Friday Four No.12

 

Each Friday, I share “Four Things For Friday” that are a collection of things I’ve seen, heard, or experienced during the week. Thoughtfully chosen, and intended to spark your curiosity, imagination, or inspiration. HAPPY EXPLORING!

 
 

What human connection did I experience?

Human Spirit. I was inspired by an 11 year old boy this week. While traveling with my Mum on the crowded subway in New York, we were standing shoulder to shoulder as we flew through the tunnels on our journey. In front of us sat a Mum and her son. She noticed my Mum standing in front of her and she leaned across to her son and asked if he would give up his seat so my Mum could sit down. The young boy smiled, nodded and jumped to his feet without hesitation. What a kind act for an 11 year old to do I thought! One kind and gentle human growing up in compassion and kindness. As I observed this scene all unfold, three things stood out for me:

  1. His Mum spoke so kindly to her son in asking if he would give up his seat. She didn’t tell him what to do, she gave him a choice, and allowed him to decide.

  2. The young boy responded kindly without hesitation, grumble, eye-roll, or shrugging. At some point along the way he had learned how to be thoughtful towards others and act with consideration. It’s a lesson I’m reminded of so much in this city, often consideration for others is a forgotten art and here was this young boy showing us how to do it.

  3. The connection this Mum and son had was just so genuine, kind, and compassionate, and together they were making a difference in their own way - and possibly without even realizing - to other people around them.

I felt that beautiful glow of a feeling when you are restored by the act of another human towards another. Kindness and compassion goes a long way, and is noticeable.

Be kind, because you never know who is watching.

 
 
 
The French Quarter. Charleston, SC.

Which garden did I visit?

The Met Cloisters. I’m English, gardens are in my genes, and I know a good one when I see it. I also know being in nature creates rest and rejuvenation. So given the choice I’ll happily wander a garden, be inspired, rejuvenated and reconnect back to my roots.

This week I was able to spend time at The Cloisters, located right at the top of Manhattan, sandwiched between Inwood and Fort George. It’s a calming and beautiful spot, a haven in the city, yet away from the city. Carted off to Europe by a subway ride, no jet lag, no travel delays, and voila within a short distance you’re in a magnificent space and a million miles away.

 
 
 
My garden. Ah, I wish! I imagine it as my garden though, and I appreciate the NYBG and all their care they put in to bring this to life.

What lesson did NYC TEACH me?

The power of old and new. I have long been a fan of contemporary and modern styles, more so than traditional styles. However, I appreciate contrasts and there are so many of them to be experienced in New York.

The work going on to modernize Penn Station combined with the new development of Hudson Yards is one I’ve been watching since 2012 when it first began. This week I noticed how striking the old and new combinations are, and how complementary they are to each other. They are wildly different, but somehow together they just work.

This is true of working together isn’t it? We can be wildly different from each other, yet there are gifts and talents we all bring to the table. The trick is working out what those are talents are, focusing on them, and giving each other space to be who we are. Imagine the team working on Penn Station were trying to make it look modern so it would fit in with Hudson Yards, or the Hudson Yards team trying to make their constructions look old - it would be chaos and ultimately be unsuccessful for many reasons. This week bought a lesson through architecture - focus on strengths, not weaknesses, build on your strengths, be who you are, and stand tall.

 
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What did I make this week?

Chocolate brownies - With a difference. They were gluten and egg-free and made with celery pulp, and they were delicious!

I’m not a baker by any stretch, but the opportunity to do a spot of baking I’ll always enjoy, especially if I get to do it with my Mum.

Over the years I have become more and more aware of what I put in my body makes a huge difference to how I feel, look, and actually even experience life. A lot of food in the U.S. seems to be harvested, processed, manufactured and brought to market in ways that my body doesn’t always love. When I can, I choose to go natural, eat organic, and eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible. When I do indulge in a burger, and yes I do love a good burger, my body can cope and in the meantime I’ve been finding a way through the maze of food derivatives, substitutes, sugars, fillers and processed foods.

I love a good treat, and I’m always on the look out for delicious treats with ingredients that I know respond well in my body. This week was my first experience of making celery pulp brownies. Thanks to Mum I had a great guide, and we used this recipe (a once-fellow New Yorker, thank you!). I drink celery juice every morning and my Hurom slow juicer spits out lots of pulp, which usually goes in the bin (in a parallel life it’d go to the house rabbit but that’s not today). This week the pulp went into the brownies! We switched up the recipe a bit, skipped the eggs and used chia seeds + hot water, and instead of coconut flour (because I didn’t have any) we used half arrowroot and half green banana flour. Top treats resulted! Definitely a keeper, easy to make, delicious to eat, and freezable as well - the antidote to eating them all in one sitting. Let me know how they turn out if you give them a go.