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Setting the tone for the day....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:



THE SEVEN OF PENTACLES

Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after
the planting,
after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

~ Marge Piercy ~
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marge_Piercy

(In Praise of Fertile Land, edited by Claudia Mauro)
www.panhala.net/Archive/Seven_of_Pen
tacles.html

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LYNNANN43 10/23/2009 7:42AM

    How beautiful! Thank you, MAHA!

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GBOOMER 10/23/2009 6:38AM

    I had a good day yesterday? You?

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ABQUEST 10/22/2009 11:12PM

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

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CARLI_MAE 10/22/2009 3:09PM

    Wonderful, sublime ... love it! To quote ComEd's theme song ... 'you light up my life,' Maha! emoticon
Light & peace to you also,
Carli

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 10/22/2009 1:52PM

    Living persistently on purpose! emoticon

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TEE803 10/22/2009 1:22PM

    Love your words of inspiration! They DO inspire me!!! Thanks Maha! emoticon

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GBOOMER 10/22/2009 9:23AM

    May we both have a beautiful, life-loving, self-loving, just-general-overall-loving day!

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FLORIDASUN 10/22/2009 8:34AM

    Love this...it is so mindful and resonates deeply with me. I love you Maha for the wisdom that you share...for the beautiful friend that you are! Have a beautiful day...and beyond that...a beautiful life!! emoticon

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7 foods that should never cross your lips!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WOW! That's ominous, eh, using the article's caption as the blog title.

I know I posted "Top 10 Riskiest Foods" but this is totally different information AND I'm really surprised at the first one. I thought that, for instance, Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes in cans would be OK, but it sounds like they're not. I'm going to contact them about this, that's for sure.

I knew about the others, but appreciate the in-depth information. I got this from Prevention Magazine and thought it was so good that I looked for the article online to copy-and-paste.



"Clean" eating means choosing fruits, vegetables, and meats that are raised, grown, and sold with minimal processing. Often they're organic, and rarely (if ever) should they contain additives. But in some cases, the methods of today's food producers are neither clean nor sustainable. The result is damage to our health, the environment, or both.

So we decided to take a fresh look at food through the eyes of the people who spend their lives uncovering what's safe—or not—to eat. We asked them a simple question: "What foods do you avoid?" Their answers don't necessarily make up a "banned foods" list. But reaching for the suggested alternatives might bring you better health—and peace of mind.

1. Canned Tomatoes
Fredrick Vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A, gives us the scoop:

The problem: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people's body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. "You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that's a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young," says vom Saal. "I won't go near canned tomatoes."

The solution: Choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Bionaturae and Coluccio. You can also get several types in Tetra Pak boxes, like Trader Joe's and Pomi.

Budget tip: If your recipe allows, substitute bottled pasta sauce for canned tomatoes. Look for pasta sauces with low sodium and few added ingredients, or you may have to adjust the recipe.

2. Corn-Fed Beef
Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of half a dozen books on sustainable farming, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. But more money for cattle farmers (and lower prices at the grocery store) means a lot less nutrition for us. A recent comprehensive study conducted by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. "We need to respect the fact that cows are herbivores, and that does not mean feeding them corn and chicken manure," says Salatin.

The solution: Buy grass-fed beef, which can be found at specialty grocers, farmers' markets, and nationally at Whole Foods. It's usually labeled because it demands a premium, but if you don't see it, ask your butcher.

Budget tip: Cuts on the bone are cheaper because processors charge extra for deboning. You can also buy direct from a local farmer, which can be as cheap as $5 per pound. To find a farmer near you, search eatwild.com.

3. Microwave Popcorn
Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize—and migrate into your popcorn. "They stay in your body for years and accumulate there," says Naidenko, which is why researchers worry that levels in humans could approach the amounts causing cancers in laboratory animals. DuPont and other manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then.

The solution: Pop natural kernels the old-fashioned way: in a skillet. For flavorings, you can add real butter or dried seasonings, such as dillweed, vegetable flakes, or soup mix.

Budget tip: Popping your own popcorn is dirt cheap.

4. Nonorganic Potatoes
Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes—the nation's most popular vegetable—they're treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they're dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting. "Try this experiment: Buy a conventional potato in a store, and try to get it to sprout. It won't," says Moyer, who is also farm director of the Rodale Institute (also owned by Rodale Inc., the publisher of Prevention). "I've talked with potato growers who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals."

The solution: Buy organic potatoes. Washing isn't good enough if you're trying to remove chemicals that have been absorbed into the flesh.

Budget tip: Organic potatoes are only $1 to $2 a pound, slightly more expensive than conventional.

5. Farmed Salmon
David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany and publisher of a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Nature didn't intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. According to Carpenter, the most contaminated fish come from Northern Europe, which can be found on American menus. "You could eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer," says Carpenter, whose 2004 fish contamination study got broad media attention. "It's that bad." Preliminary science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity, but some nutritionists believe the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks. There is also concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. When you eat farmed salmon, you get dosed with the same drugs and chemicals.

The solution: Switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, it's farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon.

Budget tip: Canned salmon, almost exclusively from wild catch, can be found for as little as $3 a can.

6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones
Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO of the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society, gives us the scoop:

The problem: Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers. "When the government approved rBGH, it was thought that IGF-1 from milk would be broken down in the human digestive tract," says North. As it turns out, the casein in milk protects most of it, according to several independent studies. "There's not 100% proof that this is increasing cancer in humans," admits North. "However, it's banned in most industrialized countries."

The solution: Check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk. These phrases indicate rBGH-free products.

Budget tip: Try Wal-Mart's Great Value label, which does not use rBGH.

7. Conventional Apples
Mark Kastel, former executive for agribusiness and codirector of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm-policy research group that supports organic foods, gives us the scoop:

The problem: If fall fruits held a "most doused in pesticides contest," apples would win. Why? They are individually grafted (descended from a single tree) so that each variety maintains its distinctive flavor. As such, apples don't develop resistance to pests and are sprayed frequently. The industry maintains that these residues are not harmful. But Kastel counters that it's just common sense to minimize exposure by avoiding the most doused produce, like apples. "Farm workers have higher rates of many cancers," he says. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides (from all sources) with Parkinson's disease.

The solution: Buy organic apples.

Budget tip: If you can't afford organic, be sure to wash and peel them. But Kastel personally refuses to compromise. "I would rather see the trade-off being that I don't buy that expensive electronic gadget," he says. "Just a few of these decisions will accommodate an organic diet for a family."

www.prevention.com/cda/channelpage.d
o?channel=nutrition.recipes


HERE's THE RESULT OF MY CONTACT WITH MUIR GLEN:
1) My note 2) MG answer 3) my response to their note.

1) This is from an article in the current issue of Prevention Magazine. May I ask you to comment. I've been buying Muir Glen CANS for years. I need to be reassured!

"I copied-and-pasted the text here."

Thanks so much, Maha

2) Corporate.Response@genmills.com (Gadzooks, another corporate buy-out!)

Dear Ms. Christensen:

Thank you for contacting Muir Glen regarding bisphenol-A in food packaging. Bisphenol-A is a critical component of protective coatings used with metal food packaging and provides important quality and safety features to canned foods.

Scientific and government bodies worldwide have examined the scientific evidence and consistently have reached the conclusion that BPA is not a risk to human health. Recent examples include comprehensive risk assessments in Japan and Europe and a review by an independent panel of experts organized by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. The can coatings used in Muir Glen packaging comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements for use in food contact applications. These coatings have long played an essential part in food preservation, helping to maintain wholesomeness, nutritional value, and product quality.

We work closely with our suppliers to ensure that all of the food ingredients and packaging materials we use are fully in compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements and meet our high quality standards.

We will continue to monitor this situation. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us. Your questions and comments are always welcome. For more information on the safety of metal food containers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration press office may be contacted at (301) 436-2335.

Sincerely,

Kathy Smith
Consumer Services

3) Hi Kathy,

I'm afraid my faith in the FDA is tentative at best. Saying you comply with THEIR standards does not elicit confidence. Your form letter doesn't specifically speak to the concerns ennumerated by Fredrick Vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A. Perhaps an appropriate staff person in your organization would contact him to engage in dialogue about this important matter. In the meantime I'll look for other sources for packaged organic tomatoes.

Om Shanthi,
Valerie

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEE803 10/22/2009 1:25PM

    YIKES!!! That's scary stuff! Funny because if you watch CSI Miami the whole show on Monday night kind of revolved around the corn fed cows! And I love my microwave pop corn! Ah! It's so easy and convenient! This has been an eye opener! Thanks Maha!

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DOTSLADY 10/22/2009 2:33AM

    Hello again :). Though, not tomatoes, Eden Foods DOES have bpa-free canned beans - fyi. It 'CAN' be done! recent Huffington Post article: http://bit.ly/9vAwr or www.edenfoods.com.

Thanks for the Muir Glen update. Your response was well said: for every written response it speaks for so many more.

I'm in OKC - we're practically neighbors. yoo hoo. "I can see you from my house!"
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(Can you find ORGANIC pink ladies in AR? I've never seen 'em here, but will look harder.)

Comment edited on: 10/22/2009 2:35:04 AM

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MAZZYR 10/22/2009 1:02AM

    Thank you for sharing this information.

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LOOKINGTOBEFIT 10/21/2009 9:49PM

    It's pretty scary what's out there that we don't know about!! Thanks for the aricle.

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IMAGINE_IT 10/21/2009 8:10PM

    I read the same article a few days ago..and i was shocked to find out about all this...i am frankly at a Loss to what to eat anymore..it seems as if everything is Bad....all those foods are on my shopping list..and just today for example i have noticed that there are no tomatoes in glass available at my store... emoticon so now what?? I guess we need to start going back to the basics!!

Comment edited on: 10/21/2009 8:11:34 PM

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LIVNFITNHAPPY 10/21/2009 7:10PM

    Thank you so much for sharing! It seems to be a full time job (and then some) trying to take proper care of our bodies. I am really sad about the apples. It is apple season and my husband and I went to nearby groves to pick some interesting varieties of fresh apples. They were extremely yummy having not been picked too early. They were not organic but I hope sprayed with fewer chemicals than those grown out of the country. I guess it's back to the so-so tasting organic ones at the store.

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VALERIENEAL 10/21/2009 7:00PM

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I bookmarked the eatwild site. I have been trying to gradually change our eating habits around here, and slowly but surely it is working. I have not had a soda, and have been looking for grazed beef since the day before Mother's Day, that is the day I watched King Corn, which is free to watch instantly on Netflix..... Thanks again.

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CHOCMOM 10/21/2009 6:20PM

  Thanks. emoticon

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JERSEYGIRL24 10/21/2009 5:21PM

    Wow, it seems like nothing is safe to eat anymore. I will have to delve into this. However, I eat canned tomatoes so infrequently that the risk of damage is probably miniscule.

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HAPPY-DESTINY 10/21/2009 4:37PM

    Great blog..I bookmarked it!!

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CARLI_MAE 10/21/2009 3:59PM

    Good grief. Sometimes I wonder if anything is safe anymore. I see the "certified organic" sections in the stores around here, and sometimes find myself thinking "but how do we really know?????" ... given, as you rightly point out, how inadequate FDA inspections are, not to mention food industry PAC's and lobbyist influence. Kind of makes you grateful that each bodily life is, after all, a terminal state ... until you return in another one, anyway.

I've never had a microwave, and don't nuke anything ... I've thought of getting one, but every time I do, I think "ah, one more thing on the counter to keep clean" & think about all those small kitchen appliances that are stored at the back of a cabinet or in my basement and never used!
Don't like salmon, except for one time I had it made in a particular way on an outdoor grill, and forgot to write down how they did it.....

A couple of helpful sites related to fish are http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/
cr/seafoodwatch.aspx

htt
p://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/oehas/fi
sh/fishchart.htm

and (lost the link) Oceans Alive something ...

Good luck on the tomatoes ... I haven't found any glass packaged ones that aren't loaded with extra salt (why, when tomatoes are naturally high in sodium anyway?); while the canned varieties do have "no added salt" options. Best best, but labor intensive, would be to grow and preserve your own in Mason or Ball Jars, which aren't so cheap anymore, and require you to buy replacement seals for each re-use.

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Meanwhile, I guess I'll continue my ritual of cooking with love and peace, and blessing everything before I eat it emoticon

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LYNNANN43 10/21/2009 3:21PM

    I had no idea about the canned tomatoes! I just used one last night:(

emoticon for the article!

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BABYFACE26 10/21/2009 2:45PM

    Well, thanks to Peaceful One, I checked out this blog. I knew much of this, but didn't know the science behind it. Knowing the science, really makes it worse! Good to have info. on canned tomatoes...even though it ALL is depressing as hell...all the families with children - I think about - are totally ignorant of any of this...and I agree with you, about the FDA. Have confidence in Them??!! I don't think so. ..and farmed salmon are fed..WHAT!? "Poultry litter and chicken feathers?" what the?!
I am dumbfounded.

Thank you so much, hon. emoticon


Comment edited on: 10/21/2009 2:48:58 PM

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 10/21/2009 2:34PM

    appalling, absolutely

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BARNABABY1 10/21/2009 2:29PM

    Wow...thanks for the info. It really makes you wonder what we have all been putting into our bodies over the last couple of decades.

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AZIMAT 10/21/2009 2:03PM

    Thanks for the info...I too was sad to see the warnings about canned tomatoes, one of my standby pantry items. Not sure whether I'll stop using them, or not. probably won't stop.

I think another issue in all of this is that we all just need to do the best that we can, given time constraints, financial considerations and family preference constraints.

What it comes down to is: make the best ingredient choices that you can, prepare the food with love, bless it and then enjoy it!

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DOTSLADY 10/21/2009 1:30PM

    emoticonThanks Peacefulone for sharing this post with your friends.

I knew 'bout BPA, but have been stubborn giving up my canned tomatoes. Sometimes you just need to hear things over and over to GET IT! Will check back for Muir Glenn update.

I haven't given up Pink Lady apples either (so juicy!) ... dang. It's always somepin.

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DRAGONFLY7149 10/21/2009 12:20PM

    Thanks, Maha -- I knew about most of these, but was surprised that the BPA piece focused only on tomatoes. I understand research indicates BPA has the most significant effect on children, but it's not good for any of us and does leach into foods even when those foods are not acidic. As a general rule, if a tin can is lined with anything it's likely to be BPA.

On the milk side of things, fortunately -- following persistent consumer protests -- the Canadian government banned BGH in milk (they've also banned the use of BPA, but only in products specifically intended to be used by children).

I also understand that ALL root vegetables, unless organically grown, absorb pesticides. I try to find organic but when I can't make sure that I wash well and remove peel (kind of sacrifices some of the nutritional value but pesticide values are supposedly highest in the outer layers).

You know what irks me most -- governments that know all of this but don't more vigorously regulate in the public interest!



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DOKEYOKEY 10/21/2009 12:07PM

    Thanks for sharing this more broadly. I buy organic only and have for many years.

And I just found out about the problem with tomato products in cans (even organic) -- rats!

I have stopped buying canned tomatoes -- I don't have a good substitute yet, since I haven't figured out how to grow enough to put in bottles myself!

And -- I'm worried! -- if the lining of the tomato cans is bad, doesn't this mean that the canned salmon is also problematic (even if from Pacific sources)? Do you have any information about this, too?

Thanks again!
Kathleen

Comment edited on: 10/21/2009 12:07:53 PM

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SIRIRADHA 10/21/2009 11:55AM

    Oh no! We eat lots and lots of canned tomatoes even with all the tomatoes we grow.

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PEACEFULONE 10/21/2009 11:31AM

    Excellent!!!! Outstanding advice that needs to be shared with everyone you care about. Thank you so very much MAHA!!! You are a treasure!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/21/2009 11:32:39 AM

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WILDFLOWER- 10/21/2009 11:05AM

    Really great info! Thank you for sharing!

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LOLAGEEK 10/21/2009 10:29AM

    I get sad about potatoes and apples with toxic accumulation. I mean what have we done to our environment??? So sad.

The canned tomatoes is one we have sadly been eliminating from our diet for a while. I dried a bunch of tomatoes this past summer to see how well they will reconsititute this winter.

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RMACBURN 10/21/2009 10:02AM

    I didn't know that about microwave popcorn. Thank you for sharing.

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DIHEALTHYHAPPY 10/21/2009 9:06AM

    I sure didn't know about any of the above 'ceptin' the apples.

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_VALEO_ 10/21/2009 9:05AM

    Great eye-opening.
The only food I have/had to worry about is 4#... but I just joined the equivalent of your CSA, and we should produce our own ones by next year.

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FLOWINGWATER 10/21/2009 8:55AM

    Thanks Maha! Like you, I knew about all of these except the canned tomatoes. That was a shocker. I use Muir Glen, too. Let me know what you find out from them.

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NEWME0519 10/21/2009 8:50AM

    Wow, thanks for sharing!

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When the Shoe Fits....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



When the Shoe Fits

Ch'ui the draftsman
Could draw more perfect circles freehand
Than with a compass.

His fingers brought forth
Spontaneous forms from nowhere. His mind
Was meanwhile free and without concern
With what he was doing.

No application was needed
His mind was perfectly simple
And knew no obstacle.

So, when the shoe fits
The foot is forgotten,
When the belt fits
The belly is forgotten,
When the heart is right
"For" and "against" are forgotten.

No drives no compulsions,
No needs, no attractions:
Then your affairs
Are under control.
You are free.

Easy is right. Begin right
And you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go easy
Is to forget the right way
And forget that the going is easy.

~ Chuang Tzu ~

(In the Dark Before Dawn, trans. Thomas Merton)
www.panhala.net/Archive/When_the_Sho
e_Fits.html

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENVOSE 10/21/2009 11:09PM

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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AZIMAT 10/21/2009 2:05PM

    This post set the tone for my whole day yesterday. Profound. Thank you.

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MAZZYR 10/21/2009 12:40AM

    Thank you for sharing.

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MISS_VIV 10/20/2009 10:06PM

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece.
It gives me wonderful thoughts at days end.

Love and peace

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TEE803 10/20/2009 8:02PM

    Thanks for sharing that MAHA! You are a WONDERFUL person wise in her ways!!!

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FRANCESCANAZ 10/20/2009 6:13PM

    Muchisimas gracias mi amiga profunda. Me gusta!
Paz, Francesca emoticon

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CARLI_MAE 10/20/2009 3:01PM

    Oh ... oh! I soooooooo know this feeling! There is a "zone" that, once we get into it, all becomes easy, free-flowing, natural, and it seems as though one's focus is so keen errors are impossible. As a "jock" I experienced this a number of times in tennis tournaments and running (the application of the discipline I learned through meditation and yoga definitely fed into it).

And of all people to have found this gem and provided the translation ... Thomas Merton -- one of my fav's. Thank you, Maha!
Peace, blessings,
Carli

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_VALEO_ 10/20/2009 11:39AM

    Thanks for sharing it. A lesson of wisdom here.

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LIVNFITNHAPPY 10/20/2009 8:54AM

    Very beautiful and profound!
Thank you for sharing! emoticon

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GRFXGIRL 10/20/2009 8:37AM

    Thanks for sharing emoticon

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BREN4376 10/20/2009 8:34AM

    I hope you have a great day! Thank you for sharing that.

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Bottom line....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Note to myself:

It's so clear to me after all these years on the planet and my "time-out" yesterday, that doing the inner work is what creates outer balance and helps me to reach my goals -- from loving care of the body-mind-spirit entity to excelling in classes, from reaching out to others and finding joy in the small pleasures to pursuing my dreams -- for me it all comes down to being attuned to the divine presence within.

Again, Eknath Easwaran has captured for me the essence of my work and my journey.



One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.
-- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

If you are determined to stick to what is really important in life, then from day to day you will see that the unimportant pastimes, the distractions that lead you away from your purpose, will gradually weaken their hold.

On the list of priorities, first and foremost is meditation. It will clear your eyes and bring the detachment and discrimination we all need to make wise choices. So right at the top of your list should be the resolution to practice meditation, and not to let anything come in the way.

Not even the greatest of worldly achievements will satisfy us completely. Nothing finite can ever satisfy us. Sooner or later, all the vitality that has gone into pursuing countless goals in the outer world must flow into one huge desire to discover the divine presence within. This supreme discovery is what matters most in life. We are all born to seek the supreme truth.
--Sri Eknath Easwaran
www.easwaran.org/page/188

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STRAWBERRY*MOON 10/19/2009 9:31PM

    Maha, Thanks for this blog entry and for stressing meditation. I do need reminding from time to time.

Carli_Mae, I certainly identify with "The Meditative Cook." Most people look at me in bemusement when I say I experience the shopping for food its preparation, and feeding myself and other as a form of meditation. Often I can even extend this to cleaning up afterward. :-)

Comment edited on: 10/19/2009 9:43:01 PM

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CARLI_MAE 10/19/2009 12:20PM

    Yes, indeed. And while none of the earthly goals and achievements will ever, of themselves, satisfy us ... don't you agree that part of the purpose of meditation is to train the mind so that ALL the activities we do may become acts of meditation in themselves?

In that way, we gradually release the results of what we do to Spirit, rather than trying to keep them or hoard them unto ourselves (source of most unhappiness), thereby achieving greater true happiness and freedom.

Another thought provoking blog. WTG, Maha!
Peace,
The Meditative Cook .... emoticon

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FRANCESCANAZ 10/19/2009 11:56AM

    You are so right about being satisfied! I was annoyed with my husband this weekend and was really brooding because he wasn't doing what I wanted to do. Then I thought about how he was 32 years ago when we first married and how far he has come and really how very little I have to complain about. Nothing really. I am ashamed for being so self-centered. I should realize that I have been blessed with much more than most women in my marriage. Why can't I be satisifed and not require more, more, always more?

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 10/19/2009 11:06AM

    Truth is at the top of my list. Good going with the schooling, girlfriend! You are winner in my book!

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GBOOMER 10/19/2009 11:00AM

    Love the Lindbergh quote!

Comment edited on: 10/19/2009 11:00:51 AM

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LOLAGEEK 10/19/2009 10:51AM

    Meditation has been very necessary to me this year. It creates a clear mind like a sword that is pure beauty in its craftsmanship, but sharp enough to cut away from the clutter that tries to distract it. Good work staying on your path.

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I'm lassooing my compulsive desires!

Saturday, October 17, 2009



Sri Eknath Easwaran is one of my heroes and teachers. The meditation center near Tomales Bay, California that he founded carries on his universal message and work.

I appreciate his simplicity of language in the small text below, in forcing me to question my behavior. I'm having a push-pull kind of day, and coming upon his words helps me to put my conflicting desires and resistance in perspective.

I've been struggling this morning with addictive behavior (being glued to this computer) vs. choosing how to spend the day. After reflecting on Easwaran's simple but potent-for-me reminder, here's how I intend to choreograph the rest of the day ~~

~ monitor and track all food (and exercise)
~ sitting practice
~ yoga asanas
~ work on debate material
~ complete Spanish commentary on art work currently on exhibition
~ consider doing Coach Nicole's cardio work-out DVD

Blessed be and may it be so!
Maha



"Most of us are not aware to what extent our desires are compulsive. We do not realize how often they push and shove us about without any say on our part.

"But when we think 'I would like a hot fudge sundae,' it would be more accurate to say that the desire is thinking us. Intellectually we may know that a hot fudge sundae means more calories than we need; but the desire has a hold on us, and we believe, temporarily, this is what will satisfy us. Not until we have eaten the sundae do we reflect, 'That's not what I really wanted. Why did I eat it?'

"Not that there is anything wrong in eating sundaes. The important point is having the capacity to choose. For 'hot fudge sundae' we can substitute our own favorite pleasures.

"Some may not be harmful in themselves, but when the inability to choose extends to destructive habits such as smoking, drinking, or taking drugs (or any other addictions), we begin to cause suffering to ourselves and to those around us."

-- Eknath Easwaran

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRANCESCANAZ 10/18/2009 2:21PM

    Buena suerte en tus estudios amiga mia. Good blog!

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MAZZYR 10/18/2009 11:53AM

    Well... this is something to think about... desire, compulsive desires and conscious choices.

For me, when I make a conscious choice to exchange the desire to 'eat' with the desire to 'play on the computer' it's a good thing. LOL.

Namaste,
Mazzy

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JNEUBS 10/18/2009 11:48AM

    Maha!

May your Sunday be filled with enjoying happiness and the root of happiness!

Peace and Love,
ChiTown Jeff
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DOKEYOKEY 10/18/2009 11:03AM

    Hey, I think this is just what I needed to read today, too. I just wrote on my blog about struggling with my compulsions, so I am grateful to read this right in this moment!

Thank you!
Kathleen

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CARLI_MAE 10/18/2009 1:21AM

    Oh geeeezzzzzz!!! I'm behind by 7 (well, now only 6, but probably by tomorrow it will be 7 again) of your blogs! Aye, me ... what happened to this week? Or has it been 2?

Now that I've stopped a moment to think about this, it is making me wonder, because while I feel good and really pleased with my productivity of late, I also realize I've been moving about at such a clip I can't really say it's been very "mindful." Not really mindless either. But have I broken away from the computer only to get into some other compulsive routine? Desire or conscious choice? Ah! There's the right question. For me this time it's definitely been a conscious choice, and one I'll be glad I invested the time in now rather than allowing things to pile up on me to the point that I feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by them.

Thanks for another gem! And I hope you lasso that elusive bugger!
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Carli

Comment edited on: 10/18/2009 1:22:42 AM

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BABYFACE26 10/17/2009 8:19PM

    Oh Maha, how perfect. Yes, I AM aware - most of the time- of how much I am manipulated by my own Compulsions to do this, or that, or eat this or that! ...or even, to Think this or that!
This is also a good reminder of how important Organization is, and lists...and to question how we are using our Time. Today I am being somewhat indulgent with myself, because I'm in a Mood, and I've already been out and about, and I am Tired.
....and thank you for posting on my blog page, sweetie.
Have a good week-end.

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LADYIRIS313 10/17/2009 5:50PM

    Thank you for sharing this - it was just what I needed to read today. My lifestyle seems to very often be informed by that is 'average' ... spending time watching television when it really isn't that interesting to me, or spending time cruising around the internet for no reason, when my body needs movement, or my home needs care. That creates stress that I have control over. Peace is always preferable. Just as sometimes our 'things' own us, so do our compulsions steer us when we are not conscious.

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PEACEFULONE 10/17/2009 3:01PM

    I can so relate to this. It helps me to keep a list and try to stick to it. Still the computer is a temptation. I try an use it as a reward (just came in from 2 1/2 hours of raking). Wishing you a wonderful weekend dear Maha!

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CORPUSANNIE 10/17/2009 2:50PM

    Maha my friend,
I have also been glued to the computer today.
I will do Coach Nicole's cardio workout this afternoon if you will.
The weather is beautiful here for a nice change.
I am going to deep clean my room with the windows open.
Thank you for the blessings of your blogs.

Peace
Montie

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