I used to work for a not-for-profit organization that developed social emotional learning curricula for schools. Schools bought the program through a federal grant program. They were doing really well. Then there was an election. The new president had different priorities. There was also some accounting problems within the organization. To make a long story short, it was announced one day that one-third of the employees would be laid off and that people would be notified in two weeks.

This was an extremely stressful two weeks in late spring. I dealt with this by toiling in my flower garden daily, labeling nearly of my plants with markers. I must have put out hundreds of markers.

Sounds a little batty, huh? It was actually quite meditative. I hadn’t started formally meditating yet but looking back, that is what I was doing. I was a bit of a mess during that time and as it turns out, I was one of the people laid off, but without my garden work, I think it would have been even worse.

As I’ve mentioned, my dad has been quite ill. My mom is care taking around the clock. I know that they both very much appreciate the support they are getting from my brothers, their spouses, and from myself, not to mention from their neighbors.

My mom told me recently that she was worried that the support I was giving to them was too much for me. I told her, “I’m not going to lie and tell you that I don’t feel it but you and Dad are top priority. I want to help you. I am glad to help you.”

I have days when I am sad. But that is understandable. My dad is suffering. To love deeply means that there is pain when a loved one is hurting. This is a hard but normal part of life.

Self-care is also a top priority. I re-arranged my life six years ago to make room for that and I am very assertive about protecting that space. I meditate, I walk, I do art, and I make Indian food.

Cooking has long been a passion and a meditative activity for me as long as I am not feeling in a rush. I discovered an Indian cook book for my electric pressure cooker. The recipes are delicious. I love Indian food and had not previously made it. It is also well-suited to my dietary restrictions as long as I skip the breads.

My freezer is full of delicious curries, all vacuum-sealed into dinner-sized portions. I started out doing this as a way to help my brother and sister-in-law because my sister-in-law was having foot surgery. I told them that I would make them dinners. So I did. Then I gave them more. Now my freezer is full and theirs is, too. My husband says that our freezer looks like a library. It’s full of stacks of  labeled bags. I also keep my fridge stocked with home-made Greek (strained) yogurt.

Making curries, dals, and biryanis is meditative and delicious.  It is also a blessing to give to others. If my dad could eat spicy food with moderate fat, I would give some to my parents, too.

Curries can be healing to make and to eat.

I wish you a day full of peace, love, and flavor.