I am not sure if it is specific to this city, but something strange has been in the air these days. I feel myself slowing down, losing momentum, getting a bit stuck. My friend and I have a joke that if anything whatsoever is wrong, blame the Tangier weather.
Despite the pouring rain, rolling clouds and blustery winds, each morning I try to fill my insides with positivity in any form that can be consumed to counter the weird moods. Just yesterday, as I was sipping a giant mug of cinnamon and cardamom loaded coffee, I spotted my little book of Rumi poetry on the table near me. Moseying over, I picked it up and flipped to a random page. It read,
It’s good to leave each day behind,
like flowing water, free of saddness.
Yesterday is gone and its tale told.
Today new seeds are growing.
Several of my close Muslim friends have told me that when they open the Quran to a seemingly arbitrary page, the verse they land upon tends to speak directly to their current state of mind. I suppose I had a Quranic experience with Rumi. I realized as I read this short yet poignant poem that each little piece of stress from the previous days had been stacking on top of each other until I found myself carrying a larger weight than I intended. These verses reminded me that if all we do is push against the tide, the only obvious result is exhaustion. We have to let go a bit every day.
One of the most powerful and useful images I have been given for this situation was presented to me by a dear family friend- a spiritual worker and mentor. She told me that whenever you feel heavy with stress that may or may not be of your own making, imagine that these worries, anxieties, these people who need something from you, are all tied to strings knotted onto your being. Find the knots, take an imaginary pair of scissors, muster up a compassionate farewell, and cut yourself free from it all. Once we are lighter, we can move forward with much more grace.
Grace and resilience. These are two words I have been trying to embody as of late. In the face of off-center moods, strange times and “bad weather,” being resilient is key. I have had moments in the past couple days when I want to do nothing except binge-watch BBC shows and eat chocolate bars, but I know I have things to do, classes to teach and a constant calling to keep dancing. I resist the temptation to fall into the hole of my couch.
At the same time, things cannot be done gracefully if they are forced. We have to balance that tenacious spirit with light and flow. I venture to say that this is an impossible feat to perform daily, but if we keep it in mind as we aspire to be our best selves even through the weird periods, it should help. We push until the end of the day, and let it go the next morning, as Rumi reminds us.
Daily resilience, morning grace.
This is the goal.
Believe me when I say I am still working hard to put it into action.
In the meantime, to stay balanced mentally, we must also keep this equilibrium in our physical selves. A new day, a new week, a new month, for that matter, all call for some recharging and refueling. There is no better way to do that than with a juice (or smoothie or whatever you call it) that not only tastes amazing, but is the prettiest ruby red color you will ever see, and is bubbling full of immunity-building, energizing vitamin C. Raw beets, fresh strawberries and squeezed orange juice will instantly refresh you, while the honey and orange blossom add a little something extra for intrigue. I didn’t really mean to name the juice after myself, but this color is just so much deeper and more rich than a casual red, so ruby red it had to be.
Ruby red resilience.
If you are in need of a bit of a reset, like myself, grab something inspiring to read, make this juice, and get ready to face the day.
Ruby Red Resilience Juice
Makes 1-2 servings. Vegan option, gf + refined sugar free
- 1 large raw beet, peeled + cubed
- 1 cup chopped strawberries
- 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (roughly 4 medium oranges)
- 1-2 tsp raw honey, maple syrup or agave
- 1 tsp orange blossom water (optional, but recommended)
Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth and frothy. Serve immediately, get refreshed and go.
Happy happy Monday, everyone.