and dieting and praying and vision boarding in the world won’t help you change if you can’t get your energies to agree to change too! This is part of the power and magic of Energy Medicine Yoga. In this modality, we work with our energies, and help them transform, so that the rest of our bodies and minds can follow. And one of the most powerful practices to help us change is Yoga Nidra coupled with a sankalpa.