How to love mindfully

Posted on December 30th, 2015

Oh I do love a bit of Thich Nhat Hanh. I recently discovered that the Vietnamese monk who brought us the mindful concept of “washing the dishes, to wash the dishes” has written about mindful love in his book “How to Love”.

Image via

Image via

It’s a beautiful read. It hits nails on relationship heads. But I was struck by this passage that points to a yearning, which I’ve written about before. This yearning is a deep sense that something is missing, a “something” that we long to connect with. It’s essentially a visceral longing to connect with our “real selves”. But we don’t always get this.

Nhat Hanh writes:

“Sometimes we feel empty; we feel a vacuum, a great lack of something. We don’t know the cause; it’s very vague, but that feeling of being empty inside is very strong. We expect and hope for something much better so we’ll feel less alone, less empty…

“Because we feel empty, we try to find an object of our love. Sometimes we haven’t had the time to understand ourselves, yet we’ve already found the object of our love. When we realize that all our hopes and expectations of course can’t be fulfilled by that person, we continue to feel empty. You want to find something, but you don’t know what to search for.”

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8 clever ways to reuse a ziplock bag

Posted on December 29th, 2015

Let’s get really Sustainable Nerd today. I promote using sealable plastic bags when cooking and freezing food. They’re the perfect size for storing individual portions and things like parcooked ‘n’ frozen veggies really well; they become totable freezer blocks in a blink; they are better for storing in the freezer (I pack mine in layers); they’re washable and reusable; and they can be kept in your wallet ready to pull out at a restaurant or cafe when they serve too much bacon or butter or whatever, becoming waiter-friendly doggie bags.

You can check out my other daggy food tricks here.

Yes, I carry ziplock bags around in my purse…

I use ziplock bags that come with prescriptions and electrical equipment. I use all my ziplock bags multiple times. I’ve only ever bought one box of the things. I simply wash them out, then dry them by hanging them on my spoons in the drying rack or sticking them on a window or a splashback (they fall off when they’re dry).

Here’s a little listicle of other stuff you can do to max ya zips:

1. Make pre-packed smoothie bags. Freeze all the ingredients for your smoothies and freeze in icecube trays. Transfer to a ziplock bag and they’re ready to plonk into your blender (no ice required).

2. Store parcooked ‘n’ frozen veggies. Place in the freezer flat so that they can then be stacked neatly. It’s easier to “crumble” off veggies when they’re in a bag, much like you probably do with frozen peas (I often have to bang the bag on the bench).

3. Use as a take-away bag. When you’re grabbing a bagel or sandwich from a cafe, use the ziplock bag instead of getting it wrapped in a million layers of paper bags.

4. Create different scrap bags in the freezer. I usually add vegetable, herb stalks and other scraps as I go along. I have one for vegetable stock, chicken and fish stock and a leftovers pesto bag.

5. Stick a wet sponge inside and use as a freezer pack. You save tossing out an old sponge at the same time.

6. Remove chewing gum or candle wax. Got gum or wax on your tablecloth, couch or carpet? Fill a ziplock bag with ice and gently rub it on the gum or wax until it hardens. Then shatter the frozen gum with a blunt object and vacuum up the chips. Or use a plastic spatula to peel off the frozen wax. Read more

The soulful secret to family holidays (and to moving in with your boyfriend)

Posted on December 23rd, 2015

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni does his summer holidays like my family and I: all together, in a beach house, for an extended period.

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Here he is:

“EVERY summer for many years now, my family has kept to our ritual. All 20 of us — my siblings, my dad, our better halves, my nieces and nephews — find a beach house big enough to fit the whole unruly clan. We journey to it from our different states and time zones. We tensely divvy up the bedrooms, trying to remember who fared poorly or well on the previous trip. And we fling ourselves at one another for seven days and seven nights.”

Why do we do it? Why do we stay so long when – to be honest – it ain’t always that easy?

To be there for the good stuff.

Bruni writes:

“With a more expansive stretch, there’s a better chance that I’ll be around at the precise, random moment when one of my nephews drops his guard and solicits my advice about something private. Or when one of my nieces will need someone other than her parents to tell her that she’s smart and beautiful.”

He makes the key point: to truly be present, we need time and space. Actually we need extra time and space, so that we can just be there, present and ready for when life unfurls.

I think a lot of our lives are stressfully spent trying to make quality time. I’ve pointed out how imperative Read more