Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sukkha, Dukkha & Cranberry Sauce

I have fallen down the rabbit hole of family and holiday events and become only an apparition in the kingdom of blog. It has been a happy kind of falling. And where is the Dharma in that? Things are flowing smoothly along. I have less grist for the Dharma mill, less to blog about.

I remember my Zen teachers saying, when things are going well, we just go about our lives. We don't give it a lot of thought. It's when things are difficult that we really look to the Dharma to help us out, to light the way, to make us feel less crazy. Is that selfish or bad or just human nature?

I am savouring this time of things going well. Perhaps that is the Dharma of it. When we know that things don't have to be this way, that things don't always go well, it allows us to appreciate the preciousness of those times when all seems right in the world. And we've all been served our helpings of Dukkha in large or small dishes at some point.

It is a real joy to have our daughter, who lives several thousand miles away, home for several weeks. It warms my heart that the little girl who grumbled that her mother wouldn't buy jelly dinasour fruit snacks like all the other "normal" moms, way back when, is now studying to be a nutritionist. Cancel sugar, flour, animal products of any sort. Mom can now learn a few tricks from her. Tables turn, their contents get shaken up.

So when she suggested we have a "raw" Christmas dinner I extracted the dehydrator from the cupboard and we got to work. Here's a picture of dinner. We dressed it up in a suit and took it to see Santa Claus! Okay so no Santa Claus but it's cute anyway, complete with raw cranberry sauce, a version of mashed potatoes (made from raw parsnips), a raw stuffing made with mushrooms and a cashew cream and a dehydrated burger impersonating a turkey created from the loins of some shitake mushrooms, a few nuts and lots of herbs that smell like Christmas (sage, rosemary & thyme). Simon and Garfunkel did not drop by. Probably the no turkey thing kept them away.

There has been much visiting and chatting and just quiet sitting around. No rushing about, no packing in of thousands of events and activities, no dreaded or difficult visits with family and friends. We had a heart warming visit with family just before Christmas when we gathered to scatter my mother's ashes. It wasn't a sad event at all. We scattered ashes, we visited, we had dinner together and then we looked at old pictures of mom/grandma and listened to some recordings of my mother talking about her life that I had made a month or two before she died. Everyone wanted to hear what she had to say. It felt like sharing a very deep experience of getting to know my mother.

The lovely gift of the season has been this simple sense of easy togetherness, a few gifts, some tasty treats. And what does a budding nutritionist give their parents for Christmas? How about "Dr. Jensen's Guide to Diet and Detoxification" & "Dr Jensen's Guide to Better Bowel Care" (some interesting photos here, not recommended for the squeamish and a section that qualifies for the comment, kid's you might not want to try this at home). And I haven't even got to the "Encyclopedia of Natural Healing". I might even get healthy yet! " It is both a hoot to get these, an expression of caring and an invitation to better health.

I will end with a quote from Bernard Jensen from his "Guide to Diet & Detoxification": "Nature's creative power exceeds man's inclination to destroy." This seems like an optimistic world view, perhaps a vision for planetary detoxification?


  1. What a sweet post. I'm smiling at all the nutritional reporting and advice you were given. We talked of our newly discovered joy and health from juicing at each family visit. I've had calls from a few of the family members reporting that they have begun juicing, and the 4 year olds take right to it. We certainly have been sold a (nutritional)bill of goods, far removed from Gram's garden....