This article originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of the Kansas City Wellness Magazine.
The leaves have fallen from the trees. The animal, plant and mineral worlds are settling down for a well deserved rest. What about you? Chances are you are doing the opposite, gearing up for a season packed with shopping, gatherings with family, friends and colleagues and other events. How much is truly joyful and how much is obligation? Are you being nourished or run down?
A few years ago my family abandoned its traditional gift exchange. As we got older most of us didn’t really need or want anything and the children certainly didn’t need more toys. We really just wanted to be together, something that was getting less frequent as we got older, and to share our blessings with others. So we make a group charitable donation instead of exchanging gifts. Now we enjoy a good meal together, each other’s company and practicing generosity together. I feel joyful and nourished.
Sometimes we live our lives in such a fast frenzy that go on auto-pilot, doing what we’ve always done. Often we are out of touch and cannot acknowledge how draining it is. We start the new year exhausted and a prime target for the flu, depression and other illnesses. So how do we slow down, rest and get in touch with what is truly nourishing and joyful?
One way is to practice a Sabbath, a day of rest. Many religious traditions recommend this. Now biologists suspect we have a seven day circadian rhythm called a circaseptan. For my husband and me our Sabbath is a day to nourish our joy, recharge our spiritual batteries and rest. We sleep late, take walks, make love, take naps, and drink tea together. We meditate, and enjoy a spiritual book, article or DVD. I like to play my guitar, write music or garden. It’s almost always a no-car day.
We take our time to mindfully prepare a special breakfast together--pancakes with real maple syrup, fresh-squeezed juice and tea. We relax, savor the meal and deepen our connection to each other. This meal sets the tone for our Sabbath day. It wouldn’t be the same without it.
Wayne Muller’s book Sabbath is the best book I know on how to create a day of rest. I also highly recommend Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Miracle of Mindfulness. Here’s the recipe for our Sabbath pancakes to set the tone for your Sabbath day.
1 cup plus 2 TBSP whole wheat flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 TBSP turbinado sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup soy or nut milk
2 TBSP ghee, melted
1 TBSP coconut oil, melted
½ cup finely chopped pecans
¼ apple finely chopped (optional)
Ghee to grease the pan
Heat a skillet to medium heat. Mix flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Mix the sugar, salt, egg, soy or nut milk and melted oils in a smaller bowl. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir until the liquid is mixed in. Do not over mix. Fold in the pecans and optional apple into the batter. Apply a thin layer of ghee to the skillet. Ladle the batter onto the hot skillet with a soup ladle. Turn the pancake when bubbles appear over the surface. Remove the pancake when the underside is golden brown. Serves 2 with one extra pancake for the birds—another one of our Sabbath traditions!