Hello beautiful people,
Let’s talk about compassion… Compassion is a word you hear a lot of in the vegan community. The entire premise of the vegan lifestyle is based on compassion for animals. To not cause additional suffering to helpless creatures, to defend the defenceless and to speak up for those who have no voice. Mercy, empathy, solicitude.
In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra (text outlining the principles of yoga written about two centuries after Jesus Christ) a similar rule is presented to yoga practitioners. In the second part of the book called yamas, Patanjali presents the ethical principles by which someone should live in order to create a peaceful and fulfilled life. The first yama is ahimsa which stands for non-violence. Non-violence to others, including animals, but also non-violence towards ourself. And this is the type of compassion, or non-violence, I want to talk about with you today.
I’ve been practising yoga for many years and my main reason for adopting a vegan lifestyle is the application of ahimsa, to cause no violence to those around me.
I won’t lie. Its kind of a big deal for me to say that I’m a vegan and that I don’t cause additional, unnecessary harm to animals. But that’s just the thing, my application of the rule of ahimsa has always been limited to animals. Up until recently, I never really asked myself if I had compassion for me. And when I asked myself that question, I didn’t like the answer.
No, I can’t say I have true and honest compassion for myself. I’ll actually take it a step further and say that I actually have selective compassion. I choose who I have compassion for. Animals: absolutely. Children: always. Other adults: hmmmm, it depends. Me: sometimes.
And it was only when I stopped to ask myself that question, that I realized my actual lack of compassion. And this is where these brownies come in. I’ve been working on these brownies for quite some time. I never seemed to get the recipe quite right. They were either too dense or too sweet. Too fudgey or too crumbly. I would get mad and frustrated at myself for not being able to solve the perfect pumpkin brownie enigma. I had no compassion for myself. I didn’t take into consideration that maybe I had so much on my plate that I couldn’t focus on crating a stellar recipe or that I might be tired after taking care of a baby all day (and often all night – our son, at 13 months, just started sleeping his full nights!). All I saw was my failure to succeed at something so simple as… a brownie.
You might think this is a silly example and that there are far more important things in life to accomplish then nailing a brownie recipe. And you are absolutely right! But if I can’t show myself a little compassion for something as silly as a brownie recipe, where else am I not showing up for myself and who else am I not showing up for?
The thing with compassion is that if you don’t start by having some for yourself, it is very hard to give it to others. Like love. If you don’t truly love yourself, how can you love someone else. Ever try pouring a glass of water for someone out of an empty jug? Not much will happen there. Same thing with love. Same thing with compassion.
So I took a good look at how I treat myself on a daily basis. There is a lot of negative self talk here folks. See, I’m a perfectionist. And I always believed that a little negative self talk produces good results or at least achieves goals. Funny thing is, I actually know just how false that is! I know it’s false! I just hadn’t realized to what extent I was doing it… the crazy things we do!
I also realized how hard I am on others. It all comes back to the jug people: empty jug can’t fill up someone else’s glass!
So I took the resolution (why wait for January 1st!) that I was going to implement more compassion for myself, and for others, on a daily basis. And let me tell you, just by taking that decision, I not only feel so much better but I nailed this brownie recipe! You might think linking the two: compassion and brownies, is far fetched but let me tell you, it really isn’t…
I’ll detail the steps I took to implement more compassion into my life in my next blog post but for now, I give you, my pumpkin brownies.
I made these gluten free so I could share them with friends and family, a lot of which are either celiac or on a wheat elimination protocol to better their health.
Leave a comment and let me know if you’ve enjoyed these.
- 1 Cup gluten-free flower (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Baking flour and it worked amazing)
- 1/2 coconut sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 Cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 Cup maple syrup
- 1/4 Cup unsweetened almond milk (or any other milk alternative you enjoy)
- 2 Tbs. coconut oil, melted + extra for greasing the pan
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 Cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (see Recipe summary for alternative)
- Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
- Coat an 8X8 inch square pan with some extra coconut oil or use parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and nutmeg. Stir with a whisk to combine.
- In another mixing bowl, add the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, milk, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract. Stir to make sure everything is well combined.
- Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon.
- You may notice that the mixture is dry. Just keep stirring gently, it’ll all eventually combine well.
- Add the chocolate chips and mix only to combine. You don’t want to over stir.
- Pour the brownie mixture in the pan and cook for 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.