“Then I began to quicken and be wise,
to grow and to prosper;
one word found another word for me,
one deed found another deed for me.”
– Havamal, translated by Carolyne Larrington
Often, we go through difficulty, learn to cope with hardships, overcome an adversity, set ourselves a new pattern…only to find ourselves very soon in a more difficult scenario that requires us to not only utilize our recently acquired coping mechanisms, but also to learn new ones- bucking rigidity and hard forged routines to overcome new obstacles.
What worked in one scenario may not work in our next challenge, but the struggle prepared us for what was to come next. Our failures, likewise, serve us…we learn perspective, flexibility, humility…our limitations as well as our strengths.
The harder our battles and the more merciless the onslaught, the harder we are made in will and character…and the more flexible and clever we become in our psychological processes. Serpentine, we w:R:ithe past and through what might obstruct us. In this Ouroboric process, we may never rest. Only conquer ourselves. One thought leads to another, One word leads to another, one action leads to another. Conciousness and presence of mind will guide us to a gnosis of proper response, if we can but examine our histories with the wisdom we gain from our challenges.
“So henceforth, in the face of every difficulty that leads you to feel distress, remember to apply this principle: there is no misfortune, but to bear it with a noble spirit is good fortune.”
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
There are two stories you can tell yourself. The Victim’s Tale or the Hero’s Tale. In the victim’s tale, sometimes you are conquered straight out- but sometimes you win for a bit…lose for a bit…but always, you are facing “insurmountable odds.” Yearning for an end to torment.
In the Hero’s tale, you have already won. Your nature is to win. The slings and arrows you face are there to demonstrate your strength and fortitude. They are there at the very worst to demonstrate to you a previously un-perceived weakness that you can now conquer in yourself and illiminate. There is no end to the Hero’s tale, no retirement into happily ever after or defeat- only a myriad of different fables, ever showing new truth to you, as you proceed to purge weakness and mis-perception.
Life is a war, but for the winner, a joyful one. Personal stability and planning are methods that support the learning curve of this kind of battle. Know yourself; understand your beleif system, your values, your needs, and accept that anything coming your way is manageable with calmness and clarity.
Personal organization is helpful in maintaining a calm, clear mind. So is proper nutrition. Once a week, I like to take a day and prepare enough food to get me through the next week. Some people do this for fitness reasons, and that’s definitely how I started with the practice…however eventually thrift and convenience became my main motivating factors.
Chicken is cheap. Even free range, organic chicken is incredibly cheap, when compared to mammalian alternatives of the same quality. A week of meals for one person made from one chicken can cost from $10-$30 depending on your level of conviction regarding animal husbandry. For a 5 day work week that’s $2- $6 a lunch. The best part is, your mornings and evenings are freed up by having taken care of lunch preparation in one afternoon. This can allow for more time sleeping, reading or working out, and far less stress as you rush out the door. If you count macros, there’s the bonus of having weighed everything out for yourself already, as well.
The following recipe is one of my favorite meals, and whether you eat it all week or share it with friends, it is a balanced one-pan meal that provides both protein and healthy carbohydrates.
I prefer to eat as seasonally as possible…I feel that nature caters to our needs well; the first green shoots of spring are nutritionally rich, and often full of purifying constituents that help us remove accumulation from the torpor of winter, and the vigor of summer gives us cooling, sun ripened fruits and greens to fuel the liveliest, most active part of the year. In Winter and Fall, the starchier fruits and roots available to us are nourishing and sustaining foods that ground our bodies as we experience more physical stress in cold and inhospitable seasons. Likewise, mushrooms proliferate in fall and spring, bringing us a rich source of vitamin D in the absence of sunlight and pastured dairy.
Chicken and Vegetables for a Week
1 large acorn squash, gutted and cubed
8 large crimini mushrooms, sliced thick
2 turnips or Rutabegas, diced
2 yellow onions, diced
3-4 potatoes, cubed
1.5 lb (5-6) bone in chicken legs
1.5 tbsp butter
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp minced fresh sage
black pepper to preference
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375f
Chop all vegetables and mince the sage.
Over medium high heat, preferably in a giant cast iron, melt butter and saute onions. Add white pepper and nutmeg, and saute until onions are almost translucent.
Add squash, mushrooms and turnips to the pan and after mixing them in well, cover and turn heat down to medium low. Check on the mix and give it a stir periodically until the vegetables are becoming soft and the onions are almost browning. Add sage, salt and black pepper.
Meanwhile, in a large glass brownie pan, lay out your chicken thighs with even amounts of space between them.
Stir the cubed potatoes into the other vegetables, and cover the chicken legs with the veggie mix.
Cover the pan with tin foil and bake one hour, or until chicken, when poked with a knife, gives clear juices and does not bleed. Remove tin foil and finish under the broiler until the skin is golden brown and a tad crispy.