Discover more from Leonor’s Substack
November Moga Newsletter
Happy November, Friends! I can hear the faint pitter patter of rain outside my slider door as I write this newsletter to you all. It’s a cloudy and damp end-of-October Monday, and I can’t believe the year is almost over. While October is one of my favorite months of the year, I appreciate November because it always ushers in a time for reflection and gratitude. Not only because it’s the month of Thanksgiving, but because the year is almost over and I just can’t believe (year after year) how time is flying by. I mean, I have an 18 year old for goodness sakes!
The sun now sets at 5:41pm, and soon we’ll be setting back our clocks. It’s gonna get dark. Like really dark. Even though the thought of the long, dark nights of this season freak me out a little, I find that the darkness encourages me to be in search of a little more light. Literally. At this point in the year, I begin to collect my beeswax candles and start my nightly tradition of lighting candles once the sun sets. I scatter tea-lights throughout the first floor, throw on some cozy wool socks, and curl up on my couch with a cup of tea and a good book. Speaking of good books…
In Katherine May’s book, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, she says, “We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.” As we prepare for “stick season”—as they say in Vermont—I cannot help but draw parallels to our own lives. We, too, experience different seasons of life. These fluctuations are an inevitable part of the human experience. Just as the leaves fall from the trees, we also undergo periods of shedding—letting go of what is no longer needed or has served its purpose in our lives and extending gratitude for the growth these experiences have rooted deep within us.
November, with its cooling temperatures and darker nights, is a month that invites us to reflect upon the passing year. This month, as we gather for Thanksgiving, let us express gratitude for the blessings we have received so far but also for the wisdom gained in letting go. Just as nature cycles through renewal, so do we restore and regenerate, enriched by our life's changing seasons and the wisdom and insight that accompanies them.
Love Letters From Nature
I often walk to work, which happens to be one of my favorite things to do. Back when I left teaching and found myself at a crossroads, I remember saying aloud to a dear friend (I truly believe in the power of voicing our wishes to the universe!) that I wished to find a job that allowed me to stay within the realm of education and that was close enough to home that I could walk to it. At the time, I thought such a dream was only reserved for city life. Yet here I am, often walking to work with my coffee in hand and my well-loved backpack slung over my shoulders.
Most mornings, I set out early, and while I encounter the usual rush hour traffic along my route, I'm also treated to the stillness of farmland and woods nestled among the houses. There's one particular field that’s hard to pass without stopping, especially when it's draped in the gentle embrace of morning fog.
This particular morning, I was running late, and the urge to capture this quiet scene tugged at my heart. But, I was concerned that it might slow me down. In that moment, I remembered this quote: "Nature does not rush, and yet everything is accomplished." It struck me then that taking a moment to savor this beauty might delay my arrival to work, but I decided it was worth it. I knew that, even with this brief pause, I would manage to tackle everything on my to-do list, and my day might just be all the better for it.
Little Mogi for Hockey Players started this month, and we’ve been having a lot of fun. I recently introduced the idea of mindfulness, and we chatted about what that meant to them. Kids (and adults) often think that mindfulness = calm, but that’s not really the case. In its simplest definition, mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment with kindness and curiosity. And sometimes, the present moment sucks. It’s in the paying attention to the sucky moment and investigating without judgement how it feels in the body and mind that makes for a mindful moment. I like to borrow the metaphor that George Mumford, author of The Mindful Athlete, uses to talk with athletes about mindfulness. He asks players to imagine a hurricane. The eye of the storm is where we can find quiet, stillness, and peace deep within ourselves, even while the “storm” (aka - anxiety, stress, racing thoughts, etc) swirls around us.
One way to do this is to turn our attention to our breath, which is something that is always with us. For kids, and anyone else who isn’t used to connecting the body and mind, it can be difficult to find our breath at first, so I like to use a simple river rock to help with this.
Here’s an easy breath-work exercise that you can share with the little people in your life or use it yourself.
Belly breathing is a technique that can help calm your energy when you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed. For many, it's like an anchor that links your mind and body. (This practice can be done without a weighted object and sitting down, but for the purpose of using river rocks, lying on your back is best.)
Lie on your back, and place the rock or weighted object on your stomach. First, notice that you are breathing. If you haven’t already done so, begin to breathe in and out through your nose. As you breathe in, let your belly grow larger. Imagine that your belly is expanding like a balloon. Feel the rock move up with each breath, and with each exhale, imagine the balloon deflating, feeling the rock move down. As you breathe, notice the way your body moves.
Take a few moments to experience the feeling of your breath in your belly, and notice any changes in the rest of your body as well. How does it feel to feel your breath in your belly? In your body? Remain here for at least 5 breaths.
Recipes from a Mindful Mama Bear
As promised, below is another favorite recipe from our kitchen to yours. Some of you may know that I like to tinker with recipes to reduce ingredients. I’m proud of this recipe because I worked through a few batches to get to where it is now. And it’s now one of our favorite breakfast recipes. It’s become my go-to recipe for sleepovers and any other time I know I’ll be hosting a bunch of kids. It’s also very versatile and can be made both gluten free, dairy free, and egg free. Enjoy!
Mama Bear Chocolate Chip Muffins
2 cups AP flour (or GF alternative)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 eggs (or 2 flax eggs)
1 cup vanilla full-fat yogurt (or 1 cup almond milk “buttermilk”)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Grease muffin tin. Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
Warm together 1/2 cup of coconut oil and 1/2 cup maple syrup until coconut oil is melted. After the oil/maple mixture is slightly warm, whisk in two eggs, one at a time. Begin to add dry ingredients, a little at a time, alternating between the dry ingredients with 1 cup of vanilla full-fat yogurt. Once blended, fold in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.
Virtual Bedtime Yoga, Mondays at 8pm. Please register by 6pm that evening.
My heart is in teaching Moga to kids and teens, so if you have a young person in your life that you think could benefit from learning these practices, please email me for more information at email@example.com.
I’d be so appreciative if you forward this email to anyone who you think would be interested in learning more about Daley Moga.
Thanks for reading Leonor’s Substack! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.