The life of a writer is often filled with deadlines and multiple, competing responsibilities. When I think of maintaining both a sense of inner peace and personal ambition the following quote by Lao Tzu comes to mind "By doing nothing one could accomplish everything.'"

As a busy mom, writer and psychotherapist, I rarely have time to "do nothing." As I type this entry after midnight, I have two loads of laundry in progress, a feverish child in my bed, and a desk piled high with work. A part of me thrives on burning the candle at both ends and having multiple projects in the works. However, a larger part of me, simply just wants to be relaxed and enjoy exactly where I am in this moment. For me, inner peace is simply about being in the present and knowing that everything will be okay, regardless of how crazy it seems now.

Meditation is a great way to infuse your day with inner peace. I try to set aside ten minutes each morning to simply sit and breathe. During meditation, I slowly breathe in and out through my nostrils and gently let go of any thoughts or worries. I allow everything to be as it is.

Having thoughts occur during meditation is as natural as breathing. I welcome the thoughts and then quietly let them go as I surrender to silence. At first, I found meditation challenging. I ,too, am ambitious. It was hard for me to sit still and I was eager to get started with the next item on my list. However, after a lot of practice meditation is now my favorite part of the day.

Paradoxically, I find that after this ten minutes of "doing nothing" but meditating, I am most productive. Some of my best ideas and freshest writing come to me after meditation. In a sense, meditation fuels my ambition yet also sustains my sense of inner peace.

In addition to meditation, my crockpot and my blender are two critical components to my writing work. These two inventions are wonderful tools to keep my family fed and fuel my brain for optimal concentration. Here are three of my favorite recipes. Enjoy!

Gingerbread Cookie Smoothie
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 cup of soy milk or skim milk
1 tablespoon organic honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
1 small ripe banana
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash allspicehandful of ice cubes

1. Place all above ingredients in blender. Process on high speed until very smooth. Serve immediately.

Vegetarian Creole- Style “Sausage” with Rice and Beans
Serves 8
1 package Boca meatless vegan sausage (found in frozen aisle of grocery store)
2 fresh organic tomatoes, diced
1 Vidalia onion, diced fine
1 small green pepper, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
4 cups organic vegetable stock
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (or adjust to suit your taste)
1.5 cups uncooked brown long grain rice
2 (15 ounce cans) of dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1. Prepare veggie sausage according to package directions. Slice veggie sausage into bite sized pieces and place in bottom of 4 quart slow cooker.
2. Add tomatoes, Vidalia onion, green pepper and red pepper to slow cooker. Slowly add vegetable stock, brown rice, and Creole seasonings and red beans. Gently stir to combine.

3. Cover and cook on low setting for 5 to 6 hours. Serve and enjoy!

Serenity Smoothie

1 cup skim milk
1 cup nonfat yogurt
1 large banana, frozen
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
4 large strawberries, hulled
1/4 small cantaloupe, diced
2 tablespoons organic honey
1 tablespoon flax seed oil

1. In blender, combine milk, yogurt, banana, blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, flax seed oil and honey.

2. Puree on high speed until thoroughly blended. Serve immediately.

Aileen McCabe-Maucher is the author of the book "The Inner Peace Diet" which was published by Penguin/ Alpha Books and released nationwide on December 2, 2008. She is a licensed clinical social worker/psychotherapist who has helped many people find inner peace and discover their unique life purpose. For more information please visit the site below.


NancyCL said...

Ahhhh....writing tips AND recipes. It can't get much better than that!!! Thanks much Aileen! :-)

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

I'm going to try the smoothie recipes.

Geoff Maritz said...

You are so right about deadlines and responsibilities, they seem to go together, and in the process get in each other's way.
When Jesus was at the house of Mary and Martha, Martha was fussing about all sorts of things, while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus just listening to what he was saying. He turned to Martha and said, "You are fussing too much, Mary is doing better by just sitting and being still." (Paraphrased)
I too like to stay busy, but have found as I've gotten older, that quiet time is very good for one's soul.
Blessings, Geoff.

Heidiwriter said...

Yum! Comfort food! Yes, we all are overcome at times with busy-ness and we need to step back a bit. And good thoughts, Geoff--I agree.

Magdalena Ball said...

Great post Aileen, and like you, I resisted meditation for a long time (even Savasana at the end of a yoga practice was difficult for me), but now I realise that being able to be still is a key to productivity for me (paradoxically perhaps). I love those recipes too - the gingerbread smoothie sounds great - maybe with a spoonful of maca for extra oomph.

Karen Cioffi said...

Aileen, what an interesting post. I try mediation on and off - I really have to do it regularly.

Nancy, I agree - writing advice and recipes - great stuff.

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Anonymous said...

I've tried meditating a few times, but never for my writing. I think I'll give it a try. Thanks!

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