Slowing down

Fall invites us to slow down, gather all parts of ourselves and reflect. When we align with nature’s rhythms we have an opportunity for rejuvenation. The past weeks have allowed me to draw inward, focus and savor all of life. The glory of life around me is stunning, the people and connections authentic, and at the same time there is also so much disaster and devestation. As I quiet and listen, I learn to hold it all with awareness and love and find my place of service and action.

This past week’s Hurricane Ian caused me to slow down and keep close to my sister who was frantic and barricaded in her bathroom with her partner and dog Charlotte in Rotonda, Florida. Luckily she had cell coverage, and the only way to help her was to slow down and remain calm. Although she was far away, it taught us to lean into each other with love. 

A leisurely lunch last weekend opened another opportunity for authentic connection. My husband, dog Shanti and I had our lunch at our favorite bakery and cafe, while sitting outside at a picnic table on a brisk and sunny day.  We noticed an older woman sitting in a car for quite some time. I was keeping an eye out with concern. After working in the mental health field for so long I recognize the signs of dementia. We had finished our lunch were ready to leave but the woman was still sitting in the car by herself, looking outside the window and seeming a bit confused. I did not want to scare the woman, so did not go over to the car but went to say hello and talk to another woman sitting alone at the next picnic table. She too had noticed the woman in the car. We sat and talked and waited for the driver to come out of the cafe. We were both relaxed in the present moment and not in any hurry. This allowed a true and joyful connection.

A stranger became a friend on the journey of life. We talked until the driver came back to the car where the older woman was waiting. Both of us grateful and relieved. We parted with joy and she said how wonderful it was to connect to have conversation and smiles once again, to be in life without masks and hiding from one another. Indeed it was a blessing.    

After our lunch we went to walk in our favorite park, Fort Foster, which happens to be one of the few places in the US were monarch butterfies congragate in preparation for thie migration south. There we paused to watch the ocean and then noticed we were in proximity to thousands of monarch butterflies who were also pausing, just waiting for the right winds to begin their miraculous flight. 

Susan’s Autumn Coleslaw

Did you think coleslaw was just for a hot summer picnic?
Well I’ll tell ya, the best coleslaw happens in the fall, at least here in New England.
The secret is the sweetness in the quality of fresh local cabbage!
And the fresh apples too! Succulent red cabbage can be hard to find so if you don’t find the best, use less of it just for color and more of the sweet green cabbage. Also fresh celery at the farmer’s market has thin stalks and tons of nutrient rich leaves with great flavor and it looks oh so pretty. Enjoy the recipe that my husband and I came up with. Truth is he makes it for me all the time. So if your lucky enough to have a partner that likes to cook or cut veggies, then give the recipe to them and enjoy!

Slaw ingredients

1 medium green cabbage (cut off the bottom of the cabbage so that it sits flat)

½ red cabbage (cut off the bottom of the cabbage so that it sits flat)

1 firm, sweet red apple

juice of ½ lemon

celery ¼ cup diced

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated

organic golden raisins, ¼ cup

1 teaspoon sea salt

Dressing ingredients

½ cup Vegenaise or alternative mayo

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp good white wine vinegar

1 TBS Dijon mustard

2 tsps maple syrup

freshly ground black pepper

Cut the green cabbage into quarters, core each section, slice crosswise in a julienne cut.

Cut the ½ red cabbage in half, core, and julienne crosswise.

Cut the apple into 4 sections, core, then cut into thin slices and coat generously in lemon juice.

Combine all the slaw ingredients (cabbages, apple, lemon, celery, carrots, golden raisins, and sea salt) in a large bowl and mix gently by hand.
Let stand as you make the dressing.

In a small bowl mix together the dressing ingredients.
Add the dressing to the slaw and mix until the slaw is evenly coated.
Let stand a bit, then adjust seasonings to taste.