Why does the word soul evoke a kind of ‘huh’ reaction? At least it does for me. I feel like soul is  overused in religion so that it’s become a piece of imaginary plastic that we all know we have. Rather than a continuous life force.

I’ve been thinking about energy a lot. That energy and soul are very connected. I used to think that the measure of a soul was all the good deeds versus the bad deeds that you’ve done. But that can’t be all of it.

Louise Hay says that the most precious resource that we have is our breath. As I write this I know that I’m forgetting to breathe as I sweat out my existential ideas. And yet through breathing I’m connecting to my soul, my life force.

So why have I been thinking about my soul? Because the energy in Joburg and all around the world for that matter has been down, down, down. From getting smses about a missing 9-year-old boy (was he found?) to violent strikes beyond my Northern suburbs bubble, petrol panics and a general air of uncertainty. It’s enough to put a thousand worried frowns on anyones face and that’s without mentioning the Middle East.

So I had a worried frown this week as I asked an energy worker what to do with all the negativity. She said to breathe. Breathe into myself. Into who I am. And that’s not Sarah the mother, the blogger, the cook who makes muffins without enough sugar  (I forgot to put the sugar – that’s tonight’s cooking disaster). It’s the soul, it’s the light behind my eyes (and I sure hope there’s a lot of light), it’s what I was before I was born. It’s what we all were before any of us were born. We don’t usually think of ourselves this way do we. I, miss searching, miss spiritual, miss meditator (I have been trying to wake up a bit earlier for those bird tweeting moments of solitude – it’s heaven) don’t really manage this inner connected awareness very often.

I’m trying to do it now as I breathe in and out and in and out. Going back to that original life force and my body is flooded with energy. It works. Try it. It also puts everything into perspective. Petty fights, unreasonable expectations, the ego, all that jazz that we become addicted to and think is the end of the world. When we breathe we can reconnect to what’s really important to us. What’s really here with us. What really counts.

The energy and breath we carry with us now is the energy and breath we will carry with us when we die. It’s the energy and breath we leave behind. Scarily enough it’s the energy we breathe into our children. (How often do I look at the Princes and see myself in their struggles and issues.)

Being with my energy is quiet work, it’s small work, it’s work that no one else sees. (Although I’m a bit sorry that you have to all read about it.) And that’s very comforting, because it’s not about how big or small my life is, it’s about how connected or disconnected my soul is. And that’s doable work wherever I am. Whatever is happening. It feels like a secret treasure. Which does sound rather romantic, but I think my reading and work is tipping a minor tipping point here of awareness. And I only see how asleep I was when I awaken. And this time next year I’ll look back to now and say ‘Geez was I a zombie’ and so on and so forth… That’s the process of soul seeking. It’s quite fun really.

The nicest thing as a mother is that the more I’m connecting to myself the more I see my children through soul eyes. That is seeing that they are souls, with their journeys. It’s not helping me discipline them more (this is where I shake my head as I think of them doing a wild, crazy dance for their 2-year old cousin on the trampoline today. Their poor teachers.), but there’s a tad bit more awareness. Although realising things doesn’t mean it’s easier. I think it’s harder to see. See my shortcomings more clearly, see the pain in a situation (especially when it’s unnecessary). See how much further there is to go. It’s like learning to swim in a pond and finally getting it and now swimming in a wee lake. I’m still dog paddling.

But as long as I’m having fun.

The other tip by the way for letting go of negative energy is the 92 second rule. (Heaven knows why it’s 92 seconds.) You say, ‘In 92 seconds all energy that’s not mine is leaving me now.’ And breathe in white light and breathe out, in and out. Let all the negativity go.

I thought the tips were helpful. I hope you do too. Sometimes I think I should go back to watching Master Chef because it’s so much lighter. (Not for the person who gets kicked off though.) It’s much easier watching other people’s lives than living our own isn’t it.

Just as an aside. I’m probably delving more soul wise because I’m reading that old classic, Women Who Run With The Wolves as I mentioned in last blog. I’m loving the way she explores women’s psyches and souls and spirits. How they break and how to heal in a healthy, empowered way. It’s heavy, light, wondrous reading. Well worth it. But I must add that it’s confronting.

Anyhow onto a yummier note…. Below is a recipe for Millet Stir Fry. I’ve been cooking more – nobly using my new cookbooks (THANKYOU RONI!). And praise the Lord my Millet Stir Fry worked even though I’ve made millet before and it’s always flopped. So I thought I’d post it. It’s a great alternative to fish and meat – especially with veggie Mondays.

Millet Fried “Rice”

From Heidi Swanson’s ‘Super Natural Cooking’ – It’s a lovely book she also has a healthy food blog with amazing photos!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups millet, picked over and rinsed

4 1/2 cups water (maybe use a bit less mine were a tad bit stodgy)

2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt

1 carrot

2 tablespoons clarified butter (I used coconut oil)

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 eggs beaten

8 ounces firm tofu cut into 1/4-inch dice (I didn’t have any so skipped it)

3/4-inch piece fresh ginger peeled and grated (also didn’t have this so skipped it)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups sliced green onions

1 tablespoon shoyu sauce (no idea what it is skipped it)

Method

Combine the millet, water, and salt into a large saucepan. Bring to boil, then lower the heat to an active, bubbling simmer and cook, covered, until the millet is fluffy and splitting. Test it after 20 or 25 minutes, and once it’s tender but not mushy, drain off any extra water (there shouldn’t be much if any [I had heaps]) and set aside to cool.

To prepare the carrots, use a vegetable peeler to make a pile of long shavings. Then use a chef’s knife to cut into thin matchsticks. (Of course I never did any of that. I just cut into crooked thin as possible, which wasn’t very, slices.) Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the toasted sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. When it is nice and hot, pour in the eggs and swirl the pan to create a thin layer of egg evenly distributed across the pan. Cook this thin omelet for about 45 seconds, or until it sets up. Fold the eggs over on themselves and cook for another 30 seconds or so before transferring them to a plate or cutting board. Let it cool and bit, then slice into strips. (I obviously didn’t follow these very detailed instructions. I just beat the eggs cooked it like an  omelet and cut it into strips.)

Scrape or wipe away remaining egg out of the skillet, return it to medium-high heat, and, without adding any oil, drop tofu into the pan. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes, tossing from time to time. Remove the tofu from the pan, set it aside with the sliced egg, and again, scrape out any bits from the bottom of the skillet. The pan should be clean for the fast-moving succession of steps.

Arrange the remaining ingredients near the stove. Place the skillet over high heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, and let the oil get hot enough that a drop of water will evaporate in a second or two when it hits the pan. Stir the ginger and garlic and cook or about 15 seconds. Stir in the green onions and carrots, giving them a good initial toss and then stirring constantly for another 30 seconds, then fold in the egg. Cook just 30 seconds longer, then taste for seasoning, I like to finish this recipe off with an extra drizzle of toasted sesame oil or a bit of shoyu.

(I didn’t follow most of the recipe to be honest as I outlined. I get a thrill though when I don’t use a lot of the ingredients and it still works out great. So healthy happy eating!!! NB. Millet when cooked tastes a bit bitter but when it’s with all these ingredients it tastes great. I didn’t tell my boys that it was millet to be honest. It’s probably the only reason they ate it.)