Have you ever made your own lobster sushi rolls… from a living lobster?

This past year, one of the most memorable nights I had was held by a New York City experience company called Sidetour. It was called: Crack the Japanese Food Making Code with a Lobster Lesson
the meal! at misa cropped

The experience was led by a lovely, charming Misako Sassa. (A chef who, coincidentally, when I mentioned the cooking class to my roommate, was actually in a column she had fastened to our fridge from Chopsticks NY Magazine.)

liz with misa article


Misako (or Misa) floated around the open New York City space, showing us the best way to de-pit an avocado, teaching us about the perfect kind of rice that she specially orders, and letting us learn as she fanned the rice to the perfect temperature for use. We learned about how to quickly blanche the lobster meat, and put just enough cucumber and rice on the nori sheets, so that it would roll smoothly, and still taste full of fresh flavors. But, I’m actually leaving out the best part…

misa fanning rice

The beginning of the lesson started with our cooking stations set up in front of us. Clean mats, towels, knives, and a bowl of moving, living lobsters.

Since we were making the freshest possible kind of lobster without the use of hot water, something had to be done, we had to kill them ourselves first.

Now, this might sound impossible (or easy, I guess it depends on who you are!). I felt game to jump in, but became a little bit of a wimp while holding the lobster belly in my hands – it moved while I was trying to pinpoint the exact spot where I was supposed to give a quick jab with the knife. But as soon as Misa saw my hesitation, she gave a great quick example. Once you see this petite, delightful woman handle a lobster with speedy, dexterous craftsmanship, you feel a lot less able to wimp out, and much more empowered to seize control and finish the job!

The rice Misa had selected tasted nothing like what you’ll usually find in any ordinary sushi place (or even the places that are always packed on weekend nights). It had a multi-layered rush of flavors, nutty, sweet, and satisfying, and hard to forget. She made the miso soup with the heads of the lobsters for flavoring, and it was the most delicious miso soup I remember having in a long time. And the lobster rolls, which all the guests rolled, were unbelievable. I had wondered if I would feel a twinge of regret participating in the end of the lobsters life, and then eating it, but, as my friends and I had discussed that week, it’s really a much more honest and authentic way to come to the table. And it was delicious! I am really looking forward to getting a few of my friends together and doing this again very soon…

the sushi! cropped

greeting cards feel*express*connect at soulebrate.com and at soulcialize.com

How are you today?

As I drank a smoothie this morning which consisted of blending frozen organic wild blueberries, raspberries, and peaches, along with 1tablespoon chia seeds, 1teaspoon turmeric, 1teaspoon Spirulina, 1tablespoon Navitas cocoa powder, a sprinkling of black caraway seeds, a pinch of Stevia, and because I haven’t gotten around to preparing coconut or almond milk, in went 1cup of filtered water, I marveled at the fact that since completing the 21-day CLEAN PROGRAM by Dr. Alejandro Junger, the taste for coffee is non-existent. This from a person who truly enjoyed drinking, and savoring, a wonderfully delicious cup of coffee, either at home, or at a cafe. I’m still asking myself, “What the heck happened?” I’ll just say that life is ever changing and ever fascinating.

And the smoothie? Well, it was tasty, and so feeling energized, I checked out the greeting cards on Tara-jenelle Walsch’s website www.soulebrate.com These greeting cards are “inspired by Byron Katie and Neale Donald Walsch,” and tend to move the spirit. The beauty of the cards help set the pace for a lovely day. The words and the design have it all.

After feasting my eyes on the cards, I decided to check out her video at www.soulcialize.com Now should you decide to watch and listen also, be prepared for words that will possibly hit home, words like, “. . . half of the world was using food, gambling, sex, alcohol, trying to numb out. . . .” and “. . . somewhere along the line we were using our heads more and our hearts less.” and “. . . there’s nothing we have to learn how to do, we need to just be . . . free, open, accessible, available, alive, intentional, connect with our heart, with life, with others, with ourselves.”

Yes, listen to her story and cry with her, and listen to where she is now and be happy for her, and for all of us, and let’s allow ourselves this gift of being truly alive during the time we’re here on Planet Earth.

I hope you enjoy Tara-jenelle Walsch’s words on her video, and then I hope you’ll enjoy a spectacular Saturday.



I had a recent discussion with someone about bringing up a child in today’s world, and when I got off the phone I took a long, deep breath. it’s an ongoing discussion, and anyone raising a child knows about all the advice and opinions coming from books, magazine articles, blogs, family, and friends, and the confusion at times when needing an answer and finding contradictions.

I feel though that a few things haven’t changed: the ease of teaching at that early fun age by just walking and talking and playing rather than trying to get a teenager’s attention later on; the loneliness of making tough decisions, and the strength that follows; the importance of honing one’s intuition and common sense; guilt that creeps into the mind at all hours of the day and night (It serves no purpose, and it drains one’s energy); the importance of forgiving and then forgetting; communicating as much as possible; laughing often; knowing when to let go; and appreciating the gift of a precious life to care for and to love.

Then I thought again about writing more, and said, no, no, no, it’s too broad a subject having too many opinions. So, instead I’ll generalize and take the easy way and say: parenting in today’s world is having to give all you’ve got and expecting nothing much in return – for a while. It’s about knowing that if you do your very best, you’ll end up smiling often. It’s about building a strong foundation of trust in oneself, one’s child, and the Universe. It’s about developing the power of intuition. It’s about understanding that every child is different and nothing is written in stone, and no one knows a child better than a loving parent/caregiver. It’s about not comparing. It’s about using lots of common sense. It’s about unconditional love, understanding and compassion. It’s about letting go at the right time. It’s about hopefully staying two steps ahead until those parenting skills (which are mostly learned “on the job” – interesting because it’s such an important job) kick in. It’s about remembering the words of the older generation who keep repeating them when they sense you’re about to fall apart: “I know it seems like the longest journey you’ve ever been on, but trust me, it all goes by so fast.” Difficult to imagine, but true; I know from experience that it passes in a flash. Enjoy the ride, and every so often smile when reading the words of Khalil Gibran.

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.”

* * * * * * *

And the following are Krishnamurti’s words taken from an address he had given in 1927 and printed in the book The Spiritual Tourist: A Personal Odyssey Through the Outer Reaches of Belief by Mick Brown (“This book starts out excellently and then gets better.” Robert M. Pirsig, Author of ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE):

“What are you seeking . . . you who strive and struggle and ache eternally with unsatisfied longings? Is it money? Is it possessions? Is it fame? Is it physical comfort? Is it love? Is it spiritual safety? . . . Yes indeed, you think it is one of these things. But I tell you it is not. What you are seeking for ceaselessly, day and night, is Happiness . . . The thing you seek is ever at your hand. Be Happy, and then whatever you do will be worthwhile . . . Do that which makes you happy to do, and you will do right.”

Today the sun is out in full force and I hear people laughing as they walk pass my window. It looks like a beautiful day; let’s be happy and enjoy.

a path; a practice

Sometimes when we’re on a path, whether it be spiritual (perusing books, attending workshops, retreats, reading about the religions of the world, spending time learning about and practicing ancient and modern teachings), or health (exploring what’s out there so as to get a handle on the foods and right exercises that work for our own body mind spirit), or healings (gathering information from a variety of sources, listening, reading, pondering, and deciding what form of treatment we’re comfortable with and where and how to begin), work (believing in ourself and not the negativity of scarsity that at times permeates our society), home (bringing harmony, beauty, forgiveness, fun, joy, creativity into all aspects of life with family and friends), or the world and all its people (a smile, or hug when appropriate, is magic, a listening ear, a helping hand, and every so often remembering that we’re all in this together)

During the time we spend on certain paths, there will be periods when the one person we can rely on is our own self, – that can be a good thing because it teaches self-reliance, and that quality, if we allow it, will let serendipity enter. When we trust ourselves, we’ll trust our world, and we’ll open ourselves to new possibilities that we couldn’t imagine were there before we stepped out.

Through the years I’ve read that every morning before touching feet to floor, we should start the day with a short prayer of gratitude for what we have and for all the possibilities the gift of this day holds, inquire as to how to serve this day, and agree that the day is a good one. This habit pulls us into a higher vibration before we put feet to floor. And that can only be a very good thing. As with any new practice, time eventually shows us the many benefits derived from it – benefits we can’t know of before the practice.

A mentor is not always readily available, i.e., not in a physical form we can touch. Should anyone need one today, the words in the article, Satsang by Swami Amar Jyoti-Sincerity in Spiritual Practices, will do very nicely as we begin our practice. And it would seem that his words can be applied to any practice. www.Light-of-Consciousness.org

The day is young and sunny, and, shall we say, a good one? Let’s agree to enjoy.

* * * * * * *

“We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us, are dangers at hand, we must try to love them . . . How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons our our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke

studies show. . .

It’s been said that when we practice, practice, practice for some 10,000 hours we will have mastered whatever it is we want to master. Recent research also shows that our brain is 50% plastic and that we absolutely can change, change, change – radically. We, who have been telling ourselves for a very long time that this is how I was born; this is my genetic makeup, will have to find a different excuse, and good luck with that, -more and more studies are indicating that we are capable of much more than we realize.

In the extraordinary book The Compassionate Life – WALKING the PATH of KINDNESS author Marc Ian Barasch wrote this: “. . . while our project may be to see through thought itself, thus earning our full name Homo sapiens sapiens, the creature that is aware of being aware.” I had to read that a few times . . . “thus earning our full name. . .” it felt right.

French born Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, who, with his father Jean-Francois Revel, wrote the book THE MONK and the PHILOSOPHER A FATHER AND SON DISCUSS THE MEANING OF LIFE has been studied at leading institutes to discover how exactly has his brain changed after years of meditating. When the writer talked with the monk he mentioned that “ten thousand hours sound a bit much”; the monk replied that there are more recent studies of groups of people being taught compassion, and his rough prediction is that “you’ll see a sharp upward cuvre, maybe the most dramatic change, in the first six months.” Though about meditation he said it’s more like seven years, that “it’s not the seven-day cure for self-centeredness.” As I read the book I thought, so good to know, so good to know, so good to know.

Arianna Huffington praised the book with these words: “Refreshingly real, beyond right or left, just straight to the center of the human heart. If you want to help save the world today, then give someone-anyone-this startling, truthful, and passionate book.” And from William Ury, PhD, coauthor of Getting to Yes, “If I had to pick one skill that was most important for a negotiator – meaning everyone, every day – it would be the ability to put yourself in the other side’s shoes. In this extraordinary book, Marc Barasch helps us understand why and how.”

Put a dry book in my hand and I’ll end up reading the same sentence over and over. The Compassionate Life is not that. Along with excellent research, it’s personal and humorous and was written by “an award-winning writer, editor, and television producer.” He’s also the founder of the Green World Campaign: www.greenworld.org

Why am I telling you this? Well, I’m thinking that there are a lot of reasons to read this book, especially since many of us are realizing that the world in which we live is not what it could/should be.

Ode Magazine wrote an article on The Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard titled the world’s happiest man. Should you want, check it out at: www.odemagazine.com

Have a lovely weekend – rain or shine.

uncomplicate it

I’ve been a seeker of Truth for a very long time. Actually that can mean different things to different people; there’s much to know is all I know. I can smile now at detours taken along that long fascinating road. Detours occurred because many accumulated beliefs always surfaced contradicting just about everything I read and heard, causing the studying to always end with a but. . . . It was an arduous task to get pass all the buts, and how to make sense of it all. When an answer for the “buts” wasn’t forthcoming, books, tapes, etc. were put away with a sigh, and I went back, more or less, to the old way of thinking. It was becoming a pattern, put them away, and when that nagging feeling presented itself, take them out. One day I sensed that the Power within was becoming impatient with frequent packaways; It wasn’t buying the I’m in; I’m out kind of game. It took a while for me to realize that certain things started happening when I decided to be “out” – that outside circumstances made my life quite miserable. Of course, it was really me who was making my life quite miserable and until I made a clear-cut decision I would be riding the steepest of roller coasters, and that wasn’t good. Then one day I knew without a doubt that the old way wasn’t an option anymore; being “in” finally felt wonderful.

We live in a rather complicated world, made so by man himself, and we think everything is this way. Those scientists who are looking at the universe through a new lens are marveling at the elegant simplicity and simple brilliance in which all things were created.

The old way of wallowing in stress, negativity, doubt, anger, envy, fear, feelings of inadequacy and helplessness, etc. has us believing we’re victims of circumstances and that life is indeed complicated. The remarkable truth is that at any time the choice is ours to uncomplicate the way we think and live by using that Power within our own selves.

I know a young person in his early 20s whose teen years were spent in distress and confusion. He left for college and in a relatively short time he’d turned his life completely around. He’s thriving with his music, retreats, meditation, travels abroad, school, friends, choice of foods, and I’m sure the list goes on. There’s serenity, peace, calmness, tranquility (good words, yes?) in his beautiful eyes. And I say, Wow! – it sure didn’t take long for him to get from here to there. Then again, we’re all unfolding, all evolving on our own schedule, and some people are able in “the twinkling of any eye” to reach new levels of development, thereby changing their vibrations.

In the East this change would be explained by pointing to reincarnation: the young man had worked on himself in previous lifetimes, and in this lifetime he had only a few short steps to climb in order to make that change. It makes perfect sense to me.

People often say, I’m too busy to think about those things. It’s true, they are really, really, really busy. Though nothing looks urgent in all that busyness. It’s often just busyness to be busy. And that’s okay; we all get to decide when. The when though sometimes comes with a swift kick in the pants in one form or another – accident, marital problems, addiction, a death – to give us a little help in deciding whether we’re ready to be in or out. I love Tom Shadyac’s movie I AM. It’s alive with the beauty and mystery of life. And his bicycle accident certainly put things into perspective for him, as he says in I AM the movie.

Louise Hay tells a little about her childhood in the book YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE, and in so doing explains the power of the thoughts we think all day long. She has a delightfully straightforward manner, and the following story is so simple it’s impossible to miss its point. Her stepfather abused her; additionally the family was at the poverty level. One day at school a cake was brought in to celebrate a classmate’s birthday. Some children got one slice, some two, Louise got nothing. She explains that at that time in her life she felt almost invisible, that she didn’t matter; she had nothing and she got nothing. Don’t be sad for Louise though, she’s not that person anymore; she’s not in that place anymore.

The beauty of the implementation of this subject is that we don’t have to go anywhere to figure out the power of our thoughts. All we have to do is observe them and in the observing we’ll develop a keen awareness.

Enjoy the day! 🙂