I made a commitment to be sweet to myself in the new year. I’ve done this in the past for the benefit of others…try to be nicer, try to be kinder, try to be more patient. And I chastised myself each time I failed. Do better! I’ve been sitting with this idea of self kindness for several weeks now. I’ve been a fan of ascetic practices for a few years that comes from my spiritual traditions, and so it’s easy to be strict with oneself when following a “dieta” or ascetic practice. Most people reading this I’m sure are familiar with what it is to be strict with oneself.
And so a few weeks ago, I was buying honey for Stephanie which she uses to sweeten her cocoa that she makes from scratch every night. She just dumps the honey right in there and it’s super delicious (milk of choice, three tablespoons organic cocoa powder, honey and cinnamon and I like cayenne pepper. simmer all together until just before boil stirring constantly). And, up until recently, I had been avoiding sugar (and all sweeteners) and wheat, but I really like honey. So I was at the store buying honey and right underneath was Manuka Honey, which looked expensive but maybe even all the more attractive. So I bought a little tub of this butter thick sticky brown Manuka Honey. I swear, it buzzes in my mouth and throat when I eat it. I could feel something happening, and so I did a little research, and low and behold, it turns out that there are a lot of really good health reasons to eat some Manuka Honey. (My favorite is Manukora Raw Manuka Honey)
And the best way to do that is from a spoon. And so a couple weeks ago, I started to have a spoon full of Manuka Honey every morning and every evening. At first I would justify this on account of a health benefit. I heard it myself. Standing in the kitchen with a spoon full of honey talking about how it kills bacteria that feeds on sugar and that’s why I’m eating the honey. The same with a massage. I don’t get a massage just because it feels good. I do it for the therapeutic benefit and I have to have a lot of pain to really deserve it!
As I continued my practice, I came across an article about self compassion, and how difficult it is for us to practice kindness to ourselves. I resonated with the concept that we can be to strict with ourselves. And so my relationship with the Manuka Honey started to shift, or maybe to become more honest. Another friend had suggested that maybe I didn’t need to be that afraid of my shadow. Its ok for me to eat a spoon full of Manuka Honey just because it feels good.
Now my practice has developed into a fun ritual. It’s a three minute Manuka Honey meditation. To do it, take a generous teaspoon of Manuka Honey. The way I like to do it is to put the spoon in my mouth and pull off a thin layer as I draw the spoon out. But the key is to breath slowly and consciously as you enjoy the experience of having the honey in your mouth and swallowing it. I believe that it is good for the microbial community in my mouth, so I try to spread it about in my mouth. However you like, make the experience last for three minutes, and enjoy slow relaxed breathing.
As you do this, “unmoor your consciousness” which is to just let go of your mind. Keep your attention on the experience of the honey in your mouth and let the warmth and energy of it radiate out through your head and down your spine and through your body. Imagine the warm energy of the sun on the millions of flowers, and the energy of the bees that made the honey, concentrated energy…bee food from magic flowers… feel that energy radiate throughout your body, and feel the sun in your heart. Now in this moment there is nothing but eating the honey, and for that moment, everything else is ok.
I do this now every morning and every evening. It’s my Manuka Minute (or three) and it’s the best New Years resolution I’ve ever had!