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Banana Bread

I like banana bread – besides being delicious, it has the added advantage of using up all them bananas that are just a little too ripe. I like it plain, I like it toasted and smothered in butter, and perhaps some marmalade.  I just like it – a lot!

I’ve baked banana bread several times, but I never quite settled on that ‘perfect’ recipe until I came across the recipe in Apples for Jam.  I like this recipe because it uses quite a lot of banana.  Most recipes that I’ve found up until now used two or three bananas at the most.  I ended up using five.  Banana-licious!  Happiness! 🙂

This particular loaf lasted all of a day… I think that’s a hint that I need to make more…

What you need: butter, dark brown sugar (I used treacle sugar as it was all I had in the cupboard, but next time me thinks I’ll try good, old-fashioned brown sugar – it’ll probably cream better… the treacle sugar was rather sticky), mashed ripe bananas (lots of it!), beaten eggs, vanilla extract (i.e. vanilla essence), ground cinnamon, salt, plain flour (I used white cake flour), baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, warm milk

How to do it:  Cream the butter and sugar, then add the mashed banana. Add the eggs, vanilla essence, cinnamon, and salt. Sieve in the flour and the baking powder.  Add the bicarbonate of soda to the warm milk, then add this to the bread batter. Pour the batter into a prepared loaf tin, then pop it into the preheated oven and bake. 

Source (i.e. give credit where credit is due): Tessa Kiros’ Apples for Jam

It’s been a while since I’ve written because, well… I suppose I’ve been processing… There have been several threads of emotion and thought that I’ve experienced over the past two weeks… I’m going to make an effort to string them together here…

Healing the past?
In my previous post, I wrote about how I’d been reminded that I’m a white Portuguese South Africa, the descendant of the perpetrators of slavery, and by simply being a white South Africa, a perpetrator of apartheid; and that I’m tired of the guilt.

I asked myself whether or not the guilt was appropriate – if it is indeed mine to carry. Most people would say that it isn’t mine to carry – how can I be held responsible for the things that my ancestors did? In a way, I agree… and yet…

I believe in a morphogenetic field, or the Knowing Field as practitioners of family constellation therapy have come to call it.* This energetic field connects all of us, and has an inherent memory wherein past wounds are alive and awake… Colleen-Joy Page puts it beautifully: “Any unhealed aspect of the family attempts to reintegrate with the family. And if that unhealed aspect is four generations back it still attempts to come back to ask for healing and reintegration. This concept is very important – it means that you and your descendants may carry the unhealed aspects of prior generations unconsciously. It means that you could be imprinting and literally holding things that do not belong to you but to prior generations of your family.”

She goes on to say: “The good news is that as we heal ourselves, our relationships, our family units, at a micro level – the same healing is offered to the bigger family of humanity at the macro level. Just as the pain and wounds are shared like ripples through the ocean of our collective consciousness, so too is healing. For indeed, every time you heal an aspect of your own heart, your own psyche, your own consciousness – that healing is offered to the ocean.” **

Guilt offers an opportunity for healing. I honestly don’t know what my family history is around slavery or apartheid… but perhaps it’s more about healing family bloodlines than it is about healing an individual…?

A Different Perspective
Caroline Myss said: “The task before each of us is to learn from our past, to appreciate our past, but to live now.” So, where to from here?

I really am tired of the reasoning that South Africa is in the position she’s in (i.e. many corrupt government officials, poverty, slow service delivery, deteriorating education system etc.) because of the ‘previous government’ (i.e. the National Party-lead government who put apartheid in place)… Can we move on now, please? It really doesn’t matter who created the problem… what’s important is how we fix it… how do we move on from here?

Perhaps the important thing to focus on, to begin with, is how we treat one another. Phyllis Curott, in her book Witch Crafting – a Spiritual Guide to Making Magic ***, has a lengthy discussion on the Threefold Law (which says that, whatever you send out magically will come back to you threefold), and why it doesn’t work. She writes: “The primary problem is that the Threefold Law is basically a theory of punishment: I won’t misbehave because if I do, something (three times) worse will happen to me; therefore, I behave myself because I don’t want anything bad to happen to me. / I have always had a problem with punishment as a basis for ethics because it is not an ethical precept – avoiding punishment is simply expediency and self-interest. It’s the weak cousin of morality because it’s conduct based purely on deterrence. … It also creates a peculiar mind-set: Hey, if I can get away with breaking a rule, why not?”

She goes on to say: “The way in which we make magic, how we cast spells, how we work with the power that is available to each of us, is very simple once you’ve experienced communion with the Sacred. You will simply never harm, or manipulate someone else because you recognize that they are an embodiment of the Divine. This is also part of the mystical experience of Oneness – for everything is a part of, and expression of, deity. All is holy, and all that is holy is to be treated as sacred.”

I’m not saying that we all need to get religion, but we certainly could do with a different perspective of the world. If we treat the world, and all in it, as sacred – respect, awe, appreciation, generosity and compassion are bound to follow naturally.

Laying Down Roots
I have always lived in two countries… physically I live in South Africa, but my heart and soul lived in Madeira – the country of my parent’s birth. My father came to South Africa with a dream – he would work hard, make a small fortune, and then return to Madeira to live a life of ease. The message we received as children, if only subliminally, was “Don’t put down roots, don’t get too comfortable here… because one day we’ll be going back to Madeira, and that is where we belong. We don’t belong here, our life here is only temporary.” We never did emigrate to Madeira…

I’m now 35 years of age, I’m married to a wonderful Englishman (who understands some words in Portuguese, but certainly doesn’t speak the language), I have a baby girl, and two huskies – Whyte and Mischka.  I have a good job, I live in a comfortable house.  I live in South Africa.  I don’t know how to live in Madeira… and I don’t know that I want to… it’s an alien world to me. All I know is South Africa… with a sprinkle of Portuguese and English culture…

But maybe we can make this country great… and maybe it’s time I became part of that process… maybe it’s time for me to decide where I actually want to be, then make it work.

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* I can only tell you that I believe in it because I have experienced it… trying to explain it scientifically is, well… difficult…
** From One Family – Powerful Family Healing Tools, available from Colleen-Joy Page’s website
*** Probably the best book I have read on Witchcraft as a modern spirituality.