Lessons from Ghee on Easeful Living

Lessons from Ghee on Easeful Living

As I continue to meander on my personal and wellness career path to thrive (read more about that path here), my relationship to the habit of Easeful Living has kept evolving.  When I started on this path, I looked at easeful living as the end of the path.  Something that would just happen once the other habits were mastered.  It’s fun to realize how far I’ve come simply by how my relationship with this habit has evolved.  I’m going to share one recent example of a lesson learned about easeful living that came through the process of making ghee!

I’ll preface by reflecting again on my meandering path.  I’m finding I seem to do things in unique and perhaps inefficient orders…  My ex and I adopted cats, then bought a house, then got married.  Through my divorce, I enrolled in YHC, became a Certified Yoga Health Coach, and then figured out I needed more personal healing before I extended my coaching further.  Rather than getting hung up about both of those order of events not being ideal, I’m focusing on making the most of it through finding trust in my meandering path.  In this current personal healing journey, I’m grateful to have found myself enrolled in the Living Ayurveda Course!  

In one of the recent live calls for this course, we went deep into the process of making ghee, with wisdom and instruction from one of the awesome course mentors, Sarita Rocco.  If you are unfamiliar with ghee, it is clarified butter that comes from the middle eastern culture, can be ingested in a multitude of ways and has so many healing properties.  You can find out how to make ghee in Kate O’Donnell’s, The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook.   In the live Living Ayurveda call with Sarita, she stated the importance of going into your ghee-making process with a calm and steady mind, good intentions, saying mantras to fill the ghee with good energy, and that it will in turn feed you with exactly what you need.  Our assignment that week was to make ghee and report the results to the Facebook forum.

The day I decided to schedule in making ghee was a busy day.  I had a lot of things on my to-do list but was excited to take some time to make my own ghee from scratch.  As I returned from grocery shopping I had about 30 minutes to make my ghee before my next commitment.  According to the directions, that was enough time.  I started the process, ambitious to squeeze this task into my busy day and mark it off my list of things to do.  

I watched it bubble, my heartbeat with excitement, I tried to remain calm to infuse it with more steady vibes.  I watched it closely as it started to turn golden. It was beautiful and perfect as I started internally questioning what I should do next. There was a ping in my heart that told me that it was ready, but I was uncertain, so I waited.  It started to grow darker gold and I continued to watch and wait… I went through that process a few too many moments. All of a sudden, it turned dark brown. I quickly turned off the heat and my heart sank as an aroma similar to burned popcorn entered my nose. I let it cool, still hopeful, but as I poured it into the mason jar later, it was indeed full of burned matter.  

I ended up throwing it away, sickened that I wasted four sticks of organic unsalted butter, and took the chore of having to deeply scour the pot I burned it in as a karmic event and lesson.  I reflected back on Sarita’s wisdom of what intentions we are putting into our ghee.  I found it funny and ironic that I overscheduled my day to the point of burnout and then burned the ghee.

After recovering from the burned ghee incident, I was ready to retry a week later.  I bought more butter and made sure I had ample time in my schedule to put calm and nourishing intentions into the ghee.  I re-watched the course video, reread the cookbook for directions, and entered the process with a nervous curiosity rather than the ambition of my first attempt.

As I watched it bubble the second time my heart still beat with uncertainty, but I remained curious and trusted that I would know when it was ready this time.  I watched it closely as it started to turn golden.  I waited for the ping in my heart that told me that it was ready.  It started to grow darker gold and my heart led me to turn off the heat.  I smelled a slight scent of burnt popcorn, my heart dropped, and I walked away feeling defeated by the ghee once again.

Later as I returned to the cooled pot, I poured it into the mason jar just for fun, to see what it looked like.  While it didn’t have the burned chunks of the prior batch, it was a brown mustard color.  Rather than throwing it away, I hid it in a dark crevice of my pantry to deal with later.  Out of sight, out of mind.  

Weeks later, I checked the course forum on the other member’s ghee making shares, too ashamed to share my double failure.  There was a share from another member questioning her mustard yellow ghee, and a response reassuring her that it was an acceptable color.  I was about to heat up my dinner for the night, so dug back in the pantry to try out my ghee.  It gave my dinner a deep richness and I couldn’t detect an overcooked or burned flavor.  I felt deeply nourished and grounded after this dinner and am continuing to use it on my food.  Every meal I ingest with it, I’m brought back to the exciting curiosity I brought into making it, followed by the mistaken disappointment.  I remember Sarita’s wisdom of what we put into our ghee, being exactly what we need.  I’m comforted in knowing that the uncertainty I put into this ghee is now feeding me with the trust I need in the process.  Not only the process of making ghee, but also the process of my meandering path.  Every success and failure has a purpose to get me deeper in alignment to thrive.

So, what does all this mean for Yoga Health Coaching and Easeful Living?  

Easeful living is not the end of the path, because there is no end to the path.  It is a habit to constantly practice.  It’s recognizing the wisdom that is in every moment.   It is acknowledging the lessons that are everywhere through the ups and downs of making ghee, as well as the ups and downs of making a life.  Trusting these ups and downs and that each experience is feeding you exactly what you need is easeful living.  

I’m optimistic my third time making ghee will be a charm!  Whether it’s brown, yellow, or golden, I trust it will be exactly what I need.

Angela Matarrese

Angela Matarrese

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Interior Designer, Yoga Teacher, and Yoga Health Coach. Founder of Sukha Yoga Design, which is a culmination of all of that. Born and raised in Wisconsin, I have some beer and cheese in my blood, and will always be honored when referred to as the "super nice mid-western girl" in my travels. As I maintain a relaxed and "chill" facade in life, the truth is that I am super excited most of the time and bursting with things that I still want to learn and share with the world.