Friday, July 27, 2012

Symptoms of inner peace
  • A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  • A loss of interest in judging other people.
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of other.
  • A loss of interest in conflict.
  • A loss of the ability to worry.
  • Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
  • An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
Saskia Davis ©1984

Thursday, July 26, 2012

1,3 via zachrome


Tomato-Corn-Peach & Feta Salad
(with toasted breadcrumbs) recipe, here

Celery sticks with local, homemade naughty nutty love 
classic peanut butter and dried cranberries

Dark chocolate cake with cherry icecream from
Little Fish, South Philadelphia, PA

Arugala, fig, carmelized onion & goat cheese on
French baguette from Yvette's, Stone Harbor, NJ

Local golden beets with parsley, olive oil,
s&p and white wine vinegar

Meiji Hello Panda strawberry creme filled biscuit-cookies

Grapefruit avocado fennel salad. Recipe, here

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


"Habit is a second nature which prevents us from knowing the first, of which it has neither the cruelties nor the enchantments." - Marcel Proust

(Oh, Proust. Feel how you want to about the French, but their ability to produce crispy-soft baguettes, flaky-sticky macarons and sardonic-revolutionary 'intellos' is beautiful.)

As Proust succinctly notes in the quote above, habits become a second nature which prohibit us from living life in our first nature. First nature being the experience of life as it happens to us directly, as if everything is happening for the first time. (Which in yoga is referred to as the beginner mindset.) As if every bite of a peanut butter sandwich even if you've had 7800 in your life was the first bite or the last. As if it was the first taste of salty, oily crushed peanuts and sweet, yeasty bread meeting the tips and sides of your tongue, the roof of your mouth, the insides of your lips. It means realizing that saying goodbye to someone is sad, or that being honest with someone is a bit frightening. It's a way of living attuned to our senses and sensitivites. So yes, it might hurt more finely to live life with awareness because the sharpness of pain is more acute, but so too is the joy. Wouldn't we rather endure the brief sting of acute pain over the prolonged dull, gnawing ache that has neither location nor sensation, that grey and bleak feeling of colorless sadness? So in our first nature - which is not relying on habitual patterns of behavior or thought - we may be more aware of pain but we are also equally as aware of joy; the joy is fleshy, vibrant and delectable.

Perhaps sometimes we live our lives in dull, habitual patterns because we think, superstitiously, that it will protect us from pain. Only it causes a different kind of pain, a pain that casts a thick, impermeable fog over everything so that no light can seep through, so that color is diluted, sound is muted and taste is watered down.

Habits are also repetitive ways that we appease certain needs. We do things, as Geneen Roth says, for "exquisitely good purposes." We aren't always aware of what those reasons or purposes are though. In the video below Charles Duhigg explains how he changed his 3 o'clock "cookie habit" by experimenting with different behaviors. Instead of eating a cookie, for example, he tried eating a candy bar, going for a walk, and stopping by a coworker's office to chat. Through his experimentation he realized that his craving for a cookie was actually more of a craving for human interaction.

I believe this kind of investigative and experimental attitude towards habits that we want to break or habits that no longer serve us or the specific need we are trying to fill, is paramount to lasting change. It can be applied to other habits such as, say, smoking, by asking ourselves clarifying questions:

  • What times of day or in which situations do I crave a cigarette?
  • Is it to connect with coworkers?
  • Is it a way to get outside for fresh air and a change of scenery?
  • Is it to be alone with myself and my thoughts?
  • Is it a way to do nothing else but focus on "breathing in" and "breathing out"?
  • Is it calming? Or energizing? Or both?
  • Is it a way to add "thrill" and "excitement" into my day?
These are just some ideas of questions to ask ourselves. For example, I'm realizing a certain habit I have is because it brings me a form of pleasure and giddy excitement, and now I am wondering "hm, how else can I indulge my senses in a fun way?"

Also, it is important to note that habits - which in their exaggerated, more extreme form, we call 'addictions' - are simply the mind/body grasping at external substances, stimuli or internal patterns of thought (because we can be addicted to certain thoughts too) as a way to cling to something certain in the midst of the unpredictable, jerky, winding changes that occur both in life and in the mind itself. Or as lazyyogi says in "The Technology of Non-addiction":

The spiritual path is the path of non-addiction. Addiction implies being incomplete, unwhole, lacking. Addiction tells you that you need to add something to your self, your world, before you can be at peace. Addiction is a lie.

There are two parts to addiction. The first part is chemical. Your body physically requires and craves a certain chemical in order to maintain its feeling of normalcy. This is the kind of addiction you see with certain drugs from cigarettes to heroin. The drugs themselves are just atoms and molecules and matter, nothing evil. But when habitually used they rob you of freedom.

The second part to addiction is much more rampant. That is the mental aspect of addiction. One can become addicted to anything in the sense that it becomes habit forming. Habits are a way of living below your level of awareness. You don’t have to be present and aware, you simply let the habit take over.

This desire to revert to a level below awareness brings a certain degree of relief and happiness. Why? Because it allows you to escape the disparaging and critical mind with which we are so used to walking this earth. Addiction and habit is simply the misplaced desire to escape the prison of thought.

The thinking mind is a gift and a wonderful servant. But in this modern era it has become a terrible master. We have become victims of our thoughts and judgments rather than evolved beings graced with intelligence.

Meditation is the technology to emerge from addiction once and for all. While doctors and rehabilitation can help remove physical addiction, they do not guarantee that the patient will not relapse into old habits. The only one who can guarantee that is the individual in question.
Through meditation we come to discover a kind of spacious stillness within us, a filled contentment that is empty and yet brimming to the seams. When you discover through your own experience that you lack nothing, need nothing, and are filled with everything, what room is there for needy addiction?

Habits melt away; addictions dissolve. While previously you needed to revert to a level below thought, meditation takes you to a place above thought. You are awakened, clear, and empty. Anything that arises simply passes through you.

That is the supreme peace of the Self and the true inheritance of humanity.

So can we live life embracing uncertainty? Knowing that we "lack, need nothing, are filled with everything?" Can we live, as Proust says and as all of the great spiritual philosophers of all time have said, with more first nature awarenesss? Holding opposites, seeming juxtapositions and polarities with delicate hands, keeping in mind the truth of the 10,000 sorrows and the 10,000 joys of life? Can we embrace our lives a bit closer to the bone? Preciously, with new love?

I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love. ~ Sylvia Plath

Friday, July 20, 2012

It's Friday and...

I plan to go here and here

Make this to spread on this 

Hear these guys perform live

Here's to ambitious weekends! ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


What? How? I am amazed.

be of love

be of love (a little)
more careful
than of everything.
guard her perhaps only
a trifle less
(merely beyond how very)
closely than nothing.
remember love by frequent anguish
(imagine her least never with most memory)
give entirely each forever its freedom
(dare until a flower,
understanding sizelessly sunlight
open what thousandth why and
discover laughing)
-e.e. Cummings

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fruits Have Feelings Too

Hey guess why the peach is missing from this poster? Because the peach has innerpeach ;) Cheesy, I know. Er - I mean fruity?

P.s. - I love that the starfruit thinks she is a freak, meanwhile she is actually the most interesting and sweetest of all!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ode to Summer

Another lovely film by Andrew + Carissa brought to us by Kinfolk. I don't know about you but it makes me want to spend a week in a deserted old farm town, go for a bike ride, eat yogurt and avocado sandwiches, go cliff jumping into a lake and read Lewis Carroll on a front porch swing while sipping earthy herbal, earl grey tea.

A BOAT beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July --
Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear --
Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies,
Never seen by waking eyes.
Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream --
Lingering in the golden gleam --
Life, what is it but a dream?

- Lewis Carroll

Monday, July 9, 2012

Jicama-Blueberry-Feta-Thyme Salad

I first tried this insanely good fruity-cheesy-vinegary salad a couple of weeks ago when my mom's friend brought it over for lunch. After trying it and then melting on the floor into a pool of ohmygodthatwassogood, I mopped myself back up and decided silently in my head that it was the best thing I'd ever eaten. When I asked her how she made it, she (like a true food artiste) told me she just kind of "threw" it together. She said she didn't know what herb was in it exactly because when she was making it she handed her friend a pair of scissors and told her to "cut something green" from her herb garden. After careful consideration and some time ;) I've deduced that the mystery herb that awakens this salad is probably thyme.

Feel free to change up the amounts in the recipe – I sort of just eyeballed it and went by what tastes I liked best!

½ of a jicama (peeled and cut into cubes) *
1 pint blueberries *
¼ cup Feta cheese
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (preferably white)
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper

*you can also use 1-2 peeled cucumbers instead
*you can also use blackberries, but blueberries work best

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Art of Disappearing

The Art of Disappearing by Naomi Shihab

When they say Don’t I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

From Words Under the Words: Selected Poems. © The Eighth Mountain Press

A friend of mine from yoga read that poem to me a few days ago and it made me laugh out loud, tear up and get goosebumps all at once. When I googled the poem, I found this little write-up of it and I enjoy it perhaps even as much as I like the poem itself.

Why do I feel the need to defend this poem? Because I do. Feel the need. To defend this poem. I want to apologise behind its back for its anti-social tendencies, its unabashed unfriendliness and the rich texture of its rudeness. Not the kind of poem you could lean over and strike up a casual conversation with – without getting your head snapped off for your pains. That sort of poem. The kind that urges you to the verge of a resentful rejection of civilizations neatly composed niceties (That it makes you want to laugh out loud is beside the point– and bad manners besides– like encouraging a child who has just blurted out in the middle of polite company- something importantly true and deeply inappropriate) That said- let me say also, that Bill Moyers carried this poem folded into his wallet after living past heart surgery. Now one doesn’t carry a poem around folded into one’s wallet after living past heart surgery on account of its richly textured rudeness- does one? No. When you hear past the poem’s prickly barricade what you hear rings out with the clear purity of that monastery bell at twilight that it makes mention of. A clarion call back to What Really Matters — couched in crusty curmudgeonliness and not a little sarcasm. If this poem has a sting– then trust it. The way you trust the brief burn of antiseptic on a wound. Because life, lived attentively, can be so much more than a littleness traveling between trivialities. Read the last lines and in spite of yourself feel this world and this moment turn incredibly precious beneath your fingertips. - Pavi

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Wedding Weekend

Boys will be boys ("free agent" update mid-reception dinner)
A view of the stables of the Sweetwater Farm
Obligatory blogger mirror shot. Sh-boom.
(and five different flavors of cake!)
Dinner in Grace Winery (renovated barn)
Cedar rafters