where’s the compromise?

The art of compromise can be difficult, especially if we don’t realize that a compromise is needed. Sometimes, though, awareness  that an accommodation or middle ground is necessary can be a touchstone for a day’s meditation.  It can provide an external reference point.  How so? With the recognition that compromise would be a healthy move in a given situation, a framework of adjustment is established.  In other words, a knowledge that hmmm… my way of thinking about this issue may not be the only way to think about it… gives us an opportunity to treat other situations differently than we typically might.  Which, in turn, can be used throughout any given day to experience a different perspective.  

 

 imgp4754

Here’s an example:

My husband and I use natural flea and tick repellents on our dogs and in our home.  Fleas are not an easy thing to deter in South Florida.  Natural remedies involve a lot of vacuuming, washing towels and bedcovers, and using essential oils to deter the little critters. I could go on, but I’ll spare you.   Yet, the fleas still come.  My response? I get stuck in the “I must get rid of these fleas using only natural products because it is the healthiest thing to do for both human and animal” mindset.  This can go on for (ahem) months.  Stuck.  I get stuck.

One night around 2:00 a.m. when our labradoodle was itching loudly waking up both Scott and I, my husband asked me, “Kelly, where’s the compromise?”  There was no emotion in his voice.  Just a simple question.  

img_0327

It was an adjustment.  A re-boot.  An external reference point.  My mind immediately developed another frame of reference.  I’ve carried this new frame of reference with me over the past several weeks.  It has become a touchstone.  I began to look for, around, and under those compromises because I don’t want to be stuck.  Or, if I am going to be stuck, I want to recognize it.  Thus far, I’ve learned two things:

1) The greatest compromise may lie within ourselves.  And, 

2) If a lot of emotion is involved in a situation in which middle ground is trying to be reached, a personal agenda may be lurking in the background.  

The first lesson, accepting what is, is an internal job.  Isn’t a big part of compromising a willingness to allow something to be a way other then what it currently is or that we think it should be?  So, maybe inherent in taking the middle road is adjustment and acceptance.  The acceptance within ourselves that we haven’t failed or done something wrong if we think something should be a certain way. Yet, it just isn’t.  I haven’t failed if, try as I might, the natural flea remedies aren’t doing the job.  Adjustment.  Frame of reference.  I live in South Florida. The uber-flea capital of the world.  (Yeah, there is emotion in that exaggerated sentence.)  Silly as it may seem (it does to me, anyway) to use fleas as an example, I think this can be extrapolated to many areas in our lives. I know it can in my life.

The second thing I’ve learned is that I should first examine my reasons for considering (or not considering) a compromise in any situation in life. If strong emotions are involved or attached to the situation, I may be operating from a personal agenda. If I am operating from a personal agenda, emotion may be driving my response rather than reason or facts.  

In other words, maybe taking the middle road is comprised of both compromise and acceptance.  A compromise between parties or situations and an acceptance between parties and within the individual.  Compromise can bring us back to an external reference point, a touchstone, and an opportunity to see things from a different perspective.  

 

the sweetness of allowing

Do you have a situation(s) in your life you’d like to change? The past several months have found me wrestling and wrangling with circumstances in my life I wanted to learn how to approach differently.  I simply couldn’t find a way to do it, until recently.  About a week ago, I came up with an idea I thought may help.  I would try to be with these situations differently; and, I would try to allow them.

My first attempts in handling these aspects of my life were to work on changing my reactions to them.  While not altogether a bad idea, I wasn’t making any headway.  It became a battle.  Perhaps I developed an expectation that I had to alter my responses. I don’t know.  But, I subscribe to Aristotle’s theory “we are what we repeatedly do.”  So, my thinking was if I could modify my responses to these circumstances, I’d step off of the circular mental train track I was on.  Even though I would find myself back on the same track at times, once I had the opportunity to get off the track, I was pretty confident I could do it more and more often.  Yet, something about it wasn’t a fit for me with these situations.

One morning while doing household tasks, I had a feeling. Not a thought, but a feeling that I could be with these aspects of my life differently.  I could allow them.  I could allow them to be as they are.  In doing so, my presence around each circumstance changed.  (If that makes sense.) With this change, I was afforded the opportunity of approaching the situations with less emotion. In turn, equipping myself to more readily allow them.

I can’t emphasize enough the significance around my changed presence in each situation.  For me, that seemed to be a key.  Not for solving a problem or fixing it, but for being with it.

Possibly this led to a change in reaction as well?  I don’t think it did.  My reactions, although softened, are about the same.  But in modifying my presence around each circumstance, I’ve been granted space.  Breathing room.

Approaching and allowing the situations rather than changing my reactions reminds me of the difference between a Meyer lemon and a regular lemon. While both are lemons, the Meyer lemon is sweeter and less acidic than a standard lemon.  It has less bite.  Less zing. In like manner, I noticed less bite and zing when approaching each situation and allowing it.

Most likely, we could all use a little less bite and zing in our lives.  Maybe by changing our presence around a difficult situation, a little more sweetness can emerge out of the most challenging areas of our lives.  I hope so.  And, for the record, I think it can.  Scratch that.  I know it can.
photo1
 
 
How about a dinner idea for a substantial vegan meal? Chunks of roasted butternut squash combined with coconut milk soaked quinoa and garbanzo beans brightened with wilted baby spinach leaves.  This is a good meal to use the proportions of vegetable, grain (although quinoa is technically a seed, any whole grain could be substituted), and bean you enjoy.  The following is a blueprint to follow.
photo
 
Here’s how I did it:
 
  • I medium butternut squash, cubed and *roasted at 350 degrees until softened and lightly browned, about 35 – 40 minutes
  • 1 c. or so white or red quinoa, or combo, cooked, set aside
  • 1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, set aside
  • 1/2 med. yellow or sweet onion, diced, sautéed in large skillet with coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil and large pinch salt
  • 2 t. curry powder
  • 1 t. each, turmeric and coriander
  • 1/2 c. or so full fat or lite coconut milk
  • 2 – 3 c. baby spinach, rinsed and drained
  • salt to taste
  1. Once squash and quinoa are prepared and the onion has softened, add beans and spices to the skillet.  Bloom the spices by allowing them to heat while stirring constantly, about 1- 2 minutes.
  2. Add the coconut milk and the spinach, stir to combine, put the lid on and steam the spinach over medium heat to medium low heat until it wilts, about 3 – 5 minutes.
  3. After the spinach is wilted, stir in the amounts of quinoa and squash you’d prefer.  Adjust with more coconut milk if necessary.  Salt to taste.  Warm through and serve.

Cook’s Notes:  Many cooks prefer full-fat coconut milk for the flavor and texture.  Although I do use it, sometimes it tends to be a bit too heavy for me.  I found in this recipe the light coconut milk lends enough of a subtle coconut flavor so the full-fat is not needed.  It is purely preference.

Roasted Squash:  Remove the tough outer skin of the squash by halving the squash.  Then, with two shorter pieces to work with, slice off the bulb of each piece where it narrows resulting in a stable cutting surface.  Next, cut straight down the side of the squash with your hand on the top of the vegetable stabilizing it.  Scrape out the seeds as necessary.  Cut the vegetable into bite-size cubes.  On a large baking sheet, toss the squash with salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil.  Spread into an even layer.  Roast at 350 degrees for 35- 40 minutes until the squash is soft and barely beginning to brown.