The Secret Life of Basil

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When we take things for granted in life and allow ourselves to become complacent, we miss out on the extraordinary ways the most ordinary experience can enrich, nourish and open us to greater vitality and even happiness. Take the simple herb basil for example. I grew up hardly thinking about basil. As a child I didn’t have any idea what it was. It was most certainly present in my mother’s kitchen cupboard, but was not talked about, just simply used when needed to spice up spaghetti. I didn’t discover basil until I was much older, living on my own and cooking for myself. It soon became a staple in my own kitchen cupboard and used to spice up spaghetti. I was more experimental than my mother and found new ways to use basil as I became a more experienced cook. Life went on and I too soon took basil for granted. And then my life took a very unexpected turn. When I no longer had a family to cook for, basil became a forgotten herb, as many of the joys of life lay dormant. As the years have moved on, life has sprouted once again, along with forgotten joys and new surprising joys. I feel like a young girl again, full of curiosity about what each day will bring and am delighted with each moment as it unfolds before me. Here in India, of all places, I have re-discovered the joys of basil! Actually before I arrived on this current India trip, I was staying in a house with a backyard garden that contained a whole section of fresh organic basil. My hosts insisted that I take as much as I wanted, as basil was not only delicious but has many healing properties. Basil was beckoning me onward and so I began to reacquaint myself with this magical herb and when I threw together a quick salad, began to add fresh basil. I always associated curries with India and was not expecting to have much basil on this trip. Almost immediately upon my arrival, basil appeared in soups, salads, appetizers, main dishes and was better than ever, especially here in Mumbai. It is something familiar from my past, yet brand new, fresh and definitely not just an herb that I take for granted. I never take anything for granted anymore. I cherish each experience that comes into my life because I know how sacred each moment is and how there is only this moment we are experiencing. The past is no more. The future is not here, the only thing here is what is happening now. Basil is happening now and I am treasuring every morsel.

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