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Healing Waters

I sink into the water.

Outside, at the hot springs, the air is cool and river still. It smells like sulfur, but after a few minutes I don’t notice. I’m simply lost in the “healing waters.” That’s what they are called because supposedly the minerals in the hot springs help with a number of ailments. Personally, I enjoy the way the heat releases the tension in my body. I especially like soaking my feet – they cramp easily. I also like the heat around the middle of my body – a source of pain between a miscarriage, a surgery, and fertility frustrations over the past 12 months.

I lean back against the stone wall of the bath and watch.

There is a man standing under a waterfall. The water thuds against his back. What is he healing? Tight shoulders? Work stress? Or something deeper . . . the loss of a family member or friend?

In another pool there is a woman with her eyes closed. Maybe she is washing away the pain of divorce. Or abuse. Or a dog named Marley.

I don’t know. I’m just guessing. But when I start thinking about all the different types of “loss” people deal with, it’s clear we all need healing. One of the professors at the university I attended in Southern California just lost his house in the fires. One of my friends just gave birth, a joyful event . . . and a loss of personal time.

Loss of age . . . loss of a job . . . loss of a breast . . . loss of mental agility . . . loss of a city after a move . . . loss of a child who goes off to college . . . and on and on and on it goes.

I read a paragraph in a book the other day about the importance of taking time to heal. The author said that when we step back and heal ourselves we become aware of a world full of people in need. My time of retreat is coming to a close. I hope I don’t go back home and get too wrapped up in schedules and deadlines and the frustrations of city traffic. I hope I can heed the author’s advice and help heal the world in little personal ways. Š

Soul Food

It’s been raining ever since I arrived in Los Angeles. Pouring, actually. The weather reminds me of the 1997-1998 El Nino. It’s all good though. I’m here at a university working on a book project and the rain is keeping me indoors where I’m squirreled away in the library.

The last time I was out here to “work” I got a wee bit distracted and spent my days catching up with friends, visiting my old haunts, eating at my favorite places, etc. This time I’m being good.

“I picture you in a dark, dusty room all alone as you sort through archives,” my husband said to me on the phone the other day. Well, sort-of. I take the documents out of the dark, dusty room to a bigger, lighter conference room. And that’s pretty much where I’ve been the whole time – the exact same spot I was ten years ago as a grad student, typing notes on my laptop (do you ever have the feeling that you’re making no progress in life whatsoever? Anyhoo…)

Last Friday the weather channel called for rain Saturday and Sunday, so I planned to push through the weekend and continue working. But when I woke up Saturday morning, I felt sunlight on my face. I jumped up and ran to the window . . . sure enough it was a bright, shiny morning. The Pacific Ocean sparkled. I had to enjoy the sun while it lasted.

I was starving, so I gobbled down a veggie sandwich (tomato, California avocado, cucumber and sprouts on toasted whole wheat). Then I dashed to the bike path, buckled my rollerblades and – Zoom! – I was off. I bladed all the way to the end of the path, turned around and bladed back, and then turned around once again. I was like the Energizer Bunny . . . I kept going and going and going (‘cept for the part where I rounded a curve way too fast and hit an unexpected pile of sand).

It was the best. The veggie sandwich was certainly a tasty beginning to the day. But I tell ya, its sunshine that feeds my soul.

Wasa with Zucchini, Cherry Tomato, and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

¼ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced thin lengthwise
2 tablespoons goat cheese
2 pieces WASA Hearty Rye (may substitute any WASA variety)

Directions

Sauté zucchini in a non-stick skillet until soft and golden in color.
Spread 1 tablespoon goat cheese on each crispbread.
Top with sliced tomatoes and layer zucchini on top.

TIP: Substitute eggplant or yellow squash for zucchini.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Value Per Serving

Calories 205
Total Fat 6 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 15 mg
Sodium 260 mg
Total Carbohydrate 34 g
Dietary Fiber 7 g
Protein 9 g
Calcium 94 mg

That Was Easy

I wanted to pop two pills.

After taking the summer off, I played tennis for nearly two hours yesterday and my legs ached from my hips down to my ankles. Also, I had a headache.

Oh, how I wanted ibuprofen to be the answer! Pop the meds, mask the pain, and let me go to sleep. But I decided to hold off. A few little thoughts floated around in my head: What is my body trying to tell me? Could yoga help?

The headache was probably because I was dehydrated. It was hot on the courts. I drank some water and then set the glass down on a table. Sitting on the floor, I raised my arms over my head, clasped my hands together, and turned my palms towards the ceiling. I lowered onto my back and squeezed one knee into my chest while keeping the other leg straight. Switched sides. I did a few spinal twists to remove the stiffness in my hips. Gentle, easy stretches. And I felt so much better afterwards.

That was easy. And it took less than twenty minutes – the time it would’ve taken the ibuprofen to reach my system.

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