Tuesday, August 31, 2010
There you go...let it all slide out. Unhappiness can't stick in a person's soul when it's slick with tears.
-- Shannon Hale (Princess Academy)
I've been very melancholy today (perhaps the melancholy attending an older female without a story). I've done my best to plot a good day, but it just didn't *take*~~
~I did 20-minutes of strength training this morning.
~I posted gratitudes.
~I wrote letters to an inmate friend and to a friend who had a stroke, offering encouragement.
~I've eaten reasonably and well.
~On campus, I had a voice lesson and the first university chorus class, both with gifted and caring faculty, and both ostensible "uppers."
~I attended my two Spanish classes, though the last one really threw me into a tail spin from my already precarious perch:
I feel unprepared, inadquate to the task, "less" than the other students (not only is the class filled with primarily grad students, but also native Spanish speakers). Besides that, I don't have a good connection with the prof. I had her once before and finished the class with reservations about her. I decided to try her again because the course content intrigued me. Big mistake.
I was going to stop by the fitness center on the way home and do some cardio on the ARC, then I realized I was in a dress with sandals (open-toed shoes not allowed on machines). By the time I got home I was really feeling despairing, so I didn't have the rallying power to change clothes and go jump on the Trek to go for a ride with my sadness.
I thought of calling someone to have some dialogue, but then I decided I just need to *be with* the feelings, move through them, and see if I can find some resolution to this feeling of *unconnectedness,* of not having a story...a canvas...a score.
I'm trying to find the story for this season of my life. And I don't feel like I have...and I'm not even sure there is one. The Spanish focus felt great last year...and I have NOT been looking forward to this semester, why I'm not sure. The music minor idea came to me last week and I went for it enthusiastically. But it feels more like a band-aid at the moment. I feel a bit like a ship without an anchor, adrift.
The joy that results from doing something that you love.
Just a minute ago a Zen Habits e-article arrived entitled, "The Minimalist's Guide to Cultivating Passion." Hmmmmm...interesting, since I seemingly have *lost* mine. Here's the gist of the article:
"Discovering passion requires a dedication to unstructured exploration. You have to leave large swathes of free time in your schedule (a technique I call *underscheduling*), and fill this time with the exploration of things that might be interesting. Of equal importance, when something catches your attention you must leverage your free time to aggressively follow up.
"When we think about passion we think about action: we want to start doing big things right now! But the reality of passion is more subtle. You have to do less to get more in your life. It's a virtuous catch-22: by embracing a minimalist lifestyle now, you are more likely to develop the passionate interest that will support the lifestyle in the long run.
"Put another way: take a step back; relax; then open your eyes to patiently take in all that's out there. "
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Eknath Easwaran's Thought for the Day for today touched me deeply. It is definitely soul food for the mystics among us:
And what rule do you think I walked by? Truly a strange one, but the best in the whole world. I was guided by an implicit faith in God's goodness; and therefore led to the study of the most obvious and common things. For thus I thought within myself: God being, as generally believed, infinite in goodness, it is most consonant and agreeable with His nature that the best things should be most common.
-- Thomas Traherne
A state of permanent joy, hidden at the very center of consciousness, is the Eden to which the long journey of spiritual seeking leads. There, the mystics of all religions agree, we uncover our original goodness. We don't have to buy it; we don't have to create it; we don't have to pour it in; we don't even have to be worthy of it. This native goodness is the essential core of human nature.
We are made, the scriptures of all religions assure us, in the image of God. Nothing can change our original goodness. Whatever mistakes we have made in the past, whatever problems we may have in the present, in every one of us the uncreated spark in the soul remains untouched, ever pure, ever perfect. Even if we try with all our might to douse or hide it, it is always ready to set our personality ablaze with light.
-- Eknath Easwaran
Easwaran's commentaries tend to make use of texts of mystics from the world's great religions, today's being that of a Christian mystic:
Thomas Traherne, priest and poet
Thomas Traherne, 1636 - 1674, was an English priest, poet and prose writer, educated at the University of Oxford. His great theme is the visionary innocence of childhood, and in this respect he has been compared with William Blake and Walt Whitman. His style, too, bears resemblance to these authors in its incantatory rush, repetitions, and disregard for the rules of standard English. His poems, such as the often-anthologized "Shadows in the Water," suggest that adults have lost the joy of childhood, and with it an understanding of the divine nature of creation. In his writing, Traherne sought to reclaim this joy in the world.
Friday, August 27, 2010
I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.
-- Mother Teresa
This is Mother Teresa's 100th birthday year (August 26, 1910 - September 5, 1997). KarmaTube has done it again... how can I NOT share this in celebration of this unique and wondrous saint who walked among us, totally giving her life in loving service???
I will offer at least one small act of kindness for someone today in the name of unconditional love, to honor her work and life.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I just got the latest e-newsletter from Organic Consumers Association.
Since it takes so little time to transfer the primary information into a blog format, I decided to take that time to pass this, to me, urgent material on.
How many acquaintances, friends and loved ones do YOU have who have had cancer??? I have MANY more than I can count on both hands, beginning with my beloved father who died of lymphoma and maternal aunt who died of breast cancer.
FOUR PATHS TO HEALTH
1. Eat Organic to Avoid Cancer
A landmark report released earlier this year from the President's Cancer Panel, "Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk, What We Can Do Now," recommends eating organic food as a strategy to reduce cancer risk.
Though the "O" word itself is scarce, the authors referenced organic food in everything but name.
"Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers Similarly, exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic runoff from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat raised without these medications," the report states.
Food produced without antibiotics, hormones, or toxic agrichemicals is, by definition, organic. Certified organic farms are inspected at least once a year and subject to surprise visits to make sure the harmful chemicals and drugs referred to in the President's Cancer Panel report are not being used.
2. Subsidize Organic - Not GMOs and Junk Food - to Reduce Obesity
Fast-food restaurants charge low prices for "value meals" of hamburgers and french fries because the government provides billions of dollars in subsidies for the genetically engineered corn and soybeans used for animal feed and vegetable oil, says Barry Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"We have made it more expensive to eat healthy in a very big way," says Dr. Popkin, who has a doctorate in agricultural economics and is the author of a book called The World Is Fat: The Fads, Trends, Policies and Products That Are Fattening the Human Race.
The inflation-adjusted price of a McDonald's quarter-pounder with cheese, for example, fell 5.44 percent from 1990 to 2007, according to an article on the economics of child obesity published in the journal Health Affairs. But the inflation-adjusted price of fruit and vegetables, which are not subject to federal largess, rose 17 percent just from 1997 to 2003, the study said. Cutting agricultural subsidies would have a big impact on people's eating habits, says Dr. Popkin.
3. Truth in Labeling - "Warning: Eat This, You'll Get Fat & Sick"
Full Disclosure of Hidden Dangers
It takes a food chemist to translate the eight-syllable words commonly found on ingredients lists into plain English, but many of the most dangerous substances found in food today are additives, contaminants, or packaging and processing aids that don't get listed on the label, such as Acrylamide, Bisphenol A, and more. Here is a more complete list:
Health Warnings on Junk Food
Leading public health experts around the world are warning that fatty foods should carry official health warnings, similar to those on cigarettes.
The U.K. is instituting front-label nutrition summaries at the insistence of scientists like Professor David Hunter of Durham University who urged:
"The problem of obesity needs to be tackled by strong action from the government. There are many products which contain such high levels of fat and other ingredients that they are contributing to health problems. Rather than banning foods it would be a system of food labeling and working with the food industry to phase these products out. [Removing unhealthy foods from sale] would be in the interests of industry as well. After all, consumers can't keep buying their products if they are unwell or even dead."
-- Professor David Hunter, Durham University, Britain
4. Junk Food Taxes - Scientists & USDA Say Taxes Can Cut Obesity
To pay for the enormous public health damage caused by junk food, OCA supports a heavy tax on junk foods and beverages, similar to taxes already in place for toxic tobacco products.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service found that a 20 percent increase in the price of high-calorie, sweetened beverages, such as soda and sports drinks, could result in a decrease in the daily calorie intake of beverages by 37 calories for an average adult and 43 calories for children. That translates into an average reduction of 3.8 pounds over a year for an adult and 4.5 pounds for a child.
Similarly, research published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine estimates that an 18 percent tax on pizza and soda could push down U.S. adults' calorie intake enough to lower their average weight by 5 pounds per year. The researchers concluded that taxes could be used to offset and reduce the health care costs of obesity, estimated $147 billion a year.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Oh my! Diane Ackerman purdy much says it all...the anguish...the feelings of cosmic loneliness...of indelicacy...of fragility...of giant dreams....
I am feeling very pensive...and this piece of Ackerman's reflects it deeply and accurately.
WE ARE LISTENING
As our metal eyes wake
to absolute night,
where whispers fly
from the beginning of time,
we cup our ears to the heavens.
Avid, we are listening
on the volcanic lips of Flagstaff
and in the fields beyond Boston
in a great array that blooms
like coral from the desert floor,
on highwire webs patrolled
by computer spiders in Puerto Rico.
We are listening for a sound
beyond us, beyond sound,
searching for a lighthouse
in the breakwaters of our uncertainty,
an electronic murmur
a bright, fragile I am.
Small as tree frogs
staking out one end
of an endless swamp,
we are listening
through the longest night
we imagine, which dawns
between the life and time of stars.
Our voice trembles
with its own electric,
we who mood like iguanas
we who breathe sleep
for a third of our lives,
we who heat food
to the steaminess of fresh prey,
then feast with such baroque
good manners it grows cold.
In mind gardens
and on real verandas
we are listening,
rapt among the persian lilacs
and the crickets,
while radio telescopes
roll their heads, as if in anguish.
With our scurrying minds
and our lidless will
and our lank, floppy bodies
and our galloping yens
and our deep, cosmic loneliness
and our starboard hearts
where love careens,
we are listening,
the small bipeds
with the giant dreams.
~ Diane Ackerman ~
(Jaguar of Sweet Laughter)
Diane Ackerman, 61, is an American author, poet, and naturalist known best for her work A Natural History of the Senses. Her writing style, referring to her best-selling natural history books, can best be described as a blend of poetry, colloquial history, and easy-reading science. She has taught at various universities, including Columbia and Cornell, and her essays regularly appear in distinguished popular and literary journals.
She received her Ph.D.from Cornell University in 1978, where her dissertation advisor was Carl Sagan. Ms. Ackerman has received a D. Lit. from Kenyon College, Guggenheim Fellowship, Orion Book Award, John Burroughs Nature Award, and the Lavan Poetry Prize, as well as being honored as a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library. She also has the rare distinction of having a molecule named after her --dianeackerone. She has taught at a number of universities, including Columbia and Cornell. Her essays about nature and human nature have been appearing for decades in The New York Times, Smithsonian, Parade, The New Yorker, National Geographic and many other journals, where they have been the subject of much praise. She hosted a five-hour PBS television series inspired by A Natural History of the Senses.
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