turning down the volume

8 02 2010

Sometimes my head is so full of noise that I can barely distinguish my own voice in the mêlée. My poet friend calls it ‘mad monkey mind’ and this seems particularly apt at times.

Rather than this being a symptom of some type of psychosis, I  believe it is a dilemma we all face in a busy and often confusing life where decisions and choices have become so immediate that our deliberation must be suspended and a judgement required – STAT. It is easier to let the factors battle it out in your head and follow the loudest voice… the victor. I guess it is a strategy but not, I  believe, a particularly productive one.

The key to turning down the volume, I have come to understand, is MINDFULNESS!!! (I wish I had capitals for  real life emphasis without resorting to yelling like a nutter). Anyway, when I am at the point of decision and the options are warring loudly in my head – I don’t opt out of the debate. I  try, instead, to focus on my authentic voice – the one that feels a bit hesitant, awkward even; the one that has been left unattended for simply ages; the one that feels close and gentle and kind; the one that really feels the fears and is willing to ‘do it anyway’. That’s the trick to drowning out the other enabling, sabotaging, tricksters that say “No, don’t try that – you’ll end up giving up or failing and looking like a fool” or ” Go on, have some potato chips and don’t think about the calories” or even, ” turn left towards home and not right towards the beach where you would waste an hour walking in the water when you could be on your sofa”. Those monkeys have had their day and I am fighting for my little voice and I will watch it grow.

I have always tried to be a healthy eater and am drawn to fresh vegetables, fruits and legumes. I do, however, have a timing issue with eating. I am very seldom hungry in the morning and so I must force myself to eat breakfast. I can go until around 4pm, really, without eating but on the dot of 4 pm I am ravenous and will devour pretty much anything that presents itself as edible. Over the years I have managed this by:

  1. Eating breakfast anyway
  2. Eating lunch anyway
  3. not buying unhealthy offerings so even if I rampage through the kitchen, I am only scoffing almonds, veggies and fruits.

Lately, however – after my mumma died actually and I moved back to NZ, I have found myself  struggling with some bizarre eating behaviours. I am very consistent with Zuzu’s diet and she eats really healthily and with a mindful attitude to energy output and input.  I am less consistent myself, but working on it.

With that in mind, I am developing fast, healthy and easy options for lunches and dinners. Visualising a healthy and tasty and attractive plate of food, as odd as it sounds, is my first step. I genuinely imagine a meal. I think that gives me the motivation, actually, to create something as close to the vision as I can. It also serves as a cooking lesson and, from time to time, a lesson in patience and ‘stick-to-it-ive-ness’.

Last night, I surveyed my empty cupboards – depleted after a week of school and a weekend at home – and could not bring myself to make a market run. I turned down the volume on that cheeky little monkey that suggested take-out and looked for what I could use from my meagre options.

  • A bag of organic brown lentils
  • a tin of diced tomatoes
  • onion
  • garlic
  • zucchini
  • Thai spices
  • coriander
  • pineapple
  • frozen spinach
  • rice

Firstly, I cooked a few cups of lentils in water with a vegetarian  stock cube. Then, I sautéed onions, garlic and my choice of herbs spices (which was Thai with lemongrass, chili, coriander, s & p). When the onions were translucent I added diced zucchini and cooked until soft. I  stirred in the can of tomatoes and a handful of frozen spinach (adjusting the seasonings) and left this to simmer gently. Once the lentils were soft to the bite, I drained them – keeping a few tbsp of the liquid – and added them to the tomato onion mixture.  When the rice had cooked, it was ready to serve with a few pineapple bites on top to sweeten. A tasty, healthy, adaptable and very easy concoction.

Celebrate your monkey-free day!




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