Indulgence Versus Overindulgence by Tasha Halpert

  Stephen plopped another load of catalogs from the postman on the table. “The poor mailman must be tired having to lug all this stuff around,” he said as we prepared to recycle most of them. “I agree,” I said, “And it’s amazing how fast they found us at this address. We’ve only been here a few months and already we’re getting all kinds of stuff from our former address and other places too.” As I glanced at the shiny covers before dropping them into the wastebasket I thought about the catalogs from my childhood.

I remember when the number of catalogs my parents received were few and far between, not the quantities that arrive annually in the mail from October through most of December. For me as a child they were fun to look through and very helpful. My opportunity to shop in actual stores was rare. Young people growing up today have no idea what it might be like to have one car in the family, limits on gasoline, and no malls–only local stores.

Today’s plethora of opportunities for shopping indulgence can easily make for overindulgence. Tempting ads in catalogs, shiny online images of pretty items plus the ease of online shopping–not to mention the heaps of catalogs the postman delivers present would be Santas with a banquet of goods. Credit cards–buy now pay later, make it even easier to spend more than might be wise given one’s resources.

I remember how good I felt a number of years ago when I got my first credit card. Now I didn’t have to wait to buy something; I could have it right away. Prior to this I had to put things I couldn’t afford to pay for immediately on layaway, which meant waiting until the item was paid off to take it home. The opportunities to spend as well as the ease of access to goods makes for a potential for unexpected debt. It is amazing to me how even small purchases add up to a grand total that always seems more than I anticipate.

In addition, while the items in a catalog or online might seem quite wonderful by description, the reality may be quite different. I have all too often been disappointed in the actuality of the gift once it arrived and was opened. This is also true of food from catalogs which often is not nearly as tasty as it appears in the pretty pictures. It is not only easy but also more tempting to be less choosy when one is not putting limits on one’s indulgences.

However, as well as a downside, there is also a good side to this situation. The opportunity to indulge with limits rather than overindulge without them, can present a chance to practice restraint as well as detachment. Life, that marvelous daily Buddha, offers us many opportunities for important spiritual lessons. Reining in the appetite for spending as well as choosing wisely the absolutely perfect single gift can be a marvelous chance for spiritual practice as well as a way to save.

Deb's party food 2

Heartwings Love Notes: Wouldn’t It Make Ya Tired!


Heartwings says, “When you begin a task you never know where it will lead.”


My mother had a favorite saying. “Wouldn’t it make ya tired?” she would remark with a laugh and a shrug. This was usually followed by a tale of woe or at least of an unexpected difficulty. My mother was a great one for telling stories of triumph and loss. Many of her stories did not have happy endings, but they did detail some triumph of overcoming on her part.


I thought about this saying of hers as I realized that my search for the ingredients and recipe for Dr. Chen’s Healing soup was going to result in considerably more effort than I had planned. It seems there is a leak somewhere under my sink. I am not sure where it is, and I have not yet figured it out,  however I ended up removing the entire collection of bottles, jars, sponges and cleaning implements that resided there.


Because the cardboard box I had used to hold these things was soaked and starting to disintegrate, I went in search of a more durable container and found one. I then began replacing items. In the process I found the soup ingredients and the directions and set them aside.Finally, the work done, I began reading the list of ingredients and adding them to the large pot of water where I had already placed the chicken.


As I added them, I smiled to think that regardless how unexpectedly it had happened, I was happy to have reorganized the cupboard under my sink.

Sometimes it takes a small disaster to accomplish what normally gets neglected until something happens to prompt it. The water began to boil,  and as I smelled the fragrance of the soup with its multitude of herbs, I gave thanks for this very special opportunity.


May you find many opportunities within unexpected happenings.


Blessings and Best Regards, Tasha Halpert


Dr. Chen’s Special Soup


These ingredients may be found in Oriental food stores or on the Internet. They make a lovely soup.


1/2 of a chicken

8 cups water

8 red dates

6 pieces astralagus root

4 slices ginger root

1/4 cup American ginseng root

2 sticks cinnamon

2 Tablespoons red berries (barberries) dried)


Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 hour or so. After soup has cooled, Remove skin, bones and undesirable stuff. Remove astralagus and ginger root, add meat and leave in berries, dates and ginseng. Store soup in the refrigerator and reheat as needed.