It all starts with an idea. A wild, buoyant, sparkly idea that dances into view and captivates my imagination. Dreamer that I am, I gravitate towards the motion, the light, the possibility. I picture the idea bearing fruit, imagine myself dancing along with juice dribbling down my chin…And just like that, I’m off!! No time to think or analyze. I initiate with haste, trusting myself to think on my feet, the taste of success propelling me toward the reward. I thrive on possibility.
As preparations turn to actions, there is a moment at the top of an inhale where I pause. A tiny question mark arises. Other outcomes take shape in my mind and what-ifs unconsciously surface. Before I can stop, I am reconsidering everything, testing each assumption and calculating the risks. I miss a beat and my breathing becomes shallow. My pure intention is obscured by the pleasure of a successful outcome and fear of any other result.
In this case, that moment came when I was tinkering with a recipe for Mothers’ Day. The situation was a choice between a safe and confortable version with ingredients I’d rather avoid, or an experimental, risky one using foods that made me excited. Naturally, the excitement got the best of me and I begun to plan my rather unorthodox muffins.
Thoughts of inventing a never-before-baked vegan treat and feasting on them innocently, all while achieving genius status with my mom and my audience began to bud and blossom until I firmly told myself I would never become familiar with baking substitutions unless I started swapping. Yes, I knew there was a probability of failure, but the chance of success was enough to motivate me, and my appetite for glory was already whet.
When I walk this path in life with an open heart and mind, I allow myself to receive a steady stream of love and wisdom from my teachers, friends and family, and my attitudes and actions shift accordingly. In the last 9 months, I have watched myself stand up straighter, smile brighter, laugh louder, work smarter, be more present with others and believe in myself more than I ever thought possible.
In many ways, I am still the girl who set an intention to meet herself and her yoga practice on a deeper level almost 2 years ago, and many of my hangups remain unchanged. I notice I still sometimes lose my focus when I allow myself to regard others with envy. I am still terrified of being regarded as stupid. I am no less averse to effort and afraid of failure.
I am, however, less likely to get swept up by those moments of self-doubt and back down on myself. I am more likely to accept that I cannot control the outcome; I can only control my willingness to submit to it and to enjoy the experience as it plays out.
Just as a yogi returns to the breath to help her through a challenging moment on the mat, knowing that it will pass and she will reconnect with the same steadiness that she felt in a moment of ease, I return to my assuredness that I am capable of self-actualization. At my core, I know I can achieve anything I want, if I am willing to work for it. It’s possible to breeze past clouds of uncertainty and keep my chin up, knowing that in the pursuit of my goals, I will find happiness, regardless of the outcome.
My muffins did not turn out. They did not bake up to the airy, crumbly treat most pastry munchers would expect. They are dense, sticky and decidedly unsexy. But they did in the sense that I relished making them, I love what they are and I enjoyed eating one every morning this week. The process was enjoyable, and therefore the outcome was joy. Whether I created a genius muffin was beside the point. The experience was perfect to me.
I share the recipe with you anyway. I tweaked it in ways that should improve the consistency, while remaining true to my intentions. Be inspired to take a leap of faith and play with it, or take it as it is. It’s a recipe for a karmavore. To my mind, preparing and consuming food is an act of service and devotion to the body and, in turn, the soul, an act intended to nourish the self without necessarily feeding the ego or pleasuring the senses (although deriving sensory pleasure from food is definitely crucial!). If you tend to agree, then you might just love them. Or if, like me, spending time in your kitchen is a form of meditation, you should definitely make them. They don’t take long.
It’s incredibly hard to overcome our habits; they are part of who we are. But the truth is, our habits are not who we are. Each of us is whole, pure, and unchanging. Our experiences form our habits. It’s only by identifying with these habits that we become their prisoners.
I find myself breaking free of habit more often since I began studying yoga, because by peeling back the layers of conditioning that obscure my true self, my practice creates space for me to look at my instincts objectively, and recognize that they are not “me”. In those moments, the true self shines through, and I let myself be guided into the light of the spirit.
Rhubarb Rose Muffins
adapted from Vegetarian Ventures
4 stalks rhubarb, diced and roasted with a sprinkling of coconut sugar
1/2 cup oat flour
1 1/2 cup rye flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup lemon-ginger-cardamom-applesauce (see below)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp rosewater
1 tsp vanilla extract
for the streusel
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup pistachios
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt
For the applesauce (Makes 4 cups)
Heat 5 medium apples (diced) the zest and juice of 2 lemons, one 3-inch piece of ginger (grated) and 1 tsp cardamom in a large pot over medium heat. Cook until most of the lumps are gone. Cool and set aside 1 cup.
Prehead oven to 375. Spread the diced rhubarb over a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Sprinkle with coconut sugar to taste and roast for 20-25 minutes or until soft. While the rhubarb is roasting, combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar to curdle for 10 minutes or so.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients including the milk, and mix wet into dry until just combined. Then fold in the roasted rhubarb. Lower the oven temp to 350.
In a blender or food processor, pulse the streusel ingredients until you achieve a coarse crumble. Line 12 muffin wells with paper and evenly divide the muffin batter into them. Spoon streusel over the top and bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted poker comes out clean. Let cool before attempting to unwrap. Enjoy with an open heart.