Tuesday, 4 October 2016

A special Day Spent at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey

I did go away for a few days recently, for my   birthday, which  was fab. I was at the monastery  http://throssel.org.uk/gallery/
 deliberately I made sure only a few people knew it was my birthday, so as to avoid a  fuss. There was a young guest in her early 20’s who appeared to  have trouble believing I didn't want anything special or the day to be announced. I had my favourite food on my birthday, probably by chance, which  was Tempeh https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempeh

 in sauce with vegetables. During the day on my birthday I was timing the meditation periods for the lay guests and working  in the kitchen. So it was a special day, and at the same time, it was nothing special.

creamy pea vegetable curry

Some family members (non vegetarian)  visited and I made one of my own recipes for them. It was very well received and I was asked for the recipe.

3 medium brown onions,
2 medium carrots,
4 florets broccoli,
2 cups frozen peas
1 sachet "Pataks" creamed coconut sachets
1 teaspoon garlic powder,
1 teaspoon turmeric powder,
1 teaspoon paprika powder,
1 teaspoon coriander powder,
1 teaspoon garam masala,
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 packet "Oatly" cream
1 teaspoon cornflour and a little water.

Chop the carrots and broccoli and microwave in some water until par- cooked.
Set aside.
Chop the onions. Fry the onions in the vegetable oil until they begin to brown. Add the spices and salt and continue to fry, taking care not to burn it.
Add the par cooked vegetables (drained) and peas and cook for half an  hour on low heat.  Then add the Oatly cream and cook for another half an hour. When all the vegetables are soft add the cornflour-water mixture, waiting until the sauce has thickened.
Next add the coconut sachet and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the coconut has dispersed.

Gardening in small spaces

Today I liked these bean flowers growing in a planter outside the Time Exchange front door, and some sunflowers in a tiny space on Nun's Moor Road.

Marbles, buttons, stainless steel

Since I have last posted, I have had been involved with recycling  and re-homing many objects.
Just one of the many objects was a collection of marbles, which had been sitting around doing nothing for many years, and found a new home with a small girl who likes to play with them.
Also I found a new home for antique pegs, a big tin of buttons, various mid twentieth century stainless steel kitchen objects, and lots of clothes, tea towels and more.
I also was inspired to have a paperwork purge. Most of the paper went straight in the recycling  bin or shredder, some I took a photo of before throwing it away.
These have all gone on to new homes now, where they will actually be appreciated and used.
A while ago I read that when you consider that it actually costs you financially to store unwanted items, because you are providing them with housing, and housing costs, ether rent, mortgage or utility bills, so unwanted items are not helping financially. Most importantly, when other people actually need the items, which I have no use for yet are storing, it makes sense to let them go.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Newburn Riverside

Jeff took these photos at Newburn Riverside where we did a short walk on Monday, very beautiful and peaceful too.

Visiting Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey

Earlier this month I stayed for a few days at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey. If you have been to an introductory retreat there you can request to visit when there are no retreats on, if you wish. The schedule when there isn't a retreat on tends to involve less time in sitting meditation periods and more time on working meditation, and you can discuss with the guest department how much you want to do. There are also more non-silent meals with fellow lay trainees, so its a bit more sociable.
It was very enjoyable. We has a massive thunderstorm with power cut to the whole of the valley, which was quite exciting. I had the opportunity to borrow and wear a much-coveted head torch while working in the kitchen, as there was no power for the lights and the storm had caused dark clouds to block most of the daylight.

What bliss to work
in the monastery

no electricity today
great valley storm
gave us the medieval once again
blessed and dear kitchen monks
provided all we needed
head torch and suitable work
even tea break time as usual

Dogen tells us "The marvelous spiritual ability manifests its enlightened functioning
In our carrying water and our hauling firewood."

Decluttering the Self

Today I cleaned up my noticeboard and took down some things which had been pinned up from earlier in the year. Also stored away in a desk tidy. Its good to keep receipts for a while in case the item is faulty, or if its paid remotely such as parking meters, to make sure there is no query about whether you paid. For people who are not confident about their memory, its also a useful way of remembering when you went to a place or when something happened.
Its also a way of building up your story and constructing a Self.

To do this decluttering method, look around for items you have hung onto for these reasons. Take a photo. Upload the photo to your computer or blog. Then throw the item away, recycle where possible.

What is going on with this term "self?"

Heres Ron Crouch's description:
"As a therapist and a meditation teacher, I live a surreal life. At the office I’m helping people to gain greater self-esteem, more positive self-regard, and encouraging them to see themselves as competent, empowered and strong. But when I teach meditation I strongly encourage people to see that the self is an illusion. On the outside it could seem as if I’m working against myself."

What would life be like if you couldn't recall much of your past? Would it matter or not?

Jeff and I did a trip to the North West in 2014. Definitely time to recycle some parking tickets!

A family member was in hospital in Stockton earlier in the year. We went to visit regularly, and I hoarded the parking tickets. Yes, I confess I am a hoarder. My hoarding tendencies are specific and don't interfere with my life, but hoarding parking tickets, is... Hoarding!

Only one of the parking tickets, just to remind me when this event happened, also a key cut receipt for the relative's home.

Also earlier this year the landlord arranged a quality control visit from the company that does the annual gas safety checks. I had already had a check, but the first one must have missed something on his checks or perhaps a resident had made a complaint! The engineer checked the boiler, took it apart, put it back together, checked the gas flow from the meter, told me that various electrical upgrades should be done by the electrical contractor, and gave me a carbon monoxide detector, which I have never had before. We put it up on the boxing-in near the ceiling.
So, I don't really need the manual, as I will be able to look on the internet as long as I know its name. All I need to know is that at some point in the future the battery will fail and an alarm will then sound, but I will probably have a new one before then.

I am going to put all those things in the recycling bin NOW!