How to Holster Our Worry

Picture of Old-fashioned Cowboy Holstering Gun

∞ Love

∞ Rest


Worry is a dangerous weapon.

If we realize the extent of how worry sabotages our lives, kills our joy, we might be able to use worry to our advantage…but only when needed.

Are we able to shoot a gun at someone intruding into our private property?

Only if our life is in imminent danger.

Why should worry be any different?

We’re all guilty from time to time of immediately shooting down a great idea because of the million things that could go wrong. But what if none of them do? Are we willing to let a slight chance of something bad happening ruin all the happy if only the good happens?

We’ve developed a few tips on how we can learn to holster our worry:

  1. Be more self-aware of what a fleeting objection actually is. We’re trained how to protect. So anytime a new idea comes along, a protector plans for the worst and hopes for the best. Make those few negative observations just that, perhaps only a handful of a many more positive possibilities.
  2. Don’t allow bad-fantasies to overrun the potentiality for good. Visit the negative possibility for only a moment, then move on: Worry can be addictive. Rumination and anxiety release cortisol, causing an imbalance cascade. Learn to be seek euphoria instead.
  3. Find at least three positive reasons for the new idea, regardless of our fears of a negative outcome.
  4. Be supportive of ourselves and our loved ones. It’s okay to try something new and still have a negative outcome. Failure, experimentation, and perseverance are all wonderful experiences of life.
  5. Trust ourselves. Know that we’ll see the imminent danger before harm befalls us. Split seconds. That’s how fast we react to a saber-tooth tiger. Believe in our own evolution: we’ll know when to run.

Moments before typing this blog post, we found ourselves recklessly firing off with worry before we even realized we’d drawn the dangerous weapon. After self-awareness kicked in, we worked through the best ways to identify pitfalls, but focus on the good.

We hope the above tools will help all of us to be more aware, use greater care, and learn to be optimistic about new ideas before they get shot down without cause.

Just a couple of Zenful Lifers,
~ Kat & Stone


© 2018 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion


Resolutions and Acceptance

picture of champagne glass and new year's baubles

∞ Love

∞ Rest


Happy New Year!

As we turn the calendar page from one year to the next, reflecting on the past and looking into the future, thoughts toward zenfulness bring our attention to the breath in between.

Resolutions are about change, promises to be better, different, more worthy.

What if the change wasn’t about striving to be different at all?

What if the goal was acceptance, of others…of ourselves?

While we search for our Zenful Life, here’s our resolution: Acceptance.


Just a couple of Zenful Lifers,
~ Kat & Stone


© 2018 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion

Zingy and Incredibly Healthy: Peppered Ginger Turmeric Tea

Peppered Ginger Turmeric Tea Pic

∞ Food


Hello, all our fellow Zenful Lifers.

How about a great delicious and incredibly healthy tea recipe we’ve discovered that we now make daily? The flavor goes well with the holidays, but is truly an “anytime” tea.

(Skip to the bottom if you want to go straight to the recipe.)

Peppered Ginger Turmeric Tea

Our custom tea recipe first began about a year ago when we read about the health benefits of both ginger and turmeric spices. We then wondered… Could we use the raw roots of each to make tea?

Yep. You can. And it’s delicious. We often make a batch in the morning, then reuse the same ingredients to make a second batch later in the day.

Then about a month ago, we learned that in order for our bodies to uptake turmeric, black pepper must be present. Hmmm… We soon began peppering our cooked turmeric dishes.

What about steeping peppercorns into our tea?

YES! Turns out steeped peppercorns blended with the tea is amazing! And you’d think the spicy pepper would overpower the tea—but it doesn’t. Even when steeped up to ten minutes, the pepper imparts only a mild peppery flavor, transforming the already tasty beverage into a richer…almost creamier…tea.

Health Benefits of Peppered Ginger Turmeric Tea

Ginger and turmeric have each been used for thousands of years not only in cooking, but in a variety of health remedies, the details of which are outside the scope of this article. Among ginger and turmeric’s many health benefits, they are both purported to be an anti-inflammatory, commonly used by those who suffer with arthritis and joint pain.

At the following link on the website, you can find the nutrient profile of ginger, outlining not only more information on the root, but also that it’s high in vitamin C and some B vitamins, as well as potassium and many minerals.

On the same site, they have a page for the nutrient profile of turmeric, which shows it high in iron and manganese, as well as a good source of vitamin C and B6, in addition to many other vitamins and minerals. also has a nutrient profile on black pepper, which shows the spice to be well over the RDA of vitamin K, iron, and manganese, as well as another excellent source of many other vitamins and minerals.

Talk about healthy tea! (We consider it a hot liquid anti-inflammatory multi-vitamin.)

A note of caution: We noticed when drinking a lot of the tea, we experienced mild dehydration. Upon further research, we learned that both ginger and turmeric are diuretics. Since then, we’ve upped our intake of water when drinking the tea. Be sure to stay hydrated!

Choosing Ginger, Turmeric, and Peppercorns & How to Store Them

Ginger and turmeric root are fairly similar on both what to look for and the best way to store them: Look for firm plump roots.

We’ve stored our roots in two different ways that make them last the longest. If we’re using within 1-2 weeks, we store them in open mason jars in our refrigerator crisper on the lowest humidity setting. If we want to keep them longer, we store them in glass airtight containers in the refrigerator, which we understand can preserve them without shrivel or mold for 6-8 weeks (we have yet to test the outside of this longer time-parameter.)

In regards to the type of ginger, the zestier ginger and more common form has tan skin. Sometimes you’ll see ginger with a white skin and pink blush toward the ends. It’s called “young ginger” or “spring ginger” because it’s harvested earlier in the life cycle and is less fibrous than its more common counterpart. We use either in our tea—whatever we’re able to find.

The best peppercorns? We’ve read from numerous sources that Tellicherry is the best type of peppercorn. We order whole black Tellicherry peppercorns in bulk from (along with all of our other kitchen spices and staples). Apparently, properly stored in a cool, dark, dry place in an airtight container, peppercorns have an indefinite shelf life.

How do we make our Peppered Ginger Turmeric Tea?

Peppered Ginger Turmeric Tea Recipe

6 to 8 cups of filtered water
1 to 2 inch section of fresh ginger root
1 to 2 inch section of fresh turmeric root
1 tbs of dried Tellicherry peppercorns

Pour water into a saucepan and turn on medium-high (7 out of 9 on our stove dial), setting the timer for 11 minutes to bring it to a boil.

Meanwhile rinse under running water your ginger root and turmeric sections, rubbing the surfaces with your fingers. It’s okay to leave whatever skins don’t rub off on. Slice the roots into 6-8 discs apiece. Drop your ginger and turmeric slices into the stovetop water and leave uncovered for the remaining time.

Once the water boils or your timer goes off, turn the heat down to a low/medium-low (2 out of 9 on our stove dial) and cover with lid for another 11 minutes on the timer.

When the timer alerts you, pour the simmered tea, root slices and all, into an 8 to 10 cup Pyrex measuring cup. Put the loose peppercorns into a tea strainer and hang them off the side of the glass if it submerges them. If the liquid is too low (if you’ve halved the recipe, for instance), you can rest the peppercorn in its strainer on the bottom.

Let the peppercorns steep for 5-8 minutes and then remove them.

We leave the ginger and turmeric slices in for the duration of our drinking the tea. Again, using them a second time for another batch, if desired. Refills definitely get zingy-er the longer those slices soak.

Let us know what you think!

Just a couple of Zenful Lifers,
~ Kat & Stone


© 2017 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion

Finding Humanity in the Midst of Tragedy

Picture of tall pillar candles on black background

∞ Love


Our hearts are heavy today after another devastating mass shooting. Attending Sunday church, the unsuspecting victims ranged from the elderly to innocent babes.

There are no words. And yet we try to talk about it, make some sense out of the senseless, process the unthinkable so we don’t lose hope.

This month has been a particularly hard one in America. Just three weeks ago, the mass shooting in Las Vegas. And the terrorist attack with a vehicle in New York.

Devastation to human life caused by another human’s lack of compassion, loss of morality, or mental instability escapes our comprehension.

Yet loved ones — family members, friends, and neighbors — the larger community and our society are left to pick up the pieces.

Of the billions of people in the world, all it takes is one act of hatred to shift the fabric as a whole.

The opposite of hatred?


And really, it is one word that encompasses so much. Yet the love we share is the only control we have. We cannot predict these unthinkable acts, and we are powerless to prevent them, but we can come together in the wake of these tragedies to love and support one another.

Just a couple of Zenful Lifers searching for peace in our chaotic world,
~ Kat & Stone


© 2017 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion


Overwhelmed? Recline Back into the Realm of Logic.

Blog Post Pic - Overwhelmed Recline Back into the Realm of Logic

∞ Home



Wow. How long is it been since our last blog post? Too long.

Kat here.

The cause for our delay is a common ailment most of us are plagued with daily.

You know the one: waking after a too-short night of restless sleep, beginning our day with a to-do list longer humanly possible to accomplish, then praying that nothing unexpected gets thrown onto our daunting pile.

With that last one, we knock on the wood of our breakfast table as we sip our double espresso, hoping to ward off any bad juju in the off chance someone can hear our thoughts.

Because the unexpected always happens, right? A catalclismic weather event, a heart-pounding family emergency, a five-alarm business fire, a debilitating injury.

Or maybe that’s just our household.

And of course, our gargantuan to-do list is always unattainable. Which means disappointment settles in when we don’t quite get halfway through.

(Stone then gently teases me, calling me an overachiever.)

And maybe therein lies the solution. A dose of humor, making light of reality and gauging what any one person is really capable of doing any given day or with an unexpected set of circumstances.

Why do we get overwhelmed?

Perhaps it’s because we lose focus on the specific task in front of us. Because truly, were we to block out everything else, we would be in a state of mindfulness and most efficient with our thoughts and actions. Getting overwhelmed happens when our mind expands outside of the realm of what is in the here and now into every other thing we have on our plate that day, that week, or maybe even that month with the dominoes that would fall if we don’t get all our tasks done.

Adrenaline starts to kick in, a tornado of helplessness follows, chaotic thoughts of trying to order the most important things to be done, maybe chest tightness from the pressure of tensed muscles, dizziness from the shallow breathing, and quite likely a headache from elevated blood pressure.

What have we learned to do when we get overwhelmed?

Stone: *whispers* Be a little like Spock…

We take a deep calming breath (or a few) and break down the bigger picture from a place of logic. Here are some helpful tips we discovered:

1. Remind ourselves that we are human—most of the overwhelmed feeling that we have is coming from a place of emotion—and give ourselves permission to feel the emotion, whether it’s anger, frustration, helplessness, or disappointment.

2. Make a written list of the tasks we want to accomplish today. Place a star beside the three that are most important. Which one do you want to do next? Depending on your level of energy after the “overwhelmed” breakdown, you may choose the easiest. However some may choose the most difficult, feeling if they can get that hurdle over with, it will be a downhill glide from there. Mark a number “1” beside that next task, then rank the others as numbers “2” and “3”.

3. Rely on the list, get out of our heads, and into accomplishing each task, one at a time.

4. If our minds wander back to the dozens of things we had on our original to-do list, as our darned brains tend to do, forgive the transgression and redirect your focus back to the one thing you’re currently working on.

5. Sometimes the overwhelmed feeling is really a worry about one or more of the things on our list, or the consequences of what happens if we fail. Worry is a tricky thing, one we struggle with every day, but in the context of pulling ourselves out of the “overwhelmed”, the best thing to do is decide whether or not there is any actionable thing we can do in that immediate moment about that worry. If so, we should do whatever we can right then and there, then return back to the task that the worry had interrupted. If there is nothing that can be done, then we need to recognize that the worry is defeating our ability to accomplish our tasks. And move on.

6. Stop making such long to-do lists! No seriously, we should be kind to ourselves about what we can accomplish in a given timeframe. And forgive ourselves for not being machines.

7. Take a ten-minute break. Lay down if you can, claim a section of carpet in your office behind your desk, lie on top of your bed, or find a park bench or wide planter edge that will let you lie prone, close your eyes, and focus on your breaths while clearing your mind. That ten-minute break will go a long way as an investment into accomplishing those tasks on the list.

8. Find ways to ease the burden of the tasks on your list. Software programs, shared carpools for kids activities, outsourcing skills to others better suited to the task while we focus on those activities we’re strongest in.

Did you see what I did there? The above is a solution-based list, stemming from logic.

Not only that, one of the things that overwhelmed me personally has been an ongoing hand injury that has been slow to heal. After repeated urging from Stone, I finally heeded his advice and enacted number “8” on the list and set up the hardware and software to utilize Dragon Naturally, a voice-recognition software program. *smiles* And this blog post is the first published fully dictated item created on Dragon.

As a final note, there’s one last, very big, cause of our stress that leads to our feeling overwhelmed: news of the world at large.

How do we deal with the outer world and learn to be at peace with our place in it?

Simple. Turn off the news and focus on our list.

Do you have any suggestions to add? Any tips or hints on how you deal with pulling yourself out of helplessness? We’d all love to hear from you as we search together for a Zenful Life.

Just a couple of Zenful Lifers,
~ Kat & Stone


© 2017 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion

Downshifting into a State of Calm

gearshift picture

∞ Rest


Slow is smooth…smooth is calm.

Stone here.

The phrase actually goes, “Slow is smooth…smooth is fast.” In law enforcement and military, it’s drilled into your psyche during firearms training.

Weapon in hand, arm extended, sights lined up, a sharp, steady, slow focus makes all the difference between clean shots, center mass and far-and-wide WTFs. The original mantra is meant to downshift us, removing the building panic that can overwhelm and trip us up, leading to mistakes–sometimes fatal ones.

Earlier this week, I lost patience with my computer–yes, I know, not exactly life or death–and rapid-clicked the damn slow mouse until the system froze. Frustrated, I took a deep breath, exhaled, then reminded myself, “Slow is smooth…smooth is calm.”

That’s my new mantra.

Focusing on a downshifting mantra helps us slow down and regain control in an instant. Typically, when it’s needed the most. A redirect into mindfulness.

What’s yours?

Just a couple of Zenful Lifers,
~ Kat & Stone


© 2017 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion

Hidden Beauty in a Shifted Perspective


Blog Post Pic of Old Barn Ready to Fall Over

∞ Love
∞ Home
∞ Rest


Stone: How do I look at the world and not want to fix everything?

Staring out the window at one of a handful of problems in our hundred-yard sightline, it was a question asked a few weeks back…one we’ve been working to answer daily since.

In a world of a million problems, some great and life-threatening, others slight and irritating, how many issues are we aware of that we’re helpless to resolve? What can we do to accept that we can’t fix everything? Sometimes, we may even be powerless to fix one thing.

How do we see the beauty in the world through a broken lens?

What if we shifted perspective?

Gaze out from where you are.

What do you see?

A smoker flicking a cigarette into your landscaping as they walk by? A pile of steaming dog shit on the sidewalk? Your neighbor’s rusty derelict car decorating their front lawn?

What do you hear?

The oblivious diner sitting two tables away almost shouting into their cell phone.

Kat: *mutters* They can hear you. We all can hear you.

Or a distant bass boom, growing louder, and louder, until sixty seconds later, your heart reverberates in your chest to the deafening decibels of some inconsiderate driver’s beat…only to have it fade by the time you’re wide awake…at 2:30 a.m.

What about today’s news?

How many millions of refugees are country-less? How many people die daily from famine? What about human trafficking? Community homelessness? Senseless violence? Or the daily barrage of news-cycle sensationalism about who Tweeted what. Really?

Stone: How does all that go with Zenful Life?

Right. Back to the shifted perspective…

Look again.

Listen again.

What do we see if we focus on the rest of the picture?

The decaying barn might be falling, but it’s happening in the middle of a flowering meadow, flanked by towering pine trees, under a blue wispy-clouded sky.

We’re learning step by step, day by day, that with each startling bad thing we’re exposed to, it takes dedicated mindfulness to focus on the positive, on the beauty.

A few things we’ve learned to help us see beauty in a harsh and unforgiving world:

  1. Recognize what broken issue needs immediate action, then provide it: a phone call to an aiding authority, a lending hand, or helpful advice.
  2. Once action has been taken, move on. Be mindful, right in the present moment, seeking to enjoy it.
  3. If we find ourselves dwelling on past events, we gently correct the misstep. A helpful phrase we came up with to help guide us back into the present moment is, “If it’s out of our hands, it should be out of our minds.”
  4. Extend love, acceptance, and kindness to ourselves and others. The world is imperfect. We are imperfect. If we do the best we can with each moment of each day, little by little our world becomes a better place.

Our experiences begin to flow like the well-known Serenity Prayer…

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

Beauty often lies in that wisdom.


Any other thoughts, ideas, suggestions? We’d love to hear them.


Just a couple of Zenful Lifers,
~ Kat & Stone


© 2017 by Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion