Sunday 22 April 2018

Happy Sunday!

Earth Day is on Sunday this year.

We celebrate the sun shining on our Earth and all the life that dwells in its bright rays.

Earth Day – April 22

Earth Day is a day to officially celebrate our entire planet and renew our awareness of our responsibilities toward the earth.

It's a day to educate our children – what we can do to be responsible citizens, living in peace with all of God's creatures. 

Artwork by Art Projects for Kids

Morning Dew

In The Morning Dew

The morning dew.

Translucent pearls adorn nature's foliage and offer sips of water for tiny crawling creatures.

Secrets of the dawning sun are reflected in their minuscule orbs.

Whispers of a fairy world are heard as they transform into vapor and disappear. 

Dew drops hold the freshness of an awakening day as if providing metaphoric sprinkles of water to splash the sleep from our eyes.

The Little Things

I was reminded of the magic of dew drops when I saw this poem by Kahlil Gibran.

In the sweetness
of friendship
let there be laughter,
and the sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew
of little things
the heart
finds its morning
and is refreshed.

Kahlil Gibran

Finding Dew Drops

It's worth getting up early to sneak out into the garden or the park to commune with the fleeting dew drops of the morning. The morning sun quickly burns away their watery melodies, leaving us to marvel at this transitory life.

With The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), students can place one hand in their heart as they observe nature and dew drops and increase their awareness of this little existence. Welcome the morning with TRT® hands-on in Head position #3 or #4 and in Front position #1 and #2. 

As the day begins outside of you, let it begin inside of you, too, with expanded light.

 

Easter Transcendence

The Point In the Middle

Where the horizontal and the vertical meet, there is your transcendence.

A Symbolic Path

Within the symbolism of the cross, there lies a path of transformation. We can acknowledge the outer world which is represented by the horizontal line and bring to our realization that this outer existence intersects with the transcendental world which is represented by the vertical line. That holy meeting place of the two worlds lives in our consciousness.

Easter celebrates the resurrection, the transcendence of life over death.

Death and birth lie on the horizontal line and are parts of our outer world.

On the vertical line, the energy of life is always moving and rising up.

Life is wide and deep and while it steps out of the outer world, it also intersects with it in a greater whole. 

For Your Meditations

Students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) can celebrate the Easter holiday and its transcendental energy whether they perceive themselves as Christians or not.

Step into the symbolism and let it guide your awareness. Suggested for your meditations is a focus on TRT® hands-on positions #1 on the Front and #3 on the Head, or a combination of #1  and #3 on the Front for a period of 10 to 15 minutes.

Happy Easter.

Artwork by J. Vincent

 

(The Radiance Technique® is not associated with any religion
or belief system.  Please see About for more details.)

Beans In The Oven

Cooking Beans

There's something magical about a rich soup or stew bubbling away on the stove. With a slow simmer, flavors deepen and become complex. It harkens back to an image of a cauldron and the magic of a transformative fire. 

Somehow, the cauldron idea did not appeal when it came to cooking beans. It was labor intensive and beans ended up cooked irregularly, with lingering hard ones or entirely smashed ones.

When it came to beans, it seemed like using canned ones was the simplest choice. All the debate about soak or not to soak, salt or no salt, just how long to cook the beans and all the stirring for who-knows-how-many-hours left many of us less than enthused.

So, it was no surprise that over the years we gave up and took the path of least resistance... canned beans. 

Of course, it's not a failure if you use canned beans. Sometimes, it's just easier. It's better to have canned beans than none at all.

But, cans of beans are not terribly inspiring and consequently, we didn't often cook with beans even though, we really liked them.

Dried Beans Versus Canned Beans

Dried beans come in a wide range of colors and sizes. Gigante beans, baby lima beans, red beans, black beans, and white Northern beans, just to name a few.

Buying dried beans is a pleasing process. All those bean pebbles feel nice in your hand. So many possibilities lie within little bits of goodness. They're easily transported and stored.

The price of dried beans is especially helpful. And, environmentally speaking, there are no tin cans or BPA to worry about. If you buy your beans in bulk, you don't even have plastic bags. 

Dried beans sang a siren call, but not really being sure what to do with them meant they remained on the store shelf.

Then, we found out about using a Dutch oven to cook our beans.

Dutch Oven To The Rescue

Looking on the internet, there were several articles about baking beans in the oven in a Dutch oven. Dutch ovens function both as a pot on the stove top as well as in the oven.

Dutch oven is a misnomer, in that two well-known brands, Le Creuset and Staub, are made in France. Lodge is another brand of Dutch oven made in China. Dutch oven refers to a cast iron pot with a tight-fitting, oven-proof lid and often with a ceramic interior finish.

What Is a Dutch Oven?

A Dutch oven is any large, heavy pot that is suitable for stovetop or oven use. So your deep 7-quart stock pot could be a Dutch oven, as long as it has an oven-safe lid and can go straight to the oven from the stove.

But when talking about Dutch ovens, most people really mean the extra-heavy cast iron, enameled pots typified by Le Creuset and Staub. These hard-working pots are ideal for slow-simmered soups and braises, as well as other favorite hearty meals.
— Kelli Foster
 

The idea of using a Dutch oven to cook dried beans was intriguing. The gentle, unhurried simmer that takes place in the oven is particularly pleasing.

The beans remain intact because they don't have constant stirring to break them down. There is no scorching on the bottom of the pan. It's very hands-off. The beans do their job of cooking while you do other things around the house. There's no need to stir during their bake time.

Canned garbanzos tend to be hard and roll all over the plate. Sometimes, there seems to be a slight bitterness to the flavor. Not so with the garbanzos we cooked in the oven. In fact, the broth is delicious – worthy of sipping all on its own.

Home cooked means you're in charge of their cooking time. We cooked our garbanzo beans until they were somewhat soft. The garbanzos had tender skins that melted into the buttery flesh of the beans. They even had a sweetness to them.

How To Cook Your Beans In The Oven 

Any dried beans can be cooked in a Dutch oven.

Here are instructions to prepare half a package of beans which is usually 8 ounces.

First, rinse them in cold water to take any dust off of them. Place them into a large bowl, sprinkle 1.5 Tablespoons of kosher salt on them. Cover with 8 cups of water. Let sit over night, anywhere from 12 to 18 hours. 

Drain and give the beans a brief rinse in cold water. Place beans in a 4 quart Dutch oven. Sprinkle 1.5 teaspoons of kosher salt over them. Add 6 cups of water. Cover with lid.

Place in a 300º Fahrenheit oven and bake for 1.5 hours to 2 hours depending on how soft you want your beans. Don't stir, just let them cook. 

Check them for doneness and if you think they need more time, you can put them back in the oven and check every in 15 minutes until desired softness.

Below: white Navy beans cooked in a Dutch oven. No stirring required.

If you want to double the recipe, using the whole package of beans, use a bigger Dutch oven.

You can use your cooked beans right away, or once the beans are cooled, you can place them in containers and store in the refrigerator. If you've cooked a whole package and find you have too many to consume, they freeze beautifully. They're easy to thaw in the refrigerator.

Add beans to soups or salads as desired. Be sure to keep some of the broth, it adds a lot of flavor. 

Students Of TRT®

For those who have studied The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), you can enhance the life-force energy in your food by holding it in your radiant hands for a few minutes. This applies to your dried beans too.

You can also place your hands about an inch above your food to help you connect to it consciously. For students of The Second Degree of TRT®, you can direct radiant energy to what you are about to eat. Your food is meant to nourish you and directing universal energy helps to lift that connection.

Garbanzos Transformed Into Hummus

Oven-baked garbanzos can be used to make homemade hummus, like what we made in this photo. The recipe is from Bon Appétit: Classic Chickpea Hummus.

The recipe calls for a can of garbanzo beans, but you can substitute your own oven-cooked beans. Two cups of cooked beans equal one can.

The next time you see some dried beans, take some home and pull out your Dutch oven to prepare them.

Deliciousness awaits you.

 

Happy New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Welcome to 2018.

As particles of time swirl around and fly past us, let us remain bright and steady in the light of our hearts. 

Knowing that we are not defined by the judgments or dualities of battling controversies, we shall not be pulled from our center point of clarity. We're able to see all possibilities and all sides. Everything is held in light.

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), if we feel particularly polarized regarding a topic, it's a perfect opportunity to apply TRT® hands-on. When we access universal energy with TRT®, we bring balance to our thinking or feelings. With use of TRT®, we expand our awareness and insight into a situation or events. We begin the healing process for ourselves.

DANCE INTO THE NEW YEAR

As time passes through us, we are observers of the celestial dance.

Wishing all of us love, good health and joyful discoveries throughout the new year.

Let's dance like we'll dance forever.

 

Christmas Songs And Mary

Mary And The Birth Of Jesus

What are all our Christmas songs about? We touched upon vernacular and religious songs of the season in another blog post Christmas Songs Across Time.

Christianity brings us the spirit of Christmas. It's the story of the birth of a child, the manifestation of spirit into mortal flesh. This birth of light is embodied through a mere mortal woman, Mary.

(Artwork by Jason Jenicke.)

Mary's Song

What do our Christmas carols tell us about Mary, the earthly Mother of Jesus?

Come to find out, not much. Christmas songs across the years celebrate the birth of Jesus, but there are not many that sing the story from Mary's viewpoint.

In Michael Linton's article on this topic called Looking for Mary in Christmas Carolshe describes with charming humor:

 
Both the “First Noel” and “Angels from the Realms of Glory” are remarkable for Mary’s invisibility.

In the nine verses of “Noel,” we have the economic condition of the shepherds (poor), the weather report (cold), the star (bright), the homeland of the wise men (far away), their mental condition (assured), the gifts (you know the list), the local livestock (ox and ass), the nature of divine creation (of naught), and, in a verse mercifully found in no hymnal, the doctrine of salvation through good works...

...there’s not even a hint of Mary. She’s simply not there.
— Michael Linton
 

As for Mary's lack of visibility, Linton offers this theory:

 
Our carols are primarily nineteenth and early twentieth-century Protestant inventions (although the tune dates from the Renaissance, the medieval-sounding text ‘What Child Is This’ was written in 1865), not a time that’s known for its deep Roman Catholic, Protestant cooperation and mutual affection.

Mary can’t be excised from the Christmas story completely, but in the carols she’s mentioned as little as possible, for fear of turning her into an object of cultic devotion, something most Protestants have accused Roman Catholics of doing for a fairly long time.

So Mary merits only passing mention in a few carols or, even better, no mention at all in most.
— Michael Linton
 

Today, there are a few songs that view the miracle of the birth of Jesus through Mary's eyes:

Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song) – by Amy Grant

Mary's hesitant questioning speaks to her human frailty. You can almost sense the trembling of her hand as she embarks on this journey. Her doubts give voice to her concerns that she will live up to the task before her.

 
I am waiting in a silent prayer.
I am frightened by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
must I walk this path alone?
Breath of Heaven, hold me together. Be forever near me.
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness.
 


For The First Time – by Jason Bare

With his voice and music, Jason Bare paints a scene so we can envision when Mary and Joseph look upon their son, this birth of light, and hear his cries for the very first time.

 
In a world so dark, heaven and earth would collide and would change who they are.
Could this be the same voice that brought us to life?
Unbelievable, the promise is this little child.
What a miracle.
The world has seen the Light for the first time.
 

Mary, Did You Know? – by Clay Aiken

As Mary held her baby boy for the first time, could she have possibly guessed the future that was about to unfurl in front of him? Clay Aiken wonders out loud if Mary could have known the remarkable destiny of her child and his greater purpose. 

 
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
 

Mary And The Radiant Child

The artwork by Sulamith Wulfing entitled Frohe Weihnachten portrays the radiant child of light held in Mary's heart center.

The symbology is there for all of us to appreciate. It's the awakened child within our hearts, the birth of light into the darkness of this outer existence.

For any Christmas music, students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) can bring a song's imagery to their meditations with use of TRT® hands-on. Accessing universal energy with TRT® lets you explore the deeper meaning behind the notes and the words.

What child is this who is awake? Awake in consciousness, even at our birth. 

 

(The Radiance Technique® is not associated with any religion or belief system.
Please see Radiant Nursing – About for more details.)