Resilience for Life Newsletter
February 2014
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Opening Yourself to Moments of Grace

Serendipity: a fortunate discovery by accident.

And one of my favorite words.
It comes from a Persian fairy tale called “The Three Princes of Serendip” in which the heroes are always discovering things they’re not seeking.

While serendipity can’t be forced, it can be welcomed in. We just need to be open to such experiences.
Yet sometimes, that can seem a lot to ask. We often have a tendency to shut down, especially during times of stress, sadness, anxiety and other negatives. We may become less able to see, hear and connect with others.
On the blog this month, I look at the moments of grace that can come when we let ourselves be open. I hope that it will inspire you to share some of your own serendipitous experiences in the comments there or via Twitter or Facebook.

What strategies have you have used to transform negatives into opportunities for experiencing your own everyday, ordinary miracles?


New on The Resilience Blog:

Ordinary Miracles: Noticing the Extraordinary in Everyday Experience

Everyone has times of sadness.
Steps on Mori Trail, Pacifica, CAI’ve been extra aware of this lately, seeing several dear friends struggling with challenging, even heartbreaking circumstances – health crises, rocky relationships, financial concerns. I keep reminding myself that as much as we wish to do something, ANYthing to help, sometimes the best thing we can do is simply witness, be steady and available.
Not that it makes things easier.
One recent morning when I woke with a heavy sorrow, I did what I often do when I need clarity: I took myself to the ocean. Being in nature, particularly near water, is a powerful antidote for whatever is ailing me. I find that the vastness of nature puts life in perspective. It’s no panacea, but it helps. A lot.
This particular morning, I went to the Mori Trail –  which offers a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean. It would also turn out to be the site of a wonderful reminder of the heart-healing power of service to others – by intention or by surprise…


One of the most beautiful songs Marvin Hamlisch wrote with Alan and Marilyn Bergman inspired the title for this month's blog. Check out this video of Streisand hitting "Ordinary Miracles" out of the park:

Barbara Streisand
Click image to launch video.


- Jon Kabat-Zinn

Farro Fagioli Minestrone

minstrone soup
2014 is apt to be remembered for furious, extraordinary storms, and winter's not even over yet! At this time of year, what could be better than a delicious, warming recipe to nurture your soul?
This thick vegetarian minestrone is one of my current favorites. Not only is it easy to make and totally delicious, each serving delivers a whopping 14 grams of protein!
Many thanks to Pampered Chef expert Dina Kennedy for letting us share this recipe with you, adapted from the wonderful Pampered Chef® Cookbook: The Vegetarian Table!

Note: I recommend opting for organic ingredients whenever possible. For canned foods, choose those packed in BPA-free containers. You’ll find a good list of brand options here.

A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, minced
5 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium stalks celery, peeled and diced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, minced
4 c. kale, chopped
6 c. vegetable stock
2 c. water
2 cans (14.5 oz.) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 c. uncooked farro
1 can (14.5 oz.) no-salt-added kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Soak the minced rosemary in the olive oil for at least 4 hours before cooking. If you love garlic, as I do, add one crushed clove of garlic, as well.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the rosemary oil in a stockpot over medium heat until shimmering (1 to 3 minutes). Add carrots, onion, garlic and thyme. Cook until the onion is translucent (1 to 2 minutes).  
  3. Add kale, stock, water, tomatoes and farro. Cook until simmering (5 to 6 minutes). Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook for 25 minutes or until the farro is tender. Add the beans, sugar, salt and pepper.
  4. Ladle into bowls. Top with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with the remaining rosemary-garlic olive oil.

Yields 6 servings (2 c. each)
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