“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” - Emerson.
On Monday of this week, my doctor told me I had abnormal test results. She also told me I need to come in for another procedure. Not much other information was given. Nor did I ask many questions. She was in a hurry. We hung up the phone. My emotions rally as if assembling in a mass meeting.
So, I am going for a second opinion and consultation with another doctor. We’ll see.
Again, “what lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” - Emerson.
In a situation such as the medical one I found myself in this week, my mind comes up with all of the things that could be wrong with me quicker than greyhounds out of a starting gate. Then, my emotions dovetail on my thoughts until soon enough they are leading me; and, I have myself in a grave within six months. No kidding. The whole process doesn’t take long. I can pull it off within 1 – 2 minutes. Why in the world don’t I think of everything that is right at that juncture in time? I do not know. I can, however, think of much that is right when I remind myself to and when I train myself to. It takes management.
Daily Management of the Mind. That is how I’ve come to think of it and what I call it.
Just as we might train our body to run a marathon, we can train our minds. We are able to learn how to calm the fluctuations of the mind. Many of the same concepts apply in training the mind as training for a marathon. It takes consistency and discipline. It takes mindfulness and awareness.
How does one begin? Spend time for a few moments daily being quiet in whatever form feels natural to you. There is one caveat. Tune out information and sound input to the extent that it is possible. In other words, set the book down and turn off the laptop, TV, and radio. In the long run this practice equips us to deal with everyday stresses. It fine tunes the life skills we all need and put into practice everyday. It leads us to contentment internally, rather than leading us away to find it externally.
Meditation, or sitting quietly, also aids us in recognizing that thoughts, feelings and emotions change with the moment. If you’d like, you can watch your thoughts and emotions moving through your mind while sitting quietly, by observing them as if you were the witness. In turn, detachment is created and learned giving you something else to put in your arsenal for managing your life.
Meanwhile, I’ve been playing around with various vegetarian dishes. One of my favorites is a combination of beans and tomatoes with a poached egg on top. The technique for poached egg dishes like this is to create a flavorful bed of ingredients that have already been cooked or sautéed on which the eggs rest. In the same ovenproof skillet that the tomatoes and beans are cooked, the eggs are poached in the oven until the yolks are slightly set.
Poached Eggs with Tomatoes and Cannelini Beans Serves 2 -4
loosely adapted from Bon Appétit
*Cook’s Notes: If you do not have an ovenproof skillet, simply make the tomato and bean mixture in a skillet on the stove. Transfer the ingredients to a lightly oiled baking dish and proceed adding cheese and eggs on top of the bean and tomato mixture. I served the eggs with saltines and chopped tomatoes.
1/2 medium yellow or sweet onion, diced
2 t. jarred, minced garlic or 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
2 t. paprika
1 t. cumin
1 15 oz can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can petite cut diced tomatoes or any stewed tomato of your choice
1/4 - 1/3 of a small log of goat cheese , a good 1″ thick slab, or more to taste
2 – 3 T. fresh parsley, roughly chopped, optional
salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 425°.
- In a medium size *ovenproof skillet warm 2 – 3 T. of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté increasing the heat if necessary 10 minutes or until the veg begins to soften and turn a translucent color.
- Add garlic, lowering heat if necessary so as not to burn. Stir 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant.
- Add beans and diced tomatoes, paprika, cumin, black pepper, salt to taste, bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
- Crumble goat cheese over cooked ingredients, add parsley if using, crack 4 eggs on top. Salt and pepper the eggs. Bake at 425° for 7 – 9 minutes until eggs are set. Serve hot. Yield 2 – 4 servings.