Feelings: A Survivor’s Tale

Recipe: Bonzai Spelt Pilaf

A mentor of mine always says to “lean to into your learning” and I always feel like this wisdom can also be applied to our feelings: “breathe into your feelings.” Whatever is there, the breath will take you into a deeper, richer experience – it will take you to a place of surrender, to the flow of your feelings, and ultimately, to your learning.

I like to think of the experience of our feelings much the like sediment at the bottom of a river: Rapids can stir it up and sometimes we have to allow ourselves to be swirled about. Once we move through the rough current (Breathe deep!), our feelings start to settle; clarity arrives, and we can once again see our way to the surface and make sense of what just happened to us. But we have to trust we will be okay (aka SURVIVE!), be present, and breathe our way through.

Now, a little piece of advice from a survivor of a recent emotional pummeling: to be clear, this “feeling our feelings” business is certainly not an enjoyable process. Satisfying and triumphant at the end, yes. Enjoyable? That’s a stretch– I hated every grueling and unpleasant moment of it! But hating the experience was also part of the experience; I gave myself permission to hate feeling my feelings. I acknowledged that I hated it, then proceeded to hate every second! It’s when we resist our experiences that we get caught up in the snags and start creating side stories about what’s going on – instead of just having a really uncomfortable feeling, we start to attached a story to it (I’m fat, I ate too much X so I’m a bad person vs. I have a really uncomfortable feeling right now and it really sucks!). If hating your feelings happens to be part of your experience, live it out honestly. Validate it for yourself, and I assure you that you’ll move through it with a lot more grace than you ever knew you had! Whatever way you find to be present for yourself and your emotions, breathe through. It won’t last forever. It will pass. Go spend time with the discomfort: breathe into your feelings and you will survive!

Unfortunately, not all of us live to tell a survivor’s tale….poor almonds….


But this recipe? A hit! This is comfort food at its best! I cannot take credit for this recipe, but I can take credit for devouring eating it and loving every bite! It’s a hearty nourishing dish that uses whole spelt berries cooked at a very low temperature for an hour or so; it turns out as more of a pilaf or risotto with so much flavour! Plus, what’s not to love about spelt berries. They are high in protein, they can hold their own in a pot (they don’t become mush like barley or rice) and they have a lovely chewy texture. Hmmmm hmmmm.

Bonzai Spelt Pilaf

1 cup spelt, rinsed (and pre-soaked in 2 cups of water for a few hours if possible)
3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2/3 cup water (more if needed)
1 small zuchini, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 can black beans
1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil

Rinse spelt and add to a large pot. Heat olive oil over medium heat and brown spelt with onions, garlic and spices. Add beans and zucchini, cook and stir. Add water and tomatoes, stir, cover and simmer for 1 hour on low heat. Stir periodically and add more water if it looks dry. Bonzai!


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