If I could describe summer 2020 in a word, I’d choose “steadiness”. Staying healthy in the pandemic required staying put which meant my yoga mat and meditation cushion and I spent a lot of time together. Indoors. Socially-distanced. But still, we logged hours!
So far the word for summer 2021 is “stamina”. In the past two months, I flew home to Oregon, got married to the man of my dreams in my homeland, traveled with him to Maui to teach English online, and kept up the Freelance Dance – a delicate, yet volatile blend of calendar choreography required to sustain multiple sources of income throughout the year. A lot of life is happening and unsurprisingly, my yoga and meditation practices are shorter and less frequent.
This summer has been anything but languid – more like laborious, but also lovely.
I know I’m spending less time on yoga and meditation this summer because the Health app on my iPhone tells me: “You’re averaging fewer mindful minutes this year (16 mins/day) than you did last year (19 mins/day)”. Here are some stats:
2020: I spent 5-6 days a week practicing and teaching virtual-living-room yoga on Zoom and masked in-person studio yoga classes (masks optional, but these were the pre-vaccine days so I wore one and felt like Navy Seal exertion-under-oxygen-deprivation training) in Memphis.
2021: I spend 2-3 days a week practicing and teaching virtual-living-room yoga on Zoom and breezy oceanfront yoga (masks required only for entry and exit from your mat) in Maui.
In summary: This represents an approximate 20 percent decrease in meditation and a 50 percent reduction in yoga asana practice. Would like to be practicing more? Yes, but also I’m enjoying living a stint in Hawai’i and earning a higher income from a five-week contract position. It’s about balance, y’all.
I’d love to say that after practicing mindfulness consistently for 12 years I’ve reached a state of equanimity and I’m no longer disturbed by the ebb and flow that is inherent in being a human and having a schedule (bwahaha!) but that’s not the case. While it’s true that yoga and meditation have helped me shorten the interval from freak-out to acceptance, I still spend an inordinate amount of time protesting and preferring things to be other than how they are. It’s embarrassing and annoying. Writing about it helps me be aware of my tendencies so thanks for being so interested in my process. Are you also amused to observe yourself move through an adult temper tantrum when things don’t go your way? Please tell me I’m not the only one.
Exploring the nuance of life is always better with friends and this summer I’ve been so lucky to spend time with my dear friend Kimmy who lives here on Maui. She and I are back on our yoga mats and rekindling our mid-class giggle fits, as well as going on snorkel trips with our boys. My favorite memories of this summer include finding two octopi holding hands (legs?) together underwater, spending time on the lanai and at the surf truck with her and her partner Michaela, and enjoying some good chats on South Maui’s gorgeous beaches and sunsets together.
Gazpacho – Spanish Summer Soup Recipe
Okay, taking a hard right from island life to back to what you were promised in the title: gazpacho! Because this summer has been so busy, I’m craving healthy meals that are cheap, can be prepared fast, without using heat, and feature seasonal produce. Enter gazpacho.
My husband (it’s still so fun to use his new title!) is Spanish and first introduced me to this cold summer soup when we went to Spain to visit his family in Leon. Actually, I think I had salmorejo, which is a bit thicker and made with bread. In her book Cooking in Spain, Janet Mendel tells the story of how she learned how to make gazpacho in Andalucia by grinding the ingredients between two rocks at a riverbank, saying the locals insisted that day-old bread must be part of the equation. Lauren Aloise at Spanish Sabores offers a more modern approach with a blender and includes croutons in her ingredient list, plus several variations such as watermelon mint gazpacho which makes me glad there are still so many summer days left to give this a try!
Since neither my husband (!!!) nor I like bread in our gazpacho, I leave it out although I think bread makes a fantastic accompaniment to this recipe. Depending on the going rates of fresh produce where you live, this meal costs anywhere from $5-10 dollars to make. It easily serves 4-6 people and requires 10 minutes of chopping and blending plus an hour to chill. It’s refreshing, vegan, and oh-so-easy to make with a blender.
What are you waiting for?
Gazpacho - Spanish Summer Soup
- cutting board
- earplugs (optional)
- chilled glass or mug (for serving)
- 4-6 ripe tomatoes
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- ½ cup water
- 1 green pepper (anaheim, bell or whatever you have on hand)
- 1 clove garlic (remove the green center for a more mild flavor)
- ½ or whole cucumber
- salt (to taste)
- Chop tomatoes, green pepper, cucumber, and garlic into large chunks. Place chunks into blender.
- Add EVOO and water to the blender. Put your earplugs in (optional, but highly recommended) and put the lid on the blender.
- Blend on high speed until the gazpacho is pureed to a smooth consistency.
- Taste the gazpacho, add salt to taste, blend again; repeat until savoriness is achieved.
- Store gazpacho in the fridge for at least one hour. Serve cold in a chilled glass or mug and enjoy!
Stay cool, healthy, and spend time with your people my lovelies.