Mothering Muse ~ Strength

On Friday, we invoke the muse of motherhood to shine her light of inspiration upon us.

Last week, a dear friend of mine gave birth to her second son, Samuel. It was a fast, yet perfect birth — he arrived only 24 minutes after Sarah and her husband arrived at the birth center! Whether a labor is quick or seemingly endless, smooth or turbulent, drugs or no drugs, as mothers, we share a common state afterward: we are drained. My favorite postpartum “gift”  for friends is to cook nourishing, strengthening food (I love cooking from the Ayurvedic tradition): this Kitchari recipe (NOTE: use 1/2 cup mung dal or red lentils, NOT 2 cups of dal. My veggie choice is sweet potatoes and fresh chard or kale), and these recipes below from my friend Michele Schulz: an Ojas rejuvenating milk (I use fresh almond milk or raw cow’s milk), and vegan and gluten free, Three Jewel Cookies (mmmm…), all of which I have been preparing since 6 am this morning and leaving shortly to deliver!

Even now, when I’m feeling exhausted, I often make this kitchari and Ojas milk!

Ojas Milk (Rejuvenating Milk)

This energizing, wholesome, protein-rich drink can be enjoyed for breakfast as well as an uplifting, afternoon snack. It is said to enhance the production of ojas, strengthen immunity and rejuvenate after illness. Makes 1 cup (I usually make double.)
- 10 – 12 almonds, soaked overnight and peeled
-2 large, fresh dates, soaked overnight in filtered water  (alternative: 2 T. date sugar)
-1 cup liquid (organic cow or goat’s milk, non-dairy milk, or water)**
- a few pinches of cinnamon, cardamom and/or nutmeg (more or less of each to your liking or to suit your dosha or doshic preference!)
- a pinch or two of saffron
- Option: 1-2 T. freshly ground flax seeds for thickness and additional fiber

Place liquid and all of the spices except the saffron in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove spiced liquid from heat, add the saffron and allow liquid to cool slightly. In a blender, puree a small amount of the spiced liquid with the almonds. Remove the pits from the dates and add the dates, their soaking water and the remainder of the spiced liquid to the almond mixture. If using ground flax seeds add them at this time. Blend to create a smooth and creamy consistency.

* Soaking and peeling the almonds increase digestibility, decrease the heating nature of almonds with skins and begin to activate dormant enzymes. In a pinch, to save the effort of peeling, you may opt to use already blanched, whole almonds. Make this an exception, rather than a habit. It is still necessary to soak the almonds to soften them before use.

**Ayurveda considers the combination of fresh dates (sour taste) and dairy (sweet taste) incompatible. If using fresh dates – dates that are moist and soft, like Black Sphinx or Medjool –  use water instead of dairy. If using dried dates or date sugar, dairy is acceptable.

Elemental Wisdom © 2008 by Michele Schulz
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Three Jewels Cookies
Makes 12-18 “Jewels”

Cream together:
1/4 c. melted extra virgin coconut oil
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix together:
1 1/2 c. sorghum or brown rice flour
2 T. poppy seeds
2 T. arrowroot powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch rock salt

Preheat oven to 325 °F. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture. Mix well to create a soft and slightly crumbly dough. Press dough together between palms to create 12-18, 1” balls. Bake on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly browned.

The Alchemy of Taste ©2007 by Michele Schulz

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ALSO, a helpful resource! Two midwife friends of mine share about the Ayurvedic postpartum tradition. What was your favorite post-birth strengthening food or drink or tradition? Please share in the comments below!

 

Wild Card Wednesdays ~ Strength

Fanning the fire midweek, we are tossing you a spontaneous quote, question, or conundrum related to Monday’s post. We invite you to riff on this prompt or share a story—heartbreaking or hilarious—to spark further conversation about the path of motherhood.

Speaking of fanning the fire, Boulder is burning, and  flames are raging everywhere in the state. What would you do if you were faced with losing everything you owned? Where would you find your strength to go on?  What would you take with you?

It’s hard to get my head around this kind of loss…Kind of puts all our attention on “stuff” in perspective.

I need a musical intervention to take my mind off the heat, smoke, flames. Have a listen to India Arie sing one of my favorite of her songs: “Strength, Courage, and Freedom.” Crank it up, get off your chair, and actually dance. Strength is knowing we have everything to lose, and yet we still carry on, even adding a shimmy to the mix.

Strength

Mothering has taught me so much about strength. It meant having several miscarriages, and still having the courage to try again. It means returning to a place of not knowing, brought to my knees by tantrums or crying or relentless neediness. It brings me to a place of overflowing love and unimagined joy. I adore being  mama— the person who lights up my child’s face.

Most recently, however, I have been getting several lessons in strength from my daughter Oriah.  She will carry a heavy bucket–or actually drag it behind her—steadfastly refusing help.

In the last week she has taken on striding–riding a bike that has no pedals–and has become amazingly adept at it. Still, she falls frequently, and I offer her help, such as steadying the bike as she mounts, but she is determined to go it alone.  Or when I can see she is tired, I offer her the stroller, but she is one determined toddler. She has endless energy for cutting her own path through the world.

I love how she falls, without much fuss, and sturdily returns to the bike. Falling off just means another chance to get back on and try again.

Nothing crushes her spirit but the word “no.” She is all heart—and mischief. She leaps without looking, jumps pluckily off rocks just to feel her weight hit the ground. Resolute, curious, unfazed, she is my wild divine.

Her strength gives me the courage to pick myself up and dust myself off, to remember the gifts the struggle unveils.

What is mothering teaching you about strength? How are you strong in ways you didn’t know?

Mothering Muse ~ Transformation

On Friday, we invoke the muse of motherhood to shine her light of inspiration upon us.

I began taking shadow portraits when Tusli was in my belly and have taken many since. It is sweet to watch her shadow grow, too (and walk, crawl, hop, dance, run)! They are fun to play with and make a great background for recording memories and heart song. I like the quiet, sacred quality of these moments and know I’ll treasure them as a collection in the future.

I love and respect how my friend Jade has recorded her transformation into being a mother — her honest photos and beautiful words. And these conversations were supportive and inspiring to me.

Sacred PregnancyAnd the lucky mama who will be receiving Anni Daulter’s Sacred Pregnancy is…Kiersten! Congratulations Kiersten — I know many pregnant women will be introduced to this book now. :)

Wild Card Wednesdays ~ Transformation

Fanning the fire midweek, we are tossing you a spontaneous quote, question, or conundrum related to Monday’s post. We invite you to riff on this prompt or share a story—heartbreaking or hilarious—to spark further conversation about the path of motherhood.

I love the ways these videos capture the miraculous transformation we experience and witness as mothers. How have you recorded the changes in your midst? Photography? Journaling? A collection of baby teeth? Please share.