Edible with caution

Just because something is edible doesn’t mean you should eat it. Which is why at a young age, after my mom put a tongue (as in cow) out for lunch, I swore I’d become a vegetarian (which I did, in college). People eat many disgusting, tasteless, icky, slimy, delicious but bad for you foods, in the name of edible adventurousness. We don’t have to swallow everything put in front of us. Eat to live the edibles that delight and nourish you, and that don’t destroy the planet or gross you out.

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I’ll have the Vente…not

Okay, I try not to rant (too often), but this one has been showing up a lot. People who say things like “I’ll only take a minute of your time” or “I’m not selling anything.” They are. Worse, friends or acquaintances who “just want to vent” but really are dumping their hurt, pain, stress, and a vente-size worse. I rarely can get a word in (as in, “I’m not a therapist” or paid by you to be one), and if I do, it goes south. The “venter” just wants a “sounding board,” or an empathetic nod, which in my case, would be fake because I’m bored. I’ve heard it before. So what’s the dumpee/ ventee to do?

Start off with “do you want me to listen, or do you want advice?” They will lie, and say “yes,” but the advice offered will usually be resisted or rejected. Here’s what I’ve come up with (and often failed at): 1. Ask the questions again and maintain significant eye contact. 2. Give a few moments of empathy, assuming the friend is in rightful distress. 3. If you ascertain that they are in dumping mode, monologuing, or not interested in any response from you…change the topic. This will annoy the dumper terribly, but talking about a movie or the latest news scandal will stop them in mid-air and preserve your energy field. They will soon find a more sympathetic (and less practiced) ear.

If all else fails, wrap your aura in an invisible pink bubble, light sage, a candle, or do some other new age-y technique. For children or people you presumably can’t get rid of, say, “you have two minutes.” Give them that time, after which you smile and change the topic. Any other ideas? Please let me know in the comment box. The environment’s a mess, we all need to do our part to assure a cleaner future.

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Savor, pour favor


Today’s word, savor, is delicious and slow. I savor brewing tea, sipping it, and thinking about when I can take another tea break. I savor an experience long after it is over. To savor a flavor is to discern the subtle undertones, to let the last drop melt, to see the sun drop from the sky and call it an evening. Tonight’s sunset might be gumdrop orange or searing crimson. Savor it.


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Bumble Up, Stumble On


Daily prompt is “Bumble.”

Whereas to bumble implies a spinning around and upward turn, to stumble may mean to fall down and get up again. To bumble and stumble is like joining the magical, optimistic world of a teetering toddler, especially if you want to create a rumble in your routine. Even cookies have to crumble before a recipe is perfected.



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Take 5 Tuesday: Pause. Rest. Stop.

Take 5 Tuesday: Pause. Rest. Stop..

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Weather or Not

Tuesday Take 5: Weather or Not

I am sure that the weather-people and journalists are having a field day with the hurricane and storm metaphors. Their angle on Hurricane Sandy is probably different than mine or yours. This peculiar “perfect storm” affords a real opportunity for enforced indoor or internal time. Well, I did go out Monday morning for a leisurely haircut, but skipped the long lines at local food stores, like Barzini’s, and came home to miso soup, floor mat yoga, and my favorite magazines.

Staying in, knowing there is nowhere to go or way to get there, made me realize how many activities are not really essential. Life could be greatly simplified without the excuse of a storm. So why don’t we take these days off, or in, on a more regular basis, like on a day we don’t have to show up somewhere for work? Is it purely out of guilt? I like to think that hard-wired into our DNA is the collective memory of journeying.  This past Saturday in synagogue we read the ultimate journey story, “Lech Lecha,” which means “Go Forth.” God commanded Abraham, the story goes, to leave everything familiar behind from his father’s land and to go forth in trust to a strange land. God doesn’t speak to us as directly (though we might wish s/he would), but we can meditate to fine tune our ability to listen to the call of our souls.

For 5 minutes, turn off the news. Stop tracking the outer storm. Try this:

1. Get comfy. Close your eyes. Know that there is nowhere to go or be. Breathe in and out, feeling the gentle rise and fall of the breath. Sense the power and beauty of nature in the form of this storm.

2. Become aware of a vast stillness that transcends 3-dimensional time, space, and form. Envision that you are a grain of sand on a beach and also the beach in a grain of sand. You exist in everything and everything exists in you.

3. Expand your consciousness to embrace all of creation in this moment. Nothing exists that is not part of you, and you if it.

This meditation is derived in part from Kashmir Shaivism, the yogic philosophy of consciousness, and is ancient, like Abraham’s journey. Whether on foot or within our own beings, all journeys start with one step. Listening to God, a Higher Power, or that still, sure inner voice, sets us in the right direction. Hurricane Sandy bides us extra practice time. There’s nowhere else to go.

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Free Write Friday: Go Forth and Follow Your Good (News)

This weekend I got some good news about Catya McMullen, the daughter of dear friends, who won this year’s prestigious, competitive Samuel French new playwright’s contest. This means she is a bonafide playwright who will be paid for work that will be published and produced. What surprised me was how happy I was to hear her news, good news. I’ve heard more “bad” news in the last few years, about friends losing jobs, whose kids are in trouble, people getting ill, dying. I’d forgotten what “good” news sounds like and does to the soul. Perhaps it’s my fault, I’d become conditioned to listening for the loud, bad news, and what I need to do is pay more attention to the quiet, good news. And write about it. Try this:

1. News Flash: Write up some “good news” moments from your own life or the lives of loved ones and friends. Cheer yourself up.

2. On another track, take a journey, literally or metaphorically, and write:  Imagine back to a time when you took a journey, scary, outside of your comfort zone, where no one spoke your language or knew you. Write about it. What was it like? What did you learn? What happened upon your return, if you returned?

OR: Take a favorite hero from literature or history (including the Bible or another scripture) and adapt their journey to your own time, place, or voice. Or, speaking in first person, write their story from your own or someone else’s point of view. For instance, if you were writing as Rebecca, Isaac’s wife, you might say: “This servant comes up to me, parched, with a pack of camels. Now he wants me to come with him and marry some distant relative. Am I crazy to go? Well, it’s got to beat hanging around this place.”

Write and share your good news story with someone, with us.


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