Extra

February 29, 2020

E. Edward Grey: You’re really over-qualified for the job. You’d be bored to death.

Lee Holloway: I want to be bored.

~ From Secretary (2002)

 

The line above is from the movie Secretary, a sweet, quirky love story from 2002, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader. That particular piece of dialogue came to my mind recently, in reaction to current events. Never before has the phrase “I want to be bored” so resonated with me as it does now. I long for the return of days when multiple news stories worthy of exclamation points weren’t breaking on the hour.

The Earth takes 365.24 days per year to travel around our Sun. Leap day is added to most years divisible by 4 in order to keep all other years at 365 days per. If this adjustment weren’t made, our calendar would slowly gain an extra 3 days every 400 years, eventually shifting the timing of the seasons.

The leap part of the name, refers to how adding an extra day causes the calendar to “leap” over one day. Christmas 2019 fell on a Wednesday; in 2020 it will fall on a Friday, “leaping” over Thursday, due to the addition of the extra day of February 29th. Using the modern colloquial sense, the times we are currently living in could also be described as “extra”.

As a yoga therapist who teaches mindfulness meditation, I am well-versed in the benefits of choosing to live in the now. Currently, however, staying presently-focused has become a necessity. When chaos and conflict seem to be the norm, any illusion of control over anything but the present moment evaporates. Sorting out past and future “what ifs” is a futile exercise. Instead, I’ve decided to sort out my closets, drawers and cupboards. An early spring cleaning is a positive action for change that one can begin immediately, no matter what is happening in the world at large.

With the exception of objects holding irreplaceable sentimental value, a system I’m currently using to reduce clutter is to choose one of three options: give it away, throw it away or put it to use.

If freeing up the space in your house (car? inbox?) to free up the space in your mind resonates with you as well, be sure not to overwhelm yourself by attempting to do it all at once. Start by choosing three things per day that come into your line of sight, or pull one box from your closet or garage per week and ruthlessly reduce or eliminate its contents.  You may instead decide to scroll back and look at ten old items from your inbox each day to either print or delete.

Don’t let the enormity of the job keep you catatonic and resistant. Use whatever method is easiest and works for you. Figure out an action you can say yes to now, and begin. Little by little, progress will reveal itself. Say goodbye to the old chaos, so a new calm has room to come.

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Basil isn’t just for savory dishes. Fresh Basil Sparkler is a not-too-sweet alcohol-free beverage that makes for a unique aperitif or refreshing palette cleanser between courses.

Fresh Basil Sparkler
A simple basil syrup, made from fresh leaves, forms the base of this lovely and refreshing beverage. Add fresh orange juice for an alternate flavor (both recipes below). Be sure to use basil free of pesticides.

Fresh Basil Syrup

1 cup fresh basil leaves (packed)*
1 cup organic sugar
1 cup water

*Note: before measuring, gently wash basil, then spin or pat dry. Tear leaves in half. Pack as many leaves as you can into a measuring cup.

To make the syrup:
In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the basil. Let mixture cool completely (about an hour). When syrup is cooled, strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing firmly on the leaves with the back of a spoon in order to extract all of the syrup and basil flavor.

Store syrup in fridge up to one month.

Makes 10 ounces of syrup (enough for about 7 to 10 beverages)

Fresh Basil Sparkler
Basil Syrup
Ice cubes (if desired)
Sparkling water
Lemon slices, orange slices, and/or reserved basil leaves, for garnish

In a 16oz glass, add 1.5 ounces of Fresh Basil Syrup. Add ice cubes, if desired, and top with sparkling water. Stir to combine. Garnish with a lemon or orange slice and/or a sprig of fresh basil. Enjoy!

Fresh Orange and Basil Sparkler
In a 16oz glass, begin with 1 ounce of the Fresh Basil Syrup. Add 1/2 cup of freshly-squeezed orange juice (about one orange). Stir to combine. Add ice cubes to halfway up the glass and top with sparkling water. Garnish with an orange slice and/or a sprig of fresh basil. Enjoy!

 

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