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VALERIEMAHA's Recent Blog Entries

The No-GMO Carnaval!

Monday, May 18, 2009

We need to pay attention to not just the quantity of food we eat, but the QUALITY of that food as well. One of the ways that I can be assured that, for instance, I'm not buying GMO corn or soy is to BUY ORGANIC! But...back to the subject at hand --

Thanks to PeacefulOne, I got *turned on* to this challenge. And I want all my SparkFriends to know about it, because it's SO DAMNED IMPORTANT to our own health and future as humans, as well as the health and future of the planet!

Join me in the No-GMO Challenge -- Together We Can!

Blessed be!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEACEFULONE 5/19/2009 3:08AM

    Dear Maha,

Thanks for posting this challenge. I'm in. If consumers know the truth about GMOs they will refuse to risk eating these Franken foods.

Peace and love, Elaine

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WHATAGRL42 5/19/2009 2:00AM

    I'm with you Maha! santosh and I recenty transitioned to all organic. We found a certified organic CSA just miles down the road from us, and now have delicious organic fruits and veggies delivered to our door, every wednesday! It's been fun, actually making that change. We both feel better. NO GMOs!

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INCEPERSON 5/18/2009 10:14PM

    Sounds great! Where can I find more information about GMO???

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LOLAGEEK 5/18/2009 2:49PM

    Right on. I have been a NO GMO person for years. Bt is only one of the things that scares the crap out of me.

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SUSANLUSAN 5/18/2009 11:11AM

    What a good idea!

And if I may add a caboose to your excellent train, Maha ...

... whenever I do stuff like this, I'm often inclined to top it off with a cherry by zapping off a quickie email to my elected officials letting them know what their constituent (me aka as an American consumer and voter) is doing so my actions don't occur in a vacuum.

I take care to include a request for the changes I wish to see made -- such as in this case labeling for GMO's on all food in the US. I encourage others to do likewise. It is a five minute effort that can make a huge difference.

Here is an easy way to connect to who you need to write or call:

Comment edited on: 5/18/2009 11:16:03 AM

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The Battle with Easy Street

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I was successful in my food and exercise efforts this week, little by little chipping away at the poor eating habits that have been established over years of living on Easy Street.

Strength of will and perseverance are definitely my weapons in the Battle with Easy Street. On Easy Street I eat what I want in abundant quantities whenever I have a notion to and the senses of course win over the higher faculty of discriminating will.

Plutarch's wisdom below really resonated with me today. And Easwaran's commentary is, as always, useful. As a body/mind/spirit being, I always find that acknowledging the spiritual dimension in this process makes it more *real* for me.

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Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.
-- Plutarch emoticon

With every thought, we are working on our destiny. When a sculptor creates an elephant, each touch of the chisel shapes the stone. While carving an eye he barely strokes the stone, but those light strokes are as vital as the rough shaping blows. There is no such thing as an unimportant blow.

Similarly, every thought shapes our lives. There is no such thing as a little thought, no such thing as an unimportant thought. It may be heavy, it may be light, but it always should be well-directed, with discrimination and precision.
-- Eknath Easwarn emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADANNIE71 5/18/2009 9:49AM

    A great post!! It's hard to remember that the baby steps do add up and that each stitch is part of the whole fabric. You've had a good week and deserve some high fives. I am still not putting enough effort into proper eating, but I know that each day if I eat one less cookie, I am making the healthful decision.

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SUSANLUSAN 5/17/2009 8:33PM

    This is a bullseye! You're so right, it is easy to discount those tiny decisions and their actions until one thinks about the sculptor. I am thinking, learning, chiseling my actions into eating and moving in ways that are life enhancing rather than life diminishing, bit by bit.

What could possibly be worth some future suffering, especially knowing, once there, I did it to myself with how I chose to eat and move? That is exactly how I got here, now.

I take your Easwaran's call for thoughts to be well directed to heart. At the risk of sounding like a bad Yoda imitation, lol, it behooves to notice there can only be a change in direction when there is a change in direction.

Comment edited on: 5/17/2009 8:34:48 PM

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MAZZYR 5/17/2009 7:33PM


It's nice to have company. I was also successful with my food and exercise efforts this week. Grrrr, it was not easy.

Keep chipping away, you are not alone my SparkFriend!


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Each day is a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.

-- John O'Donohue
(To Bless the Space Between Us)


Each day, I do some things well, I mess up royally on others. Each day is nonetheless full of abundance, full of so much goodness. It's there for me to "celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention."

Ya' know it all comes down to PRESENCE. It's the only way to truly experience the sacred gift. I was driving home from the fitness center feeling very tired and wondering if I could do it again tomorrow. Then I remembered I had thought the same thing yesterday, but today I "received encouragement when new frontiers beckoned"...and I DID IT. So it's about -- just this much...only this moment...only this day. Instead of expectations, I wish to have PRESENCE. Instead of disappointment, I intend PRESENCE. Instead of distraction, PRESENCE. Instead of anxiety, PRESENCE. Instead of procrastination, PRESENCE. I want the way I live my outer life to exhibit an "inner dignity of soul."

Yesterday I *put out.* Besides a strenuous vinyasa yoga class, I completed 20-minutes of cardio and some knee strengthening exercises. I then went on a two-hour bike ride, which almost did me in. It got up to 86 degrees yesterday...and I got so hot I thought I would never cool down! So the body is slowly acclimating to *movement* again. But it's not what I love to's a constant challenge, conversation with myself, looking to my higher self for direction. And each day it begins anew.

This daily accountability blog is taxing, and I'm not sure I'll continue, but it has helped me thus far. And the scale announced this morning that I have released 1.4 pounds over the last five days. I'm still working the kinks out of the Trackers. I'm moderately comfortable with the Nutrition Tracker, thanks to Stephanie's able phone training session. I'm less comfortable with the Fitness Tracker, because Stephanie hasn't yet trained me in it (hint, hint)!


I'm blogging late (we had no electricity for 12 just returned this afternoon), so I have already ~~

~ completed a Pilates class
~ completed 20 minutes of upper-body strength-training
~ completed 5 minutes of sit-ups
~ completed 20 minutes of cardio
~ completed knee-strengthening exercises

Now I intend to finish the day with PRESENCE, "consoled in the secret symmetry of (my) soul."

Blessed be!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    You never cease to amaze me....

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KUZINKEITH 5/14/2009 10:02PM

    AS OUR FRIEND JOHN LENNON SAID in the great song "I'm So Tired"
"I'll give you everything I've got for a little peace of mind.

It is in the "now" that I find that peace.


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SUSANLUSAN 5/14/2009 9:23PM

    Now... it is my most favorite place to be. Thank you for reminding me why.

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DRAGONFLY7149 5/14/2009 5:47PM

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!

So glad you're persevering and, as always, making some very astute observations.

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Leaving the burden behind....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Burlap Sack

A person is full of sorrow
The way a burlap sack is full of stones or sand.
We say, “Hand me the sack,”
But we get the weight.
Heavier if left out in the rain.
To think that the stones or sand are the self is an error.
To think that grief is the self is an error.
Self carries grief as a pack mule carries the side bags,
Being careful between the trees to leave extra room.
The self is not the load of ropes and nails and axes.
The self is not the miner nor builder nor driver.
What would it be to take the bride
And leave behind the heavy dowry?
To let the thin-ribbed mule browse in tall grasses,
Its long ears waggling like the tails of two happy dogs?

-- Jane Hirshfield


Well yesterday was purdy much a "wash," as we say. And I don't really want to go there...because I'm here...and this PRESENT is my gift, my "tabula rasa," the blank slate to choreogrprah the day ahead.

I went over my caloric recommendations even with corrections in certain foods. But, bottom line, I tracked. And knowledge is power. I'm learning so much about my intake and my triggers and my will in this process...and THAT, my friends IS progress!


Today I intend to ~~

~ creatively monitor my intake to stay with caloric guidelines
~ meditate, do pranayama and attend yoga class
~ do 20 minutes of strength training
~ do 20 minutes of cardio at the fitness center
~ limit media time
~ enjoy being in this bag-of-bones!

I take this inspiration from His Holiness the Dalai Lama with me as I go forward today:

The period of greatest gain in knowledge and experience is the most difficult period in one's life. Through a difficult period you can learn; you can develop inner strength, determination, and courage to face the problems.

Blessed be!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADANNIE71 5/14/2009 10:15AM

    How can one not love the thin mule with long ears wagging like puppy tails? It opens up a world of appreciation in me. You are such a lovely person. My own bag of bones is packed in jello, but not to mind. Today is a sunny day and I'm off to the gym.
Hugs, Ashley

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LIZARDG7 5/13/2009 4:26PM

    Maha, I think this is the way we support one another! What a beautiful way to start the day. Thank you, Lizzie emoticon

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LKOPACK 5/13/2009 11:24AM

    Hi Maha,
Thanks for your insights and poem. I liked your comment about "enjoy living in this bag of bones". Haven't heard that comment lately but I like it and it is an accurate description.
Laura K.

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KUZINKEITH 5/13/2009 8:47AM

    I love that poem -- I am not my "feelings" ... I can set those aside when I choose to.

Progress does not always come easy or without pain-- but it does come. And there is no need to add to that pain by beating our selves up. Yesterday's pain is today's strength ---


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Tuesday, May 12, 2009


If to say it once
And once only, then still
To say: Yes.

And say it complete,
Say it as if the word
Filled the whole moment
With its absolute saying.

Later for "but,"
Later for "if."

Only the single syllable
That is the beloved,
That is the world.

-- Gregory Orr
(How Beautiful the Beloved)


Slowly ever moving forward YES
Learning from each passing day YES
Letting go of negative self-talk YES
Practicing metta in the process YES
Appreciating the support of SP friends on the journey YES
Paying it forward at each opportunity YES
Watching the vital, vibrant me emerge once again YES

BREAKING NEWS: I've figured out that I'm assigning too many calories to polenta in the Nutrition Tracker. By adjusting that I'm well within moderate caloric consumption for my first two days -- Praise Be!


Today I intend to ~~

~ enjoy nature on my bicycle and sneak my cardio in in the process
~ do 20 minutes of strength training
~ meditate, do pranayama & hatha yoga
~ continue monitoring my intake
~ practice contentment

May it be so!

Blessed be!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REBCCA 5/12/2009 3:11PM

    Yes, yes, yes!!! emoticon emoticon

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SLASALLE 5/12/2009 12:45PM

    So how did you figure this out, my friend? I find there are OFTEN several entries in the SP database for a food. It can be difficult to be PRECISE unless you have the nutritional information for the EXACT thing you're using! Glad you're having success!!!

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MADANNIE71 5/12/2009 11:45AM

    Hooray for misjudging the polenta!!! And, as always, thank you for the poem. And I love your plans for the day, can I come along (at least in spirit)?

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MAZZYR 5/12/2009 10:08AM

    Hello Dear Maha,

Thank you for this inspiring blog.


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