While too many people refuse to find time to just take a deep breath and relax in the midst of this very chaotic time of year, Mitch and I took time out yesterday to do just that. After my morning class, we headed up to Delray to take a stroll through the beautiful and VERY relaxing Morikami Gardens. For anyone in the South Florida area, this is a must do! We spent almost 2 hours walking through the gardens, taking lots of SIT breaks on the unique (no two are the same) benches and flat rocks along the path that are there to encourage visitors to do just that – SIT. The museum on the property is not only fun (as we learn a lot about life in Japan) but also provides a great education about how one farmer,”George” Morikami followed another from Japan, Jo Sakai, to South Florida and started an entire settlement. As you travel through the gardens there are opportunities to see some very auspicious Koi fish living in harmony with huge turtles and a massive iguana that seemed to not even know ANYONE else existed, in his/her peaceful spot just beside the lake. There is also a bamboo garden that “sings” as the wind blows through. In many spots you can hear the waterfall that will greet you in all it’s glory as you get to the end of the path. One spot, designated a meditation area, you are reminded to “see with your ears and hear with your eyes,” a line that I hope to always remember. Once we reached the waterfalls we were compelled to JUST be. Man made, it is built so that it is in some places forceful and loud while in other places it is calm and quiet…a lot like life, itself. After we spent enough time drowning ourselves in peace, we walked through the gift shop, which NEVER disappoints. We found great gifts for friends, making our peaceful outing, productive as well!
After we were all “doped up” with calm, we braved it and headed to “The Boys” for some very reasonably priced fresh food. The experience is definitely the YANG to the YIN that the gardens offered, but it was well worth it as we spent $50.00 and filled our fridge (and bellies) with some great food and drink finds. This market (which has everything from fresh fruits and veggies to already prepared foods, insane baked goods, meats and seafood, tons of coffee beans, some vegan items (I was able to find Tofutti cream cheese, right in the cream cheese section which always makes me happy) fresh squeezed juices and even an area designated as “Candy Land.” Loaded up with all our goodies we came home to throw veggies on the grill to eat with our salad and I even indulged in the onion board bread we bought despite it listing eggs in the ingredients. This bread, at $1.29 for the board, was delish and a nice compliment to the meal. Once in a while, as I vie from the entirely vegan items, I remind myself that I am not allergic to the food item and once in a while it won’t kill me, mentally or physically. This is also my thinking when I eat pizza, which I have decided is the SINGLE food that is non-vegan and still calls me from time to time. I have definitely come to terms with this, though sometimes a vegan pizza is just as satisfying!
Thanks to today’s Sun-Sentinel for a great article about meditation, “the art and practice of being present for your life.” While some of us may not have a Morikami Garden to retreat to in stressful times, we all have the same ability to quiet our minds. As the Vietnamese meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh said so profoundly, “Happiness is available. Please help yourself to it.” I’ll be back tomorrow with more about meditation and how we can steal single moments of quiet and achieve great benefits. Until then, take a long, slow, deep breath and exhale it all out. Then enjoy your Sunday and carry a little slice of peace in your back pocket.