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Before the first night of Hanukkah, my true love (a.k.a. citisven) gave to me, a lifetime subscription to Daily Kos...

And he did this because I shared my goal and intention to write and blog a whole lot more in the year ahead, and what better way to encourage me to do so was with this: one of the most original non-material, creativity-inducing, community-creating gifts around. What a perfect non-thingie thing for someone who helps people liberate physical and mental spaces in their lives so they can focus on the things in life that matter most to them.

So I begin here, on the winter solstice, my first post on Daily Kos. A girl can get a head start on her new year's resolution, right?

I'm sitting at the kitchen table absorbing whatever rays of reflected or direct sunlight are finding their way through the east- and south-facing windows on this, the shortest day of the year. I'm also absorbing the heat emanating from the oven as a kabocha squash browns in preparation for it's entry into today's menu. The cherry tomato plant out my back door (below) is also working the light, this despite overnight temperatures in the 40s and the fact that it's December 21.

On days like today, when I'm not seeing any clients, I like to maximize the work-from-home opportunities to do one of my favorite things: cook.

"What!?" you may be thinking, "You've got time to cook while you're supposed to be using your office time to balance the books, take care of billing matters, and work on outreach?" I do because I make the time. In order to feel grounded, inspired, and fulfilled, I literally need to feed the creative impulses as they arise. Without this, it's impossible for me to be fully present for myself, my partner, my family, my friends, or even my clients.

There are those days when eating a quick home-tossed or restaurant-bought meal between appointments is the only way I know, so when work from home time presents itself, I make food as creative meditation a priority. I always see it coming: it begins with a day that has nary a pencil mark nor commitment attached to it. If needed, I scheme and hunt and gather pertinent ingredients if they were not included in the biweekly box of righteous organic veggies from my favorite farm.

Sometimes the preparation starts the night before (soaking beans for a soup or stew), but on a day like today, it begins first thing in the morning. There's something special about filling the house with periodic installments of yummy smells and house- and belly-warming goodness. The morning light inspires me and it often causes me to reach for a camera.

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(Granted, the photo on the lower right made my partner reach for my camera. We had to document the enormous escarole that came into our lives a couple of veggie boxes ago!)

Remember, it's important to step away from the computer every 20-30 minutes, to stand up and stretch. So, I stretch my proverbial cooking muscles in the kitchen, often with a big sharp knife in my hand. Chop, mix, marinate. Chop, mix, roast. Chop, mix, simmer. Breaking the job down into little tasks or installments makes it less overwhelming. I'm not on my feet too long, nor am I sitting on my desk stool for too long. It's my homegrown recipe for balanced multitasking. Over the course of several hours, a meal is ready, pertinent tasks have been crossed off my list, and the day feels that much more complete.

The sun is shifting quickly, so it's time to head to the office on the other end of the house where I can enjoy the afternoon light. When the sun goes down, I'll be sharing the warmth of a homemade meal with my sweetie as we chat about longer days ahead.

Happy solstice!

Originally posted to liberated spaces on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 04:51 PM PST.

Also republished by J Town.

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