Monday, June 28, 2010

"Be Gentle With Yourself"

"Be gentle with yourself." That's a bit of advice I'd often heard, but wasn't able to follow. I even took a spiritual development class on being gentle with myself. Still, the taskmistress in my head refused to be banished. Gentle? What nonsense! Life isn't about being gentle. It's about working hard, harder, harder, and winning, and being right. And whatever you are, or want to do, if it doesn't get you more money, it's stupid. And you're stupid for wanting those things.

There are much worse things that get said, too, but I don't want to tell you those.

My friend Zilan sent me a link to this page, and for some reason, the author words the message in such a way that I finally was able to understand how gentleness and lovingkindness towards myself is not lazy, undisciplined, or disgustingly self-indulgent.

Criticizing yourself, beating yourself up, feeling sorry for yourself, and being disappointed in your own behavior is not virtuous, honorable, or productive in any way. If you do it on a regular basis, you’ve been taught to believe that negative feedback is an effective way to motivate change.

That kind of thinking was taught to you by those who didn’t know any better than to make you feel worse so they could feel better. They did their job well because you sub-consciously believe that if you can make yourself feel bad enough, you’ll do better.

Fortunately, that’s not how it works. Negative feedback creates avoidance behavior, not inspired behavior. Otherwise, the only way we can be successful is by making ourselves miserable!

DING! I suddenly understand. I've been experimenting with refusal to judge myself when I do things like eat dessert for dinner, finish the bottle of Chardonnay at the end of the evening, lie on the couch watching Law and Order, or take the bus instead of walking the couple of miles home. And yes, almost all of my harsh self-judgment has had to do with eating and body image problems. I still struggle, but it has gotten easier since reading this article and, somehow, taking it to heart. I hope you find it helpful, too.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Angel Cake Mariette

"Mariette" is the French version of my name. This is a favorite simple, summertime dessert...or breakfast. You can get several servings out of the amounts listed below. Wrap any leftover cake tightly so that it doesn't dry out.

1 angel food cake
3 pints berries (strawberries and blueberries are good), washed, hulled, etc.
1 pkg frozen red raspberries, thawed
whipped cream
honey to taste

Cut cake by pulling apart with two forks.
Split cake pieces horizontally. Place the bottom half (or halves, if you're really hungry) in a bowl or on a plate.
Spoon thawed raspberries over the cake, letting the juice soak the cake.
Spoon some other berries over the raspberries. Put the top slice on the cake.
Spoon more berries over and around the cake. Drizzle with honey, if desired.
Top with lots of whipped cream. And most of all, enjoy!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wednesday Pasta

Makes about two servings, or one big one if you're very hungry.

2 cups uncooked whole-wheat pasta shells
1-3 oz. package mixed cremini, oyster, and portobello mushrooms
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
6 oz. goat cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté pepper, shallot, and mushrooms in a little olive oil until slightly softened. Add artichokes and stir just until heated through.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water to al dente. Drain.
Mix hot pasta with goat cheese, stirring well until cheese is reduced to a creamy sauce.
Add vegetables to pasta and mix well.
Serve with a salad of mixed spring greens and herbs, with a glass of Pinot Grigio.


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