And how we might do it better for ourSELVES
This week I am all about slowing down. So I am sharing an essay on the energy of winter, a guided meditation practice that really helps me find stillness, and a beautiful recipe for banana, date and cashew muffins from my book, Good Enough. Lastly is an announcement about a workshop I am doing today and if you scroll all the way down, a short video of a practice to slow down and enjoy an orange which I shared on my Tiktok this week.
Winter Stillness vs. the Holiday Season
The winter solstice is coming up and I’ve never felt such a profound need to mark it. Winter is this time of stillness in nature. It is a season, but it is also a time of death, to make room for rebirth. It’s a time of quiet. And yet in our culture at this time of year the energy is kind of the opposite. Instead we are surrounded with deadlines and pressure to reflect, parties and glitter and everything to push away the darkness that is coming in.
I’m a little afraid of the darkness. The sense of death. But I also know that stillness is a place of real peace. I have experienced this time and time again. At that quiet place after we breathe out—that moment is the place that makes space for life to come back in again. It is essential. I want to honor that this year.
So I want to invite all of you to do this season a little differently in some small way if this feeling resonates at all. To allow yourself to slow down. To look at the reality. So many of us are sick. We need to rest. It is dark and cold. And we want to be cozy and warm. What does it feel like to accept that?
It’s not that we can’t have parties and glitter and joy. But I want to allow them to come forth, rather than forcing them and feeling obligated and consumptive. And slowing down is hard. For me anyway. Because it mimics a feeling of death, which most of us are running away from at least a little bit. But I know it’s what’s needed. It’s where rejuvenation lives and where rebirth happens. I want that.
So for the winter solstice this year I will be honoring the quiet. Connecting with a couple of close friends, meditating, eating something warm, and being with whatever is there, even if it’s hard or scary. Please join me in this special kind of reprogramming ourselves to show our body that it actually feels good to slow down. We may not think it as we are moving into it; our racing mind may tell us something else. But when we allow the stillness in, we can notice what’s really there. The peace, warmth and pulse of our being, of our aliveness.
Guided Meditation Practice
In this 9 minute, guided meditation I take you through an exercise to slow down, regulate your nervous system and allow the thoughts and entire body to slow and rest into peace and stillness.
Banana, Date, and Cashew Muffins
TL;DR: Mix muffin batter in one bowl, pour into muffin pans, and bake at 375F for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool before eating.
Butter, at room temperature, for greasing the muffin pans (optional; see note)
3 super ripe bananas
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
6 dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup roughly chopped cashews
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper or silicone liners or grease them with butter.
Place the bananas in a large bowl and mash them with a fork until they are shiny and loose. And the brown sugar, melted butter, and vanilla and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sprinkle the flour, baking soda, and salt over the wet mixture and use a spoon or spatula to gently stir them in. Once the dry ingredients are mostly incorporated, fold in the yogurt and mix until the batter is smooth, without any pockets of flour. Gently fold in the chopped dates and cashews until they are just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about three-quarters full with batter, or about 1/4 cup in each. Bake until a knife inserted into the center of one comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
If you used liners, remove the muffins (with the liners) from the pan as soon as they are cool enough to touch. If you greased the pan, let the muffins cool to room temperature before you invert them to let them fall out. If they don’t come out easily, use a small knife to cut around the edge and release them. These muffins will keep in a sealed container at room temperature for several days.
Eating Well Workshop
If by chance you see this in time I am doing a talk for the New York Public Library today, Monday Dec 19th, at 2pm ET. It’s online, it’s FREE, and you can register here.
Embodied Cooking on TikTok
Please follow me on TikTok for more of these and other embodied cooking practices in short form.
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Thanks so much for being a part of this community, and if you know anyone who might also enjoy this newsletter, please forward it to them - remember it’s FREE! Also I’ve made some updates to my website at leannebrown.com, and welcome any feedback on what else might be interesting or helpful to include there!