Compassion can be as therapeutic, warming, and satisfying to the soul as a steaming, generous bowl of Harvest Stew is for the body, and just as necessary for one's best health and well being.
There are times when I look around at the state of things, at the way we behave toward one another, at the way we treat each other, at the unkindness, the jealousy, the hurt, the vengeance, the lack of care, and outright harm that we perpetrate upon one another, and I struggle to feel compassion.
Not an easy thing to admit, frankly, but it's true.
On a daily basis there is so much disharmony to be witnessed, and so very many little jabs that get thrown around that are disguised as jokes or silliness, purportedly innocuous things, that are anything but, and we're playing a dangerous game with each other that will only lead to disconnect and a loss of a genuinely loving, caring feeling towards one another.
And that's a tough place to recover from.
Life is full of all kinds of things: full of all kinds of people, full of all kinds of experiences, full of all kinds of opportunities, full of all kinds of choices.
And what I've been experiencing lately is the realization that a choice that I have to make, personally, is whether I will choose to find compassion within my own heart, drawn from my Creator when I cannot muster it on my own, or if I will choose to allow resentment, bitterness, lack of sympathy, and a lack of joy to infiltrate my being-ness, and become like a cancer that invades and kills off the healthy and living cells, those beautiful and wonderful cells of “love” that long to live abundantly, eternally, within me.
And I'm opting for compassion, and to be filled to the brim with its benefits.
Compassion is not something that magically appears. It is something that one must consciously ask for, and long to experience, not only in one's own life, upon one's own being, but as an outward expression towards another.
Compassion is that softness, that mercy, that genuineness that flows from within a soul that is at peace and truly full of joy, and it nourishes and sustains, first and foremost, the carrier and giver of that compassion, and also the one on the receiving end of it, even though they may never even be aware they are a “receiver”.
Being able to receive and carry in one's being-ness compassion for an otherwise seemingly compassionless world is to feel satisfied and full on the inside, regardless of what is happening on the outside of one's self.
Compassion satisfies a hunger, a longing, the way a Harvest Stew deeply and intensely fulfills and quells a physical hunger, the body's hunger; it speaks to the soul's hunger to not allow things to stay in the dysfunctional state that they're in, but to find that spark of care, of love, of desire, of want of beauty, of understanding, even if for all intents and purposes, that spark seems buried beneath a dark surface.
I speak from experience when I say that when compassion fills my soul, it sustains me unlike anything else; it is a starting point, a beginning, from which I can develop a further understanding, peace, and quiet calmness amidst the chaos that seemingly surrounds and often wounds.
Compassion is a divinely delicious bite to partake of, an exquisitely powerful and delectable morsel to place upon the tongue and to swallow down deep into one's very center.
There, it spreads and multiplies, bolsters and heals, like an amazing homemade, rustic stew that feeds the tired, hungry, and often wounded and lost traveler in all of us; that traveler that simply longs to find their home in the soft place of love, once again.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Harvest Stew with Smoked Sausage
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 6
• Canola or olive oil
• 1 (12 ounce) package of beef smoked sausage, sliced into circles
• 1 onion, diced
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• ¼ paprika
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• Pinch salt
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 2 medium-large carrots, peeled and diced
• 2 medium-large parsnips, peeled and diced
• 2 ribs celery, diced
• 6 baby yellow potatoes, cubed (skin on)
• ½ pound (8 ounces) diced butternut squash
• 6 cups chicken stock
• 1 cup chopped kale
• 1 tablepsoons chopped parsley
-Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of oil; one hot, add in the sliced sausage in a single layer, and allow it caramelize and brown on that first side (a few minutes), then stir and allow it to further caramelize for about another 2 minutes.
-Add in the onion, and stir to combine; saute together with sausage for about 3-4 minutes, until lightly golden; add in the Italian seasoning, paprika, black pepper, and pinch of salt, plus the garlic, and stir to combine.
-Next, add in the carrots, parsnips, celery, potatoes, and butternut squash, and stir to combine with the sausage and onion mixture; next, add in the chicken stock, and bring to the boil.
-Reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow the stew to simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes (it can bubble, but don't have it simmering too, too vigorously).
-Turn off the heat, and check to see if any additional salt/pepper is needed; add in the kale and the chopped parsley, and stir to combine, allowing the kale to wilt into the soup for a few minutes before serving; serve with good quality bread.