Weekend Reading
April 5, 2020

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

I’ve had a very quiet Sunday. Just me, a batch of tofu scramble, a socially distanced walk in the park, and the sound of birds chirping outside my open window. Because spring is arriving, quarantine or no.

I’m not one to force myself to see silver linings in everything. Some things that happen really do strike me as senseless. But no matter what happens, to me or around me, I ask myself whether there’s anything that I can learn. Right now, quarantine is teaching me how to be content with what I have.

This shows up in so many ways: making meals with what’s in the fridge and pantry, rather than running to the store because there’s something that I crave. Washing clothes in small batches in my sink and hanging them over my shower curtain to dry, a new nightly ritual. Exploring the park near my home, which I’ve lived next to for many years now, never really appreciating what a great resource it is. Re-reading and re-watching some favorite books and shows, rather than scanning streaming channels endlessly for something new.

I mentioned my yoga nidra practice recently, how it always gives me a reminder of how safe I feel at home. My yoga nidra teacher has on many occasions invited us to use the mantra “I have everything I need.” I can’t tell you how often I feel resistance rising when I hear this; I think about what I don’t have and feel angry at the mere suggestion that I ought to be satisfied without it. By the end of the practice the things I covet inevitably feel hazy and abstract, while the things that I enjoy from day to day (a bed to sleep in, food to eat, books to read, work to do) feel very close and real.

So it is with life right now. The only option is to make do with what’s here in my apartment, so I focus on that, rather than dwelling on the life or lives that I could be leading instead. It’s so humbling to realize that I have pretty much everything I need to survive, and even to be happy.

At some point, things will change, and I’ll be roaming around more than I am now. I only hope that I can hang on to the sense of appreciation that quarantine has given me. One good lesson learned in an otherwise difficult time.

Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.

Recipes

I want to make these vegan hot cross buns for Easter!

This green rice looks like such a wonderful, vibrant side dish.

I don’t cook with butter beans often enough, but this recipe is a good reminder.

Speaking of beans, Sher’s kidney bean tacos are so simple and lovely, as usual.

I think these vegan Twix bars may be my next homemade quarantine treat!

Reads

1. One of my favorite collections of food writing is Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, which is a series of essays on eating alone (something I’ve done three times daily for much of my life). I do think it’s fun to consider what we’d only eat if no one else was there, and this cute Healthyish roundup asks that very question.

2. Speaking of making do, I’ve crafted a comfortable and effective face mask out of one of my yoga headbands. But I also like this DIY guide for homemade masks.

3. A good list of ways to make weekends continue to feel special (in other words, like weekends!) during the COVID crisis.

4. This is as good a time as any to work on home mindfulness practices, including body scans and meditation. I love this list of mindfulness routines for springtime.

5. A care package for uncertain times, courtesy of On Being. I like the poems included here, especially Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things,” which I mentioned in this birthday post.

Have a peaceful evening. This week, a sunny cauliflower dish and a new favorite homemade vegan burger!

xo

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    3 Comments
  1. Gena,

    I am married and I actually eat by myself a lot. My husband is still working so I eat lunch alone. I also eat breakfast earlier than him and I decided a while ago that if I was hungry at 4PM then I was going to eat my dinner. If I didn’t have to cook for both of us I wouldn’t eat differently necessarily but I wouldn’t stress about putting a “complete” meal together and feeding another person. Regardless of whether you are single or joined at the hip, it’s important to figure out how to feed yourself in the way that you want to be fed-weird or not, alone or together.

    I am going to try out those butter beans (thank you) and I am really happy to read that you are getting along just fine with what you have )including what is already in your pantry). I like the notion of being “self contained”.

    Hope your weekend went well and that Monday starts out on the right foot. Or left foot. Or whatever!
    Take care,
    Libby

  2. Getna, the image of you doing your washing in the sink and hanging it over the shower each night was so vivid and poignant to me. It reminds me of traveling in Europe when I was young. We are all traveling into unprecedented circumstances while staying at home. Such tremendous irony and yet such potential, too. I love that you’re discovering the park so near you as a comfort. And that you made a comfortable mask from a yoga headband. “The Peace of Wild Things” is a favorite of mine as well. Love you <3

  3. Can you post a picture of your yoga headband mask? I have tons of those but no sewing machine.

You might also like

This week, I read something that addressed the topic of regret. The author pointed out that any present moment is tomorrow’s past. I’ve seen this articulately more succinctly: today is tomorrow’s yesterday. The author’s point was that those of us who are especially prone to regret or second guessing past choices should embrace this truth as a reason to show up more fully in the present moment. If something could be changed in order to make life more meaningful and harmonious, he suggested,…

Through my yoga and mindfulness practice, I’ve been introduced to the concept of maitrī. Maitrī is part of the brahmavihārā, a series of virtues and attendant practices that can help us to cultivate joy, well-being, and maybe even enlightenment.  Maitrī is similar to metta, which I’ve written about before; in fact, it’s another word for the same concept. Maitrī is a Sanskrit word, while metta is a Pali word. Both can be translated, most simply, as loving-kindness. Loving-kindness, yes. But there are lots…

Happy Mother’s Day, friends! If you’re celebrating a special caretaker in your life, then I wish you a lovely time. I came to NYC for the night so that I could take my Mama out to dinner, and I’ll be headed back to DC in the morning. It was a weekend of summery weather and fun in the District, thanks mostly to the annual Sweetlife festival, an all day music+food event in Maryland hosted by the same wonderful people who created SweetGreen salad….

Happy Sunday, all, and a very happy Mother’s Day to those of you who are celebrating today. This day has me thinking a lot about my mom and how grateful I am to her right now. I know I haven’t made things easy for her in the last year or so. I did a lot of soul searching last spring, as I waded through the mucky waters of depression, and much of that work involved delving into parts of my past I’d never…