Summer is not only my favorite time because of the heat and the long days but also because so many fruits, vegetables, and spices are in bloom. One of my absolute favorites is lavender because of its texture, aroma, and color. There are fields of it growing nearby where we live, and visiting them on summer days right before the sun comes up or just before it sets is one of the most magical sights I have witnessed. Summer temperatures have been skyrocketing lately and due to ozone concentration in the air, it is unsafe to be outside during the peak hours of the day (from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm). On the other hand, I don’t feel as sorry for not spending more time outside, but instead using it to share with you one of my favorite summer refreshment recipes inspired by lavender.
It is called the lavender lemonade.
You will need the following:
- three handfuls of lavender flowers
- one pound of sugar (I use coconut sugar)
- one-quarter of a gallon of water (I use spring water as it is as fresh and natural as water can get)
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Add the sugar and let it dissolve.
- Once cooled to room temperature, add the lavender flowers.
- Let it steep overnight.
- Then, take the flowers out.
- Strain the liquid into a separate container.
You now have a lavender syrup ready. Mix it with more water and freshly squeezed lemon juice. I like the surprise factor when it magically turns its color to pink. I love the color and even more so the taste.
Lavender can be used in numerous other culinary delights, such as teas, lavender-spiced coffees, ice cream and baked goods. It also adds sweetness to any berry jams. Just sprinkle dried flowers to any of the prior-mentioned treats.
Lavender is not just useful in the kitchen but can be furthermore great for scenting linens with its subtle yet sweet aroma. What I like to do with it is turning it into a handmade lavender oil, if not stem distilled. It usually resembles more of an infusion which is simply more reduced than an essential oil but therefore
Compassion is a subtle act of kindness and love expression to those around us. It is an emotional feeling that is glorified in all religions, social settings, and communities. People who show compassion are revered, respected, and regarded highly in any society around the world. In the Dalai Lama’s own words, he stated: “Whether one believes in a religion or not and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who does not appreciate kindness and compassion.”
Whether you smile at people as a show of appreciation or just accepting your mistakes and forgiving yourself, it is an act of compassion. It is a feeling that springs deep down in our hearts, with love, and each one of us is born with it. It has no attachment to an external object, and it is pure by nature. It cannot be solicited and, therefore, making one feel bad so that we may forgive them is not an act of compassion rather than that of greed, selfishness, and of a twisted mind.
Meditation can bring out the best in people in all circumstances. It can awaken the subconscious brain, which holds the keys to our happiness and emotional balance. These may, in turn, activate the hidden true self, which is filled with compassion, love, and kindness. Being hard on ourselves is counterproductive, yet we always do it. It, however, should never be the case and we should strive to liberate ourselves from the patterns of thoughts we have developed over the years that prevents us from being who we are meant to be: compassionate beings.
Meditation For Compassion
We need to make sure that we are, first and foremost, compassionate towards ourselves. We can never give others what we don’t have ourselves. Each day we must strive to always accept ourselves by not being so hard on ourselves. We should also remove all distressing factors in our lives, ensure that we give room for other people and their opinions and always perform small kinds of kindness. It will go a long way in developing our meditation routine for compassion.
Steps For Compassion Meditation
- Select a comfortable place to practice. A quiet environment with no distractions should be the starting point for this type of meditation.
- Focus on those faced with misfortune. Visualize the people who you are more likely to feel compassionate about. Make your visualization as vivid as possible for best results.
- Fill your minds with happy thoughts of them overcoming their sorrows. Visualize them as they recover from their stressful to a more healthy life in the present and the future.
- The next step is we need to practice mindfulness and gentle awareness of compassion. Let that feeling fill your body as you go deeper into meditation.
- Let go of any distractions that come along during meditation and continue observing proper posture and breathing techniques as you go deeper and deeper into a meditative state.
It is important to note that any meditation can follow the above steps. It is because the focus is placed on the visualization process and connection with your emotional inner-self.
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