Butternut squash, Step 1
In preparation for Thanksgiving tomorrow I took to the kitchen today to do some cooking. I made the decision to make what I could make today rather than feel rushed tomorrow in putting everything together. For the past few years I’ve been hosting a community potluck Thanksgiving dinner either at the mindfulness center or at my house and we invite anyone from our meditation groups and beyond to join us. Oftentimes our community potlucks through the year are vegetarian but on Thanksgiving we have traditional holiday food alongside vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. It is such a gift to be able to come together as friends and enjoy a fresh delicious meal together on Thanksgiving. This year we’ll have around 14 people for dinner :)
Butternut squash peeling prep, Step 2
For a vegan main dish item I decided to go with one of my favorite autumn/winter soups: butternut squash soup. Yesterday I went to our local organic food market (The Good Food Store) with a friend of mine and we did our turkey day shopping together. As I was looking around the large wooden box full of an assortment of beautiful local Montana grown squash I found the largest butternut squash of the bunch and took him home. As we have a tendency to name inanimate things here in our household my 14-year old son took straight away in giving him a name when he got home from school: Lumpkin :)
For the third year in a row we’ll be starting our winter series Open Mic Nights at the Open Way Mindfulness Center here in town once a month starting in December. They’ve been a wonderful way to bring folks together during our long, cold mountain winters and to share in the abundance of joyful creativity that is such a part of our mindfulness community. Our Open Mic Nights welcome families and kids and my 14-year old step-son is often the first to volunteer to kick off the show with his comedic stylings :)
One of the things I have most enjoyed about these gatherings the last two winters is that we’ve had such a vast array of offerings. We’ve had songs and instruments, rap, poetry, art work, comedy, readings, group sing-a-longs, tai chi and yoga demonstrations, improv group games, show and tell, dance, and more! The variety has been just wonderful.
In my preparation for the Open Mic’s to start back up I’ve been inspired to write. I play guitar, sing, and write songs and lately I’ve been drawn to spoken word pieces. Spoken word can take many different forms and for me it has become a blend of rap, verse, and song with just my voice and no musical accompaniment (at least not yet!).
By far the biggest maples leaf I’ve ever seen
Fall passes quickly here in the mountains. Our longest season is winter here in western Montana. Spring is also often short and summer is for many much much too short. For me, though, time and seasons pass in just the right amount of time. While I can get caught and attached and hung up in many varying elements of life the passing of time and the weather are areas I practice with to become comfortable amongst, accepting of, and in harmony with.
Sometimes, for me, like now, it is easier to embrace the changes of the season than to embrace my own changes. Somehow it seems we’ve been taught that change is not only not good but it’s looked down upon as something not supposed to happen. We’re always changing! We just don’t always take notice.
When challenges arise in our daily life it is easy to fall back on this common notion of how things aren’t supposed to change – life isn’t supposed to be like this. When challenges arise life is changing. And oftentimes change doesn’t start out looking so swell. In fact, it can feel pretty miserable and agonizing. Change, whether it happens fast or slow, is a process, an unfolding, and often involves a lot of unanswered questions, turmoil, agitation of past ideas, and restlessness. Change takes time and adjustment and patience.