Tag Archives: Aging Gracefully

Aging Gracefully

Aging Gracefully:
Noticing and Choosing What You Want As You Grow Older

men

A few months ago, I did a panel, and follow-up interview with Prevention Magazine (a magazine which I love, by the way) on aging gracefully. How funny to find myself being a voice for that…

On the panel, as others talked about diet, exercise and how to look young, I found myself getting emotional as I thought about my grandfather, Nana, who had just passed away. I realized, while sitting on the stage, that aging gracefully for me meant living with dignity, being of service, and cherishing the relationships in my life. Continue reading

What Makes a Great Relationship?

cute penguin couple - exploredIt seems that everywhere I go, every conversation I choose to engage in, the relationship issue shows up as the central theme. If I thought monogamy was a hot topic, it seems relationships are a crackling wildfire. Generally, the feedback I’ve been getting, is that good relationships are few and far between. And, the longer people have been together, the more challenging it appears it is to stay together. How very sad to me.

I recently told someone (a somewhat disheartened woman in a 30-year marriage whose spouse’s hip pain had put out his fire), that I was finally ready to be in a great relationship. She smiled and said she admired my optimism, but our conversation made me quickly realize that I’d be wise to take off my rose-colored glasses and take stock of what’s going on out in the real world. If a good relationship is almost impossible, a great one, although an admirable pursuit, may not be attainable. I’m determined to keep hope alive though.

I admit I’ve been on my own, relationship-less, for many years. My principal relationship has been with myself for all those years. The obvious reason was for my own physical healing (most thought I would not be here to even tell my story). I was so far down that frankly, the only way was up. It was, even more importantly, about my personal spiritual growth.

I’m trusting this concept of personal spiritual growth isn’t big news to anyone anymore. It is part of our human challenge and condition. Anyone who ever watched Oprah might agree that she offered a great service by bringing these kinds of topics to the everyday consciousness. I believe it is an ongoing conversation that needs to happen for our human species to keep evolving. I’m sure this means different things to different people, but I don’t think we can easily ignore it anymore.

My personal belief is that all of us are here to experience and learn through relationships. These opportunities come to us all the time. With parents, children, friends, business associates and even the casual stranger we meet and connect with. Every interaction with another, offers us a chance to be in relationship.

No man is an island.” John Donne.

For me, I’m most curious about the one on one personal and intimate relationship. I remember many years ago reading Gary Zukav define the concept of a “spiritual partnership”. In his incredible 1989 book Seat of the Soul, he says, “A spiritual partnership is a partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth.” I know this is what I want, but wonder where do I find the other who is ready for the same thing?

Zukav goes on to brilliantly explain his four “c’s” or guidelines for a spiritual partnership. Briefly, the guidelines are: commitment, courage, compassion and conscious communication and action. It is well worth reading their full explanations here. I learned much from his wise words and know these are what I see as keys to putting the “great” in a relationship.

I’ve actually heard that people make “lists” of the things they are looking for in their ideal partner and stick by that list until they’ve ticked off all the boxes. This seems like somewhat of a futile exercise to me. Personally I’m more about another person’s energy, than a list of must-haves.

I’ve also discovered many people say they are ready for a relationship, but in actuality may not be ready. I smiled when I got a recent Hugh MacLeod Gaping Void daily email. Subject line: Forever. Graphic and Message: It took forever before I was ready… to find you. The piece went on to say:

And as we all know, Mr. or Mrs. Right isn’t just floating out there in the ether like some abstract, platonic ideal. You too have to be ready. You don’t get the person of your dreams ’till you’re ready to be the person of their dreams first. The giving precedes the getting, always. It simply has to.

We do all know this, right? Thank you Hugh!

I’ve been asking for interesting, intelligent, creative, and spiritual men to come into my life, and I admit a few have bravely shown up lately. Age doesn’t seem to matter as much anymore. Not to me anyways. I know that in our youth-obsessed culture, if there is to be depth and meaning, it has to be about something more than just the external, the physical.

I was shocked to read that 96 per cent of all adults say they would change something about their appearance if they could. This is one of the factors that led philosopher Jonathan Zap to say,

Suffering associated with body image has reached such epidemic proportions in our culture that it must be counted as one of the greatest spiritual plagues ever to be visited upon mankind.

My recent observations would lead me to agree. A culture that has lost it’s ability to age gracefully, looking for the fountain of youth, hoping to find it using fillers, injections, implants, surgeries and more. It’s not even that hard to tell who is keeping it real anymore. Somehow, it is no longer okay to get older and look it too. This isn’t only a women’s issue, as men are playing catch up in this arena as well. There are lots of statistics, if one cares to check out who’s doing what to themselves in the name of staying young. Perhaps I might need to explore this more fully in another piece.

In regards to the every changing way we do relationships, it is sad to see that current statistics show 50 per cent of all marriages end in divorce. But, the actual statistical breakdown I found, shows even more startling results. The range of results indicates that divorce rates might be anywhere from 50 per cent of first marriages, 67 per cent of second, and 74 per cent of third, depending on the source. The odds seem to clearly be stacked against the possibility of successful marriage.

Enough to make me re-examine how a future relationship might look to me. As one of my men friends recently said to me, “Marriage is a contract two people try to make work.” And I tend to agree. Sometimes for all the wrong reasons if the statistics are correct, and with very discouraging results.

Many years ago Bob Dylan said, “The times they are a changin’.” And they are. Many of the institutions we have clung to for so long, including the traditional concept of marriage, are changing. And quickly. I feel grateful that I’m at a place in my life where I have total freedom and can take responsibility for every relationship I choose to be in.

I admit I’m still the little girl who believes in happily ever after, but I’m aware how that must start with happiness from within instead of looking for something out there to “complete me.”

If I can take anything from the brilliance of Marianne Williamson’s lecture “Relationships and Spiritual Adulthood”, it relates to this one line: “It is our job to affirm a person.” She explains, “It’s not our job to change a person. It is our job to celebrate a person. It’s not our job to imprison a person. It is our job to free a person.”

I see a bright and hope filled future in this. The more I do my own spiritual work, I can only draw closer those who are doing theirs as well. Somehow in my own seeking, I continue to trust I will be found.

We all deserve to be seen and loved for who we are, not a media ideal we will never attain. It is our individual responsibility to continue to explore and reveal who we are both as individuals and as a species. This will be the key to attracting the other who themselves is doing the very same work. As the Beatles said, “All you need is love.” Sound too simple? We all deserve to give and receive love. In many ways I believe it is that simple if we allow it to be.

So, let me ask you, what have you found makes a good relationship? Okay, dare I take this up a notch… What makes a great relationship?

Please visit me at:  www.beverleygolden.com

 

Originally published November 2011

30 Days Of Healthy Indulgences: Ginger and Curry Leaf Rasam By Vikas Khanna

From November 15 through December 14, Intentblog is launching its first-ever 30 Days of Healthy Indulgences, where every day for 30 days we are inviting bloggers from all over the health and wellness space to contribute their favorite healthy indulgent recipe in time for the holiday season. Today’s featured recipe and blog is from renowned chef Vikas Khanna.

By Vikas Khanna

It’s the moment of truth in one’s life: you see something so profound that it leaves a permanent impression on your mind. For me it was everyday food rituals.

I learned to cook at my Biji – my grandmother’s side. It takes many years to understand the intricacies of the spices used in Indian cooking. The interlacing of the whole and ground spices requires a good deal of practice to get just right.

Spices are virtually indispensable in culinary art. Spices tease our senses with their enticing aromas, colors and their distinctive flavors, and have been the catalysts of some of the greatest adventures in human history, over which fortunes were made, nations discovered, and fates met.

The history and culture of Indian spices is probably as old as civilization itself and is an integral part of Indian Cuisine, which relies on varied use of spices, herbs, and seasonings to create unique tastes and aromas. 

Biji and I ground fresh spices for our every meal at home. That is a practice that I carry with me till today. At my restaurant Junoon, we have a “spice room” where spices are ground fresh every morning. This is one my favorite places at the restaurant. Generally my day begins here (weighting, grinding, creating mixtures).

There are a few things that I always follow while buying spices. I usually rely on the smell of the spices -Pungent smell indicates freshness, if they smell musty, then most likely the spices have been in storage for a while.

Also, buying smaller quantities each time ensures that I have fresh stock at all times. Spices lose flavor fast once ground, so I prefer buying spices whole and then I grind them only when and as much as I need.

The health benefits of spices are universally known. The extensive use of spices in Indian food, not only adds flavoring, but also makes for healthy eating. Spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic, green chilies have always been associated with medicinal and healing properties

Ginger and Curry Leaf Rasam

(Recipe from “Flavors First: An Indian Chef’s Culinary Journey” by Vikas Khanna)

Rasam is an immensely popular soup of South India and a must in every household. The word “Rasam”, in Tamil language, means essence, or juice and by extension has come to mean a particular type of soup that includes the tartness of tamarind or tomatoes. The ingredients used in a Rasam vary but it is basically a light, spicy soup.

Red Lentils have a tendency to cook quickly and are rich in protein, fiber and anti-oxidants.  Turmeric has been used for hundreds of years in India as a major ingredient for cooking and in Ayurveda. My grandmother used to boil it with milk and give it to us when we were kids before sleeping. A small paste was applied when we would cut ourselves and also considered auspicious in ceremonies.

The spiciness can be adjusted to your taste. At times I add vegetables to make this soup a complete meal.

Serves 4

1/2 cup dry red lentils

4 cups water

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

10 fresh curry leaves

2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

Pinch of asafetida

One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, skinned and finely chopped

1 medium tomato, finely chopped

2 1/4 cups water

1 (12-ounce) can coconut milk

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Wash the lentils until the water runs clear. Add them to the water along with the turmeric and salt and cook over medium-high heat until the lentils are tender, about half an hour, skimming frequently with a spoon.

In a heavy-bottom pot, heat the oil and add the curry leaves, stirring until very fragrant, about a minute. Remove 4 leaves and reserve for the garnish. To the oil, add the mustard seeds, asafetida, ginger and tomato and cook until the tomato begins to dry, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved lentils, water, coconut milk, tamarind, and black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for another 3 minutes.

Season it with salt and serve hot, garnished with the fried curry leaves.

Vikas Khanna is an award winning, Michelin Starred Indian chef, restaurateur, food writer, filmmaker, humanitarian and the host of the TV Show MasterChef India. He is based in New York City. To learn more about Vikas Khanna, visit his website www.vkhanna.com

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