Seasoning with Thankfulness and Compassion

Hammock welcoming the first permaculture intern to Tanglewood Farm
Seasoning = flavour enhancer

Seasoning is usually salt, sweetness of some derivative, herbs or spices added to food to enhance the flavour. The dictionary tells us that seasoning is traditionally used in smaller amounts than spices. A pinch of this, a dash of that, a soupçon of the other, transforming food from the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Seasoning can be salty, spicey, sour or umami. Astringent, bitter, sweet or pungent. There is a dried or fresh herb, spice or ingredient which can be added to any food to subtly amplify flavour. Seasoning gives a dish a little zing, a note of something special. Seasoning also provides a source of additional nutritional benefits along the way.

Seasoning is a two for one.

Everyday Seasoning

Each meal, however humble, benefits from the addition of seasoning. Whether you are a seasoning novice or a master seasoner I encourage you to experiment with seasoning in your daily cooking for your own flavour appreciation and culinary discernment. Perhaps you already have your own signature seasoning?

My signature seasoning is ginger.

Holiday Seasoning

In many cultures holiday festivities, whether secular or religious, raise the practice of seasoning to an art form. Holiday food often has particular seasoning or an ‘out of the ordinary’ ingredient to enhance the complexity of flavours in traditional holiday ways.

For holidays meals we take a little extra time and trouble to enhance the flavour of food and beyond. Depending on the culture, we make time to enhance the ambiance of a room, the beauty of the table, the sweetness of social interactions, the reverence or whatever is indicated by the particular holiday, through specific use of candles, incense, prayer or ritual.

Memory, Love and the Seasoning Secret

There are some tastes, smells and textures which are redolent of dishes which are specific celebratory dishes. The secret to successful holiday seasoning however is not just in the recipe. It is in the intangible ingredients which the cook brings to the cooking.

The love incorporated in the preparation, and the intention to:

  • create and re-create memories,
  • cement traditions,
  • provide hospitality,
  • celebrate family and community in whatever the holiday context is – religious or secular.

Seasoned Holidays

There are as many holidays celebrated around the world as there are ticks of the clock. I am familiar with only a few so forgive me if you have a great holiday tradition that I don’t mention.

For Eid al-Fitr despite the many different traditions which take place within families and communities worldwide, there is a common uniting theme. Producing delicious food for celebration and hospitality. Some flavours of Eid al-Fitr which I am familiar with include spices, rose water, honey and sugar. The result is mouthwatering delicacies which are the centre piece of incredibly generous hospitability.

For Christmas there are culture dependent seasonings. In the northern hemisphere warming spices such as ginger, allspice, clove and cinnamon feature in many Christmas drinks and dishes. We replicate these in many of our southern hemisphere Christmas dishes in Australia despite the heat of a summer – go figure! A good example of the traction of tradition.


At Tanglewood we have an American house guest at the moment so I have the Thanksgiving holiday on my radar at the moment. Perhaps it is a holiday you celebrate? Pumpkin pie is the dessert of tradition for Thanksgiving tables, mostly seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg, which pair beautifully with pumpkin. I am told that there is also great debate on the correct seasoning for the turkey and whether the seasoning should be cooked inside the turkey or separately – it’s a thing! Who knew.

Seasoning Segue

Spoiler alert! Transferable concept coming up. And so, it is at the Thanksgiving holiday that I am stopping because thanksgiving features prominently in the transferrable concept which I want to draw to your attention.

This is the broader concept of ‘seasoning’ your life. Amplifying the flavour of thankfulness, and compassion through your words, actions and thoughts.

Seasoning Our Lives with Thanksgiving and Compassion

The concept that we can add a little something by way of seasoning to enhance the flavour of our food is well understood. The concept that we can add a little something by way of seasoning, to amplify joy and enhance each situation we encounter, moment by moment, is perhaps less understood, and even less frequently practised.

These ‘seasonings’ however turn an ordinary life into an extraordinary life!

Seasoning for an Extraordinary Life

Words, thoughts and actions which are generous and gracious, express thankfulness, compassion, kindness and goodness, are life giving to the individual who practices them, the individual(s) who receives them, and the society in which they are practiced.

They are life giving because:

  • Our thoughts matter
  • Our words matter
  • Our emotions matter
  • Our actions matter

Each matter individually. Each matter for our personal wellbeing. Each matter for interpersonal harmony. Each matter for social cohesion. Each matter for the well-being of the planet.

And all matter in combination, for a nourishing and extraordinary life.

The Intel on Personal ‘Seasoning’ for an Extraordinary Life

Beware! You are bugged. Your mitochondria (your bodies cellular powerhouse) are listening in, and your gut microbiome is in constant communication with HQ.

So, know this:

What you think and how you move matters!
  • The thoughts we produce directly influence our emotions, the feelings we have about ourselves and others, and our interactions in all contexts and situations we move into and through
  • Our thoughts influence our movements and directly influence our ability to learn, heal, to perform our best and to overcome challenging obstacles (remember the Little Red Engine “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can” chuffing up the steep hill – a chant, I too, regularly invoke while jogging)!
  • The words we think (those we ruminate on in particular) and speak, whether positive or negative, compassionate or otherwise, and the physical movements we make directly influence every cell in our body.
  • And this registers throughout our body in a physical way thanks mostly to our gut-brain axis.
  • Chemicals are released in our brain, circulate around our body and affect our mood, our digestion and our wellbeing
Personal seasoning for an extraordinary life is another two for one.

The Intel on Interpersonal ‘Seasoning’ for an Extraordinary World

Having established that our own thoughts and words of thanksgiving and compassion impact us physically, through the incredibly complex interconnection within us, we now look at the way words and actions of thanksgiving and compassion can ‘season’ our interpersonal relationships and impact others.

We cannot use fabulous ‘seasoning’ for others if we are not using fabulous ‘seasoning’ for ourselves. It is the ‘seasoning’ of thankfulness and (self-)compassion which we practise in our own lives which enables us to apply these as ‘seasoning’ for others-through our thoughts, words and actions. In doing so we have the opportunity to create an extraordinary life ‘seasoning’, each and every thought, action and interaction we have bringing great joy to others.

Creating an extraordinary life for ourselves and an extraordinary world for others.

The Big Question?

How often do you use some of the following?
1) Words of appreciation

“Thank you”
“Job well done”
“What a great idea”
“It has been a pleasure collaborating with you”
“Thanks for going above and beyond what is expected”
“Great effort”
“On time and on budget -well done”
“I appreciate how much thought you put into this report”
“Great client service delivery”

What are your examples of your favourite ‘seasoning’ words of appreciation?

2) Compassionate thoughts and actions

Compassionate thoughts release chemicals which benefit you and compassionate actions bring great benefit to the recipient(s). There are a myriad of examples but here are a few to kick start your list.

    • caring – for those who cannot advocate or care for themselves
    • giving from a place of abundance –both physical help and material things; giving emotional support and acknowledging the importance of expressing emotions for our well being
    • receiving from others- now that is often a hard one
    • actions which demonstrate qualities such as patience, reverence, respect and goodness

Compassion and thankfulness do not make front page news. They are increasingly a rarity in the hustle and bustle of time pressured modern living. They, like seasoning in food however, bring nourishment to our bodies as well as ‘seasoning’ to the relationship or interaction.

Thankfulness and compassion are a two for one. And that is always worth while trying.

Life Without Seasoning

In the Western world, thankfulness and compassion are not regarded as best practice in most workplaces. Nor, sadly, are they standard practises in the many relationships. Because encouraging words, and supportive actions have been pushed out of the daily planner and out of our lives by:

  • the capitalist mantra of competition, constant growth and hyper individualism
  • the constructed concept of the human as a unit of productivity, with the productivity giving us our value
  • the omnipresence of digital devices


Alas, we end up going through the motions of life without the emotions of life. This is life without ‘seasoning’, a suboptimal existence, far from an extraordinary life.

And it is to our personal and societal detriment.

Seasoning Challenge

We can all up our game and bring ‘seasoning’ into life. The trick is to add thankfulness and compassion into the mix in our wonderful messy-busy lives. Intentionally. Incrementally. So, I suggest that you take these steps.

  • Introduce one new one ‘seasoning’ word, thought or action at a time
  • Notice the difference you feel
  • Notice the difference in others, your workplace, home or social context
  • Then add another
  • Until they are a natural part of who you are, what you think and how you act


Give it a go

Add some seasoning to your food. Taste the difference.
Try some ‘seasoning’ in your life. Live the difference.


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