Friday, July 30, 2010

The Art of Eating

This summer I have been reading about a subject matter that I'm increasingly more interested if not passionate about. Ive been reading about where my food comes from and the choices I can make which are not only beneficial to me but the planet as well. I started with In defense of food by Michael Pollen. He begins with these simple words,"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Pollen discusses the American diet and the influence of corporate organizations. the food and drug administration and agricultural standards for farming complicated by nutritional scientist promotion of various minerals and vitamins at certain times during the evolution of the American diet. His basic message to eat food rather than processed, artificial or genetically altered materials got me looking in my own kitchen. As I took a peak I realized to my astonishment there's not a lot ( if any) real food sitting on those shelves. My focus and attitude has seriously changed and I grocery shop with a new awareness. I consider myself a healthy eater but I see we have a long way to go in our house so I next I picked up Cleaving by Julie Powell. This book received a huge amount of criticism but if you look past her personal story she tells the reader something they probably don't know and never thought about. The book is dedicated to the art of butchery. If you read beyond her marriage and affair you get an introduction to how meat is processed before you pick it up at the butcher ( if your lucky enough to have a butcher in your area) My latest book which I am re-reading immediately because it left such an huge impact on me is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Again this book is focused on where your food comes from but in this case the writer is asking the reader to consider purchasing food locally and eat seasonally. This message struck home in such a profound manner I have completely rearranged my thinking, my kitchen, my culinary goals and completely altered my attitude toward what I put on the table.
Have you read a book that changed your eating patterns, altered your eating lifestyle or just left you with that oohhh! AH! moment. I'd love to know. Please share

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Time and Training

I am doing a professional training the next five days. It's the second of four modules which I need to complete in order to administer a certain test in my given profession. I have the testing kit, paperwork, days set aside and have arranged my schedule accordingly. Everything was nearly in place, I only needed a stopwatch. I assumed this would be easy till I walked in and out of my third store without a stopwatch. I did manage to procure the item but not after first sweating it out a little. I think its ironic I couldn't find an object that keeps time, since time is a major issue in my life. I continue to work on making more time for meaningful activity while stepping away from things that add no value. Easier said than done and obligation certainly gets in the way. Things that must be completed even if you feel their meaningless must be done. I've been busy this Summer but busy getting my life in order and getting things done that were badly in need of doing, well past their due date in many cases. As I tick items off the list (literally) I continue to reflect on how I can arrange my life so it's not so hectic and allows some breathing room and more personal time. From the outside it can seem a pretty straightforward task but like finding a stopwatch once in search it's more challenging and less obvious than first perceived.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ah Yes Indeed

"Ah yes indeed it's fun time
'Cause you can't, you won't and you don't stop
'Cause you can't, you won't and you don't stop
'Cause you can't, you won't and you don't stop
MCA come and rock the sure shot"
Beastie Boys

Ah yes indeed, Summer is in full swing. It's yoga on the beach, hiking in the woods, fish on the grill watermelon on ice and a mellow vibe. Finally, I can feel my body and mind start to unwind and breath. My muscles are slowly beginning to gain strength and I'm becoming reacquainted with a more physical state. This season I took control of my schedule and the benefits have been enormous. Pulling the toxic elements out and adding quality in, is making all the difference. I've had a little time to slow down, get some long over due repairs needed on the house and think about what I would really like to include and what I would like permanently out. I've had time to think and have begun to experiment with adding some healthier choices into our home which I'll talk about in another post.

In the meantime I think I'll just soak up the sun, not fill my mind with too much madness and keep it simple. It's a sure shot.

Wishing peace and good summer fun to everyone.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time.
This expression is unique.
And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium
and will be lost.
Martha Graham

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Moving Upward

Celtic Tree of Life
Today a long time teacher of mine gave her last class at the primary studio I attend. When she first announced she would be leaving it didn't register, until it did, and then it hit me like a thunder bolt. Claire Este McDonald is a healer of mind, body and spirit. Over the years her message has been consistent and clear. To take care and love others you must do the same for yourself. Be mindful and aware, respect the yoga and the process. Her classes are powerful and many times I've felt I wasn't up for the challenge, wanting something easier and more sedate. It's been a year of injury and recovery and each time I entered her class I hoped it would be easier, but by the end felt the healing process take hold. I walked into class earlier this week in a tearful puddle. I realized for the first time, after all these years, on some level each time I attended her classes I gained some courage, a little confidence to go out and face whatever is in my path. I had taken our time together for granted and hadn't stopped to really appreciate the gift in front of me.
As I reflect upon this wonderful teacher and all she has given, I am deeply grateful for the time I have spent on the mat with her guidance. I am humbled and reminded to acknowledge all the blessings in my life. Claire is moving on and upward in her personal evolution. My sense is she is putting down solid roots and I can't help but think of her as the Celtic tree of life which connects heaven and earth.
I wish you well always with blessing and love,
Jai Bhagwan

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Letting Go

Students just hanging out at Yoga Vidya Dham
As the Summer unfolds I am beginning to reconnect with myself. I realize how far off I have wandered and coming back to a centered place is going to take some time and patience. Each yoga class I take these days is a journey. Emotional. physical and mental just comes pouring out onto the mat. There's no stopping it, and no real figuring out why or what's coming out. I leave class drenched, feeling I just unloaded a ton I wasn't even sure why I was carrying around. Recent feelings, feelings from years ago, thoughts I had no awareness I was thinking, all just unloading on the mat. It's a relief, but also a little unnerving to have see how quickly we pile junk into our minds and body. For now I'm just letting go and clearing out.
Wishing peace and lightness to everyone.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A little summertime madness

Summer Sun
Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.

Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.

The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles
Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.

Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy's inmost nook.

Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Comin'

I'm still working through my long year end obligations. I should be finished today which is a relief. It's been a rather long haul and I'm ready to move forward with other things. Once I finish this paper and submit it, my long list will finally be complete. This has recently freed up a little time to begin to slow down and breath. I've begun to reconnect with my practice, and Lola and Bingo and I have been taking longer and longer walks. Strolls in the wood, just meandering, slowing down and reconnecting to life and nature. I pulled out a Christina Pirello vegetarian cookbook and decided to have another go at it this Summer. Tomorrow I'm going to look for tiles for my kitchen floor which delights me to no end and this little project is well past its due date. Wednesday I meet with my advisor to go over my schedule for next year (in reality the next three). It's actually a great relief to be at this point and be know the light at the end is coming if I just keep going. September will bring huge schedule and life style changes and a period of adjustment in terms of time commitment and where time is spent, and how much time is spent, and how funds are allocated and do many other things I must take into consideration. But for now I'm just thrilled to have some time to slow down, breath and relax a little.