Snow is falling outside my window and covering the train tracks, bringing about childhood memories of sledding, making snow angels, building snow forts, and then hurrying inside for warm milk and cookies.
A small (okay, big) part of me wants to go outside and go sledding. Sledding day, anyone?
It’s January and though it’s way past Christmas season and into New Year’s Resolution season, I definitely want cookies. I usually don’t make cookies, as I’m generally a bit of health freak/no-sugar fiend, and know that if I make cookies I will eat them—all.
So, in an act of self-kindness I usually just avoid baking.
I think that was my un-official New Year’s Resolution last year: be healthier, stop baking and eating all the cookies.
It worked! I don’t make cookies anymore, and my sugar cravings are dramatically reduced. My resolution this year was to not make any resolutions (which in itself is a resolution).
The self-improvement train can get a little all-consuming. I think that in light of the New Year and making so many efforts to “change” ourselves we begin to attach to the idea that we are far from beautiful, perfect beings and thus separate ourselves further from the rest of humanity. We already focus so heavily on self-improvement in the name of achievement in our society, and we stare at screens all day long.
This can cause a pull at our heart strings, not in a loving, springy way, but in the way where our hearts start to get tight and closed up, forgetting that there are other hearts close to us. We focus on work, rather than hearts, and though we may achieve we feel the pains of loneliness, which sometimes, can be filled with cookies (sometimes).
And yet I have to ask, again and again, why must we feel so alone when there is humanity all around us? Our neighbors, our families, are right next to us, and yet, we choose our work, our achievement, and our own personal growth above the simplicity of love and compassion.
I think that this phenomenon occurs because many of us are so completely love starved that we lose the ability to show compassion to another live person, and so, we go to the silver screens of our computers to feel a little more loved.
We eat when we’re stressed out, to feel a little more loved. For we know that pictures are worth a thousand words, and perhaps sometimes what we are able to see on this screen, to see in the world beyond our own lives, humanizes us a little more than what we see present right in front of us.
For they, so far away, must understand our struggle. That person, somewhere across the world, talking to us in a little box. That person, we see, on a picture! And if they do not, than surely food does. Food brings us comfort on those days when it seems that we have no one, when even the little box has failed us.
I am not asking that life be perfect, but I do think we have the capability to extend beyond our boxes. A box of technology, a box of cookies, doesn’t encourage us to transform ourselves so that we might find that love right where we are, but teaches us to reach elsewhere to find our answers. In the great beyond of achievements, in the great beyond of then.
Achievement and then do give us a sense of time and place in the world, and don’t get me wrong, the drive for perfection is a beautiful, passionate animal to wrestle with. But achieving can stop being fun.
Too much inspiration can leave you dried up and that spark of passionate creativity can start to be drained. The delusion of the sugar and technology high is shattered and loneliness steps in, again.
The present moment gets too hard to handle, because you believe you have failed, or, worse: boring, because you do not have a chance to solve the problem that leads you to that one end.
And then cookies become paramount. I speak purely from experience.
That goal, that end, can start to feel more like a constraint than a plaything, and perhaps that is something that I will work on in this New Year—achieving while maintaining a sense of play. All the while reveling in the muddy wrestle, and remembering this life I am given is about the journey I am on—suspending my own expectations towards perfection.
I tend to either swing towards all “play” or all “work.” Finding a happy medium, the middle ground, is a challenge I believe in.
Did I just make a resolution? (I think, in the way I live my life!)
Oh the human condition!
Looks like it’s time to watch a TED talk and eat cookie-oatmeal (adherence to that dang, smart resolution from last year!).
I try my best to keep the inspiration light and the cookie-oatmeal full of nutrients and guilt-free.
The recipe for the cookie oatmeal I made this morning is as follows:
1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1/4 cup blueberries (or berry of choice)
1 tsp cacao nibs
1 to 2 tsp of coconut palm sugar
1 tbsp of cocoa or cocoa powder (whichever you prefer)
a pinch of cinnamon
1 cup water or almond milk
This recipe is high in antioxidants, and contains foods with high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) values—basically a way to measure the antioxidant values in food. The higher the ORAC value of Units Per Serving, the higher the capacity of antioxidants in that food. Antioxidants are important they keep our bodies functioning, blueberries are also known mood-lifters!
On the ORAC scale, cinnamon has a value of 267,500, and unsweetened cocoa powder has as value of 78,600.
Antioxidants help to reduce the “oxidative” stress found in our society, which causes damage to the free-radicals in our cells. This stress can be caused from over-exercise, a diet deficient in antioxidants, environmental toxins, chronic stress and exposure to chemicals—which leads to inflammation.
This can then lead to disease.
By eating a diet high in antioxidants, we can reduce free-radical formation, and thus, prevent illness. By doing this, we aide our bodies in doing the amazing work that they do: heal themselves on a daily basis.
Combine the 1/2 cup of oats on the stove with the water or almond milk. Drop in the cocoa powder and palm sugar and maintain at a medium heat. Continue stirring, and add in the blueberries and cacao nibs, along with the pinch of cinnamon. Turn the heat up and continue stirring. Take off of the stove before it burns!
And all of a sudden, you have oatmeal that tastes like your favorite type of oatmeal cookie.
Perfect fuel for a sledding day! Or a lovely walk in the snow.
Mad credit to the following websites for ORAC information:
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Lizzie Kramer
Apprentice Editor: Keeley Milne/Editor: Travis May
Photo: Peter Steiner/Flickr