La Grotta in Richmond, Virginia, The clean program, the joe cross film fat, sick, & nearly dead, tinkyada pasta


Over two weeks of scrumptious food was savored during a visit to Alicia’s and Michael’s happy and lovely home in Richmond, Virginia, None of us had the wherewithal to lasso in the others when it came to choosing where and what to eat during the times we ate out at Richmond’s many excellent restaurants. One evening we ate at La Grotta, and were immersed in old world charm. I would definitely return; being there was a pleasure. For dessert I recommend the coconut cake. You might have to make sure that those with you have something tasty in front of them, otherwise it becomes all about sharing, and you know what that means.

After that kind of eating we agreed that once again the Clean Program from the book CLEAN by Dr. Alejandro Junger would be a delight. We were ready for the lightness and clarity that comes with the program – the juicing, the smoothies, the meals from the menu section of the book, and the suggestions for detoxing.

Also, watching the Joe Cross Film, FAT, SICK & NEARLY DEAD (and crying for the people when listening to their stories) is an incredible incentive when wanting to change eating habits. Viewing this movie can change the way we look at food when seeing the suffering faces of people who are sick and overweight, but don’t have a clue as to how to help themselves. The film makes us understand that it’s within all of us to be able to make powerful changes, and shows what can happen when we’re open to change, and ready to take action. It’s beautiful!


And when it comes to enjoying pasta, what a joy it is to know about “WHEAT FREE GLUTEN-FREE GOOD CONSISTENT TEXTURE NOT MUSHY AL DENTE” Tinkyada Pasta. Alicia prepared a meal this way – more or less: She sautéed chopped onions in olive oil, and added lots of garlic. Other ingredients added to the big cast iron pot were mushrooms, kale, spinach, and fresh peas. Also, stirred into that pot were two handfuls of pine nuts, a sprinkling of good quality sesame seeds, shakes of Celtic salt, and twists of tasty pepper. Then the cooked Tinkyada spaghetti was mixed into those ingredients. If you like avocados, slice one and serve with nori along with the pasta meal. Absolutely delicious! Now here comes the hard part, we Americans have to try very hard to remember two words, and the two words are: PORTION CONTROL.


Let’s enjoy this fine misty rain of an evening.


“Your progress depends on your ability to eject old ideas and set opinions. You are fortunate if you have no set opinions.” – Venice Bloodworth

a thought for the day

“Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map. Why? I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France. Just as we take a train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star. We cannot get to a star while we are alive anymore than we can take the train when we are dead. So to me it seems possible that cholera, tuberculosis, and cancer are the celestial means of locomotion. Just as steamboats, buses and railways are the terrestrial means. To die quietly of old age, would be to go there on foot.” – Vincent Van Gogh (as researched by Australian director Paul Cox)

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controversy? or choices, changes, teachings

Before I clicked on, “Empty Spam,” a few words caught my eye, and I had to smile. They were: “Some of the things you say are controversial. . . .” Controversial: “clash of opposing views.”

But . . . opposite views seem a part of life, and help us to sort things out, so to speak. Most of what’s on this blog is light and sort of simple; I like simple. The words that inspire me over and over are: beauty, harmony, love, wisdom, joy, forgiveness, happy, compassion, understanding, fun, elegance, right action, change, laughter, courage, abundance and success (these last two words mean different things to different people). And the Divine. Controversial? – just choices to be made, changes taking place, teachings to ponder.

It often seems, however, that whenever we think we’ve found the “right” teaching from an “expert,” turn around and they’ll always be another “right” teaching” from a different “expert” saying the opposite of what we now hold to be true. I used to find this disconcerting, because it happened a lot. Now I understand that there’s room for many kinds of teachings because there are many kinds of people. And if we’re evolving the way we’re supposed to be, we might need to look around for something that will take us to the next step on our journey. If we stay at the same place, always thinking the same way, how will we ever find the next step?

There’s not just one mountain, one ocean, one kind of animal, one human face looking like all the others, etc. It would be intolerably boring if everything was the same. When we open our eyes really wide we’ll see that change is the spice of life. Many of us think that if we don’t rock our boat we’ll be secure and snug in our own little corner of the world. The funny thing is that when it’s time to evolve, our Higher Self will rock our boat until we fall out. (are you laughing yet?) Does that sound awful? I know, but in the long run it can be an energizing experience if we don’t resist. And quite possibly, after a time, we’ll say thank you for the change.

Choices, changes, teachings – we’re blessed; we have the ability to innately know what we need at any given time – if only we would stay quiet for a while, learn to listen and trust what the within is trying to tell us, and then hone the power within until we become the “expert” in our own life.

No controversy there, right?

It’s time to hit the road 🙂 What a lovely day – may the day be all you want it to be.

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There is another world and it is within this one.
– Paul Eluard

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
– Rumi (Coleman Barks, translator)

The music that ushered in the cosmos plays on,
inside us and around us.
– Brian Swimme

How can there be redemption and resurrection unless there
has been great sorrow? And isn’t struggle and rising
the real work of our lives?
– Mary Oliver

Work of the sight is done . . .
Now do heart work
On the pictures within you.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Which of the two powers is able to raise men to
the highest sphere, love or music? . . .
I think we may say, that while love can give us no idea of
music, music can realize the idea of love. But why separate
one from the other? The soul soars on the wings of both.
– Hector Berlioz

The beautiful quotes above are from: THE NATURE OF MUSIC Beauty, Sound, and Healing by Maureen McCarthy Draper.

let’s talk about death

Once in a while it could be very good to talk about death. Death? -you say Yes, why not? -I say. The news in all its forms never stops reminding us of it, and so perhaps it’s a good idea to give it some consideration, and not ignore that it’s a part of life. The world provides us with many fears, and, one step at a time, we need to take hold of them and get comfortable with them. Otherwise we can’t enjoy life and live freely. Fanklin D. Roosevelt said, “Often when you are alone suddenly fears seek you out and hunt for a place in your mind.” Maybe hunting it down before it does us would be easier.

Since ancient times sages and saints have tried to tell us that we’re on a journey, that there really is no death, that so-called death is a mere shedding of our physical body, and that our memories, thoughts, experiences, talents, etc. are ours to take as we depart planet earth for our next destination. We prepare for important occasions, and one would think that death is one of those occasions.

Michele Livingston answered a question which was published in the September/October 2011 of Wisdom magazine under the heading Divine Wisdom. The question was:

“My son Danny died two years ago from cancer. He was my only son and I’m crushed. So much so, that I quit my job and rarely leave my house. The times that I do leave, I go to the cemetery and sit beside his grave, crying and asking why – pleading with him to return. Where is he? How can I heal? I really need closure. . . .”

I think that the answer is complete and compassionate, and that we can all gain by reading it whether we’re grieving for someone or not. I hope you think so, too. It can be read on the Wisdom website:

jean houston

Lately when logging on to aol I see blog postings by well-known people who offer excellent information, and today Dr. Jean Houston – “Scholar, Philosopher, Researcher in Human Capacities” – posted “3 Keys to Living the Life You Want.” I can’t resist reading anything written by her. And so I read on and then clicked the print button as a few people will be happy to find a copy in the mail.

A lot of people have been writing about the global shift that’s taking place right now in all areas of life on earth. It wasn’t long ago when most of the writings were foreboding, interspersed with a few who wrote that the shift was ushering in great happenings and that we were to sit tight, trust the process, and lead a more compassionate life. The people reading what the foreboding articles and books had to say thought it was time to say their prayers and goodbyes because it seemed that death and destruction, and anything else of that ilk that the reader’s mind could imagine was on the way. If the mass consciousness buys into the doom and gloom we’re in big trouble.

However, the good news now from the experts writing – those who study all the angles of these matters and concerns and write from an intellectual, and perhaps spiritual view – is that something quite different is taking place and we can expect, after the global shift that’s presently taking place, a future that’s positively amazing, one that has previously not been experienced in the entire history of the world, one that will allow us to live life freely with new meaning, while recognizing and respecting our connection with all living things, including Mother Earth, and, additionally, to bring our own offerings to the world’s table confidently and fearlessly.

Jean Houston notes the reasons for people not being able to identify their life purpose, or, if they have, to not be able to fulfill it. She mentions our social systems and the way they are set up, and our limiting beliefs, and living our life within our “small story” that confines us to a “small self.” Her wonderful posting can be read on her websites, and it just might sing to many hearts.
along with The 3 Keys to Discovering and Living Your True Purpose – a Free Global Teleconference and Gathering with Dr. Jean Houston Tuesday SEPTEMBER 13, 5:30 pm PT Listen live by phone or online or download the recording anytime.

Jean Houston’s Mystery School is in it’s final year.

I hope your day is a lovely one.


On a very HOT and HUMID 99 degree day last month the train I was scheduled to take was 90 minutes late. The three Amtrak employees at the counter couldn’t agree on the reason it was late or exactly when it was coming. Okay.

And so the train came and we ticket holders lined up and followed a uniformed person to a particular car where a conductor waited to give us our assigned seat number. After everyone was settled in, I realized it was COLD! in the train. I looked at the the woman across from me bundled in a blanket, and noticed that other passengers were wearing hooded sweatshirts. When the conductor passed by again I asked the reason for such a COLD train. She said it was frigid (that word didn’t help any) because there’s a flaw in the design, the thermometer was put outside the train. Okay.

Then she announced the reason for the train’s lateness. She said it had to move very slowly coming from Florida because when it’s an extremely hot day, a fire could start on the tracks. We’ll continue at a slow pace, she said. Okay.

I brought no lunch, so I went to the snack bar car hoping that the food had improved since the last time I ordered food on an Amtrak train. There was a limited sandwich selection, I chose the one that might have possibilities. The woman behind the counter said because of customer complaints she put all those sandwiches away. Okay.

The snack bar car was full, maybe because it was warmer there than anywhere else (warmer, not warm). Finally I returned to the COLD car. When the conductor passed I asked whether there was any place on the train warmer than the car we’re in now? She said I could try to find that place when we reached Washington. Okay.

The woman sitting behind me tapped my shoulder and asked if I’d like to wear her sweatshirt and scarf. She had on a jacket. I am forever grateful to her because after mentally scanning my suitcase, I accepted that it held nothing to warm a body.

As we approached Washington, the conductor announced, “If you get off this train and go upstairs, remember one thing: the train didn’t leave you; you left the train.” She repeated this many times. And so I concluded that quite a few people are left behind. There was at least a 45 minute wait in DC while the train changed from diesel to electric. The train is completely stopped, lights are off, passengers are walking on the platform, or standing inside – there’s plenty of time to do nothing during the wait. Time to leave DC.

Finally, my stop. The conductor sings as she says goodbye. And as I walk from the train to the station a tad bit hungry and a little cold, thinking that it could have been an awfully unpleasant train ride. That didn’t happen though because of a very witty conductor who never let up, and, I’ll generalize and say, the best group of fellow passengers anywhere.

There’s something about train traveling that’s soothing. I’ve noticed that passengers come on trains with their own kind of feeling, and the feeling depends on the place where they’re boarding. For instance, some people who board at Penn Station in Manhattan tend to bring into the train a rather tense energy. It’s not until they’ve settled in, loosened their clothing, taken out a laptop, magazine, book, notepad, reclined their seat to rest, or taken out a snack quickly bought that that nervous energy slowly dissipates, and they can breathe a sign of relief.

Ticket please.

a balancing act . . .

When mind body spirit thwart any attempts to gather more information on vitamins, veggies, fruits, herbs, to eat meat, to not eat meat, toxins, potent spices good for the body, healings, qi gong, yoga, meditation, spiritual workshops, inspirational movies, great books, informative magazine articles, the Earth, the Universe, etc. it’s simply saying let’s think about other things. This happens when lethargy sets in regarding things that are ever so fascinating. The idea is to listen, clear the mind, renew, and head for fun and relaxation. After all mind body spirit know when it’s time for a balancing act. Do you agree that this probably holds true for just about anything?

First though the three websites listed below are too good to overlook today.

Enjoy this hot and humid day any way you can, well, within reason 🙂

I can’t imagine . . .

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in Japan right now. What are people thinking about as they wait, wait for so many things: bare necessities, word about family and friends, about the air they’re breathing, the condition of their homes, the next hour, the next day. And wondering what’s happening, and what will happen.

Viewing a catastrophe from the other side allows for many questions, too. How is it possible to watch real time events from a distance, and not be affected by them? The problem with witnessing world events, as we do daily, – some pleasant, but mostly not – is that we are helpless to render much support. The period in which we live gives us the technology to watch suffering on a huge scale. What’s incompatible with the watching is that most of us will not, for different reasons, be able to lend a hand. To observe the amount of suffering that occurs throughout the world, and not be equipped to help, doesn’t seem natural. What then do we, the people, do with our compassion, our anxiety, our inability to be of help?

Sarcasm, humor, depression, restlessness, alcohol, drugs, sex are some of the ways we cope, and in the process try to disguise our feelings. They’re not solutions. What’s the answer then? We’re not going to eliminate technology so that we can slide back to a time when we were ignorant of global events. We can wish for a better world, but it won’t happen overnight. It’s been said that to find answers to challenges we have to focus on the solutions, and not the problems. Time after time we sit and watch cruelty displayed before our eyes – torture inflicted on innumerable innocent civilians, killings in all forms from wars and the aftermath of wars, dictators running amok – all kinds of intolerable suffering. And we watch suffering brought about by tsunamis, earthquakes, and yes, nuclear disasters.

What can we do to help? I think that prayer is a practical method that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. For years I’ve read books, articles, and heard stories about the power of prayer, and the right way to pray. And until recently, none of it clicked for me, and so I didn’t give prayer the attention it deserves. Then one day I decided to buckle down and learn “what all the fuss is about,” and so I began reading, observing, and really listening to what those who have experienced the power of prayer were writing and talking about. It’s said that when the feelings of the mind match the feelings of the heart we connect to Cosmic Power (God). In new and used bookshops and in libraries, I found a wonderful array of books and magazines explaining the power of the heart and mind joined in prayer. We all have to find the book that sings to our heart. It’s a personal quest. That’s okay, discovery is a delightful part of learning.

So, in lieu of physically being able to help those in need, we can put our watches away for 20 minutes or so, twice daily, and quietly focus only on the Cosmic Power within. We let go of all worldly concerns and allow our heart and mind to join at the same frequency, then we pray and listen. It’s written in sacred books that that is where our Higher Self resides – waiting for us to respond to it. We practice praying in the same way we practice cooking, skiing, painting, driving, etc. – to be good at whatever it is we want to learn, we practice. To be a master, we practice over and over and over.

May the Creator of the universe guide, protect, direct, and guard the people of the world, especially those now in need of your help. Thank you.

* * * * * * *

When I was first going to add to this entry, I had so much to say that I couldn’t say anything. I think the most truthful and balanced words I’ve heard in the past few weeks come from Japanese people themselves. They know they can rebuild and rebuild stronger and in a way that is more congruent with the world, so that they can flourish and bloom. That is how we should all look at every instance that appears to be a damage situation. There is always rebuilding. The world will never stop improving and reshaping and for that I am glad to be here. I continue to learn from other people’s amazing perseverance and ability to shine in all stages of life. -Emi


it is what it is

I’m thinking that Charlie Sheen should be allowed to have a private meltdown without all the media fuss. And that includes all the other “celebrities” who are in the same boat.

Doesn’t it strike you as puzzling that with everything going on in the world, and with all the many fascinating things there are for us to learn about and write about and think about and talk about that – day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, we’re fed a steady diet of nonsense.

Unless we put blinders on, it’s impossible to not see the big headlines and the calling-for-attention photos popping up at every turn. Click on to aol “news” and there’s Charlie Sheen a good part of the time these past few weeks, pass magazines hanging all around sidewalk newstands, next to store registers, and in major book stores having the same silly articles month after month, and then we have what’s called “news” on tv.

In any event, it’s all part of the world we live in. Along with beauty, love, compassion, harmony, there’s a part of life that’s bewildering, and leaves one at a loss for words. It’s not good and it’s not bad; it is what it is.

An email is going around and it would be hilarious if real people were not involved. It takes place at Walmart, and they’re all photos of Walmart customers in an assortment of – how to put this . . . I have to think about that. I’m glad I saw the email because, well, I just don’t know the reason yet. After that particular email though, I had to pull myself together and so I started thinking about those people caught in a lens and a camera’s click, and harshly exposed for the world to snicker at. The uninspiring photos say that these people are struggling in a way that an outsider can’t understand, and in a kinder world no one would have thought to expose them to ridicule.

* * * * * * *

” . . . and I love them unconditionally, which is the only kind of love worth bothering with.” – Go Gentle Into That Good Night, by Roger Ebert

“When we give ourselves the knowledge of who we truly are and the permission to express it – wholeness and healing burst through us as peace, joy . . . and love for self and others.” – Jerry Thomas

“We are raised on comparison, our education is based on it, so is our culture. So we struggle to be someone other than who we are. – J. Krishnamurti

“May I always be in the right place at the right time to do as much good as possible.” – Raymon Grace

“Wherever you are, whatever your condition is, always try to be a lover.” – Rumi

“What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?” – Jean Jacques Rousseau

“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” – Leonardo da Vinci

the extraordinary healing power of ordinary things, shantaram, salaam bombay!, (and germs)

Are we too concerned with germs? Is advertising on tv, and in magazines causing fear to creep into our minds? Are the products on the shelves that suck out every bit of moisture from our hands leaving them dried and cracked (so that we need more products to heal our hands) really necessary? If we’re not careful, we’ll begin to feel that germs are attacking us around every corner we turn. That feeling doesn’t feel good. Germs will always be with us. It’s the fear of them that holds the real power. If it’s fear that rules, there’s a book that flows beautifully in the direction of balance called THE EXTRAORDINARY HEALING POWER of ORDINARY THINGS by Larry Dossey, M.D. Can we use the word delicious here? Because it is. Go directly to the chapter on Dirt, and don’t stop there continue to the chapter on Bugs. Now that should help, if you let it. Then, of course, there’s the rest of the book.

SHANTARAM by GREGORY DAVID ROBERTS – What a book! is all I have to say. If you have an unhealthy fear of germs, there’s no way you’ll NOT come away feeling very differently about them. Well, to be fair to the book, this is a small part of it, but it’s a thread throughout a lot of its story. You can only know what that means after you’ve read it. It’s wildly entertaining, inspiring, disturbing; it’s a big story about life. And know this, somewhere along the line we get quite comfortable with the way of germs.

The movie, SALAAM BOMBAY! “Spectacular! Excellent!” is what’s been said of it, and it’s all true. The director had “street kids” acting, along with top-notch Indian actors. Watching the “special features” simply adds more to what is already an important, entertaining, inspiring, and, yes, delicious film.

The slums of Bombay are a part of SHANTARAM AND SALAAM BOMBAY. I can’t help wondering about our sterile, antiseptic, squeaky clean way of living compared to the slums of Bombay (and other parts of the world where people live in similar conditions). Questions arise after reading SHANTARAM and watching SALAAM BOMBAY One is: How is it that these people are still alive? The other is: How is it that the hospitals in our squeaky clean part of the world are packed with sick people? The answers are complex. Or maybe not.