What is your intention today?
That is the question that my yoga instructor asks of her students at the beginning of every class. In other words, what is your aim or objective for the next 75 minutes? A little self-love? Compassion? Forgiveness?
My intention in my very first warm Hatha class was to make it through the class without passing out. Me + intense heat + exercise does not typically yield the best results. But after a few classes, my body adjusted to the temperature and I learned when to push a little harder and when to hold back. My energy has shifted to other intentions, such as focusing on my breath and deepening each pose. Definite self-love. I cannot begin to describe the powerful flow of positive energy that runs through me during a yoga class. I rock warrior pose. I balance through tree pose. I relish relaxation in savasana pose.
Have you ever tried setting an intention for your day? Do you make a conscious plan about how and where you will direct your energy in a given moment? It’s more challenging than it seems. Certainly harder in real life than in yoga class.
Not long ago, I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The main character, a shepherd boy named Santiago has a recurring dream about a treasure and travels to the pyramids of Egypt to find it. Along his journey, Santiago meets an old king who teaches him about discovering his personal legend – what he desires to accomplish in his life. The most important piece of wisdom that the king bestows upon Santiago is that “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” If you’ve never read The Alchemist, you should. I found it to be totally inspiring. Do I believe in the aforementioned “motto” of the book? No, not particularly. If it is true, then the universe has most certainly failed me on several occasions. However, I do believe that setting an intention is the first step to realizing your dreams and goals.
So…what is my intention today? At this point, I’m keeping it simple. My intention, each day, is to be happy. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of reasons to be happy. I have a wonderful family, amazing friends, an education, and a great job. And I do fun things. Often. But this is a crazy world that we live in. Have you noticed? War, famine, murder, natural disasters, untimely deaths. And fortunately for me, I live in one of the safest countries in the world. Much less crazytown than others.
But my point is, on some days, it’s not as easy to just feel happy. Despite this, my intention is to focus on the positive aspects of my life, rather than focus on the negative. I am going to be good to myself and to others. I am going to laugh more. Put positive energy out into the universe and it will come back to you…right? Someone get me a copy of The Secret.
My intention for these cookies was even simpler: stuffing them in my face. And sharing them of course. Because nothing makes me the same kind of happy as the smiling faces of people as they eat something delicious. And these are kind cookies. Kind to animals. Kind to the Earth. And kind to your body. Just ask Alicia Silverstone. Her book, The Kind Diet, is spectacular. Check it out if you have the chance.
*I made two variations of this cookie. In my first batch, I used whole wheat flour and molasses. The molasses are part of the original recipe. In the second batch, I used all-purpose flour, left out the molasses, and added in a pinch of nutmeg instead. Each batch had a very distinct but delicious flavor. The molasses batch had a bit more chew to them, but even a tablespoon of the stuff makes the flavor quite pronounced. The non-molasses batch really showcased the flavor of the dried cherries and walnuts, which I loved. However, I adored both cookies and will be making both variations again and again.
Kindness Cookies, aka. Vegan Oatmeal, Cherry, and Walnut Cookies (adapted from The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone)
1 cup large flake oats
3/4 cup whole wheat (or all-purpose) flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 TBSP. molasses (or a pinch of nutmeg)
1/4 cup dried cherries (cut in half)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried coconut
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the maple syrup, oil, vanilla, molasses (if using) and spices. Finally, add in the cherries, walnuts, and coconut. Use your hands to shape the dough into balls (golf ball size) and then slightly flatten with your fingertips. Bake for about 10 minutes, until just golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Each batch made 14 cookies for me. Don’t forget to stuff them in your face.