The holidays are always such an interesting time of year – family, togetherness, gratitude. And yet as I grow older there seems to exist a slight darkness to the season, not just evident by the long and chilly nights. As families and friends gather together to “be merry” and indulge in the sweetness of this time of year, I’m also finding that it’s been an important time for some much-needed reflection.
The end of a year is always a noted time to look back and set new intentions.With the symbolic forthcoming of a whole new year, we’re suddenly wracking our brains for things we need to improve upon. Fitter. Healthier. Happier. More productive. etc. etc. But we must always remember to meet ourselves where we are. Wherever we are on our respected personal and spiritual journeys – even if we may not be where we want to be – we must always remember that we are continuous works in progress. Yes – I have goals in mind but I’m aware that you don’t need a new year to start them.
As 2015 comes to a close I’m focusing more on some necessary solitude than anything else — some alone time to ponder what exactly I want to create with my life. And solitude I will be getting whether I like it or not– as I embark on an intense healing journey over the next couple of weeks. After over 18 months of constant pain due to hip labrum tears, it’s been decided that I will be undergoing surgery at the beginning of January… not exactly my ideal way of starting the new year but I know it’s for my own good. The universe has been telling me to slow down, really and truly tap into myself. But I’ve let my own inner spirit fall to the wayside sometimes, as I have been transfixed in the world around me and not the world within me for quit some time. This injury has been an eye-opening journey – one that has shown me just how damaged my spirit has been in a relentless pursuit for physical perfection and an exhausted mind. Excruciatingly painful – yes. But as hard for me as this is to admit I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the pain, despite wanting more than anything for it just go away. My pain has given my strength in ways I didn’t know were possible and it has allowed me to begin to accept the darkness that has existed within me. I’ve been incredibly blessed over the last year or so – a time that’s been filled with adventure, transformation and questioning. But it’s time to take a step back, slow down. And with six weeks on crutches ahead, now I really won’t have a choice in the matter, will I?
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid… I’m frightened. I fear the pain, being stranded in my hometown for so long. I fear boredom. I fear I’ll drive myself crazy, spiraling down a tailspin of TV marathons and restlessness. I fear not being able to move for such an extended period of time. But that’s just my mind going stir crazy and I know that this is what my soul needs – and I’m grateful for the rejuvenation process that’s to come. I have every intention of healing myself with an abundance of fresh food, soups, superfoods and self-care. I feel a shift coming– one that may not necessarily be easy but one that will be so very worth it in the end as I seek to raise my vibrational frequency with some much needed TLC. And I hope you can feel one too.
May the conclusion of 2015 be as luminous as that Christmas full moon, a rarity that hadn’t occurred since 1977. May that light symbolically carry on to a new year of growth, transformation and enchantment. Between all the festive celebrations, may we reflect and release. Welcome more kindness and spirit in our lives. Be gentle with ourselves and also others. Dig a little deeper into our own majestic hearts and souls. Because life is far too precious to be anything but graciously enamored with it.
This Raw Cacao Gingerbread Pie was a hit with my family this Christmas – even my younger brother was shocked by its richness and full-bodied flavor. A crust of warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves is paired with a decadently-rich cacao filling. Heart healthy fats and an abundance of flavor that won’t leave you crashing on the couch post-sugar high.
Merry everything. Peace and be well, kids.
Raw Cacao Gingerbread Pie:
For the crust:
- 1 cup nuts (I used a combination of pumpkin seeds, walnuts and almond pulp leftover from making milk)
- 1 cup dates, soaked for at least 2 hours
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 heaping tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tbsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- dash of himalayan salt
- Pulse the nuts in a food processor till they form a powder. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Next process the dates, molasses and maple syrup till they form a thick, syrupy consistency.
- Add the mixture to the mixing bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix until well combined.
- Press the crust into a pie or cake tin. Let chill in the freezer while you make the filling.
For the cacao filling:
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1/4-1/2 cup raw honey, depending on how sweet you like it
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup (optional)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 tbsp. vanilla
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy.
- Pour over the crust and let sit in the fridge or freezer for at least two hours.